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Authority of the State.
The strength of the old state rested on three pillars: the monarchical formof government, the civil service, and the army. The revolution of 1918 abolishedthe form of government, dissolved the army and abandoned the civil serviceto the corruption of party politics. Thus the essential supports of whatis called the Authority of the State were shattered. This authority nearlyalways depends on three elements, which are the essential foundations ofall authority.
Popular support is the first element which is necessary for the creationof authority. But an authority resting on that foundation alone is stillquite frail, uncertain and vacillating. Hence everyone who finds himselfvested with an authority that is based only on popular support must takemeasures to improve and consolidate the foundations of that authority bythe creation of force. Accordingly we must look upon power, that is to say,the capacity to use force, as the second foundation on which all authorityis based. This foundation is more stable and secure, but not always stronger,than the first. If popular support and power are united together and canendure for a certain time, then an authority may arise which is based ona still stronger foundation, namely, the authority of tradition. And, finally,if popular support, power, and tradition are united together, then the authoritybased on them may be looked upon as invincible.
In Germany the revolution abolished this last foundation. There was no longereven a traditional authority. With the collapse of the old Reich, the suppressionof the monarchical form of government, the destruction of all the old insigniaof greatness and the imperial symbols, tradition was shattered at a blow.The result was that the authority of the State was shaken to its foundations.
The second pillar of statal authority, namely power, also ceased to exist.In order to carry through the revolution it was necessary to dissolve thatbody which had hitherto incorporated the organized force and power of theState, namely, the Army. Indeed, some detached fragments of the Army itselfhad to be employed as fighting elements in the Revolution. The Armies atthe front were not subjected in the same measure to this process of disruption;but as they gradually left farther behind them the fields of glory on whichthey had fought heroically for four-and-half years, they were attacked bythe solvent acid that had permeated the Fatherland; and when they arrivedat the demobilizing centres they fell into that state of confusion whichwas styled voluntary obedience in the time of the Soldiers' Councils.
Of course it was out of the question to think of founding any kind of authorityon this crowd of mutineering soldiers, who looked upon military service asa work of eight hours per day. Therefore the second element, that whichguarantees the stability of authority, was also abolished and the Revolutionhad only the original element, popular support, on which to build up itsauthority. But this basis was extraordinarily insecure. By means of a fewviolent thrusts the revolution had shattered the old statal edifice to itsdeepest foundations, but only because the normal equilibrium within the socialstructure of the nation had already been destroyed by the war.
Every national body is made up of three main classes. At one extreme we havethe best of the people, taking the word 'best' here to indicate those whoare highly endowed with the civic virtues and are noted for their courageand their readiness to sacrifice their private interests. At the other extremeare the worst dregs of humanity, in whom vice and egotistic interests prevail.Between these two extremes stands the third class, which is made up of thebroad middle stratum, who do not represent radiant heroism or vulgar vice.
The stages of a nation's rise are accomplished exclusively under the leadershipof the best extreme.
Times of normal and symmetrical development, or of stable conditions, owetheir existence and outwardly visible characteristics to the preponderatinginfluence of the middle stratum. In this stage the two extreme classes arebalanced against one another; in other words, they are relatively cancelledout.
Times of national collapse are determined by the preponderating influenceof the worst elements.
It must be noted here, however, that the broad masses, which constitute whatI have called the middle section, come forward and make their influence feltonly when the two extreme sections are engaged in mutual strife. In caseone of the extreme sections comes out victorious the middle section willreadily submit to its domination. If the best dominate, the broad masseswill follow it. Should the worst extreme turn out triumphant, then the middlesection will at least offer no opposition to it; for the masses that constitutethe middle class never fight their own battles.
The outpouring of blood for four-and-a-half years during the war destroyedthe inner equilibrium between these three sections in so far as it can besaid though admitting the sacrifices made by the middle section that the class which consisted of the best human elements almost completelydisappeared through the loss of so much of its blood in the war, becauseit was impossible to replace the truly enormous quantity of heroic Germanblood which had been shed during those four-and-a-half years. In hundredsof thousands of cases it was always a matter of 'volunteers to the front',volunteers for patrol and duty, volunteer dispatch carriers, volunteers forestablishing and working telephonic communications, volunteers forbridge-building, volunteers for the submarines, volunteers for the air service,volunteers for the storm battalions, and so on, and so on. During four-and-a-halfyears, and on thousands of occasions, there was always the call for volunteersand again for volunteers. And the result was always the same. Beardless youngfellows or fully developed men, all filled with an ardent love for theircountry, urged on by their own courageous spirit or by a lofty sense of theirduty it was always such men who answered the call for volunteers.Tens of thousands, indeed hundreds of thousands, of such men came forward,so that that kind of human material steadily grew scarcer and scarcer. Whatdid not actually fall was maimed in the fight or gradually had to join theranks of the crippled because of the wounds they were constantly receiving,and thus they had to carry on interminably owing to the steady decrease inthe supply of such men. In 1914 whole armies were composed of volunteerswho, owing to a criminal lack of conscience on the part of our fecklessparliamentarians, had not received any proper training in times of peace,and so were thrown as defenceless cannon-fodder to the enemy. The four hundredthousand who thus fell or were permanently maimed on the battlefields ofFlanders could not be replaced any more. Their loss was something far morethan merely numerical. With their death the scales, which were already toolightly weighed at that end of the social structure which represented ourbest human quality, now moved upwards rapidly, becoming heavier on the otherend with those vulgar elements of infamy and cowardice in short, therewas an increase in the elements that constituted the worst extreme of ourpopulation.
And there was something more: While for four-and-a-half years our best humanmaterial was being thinned to an exceptional degree on the battlefields,our worst people wonderfully succeeded in saving themselves. For each herowho made the supreme sacrifice and ascended the steps of Valhalla, therewas a shirker who cunningly dodged death on the plea of being engaged inbusiness that was more or less useful at home.
And so the picture which presented itself at the end of the war was this:The great middle stratum of the nation had fulfilled its duty and paid itstoll of blood. One extreme of the population, which was constituted of thebest elements, had given a typical example of its heroism and had sacrificeditself almost to a man. The other extreme, which was constituted of the worstelements of the population, had preserved itself almost intact, through takingadvantage of absurd laws and also because the authorities failed to enforcecertain articles of the military code.
This carefully preserved scum of our nation then made the Revolution. Andthe reason why it could do so was that the extreme section composed of thebest elements was no longer there to oppose it. It no longer existed.
Hence the German Revolution, from the very beginning, depended on only onesection of the population. This act of Cain was not committed by the Germanpeople as such, but by an obscure canaille of deserters, hooligans, etc.
The man at the front gladly welcomed the end of the strife in which so muchblood had been shed. He was happy to be able to return home and see his wifeand children once again. But he had no moral connection with the Revolution.He did not like it, nor did he like those who had provoked and organizedit. During the four-and-a-half years of that bitter struggle at the fronthe had come to forget the party hyenas at home and all their wrangling hadbecome foreign to him.
The revolution was really popular only with a small section of the Germanpeople: namely, that class and their accomplices who had selected the rucksackas the hall-mark of all honourable citizens in this new State. They did notlike the revolution for its own sake, though many people still erroneouslybelieve the contrary, but for the consequences which followed in its train.
But it was very difficult to establish any abiding authority on the popularsupport given to these Marxist freebooters. And yet the young Republic stoodin need of authority at any cost, unless it was ready to agree to be overthrownafter a short period of chaos by an elementary force assembled from thoselast elements that still remained among the best extreme of the population.
The danger which those who were responsible for the revolution feared mostat that time was that, in the turmoil of the confusion which they themselveshad created, the ground would suddenly be taken from under their feet, thatthey might be suddenly seized and transported to another terrain by an irongrip, such as has often appeared at these junctures in the history of nations.The Republic must be consolidated at all costs.
Hence it was forced almost immediately after its foundation to erect anotherpillar beside that wavering pillar of popularity. They found that power mustbe organized once again in order to procure a firmer foundation for theirauthority.
When those who had been the matadors of the revolution in December 1918,and January and February 1919, felt the ground trembling beneath their feetthey looked around them for men who would be ready to reinforce them withmilitary support; for their feeble position was dependent only on whateverpopular favour they enjoyed. The 'anti-militarist' Republic had need of soldiers.But the first and only pillar on which the authority of the State rested,namely, its popularity, was grounded only on a conglomeration of rowdiesand thieves, burglars, deserters, shirkers, etc. Therefore in that sectionof the nation which we have called the evil extreme it was useless to lookfor men who would be willing to sacrifice their lives on behalf of a newideal. The section which had nourished the revolutionary idea and carriedout the revolution was neither able nor willing to call on the soldiers toprotect it. For that section had no wish whatsoever to organize a republicanState, but to disorganize what already existed and thus satisfy its own instinctsall the better. Their password was not the organization and constructionof the German Republic, but rather the plundering of it.
Hence the cry for help sent out by the public representatives, who were besetby a thousand anxieties, did not find any response among this class of people,but rather provoked a feeling of bitterness and repudiation. For they lookedupon this step as the beginning of a breach of faith and trust, and in thebuilding up of an authority which was no longer based on popular supportbut also on force they saw the beginning of a hostile move against what theRevolution meant essentially for those elements. They feared that measuresmight be taken against the right to robbery and absolute domination on thepart of a horde of thieves and plunderers in short, the worst rabble who had broken out of the convict prisons and left their chains behind.
The representatives of the people might cry out as much as they liked, butthey could get no help from that rabble. The cries for help were met withthe counter-cry 'traitors' by those very people on whose support the popularityof the regime was founded.
Then for the first time large numbers of young Germans were found who wereready to button on the military uniform once again in the service of 'Peaceand Order', as they believed, shouldering the carbine and rifle and donningthe steel helmet to defend the wreckers of the Fatherland. Volunteer corpswere assembled and, although hating the Revolution, they began to defendit. The practical effect of their action was to render the revolution firmand stable. In doing this they acted in perfect good faith.
The real organizer of the revolution and the actual wire-puller behind it,the international Jew, had sized up the situation correctly. The German peoplewere not yet ripe to be drawn into the blood swamp of Bolshevism, as theRussian people had been drawn. And that was because there was a closer racialunion between the intellectual classes in Germany and the manual workers,and also because broad social strata were permeated with cultured people,such as was the case also in the other States of Western Europe; but thisstate of affairs was completely lacking in Russia. In that country theintellectual classes were mostly not of Russian nationality, or at leastthey did not have the racial characteristics of the Slav. The thin upperlayer of intellectuals which then existed in Russia might be abolished atany time, because there was no intermediate stratum connecting it organicallywith the great mass of the people. There the mental and moral level of thegreat mass of the people was frightfully low.
In Russia the moment the agitators were successful in inciting broad massesof the people, who could not read or write, against the upper layer ofintellectuals who were not in contact with the masses or permanently linkedwith them in any way at that moment the destiny of Russia was decided,the success of the revolution was assured. Thereupon the analphabetic Russianbecame the slave of his Jewish dictators who, on their side, were shrewdenough to name their dictatorship 'The Dictatorship of the People'.
In the case of Germany an additional factor must be taken into account. Herethe revolution could be carried into effect only if the Army could firstbe gradually dismembered. But the real author of the revolution and of theprocess of disintegration in the Army was not the soldier who had foughtat the front but the canaille which more or less shunned the light and whichwere either quartered in the home garrisons or were officiating as'indispensables' somewhere in the business world at home. This army wasreinforced by ten thousand deserters who, without running any particularrisk, could turn their backs on the Front. At all times the real poltroonfears nothing so much as death. But at the Front he had death before hiseyes every day in a thousand different shapes. There has always been onepossible way, and one only, of making weak or wavering men, or even downrightpoltroons, face their duty steadfastly. This means that the deserter mustbe given to understand that his desertion will bring upon him just the verything he is flying from. At the Front a man may die, but the deserter mustdie. Only this draconian threat against every attempt to desert the flagcan have a terrifying effect, not merely on the individual but also on themass. Therein lay the meaning and purpose of the military penal code.
It was a fine belief to think that the great struggle for the life of a nationcould be carried through if it were based solely on voluntary fidelity arisingfrom and sustained by the knowledge that such a struggle was necessary. Thevoluntary fulfilment of one's duty is a motive that determines the actionsof only the best men, but not of the average type of men. Hence special lawsare necessary; just as, for instance, the law against stealing, which wasnot made for men who are honest on principle but for the weak and unstableelements. Such laws are meant to hinder the evil-doer through their deterrenteffect and thus prevent a state of affairs from arising in which the honestman is considered the more stupid, and which would end in the belief thatit is better to have a share in the robbery than to stand by with empty handsor allow oneself to be robbed.
It was a mistake to believe that in a struggle which, according to all humanforesight, might last for several years it would be possible to dispensewith those expedients which the experience of hundreds and even of thousandsof years had proved to be effective in making weak and unstable men faceand fulfil their duty in difficult times and at moments of great nervousstress.
For the voluntary war hero it is, of course, not necessary to have the deathpenalty in the military code, but it is necessary for the cowardly egoistswho value their own lives more than the existence of the community in thehour of national need. Such weak and characterless people can be held backfrom surrendering to their cowardice only by the application of the heaviestpenalties. When men have to struggle with death every day and remain forweeks in trenches of mire, often very badly supplied with food, the man whois unsure of himself and begins to waver cannot be made to stick to his postby threats of imprisonment or even penal servitude. Only by a ruthlessenforcement of the death penalty can this be effected. For experience showsthat at such a time the recruit considers prison a thousand times more preferablethan the battlefield. In prison at least his precious life is not in danger.The practical abolition of the death penalty during the war was a mistakefor which we had to pay dearly. Such omission really meant that the militarypenal code was no longer recognized as valid. An army of deserters pouredinto the stations at the rear or returned home, especially in 1918, and therebegan to form that huge criminal organization with which we were suddenlyfaced, after November 7th, 1918, and which perpetrated the Revolution.
The Front had nothing to do with all this. Naturally, the soldiers at theFront were yearning for peace. But it was precisely that fact which representeda special danger for the Revolution. For when the German soldiers began todraw near home, after the Armistice, the revolutionaries were in trepidationand asked the same question again and again: What will the troops from theFront do? Will the field-greys stand for it?
During those weeks the revolution was forced to give itself at least an externalappearance of moderation, if it were not to run the risk of being wreckedin a moment by a few German divisions. For at that time, even if the commanderof one division alone had made up his mind to rally the soldiers of his division,who had always remained faithful to him, in an onslaught to tear down thered flag and put the 'councils' up against the wall, or, if there was anyresistance, to break it with trench-mortars and hand grenades, that divisionwould have grown into an army of sixty divisions in less than four weeks.The Jew wire-pullers were terrified by this prospect more than by anythingelse; and to forestall this particular danger they found it necessary togive the revolution a certain aspect of moderation. They dared not allowit to degenerate into Bolshevism, so they had to face the existing conditionsby putting up the hypocritical picture of 'order and tranquillity'. Hencemany important concessions, the appeal to the old civil service and to theheads of the old Army. They would be needed at least for a certain time,and only when they had served the purpose of Turks' Heads could the deservedkick-out be administered with impunity. Then the Republic would be takenentirely out of the hands of the old servants of the State and deliveredinto the claws of the revolutionaries.
They thought that this was the only plan which would succeed in duping theold generals and civil servants and disarm any eventual opposition beforehandthrough the apparently harmless and mild character of the new regime.
Practical experience has shown to what extent the plan succeeded.
The Revolution, however, was not made by the peaceful and orderly elementsof the nation but rather by rioters, thieves and robbers. And the way inwhich the revolution was developing did not accord with the intentions ofthese latter elements; still, on tactical grounds, it was not possible toexplain to them the reasons for the course things were taking and make thatcourse acceptable.
As Social Democracy gradually gained power it lost more and more the characterof a crude revolutionary party. Of course in their inner hearts the SocialDemocrats wanted a revolution; and their leaders had no other end in view.Certainly not. But what finally resulted was only a revolutionary programme;but not a body of men who would be able to carry it out. A revolution cannotbe carried through by a party of ten million members. If such a movementwere attempted the leaders would find that it was not an extreme sectionof the population on which they had to depend butrather the broad massesof the middle stratum; hence the inert masses.
Recognizing all this, already during the war, the Jews caused the famoussplit in the Social Democratic Party. While the Social Democratic Party,conforming to the inertia of its mass following, clung like a leaden weighton the neck of the national defence, the actively radical elements were extractedfrom it and formed into new aggressive columns for purposes of attack. TheIndependent socialist party and the Spartacist League were the storm battalionsof revolutionary Marxism. The objective assigned to them was to create afait accompli, on the grounds of which the masses of the Social DemocraticParty could take their stand, having been prepared for this event longbeforehand. The feckless bourgeoisie had been estimated at its just valueby the Marxists and treated en canaille. Nobody bothered about it, knowingwell that in their canine servility the representatives of an old and worn-outgeneration would not be able to offer any serious resistance.
When the revolution had succeeded and its artificers believed that the mainpillars of the old State had been broken down, the Army returning from theFront began to appear in the light of a sinister sphinx and thus made itnecessary to slow down the national course of the Revolution. The main bodyof the Social Democratic horde occupied the conquered positions, and theIndependent socialist and Spartacist storm battalions were side-tracked.
But that did not happen without a struggle.
The activist assault formations that had started the revolution were dissatisfiedand felt that they had been betrayed. They now wanted to continue the fighton their own account. But their illimitable racketeering became odious evento the wire-pullers of the Revolution. For the revolution itself had scarcelybeen accomplished when two camps appeared. In the one camp were the elementsof peace and order; in the other were those of blood and terror. Was it notperfectly natural that our bourgeoisie should rush with flying colours tothe camp of peace and order? For once in their lives their piteous politicalorganizations found it possible to act, inasmuch as the ground had been preparedfor them on which they were glad to get a new footing; and thus to a certainextent they found themselves in coalition with that power which they hatedbut feared. The German political bourgeoisie achieved the high honour ofbeing able to associate itself with the accursed Marxist leaders for thepurpose of combating Bolshevism.
Thus the following state of affairs took shape as early as December 1918and January 1919:
A minority constituted of the worst elements had made the Revolution. Andbehind this minority all the Marxist parties immediately fell into step.The revolution itself had an outward appearance of moderation, which arousedagainst it the enmity of the fanatical extremists. These began to launchhand-grenades and fire machine-guns, occupying public buildings, thus threateningto destroy the moderate appearance of the Revolution. To prevent this terrorfrom developing further a truce was concluded between the representativesof the new regime and the adherents of the old order, so as to be able towage a common fight against the extremists. The result was that the enemiesof the Republic ceased to oppose the Republic as such and helped to subjugatethose who were also enemies of the Republic, though for quite different reasons.But a further result was that all danger of the adherents of the old Stateputting up a fight against the new was now definitely averted.
This fact must always be clearly kept in mind. Only by remembering it canwe understand how it was possible that a nation in which nine-tenths of thepeople had not joined in a revolution, where seven-tenths repudiated it andsix-tenths detested it how this nation allowed the revolution to beimposed upon it by the remaining one-tenth of the population.
Gradually the barricade heroes in the Spartacist camp petered out, and sodid the nationalist patriots and idealists on the other side. As these twogroups steadily dwindled, the masses of the middle stratum, as always happens,triumphed. The Bourgeoisie and the Marxists met together on the grounds ofaccomplished facts, and the Republic began to be consolidated. At first,however, that did not prevent the bourgeois parties from propounding theirmonarchist ideas for some time further, especially at the elections, wherebythey endeavoured to conjure up the spirits of the dead past to encouragetheir own feeble-hearted followers. It was not an honest proceeding. In theirhearts they had broken with the monarchy long ago; but the foulness of thenew regime had begun to extend its corruptive action and make itself feltin the camp of the bourgeois parties. The common bourgeois politician nowfelt better in the slime of republican corruption than in the severe decencyof the defunct State, which still lived in his memory.
As I have already pointed out, after the destruction of the old Army therevolutionary leaders were forced to strengthen statal authority by creatinga new factor of power. In the conditions that existed they could do thisonly by winning over to their side the adherents of an outlookwhich was a direct contradiction of their own. From those elements aloneit was possible slowly to create a new army which, limited numerically bythe peace treaties, had to be subsequently transformed in spirit so as tobecome an instrument of the new regime.
Setting aside the defects of the old State, which really became the causeof the Revolution, if we ask how it was possible to carry the Revolutionto a successful issue as a political act, we arrive at the following conclusions:
1. It was due to a process of dry rot in our conceptions of duty and obedience.
2. It was due also to the passive timidity of the Parties who were supposedto uphold the State.
To this the following must be added: The dry rot which attacked our conceptsof duty and obedience was fundamentally due to our wholly non-national andpurely State education. From this came the habit of confusing means and ends.Consciousness of duty, fulfilment of duty, and obedience, are not ends inthemselves no more than the State is an end in itself; but they all oughtto be employed as means to facilitate and assure the existence of a communityof people who are kindred both physically and spiritually. At a moment whena nation is manifestly collapsing and when all outward signs show that itis on the point of becoming the victim of ruthless oppression, thanks tothe conduct of a few miscreants, to obey these people and fulfil one's dutytowards them is merely doctrinaire formalism, and indeed pure folly; whereas,on the other hand, the refusal of obedience and fulfilment of duty in sucha case might save the nation from collapse. According to our current bourgeoisidea of the State, if a divisional general received from above the ordernot to shoot he fulfilled his duty and therefore acted rightly in not shooting,because to the bourgeois mind blind formal obedience is a more valuable thingthan the life of a nation. But according to the National socialist conceptit is not obedience to weak superiors that should prevail at such moments,in such an hour the duty of assuming personal responsibility towards thewhole nation makes its appearance.
The revolution succeeded because that concept had ceased to be a vital forcewith our people, or rather with our governments, and died down to somethingthat was merely formal and doctrinaire.
As regards the second point, it may be said that the more profound causeof the fecklessness of the bourgeois parties must be attributed to the factthat the most active and upright section of our people had lost their livesin the war. Apart from that, the bourgeois parties, which may be consideredas the only political formations that stood by the old State, were convincedthat they ought to defend their principles only by intellectual ways andmeans, since the use of physical force was permitted only to the State. Thatoutlook was a sign of the weakness and decadence which had been graduallydeveloping. And it was also senseless at a period when there was a politicaladversary who had long ago abandoned that standpoint and, instead of this,had openly declared that he meant to attain his political ends by force wheneverthat became possible. When Marxism emerged in the world of bourgeois democracy,as a consequence of that democracy itself, the appeal sent out by the bourgeoisdemocracy to fight Marxism with intellectual weapons was a piece of follyfor which a terrible expiation had to be made later on. For Marxism alwaysprofessed the doctrine that the use of arms was a matter which had to bejudged from the standpoint of expediency and that success justified the useof arms.
This idea was proved correct during the days from November 7 to 10, 1918.The Marxists did not then bother themselves in the least about parliamentor democracy, but they gave the death blow to both by turning loose theirhorde of criminals to shoot and raise hell.
When the revolution was over the bourgeois parties changed the title of theirfirm and suddenly reappeared, the heroic leaders emerging from dark cellarsor more lightsome storehouses where they had sought refuge. But, just ashappens in the case of all representatives of antiquated institutions, theyhad not forgotten their errors or learned anything new. Their political programmewas grounded in the past, even though they themselves had become reconciledto the new regime. Their aim was to secure a share in the new establishment,and so they continued the use of words as their sole weapon.
Therefore after the revolution the bourgeois parties also capitulated tothe street in a miserable fashion.
When the law for the Protection of the Republic was introduced the majoritywas not at first in favour of it. But, confronted with two hundred thousandMarxists demonstrating in the streets, the bourgeois 'statesmen' were soterror-stricken that they voted for the Law against their wills, for theedifying reason that otherwise they feared they might get their heads smashedby the enraged masses on leaving the Reichstag.
And so the new State developed along its own course, as if there had beenno national opposition at all.
The only organizations which at that time had the strength and courage toface Marxism and its enraged masses were first of all the volunteer corps,and subsequently the organizations for self-defence, thecivic guards and finally the associations formed by the demobilized soldiersof the old Army.
But the existence of these bodies did not appreciably change the course ofGerman history; and that for the following causes:
As the so-called national parties were without influence, because they hadno force which could effectively demonstrate in the street, the Leagues ofDefence could not exercise any influence because they had no political ideaand especially because they had no definite political aim in view.
The success which Marxism once attained was due to perfect co-operation betweenpolitical purposes and ruthless force. What deprived nationalist Germanyof all practical hopes of shaping German development was the lack of a determinedco-operation between brute force and political aims wisely chosen.
Whatever may have been the aspirations of the 'national' parties, they hadno force whatsoever to fight for these aspirations, least of all in the streets.
The Defense Leagues had force at their disposal. They were masters of thestreet and of the State, but they lacked political ideas and aims on behalfof which their forces might have been or could have been employed in theinterests of the German nation. The cunning Jew was able in both cases, byhis astute powers of persuasion, in reinforcing an already existing tendencyto make this unfortunate state of affairs permanent and at the same timeto drive the roots of it still deeper.
The Jew succeeded brilliantly in using his Press for the purpose of spreadingabroad the idea that the defence associations were of a'non-political' character just as in politics he was always astute enoughto praise the purely intellectual character of the struggle and demand thatit must always be kept on that plane
Millions of German imbeciles then repeated this folly without having theslightest suspicion that by so doing they were, for all practical purposes,disarming themselves and delivering themselves defenceless into the handsof the Jew.
But there is a natural explanation of this also. The lack of a great ideawhich would re-shape things anew has always meant a limitation in fightingpower. The conviction of the right to employ even the most brutal weaponsis always associated with an ardent faith in the necessity for a new andrevolutionary transformation of the world.
A movement which does not fight for such high aims and ideals will neverhave recourse to extreme means.
The appearance of a new and great idea was the secret of success in the FrenchRevolution. The Russian revolution owes its triumph to an idea. And it wasonly the idea that enabled Fascism triumphantly to subject a whole nationto a process of complete renovation.
Bourgeois parties are not capable of such an achievement. And it was notthe bourgeois parties alone that fixed their aim in a restoration of thepast. The defence associations also did so, in so far as they concernedthemselves with political aims at all. The spirit of the old war legionsand Kyffauser tendencies lived in them and therewith helped politically toblunt the sharpest weapons which the German nation then possessed and allowthem to rust in the hands of republican serfs. The fact that these associationswere inspired by the best of intentions in so doing, and certainly actedin good faith, does not alter in the slightest degree the foolishness ofthe course they adopted.
In the consolidated Reichswehr Marxism gradually acquired the support offorce, which it needed for its authority. As a logical consequence it proceededto abolish those defence associations which it considered dangerous, declaringthat they were now no longer necessary. Some rash leaders who defied theMarxist orders were summoned to court and sent to prison. But they all gotwhat they had deserved.
The founding of the National socialist German Labour party incited a movementwhich was the first to fix its aim, not in a mechanical restoration of thepast - as the bourgeois parties did - but in the substitution ofan organic People's State for the present absurd statal mechanism.
From the first day of its foundation the new movement took its stand on theprinciple that its ideas had to be propagated by intellectual means but that,wherever necessary, muscular force must be employed to support this propaganda.In accordance with their conviction of the paramount importance of the newdoctrine, the leaders of the new movement naturally believe that no sacrificecan be considered too great when it is a question of carrying through thepurpose of the movement.
I have emphasized that in certain circumstances a movement which is meantto win over the hearts of the people must be ready to defend itself withits own forces against terrorist attempts on the part of its adversaries.It has invariably happened in the history of the world that formal Stateauthority has failed to break a reign of terror which was inspired by aphilosophy of life. It can only be conquered by a new and differentphilosophy of life whose representatives are quite as audacious anddetermined. The acknowledgment of this fact has always been very unpleasantfor the bureaucrats who are the protectors of the State, but the fact remainsnevertheless. The rulers of the State can guarantee tranquillity and orderonly in case the State embodies a philosophy which is sharedin by the people as a whole; so that elements of disturbance can be treatedas isolated criminals, instead of being considered as the champions of anidea which is diametrically opposed to official opinions. If such shouldbe the case the State may employ the most violent measures for centurieslong against the terror that threatens it; but in the end all these measureswill prove futile, and the State will have to succumb.
The German State is intensely overrun by Marxism. In a struggle that wenton for seventy years the State was not able to prevent the triumph of theMarxist idea. Even though the sentences to penal servitude and imprisonmentamounted in all to thousands of years, and even though the most sanguinarymethods of repression were in innumerable instances threatened against thechampions of the Marxist philosophy, in the end the State wasforced to capitulate almost completely. The ordinary bourgeois politicalleaders will deny all this, but their protests are futile.
Seeing that the State capitulated unconditionally to Marxism on November9th, 1918, it will not suddenly rise up tomorrow as the conqueror of Marxism.On the contrary. Bourgeois simpletons sitting on office stools in the variousministries babble about the necessity of not governing against the wishesof the workers, and by the word 'workers' they mean the Marxists. By identifyingthe German worker with Marxism not only are they guilty of a vile falsificationof the truth, but they thus try to hide their own collapse before the Marxistidea and the Marxist organization.
In view of the complete subordination of the present State to Marxism, theNational socialist Movement feels all the more bound not only to preparethe way for the triumph of its idea by appealing to the reason and understandingof the public but also to take upon itself the responsibility of organizingits own defence against the terror of the International, which is intoxicatedwith its own victory.
I have already described how practical experience in our young movement ledus slowly to organize a system of defence for our meetings. This graduallyassumed the character of a military body specially trained for the maintenanceof order, and tended to develop into a service which would have its properlyorganized cadres.
This new formation might resemble the defence associations externally, butin reality there were no grounds of comparison between the one and the other.
As I have already said, the German defence organizations did not have anydefinite political ideas of their own. They really were only associationsfor mutual protection, and they were trained and organized accordingly, sothat they were an illegal complement or auxiliary to the legal forces ofthe State. Their character as free corps arose only from the way in whichthey were constructed and the situation in which the State found itself atthat time. But they certainly could not claim to be free corps on the groundsthat they were associations formed freely and privately for the purpose offighting for their own freely formed political convictions. Such they werenot, despite the fact that some of their leaders and some associations assuch were definitely opposed to the Republic. For before we can speak ofpolitical convictions in the higher sense we must be something more thanmerely convinced that the existing regime is defective. Political convictionsin the higher sense mean that one has the picture of a new regime clearlybefore one's mind, feels that the establishment of this regime is an absolutenecessity and sets himself to carry out that purpose as the highest taskto which his life can be devoted.
The troops for the preservation of order, which were then formed under theNational socialist Movement, were fundamentally different from all the otherdefence associations by reason of the fact that our formations were not meantin any way to defend the state of things created by the Revolution, but ratherthat they were meant exclusively to support our struggle for the creationof a new Germany.
In the beginning this body was merely a guard to maintain order at our meetings.Its first task was limited to making it possible for us to hold our meetings,which otherwise would have been completely prevented by our opponents. Thesemen were at that time trained merely for purposes of attack, but they werenot taught to adore the big stick exclusively, as was then pretended in stupidGerman patriotic circles. They used the cudgel because they knew that itcan be made impossible for high ideals to be put forward if the man whoendeavours to propagate them can be struck down with the cudgel. As a matterof fact, it has happened in history not infrequently that some of the greatestminds have perished under the blows of the most insignificant helots. Ourbodyguards did not look upon violence as an end in itself, but they protectedthe expositors of ideal aims and purposes against hostile coercion by violence.They also understood that there was no obligation to undertake the defenceof a State which did not guarantee the defence of the nation, but that, onthe contrary, they had to defend the nation against those who were threateningto destroy nation and State.
After the fight which took place at the meeting in the Munich Hofbräuhaus,where the small number of our guards who were present won everlasting famefor themselves by the heroic manner in which they stormed the adversaries;these guards were called The Storm Detachment. As the name itself indicates,they represent only a detachment of the Movement. They are one constituentelement of it, just as is the Press, the propaganda, educational institutes,and other sections of the Party.
We learned how necessary was the formation of such a body, not only fromour experience on the occasion of that memorable meeting but also when wesought gradually to carry the Movement beyond Munich and extend it to theother parts of Germany. Once we had begun to appear as a danger to Marxismthe Marxists lost no opportunity of trying to crush beforehand all preparationsfor the holding of National socialist meetings. When they did not succeedin this they tried to break up the meeting itself. It goes without sayingthat all the Marxist organizations, no matter of what grade or view, blindlysupported the policy and activities of their representations in every case.But what is to be said of the bourgeois parties who, when they were reducedto silence by these same Marxists and in many places did not dare to sendtheir speakers to appear before the public, yet showed themselves pleased,in a stupid and incomprehensible manner, every time we received any kindof set-back in our fight against Marxism. The bourgeois parties were happyto think that those whom they themselves could not stand up against, buthad to knuckle down to, could not be broken by us. What must be said of thoseState officials, chiefs of police, and even cabinet ministers, who showeda scandalous lack of principle in presenting themselves externally to thepublic as 'national' and yet shamelessly acted as the henchmen of the Marxistsin the disputes which we, National socialist s, had with the latter. Whatcan be said of persons who debased themselves so far, for the sake of a littleabject praise in the Jewish Press, that they persecuted those men to whoseheroic courage and intervention, regardless of risk, they were partly indebtedfor not having been torn to pieces by the Red mob a few years previouslyand strung up to the lamp-posts?
One day these lamentable phenomena fired the late but unforgotten PrefectPöhner a man whose unbending straightforwardness forced him tohate all twisters and to hate them as only a man with an honest heart canhate to say: "In all my life I wished to be first a German and thenan official, and I never wanted to mix up with these creatures who, as ifthey were kept officials, prostituted themselves before anybody who couldplay lord and master for the time being."
It was a specially sad thing that gradually tens of thousands of honest andloyal servants of the State did not only come under the power of such peoplebut were also slowly contaminated by their unprincipled morals. Moreover,these kind of men pursued honest officials with a furious hatred, degradingthem and driving them from their positions, and yet passed themselves offas 'national' by the aid of their lying hypocrisy.
From officials of that kind we could expect no support, and only in veryrare instances was it given. Only by building up its own defence could ourmovement become secure and attract that amount of public attention and generalrespect which is given to those who can defend themselves when attacked.
As an underlying principle in the internal development of the Storm Detachment,we came to the decision that not only should it be perfectly trained in bodilyefficiency but that the men should be so instructed as to make them indomitablyconvinced champions of the National socialist ideas and, finally, that theyshould be schooled to observe the strictest discipline. This body was tohave nothing to do with the defence organizations of the bourgeois type andespecially not with any secret organization.
My reasons at that time for guarding strictly against letting the StormDetachment of the German National socialist Labour party appear as a defenceassociation were as follows:
On purely practical grounds it is impossible to build up a national defenceorganization by means of private associations, unless the State makes anenormous contribution to it. Whoever thinks otherwise overestimates his ownpowers. Now it is entirely out of the question to form organizations of anymilitary value for a definite purpose on the principle of so-called'voluntary discipline'. Here the chief support for enforcing orders, namely,the power of inflicting punishment, is lacking. In the autumn, or ratherin the spring, of 1919 it was still possible to raise 'volunteer corps',not only because most of the men who came forward at that time had been throughthe school of the old Army, but also because the kind of duty imposed thereconstrained the individual to absolute obedience at least for a definiteperiod of time.
That spirit is entirely lacking in the volunteer defence organizations oftoday. The more the defence association grows, the weaker its disciplinebecomes and so much the less can one demand from the individual members.Thus the whole organization will more and more assume the character of theold non-political associations of war comrades and veterans.
It is impossible to carry through a voluntary training in military servicefor larger masses unless one is assured absolute power of command. Therewill always be few men who will voluntarily and spontaneously submit to thatkind of obedience which is considered natural and necessary in the Army.
Moreover, a proper system of military training cannot be developed wherethere are such ridiculously scanty means as those at the disposal of thedefence associations. The principal task of such an institution must be toimpart the best and most reliable kind of instruction. Eight years have passedsince the end of the War, and during that time none of our German youth,at an age when formerly they would have had to do military service, havereceived any systematic training at all. The aim of a defence associationcannot be to enlist here and now all those who have already received a militarytraining; for in that case it could be reckoned with mathematical accuracywhen the last member would leave the association. Even the younger soldierfrom 1918 will no longer be fit for front-line service twenty years later,and we are approaching that state of things with a rapidity that gives causefor anxiety. Thus the defence associations must assume more and more theaspect of the old ex-service men's societies. But that cannot be the meaningand purpose of an institution which calls itself, not an association ofex-service men but a defence association, indicating by this title that itconsiders its task to be, not only to preserve the tradition of the old soldiersand hold them together but also to propagate the idea of national defenceand be able to carry this idea into practical effect, which means the creationof a body of men who are fit and trained for military defence.
But this implies that those elements will receive a military training whichup to now have received none. This is something that in practice is impossiblefor the defence associations. Real soldiers cannot be made by a trainingof one or two hours per week. In view of the enormously increasing demandswhich modern warfare imposes on each individual soldier today, a militaryservice of two years is barely sufficient to transform a raw recruit intoa trained soldier. At the Front during the War we all saw the fearfulconsequences which our young recruits had to suffer from their lack of athorough military training. Volunteer formations which had been drilled forfifteen or twenty weeks under an iron discipline and shown unlimited self-denialproved nevertheless to be no better than cannon fodder at the Front. Onlywhen distributed among the ranks of the old and experienced soldiers couldthe young recruits, who had been trained for four or six months, become usefulmembers of a regiment. Guided by the 'old men', they adapted themselves graduallyto their task.
In the light of all this, how hopeless must the attempt be to create a bodyof fighting troops by a so-called training of one or two hours in the week,without any definite power of command and without any considerable means.In that way perhaps one could refresh military training in old soldiers,but raw recruits cannot thus be transformed into expert soldiers.
How such a proceeding produces utterly worthless results may also be demonstratedby the fact that at the same time as these so-called volunteer defenceassociations, with great effort and outcry and under difficulties and lackof necessities, try to educate and train a few thousand men of goodwill (theothers need not be taken into account) for purposes of national defence,the State teaches our young men democratic and pacifist ideas and thus deprivesmillions and millions of their national instincts, poisons their logicalsense of patriotism and gradually turns them into a herd of sheep who willpatiently follow any arbitrary command. Thus they render ridiculous all thoseattempts made by the defence associations to inculcate their ideas in theminds of the German youth.
Almost more important is the following consideration, which has always mademe take up a stand against all attempts at a so-called military trainingon the basis of the volunteer associations.
Assuming that, in spite of all the difficulties just mentioned, a defenceassociation were successful in training a certain number of Germans everyyear to be efficient soldiers, not only as regards their mental outlook butalso as regards bodily efficiency and the expert handling of arms, the resultmust necessarily be null and void in a State whose whole tendency makes itnot only look upon such a defensive formation as undesirable but even positivelyhate it, because such an association would completely contradict the intimateaims of the political leaders, who are the corrupters of this State.
But anyhow, such a result would be worthless under governments which havedemonstrated by their own acts that they do not lay the slightest importanceon the military power of the nation and are not disposed to permit an appealto that power only in case that it were necessary for the protection of theirown malignant existence.
And that is the state of affairs today. It is not ridiculous to think oftraining some ten thousand men in the use of arms, and carry on that trainingsurreptitiously, when a few years previously the State, having shamefullysacrificed eight-and-a-half million highly trained soldiers, not merely didnot require their services any more, but, as a mark of gratitude for theirsacrifices, held them up to public contumely. Shall we train soldiers fora regime which besmirched and spat upon our most glorious soldiers, torethe medals and badges from their breasts, trampled on their flags and deridedtheir achievements? Has the present regime taken one step towards restoringthe honour of the old army and bringing those who destroyed and outragedit to answer for their deeds? Not in the least. On the contrary, the peopleI have just referred to may be seen enthroned in the highest positions underthe State today. And yet it was said at Leipzig: "Right goes with might."Since, however, in our Republic today might is in the hands of the verymen who arranged for the Revolution, and since that revolution representsa most despicable act of high treason against the nation yea, thevilest act in German history there can surely be no grounds for sayingthat might of this character should be enhanced by the formation of a newyoung army. It is against all sound reason.
The importance which this State attached, after the revolution of 1918, tothe reinforcement of its position from the military point of view is clearlyand unmistakably demonstrated by its attitude towards the large self-defenceorganizations which existed in that period. They were not unwelcome as longas they were of use for the personal protection of the miserable creaturescast up by the Revolution.
But the danger to these creatures seemed to disappear as the debasement ofour people gradually increased. As the existence of the defence associationsno longer implied a reinforcement of the national policy they became superfluous.Hence every effort was made to disarm them and suppress them wherever thatwas possible.
History records only a few examples of gratitude on the part of princes.But there is not one patriot among the new bourgeoisie who can count on thegratitude of revolutionary incendiaries and assassins, persons who have enrichedthemselves from the public spoil and betrayed the nation. In examining theproblem as to the wisdom of forming these defence associations I have neverceased to ask: 'For whom shall I train these young men? For what purposewill they be employed when they will have to be called out?' The answer tothese questions lays down at the same time the best rule for us to follow.
If the present State should one day have to call upon trained troops of thiskind it would never be for the purpose of defending the interests of thenation vis-à-vis those of the stranger but rather to protect theoppressors of the nation inside the country against the danger of a generaloutbreak of wrath on the part of a nation which has been deceived and betrayedand whose interests have been bartered away.
For this reason it was decided that the Storm Detachment of the German NationalSocialist Labour party ought not to be in the nature of a military organization.It had to be an instrument of protection and education for the National socialist Movement and its duties should be in quite a different sphere from that ofthe military defence association.
And, of course, the Storm Detachment should not be in the nature of a secretorganization. Secret organizations are established only for purposes thatare against the law. Therewith the purpose of such an organization is limitedby its very nature. Considering the loquacious propensities of the Germanpeople, it is not possible to build up any vast organization, keeping itsecret at the same time and cloaking its purpose. Every attempt of that kindis destined to turn out absolutely futile. It is not merely that our policeofficials today have at their disposal a staff of eavesdroppers and othersuch rabble who are ready to play traitor, like Judas, for thirty piecesof silver and will betray whatever secrets they can discover and will inventwhat they would like to reveal. In order to forestall such eventualities,it is never possible to bind one's own followers to the silence that isnecessary. Only small groups can become really secret societies, and thatonly after long years of filtration. But the very smallness of such groupswould deprive them of all value for the National socialist Movement. Whatwe needed then and need now is not one or two hundred dare-devil conspiratorsbut a hundred thousand devoted champions of our philosophy of life. Thework must not be done through secret conventicles but through formidablemass demonstrations in public. Dagger and pistol and poison-vial cannot clearthe way for the progress of the movement. That can be done only by winningover the man in the street. We must overthrow Marxism, so that for the futureNational socialism will be master of the street, just as it will one daybecome master of the State.
There is another danger connected with secret societies. It lies in the factthat their members often completely misunderstand the greatness of the taskin hand and are apt to believe that a favourable destiny can be assured forthe nation all at once by means of a single murder. Such a belief may findhistorical justification by appealing to cases where a nation had been sufferingunder the tyranny of some oppressor who at the same time was a man of geniusand whose extraordinary personality guaranteed the internal solidity of hisposition and enabled him to maintain his fearful oppression. In such casesa man may suddenly arise from the ranks of the people who is ready to sacrificehimself and plunge the deadly steel into the heart of the hated individual.In order to look upon such a deed as abhorrent one must have the republicanmentality of that petty canaille who are conscious of their own crime. Butthe greatest champion of liberty that the German people haveever had has glorified such a deed in William Tell.
During 1919 and 1920 there was danger that the members of secret organizations,under the influence of great historical examples and overcome by the immensityof the nation's misfortunes, might attempt to wreak vengeance on the destroyersof their country, under the belief that this would end the miseries of thepeople. All such attempts were sheer folly, for the reason that the Marxisttriumph was not due to the superior genius of one remarkable person but ratherto immeasurable incompetence and cowardly shirking on the part of thebourgeoisie. The hardest criticism that can be uttered against our bourgeoisieis simply to state the fact that it submitted to the Revolution, even thoughthe revolution did not produce one single man of eminent worth. One can alwaysunderstand how it was possible to capitulate before a Robespierre, a Danton,or a Marat; but it was utterly scandalous to go down on all fours beforethe withered Scheidemann, the obese Herr Erzberger, Frederick Ebert, andthe innumerable other political pigmies of the Revolution. There was nota single man of parts in whom one could see the revolutionary man of genius.Therein lay the country's misfortune; for they were only revolutionary bugs,Spartacists wholesale and retail. To suppress one of them would be an actof no consequence. The only result would be that another pair of bloodsuckers,equally fat and thirsty, would be ready to take his place.
During those years we had to take up a determined stand against an idea whichowed its origin and foundation to historical episodes that were really great,but to which our own despicable epoch did not bear the slightest similarity.
The same reply may be given when there is question of putting somebody 'onthe spot' who has acted as a traitor to his country. It would be ridiculousand illogical to shoot a poor wretch who had betrayed theposition of a howitzer to the enemy while the highest positions of the governmentare occupied by a rabble who bartered away a whole empire, who have on theirconsciences the deaths of two million men who were sacrificed in vain, fellowswho were responsible for the millions maimed in the war and who make a thrivingbusiness out of the republican regime without allowing their souls to bedisturbed in any way. It would be absurd to do away with small traitors ina State whose government has absolved the great traitors from all punishment.For it might easily happen that one day an honest idealist, who, out of lovefor his country, had removed from circulation some miserable informer thathad given information about secret stores of arms might now be called toanswer for his act before the chief traitors of the country. And there isstill an important question: Shall some small traitorous creature be suppressedby another small traitor, or by an idealist? In the former case the resultwould be doubtful and the deed would almost surely be revealed later on.In the second case a petty rascal is put out of the way and the life of anidealist who may be irreplaceable is in jeopardy.
For myself, I believe that small thieves should not be hanged while big thievesare allowed to go free. One day a national tribunal will have to judge andsentence some tens of thousands of organizers who were responsible for thecriminal November betrayal and all the consequences that followed on it.Such an example will teach the necessary lesson, once and for ever, to thosepaltry traitors who revealed to the enemy the places where arms were hidden.
On the grounds of these considerations I steadfastly forbade all participationin secret societies, and I took care that the Storm Detachment should notassume such a character. During those years I kept the National socialist Movement away from those experiments which were being undertaken by youngGermans who for the most part were inspired with a sublime idealism but whobecame the victims of their own deeds, because they could not amelioratethe lot of their fatherland to the slightest degree.
If then the Storm Detachment must not be either a military defence organizationor a secret society, the following conclusions must result:
1. Its training must not be organized from the military standpoint but fromthe standpoint of what is most practical for party purposes. Seeing thatits members must undergo a good physical training, the place of chief importancemust not be given to military drill but rather to the practice of sports.I have always considered boxing and ju-jitsu more important than some kindof bad, because mediocre, training in rifle-shooting. If the German nationwere presented with a body of young men who had been perfectly trained inathletic sports, who were imbued with an ardent love for their country anda readiness to take the initiative in a fight, then the national State couldmake an army out of that body within less than two years if it were necessary,provided the cadres already existed. In the actual state of affairs onlythe Reichswehr could furnish the cadres and not a defence organization thatwas neither one thing nor the other. Bodily efficiency would develop in theindividual a conviction of his superiority and would give him that confidencewhich is always based only on the consciousness of one's own powers. Theymust also develop that athletic agility which can be employed as a defensiveweapon in the service of the Movement.
2. In order to safeguard the Storm Detachment against any tendency towardssecrecy, not only must the uniform be such that it can immediately be recognizedby everybody, but the large number of its effectives show the direction inwhich the Movement is going and which must be known to the whole public.The members of the Storm Detachment must not hold secret gatherings but mustmarch in the open and thus, by their actions, put an end to all legends abouta secret organization. In order to keep them away from all temptations towardsfinding an outlet for their activities in small conspiracies, from the verybeginning we had to inculcate in their minds the great idea of the Movementand educate them so thoroughly to the task of defending this idea that theirhorizon became enlarged and that the individual no longer considered it hismission to remove from circulation some rascal or other, whether big or small,but to devote himself entirely to the task of bringing about the establishmentof a new National socialist People's State. In this way the struggle againstthe present State was placed on a higher plane than that of petty revengeand small conspiracies. It was elevated to the level of a spiritual struggleon behalf of a philosophical war, for the destruction of Marxism in all itsshapes and forms.
3. The form of organization adopted for the Storm Detachment, as well asits uniform and equipment, had to follow different models from those of theold Army. They had to be specially suited to the requirements of the taskthat was assigned to the Storm Detachment.
These were the ideas I followed in 1920 and 1921. I endeavoured to instilthem gradually into the members of the young organization. And the resultwas that by the midsummer of 1922 we had a goodly number of formations whichconsisted of a hundred men each. By the late autumn of that year these formationsreceived their distinctive uniforms. There were three events which turnedout to be of supreme importance for the subsequent development of the StormDetachment.
1. The great mass demonstration against the Law for the Protection of theRepublic. This demonstration was held in the late summer of 1922 on theKönigs-platz in Munich, by all the patriotic societies. The NationalSocialist Movement also participated in it. The march-past of our party,in serried ranks, was led by six Munich companies of a hundred men each,followed by the political sections of the Party. Two bands marched with usand about fifteen flags were carried. When the National socialist s arrivedat the great square it was already half full, but no flag was flying. Ourentry aroused unbounded enthusiasm. I myself had the honour of being oneof the speakers who addressed that mass of about sixty thousand people.
The demonstration was an overwhelming success; especially because it wasproved for the first time that nationalist Munich could march on the streets,in spite of all threats from the Reds. Members of the organization for thedefence of the Red Republic endeavoured to hinder the marching columns bytheir terrorist activities, but they were scattered by the companies of theStorm Detachment within a few minutes and sent off with bleeding skulls.The National socialist Movement had then shown for the first time that infuture it was determined to exercise the right to march on the streets andthus take this monopoly away from the international traitors and enemiesof the country.
The result of that day was an incontestable proof that our ideas for thecreation of the Storm Detachment were right, both from the psychologicalviewpoint and as to the manner in which this body was organized.
On the basis of this success the enlistment progressed so rapidly that withina few weeks the number of Munich companies of a hundred men each became doubled.
2. The expedition to Coburg in October 1922.
Certain People's Societies had decided to hold a German Day at Coburg. Iwas invited to take part, with the intimation that they wished me to bringa following along. This invitation, which I received at eleven o'clock inthe morning, arrived just in time. Within an hour the arrangements for ourparticipation in the German Congress were ready. I picked eight hundred menof the Storm Detachment to accompany me. These were divided into about fourteencompanies and had to be brought by special train from Munich to Coburg, whichhad just voted by plebiscite to be annexed to Bavaria. Corresponding orderswere given to other groups of the National socialist Storm Detachment whichhad meanwhile been formed in various other localities.
This was the first time that such a special train ran in Germany. At allthe places where the new members of the Storm Detachment joined us our traincaused a sensation. Many of the people had never seen our flag. And it madea very great impression.
As we arrived at the station in Coburg we were received by a deputation ofthe organizing committee of the German Day. They announced that it had been'arranged' at the orders of local trades unions that is to say, theIndependent and Communist Parties that we should not enter the townwith our flags unfurled and our band playing (we had a band consisting offorty-two musicians with us) and that we should not march with closed ranks.
I immediately rejected these unmilitary conditions and did not fail to declarebefore the gentlemen who had arranged this 'day' how astonished I was atthe idea of their negotiating with such people and coming to an agreementwith them. Then I announced that the Storm Troops would immediately marchinto the town in company formation, with our flags flying and the band playing.
And that is what happened.
As we came out into the station yard we were met by a growling and yellingmob of several thousand, that shouted at us: 'Assassins', 'Bandits','Robbers', 'Criminals'. These were the choice names which these exemplaryfounders of the German Republic showered on us. The young Storm Detachmentgave a model example of order. The companies fell into formation on the squarein front of the station and at first took no notice of the insults hurledat them by the mob. The police were anxious. They did not pilot us to thequarters assigned to us on the outskirts of Coburg, a city quite unknownto us, but to the Hofbräuhaus Keller in the centre of the town. Rightand left of our march the tumult raised by the accompanying mob steadilyincreased. Scarcely had the last company entered the courtyard of theHofbräuhaus when the huge mass made a rush to get in after them, shoutingmadly. In order to prevent this, the police closed the gates. Seeing theposition was untenable I called the Storm Detachment to attention and thenasked the police to open the gates immediately. After a good deal of hesitation,they consented.
We now marched back along the same route as we had come, in the directionof our quarters, and there we had to make a stand against the crowd. As theircries and yells all along the route had failed to disturb the equanimityof our companies, the champions of true Socialism, Equality, and Fraternitynow took to throwing stones. That brought our patience to an end. For tenminutes long, blows fell right and left, like a devastating shower of hail.Fifteen minutes later there were no more Reds to be seen in the street.
The collisions which took place when the night came on were more serious.Patrols of the Storm Detachment had discovered National socialist s who hadbeen attacked singly and were in an atrocious state. Thereupon we made shortwork of the opponents. By the following morning the Red terror, under whichCoburg had been suffering for years, was definitely smashed.
Adopting the typically Marxist and Jewish method of spreading falsehoods,leaflets were distributed by hand on the streets, bearing the caption: "Comradesand Comradesses of the International Proletariat." These leaflets were meantto arouse the wrath of the populace. Twisting the facts completely around,they declared that our 'bands of assasins' had commenced 'a war of exterminationagainst the peaceful workers of Coburg'. At half-past one that day therewas to be a 'great popular demonstration', at which it was hoped that theworkers of the whole district would turn up. I was determined finally tocrush this Red terror and so I summoned the Storm Detachment to meet at midday.Their number had now increased to 1,500. I decided to march with these mento the Coburg Festival and to cross the big square where the Red demonstrationwas to take place. I wanted to see if they would attempt to assault us again.When we entered the square we found that instead of the ten thousand thathad been advertised, there were only a few hundred people present. As weapproached they remained silent for the most part, and some ran away. Onlyat certain points along the route some bodies of Reds, who had arrived fromoutside the city and had not yet come to know us, attempted to start a row.But a few fisticuffs put them to flight. And now one could see how thepopulation, which had for such a long time been so wretchedly intimidated,slowly woke up and recovered their courage. They welcomed us openly, andin the evening, on our return march, spontaneous shouts of jubilation brokeout at several points along the route.
At the station the railway employees informed us all of a sudden that ourtrain would not move. Thereupon I had some of the ringleaders told that ifthis were the case I would have all the Red party heroes arrested that fellinto our hands, that we would drive the train ourselves, but that we wouldtake away with us, in the locomotive and tender and in some of the carriages,a few dozen members of this brotherhood of international solidarity. I didnot omit to let those gentry know that if we had to conduct the train thejourney would undoubtedly be a very risky adventure and that we might allbreak our necks. It would be a consolation, however, to know that we shouldnot go to eternity alone, but in equality and fraternity with the Red gentry.
Thereupon the train departed punctually and we arrived next morning in Munichsafe and sound.
Thus at Coburg, for the first time since 1914, the equality of all citizensbefore the law was re-established. For even if some coxcomb of a higher officialshould assert today that the State protects the lives of its citizens, atleast in those days it was not so. For at that time the citizens had to defendthemselves against the representatives of the present State.
At first it was not possible fully to estimate the importance of the consequenceswhich resulted from that day. The victorious Storm Troops had their confidencein themselves considerably reinforced and also their faith in the sagacityof their leaders. Our contemporaries began to pay us special attention andfor the first time many recognized the National socialist Movement as anorganization that in all probability was destined to bring the Marxist follyto a deserving end.
Only the democrats lamented the fact that we had not the complaisance toallow our skulls to be cracked and that we had dared, in a democratic Republic,to hit back with fists and sticks at a brutal assault, rather than with pacifistchants.
Generally speaking, the bourgeois Press was partly distressed and partlyvulgar, as always. Only a few decent newspapers expressed their satisfactionthat at least in one locality the Marxist street bullies had been effectivelydealt with.
And in Coburg itself at least a part of the Marxist workers who must be lookedupon as misled, learned from the blows of National socialist fists that theseworkers were also fighting for ideals, because experience teaches that thehuman being fights only for something in which he believes and which he loves.
The Storm Detachment itself benefited most from the Coburg events. It grewso quickly in numbers that at the party Congress in January 1923 six thousandmen participated in the ceremony of consecrating the flags and the firstcompanies were fully clad in their new uniform.
Our experience in Coburg proved how essential it is to introduce one distinctiveuniform for the Storm Detachment, not only for the purpose of strengtheningthe esprit de corps but also to avoid confusion and the danger ofnot recognizing the opponent in a squabble. Up to that time they had merelyworn the armlet, but now the tunic and the well-known cap were added.
But the Coburg experience had also another important result. We now determinedto break the Red Terror in all those localities where for many years it hadprevented men of other views from holding their meetings. We were determinedto restore the right of free assembly. From that time onwards we broughtour battalions together in such places and little by little the red citadelsof Bavaria, one after another, fell before the National socialist propaganda.The Storm Troops became more and more adept at their job. They increasinglylost all semblance of an aimless and lifeless defence movement and came outinto the light as an active militant organization, fighting for the establishmentof a new German State.
This logical development continued until March 1923. Then an event occurredwhich made me divert the Movement from the course hitherto followed and introducesome changes in its outer formation.
In the first months of 1923 the French occupied the Ruhr district. Theconsequence of this was of great importance in the development of the StormDetachment.
It is not yet possible, nor would it be in the interest of the nation, towrite or speak openly and freely on the subject. I shall speak of it onlyas far as the matter has been dealt with in public discussions and thus broughtto the knowledge of everybody.
The occupation of the Ruhr district, which did not come as a surprise tous, gave grounds for hoping that Germany would at last abandon its cowardlypolicy of submission and therewith give the defensive associations a definitetask to fulfil. The Storm Detachment also, which now numbered several thousandof robust and vigorous young men, should not be excluded from this nationalservice. During the spring and summer of 1923 it was transformed into a fightingmilitary organization. It is to this reorganization that we must in greatpart attribute the later developments that took place during 1923, in sofar as it affected our Movement.
Elsewhere I shall deal in broad outline with the development of events in1923. Here I wish only to state that the transformation of the Storm Detachmentat that time must have been detrimental to the interests of the Movementif the conditions that had motivated the change were not to be carried intoeffect, namely, the adoption of a policy of active resistance against France.
The events which took place at the close of 1923, terrible as they may appearat first sight, were almost a necessity if looked at from a higher standpoint;because, in view of the attitude taken by the government of the German Reich,conversion of the Storm Troops into a military force would be meaninglessand thus a transformation which would also be harmful to the Movement wasended at one stroke. At the same time it was made possible for us to reconstructat the point where we had been diverted from the proper course.
In the year 1925 the German National socialist Labour party was re-foundedand had to organize and train its Storm Detachment once again according tothe principles I have laid down. It must return to the original idea andonce more it must consider its most essential task to function as the instrumentof defence and reinforcement in the spiritual struggle to establish the idealsof the Movement.
The Storm Detachment must not be allowed to sink to the level of somethingin the nature of a defence organization or a secret society. Steps must betaken rather to make it a vanguard of 100,000 men in the struggle for theNational socialist ideal which is based on the profound principle of aPeople's State.
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