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What do we know of Hitler's acts and attitudes towards those people he knew in his childhood and youth after he rose to power? For example, his World War One comrades? Did they receive and attention or rise to serve as high ranking officials in the army? What about those who denied him admission to the arts school, did he take vengeance on them? What about his family? Did they receive any special status?
The case of Eduard Bloch is relevant if untypical in humanity considering Hitler's character:
Eduard Bloch (30 January 1872 - 1 June 1945) was a Jewish-Austrian doctor practicing in Linz (Austria). Until 1907 Bloch was the doctor of Adolf Hitler's family. Hitler later gave Bloch special protection after the Nazi annexing of Austria…
The sixty-six-year-old Bloch wrote a letter to Hitler asking for help and was as a consequence put under special protection by the Gestapo. He was the only Jew in Linz with this status. Bloch stayed in his house with his wife undisturbed until the formalities for his emigration to the United States were completed…
In 1940 Bloch emigrated and lived in the Bronx…
August Kubizek is another individual with whom Hitler seemed to have sustained some bonds of friendship. I've read about him in Brigitte Hamann's Hitler's Vienna: A Portrait of the Tyrant as a Young Man, which perhaps is a very good overall source on the topic.
It was Adolf Hitler who, at the age of eighteen, successfully persuaded Kubizek's father to let his son go to the metropolis to attend the [Vienna Conservatory]. This, Kubizek wrote, changed the course of his life for good…
Kubizek saw Hitler for the last time on 23 July 1940, although as late as 1944 Hitler sent Kubizek's mother a food basket for her 80th birthday…
When the tide began to turn against Hitler's favour, Kubizek, who had avoided politics all his life, became a member of the NSDAP in 1942 as a gesture of loyalty to his friend.
Hitler was not particularly patronizing, but he definitely supported people he liked from his early life. For example, as a young man he reportedly had an affair with a French girl named Charlotte Lobjoie by whom he had a son, and she told her son that Hitler always sent her money.
Hitler was kind of a loner, so he didn't have many friends when he was young. His best friend, August Kubizek, he fell out of touch with during the War, but in the 1930s they were briefly reacquainted and he offered him a valuable position and money to educate his children. If you are interested in Hitler's personality you might want to read Kubizek's book.
Hitler was way too idealistic to hold petty grudges. He viewed himself as the savior of the German people. His mind was filled with delusions of grandeur, not revenge fantasies.
Besides the physician, I believe Hitler's WW1 commanding officer (for a short time) was a baptized Jew named Hess who received temporary special treatment that may or may not have been the result of direct intercession by Hitler.
A non-Jew, a woman named Stefanie, was someone Hitler had had a crush on in his youth and she was surprised to discover that the Fuhrer had felt this way. He sent her gifts while in power but they never met.
Thomas Weber's book 'Hitler's First War' says the following (in summary, I am not quoting the book directly):
After a short stint in a combat role early in the First Battle of Ypres in late 1914, in the last phase of the mobile war before the trench lines were fully formed, Hitler then spent the rest of the war as a dispatch carrier attached to the headquarters of his regiment (16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry, also called the List Regiment), in at least comparative safety and comfort compared to the front line infantry in the trenches.
Whether he made truly close friends is questionable, but on his way to power and in power Hitler retained links with and did promote some of his fellow dispatch runners and the sergeant who had commanded them from his days with the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry 1914-18, some of whom in turn became loyal Nazis.
The fact that Hitler spent most of the war as a regimental dispatch carrier had significant consequences. First, he and most of his colleagues survived the war: he never experienced the attrition or destruction of the group of men he closely served with, as front line soldiers did, sometimes repeatedly. Second, he and his fellow headquarters staff with their cushier billets in villages behind the front line were never much liked by the front line troops. The only time Hitler attended a regimental reunion after the war he found he was not popular and did not attend again.
The Psychology of Dictators: Power, Fear, and Anxiety
Mao Zedong addresses a group of workers. He survived assassination attempts which may have given rise to anxiety and paranoia.
Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong (or Tse-tung), Josef Stalin, Pol Pot &ndash names such as these haunt our cultural imaginations. These men were, by all available accounts, totalitarian dictators, who sought to maintain complete control over their respective governments and populations through radical methods, including the systematic murder and imprisonment of all who stood against them 1-4 . In some cases, the terror they wielded helped them maintain power for years and emblazoned their names into our history books forever. Each of the names listed above is responsible for more than a million deaths, and even those citizens who were fortunate to have survived their reign lived in persistent fear of death, forced labor, or torture.
Dictatorial leaders such as these represent the extreme potential of the human capacity for evil, and yet, despite their apparent omnipotence within their individual spheres of power, these individuals also tended to suffer from excessive anxiety &ndash mostly regarding paranoid fears of citizen uprising and/or assassination. For example:
- Saddam Hussein displayed a level of paranoia so great that he had multiple meals prepared for him across the Iraqi land each day to ensure that no one knew where he was eating. He even went as far as to employ surgically altered body doubles 5 .
- Kim Jong-il, the former leader of North Korea and the father of current leader Kim Jong-un, exhibited such an excessive fear of assassination while flying that he exclusively traveled via an armor-plated train 6 , including when he traveled as far as Moscow 7 .
- Than Shwe, a Burmese dictator, was so concerned about the tenuous nature of his rule that he once moved the capital of Burma to a remote location in the jungle without running water or electricity an extreme tactic that was spurred on by the advice of his personal astrologer 8 .
- interferes with daily life
- appears to be unusual as compared to others within a society, or
- permeates multiple areas of an individual's life &hellip
- "pervasive pattern of grandiosity"
- "need for admiration" and
- "lack of empathy 14 ."
- Eva Braun made up as jazz singer Al Jolson
- Braun sunbathing and semi-nude behind umbrella
- Hitler's long-time companion seen partying and smoking
Power and Fear
In each of these dictatorial examples, men who sought to rule with an iron fist appeared to also behave in a manner driven by a hidden, extreme, and sometimes irrational fear of what fate might befall them.
This behavior does not seem to align with what we know of dictators. Not only do such individuals wield far-reaching, real-world power, a large number of these individuals also maintained a cultural and political environment that fed grand delusions regarding their self-importance. For instance, Saddam Hussein thought of himself as the savior of the Iraqi people 5 . Muammar Gaddafi once had himself crowned the "King of Kings" of Africa 9 , and the North Korean Kim line of succession proclaimed themselves to be almost god-like 10 . Why would individuals who are so confident in their power have such severe anxiety?
One explanation is that many of these individuals were actually under constant threat of assassination. For instance, a former bodyguard to Fidel Castro said that he was aware of 638 separate attempts made on the leader's life, some of which were orchestrated by the CIA 8 . Mao Zedong survived an assassination attempt, plotted by high ranking officers within his own military 11 , and Saddam Hussein's own sons-in-law once attempted to kill his eldest son 5 . With such real and present threats, even from trusted allies, some sense of paranoia might be warranted.
Given the extremity of many dictators' fears, though, further explanation is warranted. An additional explanation of their behavioral patterns might be rooted in their individual personalities. Colloquially speaking, people often use "personality" as a synonym of how interesting a person appears to be in the eyes of onlookers, both within and from outside their respective sphere of influence. For instance, we might say that a loud comedian has "a lot of personality," whereas we might describe someone we view as boring and quiet as "lacking personality 12 ." In the psychological literature, though, personality is defined as the "enduring patterns of thinking and behavior that define the person and distinguish him or her from other people 13 ." In other words, your personality is what makes you distinct from those around you. In studying personality, psychologists can examine common traits across people and note how these traits may interact to predict behavior. In so doing, researchers can develop a better understanding of why people behave the way they do over the course of many years.
Narcissism Is A Consistent Trait
With regard to dictators, one particular trait that consistently stands out as relevant is narcissism. Narcissistic individuals have a "greatly exaggerated sense of their own importance" and are "preoccupied with their own achievements and abilities 13 ." They see themselves as "very special" people, deserving of admiration and, consequently, have difficulty empathizing with the feelings and needs of others.
When narcissism becomes extreme to the point that it:
&hellip that individual may be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, which is defined by a:
These individuals are "preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success" and "power." They believe they are unique and can only be associated with others of equally high status. Furthermore, they require excessive admiration to remain happy, possess an extreme sense of entitlement, exploit others, and are often envious of others.
Vindictiveness Is Common
Descriptions of narcissistic personality disorder seem reminiscent of what we know of dictators. Not only do dictators commonly show a "pervasive pattern of grandiosity," they also tend to behave with a vindictiveness often observed in narcissistic personality disorder. For instance, in now famous psychological experiments, researchers found that highly narcissistic individuals were more likely to try to punish those individuals who negatively evaluated their work, even when the narcissistic person believed they were administering painful electric shocks 15-16 . More recent work shows that, after a negative evaluation, narcissistic people will demonstrate greater aggression even to individuals unrelated to the feedback 17 . Such experiments can help us understand the aggressive behavior of dictators, who are known to lash out against negative evaluations 18 .
Surprisingly, narcissism could also help explain the anxious behavior displayed by dictators. Researchers have identified two forms of narcissism: grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism 19 . Though grandiose narcissism is associated with all that you might expect from a narcissist (e.g., grandiosity and aggression), vulnerable narcissism is associated with an "insecure grandiosity," which seems to produce intense defensiveness and feelings of inadequacy 20 . Such individuals are often described as being "worrying, emotional, defensive, anxious, bitter, tense, and complaining 19 ".
These components can be so extreme that narcissistic personality disorder can be misdiagnosed as borderline personality disorder, which is associated with high levels of anxiety 14 . The intensity of the emotional experiences produced by narcissism in combination with actual dangers could produce remarkable levels of anxiety, worry, and uncertainty &ndash to the point that one might actually consider moving their entire capital to the middle of a jungle based on the advice of an astrologer 8 .
Predicting Future Dictators
Given that the majority of dictators seem to be incredibly narcissistic, could we possibly use that fact to predict individuals who are likely to become dictators? That is, if we know the prominent people in an unstable country, could we predict which of those people are likely to try force their way into power and try to stop them? This question is difficult to answer. First, not all dictators come to power in a similar manner or under similar circumstances. For example, Hitler came to power after an intense propaganda campaign and copious amounts of intimidation and violence on the part of the Nazi Party 21 . Mao Zedong became dictator after serving as a successful military leader throughout a long civil war 22 . Saddam Hussein climbed his way through the Iraqi political system for years until he was able to strong arm his way into power 23 . Finally, Kim Jong-un, who by available accounts, was raised in an extremely privileged, "Western" childhood 24 also went on to exhibit the traits of a dictator.
Moreover, researchers remain uncertain as to why narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic behaviors emerge. We know that the majority of individuals diagnosed with the disorder are male 14 , and researchers speculate that certain genetic factors and parenting styles may increase the chance that someone develops the disorder. However, further research is necessary to understand whether these factors cause narcissistic personality disorder.
Combined, these factors make it incredibly difficult to predict which leaders will embody dictatorial tendencies. We simply do not fully understand the contributions of cultural, environmental, or political influences that facilitate the rise of a dictator. However, that does not mean that research into these issues is a fruitless endeavor. By better understanding the sociopolitical contexts that allow dictators to attain and maintain power and further investigating the role of personality, we may one day be able to proactively identify and attenuate dictatorial leadership prior to the emergence of their often horrific actions. In so doing, there would be the potential to save countless lives and stem the tide of years of oppression in many countries.
A Short Biography
Hitler was born in an Inn in the Austrian-Hungary border as the fourth of six children to Alois Hitler and Klara Pölzl.
For his education, Hitler joined a Catholic school, joined the church choir and even thought of being a priest when he grew up.
His father had wishes for him to join a technical school, but Hitler was more interested in the arts. This led to many arguments, bitterness and rebellion on Hitler’s part. As a result, Hitler became pro-Germany as a statement of rebellion because his father served the Austrian government.
At age 28, he was rejected by the Vienna School of Fine Arts and then the architectural school, making fulfilling his dreams of becoming an artist to be physically impossible.
Hitler developed anti-Semitism in Vienna, being influenced by the culture and the beliefs in a large way which would later bring about the horror of the Holocaust.
Hitler participated in World War I and was decorated twice for bravery. Yet he was never promoted because his leaders thought he lacked leadership abilities.
Hitler had long admired Germany and it was during the World War I that he truly became a patriot of Germany.
His rise to power came when he participated in politics after World War I. He was inserted as a spy into the German Worker’s Party (DAP), but he was impressed with the ideology of the founder Anton Drexler. The founder, who was impressed with Hitler’s oratory skills, hired him as a Party member.
Before long, he seized full control of the Party as the members of the Party realized that they couldn’t do without him because of his effectiveness in speaking to large crowds. He became the Führer of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party in 1921.
He staged an unsuccessful coup known as the Beer Hall Putsch where he tried to declare a new government by demand support from the local military at gunpoint. The police managed to stop his attempt and he almost committed suicide after running from them.
Hitler was then given unlimited time to defend himself in public. Because he was such a good speaker, he managed to rouse more national sympathy for his cause and he became more popular than ever. He ended up only serving a short time in jail.
His breakthrough came during the Great Depression, where he managed to rouse the national’s bitterness for having the pay for the cost of the war in World War I. Through a series of political plays, he was appointed Chancellor by the government in January 1933.
As Chancellor, he further secured additional power by closing down opposition parties and securing unlimited rights for himself.
Having secured supreme political power, Hitler went on to gain public support by convincing most Germans he was their savior from the economic Depression, the Versailles treaty, communism and more.
Eventually, his greed and ambition led to the initial invasion of Poland and resulting in the World War II.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE THIRD REICH
Throughout the mid-1930s Hitler successfully established a strong centralized government that exercised unlimited authority to direct the development of the Third Reich, as Hitler titled his new German empire. The state fulfilled its promises to solve Germany ’ s national crisis by guaranteeing universal employment (with the caveat that all citizens must work), extending social welfare programs including old age pensions and economic protection of mothers and children, nationalizing industry, introducing land reform, and institutionalizing the creation of physical fitness programs to promote national health and vigor. The government also solidified its political power by controlling all forms of media, forming a national army, institutionalizing a “ social contract ” that emphasized the symbiotic dutiful relationship between state and citizen (not of individuals to one another as in the Marxist model) primarily through the heavy use of propaganda, parades, and other public displays of nationalism. In addition, the state re-aligned the education system ’ s philosophical foundation to fuse “ German ” moral values of obedience and deference to authority with Hitler ’ s race doctrine and developed a legal system that defended the Nazis ’ use of terror and coercion to create a totalitarian state.
The Nazi government also worked to expose and eradicate Jews from German society. The 1935 Nuremburg Laws, which included the Reich Citizenship Act and the Act for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, enacted a number of anti-Semitic laws allowing only ethnically “ pure ” Germans citizenship rights. These acts categorically excluded Jews from civil and public service and prohibited Germans and Jews from marrying and forming other intimate relationships in order to preserve the Aryan blood line. The Nuremburg Laws were the first step in the eventual ghettoization and murder of millions of European Jews in concentration camps during World War II.
History Will Judge the Complicit
O n a cold March afternoon in 1949, Wolfgang Leonhard slipped out of the East German Communist Party Secretariat, hurried home, packed what few warm clothes he could fit into a small briefcase, and then walked to a telephone box to call his mother. “My article will be finished this evening,” he told her. That was the code they had agreed on in advance. It meant that he was escaping the country, at great risk to his life.
Though only 28 years old at the time, Leonhard stood at the pinnacle of the new East German elite. The son of German Communists, he had been educated in the Soviet Union, trained in special schools during the war, and brought back to Berlin from Moscow in May 1945, on the same airplane that carried Walter Ulbricht, the leader of what would soon become the East German Communist Party. Leonhard was put on a team charged with re‑creating Berlin’s city government.
He had one central task: to ensure that any local leaders who emerged from the postwar chaos were assigned deputies loyal to the party. “It’s got to look democratic,” Ulbricht told him, “but we must have everything in our control.”
Leonhard had lived through a great deal by that time. While he was still a teenager in Moscow, his mother had been arrested as an “enemy of the people” and sent to Vorkuta, a labor camp in the far north. He had witnessed the terrible poverty and inequality of the Soviet Union, he had despaired of the Soviet alliance with Nazi Germany between 1939 and 1941, and he knew about the Red Army’s mass rapes of women following the occupation. Yet he and his ideologically committed friends “instinctively recoiled from the thought” that any of these events were “in diametrical opposition to our Socialist ideals.” Steadfastly, he clung to the belief system he had grown up with.
The turning point, when it came, was trivial. While walking down the hall of the Central Committee building, he was stopped by a “pleasant-looking middle-aged man,” a comrade recently arrived from the West, who asked where to find the dining room. Leonhard told him that the answer depended on what sort of meal ticket he had—different ranks of officials had access to different dining rooms. The comrade was astonished: “But … aren’t they all members of the Party?”
Leonhard walked away and entered his own, top-category dining room, where white cloths covered the tables and high-ranking functionaries received three-course meals. He felt ashamed. “Curious, I thought, that this had never struck me before!” That was when he began to have the doubts that inexorably led him to plot his escape.
At exactly that same moment, in exactly the same city, another high-ranking East German was coming to precisely the opposite set of conclusions. Markus Wolf was also the son of a prominent German Communist family. He also spent his childhood in the Soviet Union, attending the same elite schools for children of foreign Communists as Leonhard did, as well as the same wartime training camp the two had shared a bedroom there, solemnly calling each other by their aliases—these were the rules of deep conspiracy—although they knew each other’s real names perfectly well. Wolf also witnessed the mass arrests, the purges, and the poverty of the Soviet Union—and he also kept faith with the cause. He arrived in Berlin just a few days after Leonhard, on another plane full of trusted comrades, and immediately began hosting a program on the new Soviet-backed radio station. For many months he ran the popular You Ask, We Answer. He gave on-air answers to listeners’ letters, often concluding with some form of “These difficulties are being overcome with the help of the Red Army.”
In August 1947, the two men met up at Wolf’s “luxurious five-roomed apartment,” not far from what was then the headquarters of the radio station. They drove out to Wolf’s house, “a fine villa in the neighborhood of Lake Glienicke.” They took a walk around the lake, and Wolf warned Leonhard that changes were coming. He told him to give up hoping that German Communism would be allowed to develop differently from the Soviet version: That idea, long the goal of many German party members, was about to be dropped. When Leonhard argued that this could not be true—he was personally in charge of ideology, and no one had told him anything about a change in direction—Wolf laughed at him. “There are higher authorities than your Central Secretariat,” he said. Wolf made clear that he had better contacts, more important friends. At the age of 24, he was an insider. And Leonhard understood, finally, that he was a functionary in an occupied country where the Soviet Communist Party, not the German Communist Party, had the last word.
Famously, or perhaps infamously, Markus Wolf’s career continued to flourish after that. Not only did he stay in East Germany, he rose through the ranks of its nomenklatura to become the country’s top spy. He was the second-ranked official at the Ministry of State Security, better known as the Stasi he was often described as the model for the Karla character in John le Carré ’s spy novels. In the course of his career, his Directorate for Reconnaissance recruited agents in the offices of the West German chancellor and just about every other department of the government, as well as at NATO.
Leonhard, meanwhile, became a prominent critic of the regime. He wrote and lectured in West Berlin, at Oxford, at Columbia. Eventually he wound up at Yale, where his lecture course left an impression on several generations of students. Among them was a future U.S. president, George W. Bush, who described Leonhard’s course as “an introduction to the struggle between tyranny and freedom.” When I was at Yale in the 1980s, Leonhard’s course on Soviet history was the most popular on campus.
Separately, each man’s story makes sense. But when examined together, they require some deeper explanation. Until March 1949, Leonhard’s and Wolf’s biographies were strikingly similar. Both grew up inside the Soviet system. Both were educated in Communist ideology, and both had the same values. Both knew that the party was undermining those values. Both knew that the system, allegedly built to promote equality, was deeply unequal, profoundly unfair, and very cruel. Like their counterparts in so many other times and places, both men could plainly see the gap between propaganda and reality. Yet one remained an enthusiastic collaborator, while the other could not bear the betrayal of his ideals. Why?
In English, the word collaborator has a double meaning. A colleague can be described as a collaborator in a neutral or positive sense. But the other definition of collaborator, relevant here, is different: someone who works with the enemy, with the occupying power, with the dictatorial regime. In this negative sense, collaborator is closely related to another set of words: collusion, complicity, connivance. This negative meaning gained currency during the Second World War, when it was widely used to describe Europeans who cooperated with Nazi occupiers. At base, the ugly meaning of collaborator carries an implication of treason: betrayal of one’s nation, of one’s ideology, of one’s morality, of one’s values.
Since the Second World War, historians and political scientists have tried to explain why some people in extreme circumstances become collaborators and others do not. The late Harvard scholar Stanley Hoffmann had firsthand knowledge of the subject—as a child, he and his mother hid from the Nazis in Lamalou-les-Bains, a village in the south of France. But he was modest about his own conclusions, noting that “a careful historian would have—almost—to write a huge series of case histories for there seem to have been almost as many collaborationisms as there were proponents or practitioners of collaboration.” Still, Hoffmann made a stab at classification, beginning with a division of collaborators into “voluntary” and “involuntary.” Many people in the latter group had no choice. Forced into a “reluctant recognition of necessity,” they could not avoid dealing with the Nazi occupiers who were running their country.
Hoffmann further sorted the more enthusiastic “voluntary” collaborators into two additional categories. In the first were those who worked with the enemy in the name of “national interest,” rationalizing collaboration as something necessary for the preservation of the French economy, or French culture—though of course many people who made these arguments had other professional or economic motives, too. In the second were the truly active ideological collaborators: people who believed that prewar republican France had been weak or corrupt and hoped that the Nazis would strengthen it, people who admired fascism, and people who admired Hitler.
Hoffmann observed that many of those who became ideological collaborators were landowners and aristocrats, “the cream of the top of the civil service, of the armed forces, of the business community,” people who perceived themselves as part of a natural ruling class that had been unfairly deprived of power under the left-wing governments of France in the 1930s. Equally motivated to collaborate were their polar opposites, the “social misfits and political deviants” who would, in the normal course of events, never have made successful careers of any kind. What brought these groups together was a common conclusion that, whatever they had thought about Germany before June 1940, their political and personal futures would now be improved by aligning themselves with the occupiers.
Like Hoffmann, Czesław Miłosz, a Nobel Prize–winning Polish poet, wrote about collaboration from personal experience. An active member of the anti-Nazi resistance during the war, he nevertheless wound up after the war as a cultural attaché at the Polish embassy in Washington, serving his country’s Communist government. Only in 1951 did he defect, denounce the regime, and dissect his experience. In a famous essay, The Captive Mind, he sketched several lightly disguised portraits of real people, all writers and intellectuals, each of whom had come up with different ways of justifying collaboration with the party. Many were careerists, but Miłosz understood that careerism could not provide a complete explanation. To be part of a mass movement was for many a chance to end their alienation, to feel close to the “masses,” to be united in a single community with workers and shopkeepers. For tormented intellectuals, collaboration also offered a kind of relief, almost a sense of peace: It meant that they were no longer constantly at war with the state, no longer in turmoil. Once the intellectual has accepted that there is no other way, Miłosz wrote, “he eats with relish, his movements take on vigor, his color returns. He sits down and writes a ‘positive’ article, marveling at the ease with which he writes it.” Miłosz is one of the few writers to acknowledge the pleasure of conformity, the lightness of heart that it grants, the way that it solves so many personal and professional dilemmas.
We all feel the urge to conform it is the most normal of human desires. I was reminded of this recently when I visited Marianne Birthler in her light-filled apartment in Berlin. During the 1980s, Birthler was one of a very small number of active dissidents in East Germany later, in reunified Germany, she spent more than a decade running the Stasi archive, the collection of former East German secret-police files. I asked her whether she could identify among her cohort a set of circumstances that had inclined some people to collaborate with the Stasi.
She was put off by the question. Collaboration wasn’t interesting, Birthler told me. Almost everyone was a collaborator 99 percent of East Germans collaborated. If they weren’t working with the Stasi, then they were working with the party, or with the system more generally. Much more interesting—and far harder to explain—was the genuinely mysterious question of “why people went against the regime.” The puzzle is not why Markus Wolf remained in East Germany, in other words, but why Wolfgang Leonhard did not.
In the 1940s, both Wolfgang Leonhard (left, photographed in 1980) and Markus Wolf (right, photographed in 1997) were members of the East German elite. Both knew the Communist system was horribly cruel and unfair. But Leonhard risked his life to become a prominent critic of the Communist regime, while Wolf rose to become its top spy. (Ullstein Bild / Getty Sibylle Bergemann / OSTKREUZ)
Here is another pair of stories, one that will be more familiar to American readers. Let’s begin this one in the 1980s, when a young Lindsey Graham first served with the Judge Advocate General’s Corps—the military legal service—in the U.S. Air Force. During some of that time, Graham was based in what was then West Germany, on the cutting edge of America’s Cold War efforts. Graham, born and raised in a small town in South Carolina, was devoted to the military: After both of his parents died when he was in his 20s, he got himself and his younger sister through college with the help of an ROTC stipend and then an Air Force salary. He stayed in the Reserves for two decades, even while in the Senate, sometimes journeying to Iraq or Afghanistan to serve as a short-term reserve officer. “The Air Force has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me,” he said in 2015. “It gave me a purpose bigger than myself. It put me in the company of patriots.” Through most of his years in the Senate, Graham, alongside his close friend John McCain, was a spokesperson for a strong military, and for a vision of America as a democratic leader abroad. He also supported a vigorous notion of democracy at home. In his 2014 reelection campaign, he ran as a maverick and a centrist, telling The Atlantic that jousting with the Tea Party was “more fun than any time I’ve been in politics.”
While Graham was doing his tour in West Germany, Mitt Romney became a co-founder and then the president of Bain Capital, a private-equity investment firm. Born in Michigan, Romney worked in Massachusetts during his years at Bain, but he also kept, thanks to his Mormon faith, close ties to Utah. While Graham was a military lawyer, drawing military pay, Romney was acquiring companies, restructuring them, and then selling them. This was a job he excelled at—in 1990, he was asked to run the parent firm, Bain & Company—and in the course of doing so he became very rich. Still, Romney dreamed of a political career, and in 1994 he ran for the Senate in Massachusetts, after changing his political affiliation from independent to Republican. He lost, but in 2002 he ran for governor of Massachusetts as a nonpartisan moderate, and won. In 2007—after a gubernatorial term during which he successfully brought in a form of near-universal health care that became a model for Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act—he staged his first run for president. After losing the 2008 Republican primary, he won the party’s nomination in 2012, and then lost the general election.
Both Graham and Romney had presidential ambitions Graham staged his own short-lived presidential campaign in 2015 (justified on the grounds that “the world is falling apart”). Both men were loyal members of the Republican Party, skeptical of the party’s radical and conspiratorial fringe. Both men reacted to the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump with real anger, and no wonder: In different ways, Trump’s values undermined their own. Graham had dedicated his career to an idea of U.S. leadership around the word—whereas Trump was offering an “America First” doctrine that would turn out to mean “me and my friends first.” Romney was an excellent businessman with a strong record as a public servant—whereas Trump inherited wealth, went bankrupt more than once, created nothing of value, and had no governing record at all. Both Graham and Romney were devoted to America’s democratic traditions and to the ideals of honesty, accountability, and transparency in public life—all of which Trump scorned.
Both were vocal in their disapproval of Trump. Before the election, Graham called him a “jackass,” a “nutjob,” and a “race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot.” He seemed unhappy, even depressed, by the election: I happened to see him at a conference in Europe in the spring of 2016, and he spoked in monosyllables, if at all.
Romney went further. “Let me put it very plainly,” he said in March 2016, in a speech criticizing Trump: “If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished.” Romney spoke of “the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics.” He called Trump a “con man” and a “fraud.” Even after Trump won the nomination, Romney refused to endorse him. On his presidential ballot, Romney said, he wrote in his wife. Graham said he voted for the independent candidate Evan McMullin.
But Trump did become president, and so the two men’s convictions were put to the test.
A glance at their biographies would not have led many to predict what happened next. On paper, Graham would have seemed, in 2016, like the man with deeper ties to the military, to the rule of law, and to an old-fashioned idea of American patriotism and American responsibility in the world. Romney, by contrast, with his shifts between the center and the right, with his multiple careers in business and politics, would have seemed less deeply attached to those same old-fashioned patriotic ideals. Most of us register soldiers as loyal patriots, and management consultants as self-interested. We assume people from small towns in South Carolina are more likely to resist political pressure than people who have lived in many places. Intuitively, we think that loyalty to a particular place implies loyalty to a set of values.
But in this case the clichés were wrong. It was Graham who made excuses for Trump’s abuse of power. It was Graham—a JAG Corps lawyer—who downplayed the evidence that the president had attempted to manipulate foreign courts and blackmail a foreign leader into launching a phony investigation into a political rival. It was Graham who abandoned his own stated support for bipartisanship and instead pushed for a hyperpartisan Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden’s son. It was Graham who played golf with Trump, who made excuses for him on television, who supported the president even as he slowly destroyed the American alliances—with Europeans, with the Kurds—that Graham had defended all his life. By contrast, it was Romney who, in February, became the only Republican senator to break ranks with his colleagues, voting to impeach the president. “Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office,” he said, is “perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.”
One man proved willing to betray ideas and ideals that he had once stood for. The other refused. Why?
To the American reader, references to Vichy France, East Germany, fascists, and Communists may seem over-the-top, even ludicrous. But dig a little deeper, and the analogy makes sense. The point is not to compare Trump to Hitler or Stalin the point is to compare the experiences of high-ranking members of the American Republican Party, especially those who work most closely with the White House, to the experiences of Frenchmen in 1940, or of East Germans in 1945, or of Czesław Miłosz in 1947. These are experiences of people who are forced to accept an alien ideology or a set of values that are in sharp conflict with their own.
Not even Trump’s supporters can contest this analogy, because the imposition of an alien ideology is precisely what he was calling for all along. Trump’s first statement as president, his inaugural address, was an unprecedented assault on American democracy and American values. Remember: He described America’s capital city, America’s government, America’s congressmen and senators—all democratically elected and chosen by Americans, according to America’s 227-year-old Constitution—as an “establishment” that had profited at the expense of “the people.” “Their victories have not been your victories,” he said. “Their triumphs have not been your triumphs.” Trump was stating, as clearly as he possibly could, that a new set of values was now replacing the old, though of course the nature of those new values was not yet clear.
Almost as soon as he stopped speaking, Trump launched his first assault on fact-based reality, a long-undervalued component of the American political system. We are not a theocracy or a monarchy that accepts the word of the leader or the priesthood as law. We are a democracy that debates facts, seeks to understand problems, and then legislates solutions, all in accordance with a set of rules. Trump’s insistence—against the evidence of photographs, television footage, and the lived experience of thousands of people—that the attendance at his inauguration was higher than at Barack Obama’s first inauguration represented a sharp break with that American political tradition. Like the authoritarian leaders of other times and places, Trump effectively ordered not just his supporters but also apolitical members of the government bureaucracy to adhere to a blatantly false, manipulated reality. American politicians, like politicians everywhere, have always covered up mistakes, held back information, and made promises they could not keep. But until Trump was president, none of them induced the National Park Service to produce doctored photographs or compelled the White House press secretary to lie about the size of a crowd—or encouraged him to do so in front of a press corps that knew he knew he was lying.
The lie was petty, even ridiculous that was partly why it was so dangerous. In the 1950s, when an insect known as the Colorado potato beetle appeared in Eastern European potato fields, Soviet-backed governments in the region triumphantly claimed that it had been dropped from the sky by American pilots, as a deliberate form of biological sabotage. Posters featuring vicious red-white-and-blue beetles went up all across Poland, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia. No one really believed the charge, including the people making it, as archives have subsequently shown. But that didn’t matter. The point of the posters was not to convince people of a falsehood. The point was to demonstrate the party’s power to proclaim and promulgate a falsehood. Sometimes the point isn’t to make people believe a lie—it’s to make people fear the liar.
These kinds of lies also have a way of building on one another. It takes time to persuade people to abandon their existing value systems. The process usually begins slowly, with small changes. Social scientists who have studied the erosion of values and the growth of corruption inside companies have found, for example, that “people are more likely to accept the unethical behavior of others if the behavior develops gradually (along a slippery slope) rather than occurring abruptly,” according to a 2009 article in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. This happens, in part, because most people have a built-in vision of themselves as moral and honest, and that self-image is resistant to change. Once certain behaviors become “normal,” then people stop seeing them as wrong.
This process happens in politics, too. In 1947, the Soviet military administrators in East Germany passed a regulation governing the activity of publishing houses and printers. The decree did not nationalize the printing presses it merely demanded that their owners apply for licenses, and that they confine their work to books and pamphlets ordered by central planners. Imagine how a law like this—which did not speak of arrests, let alone torture or the Gulag—affected the owner of a printing press in Dresden, a responsible family man with two teenage children and a sickly wife. Following its passage, he had to make a series of seemingly insignificant choices. Would he apply for a license? Of course—he needed it to earn money for his family. Would he agree to confine his business to material ordered by the central planners? Yes to that too—what else was there to print?
After that, other compromises follow. Though he dislikes the Communists—he just wants to stay out of politics—he agrees to print the collected works of Stalin, because if he doesn’t do it, others will. When he is asked by some disaffected friends to print a pamphlet critical of the regime, however, he refuses. Though he wouldn’t go to jail for printing it, his children might not be admitted to university, and his wife might not get her medication he has to think about their welfare. Meanwhile, all across East Germany, other owners of other printing presses are making similar decisions. And after a while—without anyone being shot or arrested, without anyone feeling any particular pangs of conscience—the only books left to read are the ones approved by the regime.
The built-in vision of themselves as American patriots, or as competent administrators, or as loyal party members, also created a cognitive distortion that blinded many Republicans and Trump-administration officials to the precise nature of the president’s alternative value system. After all, the early incidents were so trivial. They overlooked the lie about the inauguration because it was silly. They ignored Trump’s appointment of the wealthiest Cabinet in history, and his decision to stuff his administration with former lobbyists, because that’s business as usual. They made excuses for Ivanka Trump’s use of a private email account, and for Jared Kushner’s conflicts of interest, because that’s just family stuff.
One step at a time, Trumpism fooled many of its most enthusiastic adherents. Recall that some of the original intellectual supporters of Trump—people like Steve Bannon, Michael Anton, and the advocates of “national conservatism,” an ideology invented, post hoc, to rationalize the president’s behavior—advertised their movement as a recognizable form of populism: an anti–Wall Street, anti-foreign-wars, anti-immigration alternative to the small-government libertarianism of the establishment Republican Party. Their “Drain the swamp” slogan implied that Trump would clean up the rotten world of lobbyists and campaign finance that distorts American politics, that he would make public debate more honest and legislation more fair. Had this actually been Trump’s ruling philosophy, it might well have posed difficulties for the Republican Party leadership in 2016, given that most of them had quite different values. But it would not necessarily have damaged the Constitution, and it would not necessarily have posed fundamental moral challenges to people in public life.
In practice, Trump has governed according to a set of principles very different from those articulated by his original intellectual supporters. Although some of his speeches have continued to use that populist language, he has built a Cabinet and an administration that serve neither the public nor his voters but rather his own psychological needs and the interests of his own friends on Wall Street and in business and, of course, his own family. His tax cuts disproportionately benefited the wealthy, not the working class. His shallow economic boom, engineered to ensure his reelection, was made possible by a vast budget deficit, on a scale Republicans once claimed to abhor, an enormous burden for future generations. He worked to dismantle the existing health-care system without offering anything better, as he’d promised to do, so that the number of uninsured people rose. All the while he fanned and encouraged xenophobia and racism, both because he found them politically useful and because they are part of his personal worldview.
More important, he has governed in defiance—and in ignorance—of the American Constitution, notably declaring, well into his third year in office, that he had “total” authority over the states. His administration is not merely corrupt, it is also hostile to checks, balances, and the rule of law. He has built a proto-authoritarian personality cult, firing or sidelining officials who have contradicted him with facts and evidence—with tragic consequences for public health and the economy. He threatened to fire a top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official, Nancy Messonnier, in late February, after her too-blunt warnings about the coronavirus Rick Bright, a top Health and Human Services official, says he was demoted after refusing to direct money to promote the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine. Trump has attacked America’s military, calling his generals “a bunch of dopes and babies,” and America’s intelligence services and law-enforcement officers, whom he has denigrated as the “deep state” and whose advice he has ignored. He has appointed weak and inexperienced “acting” officials to run America’s most important security institutions. He has systematically wrecked America’s alliances.
His foreign policy has never served any U.S. interests of any kind. Although some of Trump’s Cabinet ministers and media followers have tried to portray him as an anti-Chinese nationalist—and although foreign-policy commentators from all points on the political spectrum have, amazingly, accepted this fiction without questioning it—Trump’s true instinct, always, has been to side with foreign dictators, including Chinese President Xi Jinping. One former administration official who has seen Trump interact with Xi as well as with Russian President Vladimir Putin told me that it was like watching a lesser celebrity encounter a more famous one. Trump did not speak to them as the representative of the American people he simply wanted their aura—of absolute power, of cruelty, of fame—to rub off on him and enhance his own image. This, too, has had fatal consequences. In January, Trump took Xi’s word when he said that COVID‑19 was “under control,” just as he had believed North Korea’s Kim Jong Un when he signed a deal on nuclear weapons. Trump’s fawning attitude toward dictators is his ideology at its purest: He meets his own psychological needs first he thinks about the country last. The true nature of the ideology that Trump brought to Washington was not “America First,” but rather “Trump First.”
Maybe it isn’t surprising that the implications of “Trump First” were not immediately understood. After all, the Communist parties of Eastern Europe—or, if you want a more recent example, the Chavistas in Venezuela—all advertised themselves as advocates of equality and prosperity even though, in practice, they created inequality and poverty. But just as the truth about Hugo Chávez’s Bolivarian Revolution slowly dawned on people, it also became clear, eventually, that Trump did not have the interests of the American public at heart. And as they came to realize that the president was not a patriot, Republican politicians and senior civil servants began to equivocate, just like people living under an alien regime.
In retrospect, this dawning realization explains why the funeral of John McCain, in September 2018, looked, and by all accounts felt, so strange. Two previous presidents, one Republican and one Democrat—representatives of the old, patriotic political class—made speeches the sitting president’s name was never mentioned. The songs and symbols of the old order were visible too: “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” American flags two of McCain’s sons in their officer’s uniforms, so very different from the sons of Trump. Writing in The New Yorker, Susan Glasser described the funeral as “a meeting of the Resistance, under vaulted ceilings and stained-glass windows.” In truth, it bore an uncanny resemblance to the 1956 funeral of László Rajk, a Hungarian Communist and secret-police boss who had been purged and murdered by his comrades in 1949. Rajk’s wife had become an outspoken critic of the regime, and the funeral turned into a de facto political rally, helping to set off Hungary’s anti-Communist revolution a couple of weeks later.
Top: East German students sit atop the Berlin Wall by the Brandenburg Gate in November 1989, the month the wall fell. Bottom: An enraged crowd surrounds members of the secret police in Budapest, Hungary, in November 1956, during an unsuccessful uprising against Soviet tyranny. (U.S. Army Mondadori / Getty)
Nothing quite so dramatic happened after McCain’s funeral. But it did clarify the situation. A year and a half into the Trump administration, it marked a turning point, the moment at which many Americans in public life began to adopt the strategies, tactics, and self-justifications that the inhabitants of occupied countries have used in the past—doing so even though the personal stakes were, relatively speaking, so low. Poles like Miłosz wound up in exile in the 1950s dissidents in East Germany lost the right to work and study. In harsher regimes like that of Stalin’s Russia, public protest could lead to many years in a concentration camp disobedient Wehrmacht officers were executed by slow strangulation.
By contrast, a Republican senator who dares to question whether Trump is acting in the interests of the country is in danger of—what, exactly? Losing his seat and winding up with a seven-figure lobbying job or a fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School? He might meet the terrible fate of Jeff Flake, the former Arizona senator, who has been hired as a contributor by CBS News. He might suffer like Romney, who was tragically not invited to the Conservative Political Action Conference, which this year turned out to be a reservoir of COVID‑19.
Nevertheless, 20 months into the Trump administration, senators and other serious-minded Republicans in public life who should have known better began to tell themselves stories that sound very much like those in Miłosz’s The Captive Mind. Some of these stories overlap with one another some of them are just thin cloaks to cover self-interest. But all of them are familiar justifications of collaboration, recognizable from the past. Here are the most popular.
We can use this moment to achieve great things. In the spring of 2019, a Trump-supporting friend put me in touch with an administration official I will call “Mark,” whom I eventually met for a drink. I won’t give details, because we spoke informally, but in any case Mark did not leak information or criticize the White House. On the contrary, he described himself as a patriot and a true believer. He supported the language of “America First,” and was confident that it could be made real.
Several months later, I met Mark a second time. The impeachment hearings had begun, and the story of the firing of the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was then in the news. The true nature of the administration’s ideology—Trump First, not America First—was becoming more obvious. The president’s abuse of military aid to Ukraine and his attacks on civil servants suggested not a patriotic White House, but a president focused on his own interests. Mark did not apologize for the president, though. Instead, he changed the subject: It was all worth it, he told me, because of the Uighurs.
I thought I had misheard. The Uighurs? Why the Uighurs? I was unaware of anything that the administration had done to aid the oppressed Muslim minority in Xinjiang, China. Mark assured me that letters had been written, statements had been made, the president himself had been persuaded to say something at the United Nations. I doubted very much that the Uighurs had benefited from these empty words: China hadn’t altered its behavior, and the concentration camps built for the Uighurs were still standing. Nevertheless, Mark’s conscience was clear. Yes, Trump was destroying America’s reputation in the world, and yes, Trump was ruining America’s alliances, but Mark was so important to the cause of the Uighurs that people like him could, in good conscience, keep working for the administration.
Mark made me think of the story of Wanda Telakowska, a Polish cultural activist who in 1945 felt much the same as he did. Telakowska had collected and promoted folk art before the war after the war she made the momentous decision to join the Polish Ministry of Culture. The Communist leadership was arresting and murdering its opponents the nature of the regime was becoming clear. Telakowska nevertheless thought she could use her position inside the Communist establishment to help Polish artists and designers, to promote their work and get Polish companies to mass-produce their designs. But Polish factories, newly nationalized, were not interested in the designs she commissioned. Communist politicians, skeptical of her loyalty, made Telakowska write articles filled with Marxist gibberish. Eventually she resigned, having achieved nothing she set out to do. A later generation of artists condemned her as a Stalinist and forgot about her.
We can protect the country from the president. That, of course, was the argument used by “Anonymous,” the author of an unsigned New York Times op-ed published in September 2018. For those who have forgotten—a lot has happened since then—that article described the president’s “erratic behavior,” his inability to concentrate, his ignorance, and above all his lack of “affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people.” The “root of the problem,” Anonymous concluded, was “the president’s amorality.” In essence, the article described the true nature of the alternative value system brought into the White House by Trump, at a moment when not everybody in Washington understood it. But even as they came to understand that the Trump presidency was guided by the president’s narcissism, Anonymous did not quit, protest, make noise, or campaign against the president and his party.
Instead, Anonymous concluded that remaining inside the system, where they could cleverly distract and restrain the president, was the right course for public servants like them. Anonymous was not alone. Gary Cohn, at the time the White House economic adviser, told Bob Woodward that he’d removed papers from the president’s desk to prevent him from pulling out of a trade agreement with South Korea. James Mattis, Trump’s original secretary of defense, stayed in office because he thought he could educate the president about the value of America’s alliances, or at least protect some of them from destruction.
This kind of behavior has echoes in other countries and other times. A few months ago, in Venezuela, I spoke with Víctor Álvarez, a minister in one of Hugo Chávez’s governments and a high-ranking official before that. Álvarez explained to me the arguments he had made in favor of protecting some private industry, and his opposition to mass nationalization. Álvarez was in government from the late 1990s through 2006, a time when Chávez was stepping up the use of police against peaceful demonstrators and undermining democratic institutions. Still, Álvarez remained, hoping to curb Chávez’s worst economic instincts. Ultimately, he did quit, after concluding that Chávez had created a loyalty cult around himself—Álvarez called it a “subclimate” of obedience—and was no longer listening to anyone who disagreed.
In authoritarian regimes, many insiders eventually conclude that their presence simply does not matter. Cohn, after publicly agonizing when the president said there had been “fine people on both sides” at the deadly white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, finally quit when the president made the ruinous decision to put tariffs on steel and aluminum, a decision that harmed American businesses. Mattis reached his breaking point when the president abandoned the Kurds, America’s longtime allies in the war against the Islamic State.
But although both resigned, neither Cohn nor Mattis has spoken out in any notable way. Their presence inside the White House helped build Trump’s credibility among traditional Republican voters their silence now continues to serve the president’s purposes. As for Anonymous, we don’t know whether he or she remains inside the administration. For the record, I note that Álvarez lives in Venezuela, an actual police state, and yet is willing to speak out against the system he helped create. Cohn, Mattis, and Anonymous, all living freely in the United States of America, have not been nearly so brave.
I, personally, will benefit. These, of course, are words that few people ever say out loud. Perhaps some do quietly acknowledge to themselves that they have not resigned or protested because it would cost them money or status. But no one wants a reputation as a careerist or a turncoat. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, even Markus Wolf sought to portray himself as an idealist. He had truly believed in Marxist-Leninist ideals, this infamously cynical man told an interviewer in 1996, and “I still believe in them.”
Many people in and around the Trump administration are seeking personal benefits. Many of them are doing so with a degree of openness that is startling and unusual in contemporary American politics, at least at this level. As an ideology, “Trump First” suits these people, because it gives them license to put themselves first. To pick a random example: Sonny Perdue, the secretary of agriculture, is a former Georgia governor and a businessman who, like Trump, famously refused to put his agricultural companies into a blind trust when he entered the governor’s office. Perdue has never even pretended to separate his political and personal interests. Since joining the Cabinet he has, with almost no oversight, distributed billions of dollars of “compensation” to farms damaged by Trump’s trade policies. He has stuffed his department with former lobbyists who are now in charge of regulating their own industries: Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky was for 21 years the CEO of the American Soybean Association Brooke Appleton was a lobbyist for the National Corn Growers Association before becoming Censky’s chief of staff, and has since returned to that group Kailee Tkacz, a member of a nutritional advisory panel, is a former lobbyist for the Snack Food Association. The list goes on and on, as would lists of similarly compromised people in the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and elsewhere.
Perdue’s department also employs an extraordinary range of people with no experience in agriculture whatsoever. These modern apparatchiks, hired for their loyalty rather than their competence, include a long-haul truck driver, a country-club cabana attendant, the owner of a scented-candle company, and an intern at the Republican National Committee. The long-haul truck driver was paid $80,000 a year to expand markets for American agriculture abroad. Why was he qualified? He had a background in “hauling and shipping agricultural commodities.”
I must remain close to power. Another sort of benefit, harder to measure, has kept many people who object to Trump’s policies or behavior from speaking out: the intoxicating experience of power, and the belief that proximity to a powerful person bestows higher status. This, too, is nothing new. In a 1968 article for The Atlantic, James Thomson, an American East Asia specialist, brilliantly explained how power functioned inside the U.S. bureaucracy in the Vietnam era. When the war in Vietnam was going badly, many people did not resign or speak out in public, because preserving their “effectiveness”—“a mysterious combination of training, style, and connections,” as Thomson defined it—was an all-consuming concern. He called this “the effectiveness trap”:
The inclination to remain silent or to acquiesce in the presence of the great men—to live to fight another day, to give on this issue so that you can be “effective” on later issues—is overwhelming. Nor is it the tendency of youth alone some of our most senior officials, men of wealth and fame, whose place in history is secure, have remained silent lest their connection with power be terminated.
In any organization, private or public, the boss will of course sometimes make decisions that his underlings dislike. But when basic principles are constantly violated, and people constantly defer resignation—“I can always fall on my sword next time”—then misguided policies go fatally unchallenged.
In other countries, the effectiveness trap has other names. In his recent book on Putinism, Between Two Fires, Joshua Yaffa describes the Russian version of this syndrome. The Russian language, he notes, has a word—prisposoblenets—that means “a person skilled in the act of compromise and adaptation, who intuitively understands what is expected of him and adjusts his beliefs and conduct accordingly.” In Putin’s Russia, anyone who wants to stay in the game—to remain close to power, to retain influence, to inspire respect—knows the necessity of making constant small changes to one’s language and behavior, of being careful about what one says and to whom one says it, of understanding what criticism is acceptable and what constitutes a violation of the unwritten rules. Those who violate these rules will not, for the most part, suffer prison—Putin’s Russia is not Stalin’s Russia—but they will experience a painful ejection from the inner circle.
For those who have never experienced it, the mystical pull of that connection to power, that feeling of being an insider, is difficult to explain. Nevertheless, it is real, and strong enough to affect even the highest-ranking, best-known, most influential people in America. John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, named his still-unpublished book The Room Where It Happened, because, of course, that’s where he has always wanted to be. A friend who regularly runs into Lindsey Graham in Washington told me that each time they meet, “he brags about having just met with Trump” while exhibiting “high school” levels of excitement, as if “a popular quarterback has just bestowed some attention on a nerdy debate-club leader—the powerful big kid likes me! ” That kind of intense pleasure is hard to relinquish and even harder to live without.
LOL nothing matters. Cynicism, nihilism, relativism, amorality, irony, sarcasm, boredom, amusement—these are all reasons to collaborate, and always have been. Marko Martin, a novelist and travel writer who grew up in East Germany, told me that in the 1980s some of the East German bohemia, influenced by then-fashionable French intellectuals, argued that there was no such thing as morality or immorality, no such thing as good or evil, no such thing as right or wrong—“so you might as well collaborate.”
This instinct has an American variation. Politicians here who have spent their lives following rules and watching their words, calibrating their language, giving pious speeches about morality and governance, may feel a sneaking admiration for someone like Trump, who breaks all the rules and gets away with it. He lies he cheats he extorts he refuses to show compassion, sympathy, or empathy he does not pretend to believe in anything or to abide by any moral code. He simulates patriotism, with flags and gestures, but he does not behave like a patriot his campaign scrambled to get help from Russia in 2016 (“If it’s what you say, I love it,” replied Donald Trump Jr., when offered Russian “dirt” on Hillary Clinton), and Trump himself called on Russia to hack his opponent. And for some of those at the top of his administration, and of his party, these character traits might have a deep, unacknowledged appeal: If there is no such thing as moral and immoral, then everyone is implicitly released from the need to obey any rules. If the president doesn’t respect the Constitution, then why should I? If the president can cheat in elections, then why can’t I? If the president can sleep with porn stars, then why shouldn’t I?
This, of course, was the insight of the “alt-right,” which understood the dark allure of amorality, open racism, anti-Semitism, and misogyny long before many others in the Republican Party. Mikhail Bakhtin, the Russian philosopher and literary critic, recognized the lure of the forbidden a century ago, writing about the deep appeal of the carnival, a space where everything banned is suddenly allowed, where eccentricity is permitted, where profanity defeats piety. The Trump administration is like that: Nothing means anything, rules don’t matter, and the president is the carnival king.
My side might be flawed, but the political opposition is much worse. When Marshal Philippe Pétain, the leader of collaborationist France, took over the Vichy government, he did so in the name of the restoration of a France that he believed had been lost. Pétain had been a fierce critic of the French Republic, and once he was in control, he replaced its famous creed—Liberté, égalité, fraternité, or “Liberty, equality, fraternity”—with a different slogan: Travail, famille, patrie, or “Work, family, fatherland.” Instead of the “false idea of the natural equality of man,” he proposed bringing back “social hierarchy”—order, tradition, and religion. Instead of accepting modernity, Pétain sought to turn back the clock.
By Pétain’s reckoning, collaboration with the Germans was not merely an embarrassing necessity. It was crucial, because it gave patriots the ability to fight the real enemy: the French parliamentarians, socialists, anarchists, Jews, and other assorted leftists and democrats who, he believed, were undermining the nation, robbing it of its vitality, destroying its essence. “Rather Hitler than Blum,” the saying went—Blum having been France’s socialist (and Jewish) prime minister in the late 1930s. One Vichy minister, Pierre Laval, famously declared that he hoped Germany would conquer all of Europe. Otherwise, he asserted, “Bolshevism would tomorrow establish itself everywhere.”
To Americans, this kind of justification should sound very familiar we have been hearing versions of it since 2016. The existential nature of the threat from “the left” has been spelled out many times. “Our liberal-left present reality and future direction is incompatible with human nature,” wrote Michael Anton, in “The Flight 93 Election.” The Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham has warned that “massive demographic changes” threaten us too: “In some parts of the country it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore.” This is the Vichy logic: The nation is dead or dying—so anything you can do to restore it is justified. Whatever criticisms might be made of Trump, whatever harm he has done to democracy and the rule of law, whatever corrupt deals he might make while in the White House—all of these shrink in comparison to the horrific alternative: the liberalism, socialism, moral decadence, demographic change, and cultural degradation that would have been the inevitable result of Hillary Clinton’s presidency.
The Republican senators who are willing to express their disgust with Trump off the record but voted in February for him to remain in office all indulge a variation of this sentiment. (Trump enables them to get the judges they want, and those judges will help create the America they want.) So do the evangelical pastors who ought to be disgusted by Trump’s personal behavior but argue, instead, that the current situation has scriptural precedents. Like King David in the Bible, the president is a sinner, a flawed vessel, but he nevertheless offers a path to salvation for a fallen nation.
The three most important members of Trump’s Cabinet—Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Attorney General William Barr—are all profoundly shaped by Vichyite apocalyptic thinking. All three are clever enough to understand what Trumpism really means, that it has nothing to do with God or faith, that it is self-serving, greedy, and unpatriotic. Nevertheless, a former member of the administration (one of the few who did decide to resign) told me that both Pence and Pompeo “have convinced themselves that they are in a biblical moment.” All of the things they care about—outlawing abortion and same-sex marriage, and (though this is never said out loud) maintaining a white majority in America—are under threat. Time is growing short. They believe that “we are approaching the Rapture, and this is a moment of deep religious significance.” Barr, in a speech at Notre Dame, has also described his belief that “militant secularists” are destroying America, that “irreligion and secular values are being forced on people of faith.” Whatever evil Trump does, whatever he damages or destroys, at least he enables Barr, Pence, and Pompeo to save America from a far worse fate. If you are convinced we are living in the End Times, then anything the president does can be forgiven.
I am afraid to speak out. Fear, of course, is the most important reason any inhabitant of an authoritarian or totalitarian society does not protest or resign, even when the leader commits crimes, violates his official ideology, or forces people to do things that they know to be wrong. In extreme dictatorships like Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia, people fear for their lives. In softer dictatorships, like East Germany after 1950 and Putin’s Russia today, people fear losing their jobs or their apartments. Fear works as a motivation even when violence is a memory rather than a reality. When I was a student in Leningrad in the 1980s, some people still stepped back in horror when I asked for directions on the street, in my accented Russian: No one was going to be arrested for speaking to a foreigner in 1984, but 30 years earlier they might have been, and the cultural memory remained.
In the United States of America, it is hard to imagine how fear could be a motivation for anybody. There are no mass murders of the regime’s political enemies, and there never have been. Political opposition is legal free press and free speech are guaranteed in the Constitution. And yet even in one of the world’s oldest and most stable democracies, fear is a motive. The same former administration official who observed the importance of apocalyptic Christianity in Trump’s Washington also told me, with grim disgust, that “they are all scared.”
They are scared not of prison, the official said, but of being attacked by Trump on Twitter. They are scared he will make up a nickname for them. They are scared that they will be mocked, or embarrassed, like Mitt Romney has been. They are scared of losing their social circles, of being disinvited to parties. They are scared that their friends and supporters, and especially their donors, will desert them. John Bolton has his own super PAC and a lot of plans for how he wants to use it no wonder he resisted testifying against Trump. Former Speaker Paul Ryan is among the dozens of House Republicans who have left Congress since the beginning of this administration, in one of the most striking personnel turnovers in congressional history. They left because they hated what Trump was doing to their party—and the country. Yet even after they left, they did not speak out.
They are scared, and yet they don’t seem to know that this fear has precedents, or that it could have consequences. They don’t know that similar waves of fear have helped transform other democracies into dictatorships. They don’t seem to realize that the American Senate really could become the Russian Duma, or the Hungarian Parliament, a group of exalted men and women who sit in an elegant building, with no influence and no power. Indeed, we are already much closer to that reality than many could ever have imagined.
In February, many members of the Republican Party leadership, Republican senators, and people inside the administration used various versions of these rationales to justify their opposition to impeachment. All of them had seen the evidence that Trump had stepped over the line in his dealings with the president of Ukraine. All of them knew that he had tried to use American foreign-policy tools, including military funding, to force a foreign leader into investigating a domestic political opponent. Yet Republican senators, led by Mitch McConnell, never took the charges seriously. They mocked the Democratic House leaders who had presented the charges. They decided against hearing evidence. With the single exception of Romney, they voted in favor of ending the investigation. They did not use the opportunity to rid the country of a president whose operative value system—built around corruption, nascent authoritarianism, self-regard, and his family’s business interests—runs counter to everything that most of them claim to believe in.
Just a month later, in March, the consequences of that decision became suddenly clear. After the U.S. and the world were plunged into crisis by a coronavirus that had no cure, the damage done by the president’s self-focused, self-dealing narcissism—his one true “ideology”—was finally visible. He led a federal response to the virus that was historically chaotic. The disappearance of the federal government was not a carefully planned transfer of power to the states, as some tried to claim, or a thoughtful decision to use the talents of private companies. This was the inevitable result of a three-year assault on professionalism, loyalty, competence, and patriotism. Tens of thousands of people have died, and the economy has been ruined.
This utter disaster was avoidable. If the Senate had removed the president by impeachment a month earlier if the Cabinet had invoked the Twenty-Fifth Amendment as soon as Trump’s unfitness became clear if the anonymous and off-the-record officials who knew of Trump’s incompetence had jointly warned the public if they had not, instead, been so concerned about maintaining their proximity to power if senators had not been scared of their donors if Pence, Pompeo, and Barr had not believed that God had chosen them to play special roles in this “biblical moment”—if any of these things had gone differently, then thousands of deaths and a historic economic collapse might have been avoided.
The price of collaboration in America has already turned out to be extraordinarily high. And yet, the movement down the slippery slope continues, just as it did in so many occupied countries in the past. First Trump’s enablers accepted lies about the inauguration now they accept terrible tragedy and the loss of American leadership in the world. Worse could follow. Come November, will they tolerate—even abet—an assault on the electoral system: open efforts to prevent postal voting, to shut polling stations, to scare people away from voting? Will they countenance violence, as the president’s social-media fans incite demonstrators to launch physical attacks on state and city officials?
Each violation of our Constitution and our civic peace gets absorbed, rationalized, and accepted by people who once upon a time knew better. If, following what is almost certain to be one of the ugliest elections in American history, Trump wins a second term, these people may well accept even worse. Unless, of course, they decide not to.
When I visited Marianne Birthler, she didn’t think it was interesting to talk about collaboration in East Germany, because everybody collaborated in East Germany. So I asked her about dissidence instead: When all of your friends, all of your teachers, and all of your employers are firmly behind the system, how do you find the courage to oppose it? In her answer, Birthler resisted the use of the word courage just as people can adapt to corruption or immorality, she told me, they can slowly learn to object as well. The choice to become a dissident can easily be the result of “a number of small decisions that you take”—to absent yourself from the May Day parade, for example, or not to sing the words of the party hymn. And then, one day, you find yourself irrevocably on the other side. Often, this process involves role models. You see people whom you admire, and you want to be like them. It can even be “selfish.” “You want to do something for yourself,” Birthler said, “to respect yourself.”
For some people, the struggle is made easier by their upbringing. Marko Martin’s parents hated the East German regime, and so did he. His father was a conscientious objector, and so was he. As far back as the Weimar Republic, his great-grandparents had been part of the “anarcho-syndicalist” anti-Communist left he had access to their books. In the 1980s, he refused to join the Free German Youth, the Communist youth organization, and as a result he could not go to university. He instead embarked on a vocational course, to train to be an electrician (after refusing to become a butcher). In his electrician-training classes, one of the other students pulled him aside and warned him, subtly, that the Stasi was collecting information on him: “It’s not necessary that you tell me all the things you have in mind.” He was eventually allowed to emigrate, in May 1989, just a few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In America we also have our Marianne Birthlers, our Marko Martins: people whose families taught them respect for the Constitution, who have faith in the rule of law, who believe in the importance of disinterested public service, who have values and role models from outside the world of the Trump administration. Over the past year, many such people have found the courage to stand up for what they believe. A few have been thrust into the limelight. Fiona Hill—an immigrant success story and a true believer in the American Constitution—was not afraid to testify at the House’s impeachment hearings, nor was she afraid to speak out against Republicans who were promulgating a false story of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. “This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves,” she said in her congressional testimony. “The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016.”
Top: Senator Lindsey Graham outside his office on Capitol Hill on December 19, 2019, the day after the House voted to impeach Donald Trump. Graham staunchly defended Trump during impeachment. Bottom: On November 21, 2019, during the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry, Trump’s former deputy assistant Fiona Hill testified that Republicans were promulgating the president’s false narrative about Ukraine. (Anna Moneymaker / The New York Times / Redux Erin Schaff / The New York Times / Redux)
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman—another immigrant success story and another true believer in the American Constitution—also found the courage, first to report on the president’s improper telephone call with his Ukrainian counterpart, which Vindman had heard as a member of the National Security Council, and then to speak publicly about it. In his testimony, he made explicit reference to the values of the American political system, so different from those in the place where he was born. “In Russia,” he said, “offering public testimony involving the president would surely cost me my life.” But as “an American citizen and public servant … I can live free of fear for mine and my family’s safety.” A few days after the Senate impeachment vote, Vindman was physically escorted out of the White House by representatives of a vengeful president who did not appreciate Vindman’s hymn to American patriotism—although retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, the president’s former chief of staff, apparently did. Vindman’s behavior, Kelly said in a speech a few days later, was “exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave. He went and told his boss what he just heard.”
But both Hill and Vindman had some important advantages. Neither had to answer to voters, or to donors. Neither had prominent status in the Republican Party. What would it take, by contrast, for Pence or Pompeo to conclude that the president bears responsibility for a catastrophic health and economic crisis? What would it take for Republican senators to admit to themselves that Trump’s loyalty cult is destroying the country they claim to love? What would it take for their aides and subordinates to come to the same conclusion, to resign, and to campaign against the president? What would it take, in other words, for someone like Lindsey Graham to behave like Wolfgang Leonhard?
If, as Stanley Hoffmann wrote, the honest historian would have to speak of “collaborationisms,” because the phenomenon comes in so many variations, the same is true of dissidence, which should probably be described as “dissidences.” People can suddenly change their minds because of spontaneous intellectual revelations like the one Wolfgang Leonhard had when walking into his fancy nomenklatura dining room, with its white tablecloths and three-course meals. They can also be persuaded by outside events: rapid political changes, for example. Awareness that the regime had lost its legitimacy is part of what made Harald Jaeger, an obscure and until that moment completely loyal East German border guard, decide on the night of November 9, 1989, to lift the gates and let his fellow citizens walk through the Berlin Wall—a decision that led, over the next days and months, to the end of East Germany itself. Jaeger’s decision was not planned it was a spontaneous response to the fearlessness of the crowd. “Their will was so great,” he said years later, of those demanding to cross into West Berlin, “there was no other alternative than to open the border.”
But these things are all intertwined, and not easy to disentangle. The personal, the political, the intellectual, and the historical combine differently within every human brain, and the outcomes can be unpredictable. Leonhard’s “sudden” revelation may have been building for years, perhaps since his mother’s arrest. Jaeger was moved by the grandeur of the historical moment on that night in November, but he also had more petty concerns: He was annoyed at his boss, who had not given him clear instructions about what to do.
Could some similar combination of the petty and the political ever convince Lindsey Graham that he has helped lead his country down a blind alley? Perhaps a personal experience could move him, a prod from someone who represents his former value system—an old Air Force buddy, say, whose life has been damaged by Trump’s reckless behavior, or a friend from his hometown. Perhaps it requires a mass political event: When the voters begin to turn, maybe Graham will turn with them, arguing, as Jaeger did, that “their will was so great … there was no other alternative.” At some point, after all, the calculus of conformism will begin to shift. It will become awkward and uncomfortable to continue supporting “Trump First,” especially as Americans suffer from the worst recession in living memory and die from the coronavirus in numbers higher than in much of the rest of the world.
Or perhaps the only antidote is time. In due course, historians will write the story of our era and draw lessons from it, just as we write the history of the 1930s, or of the 1940s. The Miłoszes and the Hoffmanns of the future will make their judgments with the clarity of hindsight. They will see, more clearly than we can, the path that led the U.S. into a historic loss of international influence, into economic catastrophe, into political chaos of a kind we haven’t experienced since the years leading up to the Civil War. Then maybe Graham—along with Pence, Pompeo, McConnell, and a whole host of lesser figures—will understand what he has enabled.
In the meantime, I leave anyone who has the bad luck to be in public life at this moment with a final thought from Wadysaw Bartoszewski, who was a member of the wartime Polish underground, a prisoner of both the Nazis and the Stalinists, and then, finally, the foreign minister in two Polish democratic governments. Late in his life—he lived to be 93—he summed up the philosophy that had guided him through all of these tumultuous political changes. It was not idealism that drove him, or big ideas, he said. It was this: Warto być przyzwoitym—“Just try to be decent.” Whether you were decent—that’s what will be remembered.
This article appears in the July/August 2020 print edition with the headline “The Collaborators.”
A Psychological Analysis of Adolph Hitler His Life and Legend - Psychological Analysis and Reconstruction
The world has come to know Adolph Hitler for his insatiable greed for power, his ruthlessness, cruelty and utter lack-of feeling, his contempt for established institutions and his lack of moral restraints. In the course of relatively few years he has contrived to usurp such tremendous power that a few veiled threats, accusations or insinuations were sufficient to make the world tremble. In open defiance of treaties he occupied huge territories and conquered millions of people without even firing a shot. When the world became tired of being frightened and concluded that it was all a bluff, he initiated the most brutal and devastating war in history - a war which, for a time, threatened the complete destruction of our civilization. Human life and human suffering seem to leave this individual completely untouched as he plunges along the course he believes he was predestined to take.
Earlier in his career the world had watched him with amusement. Many people refused to take him seriously on the grounds that "he could not possibly last." As one action after another met with amazing success and the measure of the man became more obvious, this amusement was transformed into incredulousness. To most people it seemed inconceivable that such things could actually happen in our modern civilization. Hitler, the leader of these activities, became generally regarded as a madman, if not inhuman. Such a conclusion, concerning the nature of our enemy, may be satisfactory from the point of view of the man in the street. It gives him a feeling of satisfaction to pigeon-hole an incomprehensible individual in one category or another. Having classified him in this way, he feels that the problem is completely solved. All we need to do is to eliminate the madman from the scene of activities, replace him with a sane individual, and the world will again return to a normal and peaceful state of affairs.
This naive view, however, is wholly inadequate for those who are delegated to conduct the war against Germany or for those who will be delegated to deal with the situation when the war is over. They cannot content themselves with simply regarding Hitler as a personal devil and condemning him to an Eternal Hell in order that the remainder of the world may live in peace and quiet. They will realize that the madness of the part of wholly the actions of a single individual but that a reciprocal relationship exists between the Fuehrer and the people and that the madness of the one stimulates and flows into the other and vice versa. It was not only Hitler, the madman, who created German madness, but German madness which created Hitler. Having created him as its spokesman and leader, it has been carried along by his momentum, perhaps far beyond the point where it was originally prepared to go. Nevertheless, it continues to follow his lead in spite of the fact that it must be obvious to all intelligent people now that his path leads to inevitable destruction.
From a scientific point of view, therefore, we are forced to consider Hitler, the Fuehrer, not as a personal devil, wicked as his actions and philosophy may be, but as the expression of a state of mind existing in millions of people, not only in Germany but, to a smaller degree, in all civilized countries. To remove Hitler may be a necessary first step, but it would not be the cure. It would be analogous to curing an ulcer without treating the underlying disease. If similar eruptions are to be prevented in the future, we cannot content ourselves with simply removing the overt manifestations of the disease. On the contratry, we must ferret out and seek to correct the underlying factors which produced the unwelcome phenomenon. We must discover the psychological streams which nourish this destructtve state of mind in order that we may divert them into channels which will permit a further evolution of our form of civilization.
The present study is concerned wholly with Adolph Hitler and the social forces which impinged upon him in the course of his development and produced the man we know. One may question the wisdom of studying the psychology of a single individual if the present war represents a rebellion by a nation against our civilization. To understand the one does not tell us anything about the millions of others. In a sense this is perfectly true. In the process of growing up we are all faced with highly individual experiences and exposed to varying social influences. The result is that when we mature no two of us are identical from a psychological point of view. In the present instance, however, we are concerned not so much with distinct individuals as with a whole cultural group. The members of this group have been exposed to social influences, family patterns, methods of training and education, opportunities for development, etc., which are fairly homogeneous within a given culture or strata of a culture. The result is that the members of a given culture tend to act, think and feel more or less alike, at least in contrast to the members of a different cultural group. This justifies, to some extent, our speaking of a general cultural character. On the other hand, if a large section of a given culture rebells against the traditional pattern then we must assume that new social influences have been introducod which tend to produce a type of character which cannot thrive in the old cultural environment.
When this happens it may be extremely helpful to understand the nature of the social forces which influenced the development of individual members of the group. These may serve as clues to an understanding of the group as a whole inasmuch as we can then investigate the frequency and intensity of these same forces in the group as a whole and draw deductions concerning their effect upon its individual members. If the individual being studied happens to be the Ieader of the group, we can expect to find the pertinent factors in an exaggerated form which would tend to make them stand out in sharper relief than would be the case if we studied an average member of the group. Under these circumstances, the action of the forces may be more easily isolated and subjected to detailed study in relation to the personality as whole as well as to the culture in general. The problem of our study should be, then, not only whether Hitler is mad or not, but what influences in his development have made him what he is.
If we scan the tremendous quantities of material and information which have been accumulated on Hitler, we find little which is helpful in explaining why he is what he is. One can, of course, make general statements as many authors have done and say, for example, that his five years in Vienna were so frustrating that he hated the whole social order and is now taking his revenge for the injustices he suffered. Such explanations sound very plausible at first glance but we would also want to know why, as a young man, he was unwilling to work when he had the opportunity and what happened to transform the lazy Vienna beggar into the energetic politician who never seemed to tire from rushing from one meeting to another and was able to work thousands of listeners into a state of frenzy.
We would also like to know something about the origins of his peculiar working habits at the present time, his firm belief in his mission, and so on. No matter how long we study the available material we can find no rational explanation of his present conduct. The material is descriptive and tells us a great deal about how he behaves under varying circumstances, what he thinks and feels shout various subjects, but it does not tell us why. To be sure, he himself sometimes offers explanations for his conduct but it is obvious that these are either built on flimsy rational foundations or else they serve to push the problem further back into his past. On this level we are in exactly the same position in which we find ourselves when a neurotic patient first comes for help.
In the case of an individual neurotic patient, however, we can ask for a great deal more first-hand information which gradually enables us to trace the development of his irrational attitudes or behavioral patterns to earlier experiences or influences in his life history and the effects of these on his later behavior. In most cases the patient will have forgotten these earlier experiences but nevertheless he still uses them as premises in his present conduct. As soon as we are able to understand the premises underlying his conduct, then his irrational behavior becomes comprehensible to us.
The same finding would probably hold in Hitler's case except that here we do not have the opportunity of obtaining the additional first-hand information which would enable us to trace the history of his views and behavioral patterns to their early origins in order to discover the premises on which he is operating. Hitler's early life, when his fundamental attitudes were undoubtedly formed, is a closely guarded secret, particularly as far as he himself is concerned. He has been extremely careful and has told us exceedingly little about this period of his life and even that is open to serious questioning. A few fragments have, however, been, unearthed which are helpful in reconstructing his past life and the experiences and influences which have determined his adult character. Nevertheless, in themselves, they would be wholly inadequate for our purposes.
Fortunately, there are other sources of information. One of them is Hitler himself. In every utterance a speaker or writer unknowingly tells us a great deal about himself of which he is entirely unaware. The subjects he chooses for elaboration frequently reveal unconscious factors which make these seem more important to him than many other aspects which would be just as appropriate to the occasion. Furthermore, the method of treatment, together with the attitudes expressed towards certain topics, usually reflect conscious processes which are symbolically related to his own problems. The examples he chooses for purposes of illustration almost always contain elements from his own earlier experiences which were instrumental in cultivating the view he is expounding. The figures of speech he employs reflect unconscious conflicts and linkages and the incidence of particular types or topics can almost be used as a measure of his preoccupation with problems related to them. A number of experimental techniques have been worked out which bear witness to the validity of these methods of gathering information about the mental life, conscious and unconscious, of an individual in addition to the findings of psychoanalysts and psychiatrists.
Then, too, we have our practical experience in studying patients whose difficulties were not unlike those we find in Hitler. Our knowledge of the origins of these difficulties may often be used to evaluate conflicting information, check deductions concerning what probably happened, or to fill in gaps where no information is available. It may be possible with the help of all these sources of information to reconstruct the outstanding events in his early life which have determined his present behavior and character structure. Our study must, however, of necessity be speculative and inconclusive. It may tell us a great deal about the mental processes of our subject but it cannot be as comprehensive or conclusive as the findings of a direct study conducted with the cooperatlon of the individual. Nevertheless, the situation is such that even an indirect study of this kind is warranted.
Freud's earliest and greatest contribution to psychiatry in particular and to an understanding of human conduct in general was his discovery of the importance of the first years of a child's life in shaping his future character. It is during these early years, when the child's acquaintanceship with the world is still meagre and his capacities are still immature, that the'chances of misinterpreting the nature of the world about him are the greatest. The mind of the child is inadequate for understanding the demands which a complex culture makes upon him or the host of confusing experiences to which he is exposed. In consequence, as has been shown over and over again, a child during his early years frequently misinterprets what is going on about him and builds his personality structure on false premises. Even Hitler concedes that this finding is true, for he says in MEIN KAMPF:
"There is a boy, let us say, of three. This is the age at which a child becomes conscious of his first impressions. In many intelligent people, traces of these early memories are found even in old age."
Under these circumstances, it will be well for us to inquire into the nature of Hitier's earliest environment and the impressions which he probably formed during this period. Our factual information on this phase of his life is practically nil. In MEIN KAMPF Hitler tries to create the impression that his home was rather peaceful and quiet, his "father a faithful civil servant, the mother devoting herself to the cares of the household and looking after her children with eternally the same loving care." It would seem that if this is a true representation of the home environment there would be no reason for his concealing it so scrupulously.
This is the only passage in a book of a thousand pages in which he even intimates that there were other children for his mother to take care of. No brother and no sister are mentioned in any other connection and even to his associate he has never admitted that there were other chidren besides his half-sister, Angela. Very little more is said about his mother, either in writing or speaking. This concealment in itself would make us suspicious about the truth of the statement quoted above. We become even more suspicious when we find that not a single patient manifesting Hitler's character traits has grown up in such a well-ordered and peaceful home environment.
If we read on in MEIN KAMPF we find that Hitler gives us a description of a child's life in a lower-class family. He says:
"Among the five children there is a boy, let us say, of three. When the parents fight almost daily, their brutality leaves nothing to the imagination then the results of such visual education must slowly but inevitably become apparent to the little one. Those who are not familiar with such conditions can hardly imagine the results, especially when the mutual differences express themselves in the form of brutal attacks on the part of the father towards the mother or to assaults due to drunkenness. The poor little boy at the age of six, senses things which would make even a grown-up person shudder. The other things the little fellow hears at home do not tend to further his respect for his surroundings."
In view of the fact that we now know that where were five children in the Hitler home and that his father liked to spend his spare time in the village tavern where he sometimes drank so heavily that he had to be brought horn by his wife or children, we begin to suspect that in this passage Hitler is, in all probability, describing conditions in his own home as a child.
If we accept the hypothesis that Hitler is actually talking about his own home when he describes conditions in the average lower-class family, we can obtain further information concerning the nature of his home environment. We read:
". things end badly indeed when the man from the very start goes his own way and the wife, for the sake of the children stands up against him. Quarreling and nagging set in, and in the same measure in which the husband becomes estranged from his wife, he becomes familiar with alcohol. When he finally comes home. drunk and brutal, but always without a last cent or penny, then God have mercy on the scenes which follow. I witnessed all of this personally in hundreds of scenes and at the beginning with both disgust and indignation." (MK, 38)
When we remember the few friends that Hitler has made in the course of his life, and not a single intimate friend, one wonders where he had the opportunity of observing these scenes personally, hundreds of times, if it was not in his own home. And then he continues:
"The other things the little fellow hears at home do not tend to further his respect for his surroundings. Not a single good shred is left for humanity, not a single institution is left unattacked starting with the teacher, up to the head of the State, be it religion, or morality as such, be it the State or society, no matter which, everything is pulled down in the nastiest manner into the filth of a depraved mentality." (MK, 43)
All of this agrees with information obtained from other sources whose veracity might otherwise be open to question. With this as corroborating evidence, however, it seems safe to assume that the above passages are a fairly accurate picture of the Hitler household and we may surmise that these scenes did arouse disgust and indignation in him at a very early age.
These feelings were aggravated by the fact that when his father was sober he tried to create an entirely different impression. At such times he stood very much on his dignity and prided himself on his position in the civil serviceo Even after he had retired from this service he always insisted on wearing his uniform when he appeared in public. He was scrupulous about his appearance and strode down the viliage street in his most dignified manner. When he spoke to his neighbors or acquaintances he did so in a very condescending manner and always demanded that they use his full title when they addressed him. If one of them happened to omit a part of it, he would call attention to their omission. He carried this to the point where, so informants tell us, he became a source of amusement to the other villagers and their children. At home, he demanded that the children address him as Herr Vater instead of using one of the intimate abbreviations or nicknames that children commonly do.
Father's lnfluence on Hitler's character.
We know from our study of many cases that the character of father is one of the major factors determining the character of the child during infancy, particularly that of a boy. In cases in which the father is a fairly well-integrated individual and presents a consistent pattern of behavior which the small boy can respect, he becomes a model which the child strives to emulate. The image the child has of his father becomes the cornerstone of his later character-structure and with its help he is able to integrate his own behavior along socially accepted lines. The importance of this first step in character development can scarcely be over-estimated. It is almost a prerequisite for a stable, secure and well-integrated personality in later life.
In Hitler' s case, as in almost all other neurotics of his type, this step was not feasible. Instead of presenting an image of a consistent, harmonious, socially-adjusted and admirable individual which the child can use as a guide and model, the father shows himself to be a mass of contradictions. At times he plays the role of "a faithful civil servant" who respects his position and the society he serves, and demands that all others do likewise. At such times he is the soul of dignity, propriety, sternness and justice. To the outside world he tries to appear as a pillar of society whom all should respect and obey. At home, on the other hand, particularly after he had been drinking, he appears the exact opposite. He is brutal, unjust and inconsiderate. He has no respect for anybody or anything. The world is all wrong and an unfit place in which to live. At such times he also plays the part of the bully and whips his wife and children who are unable to defend themselves. Even the dog comes in for his share of his sadistic display.
Under such circumstances the child becomes confused and is unable to identify himself with a clear-cut pattern which he can use as a guide for his own adjustment. Not only is this a severe handicap in itself but in addition the child is given a distorted picture of the world around him and the nature of the people in it. The home, during these years, is his world and he judges the outside world in terms of it. The result is that the whole world appears as extremely dangerous, uncertain and unjust as a place in which to live and the child's impulse is to avoid it as far as possible because he feels unable to cope with it. He feels insecure, particularly since he can never predict beforehand how his father will behave when he comes home in the evening or what to expect from him. The person who should give him love, support and a feeling of security now fills him with anxiety, uneasiness and uncertainty.
His search for a competent guide.
As a child Hitler must have felt this lack very keenly for throughout his later life we find him searching for a strong masculine figure whom he can respect and emulate. The men with whom he had contact during his childhood evidently could not fill the role of guide to his complete satisfaction. There is some evidence that he attempted to regard some of his teachers in this way but whether it was the influence of his father's ranting or shortcomings in the teachers themselves, his attempts always miscarried. Later he attempted to find great men in history who could fill this need. Caesar, Napoleon and Frederick the Great are only a few of the many to whom he became attached. Although such, historic figures serve important role of this kind in the life of almost every child, they are in themselves inadequate. Unless a fairly solid foundation already exists in the mind of the child these heroes never become flesh and blood people inasmuch as the relationship is one-sided and lacks reciprocation. The same is also true of the political figures with which Hitler sought to identify himself during the Vienna period. For a time Schoenerer and Lueger became his heroes and although they were instrumental in forming some of his political beliefs and channeling his feelings, they were still too far removed from him to play the role of permanent guides and models.
During his career in the army we have an excellent example of Hitler's willingness to submit to the leadership of strong males who were willing to guide him and protect him. Throughout his army life there is not a shred of evidence to show that Hitler was anything but the model soldier as far as submissivehess and obedience are concerned. From a psychological point of view his life in the army was a kind of substitute for the home life he had always wanted but could never find, and he fulfilled his duties willingly and faithfully. He liked it so well that after he was wounded, in 1916, he wrote to his commanding officer and requested that he be called back to front duty before his leave had expired.
After the close of the war he stayed in the army and continued to be docile to his officers. He was willing to do anything they asked, even to the point of spying on his own comrades and then condemning them to death. When his officers singled him out to do special propaganda work because they believed he had a talent for speaking, he was overjoyed. This was the beginning of his political career, and here too we can find many manifestations of his search for a leader. In the beginning he may well have thought of himself as the "drummer-boy" who was heralding the coming of the great leader. Certain it is that during the early years of his career he was very submissive to a succession of important men to whom he looked for guidance - von Kahr, Ludendorff and Hindenburg, to name only a few.
It is true that in the end he turned upon them one after another and treated them in a despicable fashion, but usually this change came after he discovered their personal shortcomings and inadequacies. As in many neurotic people of Hitler's type who have a deep craving for guidance from an older man, their requirements grow with the years. By the time they reach maturity they are looking for, and can only submit to, a person who is perfect in every respect -literally a super-man. The result is that they are always trying to come in contact with new persons of high status in the hope that each one, in turn, will prove to be the ideal.
No sooner do they discover a single weakness or shortcoming than they depose him from the pedestal on which they have placed him. They then treat their fallen heroes badly for having failed to live up to their expectations. And so Hitler has spent his life looking for a competent guide but always ends up with the discovery that the person he has chosen falls short of his requirements and is fundamentally no more capable than himself. That this tendency is a carry-over from his early childhood is evidenced by the fact that throughout these years he always laid great stress on addressing these persons by their full titles. Shades of his father's training during his early childhood!
It may be of interest to note at this time that of all the titles that Hitler might have chosen for himself he is content with the simple one of "Fuehrer". To him this title is the greatest of them all. He has spent his life searching for a person worthy of the role but was unable to find one until he discovered himself. His goal is now to fulfill this role to millions of other people in a way in which he had hoped some person might do for him. The fact that the German people have submitted so readily to his leadership would indicate that a great many Germans were in a similar state of mind as Hitler himself and were not only willing, but anxious, to submit to anybody who could prove to them that he was competent to fill the role. There is some sociological evidence that this is probably so and that its origins lie in the structure of the German family and the dual role played by the father within the home as contrasted with the outside world. The duality, on the average is, of course, not nearly as marked as we have shown it to be in Hitler's case, but it may be this very fact which qualified him to identify the need and express it in terms which the others could understand and accept.
There is evidence that the only person in the world at the present time who might challenge Hitler in the role of leader is Roosevelt. Informants are agreed that he fears neither Churchill nor Stalin. He feels that they are sufficiently like himself so th at he can understand their psychology and defeat them at the game. Roosevelt, however, seems to be an enigma him. How a man can lead a nation of 150,000,000 people and keep them in line without a great deal of name-calling, shouting, abusing and threatening is a mystery to him. He is unable to understand how a man can be the leader of a large group and still act like a gentleman. The result is that he secretly admires Roosevelt to a considerable degree, regardless of what he publicly says about him. Underneath he probably fears him inasmuch as he is unable to predict his actions.
Hitler's mother and her influence.
Hitler's father, however, was only a part of his early environment. There was also his mother who, from all reports, was a very decent type of woman. Hitler has written very little and said nothing about her publicly. Informants tell us, however, that she was an extremely conscientitious and hard-working individual whose life centered around her home and children. She was an exemplary housekeeper and there was never a spot or speck of dust to be found in the house - everything was very neat and orderly. She was a very devout Catholic and the trials and tribulations that fell upon her home she accepted with Christian resignation. Even her last illness, which extended over many months and caused her great pain, she endured without a single complaint. We may assume that she had to put up with much from her irrascible husband and it may be that at at times she did have to stand up against him for the welfare of her children. But all of this she probably accepted in the same spirit of abnegation. To her own children she was always extremely affectionate and generous although there is some reason to suppose that she was mean at times to her two step-children.
In any event, every scrap of evidence indicates that there was an extremely strong attachment between herself and Adolph. As previously pointed out, this was due in part to the fact that she had lost two, or possibly three, children before Adolph was born. Since he, too, was frail as a child it is natural that a woman of her type should do everything within her power to guard against another recurrence of her earlier experiences. The result was that she catered to his whims, even to the point of spoiling him, and that she was over-protective in her attitude towards him. We may assume that during the first five-years of Adolph's life, he was the apple of his mother's eye and that she lavished affection on him. In view of her husband's conduct and the fact that he was twenty-three years her senior and far from having a loving disposition, we may suppose that much of the affection that normally would have gone to him also found its way to Adolph.
The result was a strong libidinal attachment between mother and son. It is almost certain that Adolph had temper tantrums during this time but that these were not of a serious nature. Their immediatel purpose was to get his own way with his mother and he undoubtedly succeeded in achieving this end. They were a technique by which he could dominate her whenever he wished, either out of fear that she would lose his love or out of fear that if he continued he might become like his father. There is reason to suppose that she frequently condoned behavior of which the father would have disapproved and may have become a partner in forbidden activities during the father's absence. Life with his mother during these early years must have been a veritable paradise for Adolph except for the fact that his father would intrude and disrupt the happy relationship. Even when his father did not make a scene or lift his whip, he would demand attention from his wife which prevented her participation in pleasurable activities.
It was natural, under these circumstances, that Adolph should resent the intrusion into his Paradise and this undoubtedly aggravated the feelings of uncertainty and fear which his father's conduct aroused in him.
As he became older and the libidinal attachment to his mother became stronger, both the resentment and fear undoubtedly increased. Infantile sexual feelings were probably quite prominent in this relationship as well as fantasies of a childish nature. This is the Oedipus complex mentioned by psychologists and psychiatrists who have written about Hitler's personality. The great amount of affection lavished upon him by his mother and the undesirable character of his father served to develop this complex to an extraordinary degree. The more he hated his father the more dependent he became upon the affection and love of his mother, and the more he loved his mother the more afraid he became of his father's vengeance should his secret be discovered. Under these circumstances, little boys frequently fantasy about ways and means of ridding the environment of the intruder. There is reason to suppose that this also happened in Hitler's early life.
Influences determining his attitude towards love, women, marriage.
Two other factors entered into the situation which served to accentuate the conflict still further. One of these was the birth of a baby brother when he was five years of age. This introduced a new rival onto the scene and undoubtedly deprived him of some of his mother's affection and attention, particularly since the new child was also rather sickly. We may suppose that the newcomer in the family also became the victim of Adolph's animosity and that he fantasied about getting rid of him as he had earlier contemplated getting rid of his father. There is nothing abnormal in this except the intensity of the emotions involved.
The other factor which served to intensify these feelings was the fact that as a child he must have discovered his parents during intercourse. An examination of the data makes this conclusion most inescapable and from our knowledge of his father's character and past history it is not at all improbable. It would seem that his feelings on this occasion were very mixed. On the one hand, he was indignant at his father for what he considered to be a brutal assault upon his mother. On the other hand, he was indignant with his mother because she submitted so willingly to the father, and he was indignant with himself because he was powerless to intervene. Later, as we shall see, there was an hysterical re-living of this experience which played an important part in shaping his future destinies.
Being a spectator to this early scene had many repercussions. One of the most important of these was the fact that he felt that his mother had betrayed him in submitting to his father, a feeling which became accentuated still further when his baby brother was born. He lost much of his respect for the female sex and while in Vienna, Hanisch reports, he frequently spoke at length on the topic of love and marriage and that "he had very austere ideas about relations between men and women". Even at that time he maintained that if men only wanted to they could adopt a strictly moral way of living. "He often said it was the woman's fault if a man went astray" and "He used to lecture us about this, saying every woman can be had." In other words, he regarded woman as the seducer and responsible for man's downfall and he condemned them for their disloyalty.
These attitudes are probably the outcome of his early experiences with his mother who first seduced him into a love relationship and then betrayed him by giving herself to his father. Nevertheless, he still continued to believe in an idealistic form of love and marriage which would be possible if a loyal woman could be found. As we know, Hitler never gave himself into the hands of a woman again with the possible exception of his niece, Geli Raubal, which also ended in disaster. Outside of that single exception he has lived a loveless life. His distrust of both men and women is so deep that in all his history there is no record of a really intimate and lasting friendship.
The outcome of these early experiences was probably a feeling of being very much alone in a hostile world. He hated his father, distrusted his mother, and despised himself for his weakness. The immature child finds such a state of mind almost unendurable for any length of time and in order to gain peace and security in his environmlnt these feelings are gradually repressed from his memory.
This is a normal procedure which happens in the case of every child at a relatively early age. This process of repression enables the child to reestablish a more or less friendly relationship with his parents without the interference of disturbing memories and emotions. The early conflicts, however, are not solved or destroyed by such a process and we must expect to find manifestations of them later on. When the early repression has been fairly adequate these conflicts lie dormant until adolescence when, due to the process of maturation, they are reawakened. In some cases they reappear in very much their original form, while in others they are expressed in a camouflaged or symbolic form.
In Hitler's case, however, the conflicting emotions and sentiments were so strong that they could not be held a latent state during this time. Quite early in his school career we find his conflicts appearing again in a symbolic form. Unfortunately, the symbols he unconsciously chose to express his own inner conflicts were such that they have seriously affected the future of the world. And yet these symbols fit his peculiar situation so perfectly that it was almost inevitable that they would be chosen as vehicles of expression.
His early conflicts expressed in symbolic form.
Unconsciously, all the emotions he had once felt for his mother became transferred to Germany. This transfer of affect was relatively easy inasmuch as Germany, like his mother, was young and vigorous and held promise of a great future under suitable circumstances. Furthermore, he felt shut off from Germany as he now felt shut off from his mother, even though he secretly wished to be with her. Germany became a symbol of his ideal mother and his sentiments are clearly expressed in his writings and speeches. A few excerpts will serve to illustrate the transfer of emotion:
"The longing grew stronger to go there (Germany) where since my early youth I had been drawn by secret wishes and secret love."
"What I first had looked upon as an impassable chasm now spurred me on to greater love for my country than ever before."
"An unnatural separation from the great common Motherland."
"I appeal to those who, severed from the Motherland, . and who now in painful emotion long for the hour that will allow them to return to the arms of the beloved mother."
It is significant that although Germans, as a whole, invariably refer to Germany as the "Fatherland", Hitler almost always refers to it as the "Motherland.
Just as Germany was ideally suited to symbolize his mother, so was Austria ideally suited to symbolize his father. Like his father, Austria was old, exhausted and decaying from within. He therefore transferred all his unconscious hatred from his father to the Austrian state. He could now give vent to all his pent-up emotions without exposing himself to the dangers he believed he would have encountered had he expressed these same feelings towards the persons really involved. In MEIN KAMPF he frequently refers to the Austrian state, for example, in terms such as these:
". an intense love for my native German-Austrian country and a bitter hatred against the Austrian state."
"With proud admiration I compared the rise of the Reich with the decline of the Austrian state."
The alliance between Austria and Germany served to symbolize the marriage of his mother and father. Over and over again we find references to this alliance and we can see clearly how deeply he resented the marriage of his parents because he felt that his father was a detriment to his mother and only through the death of the former could the latter obtain her freedom and find her salvation. A few quotations will illustrate his sentiments:
"And who could keep faith with an imperial dynasty which betrayed the cause of the German people for its own ignominious ends, a betrayal that occurred again and again."
"What grieved us most was the fact that the whole system, was morally protected by the alliance with Germany, and thus Germaey herself. walked by the side of the corpse."
". It suffices to state here that from my earliest youth I came to a conviction which never deserted me, but on the contrary grew stronger and stronger: that the protection of the German race presumed the destruction of Austria. that, above all else, the Royal House of Hapsburg was destined to bring misfortune upon the German nation."
"Since my heart had never beaten for an Austrian monarchy but only for a German Reich, I could only look upon the hour of the ruin of this state as the beginning of the salvation of the German nation."
When we have grasped the significance of this transference of affect we have made a long step in the direction of understanding Hitler's actions. Unconsciously he is not dealing with nations composed of millions of individuals but is trying to solve his personal conflicts and rectify the injustices of his childhood. Unable to enter into a "give-and-take" relationship with other human beings which might afford him an opportunity of resolving his conflicts in a realistic manner, he projects his personal problems on great nations and then tries to solve them on this unrealistic level. His microcosm has been inflated into a macrocosm.
We can now understand why Hitler fell on his knees and thanked God when the last war broke out. To him it did not mean simply a war, as such, but an opportunity of fighting for his symbolic mother - of proving his manhood and of being accepted by her. It was inevitable that he would seek enlistment in the German Army rather than in the Austrian Army and it was also inevitable, under these circumstances, that he would be a good and obedient soldier. Unconsciously it was as though he were a little boy who was playing the part of a man while his mother stood by and watched him. Her future welfare was his great concern and in order to prove his love he was willing, if need be, to sacrifice his own life for her.
The effects of Germany's defeat.
Everything went smoothly as long as he felt sure that all would turn out well in the end. He never complained about the hardships that were imposed on him and he never grumbled with the other men. He was happy in what he was doing and met the trials and tribulations of army life with his chin up until he discovered that things were going badly and that his symbolic mother was about to be degraded as he had imagined his real mother had been degraded in his childhood. To him it was as if his mother was again the victim of a sexual assault. This time it was the November Criminals and the Jews who were guilty of the foul deed and he promptly transferred his repressed hate to these new perpetrators.
When he became fully aware of Germany's defeat he reacted in a typically hysterical manner. He refused to accept or adjust to the situation on a reality level. Instead, he reacted to this event as he probably reacted to the discovery of his parents in intercourse. He writes:
"I stumbIed and tottered rearwards with burning eyes. Already a few hours later the eyes had turned into burning coals it had become dark around me."
In another place he writes:
"While everything began to go black again before my eyes, stumbling, I groped my way back to the dormitory, threw myself on my cot and buried my burning head in the covers and pillows."
At the time this happened he had been exposed to a slight attack of mustard gas. He immediately believed that he was blinded and speechless. Although he spent several weeks in hospital, neither his symptoms nor the development of the illness corresponded to those found in genuine gas cases. It has been definitely established that both the blindness and the mutism were of an hysterical nature. The physician who treated him at that time found his case so typical of hysterical symptoms in general that for years after the war he used it as an illustration in his courses given at a prominent German medical school. We know from a great many other cases that during the onset of such attacks the patient behaves in exactly the same manner as he did earlier in his life when confronted by a situation with the same emotional content. It is as though the individual were actually reliving the earlier experience over again. In Hitler's case this earlier experience was almost certainly the discovery of his parents in intercourse and that he interpreted this as a brutal assault in which he was powerless. He refused to believe what his eyes told him and the experience left him speechless.
That this interpretation is correct is evidenced by his imagery in dealing with the event later on. Over and over again we find figures of speech such as these:
". by what wiles the soul of the German has been raped."
". our German pacifists will pass over in silence the most bloody rape of the nation."
which illustrate his sentiments very clearly.
The origins of his belief in his mission and his longing for immortality.
It was while he was in the hospital suffering from hysterical blindness and mutism that he had the vision that he would liberate the Germans from their bondage and make Germany great. It was this vision that set him on his present political career and which has had such a determining influence on the course of world events. More than anything else it was this vision that convinced him that he was chosen by Providence and that he had a great mission to perform. This is probably the most outstanding characteristic of Hitler's mature personality and it is this which guides him with the "precision of a sleepwalker."
From an analysis of many other cases we know that such convictions never result from an adult experience alone. In order to carry conviction they must reawaken earlier beliefs which have their roots far back in childhood. It is, of course, nothing unusual for a child to believe that he is some special creation and destined to do great things before he dies. One can almost say that every child passes through such a period on his way to growing up. In many people remnants of such early beliefs are observable inasmuch as they feel or believe that Fate or Luck or Providence or some extra-natural power has chosen them for special favors. In most of these cases, however, the adult individual only half believes that this is really so even when a whole series of favorable events may make the hypothesis plausible. Only rarely do we find a firm conviction of this kind in adulthoed and then only when there were extenuating circumstances in childhood which made such a belief necessary and convincing.
In Hitler's case the extenuating circumstances are relatively clear. Mention has already been made of the fact that his mother had given birth to at least two and possibly three children, all of whom had died prior to his own birth. He, himself, was a frail and rather sickly infant. Under these circumstances, his mother undoubtedly exerted herself to the utmost to keep him alive. He was unquestionably spoiled during this period and his survival was probably the great concern of the family as well as of the neighbors. From his earliest days there was, no doubt, considerable talk in the household about the death of the other children and constant comparisons between their progress and his own.
Children first become aware of death as a phenomenon very early in life and in view of these unusual circumstances it may have dawned on Hitler even earlier than with most children. The thought of death, in itself, is inconceivable to a small child and they usually are able to form only the vaguest conception of what it means or implies before they push it out of their minds, for later consideration. In Hitler's case, however, it was a living issue and the fears of the mother were in all likelihood communicated to him. As he pondered the problem in his immature way, he probably wondered why the others died while he continued to live. The natural conclusion for a child to draw would be that he was favored in some way or that he was chosen to live for some particular purpose. The belief that he was the "chosen one" would have been reinforced by the fact that as far as his mother was concerned he was very much the chosen one in comparison with her two step-children who were also living in the home at that time.
This belief must have been strengthened considerably when, at the age of five, his baby brother was born. This baby brother has undoubtedly played a much more important role in Adolph's life than has been acknowledged by his biographers. The pertinent fact at the moment, however, is that this brother too died before he was six years old. It was Adolph's first real experience with death and it must have brought up the problem of death again in a much more vivid form. Again, we can surmise, he asked himself why they died while he continues to be saved. The only plausible answer to a child at that age would be that he must be under divine protection. This may seem far-fetched and yet, as an adult, Hitler tells us that he felt exactly this way when he was at the front during the war, even before he had the vision.
Then, too, he speculated on why it is that comrades all around him are killed while he is saved and again he comes to the conclusion that Providence must be protecting him. Perhaps the exemplary courage he displayed in carrying messages at the front was due to the feeling that some kindly Fate was watching over him. Throughout MEIN KAMPF we find this type of thinking. It was Fate that had him born so close to the German border it was Fate that sent him to Vienna to suffer with the masses it was Fate that caused him to do many things. The experience he reports at the front, when a voice told him to pick up his plate and move to another section of the trench just in time to escape a shell which killed all his comrades, must certainly have strengthened this belief to a marked degree and paved the way for his vision later on.
Another influence may have helped to solidify this system of belief. Among patients we very frequently find that children who are spoiled at an early age and establish a strong bond with their mother tend to question their paternity. Eldest children in particular are prone to such doubts and it is most marked in cases where the father is much older than the mother. In Hitler's case the father was twenty-three years older, or almost twice the age of the mother. Just why this should be is not clear, from a psychological point of view, but in such cases there is a strong tendency to believe that their father is not their real father and to ascribe their birth to some kind of supernatural conception. Usually such beliefs are dropped as the child grows older. It can be observed in young children, however, and can often be recovered in adults under suitable conditions. Due to the unsympathetic and brutal nature of his father we may suppose that there was an added incentive in rejecting him as his real father and postulating some other origin to himself.
The problem is not important in itself at the moment except insofar as it may help to throw some light on the origins of Hitler's conviction in his mission and his belief that he is guided by some extra-natural power which communicates to him what he should and should not do under varying circumstances. This hypothesis is tenable in view of the fact that during his stay in Vienna, when still in his early twenties, he grew a beard and again directly after the war when he again grew a Christ-like beard. Then, too, when he was a student at the Benedictine school his ambition was to join the Church and become an abbot or priest. All of these give some indication of a Messiah complex long before he had started on his meteoric career and become an open competitor of Christ for the affections of the German people.
Fear of death and desire for immortality.
Although beliefs of this kind are common during childhood they are usually dropped or are modified as the individual becomes older and more experienced. In Hitler's case, however, the reverse has taken place. The conviction became stronger as he grew older until, at the present time, it is the core of his thinking. Under these circumstances, we must suppose that some powerful psychological stream continued to nourish these infantile modes of thought. This psychological stream is probably, as it is in many other cases, a fear of death. It seems logical to suppose that in the course of his early deliberations on the deaths of his brothers his first conclusion was probably that all the others die and that consequently he too would die. His fear would not be allayed by his mother's constant concern over his well-being, which he may have interpreted as an indication that the danger was imminent. Such a conclusion would certainly be a valid one for a child to make under the circumstances.
The thought of his own death, however, is almost unbearable to a small child. Nothing is quite so demoralizing as the constant dread of self-annihilation. It gnaws away day and night and prevents him from enjoying the good things that life affords.
To rid himself of this devastating fear becomes his major objective. This is not easily accomplished, especially when all available evidence seems to corroborate the validity of the fear. In order to offset its potency he is almost driven to deny its reality by adopting the belief that he is of divine origin and that Providence is protecting him from all harm. Only by use of such a technique is the child able to convince himself that, he will not die. We must also remember that in Hitler's case there was not only the unusual succession of deaths of siblings, but there was also the constant menace of his father's brutality which helped make the fear more intense than in most children. This danger could easily be exaggerated in Hitler's mind due to a sense of guilt concerning his feelings towards his respective parents and what his father might do to him if he discovered his secret. These feelings would tend to increase his fear of death at the same time that they caused him to reject his father. Both tendencies would serve to nourish the belief that he was of divine origin and was under its protection.
It is my belief that this basic fear of death is still present and active in Hitler's character at the present time. As time goes on and he approaches the age when he might reasonably expect to die, this infantile fear asserts itself more strongly. As a mature, intelligent man he knows that the law of nature is such that his physical self is destined to die. He is still not able, however, to accept the fact that he as an individual, his psyche, will also die. It is this element in his psychological structure which demands that he become immortal. Most people are able to take the sting out of this fear of death through religious beliefs in life after death, or through the feeling that a part of them, at least, will continue to go on living in their children. In Hitler's, case, both of these normal channels have been closed and he has been forced to seek immortality in a more direct form. He must arrange to go on living in the German people for at least a thousand years to come. In order to do this, he must oust Christ as a competitor and usurp his place in the lives of the German people.
In addition to evidence drawn from experience with patients which would make this hypothesis tenable, we have the evidence afforded by Hitler's own fears and attitudes. We have discussed these in detail in Section IV. Fear of assassination, fear of poisoning, fear of premature death, etc., all deal with the problem of death in an uncamouflaged form. One can, of course, maintain that in view or his position all these fears are more or less justified. There is certainly some truth in this contention but we also notice that as time goes on these fears have increased considerably until now they have reached the point where the precautions for his own safety far exceed those of any of his predecessors. As long as he could hold a plebescite every now and then and reassure himself that the German people loved him and wanted him, he felt better. Now that this is no longer possible, he has no easy way of curbing the fear and his uncertainty in the future becomes greater. There can be little doubt concerning his faith in the results of the plebescites. He was firmly convinced that the 98% vote, approving his actions, really represented the true feelings of the German people. He believed this because he needed such reassurance from time to time in order to carry on with a fairly easy mind and maintain his delusions.
When we turn to his fear of cancer we find no justification whatever for his belief, especially in view of the fact that several outstanding specialists in this disease have assured him that it is without foundation. Nevertheless, it is one of his oldest fears and he continues to adhere to it in spite of all the expert testimony to the contrary. This fear becomes intelligible when we remember that his mother died following an operation for cancer of the breast. In connection with his fear of death we must not forget his terrifying nightmares from which he awakes in a cold sweat and acts as though he were being suffocated. If our hypothesis is correct, namely, that a fear of death is one of the powerful unconscious streams which drive Hitler on in his mad career, then we can expect that as the war progresses and as he becomes older the fear will continue to increase. With the progress of events along their present course, it will be more and more difficult for him to feel that his mission is fulfilled and that he has successfully cheated death and achieved immortality in the German people. Nevertheless, we can expect him to keep on trying to the best of his ability as long as a ray of hope remains. The great danger is that if he feels that he cannot achieve immortality as the Great Redeemer he may seek it as the Great Destroyer who will live on in the minds of the German people for a thousand years to come. He intimated this in a conversation with Rauschning when he said:
"We shall not capitulate -- no, never. We may be destroyed, but if we are, we shall drag a world with us--a world in flames."
With him, as with many others of his type, it may well be a case of immortality of any kind at any price.
Closely interwoven with several of the themes which have already been elaborated is the development of his sexual life. From what we know about his mother's excessive cleanliness and tidiness we may assume that she employed rather stringent measures during the toilet training period of her children. This usually results in a residual tension in this area and is regarded by the child as a severe frustration which arouses feelings of hostility. This facilitates an alliance with his infantile aggression which finds an avenue for expression through anal activities and fantasies. These usually center around soiling, humiliation and destruction, and form the basis of a sadistic character.
Here, again, we may assume that the experience was more intense in Hitler's case than in the average due to the strong attachment and spoiling of his mother in early infancy. Unaccustomed to minor frustrations which most children must learn to endure, prior to the toilet training, he was poorly equipped to deal with this experience which plays an important role in the life of all infants. Even now, as an adult, we find Hitler unable to cope with frustrating experiences on a mature level. That a residual tension from this period still exists in Hitler is evidenced by the frequency of imagery in his speaking and writing which deal with dung and dirt and smell. A few illustrations may help to clarify his unconscious preoccupation with these subjects.
"You don't understand: we are just passing a magnet over a dunghill, and we shall see presently how much iron was in the dunghill and has clung to the magnet." (By 'dunghill' Hitler meant the German people.)
"And when he (the Jew) turns the treasures over in his hand they are transformed into dirt and dung."
". Ones hands hands seize slimy jelly it slips through one's fingers only to collect again in the next moment."
"Charity is sometimes actually comparable to the manure which is spread on the field, not out of love for the latter, but out of precaution for one's own benefit later on."
". dragged into the dirt and filth of the lowest depths."
"Later the smell of these caftan wearers made me ill. Added to this were their dirty clothes and their none too heroic appearance."
". The rottenness of artificially nurtured conditions of peace has more than once stunk to high heaven."
His libidinal development, however, was not arrested at this point but progressed to the genital level at which the Oedipus complex, already referred to, developed. This complex, as we have seen, was aggravated by his mother's pregnancy at precisely the age when the complex normally reaches its greatest intensity. In addition to accentuating his hatred for his father and estranging him from his mother, we can assume that this event at this particular time served to generate an abnormal curiosity in him. He, like all children at this age, must have wondered how the unborn child got into the mother's stomach and how it was going to get out.
These three reactions have all played an important part in Hitler's psychosexual development. It would seem from the evidence that his aggressive fantasies towards the father reached such a point that he became afraid of the possibility of retaliation if his secret desires were discovered. The retaliation he probably feared was that his father would castrate him or injure his genital capacity in some way - a fear which is later expressed in substitute form in his syphilophobia. Throughout MEIN KAMPF he comes back to the topic of syphilis again and again and spends almost an entire chapter describing its horrors. In almost all cases we find that a fear of this sort is rooted in a fear of genital injury during childhood. In many cases this fear was so overpowering that the child abandoned his genital sexuality entirely and regressed to earlier stages of libidinal development. In order to maintain these repressions later in life he uses the horrors of syphilis as a justification for his unconscious fear that genital sexuality is dangerous for him, and also as a rationalization for his avoidance of situations in which his earlier desires might be aroused.
In abandoning the genital level of libidinal development the individual becomes impotent as far as heterosexual relations are concerned. It would appear, from the evidence, that some such process took place during Hitler's early childhood. Throughout his early adult life, in Vienna, in the Army, in Munich, in Landesberg, no informant has reported a heterosexual relationship. In fact, the informants of all these periods make a point of the fact that he had absolutely no interest in women or any contact with them. Since he has come to power his peculiar relationship to women has been so noticeable that many writers believe that he is asexual. Some have surmised that he suffered a genital injury during the last war, others that he is homosexual. The former hypothesis, for which there is not a shred of real evidence, is almost certainly false. The second hypothesis we will examine later on.
The diffusion of the sexual instinct.
When a regression of this kind take [sic] place the sexual instinct usually becomes diffuse and many organs which have yielded some sexual stimulation in the past become permanently invested with sexual significance. The eyes, for example, may become a substitute sexual organ and seeing then takes on a sexual significance. This seems to have happened in Hitler's case for a number of informants have commented on his delight in witnessing strip-tease and nude dancing numbers on the stage. On such occasions he can never see enough to satisfy him even though he uses opera glasses in order to observe more closely. Strip-tease artists are frequently invited to the Brown House, in Munich, to perform in private and there is evidence that he often invites girls to Berchtesgaden for the purpose of exhibiting their bodies. On his walls are numerous pictures of obscene nudes which conceal nothing and he takes particular delight in looking through a collection of pornographic pictures which Hoffmann has made for him. We also know the extreme pleasure he derives from huge pageants, circus performances, opera, and particularly the movies of which he can never get enough. He has told informants that he gave up flying not only because of the danger involved but because he could not see enough of the country. For this reason, automobile travel is his favorite form of transportation. From all of this it is evident that seeing has a special sexual significance for him. This probably accounts for his "hypnotic glance" which has been the subject of comment by so many writers. Some have reported that at their first meeting Hitler fixated them with his eyes as if "to bore through them." It is also interesting that when the other person meets his stare, Hitler turns his eyes to the ceiling and keeps them there during the interview. Then, too, we must not forget that in the moment of crisis his hysterical attack manifested itself in blindness.
In addition to the eyes, the anal region has also become highly sexualised and both faeces and buttocks become sexual objects. Due to early toilet training, certain inhibitions have been set up which prevent their direct expression. However, we find so many instances of imagery of this kind, particularly in connection with sexual topics, that we must assume that this area has unusual sexual significance. The nature of this significance we will consider in a moment.
The mouth, too, seems to have become invested as an erogenous zone of great importance. Few authors or informants have neglected to mention Hitler's peculiar dietary habits. He consumes tremendous quantities of sweets, candies, cakes, whipped cream, etc., in the course of a day in addition to his vegetable diet. On the other hand, he refuses to eat meat, drink beer or smoke, all of which suggest certain unconscious inhibitions in this area. In addition, he has a pathological fear of poisoning by mouth, and has shown an obsessional preoccupation at times with mouth washing. These suggest a reaction formation or defense against an unacceptable tendency to take something into his mouth or get something out which from one point of view appears to be disgusting. In this connection we must not forget his resolve to starve himself to death after the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch, his hysterical mutism at the end of the last war, and his love of speaking. The significance of these we shall consider later on.
Disturbance of love relations.
The second effect of his mother's pregnancy was his estrangement from her. The direct result of this was, on the one hand, an idealization of love but without a sexual component and, on the other hand, the setting up of a barrier against intimate relationships with other people, particularly women. Having been hurt once, he unconsciously guards himself against a similar hurt in the future. In his relationship to his niece, Geli, he tried to overcome this barrier but he was again disappointed and since then has not exposed himself to a really intimate relationship either with man or woman. He has cut himself off from the world in which love plays any part for fear of being hurt and what love he can experience is fixated on the abstract entity - Germany, which, as we have seen, is a symbol of his ideal mother. This is a love relationship in which sex plays no direct part.
The third outcome of his mother's pregnancy was to arouse an excessive curiosity. The great mystery to children of this age, who find themselves in this situation, is how the unborn child got into the mother's stomach and how it is going to get out. Even in cases where the children have witnessed parental intercourse, this event is rarely linked with the ensuing pregnancy. Since, in their limited experience, everything that gets into their stomach enters by way of the mouth and everything that comes out usually does so by way of the rectum, they are prone to believe that conception somehow takes place through the mouth and that the child will be born via the anus. Hitler, as a child, undoubtedly adhered to this belief but this did not satisfy his curiosity. He evidently wanted to see for himself how it came out and exactly what happened.
This curiosity laid the foundation for his strange perversion which brought all three of his sexualized zones into play. In her description of sexual experiences with Hitler, Geli stressed the fact that it was of the utmost importance to him that she squat over him in such a way that he could see everything. It is interesting, that Roehm, in an entirely different connection, once said:
"He (Hitler) is thinking about the peasant girls. When they stand in the fields and bend down at their work so that you can see their behinds, that's what he likes, especially when they've got big round ones. That's Hitler's sex life. What a man."
Hitler, who was present, did not stir a muscle but only stared at Roehm with compressed lips.
From a consideration of all the evidence it would seem that Hitler's perversion is as Geli has described it. The great danger in gratifying it, however, is that the individual might get faeces or urine into his mouth. It is this danger that must be guarded against.
Another possibility in infantile thinking presents itself in this connection. When the home environment is harsh and brutal, as it was in Hitler's case, the small child very frequently envies the position of passivity and security the unborn child enjoys within the mother. This, in turn, gives rise to fantasies of finding a way in to the longed for claustrum and ousting his rival in order that he may take his place. These fantasies are usually of very brief duration because, as the child believes, he would have nothing to eat or drink except faeces and urine. The thoughht of such a diet arouses feelings of disgust and consequently he abandons his fantasies in order to avoid these unpleasant feelings. In many psychotics, however, these fantasies continue and strive to express themselves overtly. The outstanding bit of evidence in Hitler's case that such fantasies were present is to be found in the Kehlstein or Eagle's Nest which he has built for himself near Berchtesgaden. Interestingly enough, many people have, commented that only a madman would conceive of such a place, let alone try to build it.
From a symbolic point of view one can easily imagine that this is a materialization of a child's conception of the return to the womb. First there is a long hard road, then a heavily guarded entrance, a trip through a long tunnel to an extremely inaccessible place. Then one can be alone, safe and undisturbed, and revel in the joys that Mother Nature bestows. It is also interesting to note that very few people have ever been invited there and many of Hitier's closest associates are either unaware of its existence or have only seen it from a distance. Extraordinarily enough, Francois-Poncet is one of the few people who was ever invited to visit there. In the French Yellow Book, he gives us an extremely vivid description of the place, a part of which may be worthwhile quoting:
"The approach is by a winding road about nine miles long, boldly cut out of the rock. the road comes to an end in front of a long underground passage leading into the mountain, enclosed by a heavy double door of bronze. At the far end of the underground passage a wide lift, panelled with sheets of copper, awaits the visitor. Through a vertical shaft of 330 feet cut right through the rock, it rises up to the level of the Chancellor's dwelling place. Here is reached the astonishing climax. The visitor finds himself in a strong and massive building containing a gallery with Roman pillars, an immense circular hall with windows all around. It gives the impression of being suspended in space, an almost overhanging wall of bare rock rises up abruptly. The whole, bathed in the twilight of the autumn evening, is grandiose, wild, almost hallucinating. The visitor wonders whether he is awake or dreaming." (943)
If one were asked to plan something which represented a return to the womb, one could not possibly surpass the Kehlstein. It is also significant that Hitler often retires to this strange place to await instructions concerning the course he is to pursue.
We can surmise from the psychological defenses Hitler has set up, that there was a period during which he struggled against these tendencies. In terms of unconscious symbolism meat is almost synonomous with faeces and beer with urine. The fact that there is a strict taboo on both would indicate that these desires are still present and that it is only by refraining from everything symbolizing them that he can avoid arousing anxieties. Rauschning reports that Hitler, following Wagner, attributed much of the decay of cur civilization to meat eating. That the decadence "had its origin in the abdomen -- chronic constipation, poisoning of the juices, and the results of drinking to excess." This assertion suggests decay (contamination, corruption, pollution, and death) as the resultant of constipation, that is, feaces in the gastro-intestinal tract, and if this is so, decay might be avoided both by not eating anything resembling feaces and by taking purges or ejecting as frequently as possible. It has been reported that Hitler once said that he was confident that all nations would arrive at the point where they would not feed any more on dead animals. It is interesting to note that according to one of our most reliable informants Hitler only became a real vegetarian after the death of his niece, Geli. In clinical practice, one almost invariably finds compulsive vegetarianism setting in after the death of a loved object.
We may, therefore, regard Hitler's perversion as a compromise between psychotic tendencies to eat faeces and drink urine on the one hand, and to live a normal socially adjusted life on the other. The compromise is not, however, satisfactory to either side of his nature and the struggle between these two diverse tendencies continues to rage unconsciously. We must not suppose that Hitler gratifies his strange perversion frequently. Patients of this type rarely do and in Hitler's case it is highly probable that he has permitted himself to go this far only with his niece, Geli. The practice of this perversion represents the lowest depths of degradation.
In most patients suffering from this perversion the unconscious forces only get out of control to this degree when a fairly strong love relationship is established and sexuality makes decisive demands. In other cases where the love component is less strong the individual contents himself with less degrading activities. This is brought out cleariy in the case of Rene Mueller who confided to her director, Zeissler (921), who had asked her what was troubling her after spending an evening at the Chancelllory, "that the evening before she had been with Hitler and that she had been sure that he was going to have intercourse with her that they had both undressed and were apparently getting ready for bed when Hitler fell on the floor and begged her to kick him. She demurred but he pleaded with her and condemned himself as unworthy, heaped all kinds of accusations on his own head and just grovelled around in an agonizing manner. The scene became intolerable to her and she finally acceded to his wishes and kicked him. This excited him greatly and he begged for more and more, always saying that it was even better than he deserved and that he was not worthy to be in the same room with her. As she continued to kick him he became more and more excited. " Rene Mueller committed suicide shortly after this experience. At this place it night be well to note that Eva Braun, his present female companion, has twice attempted suicide, Geli was either murdered or committed suicide and Unity Mitford has attempted suicide. Rather an unusual record for a man who has had so few affairs with women.
Hanfstaengl, Strasser, and Rauschning, as well as several other informants, have reported that even in company when Hitler is smitted with a girl, he tends to grovel at her feet in a most disgusting manner. Here, too, he insists on telling the girl that he is unworthy to kiss her hand or to sit near her and that he hopes she will be kind to him, etc. From all this we see the constant struggle against complete degradation whenever any affectionate components enter into the picture. It now becomes clear that the only way in which Hitler can control these copraphagic tendencies or their milder manifestations is to isolate himself from any intimate relationships in which warm feelings of affection or love might assert themselves. As soon as such feelings are aroused, he feels compelled to degrade himself in the eyes of the loved object and eat their dirt figuratively, if not literally. These tendencies disgust him just as much as they disgust us, but under these circumstances they get out of control and he despises himself and condemns himself for his weakness. Before considering futher the effects of this struggle on his manifest behavior, we must pause for a moment to pick up another thread.
We notice that in all of these activities Hitler plays the passive role. His behavior is masochistic in the extreme inasmuch as he derives sexual pleasure from punishment inflicted on his own body. There is every reason to suppose that during his early years, instead of identifying himself with his father as most boys do, he identified himself with his mother. This was perhaps easier for him than for most boys since, as we have seen, there is a large feminine component in his physical makeup. His mother, too, must have been an extremely masochistic individual or she never would have entered into this marriage nor would she have endured the brutal treatment from her husband. An emotional identification with his mother would, therefore, carry him in the direction of a passive, sentimental, abasive and submissive form of adjustment. Many writers and informants have commented on his feminine characteristics - his gait, his hands, his mannerisms and ways of thinking. Hanfstaengl reports that when he showed Dr. Jung a specimen of Hitler's handwriting, the latter immediately exclaimed that it was a typically feminine hand. His choice of art as a profession might also be interpreted as a manifestation of a basic feminine identification.
There are definite indications of such an emotional adjustment later in life. The outstanding of these is perhaps his behavior towards his officers during the last war. His comrades report that during the four years he was in service he was not only over-submissive to all his officers but frequently volunteered to do their washing and take care of their clothes. This would certainly indicate a strong tendency to assume the feminine role in the presence of a masculine figure whenever this was feasible and could be duly rationalized. His extreme sentimentality, his emotionality, his occasional softness and his weeping, even after he became Chancellor, may be regarded as manifestations of a fundamental feminine pattern which undoubtedly had its origins in his relationship to his mother. His persistent fear of cancer, which was the illness from which his mother died, may also be considered as an expression of his early identification with her.
Although we cannot enter into a discussion concerning the frequency of this phenomenon in Germany, it may be well to note that there is sociological evidence which would indicate that it is probably extremely common. If further research on the subject should corroborate this evidence, it might prove of extreme value to our psychological warfare program insofar as it would give us a key to the understanding of the basic nature of the German male character, and the role that the Nazi organization plays in their inner life.
The great difficulty is that this form of identification early in life carries the individual in the direction of passive homosexuality. Hitler has for years been suspected of being a homosexual, although there is no reliable evidence that he has actually engaged in a relationship of this kind. Rauschning reports that he has met two boys who claimed that they were Hitler's homosexual partners, but their testimony can scarcely be taken at its face value. More condemning would be the remarks dropped by Foerster, the Danzig Gauleiter, in conversations with Rauschning. Even here, however, the remarks deal only with Hitler's impotence as far as heterosexual relations go without actually implying that he indulges in homosexuality. It is probably true that Hitler calls Foerster "Bubi", which is a common nickname employed by homosexuals in addressing their partners. This alone, however, is not adequate proof that he has actually indulged in homosexual practices with Foerster, who is known to be a homosexual.
The belief that Hitler is homosexual has probably developed (a) from the fact that he does show so many feminine characteristics, and (b) from the fact that there were so many homosexuals in the Party during the early days and many continue to occupy important positions. It does seem that Hitler feels much more at ease with homosexuals than with normal persons, but this may be due to the fact that they are all fundamentally social outcasts and consequently have a community of interests which tends to make them think and feel more or less alike. In this connection it is interesting to note that homosexuals, too, frequently regard themselves as a special form of creation or as chosen ones whose destiny it is to initiate a new order.
The fact that underneath they feel themselves to be different and ostracized from normal social contacts usually makes them easy converts to a new social philosophy which does not discriminate against them. Being among civilization's discontents, they are always willing to take a chance of something new which holds any promise of improving their lot, even though their chances of success may be small and the risk great. Having little to lose to begin with, they can afford to take chances which others would refrain from taking. The early Nazi party certainly contained many members who could be regarded in this light. Even today Hitler derives pleasure from looking at men's bodies and associating with homosexuals. Strasser tells us that his personal body guard is almost always 100% homosexuals.
He also derives considerable pleasure from being with his Hitler Youth and his attitude towards them frequently tends to be more that of a woman than that of a man.
There is a possibility that Hitler has participated in a homosexual relationship at some time in his life. The evidence is such that we can only say there is a strong tendency in this direction which, in addition to the manifestations already enumerated, often finds expression in imagery concerning being attacked from behind or being stabbed in the back. His nightmares, which frequently deal with being attacked by a man and being suffocated, also suggest strong homosexual tendencies and a fear of them. From these indications, however, we would conclude that for the most part these tendencies have been repressed, which would speak against the probability of their being expressed in overt form. On the other hand, persons suffering from his perversion sometimes do indulge in homosexual practices in the hope that they might find sexual gratification. Even this perversion would be more acceptable to them than the one with which they are afflicted.
The foundations of all the diverse patterns we have been considering were laid during the first years of Hitler's life. Many of them, as we have seen, were due primarily to the peculiar structure of the home, while others developed from constitutional factors or false interpretations of events.
Whatever their origins may have been, they did set up anti-social tendencies and tensions which disturbed the child to a high degree. From his earliest days it would seem he must have felt that the world was a pretty had place in which to live. To him it must have seemed as though the world was filled with insurmountable hazards and obstacles which prevented him from obtaining adequate gratifications, and dangers which would menace his well-being if he attempted to obtain them in a direct manner. The result was that an unusual amount of bitterness against the world and the people in it became generated for which he could find no suitable outlets. As a young child he must have been filled with feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and guilt which made him anything but a happy child.
It would seem, however, that he managed to repress most of his troublesome tendencies and make a temporary adjustment to a difficult environment before he was six years old, because at that time he entered school and for the next years he was an unusually good student. All of the report cards that have been found from the time he entered school until he was eleven years old, show an almost unbroken line of "A's" in all his school subjects. At the age of eleven the bottom dropped right out of his academic career. From an "A" student he suddenly dropped to a point where he failed in almost all his subjects and had to repeat the year. This amazing about-face only becomes intelligible when we realize that his baby brother died at that time. We can only surmise that this event served to reawaken his earlier conflicts and disrupt his psychological equilibrium.
In Hitler's case we may suppose that this event affected him in at least two important ways. First, it must have reawakened fears of his own death which, in turn, strengthened still further the conviction that he was the "chosen one" and under divine protection. Second, it would seem that he connected the death of his brother with his own thinking and wishing on the subject. Unquestionably, he hated this intruder and frequently thought of how nice it would be if he were removed from the scene. Unconsciously, if not consciously, he must have felt that the brother's death was the result of his own thinking on the subject. This accentuated his feelings of guilt on the one hand, while it strengthened still further his belief in special powers of Divine origin on the other. To think about these things was almost synonomous with having them come true. In order to avoid further guilt feelings he had to put a curb on his thinking processes. The result of this inhibition on thinking was that Hitler the good student was transformed into Hitler the poor student. Not only did he have to repeat the school year during which the brother died, but ever after his academic performance was mediocre, to say the least. When we examine his later report cards we find that he does well only in such subjects as drawing and gymnastics, which require no thinking. In all the other subjects such as mathematics, languages or history, which require some thinking, his work is on the borderline - sometimes satisfactory and sometimes unsatisfactory.
We can easily imagine that it was during this period that the father's ire was aroused and he began to bring pressure on the boy to apply himself in his school work and threatened dire consequences if he failed to do so. From sociological evidence it would seem that this is about the age at which most German fathers first take a real interest in their sons and their education. If Hitler's father followed this general pattern, we can assume that he had cause to be irate at his son's performance. The constant struggle between himself and his father, which he describes in MEIN KAMPF, is probably true although the motivations underlying his actions were in all likelihood quite different from those he describes. He was approaching the adolescent period and this, together with his little brother's death, served to bring many dormant attitudes nearer the surface of consciousness.
Many of these attitudes now found expression in the father-son relationship. Briefly enumerated these would be (a) rejection of the father as a model (b) an inhibition against following a career which demanded thinking (c) the anal tendencies which found an outlet of expression in smearing (d) his passive, feminine tendencies, and (e) his masochistic tendencies and his desire to be dominated by a strong masculine figure. He was not, however, ready for an open revolt for he tells us in his autobiography that he believed passive resistance and obstinacy were the best course and that if he followed them long enough, his father would eventually relent and allow him to leave school and follow an artist's career. As a matter of fact, his brother Alois, in 193O, before the Hitler myth was well established, reported, that his father never had any objection to Adolph's becoming an artist but that he did demand that Adolph do well in school. From this we might surmise that the friction between father and son was not determined so much by his choice of a career as by unconscious tendencies which were deriving satisfaction from the antagonism.
He carried the same pattern into the schools where he was forever antagonizing his teachers and the other boys. He has tried to create the impression that he was a leader among his classmates, which is most certainly false. More reliable evidence indicates that he was unpopular among his classmates as well as among his teachers who considered him lazy, uncooperative and a trouble-maker. The only teacher during these years with whom he was able to get along was Ludwig Poetsch, an ardent German Nationalist. It would he an error, however, to suppose that Poetsch inculcated these nationalist feelings in Hitler. It is much more logical to assume that all these feelings were present in Hitler before he came in contact with Poetsch and that his nationalist teachings only offered Hitler a new outlet for the expression of his repressed emotions. It was probably during this period that he discovered a resemblance between the young state of Germany and his mother, and between the old Austrian monarchy and his father. At this discovery he promptly joined the Nationalist group of students who were defying the authority of the Austrian state. In this way he was able to proclaim openly his love for his mother and advocate the death of his father. These were feelings he had had for a long time but was unable to express. Now he was able to obtain partial gratification through the use of symbols.
This probably served to increase the friction between father and son, for in spite of what Hitler says the best evidence seems to indicate that the father was anti-German in his sentiments. This again placed father and son on opposite sides of the fence and gave them new cause for hostility. There is no telling how this would have worked out in the long run because while the struggle between the two was at its height, the father fell dead on the street. The repercussions of this event must have been severe and reinforced all those feelings which we have described in connection with the brother's death. Again, it must have seemed like a fulfillment of a wish and again there must have been severe feelings of guilt, with an additional inhibition on thinking processes.
His school work continued to decline and it seems that in order to avoid another complete failure, he was taken from the school at Linz and sent to school in Steyr. He managed to complete the year, however, with marks which were barely satisfactory. It was while he was there that the doctor told him that he had a disease from which he would never recover. His reaction to this was severe since it brought the possibility of his own death very much into the foreground and aggravated all his childhood fears. The result was that he did not return to school and finish his course, but stayed at home where he lived a life which was marked by passivity. He neither studied nor worked but spent most of his time in bed where he was again spoiled by his mother who catered to his every need despite her poor financial circumstances.
One could suppose that this was the materialization of his conception of Paradise inasmuch as it reinstated an earlier childhood situation which he had always longed for. It would seem from his own account, however, that things did not go too smoothly, for he writes in MEIN KAMPF:
"When at the age of fourteen, the young man is dismissed from school, it is difficult to say which is worse his unbelievable ignorance as far as knowledge and ability are concerned, or the biting impudence of his behavior combined with an immorality which makes one's hair stand on end. The three year old child has now become a youth of fifteen who despises all authority. now he loiters about, and God knows when he comes home."
We can imagine the deaths of his brother and his father in rapid succession had filled him with such guilt that he could not enjoy this idyllic situation to the full. Perhaps the situation aroused desires in him which he could no longer face on a conscious level and he could only keep these in check by either remaining in bed and playing the part of a helpless child or absenting himself from the situation entirely. In any case, he must have been a considerable problem to his mother who died four years after his father. Dr. Bloch informs us that her great concern in dying was: "What would become of poor Adolph, he is still so young." At this time Adolph was eighteen years of age. He had failed at school and had not gone to work. He describes himself at this time as a milk-sop, which he undoubtedly was.
Admission examinations to Academy of Art.
Two months before his mother's death he had gone to Vienna to take the entrance examinations for admission to the Academy of Art. At this time he knew that his mother was in a critical condition and that it was only a matter of a few months before death would overtake her. He knew, therefore, that this easy existence at home would shortly come to an end and that he would then have to face the cold, hard world on his own. It is sometimes extraordinary how events in the lifetime of an individual fall together. The first day's assignment on the examination was to draw a picture depicting "The Expulsion from Paradise". It must have seemed to him that Fate had chosen this topic to fit his personal situation. On the second day he must have felt that Fate was rubbing it in when he found the assignment to be a picture depicting "An Episode of the Great Flood". These particular topics in his situation met have aroused such intense emotional reactions within him that he could hardly be expected to do his best. Art critics seem to feel that he has some artistic talent even though it is not outstanding. The comment of the examiners was: "Too few heads." We can understand this in view of the circumstances under which he had taken the examination.
He returned home shortly after the examinations. He helped to look after his mother who was rapidly failing and in extreme pain. She died on December 21, 1907 and was buried on Christmas Eve. Adolph was completely broken and stood for a long time at her grave after the remainder of the family had left. Dr. Bloch says: "In all my career I have never seen anyone so prostrate with grief as Adolph Hitler." His world had come to an end. Not long after the funeral he left for Vienna in order to follow in his father's footsteps and make his own way in the world. He made a poor job of it, however. He could not hold a job when he had one, and sunk lower and lower in the social scale until he was compelled to live with the dregs of society.
As he writes about these experiences in MEIN KAMPF one gets the impression that it was a terrific struggle against overwhelming odds. From what we now know of Adolph Hitler it would seem more likely that this existance yielded him considerable gratification in spite of its hardships. It is perfectly clear from what Hanisch writes that with a very small amount of effort he could have made a fair living and improved his condition by painting water-colors. He refused to make this effort and preferred to live in the filth and poverty which surrounded him. There must have been something in this that he liked, consciously or unconsciously.
When we examine Hanisch's book carefully, we find the answer. Hitler's life in Vienna was one of extreme passivity in which activity was held at the lowest level consistent with survival. He seemed to enjoy being dirty and even filthy in his appearance and personal cleanliness. This can mean only one thing, from a psychological point of view, namely that his perversion was in the process of maturation and was finding gratification in a more or less symbolic form. His attitude during this period could be summed up in the following terms: "I enjoy nothing more than to lie around while the world defacates on me." And he probably delighted in being covered with dirt, which was tangible proof of the fact. Even in these days he lived in a flophouse which was known to be inhabited by men who lent themselves to homosexual practices, and it was probably for this reason that he was listed on the Vienna police record as a "sexual pervert."
Nobody has ever offered an explanation of why he remained in Vienna for over five years if his life there was as distasteful and the city disgusted him to the degree that he claims in his autobiography. He was free to leave whenever he wished and could have gone to his beloved Germany years earlier if he had so desired. The fact of the matter is that he probably derived great masochistic satisfaction from his miserable life in Vienna, and it was not until his perversion became full-blown and he realized its implications that he fled to Munich at the beginning of 1913.
With the development of his perverse tendencies we also find the development of his anti-Semitism. There is absolutely no evidence that he had any anti-Semitic feeling before he left Linz or that he had any during the first years of his stay in Vienna. On the contrary, he was on the very best terms with Dr. Bloch while he was in Linz and sent him postcards with very warm sentiments for slome time after he went to Vienna. Furthermore, his closest friends in Vienna were Jews, some of whom were extremely kind to him. Then, too, we must remember that his godfather, who lived in Vienna, was a Jew and it is possible that during his first year there he might have lived with this family. Most of the records of his mother's death are incorrect and place the event exactly one year after it had happened. During this year Hitler lived in Vienna but we have no clue as to what he did or how he managed to live without money during this intervening year.
All we know is that he had time for painting during this period for he submitted the work he had done to the Academy of Art the following October. He was not admitted to the examination, however, because the examiners found the work of this period unsatisfactory. Shortly afterwards, he applied for admission to the School of Architecture but was rejected. The cause of his rejection was probably inadequate talent rather than the fact that he had not completed his course in the Realschule. It is only after this happened that we find him going to work as a laborer on a construction job, and from then on we have a fairly complete picture of his activities.
We know that he had very little money when he left Linz, certainly not enough to live on for almost an entire year while he spent his time in painting. Since the date of his mother's death has been so universally distorted, it would seem that efforts were being made to cover something which happened during this intervening year. My guess would be that he lived with his Jewish godparents who supported him while he was preparing work for the Academy. When he failed to be admitted at the end of a year, they put him out and made him go to work. There is one bit of evidence for this hypothesis. Hanisch, in his book, mentions in passing that when they were particularly destitute he went with Hitler to visit a well-to-do Jew whom Hitler said was his father. The wealthy Jew would have nothing to do with him and sent him on his way again. There is scarcely a possibility that Hitler's father was a Jew, but Hanisch might easily have understood him to say father when he said godfather. This would certainly make much more sense and would indicate that Hitler had contact with his godparents before the visit and that they were fed up with him and would help him no further.
Hitler's outstanding defense mechanism is one commonly called PROJECTION. It is a technique by which the ego of an individual defends itself against unpleasant impulses, tendencies or characteristics by denying their existence in himself while he attributes them to others. Innumerable examples of this mechanism could be cited in Hitler's case, but a few will suffice for purposes of illustration:
"In the last six years I had to stand intolerable things from states like Poland."
"It must be possible that the German nation can live its life. without being constantly molested."
"Social democracy. directs a bombardment of lies and calumnies towards the adversary who seemed most dangerous, till finally the nerves of those who have been attacked give out and they for the sake of peace, bow down to the hated enemy."
"For this peace proposal of mine I was abused, and personally insulted. Mr. Chamberlain in fact spat upon me before the eyes of the world. "
". It was in keeping with our own harmlessness that England took the liberty of some day meeting our peaceful activity with the brutality of the violent egoist."
". The outstanding features of Polish character were cruelty and lack of moral restraint."
From a psychological point of view it is not too far-fetched to suppose that as the perversion developed and became more disgusting to Hitler's ego, its demands were disowned and projected upon the Jew. By this process the Jew became a symbol of everything which HitIer hated in himself. Again, his own personal problems and conflicts were transferred from within himself to the external world where they assumed the proportions of racial and national conflicts.
Forgetting entirely that for years he not only looked like a lower class Jew but was as dirty as the dirtiest and as great a social outcast, he now began to see the Jew as a source of all evil. The teachings of Schoenerer and Lueger helped to solidify and rationalize his feelings and inner convictions. More and more he became convinced that the Jew was a great parasite on humanity which sucked its life-blood and if a nation was to become great it must rid itself of this pestilence. Translated back into personal terms this would read: "My perversion is a parasite which sucks my life-blood and if I am to become great I must rid myself of this pestilence." When we see the connection between his sexual perversion and anti-Semitism, we can understand another aspect of his constant linking of syphilis with the Jew. These are the things which destroy nations and civilizations as a perversion destroys an individual.
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By Guy Walters
Updated: 19:37 BST, 14 October 2014
At first glance, these pictures are so ordinary that they could come from anyone’s dusty old family album. There are picnics and parties, pets and silly poses — all the normal things you might associate with a middle-class family on holiday.
The most photographed figure is a young woman who sunbathes, exercises by a lake, rows a boat and poses semi-nude behind an umbrella — a young woman enjoying the prime of her life. But this is no ordinary woman.
The photographs are of the notorious Eva Braun — Hitler’s consort and, for about 40 hours, his wife.
A photo titled 'Me As Al Jolson', from an album belonging to Hitler's companion Eva Braun, depicting her in Munich in 1937 in blackface as American actor Al Jolson, who starred in the 1927 film The Jazz Singer
Adolf Hitler with guests at his birthday party at his residence, the Berghof, on April 20, 1943. On the far left is Eva Braun. Behind her is her close friend Herta Schneider
Taken from Braun’s private albums, they were confiscated by the U.S. army in 1945 and deposited with the U.S. National Archives, where they were ignored for decades.
Recently unearthed by Reinhard Schulz, collector and curator of photography, the images include an intimate shot of Braun as a small child, posing with her sister Ilse and their family cat.
There’s an extraordinary photo of Braun blacked up and dressed as American jazz singer Al Jolson, and one of her standing alongside her lover and his aides as they celebrate on New Year’s Eve 1939.
Braun’s blind loyalty to the Führer exceeded that of even his most hardened SS aides — and lasted right up until their joint suicides in his Berlin bunker in the dying days of the war.
Braun posing with an umbrella, Berchtesgaden, Germany, 1940. She was occasionally seen sunbathing and swimming nude. Adolf Hitler objected to such activities but was not around most of the time
Braun in a rowboat on the Worthsee near Munich, 1937, and in her bathing suit near Berchtesgaden in 1940
It was a strange and twisted end to a life that had started ordinarily enough. The middle daughter of a Roman Catholic schoolmaster, Braun was born in 1912 and had a respectably bourgeois upbringing in Munich. At convent school, she achieved average grades but showed an aptitude for athletics.
In 1929, aged 17, she took a job in the office of the Nazi party’s official photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, which would lead to her first, fateful meeting with Hitler.
He was 40 — more than 20 years older than her — yet a relationship did blossom though rumours persist about the extent of its physical side.
It seems likely now that Hitler was repelled by sex, and that any sex life between them would have been very infrequent.
Certainly, Hitler treated Eva abysmally. She was not permitted to share the dinner table if there were important guests present he also hated her to wear make-up, dress in anything other than unflattering clothes, and despised her smoking and sunbathing naked.
Eva and her sister Ilse (1908 - 1979) in a childhood photo from 1913
Eva as a nine-year-old at the Beilngries convent school in Beilngries, Germany, in 1922, and in a 1935 photo titled 'Carnival with Ege' of her and an unidentified friend at a house party in Munich
The truth was that Hitler had little time for women, and would say as much in front of Braun. His favourite architect and confidant, Albert Speer, recalled how Hitler once remarked: ‘A highly intelligent man should take a primitive and stupid woman.’
So his mistress was essentially seen as a mere adornment — one that he kept trapped in a small room in the Chancellery in Berlin, in his flat in Munich, or, during summer, at his house in the Bavarian Alps. Occasionally, he would buy her jewellery, but the stones were usually insultingly cheap.
Photographs of Braun frolicking at Hitler’s Bavarian house show how well she could enjoy herself when Hitler was away, but underneath her happy exterior she suffered his absences dreadfully.
Braun exercising in her bathing suit at Konigssee, Berchtesgaden, Germany, 1942. Eva Braun liked to go swimming at the lake, which is only 4 miles from Adolf Hitler's Berghof, where she lived with the Nazi dictator
'My first carnival costume' is the title Braun wrote underneath this 1928 photo in her album. She was living with her family in Munich Germany, and attending the Lyzeum at nearby Tengstrasse
Eva Braun (left) and friends on vacation in Bad Godesberg, Germany, in 1937
Braun drinks tea on Hitler's balcony. She first met him while she was working as a model for Heinrich Hoffmann, pictured above right as Hitler looks through an album of his work
Eva and her younger sister Margarethe 'Gretl' Braun (1915 - 1987) with Scottish terrier Negus at the Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle's Nest) above Berchtesgaden, Germany, in 1943. Gretl married SS Obergruppenfuhrer Hans Fegelein in June 1944
Sun lover: Eva Braun sunbathing at Konigssee in 1940, four miles from the Berghof, where she lived with Adolf Hitler
Twice, Braun tried unsuccessfully to kill herself. In 1932, she shot herself in the throat but missed her jugular and in 1935, she took an overdose of sleeping pills.
Both attempts were regarded as cries for attention, however, rather than a genuine determination to end her life.
And they made no difference to Hitler, who — fearing that he would lose popularity with female supporters — kept the relationship secret almost until the very end of the war.
Only very rarely was Braun able to assert herself. For the most part, according to Hoffmann, Braun was regarded by Hitler as ‘just an attractive little thing, in whom, in spite of her inconsequential and feather-brained outlook, he found the type of relaxation and repose he sought’.
Eva Braun would only finally come into her own during the last month of her life.
In early April 1945, she joined Hitler in his bunker and declared she would never leave his side.
While Hitler’s Third Reich was collapsing, Braun’s stature seemed to grow.
She radiated what Albert Speer described as a ‘gay serenity’. She drank champagne, ate cake and claimed that she was happy in the bunker.
It was only in the early hours of April 29, 1945, that Braun’s ambitions were finally realised and she was married to Hitler. But at around 1pm the following afternoon, Eva and her new husband said farewell to those still with them.
Then, just after 3.30pm, Hitler shot himself, and his new wife bit into a cyanide capsule. Ironically, in death Eva Braun was far closer to her husband that she had been in life.
Eva Braun was said not to like Hitler's German Shepherd Blondi, left, and had her own Scottish Terriers
Adolf Hitler with guests at the Berghof on New Year's Eve, 1939. Front row, from left: Wilhelm Bruckner (Hitler's Chief Adjudant), Christa Schroder (secretary of Hitler), Eva Braun, Adolf Hitler, Gretl Braun (Eva's sister), Adolf Wagner (Bauleiter Munich) and Otto Dietrich (Press Chief). 2nd row, from left: Gerda Daranowski (secretary of Hitler), Margarete Speer, Martin Bormann, Dr Karl Brandt and Heinrich Hoffmann. Above left to right: Dr Theo Morell (Hitler's personal physician), Hannelore Morell, Karl-Jesko von Puttkamer (Hitler's naval adjudant), Gerda Bormann, Max Wunsche (one of Hitler's SS aides) and Heinrich Heim (from Bormann's staff)
Eva Braun with her parents, Friedrich 'Fritz' and Franziska (centre) and her sisters Ilse (left) and Margarethe Gretl (second from right) in 1940
Eva Braun (first row, fourth from the right), aged nine with her classmates at the Beilngries convent school in 1922
A portrait of Adolf Hitler stares eerily from the wall in Eva Braun's living room at the Berghof in 1937. On the right she is pictured sitting on a table in the living room at her parent’s house in Munich in 1929
Braun with two women and a person dressed as a polar bear in the Bavarian Alps, Germany, 1935, and walking with architect Albert Speer in 1940. Braun had a close relationship with Speer who designed a logo for her
Braun and colleagues at the office of the Heinrich Hoffmann photo agency in Munich in 1938. Braun (third from the right on the floor) first met Hitler at the agency in October 1929 and started a relationship with him in 1931
Eva Braun celebrates carnival time at her parents' house in Munich in 1938. Among the group are her mother Franziska Katharina Braun (centre) and her sisters Ilse and Margarethe. The men are unidentified friends
Before Adolph Hitler claimed it as his personal title, Führer simply meant “leader” or “guide” in German. It was also used as a military title for commanders who lacked the qualifications to hold permanent command. Since its connotation to Nazi Germany, führer is not used in political context anymore, but may be combined with other words to mean “guide.” For instance, a mountain guide would be called a Bergführer, with “berg” meaning “mountain.”
Führer as Hitler’s Title
Adolph Hitler claimed the word “Führer” as an unique name for himself and started using it when he became chairman of the Nazi Party. It was at the time not uncommon to call party leaders “Führer” but usually the word had an addition to indicate which party the leader belonged to. When adopting it as a single title, Hitler may have been inspired by Austrian politician, Georg von Schonerer who also used the word without a qualification and whose followers also made use of the “Sieg Heil” greeting.
After the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act which gave Hitler absolute power for four years, he dissolved the president’s office and made himself the successor of Paul von Hindenburg. This was however in breach of the Enabling Act, and Hitler did not use the title as “president” but called himself “Führer and Chancellor of the Reich.” He would, after that often make use of the title in combination with other political leadership positions he took, for instance ” Germanic Führer” or “Führer and Supreme Commander of the Army”
- According to Wikipedia, “usury is the practice of making unethical or immoral monetary loans that unfairly enrich the lender. A loan may be considered usurious because of excessive or abusive interest rates or other factors. However, according to several dictionaries, simply charging any interest at all would be considered usury.”
Some of the earliest known condemnations of usury come from the Vedic texts of India. Similar condemnations are found in religious texts from Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (the term is riba in Arabic and ribbit in Hebrew). At times, many nations from ancient China to ancient Greece to ancient Rome have outlawed loans with any interest. Though the Roman Empire eventually allowed loans with carefully restricted interest rates, the Christian church in medieval Europe banned the charging of interest at any rate (as well as charging a fee for the use of money, such as at a bureau de change).
Usury is really nothing more than the exploitation and enslavement of the borrowers. All central banks loan money out to governments of the world and charge interest on it, which have to be paid back, usually via income taxation (income taxation itself is also slavery). In this way the central banks exploit and enslave entire nations. Yes, slavery is still very much present all over the world.
I highly recommend reading the book by Gottfried Feder titled “Manifesto For The Abolition Of Interest Slavery” (1919) for more information. Here’s a quote from the introduction:
Adolf Hitler’s economic system – heavily influenced by the genius of Gottfried Feder – was unlike anything the world had ever seen, and it worked better than anyone predicted at the time.
Some authors and Nazi sympathizers have even suggested that if Germany’s brilliant economic ideas had spread to other nations, this would soon lead to the end of endless profits and power for the banksters, and hence the need for the Allied powers to bring Germany to her knees.
In Billions for the Bankers, Debts for the People (1984), Sheldon Emry wrote: “Germany issued debt-free and interest-free money from 1935 and on, accounting for its startling rise from the depression to a world power in 5 years. Germany financed its en tire government and war operation from 1935 to 1945 without gold and without debt, and it took the whole Capitalist and Communist world to destroy the German power over Europe and bring Europe back under the heel of the Bankers. Such history of money does not even appear in the textbooks of public (government) schools today.”
The below video — an excerpt from Zeitgeist Addendum — explains the system of debt-slavery in details.
The below documentary titled “Gaddafi – The Truth About Libya” is also highly recommended.
Another very good documentary is “Pipeline to Paradise (Gaddafi’s Gift to Libya)” produced by Winfried Spinler. Check it out below.
This no doubt explains why Himmler never mentioned the Holocaust to his wife there was none. From RT:
“A cache of letters, photos, and diaries belonging to SS leader Heinrich Himmler reveals he never mentioned the Holocaust to his wife – though she apparently shared his hatred for Jews. A German newspaper published excerpts from the collection on Sunday.
The stash of documents is currently being held in a bank in Tel Aviv and has been authenticated by the German Federal Archives – considered to be one of the world’s leading authorities on material from the period.
“There was no word about the countless crimes in which he was involved as Reichsführer-SS. Not a word about the persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews. And barely a word about the ghettos, guarded by his SS and his police, and the death camps, which he also attended,” it continues.
Both Himmler and his wife were anti-Semites who appeared to blame the Jews for the money-obsessed culture in Berlin.
“All this Jew business, when will this pack leave us so that we can enjoy our lives?” his wife wrote after the Reichskristallnacht pogroms, where Jewish businesses were smashed up under Himmler’s direction.”
You would think that if Himmler really hated the Jews so much he would have mentioned what he was doing to them.
Judea Declares War on Germany
It’s also important to note that the reason why they appeared to hate the Jews so much is because the Jews were the ones who actually began with hostilities towards Germany. From “The Jewish Declaration Of War On Germany” on Rense:
The simple fact is that it was organized Jewry as a political entity – and not even the German Jewish community per se – that actually initiated the first shot in the war with Germany.
Why did the Germans begin rounding up the Jews and interning them in the concentration camps to begin with? Contrary to popular myth, the Jews remained “free” inside Germany – albeit subject to laws which did restrict certain of their privileges – prior to the outbreak of World War II.
Yet, the other little-known fact is that just before the war began, the leadership of the world Jewish community formally declared war on Germany – above and beyond the ongoing six-year- long economic boycott launched by the worldwide Jewish community when the Nazi Party came to power in 1933.
As a consequence of the formal declaration of war, the German authorities thus deemed Jews to be potential enemy agents.
Here’s the story behind the story: Chaim Weizmann (above), president of both the international “Jewish Agency” and of the World Zionist Organization (and later Israel’s first president), told British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in a letter published in The London Times on September 6, 1939 that:
I wish to confirm, in the most explicit manner, the declarations which I and my colleagues have made during the last month, and especially in the last week, that the Jews stand by Great Britain and will fight on the side of the democracies. Our urgent desire is to give effect to these declarations [against Germany].
We wish to do so in a way entirely consonant with the general scheme of British action, and therefore would place ourselves, in matters big and small, under the coordinating direction of His Majesty’s Government. The Jewish Agency is ready to enter into immediate arrangements for utilizing Jewish manpower, technical ability, resources, etc. [Emphasis in red added by The Scriptorium.]
That his allegations against Germany were made long before even Jewish historians today claim there were any gas chambers or even a plan to “exterminate” the Jews, displays the nature of the propaganda campaign confronting Germany.
Hitler then ordered the Jews in Germany to be disarmed. One of the lies you also often come across is that Hitler disarmed all of the German citizens when he came to power to establish his police state this isn’t true — he just disarmed the Jews because they declared war on Germany:
University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explored this myth in depth in a 2004 article published in the Fordham Law Review. As it turns out, the Weimar Republic, the German government that immediately preceded Hitler’s, actually had tougher gun laws than the Nazi regime. After its defeat in World War I, and agreeing to the harsh surrender terms laid out in the Treaty of Versailles, the German legislature in 1919 passed a law that effectively banned all private firearm possession, leading the government to confiscate guns already in circulation. In 1928, the Reichstag relaxed the regulation a bit, but put in place a strict registration regime that required citizens to acquire separate permits to own guns, sell them or carry them.
“The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition,” Harcourt wrote. Meanwhile, many more categories of people, including Nazi party members, were exempted from gun ownership regulations altogether, while the legal age of purchase was lowered from 20 to 18, and permit lengths were extended from one year to three years.
The law did prohibit Jews and other persecuted classes from owning guns, but this should not be an indictment of gun control in general.
"Why We Are Antisemites" - Text of Adolf Hitler's 1920 speech at the Hofbräuhaus
Translation from German by Hasso Castrup (Copenhagen, Denmark), January, 2013, exclusively for Carolyn Yeager.net from the original published in Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, 16. Jahrg., 4. H. (Oct., 1968), pp. 390-420. http://www.ifz-muenchen.de/heftarchiv/1968_4.pdf Edited by Carolyn Yeager. English Translation Copyright 2013 Carolyn Yeager - No republication without written permission.
My dear countrymen and women! We are quite used to being generally referred to as monsters. And we are considered particularly monstrous because, in a question that certain gentlemen in Germany are nervous about, we are marching at the head – namely in the question of the opposition to the Jews.
Our people understand many things but this one problem nobody wants to understand, and in particular because, as a worker explained: “What connection is there at all between the workers and the Jewish Problem, when in reality most of the people have no idea what this problem means.” Most people let themselves be guided by feelings and say: “I have seen good and bad people among them, just like among ourselves.”
Very few have learned to view the problem free of emotion, in its clean form. I will at once begin with the word “work”.
Work is an activity performed not of one’s free will, but for the sake of one’s fellowmen. If there is a difference between man and animals, so it is particularly regarding work, which does not originate in an instinct but comes from an understanding of a necessity. Hardly any revolution had so deep an effect as the slow one which gradually transformed the lazy man of primeval time into the man who works.
Talking of work, we can assume that this activity followed these three phases:
First, it was an effect of a simple instinct of self-preservation which we also see in animals. Later, it developed into the second form of work – the one from pure egoism. Also this form became gradually replaced by the third: Work out of ethical sense of duty, where an individual does not work because he is forced to it. We see it at every turn. Millions of people work without being constantly forced to it. Thousands of intellectuals are sometimes bound to their studies for whole nights on end, day after day, although they may not do it for material gains. The hundreds of thousands of German workers after the end of their work tend their gardens. And, generally, we see today that millions of people cannot imagine living without some sort of occupation.
When I said that this process represents a slow but perhaps also the greatest of all revolutions in human history, then one must assume that also this revolution had to have a cause, and this cause was the greatest Goddess of this Earth, the one who is able to whip men to the uttermost – the Goddess of Hardship.
We can see this hardship in early prehistory, above all in the northern part of the world, in those enormous ice deserts where only the meagrest existence was possible. Here, men were forced to fight for their existence, for things which were, in the smiling South, available without work, and in abundance. In those times man made perhaps his first groundbreaking discovery: In those cold stretches man was forced to find a substitute for the only gift of Heaven which makes life possible – the Sun. And the man who produced the first artificial sparks later appeared to Humanity as a god – Prometheus, the fire-bringer. The North forced men to further activity – production of clothes, building of abodes. First, it was simple caves, later huts and houses. In short, he created a principle, the principle of work. Life would not have been possible without it.
Although work was still simple, it had already to be planned beforehand and each individual knew that if he has not done his part, he will die of hunger in the coming winter. At the same time another development followed – the terrible hardship became a means for breeding of a race. Whoever was weak or sickly could not survive the terrible winter period and died prematurely. What remained was a race of strong and healthy giants. Yet another trait of this race was born. Where man is externally muzzled, where his radius of action is limited, he begins to develop internally. Externally limited, internally he becomes unlimited. The more man, due to external forces, must depend on himself, the deeper internal life he develops and the more he turns inward.
These three achievements: The recognized principle of work as a duty, the necessity, not only out of egoism but for preservation of the whole group of people – a small clan second – the necessity of bodily health and thereby also of normal mental health and third – the deep spiritual life. All these gave the northern races the ability to go to the world and build states.
If this power could not find its full expression in the high North, it became apparent when the ice shackles fell and man turned south to the happier, freer nature. We know that all these northern peoples had one symbol in common – the symbol of the Sun. They created cults of Light and they’ve created the symbols of the tools for making fire – the drill and the cross. You will find this cross as a Hakenkreuz as far as India and Japan, carved in the temple pillars. It is the Swastika, which was once a sign of established communities of Aryan Culture.
Those races, today called Aryans, created all the great cultures of the ancient world. We know that Egypt was brought upon its high cultural level by Aryan immigrants. Similarly, Persia and Greece the immigrants were blond, blue eyed Aryans. And we know that outside of these Aryan states no civilized states have been founded. There emerged mixed races between the black, dark eyed and dark colored, southern races and the immigrants, but they failed to create any large, creative culture states.
Why is it that only Aryans possessed the ability to create states? It was due, almost exclusively, to their attitude toward work. Those races which, as the first, stopped seeing work as the result of coercion and saw it rather as a necessity born out of hundreds of thousands of years of hardship, had to become superior to other people. And, besides, it was work that made people come together and divide the work among them. We know that the moment the individual work to sustain oneself turned into work within communities, the community tended to assign a particular work to those particularly talented, and with increasing division of work it became necessary for still greater joining together into still bigger groups. So, it is work which created kinships at first, later tribes, and still later, led to the creation of states.
If we see, as the first prerequisite for creating states, the conception of work as social duty, so the second necessary ingredient is racial health and purity. And nothing helped the northern conquerors more against the lazy and rotten southern races than the refined strength of their race.
States would remain an empty vessel if not decorated with that which we normally call culture. If we removed everything and kept just railways, ships, etc. if we removed everything we consider art and sciences, such a state would in reality become empty and we would understand the creative power of the northern tribes. The moment their great, inborn imagination could act in great, free areas, it created everywhere immortal works. We see this process repeated continuously even in the smallest scale. Similarly, we know that great minds are often born at the bottom of society, unable to develop there but, given an opportunity, they begin to grow and become leaders in arts, sciences, and also in politics.
We know today that there are extensive interrelations between the state, nation, culture, art and work and it would be madness to think that any of them could exist independently of the others. Let us take art – considered as an international domain – and we shall see that it is unconditionally dependent on the state. Art blossomed in those areas where the political development made it possible. The art of Greece reached its highest level when the young state had triumphed over invading Persian armies. Construction of the Acropolis began at that time. Rome became the city of art after the end of the Punic Wars, and Germany built her cathedrals, as in Worms, Speyer and Limburg, when the German Empire under Salians had achieved its greatest triumphs. We can follow this connection to our time. We know that art, for example the beauty of German towns, always depended on political development of these towns that it was political considerations which moved Napoleon III to regulating of the Boulevards and Friedrich the Great to establishing Unter den Linden. Similarly in Munich where it was obvious that the city could not become an industrial center and so art was chosen to elevate the rank of the city, which now everyone who wants to get to know Germany must visit. Similar were the origins of today’s Wien (Vienna).
The case was similar with other arts. The moment the small, powerless statelets began to unite into one state, then also one German art, proud of itself, began to grow. The works of Richard Wagner appeared in the period when shame and powerlessness were replaced by a unified, great German Reich.
And so, not just art is dependent on the state, on the politics of the state the same is the case with work itself because only a sound state is in the position to give the opportunity of working to its citizens and let them use their talents. The opposite is the case with the race in relation to everything else. A state with a rotten, sick and unsound race will never produce great works of art or make great politics, or at least bask in abundance. Each of these factors depends on the others. And only when all of them complement each other, can we say: There is harmony in the state, the way we Germanics understand it.
Can the Jew build a state?
Now we have to ask ourselves the question: How about the Jew as a state builder? Does the Jew possess the power to create a state? First we must examine his attitude to work, find out how he perceives the principle of work, and excuse me if I now take a book called The Bible. I am not claiming that all its contents are necessarily true, as we know that Jewry was very liberal in writing it. One thing, however, is certain: it has not been written by an antisemite. (Laughter) It is very important because no antisemite would have been able to write a more terrible indictment against the Jewish race than the Bible, the Old Testament. Let us take a look at a sentence: “By the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread.” And it says that it was to be a punishment for the Fall of Man.
Ladies and Gentlemen! Already here we see that the whole world lies between us we could never conceive of work as a punishment – otherwise we would all have been convicts. We do not want to conceive of work as punishment. I must confess: I would not have been able to exist without work, and hundreds of thousands and millions would have been able to withstand perhaps 3 or 5 days, maybe even 10, but not 90 or 100 days without any activity. If Paradise really existed, the Land of Plenty, then our people would have been unhappy in it. (Calls: Hear, hear) We Germans seek constantly a possibility to do something and if we cannot find anything, at least from time to time we hit one another in the face. (Laughter) We are unable to bear absolute rest.
Thus we see, already here, a big difference. Because a Jew has written this, true or not is unimportant because it still reflects the opinion which Jewry has about work. For them work is not an obvious ethical duty but at most a means to sustenance. In our eyes, this is not work because in this case any activity serving self-preservation, without regard to fellow men, might be called work. And we know that this work, in the past, consisted of plundering of caravans, and today in planned plundering of indebted farmers, industrialists and workers. The form has changed but the principle is the same. We do not call it work, but robbery. (Calls: Hear, hear)
When already such a basic notion separates us, here comes another. I have already explained that in the long period in the North the races became purified. This means that all the inferior and weak gradually died out and only the soundest remained. Also, here the Jew differs from us because he has not become purified but instead practiced inbreeding he multiplied greatly but only in narrow circles, and without selection. And therefore we see a generation which is plagued by defects caused by inbreeding.
Finally, the Jew does not possess the third factor: The inner spiritual life. I do not need to explain here what a Jew generally looks like. You all know him. (Laughter) You know his constant restlessness that never gives him a possibility to concentrate and have a spiritual experience. In the most solemn moments he flickers his eyes and one can see that even during the most beautiful opera he is calculating dividends. (Laughter) The Jew has never had his own art. (Hear, hear) His own temple has been built by foreign builders: The first was the Assyrians, and for the building of the second – the Roman artists. He has not left anything which might be called art, no buildings, nothing. In music, we know that he is only able to skillfully copy the others’ art. We shall not conceal that today he has many famous conductors whose fame he can thank the well-organized Jewish Press for. (Laughter)
When a nation does not possess these three traits, it is not able to create states. And that is true because throughout centuries the Jew was always a nomad. He has never had what we might call a state. It’s a mistake which is spreading widely today to say that Jerusalem was a capital of a Jewish state of a Jewish nation. On the one side, there was always a great chasm between the tribes of Judah and Caleb and the northern Israeli tribes, and only David, for the first time, succeeded in gradually bridging the chasm through the unitary cult of Yahweh. We know precisely that this cult has at a very late time chosen for itself Jerusalem as its sole seat. Only from that moment have the Jewish people gotten a center, like Berlin or New York or Warsaw today. (Hear, hear) This was a town in which the Jew, thanks to his talents and traits, gradually achieved predominance, partly through the force of arms, partly through the “power of trombones.” Besides, the Jews, already in those times, lived as a parasite in the body of other peoples and it had to be so. Because a people which does not want to work – the often hard work of building and maintaining a state – to work in mines, factories, in construction etc. all this was unpleasant to the Hebrew. Such a people will never establish a state but prefers to live in some other state where others work and he acts as an intermediary in business, a dealer in the best case, or in good German – a robber, a nomad who undertakes robbing raids just like in ancient times. (Lively bravo! and hand clapping)
And so we can now understand why the whole Zionist state and its establishing is nothing but a comedy. Herr Chief Rabbi has now said in Jerusalem: “Establishment of this state is not the most important it is far from certain if it will at all be possible.” However, it is necessary that Jewry has this city as its spiritual headquarters because Jewry “materially and in fact are the masters of several states we control them financially, economically and politically.” And so the Zionist state is going to be a harmless corn of sand in the eye. Efforts are made to explain that so and so many Jews have been found that want to go there as farmers, workers, even soldiers. (Laughter) If these people really have this urge in themselves, Germany today needs these ideal men as turf cutters and coal miners they could take part in building our water power plants, our lakes etc. but it does not occur to them. The whole Zionist state will be nothing else than the perfect high school for their international criminals, and from there they will be directed. And every Jew will, of course, have immunity as a citizen of the Palestinian state (Laughter) and he will of course keep our citizenship. But when caught red-handed, he will not be a German Jew any longer but a citizen of Palestine. (Laughter)
One can almost say that the Jew cannot help it because everything stems from his race. He cannot do anything about it and, besides, it doesn’t matter whether he is good or bad for he must act according to the laws of his race, just as do members of our people. A Jew is everywhere a Jew consciously or unconsciously, he resolutely represents the interests of his race.
Thus we can see the two great differences between races: Aryanism means ethical perception of work and that which we today so often hear – socialism, community spirit, common good before own good. Jewry means egoistic attitude to work and thereby mammonism and materialism, the opposite of socialism. (Hear, hear) And due to these traits, which he cannot ‘overstep’ as they are in his blood and, as he himself admits, in these traits alone lays the necessity for the Jew to behave unconditionally as a destroyer of states. He cannot do otherwise, whether he wants to or not. And thereby he is unable to create his own state because it requires a lot of social sense. He is only able to live as a parasite in the states of others. He lives as a race amongst other races, in a state within others states. And we can see very precisely that when a race does not possess certain traits which must be hereditary, it not only cannot create a state but must act as a destroyer, no matter if a given individual is good or evil.
The Jewish path of destruction
We can follow this fate of Jewry from the earliest prehistory. It is not important if there is truth in every word of the Bible. In general, it gives us at least an extract of the history of Jewry. We see how the Jews present themselves because the Jew wrote these words quite innocuously. It did not appear to him as outrageous when a race, through cunning and deceit, invaded and despoiled other races, was always finally expelled and, unoffended, sought to repeat the same elsewhere. They pimped and haggled even when it came to their ideals, always ready to offer even their own families. We know that not long ago a gentleman was staying here, Sigmund Fraenkel, who has just written that it is quite unjust to accuse Jews of a materialistic spirit. One should only look at their sunny family life. However, this intimate family life did not prevent Grandfather Abraham from pimping off his own wife to the Pharaoh of Egypt in order to be able to do business. (Laughter) As was the grandfather, so was the father and so were the sons who never neglected their business. And you can be sure that they are not neglecting the business even as we speak. Who among you was a soldier, he will remember Galicia or Poland: There, at the train stations, these Abrahams were everywhere. (Laughter and hand clapping)
They penetrated into other races for millennia. And we know very well that wherever they stayed long enough symptoms of decay appeared and the peoples could do nothing else than to liberate themselves from the uninvited guest or to disappear themselves. Heavy plagues came over the nations, no less then ten in Egypt – the same plague we experience today firsthand – and finally the Egyptians lost their patience. When the chronicler describes that the Jews were suffering when they finally left, we know differently, for as soon as they were out, they began to long after coming back. (Laughter) It seems that they did not have it so badly. On the other hand, if it’s true they had been forced to help build pyramids, it would mean today forcing them to earn their bread by working in our mines, stone quarries etc. And just as you are not going to see this race voluntarily do it, so there was nothing left to the Egyptians but to force them. What hundreds of thousands of others do as a matter of course, means for the Jew another chapter of suffering and persecution.
Still later, the Jew was able to infiltrate the then soaring Roman Empire. We can still see his traces in southern Italy. Already 250 years before Christ he was there in all places, and people began to avoid them. Already, then and there, he made the most important decision and became a trader. From numerous Roman texts we know that he traded, like today, with everything from shoelaces to girls. (Hear, hear) And we know that the danger grew, and that the insurrection after the murder of Julius Caesar was mainly fomented by the Jews.
The Jew knew even then how to make friends with the masters of the Earth. Only when they became shaky in their rule, he suddenly became a populist and discovered his wide open heart for the needs of the broad masses. So it was in Rome, as we know. We know that the Jew used Christianity, not out of love for Christ, but partly because he knew that this new religion questioned all earthly power and so it became an axe at the root of the Roman state, the state which was built on the authority of the public servant. And he became its chief bearer and propagator, without becoming a Christian – he couldn’t, he remained a Jew, precisely as today when he, never stooping to the level of worker, remains a master pretending to be a socialist. (Bravo!) He did the same 2000 years ago, and we know that this new Teaching was nothing else than a resurrection of the old truism that people in a state should have legal rights and, above all, that equal duties should give equal rights. This obvious Teaching was gradually turned against the Jew himself, as the similar Teaching of socialism has to turn on the Hebrew race today, its distorters and corrupters. We know that throughout the middle Ages the Jew infiltrated all European states, behaving like a parasite, using new principles and ways which the people did not know then. And from a nomad he became a greedy and bloodthirsty robber of our time. And he went so far that people after people rebelled and attempted to shake him off.
We know it is untrue when people say that the Jew was forced to this activity he could easily acquire land. And he did acquire land but not to work it but in order to use it as a trade object, just as he does today. Our forefathers were wiser they knew that land was holy and they excluded the Jew from it, (Lively ovation) and if the Jew ever had the intention to tend the land and build a state, he could easily have done so at the time when whole new continents were discovered. He could easily have done it if only he used a small part of his power, craftiness, cunning, brutality and ruthlessness, as well as some of his financial resources. Because if this power was sufficient to subdue whole peoples, it would have been more than sufficient to build their own state. If only he had had the basic condition for this, which is a will to work, but not in the sense of usurious trade but in the sense in which millions work in order to keep a state going. Instead, we see him also today as a destroyer. In these days we see a great transformation: the Jew was once a Court Jew, submissive to his master he knew how to make the master pliable in order to dominate his subjects. For this purpose he whetted the appetites of these great men for unattainable things, extended the credit and soon turned them into debtors. In this way he himself got power over peoples. And he played this game with the same cruelty as, a few years later, the humanistic and philanthropic Jew whose wealth did not suffer at all when he showed his humanitarianism and his spirit of sacrifice to our people. (Big laughter) I said that he transformed from Court Jew (Hofjude) to Populist Jew (Volksjude). Why? Because he felt that the ground began to burn under his feet.
The ethical duty to work
Gradually, he also had to lead an existential struggle against the growing awakening and anger of the people. This forced him to lay his hands on the inner structure of the states if he wanted to remain the master of the peoples.We see the resulting destruction in three areas, namely those same three areas which were preserving and developing the states.
The first area was the fight against the principle of the ethical duty to work. The Jew had found another kind of work for himself where he could earn gold without practically moving a finger. He developed a principle which, throughout millennia, made it possible for him to amass fortunes without sweat and toil, unlike all other mortals, and above all – without taking risk.
What does the word “industrial capital” really mean? Ladies and Gentlemen! People often accuse us, particularly in the factories: “You don’t fight against the industrial capital, just against finance and loan capital.” And most people don’t understand that one must not fight against industrial capital. What is industrial capital? It is a constantly changing factor, a relative concept. Once it was a needle and thread, a workshop and a couple of cents in ready money which a tailor in Nurnberg possessed in the 13th century. It was a sum that made work possible, that is: tools, workshops and a certain amount of money in order to survive for a period of time. Gradually, this small workshop became a big factory. But workshops and tools, machines and factories have, per se, no value able to produce value but are a means to an end. What produces value is work, and the few cents which made it possible to survive difficult times and buy some fabrics, multiplied through time, stand before us today – we call it Capital for continued operation in bad times, that is Working Capital.
Here I want to emphasize one thing: Tools, workshop, machine, factory – or working capital, that is, industrial capital – against this you cannot fight at all. You can perhaps make sure that it is not abused but you cannot fight against it. This is the first major scam that one makes to our people, and they make it to distract us from the real fight, to pull it off from the capital which should and must be fought – from the loan and financial capital. (Stormy bravo! and applause). This capital arises in a very different way. The smallest master craftsman was dependent on the fate that might affect him every day, on the general situation in the middle Ages, perhaps on the size of his city and its prosperity, the security in this city. Also today is this capital, that is, the industrial capital tied to the state and to the people, depending on the will of the people to work, but depending also on the possibility to procure raw materials in order to be able to offer work and find buyers who will really buy the product. And we know that a collapse of the state, under certain circumstances, renders the greatest values worthless, devalues them, as distinguished from the other capital, the finance and loan capital, which accrues interest very evenly without any regard to whether the owner, for example, of these 10,000 Mark himself passes away or not. The debt remains on the estate. We experience that a state has debts, for example, the German Reich’s bonds for Alsace-Lorraine railways these bonds must bear interest although the railways are no longer in our possession. We know that this railway fortunately has now a 20 billion deficit but their bonds must bear interest, and even though they were sold, in part, more than 60 years ago and have already been repaid four times, the debt, the interest, runs further, and while a great nation gains nothing on this company, it still must bleed the loan capital continues to grow completely irrespective of any outside disturbance.
Here we already see the first possibility, namely that this kind of money-making, which is independent of all the events and incidents of daily life, must necessarily, because it is never hindered and always runs evenly, gradually lead to huge capitals which are so enormous that they ultimately have only one fault, namely the difficulty of their further accommodation.To accommodate this capital, you have to proceed to destroying whole states, to destroy entire cultures, to abolish national industries – not to socialize, but to throw all into the jaws of this international capital – because this capital is international, as the only thing on this Earth that is truly international. It is international because its carrier, the Jews, are international through their distribution across the world. (Consent)
And already here one should knock oneself on the head and say: if this capital is international because its carrier is distributed internationally, it must be madness to think that this capital can be fought internationally with the help of the members of the same race which possesses it. (Hear, hear) Fire is not extinguished by fire but by water and the international capital belonging to the international Jew can only be broken by a national force. (Bravo and applause!) So, this capital has grown to incredibly large proportions and today virtually rules the Earth, still eerily growing and – the worst! – is completely corrupting all honest work. For it is appalling that the common man who has to bear the burden in order to return the capital sees that, despite his hard work, diligence, thrift and in spite of the real work, he is hardly able to nourish himself and still less to dress, while this international capital devours billions just in interest, which he also must supply, and at the same time a whole racial stratum which does no other work than collect interest and cut coupons, spreads in the state. This is a degradation of any honest work, for every honestly working man must ask today: Does it have a purpose at all that I work? I will really never accomplish anything, and there are people who, practically without work, can not only live, but in practice even dominate us, and that’s their goal.
Yes, one of the foundations of our strength is being destroyed, namely the ethical concept of work, and that was the brilliant idea of Karl Marx to falsify the ethical concept of work, and the whole mass of the people who groan under the Capital are to be organized for the destruction of the national economy and for the protection of international finance-and-loan capital. (Stormy applause) We know that today 15 billion of industry capital is facing 500 billion of loan capital. These 15 billion of industry capital is invested in creative values, while this 500 billion loan capital, which we always get in spoonful rates of 6 and 7 billion and which we use in periods of 1 to 2 months to supplement our rations a little, these 6 to 7 billion today which are decreed almost worthless scraps of paper, at a later date, should we ever recover, will have to be repaid in high quality money i.e. in a money behind which lies practical work. This is not only the destruction of a state, but already the application of a chain, of a neck collar for later times.
National purity as a source of strength
The second pillar against which the Jew as a parasite turns, and must turn, is the national purity as a source of the strength of a nation. The Jew, who is himself a nationalist more than any other nation, who through millennia did not mix with any other race, uses intermingling just for others to degenerate them in the best case this same Jew preaches every day with thousands of tongues, from 19,000 papers in Germany alone, that all nations on Earth are equal, that international solidarity should bind all the peoples, that no people can lay a claim to a special status etc., and, above all, that no nation has a reason to be proud of anything that is called or is national. What a nation means, he, who himself never dreams of climbing down to those to whom he preaches internationalism, knows well.
First a race must be denationalized. First it must unlearn that its power is in its blood, and when it has reached the level where it has no more pride, the result is a product, a second race, which is lower than the previous one and the Jew needs the lower one in order to organize his final world domination. In order to build it and keep it, he lowers the racial level of the other peoples, so that only he is racially pure and able to eventually rule over all the others. That’s race degradation, the effects of which we can see today in a number of peoples of the world. We know that the Hindus in India are a mixed people, stemming from the high Aryan immigrants and from the dark aborigines. And this nation bears the consequences, for it is a slave nation of a race that may seem in many ways almost as a second Jewry.
Another problem is the problem of physical decomposition of races. The Jew is trying to eliminate all of which he knows that is somehow strengthening, muscle-steeling, and eliminate above all everything of that which he knows may keep a race so healthy that it will remain determined not to tolerate among themselves national criminals, pests to the national community, but under some circumstances, punish them with death. And that is his great fear and worry for even the heaviest latches of the safest prison are not so tough, and the prison is not so safe that a few million could not open it eventually. Only one lock is permanent, and that is death, and in front of it he has the most awe. And therefore he seeks to abolish this barbaric punishment everywhere where he lives as a parasite. But wherever he already is, Lord, it is used ruthlessly. (Loud applause)
And, for the breaking of physical strength, he has excellent means at hand. First of all, he has the trade that should be nothing more than distribution of foodstuffs and other necessary items for daily use. He uses it to withdraw these articles of daily life, when necessary, in order to raise the price on the one hand, but also to withdraw in order to create the conditions for physical weakening which have always worked best: hunger.
Thus we see them brilliantly organize, from a Joseph in Egypt up to a Rathenau* today. Everywhere, what we see behind these organizations is not the desire to make a shining organization for food supply, but through them gradually to create hunger. We know that as a politician he never had reason and cause to shun the hunger, on the contrary, wherever the Jew appeared in political parties, hunger and misery was the only soil in which he could grow. He desires it, and therefore he does not even think of easing social misery. That’s the bed in which it thrives. * Walther Rathenau’s mother was Jewish. He became Foreign Minister of Germany during the Weimar Republic, was assassinated on June 24, 1922, two months after signing the Rappalo Treaty. He was a leading proponent of a policy of assimilation for German Jews ]
Hand in hand with this goes a battle against the health of the people. He knows how to turn all the healthy normal manners, the obvious hygienic rules of a race on its head, from night he makes day he creates the notorious nightlife and knows exactly that it works slowly but surely, gradually destroying the healthy strength of a race, making it soft the one is destroyed physically, the other spiritually, and into the heart of the third it puts the hatred as he has to see the others feast.
And finally, as a last resort, he destroys the productive capacity, and if necessary, in connection with it, the productive resources of a nation. That is the great mystery of Russia. They have destroyed factories, not because they knew they would no longer be needed, but because they knew that the people would be forced, with enormous hardships, to replace what had been destroyed. So the Jew succeeds in harnessing the people, instead of the former 9 and 10 hours, for 12 hours. For at the moment when the Jew becomes Lord, he knows no 8-hour day, he recognizes his Sabbath for his cattle, but not for the Goyim, for the Akum [words for non-Jews].
The destruction of culture
Finally, he reaches for the last method: The destruction of all culture, of all that we consider as belonging in a state which we consider civilized. Here is his work perhaps most difficult to recognize, but here the actual effect is the most terrible. We are familiar with his activity in the arts, like today’s paintings which became a caricature of all that we call true inner perception. (Prolonged applause) They always explain that you don’t understand the inner experience of the artist. Don’t you think that also a Moritz Schwind and Ludwig Richter experienced internally when they created? (Stormy bravo! and applause)
Don’t you, finally, believe that, for example, Beethoven’s chords also came from inner experience and feeling and that a Beethoven symphony reflects his inner experience? This is true inner experience, unlike the other ones, which are only superficial swindle (Applause), set in the world with an intent to gradually destroy in the people any healthy idea and to whip the people into a state in which no one can understand whether the times are crazy, or whether he himself is mad. (Big laughter and applause.)
Just as he works in painting, sculpture and music, so he does in poetry and especially in literature. Here he has a great advantage. He is the editor and, above all, publisher of more than 95% of all newspapers. He uses this power, and he who has become such a brutal antisemite as myself (Laughter) smells out, even as he takes the paper in his hand, where the Jew begins (Laughter) he knows already from the title page that it is again not one of us, but one of the “folks behind.” (Laughter) We know full well that all his contortions and wordplays only serve to conceal the inner emptiness of his mind and hide the fact that the man has no real spiritual life, and what he lacks in true spirit he replaces with bombast phrases, word twists and turns that seem unreasonable, but he cautiously explains from the outset that he who does not understand them is not sufficiently mentally developed. (Laughter)
When we talk about literature, we also need to jump straight to another chapter where we can admire in excess Moritz and Salomon Wolf and Bear: Our theater, the places which a Richard Wagner wanted once to have darkened to create the highest degree of consecration and seriousness, in which he wanted to perform works which it would be shameful to call shows, so he named them “consecration plays” the place where there should be nothing else but the highest elevation, a detachment of the individual from all the grief and misery, but also from all the rot which surrounds us in life, to lift the individual into a purer air. What has become of it? A place which today you are ashamed to enter unless someone might notice you the moment you go in. (Hear, hear) We see that although a Friedrich Schiller received just 346 thalers for “Mary Stuart,” for “Merry Widow”* people today receive 5 1/2 million, that the greatest kitsch today makes millions for which an author in ancient Greece would probably have been expelled from the state by ostracism. (Loud applause) *Hitler later changed his mind about “The Merry Widow” (composed by fellow Austrian Franz Lehár) and endorsed it, along with Operetta in general.
And if theater has become a hotbed of vice and shamelessness, then a thousand times more so that new invention which perhaps comes from genial inspiration, but which the Jew understood right away to remodel into the filthiest business that you can imagine: the cinema. (Thunderous applause and clapping.) At first people attached greatest hopes to this brilliant invention. It could become an easy mediator of profound knowledge for the entire people of the world. And what has become of it? It became the mediator of the greatest and the most shameless filth. The Jew works on.
For him there is no spiritual sensitivity, and just as his forefather Abraham was selling his wife, he finds nothing special about the fact that today he sells girls, and through the centuries we find him everywhere, in North America as in Germany, Austria-Hungary and all over the East, as the merchant of the human commodity and it can not be denied away even the greatest Jew defender cannot deny that all of these girl-dealers are Hebrews. This subject is atrocious. According to Germanic sentiment there would be only one punishment for this: death. For people that play fast and loose, regarding as a business, as a commodity, what for millions of others means greatest happiness or greatest misfortune. For them love is nothing more than business in which they make money. They are always ready to tear apart the happiness of any marriage, if only 30 pieces of silver can be made. (Stormy bravo! and applause)
They tell us today that all that which was known as family life is a completely outlived notion, and who only saw the play “Castle Wetterstein”* could see how the holiest that still remained to the people was shamelessly called “brothel”. *An anti-bourgeoise play written in 1912 by Frank Wedekind, pre-figuring the “new realism,” in which a young woman is corrupted. It was played up by the Jews and became very popular. So we should not be surprised when he also attacks what many people even today are not indifferent to, and what to many at least can give inner peace – religion. Also here we see the same Jew who himself has enough religious customs which others could easily mock, but no one does, as we, in principle, never ridicule religion because it is sacred to us. But he tries to destroy everything without offering a substitute. Who today, in this age of the vilest deceit and swindle, is detached from it for him there are just two more possibilities, either he hangs himself in despair or becomes a crook.
The “authority of the majority”
When the Jew has destroyed the state according to these three major aspects, when he has undermined the state-forming and sustaining power, the ethical conception of work, the racial purity of a people and its spiritual life, he puts to the ax the authority of reason in the state and puts in its place the so-called authority of the majority of the crowd, and he knows that this majority will dance as he whistles because he has the means to direct it: He has the Press, not perhaps for registering of public opinion, but for forgery of it, and he knows how to harness public opinion through the Press in order to dominate the state. Instead of the authority of reason, there enters the authority of the great spongy majority led by the Jew, because the Jew is always going through three periods.
First, autocratically-minded, ready to serve any prince, he then descends to the people, fighting for democracy, of which he knows that it will be in his hand, and steered by him he owns it, he becomes a dictator. (Hear, hear) And we see this today in Russia, where a Lenin has just assured that the councils are already outlived, and that now it is not absolutely necessary that a proletarian state be led through one council or parliament, that it is sufficient that 2 or 3 proletarian-minded people govern this country. These proletarian-minded persons are some Jewish billionaires, and we know very well that behind 2 or 3 proletarians ultimately stands another organization which is outside of the state: the Alliance Israelite and their grandiose propaganda organization and the organization of Freemasonry. (Loud applause and clapping of hands)
And in all these things we must understand that there are no good or evil Jews. Here everyone works exactly according to the instincts of his race, because the race, or should we say, the nation and its character, as the Jew himself explains, lies in blood, and this blood is forcing everyone to act according to these principles, whether he is the leading mind in a party that calls itself democratic, or calls itself socialist, or a man of science, literature, or just an ordinary exploiter. He is a Jew he works aglow with one thought: How do I get my people to become the Master Race.
The political organization
And when we see, for example, in these Jewish magazines, that it is specified that every Jew everywhere is obligated to fight against any antisemite, wherever and whoever he is, then it follows by deduction that every German, wherever and whoever he is, will become an antisemite. (Stormy bravo! and prolonged applause) For if the Jew has a racial determination, so have we, and we are also obliged to act accordingly. Because it seems inseparable from the social idea and we do not believe that there could ever exist a state with lasting inner health if it is not built on internal social justice, and so we have joined forces with this knowledge and when we finally united, there was only one big question: How should we actually baptize ourselves? A party? A bad name! Notorious, discredited in the mouth of everyone, and hundreds told us, “Why have you called yourselves a party? When I hear that word I go mad.” And others told us, “It’s not necessary for us to organize ourselves more closely, it is sufficient that the scientific knowledge of the danger of Jewry gradually deepens and the individual, on the basis of this knowledge, begins to remove the Jews from himself.” But I very much fear that this whole beautiful line of thought was designed by none other than a Jew himself. (Laughter.)
Then we were told further, “It is not necessary that you are politically organized, it is sufficient to take away from the Jews their economic power. Economic organizing only – here lies the salvation and the future.” Here, too, I have the same suspicion that a Jew sowed this idea the first time because one thing has become clear: In order to liberate our economy from this fix it is necessary to combat the pathogen, the politically organized struggle of the masses against their oppressors. (Stormy applause) Since it is clear that scientific knowledge is worthless as long as this knowledge is not a basis for an organization of the masses for the implementation of what we consider necessary, and it is further clear that for this organization only the broad masses of our people can be considered. Because it sets us apart from all those who today are ‘saviors of Germany,’ whether Bothmer or Ballerstedt*, that we believe that the future strength of our people is not to be found in Odeon bar or Bonbonniére** but in the countless workshops, in which they work every day – that here we find the millions of hardworking, healthy people whose lives are the only hope of our people for the future. (Loud applaus.) *Opponents of Hitler ** Places of frivolity in Munich
Furthermore, we realized that if this movement does not penetrate into the masses, to organize them, then everything will be in vain then we will never be able to liberate our people and we will never be able to think of rebuilding our country. The salvation can never come from above, it can and will only come from the masses, from the bottom up. (Applause)
And as we came to this realization and decided to form a party, a political party that wants to enter into the ruthless political struggle for the future, then we heard a voice: Do you believe that you few can do it, do you really believe that a couple of guys can do it? Because we understood that we had an immense battle ahead of us but also that anything created by men can be destroyed by other men. And another conviction has arisen within us, that this can not be a matter of whether we think we can do it, but only a question of whether we believe that it is right and that it is necessary, and if it is right and necessary, then it is no longer a question of whether we want to, but rather it is our duty to do what we feel is necessary. (Stormy bravo!) We did not ask after money and supporters, but we decided to go forth.
And while others are working a whole generation, perhaps in order to get a small house or to have a carefree retirement, we put our lives at stake and have begun this difficult struggle. If we win, and we are convinced we will, though we may die penniless we will have helped create the biggest movement which will now extend over all Europe and the whole world. (Loud applause)
The first three principles were clear, and they are inseparable from each other. Socialism as the final concept of duty, the ethical duty of work, not just for oneself but also for one’s fellow man’s sake, and above all the principle: Common good before own good, a struggle against all parasitism and especially against easy and unearned income. And we were aware that in this fight we can rely on no one but our own people. We are convinced that socialism in the right sense will only be possible in nations and races that are Aryan, and there in the first place we hope for our own people and are convinced that socialism is inseparable from nationalism. (Loud applause)
To be nationalist does not mean for us to belong to one party or another, but to show with every action that one benefits the people it means love for all the people without exception. From this point of view we will realize that it is necessary to preserve the most precious thing a people has, the sum of all active creative powers of its workers, to keep it healthy in body and soul.(Cheers) And this view of nationalism compels us to immediately form a front against its opposite, the Semitic conception of the idea of people (Volk), and especially against the Semitic concept of work. Since we are socialists, we must necessarily also be antisemites because we want to fight against the very opposite: materialism and mammonism. (Lively bravo!)
And when today the Jew still runs into our factories and says : How can you be a socialist antisemite ? Are not you ashamed ? - there comes a time in which we will ask: How can you not be an antisemite, being a socialist! (Hear, hear) There comes a time when it will be obvious that socialism can only be carried out accompanied by nationalism and antisemitism. The three concepts are inseparably connected. They are the foundations of our program and therefore we call ourselves National Socialists. (Cheers)
Finally, we know how great the social reforms must be so that Germany may recover. If it doesn’t happen, perhaps the only reason will be too modest efforts. We know that one will have to cut deep. We will not be able to come around the national problem and the issue of land reform, and the problem of care for all those who, day after day, are working for the community and in their old age this care must not be a pittance, but they have a right to have their old days be still worth living.
If we wish to make these social reforms, this must go hand in hand with the fight against the enemy of every social institution: Jewry. Here too we know that scientific knowledge can only be the groundwork, but that behind this knowledge must stand an organization which one day will be able to go over into action. And in this action we will remain adamant, which means: removal of Jews from amongst our people (Loud and long sustained applause and clapping), not because we begrudge them their existence – we congratulate the rest of the world on account of their visits (great hilarity) – but because we value the existence of our own people a thousand times higher than that of an alien race. (Bravo!)
And since we are convinced that this scientific antisemitism that clearly recognizes the terrible danger of this race for any people can only be a guide, and the masses will always perceive them emotionally – for they know the Jew first and foremost as the man in daily life who always and everywhere sticks out – our concern must be to arouse in our people the instinct against Jewry and whip it up and stir, until they come to the decision to join the movement which is willing to take the consequences. (Bravo and applause.)
Some people tell us : Whether you succeed depends eventually on whether you have the sufficient money and so on. To this, I think I can say the following: Even the power of money is somehow limited there is a certain limit beyond which, eventually, not the money rules but the truth. A nd we are all aware that, once the millions of our workers realize who are the leaders who now promise them a blissful future kingdom, when they recognize that everywhere gold is at play, they will throw the gold in their face and declare: Keep your gold and don’t think that you can buy us. (Bravo!)
And we do not despair if we maybe still stand alone, if we today, wherever we go, do see potential supporters but nowhere the courage to join the organization. That should not lead us astray we have accepted the fight and we must win it. I have assured you before the election that this election would not decide Germany’s fate, that after this election no recovery would come and, already today, I think most of you will agree with me. I could predict it back then because I knew that the courage and the will to act were absent everywhere.
We have proclaimed as our election platform only one thing: Let the others go to the polls today, to the Reichstag, to the parliaments and loll in their club chairs we want to climb up the beer tables and pull the masses with us. We’ve kept this promise and will keep it in the future. Tirelessly and constantly, as long as we have a spark of strength and a breath in the lungs, we will come out and call all our people and always tell the truth until we can begin to hope that this truth will prevail. Till the day finally comes when our words fall silent and action begins. (Stormy bravo! and long-lasting applause.)
Closing remarks of the speaker Hitler:
Ladies and gentlemen! We are not as dreadful as our primary enemy and we cannot shatter Jewry by ourselves we do not imagine it is so easy. However, we have decided not to come with any buts and ifs. But once the matter comes to the solution, it will be done, and done thoroughly.
What the gentleman said, that for him it doesn’t matter – any person is a human being – I agree, as long as that person does not get in the way. But when a great race systematically destroys the life conditions of my race, I say no, no matter where they ‘belong.’ In that case, I say that I am one of those who, when they get a blow on the left cheek, they return two or three. (Bravo!)
Then a gentleman said that our movement would mean a battle into which the working class would be drawn. Yes, and we (the social democrats and communists?) will promise our people Heaven on Earth, and after the fools have fought for forty years, then instead of the Heaven they’ll have nothing but a pile of rubble and misery. That mistake we will not make. (Bravo!) We do not promise any Heaven but the one thing, that if you are determined to carry out this program in Germany, maybe once again the time will come in which you will be able to have a life. If you carry out the glorious reform which these gentlemen here wish, you will in an even shorter time face the need to embellish this life with the very same decrees which their leaders Trotsky and Lenin issue now: Those who are not willing to fight for the blessings of that State, die.
Finally, he said that they opposed any capitalism. My esteemed audience! The communists have so far merely been fighting industrial capital and have only hung industrial capitalists. But name me one Jewish capitalist whom they have hung. (That’s right! says the crowd) 300,000 Russians have been murdered in Russia. The Soviet Government itself admits this now. Among those 300,000 is not a single Jew! But in the leadership more than 90% are Jews. Is that persecution of Jews or rather, in the truest sense of the word, persecution of Christians? (Hear, hear)
Then you said you fought against both the loan capital and industrial capital. But you have so far combated neither the one nor the other. You cannot fight the industrial capital, at most destroy it, and then you must again start with a 12-hour working day to rebuild it. (Hear, hear) And the other you’ve so far never fought! This one is paying you. (Thunderous applause and clapping of hands)
Then t he second speaker stated the cause of the revolution should be looked for in poverty. We prefer to put it this way: Poverty has made Germany ripe for those who wanted the revolution. You can read the piece written by their Lord and Master who was then ruling Germany, Rathenau, where he explained precisely that the revolution had a real and deliberate purpose: Displacement of the feudal system and its replacement by plutocracy. These men have been the financiers of this glorious movement . If their revolution would have been even the slightest threat to Capital, then the Frankfurter Zeitung would not have triumphantly announced on the 9th Novembe r: “The German people have made a revolution.” When we make our revolution, the Frankfurter Zeitung will whistle a very different tune. (Loud applause)
Then you said further: Before the war one has not heard anything of Jews. That is a sad fact that we have heard so little. This does not mean, however, that he was not there. But above all, it is not true, because this movement did not begin after the war but has been there just as long as there are Jews. If you go back and read in Jewish history, the Jews gradually exterminated the original tribes in Palestine by the sword, so you can imagine that there has been antisemitism as a logical reaction. And it existed the whole time till this day, and the pharaohs in Egypt were probably just as antisemitic as we are today. If you had, before the war, not only read their famous writers Moritz, Salomon, and others – I do not even mention newspapers which, a priori, carry the stamp of approval of the Alliance Israelite - you would have heard that in Austria there was a huge anti-Semitic movement, but also the Russia people constantly attempted to rise up against the Jewish bloodsuckers. That in Galicia, the Poles groaned and no longer worked, and sometimes rose in despair against those crazy idealists who were hell-bound to send the people to their early graves. Unfortunately, too late we have begun to understand this there, but you say: Before the war, one has not heard of it. But really deplorable are only those who hear it now and still cannot get the courage to answer our call. (Stormy bravo! and applause)
Then you declare further that Lenin made some mistakes. We are grateful that at least you admit tha t your pope has made mistakes. (Laughter) But then you declare you would not make these mistakes. For one thing, when 300,000 people are hanged in Germany and when our whole economy is shattered after their pattern, then your statement that you would not make the same mistakes is not enough. You seem to have a poor idea of what the Bolshevik system really means. It will not improve the situation, but it is put there in order to destroy the races with these errors. (Hear, hear) When you declare today that one did so in Russia up until now, this is a sorry excuse when you first exterminate a race, first totally ruin a national economy and finally this state lives practically only by the mercy of Tsarist officers who, driven by force make conquests for it, then, in my opinion, it’s a strange policy. (Hear, hear.) One thing I know is that if we do not have the iron will to stop war madness – that mutual tearing one another to pieces – we’ll perish.
Finally, you explain, since the loan capital is international, we cannot fight it nationally, otherwise the international world will shut us off. These are the consequences of relying on international solidarity! (Loud applause.) Had you not made us so powerless, we could not have cared less if the other world is happy with us or not. But when you yourself admit that this International, which practically dominates Britain, France and North America, is able to shut us off, do you believe then that the fight against Capital is being fought over there? So long as this Earth exists, nations have never been freed by the will and the deed of other nations, but either by their own force or they remained in bondage. (Cheers)
And then, finally, you also turn to the Bible, and that’s, after all, a good sign in a Communist. (Laughter) And you explain that, because of a peculiar conformity of Bible and our Party program, I am a Communist. What you are telling me here, Dr. Gerlich has already said, and Mr. Hohmann has called me too: If you stand up for what you have in the program, you are a communist. On the other hand, the “Post” says all the time, I am an arch-reactionary, a completely diseased, militaristic reactionary.
(Interruption: The “Post” is itself reactionary.)
Would you please confront the chief editor with this and allow me to listen? (Big laughter and applause) Also, the “Kampf” emphasizes again and again that we are the bastion of the counter-reaction. So I recommend that you first go to the “Post ” and to “Kampf” and tell them that we are Communists because I myself couldn’t care less how I am called, whether reactionary, Pan-German, a Junker, big industrialist or a communist – I am and will remain a German national socialist. I have my program in front of me and, as I said earlier, I will pursue it to the last spark of my strength and the last breath in my lungs. (Long sustained stormy bravo! and applause)