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My struggle for existence in Vienna - Mein Kampf.


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Hitler.
Hitler in his military uniform.

  During my struggle for existence in Vienna, it had become clearto me that

  Social activity must never and on no account be directed towardphilanthropic flim-flam, but rather toward the elimination of the basicdeficiencies in the organization of our economic and cultural life thatmust-or at all events can-lead to the degeneration of the individual .

  The difficulty of applying the most extreme and brutal methodsagainst the criminals who endanger the state lies not least in the uncertaintyof our judgment of the inner motives or causes of such contemporary phenomena.

  This uncertainty is only too well founded in our own sense ofguilt regarding such tragedies of degeneration; be that as it may, it paralyzesany serious and firm decision and is thus partly responsible for the weakand half-hearted, because hesitant, execution of even the most necessarymeasures of selfpreservation.

  Only when an epoch ceases to be haunted by the shadow of itsown consciousness of guilt will it achieve the inner calm and outward strengthbrutally and ruthlessly to prune off the wild shoots and tear out the weeds.

  Since the Austrian state had practically no social legislationor jurisprudence, its weakness in combating even malignant tumors was glaring.

  I do not know what horrified me most at that time: the economic miseryof my companions, their moral and ethical coarseness, or the low level oftheir intellectual development.

  How often does our bourgeoisie rise in high moral indignationwhen they hear some miserable tramp declare that it is all the same to himwhether he is a German or not, that he feels equally happy wherever he is,as long as he has enough to live on!

  This lack of 'national pride' is most profoundly deplored, andhorror at such an attitude is expressed in no uncertain terms.

  How many people have asked themselves what was the real reasonfor the superiority of their own sentiments?

  How many are aware of the infinite number of separate memoriesof the greatness of our national fatherland in all the fields of culturaland artistic life, whose total result is to inspire them with just prideat being members of a nation so blessed?

  How many suspect to how great an extent pride in the fatherlanddepends on knowledge of its greatness in all these fields?

  Do our bourgeois circles ever stop to consider to what an absurdlysmall extent this prerequisite of pride in the fatherland is transmittedto the 'people'?

  Let us not try to condone this by saying that ' it is no betterin other countries,' and that in those countries the worker avows his nationality'notwithstanding.' Even if this were so, it could serve as no excuse forour own omissions. But it is not so; for the thing that we constantly designateas 'chauvinistic' education; for example among the French people, is nothingother than extreme emphasis on the greatness of France in all the fieldsof culture, or, as the Frenchman puts it, of 'civilization The fact is thatthe young Frenchman is not brought up to be objective, but is instilledwith the most subjective conceivable view, in so far as the importance ofthe political or cultural greatness of his fatherland is concerned.

  This education will always have to be limited to general andextremely broad values which, if necessary, must be engraved in the memoryand feeling of the people by eternal repetition.

  But to the negative sin of omission is added in our countrythe positive destruction of the little which the individual has the goodfortune to learn in school. The rats that politically poison our nationgnaw even this little from the heart and memory of the broad masses, inso far as this has not been previously accomplished by poverty and suffering.

  Imagine, for instance, the following scene:

  In a basement apartment, consisting of two stuffy rooms, dwellsa worker's family of seven. Among the five children there is a boy of, letus assume, three years. This is the age in which the first impressions aremade on the consciousness of the child Talented persons retain traces ofmemory from this period down to advanced old age. The very narrowness andovercrowding of the room does not lead to favorable conditions. Quarrelingand wrangling will very frequently arise as a result. In these circumstances,people do not live with one another, they press against one another. Everyargument, even the most trifling, which in a spacious apartment can be reconciledby a mild segregation, thus solving itself, here leads to loathsome wranglingwithout end. Among the children, of course, this is still bearable; theyalways fight under such circumstances, and among themselves they quicklyand thoroughly forget about it. But if this battle is carried on betweenthe parents themselves, and almost every day in forms which for vulgarityoften leave nothing to be desired, then, if only very gradually, the resultsof such visual instruction must ultimately become apparent in the children.The character the) will inevitably assume if this mutual quarrel takes theform of brutal attacks of the father against the mother, of drunken beatings,is hard for anyone who does not know this milieu to imagine. At the ageof six the pitiable little boy suspects the existence of things which caninspire even an adult with nothing but horror. Morally poisoned, physicallyundernourished, his poor little head full of lice, the young 'citizen' goesoff to public school. After a great struggle he may learn to read and write,but that is about all. His doing any homework is out of the question. Onthe contrary, the very mother and father, even in the presence of the children,talk about his teacher and school in terms which are not fit to be repeated,and are more inclined to curse the latter to their face than to take theirlittle offspring across their knees and teach them some sense. All the otherthings that the little fellow hears at home do not tend to increase hisrespect for his dear fellow men. Nothing good remains of humanity, no institutionremains unassailed; beginning with his teacher and up to the head of thegovernment, whether it is a question of religion or of morality as such,of the state or society, it is all the same, everything is reviled in themost obscene terms and dragged into the filth of the basest possible outlook.When at the age of fourteen the young man is discharged from school, itis hard to decide what is stronger in him: his incredible stupidity as faras

any real knowledge and ability are concerned, or the corrosive insolenceof his behavior, combined with an immorality, even at this age, which wouldmake your hair stand on end

  What position can this man-to whom even now hardly anythingis holy, who, just as he has encountered no greatness conversely suspectsand knows all the sordidness of life- occupy in the life into which he isnow preparing to emerge?

  The three-year-old child has become a fifteen-year-old despiserof all authority. Thus far, aside from dirt and filth, this young man hasseen nothing which might inspire him to any higher enthusiasm.

  But only now does he enter the real university of this existence.

  Now he begins the same life which all along his childhood yearshe has seen his father living. He hangs around the street corners and bars,coming home God knows when; and for a change now and then he beats the broken-downbeing which was once his mother, curses God and the world, and at lengthis convicted of some particular offense and sent to a house of correction.

  There he receives his last polish.

  And his dear bourgeois fellow men are utterly amazed at thelack of 'national enthusiasm' in this young 'citizen.'

  Day by day, in the theater and in the movies, in backstairsliterature and the yellow press, they see the poison poured into the peopleby bucketfuls, and then they are amazed at the low 'moral content,' the'national indifference,' of the masses of the people.

  As though trashy films, yellow press, and such-like dung could.furnish the foundations of a knowledge of the greatness of our fatherland!-quiteaside from the early education of the individual.

  What I had never suspected before, I quickly and thoroughlylearned in those years:

  The question of the 'nationalization' of a people is, amongother things, primarily a question of creating healthy social conditionsas a foundation for the possibility of educating the individual. For only those who through school and upbringing learn to know the cultural, economic,but above all the political, greatness of their own fatherland can and unitachieve the inner pride in the privilege of being a member of such a people.And I can fight only for something that I love, love only what I respect, and respect only what I at least know.

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler: Chapters Below.

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