Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Volume Two - The National Socialist Movement
Chapter I: Philosophy and Party
On February 24th, 1920, the first great mass meeting under the auspices of the new movement took place. In the Banquet Hall of the Hofbruhaus in Munich the twenty-five theses which constituted the programme of our new party were expounded to an audience of nearly two thousand people and each thesis was enthusiastically received.
Thus we brought to the knowledge of the public those first principles and lines of action along which the new struggle was to be conducted for the abolition of a confused mass of obsolete ideas and opinions which had obscure and often pernicious tendencies. A new force was to make its appearance among the timid and feckless bourgeoisie. This force was destined to impede the triumphant advance of the Marxists and bring the Chariot of Fate to a standstill just as it seemed about to reach its goal.
It was evident that this new movement could gain the public significance and support which are necessary pre-requisites in such a gigantic struggle only if it succeeded from the very outset in awakening a sacrosanct conviction in the hearts of its followers, that here it was not a case of introducing a new electoral slogan into the political field but that an entirely new world view, which was of a radical significance, had to be promoted.
One must try to recall the miserable jumble of opinions that used to be arrayed side by side to form the usual Party Programme, as it was called, and one must remember how these opinions used to be brushed up or dressed in a new form from time to time. If we would properly understand these programmatic monstrosities we must carefully investigate the motives which inspired the average bourgeois 'programme committee'.
Those people are always influenced by one and the same preoccupation when they introduce something new into their programme or modify something already contained in it. That preoccupation is directed towards the results of the next election. The moment these artists in parliamentary government have the first glimmering of a suspicion that their darling public may be ready to kick up its heels and escape from the harness of the old party wagon they begin to paint the shafts with new colours. On such occasions the party astrologists and horoscope readers, the so-called 'experienced men' and 'experts', come forward. For the most part they are old parliamentary hands whose political schooling has furnished them with ample experience. They can remember former occasions when the masses showed signs of losing patience and they now diagnose the menace of a similar situation arising. Resorting to their old prescription, they form a 'committee'. They go around among the darling public and listen to what is being said. They dip their noses into the newspapers and gradually begin to scent what it is that their darlings, the broad masses, are wishing for, what they reject and what they are hoping for. The groups that belong to each trade or business, and even office employees, are carefully studied and their innermost desires are investigated. The 'malicious slogans' of the opposition from which danger is threatened are now suddenly looked upon as worthy of reconsideration, and it often happens that these slogans, to the great astonishment of those who originally coined and circulated them, now appear to be quite harmless and indeed are to be found among the dogmas of the old parties.
So the committees meet to revise the old programme and draw up a new one.
For these people change their convictions just as the soldier changes his shirt in war . when the old one is bug-eaten. In the new programme everyone gets everything he wants. The farmer is assured that the interests of agriculture will be safeguarded. The industrialist is assured of protection for his products. The consumer is assured that his interests will be protected in the market prices. Teachers are given higher salaries and civil servants will have better pensions. Widows and orphans will receive generous assistance from the State. Trade will be promoted. The tariff will be lowered and even the taxes, though they cannot be entirely abolished, will be almost abolished. It sometimes happens that one section of the public is forgotten or that one of the demands mooted among the public has not reached the ears of the party. This is also hurriedly patched on to the whole, should there be any space available for it: until finally it is felt that there are good grounds for hoping that the whole normal host of philistines, including their wives, will have their anxieties laid to rest and will beam with satisfaction once again. And so, internally armed with faith in the goodness of God and the impenetrable stupidity of the electorate, the struggle for what is called 'the reconstruction of the Reich' can now begin.
When the election day is over and the parliamentarians have held their last public meeting for the next five years, when they can leave their job of getting the populace to toe the line and can now devote themselves to higher and more pleasing tasks . then the programme committee is dissolved and the struggle for the progressive reorganization of public affairs becomes once again a business of earning one's daily bread, which for the parliamentarians means merely the attendance that is required in order to be able to draw their daily remunerations. Morning after morning the honourable deputy wends his way to the House, and though he may not enter the Chamber itself he gets at least as far as the front hall, where he will find the register on which the names of the deputies in attendance have to be inscribed. As a part of his onerous service to his constituents he enters his name, and in return receives a small indemnity as a well-earned reward for his unceasing and exhausting labours.
When four years have passed, or in the meantime if there should be some critical weeks during which the parliamentary corporations have to face the danger of being dissolved, these honourable gentlemen become suddenly seized by an irresistible desire to act. Just as the grub-worm cannot help growing into a cock-chafer, these parliamentarian worms leave the great House of Puppets and flutter on new wings out among the beloved public. They address the electors once again, give an account of the enormous labours they have accomplished and emphasize the malicious obstinacy of their opponents. They do not always meet with grateful applause; for occasionally the unintelligent masses throw rude and unfriendly remarks in their faces. When this spirit of public ingratitude reaches a certain pitch there is only one way of saving the situation. The prestige of the party must be burnished up again. The programme has to be amended. The committee is called into existence once again. And the swindle begins anew. Once we understand the impenetrable stupidity of our public we cannot be surprised that such tactics turn out successful. Led by the Press and blinded once again by the alluring appearance of the new programme, the bourgeois as well as the proletarian herds of voters faithfully return to the common stall and re-elect their old deceivers. The 'people's man' and labour candidate now change back again into the parliamentarian grub and become fat and rotund as they batten on the leaves that grow on the tree of public life . to be retransformed into the glittering butterfly after another four years have passed.
Scarcely anything else can be so depressing as to watch this process in sober reality and to be the eyewitness of this repeatedly recurring fraud. On a spiritual training ground of that kind it is not possible for the bourgeois forces to develop the strength which is necessary to carry on the fight against the organized might of Marxism. Indeed they have never seriously thought of doing so. Though these parliamentary quacks who represent the white race are generally recognized as persons of quite inferior mental capacity, they are shrewd enough to know that they could not seriously entertain the hope of being able to use the weapon of Western Democracy to fight a doctrine for the advance of which Western Democracy, with all its accessories, is employed as a means to an end. Democracy is exploited by the Marxists for the purpose of paralysing their opponents and gaining for themselves a free hand to put their own methods into action. When certain groups of Marxists use all their ingenuity for the time being to make it be believed that they are inseparably attached to the principles of democracy, it may be well to recall the fact that when critical occasions arose these same gentlemen snapped their fingers at the principle of decision by majority vote, as that principle is understood by Western Democracy. Such was the case in those days when the bourgeois parliamentarians, in their monumental shortsightedness, believed that the security of the Reich was guaranteed because it had an overwhelming numerical majority in its favour, and the Marxists did not hesitate suddenly to grasp supreme power in their own hands, backed by a mob of loafers, deserters, political place-hunters and Jewish dilettanti. That was a blow in the face for that democracy in which so many parliamentarians believed. Only those credulous parliamentary wizards who represented bourgeois democracy could have believed that the brutal determination of those whose interest it is to spread the Marxist world-pest, of which they are the carriers, could for a moment, now or in the future, be held in check by the magical formulas of Western Parliamentarianism. Marxism will march shoulder to shoulder with democracy until it succeeds indirectly in securing for its own criminal purposes even the support of those whose minds are nationally orientated and whom Marxism strives to exterminate. But if the Marxists should one day come to believe that there was a danger that from this witch's cauldron of our parliamentary democracy a majority vote might be concocted, which by reason of its numerical majority would be empowered to enact legislation and might use that power seriously to combat Marxism, then the whole parliamentarian hocus-pocus would be at an end. Instead of appealing to the democratic conscience, the standard bearers of the Red International would immediately send forth a furious rallying-cry among the proletarian masses and the ensuing fight would not take place in the sedate atmosphere of Parliament but in the factories and the streets. Then democracy would be annihilated forthwith. And whaAs I have said, only a very credulous soul could think of binding himself to observe the rules of the game when he has to face a player for whom those rules are nothing but a mere bluff or a means of serving his own interests, which means he will discard them when they prove no longer useful for his purpose.
All the parties that profess so-called bourgeois principles look upon political life as in reality a struggle for seats in Parliament. The moment their principles and convictions are of no further use in that struggle they are thrown overboard, as if they were sand ballast. And the programmes are constructed in such a way that they can be dealt with in like manner. But such practice has a correspondingly weakening effect on the strength of those parties. They lack the great magnetic force which alone attracts the broad masses; for these masses always respond to the compelling force which emanates from absolute faith in the ideas put forward, combined with an indomitable zest to fight for and defend them.
At a time in which the one side, armed with all the fighting power that springs from a systematic conception of life . even though it be criminal in a thousand ways . makes an attack against the established order the other side will be able to resist when it draws its strength from a new faith, which in our case is a political faith. This faith must supersede the weak and cowardly command to defend. In its stead we must raise the battle-cry of a courageous and ruthless attack. Our present movement is accused, especially by the so-called national bourgeois cabinet ministers . the Bavarian representatives of the Centre, for example . of heading towards a revolution. We have one answer to give to those political pigmies. We say to them: We are trying to make up for that which you, in your criminal stupidity, have failed to carry out. By your parliamentarian jobbing you have helped to drag the nation into ruin. But we, by our aggressive policy, are setting up a new philosophy of life which we shall defend with indomitable devotion. Thus we are building the steps on which our nation once again may ascend to the temple of freedom.
And so during the first stages of founding our movement we had to take special care that our militant group which fought for the establishment of a new and exalted political faith should not degenerate into a society for the promotion of parliamentarian interests.
The first preventive measure was to lay down a programme which of itself would tend towards developing a certain moral greatness that would scare away all the petty and weakling spirits who make up the bulk of our present party politicians.
Those fatal defects which finally led to Germany's downfall afford the clearest proof of how right we were in considering it absolutely necessary to set up programmatic aims which were sharply and distinctly defined.
Because we recognized the defects above mentioned, we realized that a new conception of the State had to be formed, which in itself became a part of our new conception of life in general.
In the first volume of this book I have already dealt with the term volkisch, and I said then that this term has not a sufficiently precise meaning to furnish the kernel around which a closely consolidated militant community could be formed. All kinds of people, with all kinds of divergent opinions, are parading about at the present moment under the device volkisch on their banners. Before I come to deal with the purposes and aims of the National Socialist Labour Party I want to establish a clear understanding of what is meant by the concept volkisch and herewith explain its relation to our party movement. The word volkisch does not express any clearly specified idea. It may be interpreted in several ways and in practical application it is just as general as the word 'religious', for instance. It is difficult to attach any precise meaning to this latter word, either as a theoretical concept or as a guiding principle in practical life. The word 'religious' acquires a precise meaning only when it is associated with a distinct and definite form through which the concept is put into practice. To say that a person is 'deeply religious' may be very fine phraseology; but, generally speaking, it tells us little or nothing. There may be some few people who are content with such a vague description and there may even be some to whom the word conveys a more or less definite picture of the inner quality of a person thus described. But, since the masses of the people are not composed of philosophers or saints, such a vague religious idea will mean for them nothing else than to justify each individual in thinking and acting according to his own bent. It will not lead to that practical faith into which the inner religious yearning is transformed only when it leaves the sphere of general metaphysical ideas and is moulded to a definite dogmatic belief. Such a belief is certainly not an end in itself, but the means to an end. Yet it is a means without which the end could never be reached at all. This end, however, is not merely something ideal; for at the bottom it is eminently practical. We must always bear in mind the fact that, generally speaking, the highest ideals are always the outcome of some profound vital need, just as the most sublime beauty owes its nobility of shape, in the last analysis, to the fact that the most beautiful form is the form that is best suited to the purpose it is meant to serve.
By helping to lift the human being above the level of mere animal existence, Faith really contributes to consolidate and safeguard its own existence. Taking humanity as it exists today and taking into consideration the fact that the religious beliefs which it generally holds and which have been consolidated through our education, so that they serve as moral standards in practical life, if we should now abolish religious teaching and not replace it by anything of equal value the result would be that the foundations of human existence would be seriously shaken. We may safely say that man does not live merely to serve higher ideals, but that these ideals, in their turn, furnish the necessary conditions of his existence as a human being. And thus the circle is closed.
Of course, the word 'religious' implies some ideas and beliefs that are fundamental. Among these we may reckon the belief in the immortality of the soul, its future existence in eternity, the belief in the existence of a Higher Being, and so on. But all these ideas, no matter how firmly the individual believes in them, may be critically analysed by any person and accepted or rejected accordingly, until the emotional concept or yearning has been transformed into an active service that is governed by a clearly defined doctrinal faith. Such a faith furnishes the practical outlet for religious feeling to express itself and thus opens the way through which it can be put into practice.
Without a clearly defined belief, the religious feeling would not only be worthless for the purposes of human existence but even might contribute towards a general disorganization, on account of its vague and multifarious tendencies.
What I have said about the word 'religious' can also be applied to the term volkisch. This word also implies certain fundamental ideas. Though these ideas are very important indeed, they assume such vague and indefinite forms that they cannot be estimated as having a greater value than mere opinions, until they become constituent elements in the structure of a political party. For in order to give practical force to the ideals that grow out of philosophical ideals and to answer the demands which are a logical consequence of such ideals, mere sentiment and inner longing are of no practical assistance, just as freedom cannot be won by a universal yearning for it. No. Only when the idealistic longing for independence is organized in such a way that it can fight for its ideal with military force, only then can the urgent wish of a people be transformed into a potent reality.
Every philosophy of life, even if it is a thousand times correct and of the highest benefit to mankind, will be of no practical service for the maintenance of a people as long as its principles have not yet become the rallying point of a militant movement. And, on its own side, this movement will remain a mere party until is has brought its ideals to victory and transformed its party doctrines into the new foundations of a State which gives the national community its final shape.
If an abstract conception of a general nature is to serve as the basis of a future development, then the first prerequisite is to form a clear understanding of the nature and character and scope of this conception. For only on such a basis can a movement he founded which will be able to draw the necessary fighting strength from the internal cohesion of its principles and convictions. From general ideas a political programme must be constructed and general ideas must receive the stamp of a definite political faith. Since this faith must be directed towards ends that have to be attained in the world of practical reality, not only must it serve the general ideal as such but it must also take into consideration the means that have to be employed for the triumph of the ideal. Here the practical wisdom of the statesman must come to the assistance of the abstract idea, which is correct in itself. In that way an eternal ideal, which has everlasting significance as a guiding star to mankind, must be adapted to the exigencies of human frailty so that its practical effect may not be frustrated at the very outset through those shortcomings which are general to mankind. The exponent of truth must here go hand in hand with him who has a practical knowledge of the soul of the people, so that from the realm of eternal verities and ideals what is suited to the capacities of human nature may be selected and given practical form.
To take abstract and general principles, derived from a philosophy which is based on a solid foundation of truth, and transform them into a militant community whose members have the same political faith . a community which is precisely defined, rigidly organized, of one mind and one will . such a transformation is the most important task of all; for the possibility of successfully carrying out the idea is dependent on the successful fulfilment of that task. Out of the army of millions who feel the truth of these ideas, and even may understand them to some extent, one man must arise. This man must have the gift of being able to expound general ideas in a clear and definite form, and, from the world of vague ideas shimmering before the minds of the masses, he must formulate principles that will be as clear-cut and firm as granite. He must fight for these principles as the only true ones, until a solid rock of common faith and common will emerges above the troubled waves of vagrant ideas.
The general justification of such action is to be sought in the necessity for it and the individual will be justified by his success.
If we try to penetrate to the inner meaning of the word volkisch we arrive at the following conclusions:
The current political conception of the world is that the State, though it possesses a creative force which can build up civilizations, has nothing in common with the concept of race as the foundation of the State. The State is considered rather as something which has resulted from economic necessity, or, at best, the natural outcome of the play of political forces and impulses. Such a conception of the foundations of the State, together with all its logical consequences, not only ignores the primordial racial forces that underlie the State, but it also leads to a policy in which the importance of the individual is minimized. If it be denied that races differ from one another in their powers of cultural creativeness, then this same erroneous notion must necessarily influence our estimation of the value of the individual. The assumption that all races are alike leads to the assumption that nations and individuals are equal to one another. And international Marxism is nothing but the application . effected by the Jew, Karl Marx . of a general conception of life to a definite profession of political faith; but in reality that general concept had existed long before the time of Karl Marx. If it had not already existed as a widely diffused infection the amazing political progress of the Marxist teaching would never have been possible. In reality what distinguished Karl Marx from the millions who were affected in the same way was that, in a world already in a state of gradual decomposition, he used his keen powers of prognosis to detect the essential poisons, so as to extract them and concentrate them, with the art of a necromancer, in a solution which would bring about the rapid destruction of the independent nations on the globe. But all this was done in the service of his race.
Thus the Marxist doctrine is the concentrated extract of the mentality which underlies the general concept of life today. For this reason alone it is out of the question and even ridiculous to think that what is called our bourgeois world can put up any effective fight against Marxism. For this bourgeois world is permeated with all those same poisons and its conception of life in general differs from Marxism only in degree and in the character of the persons who hold it. The bourgeois world is Marxist but believes in the possibility of a certain group of people . that is to say, the bourgeoisie . being able to dominate the world, while Marxism itself systematically aims at delivering the world into the hands of the Jews.
Over against all this, the volkisch concept of the world recognizes that the primordial racial elements are of the greatest significance for mankind. In principle, the State is looked upon only as a means to an end and this end is the conservation of the racial characteristics of mankind. Therefore on the volkisch principle we cannot admit that one race is equal to another. By recognizing that they are different, the volkisch concept separates mankind into races of superior and inferior quality. On the basis of this recognition it feels bound in conformity with the eternal Will that dominates the universe, to postulate the victory of the better and stronger and the subordination of the inferior and weaker. And so it pays homage to the truth that the principle underlying all Nature's operations is the aristocratic principle and it believes that this law holds good even down to the last individual organism. It selects individual values from the mass and thus operates as an organizing principle, whereas Marxism acts as a disintegrating solvent. The volkisch belief holds that humanity must have its ideals, because ideals are a necessary condition of human existence itself. But, on the other hand, it denies that an ethical ideal has the right to prevail if it endangers the existence of a race that is the standard-bearer of a higher ethical ideal. For in a world which would be composed of mongrels and negroids all ideals of human beauty and nobility and all hopes of an idealized future for our humanity would be lost forever.
On this planet of ours human culture and civilization are indissolubly bound up with the presence of the Aryan. If he should be exterminated or subjugated, then the dark shroud of a new barbarian era would enfold the earth.
To undermine the existence of human culture by exterminating its founders and custodians would be an execrable crime in the eyes of those who believe that the folk-idea lies at the basis of human existence. Whoever would dare to raise a profane hand against that highest image of God among His creatures would sin against the bountiful Creator of this marvel and would collaborate in the expulsion from Paradise.
Hence the folk concept of the world is in profound accord with Nature's will; because it restores the free play of the forces which will lead the race through stages of sustained reciprocal education towards a higher type, until finally the best portion of mankind will possess the earth and will be free to work in every domain all over the world and even reach spheres that lie outside the earth.
We all feel that in the distant future many may be faced with problems which can be solved only by a superior race of human beings, a race destined to become master of all the other peoples and which will have at its disposal the means and resources of the whole world.
It is self-evident that so general a statement of the meaningful content of a folkish philosophy can be easily interpreted in a thousand different ways. As a matter of fact there is scarcely one of our recent political movements that does not refer at some point to this conception of the world. But the fact that this conception of the world still maintains its independent existence in face of all the others proves that their ways of looking at life are quite difierent from this. Thus the Marxist conception, directed by a central organization endowed with supreme authority, is opposed by a motley crew of opinions which is not very impressive in face of the solid phalanx presented by the enemy. Victory cannot be achieved with such weak weapons. Only when the international idea, politically organized by Marxism, is confronted by the folk idea, equally well organized in a systematic way and equally well led . only then will the fighting energy in the one camp be able to meet that of the other on an equal footing; and victory will be found on the side of eternal truth.
But a general conception of life can never be given an organic embodiment until it is precisely and definitely formulated. The function which dogma fulfils in religious belief is parallel to the function which party principles fulfil for a political party which is in the process of being built up.
Therefore, for the conception of life that is based on the folk idea it is necessary that an instrument be forged which can be used in fighting for this ideal, similar to the Marxist party organization which clears the way for internationalism.
This is the goal pursued by the National Socialist German Workers' Party.
The folk conception must therefore be definitely formulated so that it may be organically incorporated in the party. That is a necessary prerequisite for the success of this idea. And that it is so is very clearly proved even by the indirect acknowledgment of those who oppose such an amalgamation of the folk idea with party principles. The very people who never tire of insisting again and again that the conception of life based on the folk idea can never be the exclusive property of a single group, because it lies dormant or 'lives' in myriads of hearts, only confirm by their own statements the simple fact that the general presence of such ideas in the hearts of millions of men has not proved sufficient to impede the victory of the opposing ideas, which are championed by a political party organized on the principle of class conflict. If that were not so, the German people ought already to have gained a gigantic victory instead of finding themselves on the brink of the abyss. The international ideology achieved success because it was organized in a militant political party which was always ready to take the offensive. If hitherto the ideas opposed to the international concept have had to give way before the latter the reason is that they lacked a united front to fight for their cause. A doctrine which forms a definite outlook on life cannot struggle and triumph by allowing the right of free interpretation of its general teaching, but only by defining that teaching in certain articles of faith that have to be accepted and incorporating it in a political organization.
Therefore I considered it my special duty to extract from the extensive but vague contents of a general world view the ideas which were essential and give them a more or less dogmatic form. Because of their precise and clear meaning, these ideas are suited to the purpose of uniting in a common front all those who are ready to accept them as principles. In other words: The National Socialist German Workers' Party extracts the essential principles from the general conception of the world which is based on the folk idea. On these principles it establishes a political doctrine which takes into account the practical realities of the day, the nature of the times, the available human material and all its deficiencies. Through this political doctrine it is possible to bring great masses of the people into an organization which is constructed as rigidly as it could be. Such an organization is the main preliminary that is necessary for the final triumph of this world view.