Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Volume Two - The National Socialist Movement
Chapter IX: Basic Ideas Regarding the Meaning and Organization of the SA
The strength of the old state rested on three pillars: the monarchical form
of government, the civil service, and the army. The Revolution of 1918 abolished
the form of government, dissolved the army and abandoned the civil service
to the corruption of party politics. Thus the essential supports of what
is called the Authority of the State were shattered. This authority nearly
always depends on three elements, which are the essential foundations of
Popular support is the first element which is necessary for the creation
of authority. But an authority resting on that foundation alone is still
quite frail, uncertain and vacillating. Hence everyone who finds himself
vested with an authority that is based only on popular support must take
measures to improve and consolidate the foundations of that authority by
the creation of force. Accordingly we must look upon power, that is to say,
the capacity to use force, as the second foundation on which all authority
is based. This foundation is more stable and secure, but not always stronger,
than the first. If popular support and power are united together and can
endure for a certain time, then an authority may arise which is based on
a still stronger foundation, namely, the authority of tradition. And, finally,
if popular support, power, and tradition are united together, then the authority
based on them may be looked upon as invincible.
In Germany the Revolution abolished this last foundation. There was no longer
even a traditional authority. With the collapse of the old Reich, the suppression
of the monarchical form of government, the destruction of all the old insignia
of greatness and the imperial symbols, tradition was shattered at a blow.
The result was that the authority of the State was shaken to its foundations.
The second pillar of statal authority, namely power, also ceased to exist.
In order to carry through the Revolution it was necessary to dissolve that
body which had hitherto incorporated the organized force and power of the
State, namely, the Army. Indeed, some detached fragments of the Army itself
had to be employed as fighting elements in the Revolution. The Armies at
the front were not subjected in the same measure to this process of disruption;
but as they gradually left farther behind them the fields of glory on which
they had fought heroically for four-and-half years, they were attacked by
the solvent acid that had permeated the Fatherland; and when they arrived
at the demobilizing centres they fell into that state of confusion which
was styled voluntary obedience in the time of the Soldiers' Councils.
Of course it was out of the question to think of founding any kind of authority
on this crowd of mutineering soldiers, who looked upon military service as
a work of eight hours per day. Therefore the second element, that which
guarantees the stability of authority, was also abolished and the Revolution
had only the original element, popular support, on which to build up its
authority. But this basis was extraordinarily insecure. By means of a few
violent thrusts the Revolution had shattered the old statal edifice to its
deepest foundations, but only because the normal equilibrium within the social
structure of the nation had already been destroyed by the war.
Every national body is made up of three main classes. At one extreme we have
the best of the people, taking the word 'best' here to indicate those who
are highly endowed with the civic virtues and are noted for their courage
and their readiness to sacrifice their private interests. At the other extreme
are the worst dregs of humanity, in whom vice and egotistic interests prevail.
Between these two extremes stands the third class, which is made up of the
broad middle stratum, who do not represent radiant heroism or vulgar vice.
The stages of a nation's rise are accomplished exclusively under the leadership
of the best extreme.
Times of normal and symmetrical development, or of stable conditions, owe
their existence and outwardly visible characteristics to the preponderating
influence of the middle stratum. In this stage the two extreme classes are
balanced against one another; in other words, they are relatively cancelled
Times of national collapse are determined by the preponderating influence
of the worst elements.
It must be noted here, however, that the broad masses, which constitute what
I have called the middle section, come forward and make their influence felt
only when the two extreme sections are engaged in mutual strife. In case
one of the extreme sections comes out victorious the middle section will
readily submit to its domination. If the best dominate, the broad masses
will follow it. Should the worst extreme turn out triumphant, then the middle
section will at least offer no opposition to it; for the masses that constitute
the middle class never fight their own battles.
The outpouring of blood for four-and-a-half years during the war destroyed
the inner equilibrium between these three sections in so far as it can be
said though admitting the sacrifices made by the middle section
that the class which consisted of the best human elements almost completely
disappeared through the loss of so much of its blood in the war, because
it was impossible to replace the truly enormous quantity of heroic German
blood which had been shed during those four-and-a-half years. In hundreds
of thousands of cases it was always a matter of 'volunteers to the front',
volunteers for patrol and duty, volunteer dispatch carriers, volunteers for
establishing and working telephonic communications, volunteers for
bridge-building, volunteers for the submarines, volunteers for the air service,
volunteers for the storm battalions, and so on, and so on. During four-and-a-half
years, and on thousands of occasions, there was always the call for volunteers
and again for volunteers. And the result was always the same. Beardless young
fellows or fully developed men, all filled with an ardent love for their
country, urged on by their own courageous spirit or by a lofty sense of their
duty it was always such men who answered the call for volunteers.
Tens of thousands, indeed hundreds of thousands, of such men came forward,
so that that kind of human material steadily grew scarcer and scarcer. What
did not actually fall was maimed in the fight or gradually had to join the
ranks of the crippled because of the wounds they were constantly receiving,
and thus they had to carry on interminably owing to the steady decrease in
the supply of such men. In 1914 whole armies were composed of volunteers
who, owing to a criminal lack of conscience on the part of our feckless
parliamentarians, had not received any proper training in times of peace,
and so were thrown as defenceless cannon-fodder to the enemy. The four hundred
thousand who thus fell or were permanently maimed on the battlefields of
Flanders could not be replaced any more. Their loss was something far more
than merely numerical. With their death the scales, which were already too
lightly weighed at that end of the social structure which represented our
best human quality, now moved upwards rapidly, becoming heavier on the other
end with those vulgar elements of infamy and cowardice in short, there
was an increase in the elements that constituted the worst extreme of our
And there was something more: While for four-and-a-half years our best human
material was being thinned to an exceptional degree on the battlefields,
our worst people wonderfully succeeded in saving themselves. For each hero
who made the supreme sacrifice and ascended the steps of Valhalla, there
was a shirker who cunningly dodged death on the plea of being engaged in
business that was more or less useful at home.
And so the picture which presented itself at the end of the war was this:
The great middle stratum of the nation had fulfilled its duty and paid its
toll of blood. One extreme of the population, which was constituted of the
best elements, had given a typical example of its heroism and had sacrificed
itself almost to a man. The other extreme, which was constituted of the worst
elements of the population, had preserved itself almost intact, through taking
advantage of absurd laws and also because the authorities failed to enforce
certain articles of the military code.
This carefully preserved scum of our nation then made the Revolution. And
the reason why it could do so was that the extreme section composed of the
best elements was no longer there to oppose it. It no longer existed.
Hence the German Revolution, from the very beginning, depended on only one
section of the population. This act of Cain was not committed by the German
people as such, but by an obscure canaille of deserters, hooligans, etc.
The man at the front gladly welcomed the end of the strife in which so much
blood had been shed. He was happy to be able to return home and see his wife
and children once again. But he had no moral connection with the Revolution.
He did not like it, nor did he like those who had provoked and organized
it. During the four-and-a-half years of that bitter struggle at the front
he had come to forget the party hyenas at home and all their wrangling had
become foreign to him.
The Revolution was really popular only with a small section of the German
people: namely, that class and their accomplices who had selected the rucksack
as the hall-mark of all honourable citizens in this new State. They did not
like the Revolution for its own sake, though many people still erroneously
believe the contrary, but for the consequences which followed in its train.
But it was very difficult to establish any abiding authority on the popular
support given to these Marxist freebooters. And yet the young Republic stood
in need of authority at any cost, unless it was ready to agree to be overthrown
after a short period of chaos by an elementary force assembled from those
last elements that still remained among the best extreme of the population.
The danger which those who were responsible for the Revolution feared most
at that time was that, in the turmoil of the confusion which they themselves
had created, the ground would suddenly be taken from under their feet, that
they might be suddenly seized and transported to another terrain by an iron
grip, such as has often appeared at these junctures in the history of nations.
The Republic must be consolidated at all costs.
Hence it was forced almost immediately after its foundation to erect another
pillar beside that wavering pillar of popularity. They found that power must
be organized once again in order to procure a firmer foundation for their
When those who had been the matadors of the Revolution in December 1918,
and January and February 1919, felt the ground trembling beneath their feet
they looked around them for men who would be ready to reinforce them with
military support; for their feeble position was dependent only on whatever
popular favour they enjoyed. The 'anti-militarist' Republic had need of soldiers.
But the first and only pillar on which the authority of the State rested,
namely, its popularity, was grounded only on a conglomeration of rowdies
and thieves, burglars, deserters, shirkers, etc. Therefore in that section
of the nation which we have called the evil extreme it was useless to look
for men who would be willing to sacrifice their lives on behalf of a new
ideal. The section which had nourished the revolutionary idea and carried
out the Revolution was neither able nor willing to call on the soldiers to
protect it. For that section had no wish whatsoever to organize a republican
State, but to disorganize what already existed and thus satisfy its own instincts
all the better. Their password was not the organization and construction
of the German Republic, but rather the plundering of it.
Hence the cry for help sent out by the public representatives, who were beset
by a thousand anxieties, did not find any response among this class of people,
but rather provoked a feeling of bitterness and repudiation. For they looked
upon this step as the beginning of a breach of faith and trust, and in the
building up of an authority which was no longer based on popular support
but also on force they saw the beginning of a hostile move against what the
Revolution meant essentially for those elements. They feared that measures
might be taken against the right to robbery and absolute domination on the
part of a horde of thieves and plunderers in short, the worst rabble
who had broken out of the convict prisons and left their chains behind.
The representatives of the people might cry out as much as they liked, but
they could get no help from that rabble. The cries for help were met with
the counter-cry 'traitors' by those very people on whose support the popularity
of the regime was founded.
Then for the first time large numbers of young Germans were found who were
ready to button on the military uniform once again in the service of 'Peace
and Order', as they believed, shouldering the carbine and rifle and donning
the steel helmet to defend the wreckers of the Fatherland. Volunteer corps
were assembled and, although hating the Revolution, they began to defend
it. The practical effect of their action was to render the Revolution firm
and stable. In doing this they acted in perfect good faith.
The real organizer of the Revolution and the actual wire-puller behind it,
the international Jew, had sized up the situation correctly. The German people
were not yet ripe to be drawn into the blood swamp of Bolshevism, as the
Russian people had been drawn. And that was because there was a closer racial
union between the intellectual classes in Germany and the manual workers,
and also because broad social strata were permeated with cultured people,
such as was the case also in the other States of Western Europe; but this
state of affairs was completely lacking in Russia. In that country the
intellectual classes were mostly not of Russian nationality, or at least
they did not have the racial characteristics of the Slav. The thin upper
layer of intellectuals which then existed in Russia might be abolished at
any time, because there was no intermediate stratum connecting it organically
with the great mass of the people. There the mental and moral level of the
great mass of the people was frightfully low.
In Russia the moment the agitators were successful in inciting broad masses
of the people, who could not read or write, against the upper layer of
intellectuals who were not in contact with the masses or permanently linked
with them in any way at that moment the destiny of Russia was decided,
the success of the Revolution was assured. Thereupon the analphabetic Russian
became the slave of his Jewish dictators who, on their side, were shrewd
enough to name their dictatorship 'The Dictatorship of the People'.
In the case of Germany an additional factor must be taken into account. Here
the Revolution could be carried into effect only if the Army could first
be gradually dismembered. But the real author of the Revolution and of the
process of disintegration in the Army was not the soldier who had fought
at the front but the canaille which more or less shunned the light and which
were either quartered in the home garrisons or were officiating as
'indispensables' somewhere in the business world at home. This army was
reinforced by ten thousand deserters who, without running any particular
risk, could turn their backs on the Front. At all times the real poltroon
fears nothing so much as death. But at the Front he had death before his
eyes every day in a thousand different shapes. There has always been one
possible way, and one only, of making weak or wavering men, or even downright
poltroons, face their duty steadfastly. This means that the deserter must
be given to understand that his desertion will bring upon him just the very
thing he is flying from. At the Front a man may die, but the deserter must
die. Only this draconian threat against every attempt to desert the flag
can have a terrifying effect, not merely on the individual but also on the
mass. Therein lay the meaning and purpose of the military penal code.
It was a fine belief to think that the great struggle for the life of a nation
could be carried through if it were based solely on voluntary fidelity arising
from and sustained by the knowledge that such a struggle was necessary. The
voluntary fulfilment of one's duty is a motive that determines the actions
of only the best men, but not of the average type of men. Hence special laws
are necessary; just as, for instance, the law against stealing, which was
not made for men who are honest on principle but for the weak and unstable
elements. Such laws are meant to hinder the evil-doer through their deterrent
effect and thus prevent a state of affairs from arising in which the honest
man is considered the more stupid, and which would end in the belief that
it is better to have a share in the robbery than to stand by with empty hands
or allow oneself to be robbed.
It was a mistake to believe that in a struggle which, according to all human
foresight, might last for several years it would be possible to dispense
with those expedients which the experience of hundreds and even of thousands
of years had proved to be effective in making weak and unstable men face
and fulfil their duty in difficult times and at moments of great nervous
For the voluntary war hero it is, of course, not necessary to have the death
penalty in the military code, but it is necessary for the cowardly egoists
who value their own lives more than the existence of the community in the
hour of national need. Such weak and characterless people can be held back
from surrendering to their cowardice only by the application of the heaviest
penalties. When men have to struggle with death every day and remain for
weeks in trenches of mire, often very badly supplied with food, the man who
is unsure of himself and begins to waver cannot be made to stick to his post
by threats of imprisonment or even penal servitude. Only by a ruthless
enforcement of the death penalty can this be effected. For experience shows
that at such a time the recruit considers prison a thousand times more preferable
than the battlefield. In prison at least his precious life is not in danger.
The practical abolition of the death penalty during the war was a mistake
for which we had to pay dearly. Such omission really meant that the military
penal code was no longer recognized as valid. An army of deserters poured
into the stations at the rear or returned home, especially in 1918, and there
began to form that huge criminal organization with which we were suddenly
faced, after November 7th, 1918, and which perpetrated the Revolution.
The Front had nothing to do with all this. Naturally, the soldiers at the
Front were yearning for peace. But it was precisely that fact which represented
a special danger for the Revolution. For when the German soldiers began to
draw near home, after the Armistice, the revolutionaries were in trepidation
and asked the same question again and again: What will the troops from the
Front do? Will the field-greys stand for it?
During those weeks the Revolution was forced to give itself at least an external
appearance of moderation, if it were not to run the risk of being wrecked
in a moment by a few German divisions. For at that time, even if the commander
of one division alone had made up his mind to rally the soldiers of his division,
who had always remained faithful to him, in an onslaught to tear down the
red flag and put the 'councils' up against the wall, or, if there was any
resistance, to break it with trench-mortars and hand grenades, that division
would have grown into an army of sixty divisions in less than four weeks.
The Jew wire-pullers were terrified by this prospect more than by anything
else; and to forestall this particular danger they found it necessary to
give the Revolution a certain aspect of moderation. They dared not allow
it to degenerate into Bolshevism, so they had to face the existing conditions
by putting up the hypocritical picture of 'order and tranquillity'. Hence
many important concessions, the appeal to the old civil service and to the
heads of the old Army. They would be needed at least for a certain time,
and only when they had served the purpose of Turks' Heads could the deserved
kick-out be administered with impunity. Then the Republic would be taken
entirely out of the hands of the old servants of the State and delivered
into the claws of the revolutionaries.
They thought that this was the only plan which would succeed in duping the
old generals and civil servants and disarm any eventual opposition beforehand
through the apparently harmless and mild character of the new regime.
Practical experience has shown to what extent the plan succeeded.
The Revolution, however, was not made by the peaceful and orderly elements
of the nation but rather by rioters, thieves and robbers. And the way in
which the Revolution was developing did not accord with the intentions of
these latter elements; still, on tactical grounds, it was not possible to
explain to them the reasons for the course things were taking and make that
As Social Democracy gradually gained power it lost more and more the character
of a crude revolutionary party. Of course in their inner hearts the Social
Democrats wanted a revolution; and their leaders had no other end in view.
Certainly not. But what finally resulted was only a revolutionary programme;
but not a body of men who would be able to carry it out. A revolution cannot
be carried through by a party of ten million members. If such a movement
were attempted the leaders would find that it was not an extreme section
of the population on which they had to depend butrather the broad masses
of the middle stratum; hence the inert masses.
Recognizing all this, already during the war, the Jews caused the famous
split in the Social Democratic Party. While the Social Democratic Party,
conforming to the inertia of its mass following, clung like a leaden weight
on the neck of the national defence, the actively radical elements were extracted
from it and formed into new aggressive columns for purposes of attack. The
Independent Socialist Party and the Spartacist League were the storm battalions
of revolutionary Marxism. The objective assigned to them was to create a
fait accompli, on the grounds of which the masses of the Social Democratic
Party could take their stand, having been prepared for this event long
beforehand. The feckless bourgeoisie had been estimated at its just value
by the Marxists and treated en canaille. Nobody bothered about it, knowing
well that in their canine servility the representatives of an old and worn-out
generation would not be able to offer any serious resistance.
When the Revolution had succeeded and its artificers believed that the main
pillars of the old State had been broken down, the Army returning from the
Front began to appear in the light of a sinister sphinx and thus made it
necessary to slow down the national course of the Revolution. The main body
of the Social Democratic horde occupied the conquered positions, and the
Independent Socialist and Spartacist storm battalions were side-tracked.
But that did not happen without a struggle.
The activist assault formations that had started the Revolution were dissatisfied
and felt that they had been betrayed. They now wanted to continue the fight
on their own account. But their illimitable racketeering became odious even
to the wire-pullers of the Revolution. For the Revolution itself had scarcely
been accomplished when two camps appeared. In the one camp were the elements
of peace and order; in the other were those of blood and terror. Was it not
perfectly natural that our bourgeoisie should rush with flying colours to
the camp of peace and order? For once in their lives their piteous political
organizations found it possible to act, inasmuch as the ground had been prepared
for them on which they were glad to get a new footing; and thus to a certain
extent they found themselves in coalition with that power which they hated
but feared. The German political bourgeoisie achieved the high honour of
being able to associate itself with the accursed Marxist leaders for the
purpose of combating Bolshevism.
Thus the following state of affairs took shape as early as December 1918
and January 1919:
A minority constituted of the worst elements had made the Revolution. And
behind this minority all the Marxist parties immediately fell into step.
The Revolution itself had an outward appearance of moderation, which aroused
against it the enmity of the fanatical extremists. These began to launch
hand-grenades and fire machine-guns, occupying public buildings, thus threatening
to destroy the moderate appearance of the Revolution. To prevent this terror
from developing further a truce was concluded between the representatives
of the new regime and the adherents of the old order, so as to be able to
wage a common fight against the extremists. The result was that the enemies
of the Republic ceased to oppose the Republic as such and helped to subjugate
those who were also enemies of the Republic, though for quite different reasons.
But a further result was that all danger of the adherents of the old State
putting up a fight against the new was now definitely averted.
This fact must always be clearly kept in mind. Only by remembering it can
we understand how it was possible that a nation in which nine-tenths of the
people had not joined in a revolution, where seven-tenths repudiated it and
six-tenths detested it how this nation allowed the Revolution to be
imposed upon it by the remaining one-tenth of the population.
Gradually the barricade heroes in the Spartacist camp petered out, and so
did the nationalist patriots and idealists on the other side. As these two
groups steadily dwindled, the masses of the middle stratum, as always happens,
triumphed. The Bourgeoisie and the Marxists met together on the grounds of
accomplished facts, and the Republic began to be consolidated. At first,
however, that did not prevent the bourgeois parties from propounding their
monarchist ideas for some time further, especially at the elections, whereby
they endeavoured to conjure up the spirits of the dead past to encourage
their own feeble-hearted followers. It was not an honest proceeding. In their
hearts they had broken with the monarchy long ago; but the foulness of the
new regime had begun to extend its corruptive action and make itself felt
in the camp of the bourgeois parties. The common bourgeois politician now
felt better in the slime of republican corruption than in the severe decency
of the defunct State, which still lived in his memory.
As I have already pointed out, after the destruction of the old Army the
revolutionary leaders were forced to strengthen statal authority by creating
a new factor of power. In the conditions that existed they could do this
only by winning over to their side the adherents of an outlook
which was a direct contradiction of their own. From those elements alone
it was possible slowly to create a new army which, limited numerically by
the peace treaties, had to be subsequently transformed in spirit so as to
become an instrument of the new regime.
Setting aside the defects of the old State, which really became the cause
of the Revolution, if we ask how it was possible to carry the Revolution
to a successful issue as a political act, we arrive at the following conclusions:
1. It was due to a process of dry rot in our conceptions of duty and obedience.
2. It was due also to the passive timidity of the Parties who were supposed
to uphold the State.
To this the following must be added: The dry rot which attacked our concepts
of duty and obedience was fundamentally due to our wholly non-national and
purely State education. From this came the habit of confusing means and ends.
Consciousness of duty, fulfilment of duty, and obedience, are not ends in
themselves no more than the State is an end in itself; but they all ought
to be employed as means to facilitate and assure the existence of a community
of people who are kindred both physically and spiritually. At a moment when
a nation is manifestly collapsing and when all outward signs show that it
is on the point of becoming the victim of ruthless oppression, thanks to
the conduct of a few miscreants, to obey these people and fulfil one's duty
towards them is merely doctrinaire formalism, and indeed pure folly; whereas,
on the other hand, the refusal of obedience and fulfilment of duty in such
a case might save the nation from collapse. According to our current bourgeois
idea of the State, if a divisional general received from above the order
not to shoot he fulfilled his duty and therefore acted rightly in not shooting,
because to the bourgeois mind blind formal obedience is a more valuable thing
than the life of a nation. But according to the National Socialist concept
it is not obedience to weak superiors that should prevail at such moments,
in such an hour the duty of assuming personal responsibility towards the
whole nation makes its appearance.
The Revolution succeeded because that concept had ceased to be a vital force
with our people, or rather with our governments, and died down to something
that was merely formal and doctrinaire.
As regards the second point, it may be said that the more profound cause
of the fecklessness of the bourgeois parties must be attributed to the fact
that the most active and upright section of our people had lost their lives
in the war. Apart from that, the bourgeois parties, which may be considered
as the only political formations that stood by the old State, were convinced
that they ought to defend their principles only by intellectual ways and
means, since the use of physical force was permitted only to the State. That
outlook was a sign of the weakness and decadence which had been gradually
developing. And it was also senseless at a period when there was a political
adversary who had long ago abandoned that standpoint and, instead of this,
had openly declared that he meant to attain his political ends by force whenever
that became possible. When Marxism emerged in the world of bourgeois democracy,
as a consequence of that democracy itself, the appeal sent out by the bourgeois
democracy to fight Marxism with intellectual weapons was a piece of folly
for which a terrible expiation had to be made later on. For Marxism always
professed the doctrine that the use of arms was a matter which had to be
judged from the standpoint of expediency and that success justified the use
This idea was proved correct during the days from November 7 to 10, 1918.
The Marxists did not then bother themselves in the least about parliament
or democracy, but they gave the death blow to both by turning loose their
horde of criminals to shoot and raise hell.
When the Revolution was over the bourgeois parties changed the title of their
firm and suddenly reappeared, the heroic leaders emerging from dark cellars
or more lightsome storehouses where they had sought refuge. But, just as
happens in the case of all representatives of antiquated institutions, they
had not forgotten their errors or learned anything new. Their political programme
was grounded in the past, even though they themselves had become reconciled
to the new regime. Their aim was to secure a share in the new establishment,
and so they continued the use of words as their sole weapon.
Therefore after the Revolution the bourgeois parties also capitulated to
the street in a miserable fashion.
When the law for the Protection of the Republic was introduced the majority
was not at first in favour of it. But, confronted with two hundred thousand
Marxists demonstrating in the streets, the bourgeois 'statesmen' were so
terror-stricken that they voted for the Law against their wills, for the
edifying reason that otherwise they feared they might get their heads smashed
by the enraged masses on leaving the Reichstag.
And so the new State developed along its own course, as if there had been
no national opposition at all.
The only organizations which at that time had the strength and courage to
face Marxism and its enraged masses were first of all the volunteer corps,
and subsequently the organizations for self-defence, the
civic guards and finally the associations formed by the demobilized soldiers
of the old Army.
But the existence of these bodies did not appreciably change the course of
German history; and that for the following causes:
As the so-called national parties were without influence, because they had
no force which could effectively demonstrate in the street, the Leagues of
Defence could not exercise any influence because they had no political idea
and especially because they had no definite political aim in view.
The success which Marxism once attained was due to perfect co-operation between
political purposes and ruthless force. What deprived nationalist Germany
of all practical hopes of shaping German development was the lack of a determined
co-operation between brute force and political aims wisely chosen.
Whatever may have been the aspirations of the 'national' parties, they had
no force whatsoever to fight for these aspirations, least of all in the streets.
The Defense Leagues had force at their disposal. They were masters of the
street and of the State, but they lacked political ideas and aims on behalf
of which their forces might have been or could have been employed in the
interests of the German nation. The cunning Jew was able in both cases, by
his astute powers of persuasion, in reinforcing an already existing tendency
to make this unfortunate state of affairs permanent and at the same time
to drive the roots of it still deeper.
The Jew succeeded brilliantly in using his Press for the purpose of spreading
abroad the idea that the defence associations were of a
'non-political' character just as in politics he was always astute enough
to praise the purely intellectual character of the struggle and demand that
it must always be kept on that plane
Millions of German imbeciles then repeated this folly without having the
slightest suspicion that by so doing they were, for all practical purposes,
disarming themselves and delivering themselves defenceless into the hands
of the Jew.
But there is a natural explanation of this also. The lack of a great idea
which would re-shape things anew has always meant a limitation in fighting
power. The conviction of the right to employ even the most brutal weapons
is always associated with an ardent faith in the necessity for a new and
revolutionary transformation of the world.
A movement which does not fight for such high aims and ideals will never
have recourse to extreme means.
The appearance of a new and great idea was the secret of success in the French
Revolution. The Russian Revolution owes its triumph to an idea. And it was
only the idea that enabled Fascism triumphantly to subject a whole nation
to a process of complete renovation.
Bourgeois parties are not capable of such an achievement. And it was not
the bourgeois parties alone that fixed their aim in a restoration of the
past. The defence associations also did so, in so far as they concerned
themselves with political aims at all. The spirit of the old war legions
and Kyffauser tendencies lived in them and therewith helped politically to
blunt the sharpest weapons which the German nation then possessed and allow
them to rust in the hands of republican serfs. The fact that these associations
were inspired by the best of intentions in so doing, and certainly acted
in good faith, does not alter in the slightest degree the foolishness of
the course they adopted.
In the consolidated Reichswehr Marxism gradually acquired the support of
force, which it needed for its authority. As a logical consequence it proceeded
to abolish those defence associations which it considered dangerous, declaring
that they were now no longer necessary. Some rash leaders who defied the
Marxist orders were summoned to court and sent to prison. But they all got
what they had deserved.
The founding of the National Socialist German Labour Party incited a movement
which was the first to fix its aim, not in a mechanical restoration of the
past - as the bourgeois parties did - but in the substitution of
an organic People's State for the present absurd statal mechanism.
From the first day of its foundation the new movement took its stand on the
principle that its ideas had to be propagated by intellectual means but that,
wherever necessary, muscular force must be employed to support this propaganda.
In accordance with their conviction of the paramount importance of the new
doctrine, the leaders of the new movement naturally believe that no sacrifice
can be considered too great when it is a question of carrying through the
purpose of the movement.
I have emphasized that in certain circumstances a movement which is meant
to win over the hearts of the people must be ready to defend itself with
its own forces against terrorist attempts on the part of its adversaries.
It has invariably happened in the history of the world that formal State
authority has failed to break a reign of terror which was inspired by a
philosophy of life. It can only be conquered by a new and different
philosophy of life whose representatives are quite as audacious and
determined. The acknowledgment of this fact has always been very unpleasant
for the bureaucrats who are the protectors of the State, but the fact remains
nevertheless. The rulers of the State can guarantee tranquillity and order
only in case the State embodies a philosophy which is shared
in by the people as a whole; so that elements of disturbance can be treated
as isolated criminals, instead of being considered as the champions of an
idea which is diametrically opposed to official opinions. If such should
be the case the State may employ the most violent measures for centuries
long against the terror that threatens it; but in the end all these measures
will prove futile, and the State will have to succumb.
The German State is intensely overrun by Marxism. In a struggle that went
on for seventy years the State was not able to prevent the triumph of the
Marxist idea. Even though the sentences to penal servitude and imprisonment
amounted in all to thousands of years, and even though the most sanguinary
methods of repression were in innumerable instances threatened against the
champions of the Marxist philosophy, in the end the State was
forced to capitulate almost completely. The ordinary bourgeois political
leaders will deny all this, but their protests are futile.
Seeing that the State capitulated unconditionally to Marxism on November
9th, 1918, it will not suddenly rise up tomorrow as the conqueror of Marxism.
On the contrary. Bourgeois simpletons sitting on office stools in the various
ministries babble about the necessity of not governing against the wishes
of the workers, and by the word 'workers' they mean the Marxists. By identifying
the German worker with Marxism not only are they guilty of a vile falsification
of the truth, but they thus try to hide their own collapse before the Marxist
idea and the Marxist organization.
In view of the complete subordination of the present State to Marxism, the
National Socialist Movement feels all the more bound not only to prepare
the way for the triumph of its idea by appealing to the reason and understanding
of the public but also to take upon itself the responsibility of organizing
its own defence against the terror of the International, which is intoxicated
with its own victory.
I have already described how practical experience in our young movement led
us slowly to organize a system of defence for our meetings. This gradually
assumed the character of a military body specially trained for the maintenance
of order, and tended to develop into a service which would have its properly
This new formation might resemble the defence associations externally, but
in reality there were no grounds of comparison between the one and the other.
As I have already said, the German defence organizations did not have any
definite political ideas of their own. They really were only associations
for mutual protection, and they were trained and organized accordingly, so
that they were an illegal complement or auxiliary to the legal forces of
the State. Their character as free corps arose only from the way in which
they were constructed and the situation in which the State found itself at
that time. But they certainly could not claim to be free corps on the grounds
that they were associations formed freely and privately for the purpose of
fighting for their own freely formed political convictions. Such they were
not, despite the fact that some of their leaders and some associations as
such were definitely opposed to the Republic. For before we can speak of
political convictions in the higher sense we must be something more than
merely convinced that the existing regime is defective. Political convictions
in the higher sense mean that one has the picture of a new regime clearly
before one's mind, feels that the establishment of this regime is an absolute
necessity and sets himself to carry out that purpose as the highest task
to which his life can be devoted.
The troops for the preservation of order, which were then formed under the
National Socialist Movement, were fundamentally different from all the other
defence associations by reason of the fact that our formations were not meant
in any way to defend the state of things created by the Revolution, but rather
that they were meant exclusively to support our struggle for the creation
of a new Germany.
In the beginning this body was merely a guard to maintain order at our meetings.
Its first task was limited to making it possible for us to hold our meetings,
which otherwise would have been completely prevented by our opponents. These
men were at that time trained merely for purposes of attack, but they were
not taught to adore the big stick exclusively, as was then pretended in stupid
German patriotic circles. They used the cudgel because they knew that it
can be made impossible for high ideals to be put forward if the man who
endeavours to propagate them can be struck down with the cudgel. As a matter
of fact, it has happened in history not infrequently that some of the greatest
minds have perished under the blows of the most insignificant helots. Our
bodyguards did not look upon violence as an end in itself, but they protected
the expositors of ideal aims and purposes against hostile coercion by violence.
They also understood that there was no obligation to undertake the defence
of a State which did not guarantee the defence of the nation, but that, on
the contrary, they had to defend the nation against those who were threatening
to destroy nation and State.
After the fight which took place at the meeting in the Munich Hofbräuhaus,
where the small number of our guards who were present won everlasting fame
for themselves by the heroic manner in which they stormed the adversaries;
these guards were called The Storm Detachment. As the name itself indicates,
they represent only a detachment of the Movement. They are one constituent
element of it, just as is the Press, the propaganda, educational institutes,
and other sections of the Party.
We learned how necessary was the formation of such a body, not only from
our experience on the occasion of that memorable meeting but also when we
sought gradually to carry the Movement beyond Munich and extend it to the
other parts of Germany. Once we had begun to appear as a danger to Marxism
the Marxists lost no opportunity of trying to crush beforehand all preparations
for the holding of National Socialist meetings. When they did not succeed
in this they tried to break up the meeting itself. It goes without saying
that all the Marxist organizations, no matter of what grade or view, blindly
supported the policy and activities of their representations in every case.
But what is to be said of the bourgeois parties who, when they were reduced
to silence by these same Marxists and in many places did not dare to send
their speakers to appear before the public, yet showed themselves pleased,
in a stupid and incomprehensible manner, every time we received any kind
of set-back in our fight against Marxism. The bourgeois parties were happy
to think that those whom they themselves could not stand up against, but
had to knuckle down to, could not be broken by us. What must be said of those
State officials, chiefs of police, and even cabinet ministers, who showed
a scandalous lack of principle in presenting themselves externally to the
public as 'national' and yet shamelessly acted as the henchmen of the Marxists
in the disputes which we, National Socialists, had with the latter. What
can be said of persons who debased themselves so far, for the sake of a little
abject praise in the Jewish Press, that they persecuted those men to whose
heroic courage and intervention, regardless of risk, they were partly indebted
for not having been torn to pieces by the Red mob a few years previously
and strung up to the lamp-posts?
One day these lamentable phenomena fired the late but unforgotten Prefect
Pöhner a man whose unbending straightforwardness forced him to
hate all twisters and to hate them as only a man with an honest heart can
hate to say: "In all my life I wished to be first a German and then
an official, and I never wanted to mix up with these creatures who, as if
they were kept officials, prostituted themselves before anybody who could
play lord and master for the time being."
It was a specially sad thing that gradually tens of thousands of honest and
loyal servants of the State did not only come under the power of such people
but were also slowly contaminated by their unprincipled morals. Moreover,
these kind of men pursued honest officials with a furious hatred, degrading
them and driving them from their positions, and yet passed themselves off
as 'national' by the aid of their lying hypocrisy.
From officials of that kind we could expect no support, and only in very
rare instances was it given. Only by building up its own defence could our
movement become secure and attract that amount of public attention and general
respect which is given to those who can defend themselves when attacked.
As an underlying principle in the internal development of the Storm Detachment,
we came to the decision that not only should it be perfectly trained in bodily
efficiency but that the men should be so instructed as to make them indomitably
convinced champions of the National Socialist ideas and, finally, that they
should be schooled to observe the strictest discipline. This body was to
have nothing to do with the defence organizations of the bourgeois type and
especially not with any secret organization.
My reasons at that time for guarding strictly against letting the Storm
Detachment of the German National Socialist Labour Party appear as a defence
association were as follows:
On purely practical grounds it is impossible to build up a national defence
organization by means of private associations, unless the State makes an
enormous contribution to it. Whoever thinks otherwise overestimates his own
powers. Now it is entirely out of the question to form organizations of any
military value for a definite purpose on the principle of so-called
'voluntary discipline'. Here the chief support for enforcing orders, namely,
the power of inflicting punishment, is lacking. In the autumn, or rather
in the spring, of 1919 it was still possible to raise 'volunteer corps',
not only because most of the men who came forward at that time had been through
the school of the old Army, but also because the kind of duty imposed there
constrained the individual to absolute obedience at least for a definite
period of time.
That spirit is entirely lacking in the volunteer defence organizations of
today. The more the defence association grows, the weaker its discipline
becomes and so much the less can one demand from the individual members.
Thus the whole organization will more and more assume the character of the
old non-political associations of war comrades and veterans.
It is impossible to carry through a voluntary training in military service
for larger masses unless one is assured absolute power of command. There
will always be few men who will voluntarily and spontaneously submit to that
kind of obedience which is considered natural and necessary in the Army.
Moreover, a proper system of military training cannot be developed where
there are such ridiculously scanty means as those at the disposal of the
defence associations. The principal task of such an institution must be to
impart the best and most reliable kind of instruction. Eight years have passed
since the end of the War, and during that time none of our German youth,
at an age when formerly they would have had to do military service, have
received any systematic training at all. The aim of a defence association
cannot be to enlist here and now all those who have already received a military
training; for in that case it could be reckoned with mathematical accuracy
when the last member would leave the association. Even the younger soldier
from 1918 will no longer be fit for front-line service twenty years later,
and we are approaching that state of things with a rapidity that gives cause
for anxiety. Thus the defence associations must assume more and more the
aspect of the old ex-service men's societies. But that cannot be the meaning
and purpose of an institution which calls itself, not an association of
ex-service men but a defence association, indicating by this title that it
considers its task to be, not only to preserve the tradition of the old soldiers
and hold them together but also to propagate the idea of national defence
and be able to carry this idea into practical effect, which means the creation
of a body of men who are fit and trained for military defence.
But this implies that those elements will receive a military training which
up to now have received none. This is something that in practice is impossible
for the defence associations. Real soldiers cannot be made by a training
of one or two hours per week. In view of the enormously increasing demands
which modern warfare imposes on each individual soldier today, a military
service of two years is barely sufficient to transform a raw recruit into
a trained soldier. At the Front during the War we all saw the fearful
consequences which our young recruits had to suffer from their lack of a
thorough military training. Volunteer formations which had been drilled for
fifteen or twenty weeks under an iron discipline and shown unlimited self-denial
proved nevertheless to be no better than cannon fodder at the Front. Only
when distributed among the ranks of the old and experienced soldiers could
the young recruits, who had been trained for four or six months, become useful
members of a regiment. Guided by the 'old men', they adapted themselves gradually
to their task.
In the light of all this, how hopeless must the attempt be to create a body
of fighting troops by a so-called training of one or two hours in the week,
without any definite power of command and without any considerable means.
In that way perhaps one could refresh military training in old soldiers,
but raw recruits cannot thus be transformed into expert soldiers.
How such a proceeding produces utterly worthless results may also be demonstrated
by the fact that at the same time as these so-called volunteer defence
associations, with great effort and outcry and under difficulties and lack
of necessities, try to educate and train a few thousand men of goodwill (the
others need not be taken into account) for purposes of national defence,
the State teaches our young men democratic and pacifist ideas and thus deprives
millions and millions of their national instincts, poisons their logical
sense of patriotism and gradually turns them into a herd of sheep who will
patiently follow any arbitrary command. Thus they render ridiculous all those
attempts made by the defence associations to inculcate their ideas in the
minds of the German youth.
Almost more important is the following consideration, which has always made
me take up a stand against all attempts at a so-called military training
on the basis of the volunteer associations.
Assuming that, in spite of all the difficulties just mentioned, a defence
association were successful in training a certain number of Germans every
year to be efficient soldiers, not only as regards their mental outlook but
also as regards bodily efficiency and the expert handling of arms, the result
must necessarily be null and void in a State whose whole tendency makes it
not only look upon such a defensive formation as undesirable but even positively
hate it, because such an association would completely contradict the intimate
aims of the political leaders, who are the corrupters of this State.
But anyhow, such a result would be worthless under governments which have
demonstrated by their own acts that they do not lay the slightest importance
on the military power of the nation and are not disposed to permit an appeal
to that power only in case that it were necessary for the protection of their
own malignant existence.
And that is the state of affairs today. It is not ridiculous to think of
training some ten thousand men in the use of arms, and carry on that training
surreptitiously, when a few years previously the State, having shamefully
sacrificed eight-and-a-half million highly trained soldiers, not merely did
not require their services any more, but, as a mark of gratitude for their
sacrifices, held them up to public contumely. Shall we train soldiers for
a regime which besmirched and spat upon our most glorious soldiers, tore
the medals and badges from their breasts, trampled on their flags and derided
their achievements? Has the present regime taken one step towards restoring
the honour of the old army and bringing those who destroyed and outraged
it to answer for their deeds? Not in the least. On the contrary, the people
I have just referred to may be seen enthroned in the highest positions under
the State today. And yet it was said at Leipzig: "Right goes with might."
Since, however, in our Republic today might is in the hands of the very
men who arranged for the Revolution, and since that Revolution represents
a most despicable act of high treason against the nation yea, the
vilest act in German history there can surely be no grounds for saying
that might of this character should be enhanced by the formation of a new
young army. It is against all sound reason.
The importance which this State attached, after the Revolution of 1918, to
the reinforcement of its position from the military point of view is clearly
and unmistakably demonstrated by its attitude towards the large self-defence
organizations which existed in that period. They were not unwelcome as long
as they were of use for the personal protection of the miserable creatures
cast up by the Revolution.
But the danger to these creatures seemed to disappear as the debasement of
our people gradually increased. As the existence of the defence associations
no longer implied a reinforcement of the national policy they became superfluous.
Hence every effort was made to disarm them and suppress them wherever that
History records only a few examples of gratitude on the part of princes.
But there is not one patriot among the new bourgeoisie who can count on the
gratitude of revolutionary incendiaries and assassins, persons who have enriched
themselves from the public spoil and betrayed the nation. In examining the
problem as to the wisdom of forming these defence associations I have never
ceased to ask: 'For whom shall I train these young men? For what purpose
will they be employed when they will have to be called out?' The answer to
these questions lays down at the same time the best rule for us to follow.
If the present State should one day have to call upon trained troops of this
kind it would never be for the purpose of defending the interests of the
nation vis-à-vis those of the stranger but rather to protect the
oppressors of the nation inside the country against the danger of a general
outbreak of wrath on the part of a nation which has been deceived and betrayed
and whose interests have been bartered away.
For this reason it was decided that the Storm Detachment of the German National
Socialist Labour Party ought not to be in the nature of a military organization.
It had to be an instrument of protection and education for the National Socialist
Movement and its duties should be in quite a different sphere from that of
the military defence association.
And, of course, the Storm Detachment should not be in the nature of a secret
organization. Secret organizations are established only for purposes that
are against the law. Therewith the purpose of such an organization is limited
by its very nature. Considering the loquacious propensities of the German
people, it is not possible to build up any vast organization, keeping it
secret at the same time and cloaking its purpose. Every attempt of that kind
is destined to turn out absolutely futile. It is not merely that our police
officials today have at their disposal a staff of eavesdroppers and other
such rabble who are ready to play traitor, like Judas, for thirty pieces
of silver and will betray whatever secrets they can discover and will invent
what they would like to reveal. In order to forestall such eventualities,
it is never possible to bind one's own followers to the silence that is
necessary. Only small groups can become really secret societies, and that
only after long years of filtration. But the very smallness of such groups
would deprive them of all value for the National Socialist Movement. What
we needed then and need now is not one or two hundred dare-devil conspirators
but a hundred thousand devoted champions of our philosophy of life. The
work must not be done through secret conventicles but through formidable
mass demonstrations in public. Dagger and pistol and poison-vial cannot clear
the way for the progress of the movement. That can be done only by winning
over the man in the street. We must overthrow Marxism, so that for the future
National Socialism will be master of the street, just as it will one day
become master of the State.
There is another danger connected with secret societies. It lies in the fact
that their members often completely misunderstand the greatness of the task
in hand and are apt to believe that a favourable destiny can be assured for
the nation all at once by means of a single murder. Such a belief may find
historical justification by appealing to cases where a nation had been suffering
under the tyranny of some oppressor who at the same time was a man of genius
and whose extraordinary personality guaranteed the internal solidity of his
position and enabled him to maintain his fearful oppression. In such cases
a man may suddenly arise from the ranks of the people who is ready to sacrifice
himself and plunge the deadly steel into the heart of the hated individual.
In order to look upon such a deed as abhorrent one must have the republican
mentality of that petty canaille who are conscious of their own crime. But
the greatest champion of liberty that the German people have
ever had has glorified such a deed in William Tell.
During 1919 and 1920 there was danger that the members of secret organizations,
under the influence of great historical examples and overcome by the immensity
of the nation's misfortunes, might attempt to wreak vengeance on the destroyers
of their country, under the belief that this would end the miseries of the
people. All such attempts were sheer folly, for the reason that the Marxist
triumph was not due to the superior genius of one remarkable person but rather
to immeasurable incompetence and cowardly shirking on the part of the
bourgeoisie. The hardest criticism that can be uttered against our bourgeoisie
is simply to state the fact that it submitted to the Revolution, even though
the Revolution did not produce one single man of eminent worth. One can always
understand how it was possible to capitulate before a Robespierre, a Danton,
or a Marat; but it was utterly scandalous to go down on all fours before
the withered Scheidemann, the obese Herr Erzberger, Frederick Ebert, and
the innumerable other political pigmies of the Revolution. There was not
a single man of parts in whom one could see the revolutionary man of genius.
Therein lay the country's misfortune; for they were only revolutionary bugs,
Spartacists wholesale and retail. To suppress one of them would be an act
of no consequence. The only result would be that another pair of bloodsuckers,
equally fat and thirsty, would be ready to take his place.
During those years we had to take up a determined stand against an idea which
owed its origin and foundation to historical episodes that were really great,
but to which our own despicable epoch did not bear the slightest similarity.
The same reply may be given when there is question of putting somebody 'on
the spot' who has acted as a traitor to his country. It would be ridiculous
and illogical to shoot a poor wretch who had betrayed the
position of a howitzer to the enemy while the highest positions of the government
are occupied by a rabble who bartered away a whole empire, who have on their
consciences the deaths of two million men who were sacrificed in vain, fellows
who were responsible for the millions maimed in the war and who make a thriving
business out of the republican regime without allowing their souls to be
disturbed in any way. It would be absurd to do away with small traitors in
a State whose government has absolved the great traitors from all punishment.
For it might easily happen that one day an honest idealist, who, out of love
for his country, had removed from circulation some miserable informer that
had given information about secret stores of arms might now be called to
answer for his act before the chief traitors of the country. And there is
still an important question: Shall some small traitorous creature be suppressed
by another small traitor, or by an idealist? In the former case the result
would be doubtful and the deed would almost surely be revealed later on.
In the second case a petty rascal is put out of the way and the life of an
idealist who may be irreplaceable is in jeopardy.
For myself, I believe that small thieves should not be hanged while big thieves
are allowed to go free. One day a national tribunal will have to judge and
sentence some tens of thousands of organizers who were responsible for the
criminal November betrayal and all the consequences that followed on it.
Such an example will teach the necessary lesson, once and for ever, to those
paltry traitors who revealed to the enemy the places where arms were hidden.
On the grounds of these considerations I steadfastly forbade all participation
in secret societies, and I took care that the Storm Detachment should not
assume such a character. During those years I kept the National Socialist
Movement away from those experiments which were being undertaken by young
Germans who for the most part were inspired with a sublime idealism but who
became the victims of their own deeds, because they could not ameliorate
the lot of their fatherland to the slightest degree.
If then the Storm Detachment must not be either a military defence organization
or a secret society, the following conclusions must result:
1. Its training must not be organized from the military standpoint but from
the standpoint of what is most practical for party purposes. Seeing that
its members must undergo a good physical training, the place of chief importance
must not be given to military drill but rather to the practice of sports.
I have always considered boxing and ju-jitsu more important than some kind
of bad, because mediocre, training in rifle-shooting. If the German nation
were presented with a body of young men who had been perfectly trained in
athletic sports, who were imbued with an ardent love for their country and
a readiness to take the initiative in a fight, then the national State could
make an army out of that body within less than two years if it were necessary,
provided the cadres already existed. In the actual state of affairs only
the Reichswehr could furnish the cadres and not a defence organization that
was neither one thing nor the other. Bodily efficiency would develop in the
individual a conviction of his superiority and would give him that confidence
which is always based only on the consciousness of one's own powers. They
must also develop that athletic agility which can be employed as a defensive
weapon in the service of the Movement.
2. In order to safeguard the Storm Detachment against any tendency towards
secrecy, not only must the uniform be such that it can immediately be recognized
by everybody, but the large number of its effectives show the direction in
which the Movement is going and which must be known to the whole public.
The members of the Storm Detachment must not hold secret gatherings but must
march in the open and thus, by their actions, put an end to all legends about
a secret organization. In order to keep them away from all temptations towards
finding an outlet for their activities in small conspiracies, from the very
beginning we had to inculcate in their minds the great idea of the Movement
and educate them so thoroughly to the task of defending this idea that their
horizon became enlarged and that the individual no longer considered it his
mission to remove from circulation some rascal or other, whether big or small,
but to devote himself entirely to the task of bringing about the establishment
of a new National Socialist People's State. In this way the struggle against
the present State was placed on a higher plane than that of petty revenge
and small conspiracies. It was elevated to the level of a spiritual struggle
on behalf of a philosophical war, for the destruction of Marxism in all its
shapes and forms.
3. The form of organization adopted for the Storm Detachment, as well as
its uniform and equipment, had to follow different models from those of the
old Army. They had to be specially suited to the requirements of the task
that was assigned to the Storm Detachment.
These were the ideas I followed in 1920 and 1921. I endeavoured to instil
them gradually into the members of the young organization. And the result
was that by the midsummer of 1922 we had a goodly number of formations which
consisted of a hundred men each. By the late autumn of that year these formations
received their distinctive uniforms. There were three events which turned
out to be of supreme importance for the subsequent development of the Storm
1. The great mass demonstration against the Law for the Protection of the
Republic. This demonstration was held in the late summer of 1922 on the
Königs-platz in Munich, by all the patriotic societies. The National
Socialist Movement also participated in it. The march-past of our party,
in serried ranks, was led by six Munich companies of a hundred men each,
followed by the political sections of the Party. Two bands marched with us
and about fifteen flags were carried. When the National Socialists arrived
at the great square it was already half full, but no flag was flying. Our
entry aroused unbounded enthusiasm. I myself had the honour of being one
of the speakers who addressed that mass of about sixty thousand people.
The demonstration was an overwhelming success; especially because it was
proved for the first time that nationalist Munich could march on the streets,
in spite of all threats from the Reds. Members of the organization for the
defence of the Red Republic endeavoured to hinder the marching columns by
their terrorist activities, but they were scattered by the companies of the
Storm Detachment within a few minutes and sent off with bleeding skulls.
The National Socialist Movement had then shown for the first time that in
future it was determined to exercise the right to march on the streets and
thus take this monopoly away from the international traitors and enemies
of the country.
The result of that day was an incontestable proof that our ideas for the
creation of the Storm Detachment were right, both from the psychological
viewpoint and as to the manner in which this body was organized.
On the basis of this success the enlistment progressed so rapidly that within
a few weeks the number of Munich companies of a hundred men each became doubled.
2. The expedition to Coburg in October 1922.
Certain People's Societies had decided to hold a German Day at Coburg. I
was invited to take part, with the intimation that they wished me to bring
a following along. This invitation, which I received at eleven o'clock in
the morning, arrived just in time. Within an hour the arrangements for our
participation in the German Congress were ready. I picked eight hundred men
of the Storm Detachment to accompany me. These were divided into about fourteen
companies and had to be brought by special train from Munich to Coburg, which
had just voted by plebiscite to be annexed to Bavaria. Corresponding orders
were given to other groups of the National Socialist Storm Detachment which
had meanwhile been formed in various other localities.
This was the first time that such a special train ran in Germany. At all
the places where the new members of the Storm Detachment joined us our train
caused a sensation. Many of the people had never seen our flag. And it made
a very great impression.
As we arrived at the station in Coburg we were received by a deputation of
the organizing committee of the German Day. They announced that it had been
'arranged' at the orders of local trades unions that is to say, the
Independent and Communist Parties that we should not enter the town
with our flags unfurled and our band playing (we had a band consisting of
forty-two musicians with us) and that we should not march with closed ranks.
I immediately rejected these unmilitary conditions and did not fail to declare
before the gentlemen who had arranged this 'day' how astonished I was at
the idea of their negotiating with such people and coming to an agreement
with them. Then I announced that the Storm Troops would immediately march
into the town in company formation, with our flags flying and the band playing.
And that is what happened.
As we came out into the station yard we were met by a growling and yelling
mob of several thousand, that shouted at us: 'Assassins', 'Bandits',
'Robbers', 'Criminals'. These were the choice names which these exemplary
founders of the German Republic showered on us. The young Storm Detachment
gave a model example of order. The companies fell into formation on the square
in front of the station and at first took no notice of the insults hurled
at them by the mob. The police were anxious. They did not pilot us to the
quarters assigned to us on the outskirts of Coburg, a city quite unknown
to us, but to the Hofbräuhaus Keller in the centre of the town. Right
and left of our march the tumult raised by the accompanying mob steadily
increased. Scarcely had the last company entered the courtyard of the
Hofbräuhaus when the huge mass made a rush to get in after them, shouting
madly. In order to prevent this, the police closed the gates. Seeing the
position was untenable I called the Storm Detachment to attention and then
asked the police to open the gates immediately. After a good deal of hesitation,
We now marched back along the same route as we had come, in the direction
of our quarters, and there we had to make a stand against the crowd. As their
cries and yells all along the route had failed to disturb the equanimity
of our companies, the champions of true Socialism, Equality, and Fraternity
now took to throwing stones. That brought our patience to an end. For ten
minutes long, blows fell right and left, like a devastating shower of hail.
Fifteen minutes later there were no more Reds to be seen in the street.
The collisions which took place when the night came on were more serious.
Patrols of the Storm Detachment had discovered National Socialists who had
been attacked singly and were in an atrocious state. Thereupon we made short
work of the opponents. By the following morning the Red terror, under which
Coburg had been suffering for years, was definitely smashed.
Adopting the typically Marxist and Jewish method of spreading falsehoods,
leaflets were distributed by hand on the streets, bearing the caption: "Comrades
and Comradesses of the International Proletariat." These leaflets were meant
to arouse the wrath of the populace. Twisting the facts completely around,
they declared that our 'bands of assasins' had commenced 'a war of extermination
against the peaceful workers of Coburg'. At half-past one that day there
was to be a 'great popular demonstration', at which it was hoped that the
workers of the whole district would turn up. I was determined finally to
crush this Red terror and so I summoned the Storm Detachment to meet at midday.
Their number had now increased to 1,500. I decided to march with these men
to the Coburg Festival and to cross the big square where the Red demonstration
was to take place. I wanted to see if they would attempt to assault us again.
When we entered the square we found that instead of the ten thousand that
had been advertised, there were only a few hundred people present. As we
approached they remained silent for the most part, and some ran away. Only
at certain points along the route some bodies of Reds, who had arrived from
outside the city and had not yet come to know us, attempted to start a row.
But a few fisticuffs put them to flight. And now one could see how the
population, which had for such a long time been so wretchedly intimidated,
slowly woke up and recovered their courage. They welcomed us openly, and
in the evening, on our return march, spontaneous shouts of jubilation broke
out at several points along the route.
At the station the railway employees informed us all of a sudden that our
train would not move. Thereupon I had some of the ringleaders told that if
this were the case I would have all the Red Party heroes arrested that fell
into our hands, that we would drive the train ourselves, but that we would
take away with us, in the locomotive and tender and in some of the carriages,
a few dozen members of this brotherhood of international solidarity. I did
not omit to let those gentry know that if we had to conduct the train the
journey would undoubtedly be a very risky adventure and that we might all
break our necks. It would be a consolation, however, to know that we should
not go to Eternity alone, but in equality and fraternity with the Red gentry.
Thereupon the train departed punctually and we arrived next morning in Munich
safe and sound.
Thus at Coburg, for the first time since 1914, the equality of all citizens
before the law was re-established. For even if some coxcomb of a higher official
should assert today that the State protects the lives of its citizens, at
least in those days it was not so. For at that time the citizens had to defend
themselves against the representatives of the present State.
At first it was not possible fully to estimate the importance of the consequences
which resulted from that day. The victorious Storm Troops had their confidence
in themselves considerably reinforced and also their faith in the sagacity
of their leaders. Our contemporaries began to pay us special attention and
for the first time many recognized the National Socialist Movement as an
organization that in all probability was destined to bring the Marxist folly
to a deserving end.
Only the democrats lamented the fact that we had not the complaisance to
allow our skulls to be cracked and that we had dared, in a democratic Republic,
to hit back with fists and sticks at a brutal assault, rather than with pacifist
Generally speaking, the bourgeois Press was partly distressed and partly
vulgar, as always. Only a few decent newspapers expressed their satisfaction
that at least in one locality the Marxist street bullies had been effectively
And in Coburg itself at least a part of the Marxist workers who must be looked
upon as misled, learned from the blows of National Socialist fists that these
workers were also fighting for ideals, because experience teaches that the
human being fights only for something in which he believes and which he loves.
The Storm Detachment itself benefited most from the Coburg events. It grew
so quickly in numbers that at the Party Congress in January 1923 six thousand
men participated in the ceremony of consecrating the flags and the first
companies were fully clad in their new uniform.
Our experience in Coburg proved how essential it is to introduce one distinctive
uniform for the Storm Detachment, not only for the purpose of strengthening
the esprit de corps but also to avoid confusion and the danger of
not recognizing the opponent in a squabble. Up to that time they had merely
worn the armlet, but now the tunic and the well-known cap were added.
But the Coburg experience had also another important result. We now determined
to break the Red Terror in all those localities where for many years it had
prevented men of other views from holding their meetings. We were determined
to restore the right of free assembly. From that time onwards we brought
our battalions together in such places and little by little the red citadels
of Bavaria, one after another, fell before the National Socialist propaganda.
The Storm Troops became more and more adept at their job. They increasingly
lost all semblance of an aimless and lifeless defence movement and came out
into the light as an active militant organization, fighting for the establishment
of a new German State.
This logical development continued until March 1923. Then an event occurred
which made me divert the Movement from the course hitherto followed and introduce
some changes in its outer formation.
In the first months of 1923 the French occupied the Ruhr district. The
consequence of this was of great importance in the development of the Storm
It is not yet possible, nor would it be in the interest of the nation, to
write or speak openly and freely on the subject. I shall speak of it only
as far as the matter has been dealt with in public discussions and thus brought
to the knowledge of everybody.
The occupation of the Ruhr district, which did not come as a surprise to
us, gave grounds for hoping that Germany would at last abandon its cowardly
policy of submission and therewith give the defensive associations a definite
task to fulfil. The Storm Detachment also, which now numbered several thousand
of robust and vigorous young men, should not be excluded from this national
service. During the spring and summer of 1923 it was transformed into a fighting
military organization. It is to this reorganization that we must in great
part attribute the later developments that took place during 1923, in so
far as it affected our Movement.
Elsewhere I shall deal in broad outline with the development of events in
1923. Here I wish only to state that the transformation of the Storm Detachment
at that time must have been detrimental to the interests of the Movement
if the conditions that had motivated the change were not to be carried into
effect, namely, the adoption of a policy of active resistance against France.
The events which took place at the close of 1923, terrible as they may appear
at first sight, were almost a necessity if looked at from a higher standpoint;
because, in view of the attitude taken by the Government of the German Reich,
conversion of the Storm Troops into a military force would be meaningless
and thus a transformation which would also be harmful to the Movement was
ended at one stroke. At the same time it was made possible for us to reconstruct
at the point where we had been diverted from the proper course.
In the year 1925 the German National Socialist Labour Party was re-founded
and had to organize and train its Storm Detachment once again according to
the principles I have laid down. It must return to the original idea and
once more it must consider its most essential task to function as the instrument
of defence and reinforcement in the spiritual struggle to establish the ideals
of the Movement.
The Storm Detachment must not be allowed to sink to the level of something
in the nature of a defence organization or a secret society. Steps must be
taken rather to make it a vanguard of 100,000 men in the struggle for the
National Socialist ideal which is based on the profound principle of a
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