Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Volume Two: The National Socialist Movement
Chapter I: Philosophy and Party
ON FEBRUARY 24, 1920, the first great public demonstration of our young movement took place. In the Festsaal of the Munich Hofbräuhaus the twenty-five theses of the new party's program were submitted to a crowd of almost two thousand and every single point was accepted amid jubilant approval.
With this the first guiding principles and directives were issued for a struggle which was to do away with a veritable mass of old traditional conceptions and opinions and with unclear, yes, harmful, aims. Into the rotten and cowardly bourgeois world and into the triumphant march of the Marxist wave of conquest a new power phenomenon was entering, which at the eleventh hour would halt the chariot of doom.
It was self-evident that the new movement could hope to achieve the necessary importance and the required strength for this gigantic struggle only if it succeeded from the very first day in arousing in the hearts of its supporters the holy conviction that with it political life was to be given, not to a new election slogan, but to a new philosophy of fundamental significance.
We must bear in mind from what wretched viewpoints so-called ' party programs' are normally patched together and from time to time refurbished or remodeled. We must submit the driving motives particularly of these bourgeois 'program-commissions' to our magnifying glass, in order to achieve the necessary understanding for the evaluation of these programmatical monstrosities. It is always one sole concern which impels men to set up new programs or to change existing ones: concern for the next election. As soon as it dawns on these parliamentary 'jugglers' that the beloved people are again revolting and would like to slip out of the harness of the old party cart, they begin to repaint the shafts. Then come the stargazers and party astrologers, the so-called 'experienced," shrewd' men, old parliamentarians as a rule, who in their 'rich period of apprenticeship' can recall analogous cases when the patience of the masses had burst, and who now sense that something similar is again menacingly close. And so they take up the old prescriptions, form a 'commission,' go about listening to the voice of the beloved people, sniff at the products of the press, and thus slowly scent what the dear broad masses would like to have, what they detest and what they hope for. Every professional group, even every class of employees, is studied with the greatest precision and their most secret wishes investigated. Even the 'bad slogans' of the dangerous opposition then suddenly become ripe for examination, and, not seldom to the greatest amazement of their original inventors and disseminators, turn up, quite innocently and naturally, in the old parties' treasury of knowledge.
And so the commissions come together and 'revise' the old program and frame a new one (and in so doing the gentlemen change their convictions as a soldier in the field changes his shirt, which is when the old one is full of lice!), in which everybody gets his share. The peasant gets protection for his agriculture, the industrialist protection for his product, the consumer protection for his purchase, the teachers' salaries are raised, the civil servants' pensions are improved, widows and orphans are to be taken care of most liberally by the state, trade is promoted, tariffs are to be reduced, and taxes are pretty much, if not altogether, done away with. Occasionally it transpires that some group has been forgotten after all, or that some demand circulating among the people has not been heard of. Then anything there is room for is patched in with the greatest haste, until the framers can hope with a clear conscience that the army of run-of-the-mill petty bourgeois with their women have been pacified and are simply delighted. Thus inwardly armed with confidence in God and the unshakable stupidity of the voting citizenry, the politicians can begin the fight for the 'remaking' of the Reich as they call it.
Then, when election day is past and the parliamentarians have held their last mass meeting in five years, to turn from the training of the plebs to their higher and more agreeable tasks, the program commission again dissolves and the fight for the remodeling of things again takes the form of a struggle for daily bread: which in parliament is known as attendance fees.
Every morning Mr. People's deputy betakes himself to the exalted House, and even if he doesn't go in all the way, he at least goes as far as the anteroom where the attendance lists are kept. Aggressively serving the people, he there enters his name and as well-deserved reward accepts a small remuneration for these continuous and exhausting exertions.
After four years, or otherwise during critical weeks when the dissolution of the parliamentary bodies begins to loom closer and closer, an unconquerable urge suddenly comes over the gentlemen. Just as a caterpillar cannot help turning into a butterfly, these parliamentary larvae leave their parliamentary cocoons and, endowed with wings, fly out among the beloved people. Again they talk to their voters, speak of the enormous work they have done and the malignant stubbornness of their opponents, but the incomprehensible masses, instead of gratefully applauding, sometimes hurl vulgar, even bitter, epithets at their heads. If this ingratitude on the part of the people rises to a certain degree, only a single means can help: the party's sheen must be brushed off, the program needs improvement, the commission comes back to life, and the swindle begins again from the beginning. In view of the granite stupidity of our humanity, we have no need to be surprised at the outcome. Led by their press and dazzled by a new and alluring program, the 'bourgeois' as well as the 'proletarian' voting cattle return to the common stable and again vote for their old misleaders.
Thus, the man of the people and the candidate of the working classes turns himself back into the parliamentary caterpillar and again fattens on the foliage of state life, and again after four years turns back into a gleaming butterfly.
There is scarcely anything more depressing than to observe this whole process in the light of sober reality, to be obliged to witness this constantly repeated deception.
From such spiritual soil the bourgeois camp, you may be assured, cannot draw the strength to carry on the struggle with the organized power of Marxism.
And of this the gentlemen never think seriously. In view of all the admitted narrow-mindedness and mental inferiority of these parliamentary medicine-men of the white race, they themselves cannot seriously imagine that by way of Western democracy they can fight against a doctrine for which democracy, along with everything connected with it, is at best a means used to paralyze the adversary and to create a free path for its own activity. Though at present a part of the Marxists shrewdly try to pretend that they are inseparably linked with the principles of democracy, do not forget if you please that in the critical hour these gentlemen didn't care a damn about a majority decision in the Western democratic sense! This was in the days when the bourgeois parliamentarians saw the security of the Reich guaranteed by the monumental small-mindedness of a superior number, while the Marxists, with a band of bums, deserters, party bosses, and Jewish journalists, abruptly seized power, thus giving democracy a resounding slap in the face. So it really takes the credulous mind of one of these parliamentary medicine-men of bourgeois democracy to imagine that now or in the future the brutal determination of those interested in and supporting that world plague could be exorcised merely by the magic formulas of a Western parliamentarianism.
The Marxists will march with democracy until they succeed in indirectly obtaining for their criminal aims the support of even the national intellectual world, destined by them for extermination. If today they came to the conviction that from the witches' cauldron of our parliamentary democracy a majority could be brewed, which - and even if only on the basis of its legislating majority - would seriously attack Marxism, the parliamentary jugglery would come to an end at once. The banner-bearers of the Red International would then, instead of addressing an appeal to the democratic conscience, emit a fiery call to the proletarian masses, and their struggle at one stroke would be removed from the stuffy air of our parliamentary meeting halls to the factories and the streets. Democracy would be done for immediately; what the mental dexterity of those people's apostles in the parliaments had failed to do, the crowbar and sledgehammer of incited proletarian masses would instantly succeed in doing, as in the fall of 1918: they would drive it home to the bourgeois world how insane it is to imagine that they can oppose Jewish world domination with the methods of Western democracy.
As I have said, it requires a credulous mind to bind oneself, in facing such a player, by rules which for him are only good for bluff or his own profit, and are thrown overboard as soon as they cease to be to his advantage.
Since with all parties of a so-called bourgeois orientation in reality the whole political struggle actually consists in nothing but a mad rush for seats in parliament, in which convictions and principles are thrown overboard like sand ballast whenever it seems expedient, their programs are naturally tuned accordingly and - inversely, to be sure - their forces also measured by the same standard. They lack that great magnetic attraction which alone the masses always follow under the compelling impact of towering great ideas, the persuasive force of absolute belief in them, coupled with a fanatical courage to fight for them.
At a time when one side, armed with all the weapons of a philosophy, a thousand times criminal though it may be, sets out to storm an existing order, the other side, now and forever can offer resistance only if it clads itself in the forms of a new faith, in our case a political one, and for a weak-kneed, cowardly defensive substitutes the battle-cry of courageous and brutal attack. And so, if today our movement gets the witty reproach that it is working toward a 'revolution,' especially from the so-called national bourgeois ministers, say of the Bavarian Center' the only answer we can give one of political twerps is this: Yes, indeed' we are trying to make up for what you in your criminal stupidity failed to do. By the principles of your parliamentary cattle-trading, you helped to drag the nation into the abyss; but we, in the form of attack and by setting up a new philosophy of life and by fanatically and indomitably defending its principles, shall build for our people the steps on which it will some day climb back into the temple of freedom.
And so, in the founding period of our movement, our first concern had always to be directed toward preventing the host of warriors for an exalted conviction from becoming a mere club for the advancement of parliamentary interests.
The first precautionary measure was the creation of a program which aimed at a development which by its very inner greatness seemed apt to scare away the small and feeble spirits of our present party politicians.
How correct was our conception of the necessity of programmatic aims of the sharpest stamp could be seen most clearly from those catastrophic weaknesses which finally led to the collapse of Germany.
From the realization of these weaknesses a new state conception, which in itself in turn is an essential ingredient of a new world conception, would inevitably take form.
In the first volume I have dealt with the word 'folkish,' in so far as I was forced to establish that this term seems inadequately defined to permit the formation of a solid fighting community. All sorts of people, with a yawning gulf between everything essential in their opinions, are running around today under the blanket term 'folkish.' Therefore, before I proceed to the tasks and aims of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, I should like to give a clarification of the concept 'folkish,' as well as its relation to the party movement.
The concept 'folkish' seems as vaguely defined, open to as many interpretations and as unlimited in practical application as, for instance, the word 'religious,' and it is very hard to conceive of anything absolutely precise under this designation, either in the sense of intellectual comprehension or of practical effects. The designation 'religious' only becomes tangibly conceivable in the moment when it becomes connected with a definitely outlined form of its practice. It is a very lovely statement and usually apt, to describe a man's nature as 'profoundly religious.' Perhaps there are a few people who feel satisfied by such a very general description, to whom it can even convey a definite, more or less sharp, picture of that soul-state. But, since the great masses consist neither of philosophers nor of saints, such a very general religious idea will as a rule mean to the individual only the liberation of his individual thought and action, without, how ever, leading to that efficacy which arises from religious inner longing in the moment when, from the purely metaphysical infinite world of ideas, a clearly delimited faith forms. Assuredly, this is not the end in itself, but only a means to the end; yet it is the indispensably necessary means which alone makes possible the achievement of the end. This end, however, is not only ideal, but in the last analysis also eminently practical. And in general we must clearly acknowledge the fact that the highest ideals always correspond to a deep vital necessity, just as the nobility of the most exalted beauty lies in the last analysis only in what is logically most expedient.
By helping to raise man above the level of bestial vegetation, faith contributes in reality to the securing and safeguarding of his existence. Take away from present-day mankind its education-based, religious-dogmatic principles - or, practically speaking, ethical-moral principles - by abolishing this religious education, but without replacing it by an equivalent, and the result will be a grave shock to the foundations of their existence. We may therefore state that not only does man live in order to serve higher ideals, but that, conversely, these higher ideals also provide the premise for his existence. Thus the circle closes.
Of course, even the general designation 'religious' includes various basic ideas or convictions, for example, the indestructibility of the soul, the eternity of its existence, the existence of a higher being, etc. But all these ideas, regardless how convincing they may be for the individual, are submitted to the critical examination of this individual and hence to a fluctuating affirmation or negation until emotional divination or knowledge assumes the binding force of apodictic faith. This, above all, is the fighting factor which makes a breach and opens the way for the recognition of basic religious views.
Without clearly delimited faith, religiosity with its unclarity and multiplicity of form would not only be worthless for human life, but would probably contribute to general disintegration.
The situation with the term 'folkish' is similar to that with the term 'religious.' In it, too, there lie various basic realizations. Though of eminent importance, they are, however, so unclearly defined in form that they rise above the value of a more or less acceptable opinion only if they are fitted into the framework of a political party as basic elements. For the realization of philosophical ideals and of the demands derived from them no more occurs through men's pure feeling or inner will in themselves than the achievement of freedom through the general longing for it. No, only when the ideal urge for independence gets a fighting organization in the form of military instruments of power can the pressing desire of a people be transformed into glorious reality.
Every philosophy of life, even if it is a thousand times correct and of highest benefit to humanity, will remain without significance for the practical shaping of a people's life, as long as its principles have not become the banner of a fighting movement which for its part in turn will be a party as long as its activity has not found completion in the victory of its ideas and its party dogmas have not become the new state principles of a people's community.
But if a spiritual conception of a general nature is to serve as a foundation for a future development, the first presupposition is to obtain unconditional clarity with regard to the nature, essence, and scope of this conception, since only on such a basis can a movement be formed which by the inner homogeneity of its convictions can develop the necessary force for struggle. From general ideas a political program must be stamped, from a general philosophy of life a definite political faith. The latter, since its goal must be practically attainable, will not only have to serve the idea in itself, but will also have to take into consideration the means of struggle which are available and must be used for the achievement of this idea. The abstractly correct spiritual conception, which the theoretician has to proclaim, must be coupled with the practical knowledge of the politician. And so an eternal ideal, serving as the guiding star of mankind, must unfortunately resign itself to taking the weaknesses of this mankind into consideration, if it wants to avoid shipwreck at the very outset on the shoals of general human inadequacy. To draw from the realm of the eternally true and ideal that which is humanly possible for small mortals, and make it take form, the search after truth be coupled with knowledge of the people's psyche.
This transformation of a general, philosophical, ideal conception of the highest truth into a definitely delimited, tightly organized political community of faith and struggle, unified in spirit and will, is the most significant achievement, since on its happy solution alone the possibility of the victory of an idea depends. From the army of often millions of men, who as individuals more or less clearly and definitely sense these truths, and in part perhaps comprehend them, one man must step forward who with apodictic force will form granite principles from the wavering idea-world of the broad masses and take up the struggle for their sole correctness, until from the shifting waves of a free thought-world there will arise a brazen cliff of solid unity in faith and will.
The general right for such an activity is based on necessity, the personal right on success.
If from the word 'folkish' we try to peel out the innermost kernel of meaning, we arrive at the following:
Our present political world view, current in Germany, is based in general on the idea that creative, culture-creating force must indeed be attributed to the state, but that it has nothing to do with racial considerations, but is rather a product of economic necessities, or, at best, the natural result of a political urge for power. This underlying view, if logically developed, leads not only to a mistaken conception of basic racial forces, but also to an underestimation of the individual. For a denial of the difference between the various races with regard to their general culture-creating forces must necessarily extend this greatest of all errors to the judgment of the individual. The assumption of the equality of the races then becomes a basis for a similar way of viewing peoples and finally individual men. And hence international Marxism itself is only the transference, by the Jew, Karl Marx, of a philosophical attitude and conception, which had actually long been in existence, into the form of a definite political creed. Without the subsoil of such generally existing poisoning, the amazing success of this doctrine would never have been possible. Actually Karl Marx was only the one among millions who, with the sure eye of the prophet, recognized in the morass of a slowly decomposing world the most essential poisons, extracted them, and, like a wizard, prepared them into a concentrated solution for the swifter annihilation of the independent existence of free nations on this earth. And all this in the service of his race.
His Marxist doctrine is a brief spiritual extract of the philosophy of life that is generally current today. And for this reason alone any struggle of our so-called bourgeois world against it is impossible, absurd in fact, since this bourgeois world is also essentially infected by these poisons, and worships a view of life which in general is distinguished from the Marxists only by degrees and personalities. The bourgeois world is Marxist, but believes in the possibility of the rule of certain groups of men (bourgeoisie), while Marxism itself systematically plans to hand the world over to the Jews.
In opposition to this, the folkish philosophy finds the importance of mankind in its basic racial elements. In the state it sees on principle only a means to an end and construes its end as the preservation of the racial existence of man. Thus, it by no means believes in an equality of the races, but along with their difference it recognizes their higher or lesser value and feels itself obligated, through this knowledge, to promote the victory of the better and stronger, and demand the subordination of the inferior and weaker in accordance with the eternal will that dominates this universe. Thus, in principle, it serves the basic aristocratic idea of Nature and believes in the validity of this law down to the last individual. It sees not only the different value of the races, but also the different value of individuals. From the mass it extracts the importance of the individual personality, and thus, in contrast to disorganizing Marxism, it has an organizing effect. It believes in the necessity of an idealization of humanity, in which alone it sees the premise for the existence of humanity. But it cannot grant the right to existence even to an ethical idea if this idea represents a danger for the racial life of the bearers of a higher ethics; for in a bastardized and niggerized world all the concepts of the humanly beautiful and sublime, as well as all ideas of an idealized future of our humanity, would be lost forever.
Human culture and civilization on this continent are inseparably bound up with the presence of the Aryan. If he dies out or declines, the dark veils of an age without culture will again descend on this globe.
The undermining of the existence of human culture by the destruction of its bearer seems in the eyes of a folkish philosophy the most execrable crime. Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the benevolent creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise.
And so the folkish philosophy of life corresponds to the innermost will of Nature, since it restores that free play of forces which must lead to a continuous mutual higher breeding, until at last the best of humanity, having achieved possession of this earth, will have a free path for activity in domains which will lie partly above it and partly outside it.
We all sense that in the distant future humanity must be faced by problems which only a highest race, become master people and supported by the means and possibilities of an entire globe, will be equipped to overcome.
It is self-evident that so general a statement of the meaningful content of a folkish philosophy can be interpreted in thousands of ways. And actually we find hardly a one of our newer political formations which does not base itself in one way or another on this world view. And, by its very existence in the face of the many others, it shows the difference of its conceptions. And so the Marxist world view, led by a unified top organization, is opposed by a hodgepodge of views which even as ideas are not very impressive in face of the solid, hostile front. Victories are not gained by such feeble weapons! Not until the international world view- politically led by organized Marxism - is confronted by a folkish world view, organized and led with equal unity, will success, supposing the fighting energy to be equal on both sides, fall to the side of eternal truth.
A philosophy can only be organizationally comprehended on the basis of a definite formulation of that philosophy, and what dogmas represent for religious faith, party principles are for a political party in the making.
Hence an instrument must be created for the folkish world view which enables it to fight, just as the Marxist party organization creates a free path for internationalism.
This is the goal pursued by the National Socialist German Workers' Party.
That such a party formulation of the folkish concept is the precondition for the victory of the folkish philosophy of life is proved most sharply by a fact which is admitted indirectly at least by the enemies of such a party tie. Those very people who never weary of emphasizing that the folkish philosophy is not the 'hereditary estate' of an individual, but that it slumbers or 'lives' in the hearts of God knows how many millions, thus demonstrate the fact that the general existence of such ideas was absolutely unable to prevent the victory of the hostile world view, classically represented by a political party. If this were not so, the German people by this time would have been bound to achieve a gigantic victory and not be standing at the edge of an abyss. What gave the international world view success was its representation by a political party organized into storm troops; what caused the defeat of the opposite world view was its lack up to now of a unified body to represent it. Not by unlimited freedom to interpret a general view, but only in the limited and hence integrating form of a political organization can a world view fight and conquer.
Therefore, I saw my own task especially in extracting those nuclear ideas from the extensive and unshaped substance of a general world view and remolding them into more or less dogmatic forms which in their clear delimitation are adapted for holding solidly together those men who swear allegiance to them. In other words: From the basic ideas of a general folkish world conception the National Socialist German Workers' Party takes over the essential fundamental traits, and from them, with due consideration of practical reality, the times, and the available human material as well as its weaknesses, forms a political creed which, in turn, by the strict organizational integration of large human masses thus made possible, creates the precondition for the victorious struggle of this world view.
Was Hitler right? Some politicians are so afraid you'll answer yes that they've outlawed the chapter you just read. So what do you think? Post your opinion to the Crusader/CNG Discussion Forum.
A hard copy of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf is available from National Vanguard Books. The link will take you to their catalog, where both English and German editions are offered under the Western Philosophy and Ideology section.