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before the War.
IN THE SPRING of 1912 I came at last to Munich.
The city itself was as familiar to me as if I had lived foryears within its walls. This is accounted for by my study which at everystep had led me to this metropolis of German art. Not only has one not seen Germany if one does not know Munich-no, above all, one does not know Germanart if one has not seen Munich.
In any case, this period before the War was the happiest andby far the most contented of my life. Even if my earnings were still extremely meager, I did not live to be able to paint, but painted only to be ableto secure my livelihood or rather to enable myself to go on studying. I possessed the conviction that I should some day, in spite of all obstacles,achieve the goal I had set myself. And this alone enabled me to bear allother petty cares of daily existence lightly and without anxiety.
In addition to this, there was the heartfelt love which seized me for this city more than for any other place that I knew, almost from the first hour of my sojourn there. A German city! What a difference from Vienna! I grew sick to my stomach when I even thought back on this Babylon of races. In addition, the dialect, much closer to me, which particularly in my contacts with Lower Bavarians, reminded me of my former childhood. There were a thousand and more things which were or became inwardly dear and precious to me. Butmost of all I was attracted by this wonderful marriage of primordial powerand fine artistic mood, this single line from the Hofbrauhaus to the Odeon,from the October Festival to the Pinakothek, etc. If today I am more attachedto this city than to any other spot of Earth in this world, it is partlydue to the fact that it is and remains inseparably bound up with the developmentof my own life; if even then I achieved the happiness of a truly inwardcontentment, it can be attributed only to the magic which the miraculousresidence of the Wittelsbachs exerts on every man who is blessed, not onlywith a calculating mind but with a feeling soul.
What attracted me most aside from my professional work was,here again, the study of the political events of the day, among them particularlythe occurrences in the field of foreign affairs. I came to these latterindirectly through the German alliance policy which from my Austrian daysI considered absolutely mistaken. However, the full extent of this self-deceptionon the part of the Reich had not been clear to me in Vienna. In those daysI was inclined to assume-or perhaps I merely talked myself into it as anexcuse-that Berlin perhaps knew how weak and unreliable the ally would bein reality, yet, for more or less mysterious reasons, held back this knowledge in order to bolster up an alliance policy which after all Bismarck himselfhad founded and the sudden cessation of which could not be desirable, iffor no other reason lest the lurking foreigner be alarmed in any way, orthe shopkeeper at home be worried.
To be sure, my associations, particularly among the people itself,soon made me see to my horror that this belief was false. To my amazementI could not help seeing everywhere that even in otherwise well-informedcircles there was not the slightest glimmer of knowledge concerning thenature of the Habsburg monarchy. Particularly the common people were caughtin the mad idea that the ally could be regarded as a serious power whichin the hour of need would surely rise to the situation. Among the massesthe monarchy was still regarded as a ' German' state on which we could count.They were of the opinion that there, too, the power could be measured bythe millions as in Germany itself, and completely forgot that, in the firstplace: Austria had long ceased to be a German state; and in the second place:the internal conditions of this Empire were from hour to hour moving closerto disintegration.
I had come to know this state formation better than the so-calledofficial 'diplomats,' who blindly, as almost always, rushed headlong towardcatastrophe; for the mood of the people was always a mere discharge of whatwas funneled into public opinion from above. But the people on top madea cult of the 'ally,' as if it were the Golden Calf. They hoped to replaceby cordiality what was lacking in honesty. And words were always taken forcoin of the realm.
Even in Vienna I had been seized with anger when I reflected on the disparityappearing from time to time between the speeches of the official statesmenand the content of the Viennese press. And yet Vienna, in appearance atleast, was still a German city. How different it was if you left Vienna,or rather German-Austria, and went to the Slavic provinces of the Empire! You had only to take up the Prague newspapers to find out what they thoughtof the whole exalted hocus-pocus of the Triple Alliance. There there wasnothing but bitter scorn and mockery for this 'masterpiece of statecraft.'In the midst of peace, with both emperors pressing kisses of friendshipon each other's foreheads, the Czechs made no secret of the fact that thisalliance would be done for on the day when an attempt should be made totranslate it from the moonbeams of the Nibelungen ideal into practical reality.
What excitement seized these same people several years laterwhen the time finally came for the alliances to show their worth and Italyleapt out of the triple pact, leaving her two comrades in the lurch, andin the end even becoming their enemy ! That anyone even for a moment shouldhave dared to believe in the possibility of such a miracle-to wit, the miradethat Italy would fight side by side with Austria-could be nothing but incomprehensible to anyone who was not stricken with diplomatic blindness. But in Austriathings were not a hair's-breadth different.
In Austria the only exponents of the alliance idea were the Habsburgs and the Germans. The Habsburgs, out of calculation and compulsion;the Germans, from good faith and political-stupidity. From good faith, forthey thought that by the Triple Alliance they were performing a great servicefor the German Reich itself, helping to strengthen and secure it; from politicalstupidity, because neither did the first-mentioned occur, but on the contrary,they thereby helped to chain the Reich to the corpse of a state which wouldinevitably drag them both into the abyss, and above all because they themselves,solely by virtue of this alliance, fell more and more a prey to de-Germanization.For by the alliance with the Reich, the Habsburgs thought they could besecure against any interference from this side, which unfortunately wasthe case, and thus they were able far more easily and safely to carry throughtheir internal policy of slowly eliminating Germanism. Not only that inview of our well-known ' objectivity' they had no need to fear any interventionon the part of the Reich government, but, by pointing to the alliance, they could also silence any embarrassing voice among the Austrian-Germans whichmight rise in German quarters against Slavization of an excessively disgraceful character.
For what was the German in Austria to do if the Germans of the Reich recognized and expressed confidence in the Habsburg government? Shouldhe offer resistance and be branded by the entire German public as a traitorto his own nationality? When for decades he had been making the most enormoussacrifices precisely for his nationality!
But what value did this alliance have, once Germanism had beenexterminated in the Habsburg monarchy? Wasn't the value of the Triple Alliancefor Germany positively dependent on the preservation of German predominancein Austria? Or did they really believe that they could live in an alliancewith a SlavicHabsburg Empire?
The attitude of official German diplomacy and of all public opinion toward the internal Austrian problem of nationalities was beyondstupidity, it was positively insane ! They banked on an alliance, made the future and security of a people of seventy millions dependent on it-and looked on while the sole basis for this alliance was from year to year,inexorably and by plan, being destroyed in the partner-nation. The day wasbound to come when a ' treaty ' with Viennese diplomacy would remain, butthe aid of an allied empire would be lost.
With Italy this was the case from the very beginning.
If people in Germany had only studied history a little moreclearly, and gone into the psycholog of nations, they would not have beenable to suppose even for an hour that the Quirinal and the Vienna Hofburgwould ever stand together n a common fighting front. Sooner would Italyhave turned into a Volcano than a government have dared to send even a singleItalian to the battlefield for the fanatically hated Habsburg state, exceptas an enemy. More than once in Vienna I saw outbursts of the passionatecontempt and bottomless hatred with which the Italian was ' devoted ' tothe Austrian state. The sins of the House of Habsburg against Italian freedomand independence in the course of the centuries was too great to be forgotten,even if the will to forget them had been present. And it was not present;neither in the people nor in the Italian government. For Italy there weretherefore two possibilities for relations with Austna: either alliance orwar.
By choosing the first, the Italians were able to prepare, undisturbed, for the second.
Especially since the relation of Austria to Russia had begun to drive closer and closer to a military clash, the German alliance policy was as senseless as it was dangerous.
This was a classic case, bearing witness to the absence of anybroad and correct line of thinking.
Why, then, was an alliance concluded? Only in order better toguard the future of the Reich than, reduced to her own resources, she wouldhave been in a position to do. And this future of the Reich was nothingother than the question of preserving the German people's possibility ofexistence.
Therefore the question could be formulated only as follows:
What form must the life of the German nation assume in the tangiblefuture, and how can this development be provided with the necessary foundationsand the required security within the framework of general European relationof forces?
A clear examination of the premises for foreign activity on the part of German statecraft inevitably led to the following conviction:
Germany has an annual increase in population of nearly nine hundred thousand souls. The difficulty of feeding this army of new citizensmust grow greater from year to year and ultimately end in catastrophe, unlessways and means are found to forestall the danger of starvation and miseryin time.
There were four ways of avoiding so terrible a development forthe future:
1. Following the French example, the increase of births could be artificially restricted, thus meeting the problem of overpopulation
Nature herself in times of great poverty or bad climactic conditions,as well as poor harvest, intervenes to restrict the increase of populationof certain countries or races; this, to be sure, by a method as wise asit is ruthless. She diminishes, not the power of procreation as such, butthe conservation of the procreated, by exposing them to hard trials anddeprivations with the result that all those who are less strong and lesshealthy are forced back into the womb of the eternal unknown. Those whomshe permits to survive the inclemency of existence are a thousandfold tested hardened, and well adapted to procreate-in turn, in order that the process of thorough going selection may begin again from the beginning. By thus brutallyproceeding against the individual and immediately calling him back to herselfas soon as he shows himself unequal to the storm of life, she keeps therace and species strong, in fact, raises them to the highest accomplishments.
At the same time the diminution of number strengthens the individualand thus in the last analysis fortifies the species.
It is different, however, when man undertakes the limitationof his number. He is not carved of the same wood, he is ' humane.' He knowsbetter than the cruel queen of wisdom. He limits not the conservation ofthe individual, but procreation itself. This seems to him, who always seeshimself and never the race, more human and more justified than the oppositeway. Unfortunately, however, the consequences are the reverse:
While Nature, by making procreation free, yet submitting survivalto a hard trial, chooses from an excess number of individuals the best asworthy of living, thus preserving them alone and in them conserving theirspecies, man limits procreation, but is hysterically concerned that oncea being is born it should be preserved at any price. This correction ofthe divine will seems to him as wise as it is humane, and he takes delightin having once again gotten the best of nature and even having proved her inadequacy. The number, to be sure, has really been limited, but at thesame time the value of the individual has dirninished; this, however, is something the dear little ape of the Almighty does not want to see or hearabout.
For as soon as procreation as such is limited and the numberof births diminished, the natural struggle for existence which leaves onlythe strongest and healthiest alive is obviously replaced by the obviousdesire to ' save ' even the weakest and most sickly at any price, and thisplants the seed of a future generation which must inevitably grow more andmore deplorable the longer this mockery of nature and her will continues.
And the end will be that such a people will some day be deprived of its existence on this Earth ; for man can defy the eternal laws of thewill to conservation for a certain time, but sooner or later vengeance comes.A stronger race will drive out the weak, for the vital urge in its ultimateform will, time and again, burst all the absurd fetters of the so-calledhumanity of individuals, in order to replace it by the humanity of Naturewhich destroys the weak to give his place to the strong.
Therefore, anyone who wants to secure the existence of the German people by a self-limitation of its reproduction is robbing it of its future.
2. A second way would be one which today we, time and time again,see proposed and recommended: internal colonization. This is a proposalwhich is well meant by just as many as by most people it is misunderstood,thus doing the greatest conceivable damage that anyone can imagined
Without doubt the productivity of the soil can be increasedup to a certain limit. But only up to a certain limit, and not continuouslywithout end. For a certain time it will be possible to compensate for theincrease of the German people without having to think of hunger, by increasingthe productivity of our soil. But beside this, we must face the fact that our demands on life ordinarily nse even more rapidly than the number ofthe population Man's requirements with regard to food and clothing increasefrom year to year, and even now, for example, stand in no relation to therequirements of our ancestors, say a hundred years ago. It IS, therefore, insane to believe that every rise in production provides the basis for an increase in population: no; this is true only up to a certain degree, sinceat least a part of the increased production of the soil is spent in satisfyingthe increased needs of men. But even with the greatest limitation on theone hand and the utmost industry on the other, here again a limit will oneday be reached, created by the soil itself. With the utmost toil it willnot be possible to obtain any more from its and then, though postponed fora certain time, catastrophe again manifests itself. First, there will be hunger from time to time, when there is famine, etc. As the population increases,this will happen more and more often, so that finally it will only be absentwhen rare years of great abundance fill the granaries. But at length the time approaches when even then it will not be possible to satisfy men'sneeds, and hunger has become the eternal companion of such a people. ThenNature must help again and make a choice among those whom she has chosenfor life; but again man helps himself; that is, he turns to artificial restriction of his increase with all the above-indicated dire consequences for raceand species.
The objection may still be raised that this future will facethe whole of humanity in any case and that consequently the individual nationcan naturally not avoid this fate.
At first glance this seems perfectly correct. Yet here the following must be borne in mind:
Assuredly at a certain time the whole of humanity will be compelled,in consequence of the impossibility of making the fertility of the soilkeep pace with the continuous increase in population, to halt the increaseof the human race and either let nature again decide or, by self-help ifpossible, create the necessary balance, though, to be sure, in a more correctway than is done today. But then this will strike all peoples, while todayonly those races are stricken with such suffering which no longer possessthe force and strength to secure for themselves the necessary territoriesin this world. For as matters stand there are at the present time on thisEarth immense areas of unusued soil, only waiting for the men to till them.But it is equally true that nature as such has not reserved this soil forthe future possession of any particular nation or race; on the contrary,this soil exists for the people which possesses the force to take it andthe industry to cultivate it.
Nature knows no political boundaries. First, she puts livingcreatures on this globe and watches the free play of forces. She then confersthe master's right on her favorite child, the strongest in courage and industry.
When a people limits itself to internal colonization becauseother races are clinging fast to greater and greater surfaces of this Earth ,it will be forced to have recourse to self-limitation at a time when theother peoples are still continuing to increase. Some day this situationwill arise, and the smaller the living space at the disposal of the people,the sooner it will happen. Since in general, unfortunately, the best nations,or, even more correctly, the only truly cultured races, the standard-bearers of all human progress, all too frequently resolve in their pacifistic blindness to renounce new acquisitions of soil and content themselves with 'internal'colonization, while the inferior races know how to secure immense living areas in this world for themselves-this would lead to the following finalresult:
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler: Chapters Below.
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