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Adolf Hitler poses.
Adolf Hitler poses for newspapers in propaganda stance.

In reality, it must be said, things turned out very differently.

  The forum before which the Pan-German deputies spoke had not become greater but smaller; for each man speaks only to the circle which can hear him, or which obtains an account of his words in the newspapers.

  And, not the halls of parliament, but the great public meeting, represents the largest direct forum of listeners.

  For, in the latter, there are thousands of people who have come only to hear what the speaker has to say to them, while in the halls of parliament there are only a few hundreds, and most of these are present only to collect their attendance fees, and cer-tainly not to be illuminated by the wisdom of this or that fellow 'representative of the people.'

  And above all:

  This is always the same public, which will never learn anything new, since, aside from the intelligence, it is lacking in the very rudiments of will.

  Never will one of these representatives of the people honor a superior truth of his own accord, and place himself in its service.

  No, this is something that not a single one of them will do unless he has reason to hope that by such a shift he may save his mandate for one more session. Only when it is in the air that the party in power will come off badly in a coming election, will these ornaments of virility shift to a party or tendency which they presume will come out better, though you may be confident that this change of position usually occurs amidst a cloudburst of moral justifications. Consequently, when an existing party appears to be falling beneath the disfavor of the people to such an extent that the probability of an annihilating defeat threatens, such a great shift will always begin: then the parliamentary rats leave the party ship.

  All this has nothing to do with better knowledge or intentions, but only with that prophetic gift which warns these parliamentary bedbugs at the right moment and causes them to drop, again and again, into another warm party bed.

  But to speak to such a 'forum' is really to cast pearls before the well-known domestic beasts. It is truly not worth while. The result can be nothing but zero.

  And that is just what it was.

  The Pan-German deputies could talk their throats hoarse: the effect was practically nil.

  The press either killed them with silence or mutilated their speeches in such a way that any coherence, and often even the sense, was twisted or entirely lost, and public opinion received a very poor picture of the aims of the new movement. What the various gentlemen said was quite unimportant; the important thing was what people read about them. And this was an extract from their speeches, so disjointed that it could-as intended- only seem absurd. The only forum to which they really spoke consisted of five hundred parliamentarians, and that is enough said.

  But the worst was the following:

  The Pan-German movement could count on success only if it realized from the very first day that what was required was not a new party, but a new philosophy. Only the latter could produce the inward power to fight this gigantic struggle to its end. And for this, only the very best and courageous minds can serve as leaders.

  If the struggle for a philosophy is not lead by heroes prepared to make sacrifices, there will, in a short time, cease to be any warriors willing to die. The man who is fighting for his own existence cannot have much left over for the community.

  In order to maintain this requirement, every man must know that the new movement can offer the present nothing but honor and fame in posterity. The more easily attainable posts and offices a movement has to hand out, the more inferior stuff it will attract, and in the end these political hangers-on overwhelm a successful party in such number that the honest fighter of former days no longer recognizes the old movement and the new arrivals definitely reject him as an unwelcome intruder. When this happens, the 'mission' of such a movement is done for.

  As soon as the Pan-German movement sold its soul to parlia-ment, it attracted 'parliamentarians' instead of leaders and fighters.

  Thus it sank to the level of the ordinary political parties of the day and lost the strength to oppose a catastrophic destiny with the defiance of martyrdom. Instead of fighting, it now learned to

make speeches and 'negotiate.' And in a short time the new parliamentarian found it a more attractive, because less dangerous, duty to fight for the new philosophy with the 'spiritual' weapons of parliamentary eloquence, than to risk his own life, if necessary, by throwing himself into a struggle whose issue was uncertain and which in any case could bring him no profit.

  Once they had members in parliament, the supporters outside began to hope and wait for miracles which, of course, did not occur and could not occur. For this reason they soon became impatient, for even what they heard from their own deputies was by no means up to the expectations of the voters. This was perfectly natural, since the hostile press took good care not to give the people any faithful picture of the work of the Pan-German deputies.

  The more the new representatives of the people developed a taste for the somewhat gentler variety of 'revolutionary' struggle in parliament and the provincial diets, the less prepared they were to return to the more dangerous work of enlightening the broad masses of the people. The mass meeting, the only way to exert a truly effective, because personal, influence on large sections of the people and thus possibly to win them, was thrust more and more into the background.

  Once the platform of parliament was definitely substituted for the beer table of the meeting hall, and from this forum speeches were poured, not into the people, but on the heads of their so called 'elect,' the Pan-German movement ceased to be a movement of the people and in a short time dwindled into an academic discussion club to be taken more or less seriously.

  Consequently, the bad impression transmitted by the press was in no way corrected by personal agitation at meetings by the individual gentlemen, with the result that finally the word 'PanGerman' began to have a very bad sound in the ears of the broad masses.

  For let it be said to all our present-day fops and knights of the pen: the greatest revolutions in this world have never been directed by a goose-quill!

  No, to the pen it has always been reserved to provide their theoretical foundations.

  But the power which has always started the greatest religious and political avalanches in history rolling has from time immemorial been the magic power of the spoken word, and that alone.

  Particularly the broad masses of the people can be moved only by the power of speech. And all great movements are popular movements, volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotional sentiments, stirred either by the cruel Goddess of Distress or by the firebrand of the word hurled among the masses; they are not the lemonade-like outpourings of literary aesthetes and drawingroom heroes.

  Only a storm of hot passion can turn the destinies of peoples, and he alone can arouse passion who bears it within himself.

  It alone gives its chosen one the words which like hammer blows can open the gates to the heart of a people.

  But the man whom passion fails and whose lips are sealed- he has not been chosen by Heaven to proclaim its will.

  Therefore, let the writer remain by his ink-well, engaging in 'theoretical' activity, if his intelligence and ability are equal to it; for leadership he is neither born nor chosen.

  A movement with great aims must therefore be anxiously on its guard not to lose contact with the broad masses.

  It must examine every question primarily from this standpoint and make its decisions accordingly.

  It must, furthermore, avoid everything which might diminish or even weaken its ability to move the masses, not for 'demagogic' reasons, but in the simple knowledge that without the mighty force of the mass of a people, no great idea, however lofty and noble it may seem, can be realized.

  Hard reality alone must determine the road to the goal; unwillingness to travel unpleasant roads only too often in this world means to renounce the goal; which may or may not be what you want.

  As soon as the Pan-German movement by its parliamentary attitude had shifted the weight of its activity to parliament instead of the people, it lost the future and instead won cheap successes of the moment.

  It chose the easier struggle and thereby became unworthy of ultimate victory.

  Even in Vienna I pondered this very question with the greatest care, and in the failure to recognize it saw one of the main causes of the collapse of the movement which in those days, in my opinion, was predestined to undertake the leadership of the German element.

  The first two mistakes which caused the Pan-German movement to founder were related to each other. Insufficient knowledge of the inner driving forces of great revolutions led to an insufficient estimation of the importance of the broad masses of the people; from this resulted its insufficient interest in the social question, its deficient and inadequate efforts to win the soul of the lower classes of the nation, as well as its over-favorable attitude toward parliament.

  If they had recognized the tremendous power which at all times must be attributed to the masses as the repository of revolutionary resistance, they would have worked differently in social and propagandist matters. Then the movement's center of gravity would not have been shifted to parliament, but to the workshop and the street.

  Likewise the third error finds its ultimate germ in failure to recognize the value of the masses, which, it is true, need superior minds to set them in motion in a given direction, but which then, like a flywheel, lend the force of the attack momentum and uniform persistence.

  The hard struggle which the Pan-germans fought with the Catholic Church can be accounted for only by their insufficient understanding of the spiritual nature of the people.

  The causes for the new party's violent attack on Rome were as follows:

  As soon as the House of Habsburg had definitely made up its mind to reshape Austria into a Slavic state, it seized upon every means which seemed in any way suited to this tendency. Even religious institutions were, without the

slightest qualms, harnessed to the service of the new ' state idea ' by

this unscrupulous ruling house.

  The use of Czech pastorates and their spiritual shepherds was but one of the many means of attaining this goal, a general Slavization of Austria.

  The process took approximately the following form:

  Czech pastors were appointed to German communities; slowly but surely they began to set the interests of the Czech people above the interests of the churches, becoming germ-cells of the de-Germanization process.

  The German clergy did practically nothing to counter these methods. Not only were they completely useless for carrying on this struggle in a positive German sense; they were even unable to oppose the necessary resistance to the attacks of the adversary. Indirectly, by the misuse of religion on the one hand, and owing to insufficient defense on the other, Germanism was slowly but steadily forced back.

  If in small matters the situation was as described, in big things, unfortunately, it was not far different.

  Here, too, the anti-German efforts of the Habsburgs did not encounter the resistance they should have, especially on the part of the high clergy, while the defense of German interests sank completely into the background.

  The general impression could only be that the Catholic clergy as such was grossly infringing on German rights.

  Thus the Church did not seem to feel with the German people, but to side unjustly with the enemy. The root of the whole evil lay, particularly in Schonerer's opinion, in the fact that the di-recting body of the Catholic Church was not in Germany, and that for this very reason alone it was hostile to the interests of our nationality.

  The so-called cultural problems, in this as in virtually every other connection in Austria at that time, were relegated almost entirely to the background. The attitude of the Pan-German movement toward the Catholic Church was determined far less by its position on science, etc., than by its inadequacy in the championing of German rights and, conversely, its continued aid and comfort to Slavic arrogance and greed.

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler: Chapters Below.

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