One must always remember that of itself the multitude is mentally inert. It clings to its old habits and is not naturally prone to read something which does not conform to its own pre-established beliefs or does not contain what it hopes to find there.
Therefore, a piece of writing which has a particular tendency is for the most part read only by those who are in sympathy with it. Only a leaflet or a placard, on account of its brevity can hope to arouse a momentary interest in those whose opinions differ from it.
The picture, in all its forms (including the film, of course) has much better prospects. Here much less intelligence is required on the part of the audience so a pictorial representation will convey to people much more quickly (one might even say, immediately) an idea, to grasp which would require long and arduous effort if they were forced to read about it.
In general, the effect is greater when the form of treatment corresponds to the mental level of the reader and suits his nature. Only through this capacity for adaptability does the force of the written word approach that of direct speech.
The orator may deal with the same subject as a book deals with, but if he has the genius of a great and popular orator [Hitler obviously did] he will scarcely ever repeat the same argument or the same material in the same form on two consecutive occasions.
He will always follow the lead of the great masses in such a way that from the living emotion of his hearers the apt word which he needs will be suggested to him and in its turn this will go straight to the hearts of his hearers.
[In other words, he must be able to “read the masses”]
Not infrequently one must overcome ingrained prejudices which are mostly unconscious and founded on sentiment rather than on reason. And it is a thousand times more difficult to overcome, this barrier of instinctive aversion, emotional hatred and prejudice than to correct opinions which are founded on defective or erroneous knowledge. [Very true]
False ideas and ignorance may be set aside by means of instruction, but emotional resistance never can. Nothing but an appeal to these hidden forces will be effective here, and that appeal, can be made by scarcely any writer. Only the orator can hope to make it.
[Before the advent of the Internet and social network it was, obviously, very true. And even now video is far more powerful than the written text]
What gave Marxism its amazing influence over the broad masses was not that formal printed work which sets forth its system of ideas, but the tremendous oral propaganda carried on for years among the masses. [Very true]
What won over millions of work-people to the Marxist cause was not the “ex cathedra” style of the Marxist writers, but the energetic propaganda work done by tens of thousands of indefatigable agitators, from the ardent agitator down to the insignificant trade-union official, the trusty employee and the heckler. [True]
Furthermore, there were the hundreds of thousands of meetings where these orators, standing on tables in smoky public houses, hammered their ideas into the heads of the masses, thus acquiring an admirable psychological knowledge of the human material they had to deal with, and in this way they were enabled to select the best weapons for their assault on the citadel of public opinion. [Also true]
In addition to all this there were the gigantic mass-demonstrations with processions in which a hundred thousand persons took part. All this was calculated to give the petty-hearted individual the proud conviction that, though a poor worm he was at the same time an integral part of the great dragon before whose devastating breath the hated bourgeois world would one day be consumed in fire and flame, and the dictatorship of the proletariat would celebrate its final victory.
[Nazis took this tool – and noticeably improved it]
One must never judge the speech of a statesman to his people by the impression which it leaves on the mind of a university professor, but by the effect it produces on the public, and this is the sole criterion of the orator’s genius.
However important the literature of the Movement may be, it is, nevertheless, at present more important as a means of providing leaders of the upper, as well as of the lower grades, with a uniform course of instruction, than for the purpose of converting antagonistic masses.
[And that was exactly the objective of Mein Kampf – which was achieved quite successfully]
Mass meetings are necessary for the reason that, in attending them, the individual who, about to join the new movement, feels himself alone and is easily scared of acting singularly acquires for the first time the feeling of a great community, which has a strengthening and encouraging effect on most people.
Mass demonstrations on a grand scale not only reinforce the will of the individual, but they draw him still closer to the movement and help to create an esprit de corps.
The man who appears as the first representative of a new doctrine in his place of business or in his factory is bound to have to face obstacles and has need of that strength which comes from the consciousness that he is a member of a great community, and only a mass demonstration can impress upon him the greatness of this community.
Even “the man in the street” succumbs to the hypnotic magic of such a grandiose piece of theatrical demonstration [which creates a powerful desire to join the Movement].
The National Socialist meetings were by no means ‘peaceable’ affairs. Two distinct Weltanschauungen raged in bitter opposition to one another, and these meetings did not close with the mechanical rendering of a dull patriotic song, but rather with a passionate outbreak of popular national feeling. [as they should have been]
To properly manage these powerful emotions, it was imperative from the very start to introduce rigid discipline into our meetings and establish the authority of the chairman absolutely.
We chose red for our posters after careful deliberation, our intention being to irritate the Left, so as to arouse their attention and tempt them to come to our meetings—if only in order to break them up—so that it this way we might have a chance of talking to the people.
Marxist leaders ordered their working-class followers to attend our meetings in masses and strike with the clenched hand of the proletarian at the representatives of a ‘monarchist and reactionary agitation.’
Our meetings suddenly became packed with workers fully three quarters of an hour before the proceedings were scheduled to begin. These gatherings resembled a powder cask ready to explode at any moment, and the fuse was conveniently at hand.
But things always turned out differently. They came as enemies and left, not perhaps prepared to join us, yet in a reflective mood and disposed to examine critically the correctness of their own doctrine.
[Ironically, it was Karl Marx himself who was responsible for that as his motto was was “Doubt Everything” or “Everything must be doubted”. Thus creating and enormous opportunity for the Nazis which the latter exploited to the maximum extent possible]
Gradually, as time went on, my three-hour lectures resulted in supporters and opponents becoming, united in one single enthusiastic group of people. As the result, every attempt to break up our meeting failed.
Meetings that can be held only with the protective assistance of a strong force of police convert nobody, because in order to win over the lower classes of the people there must be a visible show of strength on one’s own side.
Hence our young Party had to assume the full responsibility of safeguarding its own existence, defending itself and foiling the terrorist tactics of its opponents.
[And created Sturmabteilung (SA) which quickly became the most powerful and fearsome paramilitary force in Germany – in some aspects superior even to Reichswehr]
All earthly wisdom is useless unless it be supported and protected by force; that the gentle goddess of Peace can only walk in company with the god of War; and that every great measure performed in the name of Peace must be protected and furthered by means of force.
Force that obviously needed its own flag and its own symbols. Up to 1920, there was no flag that could have stood for a Weltanschauung diametrically opposed to Marxism.
We believed that to hoist the old [Imperial] colors [black, white and red] would not be symbolic of our special aims, for we had no wish to resurrect from the dead the old Reich which had been ruined through its own blunders, but to build up a new State [a national-socialist Führerstaat].
The new flag had not only to be a symbol expressing our own struggle but, it was also necessary that it should prove effective as a large poster. Because in hundreds of thousands of cases a really striking emblem may be the first thing to awaken interest in a movement.
We chose black, white and red not because they were the colors of the Second Reich, but because the emotional effectiveness of these three colors is far superior to all others and they are certainly the most strikingly harmonious combination.
After innumerable trials I decided upon a final form—a flag of red material with a white disc bearing in its center a black swastika [one of the most ancient and the most spiritually powerful symbol].
After many attempts I obtained the correct proportions between the dimensions of the flag and that of the white central disc, as well as of the swastika. It was displayed in public for the first time in 1920.
Our nationalist and socialist program was made manifest in our flag. The red expressed the social thought underlying the Movement, white the national thought, and the swastika signified the mission allotted to us – the struggle for the victory of Aryan mankind and at the same time the triumph of the ideal of creative work.
At the same time, we immediately ordered corresponding armlets for our squad of men who kept order at meetings, armlets of red material bearing a white disc with the black swastika upon it.
A party badge was designed on the same lines, namely, a white disc on a red ground bearing the swastika in the center. Herr Fuss, a Munich goldsmith, supplied the first practical and permanent design for the badge.
Our first task will not be to build up the idea of the völkisch State, but rather to wipe out the Jewish State which now exists. [For all its obvious deficiencies, Weimar Republic was no Jewish State. The Jewish State will be established only 24 years later – in Palestine]
As so often happens in the course of history, the main difficulty is not to establish a new order of things, but to clear the ground for its establishment.
[Actually, exactly the opposite is true as it is far easier to destroy than to build up. Soviet Union is a prime example. However, under parliamentary democracy clearing the ground is not just difficult but usually impossible. Hence in just about all cases the radical reengineering of State and society can be accomplished only by a totalitarian (and often brutal) dictatorship]
Prejudices and egotistic interests join together in forming a common front against the new idea and in trying by every means to prevent its triumph, because it is disagreeable to them or threatens their existence.
That is why the protagonist of the new idea is, unfortunately, in spite of his desire for constructive work, compelled to wage a destructive battle first, in order to abolish the existing state of affairs.
[Very true – and that’s precisely why the implementation of a radically new idea usually can be done only by a totalitarian dictatorship]
Thus a new Weltanschauung is inevitably intolerant and cannot permit another to exist side by side with it. It ruthlessly demands its recognition as unique and exclusive (and even infallible), and insists upon a complete reformation of public life in all its branches, in accordance with its views. It can never allow the previous state of affairs to continue in existence alongside it [hence it is, indeed, a radical reengineering].
A philosophy of life which is inspired by a fanatical spirit of intolerance can only be set aside by a doctrine that is advanced in an equally ardent spirit and fought for with as determined a will and which is itself a new idea, pure and absolutely sincere.
[Precisely. Hence only the Nazis could have won the existential war with Bolshevism and only Bolsheviks could destroy the Nazi regime. In other words, without the Soviet “cannon fodder” the Allies would have never won World War II]
The advent of Christianity was the first occasion on which spiritual terror was introduced into the much freer ancient world [not the first one but the first successful one], but the fact cannot be denied that ever since then, the world has been pervaded and dominated by this kind of coercion and that violence is broken only by violence and terrorism by terrorism [the latter was obviously true].
A Weltanschauung will never of itself willingly give ground to another. Therefore it can never agree to collaborate in any order of things that it condemns.
[This fundamental principle works very well in domestic affairs. However, in foreign affairs it inevitably leads to disasters as the Weltanschauung in question can not be forced upon all other nations (some are way too powerful to make it happen). And that’s exactly what happened to the Nazis]
On the contrary, it feels obliged to employ every available means in the fight against the old order and the whole world of ideas belonging to that order and to prepare the way for its destruction.
[Again “every available means” – no matter how inhuman or criminal]
These purely destructive tactics, and also the constructive tactics, which must be aggressive in order to carry the new world of ideas to success – both these phases of the struggle call for a body of resolute fighters.
Any new Weltanschauung will be successful in establishing its ideas only if the most courageous and active elements of its epoch and its people are enrolled under its standards and grouped firmly together in a powerful fighting organization. [i.e. paramilitary organizations – first SA, then SS]
To achieve this purpose it is absolutely necessary to select from the general ideology a certain number of ideas which will appeal to such individuals, and which, once they are expressed in a precise and clear-cut form, will serve as articles of faith for a new association of men.
[And that’s exactly what was done for SA by Hans Ulrich Klintzsch and for the SS by Heinrich Himmler]
While the program of the ordinary political party is nothing but the recipe for achieving favorable results at the next general election, the program of a Weltanschauung represents a declaration of war against an existing order of things, against present conditions, in short, against the established Weltanschauung. [in other words, for the radical reengineering of the latter]
The individual soldier [i.e. rank-and-file member of SA or SS] is not initiated into the secrets of our strategic plans, but he is trained to submit to a rigid discipline, to be passionately convinced of the justice and inner might of his cause and to devote himself to it without reserve. [Makes sense]
By its very nature, an organization can exist only if leaders of high intellectual ability are served by a large mass of men who are emotionally devoted to the cause.
[Nazis won to a significant extent because Hitler was a genius at generating a very powerful emotional devotion in his followers]
The strength of a political party never consists in the intelligence and independent spirit of the rank and file of its members, but rather in the spirit of willing obedience with which they follow their intellectual leaders. [Precisely]
What is of decisive importance is the leadership itself. When two bodies of troops are arrayed in mortal combat, victory will not fall to that side in which every soldier has an expert knowledge of the rules of strategy, but rather to that side which has the best leaders and, at the same time, the best disciplined, most blindly obedient and best drilled troops.
[Very true. Hence in the long run, Soviet and Allied leaders turned out to far better than those of the Nazis (as the quality of troops of the former was far inferior to those of the latter). For a very simple reason – they made far fewer colossal strategic blunders]
If the idea of the völkisch State, which is at present an obscure ideal, is one day to attain a clear and definite success, from its vague and vast mass of thought it will have to put forward certain definite principles which of their very nature and content are calculated to attract a broad mass of adherents.
In other words, a group of people that can guarantee that these principles will be fought for. That group of people is the German working-class. That is why the program of the new Movement was condensed into a few fundamental postulates, twenty-five in all. [It worked – and worked very well]
For a doctrine that is actually right in its main features it is less dangerous to retain a formulation which may no longer be quite adequate, instead of trying to improve it and thereby allowing a fundamental principle of the Movement, which had hitherto been considered as solid as granite, to become the subject of a general discussion which may have unfortunate consequences. [Makes complete sense]
This is particularly to be avoided as long as a Movement is still fighting for victory, for would it be possible to inspire people with blind faith in the truth of a doctrine if doubt and uncertainty are encouraged by continual alterations in its external formulation?
[The funny thing is that it is – the Bolsheviks in the Soviet Union proved it beyond the reasonable doubt. However, their circumstances were quite different, so for the Nazis it was most likely true]
Catholic Church stands firmer today than ever before [not true – actually, the opposite is the case]. We may prophesy that, as a fixed star amid fleeting phenomena, it will continue to attract increasing numbers of people who will be the more blindly attached to it the more rapid the rhythm of changing phenomena around it.
[Exactly the opposite happened – Catholic Church membership went into a steep decline way before it started de-facto changing its doctrine]
Whoever really and seriously desires that the völkisch Weltanschauung should triumph must realize that this triumph can be assured only through a militant movement and that this movement must found its strength only on the granite firmness of an impregnable and well-defined program. [Makes sense]
In regard to its formulas it must never make concessions to the Zeitgeist, but must maintain the form that has once and for all been decided upon as the right one – in any case, until victory has crowned its efforts. [If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it]
In its program the NSDAP has been furnished with a basis that must remain unshakable. Thus the members of the Movement, both present and future, must never feel themselves called upon to undertake a critical revision of these postulates, but rather feel themselves obliged to put them into practice as they stand.
Any attempt to carry these theories into effect without the aid of a militant organization [i.e. SA and later SS] would be doomed to failure to-day, as it has failed in the past and must fail in the future.
Just as the fundamental principles of the National Socialist Movement are based on the völkisch idea, völkisch ideas are National Socialist. If National Socialism would triumph it will have to hold firm to this fact unreservedly, and here again it is not only its right, but also its duty, to emphasize most rigidly that any attempt to represent the völkisch idea outside of NSDAP is futile and, in most cases, even fraudulent.
If the reproach should be raised against our Movement that it has ‘monopolized’ the völkisch idea, there is only one answer to give. Not only have we monopolized the völkisch idea but, to all practical intents and purposes, we have created it, for what hitherto existed under this name was not in the least capable of influencing the destiny of our people, since all those ideas lacked a political and coherent formulation.
[Brilliant, just brilliant. A few strokes of the pen (of Rudolf Hess) – and all nationalist ideological competition eliminated. Obliterated. Annihilated]
The NSDAP ought not to be the servant, but rather the master, of public opinion. It must not serve the masses, but dominate them. [Actually, to achieve the former, you must succeed in the latter]
The greatest and most enduring successes in history are mostly those which were least understood at the beginning, because they were in direct opposition to public opinion and the views and wishes of the time.
[Not all of them, of course, but it happened. Christianity is the prime example]
An orator has a distinct advantage over the writer, because receives continuous guidance from the people whom he is addressing. This helps him to correct the trend of his speech, for he can always gauge, by the faces of his hearers, how far they follow and understand him, and whether his words are producing the desired effect.
The writer, on the other hand, does not know his reader at all. Therefore, from the outset, he does not address himself to a definite group of persons which he has before him, but must write in a general way.
Everybody (well, almost everybody) knows that the Nazis and their accomplices killed six million Jews. But few know that the Jews almost killed six million Germans in September 1945 – right after the end of World War II. And two months before the Nazi leaders were to be tried for exactly the same crime.
The idea was as simple as it was horrible: to poison water supplies of four major German cities, including Nuremberg – the ‘Nazi cradle’ – with enough toxic substance to kill six million Germans. An eye for an eye. The other three cities to be attacked were Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich.
The simple thought that thousands and thousands of Allied troops (who earlier that year saved European Jews from complete annihilation) were stationed in these cities apparently did not bother the conspirators at the slightest.
This ‘brilliant’ idea belonged to a certain Abba Kovner – somewhat of a legend of Jewish wartime armed resistance. A poet, writer and Jewish political activist, he put together and became a leader of one of the few Jewish guerilla groups that actively fought the Nazis.
From September 1943 until the arrival of the Soviet army in July 1944, Kovner commanded a guerilla force called the Avengers (“Nokmim”) in the forests near Vilnius (Lithuania) and engaged in sabotage and guerrilla attacks against the Germans and their local collaborators.
At the end of the war, Kovner became obsessed with the idea of avenging the deaths of all Jews murdered by the Nazis according to the Old Testament principle “an eye for an eye”. For this purpose, he formed a secret organization he called Nakam (revenge), also known as Dam Yisrael Noter (“the blood of Israel avenges”, with the acronym DIN meaning “judgement”).
Its primary plan was to kill exactly six million Germans (one for each Jewish victim of the Holocaust) by poisoning the water supplies of Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich, and Nuremberg. In pursuit of this plan, Nakam members were infiltrated into water and sewage plants in these cities, while Kovner went to Palestine in search of a sufficient quantities of a suitable poison.
According to Kovner’s own account, Chaim Weizmann (later the first president of an independent Israel) approved the idea and put Kovner in touch with the scientist Ernst Bergmann, who gave the job of preparing poison to Ephraim Katzir (later president of Israel) and his brother Aharon.
After sufficient quantities of poison were manufactured, the substance was concealed in the cargo of condensed milk cans and put on the British ship bound for Germany.
However, the revenge did not happen. Apparently, Jewish leaders in Palestine who knew of this plan got (rightfully) horrified by the inevitable consequences of the plan and tipped off the British military police. Kovner was arrested on board the ship but at the last moment managed to throw the whole deadly cargo overboard, leaving the British with no hard evidence. The British reluctantly had to let him go.
Jewish leaders (specifically David Ben-Gurion, then head of the Jewish Agency and later Israel’s first prime minister) got terrified not because they cared about the lives of German civilians. They didn’t.
They were scared to death because they knew for a fact that Judeophobia in Europe and elsewhere was so rampant that the terrorist act (let’s call a spade a spade) of such magnitude committed by the Jews would have meant a certain death sentence for the latter. For all of them. Worldwide.
All major nations would have quickly and efficiently finished what the Nazis had started. Abba Kovner and his co-conspirators, blinded by the idea of revenge (the deadly sin of hatred) simply did not understand it. And were obviously unaware of the saying “Before embarking on a journey of revenge first dig two graves” (traditionally attributed to Confucius).
Nakim still managed to commit one (unsuccessful) act of revenge – on a much smaller scale. In April 1946, members of Nakam broke into a bakery used to supply bread for the Langwasser internment camp near Nuremberg, where many German POWs (mostly Waffen SS who had nothing to do whatsoever with the Holocaust) were being held.
Nakam members attempted to coat all bread loaves with arsenic but were disturbed and fled before finishing their work. More than 2,200 of the German POWs fell ill and 207 were hospitalized, but no deaths were reported.
Interestingly enough, Abba Kovner is considered a hero in Israel to this day. Apparently, no one there is bothered by the fact that this character was a madman with a mentality of a mass murderer. Which made him no different than Himmler or Heydrich. The only difference was that he failed (through no fault of his own) and they succeeded.
This incident also proves that the idea of killing millions of innocent civilians as a reprisal for crimes committed by a few thousand is still very much alive and well. And that the Nazis by no means had a monopoly on such unspeakably horrible ideas.