Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Volume One - A Reckoning
Chapter X: Causes of the Collapse
THE EXTENT of the fall of a body is always measured by the distance between its momentary position and the one it originally occupied. The same is true of nations and states. A decisive significance must be ascribed to their previous position or rather elevation. Only what is accustomed to rise above the common limit can fall and crash to a manifest low This is what makes the collapse of the Reich so hard and terrible for every thinking and feeling man, since it brought a crash from heights which today, in view of the depths of our present degradation, are scarcely conceivable.
The very founding of the Reich seemed gilded by the magic of an event which uplifted the entire nation. After a series of incomparable victories, a Reich was born for the sons and grandsons-a reward for immortal heroism. Whether consciously or unconsciously, it matters not, the Germans all had the feeling that this Reich, which did not owe its existence to the trickery of parliamentary fractions, towered above the measure of other states by the very exalted manner of its founding; for not in the cackling of a parliamentary battle of words, but in the thunder and rumbling of the front surrounding Paris was the solemn act performed: a proclamation of our will, declaring that the Germans, princes and people, were resolved in the future to constitute a Reich and once again to raise the imperial crown to symbolic heights. And this was not done by cowardly murder; no deserters and slackers were the founders of the Bismarckian state, but the regiments at the front.
This unique birth and baptism of fire in themselves surrounded the Reich with a halo of historic glory such as only the oldest states-and they but seldom-could boast.
And what an ascent now began!
Freedom on the outside provided daily bread within. The nation became rich in numbers and earthly goods. The honor of the state, and with it that of the whole people, was protected and shielded by an army which could point most visibly to the difference from the former German Union.
So deep is the downfall of the Reich and the German people that everyone, as though seized by dizziness, seems to have lost feeling and consciousness; people can scarcely remember the former height, so dreamlike and unreal do the old greatness and glory seem compared to our present-day misery Thus it is understandable that people are so blinded by the sublime that they forget to look for the omens of the gigantic collapse which must after all have been somehow present.
Of course, this applies only to those for whom Germany was more than a mere stop-over for making and spending money, since they alone can feel the present condition as a collapse, while to the others it is the long-desired fulfillment of their hitherto unsatisfied desires.
The omens were then present and visible, though but very few attempted to draw a certain lesson from them.
Yet today this is more necessary than ever.
The cure of a sickness can only be achieved if its cause is known, and the same is true of curing political evils. To be sure, the outward form of a sickness, its symptom which strikes the eye, is easier to see and discover than the inner cause. And this is the reason why so many people never go beyond the recognition of external effects and even confuse them with the cause, attempting, indeed, to deny the existence of the latter. Thus most of us primarily see the German collapse only in the general economic misery and the consequences arising therefrom. Nearly every one of us must personally suffer these-a cogent ground for every individual to understand the catastrophe. Much less does the great mass see the collapse in its political, cultural, ethical, and moral aspect. In this the feeling and understanding of many fail completely.
That this should be so among the broad masses may still pass, but for even the circles of the intelligentsia to regard the German collapse as primarily an 'economic catastrophe,' which can therefore be cured by economic means, is one of the reasons why a recovery has hitherto been impossible. Only when it is understood that here, too, economics is only of second or third-rate importance, and the primary role falls to factors of politics, ethics, morality, and blood, will we arrive at an understanding of the present calamity, and thus also be able to find the ways and means for a cure.
The question of the causes of the German collapse is, therefore, of decisive importance, particularly for a political movement whose very goal is supposed to be to quell the defeat.
But, in such research into the past, we must be very careful not to confuse the more conspicuous effects with the less visible causes.
The easiest and hence most widespread explanation of the present misfortune is that it was brought about by the consequences of the lost War and that therefore the War is the cause of the present evil.
There may be many who will seriously believe this nonsense but there are still more from whose mouth such an explanation can only be a lie and conscious falsehood. This last applies to all those who today feed at the government's cribs. For didn't the prophets of the revolution again and again point out most urgently to the people that it was a matter of complete indifference to the broad masses how this War turned out? Did they not, on the contrary, gravely assure us that at most the 'big capitalist' could have an interest in a victorious end of the gigantic struggle of nations, but never the German people as such, let alone the German worker? Indeed, didn't these apostles of world conciliation maintain the exact opposite: didn't they say that by a German defeat 'militarism' would be destroyed, but that the German nation would celebrate its most glorious resurrection? Didn't these circles glorify the benevolence of the Entente, and didn't they shove tile blame for the whole bloody struggle on Germany? And could they have done this without declaring that even military defeat would be without special consequences for the nation? Wasn't the whole revolution embroidered with the phrase that it would prevent the victory of the German flag, but that through it the German people would at last begin advancing toward freedom at home and abroad?
Will you claim that this was not so, you wretched, lying scoundrels?
It takes a truly Jewish effrontery to attribute the blame for the collapse solely to the military defeat when the central organ of all traitors to the nation, the Berlin Vorwarts, wrote that this time the German people must not bring its banner home victorious!
And now this is supposed to be the cause of our collapse?
Of course, it would be perfectly futile to fight with such forgetful liars. I wouldn't waste my words on them if unfortunately this nonsense were not parroted by so many thoughtless people, who do not seem inspired by malice or conscious insincerity. Furthermore, these discussions are intended to give our propaganda fighters an instrument which is very much needed at a time when the spoken word is often twisted in our mouths.
Thus we have the following to say to the assertion that the lost War is responsible for the German collapse:
Certainly the loss of the War was of terrible importance for the future of our fatherland; however, its loss is not a cause, but itself only a consequence of causes. It was perfectly clear to everyone with insight and without malice that an unfortunate end of this struggle for life and death would inevitably lead to extremely devastating consequences. But unfortunately there were also people who seemed to lack this insight at the right time or who, contrary to their better knowledge, contested and denied this truth. Such for the most part were those who, after the fulfillment of their secret wish, suddenly and belatedly became aware of the catastrophe which had been brought about by themselves among others. They are guilty of the collapse-not the lost War as it suddenly pleases them to say and believe. For its loss was, after all, only the consequence of their activity and not, as they now try to say, the result of 'bad' leadership. The foe did not consist of cowards either; he, too, knew how to die. His number from the first day was greater than that of the German army for he could draw on the technical armament and the arsenals of the whole world; hence the German victories, won for four years against a whole world, must regardless of all heroic courage and 'organization,' be attributed solely to superior leadership, and this iS a fact which cannot be denied out of existence. The organization and leadership of the German army were the mightiest that the earth had ever seen. Their deficiencies lay in the limits of all human adequacy in general.
The collapse of this army was not the cause of our present-day misfortune, but only the consequence of other crimes, a consequence which itself again, it must be admitted, ushered in the beginning of a further and this time visible collapse.
The truth of this can be seen from the following:
Must a military defeat lead to so complete a collapse of a nation and a state? Since when is this the result of an unfortunate war? Do peoples perish in consequence of lost wars as such?
The answer to this can be very brief: always, when military defeat iS the payment meted out to peoples for their inner rottenness, cowardice, lack of character, in short, unworthiness. If this iS not the case, the military defeat will rather be the inspiration of a great future resurrection than the tombstone of a national existence.
History offers innumerable examples for the truth of this assertion.
Unfortunately, the military defeat of the German people is not an undeserved catastrophe, but the deserved chastisement of eternal retribution. We more than deserved this defeat. It is only the greatest outward symptom of decay amid a whole series of inner symptoms, which perhaps had remained hidden and invisible to the eyes of most people, or which like ostriches people did not want to see.
Just consider the attendant circumstances amid which the German people accepted this defeat. Didn't many circles express the most shameless joy at the misfortune of the fatherland? And who would do such a thing if he does not really deserve such a punishment? Why, didn't they go even further and brag of having finally caused the front to waver? And it was not the enemy that did this-no, no, it was Germans who poured such disgrace upon their heads! Can it be said that misfortune struck them unjustly? Since when do people step forward and take the guilt for a war on themselves? And against better knowledge and better judgment!
No, and again no. In the way in which the German people received its defeat, we can recognize most clearly that the true cause of our collapse must be sought in an entirely different place from the purely military loss of a few positions or in the failure of an offensive; for if the front as such had really flagged and if its downfall had really encompassed the doom of the fatherland, the German people would have received the defeat quite differently. Then they would have borne the ensuing misfortune with gritted teeth or would have mourned it, overpowered by grief; then all hearts would have been filled with rage and anger toward the enemy who had become victorious through a trick of chance or the will of fate; then, like the Roman Senate, the nation would have received the defeated divisions with the thanks of the fatherland for the sacrifices they had made and besought them not to despair of the Reich. The capitulation would have been signed only with the reason, while the heart even then would have beaten for the resurrection to come.
This is how a defeat for which only fate was responsible would have been received. Then people would not have laughed and danced, they would not have boasted of cowardice and glorified the defeat, they would not have scoffed at the embattled troops and dragged their banner and cockade in the mud. But above all: then we should never have had the terrible state of affairs which prompted a British officer, Colonel Repington, to make the contemptuous statement: 'Of the Germans, every third man is a traitor.' No, this plague would never have been able to rise into the stifling flood which for five years now has been drowning the very last remnant of respect for us on the part of the rest of the world.
This most of all shows the assertion that the lost War was the cause of the German collapse to be a lie. No, this military collapse was itself only the consequence of a large number of symptoms of disease and their causes, which even in peacetime were with the German nation. This was the first consequence, catastrophic and visible to all, of an ethical and moral poisoning, of a diminution in the instinct of self-preservation and its preconditions, which for many years had begun to undermine the foundations of the people and the Reich.
It required the whole bottomless falsehood of the Jews and their Marxist fighting organization to lay the blame for the collapse on that very man who alone, with superhuman energy and will power, tried to prevent the catastrophe he foresaw and save the nation from its time of deepest humiliation and disgrace By branding Ludendorff as guilty for the loss of the World War they took the weapon of moral right from the one dangerous accuser who could have risen against the traitors to the fatherland. In this they proceeded on the sound principle that the magnitude of a lie always contains a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously and purposely evil, and that, therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity of their minds they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big. Such a falsehood will never enter their heads and they will not be able to believe in the possibility of such monstrous effrontery and infamous misrepresentation in others; yes, even when enlightened on the subject, they will long doubt and waver, and continue to accept at least one of these causes as true. Therefore, something of even the most insolent lie will always remain and stick-a fact which all the great lie-virtuosi and lying-clubs in this world know only too well and also make the most treacherous use of.
The foremost connoisseurs of this truth regarding the possibilities in the use of falsehood and slander have always been the Jews; for after all, their whole existence is based on one single great lie, to wit, that they are a religious community while actually they are a race-and what a race ! One of the greatest minds of humanity has nailed them forever as such in an eternally correct phrase of fundamental truth: he called them 'the great masters of the lie.' And anyone who does not recognize this or does not want to believe it will never in this world be able to help the truth to victory.
For the German people it must almost be considered a great good fortune that its period of creeping sickness was suddenly cut short by so terrible a catastrophe, for otherwise the nation would have gone to the dogs more slowly perhaps, but all the more certainly. The disease would have become chronic, while in the acute form of the collapse it at least became clearly and distinctly recognizable to a considerable number of people. It was no accident that man mastered the plague more easily than tuberculosis. The one comes in terrible waves of death that shake humanity to the foundations, the other slowly and stealthily; the one leads to terrible fear, the other to gradual indifference. The consequence is that man opposed the one with all the ruthlessness of his energy, while he tries to control consumption with feeble means. Thus he mastered the plague, while tuberculosis masters him.
Exactly the same is true of diseases of national bodies. If they do not take the form of catastrophe, man slowly begins to get accustomed to them and at length, though it may take some time, perishes all the more certainly of them. And so it is a good fortune-though a bitter one, to be sure-when Fate resolves to take a hand in this slow process of putrefaction and with a sudden blow makes the victim visualize the end of his disease. For more than once, that is what such a catastrophe amounts to Then it can easily become the cause of a recovery beginning with the utmost determination.
But even in such a case, the prerequisite is again the recognition of the inner grounds which cause the disease in question.
Here, too, the most important thing remains the distinction between the causes and the conditions they call forth. This will be all the more difficult, the longer the toxins remain in the national body and the more they become an ingredient of it which is taken for granted. For it is easily possible that after a certain time unquestionably harmful poisons Bill be regarded as an ingredient of one's own nation or at best will be tolerated as a necessary evil, so that a search for the alien virus is no longer regarded as necessary.
Thus, in the long peace of the pre-War years, certain harmful features had appeared and been recognized as such, though next to nothing was done against their virus, aside from a few exceptions. And here again these exceptions were primarily manifestations of economic life, which struck the consciousness of the individual more strongly than the harmful features in a number of other fields.
There were many symptoms of decay which should have aroused serious reflection.
With respect to economics, the following should be said:
Through the amazing increase in the German population before the War, the question of providing the necessary daily bread stepped more and more sharply into the foreground of all political and economic thought and action. Unfortunately, those in power could not make up their minds to choose the only correct solution, but thought they could reach their goal in an easier way. When they renounced the acquisition of new soil and replaced it by the lunacy of world economic conquest, the result was bound to be an industrialization as boundless as it was harmful.
The first consequence of gravest importance was the weakening of the peasant class. Proportionately as the peasant class diminished, the mass of the big city proletariat increased more and more, until finally the balance was completely upset.
Now the abrupt alternation between rich and poor became really apparent. Abundance and poverty lived so close together that the saddest consequences could and inevitably did arise. Poverty and frequent unemployment began to play havoc with people, leaving behind them a memory of discontent and embitterment. The consequence of this seemed to be political class division. Despite all the economic prosperity, dissatisfaction became greater and deeper; in fact, things came to such a pass that the conviction that 'it can't go on like this much longer' became general, yet without people having or being able to have any definite idea of what ought to have been done.
These were the typical symptoms of deep discontent which sought to express themselves in this way.
But worse than this were other consequences induced by the economization of the nation.
In proportion as economic life grew to be the dominant mistress of the state, money became the god whom all had to serve and to whom each man had to bow down. More and more, the gods of heaven were put into the corner as obsolete and outmoded, and in their stead incense was burned to the idol Mammon. A truly malignant degeneration set in; what made it most malignant was that it began at a time when the nation, in a presumably menacing and critical hour, needed the highest heroic attitude. Germany had to accustom herself to the idea that some day her attempt to secure her daily bread by means of 'peaceful economic labor' would have to be defended by the sword.
Unfortunately, the domination of money was sanctioned even by that authority which should have most opposed it: His Majesty the Kaiser acted most unfortunately by drawing the aristocracy into the orbit of the new finance capital. It must be said to his credit, however, that unfortunately even Bismarck himself did not recognize the menacing danger in this respect. Thereby the ideal virtues for all practical purposes had taken a position second to the value of money, for it was clear that once a beginning had been made in this direction, the aristocracy of the sword would in a short time inevitably be overshadowed by the financial aristocracy. Financial operations succeed more easily than battles. It was no longer inviting for the real hero or statesman to be brought into relations with some old bank Jew: the man of true ment could no longer have an interest in the bestowal of cheap decorations; he declined them with thanks. But regarded purely from the standpoint of blood, such a development was profoundly unfortunate: more and more, the nobility lost the racial basis for its existence, and in large measure the designation of 'ignobility' would have been more suitable for it.
A grave economic symptom of decay was the slow disappearance of the right of private property, and the gradual transference of the entire economy to the ownership of stock companies.
Now for the first time labor had sunk to the level of an object of speculation for unscrupulous Jewish business men; the alienation of property from the wage-worker was increased ad infinitum. The stock exchange began to triumph and prepared slowly but surely to take the life of the nation into its guardianship and control.
The internationalization of the German economic life had been begun even before the War through the medium of stock issues To be sure, a part of German industry still attempted with resolution to ward off this fate. At length, however, it, too, fell a victim to the united attack of greedy finance capital which carried on this fight, with the special help of its most faithful comrade, the Marxist movement.
The lasting war against German 'heavy industry' was the visible beginning of the internationalization of German economy toward which Marxism was striving, though this could not be carried to its ultimate end until the victory of Marxism and the revolution. While I am writing these words, the general attack against the German state railways has finally succeeded, and they are now being handed over to international finance capitals 'International' Social Democracy has thus realized one of its highest goals.
How far this 'economization' of the German people had succeeded is most visible in the fact that after the War one of the leading heads of German industry, and above all of commerce, was finally able to express the opinion that economic effort as such was alone in a position to re-establish Germany. This nonsense was poured forth at a moment when France was primarily bringing back the curriculum of her schools to humanistic foundations in order to combat the error that the nation and the state owed their survival to economics and not to eternal ideal values. These words pronounced by a Stinnes created the most incredible confusion; they were picked up at once, and with amazing rapidity became the leitmotif of all the quacks and big-mouths that since the revolution Fate has let loose on Germany in the capacity of 'statesmen.'
One of the worst symptoms of decay in Germany of the pre-War era was the steadily increasing habit of doing things by halves. This is always a consequence of uncertainty on some matter and of the cowardice resulting from this and other grounds. This disease was-further promoted by education.
German education before the War was afflicted with an extraordinary number of weaknesses. It was extremely one-sided and adapted to breeding pure 'knowledge,' with less attention to 'ability.' Even less emphasis was laid on the development of the character of the individual-in so far as this is possible; exceedingly little on the sense of joy in responsibility, and none at all on the training of will and force of decision. Its results, you may be sure, were not strong men, but compliant ' walking encyclopedias,' as we Germans were generally looked upon and accordingly estimated before the War. People liked the German because he was easy to make use of, but respected him little, precisely because of his weakness of will. It was not for nothing that more than almost any other people he was prone to lose his nationality and fatherland. The lovely proverb, 'with hat in hand, he travels all about the land,' tells the whole story.
This compliance became really disastrous, however, when it determined the sole form in which the monarch could be approached; that is, never to contradict him, but agree to anything and everything that His Majesty condescends to do. Precisely in this place was free, manly dignity most necessary; otherwise the monarchic institution was one day bound to perish from all this crawling; for crawling it was and nothing else! And only miserable crawlers and sneaks-in short, all the decadents who have always felt more at ease around the highest thrones than sincere, decent, honorable souls-can regard this as the sole proper form of intercourse with the bearers of the crown! These 'most humble' creatures, to be sure, despite all their humility before their master and source of livelihood, have always demonstrated the greatest arrogance toward the rest of humanity, and worst of all when they pass themselves off with shameful effrontery on their sinful fellow men as the only 'monarchists'; this is real gall such as only these ennobled or even unennobled tapeworms are capable of! For in reality these people remained the gravediggers of the monarchy and particularly the monarchistic idea. Nothing else is conceivable: a man who is prepared to stand up for a cause will never and can never be a sneak and a spineless lickspittle. Anyone who is really serious about the preservation and furtherance of an institution will cling to it with the last fiber of his heart and will not be able to abandon it if evils of some sort appear in this institution. To be sure, he will not cry this out to the whole public as the democratic 'friends' of the monarchy did in the exact same lying way; he will most earnestly warn and attempt to influence His Majesty, the bearer of the crown himself. He will not and must not adopt the attitude that His Majesty remains free to act according to his own will anyway, even if this obviously must and will lead to a catastrophe, but in such a case he will have to protect the monarchy against the monarch, and this despite all perils. If the value of this institution lay in the momentary person of the monarch, it would be the worst institution that can be imagined; for monarchs only in the rarest cases are the cream of wisdom and reason or even of character, as some people like to claim. This is believed only by professional lickspittles and sneaks, but all straightforward men-and these remain the most valuable men in the state despite everything- will only feel repelled by the idea of arguing such nonsense. For them history remains history and the truth the truth even where monarchs are concerned. No, the good fortune to possess a great monarch who is also a great man falls to peoples so seldom that they must be content if the malice of Fate abstains at least from the worst possible mistakes.
Consequently, the value and importance of the monarchic idea cannot reside in the person of the monarch himself except if Heaven decides to lay the crown on the brow of a heroic genius like Frederick the Great or a wise character like William I. This happens once in centuries and hardly more often. Otherwise the idea takes precedence over the person and the meaning of this institution must lie exclusively in the institution itself. With this the monarch himself falls into the sphere of service. Then he, too, becomes a mere cog in this work, to which he is obligated as such. Then he, too, must comply with a higher purpose, and the ' monarchist' is then no longer the man who in silence lets the bearer of the crown profane it, but the man who prevents this. Otherwise, it would not be permissible to depose an obviously insane prince, if the sense of the institution lay not in the idea, but in the ' sanctified ' person at any price.
Today it is really necessary to put this down, for in recent times more and more of these creatures, to whose wretched attitude the collapse of the monarchy must not least of all be attributed are rising out of obscurity. With a certain naive gall, these people have started in again to speak of nothing but 'their King'- whom only a few years ago they left in the lurch in the critical hour and in the most despicable fashion-and are beginning to represent every person who is not willing to agree to their lying tirades as a bad German. And in reality they are the very same poltroons who in 1919 scattered and ran from every red armband, abandoned their King, in a twinkling exchanged the halberd for the walking stick, put on noncommittal neckties, and vanished without trace as peaceful ' citizens.' At one stroke they were gone, these royal champions, and only after the revolutionary storm, thanks to the activity of others, had subsided enough so that a man could again roar his 'Hail, hail to the King' into the breezes, these 'servants and counselors' of the crown began again cautiously to emerge. And now they are all here again, looking back longingly to the fieshpots of Egypt; they can hardly restrain themselves in their loyalty to the King and their urge to do great things, until the day when again the first red arm-band will appear, and the whole gang of ghosts profiting from the old monarchy will again vanish like mice at the sight of a cat!
If the monarchs were not themselves to blame for these things, they could be most heartily pitied because of their present defenders. In any case, they might as well know that with such knights a crown can be lost, but no crowns gained.
This servility, however, was a flaw in our whole education, for which we suffered most terribly in this connection. For, as its consequence, these wretched creatures were able to maintain themselves at all the courts and gradually undermine the foundations of the monarchy. And when the structure finally began to totter, they evaporated. Naturally: cringers and lickspittles do not let themselves be knocked dead for their master. That monarchs never know this and fail to learn it almost on principle has from time immemorial been their undoing.
One of the worst symptoms of decay was Mate increasing cowardice in the face of responsibility, as well as the resultant halfheartedness in all things.
To be sure, the starting point of this plague in our country lies in large part in the parliamentary institution in which irresponsibility of the purest breed is cultivated. Unfortunately, this plague slowly spread to all other domains of life, most strongly to state life. Everywhere responsibility was evaded and inadequate half-measures were preferred as a result; for in the use of such measures personal responsibility seems reduced to the smallest dimensions.
Just examine the attitude of the various governments toward a number of truly injurious manifestations of our public life, and you will easily recognize the terrible significance of this general half-heartedness and cowardice in the face of responsibility.
I shall take only a few cases from the mass of existing examples:
Journalistic circles in particular like to describe the press as a 'great power' in the state. As a matter of fact, its importance really is immense. It cannot be overestimated, for the press really continues education in adulthood.
Its readers, by and large, can be divided into three groups:
First, into those who believe everything they read;
second, into those who have ceased to believe anything;
third, into the minds which critically examine what they read, and judge accordingly.
Numerically, the first group is by far the largest. It consists of the great mass of the people and consequently represents the simplest-minded part of the nation. It cannot be listed in terms of professions, but at most in general degrees of intelligence. To it belong all those who have neither been born nor trained to think independently, and who partly from incapacity and partly from incompetence believe everything that is set before them in black and white. To them also belongs the type of lazybones who could perfectly well think, but from sheer mental laziness seizes gratefully on everything that someone else has thought, with the modest assumption that the someone else has exerted himself considerably. Now, with all these types, who constitute the great masses, the influence of the press will be enormous. They are not able or willing themselves to examine what is set before them, and as a result their whole attitude toward all the problems of the day can be reduced almost exclusively to the outside influence of others. This can be advantageous when their enlightenment is provided by a serious and truth-loving party, but it is catastrophic when scoundrels and liars provide it.
The second group is much smaller in number. It is partly composed of elements which previously belonged to the first group, but after long and bitter disappointments shifted to the opposite and no longer believe anything that comes before their eyes in print. They hate every newspaper; either they don't read it at all, or without exception fly into a rage over the contents, since in their opinion they consist only of lies and falsehoods. These people are very hard to handle, since they are suspicious even in the face of the truth. Consequently, they are lost for all positive, political work.
The third group, finally, is by far the smallest; it consists of the minds with real mental subtlety, whom natural gifts and education have taught to think independently, who try to form their own judgment on all things, and who subject everything they read to a thorough examination and further development of their own. They will not look at a newspaper without always collaborating in their minds, and the writer has no easy time of it. Journalists love such readers with the greatest reserve.
For the members of this third group, it must be admitted, the nonsense that newspaper scribblers can put down is not very dangerous or even very important. Most of them in the course of their lives have learned to regard every journalist as a rascal on principle, who tells the truth only once in a blue moon. Unfortunately, however, the importance of these splendid people lies only in their intelligence and not in their number- a misfortune at a time when wisdom is nothing and the majority is everything! Today, when the ballot of the masses decides, the chief weight lies with the most numerous group, and this is the first: the mob of the simple or credulous.
It is of paramount interest to the state and the nation to prevent these people from falling into the hands of bad, ignorant, or even vicious educators. The state, therefore, has the duty of watching over their education and preventing any mischief. It must particularly exercise strict control over the press; for its influence on these people is by far the strongest and most penetrating, since it is applied, not once in a while, but over and over again. In the uniformity and constant repetition of this instruction lies its tremendous power. If anywhere, therefore, it is here that the state must not forget that all means must serve an end; it must not let itself be confused by the drivel about so-called 'freedom of the press' and let itself be talked into neglecting its duty and denying the nation the food which it needs and which is good for it; with ruthless determination it must make sure of this instrument of popular education, and place it in the service of the state and the nation.
But what food did the German press of the pre-War period dish out to the people? Was it not the worst poison that can even be imagined? Wasn't the worst kind of pacifism injected into the heart of our people at a time when the rest of the world was preparing to throttle Germany, slowly but surely? Even in peacetime didn't the press inspire the minds of the people with doubt in the right of their own state, thus from the outset limiting them in the choice of means for its defense? Was it not the German press which knew how to make the absurdity of 'Western democracy' palatable to our people until finally, ensnared by all the enthusiastic tirades, they thought they could entrust their future to a League of Nations? Did it not help to teach our people a miserable immorality? Did it not ridicule morality and ethics as backward and petty-bourgeois, until our people finally became 'modern'? Did it not with its constant attacks undermine the foundations of the state's authority until a single thrust sufficed to make the edifice collapse? Did it not fight with all possible means against every effort to give unto the state that which is the state's? Did it not belittle the army with constant criticism, sabotage universal conscription, demand the refusal of military credits, etc., until the result became inevitable?
The so-called liberal press was actively engaged in digging the grave of the German people and the German Reich. We can pass by the lying Marxist sheets in silence; to them lying is just as vitally necessary as catching mice for a cat; their function is only to break the people's national and patriotic backbone and make them ripe for the slave's yoke of international capital and its masters, the Jews.
And what did the state do against this mass poisoning of the nation? Nothing, absolutely nothing. A few ridiculous decrees, a few fines for villainy that went too far, and that was the end of it. Instead, they hoped to curry favor with this plague by flattery, by recognition of the 'value' of the press, its 'importance,' its 'educational mission,' and more such nonsense-as for the Jews, they took all this with a crafty smile and acknowledged it with sly thanks.
The reason, however, for this disgraceful failure on the part of the state was not that it did not recognize the danger, but rather in a cowardice crying to high Heaven and the resultant halfheartedness of all decisions and measures. No one had the courage to use thoroughgoing radical methods, but in this as in everything else they tinkered about with a lot of halfway prescriptions, and instead of carrying the thrust to the heart, they at most irritated the viper-with the result that not only did everything remain as before, but on the contrary the power of the institutions which should have been combated increased from year to year.
The defensive struggle of the German government at that time against the press-mainly that of Jewish origin-which was slowly ruining the nation was without any straight line, irresolute and above all without any visible goal. The intelligence of the privy councilors failed completely when it came to estimating the importance of this struggle, to choosing means or drawing up a clear plan. Planlessly they fiddled about; sometimes, after being bitten too badly, they locked up one of the journalistic vipers for a few weeks or months, but they left the snakes' nest as such perfectly unmolested.
True-this resulted partly from the infinitely wily tactics of the Jews, on the one hand, and from a stupidity and innocence such as only privy councilors are capable of, on the other. The Jew was much too clever to allow his entire press to be attacked uniformly. No, one part of it existed in order to cover the other. While the Marxist papers assailed in the most dastardly way everything that can be holy to man; while they infamously attacked the state and the government and stirred up large sections of the people against one another, the bourgeois-democratic papers knew how to give an appearance of their famous objectivity, painstakingly avoided all strong words, well knowing that empty heads can judge only by externals and never have the faculty of penetrating the inner core, so that for them the value of a thing is measured by this exterior instead of by the content; a human weakness to which they owe what esteem they themselves enjoy.
For these people the Frankfurter Zeitung was the embodiment of respectability. For it never uses coarse expressions, it rejects all physical brutality and keeps appealing for struggle with 'intellectual' weapons, a conception, strange to say, to which especially the least intelligent people are most attached. This is a result of our half-education which removes people from the instinct of Nature and pumps a certain amount of knowledge into them, but cannot create full understanding, since for this industry and good will alone are no use; the necessary intelligence must be present, and what is more, it must be inborn. The ultimate wisdom is always the understanding of the instinct '-that is: a man must never fall into the lunacy of believing that he has really risen to be lord and master of Nature-which is so easily induced by the conceit of half-education; he must understand the fundamental necessity of Nature's rule, and realize how much his existence is subjected to these laws of eternal fight and upward struggle. Then he will feel that in a universe where planets revolve around suns, and moons turn about planets, where force alone forever masters weakness, compelling it to be an obedient slave or else crushing it, there can be no special laws for man. For him, too, the eternal principles of this ultimate wisdom hold sway. He can try to comprehend them; but escape them, never.
And it is precisely for our intellectual demi-monde that the Jew writes his so-called intellectual press. For them the Frankfurter Zeitung and the Berliner Tageblatt are made; for them their tone is chosen, and on them they exercise their influence. Seemingly they all most sedulously avoid any outwardly crude forms, and meanwhile from other vessels they nevertheless pour their poison into the hearts of their readers. Amid a Gezeires 2 Of fine sounds and phrases they lull their readers into believing that pure science or even morality is really the motive of their acts, while in reality it is nothing but a wily, ingenious trick for stealing the enemy's weapon against the press from under his nose. The one variety oozes respectability, so all soft-heads are ready to believe them when they say that the faults of others are only trivial abuses which should never lead to an infringement of the 'freedom of the press'-their term for poisoning and lying to the people. And so the authorities shy away from taking measures against these bandits, for they fear that, if they did, they would at once have the ' respectable ' press against them, a fear which is only too justified. For as soon as they attempt to proceed against one of these shameful rags, all the others will at once take its part, but by no means to sanction its mode of struggle, God forbid-but only to defend the principle of freedom of the press and freedom of public opinion; these alone must be defended. But in the face of all this shouting, the strongest men grow weak, for does it not issue from the mouths of 'respectable' papers?
This poison was able to penetrate the bloodstream of our people unhindered and do its work, and the state did not possess the power to master the disease. In the laughable half-measures which it used against the poison, the menacing decay of the Reich was manifest. For an institution which is no longer resolved to defend itself with all weapons has for practical purposes abdicated. Every half-measure is a visible sign of inner decay which must and will be followed sooner or later by outward collapse.
I believe that the present generation, properly led, will more easily master this danger. It has experienced various things which had the power somewhat to strengthen the nerves of those who did not lose them entirely. In future days the Jew will certainly continue to raise a mighty uproar in his newspapers if a hand is ever laid on his favorite nest, if an end is put to the mischief of the press and this instrument of education is put into the service of the state and no longer left in the hands of aliens and enemies of the people. But I believe that this will bother us younger men less than our fathers. A thirty-centimeter shell has always hissed more loudly than a thousand Jewish newspaper vipers-so let them hiss!
A further example of the halfheartedness and weakness of the leaders of pre-War Germany in meeting the most important vital questions of the nation is the following: running parallel to the political, ethical, and moral contamination of the people, there had been for many years a no less terrible poisoning of the health of the national body. Especially in the big cities, syphilis was beginning to spread more and more, while tuberculosis steadily reaped its harvest of death throughout nearly the whole country.
Though in both cases the consequences were terrible for the nation, the authorities could not summon up the energy to take
Particularly with regard to syphilis, the attitude of the leadership of the nation and the state can only be designated as total capitulation. To fight it seriously, they would have had to take somewhat broader measures than was actually the case. The invention of a remedy of questionable character and its commercial exploitation can no longer help much against this plague. Here again it was only the fight against causes that mattered and not the elimination of the symptoms. The cause lies, primarily, in our prostitution of love. Even if its result were not this frightful plague, it would nevertheless be profoundly injurious to man, since the moral devastations which accompany this degeneracy suffice to destroy a people slowly but surely. This Jewification of our spiritual life and mammonization of our mating instinct will sooner or later destroy our entire offspring, for the powerful children of a natural emotion will be replaced by the miserable creatures of financial expediency which is becoming more and more the basis and sole prerequisite of our marriages. Love finds its outlet elsewhere.
Here, too, of course, Nature can be scorned for a certain time, but her vengeance will not fail to appear, only it takes a time to manifest itself, or rather: it is often recognized too late by man.
But the devastating consequences of a lasting disregard of the natural requirements for marriage can be seen in our nobility. Here we have before us the results of procreation based partly on purely social compulsion and partly on financial grounds. The one leads to a general weakening, the other to a poisoning of the blood, since every department store Jewess is considered fit to augment the offspring of His Highness-and, indeed, the offspring look it. In both cases complete degeneration is the consequence.
Today our bourgeoisie strive to go the same road, and they will end up at the same goal.
Hastily and indifferently, people tried to pass by the unpleasant truths, as though by such an attitude events could be undone. No, the fact that our big city population is growing more and more prostituted in its love life cannot just be denied out of existence; it simply is so. The most visible results of this mass contamination can, on the one hand, be found in the insane asylums, and on the other, unfortunately, in our-children. They in particular are the sad product of the irresistibly spreading contamination of our sexual life; the vices of the parents are revealed in the sicknesses of the children.
There are different ways of reconciling oneself to this unpleasant, yes, terrible fact: the ones see nothing at all or rather want to see nothing; this, of course, is by far the simplest and easiest 'position.' The others wrap themselves in a saint's cloak of prudishness as absurd as it is hypocritical; they speak of this whole field as if it were a great sin, and above all express their profound indignation against every sinner caught in the act, then close their eyes in pious horror to this godless plague and pray God to let sulphur and brimstone-preferably after their own death-rain down on this whole Sodom and Gomorrah, thus once again making an instructive example of this shameless humanity. The third, finally, are perfectly well aware of the terrible consequences which this plague must and will some day induce, but only shrug their shoulders, convinced that nothing can be done against the menace, so the only thing to do is to let things slide.
All this, to be sure, is comfortable and simple, but it must not be forgotten that a nation will fall victim to such comfortableness. The excuse that other peoples are no better off, it goes without saying, can scarcely affect the fact of our own ruin, except that the feeling of seeing others stricken by the same calamity might for many bring a mitigation of their own pains. But then more than ever the question becomes: Which people will be the first and only one to master this plague by its own strength, and which nations will perish from it? And this is the crux of the whole matter. Here again we have a touchstone of a race's value-the race which cannot stand the test will simply die out, making place for healthier or tougher and more resisting races. For since this question primarily regards the offspring, it is one of those concerning which it is said with such terrible justice that the sins of the fathers are avenged down to the tenth generation. But this applies only to profanation of the blood and the race.
Blood sin and desecration of the race are the original sin in this world and the end of a humanity which surrenders to it.
How truly wretched was the attitude of pre-War Germany on this one very question ! What was done to check the contamination of our youth in the big cities? What was done to attack the infection and mammonization of our love life? What was done to combat the resulting syphilization of our people?
This can be answered most easily by stating what should have been done.
First of all, it was not permissible to take this question frivolously; it had to be understood that the fortune or misfortune of generations would depend on its solution; yes, that it could, if not had to be, decisive for the entire future of our people. Such a realization, however, obligated us to ruthless measures and surgical operations. What we needed most was the conviction that first of all the whole attention of the nation had to be concentrated upon this terrible danger, so that every single individual could become inwardly conscious of the importance of this struggle. Truly incisive and sometimes almost unbearable obligations and burdens can only be made generally effective if, in addition to compulsion, the realization of necessity is transmitted to the individual. But this requires a tremendous enlightenment excluding all other problems of the day which might have a distracting effect.
In all cases where the fulfillment of apparently impossible demand.s or tasks is involved, the whole attention of a people must be focused and concentrated on this one question, as though life and death actually depended on its solution. Only in this way will a people be made willing and able to perform great tasks and exertions.
This principle applies also to the individual man in so far as he wants to achieve great goals. He, too, will be able to do this only in steplike sections, and he, too, will always have to unite his entire energies on the achievement of a definitely delimited task, until this task seems fulfilled and a new section can be marked out. Anyone who does not so divide the road to be conquered into separate stages and does not try to conquer these one by one, systematically with the sharpest concentration of all his forces, will never be able to reach the ultimate goal, but will be left lying somewhere along the road, or perhaps even off it. This gradual working up to a goal is an art, and to conquer the road step by step in this way you must throw in your last ounce of energy.
The very first prerequisite needed for attacking such a difficult stretch of the human road is for the leadership to succeed in representing to the masses of the people the partial goal which now has to be achieved, or rather conquered, as the one which is solely and alone worthy of attention, on whose conquest everything depends. The great mass of the people cannot see the whole road ahead of them without growing weary and despairing of the task. A certain number of them will keep the goal in mind, but will only be able to see the road in small, partial stretches, like the wanderer, who likewise knows and recognizes the end of his journey, but is better able to conquer the endless highway if he divides it into sections and boldly attacks each one as though it represented the desired goal itself. Only in this way does he advance without losing heart.
Thus, by the use of all propagandist means, the question of combating syphilis should have been made to appear as the task of the nation. Not just one more task. To this end, its injurious effects should have been thoroughly hammered into people as the most terrible misfortune, and this by the use of all available means, until the entire nation arrived at the conviction that everything-future or ruin-depended upon the solution of this question.
Only after such a preparation, if necessary over a period of years, will the attention, and consequently the determination, of the entire nation be aroused to such an extent that we can take exceedingly hard measures exacting the greatest sacrifices without running the risk of not being understood or of suddenly being left in the lurch by the will of the masses.
For, seriously to attack this plague, tremendous sacrifices and equally great labors are necessary.
The fight against syphilis demands a fight against prostitution against prejudices, old habits, against previous conceptions, general views among them not least the false prudery of certain circles.
The first prerequisite for even the moral right to combat these things is the facilitation of earlier marriage for the coming generation. In late marriage alone lies the compulsion to retain an institution which, twist and turn as you like, is and remains a disgrace to humanity, an institution which is damned ill-suited to a being who with his usual modesty likes to regard himself as the 'image' of God.
Prostitution is a disgrace to humanity, but it cannot be eliminated by moral lectures, pious intentions, etc.; its limitation and final abolition presuppose the elimination of innumerable preconditions. The first is and remains the creation of an opportunity for early marriage as compatible with human nature- particularly for the man, as the woman in any case is only the passive part.
How lost, how incomprehensible a part of humanity has become today can be seen from the fact that mothers in so-called 'good ' society can not seldom be heard to say that they are glad to have found their child a husband who has sown his wild oats, etc. Since there is hardly any lack of these, but rather the contrary, the poor girl will be happy to find one of these worn-out Siegfrieds, and the children will be the visible result of this 'sensible' marriage. If we bear in mind that, aside from this, propagation as such is limited as much as possible, so that Nature is prevented from making any choice, since naturally every creature, regardless how miserable, must be preserved, the only question that remains is why such an institution exists at all any more and what purpose it is supposed to serve? Isn't it exactly the same as prostitution itself? Hasn't duty toward posterity passed completely out of the picture? Or do people fail to realize what a curse on the part of their children and children's children they are heaping on themselves by such criminal frivolity in observing the ultimate natural law as well as our ultimate natural obligation?
Thus, the civilized peoples degenerate and gradually perish.
And marriage cannot be an end in itself, but must serve the one higher goal, the increase and preservation of the species and the race. This alone is its meaning and its task.
Under these conditions its soundness can only be judged by the way in which it fulfills this task. For this reason alone early marriage is sound, for it-gives the young marriage that strength from which alone a healthy and resistant offspring can arise. To be sure, it can be made possible only by quite a number of social conditions without which early marriage is not even thinkable. Therefore, a solution of this question, small as it is, cannot occur without incisive measures of a social sort. The importance of these should be most understandable at a time when the 'social' - republic, if only by its incompetence in the solution of the housing question, simply prevents numerous marriages and thus encourages prostitution.
Our absurd way of regulating salaries, which concerns itself much too little with the question of the family and its sustenance, is one more reason that makes many an early marriage impossible.
Thus, a real fight against prostitution can only be undertaken if a basic change in social conditions makes possible an earlier marriage than at present can generally take place. This is the very first premise for a solution of this question.
In the second place, education and training must eradicate a number of evils about which today no one bothers at all. Above all, in our present education a balance must be created between mental instruction and physical training. The institution that is called a Gymnasium today is a mockery of the Greek model. In our educational system it has been utterly forgotten that in the long run a healthy mind can dwell only in a healthy body. Especially if we bear in mind the mass of the people, aside from a few exceptions, this statement becomes absolutely valid.
In pre-War Germany there was a period in which no one concerned himself in the least about this truth. They simply went on sinning against the body and thought that in the one-sided training of the 'mind,' they possessed a sure guaranty for the greatness of the nation. A mistake whose consequences began to be felt sooner than was expected. It is no accident that th Bolshevistic wave never found better soil than in places inhabited by a population degenerated by hunger and constant undernourishment: in Central Germany, Saxony, and the Ruhr. But in all these districts the so-called intelligentsia no longer offers any serious resistance to this Jewish disease, for the simple reason that this intelligentsia is itself completely degenerate physically, though less for reasons of poverty than for reasons of education. In times when not the mind but the fist decides, the purely intellectual emphasis of our education in the upper classes makes them incapable of defending themselves, let alone enforcing their will. Not infrequently the first reason for personal cowardice lies in physical weaknesses.
The excessive emphasis on purely intellectual instruction and the neglect of physical training also encourage the emergence of sexual ideas at a much too early age. The youth who achieves the hardness of iron by sports and gymnastics succumbs to the need of sexual satisfaction less than the stay-at-home fed exclusively on intellectual fare. And a sensible system of education must bear this in mind. It must, moreover, not fail to consider that the healthy young man will expect different things from the woman than a prematurely corrupted weakling.
Thus, the whole system of education must be so organized as to use the boy's free time for the useful training of his body. He has no right to hang about in idleness during these years, to make the streets and movie-houses unsafe; after his day's work he should steel and harden his young body, so that later life will not find him too soft. To begin this and also carry it out, to direct and guide it, is the task of education, and not just the pumping of so-called wisdom. We must also do away with the conception that the treatment of the body is the affair of every individual. There is no freedom to sin at the cost of posterity and hence of the race.
Parallel to the training of the body, a struggle against the poisoning of the soul must begin. Our whole public life today is like a hothouse for sexual ideas and stimulations. Just look at the bill of fare served up in our movies, vaudeville and theaters, and you will hardly be able to deny that this is not the right kind of food, particularly for the youth. In shop windows and billboards the vilest means are used to attract the attention of the crowd. Anyone who has not lost the ability to think himself into their soul must realize that this must cause great damage in the youth. This sensual, sultry atmosphere leads to ideas and stimulations at a time when the boy should have no understanding of such things. The result of this kind of education can be studied in present-day youth, and it is not exactly gratifying. They mature too early and consequently grow old before their time. Sometimes the public learns of court proceedings which permit shattering insights into the emotional life of our fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds. Who will be surprised that even in these age-groups syphilis begins to seek its victims? And is it not deplorable to see a good number of these physically weak, spiritually corrupted young men obtaining their introduction to marriage through big-city whores?
No, anyone who wants to attack prostitution must first of all help to eliminate its spiritual basis. He must clear away the filth of the moral plague of big-city ' civilization ' and he must do this ruthlessly and without wavering in the face of all the shouting and screaming that will naturally be let loose. If we do not lift the youth out of the morass of their present-day environment, they will drown in it. Anyone who refuses to see these things supports them, and thereby makes himself an accomplice in the slow prostitution of our future which, whether we like it or not, lies in the coming generation. This cleansing of our culture must be extended to nearly all fields. Theater, art, literature, cinema, press, posters, and window displays must be cleansed of all manifestations of our rotting world and placed in the service of a moral political, and cultural idea. Public life must be freed from the stifling perfume of our modern eroticism, just as it must be freed from all unmanly, prudish hypocrisy. In all these things the goal and the road must be determined by concern for the preservation of the health of our people in body and soul. The right of personal freedom recedes before the duty to preserve the race.
Only after these measures are carried out can the medical struggle against the plague itself be carried through with any prospect of success. But here, too, there must be no half-measures; the gravest and most ruthless decisions will have to be made. It is a half-measure to let incurably sick people steadily contaminate the remaining healthy ones. This is in keeping with the humanitarianism which, to avoid hurting one individual, lets a hundred others perish. The demand that defective people be prevented from propagating equally defective offspring is a demand of the clearest reason and if systematically executed represents the most humane act of mankind. It will spare millions of unfortunates undeserved sufferings, and consequently will lead to a rising improvement of health as a whole. The determination to proceed in this direction will oppose a dam to the further spread of venereal diseases. For, if necessary, the incurably sick will be pitilessly segregated-a barbaric measure for the unfortunate who is struck by it, but a blessing for his fellow men and posterity. The passing pain of a century can and will redeem millenniums from sufferings.
The struggle against syphilis and the prostitution which prepares the way for it is one of the most gigantic tasks of humanity, gigantic because we are facing, not the solution of a single question, but the elimination of a large number of evils which bring about this plague as a resultant manifestation. For in this case the sickening of the body is only the consequence of a sickening of the moral, social, and racial instincts.
But if out of smugness, or even cowardice, this battle is not fought to its end, then take a look at the peoples five hundred years from now. I think you will find but few images of God, unless you want to profane the Almighty.
But how did they try to deal with this plague in old Germany? Viewed calmly, the answer is really dismal. Assuredly, government circles well recognized the terrible evils, though perhaps they were not quite able to ponder the consequences; but in the struggle against it they failed totally, and instead of thoroughgoing reforms preferred to take pitiful measures. They tinkered with the disease and left the causes untouched. They submitted the individual prostitute to a medical examination, supervised her as best they could, and, in case they established disease, put her in some hospital from which after a superficial cure they again let her loose on the rest of humanity.
To be sure, they had introduced a 'protective paragraph' according to which anyone who was not entirely healthy or cured must avoid sexual intercourse under penalty of the law. Surely this measure is sound in itself, but in its practical application it was almost a total failure. In the first place, the woman, in case she is smitten by misfortune-if only due to our, or rather her, education-will in most cases refuse to be dragged into court as a witness against the wretched thief of her health-often under the most embarrassing attendant circumstances. She, in particular, has little to gain from it; in most cases she will be the one to suffer most-for she will be struck much harder by the contempt of her loveless fellow creatures than would be the case with a man. Finally, imagine the situation if the conveyor of the disease is her own husband. Should she accuse him? Or what else should she do?
In the case of the man, there is the additional fact that unfortunately he often runs across the path of this plague after ample consumption of alcohol, since in this condition he is least able to judge the qualities of his 'fair one,' a fact which is only too well known to the diseased prostitute, and always causes her to angle after men in this ideal condition. And the upshot of it all is that the man who gets an unpleasant surprise later can, even by thoroughly racking his brains, not remember his kind benefactress, which should not be surprising in a city like Berlin or even Munich. In addition, it must be considered that often we have to deal with visitors from the provinces who are completely befuddled by all the magic of the big city.
Finally, however: who can know whether he is sick or healthy? Are there not numerous cases in which a patient apparently cured relapses and causes frightful mischief without himself suspecting it at first?
Thus, the practical effect of this protection by legal punishment of a guilty infection is in reality practically nil. Exactly the same is true of the supervision of prostitutes; and finally, the cure itself, even today, is dubious. Only one thing is certain: despite all measures the plague spread more and more, giving striking confirmation of their ineffectualness.
The fight against the prostitution of the people's soul was a failure all along the line, or rather, that is, nothing at all was done.
Let anyone who is inclined to take this lightly just study the basic statistical facts on the dissemination of this plague, compare its growth in the last hundred years, and then imagine its further development-and he would really need the simplicity of an ass to keep an unpleasant shudder from running down his back.
The weakness and halfheartedness of the position taken in old Germany toward so terrible a phenomenon may be evaluated as a visible sign of a people's decay. If the power to fight for one's own health is no longer present, the right to live in this world of struggle ends. This world belongs only to the forceful 'whole' man and not to the weak 'half ' man.
One of the most obvious manifestations of decay in the old Reich was the slow decline of the cultural level, and by culture I do not mean what today is designated by the word ' civilization.' The latter, on the contrary, rather seems hostile to a truly high standard of thinking and living.
Even before the turn of the century an element began to intrude into our art which up to that time could be regarded as entirely foreign and unknown. To be sure, even in earlier times there were occasional aberrations of taste, but such cases were rather artistic derailments, to which posterity could attribute at least a certain historical value, than products no longer of an artistic degeneration, but of a spiritual degeneration that had reached the point of destroying the spirit. In them the political collapse, which later became more visible, was culturally indicated.
Art Bolshevism is the only possible cultural form and spiritual expression of Bolshevism as a whole.
Anyone to whom this seems strange need only subject the art of the happily Bolshevized states to an examination, and, to his horror, he will be confronted by the morbid excrescences of insane and degenerate men, with which, since the turn of the century, we have become familiar under the collective concepts of cubism and dadaism, as the official and recognized art of those states. Even in the short period of the Bavarian Republic of Councils, this phenomenon appeared. Even here it could be seen that all the official posters, propagandist drawings in the newspapers, etc., bore the imprint, not only of political but of cultural decay.
No more than a political collapse of the present magnitude would have been conceivable sixty years ago was a cultural collapse such as began to manifest itself in futurist and cubist works since 1900 thinkable. Sixty years ago an exhibition of so-called dadaistic 'experiences' would have seemed simply impossible and its organizers would have ended up in the madhouse, while today they even preside over art associations. This plague could not appear at that time, because neither would public opinion have tolerated it nor the state calmly looked on. For it is the business of the state, in other words, of its leaders, to prevent a people from being driven into the arms of spiritual madness. And this is where such a development would some day inevitably end. For on the day when this type of art really corresponded to the general view of things, one of the gravest transformations of humanity would have occurred: the regressive development of the human mind would have begun and the end would be scarcely conceivable.
Once we pass the development of our cultural life in the last twenty-five years in review from this standpoint, we shall be horrified to see how far we are already engaged in this regression. Everywhere we encounter seeds which represent the beginnings of parasitic growths which must sooner or later be the ruin of our culture. In them, too, we can recognize the symptoms of decay of a slowly rotting world. Woe to the peoples who can no longer master this disease!
Such diseases could be seen in Germany in nearly every field of art and culture. Everything seemed to have passed the high point and to be hastening toward the abyss. The theater was sinking manifestly lower and even then would have disappeared completely as a cultural factor if the Court Theaters at least had not turned against the prostitution of art. If we disregard them and a few other praiseworthy examples, the offerings of the stage were of such a nature that it would have been more profitable for the nation to keep away from them entirely. It was a sad sign of inner decay that the youth could no longer be sent into most of these so-called ' abodes of art '-a fact which was admitted with shameless frankness by a general display of the penny-arcade warning: 'Young people are not admitted!'
Bear in mind that such precautionary measures had to be taken in the places which should have existed primarily for the education of the youth and not for the delectation of old and jaded sections of the population. What would the great dramatists of all times have said to such a regulation, and what, above all, to the circumstances which caused it? How Schiller would have flared up, how Goethe would have turned away in indignation!
But after all, what are Schiller, Goethe, or Shakespeare compared to the heroes of the newer German poetic art? Old, outworn, outmoded, nay, obsolete. For that was the characteristic thing about that period: not that the period itself produced nothing but filth, but that in the bargain it befouled everything that was really great in the past. This, to be sure, is a phenomenon that can always be observed at such times. The baser and more contemptible the products of the time and its people, the Lore it hates the witnesses to the greater nobility and dignity of a former day. In such times the people would best like to efface the memory of mankind's past completely, so that by excluding every possibility of comparison they could pass off their own trash as 'art.' Hence every new institution, the more wretched and miserable it is, will try all the harder to extinguish the last traces of the past time, whereas every true renascence of humanity can start with an easy mind from the good achievements of past generations; in fact, can often make them truly appreciated for the first time. It does not have to fear that it will pale before the past; no, of itself it contributes so valuable an addition to the general store of human culture that often, in order to make this culture fully appreciated, it strives to keep alive the memory of former achievements, thus making sure that the present will fully understand the new gift. Only those who can give nothing valuable to the world, but try to act as if they were going to give it God knows what, will hate everything that was previously gives and would best like to negate or even destroy it.
The truth of this is by no means limited to the field of general culture, but applies to politics as well. Revolutionary new movements will hate the old forms in proportion to their own inferiority. Here, too, we can see how eagerness to make their own trash appear to be something noteworthy leads to blind hatred against the superior good of the past. As long, for example, as the historical memory of Frederick the Great is not dead, Friedrich Ebert can arouse nothing but limited amazement. The hero of Sans-Souci is to the former Bremen saloon keeper approximately as the sun to the moon; only when the rays of the sun die can the moon shine. Consequently, the hatred of all new moons of humanity for the fixed stars is only too comprehensible. In political life, such nonentities, if Fate temporarily casts power in their lap, not only besmirch and befoul the past with untiring zeal, but also remove themselves from general criticism by the most extreme methods. The new German Reich's legislation for the defense of the Republic may pass as an example of this.
Therefore, if any new idea, a doctrine, a new philosophy, or even a political or economic movement tries to deny the entire past, tries to make it bad or worthless, for this reason alone we must be extremely cautious and suspicious. As a rule the reason for such hatred is either its own inferiority or even an evil intention as such. A really beneficial renascence of humanity will always have to continue building where the last good foundation stops. It will not have to be ashamed of using already existing truths. For the whole of human culture, as well as man himself is only the result of a single long development in which every generation contributed and fitted in its stone. Thus the meaning and purpose of revolutions is not to tear down the whole building but to remove what is bad or unsuitable and to continue building on the sound spot that has been laid bare.
Thus alone can we and may we speak of the progress of humanity. Otherwise the world would never be redeemed from chaos, since every generation would be entitled to reject the past and hence destroy the works of the past as the presupposition for its own work.
Thus, the saddest thing about the state of our whole culture of the pre-War period was not only the total impotence of artistic and cultural creative power in general, but the hatred with which the memory of the greater past was besmirched and effaced. In nearly all fields of art, especially in the theater and literature, we began around the turn of the century to produce less that was new and significant, but to disparage the best of the old work and represent it as inferior and surpassed; as though this epoch of the most humiliating inferiority could surpass anything at all. And from this effort to remove the past from the eyes of the present, the evil intent of the apostles of the future could clearly and distinctly be seen. By this it should have been recognized that these were no new, even if false, cultural conceptions, but a process of destroying all culture, paving the way for a stultification of healthy artistic feeling: the spiritual preparation of political Bolshevism. For if the age of Pericles seems embodied in the Parthenon, the Bolshevistic present is embodied in a cubist
In this connection we must also point to the cowardice which here again was manifest in the section of our people which on the basis of its education and position should have been obligated to resist this cultural disgrace. But from pure fear of the clamor raised by the apostles of Bolshevistic art, who furiously attacked anyone who didn't want to recognize the crown of creation in them and pilloried him as a backward philistine, they renounced all serious resistance and reconciled themselves to what seemed after all inevitable. They were positively scared stiff that these half-wits or scoundrels would accuse them of lack of understanding; as though it were a disgrace not to understand the products of spiritual degenerates or slimy swindlers. These cultural disciples, it is true, possessed a very simple means of passing off their nonsense as something God knows how important: they passed off all sorts of incomprehensible and obviously crazy stuff on their amazed fellow men as a so-called inner experience, a cheap way of taking any word of opposition out of the mouths of most people in advance. For beyond a doubt this could be an inner experience; the doubtful part was whether it is permissible to dish up the hallucinations of lunatics or criminals to the healthy world. The works of a Moritz von Schwind, or of a Bocklin, were also an inner experience, but of artists graced by God and not of clowns.
Here was a good occasion to study the pitiful cowardice of our so-called intelligentsia, which dodged any serious resistance to this poisoning of the healthy instinct of our people and left it to the people themselves to deal with this insolent nonsense. In order not to be considered lacking in artistic understanding, people stood for every mockery of art and ended up by becoming really uncertain in the judgment of good and bad.
All in all, these were tokens of times that were getting very bad.
As another disquieting attribute, the following must yet be stated:
In the nineteenth century our cities began more and more to lose the character of cultural sites and to descend to the level of mere human settlements. The small attachment of our present big-city proletariat for the town they live in is the consequence of the fact that it is only the individual's accidental local stopping place, and nothing more. This is partly connected with the frequent change of residence caused by social conditions, which do not give a man time to form a closer bond with the city, and another cause is to be found in the general cultural insignificance and poverty of our present-day cities per se.
At the time of the wars of liberations the German cities were not only small in number, but also modest as to size. The few really big cities were mostly princely residences, and as such nearly always possessed a certain cultural value and for the most part also a certain artistic picture. The few places with more than fifty thousand inhabitants were, compared to present-day cities with the same population, rich in scientific and artistic treasures When Munich numbered sixty thousand souls, it was already on its way to becoming one of the first German art centers; today nearly every factory town has reached this number, if not many times surpassed it, yet some cannot lay claim to the slightest real values. Masses of apartments and tenements, and nothing more How, in view of such emptiness, any special bond could be expected to arise with such a town must remain a mystery. No one will be particularly attached to a city which has nothing more to offer than every other, which lacks every individual note and in which everything has been carefully avoided which might even look like art or anything of the sort.
But, as if this were not enough, even the really big cities grow relatively poorer in real art treasures with the mounting increase in the population. They seem more and more standardized and give entirely the same picture as the poor little factory towns, though in larger dimensions. What recent times have added to the cultural content of our big cities is totally inadequate. All our cities are living on the fame and treasures of the past. For instance, take from present-day Munich everything that was created under Ludwig I,l and you will note with horror how poor the addition of significant artistic creations has been since that time. The same is true of Berlin and most other big cities.
The essential point, however, is the following: our big cities of today possess no monuments dominating the city picture, which might somehow be regarded as the symbols of the whole epoch. This was true in the cities of antiquity, since nearly every one possessed a special monument in which it took pride. The characteristic aspect of the ancient city did not lie in private buildings, but in the community monuments which seemed made, not for the moment, but for eternity, because they were intended to reflect, not the wealth of an individual owner, but the greatness and wealth of the community. Thus arose monuments which were very well suited to unite the individual inhabitant with his city in a way which today sometimes seems almost incomprehensible to us. For what the ancient had before his eyes was less the humble houses of private owners than the magnificent edifices of the whole community. Compared to them the dwelling house really sank to the level of an insignificant object of secondary importance.
Only if we compare the dimensions of the ancient state structures with contemporary dwelling houses can we understand the overpowering sweep and force of this emphasis on the principle of giving first place to public works. The few still towering colossuses which we admire in the ruins and wreckage of the ancient world are not former business palaces, but temples and state structures; in other words, works whose owner was the community. Even in the splendor of late Rome the first place was not taken by the villas and palaces of Individual citizens, but by the temples and baths, the stadiums, circuses, aqueducts, basilicas, etc., of the state, hence of the whole people.
Even the Germanic Middle Ages upheld the same guiding principle, though amid totally different conceptions of art. What in antiquity found its expression in the Acropolis or the Pantheon now cloaked itself in the forms of the Gothic Cathedral. Like giants these monumental structures towered over the swarming frames wooden, and brick buildings of the medieval city, and thus became symbols which even today, with the tenements climbing higher and higher beside them, determine the character and picture of these towns. Cathedrals, town halls, grain markets, and battlements are the visible signs of a Inception which in the last analysis was the same as that of antiquity.
Yet how truly deplorable the relation between state buildings and private buildings has become today! If the fate of Rome should strike Berlin, future generations would some day admire the department stores of a few Jews as the mightiest works of our era and the hotels of a few corporations as the characteristic expression of the culture of our times. Just compare the miserable discrepancy prevailing in a city like even Berlin between the structures of the Reich and those of finance and commerce
Even the sum of money spent on state buildings is usually laughable and inadequate. Works are not built for eternity, but at most for the need of the moment. And in them there is no dominant higher idea. At the time of its construction, the Berlin Schloss was a work of different stature than the new library, for instance, in the setting of the present time. While a single battleship represented a value of approximately sixty millions, hardly half of this sum was approved for the first magnificent building of the Reich, intended to stand for eternity, the Reichstag Building. Indeed, when the question of interior furnishings came up for decision, the exalted house voted against the use of stone and ordered the walls trimmed with plaster; this time, I must admit, the parliamentarians did right for a change: stone walls are no place for plaster heads.
Thus, our cities of the present lack the outstanding symbol of national community which, we must therefore not be surprised to find, sees no symbol of itself in the cities. The inevitable result is a desolation whose practical effect is the total indifference of the big-city dweller to the destiny of his city.
This, too, is a sign of our declining culture and our general collapse. The epoch is stifling in the pettiest utilitarianism or better expressed in the service of money. And we have no call for surprise if under such a deity little sense of heroism remains. The present time is only harvesting what the immediate past has sown.
All these symptoms of decay are in the last analysis only the consequences of the absence of a definite, uniformly acknowledged philosophy and she resultant general uncertainty in the judgment and attitude toward the various great problems of the time. That is why, beginning in education, everyone is half-hearted and vacillating, shunning responsibility and thus ending in cowardly tolerance of even recognized abuses. Humanitarian bilge becomes stylish and, by weakly yielding to cankers and sparing individuals, the future of millions is sacrificed.
How widespread the general disunity was growing is shown by an examination of religious conditions before the War. Here, too, a unified and effective philosophical conviction had long since been lost in large sections of the nation. In this the members officially breaking away from the churches play a less important role than those who are completely indifferent. While both denominations maintain missions in Asia and Africa in order to win new followers for their doctrine-an activity which can boast but very modest success compared to the advance of the Mohammedan faith in particular right here in Europe they lose millions and millions of inward adherents who either are alien to all religious life or simply go their own ways. The consequences, particularly from the moral point of view, are not favorable.
Also noteworthy is the increasingly violent struggle against the dogmatic foundations of the various churches without which in this human world the practical existence of a religious faith is not conceivable. The great masses of people do not consist of philosophers; precisely for the masses, faith is often the sole foundation of a moral attitude. The various substitutes have not proved so successful from the standpoint of results that they could be regarded as a useful replacement for previous religious creeds. But if religious doctrine and faith are really to embrace the broad masses, the unconditional authority of the content of this faith is the foundation of all efficacy. What the current mores, without which assuredly hundreds of thousands of well-bred people would live sensibly and reasonably but millions of others would not, are for general living, state principles are for the state, and dogmas for the current religion. Only through them is the wavering and infinitely interpretable, purely intellectual idea delimited and brought into a form without which it could never become faith. Otherwise the idea would never pass beyond a metaphysical conception; in short, a philosophical opinion. The attack against dogmas as such, therefore, strongly resembles the struggle against the general legal foundations of a state, and, as the latter would end in a total anarchy of the state, the former would end in a worthless religious nihilism.
For the political man, the value of a religion must be estimated less by its deficiencies than by the virtue of a visibly better substitute. As long as this appears to be lacking, what is present can be demolished only by fools or criminals.
Not the smallest blame for the none too delectable religious conditions must be borne by those who encumber the religious idea with too many things of a purely earthly nature and thus often bring it into a totally unnecessary conflict with so-called exact science. In this victory will almost always fall to the latter, though perhaps after a hard struggle, and religion will suffer serious damage in the eyes of all those who are unable to raise themselves above a purely superficial knowledge.
Worst of all, however, is the devastation wrought by the misuse of religious conviction for political ends. In truth, we cannot sharply enough attack those wretched crooks who would like to make religion an implement to perform political or rather business services for them. These insolent liars, it is true, proclaim their creed in a stentorian voice to the whole world for other sinners to hear; but their intention is not, if necessary, to die for it, but to live better. For a single-political swindle, provided it brings in enough, they are willing to sell the heart of a whole religion; for ten parliamentary mandates they would ally themselves with the Marxistic mortal enemies of all religions-and for a minister's chair they would even enter into marriage with the devil, unless the devil were deterred by a remnant of decency.
If in Germany before the War religious life for many had an unpleasant aftertaste, this could be attributed to the abuse of Christianity on the-part of a so-called ' Christian ' party and the shameless way in which they attempted to identify the Catholic faith with a political party.
This false association was a calamity which may have brought parliamentary mandates to a number of good-for-nothings but injury to the Church.
The consequence, however, had to be borne by the whole nation, since the outcome of the resultant slackening of religious life occurred at a time when everyone was beginning to waver and vacillate anyway, and the traditional foundations of ethics and morality were threatening to collapse.
This, too, created cracks and rifts in our nation which might present no danger as long as no special strain-arose, but which inevitably became catastrophic when by the force of great events the question of the inner solidity of the nation achieved decisive importance.
Likewise in the field of politics the observant eye could discern evils which, if not remedied or altered within a reasonable time, could be and had to be regarded as signs of the Reich's coming decay. The aimlessness of German domestic and foreign policy was apparent to everyone who was not purposely blind. The regime of compromise seemed to be most in keeping with Bismarck's conception that 'politics is an art of the possible.' But between Bismarck and the later German chancellors there was a slight difference which made it permissible for the former to let fall such an utterance on the nature of politics while the same view from the mouths of his successors could not but take on an entirely different meaning. For Bismarck with this phrase only wanted to say that for the achievement of a definite political goal all possibilities should be utilized, or, in other words, that all possibilities should be taken into account; in the view of his successors, however, this utterance solemnly released them from the necessity of having any political ideas or goals whatever. And the leadership of the Reich at this time really had no more political goals; for the necessary foundation of a definite philosophy was lacking, as well as the necessary clarity on the inner laws governing the development of all political life.
There were not a few who saw things blackly in this respect and flayed the planlessness and heedlessness of the Reich's policies, and well recognized their inner weakness and hollowness but these were only outsiders in political life; the official government authorities passed by the observations of a Houston Stewart Chamberlain with the same indifference as still occurs today. These people are too stupid to think any-thing for themselves and too conceited to learn what is necessary from others-an age-old truth which caused Oxenstierna to cry out: 'The world is governed by a mere fraction of wisdom';l and indeed nearly every ministerial secretary embodies only an atom of this fraction. Only since Germany has become a republic, this no longer applies. That is why it has been forbidden by the Law for the Defense of the Republic 2 to believe, let alone discuss, any such thought. Oxenstierna was lucky to live when he did, and not in this wise republic of ours.
Even in the pre-War period that institution which was supposed to embody the strength of the Reich was recognized by many as its greatest weakness: the parliament or Reichstag. Cowardice and irresponsibility were here completely wedded.
One of the foolish remarks which today we not infrequently hear is that parliamentarism in Germany has 'gone wrong since the revolution.' This too easily gives the impression that it was different before the revolution. In reality the effect of this institution can be nothing else than devastating-and this was true even in those days when most people wore blinders and saw nothing and wanted to see nothing. For if Germany was crushed, it was owing not least to this institution; no thanks are owing to the Reichstag that the catastrophe did not occur earlier; this must be attributed to the resistance to the activity of this gravedigger of the German nation and the German Reich, which persisted in the years of peace.
Out of the vast number of devastating evils for which this institution was directly or indirectly responsible, I shall pick only a single one which is most in keeping with the inner essence of this most irresponsible institution of all times: the terrible halfheartedness and weakness of the political leaders of the Reich both at home and abroad, which, primarily attributable to the activities of the Reichstag, developed into one of the chief reasons for the political collapse.
Half-hearted was everything that was subject in any way to the influence of this parliament, regardless which way you look.
Half-hearted and weak was the alliance policy of the Reich in its foreign relations. By trying to preserve peace it steered inevitably toward war.
Half-hearted was the Polish policy. It consisted in irritating without ever seriously going through with anything. The result was neither a victory for the Germans nor conciliation of the Poles, but hostility with Russia instead.
Half-hearted was the solution of the Alsace-Lorraine question. Instead of crushing the head of the French hydra once and for all with a brutal fist, and then granting the Alsatian equal rights, neither of the two was done. Nor could it be, for in the ranks of the biggest parties sat the biggest traitors-in the Center, for example, Herr Wetterle.
All this, however, would have been bearable if the general halfheartedness had not taken possession of that power on whose existence the survival of the Reich ultimately depended: the army.
The sins of the so-called 'German Reichstag' would alone suffice to cover it for all times with the curse of the German nation. For the most miserable reasons, these parliamentary rabble stole and struck from the hand of the nation its weapon of self-preservation, the only defense of our people's freedom and independence. If today the graves of Flanders field were to open, from them would arise the bloody accusers, hundreds of thousands of the best young Germans who, due to the unscrupulousness of these parliamentarian criminals, were driven, poorly trained and half-trained, into the arms of death; the fatherland lost them and millions of crippled and dead, solely and alone so that a few hundred misleaders of the people could perpetrate their political swindles and blackmail, or merely rattle off their doctrinaire theories.
While the Jews in their Marxist and democratic press proclaimed to the whole world the lie about 'German militarism' and sought to incriminate Germany by all means, the Marxist and democratic parties were obstructing any comprehensive training of the German national man-power. The enormous crime that was thus committed could not help but be clear to everyone who just considered that, in case of a coming war, the entire nation would have to take up arms, and that, therefore, through the rascality of these savory representatives of their own so-called 'popular representation,' millions of Germans were driven to face the enemy half-trained and badly trained. But even if the consequences resulting from the brutal and savage unscrupulousness of these parliamentary pimps were left entirely out of consideration: this lack of trained soldiers at the beginning of the War could easily lead to its loss, and this was most terribly confirmed in the great World War.
The loss of the fight for the freedom and independence of the German nation is the result of the half-heartedness and weakness manifested even in peacetime as regards drafting the entire national man-power for the defense of the fatherland.
If too few recruits were trained on the land, the same halfheartedness was at work on the sea, making the weapon of national self-preservation more or less worthless. Unfortunately the navy leadership was itself infected with the spirit of halfheartedness. The tendency to build all ships a little smaller than the English ships which were being launched at the same time was hardly farsighted, much less brilliant. Especially a fleet which from the beginning can in point of pure numbers not be brought to the same level as its presumable adversary must seek to compensate for the lack of numbers by the superior fighting power of its individual ships. It is the superior fighting power which matters and not any legendary superiority in 'quality.' Actually modern technology is so far advanced and has achieved so much uniformity in the various civilized countries that it must be held impossible to give the ships of one power an appreciably larger combat value than the ships of like tonnage of another state. And it is even less conceivable to achieve a superiority with smaller deplacement as compared to larger.
In actual fact, the smaller tonnage of the German ships was possible only at the cost of speed and armament. The phrase with which people attempted to justify this fact showed a very serious lack of logic in the department responsible for this in peacetime. They declared, for instance, that the material of the German guns was so obviously superior to the British that the German 28-centimeter gun was not behind the British 30.5centimeter gun in performance!!
But for this very reason it would have been our duty to change over to the 30.5-centimeter gun, for the goal should have been the achievement, not of equal but of superior fighting power. Otherwise it would have been superfluous for the army to order the 42-centimeter mortar, since the German 21-centimeter mortar was in itself superior to any then existing high trajectory French cannon, and the fortresses would have likewise fallen to the 30.5-centimeter mortar. The leadership of the land army, however, thought soundly, while that of the navy unfortunately did not.
The neglect of superior artillery power and superior speed lay entirely in. the absolutely erroneous so-called 'idea of risk.' The navy leadership by the very form in which it expanded the fleet renounced attack and thus from the outset inevitably assumed the defensive. But in this they also renounced the ultimate success which is and can only be forever in attack.
A ship of smaller speed and weaker armament will as a rule be sent to the bottom by a speedier and more heavily armed enemy at the firing distance favorable for the latter. A number of our cruisers were to find this out to their bitter grief. The utter mistakenness of the peacetime opinion of the navy staff was shown by the War, which forced the introduction, whenever possible, of modified armament in old ships and better armament in newer ones. If in the battle of Skagerrak the German ships had had the tonnage, the armament, the same speed as the English ships, the British navy would have found a watery grave beneath the hurricane of the more accurate and more effective German 38-centimeter shells.
Japan carried on a different naval policy in those days. There, on principle, the entire emphasis was laid on giving every single new ship superior fighting power over the presumable adversary. The result was a greater possibility of offensive utilization of the navy.
While the staff of the land army still kept free of such basically false trains of thought, the navy, which unfortunately had better 'parliamentary' representation, succumbed to the spirit of parliament. It was organized on the basis of half-baked ideas and was later used in a similar way. What immortal fame the navy nevertheless achieved could only be set to the account of the skill of the German armaments worker and the ability and incomparable heroism of the individual officers and crews. If the previous naval high command had shown corresponding intelligence, these sacrifices would not have been in vain.
Thus perhaps it was precisely the superior parliamentary dexterity of the navy's peacetime head that resulted in its misfortune, since, even in its building, parliamentary instead of purely military criteria unfortunately began to play the decisive role. The half-heartedness and weakness as well as the meager logic in thinking, characteristic of the parliamentary institution, began to color the leadership of the navy.
The land army, as already emphasized, still refrained from such basically false trains of thought. Particularly the colonel in the great General Staff of that time, Ludendorff, carried on a desperate struggle against the criminal half-heartedness and weakness with which the Reichstag approached the vital problems of the nation, and for the most part negated them. If the struggle which this officer then carried on was nevertheless in vain, the blame was borne half by parliament and half by the attitude and weakness even more miserable, if possible- of Reich Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg. Yet today this does not in the least prevent those who were responsible for the German collapse from putting the blame precisely on him who alone combated this neglect of national interests-one swindle more or less is nothing to these born crooks.
Anyone who contemplates all the sacrifices which were heaped on the nation by the criminal frivolity of these most irresponsible among irresponsibles, who passes in review all the uselessly sacrificed dead and maimed, as well as the boundless shame and disgrace, the immeasurable misery which has now struck us, and knows that all this happened only to clear the path to ministers' chairs for a gang of unscrupulous climbers and job-hunters-anyone who contemplates all this will understand that these creatures can, believe me, be described only by words such as ' scoundrel, ' ' villain, ' ' scum, ' and ' criminal, ' otherwise the meaning and purpose of having these expressions in our linguistic usage would be incomprehensible. For compared to these traitors to the nation, every pimp is a man of honor.
Strangely enough, all the really seamy sides of old Germany attracted attention only when the inner solidarity of the nation would inevitably suffer thereby. Yes, indeed, in such cases the unpleasant truths were positively bellowed to the broad masses, while otherwise the same people preferred modestly to conceal many things and in part simply to deny them. This was the case when the open discussion of a question might have led to an improvement. At the same time, the government offices in charge knew next to nothing of the value and nature of propaganda. The fact that by clever and persevering use of propaganda even heaven can be represented as hell to the people, and conversely the most wretched life as paradise, was known only to the Jew, who acted accordingly; the German, or rather his government, hadn't the faintest idea of this.
During the War we were to suffer most gravely for all this.
Along with all the evils of German life before the War here indicated, and many more, there were also many advantages. In a fair examination, we must even recognize that most of our weaknesses were largely shared by other countries and peoples, and in some, indeed, we were put completely in the shade, while they did not possess many of our own actual advantages.
At the head of these advantages we can, among other things, set the fact that, of nearly all European peoples, the German people still made the greatest attempt to preserve the national character of its economy and despite certain evil omens was least subject to international financial control. A dangerous advantage, to be sure, which later became the greatest instigator of the World War. But aside from this and many other things, we must, from the vast number of healthy sources of national strength, pick three institutions which in their kind were exemplary and in part unequaled.
First, the state form as such and the special stamp which it had received in modern Germany.
Here we may really disregard the individual monarchs who as men are subject to all the weaknesses which are customarily visited upon this earth and its children; if we were not lenient in this, we would have to despair of the present altogether, for are not the representatives of the present regime, considered as personalities, intellectually and morally of the most modest proportions that we can conceive of even racking our brains for a long time? Anyone who measures the 'value' of the German revolution by the value and stature of the personalities which it has given the German people since November, 1919, will have to hide his head for shame before the judgment of future generations, whose tongue it will no longer be possible to stop by protective laws, etc., and which therefore will say what today all of us know to be true, to wit, that brains and virtue in our modern German leaders are inversely proportionate to their vices and the size of their mouths.
To be sure, the monarchy had grown alien to many, to the broad masses above all. This was the consequence of the fact that the monarchs were not always surrounded by the brightest -to put it mildly-and above all not by the sincerest minds. Unfortunately, a number of them liked fiatterers better than straightforward natures, and consequently it was the fiatterers who 'instructed' them. A very grave evil at a time when many of the world's old opinions had undergone a great change, spreading naturally to the estimation in which many old-established traditions of the courts were held.
Thus, at the turn of the century the common man in the street could no longer find any special admiration for the princess who rode along the front in uniform. Apparently those in authority were incapable of correctly judging the effect of such a parade in the eyes of the people, for if they had, such unfortunate performances would doubtless not have occurred. Moreover, the humanitarian bilge-not always entirely sincere-that these circles went in for repelled more than it attracted. If, for example, Princess X condescended to taste a sample of food in a people's kitchen, in former days it might have looked well, but now the result was the opposite. We may be justified in assuming that Her Highness really had no idea that the food on the day she sampled it was a little different from what it usually was; but it was quite enough that the people knew it.
Thus, what may possibly have been the best intention became ridiculous, if not actually irritating.
Stories about the monarch's proverbial frugality, his much too early rising and his slaving away until late into the night, amid the permanent peril of threatening undernourishment, aroused very dubious comments. People did not ask to know what food and how much of it the monarch deigned to consume; they did not begrudge him a 'square' meal; nor were they out to deprive him of the sleep he needed; they were satisfied if in other things, as a man and character, he was an honor to the name of his house and to the nation, and if he fulfilled his duties as a ruler. Telling fairy tales helped little, but did all the more harm.
This and many similar things were mere trifles, however. What had a worse effect on sections of the nation, that were unfortunately very large, was the mounting conviction that people were ruled from the top no matter what happened, and that, therefore, the individual had no need to bother about anything. As long as the government was really good, or at least had the best intentions, this was bearable. But woe betide if the old government whose intentions were after all good were replaced by a new one which was not so decent; then spineless compliance and childlike faith were the gravest calamity that could be conceived of.
But along with these and many other weaknesses, there were unquestionable assets.
For one thing, the stability of the entire state leadership, brought about by the monarchic form of state and the removal of the highest state posts from the welter of speculation by ambitious politicians. Furthermore, the dignity of the institution as such and the authority which this alone created: likewise the raising of the civil service and particularly the army above the level of party obligations. One more advantage was the personal embodiment of the state's summit in the monarch as a person, and the example of responsibility which is bound to be stronger in a monarch than in the accidental rabble of a parliamentary majority-the proverbial incorruptibility of the German administration could primarily be attributed to this. Finally, the cultural value of the monarchy for the German people was high and could very well compensate for other drawbacks. The German court cities were still the refuge of an artistic state of mind, which is increasingly threatening to die out in our materialistic times. What the German princes did for art and science, particularly in the nineteenth century, was exemplary. The present period in any case cannot be compared with it.
As the greatest credit factor, however, in this period of incipient and slowly spreading decomposition of our nation, we must note the army. It was the mightiest school of the German nation, and not for nothing was the hatred of all our enemies directed against this buttress of national freedom and independence. No more glorious monument can be dedicated to this unique institution than a statement of the truth that it was slandered, hated, combated, and also feared by all inferior peoples. The fact that the rage of the international exploiters of our people in Versailles was directed primarily against the old German army permits us to recognize it as the bastion of our national freedom against the power of the stock exchange. Without this warning power, the intentions of Versailles would long since have been carried out against our people. What the German people owes to the army can be briefly summed up in a single word, to wit: everything.
The army trained men for unconditional responsibility at a time when this quality had grown rare and evasion of it was becoming more and more the order of the day, starting with the model prototype of all irresponsibility, the parliament; it trained men in personal courage in an age when cowardice threatened to become a raging disease and the spirit of sacrifice, the willingness to give oneself for the general welfare, was looked on almost as stupidity, and the only man regarded as intelligent was the one who best knew how to indulge and advance his own ego. it was the school that still taught the individual German not to seek the salvation of the nation in lying phrases about an international brotherhood between Negroes, Germans, Chinese, French, etc., but in the force and solidarity of our own nation.
The army trained men in resolution while elsewhere in life indecision and doubt were beginning to determine the actions of men. In an age when everywhere the know-it-alls were setting the tone, it meant something to uphold the principle that some command is always better than none. In this sole principle there was still an unspoiled robust health which would long since have disappeared from the rest of our life if the army and its training had not provided a continuous renewal of this primal force. We need only see the terrible indecision of the Reich's present leaders, who can summon up the energy for no action unless it is the forced signing of a new decree for plundering the people; in this case, to be sure, they reject all responsibility and with the agility of a court stenographer sign everything that anyone may see fit to put before them. In this case the decision is easy to take; for it is dictated.
The army trained men in idealism and devotion to the fatherland and its greatness while everywhere else greed and materialism had spread abroad. It educated a single people in contrast to the division into classes and in this perhaps its sole mistake was the institution of voluntary one-year enlistment. A mistake, because through it the principle of unconditional equality was broken, and-the man with higher education was removed from the setting of his general environment, while precisely the exact opposite would have been advantageous. In view of the great unworldliness of our upper classes and their constantly mounting estrangement from their own people, the army could have exerted a particularly beneficial effect if in its own ranks, at least, it had avoided any segregation of the so-called intelligentsia. That this was not done was a mistake; but what institution in this world makes no mistakes? In this one, at any rate, the good was so predominant that the few weaknesses lay far beneath the average degree of human imperfection.
It must be attributed to the army of the old Reich as its highest merit that at a time when heads were generally counted by majorities, it placed heads above the majority. Confronted with -the Jewish-democratic idea of a blind-worship of numbers, the army sustained belief in personality. And thus it trained what the new epoch most urgently needed: men. In the morass of a universally spreading softening and effeminization, each year three hundred and fifty thousand vigorous young men sprang from the ranks of the army, men who in their two years' training had lost the softness of youth and achieved bodies hard as steel. The young man who practiced obedience during this time could-then learn to command. By his very step you could recognize the soldier who had done his service.
This was--the highest school of the German nation, and it was not for nothing that the bitterest hatred of those who from envy and-greed needed and desired the impotence of the Reich and the defenselessness of its citizens was concentrated on it What many Germans in their blindness or ill will did not want to see was recognized-by the foreign world: the German army was the mightiest weapon serving the freedom of the German nation and the sustenance of its children.
The third in the league, along with the state form and the army, was the incomparable civil service of the old Reich.
Germany was the best organized and best administered country in the world. The German government official might well be accused of bureaucratic red tape, but in the other countries things were no better in this respect; they were worse. But what the other countries did not possess was the wonderful solidity of this apparatus and the incorruptible honesty of its members. It was better to be a little old-fashioned, but honest and loyal, than enlightened and modern, but of inferior character and, as is often seen today, ignorant and incompetent. For if today people like to pretend that the German administration of the pre-War period, though bureaucratically sound, was bad from a business point of view, only the following answer can be given: what country in the world had an institution better directed and better organized in a business sense than Germany's state railways? It was reserved to the revolution to go on wrecking this exemplary apparatus until at last it seemed ripe for being taken out of the hands of the nation and socialized according to the lights of this Republic's founders; in other words, made to serve international stock exchange capital, the power behind the German revolution.
What especially distinguished the German civil service and administrative apparatus was their independence from the individual governments whose passing political views could have no effect on the job of German civil servant. Since the revolution, it must be admitted, this has completely changed. Ability and competence were replaced by party ties and a self-reliant, independent character became more of a hindrance than a help.
The state form, the army. and the civil service formed the basis for the old Reich's wonderful power and strength. These first and foremost were the reasons for a quality which is totally lacking in the present-day state: state's authority! For this is not based on bull-sessions in parliaments or provincial diets, or on laws for its protection, or court sentences to frighten those who insolently deny it, etc., but on the general confidence which may and can be placed in the leadership and administration of a commonwealth. This confidence, in turn, results only from an unshakable inner faith in the selflessness and honesty of the government and administration of a country and from an agreement between the spirit of the laws and the general ethical view. For in the long run government systems are not maintained by the pressure of violence, but by faith in their soundness and in the. truthfulness with which they represent and advance the interests of a people.
Gravely as certain evils of the pre-War period corroded and threatened to undermine the inner strength of the nation, it must not be forgotten that other states suffered even more than Germany from most of these ailments and yet in the critical hour of danger did not nag and perish. But if we consider that the German weaknesses before the War were balanced by equally great strengths, the ultimate cause of the collapse can and must lie in a different field; and this is actually the case.
The deepest and ultimate reason for the decline of the old Reich lay in its failure to recognize the racial problem and its importance for the historical development of peoples. For events in the lives of peoples are not expressions of chance, but processes related to the self-preservation and propagation of the species and the race and subject to the laws of Nature, even if people are not conscious of the inner reason for their actions.