STRENGTH OF THE OLD STATE rested on three pillars: the monarchistic
state form, the civil service, and the army. The revolution
of 1918 eliminated the state form, disintegrated the army,
and delivered the civil service to party corruption. Thus
the most essential pillars of a so-called state authority
were shattered. State authority as such rests almost always
on the three elements which lie at the basis of all authority.
first foundation for the creation of authority is always provided
by popularity. But an authority which rests solely on this
foundation is still extremely weak, uncertain, and shaky.
Every bearer of such an authority based purely on popularity
must, therefore, endeavor to improve and secure the foundation
of this authority by the creation of power. In power, therefore,
in force, we see the second foundation of all authority.
It is already considerably more stable and secure, but by
no means always stronger than the first. If popularity
and force are combined, and if in common they are able to
survive for a certain time, an authority on an even firmer
basis can arise, the authority of tradition. If finally, popularity,
force, and tradition combine, an authority may be regarded
the revolution this last case was completely excluded. Indeed,
there is no longer even an authority of tradition. With the
collapse of the old Reich, the elimination of the old state
form, the destruction of the former sovereign emblems and
symbols of the Reich, tradition was abruptly broken off. The
consequence of this was the gravest shaking of state authority.
the second pillar of state authority, force, was no
longer present. In order to carry out the revolution in the
first place, it was necessary to disintegrate the embodiment
of the organized force and power of the state, the army; indeed,
it was necessary to use the infected parts of the army itself
as revolutionary fighting elements. Even though the front-line
armies had not succumbed to this disintegration in a uniform
degree, they, nevertheless, the more they felt the glorious
sites of their four and a half years of heroic struggle behind
them, were corroded more and more by the homeland's acid of
disorganization, and, arrived in the demobilization organizations,
likewise ended up in the confusion of so-called voluntary
obedience belonging to the epoch of the soldiers' councils.
no authority could be based on these mutinous bands of soldiers,
who conceived of military service in terms of the eight-hour
day. And thus the second element, the element which guarantees
the firmness of authority, was also eliminated and the revolution
now possessed only the original element, popularity,
on which to build its authority. But this particular basis
was extremely uncertain. To be sure, the revolution succeeded
in shattering the old state structure with one mighty blow,
but at bottom only because the normal balance within the structure
of our people had already been eliminated by the war.
national body can be divided into three great classes: into
an extreme of the best humanity on the one hand, good in the
sense of possessing all virtues, especially distinguished
by courage and self-sacrifice; on the other hand, an extreme
of the worst human scum, bad in the sense that all selfish
urges and vices are present. Between the two extremes there
lies a third class, the great, broad, middle stratum, in which
neither brilliant heroism nor the basest criminal mentality
when a nation is rising are distinguished, in fact exist only,
by the absolute leadership of the extreme best part.
of a normal, development of a stable state of affairs are
distinguished and exist by the obvious domination of the elements
of the middle, in which the two extremes mutually balance
one another, or cancel one another.
when a nation is collapsing are determined by the dominant
activity of the worst elements.
this connection it is noteworthy that the broad masses, the
class of the middle as I shall designate them, only manifest
themselves perceptibly when the two extremes are locked in
mutual struggle, but that in case of the victory of one of
the extremes, they complaisantly submit to the victor In case
the best people dominate, the broad masses will follow them;
in case the worst element rises up, they will at least offer
them no resistance; for the masses of the middle themselves
will never fight.
the war, with its four and a half years of bloody events disturbed
the inner balance of these three classes, in so far as - though
recognizing all the sacrifices and victims of the middle -
we must nevertheless recognize that it drained the extreme
of the best humanity almost entirely of its blood. For the
amount of irreplaceable German heroes' blood that was shed
in these four and a half years was really enormous. Just sum
up all the hundreds of thousands of individual cases in which
again and again the watchword was: volunteers to the
front, volunteer patrols, volunteer dispatch
carriers, volunteers for telephone squads, volunteers
for bridge crossings, volunteers for U-boats, volunteers
for airplanes, volunteers for storm battalions, etc.
- again and again through four and a half years, on thousands
of occasions, volunteers and more volunteers - and always
you see the same result: the beardless youth or the mature
man, both filled with fervent love of their fatherland, with
great personal courage or the highest consciousness of duty,
they stepped forward. Tens of thousands, yes, hundreds
of thousands of such cases occurred, and gradually this human
element became sparser and sparser. Those who did not fan
were either shot to pieces and crippled, or they gradually
crumbled away as a result of their small remaining number.
Consider above all that the year 1914 set up whole armies
of so-called volunteers who, thanks to the criminal unscrupulousness
of our parliamentary good-for-nothings, had received no adequate
peacetime training, and thus became helpless cannon fodder
at the mercy of the enemy. The four hundred thousand who then
fell or were maimed in the battles of Flanders could not be
replaced. Their loss was more than the loss of a mere number.
By their loss the scale, too lightly weighted on the good
side, shot upward, and the elements of baseness, treachery,
cowardice, in short, the mass of the bad extreme, weighed
more heavily than before.
one more factor was added:
only that the extreme of the best had been most frightfully
thinned on the battlefields in the course of the four and
a half years, but the bad extreme had meanwhile preserved
itself in the most miraculous way. For every hero who had
volunteered and mounted the steps of Valhalla after a heroic
death, you can be sure there was a slacker who had cautiously
turned his back on death, in order to engage in more or less
useful activity at home.
so the end of the War gives us the following picture: The
middle broad stratum of the nation has given its measure of
blood sacrifices; the extreme of the best, with exemplary
heroism, has sacrificed itself almost completely; the extreme
of the bad, supported by the most senseless laws on the one
hand and by the non-application of the Articles of War on
the other hand, has unfortunately been preserved almost as
well-preserved scum of our people then made the revolution
and was able to make it only because no longer opposed by
the extreme of the best elements: - they were no longer among
however, made the German revolution only a relatively popular
affair from the start. It was not the German people as such
that committed this act of Cain, but its deserters, pimps,
and other rabble that shun the light.
man at the front welcomed the end of the bloody struggle;
he was glad to return home again, to see his wife and children.
But with the revolution itself he had at heart nothing in
common; he did not love it, and even less did he love its
instigators and organizers. In the four and a half years of
hardest struggle he had forgotten the party hyenas, and all
their quarrels had grown alien to him.
with a small part of the German people had the revolution
really been popular: among that class of its helpers who had
chosen the knapsack as the badge of recognition of all honorable
citizens of this new state. They did not love revolution for
its own sake, as some people erroneously still believe today,
but because of its consequences.
truth, these Marxist gangsters could hardly base an authority
on popularity for any length of time. And yet precisely the
young Republic needed authority at any price, if after a brief
chaos it did not want to be suddenly devoured by a force of
retribution gathering from the last elements of the good part
of our people.
was nothing they more feared, those champions of the revolution,
than to lose all foothold in the whirlpool of their own confusion,
and suddenly to be seized by an iron fist, such as more than
once in such periods has grown out of the life of peoples,
and have the ground shifted under them. The Republic had to
consolidate itself at any price.
so it was compelled almost instantaneously to create, by the
side of the tottering pillar of its weak popularity, an organization
of force, in order to base a firmer authority upon it.
the days of December, January, February of 1918-19 the matadors
of the revolution felt the ground trembling beneath their
feet, they looked around for men who would be ready to strengthen
the weak position which the love of their people offered them,
by the force of arms. The 'anti-militaristic' Republic needed
soldiers. But since the first and sole support of their state
authority - popularity - rooted only in the society of pimps,
thieves, burglars, deserters, slackers, etc., in other words,
in that part of the people which we must designate as the
bad extreme - every effort to recruit men who were prepared
to sacrifice their own lives in the service of the new ideal
in these circles, was love's labor lost. The class supporting
the revolutionary idea and carrying out the revolution was
neither able nor willing to provide the soldiers for its protection.
For this class by no means wanted the organization of a republican
state body, but the disorganization of the existing state
body for the better satisfaction of their instincts. Their
watchword was not: order and building up of the German Republic,
but: pillage it.
so the cry for help which the representatives of the people
let out in their agony of fear inevitably went unheard; on
the contrary, in fact, it aroused resistance and bitterness.
For in such an undertaking people felt a breach of loyalty
and faith; in the formation of an authority based no longer
solely on their popularity but supported by force, they sensed
the beginning of the struggle against the one aspect of the
revolution that was essential for these elements: against
the right to rob and the undisciplined rule of a horde of
thieves and plunderers who had broken out of the prison walls
and been freed of their chains, in short, of foul rabble.
representatives of the people could cry as much as they liked;
no one stepped forward from their ranks, and only the answering
cry, 'traitor,' informed them of the state of mind of those
supporters of their popularity.
for the first time numerous young Germans once again stood
ready to button up their soldier's tunics, to shoulder carbine
and rifle, and don their steel helmets in the service of 'law
and order' as they thought, to oppose the destroyers of their
homes. As volunteer soldiers they banded into free corps
and began, though grimly hating the revolution, to protect,
and thus for practical purposes to secure, this same revolution.
they did in the best good faith.
real organizer of the revolution and its actual wirepuller
the international Jew, had correctly estimated the situation.
The German people was not yet ripe for being forced into the
bloody Bolshevistic morass, as had happened in Russia. This
was due in large part to the greater racial unity that still
existed between the German intelligentsia and the German manual
worker. Further in the great permeation of even the broadest
strata of the people with educated elements, such as prevailed
only in the other countries of Western Europe, but was totally
lacking in Russia. There the intelligentsia itself was in
large part not of Russian nationality or at least was of non-Slavic
racial character. The thin intellectual upper stratum of the
Russia of that time could at any time be removed, due to the
total lack of connecting intermediary ingredients with the
mass of the great people. And the intellectual and moral level
of these last was horribly low.
it was possible in Russia to incite the uneducated hordes
of the great masses, unable to read or write, against the
thin intellectual upper crust that stood in no relation or
connection to them, the fate of the country was decided, the
revolution had succeeded; the Russian illiterate had thus
become the defenseless slave of his Jewish dictators, who
for their part, it must be admitted, were clever enough to
let this dictatorship ride on the phrase of 'people's dictatorship.'
Germany there was the following additional factor: As certainly
as the revolution could succeed only in consequence of the
gradual disintegration of the army, just as certainly the
real maker of the revolution and disintegrator of the army
was not the soldier at the front, but the more or less light-shy
rabble which either hung around the home garrisons or, supposedly
'indispensable,' were in the economic service somewhere. This
army was strengthened by tens of thousands of deserters, who
were able to turn their backs on the front without special
risk. The real coward at all times naturally shuns nothing
so much as death. And at the front, day after day, he faced
death in thousands of different forms. If you want to hold
weak, wavering or actually cowardly fellows to their duty,
there has at all times been only one possibility: The deserter
must know that his desertion brings with it the very thing
that he wants to escape. At the front a man can die,
as a deserter he must die. Only by such a Draconic
threat against any attempt at desertion can a deterring effect
be obtained, not only for the individual, but for the whole
here lay the meaning and purpose of the Articles of War.
was lovely to believe that the great fight for the existence
of a people could be fought on the sole basis of voluntary
loyalty born out of and preserved by the realization of necessity.
Voluntary fulfillment of duty has always determined the best
men in their actions; but not the average. Therefore, such
laws are necessary, as for example those against theft, which
were not made for those who are basically the most honest,
but for the pusillanimous, weak elements. Such laws, by frightening
the bad, are intended to prevent the development of a condition
in which ultimately the honest man is regarded as the stupider,
and consequently people come more and more to the view that
it is more expedient likewise to participate in theft than
to look on with empty hands, or even to let themselves be
it was false to believe that in a struggle, which by all human
prognosis might rage for years to come, we could dispense
with the instruments which the experience of many centuries,
in fact millenniums, showed to be those which, in the gravest
times and moments of the heaviest strain on the nerves, can
compel weak and uncertain men to the fulfillment of their
the volunteer hero we obviously needed no Articles of War,
but we did for the cowardly egotist, who in the hour of his
people's distress sets his own life higher than that of the
totality. Such a spineless weakling can only be deterred from
giving in to his cowardice by the application of the hardest
penalty. When men struggle ceaselessly with death and have
to hold out for weeks without rest in mud-filled shell holes,
sometimes with the worst possible food, the vacillating soldier
cannot be held in line by threatening him with prison or even
the workhouse, but only by ruthless application of the death
penalty. For experience shows that at such a time he regards
prison as a thousand times more attractive a place than the
battlefield, considering that in prison at least his invaluable
life is not menaced. And the fact that in the War the death
penalty was excluded, that in reality the Articles of War
were thus suspended, had terrible consequences An army of
deserters, especially in 1918, poured into the reserve posts
and the home towns, and helped to form that great criminal
organization which, after November 7, 1918, we suddenly beheld
as the maker of the revolution.
front itself really had nothing to do with it. All its members
felt only a longing for peace. But in this very fact lay tremendous
danger for the revolution. For when after the armistice the
German armies began to near home, the anxious question of
the revolutionaries was again and again: What will the
front-line troops do? Will the men in field gray stand for
these weeks the revolution in Germany had to appear at least
outwardly moderate, if it did not want to run the risk of
suddenly being smashed to bits by a few German divisions.
For if at that time even a single divisional commander
had taken the decision to pull down the red rags with the
help of his loyal and devoted division and to stand the 'councils'
up against the wall, to break possible resistance with mine-throwers
and hand-grenades, the division in less than four weeks would
have swollen to an army of sixty divisions. This made
the Jewish wirepullers tremble more than anything else. And
precisely to prevent this, they had to cover the revolution
with a certain moderation; it could not take the form of Bolshevism,
but, as things happened to stand, had to make a pretense of
'law and order.' Hence the innumerable great concessions,
the appeal to the old civil service personnel, to the old
army leaders. They were needed for a certain time at least,
and only after the Moors had done their duty, could the wirepuller
venture to give them the kicks they had coming to them and
take the Republic out of the hands of the old state servants
and surrender it into the claws of the revolutionary vultures.
in this way could they hope to dupe old generals and old civil
officials, to disarm in advance any possible resistance on
their part by an apparent innocence and mildness in the new
practice showed to what an extent this succeeded.
the gradual growth of the Social Democracy, it had lost more
and more the character of a brutal revolutionary party. Not
that its thoughts had ever served any other goal than that
of the revolution, or that its leaders had ever had other
intentions; by no means. But what finally remained was only
the purpose and a body no longer suited to its execution.
With a party of ten millions it is no longer possible to
make a revolution. In such a movement you no longer have
an extreme of activity, but the great mass of the middle,
that is, of inertia.
of this realization, while the War was still going on, the
famous split of the Social Democracy by the Jews took place;
that is: while the Social Democratic Party, in keeping with
the inertia of its mass, hung on national defense like a lead
weight, the radical-activistic elements were drawn out of
it and formed into forceful new assault columns. The Independent
Party and the Spartacus League were the storm battalions of
revolutionary Marxism. Their task was to create the accomplished
fact, the groundwork of which could be taken over by the masses
of the Social Democratic Party, which had been prepared for
this over a period of decades. The cowardly bourgeoisie, however,
was not rightly estimated by the Marxists, and were simply
treated 'en canaille.' Of them no notice was taken
whatever, for it was realized that the doglike submissiveness
of the political formations of an old outlived generation
would never be capable of serious resistance.
soon as the revolution had succeeded and the main pillars
of the old state could be regarded as broken, but the front-line
army, marching home, began to appear as a terrifying sphinx,
a brake had to be applied to the natural development; the
van of the Social Democratic army occupied the conquered position,
and the Independent and Spartacist storm battalions were shoved
however, did not take place without a struggle.
only that the activistic assault formations of the revolution
were dissatisfied and felt cheated, and wanted to go on fighting
on their own hook, but their unruly rowdyism was only too
welcome to the wirepullers of the revolution. For no sooner
was the revolution over than there rose within it two apparent
camps: the party of law and order and the group of bloody
terror. Now what was more natural than that our bourgeoisie
should at once, with flying colors, move into the camp of
law and order? Now, all at once, these wretched political
organizations had an opportunity for an activity, in which,
without being obliged to say so, they nevertheless quietly
found some ground beneath their feet and came into a certain
solidarity with the power which they hated but even more fervently
feared. The political German bourgeoisie had received the
high honor of being permitted to sit down at the table with
the accursed Marxist leaders to combat the Bolshevists.
as early as December, 1918, and January, 1919, the following
condition took form:
a minority of the worst elements a revolution has been made,
and immediately backed by all the Marxist parties. The revolution
itself has an apparently moderate stamp, which nets it the
hostility of the 'fanatical extremists. The latter begin to
shoot off machine guns and hand grenades, to occupy public
buildings, in short, to menace the moderate revolution. To
suppress the terror of such a further development, an armistice
is concluded between the supporters of the new state of affairs
and the adherents of the old one, for the purpose of carrying
on the struggle in common against the extremists. The result
is that the enemies of the Republic have given up their fight
against the Republic as such, and help to force down those
who, though from totally different angles, are likewise enemies
of this Republic. And the further result is that the danger
of a struggle of the adherents of the old state against those
of the new one seems definitely averted.
cannot consider this fact often and closely enough. Only those
who understand it can realize how it was possible that a people,
nine tenths of whom did not make a revolution, seven tenths
of whom reject it, and six tenths of whom hated it, nevertheless
could have this revolution forced on them by one tenth.
the Spartacist barricade fighters on the one hand and the
nationalist fanatics and idealists on the other were bled
white, and in exact proportion as the two extremes wore each
other out, as always, the mass of the middle was victorious.
The bourgeoisie and Marxism met on a 'realistic basis,' and
the Republic began to be 'consolidated.' Which for the present,
to be sure, did not prevent the bourgeois parties, especially
before elections, from citing the monarchist idea for a time,
in order, by means of the spirits of the past, to be able
to conjure the smaller spirits of their adherents and ensnare
them once more.
this was not. At heart they had all broken with the monarchy
long since, and the filth of the new condition had begun to
spread its seductive influences to the bourgeois party camp.
The usual bourgeois politician feels more at home today in
the muck of republican corruption than in the clean hardness
which 'he still remembers from the past state.
already stated, the revolution, after the smashing of the
old army, had been forced to create a new power factor for
the reinforcement of its state authority. As things were,
it could gain this only from supporters of an outlook that
was really opposed to it. From them alone there could slowly
arise a new army which, externally limited by the peace treaties,
would, with regard to its mentality, have to be reshaped in
the course of time into an instrument of the new state conception.
we put to ourselves the question how - aside from all the
real mistakes of the old state, which were among its causes -
the revolution as an action could succeed, we come to the
In consequence of the paralysis of our concepts of duty and
In consequence of the cowardly passivity of our so-called
these points the following may be said:
paralysis of our concepts of duty and obedience has its ultimate
ground in our totally unnational education, oriented solely
toward the state. Here again this gives rise to a confusion
between means and end. Consciousness of duty, fulfillment
of duty, and obedience are not ends in themselves, any more
than the state is an end in itself; they should all be the
means for making possible and safeguarding on this earth the
existence of a community of spiritually and physically homogeneous
beings. In an hour when a national body is visibly collapsing
and to all appearances is exposed to the gravest oppression,
thanks to the activity of a few scoundrels, obedience and
fulfillment of duty toward them amount to doctrinaire formalism,
in fact pure insanity, if the refusal of obedience and 'fulfillment
of duty' would make possible the salvation of a people from
its ruin. According to our present-day bourgeois state
conception, the divisional commander who at that time received
from above the command not to shoot, acted dutifully and hence
rightly in not shooting, since to bourgeois society, thoughtless
formal obedience is more valuable than the life of their own
people. According to the National Socialist conception, however,
it is not obedience toward weak superiors that goes into force
at such moments, but obedience toward the national community.
In such an hour, the duty of personal responsibility toward
a whole nation manifests itself.
fact that a living conception of these terms had been lost
in our people or rather in our governments, giving way to
a purely doctrinaire and formal conception, was the cause
of the revolution's success.
the second point, the following must be remarked:
deeper reason for the cowardice of the 'state-preserving'
parties is above all the departure of the activistic, well-intentioned
part of our people from their ranks - those who bled to death
in the field. Aside from this, our bourgeois parties, which
we can designate as the sole political formations which supported
the old state, were convinced that they were entitled to defend
their views exclusively in the spiritual way and with spiritual
weapons, since the use of physical weapons was the sole prerogative
of the state. Not only that in such a conception we must see
a symptom of a gradually developing decadent weakness, but
it was also senseless at a time when a political opponent
had long since abandoned this standpoint and openly emphasized
his intention of putting forward his political aims by force
when possible. At the moment when Marxism appeared in the
world of bourgeois democracy, as one of its results, the bourgeois-democratic
appeal to carry on the struggle with 'spiritual weapons' was
an absurdity, which would one day bring dire consequences.
For the Marxists themselves from the very beginning came out
for the conception that the use of a weapon must be considered
only according to criteria of expediency, and that the right
to use it resides solely in success.
correct this conception is was shown in the days of November
7 to 11, 1918. In those days the Marxists did not concern
themselves in the least about parliamentarianism and democracy,
but gave both of them the death blow with yelling and shooting
mobs of criminals. It goes without saying that in this same
moment the bourgeois talking clubs were defenseless.
the revolution when the bourgeois parties suddenly reappeared,
though with modified firm names, and their brave leaders crawled
out of the concealment of dark cellars and airy storerooms,
like all the representatives of such formations, they had
not forgotten their mistakes and likewise they had learned
nothing new. Their political program lay in the past, in so
far as they had not reconciled themselves at heart with the
new state of affairs; their aim, however, was to participate
if possible in the new state of affairs, and their sole weapons
remained, as they had always been, words.
after the revolution, the bourgeois parties at all times "miserably
capitulated to the streets.
the Law for the Protection of the Republic came up for consideration,
there was at first no majority in favor of it. But in the
face of the two hundred thousand demonstrating Marxists, the
bourgeois 'statesmen' were seized with such a fear that contrary
to their conviction they accepted the law, in the miserable
rear that otherwise when they left the Reichstag they would
be beaten to a pulp by the furious masses. Which unfortunately,
in consequence of the law's acceptance, did not take place.
so the development of the new state went its ways, as though
there had not been any national opposition at all.
sole organizations which at this time would have had the courage
and strength to oppose the Marxists and their incited masses,
were for the present the free corps; later the self-defense
organizations, citizens' guards, etc., and finally the tradition
as the so-called national parties could exert no sort of influence
for lack of any threatening power on the streets, likewise
the so-called defense organizations, in turn, could exert
no sort of influence for lack of any political idea, and above
all of any real political goal.
had given Marxism its success was its complete combination
of political will and activistic brutality. What excluded
national Germany from any practical activity in shaping the
German development was the lack of a unified collaboration
of brutal force with brilliant political will.
the will of the 'national' parties might be, they had not
the least power to fight for this will, least of all on the
combat leagues had all the power, they were the masters of
the streets and the state, and possessed no political idea
and no political goal for which their strength was or even
could be thrown in for the benefit of national Germany. In
both cases it was the slyness of the Jew who, by clever persuasion
and insistence, was able to bring about a positive perpetuation,
in any case an increasing intensification, of this calamitous
state of affairs.
was the Jew who through his press knew how to launch with
infinite dexterity the idea of the 'unpolitical character'
of the combat leagues, as, on the other hand, in political
life he always praised and encouraged, with equal slyness,
the 'purely spiritual nature' of the struggle. Millions of
German blockheads babbled this nonsense after him, without
having even the faintest idea that in this way they were for
practical purposes disarming themselves and exposing themselves
defenseless to the Jew.
for this, too, indeed, there is again a natural explanation.
The lack of a great, creative, renewing idea means at all
times a limitation of fighting force. Firm belief in the right
to apply even the most brutal weapons is always bound up with
the existence of a fanatical faith in the necessity of the
victory of a revolutionary new order on this earth.
movement that is not fighting for such highest aims and ideals
will, therefore, never seize upon the ultimate weapon.
fact of having a new great idea to show was the secret of
the success of the French Revolution; the Russian Revolution
owes its victory to the idea, and only through the idea did
fascism achieve the power to subject a people in the most
beneficial way to the most comprehensive creative renewal.
this, bourgeois parties are not capable.
it was not only the bourgeois parties that saw their political
goal in a restoration of the past, but also the combat leagues,
in so far as they concerned themselves with any political
aims at all. Old veterans' club and Kyffhäuser tendencies
were alive within them and contributed to politically blunting
the sharpest weapon that national Germany had in those days
and making it languish in the mercenary service of the Republic.
The fact that in this they acted in the best conviction, and
above all in the best good faith, changes nothing in the catastrophic
madness of these occurrences.
young movement, from the first day, espoused the standpoint
that its idea must be put forward spiritually, but that the
defense of this spiritual platform trust if necessary be secured
by strong-arm means. Faithful to its belief in the enormous
significance of the new doctrine, it seems obvious to the
movement that for the attainment of its goal no sacrifice
can be too great.
have already pointed to the forces which obligate a movement,
in so far as it wants to win the heart of a people, to assume
from its own ranks its defense against the terrorist attempts
of its adversaries. And it is an eternal experience of world
history that a terror represented by a philosophy of life
can never be broken by a formal state power, but at all times
can be defeated only by another, new philosophy of life, proceeding
with the same boldness and determination. This will at all
times be displeasing to the sentiment of the official guardians
of the state, but that will not banish the fact. State power
can only guarantee law and order when the content of the state
coincides with the philosophy dominant at that particular
time, so that violent elements possess only the character
of individual criminal natures, and are not regarded as proponents
of an idea in extreme opposition to the state views. In such
a case, the state can for centuries apply the greatest measures
of violence against a terror oppressing it; in the end it
will nevertheless be able to do nothing against it, but will
go down in defeat.
German state is gravely attacked by Marxism. In its struggle
of seventy years it has not been able to prevent the victory
of this philosophy of life, but, despite a sum total of thousands
of years in prison and jail sentences and the bloodiest measures
which in innumerable cases it applied to the warriors of the
menacing Marxist philosophy, has nevertheless been forced
to almost total capitulation. (This, too, the run-of-the-mill
bourgeois political leader will want to deny, though obviously
he will be unable to convince anyone.)
state which on November 9, 1918, unconditionally crawled on
its belly before Marxism will not suddenly arise tomorrow
as its conqueror; on the contrary: even today feebleminded
bourgeois in ministerial chairs are beginning to rave about
the necessity of not governing against the workers, and what
they have in mind under the concept 'worker' is Marxism. But
by identifying the German worker with Marxism, they not only
commit a falsification as cowardly as it is untrue, but attempt
by this motivation to conceal their own collapse in the face
of the Marxist idea and organization.
in view of this fact - that is, the complete subjection of
the present state to Marxism - the National Socialist movement
really acquires the duty, not only of preparing the victory
of its idea, but of taking over its defense against the terror
of an International drunk with victory.
have already described how in our movement a body for the
protection of meetings gradually developed out of practical
life, how it gradually assumed the character of a definite
monitor troop, and strove for an organizational form.
as this gradually arising body might outwardly resemble a
so-called combat league, it was nevertheless not to be compared
already mentioned, the German combat organizations had no
definite political idea. They were really nothing but self-defense
leagues of more or less competent training and organization,
with the result that they actually represented an illegal
complement to the state's momentary instruments of power.
Their character of free corps was based only on the way in
which they were formed and on the condition of the state at
that time, but they were by no means deserving of such a title
as free formations of the struggle for a free conviction of
their own. This, despite all the opposition of individual
leaders and whole leagues toward the Republic, they did not
possess. For being convinced of the inferiority of an existing
condition does not suffice to entitle one to speak of a conviction
in the higher sense; no, the latter is rooted only in the
knowledge of a new condition and in the inkier vision of a
condition the achievement of which one feels as a necessity,
and to stand up for whose realization one regards as one's
highest life task.
distinguishes the monitor troop of the National Socialist
organization of that time essentially from all combat leagues
is that it was not and did not want to be in any way a servant
of the conditions created by the revolution, but that it fought
exclusively for a new Germany.
the beginning, it is true, this monitor troop possessed only
the character of a meeting-hall guard. Its first task was
a limited one: it consisted in making it possible to hold
meetings which without it would have been simply prevented
by the enemy. Even then, it had been trained to carry out
an attack blindly, but not, as stupid German-folkish circles
nonsensically claimed, because it honored the blackjack as
the highest spirit, but because it understood that the greatest
spirit can be eliminated when its bearer is struck down with
a blackjack, as in actual fact the most significant heads
in history have not seldom ended beneath the blows of the
pettiest helots. They did not want to set up violence as a
goal, but to protect the prophets of the spiritual goal from
being shoved aside by violence. And in this they understood
that they were not obligated to undertake the protection of
a state which offers the nation no protection, but that, on
the contrary, they had to assume the protection of a nation
against those who threatened to destroy the people and the
necessary its development was, we could see, not only by this
memorable meeting, but also by our attempt gradually to spread
our movement from Munich into the rest of Germany. Once we
had appeared dangerous to the Marxists, they missed no opportunity
to nip any attempt at a National Socialist meeting in the
bud, or prevent it from being held by breaking it up. And
it was absolutely a matter of course that the party organizations
of all shadings of Marxism blindly supported any such intentions
and any such occurrences in the representative bodies. But
what was one to say of bourgeois parties which themselves
had been so thrashed by the Marxists that in many places they
could no longer venture to have their speakers appear in public
and which, nevertheless, followed any struggles against Marxism
that in any way turned out unfavorably for us with an absolutely
incomprehensible, idiotic satisfaction. They were happy that
the enemy which could not be bested by them, which on the
contrary bested them, could not be broken by us either. What
should be said of state officials, police presidents, nay,
even ministers, who with a really disreputable lack of principle
liked to represent themselves publicly as 'national men,'
but who in ail conflicts that we National Socialists had with
the Marxists, acted as the most disgraceful stooges for them?
What should be said of men who went so far in their self-abasement
that for a pitiful word of praise in the Jewish newspapers
they did not hesitate to persecute the men to whose heroism
in risking their own lives they in part owed the fact that
a few years previous they were not tattered corpses hung up
on lamp-posts by the Red mob?
were such sad figures that they once moved the unforgettable
late President Pöhner, who in his hard straightforwardness
hated all crawlers as only a man with an honest heart can
hate, to the harsh utterance: 'All my life I wanted to be
nothing else than first a German and then an official, and
I would never like to be confused with those creatures who
prostitute themselves like official whores to everyone who
can play the master at the moment.'
in all this it was especially sad that this kind of men gradually
gained power over tens of thousands of the most honorable
and best German civil servants, but even gradually infected
them with their own disloyalty, and persecuted the honest
ones with grim hatred and finally drove them out of their
posts and positions, while they themselves, with lying hypocrisy,
still represented themselves as 'national' men.
such men we could never hope for any support, and we obtained
it only in the very rarest cases. Solely the development of
our own defense organization could safeguard the activity
of the movement and at the same time win for it that public
attention and general respect which are accorded to the man
who, when attacked, takes up his own defense.
the directing idea for the inner training of this storm section,
the intention was always dominant, aside from all physical
education, to teach it to be an unshakable, convinced defender
of the National Socialist idea, and finally to strengthen
its discipline in the highest degree. It should have nothing
in common with a combat organization of bourgeois conception,
but likewise nothing in common with a secret organization.
reason why, even at that time, I sharply opposed having the
SA of the NSDAP organized as a so-called combat league, was
based on the following consideration:
the purely practical point of view, the military training
of a people cannot be carried out by private leagues, except
with the help of the most enormous state means. Any other
belief is based on great overestimation of their own ability.
And so it is out of the question that organizations possessing
military value can be built up beyond certain limits with
so-called 'voluntary discipline.' The most important support
of the power to command is lacking, to wit, the power to punish.
To be sure, it was possible in the fall, or even better in
the spring of 1919, to set up so-called 'free corps,' but
not only did most of them possess front-line fighters who
had gone through the school of the old army, but the type
of obligation which they laid upon the individuals subjected
them, for a limited time at least, just as unconditionally
to military obedience.
is totally lacking in a voluntary 'combat organization' of
today. The larger the league, the weaker its discipline will
be, the smaller the demands made on the individual men, and
the more the whole will take on the character of the old non-political
soldiers' and veterans' clubs.
will never be possible to carry out a voluntary training for
army service among the great masses without guaranteed unconditional
power of command. Never will more than a few be willing to
submit of their own accord to such forced obedience as was
considered self-evident and natural in the army.
real training cannot be given in consequence of the absurdly
small means at the disposal of a so-called combat league for
such a purpose. But the best, most reliable training should
be precisely the main task of such an institution. Since the
War, eight years have gone by, and since that time not a single
age class among our German youth has been systematically trained.
But it cannot be the function of a combat league to include
the old classes that have already been trained, since otherwise
it can at once be reckoned mathematically when the last member
will leave this corporation. Even the youngest soldier of
1918 will in twenty years be incapable of fighting, and we
are approaching this moment with a disquieting speed. Thus
every so-called combat league must necessarily assume more
and more the character of an old soldiers' association. This,
however, cannot be the purpose of an organization that designates
itself not as an old soldiers' league, but as a Wehrverband
(combat league), and which by its very name endeavors to express
the fact that it sees its mission, not only in the preservation
of the tradition and common bond of former soldiers, but in
the development of the military (wehr) and in the practical
advocacy of this idea, that is, in the creation of a military
task, however, absolutely demands the training of elements
which had previously received no military drill, and this
in practice is actually impossible. With one or two hours
training a week, you really cannot make a soldier. With the
present-day enormously increased demands that warfare makes
on the individual, a two-year period service is perhaps just
adequate to transform an untrained young man into an expert
soldier. We have all of us in the field seen the terrible
consequences that resulted for young soldiers not thoroughly
trained in their trade. Volunteer formations, which for fifteen
or twenty weeks had been drilled with iron determination and
boundless devotion, nevertheless represented nothing but cannon
fodder at the front. Only distributed among the ranks of experienced
old soldiers could younger recruits, trained for from four
to six months, furnish useful members of a regiment ; even
then they were directed by the 'old men' and thus gradually
grew into their functions.
thoughtless in contrast seems an attempt to try to create
troops with a so-called training period of one or two hours
a week, without clear power of command and without extensive
means! It might be possible to freshen up old soldiers in
this way, but never to turn young men into soldiers.
indifferent and totally worthless such a procedure would be
in its results can be demonstrated especially by the fact
that, while a so-called volunteer league, with puffing and
blowing, with trouble and grief, trains or tries to train
a few thousand essentially well-intentioned men (it does not
get to any others) in the military idea, the state itself,
by the pacifistic-democratic nature of its education, consistently
robs millions and millions of young people of their natural
instincts, poisons their logical patriotic thinking, and thus
gradually transforms them into a herd of sheep, patiently
accepting every arbitrary tyranny.
absurd, in comparison with this, are all the exertions of
the combat leagues to transmit their ideas to the German youth.
almost more important is the following consideration, which
had always made me take a position counter to any attempt
at a so-called military rearming on the basis of volunteer
that despite the above-mentioned difficulties a league nevertheless
succeeded in training a definite number of Germans year after
year into arms-bearing men - equally with respect to their
convictions as with respect to their physical fitness and
schooling in the use of arms - the result would nevertheless
be practically nil in a state which, by its whole tendency,
absolutely does not desire such military education, in fact
positively hates it, since it stands in complete contradiction
to the aim of its leaders - the destroyers of this state.
any case such a result would be worthless under governments
which have not only demonstrated by their deeds that they
care nothing about the military strength of the nation, but
which above all would never be willing to issue an appeal
to this strength, except at best for the support of their
own ruinous existence.
today this is the case. Or is it not absurd to try to train
some tens of thousands of men for a government in the dim
light or dawn and evening, when the state a few years previous
disgracefully sacrificed eight and a half millions of the
best-trained soldiers, not only ceasing to use them, but as
thanks for their sacrifices actually exposing them to general
vilification; And so they want to train soldiers for a state
régime which befouled and spat upon the most glorious soldiers
of former days, tore their decorations from their chest, took
away their cockades, trampled their banners and degraded their
achievements? Or has this present state régime ever undertaken
a single step to restore the honor of the old army, to call
to account those who have corrupted and reviled it? Not in
the slightest. On the contrary; we can see these creatures
enthroned in the highest state posts. - Remember the words
spoken at Leipzig: 'Right goes with power.' But since today
in our Republic the power lies in the hands of the same men
who engineered the revolution, and this revolution represents
the vilest high treason, nay, the most wretched piece of villainy
in all German history, really no reason can be found for enhancing
the power of these very characters by the formation of a new
young army. In any event, all the arguments of reason speak
what importance this state, even after the revolution of 1918,
attributed to the military strengthening of its position could
be seen clearly and unmistakably by its attitude toward the
large self-defense organizations that then existed. As long
as they had to intervene for the protection of personally
cowardly creatures of the revolution, they were not unwelcome.
But as soon as, thanks to the gradually increasing depravity
of our people, the danger to these creatures seemed eliminated
and the existence of the leagues meant a strengthening of
the national-political forces, they were superfluous, and
everything was done to disarm them, in fact, if possible to
break them up.
in the rarest examples does history show gratitude in princes.
But to count on the gratitude of revolutionary pyromaniac
murderers, plunderers of the people and traitors to the nation,
is something that only a neo-bourgeois patriot can manage.
In any case, I, in examining the question of whether volunteer
combat leagues should be created, could never refrain from
the question: for whom am I training the young people? For
what purpose are they used and when are they to be called
up? The answer to this question provides at the same time
the best directives for our own attitude.
the present state were ever to train forces of this sort,
it would never be for the defense of national interests against
the outside world, but only for the protection of the rapers
of the nation at home against the general rage that some day
perhaps will flare up in the swindled, betrayed, and sold-out
this reason alone, the SA of the NSDAP could have nothing
in common with a military organization. It was an instrument
for defense and education in the National Socialist movement,
and its tasks lay in an entirely different province from that
of the so-called combat leagues.
it could also constitute no secret organization. The aim of
secret organizations can only be illegal. In this way the
scope of such an organization is automatically limited. It
is not possible, especially in view of the talkativeness of
the German people, to build up an organization of any size
and at the same time to keep it outwardly secret or even to
veil its aims. Any such intention will be thwarted a thousand
times. Not only that our police authorities today have a staff
of pimps and similar rabble at their disposal who will betray
anything they can find for thirty pieces of silver, and even
invent things to betray, but the supporters themselves can
never be brought to the silence that is necessary in such
a case. Only very small groups, by years of sifting, can assume
the character of real secret organizations. But the very smallness
of such organizations would remove their value for the National
Socialist movement. What we needed and still need were
and are not a hundred or two hundred reckless conspirators,
but a hundred thousand and a second hundred thousand fighters
for our philosophy of life. We should not work in secret conventicles,
but in mighty mass demonstrations, and it is not by dagger
and poison or pistol that the road can be cleared for the
movement, but by the conquest of the streets. We must teach
the Marxists that the future master of the streets is National
Socialism, just as it will some day be the master of the state.
danger of secret organizations today lies, furthermore, in
the fact that the members often totally misunderstand the
magnitude of the task, and the opinion arises that the fate
of a people really might be suddenly decided in a favorable
sense by a single act of murder. Such an opinion can have
its historical justification especially when a people languishes
under the tyranny of some oppressor genius, of whom it is
known that his outstanding personality alone guarantees the
inner solidity and frightfulness of the hostile pressure.
In such a case, a self-sacrificing man may suddenly spring
forth from a people, to plunge the steel of death into the
breast of the hated individual. And only the republican sentiment
of petty scoundrels with a bad conscience will regard such
a deed as horrible, while our people's greatest poet of freedom
has dared to give a glorification of such an action in his
the years 1919 and 1920 there existed a danger that the member
of secret organizations, filled with enthusiasm by the great
models of history and horrified by the boundless misfortune
of his fatherland, should attempt to avenge himself against
the destroyers of his homeland, in the belief that in this
way he could put an end to the distress of his people. Any
such attempt, however, was an absurdity, because Marxism had
not been victorious thanks to the superior genius and personal
significance of an individual, but by the boundless contemptibleness,
the cowardly failure of the bourgeois world. The most cruel
criticism that can be made of our bourgeoisie lies in the
fact that the revolution itself did not produce a single leader
of any greatness and nevertheless subjected it. It is understandable
to capitulate to a Robespierre, a Danton or a Marat, but it
is devastating to have crawled before the scrawny Scheidemann,
the fat Herr Erzberger and a Friedrich Ebert and all the other
innumerable political midgets. In reality there was not one
leader who might have been regarded as the genius of the revolution
and hence the misfortune of the fatherland; they were all
revolutionary bedbugs, knapsack Spartacists, wholesale and
retail. To put any one of these out of the way was completely
irrelevant and the chief result was that a few other bloodsuckers,
just as big and just as threadbare, came into a job that much
in the question of eliminating so-called traitors against
the nation the same consideration is in order. It is absurdly
illogical to kill a scamp who has informed about a cannon,
while next door in the highest posts and dignities sit scoundrels
who have sold a whole Reich, who have the vain sacrifice of
two millions on their consciences, who bear the responsibility
for millions of cripples, and with all this calmly carry on
their republican business deals. It is senseless to eliminate
petty traitors in a country whose government itself frees
these traitors against the nation from any punishment. For
then it is possible that some day the honest idealist, who
puts a scoundrelly armaments stoolpigeon out of the way, for
his people, is called to account by capital traitors against
the nation. Therefore, it is an important question: Should
we have such a traitorous petty creature eliminated by another
creature or by an idealist? In one case the success is doubtful
and the treason for later almost certain; in the other case,
a small scoundrel is eliminated and the life of a perhaps
unreplaceable idealist is risked.
in this question, my position is that there is no use in hanging
petty thieves in order to let big ones go free; but that some
day a German national court must judge and execute some ten
thousand of the organizing and hence responsible criminals
of the November betrayal and everything that goes with it.
Such an example will provide the small armaments stool-pigeon
with the necessary lesson for all time.
Its training must not proceed from military criteria, but
from criteria of expediency for the party.
so far as the members require physical training, the main
emphasis must be laid, not on military drilling, but on athletic
activity. Boxing and jiu-jitsu have always seemed to me more
important than any inferior, because incomplete, training
in marksmanship. Give the German nation six million bodies
with flawless athletic training, all glowing with fanatical
love of their country and inculcated with the highest offensive
spirit, and a national state will, in less than two years
if necessary, have created an army, at least in so far as
a certain basic core is present. This, as things are today,
can rest only in the Reichswehr and not in any combat league
that has always done things by halves. Physical culture must
inoculate the individual with the conviction of his superiority
and give him that self-confidence which lies forever and alone
in the consciousness of his own strength; in addition, it
must give him those athletic skills which serve as a weapon
for the defense of the movement.
In order, at the outset, to prevent the SA from assuming
any secret character, in addition to its uniform immediately
recognizable to all, the very size of its membership must
point the way which benefits the movement and is known to
the whole public. It must not hold sessions in secret,
but must march beneath the open sky, thus being put unmistakably
into a type of activity which destroys all legends of 'secret
organization' once and for all. And in order to remove it,
spiritually as well, from all attempts to satisfy its activism
by petty conspiracies, it had from the very beginning to be
initiated completely into the great idea of the movement and
to be educated so thoroughly in the task of fighting for this
idea that its horizon broadened from the outset, and the individual
man saw his mission, not in the elimination of any greater
or lesser scoundrel, but in fighting for the erection of a
new National Socialist folkish state. Thereby the struggle
against the present-day state was removed from the atmosphere
of petty actions of revenge and conspiracy, to the greatness
of a philosophical war of annihilation against Marxism and
The organizational formation of the SA, as well as its
uniform and equipment, can therefore not reasonably emulate
the models of the old army, but must pursue an expediency
determined by its function.
views, which directed me in 1920 and 1921 and which I gradually
endeavored to inject into the young organization, had the
result that, as early as midsummer, 1922, we disposed of an
imposing number of companies, which in late autumn, 1922,
little by little received their special distinguishing uniforms.
Three events were of infinite importance for the further shaping
of the SA.
The great general demonstration of all patriotic leagues
against the Law for the Protection of the Republic in late
summer 1922 on the Königsplatz in Munich.
patriotic leagues of Munich had issued an appeal summoning
a gigantic demonstration as a protest against the introduction
of the Law for the Protection of the Republic. The National
Socialist movement was also expected to participate in it.
The solid procession of the party was headed by six Munich
companies, followed by the sections of the political party.
In the column itself marched two brass bands, and about fifteen
flags were carried along. The arrival of the National Socialists
in the half-filled square, which was otherwise void of flags,
aroused immeasureable enthusiasm. I myself had the honor of
being privileged to address the crowd, now numbering sixty
thousand heads, as one of the orators.
success of the rally was overpowering, particularly because,
in defiance of all Red threats, it was proved for the first
time that national Munich, too, could march in streets. Red
republican defense corps (Schutzbund), who attempted
to proceed with terror against the approaching columns, were
within a few minutes scattered with bloody skulls by SA detachments.
The National Socialist movement then for the first time showed
its determination to claim for itself the right to the streets
in the future, thus wresting this monopoly from the hands
of the international traitors to the people and enemies of
result of this day was an incontestable proof of the psychological
and also organizational soundness of our conceptions with
regard to the structure of the SA.
the foundation which had been so successfully proven, it was
energetically broadened, so that only a few weeks later double
the number of companies had been set up.
The march to Coburg in October, 1922.
associations planned to hold a so-called 'German Day' in Coburg.
I myself received an invitation to it, remarking that it would
be desirable for me to bring an escort. This request, which
I received at eleven o'clock in the morning, came very opportunely.
An hour later the arrangements for attending this 'German
Day' had been issued. As an 'escort' I appointed eight hundred
men of the SA; we arranged to transport them in approximately
fourteen companies by special train to the little city that
had become Bavarian. Similar orders went out to National Socialist
SA groups which had meanwhile been formed in other places.
was the first time that such a special train was used in Germany.
At all towns where new SA men got in, the transport aroused
much attention. Many people had never seen our flags before;
the impression they made was very great.
at once flatly rejected these disgraceful conditions, and
did not fail to express to the gentlemen present, the organizers
of this congress, my surprise that they had carried on negotiations
with these people and entered into agreements; I declared
that the SA would immediately line up in companies and march
into the city with resounding music and flags flying.
that is just what happened.
the square in front of the railroad station we were received
by a howling, shrieking mob numbering thousands. 'Murderers,'
'bandits,' 'robbers,' 'criminals,' were the pet names which
the model founders of the German Republic affectionately showered
on us. The young SA kept exemplary order, the companies formed
on the square in front of the station, and at first took no
notice of the vulgar abuse. In the city that was strange to
all of us, frightened police officials led the marching column,
not, as arranged, to our quarters, a shooting gallery situated
on the periphery of Coburg but to the Hofbräuhauskeller, near
the center of the city. To left and right of the procession,
the uproar of the masses of people accompanying us increased
more and more. Hardly had the last company turned into the
courtyard of the Keller than great masses, amid deafening
cries, tried to crowd in after us. To prevent this, the police
locked the Keller. Since this state of affairs was intolerable,
I had the SA line up once again, gave them a brief speech
of admonition, and demanded that the police open the gates
immediately. After a long hesitation, they yielded.
get to our quarters, we marched back the way we had come,
and now at last a stand had to be taken. After they had been
unable to disturb the poise of our companies by cries and
insulting shouts, the representatives of true socialism, equality,
and fraternity had recourse to stones. At this our patience
was at an end, and so for ten whole minutes a devastating
hail fell from left and right, and a quarter of an hour later,
there was nothing red to be seen in the streets.
the evening there were serious dashes again. Some National
Socialists had been assaulted singly, and patrols of the SA
found them in a terrible condition. Thereupon we made short
shrift of our foes. By next morning the Red terror, under
which Coburg had suffered for years, had been broken.
real Marxist-Jewish lies they now attempted to harry the 'comrades
of the international proletariat' back into the streets, by
totally twisting the facts and maintaining that our 'bands
of murderers' had begun a 'war of extermination against peaceful
workers' in Coburg. The great 'demonstration of the people,'
which, it was hoped, tens of thousands of workers from the
whole vicinity would attend, was set for half-past one. Therefore,
firmly resolved to dispose of the Red terror for good, I ordered
the SA, which had meanwhile swollen to nearly one and a half
thousand men, to line up, and set out with them on the march
for the Fortress of Coburg, by way of the great square on
which the Red demonstration was to take place. I wanted to
see whether they would dare to molest us again. When we entered
the square, only a few hundred were present instead of the
announced ten thousand, and at our approach they kept generally
quiet, and some ran away. Only at a few points did Red troops,
who had meanwhile come from the outside and who did not yet
know us, try to pester us again; but in the twinkling of an
eye, all their enthusiasm was spoiled. And now it could be
seen how the frightened and intimidated population slowly
woke up and took courage, and ventured to shout greetings
at us, and in the evening as we were marching off broke into
spontaneous cheering in many places.
the station the railroad men suddenly informed us that they
would not run the train. Thereupon I notified a few of the
ringleaders that in that case I planned to round up whatever
Red bosses fell into my hands, and that we would run the train
ourselves; however, we would take along a few dozen of the
brothers of international solidarity on the locomotive and
the tender and in every car. Nor did I fail to call it to
the gentlemen's attention that the trip with our own forces
would, of course, be an extremely risky undertaking and that
it was not excluded that the whole lot of us should break
our necks and bones. But, anyway, in that case, we should
be delighted to leave for the Hereafter, not alone but in
equality and fraternity with the Red gentlemen.
the train departed with the utmost punctuality, and we were
back in Munich safe and sound the following morning.
for the first time since 1914 the equality of citizens before
the law was re-established in Coburg. For if today some simpleton
of a higher official ventures the assertion that the state
protects the lives of its citizens, this was certainly not
the case at that time; for at that time the citizens had to
defend themselves against the representatives of the present-day
first the importance of this day could not be fully evaluated
by its consequences. Not only that the victorious SA had been
enormously enhanced in its self-confidence and its faith in
the soundness of its leadership, but the outside world also
began to follow our doings more closely, and many for the
first time recognized in the National Socialist movement the
institution which in all probability would some day be called
upon to put a suitable end to the Marxist madness.
the democrats groaned that anyone could dare not peacefully
to let his skull be bashed in, and that under a democratic
republic we had had the audacity to oppose a brutal attack
with fists and cudgels instead of pacifistic songs.
the whole, the bourgeois press, as usual, was partly pitiful
and partly contemptible, and only a few honest newspapers
greeted the fact that in one place at least someone had dared
to call a halt to the activity of the Marxist highwaymen.
Coburg itself, at least a part of the Marxist working class,
which incidentally could be regarded only as misled, had learned
a lesson from the fists of National Socialist labor and been
taught to realize that these workers also fight for ideals,
since, as experience shows, men fight only for something that
they believe in and love.
greatest benefit, however, was derived by the SA itself. It
now grew with great rapidity, and at the Party Day held on
January 27, 1923, approximately six thousand men could take
part in the dedication of the flag, and the first companies
were fully equipped with their new uniforms.
the experience in Coburg had shown how necessary it is, and
not only in order to strengthen the esprit de corps,
but also to avoid confusion and forestall mutual non-recognition,
to introduce uniform dress among the SA. Until then it wore
only the armband; now the canvas jacket and the well-known
cap were added.
furthermore, the experience of Coburg had the significance
that we now began systematically, in all places where for
many years the Red terror had prevented any meeting of people
with different ideas, to break this terror and restore freedom
of assembly. From now on, National Socialist battalions were
assembled again and again in such localities, and in Bavaria
gradually one Red citadel after another fell a victim to National
Socialist propaganda. The SA had grown more and more into
its task, and so had moved further and further away from the
character of a senseless and unimportant defense movement
and risen to the level of a living organization of struggle
for the erection of a new German state.
logical development lasted until March, 1923. Then there occurred
an event which compelled me to shift the movement from its
previous course and subject it to a modification.
The occupation of the Ruhr by the French in the first
months of 1923 had in the following period a great significance
for the development of the SA.
today it is not yet possible, and particularly in the national
interest not expedient, to speak or write of this with full
publicity. I can only express myself in so far as this theme
has already been touched upon in public proceedings and thus
brought to the knowledge of the public.
occupation of the Ruhr, which came as no surprise to us, gave
rise to the justified hope that now at length there would
be an end to the cowardly policy of retreat, and that with
this a definite task would fall to the combat leagues. And
the SA, which then embraced many thousands of young powerful
men, could not fittingly be excluded from this national service.
In the spring and midsummer of 1923 it was reshaped into a
military fighting organization. To it the later development
of 1923, in so far as it concerned our movement, was attributable.
I treat the development of 1923 in broad outlines elsewhere,
I shall only state here that the reorientation of the SA was
a harmful one from the viewpoint of the movement, if the presuppositions
that had led to its reorientation - that is, the resumption
of active resistance against France - did not materialize.
close of the year 1923, terrible as it may seem at first sight,
may, if viewed from a higher standpoint, be regarded as positively
necessary, in so far as with one stroke it ended the reorientation
of the SA, made pointless by the attitude of the German Reich
government and hence harmful for the movement, and thus created
the possibility of building some day at the point where we
had once been forced to relinquish the correct road.
NSDAP, newly founded in 1925, must again set up, train, and
organize its SA according to the aforementioned principles.
It must thus return to the original healthy views, and must
now once more find its highest task in creating, in its SA,
an instrument for the conduct and reinforcement of the movement's
struggle for its philosophy of life.
must neither suffer the SA to degenerate into a kind of combat
league nor into a secret organization; it must, on the contrary,
endeavor to train it as a guard, numbering hundreds of thousands
of men, for the National Socialist and hence profoundly folkish