Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Volume Two - The National Socialist Movement
Chapter V: Philosophy and Organization
The People's State, which I have tried to sketch in general outline, will not become a reality in virtue of the simple fact that we know the indispensable conditions of its existence. It does not suffice to know what aspect such a State would present. The problem of its foundation is far more important. The parties which exist at present and which draw their profits from the State as it now is cannot be expected to bring about a radical change in the regime or to change their attitude on their own initiative. This is rendered all the more impossible because the forces which now have the direction of affairs in their hands are Jews here and Jews there and Jews everywhere. The trend of development which we are now experiencing would, if allowed to go on unhampered, lead to the realization of the Pan-Jewish prophecy that the Jews will one day devour the other nations and become lords of the earth.
In contrast to the millions of 'bourgeois' and 'proletarian' Germans, who are stumbling to their ruin, mostly through timidity, indolence and stupidity, the Jew pursues his way persistently and keeps his eye always fixed on his future goal. Any party that is led by him can fight for no other interests than his, and his interests certainly have nothing in common with those of the Aryan nations.
If we would transform our ideal picture of the People's State into a reality we shall have to keep independent of the forces that now control public life and seek for new forces that will be ready and capable of taking up the fight for such an ideal. For a fight it will have to be, since the first objective will not be to build up the idea of the People's State but rather to wipe out the Jewish State which is now in existence. As so often happens in the course of history, the main difficulty is not to establish a new order of things but to clear the ground for its establishment. Prejudices and egotistic interests join together in forming a common front against the new idea and in trying by every means to prevent its triumph, because it is disagreeable to them or threatens their existence.
That is why the protagonist of the new idea is unfortunately, in spite of his desire for constructive work, compelled to wage a destructive battle first, in order to abolish the existing state of affairs.
A doctrine whose principles are radically new and of essential importance must adopt the sharp probe of criticism as its weapon, though this may show itself disagreeable to the individual followers.
It is evidence of a very superficial insight into historical developments if the so-called folkists emphasize again and again that they will adopt the use of negative criticism under no circumstances but will engage only in constructive work. That is nothing but puerile chatter and is typical of the whole lot of folkists. It is another proof that the history of our own times has made no impression on these minds. Marxism too has had its aims to pursue and it also recognizes constructive work, though by this it understands only the establishment of despotic rule in the hands of international Jewish finance. Nevertheless for seventy years its principal work still remains in the field of criticism. And what disruptive and destructive criticism it has been! Criticism repeated again and again, until the corrosive acid ate into the old State so thoroughly that it finally crumbled to pieces. Only then did the so-called 'constructive' critical work of Marxism begin. And that was natural, right and logical. An existing order of things is not abolished by merely proclaiming and insisting on a new one. It must not be hoped that those who are the partisans of the existing order and have their interests bound up with it will be converted and won over to the new movement simply by being shown that something new is necessary. On the contrary, what may easily happen is that two different situations will exist side by side and that the-called philosophy is transformed into a party, above which level it will not be able to raise itself afterwards. For the philosophy is intolerant and cannot permit another to exist side by side with it. It imperiously demands its own recognition as unique and exclusive and a complete transformation in accordance with its views throughout all the branches of public life. It can never allow the previous state of affairs to continue in existence by its side.
And the same holds true of religions.
Christianity was not content with erecting an altar of its own. It had first to destroy the pagan altars. It was only in virtue of this passionate intolerance that an apodictic faith could grow up. And intolerance is an indispensable condition for the growth of such a faith.
It may be objected here that in these phenomena which we find throughout the history of the world we have to recognize mostly a specifically Jewish mode of thought and that such fanaticism and intolerance are typical symptoms of Jewish mentality. That may be a thousandfold true; and it is a fact deeply to be regretted. The appearance of intolerance and fanaticism in the history of mankind may be deeply regrettable, and it may be looked upon as foreign to human nature, but the fact does not change conditions as they exist today. The men who wish to liberate our German nation from the conditions in which it now exists cannot cudgel their brains with thinking how excellent it would be if this or that had never arisen. They must strive to find ways and means of abolishing what actually exists. A philosophy of life which is inspired by an infernal spirit of intolerance can only be set aside by a doctrine that is advanced in an equally ardent spirit and fought for with as determined a will and which is itself a new idea, pure and absolutely true.
Each one of us today may regret the fact that the advent of Christianity was the first occasion on which spiritual terror was introduced into the much freer ancient world, but the fact cannot be denied that ever since then the world is pervaded and dominated by this kind of coercion and that violence is broken only by violence and terror by terror. Only then can a new regime be created by means of constructive work. Political parties are prone to enter compromises; but a philosophy never does this. A political party is inclined to adjust its teachings with a view to meeting those of its opponents, but a philosophy proclaims its own infallibility.
In the beginning, political parties have also and nearly always the intention of securing an exclusive and despotic domination for themselves. They always show a slight tendency to become philosophical. But the limited nature of their programme is in itself enough to rob them of that heroic spirit which a philosophy demands. The spirit of conciliation which animates their will attracts those petty and chicken-hearted people who are not fit to be protagonists in any crusade. That is the reason why they mostly become struck in their miserable pettiness very early on the march. They give up fighting for their ideology and, by way of what they call 'positive collaboration,' they try as quickly as possible to wedge themselves into some tiny place at the trough of the existent regime and to stick there as long as possible. Their whole effort ends at that. And if they should get shouldered away from the common manger by a competition of more brutal manners then their only idea is to force themselves in again, by force or chicanery, among the herd of all the others who have similar appetites, in order to get back into the front row, and finally – even at the expense of their most sacred convictions – participate anew in that beloved spot where they find their fodder. They are the jackals of politics.
But a general philosophy of life will never share its place with something else. Therefore it can never agree to collaborate in any order of things that it condemns. On the contrary it feels obliged to employ every means in fighting against the old order and the whole world of ideas belonging to that order and prepare the way for its destruction.
These purely destructive tactics, the danger of which is so readily perceived by the enemy that he forms a united front against them for his common defence, and also the constructive tactics, which must be aggressive in order to carry the new world of ideas to success – both these phases of the struggle call for a body of resolute fighters. Any new philosophy of life will bring its ideas to victory only if the most courageous and active elements of its epoch and its people are enrolled under its standards and grouped firmly together in a powerful fighting organization. To achieve this purpose it is absolutely necessary to select from the general system of doctrine a certain number of ideas which will appeal to such individuals and which, once they are expressed in a precise and clear-cut form, will serve as articles of faith for a new association of men. While the programme of the ordinary political party is nothing but the recipe for cooking up favourable results out of the next general elections, the programme of a philosophy represents a declaration of war against an existing order of things, against present conditions, in short, against the established view of life in general.
It is not necessary, however, that every individual fighter for such a new doctrine need have a full grasp of the ultimate ideas and plans of those who are the leaders of the movement. It is only necessary that each should have a clear notion of the fundamental ideas and that he should thoroughly assimilate a few of the most fundamental principles, so that he will be convinced of the necessity of carrying the movement and its doctrines to success. The individual soldier is not initiated in the knowledge of high strategical plans. But he is trained to submit to a rigid discipline, to be passionately convinced of the justice and inner worth of his cause and that he must devote himself to it without reserve. So, too, the individual follower of a movement must be made acquainted with its far-reaching purpose, how it is inspired by a powerful will and has a great future before it.
Supposing that each soldier in an army were a general, and had the training and capacity for generalship, that army would not be an efficient fighting instrument. Similarly a political movement would not be very efficient in fighting for a philosophy if it were made up exclusively of intellectuals. No, we need the simple soldier also. Without him no discipline can be established.
By its very nature, an organization can exist only if leaders of high intellectual ability are served by a large mass of men who are emotionally devoted to the cause. To maintain discipline in a company of two hundred men who are equally intelligent and capable would turn out more difficult in the long run than in a company of one hundred and ninety less gifted men and ten who have had a higher education.
The Social-Democrats have profited very much by recognizing this truth. They took the broad masses of our people who had just completed military service and learned to submit to discipline, and they subjected this mass of men to the discipline of the Social-Democratic organization, which was no less rigid than the discipline through which the young men had passed in their military training. The Social-Democratic organization consisted of an army divided into officers and men. The German worker who had passed through his military service became the private soldier in that army, and the Jewish intellectual was the officer. The German trade union functionaries may be compared to the non-commissioned officers. The fact, which was always looked upon with indifference by our middle-classes, that only the so-called uneducated classes joined Marxism was the very ground on which this party achieved its success. For while the bourgeois parties, because they mostly consisted of intellectuals, were only a feckless band of undisciplined individuals, out of much less intelligent human material the Marxist leaders formed an army of party combatants who obey their Jewish masters just as blindly as they formerly obeyed their German officers. The German middle-classes, who never; bothered their heads about psychological problems because they felt themselves superior to such matters, did not think it necessary to reflect on the profound significance of this fact and the secret danger involved in it. Indeed they believed. that a political movement which draws its followers exclusively from intellectual circles must, for that very reason, be of greater importance and have better grounds. for its chances of success, and even a greater probability of taking over the government of the country than a party made up of the ignorant masses. They completely failed to realize the fact that the strength of a political party never consists in the intelligence and independent spirit of the rank-and-file of its members but rather in the spirit of willing obedience with which they follow their intellectual leaders. What is of decisive importance is the leadership itself. When two bodies of troops are arrayed in mutual combat victory will not fall to that side in which every soldier has an expert knowledge of the rules of strategy, but rather to that side which has the best leaders and at the same time the best disciplined, most blindly obedient and best drilled troops.
That is a fundamental piece of knowledge which we must always bear in mind when we examine the possibility of transforming a philosophy into a practical reality.
If we agree that in order to carry a philosophy into practical effect it must be incorporated in a fighting movement, then the logical consequence is that the programme of such a movement must take account of the human material at its disposal. Just as the ultimate aims and fundamental principles must be absolutely definite and unmistakable, so the propagandist programme must be well drawn up and must be inspired by a keen sense of its psychological appeals to the minds of those without whose help the noblest ideas will be doomed to remain in the eternal, realm of ideas.
If the idea of the People's State, which is at present an obscure wish, is one day to attain a clear and definite success, from its vague and vast mass of thought it will have to put forward certain definite principles which of their very nature and content are calculated to attract a broad mass of adherents; in other words, such a group of people as can guarantee that these principles will be fought for. That group of people are the German workers.
That is why the programme of the new movement was condensed into a few fundamental postulates, twenty-five in all. They are meant first of all to give the ordinary man a rough sketch of what the movement is aiming at. They are, so to say, a profession of faith which on the one hand is meant to win adherents to the movement and, on the other, they are meant to unite such adherents together in a covenant to which all have subscribed.
In these matters we must never lose sight of the following: What we call the programme of the movement is absolutely right as far as its ultimate aims are concerned, but as regards the manner in which that programme is formulated certain psychologica1 considerations had to be taken into account. Hence, in the course of time, the opinion may well arise that certain principles should be expressed differently and might be better formulated. But any attempt at a different formulation has a fatal effect in most cases. For something that ought to be fixed and unshakable thereby becomes the subject of discussion. As soon as one point alone is removed from the sphere of dogmatic certainty, the discussion will not simply result in a new and better formulation which will have greater consistency but may easily lead to endless debates and general confusion. In such cases the question must always be carefully considered as to whether a new and more adequate formulation is to be preferred, though it may cause a controversy within the movement, or whether it may not be better to retain the old formula which, though probably not the best, represents an organism enclosed in itself, solid and internally homogeneous. All experience shows that the second of these alternatives is preferable. For since in these changes one is dealing only with external forms such corrections will always appear desirable and possible. But in the last analysis the generality of people think superficially and therefore the great danger is that in what is merely an external formulation of the programme people will see an essential aim of the movement. In that way the will and the combative force at the service of the ideas are weakened and the energies that ought to be directed towards the outer world are dissipated in programmatic discussions within the ranks of the movement.
For a doctrine that is actually right in its main features it is less dangerous to retain a formulation which may no longer be quite adequate instead of trying to improve it and thereby allowing a fundamental principle of the movement, which had hitherto been considered as solid as granite, to become the subject of a general discussion which may have unfortunate consequences. This is particularly to be avoided as long as a movement is still fighting for victory. For would it be possible to inspire people with blind faith in the truth of a doctrine if doubt and uncertainty are encouraged by continual alterations in its external formulation?
The essentials of a teaching must never be looked for in its external formulas, but always in its inner meaning. And this meaning is unchangeable. And in its interest one can only wish that a movement should exclude everything that tends towards disintegration and uncertainty in order to preserve the unified force that is necessary for its triumph.
Here again the Catholic Church has a lesson to teach us. Though sometimes, and often quite unnecessarily, its dogmatic system is in conflict with the exact sciences and with scientific discoveries, it is not disposed to sacrifice a syllable of its teachings. It has rightly recognized that its powers of resistance would be weakened by introducing greater or less doctrinal adaptations to meet the temporary conclusions of science, which in reality are always vacillating. And thus it holds fast to its fixed and established dogmas which alone can give to the whole system the character of a faith. And that is the reason why it stands firmer today than ever before. We may prophesy that, as a fixed pole amid fleeting phenomena, it will continue to attract increasing numbers of people who will be blindly attached to it the more rapid the rhythm of changing phenomena around it.
Therefore whoever really and seriously desires that the idea of the People's State should triumph must realize that this triumph can be assured only through a militant movement and that this movement must ground its strength only on the granite firmness of an impregnable and firmly coherent programme. In regard to its formulas it must never make concessions to the spirit of the time but must maintain the form that has once and for all been decided upon as the right one; in any case until victory has crowned its efforts. Before this goal has been reached any attempt to open a discussion on the opportuneness of this or that point in the programme might tend to disintegrate the solidity and fighting strength of the movement, according to the measures in which its followers might take part in such an internal dispute. Some 'improvements' introduced today might be subjected to a critical examination to-morrow, in order to substitute it with something better the day after. Once the barrier has been taken down the road is opened and we know only the beginning, but we do not know to what shoreless sea it may lead.
This important principle had to be acknowledged in practice by the members of the National Socialist Movement at its very beginning. In its programme of twenty-five points the National Socialist German Labour Party has been furnished with a basis that must remain unshakable. The members of the movement, both present and future, must never feel themselves called upon to undertake a critical revision of these leading postulates, but rather feel themselves obliged to put them into practice as they stand. Otherwise the next generation would, in its turn and with equal right, expend its energy in such purely formal work within the party, instead of winning new adherents to the movement and thus adding to its power. For the majority of our followers the essence of the movement will consist not so much in the letter of our theses but in the meaning that we attribute to them.
The new movement owes its name to these considerations, and later on its programme was drawn up in conformity with them. They are the basis of our propaganda. In order to carry the idea of the People's State to victory, a popular party had to be founded, a party that did not consist of intellectual leaders only but also of manual labourers. Any attempt to carry these theories into effect without the aid of a militant organization would be doomed to failure today, as it has failed in the past and must fail in the future. That is why the movement is not only justified but it is also obliged to consider itself as the champion and representative of these ideas. Just as the fundamental principles of the National Socialist Movement are based on the folk idea, folk ideas are National Socialist. If National Socialism would triumph it will have to hold firm to this fact unreservedly, and here again it has not only the right but also the duty to emphasize most rigidly that any attempt to represent the folk idea outside of the National Socialist German Labour Party is futile and in most cases fraudulent.
If the reproach should be launched against our movement that it has 'monopolized' the folk idea, there is only one answer to give.
Not only have we monopolized the folk idea but, to all practical intents and purposes, we have created it.
For what hitherto existed under this name was not in the least capable of influencing the destiny of our people, since all those ideas lacked a political and coherent formulation. In most cases they are nothing but isolated and incoherent notions which are more or less right. Quite frequently these were in open contradiction to one another and in no case was there any internal cohesion among them. And even if this internal cohesion existed it would have been much too weak to form the basis of any movement.
Only the National Socialist Movement proved capable of fulfilling this task.
All kinds of associations and groups, big as well as little, now claim the title völkisch. This is one result of the work which National Socialism has done. Without this work, not one of all these parties would have thought of adopting the word völkisch at all. That expression would have meant nothing to them and especially their directors would never have had anything to do with such an idea. Not until the work of the German National Socialist Labour Party had given this idea a pregnant meaning did it appear in the mouths of all kinds of people. Our party above all, by the success of its propaganda, has shown the force of the folk idea; so much so that the others, in an effort to gain proselytes, find themselves forced to copy our example, at least in words.
Just as heretofore they exploited everything to serve their petty electoral purposes, today they use the word völkisch only as an external and hollow-sounding phrase for the purpose of counteracting the force of the impression which the National Socialist Party makes on the members of those other parties. Only the desire to maintain their existence and the fear that our movement may prevail, because it is based on a philosophy that is of universal importance, and because they feel that the exclusive character of our movement betokens danger for them – only for these reasons do they use words which they repudiated eight years ago, derided seven years ago, branded as stupid six years ago, combated five years ago, hated four years ago, and finally, two years ago, annexed and incorporated them in their present political vocabulary, employing them as war slogans in their struggle.
And so it is necessary even now not to cease calling attention to the fact that not one of those parties has the slightest idea of what the German nation needs. The most striking proof of this is represented by the superficial way in which they use the word völkisch.
Not less dangerous are those who run about as semi-folkists formulating fantastic schemes which are mostly based on nothing else than a fixed idea which in itself might be right but which, because it is an isolated notion, is of no use whatsoever for the formation of a great homogeneous fighting association and could by no means serve as the basis of its organization. Those people who concoct a programme which consists partly of their own ideas and partly of ideas taken from others, about which they have read somewhere, are often more dangerous than the outspoken enemies of the völkisch idea. At best they are sterile theorists but more frequently they are mischievous agitators of the public mind. They believe that they can mask their intellectual vanity, the futility of their efforts, and their lack of stability, by sporting flowing beards and indulging in ancient German gestures.
In face of all those futile attempts, it is therefore worth while to recall the time when the new National Socialist Movement began its fight.