Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Volume Two: The National Socialist Movement
Chapter V: Philosophy and Organization
(This material is posted to show the similarity between Machiavelli, Hitler and some modern church movements. We do not endorse his judgments but warn that his methods still work. Where Hitler uses the word "Jews" you could just as easily insert the name of any religious or political group which you consider "decadent" and "deliterious." See Christianity Today's comments about the German fear of shepherding forms of church growth schemes. You may have less to fear from milita movements than new "church" movements.
The ready adoption of Hitler's views while attempting to destroy old forms of religion and establish the new is truly frightening.
To understand the phylosophy forming history guarantees that we don't repeat it.
Need for a unifying community symbol.
THE folkish state, a general picture of which I have attempted to draw in broad outlines, will not be realized by the mere knowledge of what is necessary to this state. It is not enough to know how a folkish state should look. Far more important is the program for its creation.
We may not expect the present parties,
which after all are primarily beneficiaries of the present state,
to arrive of their own accord at a change of orientation and of their own free will to modify their present attitude.
What makes this all the more impossible is that their real leading elements are always Jews and only Jews. And the development we are going through today, if continued unobstructed, would fulfill the Jewish prophecy - the Jew would really devour the peoples of the earth, would become their master.
[Religious parties, also, have dreams of organizations to encompass Christendom.]
Thus, confronting the millions of German 'bourgeois' and 'proletarians,' who for the most part, from cowardice coupled with stupidity, trot toward their ruin, he pursues his way inexorably, in the highest consciousness of his future goal.
A party which is led by him can, therefore, stand for no other interests beside his interests; and with the concerns of Aryan nations, these have nothing in common.
And so, if we wish to transform the ideal image of a folkish state into practical reality, we must,
independent of the powers that have thus far ruled public life,
seek a new force that is willing and able to take up the struggle for such an idea.
For it will take a struggle, in view of the fact that the first task is
not creation of a folkish state conception,
but above all elimination of the existing Jewish (add your favorite enemy) one.
As so frequently in history, the main difficulty lies, not in the form of the new state of things,
but in making place for it.
Prejudices and interests unite in a solid phalanx
and attempt with all possible means to prevent the victory of an idea that is displeasing to them or that menaces them.
And so, unfortunately, the fighter for such a new idea, important as it may be to put positive emphasis on it,
is forced to carry through first of all the negative part of the fight,
A young doctrine of great and new fundamental significance will, displeasing as this may be to the individual,
be forced to employ as its first weapon the probe of criticism in all its sharpness.
It indicates a lack of deep insight into historical developments when today people
who call themselves folkish make a great point of assuring us over and over that
they do not plan to engage in negative criticism, but only in constructive work;
this absurd childish stammering is 'folkish' in the worst sense and shows how little trace the history even of their own times has left in these minds.
Marxism also had a goal, and it, too, has a constructive activity (even if it is only to erect a despotism of international world Jewish finance);
but previously, nevertheless,
it practiced criticism for seventy years, annihilating, disintegrating criticism,
and again criticism, which continued until the old state was undermined by this persistent corrosive acid and brought to collapse.
Only then did its actual 'construction' begin. And that was self-evident, correct and logical.
For it is not to be presumed that the adherents, let alone the beneficiaries of the condition now existing,
could all be converted and won over to the new one merely by demonstrating its necessity.
On the contrary, it is only too possible that in this case two conditions will remain in existence side by side,
and that the so-called philosophy will become a party, unable to raise itself above its limitations.
For the philosophy is intolerant; it cannot content itself with the role of one 'party beside others,' but imperiously demands,
not only its own exclusive and unlimited recognition, but the complete transformation of all public life in accordance with its views.
It can, therefore, not tolerate the simultaneous continuance of a body representing the former condition.
This is equally true of religions.
Christianity could not content itself with building up its own altar; it was absolutely forced to undertake the destruction of the heathen altars.
Only from this fanatical intolerance could its apodictic faith take form; this intolerance is, in fact, its absolute presupposition.
The objection may very well be raised that such phenomena in world history arise for the most part from specifically Jewish modes of thought, in fact, that this type of intolerance and fanaticism positively embodies the Jewish nature.
[Of course, Hitler speaks of the established order primarily of Catholicism which, then and now, had adopted on a wholesale basis the Jewish system which grew up contrary to the Israelite nation God wanted to form. The exodus, for instance, was an example of humans deviating from God's plans for the Jews. The Catholic church, also, took on the role of crushing the oposition rather than depending upon true God-given principles. Therefore, Paul condemns all groups for not following God but attempting to build their own "community." Unfortunate for both Jews and Gentiles, their civil wing does not represent the common people but leads to the destruction of both]
This may be a thousand times true; we may deeply regret this fact and establish with justifiable loathing that its appearance in the history of mankind is something that was previously alien to history - yet this does not alter the fact that this condition is with us today.
The men who want to redeem our German people from its present condition have no need to worry their heads thinking how lovely it would be if this and that did not exist:
they must try to ascertain how the given condition can be eliminated.
A philosophy filled with infernal intolerance will only be broken by a new idea, driven forward by the same spirit, championed by the same mighty will,
and at the same time pure and absolutely genuine in itself.
The individual may establish with pain today that with the appearance of Christianity the first spiritual terror entered into the far freer ancient world, but he will not be able to contest the fact that since then the world has been afflicted and dominated by this coercion, and that coercion is broken only by coercion, and terror only by terror. Only then can a new state of affairs be constructively created.
- Political parties are inclined to compromises;
- philosophies never.
- Political parties even reckon with opponents;
- philosophies proclaim their infallibility.
Political parties, too, almost always have the original purpose of attaining exclusive despotic domination; a slight impulse toward a philosophy is almost always inherent in them.
Yet the very narrowness of their program robs them of the heroism which a philosophy demands.
The conciliatory nature of their will attracts small and weakly spirits with which no crusades can be fought. And so, for the most part, they soon bog down in their own pitiful pettiness:
They abandon the struggle for a philosophy and attempt instead,
by so-called 'positive collaboration,'
to conquer as quickly as possible
a little place at the feeding trough of existing institutions
and to keep it as long as possible.
That is their entire endeavor.
And if they should be pushed away from the general feeding crib by a somewhat brutal competing boarder,
their thoughts and actions are directed solely, whether by force or trickery, toward pushing their way back to the front of the hungry herd and finally,
even at the cost of their holy conviction, toward refreshing themselves at the beloved swill pail. Jackals of politics!
Since a philosophy of life is never willing to share with another,
it cannot be willing either to collaborate in an existing regime which it condemns,
but feels obligated to combat this regime and the whole hostile world of ideas with all possible means; that is, to prepare its downfall.
This purely destructive fight - the danger of which is at once recognized by all others and which consequently encounters general resistance - as well as the positive struggle, attacking to make way for its own world of ideas, requires determined fighters.
only if it unites the most courageous and energetic elements of its epoch and people in its ranks,
and puts them into the solid forms of a fighting organization.
For this, however, taking these elements into consideration,
it must pick out certain ideas from its general world picture and clad them in a form which,
in its precise, slogan-like brevity, seems suited to serve as a creed for a new community of men.
While the program of a solely political party is the formula for a healthy outcome of the next elections,
the program of a philosophy is the formulation of
a declaration of war against the existing order
against a definite state of affairs;
in short, against an existing view of life in general.
It is not necessary that every individual fighting for this philosophy should obtain a full insight and precise knowledge of the ultimate ideas and thought processes of the leaders of the movement.
What is necessary is that some few, really great ideas be made clear to him, and that the essential fundamental lines be burned inextinguishably into him,
so that he is entirely permeated by the necessity of the victory of his movement and its doctrine.
The individual soldier is not initiated into the thought processes of higher strategy either. He is, on the contrary, trained in rigid discipline and fanatical faith in the justice and power of his cause,
and taught to stake his life for it without reservation; the same must occur with the individual adherent of a movement of great scope, great future, and the greatest will.
Useless as an army would be, whose individual soldiers were all generals, even if it were only by virtue of their education and their insight, equally useless is a political movement, fighting for a philosophy, if it is only a reservoir of 'bright' people.
No, it also needs the primitive soldier, since otherwise an inner discipline is unobtainable.
It lies in the nature of an organization that it can only exist if a broad mass,
- with a more emotional attitude,
- serves a high intellectual leadership.
A company of two hundred men of equal intellectual ability would in the long run be harder to discipline than a company of a hundred and ninety intellectually less capable men and ten with higher education.
Social Democracy in its day drew the greatest profit from this fact.
It took members of the broad masses, discharged from military service where they had been trained in discipline! and drew them into its equally rigid party discipline.
And its organization represented an army of officers and soldiers.
- The German manual worker became the soldier,
- the Jewish intellectual the officer;
- and the German trade-union officials can be regarded
- as the corps of noncommissioned officers.
The thing which our bourgeoisie always viewed with headshaking,
the fact that only the so-called uneducated masses belonged to the Marxist movement,
was in reality the basis for its success.
For while the bourgeois parties with their one-sided intellectualism constituted a worthless undisciplined band,
the Marxists with their unintellectual human material formed an army of party soldiers,
who obeyed their Jewish leader as blindly as formerly their German officer.
The German bourgeoisie, which as a matter of principle never concerned itself with psychological problems because it stood so high above them, found it, here too, unnecessary to reflect, and recognize the deeper meaning, as well as the secret danger, of this fact.
They thought, on the contrary, that a political movement, formed only from the circles of the 'intelligentsia,' is for this very reason more valuable and possesses a greater claim, in fact a greater likelihood, of taking over the government than the uneducated masses.
They never understood that the strength of a political party lies by no means in the greatest possible independent intellect of the individual members,
but rather in the disciplined obedience with which its members follow the intellectual leadership. The decisive factor is the leadership itself.
If two bodies of troops battle each other, the one to conquer will not be the one in which every individual has received the highest strategic training,
but that one which has the most superior leadership and at the same time the most disciplined, blindly obedient, best-drilled troop.
This is the basic insight which we must constantly bear in mind in examining the possibility of transforming a philosophy into action.
And so, if, in order to carry a philosophy to victory, we must transform it into a fighting movement, logically the program of the movement
must take into consideration the human material that stands at its disposal.
As immutable as the ultimate aims and the leading ideas must be, with equal wisdom and psychological soundness
the recruiting program must be adapted to the minds of those without whose aid the most beautiful idea would remain eternally an idea.
If the folkish idea wants to arrive at a clear from the unclear will of today, it must pick out from the broad world of its ideas certain guiding principles,
suited in their essence and content to binding a broad mass of men, that mass which alone guarantees the struggle for this idea as laid down in our philosophy.
Therefore, the program of the new movement was summed up in a few guiding principles, twenty-five in all. They were devised to give, primarily to the man of the people, a rough picture of the movement's aims.
They are in a sense a political creed, which on the one hand recruits for the movement
and on the other is suited to unite and weld together by a commonly recognized obligation those who have been recruited.
Here the following insight must never leave us: Since the so-called program of the movement is absolutely correct in its ultimate aims, but in its formulation had to take psychological forces into account, in the course of time
the conviction may well arise that in individual instances certain of the guiding principles ought perhaps to be framed differently, given a better formulation.
Every attempt to do this, however, usually works out catastrophically.
For in this way something which should be unshakable is submitted to discussion, which, as soon as a single point is deprived of its dogmatic, creedlike formulation,
will not automatically yield a new, better, and above all unified, formulation,
but will far sooner lead to endless debates and a general confusion.
In such a case, it always remains to be considered which is better:
a new, happier formulation which causes an argument within the movement,
or a form which at the moment may not be the very best, but which represents a solid, unshakable, inwardly unified organism.
And any examination will show that the latter is preferable.
For, since in changes it is always merely the outward formulation that is involved, such corrections will again and again seem possible or desirable.
Finally, in view of the superficial character of men, there is the great danger that they will see the essential task of a movement in this purely outward formulation of a program.
Then the will and the power to fight for an idea recede, and the activity which should turn outward will wear itself out in inner programmatic squabbles.
With a doctrine that is really sound in its broad outlines, it is less harmful to retain a formulation, even if it should not entirely correspond to reality,
than by improving it to expose what hitherto seemed a granite principle of the movement to general discussion with all its evil consequences.
Above all, it is impossible as long as a movement is still fighting for victory.
For how shall we fill people with blind faith in the correctness of a doctrine, if we ourselves spread uncertainty and doubt by constant changes in its outward structure?
The truth is that the most essential substance must never be sought in the outward formulation, but only and always in the inner sense. This is immutable; and in the interest of this immutable inner sense,
we can only wish that the movement preserve the necessary strength to fight for it by avoiding all actions that splinter and create uncertainty.
Here, too, we can learn by the example of the Catholic Church. Though its doctrinal edifice, and in part quite superfluously, comes into collision with exact science and research,
it is none the less unwilling to sacrifice so much as one little syllable of its dogmas.
It has recognized quite correctly that its power of resistance does not lie in its lesser or greater adaptation to the scientific findings of the moment, which in reality are always fluctuating,
but rather in rigidly holding to dogmas once established,
for it is only such dogmas which lend to the whole body the character of a faith.
And so today it stands more firmly than ever. It can be prophesied that
in exactly the same measure in which appearances evade us,
it will gain more and more blind support as a static pole amid the flight of appearances.
Der ruhende Pol in der Erscheinungen Flucht' (the static pole in the flight of appearances). A familiar quotation. From Schiller's Der Spaziergang. line 134.
And so, anyone who really and seriously desires the victory of a folkish philosophy must not only recognize that, for the achievement of such a success in the first place, only a movement capable of struggle is suitable, out that,
in the second place, such a movement itself will stand firm only if based on unshakable certainty and firmness in its program.
It must not run the risk of making concessions in its formulation to the momentary spirit of the times, but must retain forever a form that has once been found favorable, in any case until crowned by victory.
Before that, any attempt to bring about arguments as to the expediency of this or that point in the program splinters the solidity and the fighting force of the movement,
proportionately as its adherents participate in such an inner discussion.
This does not mean that an 'improvement' carried out today might not tomorrow be subjected to renewed critical tests only to find a better substitute the day after tomorrow.
Once you tear down barriers in this connection, you open a road, the beginning of which is known, but whose end is lost in the infinite.
This important realization had to be applied in the young National Socialist movement. The National Socialist German Workers' Party obtained with its program of twenty-five theses a foundation which must remain unshakable.
The task of the present and future members of our movement must not consist in a critical revision of these theses, but rather in being bound by them.
For otherwise the next generation in turn could, with the same right, squander its strength on such purely formal work within the party, instead of recruiting new adherents and thereby new forces for the movement.
For the great number of the adherents, the essence of our movement will consist less in the letter of our theses than in the meaning which we are able to give them.
It was to these realizations that the young movement owed its name; the program was later framed according to them and, furthermore, the manner of their dissemination is based on them. In order to help the folkish ideas to victory, a party of the people had to be created,
- a party which consists not only of intellectual leaders,
- but also of manual workers!
Any attempt to realize folkish ideas without such a militant organization would today, just as in the past and in the eternal future, remain without success.
And so the movement has not only the right, but also the duty, of regarding itself as a pioneer and representative of these ideas.
To the same degree as the basic ideas of the National Socialist movement are folkish, the folkish ideas are National Socialist.
And if National Socialism wants to conquer, it must unconditionally and exclusively espouse this truth. Here, too, it has not only the right, but also the duty, of sharply emphasizing the fact
that any attempt to put forward the folkish idea outside the framework of the National Socialist German Workers' Party is impossible, and in most cases based on a positive swindle.
If today anyone reproaches the movement for acting as if the folkish idea were their monopoly, there is but one answer.
Not only a monopoly, but a working monopoly.
For what previously existed under this concept was not suited to influence the destiny of our people even in the slightest, since all these ideas lacked a clear and coherent formulation.
For the most part there were single, disconnected ideas of greater or lesser soundness, not seldom standing in mutual contradiction, in no case having any inner tie between them. And even had such a tie been present, in its weakness it would never have sufficed to orientate and build a movement on.
Only the National Socialist movement accomplished this.
If today all sorts of clubs and clublets, groups and grouplets, and, if you will, 'big parties' lay claim to the word 'folkish,' this in itself is a consequence of the influence of the National Socialist movement.
Without its work, it would never have occurred to all these organizations even to pronounce the word 'folkish.' This word would have meant nothing to them, and especially their leading minds would have stood in no relation of any sort to this concept. Only the work of the NSDAP for the first time made this concept a word full of content, which is now taken up by every conceivable kind of people; above all, in its own successful campaigning activity, it showed and demonstrated the force of these folkish ideas,
so that mere desire to get ahead forces the others, ostensibly at least, to desire similar ends.
Just as hitherto they used everything for their petty election speculation, the folkish concept has today remained for them only an external empty slogan with which they attempt to counterbalance, among their own members, the attractive force of the National Socialist movement.
For it is only concern for their own existence as well as fear of the rise of our new philosophy-borne movement, whose universal importance as well as its dangerous exclusiveness they sense, that puts into their mouth words which
- eight years ago they did not know,
- seven years ago ridiculed,
- six years ago branded as absurd,
- five years ago combated,
- four years ago hated,
- three years ago persecuted,
- only at length to annex them two years ago,
and, combined with the rest of their vocabulary, to use them as a battle-cry in the fight.
And even today we must point out again and again that all these parties lack the slightest idea of what the German people needs. The most striking proof of this is the superficiality with which they mouth the word 'folkish.'
And no less dangerous are all those who horse around pretending to be folkish, forge fantastic plans, for the most part based on nothing but some idle fix, which in itself might be sound, but in its isolation remains none the less without any importance
for the formation of a great unified fighting community, and in no case is suited to building one.
These people, who partly from their own thinking, partly from what they have read, brew up a program, are frequently more dangerous than the open enemies of the folkish idea.
In the best case they are sterile theoreticians, but for the most part disastrous braggarts, and not seldom they believe that with flowing beards and primeval Teutonic gestures they can mask the intellectual and mental hollowness of their activities and abilities.
In contrast to all these useless attempts, it is therefore good if we recall to mind the time in which the young National Socialist movement began its struggle.