Author: Adolf Hitler
Source: Liberty, Art, Nationhood (1935)
Nuremberg, September 16, 1935
FELLOW MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL SOCIALIST PARTY:
What time could be more appropriate than this week of our National Socialist Congress to pause for a moment and, lifting our eyes above the events and phenomena that take place within the narrow limits of the present, cast a glance back at the past and forward into the future? For no matter how profound may be the impressions we shall bring away from the sights we have been witnessing during these days, the most enduring and inspiring of all will still be the phenomenon of the nation manifesting itself before our eyes. Under no other circumstances and at no other epoch in our lives can this phenomenon appear to us in a more impressive way or in a manner more suitable for our contemplation. Each one of us must have felt, as these hundreds of thousands marched past, that they could not be thought of as so many individuals living in the present but rather as a timeless symbol of the vitality of our people, coming down to us from the past and stretching away into the future. They are the vessels of Germany's historical existence.
In their radiant youth you see the visible sign of the enduring vitality of our race. In these hundreds of thousands who marched before us we felt the exuberant throb of the indomitable will to live. Thus it was that our people trod its way down through the centuries. We need only to close our eyes for a moment to hear the march past of those who have come from the grey dawn of history and are of our blood. And we believe too that we hear the echo of their footfalls far away in the distant future.
This sublime demonstration of the everlasting endurance of our people suggests that we ought to consider a question which is entirely above the passing interest of the day or the time and carries with it a lasting significance. It is this:—
How is it possible that this people, which seems to march past with so sure and firm a step, has so often lost the right road in the course of its history? Are the bitter experiences through which the German nation has lived only the result of inability to master the problems of life ? Or is the cause to be attributed to a lack of courage, a habit of faltering when sacrifices were demanded or in an absence of that faculty which is necessary when great decisions have to be made?
Perhaps there is not another people in the world that has had to show more courage for the maintenance of its national existence than the German people. Destiny has not demanded from any other nation sacrifices heavier and more bitter than our sacrifices have been. Our people have taken upon themselves the burden of decisions that rank with the most daring ever made by human beings. We ourselves happen to be among those whom Destiny selected to witness tragic sacrifices of blood, indomitable courage on the part of the living, a stoic spirit of immolation on the part of those destined to death, the immense courage and strength of will displayed in the decisions of our great military leaders. No. On the altar whereon God has tested His peoples no other people have laid heavier sacrifices than ours. And yet we ourselves have had occasion to realise how small the historical valuation of this has been. Compared to the successes obtained by other peoples, the results which have been achieved in the bitter fight for Germany's destiny are profoundly deplorable. Acknowledging that fact, objectively and without any illusion, we are bound to investigate the causes of it, for the sake of the future of our people.
For such a phenomenon cannot be explained away simply by referring its cause to the lack of great men, no more than the achievements of other nations can be attributed to an unbroken succession of geniuses in their midst. No. The most profound cause of the historical failure of our people must be referred to a lack of inner cohesion which, unfortunately, has only too often been manifested, and therewith a weakness in the attitude and stand of the nation towards other peoples. At the same time the cause must also be partly attributed to a haphazard and necessarily defective construction of our statal constitution. The investigation of the historical genesis of our people leads to unpleasant discoveries.
At the time when the Germans made their first historical appearance in such a manner as to be discernible to us, their descendants, they certainly were a large family related to one another by common ties of blood, but they did not yet look upon themselves or feel themselves as a people. In their traditions, their habits of living and in their speech, the German tribes of that early age were so different from one another that only a few specially gifted heroes perceived the possibility, and then only as a faraway dream, of bringing the various racial tribes together into a national unit, even though only on a political basis.
For us who, even in 1933, have had to struggle against tribal and regional ideas, against inherited traditions and ways of thinking, is it any cause for wonder that the effort which was made by a Cheruscan Prince to unite the German tribes was successful only while all the tribes found themselves faced by an extreme danger which threatened them all alike?
The community of blood existing among those German tribes might have dominated the outlook of many individuals among them in times when they found themselves threatened from outside; but these failed almost entirely to realise that the community of blood was a natural and positive basis of union and that a general union of all the tribes was necessary for their mutual preservation. Among them there was neither a spiritual bond of union nor a political one of an organic kind which might outweigh the instinct of tribal solidarity. We know that the first attempt at German unity, of which history has left us any traces, failed even during the lifetime of the heroic leaders who had made it. But the fact is very seldom realised that in the mêlée of the great migrations, barely 300 years later, history no longer presents any definite traces of the single factors which constituted that first German union.
From these facts we can deduce the following truth: namely, that the welding together of the German tribes of that time into a nation could not be carried out by an attempt to create a consciousness of folk solidarity and could not even be carried out merely by awakening a general wish for that end. The only way in which national unity could be achieved was by means of an effort to constitute a statal organisation with quite other purposes in view. This meant that the first unification of German individuals in a German State could be effected only through the suppression of particularist tribal ideas and traditions and modes of living. But that in turn must necessarily have, given rise to a spirit of antagonism between the State and the several racial branches; for until the Germans had ceased to live under the dominating influence of their tribal consciousness they could not become the conscious members of a homogeneous national organism. This was a painful process and lasted over several centuries. Innumerable individual talents and valuable tribal traditions were sacrificed in the effort. One may regret the loss in individual cases; but the march of history is inexorable. In order to unite dozens of German tribes in a homogeneous German nation, a more or less ruthless suppression of particularist elements was necessary, Thousands of victims had to be sacrificed. Valuable traditions disappeared, because they were bound to disappear in that ruthless unifying process.
But it would be an error to bewail the particularist religious and political sacrifices involved in that progressive movement towards the formation of a German nation. What disappeared during those centuries had to disappear. And it would mean starting from a false viewpoint if one desired to analyse the motives of those first leaders who brought the German tribes under one statal organisation and presented them to us for the first time in their history as a homogeneous German people. Providence, which willed that from the German tribes a German people should be evolved, made use of these men as the efficient instruments of such a process. Who would dare to analyse the inner spirit, the ideas and spiritual driving forces, of those great German Emperors who were ruthless in their fight against tribal claims?, because their chief aim was to bring the divided German race into a great and homogeneous organic unit, must also be looked upon as providential that there were then two factors at hand which helped towards German unity and without which a German State could not have been established or a German nation created, at least not within so short a period of time. But it must be remembered that when the German people as such first appeared on the historical field of vision they were already, as vital organisms, on the point of reaching the maximum of their strength, their vitality and their powers bf expansion. The long duration of this preliminary stage m the evolution of our people is too often left out of account. We certainly cannot conceive of the foundation of the German State without realising that the States which had existed in the pre-Christian classical era were present as prototypes in the mind of Europe at this particular stage of history. Without these models and without the common ground of union which was found in the spiritual teachings of Christianity, the formation of a German State at that era cannot be imagined. Were it not for those factors the destiny of Europe and indeed the rest of the world, as far as concerns the white races, was then unthinkable and even today we could not picture it to ourselves.
In contrast to the strongly divergent tendencies of the various German tribes, Christianity supplied a unifying principle which organised them in the first community in which they were in anyway conscious of a common destiny and which also had an outward and visible form for them. Thus it furnished a religious and philosophical basis on which it was possible to organise those tribes into a political State. But this State was not and could not have been of a thoroughly homogeneous character; because in the very substance of it there remained those tribal divergencies. But the historical course which was actually taken was necessary if those innumerable German clans were finally to be formed into a unit which could be called the German people. It was only by first bringing them together on this common basis, which was both religious and political, that the particularist tribal traditions could be gradually softened and. rendered amenable as constructive elements in the new racial community, wherein the blood relationship existing between the tribes was the most profound factor of cohesion and solidarity. The birth of nations is a painful process just as every other birth. Why should we accuse history of having followed the way which Providence had chosen, simply because it did not reach its ends so readily as we should have wished? During the long stages of German national evolution the conflicts between the statal idea and the statal aims, on the one side, and the rivalries of tribal kinship on the other was an inevitable phase of development. In itself it was regrettable. But such a conflict could not possibly have been avoided as long. as the people could not divest themselves of their tribal allegiances for the sake of a broader national unity. This latter ideal impressed itself only by slow stages on the popular sentiment; but it eventually came to be looked upon as something natural and necessary. The men who were the active leaders in this historical process were the instruments of that Providence which had ordained that we Germans should become one people.
Two main factors stand out clear above the confused circumstances of those times. The first factor is Christianity, which supplied the religious and moral plane on which the German tribes could be brought together in a higher unity. What had to disappear did disappear; because our people had to develop into a distinctly defined and powerful and much larger political organisation than those various tribal entities which constituted only a confused and incoherent mass. Only thus could racial unity be attained. The second factor was the monarchical principle. This was brought to light by the example of the ancient States. It led to the abolition of the former dukedoms and developed a social organism more adequate and more stable.
For many centuries it was on this dual foundation — religion and the monarchy — that the German tribes were organised as a State; that is to say, in an external political way. But before reaching this stage innumerable victims were sacrificed in the process; and the dispossessed and conquered had to suffer a hard fate. But out of all the errors and tribulations, through the flux and reflux of the centuries, the German nation was born. Then, when the religious crisis overwhelmed the German people and Christianity began to break up into denominations, the religious element that had been one of the foundations on which the German State rested began to weaken and give way more and more in favour of the other foundation. The moral and religious foundations became confused and the political form of the purely statal organisation came more and more definitely into prominence. The final result of this change found its expression in the absolute monarchy. But this did not last long before a process of decadence set in here also. For, after Christianity broke up into conflicting denominations which disintegrated the religious foundation of the State, the spirit of the French Revolution undermined the monarchical foundation.
The Ferment of Decomposition - to use the expression which Mommsen applied to Judaism — began to appropriate the idea of a social conscience based on the racial bond and transformed it into an illogical and noxious contradiction, which finally took the form of Marxist socialism. The break-up of the monarchical system, and therewith of the State as a purely organising force, was effected by way of the formalist parliamentary democracy. The participation of the Christian denominations also in this democratic parliamentary system, and even their descent into the political arena where the forces of anarchy were at work, did not hinder the process of dissolution. But Christianity suffered irreparable damage thereby. For whoever took part in political life under these circumstances became, willingly or unwillingly, the ally of international Marxism and helped thereby to dismember the structure of the State, which had been founded and developed on quite different principles. Collaboration of any kind whatsoever on this plane signified adherence to the line of action which brought about the dissolution. It amounted to an approval of deeds and methods and procedures which were false in their very essence and profoundly illogical from the German standpoint, and were therefore such as could bring only ruin to the State and the Nation. The parliamentary monarchy, democratic and constitutional, or the parliamentary and the democratic republic, were in practice impossible for Germany and therefore had to collapse sooner or later.
Anyhow it is impossible to organise a community on a basis consisting of two or three principles that are mutually and irreconcilably opposed. It is impossible to make universal equality a principle of political life and at the same time establish the principle of differentiation between individual values as the basis of economic life. It is impossible to base the administration of the army on the principle of personal responsibility and at the same time conduct the affairs of state on the principles of parliamentary democracy, which means the abnegation of individual responsibility. It was impossible to wipe out diversity in the variety of talents with which the individual is endowed and impossible to obliterate the influences which such talents have created in the political field, while at the same time acknowledging this diversity in the economic field and its consequent repercussion on the system of private property. This discordance between the ground principles which formed the basis of the parliamentary and democratic Reich explains its precarious and vacillating attitude and its indecision in face of the dangers which threatened it.
Here the tactics of Marxist Socialism had a decisive effect. These tactics aimed at eliminating the most important and fundamental principles of national and political morality and supplanting them with more concrete ideas. In this way the asocial criminal became absolved of all blame or disgrace and elevated as a member of the new community. High treason became a virtue and the traitor was not looked down upon. If cowardice in the face of the enemy be glorified, then the coward is transformed into a hero. If theft be looked upon as the taking back of something that was unjustly expropriated at a former date, then the thief is promoted as one of the creators of the new social order. Where the murderer is declared to be such only because of the peculiar non-social bent of his nature, society must logically look upon him only as the unfortunate victim of circumstances. In this way every virtue becomes a vice and vice itself is transformed into a new ideal.
In face of this attack, directed by Bolshevic Jews, the democratic State wavered and finally succumbêd almost automatically, being powerless to defend itself. The monarchy also failed to defend itself; and so did the Christian denominations as well. All these institutions proved themselves incapable of withstanding the new methods of aggression. The fact that several other States have not yet succumbed to this attack is no argument against what I have stated; because such historical processes often need a long period to reach their ultimate results. From this downfall the only rescue that has taken place is that which sprang from the depths of the conscience of the people and has developed new principles and new forms of defence.
This defence could not have been successful if it had been confined to purely passive measures. It could not hope finally to master the Bolshevic forces of destruction until it positively reorganised the national life and the form of the State on principles that were entirely unassailable. If we are to take a proper and correct view of national problems it is necessary first of all that we should have firm ground under our feet as a standpoint for forming a general estimation of the questions before us. No matter how one looks upon the world, it is the standpoint of the onlooker that is essential. Now, the starting point of the National Socialist teaching is not the State but the People. This means that, in order to control and judge and correct the exterior forms in which national life is organically incorporated, we must understand the end, to which these forms are only so many means. Therefore National Socialists believe that the nucleus of all these problems must be sought in that living substance which, in virtue of its historical evolution, we can call the German People.
Two thousand years ago this people did not exist as one racial entity. For that reason it was on other foundations that the first German statal formations were grounded. But today this people has become an historical and actual reality, so that for the first time we can make a clear distinction between end and means. The people constitute the real and enduring element. Therefore the people are the end we must have in view throughout all our work. The resolve to safeguard and maintain the existence of this people is our sole guiding motive in forming and executing our plans. If we forget this, then our plans and ideas will be valueless and ineffective, no matter how grandly conceived they may be.
It is just in the same way that religious beliefs have no practical significance unless they help to preserve and maintain human existence in a worthy form. For once the people have failed and died out their religious beliefs and their political institutions cannot remain as everlasting realities.
Every time a people disappears it brings down with it into the grave its political and religious institutions and the ideas which inspired them. But in life, as in history, it often happens that what are only means to an end gradually come to be considered as ends in themselves. It is probable that the priests of the Aztecs and Incas, for example, believed and declared that those ancient Mexican people had been created for the priests themselves and their teachings. But when those people disappeared from the world nothing remained of their priests or their religious beliefs. If Bolshevism should succeed today in exterminating certain nations nothing would remain of their religious conceptions, their institutions of state, their moral principles or any of their organisations. When Providence created man He made him and his maintenance the end of every human activity. The original and natural aim of every ideal and every public institution can only be to maintain healthy and intact that physical and moral substance which the nation has received from God. This initial truth must be realised as a preliminary to judging the significance of a other matters connected with the people, and it must be taken as the abstract criterion of whether certain measures be the correct ones. This means that they must be judged according as they are helpful for the conservation of the people or if there is danger of their effect being harmful and perhaps destructive. Once we have clearly understood and recognised the fact that life itself is a constant struggle and striving, the duty which devolves on each one of us is to secure the conditions on which we can carry on that struggle successfully.
If the National Socialist Party is to be an efficient means to attain the ends which it has proposed to itself, then it must first of all be able to supply the political leadership of the nation with that elite which in all other spheres of life arises spontaneously from a process of natural selection and plays its part as a factor of leadership. Consciously or unconsciously, the professions choose their membership according to talent. What we call a choice of career is only the selection which the career itself makes by attracting towards itself precisely those individuals that have the aptitude for the discharge of its functions. The best consolidated German institution of the past was that which practised the most rigorous selection—I mean the Army. Just as the Army is consciously recruited by a method of selecting those men who have an inner aptitude for the military profession, in the same way the Party ought to recruit and train those elements of the nation which have an aptitude for political leadership. But this aptitude is not conditioned by wealth or education or birth etc., just as little as military talents are dependent on the various kinds of bourgeois qualifications.
The sole determining factor is the inner mental equipment and the corresponding natural inclination. These constitute what is called a vocation. Just as the Army is the centre of attraction for military vocations and the school in which such talents are trained and developed, so the Party must attract political ability, giving to the various political talents their suitable station and function and in this way affording them the possibility of being developed and perfected. Thus the Party and the Army must necessarily be socialist institutions, in the truest sense, inasmuch as they are not organised or directed according to any capitalist considerations but based exclusively on the aptitude of the individual to serve the nation. Therefore they must always be aware that the supreme law of their being is that they must attract the highest talent and place it in the position that is best suited to it. Therefore the Army and the Party are manifestations of a democracy which really merits that name. They represent a democracy which does not place power in the hands of incapable people through the parliamentary game of voting lists and secret ballots, thus throwing a dead weight on the shoulders of the community. Our Army and Party serve the interests of the commonweal, inasmuch as they discharge the great responsibility of selecting through their own institutions the most capable persons for the respective spheres of life and leadership.
Though the Army be in itself a closed corporation, it has a wider duty to discharge than the mere military leadership of the nation; for it also has to educate the people in their military duties, training them and perfecting their capacities for this purpose. So too the political Party must not be content with the mere conduct of its organisation as such. It has a further responsibility. This responsibility is the political leadership of the nation, so that the nation may understand our conception of national defence and so that we may thus attract into the inner circles of the party organisation those citizens who give proof of political talent and whom Providence has obviously called to take their part in the task of leadership. The idea of self-defence, and therewith of compulsory military service, finds its organisation and realisation in the Army. The National Socialist idea has its centre of attraction in the Party. The Party represents the political conscience and the political will The function of the Party primarily consists in establishing and maintaining a leadership of the people in every department of public life. The aim of this leadership is to mould the people in accordance with the political beliefs and principles of National Socialism. In doing this it must endeavour to create a political tradition among the people and an organised political system that will function naturally and permanently. Therefore, in fulfilling its historical mission, it must examine the inner racial substance of our people, studying it in all its good qualities as well as in its defects, and finally draw practical rules of action from the knowledge thus obtained. Among these practical rules and principles are: —
1. In the light of the knowledge gained from the analysis I have mentioned, the Party must lay down and define the chief ends which have to be kept in view and followed in the whole ensemble of national effort, throughout every branch of public life.
2. It must endeavour to bring the actual trends of public life into harmony with the lines of action which must necessarily be followed, inasmuch as these lines are indicated by the conditions that are inherent in the character of our people.
3. In order to carry out this task, the Party must have full belief and confidence in itself and must not allow itself to be deflected from its line of action by any criticism or doubts as to the correctness of the undertaking on which it is engaged. From the very fact that it has been brought into existence as an historical manifestation, it is its duty to act thus; and from the success of its action will come the a posteriori justification. Experience proves that history denies its sanction only to him who was too weak in character to go through with his work, or else was incapable and therefore unqualified to undertake it. God continues to bestow His grace only on him who continues to merit it. But whoever speaks and acts in the name of a people, which is a part of God's handiwork, will continue to discharge his mandate only so long as he does not sin against the existence or future of this part of God's creation that has been entrusted to his care. For that reason it is always well that the conquest of power should be the result of a hard struggle. What has proved difficult to gain will generally be all the more bravely defended. And the more stable a political regime is, the more beneficial it is to the welfare of a people.
If it be the task of the Party to build up an organisation from which the political élite of the nation will continue to be drawn in the future, as from a permanent source of supply, then it must see that the government of the country is carried along on fixed and definite lines, in agreement with a firmly established system of political principles. Therefore the historical mission of the Party is to see that within its own organisation the prerequisite conditions are present for the training of a future elite corps who will take over political and administrative leadership. The Party must also remember: 1. that every German must be educated in the National Socialist philosophy, 2. that the best National Socialists will become members of the Party, and finally that only the best Party members will be promoted to the work of statal administration. From within its own organisation, therefore, the Party must supply the German State with the men who will in future fill the higher administrative offices. Accordingly the Party must always continue to educate National Socialists for the service of the National Socialist State. Thus the respective missions of the State and the Party are clearly defined. The function of the State is to carry on the traditional administration of public institutions within the juridical framework and with the help of the laws. The Party must do the following:—
1. It must construct and consolidate its own internal organisation and make it an impregnible and enduring shrine of National Socialist doctrine.
2. It must educate the entire nation along the fines of that doctrine,
3. It must place the individuals thus educated at the disposal of the State, so that they may eventually may become leaders and also faithful servants. Moreover, the principle of mutual respect and recognition of mutual rights must be upheld.
That is the goal we have in view.
Of course we are still engaged in liquidating a revolution—the National Socialist Revolution. This means that the assumption of political power will be gradually put into full force by taking over the leadership of the State. Such a process demands a long transitional period. Owing to the impossibility of immediately and completely overcoming the widespread corruption caused by the former party system, it has become necessary carefully to supervise certain institutions here and there, where National Socialist principles have not yet struck firm root. In cases, therefore, where certain branches of statal administration do not function according to National Socialist principles, the Party may have to warn those concerned and it may be compelled to act even in a corrective manner. This form of correction can be exercised today only by those statal organs which already have members of the Party in office and by the purely National Socialist State institutions.
The ultimate aim should be to furnish the future national and state administrations exclusively with National Socialists. This may be done by instructing and educating the masses through the National Socialist Party channels. Thus National Socialism will come to be the philosophical basis of existence for the Reich and its statal organisations. We have to be uncompromising in regard to our philosophical beliefs and principles, if we are to preserve them sound and intact. In other words, the justness of the concepts and practical policy of National Socialism must be advocated and asserted under all possible circumstances.
He who undertakes an historical mission must be prepared to submit to rigorous principles. We must remember that in its internal composition our nation is not entirely homogeneous. This is an additional reason why rigorous principles and an iron determination are necessary in order to weld it into a unified body that will have the quality of internal resistance under all circumstances and at the same time be politically efficient.
Just as the pathological pacifist cannot understand the severity and selectivity of Prussian education in the Army, so there are many people today who cannot see why it should be necessary for National Socialism to be so absolutely intransigent. But intransigence in this case really means profound conviction of being in the right and accordingly a very lively sense of responsibility.
Sometimes the objection is made that such a characteristic is foreign to the German nature. That charge is nonsensical. In this respect the question at issue is not what may or may not be alien to the German character but what is actually in the best interests of the German people. When he first enters the army, it is difficult for the raw recruit blindly to carry out orders whose purpose he does not understand. But the army system of training is beneficial to the whole and thereby to the individual recruit.
When an organisation feels assured that its personnel consists only of selected men of proved ability to carry out the duties confided to them, then that organisation has the right to lay down the guiding principles for the fulfilment of its mission.
It is certainly more in accord with the character of the German people, more advantageous to it and more becoming, to be consolidated uniformly and efficiently in a political movement which insists that all shall work together towards definite and fixed ends, rather than to be at the mercy of a system wherein each individual is allowed to follow his own whims and likings, thus ruining personal talents by having them dispersed in a thousand directions, with the result that finally the whole population is at the mercy of the stronger Power—which is stronger because it has an internal consistency—and finally will have to bow to the will of the stranger.
Every German ought to think over that truth. The National Socialist Party has performed an epic achievement. Not the leaders of industry, the professors and the academic classes, nor the soldiers or artists or philosophers or poets—it was not these who rescued our people from the abyss. That rescue was carried out only by the political army of the National Socialist movement. Today we are witnessing merely the initial stages of the consequences which have followed from that work. Its full significance can be appreciated only by the generations that come after us.
Though everything else disappears, the Party will remain. It is indeed a marvellous thing that the German people have secured for themselves the great support of this powerful authoritative force which is embodied in the Movement. There is a large number of keen-sighted men abroad who would be happy if their respective nations had an authoritative political organisation so firmly grounded as that which Germany has today. Such an organisation exists only in a very few other States. The uncertainty and confusion of the times in which we live are increasing. For that reason this institution of ours is all the more valuable, inasmuch as it has restored to the people those clear and precise principles which have enabled them to cope with the gravest problems of the present time and solve new difficulties which former regimes had failed to solve.
In the millions of its citizens who are organised on the basis of one philosophical and political system of thought and who act in common and uniformly on the principles dictated by that system, the German nation has found an impregnable bulwark. A standpoint has been discovered and established which will be decisive for centuries to come. In the profound reasonableness of this fundamental idea will be found the source of all future interpretations which will have to be made as circumstances arise and thus too this world-concept may be enlarged and supplemented without running the danger of becoming disintegrated. Because this concept of ours is still fresh and is only in the first stages of its development, it is all the more necessary that the authority of the Party should be recognised as the supreme arbiter in all individual applications. Whoever does not fully appreciate this necessity is incapable of thinking in an historical, creative and constructive way.
Perhaps it will be easier to understand all this if we draw an analogy from the example of the army. The wish and desire for self-assertion, and therewith the determination to defend one's own life, exist in some form or other in the profound depths of every man's being. But this instinct of preservation cannot be exercised practically and effectively except under the disciplined direction which is given by the living organisation of the army. Only such an organisation can prevent the instinct of self-preservation which exists in all men from degenerating into a confused struggle between opinions and views that are mutually antagonistic. The army subdues the savage will of the individual and makes it part of an indomitable collective will. Especially when there are changing and conflicting opinions on the necessity of a war, or the meaning of a plan of campaign, the nature of the war itself, or the manner in which it is being waged, then it is all the more necessary that there should be one inflexible leadership of the army and one line of conduct, to offset these dangerous and destructive forces.
Now, during the first period when the National Socialist system of political thought and principles is being put into practice there will naturally be individuals who will have their own opinions and their own suggestions and would like to have their own policies adopted. At such a juncture it is imperatively necessary to guard against this multifarious inrush of opinions and deductions. That can be done only if the Party imposes its leadership with a strong and, if necessary, a severe hand and insists upon blind obedience to its own authority. This is in the highest interests of the nation and consequently it is the supreme duty of all those who have the nation's interests at heart and are ready to defend them.
There is no question here of fallibility or infallibility. A divisional army general, or the leader of an army corps, and least of all the private soldier, is not allowed to have his own views and give his own interpretations of an order that has been issued from headquarters; so too when a certain direction is mapped out by political leaders the individual cannot excuse himself for taking isolated action on the pretence that his ideas are more correct than those of the Party or of the orders given. The Party as such must insist that its decisions concerning the political leadership of the people are alone valid. It is absolutely necessary that in its own ranks this principle should be followed with scrupulous devotion. In other words, just as the Party insists that the people should follow its will, in like manner internal submission to the decisions of the Party, on the part of its members, is the inexorable law of its being.
There can be no dispensation of the obedience due to this principle. Whoever violates it, no matter what position he may hold, violates a principle which protected himself and thus renders it invalid for him. Whoever is unfaithful to this principle, no matter in what position, cannot expect that it will be upheld and obeyed in his regard by other members of the Party. That is the profound meaning of the old German proverb which says that infidelity destroys its own master. Therefore it is entirely out of the question to exact from the body of the people a greater degree of respect and obedience to the orders of the Party than the members of the Party give to their own superiors.
Apropos of this, I must categorically protest against that phrase which is so often heard in bourgeois circles, namely. "The Führer, yes; but the Party, that is another matter." No, gentlemen. The Führer is the Party and the Party is the Führer. Just as I feel myself only as a part of the Party, the party feels itself only as a part of me. I do not know when the time may come for me to close my eyes, but the Party will continue to exist. That I know. Above all individuals the weak as well as the strong, the Party will continue successfully to shape the future of the German nation. That I believe and know.
The Party guarantees stability of political direction to the people and the Reich. Through its own stability it guarantees the necessary authority for the leadership of the Reich. It is on this firm ground that the constitution of the German Reich has been based. As the founder and protagonist of the politico-philosophical principles on which the Movement rests and as the supreme master of German destinies, it is the mission of the Party to supply the Führer for the Nation and therefore for the Reich. The more firmly this principle is established an maintained, as natural and indispensable, the stronger will Germany be. The Army, which represents and organically incorporates the defensive forces of our people, must maintain towards the Führer, whom the Party gives to the Nation, fidelity and obedience among the military forces and must always hold these forces at his disposal. For, according to the proclamation of every new Führer, he is the ruler of the Party, the supreme head of the Reich and the commander-in-chief of the Defence Force.
If these principles continue to be the indestructible foundation on which the Nation and the structure of the Reich rests, then Germany can hold her head against all future storms. These two leading factors in the structure of the new Reich must always bear in mind the truth that only when united and working together will they be equal to their tasks. The Party gives the Nation into the hands of the Army. The Nation gives its soldiers to the Army. Thus the two together give to the German Reich the assurance of internal peace and the strength to maintain itself.
As Führer of the Reich and the Nation, I can still give my help and my advice. But principles must be above personal contingencies and be permanent. Führers will come and Führers will pass away; but Germany must live. Yet Germany can live only if it maintain itself on the grounds I have mentioned. One day we shall all be judged by the nature and historical stability of the work we are now doing.
We, my comrades and my co-leaders of the people and the Army, have been marked by Destiny to be makers of history in the highest sense of that term. Providence has given us what has been withheld from millions of men. In looking back on our work, future ages will still remember us. The most striking feature of our work and the most remarkable for posterity will be the fact that, in an epoch of general disloyalty and treason, it was possible at that time in Germany to form a union and weld together a band of followers whose loyalty is incomparable. And we know that a page of the world's history will be consecrated to us, as the men who came from the ranks of the National Socialist Party and the Army and built up and consolidated the new German Reich. Then in the Pantheon of History we shall stand side by side, associated for ever in loyal comradeship, as in the time of our great struggle and its great triumph.
My Party Comrades:
Our Seventh Party Congress is coming to a close. Deeply impressed by these events, the hundreds of thousands of our combatants are about to return to their everyday life, which is also a combat. They will find themselves armed with new courage, new stamina and restrengthened powers of decision. They will reflect on these historical days and hours, and they will once again enjoy in perspective the social hours spent with their old fighting friends and the young guard that has mustered here. In this fortunate moment we greet our German people and our glorious National Socialist Movement.
Long live the National Socialist Party, our German people, the Reich and the Army!