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.