Reaction Paper 2:Due Date -December 3rd. Read the following excerpt from a speech given by Adolf Hitler three years after the end of World War I and answer these questions in a thoughtful 2-3-page essay. It is strongly recommended that you use this source ONLY – however, if you do use additional sources, you must cite those sources. Failure to cite additional sources will be considered plagiarism and will result in a grade of zero. Be sure to upload your paper to the “Assignment/Dropbox” link. Late papers will not be accepted.:
- What blame does Hitler assign to the Treaty of Versailles?
- What blame does he assign to the Jews?
- How do these comments foreshadow the coming of World War II?
Speech of April 12, 1921
After the War, production had begun again and it was thought that better times were coming. Frederick the Great after the Seven Years War had, as the result of superhuman efforts, left Prussia without a penny of debt: at the end of the World War, Germany was burdened with her own debt of some 7 or 8 milliards of marks and beyond that was faced with the debts of “the rest of the world” – “the so-called reparations.” The product of Germany’s work thus belonged, not to the nation, but to her foreign creditors: “it was carried endlessly in trains for territories beyond our frontiers.” Every worker had to support another worker, the product of whose labor was commandeered by the foreigner. “The German people after twenty-five or thirty years, in consequence of the fact that it will never be able to pay all that is demanded of it, will have so gigantic a sum still owing that practically it will be forced to produce more than it does today.” What will the end be? and the answer to that question is “Pledging of our land, enslavement of our labor-strength. Therefore, in the economic sphere, November 1918 was in truth no achievement, but it was the beginning of our collapse.” And in the political sphere we lost first our military prerogatives, and with that loss went the real sovereignty of our State, and then our financial independence, for there remained always the Reparations Commission so that “practically we have no longer a politically independent German Reich, we are already a colony of the outside world. We have contributed to this because so far as possible we humiliated ourselves morally, we positively destroyed our own honor and helped to befoul, to besmirch, and to deny everything which we previously held as sacred.” If it be objected that the Revolution has won for us gains in social life: “they must be extraordinarily secret, these social gains – so secret that one never sees them in practical life – they must just run like a fluid through our German atmosphere. Some one may say ‘Well, there is the eight-hour day!’ And was a collapse necessary to gain that? And will the eight-hour day be rendered any more secure through our becoming practically the bailiff and the drudge of the other peoples?” One of these days France will say: “You cannot meet your obligations, you must work more.” So this achievement of the Revolution is put in question first of all by the Revolution.
“Then some one has said: ‘Since the Revolution the people has gained “Rights.” The people governs.’ Strange! The people has now been ruling three years and no one has in practice once asked its opinion. Treaties were signed which will hold us down for centuries: and who has signed the treaties? The people? No! Governments which one fine day presented themselves as Governments. And at their election the people had nothing to do save to consider the question: there they are already, whether I elect them or not. If we elect them, then they are there through our election. But since we are a self-governing people, we must elect the folk in order that they may be elected to govern us.
“Then it was said, ‘Freedom has come to us through the Revolution.’ Another of those things that one cannot see very easily! It is of course true that one can walk down the street, the individual can go into his workshop and he can go out again: here and there he can go to a meeting. In a word, the individual has liberties. But in general, if he is wise, he will keep his mouth shut. For if in former times extraordinary care was taken that no one should let slip anything which could be treated as lèse-majesté, now a man must take much greater care that he doesn’t say anything which might represent an insult to the majesty of a member of Parliament.”
And if we ask who was responsible for our misfortune, then we must inquire who profited by our collapse. And the answer to that question is the “Banks and Stock Exchanges are more flourishing than ever before.” We were told that capitalism would be destroyed, and when we ventured to remind one or other of these “famous statesmen” and said “Don’t forget that Jews too have capital,” then the answer will now be destroyed, the whole people will now be free. We are not fighting Jewish or Christian capitalism; we are fighting every capitalism: we are making the people completely free.”
“Christian capitalism” is already as good as destroyed, the international Jewish Stock Exchange capital gains in proportion as the other loses ground. It is only the international Stock Exchange and loan-capital, the so-called “supra-state capital,” which has profited from the collapse of our economic life, “the capital which receives its character from the single supra-state nation which is itself national to the core, which fancies itself to be above all other nations, which places itself above other nations and which already rules over them.
“The international Stock Exchange capital would be unthinkable, it would never have come, without its founders the supra-national, because intensely national, Jews….”
“The Jew has not grown poorer: he gradually gets bloated, and, if you don’t believe me, I would ask you to go to one of our health-resorts; there you will find two sorts of visitors: the German who goes there, perhaps for the first time for a long while, to breathe a little fresh air and to recover his health, and the Jew who goes there to lose his fat. And if you go out to our mountains, whom do you find there in fine brand-new yellow boots with splendid rucksacks in which there is generally nothing that would really be of any use? And why are they there? They go up to the hotel, usually no further than the train can take them: where the train stops, they stop too. And then they sit about somewhere within a mile from the hotel, like blow-flies round a corpse.
“These are not, you may be sure, our working classes: neither those working with the mind, nor with the body. With their worn clothes they leave the hotel on one side and go on climbing: they would not feel comfortable coming into this perfumed atmosphere in suits which date from 1913 or 1914. No, assuredly the Jew has suffered no privations!…”
“While now in Soviet Russia the millions are ruined and are dying, Chicherin – and with him a staff of over 200 Soviet Jews – travels by express train through Europe, visits the cabarets, watches naked dancers perform for his pleasure, lives in the finest hotels, and does himself better than the millions whom once you thought you must fight as ‘bourgeois.’ The 400 Soviet Commissars of Jewish nationality – they do not suffer; the thousands upon thousands of sub-Commissars – they do not suffer. No! all the treasures which the ‘proletarian’ in his madness took from the ‘bourgeoisie’ in order to fight so-called capitalism – they have all gone into their hands. Once the worker appropriated the purse of the landed proprietor who gave him work, he took the rings, the diamonds and rejoiced that he had now got the treasures which before only the ‘bourgeoisie’ possessed. But in his hands they are dead things – they are veritable death-gold. They are no profit to him. He is banished into his wilderness and one cannot feed oneself on diamonds. For a morsel of bread he gives millions in objects of value. But the bread is in the hands of the State Central Organization and this is in the hands of the Jews: so everything, everything that the common man thought that he was winning for himself, flows back again to his seducers.
“And now, my dear fellow-countrymen, do you believe that these men, who with us are going the same way, will end the Revolution? They do not wish the end of the Revolution, for they do not need it. For them the Revolution is milk and honey.
“And further they cannot end the Revolution. For if one or another amongst the leaders were really not seducer but seduced, and today, driven by the inner voice of horror at his crime, were to step before the masses and make his declaration: ‘We have all deceived ourselves: we believed that we could lead you out of misery, but we have in fact led you into a misery which your children and your children’s children must still bear’ – he cannot say that, he dare not say that, he would on the public square or in the public meeting be torn in pieces.”
But amongst the masses there begins to flow a new stream – a stream of opposition. “It is the recognition of the facts which is already in pursuit of this system, it already is hunting the system down; it will one day scourge the masses into action and carry the masses along with it. And these leaders, they see that behind them the anti-Semitic wave grows and grows; and when the masses once recognize the facts, that is the end of these leaders.”
And thus the Left is forced more and more to turn to Bolshevism. “In Bolshevism they see today the sole, the last possibility of preserving the present state of affairs. They realize quite accurately that the people is beaten so long as Brain and Hand can be kept apart. For alone neither Brain nor Hand can really oppose them. So long therefore as the Socialist idea is coined only by men who see in it a means for disintegrating a nation, so long can they rest in peace.”
“But it will be a sorry day for them when this Socialist idea is grasped by a Movement which unites with it the highest Nationalist pride, with Nationalist defiance, and thus places the Nation’s Brain, its intellectual workers, on this ground. Then this system will break up, and there would remain only one single means of salvation for its supporters: vis. to bring the catastrophe upon us before their own ruin, to destroy the Nation’s Brain, to bring it to the scaffold – to introduce Bolshevism.”
“So the Left neither can nor will help. On the contrary, their first lie compels them constantly to resort to new lies. There remains then the Right. And this party of the Right meant well, but it cannot do what it would because up to the present time it has failed to recognize a whole series of elementary principles.
“In the first place the Right still fails to recognize the danger. These gentlemen still persist in believing that it is a question of being elected to a Landtag or of posts as minister or secretaries. They think that the decision of a people’s destiny would mean at worst nothing more than some damage to their so-called bourgeois-economic existence. They have never grasped the fact that this decision threatens their heads. They have never yet understood that it is not necessary to be an enemy of the Jew for him to drag you one day on the Russian model to the scaffold. They do not see that it is quite enough to have a head on your shoulders and not to be a Jew: that will secure the scaffold for you.
In consequence their whole action today is so petty, so limited, so hesitating and pusillanimous. They would like to – but they can never decide on any great deed, because they fail to realize the greatness of the whole period.
“And then there is another fundamental error: they have never got it clear in their own minds that there is a difference or how great a difference there is between the conception ‘National’ and the word ‘dynastic’ or ‘monarchistic.’ They do not understand that today it is more than ever necessary in our thoughts as Nationalists to avoid anything which might perhaps cause the individual to think that the National Idea was identical with petty everyday political views. They ought day by day to din into the ears of the masses: ‘We want to bury all the petty differences and to bring out into the light the big things, the things we have in common which bind us to one another. That should weld and fuse together those who have still a German heart and a love for their people in the fight against the common hereditary foe of all Aryans. How afterward we divide up this State, friends – we have no wish to dispute over that! The form of a State results from the essential character of a people, results from necessities which are so elementary and powerful that in time every individual will realize them without any disputation when once all Germany is united and free.’
“And finally they all fail to understand that we must on principle free ourselves from any class standpoint. It is of course very easy to call out to those on the Left, ‘You must not be proletarians, leave your class-madness,’ while you yourselves continue to call yourself ‘bourgeois.’ They should learn that in a single State there is only one supreme citizen-right, one supreme citizen-honor, and that is the right and the honor of honest work. They should further learn that the social idea must be the essential foundation for any State, otherwise no State can permanently endure.
“Certainly a government needs power, it needs strength. It must, I might almost say, with brutal ruthlessness press through the ideas which it has recognized to be right, trusting to the actual authority of its strength in the State. But even with the most ruthless brutality it can ultimately prevail only if what it seeks to restore does truly correspond to the welfare of a whole people.
“That the so-called enlightened absolutism of a Frederick the Great was possible depended solely on the fact that, though this man could undoubtedly have decided ‘arbitrarily’ the destiny – for good or ill – of his so-called ‘subject,’ he did not do so, but made his decisions influenced and supported by one thought alone, the welfare of his Prussian people. it was this fact only that led the people to tolerate willingly, nay joyfully, the dictatorship of the great king.
“And the Right has further completely forgotten that democracy is fundamentally no German: it is Jewish. It has completely forgotten that this Jewish democracy with its majority decisions has always been without exception only a means towards the destruction of any existing Aryan leadership. The Right does not understand that directly every small question of profit or loss is regularly put before so-called ‘public opinion,’ he who knows how most skillfully to make this ‘public opinion’ serve his own interests becomes forthwith master in the State. And that can be achieved by the man who can lie most artfully, most infamously; and in the last resort he is not the German, he is, in Schopenauer’s words, ‘the great master in the art of lying’ – the Jew.
“And finally it has been forgotten that the condition which must precede every act is the will and the courage to speak the truth – and that we do not see today either in the Right or in the Left.
“There are only two possibilities in Germany; do not imagine that the people will forever go with the middle party, the party of compromises; one day it will turn to those who have most consistently foretold the coming ruin and have sought to dissociate themselves from it. And that party is either the Left: and then God help us! for it will lead us to complete destruction – to Bolshevism, or else it is a party of the Right which at the last, when the people is in utter despair, when it has lost all its spirit and has no longer any faith in anything, is determined for its part ruthlessly to seize the reins of power – that is the beginning of resistance of which I spoke a few minutes ago. Here, too, there can be no compromise – there are only two possibilities: either victory of the Aryan or annihilation of the Aryan and the victory of the Jew.
“It is from the recognition of this fact, from recognizing it, I would say, in utter, dead earnestness, that there resulted the formation of our Movement. There are two principles which, when we founded the Movement, we engraved upon our hearts: first, to base it on the most sober recognition of the facts and second, to proclaim these facts with the most ruthless sincerity.
“And this recognition of the facts discloses at once a whole series of the most important fundamental principles which must guide this young Movement which, we hope, is destined one day for greatness:
“1. ‘National’ and ‘social’ are two identical conceptions. It was only the Jew who succeeded, through falsifying the social idea and turning it into Marxism, not only in divorcing the social idea from the national, but in actually representing them as utterly contradictory. That aim he has in fact achieved. At the founding of this Movement we formed the decision that we would give expression to this idea of ours of the identity of the two conceptions: despite all warnings, on the basis of what we had come to believe, on the basis of the sincerity of our will, we christened it ‘National Socialist.’ We said to ourselves that to be ‘national’ means above everything to act with a boundless and all-embracing love for the people and, if necessary, eve to die for it. And similarly to be ‘social’ means so to build up the State and the community of the people that every individual acts in the interest of the community of the people and must be to such an extent convinced of the goodness, of the honorable straightforwardness of this community of the people as to be ready to die for it.
“2. And then we said to ourselves: there are no such things as classes: they cannot be. Class means caste and caste means race. If there are castes in India, well and good; there it is possible, for there were formerly Aryans and dark aborigines. So it was in Egypt and Rome. But with us in Germany where everyone who is a German at all has the same blood, has the same eyes, and speaks the same language, here there can be no class, here there can be only a single people and beyond that nothing else. Certainly, we recognize, just as anyone must recognize, that there are different ‘occupations’ and ‘professions’ [Stände] – there is the Stand of the watchmakers, the Stand of the common laborers, the Stand of the painters or technicians, the Stand of the engineers, officials, etc. Stände there can be. But in the struggles which these Stände have amongst themselves for the equalization of their economic conditions, the conflict and the division must never be so great as to sunder the ties of race.
“And if you say ‘But there must after all be a difference between honest creators and those who do nothing at all’ – certainly there must! That is the difference which lies in the performance of the conscientious work of the individual. Work must be the great connecting link, but at the same time the great factor which separates one man from another. The drone is the foe of us all. But the creators – it matters not whether they are brain workers or workers with the hand – they are the nobility of our State, they are the German people!
“We understand under the term ‘work’ exclusively that activity which not only profits the individual but in no way harms the community, nay rather which contributes to for the community.
“3. And in the third place it was clear to us that this particular view is based on an impulse which springs from our race and from our blood. We said to ourselves that race differs from race and, further, that each race in accordance with its fundamental demands shows externally certain specific tendencies, and these tendencies can perhaps be most clearly traced in their relation to the conception of work. The Aryan regards work as the foundation for the maintenance of the community of the people amongst its members. The Jew regards work as the means to the exploitation of other peoples. The Jew never works as a productive creator without the great aim of becoming the master. He works unproductively, using and enjoying other people’s work. And thus we understand the iron sentence which Mommsen once uttered: ‘The Jews is the ferment of decomposition in peoples,’ that means that the Jew destroys and must destroy because he completely lacks the conception of an activity which builds up the life of the community. And therefore it is beside the point whether the individual Jew is ‘decent’ or not. In himself he carries those characteristics which Nature has given him, and he cannot ever rid himself of those characteristics. And to us he is harmful. Whether he harms us consciously or unconsciously, that is not our affair. We have consciously to concern ourselves for the welfare of our own people.
“4. And fourthly we were further persuaded that economic prosperity is inseparable from political freedom and that therefore that house of lies, ‘Internationalism,’ must immediately collapse. We recognized that freedom can eternally be only a consequence of power and that the source of power is the will. Consequently, the will to power must be strengthened in a people with passionate ardor. And thus we realized, fifthly that
“5. We as National Socialists and members of the German Workers’ Party – a Party pledge to work – must be on principle the most fanatical Nationalists. We realized that the State can be for our people a paradise only if the people can hold sway therein freely as in a paradise: we realized that a slave state still never be a paradise, but only – always and for all time – a hell or a colony.
“6. And then sixthly we grasped the fact that power in the last resort is possible only where there is strength, and that strength lies not in the dead weight of numbers but solely in energy. Even the smallest minority can achieve a might result if it is inspired by the most fiery, the most passionate will to act. World history has always been made by minorities. And lastly
“7. If one has realized a truth, that truth is valueless so long as there is lacking the indomitable will to turn this realization into action!
“These were the foundations of our Movement – the truths on which it was based and which demonstrated its necessity.
“For three years we have sought to realize these fundamental ideas. And of course a fight is and remains a fight. Stroking in very truth will not carry one far. Today the German people has been beaten by a quite other world, while in its domestic life it has lost all spirit; no longer has it any faith. But how will you give this people once more firm ground beneath its feet save by the passionate insistence on one definite, great, clear goal?
“thus we were the first to declare that this peace treaty was a crime. Then folk abused us as ‘agitators.’ We were the first to protest against the failure to present this treaty to the people before it was signed. Again we were called on the masses of the people not to surrender their arms, for the surrender of one’s arms would be nothing less than the beginning of enslavement. We were called, no, we were cried down as, ‘agitators.’ We were the first to say that this meant the loss of Upper Silesia. So it was, and still they called us ‘agitators.’ We declared at that time that compliance in the question of Upper Silesia must have as its consequence the awakening of a passionate greed which would demand the occupation of the Ruhr. We were cried down ceaselessly, again and again. And because we opposed the mad financial policy which today will lead to our collapse, what was it that we were called repeatedly once more? ‘Agitators.’ And today?
“And finally we were also the first to point the people on any large scale to a danger which insinuated itself into our midst – a danger which millions failed to realize and which will nonetheless lead us all into ruin – the Jewish danger. And today people are saying yet again that we were ‘agitators.’
“I would like here to appeal to a greater than I, Count Lerchenfeld. He said in the last session of the Landtag that his felling ‘as a man and a Christian; prevented him from being an anti-Semite. I say: my feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Saviour as a fighter. It points me to the Man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to the fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as sufferer but as fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through that passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and of adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have not duty to allow myself be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice. And as a man I have the duty to see to it that human society does not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did the civilization of the ancient world some two thousand years ago – a civilization which was driven to its ruin through this same Jewish people.
“Then indeed when Rome collapsed there were endless streams of new German bands flowing into the Empire from the North; but, if Germany collapses today, who is there to come after us? German blood upon this earth is on the way to gradual exhaustion unless we pull ourselves together and make ourselves free!
“And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is the distress which daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. And when I look on my people I see it work and work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week it has only for its wage wretchedness and misery. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people is plundered and exploited.
“And through the distress there is no doubt that the people has been aroused. Externally perhaps apathetic, but within there is ferment. And many may say, ‘It is an accursed crime to stir up passions in the people.’ And then I say to myself: Passion is already stirred through the rising tide of distress, and one day this passion will break out in one way or another: and now I would ask those who today call us ‘agitators’: ‘What then have you to give to the people as a faith to which it might cling?’
“Nothing at all, for you yourselves have no faith in your own prescriptions.
“That is the mightiest thing which our Movement must create: for these widespread, seeking and straying masses a new Faith which will not fail them in this hour of confusion, to which they can pledge themselves, on which they can build so that they may at least find once again a place which may bring calm to their hearts.”