Chapter VII: The Struggle with the Red Front
In 1919-20 and also in 1921 I attended some of the bourgeois meetings. Invariably I had the same feeling
towards these as towards the compulsory dose of castor oil in my boyhood days. It just had to be taken because it was good
for one: but it certainly tasted unpleasant. If it were possible to tie ropes round the German people and forcibly drag them
to these bourgeois meetings, keeping them there behind barred doors and allowing nobody to escape until the meeting closed,
then this procedure might prove successful in the course of a few hundred years. For my own part, I must frankly admit that,
under such circumstances, I could not find life worth living; and indeed I should no longer wish to be a German. But, thank
God, all this is impossible. And so it is not surprising that the sane and unspoilt masses shun these 'bourgeois mass meetings'
as the devil shuns holy water.
I came to know the prophets of the bourgeois philosophy, and I was not surprised at what I learned,
as I knew that they attached little importance to the spoken word. At that time I attended meetings of the Democrats, the
German Nationalists, the German People's Party and the Bavarian People's Party (the Centre Party of Bavaria). What struck
me at once was the homogeneous uniformity of the audiences. Nearly always they were made up exclusively of party members.
The whole affair was more like a yawning card party than an assembly of people who had just passed through a great revolution.
The speakers did all they could to maintain this tranquil atmosphere. They declaimed, or rather read out, their speeches in
the style of an intellectual newspaper article or a learned treatise, avoiding all striking expressions. Here and there a
feeble professorial joke would be introduced, whereupon the people sitting at the speaker's table felt themselves obliged
to laugh – not loudly but encouragingly and with well-bred reserve.
And there were always those people at the speaker's table. I once attended a meeting in the Wagner
Hall in Munich. It was a demonstration to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig. The speech was delivered or
rather read out by a venerable old professor from one or other of the universities. The committee sat on the platform: one
monocle on the right, another monocle on the left, and in the centre a gentleman with no monocle. All three of them were punctiliously
attired in morning coats, and I had the impression of being present before a judge's bench just as the death sentence was
about to be pronounced or at a christening or some more solemn religious ceremony. The so-called speech, which in printed
form may have read quite well, had a disastrous effect. After three quarters of an hour the audience fell into a sort of hypnotic
trance, which was interrupted only when some man or woman left the hall, or by the clatter which the waitresses made, or by
the increasing yawns of slumbering individuals. I had posted myself behind three workmen who were present either out of curiosity
or because they were sent there by their parties. From time to time they glanced at one another with an ill-concealed grin,
nudged one another with the elbow, and then silently left the hall. One could see that they had no intention whatsoever of
interrupting the proceedings, nor indeed was it necessary to interrupt them. At long last the celebration showed signs of
drawing to a close. After the professor, whose voice had meanwhile become more and more inaudible, finally ended his speech,
the gentleman without the monocle delivered a rousing peroration to the assembled 'German sisters and brothers.' On behalf
of the audience and himself he expressed gratitude for the magnificent lecture which they had just heard from Professor X
and emphasized how deeply the Professor's words had moved them all. If a general discussion on the lecture were to take place
it would be tantamount to profanity, and he thought he was voicing the opinion of all present in suggesting that such a discussion
should not be held. Therefore, he would ask the assembly to rise from their seats and join in singing the patriotic song,
Wir sind ein einig Volk von Brüdern. The proceedings finally closed with the anthem, Deutschland über Alles.
And then they all sang. It appeared to me that when the second verse was reached the voices were fewer
and that only when the refrain came on they swelled loudly. When we reached the third verse my belief was confirmed that a
good many of those present were not very familiar with the text.
But what has all this to do with the matter when such a song is sung wholeheartedly and fervidly by
an assembly of German nationals?
After this the meeting broke up and everyone hurried to get outside, one to his glass of beer, one
to a cafe, and others simply into the fresh air.
Out into the fresh air! That was also my feeling. And was this the way to honour an heroic struggle
in which hundreds of thousands of Prussians and Germans had fought? To the devil with it all!
That sort of thing might find favour with the Government, it being merely a 'peaceful' meeting. The
Minister responsible for law and order need not fear that enthusiasm might suddenly get the better of public decorum and induce
these people to pour out of the room and, instead of dispersing to beer halls and cafes, march in rows of four through the
town singing Deutschland hoch in Ehren and causing some unpleasantness to a police force in need of rest.
No. That type of citizen is of no use to anyone.
On the other hand the National Socialist meetings were by no means 'peaceable' affairs. Two distinct
outlooks enraged in bitter opposition to one another, and these meetings did not close with the mechanical rendering of a
dull patriotic song but rather with a passionate outbreak of popular national feeling.
It was imperative from the start to introduce rigid discipline into our meetings and establish the
authority of the chairman absolutely. Our purpose was not to pour out a mixture of soft-soap bourgeois talk; what we had to
say was meant to arouse the opponents at our meetings! How often did they not turn up in masses with a few individual agitators
among them and, judging by the expression on all their faces, ready to finish us off there and then.
Yes, how often did they not turn up in huge numbers, those supporters of the Red Flag, all previously
instructed to smash up everything once and for all and put an end to these meetings. More often than not everything hung on
a mere thread, and only the chairman's ruthless determination and the rough handling by our ushers baffled our adversaries'
intentions. And indeed they had every reason for being irritated.
The fact that we had chosen red as the colour for our posters sufficed to attract them to our meetings.
The ordinary bourgeoisie were very shocked to see that, we had also chosen the symbolic red of Bolshevism and they regarded
this as something ambiguously significant. The suspicion was whispered in German Nationalist circles that we also were merely
another variety of Marxism, perhaps even Marxists suitably disguised, or better still, Socialists. The actual difference between
Socialism and Marxism still remains a mystery to these people up to this day. The charge of Marxism was conclusively proved
when it was discovered that at our meetings we deliberately substituted the words 'Fellow-countrymen and Women' for 'Ladies
and Gentlemen' and addressed each other as 'Party Comrade'. We used to roar with laughter at these silly faint-hearted bourgeoisie
and their efforts to puzzle out our origin, our intentions and our aims.
We chose red for our posters after particular and careful deliberation, our intention being to irritate
the Left, so as to arouse their attention and tempt them to come to our meetings – if only in order to break them up
– so that in this way we got a chance of talking to the people.
In those years' it was indeed a delightful experience to follow the constantly changing tactics of
our perplexed and helpless adversaries. First of all they appealed to their followers to ignore us and keep away from our
meetings. Generally speaking this appeal was heeded. But, as time went on, more and more of their followers gradually found
their way to us and accepted our teaching. Then the leaders became nervous and uneasy. They clung to their belief that such
a development should not be ignored for ever, and that terror must be applied in order to put an end to it.
Appeals were then made to the 'class-conscious proletariat' to attend our meetings in masses and strike
with the clenched hand of the proletarian at the representatives of a 'monarchist and reactionary agitation'.
Our meetings suddenly became packed with work-people fully three-quarters of an hour before the proceedings
were scheduled to begin. These gatherings resembled a powder cask ready to explode at any moment; and the fuse was conveniently
at hand. But matters always turned out differently. People came as enemies and left, not perhaps prepared to join us, yet
in a reflective mood and disposed critically to examine the correctness of their own doctrine. Gradually as time went on my
three-hour lectures resulted in supporters and opponents becoming united in one single enthusiastic group of people. Every
signal for the breaking-up of the meeting failed. The result was that the opposition leaders became frightened and once again
looked for help to those quarters that had formerly discountenanced these tactics and, with some show of right, had been of
the opinion that on principle the workers should be forbidden to attend our meetings.
Then they did not come any more, or only in small numbers. But after a short time the whole game started
all over again. The instructions to keep away from us were ignored; the comrades came in steadily increasing numbers, until
finally the advocates of the radical tactics won the day. We were to be broken up.
Yet when, after two, three and even eight meetings, it was realized that to break up these gatherings
was easier said than done and that every meeting resulted in a decisive weakening of the red fighting forces, then suddenly
the other password was introduced: 'Proletarians, comrades and comradesses, avoid meetings of the National Socialist agitators'.
The same eternally alternating tactics were also to be observed in the Red Press. Soon they tried
to silence us but discovered the uselessness of such an attempt. After that they swung round to the opposite tactics. Daily
'reference' was made to us solely for the purpose of absolutely ridiculing us in the eyes of the working-classes. After a
time these gentlemen must have felt that no harm was being done to us, but that, on the contrary, we were reaping an advantage
in that people were asking themselves why so much space was being devoted to a subject which was supposed to be so ludicrous.
People became curious. Suddenly there was a change of tactics and for a time we were treated as veritable criminals against
mankind. One article followed the other, in which our criminal intentions were explained and new proofs brought forward to
support what was said. Scandalous tales, all of them fabricated from start to finish, were published in order to help to poison
the public mind. But in a short time even these attacks also proved futile; and in fact they assisted materially because they
attracted public attention to us.
In those days I took up the standpoint that it was immaterial whether they laughed at us or reviled
us, whether they depicted us as fools or criminals; the important point was that they took notice of us and that in the eyes
of the working-classes we came to be regarded as the only force capable of putting up a fight. I said to myself that the followers
of the Jewish Press would come to know all about us and our real aims.
One reason why they never got so far as breaking up our meetings was undoubtedly the incredible cowardice
displayed by the leaders of the opposition. On every critical occasion they left the dirty work to the smaller fry whilst
they waited outside the halls for the results of the break up.
We were exceptionally well informed in regard to our opponents' intentions, not only because we allowed
several of our party colleagues to remain members of the Red organizations for reasons of expediency, but also because the
Red wire-pullers, fortunately for us, were afflicted with a degree of talkativeness that is still unfortunately very prevalent
among Germans. They could not keep their own counsel, and more often than not they started cackling before the proverbial
egg was laid. Hence, time and again our precautions were such that Red agitators had no inkling of how near they were to being
thrown out of the meetings.
This state of affairs compelled us to take the work of safeguarding our meetings into our own hands.
No reliance could be placed on official protection. On the contrary; experience showed that such protection always favoured
only the disturbers. The only real outcome of police intervention would be that the meeting would be dissolved, that is to
say, closed. And that is precisely what our opponents granted.
Generally speaking, this led the police to adopt a procedure which, to say the least, was a most infamous
sample of official malpractice. The moment they received information of a threat that the one or other meeting was to be broken
up, instead of arresting the would-be disturbers, they promptly advised the innocent parties that the meeting was forbidden.
This step the police proclaimed as a 'precautionary measure in the interests of law and order'.
The political work and activities of decent people could therefore always be hindered by desperate
ruffians who had the means at their disposal. In the name of peace and order State authority bowed down to these ruffians
and demanded that others should not provoke them. When National Socialism desired to hold meetings in certain parts and the
labour unions declared that their members would resist, then it was not these blackmailers that were arrested and gaoled.
No. Our meetings were forbidden by the police. Yes, this organ of the law had the unspeakable impudence to advise us in writing
to this effect in innumerable instances. To avoid such eventualities, it was necessary to see to it that every attempt to
disturb a meeting was nipped in the bud. Another feature to be taken into account in this respect is that all meetings which
rely on police protection must necessarily bring discredit to their promoters in the eyes of the general public. Meetings
that are only possible with the protective assistance of a strong force of police convert nobody; because in order to win
over the lower strata of the people there must be a visible show of strength on one's own side. In the same way that a man
of courage will win a woman's affection more easily than a coward, so a heroic movement will be more successful in winning
over the hearts of a people than a weak movement which relies on police support for its very existence.
It is for this latter reason in particular that our young movement was to be charged with the responsibility
of assuring its own existence, defending itself; and conducting its own work of smashing the Red opposition.
The work of organizing the protective measures for our meetings was based on the following:
(1) An energetic and psychologically judicious way of conducting the meeting.
(2) An organized squad of troops to maintain order.
In those days we and no one else were masters of the situation at our meetings and on no occasion
did we fail to emphasize this. Our opponents fully realized that any provocation would be the occasion of throwing them out
of the hall at once, whatever the odds against us. At meetings, particularly outside Munich, we had in those days from five
to eight hundred opponents against fifteen to sixteen National Socialists; yet we brooked no interference, for we were ready
to be killed rather than capitulate. More than once a handful of party colleagues offered a heroic resistance to a raging
and violent mob of Reds. Those fifteen or twenty men would certainly have been overwhelmed in the end had not the opponents
known that three or four times as many of themselves would first get their skulls cracked. Arid that risk they were not willing
to run. We had done our best to study Marxist and bourgeois methods of conducting meetings, and we had certainly learnt something.
The Marxists had always exercised a most rigid discipline so that the question of breaking up their
meetings could never have originated in bourgeois quarters. This gave the Reds all the more reason for acting on this plan.
In time they not only became past-masters in this art but in certain large districts of the Reich they went so far as to declare
that non-Marxist meetings were nothing less than a cause of' provocation against the proletariat. This was particularly the
case when the wire-pullers suspected that a meeting might call attention to their own transgressions and thus expose their
own treachery and chicanery. Therefore the moment such a meeting was announced to be held a howl of rage went up from the
Red Press. These detractors of the law nearly always turned first to the authorities and requested in imperative and threatening
language that this 'provocation of the proletariat' be stopped forthwith in the 'interests of law and order'. Their language
was chosen according to the importance of the official blockhead they were dealing with and thus success was assured. If by
chance the official happened to be a true German – and not a mere figurehead – and he declined the impudent request,
then the time-honoured appeal to stop 'provocation of the proletariat' was issued together with instructions to attend such
and such a meeting on a certain date in full strength for the purpose of 'putting a stop to the disgraceful machinations of
the bourgeoisie by means of the proletarian fist'.
The pitiful and frightened manner in which these bourgeois meetings are conducted must be seen in
order to be believed. Very frequently these threats were sufficient to call off such a meeting at once. The feeling of fear
was so marked that the meeting, instead of commencing at eight o'clock, very seldom was opened before a quarter to nine or
nine o'clock. The Chairman thereupon did his best, by showering compliments on the 'gentleman of the opposition' to prove
how he and all others present were pleased (a palpable lie) to welcome a visit from men who as yet were not in sympathy with
them for the reason that only by mutual discussion (immediately agreed to) could they be brought closer together in mutual
understanding. Apart from this the Chairman also assured them that the meeting had no intention whatsoever of interfering
with the professed convictions of anybody. Indeed no. Everyone had the right to form and hold his own political views, but
others should be allowed to do likewise. He therefore requested that the speaker be allowed to deliver his speech without
interruption – the speech in any case not being a long affair. People abroad, he continued, would thus not come to regard
this meeting as another shameful example of the bitter fraternal strife that is raging in Germany. And so on and so forth
The brothers of the Left had little if any appreciation for that sort of talk; the speaker had hardly
commenced when he was shouted down. One gathered the impression at times that these speakers were graceful for being peremptorily
cut short in their martyr-like discourse. These bourgeois toreadors left the arena in the midst of a vast uproar, that is
to say, provided that they were not thrown down the stairs with cracked skulls, which was very often the case.
Therefore, our methods of organization at National Socialist meetings were something quite strange
to the Marxists. They came to our meetings in the belief that the little game which they had so often played could as a matter
of course be also repeated on us. "To-day we shall finish them off." How often did they bawl this out to each other on entering
the meeting hall, only to be thrown out with lightning speed before they had time to repeat it.
In the first place our method of conducting a meeting was entirely different. We did not beg and pray
to be allowed to speak, and we did not straightway give everybody the right to hold endless discussions. We curtly gave everyone
to understand that we were masters of the meeting and that we would do as it pleased us and that everyone who dared to interrupt
would be unceremoniously thrown out. We stated clearly our refusal to accept responsibility for anyone treated in this manner.
If time permitted and if it suited us, a discussion would be allowed to take place. Our party colleague would now make his
speech.... That kind of talk was sufficient in itself to astonish the Marxists.
Secondly, we had at our disposal a well-trained and organized body of men for maintaining order at
our meetings. On the other hand the bourgeois parties protected their meetings with a body of men better classified as ushers
who by virtue of their age thought they were entitled to-authority and respect. But as Marxism has little or no respect for
these things, the question of suitable self-protection at these bourgeois meetings was, so to speak, in practice non-existent.
When our political meetings first started I made it a special point to organize a suitable defensive
squad – a squad composed chiefly of young men. Some of them were comrades who had seen active service with me; others
were young party members who, right from the start, had been trained and brought up to realize that only terror is capable
of smashing terror – that only courageous and determined people had made a success of things in this world and that,
finally, we were fighting for an idea so lofty that it was worth the last drop of our blood. These young men had been brought
up to realize that where force replaced common sense in the solution of a problem, the best means of defence was attack and
that the reputation of our hall-guard squads should stamp us as a political fighting force and not as a debating society.
And it was extraordinary how eagerly these boys of the War generation responded to this order. They
had indeed good reason for being bitterly disappointed and indignant at the miserable milksop methods employed by the bourgeoise.
Thus it became clear to everyone that the Revolution had only been possible thanks to the dastardly
methods of a bourgeois government. At that time there was certainly no lack of man-power to suppress the revolution, but unfortunately
there was an entire lack of directive brain power. How often did the eyes of my young men light up with enthusiasm when I
explained to them the vital functions connected with their task and assured them time and again that all earthly wisdom is
useless unless it be supported by a measure of strength, that the gentle goddess of Peace can only walk in company with the
god of War, and that every great act of peace must be protected and assisted by force. In this way the idea of military service
came to them in a far more realistic form – not in the fossilized sense of the souls of decrepit officials serving the
dead authority of a dead State, but in the living realization of the duty of each man to sacrifice his life at all times so
that his country might live.
How those young men did their job!
Like a swarm of hornets they tackled disturbers at our meetings, regardless of superiority of numbers,
however great, indifferent to wounds and bloodshed, inspired with the great idea of blazing a trail for the sacred mission
of our movement.
As early as the summer of 1920 the organization of squads of men as hall guards for maintaining order
at our meetings was gradually assuming definite shape. By the spring of 1921 this body of men were sectioned off into squads
of one hundred, which in turn were sub-divided into smaller groups.
The urgency for this was apparent, as meanwhile the number of our meetings had steadily increased.
We still frequently met in the Munich Hofbräuhaus but more frequently in the large meeting halls throughout the city itself.
In the autumn and winter of 1920–1921 our meetings in the Bürgerbräu and Munich Kindlbräu had assumed vast proportions
and it was always the same picture that presented itself; namely, meetings of the NSDAP (The German National Socialist Labour
Party) were always crowded out so that the police were compelled to close and bar the doors long before proceedings commenced.
The organization of defense guards for keeping order at our meetings cleared up a very difficult question.
Up till then the movement had possessed no party badge and no party flag. The lack of these tokens was not only a disadvantage
at that time but would prove intolerable in the future. The disadvantages were chiefly that members of the party possessed
no outward broken of membership which linked them together, and it was absolutely unthinkable that for the future they should
remain without some token which would be a symbol of the movement and could be set against that of the International.
More than once in my youth the psychological importance of such a symbol had become clearly evident
to me and from a sentimental point of view also it was advisable. In Berlin, after the War, I was present at a mass-demonstration
of Marxists in front of the Royal Palace and in the Lustgarten. A sea of red flags, red armlets and red flowers was in itself
sufficient to give that huge assembly of about 120,000 persons an outward appearance of strength. I was now able to feel and
understand how easily the man in the street succumbs to the hypnotic magic of such a grandiose piece of theatrical presentation.
The bourgeoisie, which as a party neither possesses or stands for any outlook at all, had therefore
not a single banner. Their party was composed of 'patriots' who went about in the colours of the Reich. If these colors were
the symbol of a definite philosophy then one could understand the rulers of the State regarding this flag as expressive of
their philosophy, seeing that through their efforts the official Reich flag was expressive of their philosophy.
But in reality the position was otherwise.
The Reich was morticed together without the aid of the German bourgeoisie and the flag itself was
born of the War and therefore merely a State flag possessing no importance in the sense of any particular ideological mission.
Only in one part of the German-speaking territory – in German-Austria – was there anything
like a bourgeois party flag in evidence. Here a section of the national bourgeoisie selected the 1848 colours (black, red
and gold) as their party flag and therewith created a symbol which, though of no importance from a weltanschauliche viewpoint,
had, nevertheless, a revolutionary character from a national point of view. The most bitter opponents of this flag at that
time, and this should not be forgotten today, were the Social Democrats and the Christian Socialists or clericals. They, in
particular, were the ones who degraded and besmirched these colours in the same way as in 1918 they dragged black, white and
red into the gutter. Of course, the black, red and gold of the German parties in the old Austria were the colours of the year
1848: that is to say, of a period likely to be regarded as somewhat visionary, but it was a period that had honest German
souls as its representatives, although the Jews were lurking unseen as wire-pullers in the background. It was high treason
and the shameful enslavement of the German territory that first of all made these colours so attractive to the Marxists of
the Centre Party; so much so that today they revere them as their most cherished possession and use them as their own banners
for the protection of the flag they once foully besmirched.
It is a fact, therefore, that, up till 1920, in opposition to the Marxists there was no flag that
would have stood for a consolidated resistance to them. For even if the better political elements of the German bourgeoisie
were loath to accept the suddenly discovered black, red and gold colours as their symbol after the year 1918, they nevertheless
were incapable of counteracting this with a future programme of their own that would correspond to the new trend of affairs.
At the most, they had a reconstruction of the old Reich in mind.
And it is to this way of thinking that the black, white and red colours of the old Reich are indebted
for their resurrection as the flag of our so-called national bourgeois parties.
It was obvious that the symbol of a régime which had been overthrown by the Marxists under inglorious
circumstances was not now worthy to serve as a banner under which the same Marxism was to be crushed in its turn. However
much any decent German may love and revere those old colours, glorious when placed side by side in their youthful freshness,
when he had fought under them and seen the sacrifice of so many lives, that flag had little value for the struggle of the
In our Movement I have always adopted the standpoint that it was a really lucky thing for the German
nation that it had lost its old flag. This standpoint of mine was in strong contrast to that of the bourgeois politicians.
It may be immaterial to us what the Republic does under its flag. But let us be deeply grateful to fate for having so graciously
spared the most glorious war flag for all time from becoming an ignominious rag. The Reich of today, which sells itself and
its people, must never be allowed to adopt the honourable and heroic black, white and red colours.
As long as the November outrage endures, that outrage may continue to bear its own external sign and
not steal that of an honourable past. Our bourgeois politicians should awaken their consciences to the fact that whoever desires
this State to have the black, white and red colours is pilfering from the past. The old flag was suitable only for the old
Reich and, thank Heaven, the Republic chose the colours best suited to itself.
This was also the reason why we National Socialists recognized that hoisting the old colours would
be no symbol of our special aims; for we had no wish to resurrect from the dead the old Reich which had been ruined through
its own blunders, but to build up a new State.
The Movement which is fighting Marxism today along these lines must display on its banner the symbol
of the new State.
The question of the new flag, that is to say the form and appearance it must take, kept us very busy
in those days. Suggestions poured in from all quarters, which although well meant were more or less impossible in practice.
The new flag had not only to become a symbol expressing our own struggle but on the other hand it was necessary that it should
prove effective as a large poster. All those who busy themselves with the tastes of the public will recognize and appreciate
the great importance of these apparently petty matters. In hundreds of thousands of cases a really striking emblem may be
the first cause of awakening interest in a movement.
For this reason we declined all suggestions from various quarters for identifying our movement by
means of a white flag with the old State or rather with those decrepit parties whose sole political objective is the restoration
of past conditions. And, apart from this, white is not a colour capable of attracting and focusing public attention. It is
a colour suitable only for young women's associations and not for a movement that stands for reform in a revolutionary period.
Black was also suggested – certainly well-suited to the times, but embodying no significance
to empress the will behind our movement. And, finally, black is incapable of attracting attention.
White and blue was discarded, despite its admirable æsthetic appeal – as being the colours of
an individual German Federal State – a State that, unfortunately, through its political attitude of particularist narrow-mindedness
did not enjoy a good reputation. And, generally speaking, with these colours it would have been difficult to attract attention
to our movement. The same applies to black and white.
Black, red and gold did not enter the question at all.
And this also applies to black, white and red for reasons already stated. At least, not in the form
hitherto in use. But the effectiveness of these three colours is far superior to all the others and they are certainly the
most strikingly harmonious combination to be found.
I myself was always for keeping the old colours, not only because I, as a soldier, regarded them as
my most sacred possession, but because in their aesthetic effect, they conformed more than anything else to my personal taste.
Accordingly I had to discard all the innumerable suggestions and designs which had been proposed for the new movement, among
which were many that had incorporated the swastika into the old colours. I, as leader, was unwilling to make public my own
design, as it was possible that someone else could come forward with a design just as good, if not better, than my own. As
a matter of fact, a dental surgeon from Starnberg submitted a good design very similar to mine, with only one mistake, in
that his swastika with curved corners was set upon a white background.
After innumerable trials I decided upon a final form – a flag of red material with a white disc
bearing in its centre a black swastika. After many trials I obtained the correct proportions between the dimensions of the
flag and of the white central disc, as well as that of the swastika. And this is how it has remained ever since.
At the same time we immediately ordered the corresponding armlets for our squad of men who kept order
at meetings, armlets of red material, a central white disc with the black swastika upon it. Herr Füss, a Munich goldsmith,
supplied the first practical and permanent design.
The new flag appeared in public in the midsummer of 1920. It suited our movement admirably, both being
new and young. Not a soul had seen this flag before; its effect at that time was something akin to that of a blazing torch.
We ourselves experienced almost a boyish delight when one of the ladies of the party who had been entrusted with the making
of the flag finally handed it over to us. And a few months later those of us in Munich were in possession of six of these
flags. The steadily increasing strength of our hall guards was a main factor in popularizing the symbol.
And indeed a symbol it proved to be.
Not only because it incorporated those revered colours expressive of our homage to the glorious past
and which once brought so much honour to the German nation, but this symbol was also an eloquent expression of the will behind
the movement. We National Socialists regarded our flag as being the embodiment of our party programme. The red expressed the
social thought underlying the movement. White the national thought. And the swastika signified the mission allotted to us
– the struggle for the victory of Aryan mankind and at the same time the triumph of the ideal of creative work which
is in itself and always will be anti-Semitic.
Two years later, when our squad of hall guards had long since grown into storm detachments (Sturm-Abteilung),
it seemed necessary to give this defensive organization of a young philosophy a particular symbol of victory, namely a Standard.
I also designed this and entrusted the execution of it to an old party comrade, Herr Gahr, who was a goldsmith. Ever since
that time this Standard has been the distinctive token of the National Socialist struggle.
The increasing interest taken in our meetings, particularly during 1920, compelled us at times to
hold two meetings a week. Crowds gathered round our posters; the large meeting halls in the town were always filled and tens
of thousands of people, who had been led astray by the teachings of Marxism, found their way to us and assisted in the work
of fighting for the liberation of the Reich. The public in Munich had got to know us. We were being spoken about. The words
'National Socialist' had become common property to many and signified for them a definite party programme. Our circle of supporters
and even of members was constantly increasing, so that in the winter of 1920–21 we were able to appear as a strong party
At that time there was no party in Munich with the exception of the Marxist parties – certainly
no nationalist party – which was able to hold such mass demonstrations as ours. The Munich Kindl Hall, which held 5,000
people, was more than once overcrowded and up till then there was only one other hall, the Krone Circus Hall, into which we
had not ventured.
At the end of January 1921 there was again great cause for anxiety in Germany. The Paris Agreement,
by which Germany pledged herself to pay the crazy sum of a hundred milliards of gold marks, was to be confirmed by the London
Thereupon an old-established Munich working committee, representative of so-called völkisch groups,
deemed it advisable to call for a public meeting of protest. I became nervous and restless when I saw that a lot of time was
being wasted and nothing undertaken. At first a meeting was suggested in the König Platz; on second thoughts this was turned
down, as someone feared the proceedings might be wrecked by Red elements. Another suggestion was a demonstration in front
of the Feldherrn Hall, but this also came to nothing. Finally a combined meeting in the Munich Kindl Hall was suggested. Meanwhile,
day after day had gone by; the big parties had entirely ignored the terrible event, and the working committee could not decide
on a definite date for holding the demonstration.
On Tuesday, February 1st, I put forward an urgent demand for a final decision. I was put off until
Wednesday. On that day I demanded to be told clearly if and when the meeting was to take place. The reply was again uncertain
and evasive, it being stated that it was 'intended' to arrange a demonstration that day week.
At that I lost all patience and decided to conduct a demonstration of protest on my own. At noon on
Wednesday I dictated in ten minutes the text of the poster and at the same time hired the Krone Circus Hall for the next day,
In those days this was a tremendous venture. Not only because of the uncertainty of filling that vast
hall, but also because of the risk of the meeting being wrecked.
Numerically our squad of hall guards was not strong enough for this vast hall. I was also uncertain
about what to do in case the meeting was broken up – a huge circus building being a different proposition from an ordinary
meeting hall. But events showed that my fears were misplaced, the opposite being the case. In that vast building a squad of
wreckers could be tackled and subdued more easily than in a cramped hall.
One thing was certain: A failure would throw us back for a long time to come. If one meeting was wrecked
our prestige would be seriously injured and our opponents would be encouraged to repeat their success. That would lead to
sabotage of our work in connection with further meetings and months of difficult struggle would be necessary to overcome this.
We had only one day in which to post our bills, Thursday. Unfortunately it rained on the morning of
that day and there was reason to fear that many people would prefer to remain at home rather than hurry to a meeting through
rain and snow, especially when there was likely to be violence and bloodshed.
And indeed on that Thursday morning I was suddenly struck with fear that the hall might never be filled
to capacity, which would have made me ridiculous in the eyes of the working committee. I therefore immediately dictated various
leaflets, had them printed and distributed in the afternoon. Of course they contained an invitation to attend the meeting.
Two lorries which I hired were draped as much as possible in red, each had our new flag hoisted on
it and was then filled with fifteen or twenty members of our party. Orders were given the members to canvas the streets thoroughly,
distribute leaflets and conduct propaganda for the mass meeting to be held that evening. It was the first time that lorries
had driven through the streets bearing flags and not manned by Marxists. The public stared open-mouthed at these red-draped
cars, and in the outlying districts clenched fists were angrily raised at this new evidence of 'provocation of the proletariat'.
Were not the Marxists the only ones entitled to hold meetings and drive about in motor lorries?
At seven o'clock in the evening only a few had gathered in the circus hall. I was being kept informed
by telephone every ten minutes and was becoming uneasy. Usually at seven or a quarter past our meeting halls were already
half filled; sometimes even packed. But I soon found out the reason why I was uneasy. I had entirely forgotten to take into
account the huge dimensions of this new meeting place. A thousand people in the Hofbräuhaus was quite an impressive sight,
but the same number in the Circus building was swallowed up in its dimensions and was hardly noticeable. Shortly afterwards
I received more hopeful reports and at a quarter to eight I was informed that the hall was three-quarters filled, with huge
crowds still lined up at the pay boxes. I then left for the meeting.
I arrived at the Circus building at two minutes past eight. There was still a crowd of people outside,
partly inquisitive people and many opponents who preferred to wait outside for developments.
When I entered the great hall I felt the same joy I had felt a year previously at the first meeting
in the Munich Hofbräu Banquet Hall; but it was not until I had forced my way through the solid wall of people and reached
the platform that I perceived the full measure of our success. The hall was before me, like a huge shell, packed with thousands
and thousands of people. Even the arena was densely crowded. More than 5,600 tickets had been sold and, allowing for the unemployed,
poor students and our own detachments of men for keeping order, a crowd of about 6,500 must have been present.
My theme was 'Future or Downfall' and I was filled with joy at the conviction that the future was
represented by the crowds that I was addressing.
I began, and spoke for about two and a half hours. I had the feeling after the first half-hour that
the meeting was going to be a big success. Contact had been at once established with all those thousands of individuals. After
the first hour the speech was already being received by spontaneous outbreaks of applause, but after the second hour this
died down to a solemn stillness which I was to experience so often later on in this same hall, and which will for ever be
remembered by all those present. Nothing broke this impressive silence and only when the last word had been spoken did the
meeting give vent to its feelings by singing the national anthem.
I watched the scene during the next twenty minutes, as the vast hall slowly emptied itself, and only
then did I leave the platform, a happy man, and made my way home.
Photographs were taken of this first meeting in the Krone Circus Hall in Munich. They are more eloquent
than words to demonstrate the success of this demonstration. The bourgeois papers reproduced photographs and reported the
meeting as having been merely 'nationalist' in character; in their usual modest fashion they omitted all mention of its promoters.
Thus for the first time we had developed far beyond the dimensions of an ordinary party. We could
no longer be ignored. And to dispel all doubt that the meeting was merely an isolated success, I immediately arranged for
another at the Circus Hall in the following week, and again we had the same success. Once more the vast hall was overflowing
with people; so much so that I decided to hold a third meeting during the following week, which also proved a similar success.
After these initial successes early in 1921 I increased our activity in Munich still further. I not
only held meetings once a week, but during some weeks even two were regularly held and very often during midsummer and autumn
this increased to three. We met regularly at the Circus Hall and it gave us great satisfaction to see that every meeting brought
us the same measure of success.
The result was shown in an ever-increasing number of supporters and members into our party.
Naturally, such success did not allow our opponents to sleep soundly. At first their tactics fluctuated
between the use of terror and silence in our regard. Then they recognized that neither terror nor silence could hinder the
progress of our movement. So they had recourse to a supreme act of terror which was intended to put a definite end to our
activities in the holding of meetings.
As a pretext for action along this line they availed themselves of a very mysterious attack on one
of the Landtag deputies, named Erhard Auer. It was declared that someone had fired several shots at this man one evening.
This meant that he was not shot but that an attempt had been made to shoot him. A fabulous presence of mind and heroic courage
on the part of Social Democratic leaders not only prevented the sacrilegious intention from taking effect but also put the
crazy would-be assassins to flight, like the cowards that they were. They were so quick and fled so far that subsequently
the police could not find even the slightest traces of them. This mysterious episode was used by the organ of the Social Democratic
Party to arouse public feeling against the movement, and while doing this it delivered its old rigmarole about the tactics
that were to be employed the next time. Their purpose was to see to it that our movement should not grow but should be immediately
hewn down root and branch by the hefty arm of the proletariat.
A few days later the real attack came. It was decided finally to interrupt one of our meetings which
was billed to take place in the Munich Hofbräuhaus, and at which I myself was to speak.
On November 4th, 1921, in the evening between six and seven o'clock I received the first precise news
that the meeting would positively be broken up and that to carry out this action our adversaries had decided to send to the
meeting great masses of workmen employed in certain 'Red' factories.
It was due to an unfortunate accident that we did not receive this news sooner. On that day we had
given up our old business office in the Sternecker Gasse in Munich and moved into other quarters; or rather we had given up
the old offices and our new quarters were not yet in functioning order. The telephone arrangements had been cut off by the
former tenants and had not yet been reinstalled. Hence it happened that several attempts made that day to inform us by telephone
of the break-up which had been planned for the evening did not reach us.
Consequently our order troops were not present in strong force at that meeting. There was only one
squad present, which did not consist of the usual one hundred men, but only of about forty-six. And our telephone connections
were not yet sufficiently organized to be able to give the alarm in the course of an hour or so, so that a sufficiently powerful
number of order troops to deal with the situation could be called. It must also be added that on several previous occasions
we had been forewarned, but nothing special happened. The old proverb, 'Revolutions which were announced have scarcely ever
come off', had hitherto been proved true in our regard.
Possibly for this reason also sufficiently strong precautions had not been taken on that day to cope
with the brutal determination of our opponents to break up our meeting.
Finally, we did not believe that the Hofbräuhaus in Munich was suitable for the interruptive tactics
of our adversaries. We had feared such a thing far more in the bigger halls, especially that of the Krone Circus. But on this
point we learned a very serviceable lesson that evening. Later, we studied this whole question according to a scientific system
and arrived at results, both interesting and incredible, and which subsequently were an essential factor in the direction
of our organization and in the tactics of our Storm Troops.
When I arrived in the entrance halt of the Hofbräuhaus at 7.45 that evening I realizcd that there
could be no doubt as to what the 'Reds' intended. The hall was filled, and for that reason the police had barred the entrances.
Our adversaries, who had arrived very early, were in the hall, and our followers were for the most part outside. The small
bodyguard awaited me at the entrance. I had the doors leading to the principal hall closed and then asked the bodyguard of
forty-five or forty-six men to come forward. I made it clear to the boys that perhaps on that evening for the first time they
would have to show their unbending and unbreakable loyalty to the movement and that not one of us should leave the hall unless
carried out dead. I added that I would remain in the hall and that I did not believe that one of them would abandon me, and
that if I saw any one of them act the coward I myself would personally tear off his armlet and his badge. I demanded of them
that they should come forward if the slightest attempt to sabotage the meeting were made and that they must remember that
the best defence is always attack.
I was greeted with a triple 'Heil' which sounded more hoarse and violent than usual.
Then I advanced through the hall and could take in the situation with my own eyes. Our opponents sat
closely huddled together and tried to pierce me through with their looks. Innumerable faces glowing with hatred and rage were
fixed on me, while others with sneering grimaces shouted at me together. Now they would 'Finish with us. We must look out
for our entrails. To-day they would smash in our faces once and for all.' And there were other expressions of an equally elegant
character. They knew that they were there in superior numbers and they acted accordingly.
Yet we were able to open the meeting; and I began to speak. In the Hall of the Hofbräuhaus I stood
always at the side, away from the entry and on top of a beer table. Therefore I was always right in the midst of the audience.
Perhaps this circumstance was responsible for creating a certain feeling and a sense of agreement which I never found elsewhere.
Before me, and especially towards my left, there were only opponents, seated or standing. They were
mostly robust youths and men from the Maffei Factory, from Kustermann's, and from the factories on the Isar, etc. Along the
right-hand wall of the hall they were thickly massed quite close to my table. They now began to order litre mugs of beer,
one after the other, and to throw the empty mugs under the table. In this way whole batteries were collected. I should have
been surprised had this meeting ended peacefully.
In spite of all the interruptions, I was able to speak for about an hour and a half and I felt as
if I were master of the situation. Even the ringleaders of the disturbers appeared to be convinced of this; for they steadily
became more uneasy, often left the hall, returned and spoke to their men in an obviously nervous way.
A small psychological error which I committed in replying to an interruption, and the mistake of which
I myself was conscious the moment the words had left my mouth, gave the sign for the outbreak.
There were a few furious outbursts and all in a moment a man jumped on a seat and shouted "Liberty".
At that signal the champions of liberty began their work.
In a few moments the hall was filled with a yelling and shrieking mob. Numerous beer-mugs flew like
howitzers above their heads. Amid this uproar one heard the crash of chair legs, the crashing of mugs, groans and yells and
It was a mad spectacle. I stood where I was and could observe my boys doing their duty, every one
There I had the chance of seeing what a bourgeois meeting could be.
The dance had hardly begun when my Storm Troops, as they were called from that day onwards, launched
their attack. Like wolves they threw themselves on the enemy again and again in parties of eight or ten and began steadily
to thrash them out of the hall. After five minutes I could see hardly one of them that was not streaming with blood. Then
I realized what kind of men many of them were, above all my brave Maurice Hess, who is my private secretary today, and many
others who, even though seriously wounded, attacked again and again as long as they could stand on their feet. Twenty minutes
long the pandemonium continued. Then the opponents, who had numbered seven or eight hundred, had been driven from the hall
or hurled out headlong by my men, who had not numbered fifty. Only in the left corner a big crowd still stood out against
our men and put up a bitter fight. Then two pistol shots rang out from the entrance to the hall in the direction of the platform
and now a wild din of shooting broke out from all sides. One's heart almost rejoiced at this spectacle which recalled memories
of the War.
At that moment it was not possible to identify the person who had fired the shots. But at any rate
I could see that my boys renewed the attack with increased fury until finally the last disturbers were overcome and flung
out of the hall.
About twenty-five minutes had passed since it all began. The hall looked as if a bomb had exploded
there. Many of my comrades had to be bandaged and others taken away. But we remained masters of the situation. Hermann Essen,
who was chairman of the meeting, announced: "The meeting will continue. The speaker shall proceed." So I went on with my speech.
When we ourselves declared the meeting at an end an excited police officer rushed in, waved his hands
and declared: "The meeting is dissolved."
Without wishing to do so I had to laugh at this example of the law's delay. It was real police pompousness.
The smaller they are the greater they must always try to appear.
That evening we learned a real lesson. And our adversaries never forgot the lesson they had received.
Up to the autumn of 1923 the Münchener post did not again mention the clenched fists of the Proletariat.
Chapter VIII: The Strong Man is Mightiest Alone
In the preceding chapter I mentioned the existence of a co-operative union between the German patriotic
associations. Here I shall deal briefly with this question.
In speaking of a co-operative union we generally mean a group of associations which, for the purpose
of facilitating their work, establish mutual relations for collaborating with one another along certain lines, appointing
a common directorate with varying powers and thenceforth carrying out a common line of action. The average citizen is pleased
and reassured when he hears that these associations, by establishing a co-operative union among one another, have at long
last discovered a common platform on which they can stand united and have eliminated all grounds of mutual difference. Therewith
a general conviction arises, to the effect that such a union is an immense gain in strength and that small groups which were
weak as long as they stood alone have now suddenly become strong. Yet this conviction is for the most part a mistaken one.
It will be interesting and, in my opinion, important for the better understanding of this question
if we try to get a clear notion of how it comes about that these associations, unions, etc., are established, when all of
them declare that they have the same ends in view. In itself it would be logical to expect that one aim should be fought for
by a single association and it would be more reasonable if there were not a number of associations fighting for the same aim.
In the beginning there was undoubtedly only one association which had this one fixed aim in view. One man proclaimed a truth
somewhere and, calling for the solution of a definite question, fixed his aim and founded a movement for the purpose of carrying
his views into effect.
That is how an association or a party is founded, the scope of whose programme is either the abolition
of existing evils or the positive establishment of a certain order of things in the future.
Once such a movement has come into existence it may lay practical claim to certain priority rights.
The natural course of things would now be that all those who wish to fight for the same objective as this movement is striving
for should identify themselves with it and thus increase its strength, so that the common purpose in view may be all the better
served. Especially men of superior intelligence must feel, one and all, that by joining the movement they are establishing
precisely those conditions which are necessary for practical success in the common struggle. Accordingly it is reasonable
and, in a certain sense, honest – which honesty, as I shall show later, is an element of very great importance –
that only one movement should be founded for the purpose of attaining the one aim.
The fact that this does not happen must be attributed to two causes. The first may almost be described
as tragic. The second is a matter for pity, because it has its foundation in the weaknesses of human nature. But, on going
to the bottom of things, I see in both causes only facts which give still another ground for strengthening our will, our energy
and intensity of purpose; so that finally, through the higher development of the human faculties, the solution of the problem
in question may be rendered possible.
The tragic reason why it so often happens that the pursuit of one definite task is not left to one
association alone is as follows: Generally speaking, every action carried out on the grand style in this world is the expression
of a desire that has already existed for a long time in millions of human hearts, a longing which may have been nourished
in silence. Yes, it may happen that throughout centuries men may have been yearning for the solution of a definite problem,
because they have been suffering under an unendurable order of affairs, without seeing on the far horizon the coming fulfilment
of the universal longing. Nations which are no longer capable of finding an heroic deliverance from such a sorrowful fate
may be looked upon as effete. But, on the other hand, nothing gives better proof of the vital forces of a people and the consequent
guarantee of its right to exist than that one day, through a happy decree of Destiny, a man arises who is capable of liberating
his people from some great oppression, or of wiping out some bitter distress, or of calming the national soul which had been
tormented through its sense of insecurity, and thus fulfilling what had long been the universal yearning of the people.
An essential characteristic of what are called the great questions of the time is that thousands undertake
the task of solving them and that many feel themselves called to this task: yea, even that Destiny itself has proposed many
for the choice, so that through the free play of forces the stronger and bolder shall finally be victorious and to him shall
be entrusted the task of solving the problem.
Thus it may happen that for centuries many are discontented with the form in which their religious
life expresses itself and yearn for a renovation of it; and so it may happen that through this impulse of the soul some dozens
of men may arise who believe that, by virtue of their understanding and their knowledge, they are called to solve the religious
difficulties of the time and accordingly present themselves as the prophets of a new teaching or at least as declared adversaries
of the standing beliefs.
Here also it is certain that the natural law will take its course, inasmuch as the strongest will
be destined to fulfil the great mission. But usually the others are slow to acknowledge that only one man is called. On the
contrary, they all believe that they have an equal right to engage in the solution of the diffculties in question and that
they are equally called to that task. Their contemporary world is generally quite unable to decide which of all these possesses
the highest gifts and accordingly merits the support of all.
So in the course of centuries, or indeed often within the same epoch, different men establish different
movements to struggle towards the same end. At least the end is declared by the founders of the movements to be the same,
or may be looked upon as such by the masses of the people. The populace nourishes vague desires and has only general opinions,
without having any precise notion of their own ideals and desires or of the question whether and how it is impossible for
these ideals and desires to be fulfilled.
The tragedy lies in the fact that many men struggle to reach the same objective by different roads,
each one genuinely believing in his own mission and holding himself in duty bound to follow his own road without any regard
for the others.
These movements, parties, religious groups, etc., originate entirely independently of one another
out of the general urge of the time, and all with a view to working towards the same goal. It may seem a tragic thing, at
least at first sight, that this should be so, because people are too often inclined to think that forces which are dispersed
in different directions would attain their ends far more quickly and more surely if they were united in one common effort.
But that is not so. For Nature herself decides according to the rules of her inexorable logic. She leaves these diverse groups
to compete with one another and dispute the palm of victory and thus she chooses the clearest, shortest and surest way along
which she leads the movement to its final goal.
How could one decide from outside which is the best way, if the forces at hand were not allowed free
play, if the final decision were to rest with the doctrinaire judgment of men who are so infatuated with their own superior
knowledge that their minds are not open to accept the indisputable proof presented by manifest success, which in the last
analysis always gives the final confirmation of the justice of a course of action.
Hence, though diverse groups march along different routes towards the same objective, as soon as they
come to know that analogous efforts are being made around them, they will have to study all the more carefully whether they
have chosen the best way and whether a shorter way may not be found and how their efforts can best be employed to reach the
objective more quickly.
Through this rivalry each individual protagonist develops his faculties to a still higher pitch of
perfection and the human race has frequently owed its progress to the lessons learned from the misfortunes of former attempts
which have come to grief. Therefore we may conclude that we come to know the better ways of reaching final results through
a state of things which at first sight appeared tragic; namely, the initial dispersion of individual efforts, wherein each
group was unconsciously responsible for such dispersion.
In studying the lessons of history with a view to finding a way for the solution of the German problem,
the prevailing opinion at one time was that there were two possible paths along which that problem might be solved and that
these two paths should have united from the very beginning. The chief representatives and champions of these two paths were
Austria and Prussia respectively, Habsburg and Hohenzollern. All the rest, according to this prevalent opinion, ought to have
entrusted their united forces to the one or the other party. But at that time the path of the most prominent representative,
the Habsburg, would have been taken, though the Austrian policy would never have led to the foundation of a united German
Finally, a strong and united German Reich arose out of that which many millions of Germans deplored
in their hearts as the last and most terrible manifestation of our fratricidal strife. The truth is that the German Imperial
Crown was retrieved on the battle field of Königgrätz and not in the fights that were waged before Paris, as was commonly
Thus the foundation of the German Reich was not the consequence of any common will working along common
lines, but it was much more the outcome of a deliberate struggle for hegemony, though the protagonists were often hardly conscious
of this. And from this struggle Prussia finally came out victorious. Anybody who is not so blinded by partisan politics as
to deny this truth will have to agree that the so-called wisdom of men would never have come to the same wise decision as
the wisdom of Life itself, that is to say, the free play of forces, finally brought to realization. For in the German lands
of two hundred years before who would seriously have believed that Hohenzollern Prussia, and not Habsburg, would become the
germ cell, the founder and the tutor of the new Reich? And, on the other hand, who would deny today that Destiny thus acted
wiser than human wisdom. Who could now imagine a German Reich based on the foundations of an effete and degenerate dynasty?
No. The general evolution of things, even though it took a century of struggle, placed the best in
the position that it had merited.
And that will always be so. Therefore it is not to be regretted if different men set out to attain
the same objective. In this way the strongest and swiftest becomes recognized and turns out to be the victor.
Now there is a second cause for the fact that often in the lives of nations several movements which
show the same characteristics strive along different ways to reach what appears to be the same goal. This second cause is
not at all tragic, but just something that rightly calls forth pity. It arises from a sad mixture of envy, jealousy, ambition,
and the itch for taking what belongs to others. Unfortunately these failings are often found united in single specimens of
the human species.
The moment a man arises who profoundly understands the distress of his people and, having diagnosed
the evil with perfect accuracy, takes measures to cure it; the moment he fixes his aim and chooses the means to reach it –
then paltry and pettifogging people become all attention and eagerly follow the doings of this man who has thus come before
the public gaze. Just like sparrows who are apparently indifferent, but in reality are firmly intent on the movements of the
fortunate companion with the morsel of bread so that they may snatch it from him if he should momentarily relax his hold on
it, so it is also with the human species. All that is needed is that one man should strike out on a new road and then a crowd
of poltroons will prick up their ears and begin to sniff for whatever little booty may possibly lie at the end of that road.
The moment they think they have discovered where the booty is to be gathered they hurry to find another way which may prove
to be quicker in reaching that goal.
As soon as a new movement is founded and has formulated a definite programme, people of that kind
come forward and proclaim that they are fighting for the same cause. This does not imply that they are ready honestly to join
the ranks of such a movement and thus recognize its right of priority. It implies rather that they intend to steal the programme
and found a new party on it. In doing this they are shameless enough to assure the unthinking public that for a long time
they had intended to take the same line of action as the other has now taken, and frequently they succeed in thus placing
themselves in a favourable light, instead of arousing the general disapprobation which they justly deserve. For it is a piece
of gross impudence to take what has already been inscribed on another's flag and display it on one's own, to steal the programme
of another, and then to form a separate group as if all had been created by the new founder of this group. The impudence of
such conduct is particularly demonstrated when the individuals who first caused dispersion and disruption by their new foundation
are those who – as experience has shown – are most emphatic in proclaiming the necessity of union and unity the
moment they find they cannot catch up with their adversary's advance.
It is to that kind of conduct that the so-called 'patriotic disintegration' is to be attributed.
Certainly in the years 1918 – 1919 the founding of a multitude of new groups, parties, etc.,
calling themselves 'Patriotic,' was a natural phenomenon of the time, for which the founders were not at all responsible.
By 1920 the National Socialist German Labour Party had slowly crystallized from all these parties and had become supreme.
There could be no better proof of the sterling honesty of certain individual founders than the fact that many of them decided,
in a really admirable manner, to sacrifice their manifestly less successful movements to the stronger movement, by joining
it unconditionally and dissolving their own.
This is specially true in regard to Julius Streicher, who was at that time the protagonist of the
German Socialist party in Nürnberg. The National Socialist German Labour Party had been founded with similar aims in view,
but quite independently of the other. I have already said that Streicher, then a teacher in Nürnberg, was the chief protagonist
of the German Socialist Party. He had a sacred conviction of the mission and future of his own movement. As soon, however,
as the superior strength and stronger growth of the National Socialist Party became clear and unquestionable to his mind,
he gave up his work in the German Socialist Party and called upon his followers to fall into line with the National Socialist
German Labour Party, which had come out victorious from the mutual contest, and carry on the fight within its ranks for the
common cause. The decision was personally a difficult one for him, but it showed a profound sense of honesty.
When that first period of the movement was over there remained no further dispersion of forces: for
their honest intentions had led the men of that time to the same honourable, straightforward and just conclusion. What we
now call the 'patriotic disintegration' owes its existence exclusively to the second of the two causes which I have mentioned.
Ambitious men who at first had no ideas of their own, and still less any concept of aims to be pursued, felt themselves 'called'
exactly at that moment in which the success of the National Socialist German Labour Party became unquestionable.
Suddenly programmes appeared which were mere transcripts of ours. Ideas were proclaimed which had
been taken from us. Aims were set up on behalf of which we had been fighting for several years, and ways were mapped out which
the National Socialists had for a long time trodden. All kinds of means were resorted to for the purpose of trying to convince
the public that, although the National Socialist German Labour Party had now been for a long time in existence, it was found
necessary to establish these new parties. But all these phrases were just as insincere as the motives behind them were ignoble.
In reality all this was grounded only on one dominant motive. That motive was the personal ambition
of the founders, who wished to play a part in which their own pigmy talents could contribute nothing original except the gross
effrontery which they displayed in appropriating the ideas of others, a mode of conduct which in ordinary life is looked upon
At that time there was not an idea or concept launched by other people which these political kleptomaniacs
did not seize upon at once for the purpose of applying to their own base uses. Those who did all this were the same people
who subsequently, with tears in their eyes, profoundly deplored the 'patriotic disintegration' and spoke unceasingly about
the 'necessity of unity'. In doing this they nurtured the secret hope that they might be able to cry down the others, who
would tire of hearing these loud-mouthed accusations and would end up by abandoning all claim to the ideas that had been stolen
from them and would abandon to the thieves not only the task of carrying these ideas into effect but also the task of carrying
on the movements of which they themselves were the original founders.
When that did not succeed, and the new enterprises, thanks to the paltry mentality of their promoters,
did not show the favourable results which had been promised beforehand, then they became more modest in their pretences and
were happy if they could land themselves in one of the so-called 'co-operative unions'.
At that period everything which could not stand on its own feet joined one of those co-operative unions,
believing that eight lame people hanging on to one another could force a gladiator to surrender to them.
But if among all these cripples there was one who was sound of limb he had to use all his strength
to sustain the others and thus he himself was practically paralysed.
We ought to look upon the question of joining these working coalitions as a tactical problem, but,
in coming to a decision, we must never forget the following fundamental principle:
Through the formation of a working coalition associations which are weak in themselves can never be
made strong, whereas it can and does happen not infrequently that a strong association loses its strength by joining in a
coalition with weaker ones. It is a mistake to believe that a factor of strength will result from the coalition of weak groups;
because experience shows that under all forms and all conditions the majority represents the duffers and poltroons. Hence
a multiplicity of associations, under a directorate of many heads, elected by these same associations, is abandoned to the
control of poltroons and weaklings. Through such a coalition the free play of forces is paralysed, the struggle for the selection
of the best is abolished and therewith the necessary and final victory of the healthier and stronger is impeded. Coalitions
of that kind are inimical to the process of natural development, because for the most part they hinder rather than advance
the solution of the problem which is being fought for.
It may happen that, from considerations of a purely tactical kind, the supreme command of a movement
whose goal is set in the future will enter into a coalition with such associations for the treatment of special questions
and may also stand on a common platform with them, but this can be only for a short and limited period. Such a coalition must
not be permanent, if the movement does not wish to renounce its liberating mission. Because if it should become indissolubly
tied up in such a combination it would lose the capacity and the right to allow its own forces to work freely in following
out a natural development, so as to overcome rivals and attain its own objective triumphantly.
It must never be forgotten that nothing really great in this world has ever been achieved through
coalitions, but that such achievements have always been due to the triumph of the individual. Successes achieved through coalitions,
owing to the very nature of their source, carry the germs of future disintegration in them from the very start; so much so
that they have already forfeited what has been achieved. The great revolutions which have taken place in human thought and
have veritably transformed the aspect of the world would have been inconceivable and impossible to carry out except through
titanic struggles waged between individual natures, but never as the enterprises of coalitions.
And, above all things, the People's State will never be created by the desire for compromise inherent
in a patriotic coalition, but only by the iron will of a single movement which has successfully come through in the struggle
with all the others.
Chapter IX: Basic Ideas Regarding the Meaning and Organization of the SA
The strength of the old state rested on three pillars: the monarchical form of government, the civil
service, and the army. The Revolution of 1918 abolished the form of government, dissolved the army and abandoned the civil
service to the corruption of party politics. Thus the essential supports of what is called the Authority of the State were
shattered. This authority nearly always depends on three elements, which are the essential foundations of all authority.
Popular support is the first element which is necessary for the creation of authority. But an authority
resting on that foundation alone is still quite frail, uncertain and vacillating. Hence everyone who finds himself vested
with an authority that is based only on popular support must take measures to improve and consolidate the foundations of that
authority by the creation of force. Accordingly we must look upon power, that is to say, the capacity to use force, as the
second foundation on which all authority is based. This foundation is more stable and secure, but not always stronger, than
the first. If popular support and power are united together and can endure for a certain time, then an authority may arise
which is based on a still stronger foundation, namely, the authority of tradition. And, finally, if popular support, power,
and tradition are united together, then the authority based on them may be looked upon as invincible.
In Germany the Revolution abolished this last foundation. There was no longer even a traditional authority.
With the collapse of the old Reich, the suppression of the monarchical form of government, the destruction of all the old
insignia of greatness and the imperial symbols, tradition was shattered at a blow. The result was that the authority of the
State was shaken to its foundations.
The second pillar of statal authority, namely power, also ceased to exist. In order to carry through
the Revolution it was necessary to dissolve that body which had hitherto incorporated the organized force and power of the
State, namely, the Army. Indeed, some detached fragments of the Army itself had to be employed as fighting elements in the
Revolution. The Armies at the front were not subjected in the same measure to this process of disruption; but as they gradually
left farther behind them the fields of glory on which they had fought heroically for four-and-half years, they were attacked
by the solvent acid that had permeated the Fatherland; and when they arrived at the demobilizing centres they fell into that
state of confusion which was styled voluntary obedience in the time of the Soldiers' Councils.
Of course it was out of the question to think of founding any kind of authority on this crowd of mutineering
soldiers, who looked upon military service as a work of eight hours per day. Therefore the second element, that which guarantees
the stability of authority, was also abolished and the Revolution had only the original element, popular support, on which
to build up its authority. But this basis was extraordinarily insecure. By means of a few violent thrusts the Revolution had
shattered the old statal edifice to its deepest foundations, but only because the normal equilibrium within the social structure
of the nation had already been destroyed by the war.
Every national body is made up of three main classes. At one extreme we have the best of the people,
taking the word 'best' here to indicate those who are highly endowed with the civic virtues and are noted for their courage
and their readiness to sacrifice their private interests. At the other extreme are the worst dregs of humanity, in whom vice
and egotistic interests prevail. Between these two extremes stands the third class, which is made up of the broad middle stratum,
who do not represent radiant heroism or vulgar vice.
The stages of a nation's rise are accomplished exclusively under the leadership of the best extreme.
Times of normal and symmetrical development, or of stable conditions, owe their existence and outwardly
visible characteristics to the preponderating influence of the middle stratum. In this stage the two extreme classes are balanced
against one another; in other words, they are relatively cancelled out.
Times of national collapse are determined by the preponderating influence of the worst elements.
It must be noted here, however, that the broad masses, which constitute what I have called the middle
section, come forward and make their influence felt only when the two extreme sections are engaged in mutual strife. In case
one of the extreme sections comes out victorious the middle section will readily submit to its domination. If the best dominate,
the broad masses will follow it. Should the worst extreme turn out triumphant, then the middle section will at least offer
no opposition to it; for the masses that constitute the middle class never fight their own battles.
The outpouring of blood for four-and-a-half years during the war destroyed the inner equilibrium between
these three sections in so far as it can be said – though admitting the sacrifices made by the middle section –
that the class which consisted of the best human elements almost completely disappeared through the loss of so much of its
blood in the war, because it was impossible to replace the truly enormous quantity of heroic German blood which had been shed
during those four-and-a-half years. In hundreds of thousands of cases it was always a matter of 'volunteers to the front',
volunteers for patrol and duty, volunteer dispatch carriers, volunteers for establishing and working telephonic communications,
volunteers for bridge-building, volunteers for the submarines, volunteers for the air service, volunteers for the storm battalions,
and so on, and so on. During four-and-a-half years, and on thousands of occasions, there was always the call for volunteers
and again for volunteers. And the result was always the same. Beardless young fellows or fully developed men, all filled with
an ardent love for their country, urged on by their own courageous spirit or by a lofty sense of their duty – it was
always such men who answered the call for volunteers. Tens of thousands, indeed hundreds of thousands, of such men came forward,
so that that kind of human material steadily grew scarcer and scarcer. What did not actually fall was maimed in the fight
or gradually had to join the ranks of the crippled because of the wounds they were constantly receiving, and thus they had
to carry on interminably owing to the steady decrease in the supply of such men. In 1914 whole armies were composed of volunteers
who, owing to a criminal lack of conscience on the part of our feckless parliamentarians, had not received any proper training
in times of peace, and so were thrown as defenceless cannon-fodder to the enemy. The four hundred thousand who thus fell or
were permanently maimed on the battlefields of Flanders could not be replaced any more. Their loss was something far more
than merely numerical. With their death the scales, which were already too lightly weighed at that end of the social structure
which represented our best human quality, now moved upwards rapidly, becoming heavier on the other end with those vulgar elements
of infamy and cowardice – in short, there was an increase in the elements that constituted the worst extreme of our
And there was something more: While for four-and-a-half years our best human material was being thinned
to an exceptional degree on the battlefields, our worst people wonderfully succeeded in saving themselves. For each hero who
made the supreme sacrifice and ascended the steps of Valhalla, there was a shirker who cunningly dodged death on the plea
of being engaged in business that was more or less useful at home.
And so the picture which presented itself at the end of the war was this: The great middle stratum
of the nation had fulfilled its duty and paid its toll of blood. One extreme of the population, which was constituted of the
best elements, had given a typical example of its heroism and had sacrificed itself almost to a man. The other extreme, which
was constituted of the worst elements of the population, had preserved itself almost intact, through taking advantage of absurd
laws and also because the authorities failed to enforce certain articles of the military code.
This carefully preserved scum of our nation then made the Revolution. And the reason why it could
do so was that the extreme section composed of the best elements was no longer there to oppose it. It no longer existed.
Hence the German Revolution, from the very beginning, depended on only one section of the population.
This act of Cain was not committed by the German people as such, but by an obscure canaille of deserters, hooligans, etc.
The man at the front gladly welcomed the end of the strife in which so much blood had been shed. He
was happy to be able to return home and see his wife and children once again. But he had no moral connection with the Revolution.
He did not like it, nor did he like those who had provoked and organized it. During the four-and-a-half years of that bitter
struggle at the front he had come to forget the party hyenas at home and all their wrangling had become foreign to him.
The Revolution was really popular only with a small section of the German people: namely, that class
and their accomplices who had selected the rucksack as the hall-mark of all honourable citizens in this new State. They did
not like the Revolution for its own sake, though many people still erroneously believe the contrary, but for the consequences
which followed in its train.
But it was very difficult to establish any abiding authority on the popular support given to these
Marxist freebooters. And yet the young Republic stood in need of authority at any cost, unless it was ready to agree to be
overthrown after a short period of chaos by an elementary force assembled from those last elements that still remained among
the best extreme of the population.
The danger which those who were responsible for the Revolution feared most at that time was that,
in the turmoil of the confusion which they themselves had created, the ground would suddenly be taken from under their feet,
that they might be suddenly seized and transported to another terrain by an iron grip, such as has often appeared at these
junctures in the history of nations. The Republic must be consolidated at all costs.
Hence it was forced almost immediately after its foundation to erect another pillar beside that wavering
pillar of popularity. They found that power must be organized once again in order to procure a firmer foundation for their
When those who had been the matadors of the Revolution in December 1918, and January and February
1919, felt the ground trembling beneath their feet they looked around them for men who would be ready to reinforce them with
military support; for their feeble position was dependent only on whatever popular favour they enjoyed. The 'anti-militarist'
Republic had need of soldiers. But the first and only pillar on which the authority of the State rested, namely, its popularity,
was grounded only on a conglomeration of rowdies and thieves, burglars, deserters, shirkers, etc. Therefore in that section
of the nation which we have called the evil extreme it was useless to look for men who would be willing to sacrifice their
lives on behalf of a new ideal. The section which had nourished the revolutionary idea and carried out the Revolution was
neither able nor willing to call on the soldiers to protect it. For that section had no wish whatsoever to organize a republican
State, but to disorganize what already existed and thus satisfy its own instincts all the better. Their password was not the
organization and construction of the German Republic, but rather the plundering of it.
Hence the cry for help sent out by the public representatives, who were beset by a thousand anxieties,
did not find any response among this class of people, but rather provoked a feeling of bitterness and repudiation. For they
looked upon this step as the beginning of a breach of faith and trust, and in the building up of an authority which was no
longer based on popular support but also on force they saw the beginning of a hostile move against what the Revolution meant
essentially for those elements. They feared that measures might be taken against the right to robbery and absolute domination
on the part of a horde of thieves and plunderers – in short, the worst rabble – who had broken out of the convict
prisons and left their chains behind.
The representatives of the people might cry out as much as they liked, but they could get no help
from that rabble. The cries for help were met with the counter-cry 'traitors' by those very people on whose support the popularity
of the regime was founded.
Then for the first time large numbers of young Germans were found who were ready to button on the
military uniform once again in the service of 'Peace and Order', as they believed, shouldering the carbine and rifle and donning
the steel helmet to defend the wreckers of the Fatherland. Volunteer corps were assembled and, although hating the Revolution,
they began to defend it. The practical effect of their action was to render the Revolution firm and stable. In doing this
they acted in perfect good faith.
The real organizer of the Revolution and the actual wire-puller behind it, the international Jew,
had sized up the situation correctly. The German people were not yet ripe to be drawn into the blood swamp of Bolshevism,
as the Russian people had been drawn. And that was because there was a closer racial union between the intellectual classes
in Germany and the manual workers, and also because broad social strata were permeated with cultured people, such as was the
case also in the other States of Western Europe; but this state of affairs was completely lacking in Russia. In that country
the intellectual classes were mostly not of Russian nationality, or at least they did not have the racial characteristics
of the Slav. The thin upper layer of intellectuals which then existed in Russia might be abolished at any time, because there
was no intermediate stratum connecting it organically with the great mass of the people. There the mental and moral level
of the great mass of the people was frightfully low.
In Russia the moment the agitators were successful in inciting broad masses of the people, who could
not read or write, against the upper layer of intellectuals who were not in contact with the masses or permanently linked
with them in any way – at that moment the destiny of Russia was decided, the success of the Revolution was assured.
Thereupon the analphabetic Russian became the slave of his Jewish dictators who, on their side, were shrewd enough to name
their dictatorship 'The Dictatorship of the People'.
In the case of Germany an additional factor must be taken into account. Here the Revolution could
be carried into effect only if the Army could first be gradually dismembered. But the real author of the Revolution and of
the process of disintegration in the Army was not the soldier who had fought at the front but the canaille which more or less
shunned the light and which were either quartered in the home garrisons or were officiating as 'indispensables' somewhere
in the business world at home. This army was reinforced by ten thousand deserters who, without running any particular risk,
could turn their backs on the Front. At all times the real poltroon fears nothing so much as death. But at the Front he had
death before his eyes every day in a thousand different shapes. There has always been one possible way, and one only, of making
weak or wavering men, or even downright poltroons, face their duty steadfastly. This means that the deserter must be given
to understand that his desertion will bring upon him just the very thing he is flying from. At the Front a man may die, but
the deserter must die. Only this draconian threat against every attempt to desert the flag can have a terrifying effect, not
merely on the individual but also on the mass. Therein lay the meaning and purpose of the military penal code.
It was a fine belief to think that the great struggle for the life of a nation could be carried through
if it were based solely on voluntary fidelity arising from and sustained by the knowledge that such a struggle was necessary.
The voluntary fulfilment of one's duty is a motive that determines the actions of only the best men, but not of the average
type of men. Hence special laws are necessary; just as, for instance, the law against stealing, which was not made for men
who are honest on principle but for the weak and unstable elements. Such laws are meant to hinder the evil-doer through their
deterrent effect and thus prevent a state of affairs from arising in which the honest man is considered the more stupid, and
which would end in the belief that it is better to have a share in the robbery than to stand by with empty hands or allow
oneself to be robbed.
It was a mistake to believe that in a struggle which, according to all human foresight, might last
for several years it would be possible to dispense with those expedients which the experience of hundreds and even of thousands
of years had proved to be effective in making weak and unstable men face and fulfil their duty in difficult times and at moments
of great nervous stress.
For the voluntary war hero it is, of course, not necessary to have the death penalty in the military
code, but it is necessary for the cowardly egoists who value their own lives more than the existence of the community in the
hour of national need. Such weak and characterless people can be held back from surrendering to their cowardice only by the
application of the heaviest penalties. When men have to struggle with death every day and remain for weeks in trenches of
mire, often very badly supplied with food, the man who is unsure of himself and begins to waver cannot be made to stick to
his post by threats of imprisonment or even penal servitude. Only by a ruthless enforcement of the death penalty can this
be effected. For experience shows that at such a time the recruit considers prison a thousand times more preferable than the
battlefield. In prison at least his precious life is not in danger. The practical abolition of the death penalty during the
war was a mistake for which we had to pay dearly. Such omission really meant that the military penal code was no longer recognized
as valid. An army of deserters poured into the stations at the rear or returned home, especially in 1918, and there began
to form that huge criminal organization with which we were suddenly faced, after November 7th, 1918, and which perpetrated
The Front had nothing to do with all this. Naturally, the soldiers at the Front were yearning for
peace. But it was precisely that fact which represented a special danger for the Revolution. For when the German soldiers
began to draw near home, after the Armistice, the revolutionaries were in trepidation and asked the same question again and
again: What will the troops from the Front do? Will the field-greys stand for it?
During those weeks the Revolution was forced to give itself at least an external appearance of moderation,
if it were not to run the risk of being wrecked in a moment by a few German divisions. For at that time, even if the commander
of one division alone had made up his mind to rally the soldiers of his division, who had always remained faithful to him,
in an onslaught to tear down the red flag and put the 'councils' up against the wall, or, if there was any resistance, to
break it with trench-mortars and hand grenades, that division would have grown into an army of sixty divisions in less than
four weeks. The Jew wire-pullers were terrified by this prospect more than by anything else; and to forestall this particular
danger they found it necessary to give the Revolution a certain aspect of moderation. They dared not allow it to degenerate
into Bolshevism, so they had to face the existing conditions by putting up the hypocritical picture of 'order and tranquillity'.
Hence many important concessions, the appeal to the old civil service and to the heads of the old Army. They would be needed
at least for a certain time, and only when they had served the purpose of Turks' Heads could the deserved kick-out be administered
with impunity. Then the Republic would be taken entirely out of the hands of the old servants of the State and delivered into
the claws of the revolutionaries.
They thought that this was the only plan which would succeed in duping the old generals and civil
servants and disarm any eventual opposition beforehand through the apparently harmless and mild character of the new regime.
Practical experience has shown to what extent the plan succeeded.
The Revolution, however, was not made by the peaceful and orderly elements of the nation but rather
by rioters, thieves and robbers. And the way in which the Revolution was developing did not accord with the intentions of
these latter elements; still, on tactical grounds, it was not possible to explain to them the reasons for the course things
were taking and make that course acceptable.
As Social Democracy gradually gained power it lost more and more the character of a crude revolutionary
party. Of course in their inner hearts the Social Democrats wanted a revolution; and their leaders had no other end in view.
Certainly not. But what finally resulted was only a revolutionary programme; but not a body of men who would be able to carry
it out. A revolution cannot be carried through by a party of ten million members. If such a movement were attempted the leaders
would find that it was not an extreme section of the population on which they had to depend butrather the broad masses of
the middle stratum; hence the inert masses.
Recognizing all this, already during the war, the Jews caused the famous split in the Social Democratic
Party. While the Social Democratic Party, conforming to the inertia of its mass following, clung like a leaden weight on the
neck of the national defence, the actively radical elements were extracted from it and formed into new aggressive columns
for purposes of attack. The Independent Socialist Party and the Spartacist League were the storm battalions of revolutionary
Marxism. The objective assigned to them was to create a fait accompli, on the grounds of which the masses of the Social Democratic
Party could take their stand, having been prepared for this event long beforehand. The feckless bourgeoisie had been estimated
at its just value by the Marxists and treated en canaille. Nobody bothered about it, knowing well that in their canine servility
the representatives of an old and worn-out generation would not be able to offer any serious resistance.
When the Revolution had succeeded and its artificers believed that the main pillars of the old State
had been broken down, the Army returning from the Front began to appear in the light of a sinister sphinx and thus made it
necessary to slow down the national course of the Revolution. The main body of the Social Democratic horde occupied the conquered
positions, and the Independent Socialist and Spartacist storm battalions were side-tracked.
But that did not happen without a struggle.
The activist assault formations that had started the Revolution were dissatisfied and felt that they
had been betrayed. They now wanted to continue the fight on their own account. But their illimitable racketeering became odious
even to the wire-pullers of the Revolution. For the Revolution itself had scarcely been accomplished when two camps appeared.
In the one camp were the elements of peace and order; in the other were those of blood and terror. Was it not perfectly natural
that our bourgeoisie should rush with flying colours to the camp of peace and order? For once in their lives their piteous
political organizations found it possible to act, inasmuch as the ground had been prepared for them on which they were glad
to get a new footing; and thus to a certain extent they found themselves in coalition with that power which they hated but
feared. The German political bourgeoisie achieved the high honour of being able to associate itself with the accursed Marxist
leaders for the purpose of combating Bolshevism.
Thus the following state of affairs took shape as early as December 1918 and January 1919:
A minority constituted of the worst elements had made the Revolution. And behind this minority all
the Marxist parties immediately fell into step. The Revolution itself had an outward appearance of moderation, which aroused
against it the enmity of the fanatical extremists. These began to launch hand-grenades and fire machine-guns, occupying public
buildings, thus threatening to destroy the moderate appearance of the Revolution. To prevent this terror from developing further
a truce was concluded between the representatives of the new regime and the adherents of the old order, so as to be able to
wage a common fight against the extremists. The result was that the enemies of the Republic ceased to oppose the Republic
as such and helped to subjugate those who were also enemies of the Republic, though for quite different reasons. But a further
result was that all danger of the adherents of the old State putting up a fight against the new was now definitely averted.
This fact must always be clearly kept in mind. Only by remembering it can we understand how it was
possible that a nation in which nine-tenths of the people had not joined in a revolution, where seven-tenths repudiated it
and six-tenths detested it – how this nation allowed the Revolution to be imposed upon it by the remaining one-tenth
of the population.
Gradually the barricade heroes in the Spartacist camp petered out, and so did the nationalist patriots
and idealists on the other side. As these two groups steadily dwindled, the masses of the middle stratum, as always happens,
triumphed. The Bourgeoisie and the Marxists met together on the grounds of accomplished facts, and the Republic began to be
consolidated. At first, however, that did not prevent the bourgeois parties from propounding their monarchist ideas for some
time further, especially at the elections, whereby they endeavoured to conjure up the spirits of the dead past to encourage
their own feeble-hearted followers. It was not an honest proceeding. In their hearts they had broken with the monarchy long
ago; but the foulness of the new regime had begun to extend its corruptive action and make itself felt in the camp of the
bourgeois parties. The common bourgeois politician now felt better in the slime of republican corruption than in the severe
decency of the defunct State, which still lived in his memory.
As I have already pointed out, after the destruction of the old Army the revolutionary leaders were
forced to strengthen statal authority by creating a new factor of power. In the conditions that existed they could do this
only by winning over to their side the adherents of an outlook which was a direct contradiction of their own. From those elements
alone it was possible slowly to create a new army which, limited numerically by the peace treaties, had to be subsequently
transformed in spirit so as to become an instrument of the new regime.
Setting aside the defects of the old State, which really became the cause of the Revolution, if we
ask how it was possible to carry the Revolution to a successful issue as a political act, we arrive at the following conclusions:
1. It was due to a process of dry rot in our conceptions of duty and obedience.
2. It was due also to the passive timidity of the Parties who were supposed to uphold the State.
To this the following must be added: The dry rot which attacked our concepts of duty and obedience
was fundamentally due to our wholly non-national and purely State education. From this came the habit of confusing means and
ends. Consciousness of duty, fulfilment of duty, and obedience, are not ends in themselves no more than the State is an end
in itself; but they all ought to be employed as means to facilitate and assure the existence of a community of people who
are kindred both physically and spiritually. At a moment when a nation is manifestly collapsing and when all outward signs
show that it is on the point of becoming the victim of ruthless oppression, thanks to the conduct of a few miscreants, to
obey these people and fulfil one's duty towards them is merely doctrinaire formalism, and indeed pure folly; whereas, on the
other hand, the refusal of obedience and fulfilment of duty in such a case might save the nation from collapse. According
to our current bourgeois idea of the State, if a divisional general received from above the order not to shoot he fulfilled
his duty and therefore acted rightly in not shooting, because to the bourgeois mind blind formal obedience is a more valuable
thing than the life of a nation. But according to the National Socialist concept it is not obedience to weak superiors that
should prevail at such moments, in such an hour the duty of assuming personal responsibility towards the whole nation makes
The Revolution succeeded because that concept had ceased to be a vital force with our people, or rather
with our governments, and died down to something that was merely formal and doctrinaire.
As regards the second point, it may be said that the more profound cause of the fecklessness of the
bourgeois parties must be attributed to the fact that the most active and upright section of our people had lost their lives
in the war. Apart from that, the bourgeois parties, which may be considered as the only political formations that stood by
the old State, were convinced that they ought to defend their principles only by intellectual ways and means, since the use
of physical force was permitted only to the State. That outlook was a sign of the weakness and decadence which had been gradually
developing. And it was also senseless at a period when there was a political adversary who had long ago abandoned that standpoint
and, instead of this, had openly declared that he meant to attain his political ends by force whenever that became possible.
When Marxism emerged in the world of bourgeois democracy, as a consequence of that democracy itself, the appeal sent out by
the bourgeois democracy to fight Marxism with intellectual weapons was a piece of folly for which a terrible expiation had
to be made later on. For Marxism always professed the doctrine that the use of arms was a matter which had to be judged from
the standpoint of expediency and that success justified the use of arms.
This idea was proved correct during the days from November 7 to 10, 1918. The Marxists did not then
bother themselves in the least about parliament or democracy, but they gave the death blow to both by turning loose their
horde of criminals to shoot and raise hell.
When the Revolution was over the bourgeois parties changed the title of their firm and suddenly reappeared,
the heroic leaders emerging from dark cellars or more lightsome storehouses where they had sought refuge. But, just as happens
in the case of all representatives of antiquated institutions, they had not forgotten their errors or learned anything new.
Their political programme was grounded in the past, even though they themselves had become reconciled to the new regime. Their
aim was to secure a share in the new establishment, and so they continued the use of words as their sole weapon.
Therefore after the Revolution the bourgeois parties also capitulated to the street in a miserable
When the law for the Protection of the Republic was introduced the majority was not at first in favour
of it. But, confronted with two hundred thousand Marxists demonstrating in the streets, the bourgeois 'statesmen' were so
terror-stricken that they voted for the Law against their wills, for the edifying reason that otherwise they feared they might
get their heads smashed by the enraged masses on leaving the Reichstag.
And so the new State developed along its own course, as if there had been no national opposition at
The only organizations which at that time had the strength and courage to face Marxism and its enraged
masses were first of all the volunteer corps, and subsequently the organizations for self-defence, the civic guards and finally
the associations formed by the demobilized soldiers of the old Army.
But the existence of these bodies did not appreciably change the course of German history; and that
for the following causes:
As the so-called national parties were without influence, because they had no force which could effectively
demonstrate in the street, the Leagues of Defence could not exercise any influence because they had no political idea and
especially because they had no definite political aim in view.
The success which Marxism once attained was due to perfect co-operation between political purposes
and ruthless force. What deprived nationalist Germany of all practical hopes of shaping German development was the lack of
a determined co-operation between brute force and political aims wisely chosen.
Whatever may have been the aspirations of the 'national' parties, they had no force whatsoever to
fight for these aspirations, least of all in the streets.
The Defense Leagues had force at their disposal. They were masters of the street and of the State,
but they lacked political ideas and aims on behalf of which their forces might have been or could have been employed in the
interests of the German nation. The cunning Jew was able in both cases, by his astute powers of persuasion, in reinforcing
an already existing tendency to make this unfortunate state of affairs permanent and at the same time to drive the roots of
it still deeper.
The Jew succeeded brilliantly in using his Press for the purpose of spreading abroad the idea that
the defence associations were of a 'non-political' character just as in politics he was always astute enough to praise the
purely intellectual character of the struggle and demand that it must always be kept on that plane
Millions of German imbeciles then repeated this folly without having the slightest suspicion that
by so doing they were, for all practical purposes, disarming themselves and delivering themselves defenceless into the hands
of the Jew.
But there is a natural explanation of this also. The lack of a great idea which would re-shape things
anew has always meant a limitation in fighting power. The conviction of the right to employ even the most brutal weapons is
always associated with an ardent faith in the necessity for a new and revolutionary transformation of the world.
A movement which does not fight for such high aims and ideals will never have recourse to extreme
The appearance of a new and great idea was the secret of success in the French Revolution. The Russian
Revolution owes its triumph to an idea. And it was only the idea that enabled Fascism triumphantly to subject a whole nation
to a process of complete renovation.
Bourgeois parties are not capable of such an achievement. And it was not the bourgeois parties alone
that fixed their aim in a restoration of the past. The defence associations also did so, in so far as they concerned themselves
with political aims at all. The spirit of the old war legions and Kyffauser tendencies lived in them and therewith helped
politically to blunt the sharpest weapons which the German nation then possessed and allow them to rust in the hands of republican
serfs. The fact that these associations were inspired by the best of intentions in so doing, and certainly acted in good faith,
does not alter in the slightest degree the foolishness of the course they adopted.
In the consolidated Reichswehr Marxism gradually acquired the support of force, which it needed for
its authority. As a logical consequence it proceeded to abolish those defence associations which it considered dangerous,
declaring that they were now no longer necessary. Some rash leaders who defied the Marxist orders were summoned to court and
sent to prison. But they all got what they had deserved.
The founding of the National Socialist German Labour Party incited a movement which was the first
to fix its aim, not in a mechanical restoration of the past - as the bourgeois parties did - but in the substitution of an
organic People's State for the present absurd statal mechanism.
From the first day of its foundation the new movement took its stand on the principle that its ideas
had to be propagated by intellectual means but that, wherever necessary, muscular force must be employed to support this propaganda.
In accordance with their conviction of the paramount importance of the new doctrine, the leaders of the new movement naturally
believe that no sacrifice can be considered too great when it is a question of carrying through the purpose of the movement.
I have emphasized that in certain circumstances a movement which is meant to win over the hearts of
the people must be ready to defend itself with its own forces against terrorist attempts on the part of its adversaries. It
has invariably happened in the history of the world that formal State authority has failed to break a reign of terror which
was inspired by a philosophy of life. It can only be conquered by a new and different philosophy of life whose representatives
are quite as audacious and determined. The acknowledgment of this fact has always been very unpleasant for the bureaucrats
who are the protectors of the State, but the fact remains nevertheless. The rulers of the State can guarantee tranquillity
and order only in case the State embodies a philosophy which is shared in by the people as a whole; so that elements of disturbance
can be treated as isolated criminals, instead of being considered as the champions of an idea which is diametrically opposed
to official opinions. If such should be the case the State may employ the most violent measures for centuries long against
the terror that threatens it; but in the end all these measures will prove futile, and the State will have to succumb.
The German State is intensely overrun by Marxism. In a struggle that went on for seventy years the
State was not able to prevent the triumph of the Marxist idea. Even though the sentences to penal servitude and imprisonment
amounted in all to thousands of years, and even though the most sanguinary methods of repression were in innumerable instances
threatened against the champions of the Marxist philosophy, in the end the State was forced to capitulate almost completely.
The ordinary bourgeois political leaders will deny all this, but their protests are futile.
Seeing that the State capitulated unconditionally to Marxism on November 9th, 1918, it will not suddenly
rise up tomorrow as the conqueror of Marxism. On the contrary. Bourgeois simpletons sitting on office stools in the various
ministries babble about the necessity of not governing against the wishes of the workers, and by the word 'workers' they mean
the Marxists. By identifying the German worker with Marxism not only are they guilty of a vile falsification of the truth,
but they thus try to hide their own collapse before the Marxist idea and the Marxist organization.
In view of the complete subordination of the present State to Marxism, the National Socialist Movement
feels all the more bound not only to prepare the way for the triumph of its idea by appealing to the reason and understanding
of the public but also to take upon itself the responsibility of organizing its own defence against the terror of the International,
which is intoxicated with its own victory.
I have already described how practical experience in our young movement led us slowly to organize
a system of defence for our meetings. This gradually assumed the character of a military body specially trained for the maintenance
of order, and tended to develop into a service which would have its properly organized cadres.
This new formation might resemble the defence associations externally, but in reality there were no
grounds of comparison between the one and the other.
As I have already said, the German defence organizations did not have any definite political ideas
of their own. They really were only associations for mutual protection, and they were trained and organized accordingly, so
that they were an illegal complement or auxiliary to the legal forces of the State. Their character as free corps arose only
from the way in which they were constructed and the situation in which the State found itself at that time. But they certainly
could not claim to be free corps on the grounds that they were associations formed freely and privately for the purpose of
fighting for their own freely formed political convictions. Such they were not, despite the fact that some of their leaders
and some associations as such were definitely opposed to the Republic. For before we can speak of political convictions in
the higher sense we must be something more than merely convinced that the existing regime is defective. Political convictions
in the higher sense mean that one has the picture of a new regime clearly before one's mind, feels that the establishment
of this regime is an absolute necessity and sets himself to carry out that purpose as the highest task to which his life can
The troops for the preservation of order, which were then formed under the National Socialist Movement,
were fundamentally different from all the other defence associations by reason of the fact that our formations were not meant
in any way to defend the state of things created by the Revolution, but rather that they were meant exclusively to support
our struggle for the creation of a new Germany.
In the beginning this body was merely a guard to maintain order at our meetings. Its first task was
limited to making it possible for us to hold our meetings, which otherwise would have been completely prevented by our opponents.
These men were at that time trained merely for purposes of attack, but they were not taught to adore the big stick exclusively,
as was then pretended in stupid German patriotic circles. They used the cudgel because they knew that it can be made impossible
for high ideals to be put forward if the man who endeavours to propagate them can be struck down with the cudgel. As a matter
of fact, it has happened in history not infrequently that some of the greatest minds have perished under the blows of the
most insignificant helots. Our bodyguards did not look upon violence as an end in itself, but they protected the expositors
of ideal aims and purposes against hostile coercion by violence. They also understood that there was no obligation to undertake
the defence of a State which did not guarantee the defence of the nation, but that, on the contrary, they had to defend the
nation against those who were threatening to destroy nation and State.
After the fight which took place at the meeting in the Munich Hofbräuhaus, where the small number
of our guards who were present won everlasting fame for themselves by the heroic manner in which they stormed the adversaries;
these guards were called The Storm Detachment. As the name itself indicates, they represent only a detachment of the Movement.
They are one constituent element of it, just as is the Press, the propaganda, educational institutes, and other sections of
We learned how necessary was the formation of such a body, not only from our experience on the occasion
of that memorable meeting but also when we sought gradually to carry the Movement beyond Munich and extend it to the other
parts of Germany. Once we had begun to appear as a danger to Marxism the Marxists lost no opportunity of trying to crush beforehand
all preparations for the holding of National Socialist meetings. When they did not succeed in this they tried to break up
the meeting itself. It goes without saying that all the Marxist organizations, no matter of what grade or view, blindly supported
the policy and activities of their representations in every case. But what is to be said of the bourgeois parties who, when
they were reduced to silence by these same Marxists and in many places did not dare to send their speakers to appear before
the public, yet showed themselves pleased, in a stupid and incomprehensible manner, every time we received any kind of set-back
in our fight against Marxism. The bourgeois parties were happy to think that those whom they themselves could not stand up
against, but had to knuckle down to, could not be broken by us. What must be said of those State officials, chiefs of police,
and even cabinet ministers, who showed a scandalous lack of principle in presenting themselves externally to the public as
'national' and yet shamelessly acted as the henchmen of the Marxists in the disputes which we, National Socialists, had with
the latter. What can be said of persons who debased themselves so far, for the sake of a little abject praise in the Jewish
Press, that they persecuted those men to whose heroic courage and intervention, regardless of risk, they were partly indebted
for not having been torn to pieces by the Red mob a few years previously and strung up to the lamp-posts?
One day these lamentable phenomena fired the late but unforgotten Prefect Pöhner – a man whose
unbending straightforwardness forced him to hate all twisters and to hate them as only a man with an honest heart can hate
– to say: "In all my life I wished to be first a German and then an official, and I never wanted to mix up with these
creatures who, as if they were kept officials, prostituted themselves before anybody who could play lord and master for the
It was a specially sad thing that gradually tens of thousands of honest and loyal servants of the
State did not only come under the power of such people but were also slowly contaminated by their unprincipled morals. Moreover,
these kind of men pursued honest officials with a furious hatred, degrading them and driving them from their positions, and
yet passed themselves off as 'national' by the aid of their lying hypocrisy.
From officials of that kind we could expect no support, and only in very rare instances was it given.
Only by building up its own defence could our movement become secure and attract that amount of public attention and general
respect which is given to those who can defend themselves when attacked.
As an underlying principle in the internal development of the Storm Detachment, we came to the decision
that not only should it be perfectly trained in bodily efficiency but that the men should be so instructed as to make them
indomitably convinced champions of the National Socialist ideas and, finally, that they should be schooled to observe the
strictest discipline. This body was to have nothing to do with the defence organizations of the bourgeois type and especially
not with any secret organization.
My reasons at that time for guarding strictly against letting the Storm Detachment of the German National
Socialist Labour Party appear as a defence association were as follows:
On purely practical grounds it is impossible to build up a national defence organization by means
of private associations, unless the State makes an enormous contribution to it. Whoever thinks otherwise overestimates his
own powers. Now it is entirely out of the question to form organizations of any military value for a definite purpose on the
principle of so-called 'voluntary discipline'. Here the chief support for enforcing orders, namely, the power of inflicting
punishment, is lacking. In the autumn, or rather in the spring, of 1919 it was still possible to raise 'volunteer corps',
not only because most of the men who came forward at that time had been through the school of the old Army, but also because
the kind of duty imposed there constrained the individual to absolute obedience at least for a definite period of time.
That spirit is entirely lacking in the volunteer defence organizations of today. The more the defence
association grows, the weaker its discipline becomes and so much the less can one demand from the individual members. Thus
the whole organization will more and more assume the character of the old non-political associations of war comrades and veterans.
It is impossible to carry through a voluntary training in military service for larger masses unless
one is assured absolute power of command. There will always be few men who will voluntarily and spontaneously submit to that
kind of obedience which is considered natural and necessary in the Army.
Moreover, a proper system of military training cannot be developed where there are such ridiculously
scanty means as those at the disposal of the defence associations. The principal task of such an institution must be to impart
the best and most reliable kind of instruction. Eight years have passed since the end of the War, and during that time none
of our German youth, at an age when formerly they would have had to do military service, have received any systematic training
at all. The aim of a defence association cannot be to enlist here and now all those who have already received a military training;
for in that case it could be reckoned with mathematical accuracy when the last member would leave the association. Even the
younger soldier from 1918 will no longer be fit for front-line service twenty years later, and we are approaching that state
of things with a rapidity that gives cause for anxiety. Thus the defence associations must assume more and more the aspect
of the old ex-service men's societies. But that cannot be the meaning and purpose of an institution which calls itself, not
an association of ex-service men but a defence association, indicating by this title that it considers its task to be, not
only to preserve the tradition of the old soldiers and hold them together but also to propagate the idea of national defence
and be able to carry this idea into practical effect, which means the creation of a body of men who are fit and trained for
But this implies that those elements will receive a military training which up to now have received
none. This is something that in practice is impossible for the defence associations. Real soldiers cannot be made by a training
of one or two hours per week. In view of the enormously increasing demands which modern warfare imposes on each individual
soldier today, a military service of two years is barely sufficient to transform a raw recruit into a trained soldier. At
the Front during the War we all saw the fearful consequences which our young recruits had to suffer from their lack of a thorough
military training. Volunteer formations which had been drilled for fifteen or twenty weeks under an iron discipline and shown
unlimited self-denial proved nevertheless to be no better than cannon fodder at the Front. Only when distributed among the
ranks of the old and experienced soldiers could the young recruits, who had been trained for four or six months, become useful
members of a regiment. Guided by the 'old men', they adapted themselves gradually to their task.
In the light of all this, how hopeless must the attempt be to create a body of fighting troops by
a so-called training of one or two hours in the week, without any definite power of command and without any considerable means.
In that way perhaps one could refresh military training in old soldiers, but raw recruits cannot thus be transformed into
How such a proceeding produces utterly worthless results may also be demonstrated by the fact that
at the same time as these so-called volunteer defence associations, with great effort and outcry and under difficulties and
lack of necessities, try to educate and train a few thousand men of goodwill (the others need not be taken into account) for
purposes of national defence, the State teaches our young men democratic and pacifist ideas and thus deprives millions and
millions of their national instincts, poisons their logical sense of patriotism and gradually turns them into a herd of sheep
who will patiently follow any arbitrary command. Thus they render ridiculous all those attempts made by the defence associations
to inculcate their ideas in the minds of the German youth.
Almost more important is the following consideration, which has always made me take up a stand against
all attempts at a so-called military training on the basis of the volunteer associations.
Assuming that, in spite of all the difficulties just mentioned, a defence association were successful
in training a certain number of Germans every year to be efficient soldiers, not only as regards their mental outlook but
also as regards bodily efficiency and the expert handling of arms, the result must necessarily be null and void in a State
whose whole tendency makes it not only look upon such a defensive formation as undesirable but even positively hate it, because
such an association would completely contradict the intimate aims of the political leaders, who are the corrupters of this
But anyhow, such a result would be worthless under governments which have demonstrated by their own
acts that they do not lay the slightest importance on the military power of the nation and are not disposed to permit an appeal
to that power only in case that it were necessary for the protection of their own malignant existence.
And that is the state of affairs today. It is not ridiculous to think of training some ten thousand
men in the use of arms, and carry on that training surreptitiously, when a few years previously the State, having shamefully
sacrificed eight-and-a-half million highly trained soldiers, not merely did not require their services any more, but, as a
mark of gratitude for their sacrifices, held them up to public contumely. Shall we train soldiers for a regime which besmirched
and spat upon our most glorious soldiers, tore the medals and badges from their breasts, trampled on their flags and derided
their achievements? Has the present regime taken one step towards restoring the honour of the old army and bringing those
who destroyed and outraged it to answer for their deeds? Not in the least. On the contrary, the people I have just referred
to may be seen enthroned in the highest positions under the State today. And yet it was said at Leipzig: "Right goes with
might." Since, however, in our Republic today might is in the hands of the very men who arranged for the Revolution, and since
that Revolution represents a most despicable act of high treason against the nation – yea, the vilest act in German
history – there can surely be no grounds for saying that might of this character should be enhanced by the formation
of a new young army. It is against all sound reason.
The importance which this State attached, after the Revolution of 1918, to the reinforcement of its
position from the military point of view is clearly and unmistakably demonstrated by its attitude towards the large self-defence
organizations which existed in that period. They were not unwelcome as long as they were of use for the personal protection
of the miserable creatures cast up by the Revolution.
But the danger to these creatures seemed to disappear as the debasement of our people gradually increased.
As the existence of the defence associations no longer implied a reinforcement of the national policy they became superfluous.
Hence every effort was made to disarm them and suppress them wherever that was possible.
History records only a few examples of gratitude on the part of princes. But there is not one patriot
among the new bourgeoisie who can count on the gratitude of revolutionary incendiaries and assassins, persons who have enriched
themselves from the public spoil and betrayed the nation. In examining the problem as to the wisdom of forming these defence
associations I have never ceased to ask: 'For whom shall I train these young men? For what purpose will they be employed when
they will have to be called out?' The answer to these questions lays down at the same time the best rule for us to follow.
If the present State should one day have to call upon trained troops of this kind it would never be
for the purpose of defending the interests of the nation vis-à-vis those of the stranger but rather to protect the oppressors
of the nation inside the country against the danger of a general outbreak of wrath on the part of a nation which has been
deceived and betrayed and whose interests have been bartered away.
For this reason it was decided that the Storm Detachment of the German National Socialist Labour Party
ought not to be in the nature of a military organization. It had to be an instrument of protection and education for the National
Socialist Movement and its duties should be in quite a different sphere from that of the military defence association.
And, of course, the Storm Detachment should not be in the nature of a secret organization. Secret
organizations are established only for purposes that are against the law. Therewith the purpose of such an organization is
limited by its very nature. Considering the loquacious propensities of the German people, it is not possible to build up any
vast organization, keeping it secret at the same time and cloaking its purpose. Every attempt of that kind is destined to
turn out absolutely futile. It is not merely that our police officials today have at their disposal a staff of eavesdroppers
and other such rabble who are ready to play traitor, like Judas, for thirty pieces of silver and will betray whatever secrets
they can discover and will invent what they would like to reveal. In order to forestall such eventualities, it is never possible
to bind one's own followers to the silence that is necessary. Only small groups can become really secret societies, and that
only after long years of filtration. But the very smallness of such groups would deprive them of all value for the National
Socialist Movement. What we needed then and need now is not one or two hundred dare-devil conspirators but a hundred thousand
devoted champions of our philosophy of life. The work must not be done through secret conventicles but through formidable
mass demonstrations in public. Dagger and pistol and poison-vial cannot clear the way for the progress of the movement. That
can be done only by winning over the man in the street. We must overthrow Marxism, so that for the future National Socialism
will be master of the street, just as it will one day become master of the State.
There is another danger connected with secret societies. It lies in the fact that their members often
completely misunderstand the greatness of the task in hand and are apt to believe that a favourable destiny can be assured
for the nation all at once by means of a single murder. Such a belief may find historical justification by appealing to cases
where a nation had been suffering under the tyranny of some oppressor who at the same time was a man of genius and whose extraordinary
personality guaranteed the internal solidity of his position and enabled him to maintain his fearful oppression. In such cases
a man may suddenly arise from the ranks of the people who is ready to sacrifice himself and plunge the deadly steel into the
heart of the hated individual. In order to look upon such a deed as abhorrent one must have the republican mentality of that
petty canaille who are conscious of their own crime. But the greatest champion of liberty that the German people have ever
had has glorified such a deed in William Tell.
During 1919 and 1920 there was danger that the members of secret organizations, under the influence
of great historical examples and overcome by the immensity of the nation's misfortunes, might attempt to wreak vengeance on
the destroyers of their country, under the belief that this would end the miseries of the people. All such attempts were sheer
folly, for the reason that the Marxist triumph was not due to the superior genius of one remarkable person but rather to immeasurable
incompetence and cowardly shirking on the part of the bourgeoisie. The hardest criticism that can be uttered against our bourgeoisie
is simply to state the fact that it submitted to the Revolution, even though the Revolution did not produce one single man
of eminent worth. One can always understand how it was possible to capitulate before a Robespierre, a Danton, or a Marat;
but it was utterly scandalous to go down on all fours before the withered Scheidemann, the obese Herr Erzberger, Frederick
Ebert, and the innumerable other political pigmies of the Revolution. There was not a single man of parts in whom one could
see the revolutionary man of genius. Therein lay the country's misfortune; for they were only revolutionary bugs, Spartacists
wholesale and retail. To suppress one of them would be an act of no consequence. The only result would be that another pair
of bloodsuckers, equally fat and thirsty, would be ready to take his place.
During those years we had to take up a determined stand against an idea which owed its origin and
foundation to historical episodes that were really great, but to which our own despicable epoch did not bear the slightest
The same reply may be given when there is question of putting somebody 'on the spot' who has acted
as a traitor to his country. It would be ridiculous and illogical to shoot a poor wretch who had betrayed the position of
a howitzer to the enemy while the highest positions of the government are occupied by a rabble who bartered away a whole empire,
who have on their consciences the deaths of two million men who were sacrificed in vain, fellows who were responsible for
the millions maimed in the war and who make a thriving business out of the republican regime without allowing their souls
to be disturbed in any way. It would be absurd to do away with small traitors in a State whose government has absolved the
great traitors from all punishment. For it might easily happen that one day an honest idealist, who, out of love for his country,
had removed from circulation some miserable informer that had given information about secret stores of arms might now be called
to answer for his act before the chief traitors of the country. And there is still an important question: Shall some small
traitorous creature be suppressed by another small traitor, or by an idealist? In the former case the result would be doubtful
and the deed would almost surely be revealed later on. In the second case a petty rascal is put out of the way and the life
of an idealist who may be irreplaceable is in jeopardy.
For myself, I believe that small thieves should not be hanged while big thieves are allowed to go
free. One day a national tribunal will have to judge and sentence some tens of thousands of organizers who were responsible
for the criminal November betrayal and all the consequences that followed on it. Such an example will teach the necessary
lesson, once and for ever, to those paltry traitors who revealed to the enemy the places where arms were hidden.
On the grounds of these considerations I steadfastly forbade all participation in secret societies,
and I took care that the Storm Detachment should not assume such a character. During those years I kept the National Socialist
Movement away from those experiments which were being undertaken by young Germans who for the most part were inspired with
a sublime idealism but who became the victims of their own deeds, because they could not ameliorate the lot of their fatherland
to the slightest degree.
If then the Storm Detachment must not be either a military defence organization or a secret society,
the following conclusions must result:
1. Its training must not be organized from the military standpoint but from the standpoint of what
is most practical for party purposes. Seeing that its members must undergo a good physical training, the place of chief importance
must not be given to military drill but rather to the practice of sports. I have always considered boxing and ju-jitsu more
important than some kind of bad, because mediocre, training in rifle-shooting. If the German nation were presented with a
body of young men who had been perfectly trained in athletic sports, who were imbued with an ardent love for their country
and a readiness to take the initiative in a fight, then the national State could make an army out of that body within less
than two years if it were necessary, provided the cadres already existed. In the actual state of affairs only the Reichswehr
could furnish the cadres and not a defence organization that was neither one thing nor the other. Bodily efficiency would
develop in the individual a conviction of his superiority and would give him that confidence which is always based only on
the consciousness of one's own powers. They must also develop that athletic agility which can be employed as a defensive weapon
in the service of the Movement.
2. In order to safeguard the Storm Detachment against any tendency towards secrecy, not only must
the uniform be such that it can immediately be recognized by everybody, but the large number of its effectives show the direction
in which the Movement is going and which must be known to the whole public. The members of the Storm Detachment must not hold
secret gatherings but must march in the open and thus, by their actions, put an end to all legends about a secret organization.
In order to keep them away from all temptations towards finding an outlet for their activities in small conspiracies, from
the very beginning we had to inculcate in their minds the great idea of the Movement and educate them so thoroughly to the
task of defending this idea that their horizon became enlarged and that the individual no longer considered it his mission
to remove from circulation some rascal or other, whether big or small, but to devote himself entirely to the task of bringing
about the establishment of a new National Socialist People's State. In this way the struggle against the present State was
placed on a higher plane than that of petty revenge and small conspiracies. It was elevated to the level of a spiritual struggle
on behalf of a philosophical war, for the destruction of Marxism in all its shapes and forms.
3. The form of organization adopted for the Storm Detachment, as well as its uniform and equipment,
had to follow different models from those of the old Army. They had to be specially suited to the requirements of the task
that was assigned to the Storm Detachment.
These were the ideas I followed in 1920 and 1921. I endeavoured to instil them gradually into the
members of the young organization. And the result was that by the midsummer of 1922 we had a goodly number of formations which
consisted of a hundred men each. By the late autumn of that year these formations received their distinctive uniforms. There
were three events which turned out to be of supreme importance for the subsequent development of the Storm Detachment.
1. The great mass demonstration against the Law for the Protection of the Republic. This demonstration
was held in the late summer of 1922 on the Königs-platz in Munich, by all the patriotic societies. The National Socialist
Movement also participated in it. The march-past of our party, in serried ranks, was led by six Munich companies of a hundred
men each, followed by the political sections of the Party. Two bands marched with us and about fifteen flags were carried.
When the National Socialists arrived at the great square it was already half full, but no flag was flying. Our entry aroused
unbounded enthusiasm. I myself had the honour of being one of the speakers who addressed that mass of about sixty thousand
The demonstration was an overwhelming success; especially because it was proved for the first time
that nationalist Munich could march on the streets, in spite of all threats from the Reds. Members of the organization for
the defence of the Red Republic endeavoured to hinder the marching columns by their terrorist activities, but they were scattered
by the companies of the Storm Detachment within a few minutes and sent off with bleeding skulls. The National Socialist Movement
had then shown for the first time that in future it was determined to exercise the right to march on the streets and thus
take this monopoly away from the international traitors and enemies of the country.
The result of that day was an incontestable proof that our ideas for the creation of the Storm Detachment
were right, both from the psychological viewpoint and as to the manner in which this body was organized.
On the basis of this success the enlistment progressed so rapidly that within a few weeks the number
of Munich companies of a hundred men each became doubled.
2. The expedition to Coburg in October 1922.
Certain People's Societies had decided to hold a German Day at Coburg. I was invited to take part,
with the intimation that they wished me to bring a following along. This invitation, which I received at eleven o'clock in
the morning, arrived just in time. Within an hour the arrangements for our participation in the German Congress were ready.
I picked eight hundred men of the Storm Detachment to accompany me. These were divided into about fourteen companies and had
to be brought by special train from Munich to Coburg, which had just voted by plebiscite to be annexed to Bavaria. Corresponding
orders were given to other groups of the National Socialist Storm Detachment which had meanwhile been formed in various other
This was the first time that such a special train ran in Germany. At all the places where the new
members of the Storm Detachment joined us our train caused a sensation. Many of the people had never seen our flag. And it
made a very great impression.
As we arrived at the station in Coburg we were received by a deputation of the organizing committee
of the German Day. They announced that it had been 'arranged' at the orders of local trades unions – that is to say,
the Independent and Communist Parties – that we should not enter the town with our flags unfurled and our band playing
(we had a band consisting of forty-two musicians with us) and that we should not march with closed ranks.
I immediately rejected these unmilitary conditions and did not fail to declare before the gentlemen
who had arranged this 'day' how astonished I was at the idea of their negotiating with such people and coming to an agreement
with them. Then I announced that the Storm Troops would immediately march into the town in company formation, with our flags
flying and the band playing.
And that is what happened.
As we came out into the station yard we were met by a growling and yelling mob of several thousand,
that shouted at us: 'Assassins', 'Bandits', 'Robbers', 'Criminals'. These were the choice names which these exemplary founders
of the German Republic showered on us. The young Storm Detachment gave a model example of order. The companies fell into formation
on the square in front of the station and at first took no notice of the insults hurled at them by the mob. The police were
anxious. They did not pilot us to the quarters assigned to us on the outskirts of Coburg, a city quite unknown to us, but
to the Hofbräuhaus Keller in the centre of the town. Right and left of our march the tumult raised by the accompanying mob
steadily increased. Scarcely had the last company entered the courtyard of the Hofbräuhaus when the huge mass made a rush
to get in after them, shouting madly. In order to prevent this, the police closed the gates. Seeing the position was untenable
I called the Storm Detachment to attention and then asked the police to open the gates immediately. After a good deal of hesitation,
We now marched back along the same route as we had come, in the direction of our quarters, and there
we had to make a stand against the crowd. As their cries and yells all along the route had failed to disturb the equanimity
of our companies, the champions of true Socialism, Equality, and Fraternity now took to throwing stones. That brought our
patience to an end. For ten minutes long, blows fell right and left, like a devastating shower of hail. Fifteen minutes later
there were no more Reds to be seen in the street.
The collisions which took place when the night came on were more serious. Patrols of the Storm Detachment
had discovered National Socialists who had been attacked singly and were in an atrocious state. Thereupon we made short work
of the opponents. By the following morning the Red terror, under which Coburg had been suffering for years, was definitely
Adopting the typically Marxist and Jewish method of spreading falsehoods, leaflets were distributed
by hand on the streets, bearing the caption: "Comrades and Comradesses of the International Proletariat." These leaflets were
meant to arouse the wrath of the populace. Twisting the facts completely around, they declared that our 'bands of assasins'
had commenced 'a war of extermination against the peaceful workers of Coburg'. At half-past one that day there was to be a
'great popular demonstration', at which it was hoped that the workers of the whole district would turn up. I was determined
finally to crush this Red terror and so I summoned the Storm Detachment to meet at midday. Their number had now increased
to 1,500. I decided to march with these men to the Coburg Festival and to cross the big square where the Red demonstration
was to take place. I wanted to see if they would attempt to assault us again. When we entered the square we found that instead
of the ten thousand that had been advertised, there were only a few hundred people present. As we approached they remained
silent for the most part, and some ran away. Only at certain points along the route some bodies of Reds, who had arrived from
outside the city and had not yet come to know us, attempted to start a row. But a few fisticuffs put them to flight. And now
one could see how the population, which had for such a long time been so wretchedly intimidated, slowly woke up and recovered
their courage. They welcomed us openly, and in the evening, on our return march, spontaneous shouts of jubilation broke out
at several points along the route.
At the station the railway employees informed us all of a sudden that our train would not move. Thereupon
I had some of the ringleaders told that if this were the case I would have all the Red Party heroes arrested that fell into
our hands, that we would drive the train ourselves, but that we would take away with us, in the locomotive and tender and
in some of the carriages, a few dozen members of this brotherhood of international solidarity. I did not omit to let those
gentry know that if we had to conduct the train the journey would undoubtedly be a very risky adventure and that we might
all break our necks. It would be a consolation, however, to know that we should not go to Eternity alone, but in equality
and fraternity with the Red gentry.
Thereupon the train departed punctually and we arrived next morning in Munich safe and sound.
Thus at Coburg, for the first time since 1914, the equality of all citizens before the law was re-established.
For even if some coxcomb of a higher official should assert today that the State protects the lives of its citizens, at least
in those days it was not so. For at that time the citizens had to defend themselves against the representatives of the present
At first it was not possible fully to estimate the importance of the consequences which resulted from
that day. The victorious Storm Troops had their confidence in themselves considerably reinforced and also their faith in the
sagacity of their leaders. Our contemporaries began to pay us special attention and for the first time many recognized the
National Socialist Movement as an organization that in all probability was destined to bring the Marxist folly to a deserving
Only the democrats lamented the fact that we had not the complaisance to allow our skulls to be cracked
and that we had dared, in a democratic Republic, to hit back with fists and sticks at a brutal assault, rather than with pacifist
Generally speaking, the bourgeois Press was partly distressed and partly vulgar, as always. Only a
few decent newspapers expressed their satisfaction that at least in one locality the Marxist street bullies had been effectively
And in Coburg itself at least a part of the Marxist workers who must be looked upon as misled, learned
from the blows of National Socialist fists that these workers were also fighting for ideals, because experience teaches that
the human being fights only for something in which he believes and which he loves.
The Storm Detachment itself benefited most from the Coburg events. It grew so quickly in numbers that
at the Party Congress in January 1923 six thousand men participated in the ceremony of consecrating the flags and the first
companies were fully clad in their new uniform.
Our experience in Coburg proved how essential it is to introduce one distinctive uniform for the Storm
Detachment, not only for the purpose of strengthening the esprit de corps but also to avoid confusion and the danger of not
recognizing the opponent in a squabble. Up to that time they had merely worn the armlet, but now the tunic and the well-known
cap were added.
But the Coburg experience had also another important result. We now determined to break the Red Terror
in all those localities where for many years it had prevented men of other views from holding their meetings. We were determined
to restore the right of free assembly. From that time onwards we brought our battalions together in such places and little
by little the red citadels of Bavaria, one after another, fell before the National Socialist propaganda. The Storm Troops
became more and more adept at their job. They increasingly lost all semblance of an aimless and lifeless defence movement
and came out into the light as an active militant organization, fighting for the establishment of a new German State.
This logical development continued until March 1923. Then an event occurred which made me divert the
Movement from the course hitherto followed and introduce some changes in its outer formation.
In the first months of 1923 the French occupied the Ruhr district. The consequence of this was of
great importance in the development of the Storm Detachment.
It is not yet possible, nor would it be in the interest of the nation, to write or speak openly and
freely on the subject. I shall speak of it only as far as the matter has been dealt with in public discussions and thus brought
to the knowledge of everybody.
The occupation of the Ruhr district, which did not come as a surprise to us, gave grounds for hoping
that Germany would at last abandon its cowardly policy of submission and therewith give the defensive associations a definite
task to fulfil. The Storm Detachment also, which now numbered several thousand of robust and vigorous young men, should not
be excluded from this national service. During the spring and summer of 1923 it was transformed into a fighting military organization.
It is to this reorganization that we must in great part attribute the later developments that took place during 1923, in so
far as it affected our Movement.
Elsewhere I shall deal in broad outline with the development of events in 1923. Here I wish only to
state that the transformation of the Storm Detachment at that time must have been detrimental to the interests of the Movement
if the conditions that had motivated the change were not to be carried into effect, namely, the adoption of a policy of active
resistance against France.
The events which took place at the close of 1923, terrible as they may appear at first sight, were
almost a necessity if looked at from a higher standpoint; because, in view of the attitude taken by the Government of the
German Reich, conversion of the Storm Troops into a military force would be meaningless and thus a transformation which would
also be harmful to the Movement was ended at one stroke. At the same time it was made possible for us to reconstruct at the
point where we had been diverted from the proper course.
In the year 1925 the German National Socialist Labour Party was re-founded and had to organize and
train its Storm Detachment once again according to the principles I have laid down. It must return to the original idea and
once more it must consider its most essential task to function as the instrument of defence and reinforcement in the spiritual
struggle to establish the ideals of the Movement.
The Storm Detachment must not be allowed to sink to the level of something in the nature of a defence
organization or a secret society. Steps must be taken rather to make it a vanguard of 100,000 men in the struggle for the
National Socialist ideal which is based on the profound principle of a People's State.
Chapter X: Federalism as a Mask
In the winter of 1919, and still more in the spring and summer of 1920, the young Party felt bound
to take up a definite stand on a question which already had become quite serious during the War. In the first volume of this
book I have briefly recorded certain facts which I had personally witnessed and which foreboded the break-up of Germany. In
describing these facts I made reference to the special nature of the propaganda which was directed by the English as well
as the French towards reopening the breach that had existed between North and South in Germany. In the spring of 1915 there
appeared the first of a series of leaflets which was systematically followed up and the aim of which was to arouse feeling
against Prussia as being solely responsible for the war. Up to 1916 this system had been developed and perfected in a cunning
and shameless manner. Appealing to the basest of human instincts, this propaganda endeavoured to arouse the wrath of the South
Germans against the North Germans and after a short time it bore fruit. Persons who were then in high positions under the
Government and in the Army, especially those attached to headquarters in the Bavarian Army, merited the just reproof of having
blindly neglected their duty and failed to take the necessary steps to counter such propaganda. But nothing was done. On the
contrary, in some quarters it did not appear to be quite unwelcome and probably they were short-sighted enough to think that
such propaganda might help along the development of unification in Germany but even that it might automatically bring about
consolidation of the federative forces. Scarcely ever in history was such a wicked neglect more wickedly avenged. The weakening
of Prussia, which they believed would result from this propaganda, affected the whole of Germany. It resulted in hastening
the collapse which not only wrecked Germany as a whole but even more particularly the federal states.
In that town where the artificially created hatred against Prussia raged most violently the revolt
against the reigning House was the beginning of the Revolution.
It would be a mistake to think that the enemy propaganda was exclusively responsible for creating
an anti-Prussian feeling and that there were no reasons which might excuse the people for having listened to this propaganda.
The incredible fashion in which the national economic interests were organized during the War, the absolutely crazy system
of centralization which made the whole Reich its ward and exploited the Reich, furnished the principal grounds for the growth
of that anti-Prussian feeling. The average citizen looked upon the companies for the placing of war contracts, all of which
had their headquarters in Berlin, as identical with Berlin and Berlin itself as identical with Prussia. The average citizen
did not know that the organization of these robber companies, which were called War Companies, was not in the hands of Berlin
or Prussia and not even in German hands at all. People recognized only the gross irregularities and the continual encroachments
of that hated institution in the Metropolis of the Reich and directed their anger towards Berlin and Prussia, all the more
because in certain quarters (the Bavarian Government) nothing was done to correct this attitude, but it was even welcomed
with silent rubbing of hands.
The Jew was far too shrewd not to understand that the infamous campaign which he had organized, under
the cloak of War Companies, for plundering the German nation would and must eventually arouse opposition. As long as that
opposition did not spring directly at his own throat he had no reason to be afraid. Hence he decided that the best way of
forestalling an outbreak on the part of the enraged and desperate masses would be to inflame their wrath and at the same time
give it another outlet.
Let Bavaria quarrel as much as it liked with Prussia and Prussia with Bavaria. The more, the merrier.
This bitter strife between the two states assured peace to the Jew. Thus public attention was completely diverted from the
international maggot in the body of the nation; indeed, he seemed to have been forgotten. Then when there came a danger that
level-headed people, of whom there are many to be found also in Bavaria, would advise a little more reserve and a more judicious
evaluation of things, thus calming the rage against Prussia, all the Jew had to do in Berlin was to stage a new provocation
and await results. Every time that was done all those who had profiteered out of the conflict between North and South filled
their lungs and again fanned the flame of indignation until it became a blaze.
It was a shrewd and expert manoeuvre on the part of the Jew, to set the different branches of the
German people quarrelling with one another, so that their attention would be turned away from himself and he could plunder
them all the more completely.
Then came the Revolution.
Until the year 1918, or rather until the November of that year, the average German citizen, particularly
the less educated lower middle-class and the workers, did not rightly understand what was happening and did not realize what
must be the inevitable consequences, especially for Bavaria, of this internecine strife between the branches of the German
people; but at least those sections which called themselves 'National' ought to have clearly perceived these consequences
on the day that the Revolution broke out. For the moment the coup d'état had succeeded, the leader and organizer of the Revolution
in Bavaria put himself forward as the defender of 'Bavarian' interests. The international Jew, Kurt Eisner, began to play
off Bavaria against Prussia. This Oriental was just about the last person in the world that could be pointed to as the logical
defender of Bavarian interests. In his trade as newspaper reporter he had wandered from place to place all over Germany and
to him it was a matter of sheer indifference whether Bavaria or any other particular part of God's whole world continued to
In deliberately giving the revolutionary rising in Bavaria the character of an offensive against Prussia,
Kurt Eisner was not acting in the slightest degree from the standpoint of Bavarian interests, but merely as the commissioned
representative of Jewry. He exploited existing instincts and antipathies in Bavaria as a means which would help to make the
dismemberment of Germany all the more easy. When once dismembered, the Reich would fall an easy prey to Bolshevism.
The tactics employed by him were continued for a time after his death. The Marxists, who had always
derided and exploited the individual German states and their princes, now suddenly appealed, as an 'Independent Party' to
those sentiments and instincts which had their strongest roots in the families of the reigning princes and the individual
The fight waged by the Bavarian Soviet Republic against the military contingents that were sent to
free Bavaria from its grasp was represented by the Marxist propagandists as first of all the 'Struggle of the Bavarian Worker'
against 'Prussian Militarism.' This explains why it was that the suppression of the Soviet Republic in Munich did not have
the same effect there as in the other German districts. Instead of recalling the masses to a sense of reason, it led to increased
bitterness and anger against Prussia.
The art of the Bolshevik agitators, in representing the suppression of the Bavarian Soviet Republic
as a victory of 'Prussian Militarism' over the 'Anti-militarists' and 'Anti-Prussian' people of Bavaria, bore rich fruit.
Whereas on the occasion of the elections to the Bavarian Legislative Diet, Kurt Eisner did not have ten thousand followers
in Munich and the Communist party less than three thousand, after the fall of the Bavarian Republic the votes given to the
two parties together amounted to nearly one hundred thousand.
It was then that I personally began to combat that crazy incitement of some branches of the German
people against other branches.
I believe that never in my life did I undertake a more unpopular task than I did when I took my stand
against the anti-Prussian incitement. During the Soviet regime in Munich great public meetings were held at which hatred against
the rest of Germany, but particularly against Prussia, was roused up to such a pitch that a North German would have risked
his life in attending one of those meetings. These meetings often ended in wild shouts: "Away from Prussia", "Down with the
Prussians", "War against Prussia", and so on. This feeling was openly expressed in the Reichstag by a particularly brilliant
defender of Bavarian sovereign rights when he said: "Rather die as a Bavarian than rot as a Prussian".
One should have attended some of the meetings held at that time in order to understand what it meant
for one when, for the first time and surrounded by only a handful of friends, I raised my voice against this folly at a meeting
held in the Munich Löwenbräu Keller. Some of my War comrades stood by me then. And it is easy to imagine how we felt when
that raging crowd, which had lost all control of its reason, roared at us and threatened to kill us. During the time that
we were fighting for the country the same crowd were for the most part safely ensconced in the rear positions or were peacefully
circulating at home as deserters and shirkers. It is true that that scene turned out to be of advantage to me. My small band
of comrades felt for the first time absolutely united with me and readily swore to stick by me through life and death.
These conflicts, which were constantly repeated in 1919, seemed to become more violent soon after
the beginning of 1920. There were meetings – I remember especially one in the Wagner Hall in the Sonnenstrasse in Munich
– during the course of which my group, now grown much larger, had to defend themselves against assaults of the most
violent character. It happened more than once that dozens of my followers were mishandled, thrown to the floor and stamped
upon by the attackers and were finally thrown out of the hall more dead than alive.
The struggle which I had undertaken, first by myself alone and afterwards with the support of my war
comrades, was now continued by the young movement, I might say almost as a sacred mission.
I am proud of being able to say today that we – depending almost exclusively on our followers
in Bavaria – were responsible for putting an end, slowly but surely, to the coalition of folly and treason. I say folly
and treason because, although convinced that the masses who joined in it meant well but were stupid, I cannot attribute such
simplicity as an extenuating circumstance in the case of the organizers and their abetters. I then looked upon them,and still
look upon them today, as traitors in the payment of France. In one case, that of Dorten, history has already pronounced its
The situation became specially dangerous at that time by reason of the fact that they were very astute
in their ability to cloak their real tendencies, by insisting primarily on their federative intentions and claiming that those
were the sole motives of the agitation. Of course it is quite obvious that the agitation against Prussia had nothing to do
with federalism. Surely 'Federal Activities' is not the phrase with which to describe an effort to dissolve and dismember
another federal state. For an honest federalist, for whom the formula used by Bismarck to define his idea of the Reich is
not a counterfeit phrase, could not in the same breath express the desire to cut off portions of the Prussian State, which
was created or at least completed by Bismarck. Nor could he publicly support such a separatist attempt.
What an outcry would be raised in Munich if some prussian conservative party declared itself in favour
of detaching Franconia from Bavaria or took public action in demanding and promoting such a separatist policy. Nevertheless,
one can only have sympathy for all those real and honest federalists who did not see through this infamous swindle, for they
were its principal victims. By distorting the federalist idea in such a way its own champions prepared its grave. One cannot
make propaganda for a federalist configuration of the Reich by debasing and abusing and besmirching the essential element
of such a political structure, namely Prussia, and thus making such a Confederation impossible, if it ever had been possible.
It is all the more incredible by reason of the fact that the fight carried on by those so-called federalists was directed
against that section of the Prussian people which was the last that could be looked upon as connected with the November democracy.
For the abuse and attacks of these so-called federalists were not levelled against the fathers of the Weimar Constitution
– the majority of whom were South Germans or Jews – but against those who represented the old conservative Prussia,
which was the antipodes of the Weimar Constitution. The fact that the directors of this campaign were careful not to touch
the Jews is not to be wondered at and perhaps gives the key to the whole riddle.
Before the Revolution the Jew was successful in distracting attention from himself and his War Companies
by inciting the masses, and especially the Bavarians, against Prussia. Similarly he felt obliged, after the Revolution, to
find some way of camouflaging his new plunder campaign which was nine or ten times greater. And again he succeeded, in this
case by provoking the so-called 'national' elements against one another: the conservative Bavarians against the Prussians,
who were just as conservative. He acted again with extreme cunning, inasmuch as he who held the reins of Prussia's destiny
in his hands provoked such crude and tactless aggressions that again and again they set the blood boiling in those who were
being continually duped. Never against the Jew, however, but always the German against his own brother. The Bavarian did not
see the Berlin of four million industrious and efficient working people, but only the lazy and decadent Berlin which is to
be found in the worst quarters of the West End. And his antipathy was not directed against this West End of Berlin but against
the 'Prussian' city.
In many cases it tempted one to despair.
The ability which the Jew has displayed in turning public attention away from himself and giving it
another direction may be studied also in what is happening today.
In 1918 there was nothing like an organized anti-Semitic feeling. I still remember the difficulties
we encountered the moment we mentioned the Jew. We were either confronted with dumb-struck faces or else a lively and hefty
antagonism. The efforts we made at the time to point out the real enemy to the public seemed to be doomed to failure. But
then things began to change for the better, though only very slowly. The 'League for Defence and Offence' was defectively
organized but at least it had the great merit of opening up the Jewish question once again. In the winter of 1918–1919
a kind of anti-semitism began slowly to take root. Later on the National Socialist Movement presented the Jewish problem in
a new light. Taking the question beyond the restricted circles of the upper classes and small bourgeoisie we succeeded in
transforming it into the driving motive of a great popular movement. But the moment we were successful in placing this problem
before the German people in the light of an idea that would unite them in one struggle the Jew reacted. He resorted to his
old tactics. With amazing alacrity he hurled the torch of discord into the patriotic movement and opened a rift there. In
bringing forward the ultramontane question and in the mutual quarrels that it gave rise to between Catholicism and Protestantism
lay the sole possibility, as conditions then were, of occupying public attention with other problems and thus ward off the
attack which had been concentrated against Jewry. The men who dragged our people into this controversy can never make amends
for the crime they then committed against the nation. Anyhow, the Jew has attained the ends he desired. Catholics and Protestants
are fighting with one another to their hearts' content, while the enemy of Aryan humanity and all Christendom is laughing
up his sleeve.
Once it was possible to occupy the attention of the public for several years with the struggle between
federalism and unification, wearing out their energies in this mutual friction while the Jew trafficked in the freedom of
the nation and sold our country to the masters of international high finance. So in our day he has succeeded again, this time
by raising ructions between the two German religious denominations while the foundations on which both rest are being eaten
away and destroyed through the poison injected by the international and cosmopolitan Jew.
Look at the ravages from which our people are suffering daily as a result of being contaminated with
Jewish blood. Bear in mind the fact that this poisonous contamination can be eliminated from the national body only after
centuries, or perhaps never. Think further of how the process of racial decomposition is debasing and in some cases even destroying
the fundamental Aryan qualities of our German people, so that our cultural creativeness as a nation is gradually becoming
impotent and we are running the danger, at least in our great cities, of falling to the level where Southern Italy is today.
This pestilential adulteration of the blood, of which hundreds of thousands of our people take no account, is being systematically
practised by the Jew today. Systematically these negroid parasites in our national body corrupt our innocent fair-haired girls
and thus destroy something which can no longer be replaced in this world.
The two Christian denominations look on with indifference at the profanation and destruction of a
noble and unique creature who was given to the world as a gift of God's grace. For the future of the world, however, it does
not matter which of the two triumphs over the other, the Catholic or the Protestant. But it does matter whether Aryan humanity
survives or perishes. And yet the two Christian denominations are not contending against the destroyer of Aryan humanity but
are trying to destroy one another. Everybody who has the right kind of feeling for his country is solemnly bound, each within
his own denomination, to see to it that he is not constantly talking about the Will of God merely from the lips but that in
actual fact he fulfils the Will of God and does not allow God's handiwork to be debased. For it was by the Will of God that
men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties. Whoever destroys His work wages war
against God's Creation and God's Will. Therefore everyone should endeavour, each in his own denomination of course, and should
consider it as his first and most solemn duty to hinder any and everyone whose conduct tends, either by word or deed, to go
outside his own religious body and pick a quarrel with those of another denomination. For, in view of the religious schism
that exists in Germany, to attack the essential characteristics of one denomination must necessarily lead to a war of extermination
between the two Christian denominations. Here there can be no comparison between our position and that of France, or Spain
or Italy. In those three countries one may, for instance, make propaganda for the side that is fighting against ultramontanism
without thereby incurring the danger of a national rift among the French, or Spanish or Italian people. In Germany, however,
that cannot be so, for here the Protestants would also take part in such propaganda. And thus the defence which elsewhere
only Catholics organize against clerical aggression in political matters would assume with us the character of a Protestant
attack against Catholicism. What may be tolerated by the faithful in one denomination even when it seems unjust to them, will
at once be indignantly rejected and opposed on a priori grounds if it should come from the militant leaders of another denomination.
This is so true that even men who would be ready and willing to fight for the removal of manifest grievances within their
own religious denomination will drop their own fight and turn their activities against the outsider the moment the abolition
of such grievances is counselled or demanded by one who is not of the same faith. They consider it unjustified and inadmissible
and incorrect for outsiders to meddle in matters which do not affect them at all. Such attempts are not excused even when
they are inspired by a feeling for the supreme interests of the national community; because even in our day religious feelings
still have deeper roots than all feeling for political and national expediency. That cannot be changed by setting one denomination
against another in bitter conflict. It can be changed only if, through a spirit of mutual tolerance, the nation can be assured
of a future the greatness of which will gradually operate as a conciliating factor in the sphere of religion also. I have
no hesitation in saying that in those men who seek today to embroil the patriotic movement in religious quarrels I see worse
enemies of my country than the international communists are. For the National Socialist Movement has set itself to the task
of converting those communists. But anyone who goes outside the ranks of his own Movement and tends to turn it away from the
fulfilment of its mission is acting in a manner that deserves the severest condemnation. He is acting as a champion of Jewish
interests, whether consciously or unconsciously does not matter. For it is in the interests of the Jews today that the energies
of the patriotic movement should be squandered in a religious conflict, because it is beginning to be dangerous for the Jews.
I have purposely used the phrase about squandering the energies of the Movement, because nobody but some person who is entirely
ignorant of history could imagine that this movement can solve a question which the greatest statesmen have tried for centuries
to solve, and tried in vain.
Anyhow the facts speak for themselves. The men who suddenly discovered, in 1924, that the highest
mission of the patriotic movement was to fight ultramontanism, have not succeeded in smashing ultramontanism, but they succeeded
in splitting the patriotic movement. I have to guard against the possibility of some immature brain arising in the patriotic
movement which thinks that it can do what even a Bismarck failed to do. It will be always one of the first duties of those
who are directing the National Socialist Movement to oppose unconditionally any attempt to place the National Socialist Movement
at the service of such a conflict. And anybody who conducts a propaganda with that end in view must be expelled forthwith
from its ranks.
As a matter of fact we succeeded until the autumn of 1923 in keeping our movement away from such controversies.
The most devoted Protestant could stand side by side with the most devoted Catholic in our ranks without having his conscience
disturbed in the slightest as far as concerned his religious convictions. The bitter struggle which both waged in common against
the wrecker of Aryan humanity taught them natural respect and esteem. And it was just in those years that our movement had
to engage in a bitter strife with the Centre Party not for religious ends but for national, racial, political and economic
ends. The success we then achieved showed that we were right, but it does not speak today in favour of those who thought they
In recent years things have gone so far that patriotic circles, in god-forsaken blindness of their
religious strife, could not recognize the folly of their conduct even from the fact that atheist Marxist newspapers advocated
the cause of one religious denomination or the other, according as it suited Marxist interests, so as to create confusion
through slogans and declarations which were often immeasurably stupid, now molesting the one party and again the other, and
thus poking the fire to keep the blaze at its highest.
But in the case of a people like the Germans, whose history has so often shown them capable of fighting
for phantoms to the point of complete exhaustion, every war-cry is a mortal danger. By these slogans our people have often
been drawn away from the real problems of their existence. While we were exhausting our energies in religious wars the others
were acquiring their share of the world. And while the patriotic movement is debating with itself whether the ultramontane
danger be greater than the Jewish, or vice versa, the Jew is destroying the racial basis of our existence and thereby annihilating
our people. As far as regards that kind of 'patriotic' warrior, on behalf of the National Socialist Movement and therefore
of the German people I pray with all my heart: "Lord, preserve us from such friends, and then we can easily deal with our
The controversy over federation and unification, so cunningly propagandized by the Jews in 1919-1920
and onwards, forced National Socialism, which repudiated the quarrel, to take up a definite stand in relation to the essential
problem concerned in it. Ought Germany to be a confederacy or a military State? What is the practical significance of these
terms? To me it seems that the second question is more important than the first, because it is fundamental to the understanding
of the whole problem and also because the answer to it may help to clear up confusion and therewith have a conciliating effect.
What is a Confederacy?
By a Confederacy we mean a union of sovereign states which of their own free will and in virtue of
their sovereignty come together and create a collective unit, ceding to that unit as much of their own sovereign rights as
will render the existence of the union possible and will guarantee it.
But the theoretical formula is not wholly put into practice by any confederacy that exists today.
And least of all by the American Union, where it is impossible to speak of original sovereignty in regard to the majority
of the states. Many of them were not included in the federal complex until long after it had been established. The states
that make up the American Union are mostly in the nature of territories, more or less, formed for technical administrative
purposes, their boundaries having in many cases been fixed in the mapping office. Originally these states did not and could
not possess sovereign rights of their own. Because it was the Union that created most of the so-called states. Therefore the
sovereign rights, often very comprehensive, which were left, or rather granted, to the various territories correspond not
only to the whole character of the Confederation but also to its vast space, which is equivalent to the size of a Continent.
Consequently, in speaking of the United States of America one must not consider them as sovereign states but as enjoying rights
or, better perhaps, autarchic powers, granted to them and guaranteed by the Constitution.
Nor does our definition adequately express the condition of affairs in Germany. It is true that in
Germany the individual states existed as states before the Reich and that the Reich was formed from them. The Reich, however,
was not formed by the voluntary and equal co-operation of the individual states, but rather because the state of Prussia gradually
acquired a position of hegemony over the others. The difference in the territorial area alone between the German states prevents
any comparison with the American Union. The great difference in territorial area between the very small German states that
then existed and the larger, or even still more the largest, demonstrates the inequality of their achievements and shows that
they could not take an equal part in founding and shaping the federal Empire. In the case of most of these individual states
it cannot be maintained that they ever enjoyed real sovereignty; and the term 'State Sovereignty' was really nothing more
than an administrative formula which had no inner meaning. As a matter of fact, not only developments in the past but also
in our own time wiped out several of these so-called 'Sovereign States' and thus proved in the most definite way how frail
these 'sovereign' state formations were.
I cannot deal here with the historical question of how these individual states came to be established,
but I must call attention to the fact that hardly in any case did their frontiers coincide with ethical frontiers of the inhabitants.
They were purely political phenomena which for the most part emerged during the sad epoch when the German Empire was in a
state of exhaustion and was dismembered. They represented both cause and effect in the process of exhaustion and partition
of our fatherland.
The Constitution of the old Reich took all this into account, at least up to a certain degree, in
so far as the individual states were not accorded equal representation in the Reichstag, but a representation proportionate
to their respective areas, their actual importance and the role which they played in the formation of the Reich.
The sovereign rights which the individual states renounced in order to form the Reich were voluntarily
ceded only to a very small degree. For the most part they had no practical existence or they were simply taken by Prussia
under the pressure of her preponderant power. The principle followed by Bismarck was not to give the Reich what he could take
from the individual states but to demand from the individual states only what was absolutely necessary for the Reich. A moderate
and wise policy. On the one side Bismarck showed the greatest regard for customs and traditions; on the other side his policy
secured for the new Reich from its foundation onwards a great measure of love and willing co-operation. But it would be a
fundamental error to attribute Bismarck's decision to any conviction on his part that the Reich was thus acquiring all the
rights of sovereignty which would suflice for all time. That was far from Bismarck's idea. On the contrary, he wished to leave
over for the future what it would be difficult to carry through at the moment and might not have been readily agreed to by
the individual states. He trusted to the levelling effect of time and to the pressure exercised by the process of evolution,
the steady action of which appeared more effective than an attempt to break the resistance which the individual states offered
at the moment. By this policy he showed his great ability in the art of statesmanship. And, as a matter of fact, the sovereignty
of the Reich has continually increased at the cost of the sovereignty of the individual states. The passing of time has achieved
what Bismarck hoped it would.
The German collapse and the abolition of the monarchical form of government necessarily hastened this
development. The German federal states, which had not been grounded on ethnical foundations but arose rather out of political
conditions, were bound to lose their importance the moment the monarchical form of government and the dynasties connected
with it were abolished, for it was to the spirit inherent in these that the individual states owned their political origin
and development. Thus deprived of their internal raison d'être, they renounced all right to survival and were induced by purely
practical reasons to fuse with their neighbours or else they joined the more powerful states out of their own free will. That
proved in a striking manner how extraordinarily frail was the actual sovereignty these small phantom states enjoyed, and it
proved too how lightly they were estimated by their own citizens.
Though the abolition of the monarchical regime and its representatives had dealt a hard blow to the
federal character of the Reich, still more destructive, from the federal point of view, was the acceptance of the obligations
that resulted from the 'peace' treaty.
It was only natural and logical that the federal states should lose all sovereign control over the
finances the moment the Reich, in consequence of a lost war, was subjected to financial obligations which could never be guaranteed
through separate treaties with the individual states. The subsequent steps which led the Reich to take over the posts and
railways were an enforced advance in the process of enslaving our people, a process which the peace treaties gradually developed.
The Reich was forced to secure possession of resources which had to be constantly increased in order to satisfy the demands
made by further extortions.
The form in which the powers of the Reich were thus extended to embrace the federal states was often
ridiculously stupid, but in itself the procedure was logical and natural. The blame for it must be laid at the door of these
men and those parties that failed in the hour of need to concentrate all their energies in an effort to bring the war to a
victorious issue. The guilt lies on those parties which, especially in Bavaria, catered for their own egotistic interests
during the war and refused to the Reich what the Reich had to requisition to a tenfold greater measure when the war was lost.
The retribution of History! Rarely has the vengeance of Heaven followed so closely on the crime as it did in this case. Those
same parties which, a few years previously, placed the interests of their own states – especially in Bavaria –
before those of the Reich had now to look on passively while the pressure of events forced the Reich, in its own interests,
to abolish the existence of the individual states. They were the victims of their own defaults.
It was an unparalleled example of hypocrisy to raise the cry of lamentation over the loss which the
federal states suffered in being deprived of their sovereign rights. This cry was raised before the electorate, for it is
only to the electorate that our contemporary parties address themselves. But these parties, without exception, outbid one
another in accepting a policy of fulfilment which, by the sheer force of circumstances and in its ultimate consequences, could
not but lead to a profound alteration in the internal structure of the Reich. Bismarck's Reich was free and unhampered by
any obligations towards the outside world.
Bismarck's Reich never had to shoulder such heavy and entirely unproductive obligations as those to
which Germany was subjected under the Dawes Plan. Also in domestic affairs Bismarck's Reich was able to limit its powers to
a few matters that were absolutely necessary for its existence. Therefore it could dispense with the necessity of a financial
control over these states and could live from their contributions. On the other side the relatively small financial tribute
which the federal states had to pay to the Reich induced them to welcome its existence. But it is untrue and unjust to state
now, as certain propagandists do, that the federal states are displeased with the Reich merely because of their financial
subjection to it. No, that is not how the matter really stands. The lack of sympathy for the political idea embodied in the
Reich is not due to the loss of sovereign rights on the part of the individual states. It is much more the result of the deplorable
fashion in which the present régime cares for the interests of the German people. Despite all the celebrations in honour of
the national flag and the Constitution, every section of the German people feels that the present Reich is not in accordance
with its heart's desire. And the Law for the Protection of the Republic may prevent outrages against republican institutions,
but it will not gain the love of one single German. In its constant anxiety to protect itself against its own citizens by
means of laws and sentences of imprisonment, the Republic has aroused sharp and humiliating criticism of all republican institutions
For another reason also it is untrue to say, as certain parties affirm today, that the Reich has ceased
to be popular on account of its overbearing conduct in regard to certain sovereign rights which the individual states had
heretofore enjoyed. Supposing the Reich had not extended its authority over the individual states, there is no reason to believe
that it would find more favour among those states if the general obligations remained so heavy as they now are. On the contrary,
if the individual states had to pay their respective shares of the highly increased tribute which the Reich has to meet today
in order to fulfil the provisions of the Versailles Dictate, the hostility towards the Reich would be infinitely greater.
For then not only would it prove difficult to collect the respective contributions due to the Reich from the federal states,
but coercive methods would have to be employed in making the collections. The Republic stands on the footing of the peace
treaties and has neither the courage nor the intention to break them. That being so, it must observe the obligations which
the peace treaties have imposed on it. The responsibility for this situation is to be attributed solely to those parties who
preach unceasingly to the patient electoral masses on the necessity of maintaining the autonomy of the federal states, while
at the same time they champion and demand of the Reich a policy which must necessarily lead to the suppression of even the
very last of those so-called 'sovereign' rights.
I say necessarily because the present Reich has no other possible means of bearing the burden of charges
which an insane domestic and foreign policy has laid on it. Here still another wedge is placed on the former, to drive it
in still deeper. Every new debt which the Reich contracts, through the criminal way in which the interests of Germany are
represented vis-à-vis foreign countries, necessitates a new and stronger blow which drives the under wedges still deeper,
That blow demands another step in the progressive abolition of the sovereign rights of the individual states, so as not to
allow the germs of opposition to rise up into activity or even to exist.
The chief characteristic difference between the policy of the present Reich and that of former times
lies in this: The old Reich gave freedom to its people at home and showed itself strong towards the outside world, whereas
the Republic shows itself weak towards the stranger and oppresses its own citizens at home. In both cases one attitude determines
the other. A vigorous national State does not need to make many laws for the interior, because of the affection and attachment
of its citizens. The international servile State can live only by coercing its citizens to render it the services it demands.
And it is a piece of impudent falsehood for the present regime to speak of 'Free citizens'. Only the old Germany could speak
in that manner. The present Republic is a colony of slaves at the service of the stranger. At best it has subjects, but not
citizens. Hence it does not possess a national flag but only a trade mark, introduced and protected by official decree and
legislative measures. This symbol, which is the Gessler's cap of German Democracy, will always remain alien to the spirit
of our people. On its side, the Republic having no sense of tradition or respect for past greatness, dragged the symbol of
the past in the mud, but it will be surprised one day to discover how superficial is the devotion of its citizens to its own
symbol. The Republic has given to itself the character of an intermezzo in German history. And so this State is bound constantly
to restrict more and more the sovereign rights of the individual states, not only for general reasons of a financial character
but also on principle. For by enforcing a policy of financial blackmail, to squeeze the last ounce of substance out of its
people, it is forced also to take their last rights away from them, lest the general discontent may one day flame up into
We, National Socialists, would reverse this formula and would adopt the following axiom: A strong
national Reich which recognizes and protects to the largest possible measure the rights of its citizens both within and outside
its frontiers can allow freedom to reign at home without trembling for the safety of the State. On the other hand, a strong
national Government can intervene to a considerable degree in the liberties of the individual subject as well as in the liberties
of the constituent states without thereby weakening the ideal of the Reich; and it can do this while recognizing its responsibility
for the ideal of the Reich, because in these particular acts and measures the individual citizen recognizes a means of promoting
the prestige of the nation as a whole.
Of course, every State in the world has to face the question of unification in its internal organization.
And Germany is no exception in this matter. Nowadays it is absurd to speak of 'statal sovereignty' for the constituent states
of the Reich, because that has already become impossible on account of the ridiculously small size of so many of these states.
In the sphere of commerce as well as that of administration the importance of the individual states has been steadily decreasing.
Modern means of communication and mechanical progress have been increasingly restricting distance and space. What was once
a State is today only a province and the territory covered by a modern State had once the importance of a continent. The purely
technical difficulty of administering a State like Germany is not greater than that of governing a province like Brandenburg
a hundred years ago. And today it is easier to cover the distance from Munich to Berlin than it was to cover the distance
from Munich to Starnberg a hundred years ago. In view of the modern means of transport, the whole territory of the Reich today
is smaller than that of certain German federal states at the time of the Napoleonic wars. To close one's eyes to the consequences
of these facts means to live in the past. There always were, there are and always will be, men who do this. They may retard
but they cannot stop the revolutions of history.
We, National Socialists, must not allow the consequences of that truth to pass by us unnoticed. In
these matters also we must not permit ourselves to be misled by the phrases of our so-called national bourgeois parties. I
say 'phrases', because these same parodies do not seriously believe that it is possible for them to carry out their proposals,
and because they themselves are the chief culprits and also the accomplices responsible for the present state of affairs.
Especially in Bavaria, the demands for a halt in the process of centralization can be no more than a party move behind which
there is no serious idea. If these parties ever had to pass from the realm of phrase-making into that of practical deeds they
would present a sorry spectacle. Every so-called 'Robbery of Sovereign Rights' from Bavaria by the Reich has met with no practical
resistance, except for some fatuous barking by way of protest. Indeed, when anyone seriously opposed the madness that was
shown in carrying out this system of centralization he was told by those same parties that he understood nothing of the nature
and needs of the State today. They slandered him and pronounced him anathema and persecuted him until he was either shut up
in prison or illegally deprived of the right of public speech. In the light of these facts our followers should become all
the more convinced of the profound hypocrisy which characterizes these so-called federalist circles. To a certain extent they
use the federalist doctrine just as they use the name of religion, merely as a means of promoting their own base party interests.
A certain unification, especially in the field of transport., appears logical. But we, National Socialists,
feel it our duty to oppose with all our might such a development in the modern State, especially when the measures proposed
are solely for the purpose of screening a disastrous foreign policy and making it possible. And just because the present Reich
has threatened to take over the railways, the posts, the finances, etc., not from the high standpoint of a national policy,
but in order to have in its hands the means and pledges for an unlimited policy of fulfilment – for that reason we,
National Socialists, must take every step that seems suitable to obstruct and, if possible, definitely to prevent such a policy.
We must fight against the present system of amalgamating institutions that are vitally important for the existence of our
people, because this system is being adopted solely to facilitate the payment of milliards and the transference of pledges
to the stranger, under the post-War provisions which our politicians have accepted.
For these reasons also the National Socialist Movement has to take up a stand against such tendencies.
Moreover, we must oppose such centralization because in domestic affairs it helps to reinforce a system
of government which in all its manifestations has brought the greatest misfortunes on the German nation. The present Jewish-Democratic
Reich, which has become a veritable curse for the German people, is seeking to negative the force of the criticism offered
by all the federal states which have not yet become imbued with the spirit of the age, and is trying to carry out this policy
by crushing them to the point of annihilation. In face of this we National Socialists must try to ground the opposition of
the individual states on such a basis that it will be able to operate with a good promise of success. We must do this by transforming
the struggle against centralization into something that will be an expression of the higher interests of the German nation
as such. Therefore, while the Bavarian Populist Party, acting from its own narrow and particularist standpoint, fights to
maintain the 'special rights' of the Bavarian State, we ought to stand on quite a different ground in fighting for the same
rights. Our grounds ought to be those of the higher national interests in opposition to the November Democracy.
A still further reason for opposing a centralizing process of that kind arises from the certain conviction
that in great part this so-called nationalization does not make for unification at all and still less for simplification.
In many cases it is adopted simply as a means of removing from the sovereign control of the individual states certain institutions
which they wish to place in the hands of the revolutionary parties. In German History favouritism has never been of so base
a character as in the democratic republic. A great portion of this centralization today is the work of parties which once
promised that they would open the way for the promotion of talent, meaning thereby that they would fill those posts and offices
entirely with their own partisans. Since the foundation of the Republic the Jews especially have been obtaining positions
in the economic institutions taken over by the Reich and also positions in the national administration, so that the one and
the other have become preserves of Jewry.
For tactical reasons, this last consideration obliges us to watch with the greatest attention every
further attempt at centralization and fight it at each step. But in doing this our standpoint must always be that of a lofty
national policy and never a pettifogging particularism.
This last observation is necessary, lest an opinion might arise among our own followers that we do
not accredit to the Reich the right of incorporating in itself a sovereignty which is superior to that of the constituent
states. As regards this right we cannot and must not entertain the slightest doubt. Because for us the State is nothing but
a form. Its substance, or content, is the essential thing. And that is the nation, the people. It is clear therefore that
every other interest must be subordinated to the supreme interests of the nation. In particular we cannot accredit to any
other state a sovereign power and sovereign rights within the confines of the nation and the Reich, which represents the nation.
The absurdity which some federal states commit by maintaining 'representations' abroad and corresponding foreign 'representations'
among themselves – that must cease and will cease. Until this happens we cannot be surprised if certain foreign countries
are dubious about the political unity of the Reich and act accordingly. The absurdity of these 'representations' is all the
greater because they do harm and do not bring the slightest advantage. If the interests of a German abroad cannot be protected
by the ambassador of the Reich, much less can they be protected by the minister from some small federal state which appears
ridiculous in the framework of the present world order. The real truth is that these small federal states are envisaged as
points of attack for attempts at secession, which prospect is always pleasing to a certain foreign State. We, National Socialists,
must not allow some noble caste which has become effete with age to occupy an ambassadorial post abroad, with the idea that
by engrafting one of its withered branches in new soil the green leaves may sprout again. Already in the time of the old Reich
our diplomatic representatives abroad were such a sorry lot that a further trial of that experience would be out of the question.
It is certain that in the future the importance of the individual states will be transferred to the
sphere of our cultural policy. The monarch who did most to make Bavaria an important centre was not an obstinate particularist
with anti-German tendencies, but Ludwig I who was as much devoted to the ideal of German greatness as he was to that of art.
His first consideration was to use the powers of the state to develop the cultural position of Bavaria and not its political
power. And in doing this he produced better and more durable results than if he had followed any other line of conduct. Up
to this time Munich was a provincial residence town of only small importance, but he transformed it into the metropolis of
German art and by doing so he made it an intellectual centre which even today holds Franconia to Bavaria, though the Franconians
are of quite a different temperament. If Munich had remained as it had been earlier, what has happened in Saxony would have
been repeated in Bavaria, with the diAerence that Leipzig and Bavarian Nürnberg would have become, not Bavarian but Franconian
cities. It was not the cry of "Down with Prussia" that made Munich great. What made this a city of importance was the King
who wished to present it to the German nation as an artistic jewel that would have to be seen and appreciated, and so it has
turned out in fact. Therein lies a lesson for the future. The importance of the individual states in the future will no longer
lie in their political or statal power. I look to them rather as important ethnical and cultural centres. But even in this
respect time will do its levelling work. Modern travelling facilities shuffle people among one another in such a way that
tribal boundaries will fade out and even the cultural picture will gradually become more of a uniform pattern.
The army must definitely be kept clear of the influence of the individual states. The coming National
Socialist State must not fall back into the error of the past by imposing on the army a task which is not within its sphere
and never should have been assigned to it. The German army does not exist for the purpose of being a school in which tribal
particularisms are to be cultivated and preserved, but rather as a school for teaching all the Germans to understand and adapt
their habits to one another. Whatever tends to have a separating influence in the life of the nation ought to be made a unifying
influence in the army. The army must raise the German boy above the narrow horizon of his own little native province and set
him within the broad picture of the nation. The youth must learn to know, not the confines of his own region but those of
the fatherland, because it is the latter that he will have to defend one day. It is therefore absurd to have the German youth
do his military training in his own native region. During that period he ought to learn to know Germany. This is all the more
important today, since young Germans no longer travel on their own account as they once used to do and thus enlarge their
horizon. In view of this, is it not absurd to leave the young Bavarian recruit at Munich, the recruit from Baden at Baden
itself and the Württemberger at Stuttgart and so on? And would it not be more reasonable to show the Rhine and the North Sea
to the Bavarian, the Alps to the native of Hamburg and the mountains of Central Germany to the boy from East Prussia? The
character proper to each region ought to be maintained in the troops but not in the training garrisons. We may disapprove
of every attempt at unification but not that of unifying the army. On the contrary, even though we should wish to welcome
no other kind of unification, this must be greeted with joy. In view of the size of the present army of the Reich, it would
be absurd to maintain the federal divisions among the troops. Moreover, in the unification of the German army which has actually
been effected we see a fact which we must not renounce but restore in the future national army.
Finally a new and triumphant idea should burst every chain which tends to paralyse its efforts to
push forward. National Socialism must claim the right to impose its principles on the whole German nation, without regard
to what were hitherto the confines of federal states. And we must educate the German nation in our ideas and principles. As
the Churches do not feel themselves bound or limited by political confines, so the National Socialist Idea cannot feel itself
limited to the territories of the individual federal states that belong to our Fatherland.
The National Socialist doctrine is not handmaid to the political interests of the single federal states.
One day it must become teacher to the whole German nation. It must determine the life of the whole people and shape that life
anew. For this reason we must imperatively demand the right to overstep boundaries that have been traced by a political development
which we repudiate.
The more completely our ideas triumph, the more liberty can we concede in particular affairs to our
citizens at home.
Chapter XI: Propaganda and Organization
The year 1921 was specially important for me from many points of view.
When I entered the German Labour Party I at once took charge of the propaganda, believing this branch
to be far the most important for the time being. Just then it was not a matter of pressing necessity to cudgel one's brains
over problems of organization. The first necessity was to spread our ideas among as many people as possible. Propaganda should
go well ahead of organization and gather together the human material for the latter to work up. I have never been in favour
of hasty and pedantic methods of organization, because in most cases the result is merely a piece of dead mechanism and only
rarely a living organization. Organization is a thing that derives its existence from organic life, organic evolution. When
the same set of ideas have found a lodgement in the minds of a certain number of people they tend of themselves to form a
certain degree of order among those people and out of this inner formation something that is very valuable arises. Of course
here, as everywhere else, one must take account of those human weaknesses which make men hesitate, especially at the beginning,
to submit to the control of a superior mind. If an organization is imposed from above downwards in a mechanical fashion, there
is always the danger that some individual may push himself forward who is not known for what he is and who, out of jealousy,
will try to hinder abler persons from taking a leading place in the movement. The damage that results from that kind of thing
may have fatal consequences, especially in a new movement.
For this reason it is advisable first to propagate and publicly expound the ideas on which the movement
is founded. This work of propaganda should continue for a certain time and should be directed from one centre. When the ideas
have gradually won over a number of people this human material should be carefully sifted for the purpose of selecting those
who have ability in leadership and putting that ability to the test. It will often be found that apparently insignificant
persons will nevertheless turn out to be born leaders.
Of course, it is quite a mistake to suppose that those who show a very intelligent grasp of the theory
underlying a movement are for that reason qualified to fill responsible positions on the directorate. The contrary is very
frequently the case.
Great masters of theory are only very rarely great organizers also. And this is because the greatness
of the theorist and founder of a system consists in being able to discover and lay down those laws that are right in the abstract,
whereas the organizer must first of all be a man of psychological insight. He must take men as they are, and for that reason
he must know them, not having too high or too low an estimate of human nature. He must take account of their weaknesses, their
baseness and all the other various characteristics, so as to form something out of them which will be a living organism, endowed
with strong powers of resistance, fitted to be the carrier of an idea and strong enough to ensure the triumph of that idea.
But it is still more rare to find a great theorist who is at the same time a great leader. For the
latter must be more of an agitator, a truth that will not be readily accepted by many of those who deal with problems only
from the scientific standpoint. And yet what I say is only natural. For an agitator who shows himself capable of expounding
ideas to the great masses must always be a psychologist, even though he may be only a demagogue. Therefore he will always
be a much more capable leader than the contemplative theorist who meditates on his ideas, far from the human throng and the
world. For to be a leader means to be able to move the masses. The gift of formulating ideas has nothing whatsoever to do
with the capacity for leadership. It would be entirely futile to discuss the question as to which is the more important: the
faculty of conceiving ideals and human aims or that of being able to have them put into practice. Here, as so often happens
in life, the one would be entirely meaningless without the other. The noblest conceptions of the human understanding remain
without purpose or value if the leader cannot move the masses towards them. And, conversely, what would it avail to have all
the genius and elan of a leader if the intellectual theorist does not fix the aims for which mankind must struggle. But when
the abilities of theorist and organizer and leader are united in the one person, then we have the rarest phenomenon on this
earth. And it is that union which produces the great man.
As I have already said, during my first period in the Party I devoted myself to the work of propaganda.
I had to succeed in gradually gathering together a small nucleus of men who would accept the new teaching and be inspired
by it. And in this way we should provide the human material which subsequently would form the constituent elements of the
organization. Thus the goal of the propagandist is nearly always fixed far beyond that of the organizer.
If a movement proposes to overthrow a certain order of things and construct a new one in its place,
then the following principles must be clearly understood and must dominate in the ranks of its leadership: Every movement
which has gained its human material must first divide this material into two groups: namely, followers and members.
It is the task of the propagandist to recruit the followers and it is the task of the organizer to
select the members.
The follower of a movement is he who understands and accepts its aims; the member is he who fights
The follower is one whom the propaganda has converted to the doctrine of the movement. The member
is he who will be charged by the organization to collaborate in winning over new followers from which in turn new members
can be formed.
To be a follower needs only the passive recognition of the idea. To be a member means to represent
that idea and fight for it. From ten followers one can have scarcely more than two members. To be a follower simply implies
that a man has accepted the teaching of the movement; whereas to be a member means that a man has the courage to participate
actively in diffusing that teaching in which he has come to believe.
Because of its passive character, the simple effort of believing in a political doctrine is enough
for the majority, for the majority of mankind is mentally lazy and timid. To be a member one must be intellectually active,
and therefore this applies only to the minority.
Such being the case, the propagandist must seek untiringly to acquire new followers for the movement,
whereas the organizer must diligently look out for the best elements among such followers, so that these elements may be transformed
into members. The propagandist need not trouble too much about the personal worth of the individual proselytes he has won
for the movement. He need not inquire into their abilities, their intelligence or character. From these proselytes, however,
the organizer will have to select those individuals who are most capable of actively helping to bring the movement to victory.
The propagandist aims at inducing the whole people to accept his teaching. The organizer includes
in his body of membership only those who, on psychological grounds, will not be an impediment to the further diffusion of
the doctrines of the movement.
The propagandist inculcates his doctrine among the masses, with the idea of preparing them for the
time when this doctrine will triumph, through the body of combatant members which he has formed from those followers who have
given proof of the necessary ability and will-power to carry the struggle to victory.
The final triumph of a doctrine will be made all the more easy if the propagandist has effectively
converted large bodies of men to the belief in that doctrine and if the organization that actively conducts the fight be exclusive,
vigorous and solid.
When the propaganda work has converted a whole people to believe in a doctrine, the organization can
turn the results of this into practical effect through the work of a mere handful of men. Propaganda and organization, therefore
follower and member, then stand towards one another in a definite mutual relationship. The better the propaganda has worked,
the smaller will the organization be. The greater the number of followers, so much the smaller can be the number of members.
And conversely. If the propaganda be bad, the organization must be large. And if there be only a small number of followers,
the membership must be all the larger – if the movement really counts on being successful.
The first duty of the propagandist is to win over people who can subsequently be taken into the organization.
And the first duty of the organization is to select and train men who will be capable of carrying on the propaganda. The second
duty of the organization is to disrupt the existing order of things and thus make room for the penetration of the new teaching
which it represents, while the duty of the organizer must be to fight for the purpose of securing power, so that the doctrine
may finally triumph.
A revolutionary conception of the world and human existence will always achieve decisive success when
the new Weltanschhauung has been taught to a whole people, or subsequently forced upon them if necessary, and when, on the
other hand, the central organization, the movement itself, is in the hands of only those few men who are absolutely indispensable
to form the nerve-centres of the coming State.
Put in another way, this means that in every great revolutionary movement that is of world importance
the idea of this movement must always be spread abroad through the operation of propaganda. The propagandist must never tire
in his efforts to make the new ideas clearly understood, inculcating them among others, or at least he must place himself
in the position of those others and endeavour to upset their confidence in the convictions they have hitherto held. In order
that such propaganda should have backbone to it, it must be based on an organization. The organization chooses its members
from among those followers whom the propaganda has won. That organization will become all the more vigorous if the work of
propaganda be pushed forward intensively. And the propaganda will work all the better when the organization back of it is
vigorous and strong in itself.
Hence the supreme task of the organizer is to see to it that any discord or differences which may
arise among the members of the movement will not lead to a split and thereby cramp the work within the movement. Moreover,
it is the duty of the organization to see that the fighting spirit of the movement does not flag or die out but that it is
constantly reinvigorated and restrengthened. It is not necessary the number of members should increase indefinitely. Quite
the contrary would be better. In view of the fact that only a fraction of humanity has energy and courage, a movement which
increases its own organization indefinitely must of necessity one day become plethoric and inactive. Organizations, that is
to say, groups of members, which increase their size beyond certain dimensions gradually lose their fighting force and are
no longer in form to back up the propagation of a doctrine with aggressive elan and determination.
Now the greater and more revolutionary a doctrine is, so much the more active will be the spirit inspiring
its body of members, because the subversive energy of such a doctrine will frighten way the chicken-hearted and small-minded
bourgeoisie. In their hearts they may believe in the doctrine but they are afraid to acknowledge their belief openly. By reason
of this very fact, however, an organization inspired by a veritable revolutionary idea will attract into the body of its membership
only the most active of those believers who have been won for it by its propaganda. It is in this activity on the part of
the membership body, guaranteed by the process of natural selection, that we are to seek the prerequisite conditions for the
continuation of an active and spirited propaganda and also the victorious struggle for the success of the idea on which the
movement is based.
The greatest danger that can threaten a movement is an abnormal increase in the number of its members,
owing to its too rapid success. So long as a movement has to carry on a hard and bitter fight, people of weak and fundamentally
egotistic temperament will steer very clear of it; but these will try to be accepted as members the moment the party achieves
a manifest success in the course of its development.
It is on these grounds that we are to explain why so many movements which were at first successful
slowed down before reaching the fulfilment of their purpose and, from an inner weakness which could not otherwise be explained,
gave up the struggle and finally disappeared from the field. As a result of the early successes achieved, so many undesirable,
unworthy and especially timid individuals became members of the movement that they finally secured the majority and stifled
the fighting spirit of the others. These inferior elements then turned the movement to the service of their personal interests
and, debasing it to the level of their own miserable heroism, no longer struggled for the triumph of the original idea. The
fire of the first fervour died out, the fighting spirit flagged and, as the bourgeois world is accustomed to say very justly
in such cases, the party mixed water with its wine.
For this reason it is necessary that a movement should, from the sheer instinct of self-preservation,
close its lists to new membership the moment it becomes successful. And any further increase in its organization should be
allowed to take place only with the most careful foresight and after a painstaking sifting of those who apply for membership.
Only thus will it be possible to keep the kernel of the movement intact and fresh and sound. Care must be taken that the conduct
of the movement is maintained exclusively in the hands of this original nucleus. This means that the nucleus must direct the
propaganda which aims at securing general recognition for the movement. And the movement itself, when it has secured power
in its hands, must carry out all those acts and measures which are necessary in order that its ideas should be finally established
With those elements that originally made the movement, the organization should occupy all the important
positions that have been conquered and from those elements the whole directorate should be formed. This should continue until
the maxims and doctrines of the party have become the foundation and policy of the new State. Only then will it be permissible
gradually to give the reins into the hands of the Constitution of that State which the spirit of the movement has created.
But this usually happens through a process of mutual rivalry, for here it is less a question of human intelligence than of
the play and effect of the forces whose development may indeed be foreseen from the start but not perpetually controlled.
All great movements, whether of a political or religious nature, owe their imposing success to the
recognition and adoption of those principles. And no durable success is conceivable if these laws are not observed.
As director of propaganda for the party, I took care not merely to prepare the ground for the greatness
of the movement in its subsequent stages, but I also adopted the most radical measures against allowing into the organization
any other than the best material. For the more radical and exciting my propaganda was, the more did it frighten weak and wavering
characters away, thus preventing them from entering the first nucleus of our organization. Perhaps they remained followers,
but they did not raise their voices. On the contrary, they maintained a discreet silence on the fact. Many thousands of persons
then assured me that they were in full agreement with us but they could not on any account become members of our party. They
said that the movement was so radical that to take part in it as members would expose them to grave censures and grave dangers,
so that they would rather continue to be looked upon as honest and peaceful citizens and remain aside, for the time being
at least, though devoted to our cause with all their hearts.
And that was all to the good. If all these men who in their hearts did not approve of revolutionary
ideas came into our movement as members at that time, we should be looked upon as a pious confraternity today and not as a
young movement inspired with the spirit of combat.
The lively and combative form which I gave to all our propaganda fortified and guaranteed the radical
tendency of our movement, and the result was that, with a few exceptions, only men of radical views were disposed to become
It was due to the effect of our propaganda that within a short period of time hundreds of thousands
of citizens became convinced in their hearts that we were right and wished us victory, although personally they were too timid
to make sacrifices for our cause or even participate in it.
Up to the middle of 1921 this simple activity of gathering in followers was sufficient and was of
value to the movement. But in the summer of that year certain events happened which made it seem opportune for us to bring
our organization into line with the manifest successes which the propaganda had achieved.
An attempt made by a group of patriotic visionaries, supported by the chairman of the party at that
time, to take over the direction of the party led to the break up of this little intrigue and, by a unanimous vote at a general
meeting, entrusted the entire direction of the party to my own hands. At the same time a new statute was passed which invested
sole responsibility in the chairman of the movement, abolished the system of resolutions in committee and in its stead introduced
the principle of division of labour which since that time has worked excellently.
From August 1st, 1921, onwards I undertook this internal reorganization of the party and was supported
by a number of excellent men. I shall mention them and their work individually later on.
In my endeavour to turn the results gained by the propaganda to the advantage of the organization
and thus stabilize them, I had to abolish completely a number of old customs and introduce regulations which none of the other
parties possessed or had adopted.
In the years 1920-21 the movement was controlled by a committee elected by the members at a general
meeting. The committee was composed of a first and second treasurer, a first and second secretary, and a first and second
chairman at the head of it. In addition to these there was a representative of the members, the director of propaganda, and
Comically enough, the committee embodied the very principle against which the movement itself wanted
to fight with all its energy, namely, the principle of parliamentarianism. Here was a principle which personified everything
that was being opposed by the movement, from the smallest local groups to the district and regional groups, the state groups
and finally the national directorate itself. It was a system under which we all suffered and are still suffering.
It was imperative to change this state of affairs forthwith, if this bad foundation in the internal
organization was not to keep the movement insecure and render the fulfilment of its high mission impossible.
The sessions of the committee, which were ruled by a protocol, and in which decisions were made according
to the vote of the majority, presented the picture of a miniature parliament. Here also there was no such thing as personal
responsibility. And here reigned the same absurdities and illogical state of affairs as flourish in our great representative
bodies of the State. Names were presented to this committee for election as secretaries, treasurers, representatives of the
members of the organization, propaganda agents and God knows what else. And then they all acted in common on every particular
question and decided it by vote. Accordingly, the director of propaganda voted on a question that concerned the man who had
to do with the finances and the latter in his turn voted on a question that concerned only the organization as such, the organizer
voting on a subject that had to do with the secretarial department, and so on.
Why select a special man for propaganda if treasurers and scribes and commissaries, etc., had to deliver
judgment on questions concerning it? To a person of commonsense that sort of thing seemed as incomprehensible as it would
be if in a great manufacturing concern the board of directors were to decide on technical questions of production or if, inversely,
the engineers were to decide on questions of administration.
I refused to countenance that kind of folly and after a short time I ceased to appear at the meetings
of the committee. I did nothing else except attend to my own department of propaganda and I did not permit any of the others
to poke their heads into my activities. Conversely, I did not interfere in the affairs of others.
When the new statute was approved and I was appointed as president, I had the necessary authority
in my hands and also the corresponding right to make short shrift of all that nonsense. In the place of decisions by the majority
vote of the committee, the principle of absolute responsibility was introduced.
The chairman is responsible for the whole control of the movement. He apportions the work among the
members of the committee subordinate to him and for special work he selects other individuals. Each of these gentlemen must
bear sole responsibility for the task assigned to him. He is subordinate only to the chairman, whose duty is to supervise
the general collaboration, selecting the personnel and giving general directions for the co-ordination of the common work.
This principle of absolute responsibility is being adopted little by little throughout the movement.
In the small local groups and perhaps also in the regional and district groups it will take yet a long time before the principle
can be thoroughly imposed, because timid and hesitant characters are naturally opposed to it. For them the idea of bearing
absolute responsibility for an act opens up an unpleasant prospect. They would like to hide behind the shoulders of the majority
in the so-called committee, having their acts covered by decisions passed in that way. But it seems to me a matter of absolute
necessity to take a decisive stand against that view, to make no concessions whatsoever to this fear of responsibility, even
though it takes some time before we can put fully into effect this concept of duty and ability in leadership, which will finally
bring forward leaders who have the requisite abilities to occupy the chief posts.
In any case, a movement which must fight against the absurdity of parliamentary institutions must
be immune from this sort of thing. Only thus will it have the requisite strength to carry on the struggle.
At a time when the majority dominates everywhere else a movement which is based on the principle of
one leader who has to bear personal responsibility for the direction of the official acts of the movement itself will one
day overthrow the present situation and triumph over the existing regime. That is a mathematical certainty.
This idea made it necessary to reorganize our movement internally. The logical development of this
reorganization brought about a clear-cut distinction between the economic section of the movement and the general political
direction. The principle of personal responsibility was extended to all the administrative branches of the party and it brought
about a healthy renovation, by liberating them from political influences and allowing them to operate solely on economic principles.
In the autumn of 1921, when the party was founded, there were only six members. The party did not
have any headquarters, nor officials, nor formularies, nor a stamp, nor printed material of any sort. The committee first
held its sittings in a restaurant on the Herrengasse and then in a café at Gasteig. This state of affairs could not last.
So I at once took action in the matter. I went around to several restaurants and hotels in Munich, with the idea of renting
a room in one of them for the use of the Party. In the old Sterneckerbräu im Tal, there was a small room with arched roof,
which in earlier times was used as a sort of festive tavern where the Bavarian Counsellors of the Holy Roman Empire foregathered.
It was dark and dismal and accordingly well suited to its ancient uses, though less suited to the new purpose it was now destined
to serve. The little street on which its one window looked out was so narrow that even on the brightest summer day the room
remained dim and sombre. Here we took up our first fixed abode. The rent came to fifty marks per month, which was then an
enormous sum for us. But our exigencies had to be very modest. We dared not complain even when they removed the wooden wainscoting
a few days after we had taken possession. This panelling had been specially put up for the Imperial Counsellors. The place
began to look more like a grotto than an office.
Still it marked an important step forward. Slowly we had electric light installed and later on a telephone.
A table and some borrowed chairs were brought, an open paper-stand and later on a cupboard. Two sideboards, which belonged
to the landlord, served to store our leaflets, placards, etc.
As time went on it turned out impossible to direct the course of the movement merely by holding a
committee meeting once a week. The current business administration of the movement could not be regularly attended to except
we had a salaried official.
But that was then very difficult for us. The movement had still so few members that it was hard to
find among them a suitable person for the job who would be content with very little for himself and at the same time would
be ready to meet the manifold demands which the movement would make on his time and energy.
After long searching we discovered a soldier who consented to become our first administrator. His
name was Schüssler, an old war comrade of mine. At first he came to our new office every day between six and eight o'clock
in the evening. Later on he came from five to eight and subsequently for the whole afternoon. Finally it became a full-time
job and he worked in the office from morning until late at night. He was an industrious, upright and thoroughly honest man,
faithful and devoted to the movement. He brought with him a small Adler typewriter of his own. It was the first machine to
be used in the service of the party. Subsequently the party bought it by paying for it in installments. We needed a small
safe in order to keep our papers and register of membership from danger of being stolen – not to guard our funds, which
did not then exist. On the contrary, our financial position was so miserable that I often had to dip my hand into my own personal
After eighteen months our business quarters had become too small, so we moved to a new place in the
Cornelius Strasse. Again our office was in a restaurant, but instead of one room we now had three smaller rooms and one large
room with great windows. At that time this appeared a wonderful thing to us. We remained there until the end of November 1923.
In December 1920, we acquired the Völkischer Beobachter. This newspaper which, as its name implies,
championed the claims of the people, was now to become the organ of the German National Socialist Labour Party. At first it
appeared twice weekly; but at the beginning of 1928 it became a daily paper, and at the end of August in the same year it
began to appear in the large format which is now well known.
As a complete novice in journalism I then learned many a lesson for which I had to pay dearly.
In contradistinction to the enormous number of papers in Jewish hands, there was at that time only
one important newspaper that defended the cause of the people. This was a matter for grave consideration. As I have often
learned by experience, the reason for that state of things must be attributed to the incompetent way in which the business
side of the so-called popular newspapers was managed. These were conducted too much according to the rule that opinion should
prevail over action that produces results. Quite a wrong standpoint, for opinion is of itself something internal and finds
its best expression in productive activity. The man who does valuable work for his people expresses thereby his excellent
sentiments, whereas another who merely talks about his opinions and does nothing that is of real value or use to the people
is a person who perverts all right thinking. And that attitude of his is also pernicious for the community.
The Völkische Beobachter was a so-called 'popular' organ, as its name indicated. It had all the good
qualities, but still more the errors and weaknesses, inherent in all popular institutions. Though its contents were excellent,
its management as a business concern was simply impossible. Here also the underlying idea was that popular newspapers ought
to be subsidized by popular contributions, without recognizing that it had to make its way in competition with the others
and that it was dishonest to expect the subscriptions of good patriots to make up for the mistaken management of the undertaking.
I took care to alter those conditions promptly, for I recognized the danger lurking in them. Luck
was on my side here, inasmuch as it brought me the man who since that time has rendered innumerable services to the movement,
not only as business manager of the newspaper but also as business manager of the party. In 1914, in the War, I made the acquaintance
of Max Amann, who was then my superior and is today general business Director of the Party. During four years in the War I
had occasion to observe almost continually the unusual ability, the diligence and the rigorous conscientiousness of my future
In the summer of 1921 I applied to my old regimental comrade, whom I met one day by chance, and asked
him to become business manager of the movement. At that time the movement was passing through a grave crisis and I had reason
to be dissatisfied with several of our officials, with one of whom I had had a very bitter experience. Amann then held a good
situation in which there were also good prospects for him.
After long hesitation he agreed to my request, but only on condition that he must not be at the mercy
of incompetent committees. He must be responsible to one master, and only one.
It is to the inestimable credit of this first business manager of the party, whose commercial knowledge
is extensive and profound, that he brought order and probity into the various offices of the party. Since that time these
have remained exemplary and cannot be equalled or excelled in this by any other branches of the movement. But, as often happens
in life, great ability provokes envy and disfavour. That had also to be expected in this case and borne patiently.
Since 1922 rigorous regulations have been in force, not only for the commercial construction of the
movement but also in the organization of it as such. There exists now a central filing system, where the names and particulars
of all the members are enrolled. The financing of the party has been placed on sound lines. The current expenditure must be
covered by the current receipts and special receipts can be used only for special expenditures. Thus, notwithstanding the
difficulties of the time the movement remained practically without any debts, except for a few small current accounts. Indeed,
there was a permanent increase in the funds. Things are managed as in a private business. The employed personnel hold their
jobs in virtue of their practical efficiency and could not in any manner take cover behind their professed loyalty to the
party. A good National Socialist proves his soundness by the readiness, diligence and capability with which he discharges
whatever duties are assigned to him in whatever situation he holds within the national community. The man who does not fulfil
his duty in the job he holds cannot boast of a loyalty against which he himself really sins.
Adamant against all kinds of outer influence, the new business director of the party firmly maintained
the standpoint that there were no sinecure posts in the party administration for followers and members of the movement whose
pleasure is not work. A movement which fights so energetically against the corruption introduced into our civil service by
the various political parties must be immune from that vice in its own administrative department. It happened that some men
were taken on the staff of the paper who had formerly been adherents of the Bavarian People's Party, but their work showed
that they were excellently qualified for the job. The result of this experiment was generally excellent. It was owing to this
honest and frank recognition of individual efficiency that the movement won the hearts of its employees more swiftly and more
profoundly than had ever been the case before. Subsequently they became good National Socialists and remained so. Not in word
only, but they proved it by the steady and honest and conscientious work which they performed in the service of the new movement.
Naturally a well qualified party member was preferred to another who had equal qualifications but did not belong to the party.
The rigid determination with which our new business chief applied these principles and gradually put them into force, despite
all misunderstandings, turned out to be of great advantage to the movement. To this we owe the fact that it was possible for
us – during the difficult period of the inflation, when thousands of businesses failed and thousands of newspapers had
to cease publication – not only to keep the commercial department of the movement going and meet all its obligations
but also to make steady progress with the Völkische Beobachter. At that time it came to be ranked among the great newspapers.
The year 1921 was of further importance for me by reason of the fact that in my position as chairman
of the party I slowly but steadily succeeded in putting a stop to the criticisms and the intrusions of some members of the
committee in regard to the detailed activities of the party administration. This was important, because we could not get a
capable man to take on a job if nincompoops were constantly allowed to butt in, pretending that they knew everything much
better; whereas in reality they had left only general chaos behind them. Then these wise-acres retired, for the most part
quite modestly, to seek another field for their activities where they could supervise and tell how things ought to be done.
Some men seemed to have a mania for sniffing behind everything and were, so to say, always in a permanent state of pregnancy
with magnificent plans and ideas and projects and methods. Naturally their noble aim and ideal were always the formation of
a committee which could pretend to be an organ of control in order to be able to sniff as experts into the regular work done
by others. But it is offensive and contrary to the spirit of National Socialism when incompetent people constantly interfere
in the work of capable persons. But these makers of committees do not take that very much into account. In those years I felt
it my duty to safeguard against such annoyance all those who were entrusted with regular and responsible work, so that there
should be no spying over the shoulder and they would be guaranteed a free hand in their day's work.
The best means of making committees innocuous, which either did nothing or cooked up impracticable
decisions, was to give them some real work to do. It was then amusing to see how the members would silently fade away and
were soon nowhere to be found. It made me think of that great institution of the same kind, the Reichstag. How quickly they
would evanesce if they were put to some real work instead of talking, especially if each member were made personally responsible
for the work assigned to him.
I always demanded that, just as in private life so also in the movement, one should not tire of seeking
until the best and honestest and manifestly the most competent person could be found for the position of leader or administrator
in each section of the movement. Once installed in his position he was given absolute authority and full freedom of action
towards his subordinates and full responsibility towards his superiors. Nobody was placed in a position of authority towards
his subordinates unless he himself was competent in the work entrusted to them. In the course of two years I brought my views
more and more into practice; so that today, at least as far as the higher direction of the movement is concerned, they are
accepted as a matter of course.
The manifest success of this attitude was shown on November 9th, 1923. Four years previously, when
I entered the movement, it did not have even a rubber stamp. On November 9th, 1923, the party was dissolved and its property
confiscated. The total sum realized by all the objects of value and the paper amounted to more than 170,000 gold marks.