Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Volume Two - The National Socialist Movement
Chapter XI: Propaganda and Organization
The year 1921 was specially important for me from many points of view.
When I entered the German Labour Party I at once took charge of the propaganda, believing this branch to be far the most important for the time being. Just then it was not a matter of pressing necessity to cudgel one's brains over problems of organization. The first necessity was to spread our ideas among as many people as possible. Propaganda should go well ahead of organization and gather together the human material for the latter to work up. I have never been in favour of hasty and pedantic methods of organization, because in most cases the result is merely a piece of dead mechanism and only rarely a living organization. Organization is a thing that derives its existence from organic life, organic evolution. When the same set of ideas have found a lodgement in the minds of a certain number of people they tend of themselves to form a certain degree of order among those people and out of this inner formation something that is very valuable arises. Of course here, as everywhere else, one must take account of those human weaknesses which make men hesitate, especially at the beginning, to submit to the control of a superior mind. If an organization is imposed from above downwards in a mechanical fashion, there is always the danger that some individual may push himself forward who is not known for what he is and who, out of jealousy, will try to hinder abler persons from taking a leading place in the movement. The damage that results from that kind of thing may have fatal consequences, especially in a new movement.
For this reason it is advisable first to propagate and publicly expound the ideas on which the movement is founded. This work of propaganda should continue for a certain time and should be directed from one centre. When the ideas have gradually won over a number of people this human material should be carefully sifted for the purpose of selecting those who have ability in leadership and putting that ability to the test. It will often be found that apparently insignificant persons will nevertheless turn out to be born leaders.
Of course, it is quite a mistake to suppose that those who show a very intelligent grasp of the theory underlying a movement are for that reason qualified to fill responsible positions on the directorate. The contrary is very frequently the case.
Great masters of theory are only very rarely great organizers also. And this is because the greatness of the theorist and founder of a system consists in being able to discover and lay down those laws that are right in the abstract, whereas the organizer must first of all be a man of psychological insight. He must take men as they are, and for that reason he must know them, not having too high or too low an estimate of human nature. He must take account of their weaknesses, their baseness and all the other various characteristics, so as to form something out of them which will be a living organism, endowed with strong powers of resistance, fitted to be the carrier of an idea and strong enough to ensure the triumph of that idea.
But it is still more rare to find a great theorist who is at the same time a great leader. For the latter must be more of an agitator, a truth that will not be readily accepted by many of those who deal with problems only from the scientific standpoint. And yet what I say is only natural. For an agitator who shows himself capable of expounding ideas to the great masses must always be a psychologist, even though he may be only a demagogue. Therefore he will always be a much more capable leader than the contemplative theorist who meditates on his ideas, far from the human throng and the world. For to be a leader means to be able to move the masses. The gift of formulating ideas has nothing whatsoever to do with the capacity for leadership. It would be entirely futile to discuss the question as to which is the more important: the faculty of conceiving ideals and human aims or that of being able to have them put into practice. Here, as so often happens in life, the one would be entirely meaningless without the other. The noblest conceptions of the human understanding remain without purpose or value if the leader cannot move the masses towards them. And, conversely, what would it avail to have all the genius and elan of a leader if the intellectual theorist does not fix the aims for which mankind must struggle. But when the abilities of theorist and organizer and leader are united in the one person, then we have the rarest phenomenon on this earth. And it is that union which produces the great man.
As I have already said, during my first period in the Party I devoted myself to the work of propaganda. I had to succeed in gradually gathering together a small nucleus of men who would accept the new teaching and be inspired by it. And in this way we should provide the human material which subsequently would form the constituent elements of the organization. Thus the goal of the propagandist is nearly always fixed far beyond that of the organizer.
If a movement proposes to overthrow a certain order of things and construct a new one in its place, then the following principles must be clearly understood and must dominate in the ranks of its leadership: Every movement which has gained its human material must first divide this material into two groups: namely, followers and members.
It is the task of the propagandist to recruit the followers and it is the task of the organizer to select the members.
The follower of a movement is he who understands and accepts its aims; the member is he who fights for them.
The follower is one whom the propaganda has converted to the doctrine of the movement. The member is he who will be charged by the organization to collaborate in winning over new followers from which in turn new members can be formed.
To be a follower needs only the passive recognition of the idea. To be a member means to represent that idea and fight for it. From ten followers one can have scarcely more than two members. To be a follower simply implies that a man has accepted the teaching of the movement; whereas to be a member means that a man has the courage to participate actively in diffusing that teaching in which he has come to believe.
Because of its passive character, the simple effort of believing in a political doctrine is enough for the majority, for the majority of mankind is mentally lazy and timid. To be a member one must be intellectually active, and therefore this applies only to the minority.
Such being the case, the propagandist must seek untiringly to acquire new followers for the movement, whereas the organizer must diligently look out for the best elements among such followers, so that these elements may be transformed into members. The propagandist need not trouble too much about the personal worth of the individual proselytes he has won for the movement. He need not inquire into their abilities, their intelligence or character. From these proselytes, however, the organizer will have to select those individuals who are most capable of actively helping to bring the movement to victory.
The propagandist aims at inducing the whole people to accept his teaching. The organizer includes in his body of membership only those who, on psychological grounds, will not be an impediment to the further diffusion of the doctrines of the movement.
The propagandist inculcates his doctrine among the masses, with the idea of preparing them for the time when this doctrine will triumph, through the body of combatant members which he has formed from those followers who have given proof of the necessary ability and will-power to carry the struggle to victory.
The final triumph of a doctrine will be made all the more easy if the propagandist has effectively converted large bodies of men to the belief in that doctrine and if the organization that actively conducts the fight be exclusive, vigorous and solid.
When the propaganda work has converted a whole people to believe in a doctrine, the organization can turn the results of this into practical effect through the work of a mere handful of men. Propaganda and organization, therefore follower and member, then stand towards one another in a definite mutual relationship. The better the propaganda has worked, the smaller will the organization be. The greater the number of followers, so much the smaller can be the number of members. And conversely. If the propaganda be bad, the organization must be large. And if there be only a small number of followers, the membership must be all the larger – if the movement really counts on being successful.
The first duty of the propagandist is to win over people who can subsequently be taken into the organization. And the first duty of the organization is to select and train men who will be capable of carrying on the propaganda. The second duty of the organization is to disrupt the existing order of things and thus make room for the penetration of the new teaching which it represents, while the duty of the organizer must be to fight for the purpose of securing power, so that the doctrine may finally triumph.
A revolutionary conception of the world and human existence will always achieve decisive success when the new Weltanschhauung has been taught to a whole people, or subsequently forced upon them if necessary, and when, on the other hand, the central organization, the movement itself, is in the hands of only those few men who are absolutely indispensable to form the nerve-centres of the coming State.
Put in another way, this means that in every great revolutionary movement that is of world importance the idea of this movement must always be spread abroad through the operation of propaganda. The propagandist must never tire in his efforts to make the new ideas clearly understood, inculcating them among others, or at least he must place himself in the position of those others and endeavour to upset their confidence in the convictions they have hitherto held. In order that such propaganda should have backbone to it, it must be based on an organization. The organization chooses its members from among those followers whom the propaganda has won. That organization will become all the more vigorous if the work of propaganda be pushed forward intensively. And the propaganda will work all the better when the organization back of it is vigorous and strong in itself.
Hence the supreme task of the organizer is to see to it that any discord or differences which may arise among the members of the movement will not lead to a split and thereby cramp the work within the movement. Moreover, it is the duty of the organization to see that the fighting spirit of the movement does not flag or die out but that it is constantly reinvigorated and restrengthened. It is not necessary the number of members should increase indefinitely. Quite the contrary would be better. In view of the fact that only a fraction of humanity has energy and courage, a movement which increases its own organization indefinitely must of necessity one day become plethoric and inactive. Organizations, that is to say, groups of members, which increase their size beyond certain dimensions gradually lose their fighting force and are no longer in form to back up the propagation of a doctrine with aggressive elan and determination.
Now the greater and more revolutionary a doctrine is, so much the more active will be the spirit inspiring its body of members, because the subversive energy of such a doctrine will frighten way the chicken-hearted and small-minded bourgeoisie. In their hearts they may believe in the doctrine but they are afraid to acknowledge their belief openly. By reason of this very fact, however, an organization inspired by a veritable revolutionary idea will attract into the body of its membership only the most active of those believers who have been won for it by its propaganda. It is in this activity on the part of the membership body, guaranteed by the process of natural selection, that we are to seek the prerequisite conditions for the continuation of an active and spirited propaganda and also the victorious struggle for the success of the idea on which the movement is based.
The greatest danger that can threaten a movement is an abnormal increase in the number of its members, owing to its too rapid success. So long as a movement has to carry on a hard and bitter fight, people of weak and fundamentally egotistic temperament will steer very clear of it; but these will try to be accepted as members the moment the party achieves a manifest success in the course of its development.
It is on these grounds that we are to explain why so many movements which were at first successful slowed down before reaching the fulfilment of their purpose and, from an inner weakness which could not otherwise be explained, gave up the struggle and finally disappeared from the field. As a result of the early successes achieved, so many undesirable, unworthy and especially timid individuals became members of the movement that they finally secured the majority and stifled the fighting spirit of the others. These inferior elements then turned the movement to the service of their personal interests and, debasing it to the level of their own miserable heroism, no longer struggled for the triumph of the original idea. The fire of the first fervour died out, the fighting spirit flagged and, as the bourgeois world is accustomed to say very justly in such cases, the party mixed water with its wine.
For this reason it is necessary that a movement should, from the sheer instinct of self-preservation, close its lists to new membership the moment it becomes successful. And any further increase in its organization should be allowed to take place only with the most careful foresight and after a painstaking sifting of those who apply for membership. Only thus will it be possible to keep the kernel of the movement intact and fresh and sound. Care must be taken that the conduct of the movement is maintained exclusively in the hands of this original nucleus. This means that the nucleus must direct the propaganda which aims at securing general recognition for the movement. And the movement itself, when it has secured power in its hands, must carry out all those acts and measures which are necessary in order that its ideas should be finally established in practice.
With those elements that originally made the movement, the organization should occupy all the important positions that have been conquered and from those elements the whole directorate should be formed. This should continue until the maxims and doctrines of the party have become the foundation and policy of the new State. Only then will it be permissible gradually to give the reins into the hands of the Constitution of that State which the spirit of the movement has created. But this usually happens through a process of mutual rivalry, for here it is less a question of human intelligence than of the play and effect of the forces whose development may indeed be foreseen from the start but not perpetually controlled.
All great movements, whether of a political or religious nature, owe their imposing success to the recognition and adoption of those principles. And no durable success is conceivable if these laws are not observed.
As director of propaganda for the party, I took care not merely to prepare the ground for the greatness of the movement in its subsequent stages, but I also adopted the most radical measures against allowing into the organization any other than the best material. For the more radical and exciting my propaganda was, the more did it frighten weak and wavering characters away, thus preventing them from entering the first nucleus of our organization. Perhaps they remained followers, but they did not raise their voices. On the contrary, they maintained a discreet silence on the fact. Many thousands of persons then assured me that they were in full agreement with us but they could not on any account become members of our party. They said that the movement was so radical that to take part in it as members would expose them to grave censures and grave dangers, so that they would rather continue to be looked upon as honest and peaceful citizens and remain aside, for the time being at least, though devoted to our cause with all their hearts.
And that was all to the good. If all these men who in their hearts did not approve of revolutionary ideas came into our movement as members at that time, we should be looked upon as a pious confraternity today and not as a young movement inspired with the spirit of combat.
The lively and combative form which I gave to all our propaganda fortified and guaranteed the radical tendency of our movement, and the result was that, with a few exceptions, only men of radical views were disposed to become members.
It was due to the effect of our propaganda that within a short period of time hundreds of thousands of citizens became convinced in their hearts that we were right and wished us victory, although personally they were too timid to make sacrifices for our cause or even participate in it.
Up to the middle of 1921 this simple activity of gathering in followers was sufficient and was of value to the movement. But in the summer of that year certain events happened which made it seem opportune for us to bring our organization into line with the manifest successes which the propaganda had achieved.
An attempt made by a group of patriotic visionaries, supported by the chairman of the party at that time, to take over the direction of the party led to the break up of this little intrigue and, by a unanimous vote at a general meeting, entrusted the entire direction of the party to my own hands. At the same time a new statute was passed which invested sole responsibility in the chairman of the movement, abolished the system of resolutions in committee and in its stead introduced the principle of division of labour which since that time has worked excellently.
From August 1st, 1921, onwards I undertook this internal reorganization of the party and was supported by a number of excellent men. I shall mention them and their work individually later on.
In my endeavour to turn the results gained by the propaganda to the advantage of the organization and thus stabilize them, I had to abolish completely a number of old customs and introduce regulations which none of the other parties possessed or had adopted.
In the years 1920-21 the movement was controlled by a committee elected by the members at a general meeting. The committee was composed of a first and second treasurer, a first and second secretary, and a first and second chairman at the head of it. In addition to these there was a representative of the members, the director of propaganda, and various assessors.
Comically enough, the committee embodied the very principle against which the movement itself wanted to fight with all its energy, namely, the principle of parliamentarianism. Here was a principle which personified everything that was being opposed by the movement, from the smallest local groups to the district and regional groups, the state groups and finally the national directorate itself. It was a system under which we all suffered and are still suffering.
It was imperative to change this state of affairs forthwith, if this bad foundation in the internal organization was not to keep the movement insecure and render the fulfilment of its high mission impossible.
The sessions of the committee, which were ruled by a protocol, and in which decisions were made according to the vote of the majority, presented the picture of a miniature parliament. Here also there was no such thing as personal responsibility. And here reigned the same absurdities and illogical state of affairs as flourish in our great representative bodies of the State. Names were presented to this committee for election as secretaries, treasurers, representatives of the members of the organization, propaganda agents and God knows what else. And then they all acted in common on every particular question and decided it by vote. Accordingly, the director of propaganda voted on a question that concerned the man who had to do with the finances and the latter in his turn voted on a question that concerned only the organization as such, the organizer voting on a subject that had to do with the secretarial department, and so on.
Why select a special man for propaganda if treasurers and scribes and commissaries, etc., had to deliver judgment on questions concerning it? To a person of commonsense that sort of thing seemed as incomprehensible as it would be if in a great manufacturing concern the board of directors were to decide on technical questions of production or if, inversely, the engineers were to decide on questions of administration.
I refused to countenance that kind of folly and after a short time I ceased to appear at the meetings of the committee. I did nothing else except attend to my own department of propaganda and I did not permit any of the others to poke their heads into my activities. Conversely, I did not interfere in the affairs of others.
When the new statute was approved and I was appointed as president, I had the necessary authority in my hands and also the corresponding right to make short shrift of all that nonsense. In the place of decisions by the majority vote of the committee, the principle of absolute responsibility was introduced.
The chairman is responsible for the whole control of the movement. He apportions the work among the members of the committee subordinate to him and for special work he selects other individuals. Each of these gentlemen must bear sole responsibility for the task assigned to him. He is subordinate only to the chairman, whose duty is to supervise the general collaboration, selecting the personnel and giving general directions for the co-ordination of the common work.
This principle of absolute responsibility is being adopted little by little throughout the movement. In the small local groups and perhaps also in the regional and district groups it will take yet a long time before the principle can be thoroughly imposed, because timid and hesitant characters are naturally opposed to it. For them the idea of bearing absolute responsibility for an act opens up an unpleasant prospect. They would like to hide behind the shoulders of the majority in the so-called committee, having their acts covered by decisions passed in that way. But it seems to me a matter of absolute necessity to take a decisive stand against that view, to make no concessions whatsoever to this fear of responsibility, even though it takes some time before we can put fully into effect this concept of duty and ability in leadership, which will finally bring forward leaders who have the requisite abilities to occupy the chief posts.
In any case, a movement which must fight against the absurdity of parliamentary institutions must be immune from this sort of thing. Only thus will it have the requisite strength to carry on the struggle.
At a time when the majority dominates everywhere else a movement which is based on the principle of one leader who has to bear personal responsibility for the direction of the official acts of the movement itself will one day overthrow the present situation and triumph over the existing regime. That is a mathematical certainty.
This idea made it necessary to reorganize our movement internally. The logical development of this reorganization brought about a clear-cut distinction between the economic section of the movement and the general political direction. The principle of personal responsibility was extended to all the administrative branches of the party and it brought about a healthy renovation, by liberating them from political influences and allowing them to operate solely on economic principles.
In the autumn of 1921, when the party was founded, there were only six members. The party did not have any headquarters, nor officials, nor formularies, nor a stamp, nor printed material of any sort. The committee first held its sittings in a restaurant on the Herrengasse and then in a café at Gasteig. This state of affairs could not last. So I at once took action in the matter. I went around to several restaurants and hotels in Munich, with the idea of renting a room in one of them for the use of the Party. In the old Sterneckerbräu im Tal, there was a small room with arched roof, which in earlier times was used as a sort of festive tavern where the Bavarian Counsellors of the Holy Roman Empire foregathered. It was dark and dismal and accordingly well suited to its ancient uses, though less suited to the new purpose it was now destined to serve. The little street on which its one window looked out was so narrow that even on the brightest summer day the room remained dim and sombre. Here we took up our first fixed abode. The rent came to fifty marks per month, which was then an enormous sum for us. But our exigencies had to be very modest. We dared not complain even when they removed the wooden wainscoting a few days after we had taken possession. This panelling had been specially put up for the Imperial Counsellors. The place began to look more like a grotto than an office.
Still it marked an important step forward. Slowly we had electric light installed and later on a telephone. A table and some borrowed chairs were brought, an open paper-stand and later on a cupboard. Two sideboards, which belonged to the landlord, served to store our leaflets, placards, etc.
As time went on it turned out impossible to direct the course of the movement merely by holding a committee meeting once a week. The current business administration of the movement could not be regularly attended to except we had a salaried official.
But that was then very difficult for us. The movement had still so few members that it was hard to find among them a suitable person for the job who would be content with very little for himself and at the same time would be ready to meet the manifold demands which the movement would make on his time and energy.
After long searching we discovered a soldier who consented to become our first administrator. His name was Schüssler, an old war comrade of mine. At first he came to our new office every day between six and eight o'clock in the evening. Later on he came from five to eight and subsequently for the whole afternoon. Finally it became a full-time job and he worked in the office from morning until late at night. He was an industrious, upright and thoroughly honest man, faithful and devoted to the movement. He brought with him a small Adler typewriter of his own. It was the first machine to be used in the service of the party. Subsequently the party bought it by paying for it in installments. We needed a small safe in order to keep our papers and register of membership from danger of being stolen – not to guard our funds, which did not then exist. On the contrary, our financial position was so miserable that I often had to dip my hand into my own personal savings.
After eighteen months our business quarters had become too small, so we moved to a new place in the Cornelius Strasse. Again our office was in a restaurant, but instead of one room we now had three smaller rooms and one large room with great windows. At that time this appeared a wonderful thing to us. We remained there until the end of November 1923.
In December 1920, we acquired the Völkischer Beobachter. This newspaper which, as its name implies, championed the claims of the people, was now to become the organ of the German National Socialist Labour Party. At first it appeared twice weekly; but at the beginning of 1928 it became a daily paper, and at the end of August in the same year it began to appear in the large format which is now well known.
As a complete novice in journalism I then learned many a lesson for which I had to pay dearly.
In contradistinction to the enormous number of papers in Jewish hands, there was at that time only one important newspaper that defended the cause of the people. This was a matter for grave consideration. As I have often learned by experience, the reason for that state of things must be attributed to the incompetent way in which the business side of the so-called popular newspapers was managed. These were conducted too much according to the rule that opinion should prevail over action that produces results. Quite a wrong standpoint, for opinion is of itself something internal and finds its best expression in productive activity. The man who does valuable work for his people expresses thereby his excellent sentiments, whereas another who merely talks about his opinions and does nothing that is of real value or use to the people is a person who perverts all right thinking. And that attitude of his is also pernicious for the community.
The Völkische Beobachter was a so-called 'popular' organ, as its name indicated. It had all the good qualities, but still more the errors and weaknesses, inherent in all popular institutions. Though its contents were excellent, its management as a business concern was simply impossible. Here also the underlying idea was that popular newspapers ought to be subsidized by popular contributions, without recognizing that it had to make its way in competition with the others and that it was dishonest to expect the subscriptions of good patriots to make up for the mistaken management of the undertaking.
I took care to alter those conditions promptly, for I recognized the danger lurking in them. Luck was on my side here, inasmuch as it brought me the man who since that time has rendered innumerable services to the movement, not only as business manager of the newspaper but also as business manager of the party. In 1914, in the War, I made the acquaintance of Max Amann, who was then my superior and is today general business Director of the Party. During four years in the War I had occasion to observe almost continually the unusual ability, the diligence and the rigorous conscientiousness of my future collaborator.
In the summer of 1921 I applied to my old regimental comrade, whom I met one day by chance, and asked him to become business manager of the movement. At that time the movement was passing through a grave crisis and I had reason to be dissatisfied with several of our officials, with one of whom I had had a very bitter experience. Amann then held a good situation in which there were also good prospects for him.
After long hesitation he agreed to my request, but only on condition that he must not be at the mercy of incompetent committees. He must be responsible to one master, and only one.
It is to the inestimable credit of this first business manager of the party, whose commercial knowledge is extensive and profound, that he brought order and probity into the various offices of the party. Since that time these have remained exemplary and cannot be equalled or excelled in this by any other branches of the movement. But, as often happens in life, great ability provokes envy and disfavour. That had also to be expected in this case and borne patiently.
Since 1922 rigorous regulations have been in force, not only for the commercial construction of the movement but also in the organization of it as such. There exists now a central filing system, where the names and particulars of all the members are enrolled. The financing of the party has been placed on sound lines. The current expenditure must be covered by the current receipts and special receipts can be used only for special expenditures. Thus, notwithstanding the difficulties of the time the movement remained practically without any debts, except for a few small current accounts. Indeed, there was a permanent increase in the funds. Things are managed as in a private business. The employed personnel hold their jobs in virtue of their practical efficiency and could not in any manner take cover behind their professed loyalty to the party. A good National Socialist proves his soundness by the readiness, diligence and capability with which he discharges whatever duties are assigned to him in whatever situation he holds within the national community. The man who does not fulfil his duty in the job he holds cannot boast of a loyalty against which he himself really sins.
Adamant against all kinds of outer influence, the new business director of the party firmly maintained the standpoint that there were no sinecure posts in the party administration for followers and members of the movement whose pleasure is not work. A movement which fights so energetically against the corruption introduced into our civil service by the various political parties must be immune from that vice in its own administrative department. It happened that some men were taken on the staff of the paper who had formerly been adherents of the Bavarian People's Party, but their work showed that they were excellently qualified for the job. The result of this experiment was generally excellent. It was owing to this honest and frank recognition of individual efficiency that the movement won the hearts of its employees more swiftly and more profoundly than had ever been the case before. Subsequently they became good National Socialists and remained so. Not in word only, but they proved it by the steady and honest and conscientious work which they performed in the service of the new movement. Naturally a well qualified party member was preferred to another who had equal qualifications but did not belong to the party. The rigid determination with which our new business chief applied these principles and gradually put them into force, despite all misunderstandings, turned out to be of great advantage to the movement. To this we owe the fact that it was possible for us – during the difficult period of the inflation, when thousands of businesses failed and thousands of newspapers had to cease publication – not only to keep the commercial department of the movement going and meet all its obligations but also to make steady progress with the Völkische Beobachter. At that time it came to be ranked among the great newspapers.
The year 1921 was of further importance for me by reason of the fact that in my position as chairman of the party I slowly but steadily succeeded in putting a stop to the criticisms and the intrusions of some members of the committee in regard to the detailed activities of the party administration. This was important, because we could not get a capable man to take on a job if nincompoops were constantly allowed to butt in, pretending that they knew everything much better; whereas in reality they had left only general chaos behind them. Then these wise-acres retired, for the most part quite modestly, to seek another field for their activities where they could supervise and tell how things ought to be done. Some men seemed to have a mania for sniffing behind everything and were, so to say, always in a permanent state of pregnancy with magnificent plans and ideas and projects and methods. Naturally their noble aim and ideal were always the formation of a committee which could pretend to be an organ of control in order to be able to sniff as experts into the regular work done by others. But it is offensive and contrary to the spirit of National Socialism when incompetent people constantly interfere in the work of capable persons. But these makers of committees do not take that very much into account. In those years I felt it my duty to safeguard against such annoyance all those who were entrusted with regular and responsible work, so that there should be no spying over the shoulder and they would be guaranteed a free hand in their day's work.
The best means of making committees innocuous, which either did nothing or cooked up impracticable decisions, was to give them some real work to do. It was then amusing to see how the members would silently fade away and were soon nowhere to be found. It made me think of that great institution of the same kind, the Reichstag. How quickly they would evanesce if they were put to some real work instead of talking, especially if each member were made personally responsible for the work assigned to him.
I always demanded that, just as in private life so also in the movement, one should not tire of seeking until the best and honestest and manifestly the most competent person could be found for the position of leader or administrator in each section of the movement. Once installed in his position he was given absolute authority and full freedom of action towards his subordinates and full responsibility towards his superiors. Nobody was placed in a position of authority towards his subordinates unless he himself was competent in the work entrusted to them. In the course of two years I brought my views more and more into practice; so that today, at least as far as the higher direction of the movement is concerned, they are accepted as a matter of course.
The manifest success of this attitude was shown on November 9th, 1923. Four years previously, when I entered the movement, it did not have even a rubber stamp. On November 9th, 1923, the party was dissolved and its property confiscated. The total sum realized by all the objects of value and the paper amounted to more than 170,000 gold marks.