Monday, 27 June 2022
Friday, 24 June 2022
A “He 111” is loaded with bombs before deployment. The twin-engine aircraft was used as a horizontal bomber or reconnaissance plane.
The observer of a “He 111” in his aircraft cockpit. He determined and controlled the direction of flight and passed on his observations to the pilot.
In the countryside the picture is the same: a “Panje” hut was set on fire. Both Red Army soldiers and partisans can still be in the vicinity, so the landers are cautious.
Especially in the first years of the Eastern campaign, the Red Army applies the principle of “scorched earth”. All facilities that the enemy could use for themselves were burned by their own people in case of a retreat. Of course, the Soviet civilian population in particular suffered greatly as a result.
Civilians carry their possessions out of the burning houses to save at least something. The Wehrmacht often has to extinguish the fires set by the Red Army first, together with the population, when it enters a town.
Tank destroyers with a 3.7 cm anti-tank cannon in road combat. However, the caliber was not sufficient to destroy Soviet main battle tanks.
Wehrmacht soldiers shot an enemy ammunition transporter on fire. In the foreground a German Panzer IV.
A grenadier as an observer at a scissors telescope, which gave a long-range spatial view.
An infantry mounted platoon leader. With his soldiers, he maintained liaison between separate units in difficult terrain.
It was not only on the Eastern Front that Wehrmacht soldiers enjoyed listening to the radio in their free time. In Germany, special programs were broadcast for soldiers to help them briefly escape from everyday life on the front.
Wednesday, 22 June 2022
Monday, 20 June 2022
Source: Command and Obedience: SS Leadership Guide by Alfred Kotz
When we returned home in 1918 we silently shook hands. The shouting by others filled the muggy air. There were those who had never seen the realm of shells but who bragged at the beer table about heroic deeds. There was the crowd on the street which, directed by Marxist editors, mimicked radicalism. They bragged and „radicalized“ Germany into the ground. It is often necessary to remember how sad and disgusting all that was. We easily become spoiled and quickly forget the bad.
A false radicalism haunts men’s minds. Being radical and revolutionary only means for them to tear down. Whether and how something can replace what’s torn down was known least of all by those who behaved the most radical. Their radicalism was hate, rage and negation.
Wild narrow-mindedness acts like sub-humanity. If it takes control, it foams with „radicalism“. We Hitler soldiers have nothing to do with such radicalism.
Nonetheless, we must be radical. Radicalism is good, if it includes affirmation. We do not rant and rage against things that we don’t like and which aren’t appropriate for us. Otherwise we would only rant and rave, but we would not be radical. Getting to the root of the problem, combating it with determination so that bad developments are avoided, to us that means being radical. The word „radical“ refers back to the word „root“ (radix = root).
To research and fight the source of disturbing events that endanger our goal is something totally different than a Don Quixote duel against the outward manifestations.
Any idiot can run headfirst against a certain condition, if it’s just about running head first against this condition. But he does not know its prerequisites. He is unable to eliminate the greater evil. We, however, wish to research the cause that produces the bad result.
We want to take this to heart for everything that concerns us. A great effect often stems from a very small cause. It might be due to the tardiness, negligence or lack of character of individuals, if detestable conditions arise, which expand beyond the circle of the action and jurisdiction of these individuals and cause widespread damage. Let us first of all through loyal fulfillment of duty and through correct treatment of the people entrusted to us avoid such causes within our own area!
We can, however, find bad conditions caused by others. Then we must eliminate the cause as fast as possible. We must have the courage to replace sick parts with healthy ones and not satisfy ourselves with patchwork, which only hides the damage from the eye. A house filled with dry-rot cannot be saved from collapse by nailing boards over the beams eaten away by fungus. No, the beams must be ripped out and flawless beams installed! We must not be diverted from this even if the homeowner complains about the inconvenience.
Applying the strictest standard to our action and inaction and, where necessary, replacing the rotten with the robust is in truth being radical. We do not allow ourselves to be blinded by agreement or contradiction.
We know grumbling. It is bad. It’s even worse when there’s a reason for grumbling. Worst of all, however, is if we do not eliminate this reason.
You will interject: „That must come from above. The individual cannot do that!“ I tell you: it depends on the action and inaction of the individual, whether a work develops inwardly solid or feeble. You, Sturmführer, can perform extremely valuable educational work in this regard.
If all of us Hitler soldiers are radical – even, when necessary, revolutionary – toward ourselves, if we are loyal to ourselves and to the others, if we remain plain and simple, if we are exemplary in work and service, if we resist the temptation to let ourselves go, in short, if we live as the Führer demands, then it is easy to see where a bad root germinates. The fulfillment of these demands makes even the great throng we have become easy to see through.
Mistakes don’t come from us. Because we are radical, they can be seen from above and removed.
It’s a mistake if somebody thinks he has done enough for Adolf Hitler, if he has stood his ground in battle and now figures he can rest on his laurels and celebrate. Two things belong to a Hitler soldier proving himself: first, to have the courage to stand against the red flood in bad times, and then after the rise to power to demonstrate the manly values which Adolf Hitler expects from his followers, and expects anew each day.
Whoever only meets the first requirement should not be surprised to now also see people in our ranks who make an effort to meet the second requirement, although they did not actively stand in our ranks before. Still less should they look down on them, if they are serious about proving themselves in the present and future.
The more time passes between the present and past events, the more we must view as comrades all those who are industrious, clean and loyal. The further we come, the less we can ask the past and the more we must observe the present.
We are building a new Germany. Everyone should carry building blocks for the Führer. Although we can do without the hurrah shouters, we cannot do without the folk comrade who gladly and joyfully helps, and we want to make sure that his joy is not turned sorrow. It should be all of Germany! More and more it will depend on the accomplishment and character of those who are willing to serve the better Germany.
Friday, 17 June 2022
Speech to Officers of the National Political Course of the Armed Forces delivered on January 16, 1937 in Berlin
Officers of the German Armed Forces!
When earlier a politician spoke to soldiers or the other way around a soldier to politicians, then the speaker could generally figure in advance that the audience would be somewhat reversed, if not downright distrustful.
This was especially so in the period of the in-between-Reich, of that most unsoldierly time in German history. For the politician in general everything that even smelled of soldierly views, disciple, obedience, responsible, in short everything soldierly, was as painful and repulsive as holy water to the devil. On the other side, for the opposite reasons, for the healthy soldier the politician - because the politician back then in his whole thinking and action revered what the soldier despised - was a highly unpleasant manifestation, if not a torment. It must have often seemed a provocation, if soldiers spoke before politicians or politicians before soldiers, and I am imagine that it often took a lot of courage - or audacity as well!
My officers! I stand before you, however, without having the feeling of the one or the other. However, I also have the conviction of being no politician of the kind before 1933. Therefore, I speak before you, too, with real joy, as I also know, that it also, for example, brings joy to the General Field Marshal of the Armed Forces, to speak before an auditorium of so-called politicians and political leaders. Certainly, these politicians and political leaders of today are in the majority soldierly people, men with soldierly thinking, feeling and action. Just as I myself am again and again proud to be able to say that I was a soldier throughout the whole time of the Great War, that I experienced the most concentrated soldierdom as a front-fighter in the most fierce battles of the west and absorbed it into me.
The purpose of my speech before you is to deepen the understanding for the great organization through which the political desire in the new Reich is conveyed to the folk - to deepen the understanding for the NSDAP, which has become the bearer of the political strength of the masses, just like the armed forces are the bearer of the military might of these masses. Both prevent chaos in their area, both manifest themselves creating order, giving direction and making conform. This understanding of the political organization, this knowledge of its working, its structure, the integration of its branches, is all the more important for the soldier - but also for anybody who otherwise leads in an area - since this organization indeed bears the name party, but is so infinitely more than a party of once, because it manifests itself in and encompasses all conceivable areas and touches the bearers of the rest of the nation’s life.
I have hence selected the title: “Essence and Working of the NSDAP”.
Task of all political action is the preservation and strengthening of the nation. Precisely also the strengthening, since - as everywhere, here especially - standing still means decline; above all, the more so as the neighbouring nations for their part increase in strength.
The most essential means for the preservation and strengthening of the nation is power. Strengthening of power is accordingly strengthening of the nation. Conversely, however, strengthening of the nation is also strengthening of power; for power is rooted in the nation.
The foundations of power are:
First, the size of the space, which a state calls its own - its soil together with what it contains and want is able to thrive on it.
Second, the geographical location of the space: Power and importance of the surrounding nations, strength or weakness of the natural borders. The climatic conditions are also decisive for advantages and disadvantages of the location, especially in economic regard.
Third, the folk in its total worth, which is determined by the number and the quality in average, supplemented by the value of the single personalities who rise above the norm of the average.
The foundations of power are furthermore:
Fourth, the weapons, which a nation acquires for itself, according to the quantity as well as the quality. Among weapons I also include the spiritual weapons.
Fifth, imponderables, such as the respect which a nation has acquired in the world through its overall bearing, the bearing of its leaders, of its soldiers, of its children in foreign lands; the manner of preserving the reputation of the nation - of a reputation that, for example, its even ever so lonely flying flag enjoys, because one knows that in an emergency the whole strength of the nation protects it and stands behind it. There is a poem by Freiligath: “Fire, but don’t hurt the flag”, in which an English consul on a distant island protects an English sailor against foreign pursuers simply by wrapping a Union Jack around him and laconically shouting to the others: “Fire, but don’t hurt the flag!” Nobody dares it, and Freiligath concludes: “When does the great day come for us, too?!” I believe, the day is no longer far off.
Allow me to refer to another example of imponderable power foundations.
A high-ranking foreign officer once told me that according to his observation the worst after-effect of the Marne Battle of 1914 was the sudden disappearance of the previously firmly entrenched conviction among the opponents - especially among the French: German assault is unstoppable - German armies with the will to triumph cannot be stopped. The “Furor teutonicus” swept over France in 1870/1871; it also swept over France in 1914: give up all hope! The fact, however, that the German armies suddenly halted, meant the collapse of the myth that nothing is equal to German strength - meant a loss of prestige which could not be fully regained by anything.
Individually, the myth continued to exist: most of you will know from your own experience that, especially in eastern theatres, the unexpected arrival of German formations instead of others which had previously been there had a paralysing effect and often produced the feeling of being lost, even if the actual strength comparisons did not even remotely justify this. The German soldier has rescued part of this mythical effect past the collapse - because even the period of shame was not able to erase the memory in the world of the heroism of the field-grey German.
I have listed for you the foundations of power.
Space we do not want to increase - at any rate, not with force. We also cannot change the geographical location. It is due to the too narrow space and the unfavourable geographical location, that we are unable to produce in our own territory all the raw materials and foodstuffs needed to satisfy our own requirements. This does not only mean an economic-political weakness, rather dependency on the surrounding world. So we must suffer from a world economic crisis, which arose without our fault. The dependency on the surrounding world means in any case a restriction of our self-determination. Hence self-determination - real freedom - is only possible hand in hand with self- sufficiency. Self-sufficiency can be ensured through a colonial territory, which encompasses everything conceivably necessary. Certainly, the prerequisite is that the means of power are of the kind that they suffice to protect the transport routes of the colonies against every conceivable, strong coalition of opponents in an emergency. Herein lies deeply rooted the significance of English sea power. The global English empire, in its entirety, is autarkic and the freedom of the English folk is secured as long as England rules the connection between the motherland and its colonies.
As long as Germany for its part does not possess an autarkic economic territory, its freedom is not unconditionally secured; it is not unconditionally secured as long as its economy can only be kept working through the importation of indispensable raw materials along routes which hostilely inclined forces can block at any time. The economic four-year plan will bring Germany closer to self-sufficiency. The effect of this new plan is synonymous with the expansion of its space and an improvement of its geographic location. The world should affirm that we do not secure life and freedom with force, rather through the use of our intellect and our organizational strength. If a few eternal pessimists do not believe it is possible to modify the economy of our folk to the extent the four-year plan does, if they doubt that the capital can be raised which must be invested in the tremendous new factories and machine plants, I can only reply to them: More difficult than again giving work and bread to six million people in a state facing economic ruin, it is not, to give these already employed people different work directions! More difficult than equipping an army of millions with the most modem weapons, it is not, to produce new factories and new machines for productive purposes. Germany will secure its freedom economically-politically just like it has secured its freedom militarily.
Prewar Germany nurtured and strengthened in old tradition the real foundations of power, above all, military power - insofar as it was not hindered in that by the parliament. For if the weapons in 1914 were not present in the number and not completely in the quality as perhaps possible - if at the decisive moment on the Marne the three Army corps - which the Great General Staff had demanded and which could have brought the decision - were missing, then the Reichstag was at fault.
You know: National Socialism has made sure that the nation ’s life necessities are not talked to death by a Reichstag and cannot be made a bartering chip of the political parties. You have seen that in the new Germany decisions of historical scope are made within hours by the Führer and his cabinet - decisions which in other lands must be proceeded by days and weeks of debates in parliament.
What the new Reich has done in regard to the nation’s military fitness and the arming of the soldiers, I do not need to portray to you - the officers of our armed forces. The Führer has taken it upon himself to ensure that, if somebody really attacks, precious blood must not be sacrificed, because money had been spared earlier.
Sparing in weaponry is sparing in the wrong place. This thrift can even mean the highest extravagance. The sparing of a few hundred million marks here can mean the waste of billions of material assets through loss of a war - totally aside from the loss of much more precious assets, namely of millions of the best of our folk. If Germany had at the start of the war in 1914, through expenditure of perhaps a billion, possessed the mentioned three army corps and a much better supply of machineguns and heavy artillery, the war would have been decided in 1914 in Germany’s favour: the German folk and not least of all its economy would have saved over 100 billion, which in the course of the war were expended and after the loss of the war had to be turned over to the enemy - to say nothing of our dead!
A very high degree of armament, however, can mean such a high risk for an attacker that a war with its huge loss of the blood and property of a nation is avoided from the start. Conversely, a weak armament downright provokes an attack. Especially then it can provoke a foreign attack, if a foreign state has domestic problems, does not master unemployment, the folk is more and more divided politically, and it succumbs to the temptation to distract from the inner difficulties through too easily won military successes.
As essential as weapons are - more essential are the people who use them, according to their number, their physical and, above all, their psychological condition - more essential are the people who as a folk stand behind the armed power.
Prewar Germany had perhaps tried to effect an increase of population; it neglected to preserve or even improve the quality of the folk. The in-between-Reich partially worked to make the population to decrease more and more and to worsen the racial composition. Press, film, theatre were used - often in a barely noticeable way, but in the long-run all the more effectively - to overcome the natural racial instinct of the folk, its aversion against Jews and Jewish nature, its aversion against Negroes etc…
How decisively the New Reich has employed the countermeasures, how strongly it does everything to again increase the birth surplus, how it again raises the racial quality through law and education, I again do not need to present to you in detail.
Totally lacking in the old Reich was a real, deep-going, psychological influencing of the folk with the goal to shape it inwardly into the supporting factor of the state, to make it hard for difficult tests which fate puts it to. The tendency of the in-between-Reich leaned naturally in the opposite direction.
Only the National Socialist Germany has employed the whole influence which it has achieved over the folk to make it psychologically strong, to educate it to be a state folk, to orient its thought and action toward the great demands of the nation.
This education of the folk, its spiritual leadership, is the task of the NSDAP.
How much the new Reich is concerned with strengthening the imponderable foundations of power, you have been able to follow during Hitler’s government. The Führer watches over nothing as jealously as the honour of the nation.
Already in the time during the rise to power, National Socialism had spread the imponderabilities of power - pride and spirit of resistance - within the folk in such a manner that the rulers of the republic of 1918 fell because of it, because they themselves embodied the opposite of these virtues. Among them it was pure survival instinct, when they did everything, consciously did everything, in order to suppress pride and spirit of resistance in the folk. They had to fail, because our folk was more attracted to the spirit of honour than to the spirit of dishonour.
More essential than still in peace is the psychological influencing of the totality of the folk and especially of the soldiers - beyond the purely military virtues - during war. And here the governments of 1914 to 1918 totally failed.
Our weapons were not decisively weaker than those of the enemy in 1918. Certainly there were many sectors in the course of the war when they were much weaker than in 1918, periods in which, for example, our ammunition had to be so spared that the heaviest bombardments could hardly be answered with a few shells. And nonetheless, our troops held firm then.
The spirit of the people enabled resistance even with a ridiculous numerical relationship and lack of weapons. Determined nests of resistance often stopped entire divisions. Substantially inferior forces won victories, which are recorded in world history for all time. Only when the people changed, did the combat results change. In 1918 we had a surplus of ammunition, and indeed so much so that production had to be reduced: but the fronts collapsed, because the people became tired. The people had changed - above all, changed psychologically.
The failure of the people toward the end of the war was partly the result of numerical inferiority, which required an exertion of the individual which corresponded to several times the exertion of the enemy. The enemy relieved his troops for a real rest. He had the trench work done by work troops specially organized for this task, which often consisted of foreign ethnic groups. We, on the other hand, were almost continually in filth and mud, we had to be lead into fire again and again, in the so-called rest periods we dug and dragged material, we were often forced to do without even the most necessary sleep. Malnutrition did its part - not least of all in the homeland, whose mood was transmitted back to the front.
The essential thing, however, was that any counterweight lacked: a corresponding influence over the psychological condition of front and homeland. Yes, one even surrendered the folk to the propaganda work of the opposing side - to the working of the Allied powers and the Marxists. A government, to which the psyche of the folk was alien, showed itself to be totally helpless. It made itself fatefully noticeable that prewar Germany had not understood at the right time to put the right men in the right positions. In the decisive positions of the state stood leaders - insofar as one can here speak of leaders - who lacked the slightest connection to the folk, who did not know its feeling, did not understand its language, let alone who would have been able to speak to this folk in the language of the folk. Across from the folk man Lloyd George with his for the folk convincing and inspirational speeches, across from the unbounded hot-head Clemenceau who came from the folk, stood on the German side a bloodless philosopher: Bethmann Hollweg.
In Germany, the capable, close-to-the-folk, real leader could not reach the decisive post. What would it have meant back then, if an Adolf Hitler - instead of performing a service which at least hundreds of thousands of others could have also done - had been charged with the psychological influencing of the folk on the basis of the knowledge of the psyche of this folk! Perhaps the slackening of the people in Germany would not have come “five minutes too early“, perhaps the war would have still been won. Lloyd George said he thought with horror what could have happened, if the Germans had held out until the next spring. And I think of the evaluation of an American admiral who heard England’s desperate cries for help, because the U-boat was infinitely more successful than admitted, and threatened England’s life nerve. Furthermore, in the conduct of the U-boat war as well, the unfortunate fact the right men did not stand at the right posts, was also at work: how great could the success of the U-boat war have been, and indeed already at an earlier point in time, if it had not been - at the urging of the political leadership - practically broken off and only resumed when England had organized an effective defence based on earlier experience.
I summarize: Next to the failure of the parliament, which bears the blame for insufficient weaponry and insufficient assembly of formations - and the people would have been available -, next to the failure of diplomacy, which allowed us to enter into the World War under the most unfavourable power relationships and enabled the hunger blockade, next to the over-exertion as a result of the numerical inferiority and malnutrition, the lacking psychological influencing of the front and of the homeland was to blame that the Germans broke off the end struggle, perhaps shortly before the opponent’s collapse - but at least shortly before he was so tired as to become ready for peace under bearable terms.
The lacking or practically non-existent psychological influencing is explained by the lack of a real connection between the folk and the state leadership - it is explained by the lack of leaders close to the folk in decisive posts and the lack of an organizational bridge between folk and leaders, of an apparatus such as stands at the disposal of a great party. The parties with corresponding apparatus did indeed exist, but the parties of back then were primarily parties of social strata and classes. The one had no touch with the broad mass of the folk while the others were indeed rooted in the mass, but their leadership had no interest in establishing a connection between folk and state leadership and influencing the masses for the purpose of the nation. They used the masses in order to, with their help, pave their way to power, consciously ignoring the life interests of the nation. The parties could have been, in accordance with their original character, the interrelation between state leader and folk - but they were not at all!
After the revolt of 1918 - in the in-between-Reich - some parties, that means the parties rooted in the folk, did indeed represent a connection between folk and government, but these parties as well as the government were anti-national. They misused this connection more than ever in the sense of international, pacifist ideologies. By means of the propaganda organizations of the parties, by means of folk assemblies, by means of press they worked more and more against Germany’s real interests. The nationalist-oriented parties were powerless against this, because they lacked the technical means of propaganda as well as knowledge of the psyche of the folk as the prerequisite for this propaganda.
This is where the National Socialist German Workers’ Party jumped in. Adolf Hitler, after the return from the field, clearly recognized the situation. Just as clearly, he drew the conclusions and used his own characteristic energy to build up a new party which was supposed to work in the masses and with the means which would be successive in the folk - a party which, however, according to its ideas stood in sharp contrast to the other parties of the masses and which put the nation’s interest first. As a man who came from the folk, who had lived among workers and soldiers, he knew how to approach the masses. But he also knew what prevented these mases, whose healthy core he recognized, from going to the nationalist parties: aside from the distance to the folk, the lacking social understanding - the spirit of social strata, which in its arrogance repelled no less than “class consciousness”. As a front-fighter he knew that mutual trust between members of the individual strata, yes, a standing together, was possible, if they were simply brought together and externalities cast off. He knew how deeply they could get the feeling of being dependent on each other and of having very great, mutual interests, in comparison to which personal interests receded.
Adolf Hitler hence appealed to genuine socialism, which demands common good before individual good, which puts the common, great interests higher than individual interests, which sees in the folk comrade, insofar as he performs any somehow useful work, a respectable member of his folk. Even more so respectable, as the experience of the World War showed that even the folk comrade who called hardly anything his own which was worth defending, stood by his folk with the same devoted readiness to sacrifice in the critical hour.
Adolf Hitler appealed at the same time, however, to genuine nationalism, which puts its folk and its nation above all else, which knows that only action to the last for this nation in the long-run enables its preservation and hence the preservation of the individual. It knows that the genuine nationalist must therefore simultaneously be a socialist, because it can only expect this success, if each individual of its folk has it as good as is possible under the existing circumstances, and it knows that this effort only has prospects of success, if the individual fighter is healthy in body and soul and remains healthy.
Every front-fighter had unconsciously become a National Socialist. How strong the front spirit was related to what we now understand under National Socialism in the best sense, those among you know, who were yourselves at the front. The inter-dependency in danger welds leader and enlisted man together, the living together in small space gives mutual understanding, yes, creates comradeship outside service, without discipline in service suffering in the least by this. Even a higher kind of discipline emerged, a discipline out of loyalty of following and out of the conviction of necessity.
All of this is - carried over to the whole folk community - an essential part of National Socialism. In that Adolf Hitler preached National Socialism, he simply expressed and spread through his teachings what the front-fighter had long felt and according to which had long lived. It was thus no coincidence that the struggle for the new idea began with the help of other front-fighters.
He intentionally made extensive use of the means of the opponents: red posters, armbands and flags, in which the red dominated, and with the strengthening of the movement, marches and mass meetings after mass meetings.
Infinitely many on the nationalist side, on the bourgeois side, did not understand this and accused him of “nationalist-embellished Marxism” or “National- Bolshevism”. The left side designated him a “socialist-embellished nationalist” or “reactionary”. He did not worry about either - but stubbornly followed his path.
It was a difficult path! Without name, without money, without newspaper against the power of capital, against the power of the press, against the power of the state. The difficulties were endless. Every new resistance arose. Ever again new paths had to be found, if the ones taken before were no longer passable. The opponents fought, first through silent treatment, then with defamation and lies, with terror and murder; fines and prison sentences alternated with bans. Only tenacity and faith enabled holding out.
I do not have to tell you how the movement nonetheless slowly, slowly expanded, how it seemed finally finished on November 9, 1923, but nonetheless still triumphed - triumphed thanks to the boundless energy and at the same time to the vision of the leader at its head.
The rebuilding in 1925 was no less difficult, but: the few men of the beginning had become thousands. The thousands became tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions.
The spirit triumphed. The ideas have triumphed!
That the proclamation of the ideas could not be prevented in the long-run, that the proclaimers could not be constantly shouted down and beaten down, is thanks to the S.A. and the S.S. The Führer created them from the realization that it is not enough to fight ideas with ideas, rather that, if the opponent used naked violence against ideas, naked violence had to be the response. The best skull with the best ideas is useless, if a brutal fist crushes into the skull.
Equally standing in the fight with S.A. and S.S., exposed to danger and self-sacrificing, were the speakers and the political leaders. Out of nothing they built up the political organization, often sacrificing their last pennies. The gradual growth of a gigantic organization - which was organized down into the last villages and came together at the head in the Führer - was just as essential for the final success as the real power of the S.A. and S.S. The apparatus of this organization enabled the Führer to take his ideas again and again with the greatest possible unity to the folk, down to the last street cell. From there, conversely, from the tiniest branches, which were finally distributed by the hundreds of thousands throughout the Reich, came to the Führer the reports about the mood in the folk, about the effect of his actions, of his speeches, of his leaflets, of his posters and press releases. Through this apparatus passed a continuous pulse between leadership and followers. Finally, the entire folk was somehow influenced - some more, some less - by the ideas of National Socialism. The more the rise to power was delayed, the more did the government have to fall to Adolf Hitler like a ripe fruit. The folk, permeated with National Socialism, finally found its fulfilment in the National Socialist state; it felt Hitler’s entry into the government to be self-evident. The Führer, however, simply had to legalize the already long practically active leadership of the folk. The folk leadership was supplemented with the leadership of the state and its means of power. His apparatus for the maintenance of the bond between himself and the folk, the party, was, however, more important than ever and hence further expanded. More than before, the Führer needs the organization which enables him to check the effect of his measures in the folk, in that it relates to him the resonance. But he also needs it to work on the folk as before, to prepare measures and make them understandable.
Many times it does not even require his direct working, since most of his co-workers are synchronized, familiar with his ideas, have such a fine feel for the background reasons for his actions, that his party reacts correctly in accordance to the great line. Simply a check by the next higher leaders is required, whether everything happens in Adolf Hitler’s sense; where necessary, corrections are made. The action of the Führer is so uniform in the line of what he prepared in the long years before the rise to power, everything is so much of the spirit of National Socialism, that in general no more justification would be necessary. The main work was already done in the time before the rise to power. Without transformation of the whole thinking of the folk in the years of working of the National Socialist movement, all of the actions of the National Socialist government reaching so deeply into the life of the folk, which were necessary for the recovery, would not have been possible - the result of the first plebiscites would have been a disaster. What government of a democratic land enjoys such an uniform agreement of the folk with its deeds?
The somewhat technical path of mutual fertilization of government and folk today passes through the local group leader conventions, county leader conventions, province leader conventions and cabinet meetings. In the province leader conventions the results of the conventions of the lower branches of the individual provinces are presented in summarized form and processed in mutual exchange of opinions. The Party Minister in then able, on the basis of what is conveyed to him about the situation, to make the reports from the “front” fertile with the Führer and in the cabinet meetings. Conversely, what the Führer wants conveyed to the folk, what is supposed to pass from the cabinet meetings - that means from the work of the government - to the folk, follows the reverse path, the path through the province leader conventions, the county leader conventions and the local group leader conventions.
In place of the multitude of parties with opposing interests and basic ideas, of parties that were supposed to serve the folk, a single, uniform, internally unified, real folk representative infused with one spirit and one idea - in the form of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. One party, led by one leader, who is at the same time the leader of the nation. A party in which all the smaller interests coming together within it are subordinated to the great interest, Germany’s interest.
The party has accomplished what seemed impossible. The international-oriented worker of once has become the German worker of today. Whoever remembers just the constant wage disputes in the past years before the rise to power, can measure, what it alone means to have brought the worker to the point where he is content with wages which that are certainly not too high. The workers practice renunciation, because they are convinced of the necessity of making a sacrifice for the whole, because they obtained the feeling that everybody is made to renounce, that the employer as well must be content with smaller profits, since the greater portion of them is taxed away and used to create more jobs. The workers obtained the feeling of bond in the common work. They saw their accomplishment honoured on the Day of National Work, on May 1, which national German twisted from the hand of the international. They saw how, in the formations of the National Socialist movement, all class differences and any class arrogance had disappeared, how the folk community became a reality. Just as in the S.A. and S.S. nobody is asked: Where do you come from, what does your father do, what kind of clothing do you wear, what school did you go to”, rather how only one question is asked: “Do you want to fight for Hitler and for Germany?” The workers saw how here only one thing mattered: the man, the character, the leaning. They saw how the same spirit prevailed in the Hitler Youth, how the youth of the folk is already educated in this spirit and how here, too, the child of the worker marches next to the child of the officer in the shared faith in Germany and its greatness. They saw how everybody voluntarily subordinates himself, when one was designated the leader.
I ask you to remember the days of the collapse of 1918, the mutinies in their whole terribleness, the behaviour of the workers back then and in the following time, the “worker councils” and the “soldier councils”. The idea of discipline or even subordination, the concept of soldierdom, officer, superior, had the effect of a red cloth. A call to assemble, to march, meant “provocation of the proletariat”. Whoever spoke a word in favour of the army, was given the title “militaristic blood hound” and other such niceties. And today many, many of these same workers of once march voluntarily in the new armed forces - march voluntarily in the eight week courses!
When I after March 16, 1935 spoke about military service in Munich’s previously most red factory, in the Neufreimanner rail works, to thousands upon thousands of the same workers who just a few years ago still sang the Marseillaise, I was again and again interrupted by a storm of applause and jubilation such as I would have never before thought possible. It was the most beautiful and at the same time moving rally of my life. But be aware: this radical change in Germany’s work force, this transformation of their thinking, would have never occurred without the working of the NSDAP and its leaders down to the smallest cell leaders. Had they not worked - with the sacrifice and devotion of which only the German is capable - in the masses, again and again and again, although they were all too often struck back with scorn and brutal fist, if they had not been able to finally still convey the faith in the purity of Adolf Hitler’s intention, we would have had to try to build up the new Reich against the mass of millions of German workers! Do you believe that your guns, your planes, your tanks would exist today in such number and quality, if the worker had practiced silent sabotage? Do you believe that you, my officers, would have troops under you on which you could count in an emergency, if the great number of workers only serviced under compulsion? Do you believe that Adolf Hitler could have even thought about introducing compulsory military service or occupying the left Rhine shore? No! Germany today is only so great and strong, because its poorest sons belong to its most loyal!
In many basic ways, the German army was in the old Reich already socialistic in the best sense, it was National Socialist without knowing it. For what else was it, if, for example, a recruit from even the highest noble family had to subordinate himself and stand at attention before a superior, who might have come from a small craftsman family? In this institution did not ability mean more and not background? Among the incredible demands which were placed during the training of a young general staff officer, was not solely decisive, how he met them? Could not Mackensen, who came from a small peasant family, become a General Field Marshal, Tirpitz, the son of a paymaster, Grand Admiral; could not Hipper, whose family owned a small iron trade, not command battle cruisers?
National Socialism has elevated the “marshal ’s baton in the backpack” to a principle. For in the old army, a certain barrier still existed, which could only be overcome in very rare exceptional cases: a barrier of school knowledge. It has also set this one aside - in the correct realization that it is not decisive for the suitability of the socialist leader, if one can solve the Pythagoras or conjugate foreign verbs. The abilities of the born leader are found in all strata and educational levels of our folk. A leader nature can always later learn a certain ABC from the child’s classroom as condition for the officer. What cannot be learned, however, are the prerequisites for the real leader - regardless how well raised or how great the school knowledge!
To the great socialist features of the armed forces, National Socialism as added more - primarily those which manifest themselves in small and smallest things: of what psychological effect is alone the way a superior returns a salute! They are details which do not harm discipline or diminish the distance between officer and enlisted man, as is necessary in the service - and they are nonetheless so essential!
Not least of all, the German worker comes to the armed forces with the conviction that these new armed forces are also filled with the spirit of the new Reich. He comes from the folk community into the armed forces, which are for him the product of this folk community. More than among others, the National Socialist folk community is today at the centre of his thinking, and it is a great joy for me to again and again be able to ascertain how very much this fact is given its due in the armed forces from top to bottom: our General Field Marshal feels and acts as a National Socialist through and through.
As the party has achieved the folk community, it now fulfils its tasks for this folk community: The organizations of the NSDAP are utilized for the enlightenment of the folk about race and health issues with the goal of the improvement of folk health and race and the increase of the population. Previously unthinkable measures like sterilization for the prevention of genetically ill offspring are, thanks to the work of the movement, felt to be self-evident.
In the context of the S.A. and S.S., the Hitler Youth and Federation of German Girls, voluntarily integrated people receive physical education and spiritual education in the National Socialist sense. Old and young, who previously wasted most of their time on the streets or in taverns, are led out for group exercises and hikes; fresh air, contact with nature, body movement, the effect of the National Socialist community are here more important than the exercising and shooting.
Through a large number of special organizations the new spirit is brought into all the individual manifestations of the life of the nation. I name: Physicians Federations, Teachers Federation, Jurists Federation, National Socialist Federation of Technology, NS-Culture Community, NS-Women’s Organization and, above all, as an affiliated association, the mighty organization of the German Work Front.
Leaders of a special organization - who are knowledgeable of a certain material - are collected through me and utilized to help with the laws of the new state, which touch their area, whereby they must, above all, take care that the technical aspects are harmonized with National Socialist principles.
In the branches of the movement as in the special organizations, the possibility exists to further educate the gifted in the practical work of those special areas, to train young people to be leaders. Here the capable people have the chance to prove themselves; from here, their path toward further advance can be opened.
This is especially true as well for the members of the foreign organization. In the central in Berlin as well as in the units in foreign countries, leaders are made familiar with the foreign work in practical service. A number of gifted people, who in the previous years were for a large part taken into the work of our official foreign delegations and hence familiarized with official procedure, would already today be in the position to work in the foreign service. As in the homeland, in foreign countries as well, the Germans are influenced in the National Socialist sense by the National Socialist provincial units and local units. They are again educated for proud consciousness of their Germandom, to unity among themselves, to respect for each other - are educated to always put Germans over members of a foreign nation, without consideration of social strata or background. On this basis, it has succeeded in encompassing the much splintered foreign Germans. The NS chapters out there as well represent the living bond between the German colonies and official Germany. This fact found its expression in the naming of the provincial head of the foreign organization to Chief of the Foreign Organization in the Foreign Office. The personnel union secures here, too, the agreement between the working of the state and of the party.
Much of what became new has already taken new tracks, much has taken a more contemporary form.
With the psychological transformation which the folk has experienced, with the changed perspectives from which everything is viewed which has any relationship to it and to its state, it was unavoidable that also the external forms in which church life occurs were critically observed and friction arose between the bearers of these forms and living faith of the folk. The faith of the folk remained untouched by such conflicts. Nobody in the leadership of the Reich or the leadership of the party thinks about taking their faith from the Germans. No one other than the old front-fighter of the NSDAP knows better what strength faith in a God can bestow on a person in the most difficult hour. No one among the top leaders of the NSDAP thinks about robbing the folk of soldiers of this faith, no one is at all so stupid to deny the All-Powerful. And precisely for this reason, we do not want the faith in the higher to be chained to forms which mean nothing to most of us, to statements which are no longer compatible with advanced knowledge. For the sake of the preservation of the deep, inner faith in God, we do not want this to be equated to the bearers of external cult. We do not want the faith in God to waver, when in the rest of the world priests are murdered, altars desecrated, churches burned down, without God appearing as avenger. We have the conviction that our belief in God and our Christianity better defies difficult hours than the belief in God and the Christianity of those who all too often cling to the external.
We National Socialists of charity, of the NSV, of the Winter Aid Work, of the Christmas gifts for the millions of poor, of the great, all-bridging folk community, we consider ourselves better Christians than those who all too often speak the word Christ. And we do not think of founding new - say National Socialist - churches. We give to the churches what belongs to the church, but we demand for our state what belongs to our state.
A new, previously unknown leader corps is in the process of development and inner consolidation. The larger portion of its members developed itself during the period of struggle. Decisive for the selection and utilization can only be: in how far is the leader - who often comes to the fighting troop in a critical situation or who takes leadership during the battle - the really suited man for the struggle which is being waged. The leaders are taken who best know how to fight against the opponent who must be faced.
And they have almost without example proven themselves a hundredfold. They have stood their ground in the long and difficult years of struggle for the folk, without gaining a personal advantage; on the contrary: what these fighters for a different Germany have suffered - mentally, psychologically and materially - has hardly become known to the public. What did it mean, for example, in Neukölln for the individual - and until the rise to power there were just individuals in these areas - to affirm the “Nazis” in front of the [red] “comrades”, to put on the brown shirt and to thereby provoke, as the opponents called it! The nightly path home from an assembly or march was often a race against death - and all too many lost that race. At dark comers, in dark alleys which had to be passed, lurked assassination, or the troops of the red front quite openly attacked the lone and defenceless man. In any case, at the very least everything was done to ruin him materially; be it through a boycott of his small business, be it through his colleagues in the factory forcing his loss of employment.
One must have seen the hungry misery of such men, one must have experienced the desperation of wives and mothers at the grave of murdered fighters, in order to be able to fully measure what it meant to be a National Socialist in the years of struggle for power and to remain a National Socialist despite everything!
And today as well, in their overwhelming majority, they perform their not always easy work in a flawless manner, perhaps they perform something extraordinary, even if one or the other has still not understood how to reorient himself for “peace time” and his speech is still often warlike rough and often undiplomatic. 97% of these leaders - I wish to stress this - perform unpaid service. They are today still servants for the sake of service to the cause and to the idea for which they once assembled.
The NSDAP, in which so many old soldiers are active in leadership positions, has the highest respect for the armed forces; the more so as they know what an incredible accomplishment these armed forces, the greatest portion of their officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted men, have achieved through armament in such a short time. I know that the armed forces in their entirety have the same respect for the accomplishment of the NSDAP. Therefore, the relationship between both institutions, to my joy, has also become a good one everywhere, insofar as the relationship was not from the start a good one.
What else would be thinkable? After all, the armed forces as the organization of soldierly might are dependent on the party as the organization of the political might and visa versa. The party turns over to the armed forces people physically and spiritually educated for valour; the armed forces again return disciplined, soldierly thinking people to the care of the party. The historically unique accomplishment which the Führer achieved in Germany’s release from the Treaty of Versailles - without it coming to an armed conflict - would not have been possible, if he had not been able to support himself on the one side by the folk spiritually educated by the party and on the other side by the armed forces which he had already developed into such an instrument of power. Germany, the land where ideas have always caused the deepest conflicts - in a time which drifted ever more toward conflicts between worldviews - would not have been able to survive, if the party had not guaranteed internal unity. It guaranteed the unity in that it directed everything according to one idea and through this idea mobilized the folk energy as the executive organ of this idea.
I have attempted to give you in broad lines a picture of the working, of the essence and of the tasks of the NSDAP.
Many of you may have been of the opinion that today, after the previous parties have disappeared, the NSDAP no longer has a justification to exist. The NSDAP not only has a justification to exist, it is a necessity, precisely also from the standpoint of your area of interest. An even greater necessity, the more today politics and the continuation of politics by other means: war - base themselves upon the whole folk - the more the spirit of the folk is decisive for the success of both. Just as the army organism is the technical means to organize and lead the real strength of the folk, the material-military strength, so is the party organism the technical means to organize and lead the spiritual-political strength of the folk on the attack and in defence. Both organisms hereby simultaneously and mutually supplement and influence each other.
The NSDAP is a necessity precisely in authoritarian Germany. The more authoritarian a state, the more a corrector in the form of a real folk representation is needed. It must prevent that the government, with the comfortable possibility to continuously act completely independent, gradually distances itself from the folk and takes theoretical measures which are neither influenced by healthy folk feeling nor checked for their effect in the folk, so that the blessing of the authoritarian form of government becomes a curse and the trust of the folk disappears.
You know that the Führer does not only keep in constant touch with the top of his “folk representative”, the party, rather in longer intervals turns directly to the folk in plebiscites, in order to have it vote itself about very great decisions in the life of the nation. He thus gains ever anew authorization of his leadership. The plebiscite is the path of direct test, whether a leadership has not lost the bond with the folk. At the same time, the folk is given the feeling that it still possesses a connect with its leadership.
Many may view it as a fortunate coincidence that Adolf Hitler was given to the German folk at the right time. I am of the conviction that not coincidence, rather fate produces for folks - which are close to death and are worthy not to perish - the man who saves them from death and pulls them up to new greatness.
I do not believe that it is a coincidence, if in a time when the possibility to lead a folk is so greatly dependent on the position of the masses toward this leadership, a man rises to the absolute top of the Reich, who himself belonged to this mass and as a result from the start possesses more trust and more effectiveness in this mass than one who comes from above. I do not believe that it is a coincidence, if this same man nonetheless possesses such an extraordinary capability and such a broad knowledge, that even the upper leadership stratum of this folk also happily subordinates itself to his will. It is perhaps also no coincidence that fate forced him to serve from the bottom up in the political area, just as a clever institution of the armed forces demands that even the later army commander starts standing in rank and column and drilling in the field. That the Führer once personally distributed self-composed fliers against the Treaty of Versailles in Munich or personally disrupted theatre performances in which the front soldier was insulted, helps him today. Although he once also sat in prison for disrupting a separatist assembly in which Prussia was scolded, he also knows the “front” in the domestic area. And his manner of crossing rhetorical swords before the world with his opponents in the area of foreign affairs, is not uninfluenced by the school he went to in the area of dialectics, when he once debated against communists and other well-versed people in small meeting halls.
Perhaps it was also a historical necessity that the terrible material and psychological collapse of 1918 came, that through it institutions were swept away which could have otherwise stood in the way as a hindrance. For under those the unification of the Reich beyond traditional borders, the elimination of parliament and parties, would hardly have been possible, a young, ruthless folk movement would not have been put in a position to purge the Jewish poison in all areas. So even the revolt of 1918 was part of the force which wanted bad and created good. It enabled the coming leader a new start from the bottom up.
I also believe that much of which was placed on the new state in the past years as difficulties and dangers in the final analysis proved a blessing to us. I believe that the continuing hope for a coming collapse as a result of these difficulties again and again caused foreign states to hesitate to attack us as we gradually released ourselves from the Treaty of Versailles, until they missed the point in time when they could have done so without a major risk of their own.
The final hope was probably that the new Reich would in the economic area - all the sooner, perhaps, must fail as its armament proceeded at a pace and at a tempo as never before an armament in history, and such as nobody had once considered possible. So-called experts in foreign lands - who knew only numbers, only quantities, only materials, only work forces - again failed to take into account how great the elasticity of the German economy is, and even more so the elasticity of German man. But they especially failed to take into account - because it lies outside their concept of calculation - how great the psychological energy of our folk is, how great its ability to limit itself, yes, to make most difficult sacrifices, if it knows why it limits itself and for what it makes these sacrifices. Above all, they failed to take into account what this folk is able to accomplish, if it has a leadership it trusts.
Our folk has trust in its present leadership, because at the top of the leadership stands a leader who, in countless cases, has proven that he really is a leader. A leader who again and again found the right path and the right solution. A leader who uses his energy to solve the apparently impossible. A leader who - out of a totally collapsed folk, in whose resurrection nobody in the world seemed to believe, in whose resurrection this folk itself believed least of all, a leader, who from this same folk of hopelessness, of self- mutilation, of self-dishonour - made a folk which stands among the other folks stronger and prouder than ever! Worthy of this rejuvenated folk stand the new armed forces - worthy of this rejuvenated folk stands the party. Together they work on the most beautiful and highest task which is placed on people, together they work for their nation, they work for Germany and its future.