Not-Liveblogging World War II: May 1, 1945: The Man of "Destiny": Nicholas Fairweather on Adolf Hitler in 1932
Nicholas Fairweather, March 1932:
Hitler and Hitlerism: A Man of Destiny: AT the present juncture, when the followers of Adolf Hitler appear to be the strongest group in Germany, when, as the London Times recently said:
the Hitler movement has ceased to be the frothy ebullition of irresponsible young men, and undoubtedly represents at the moment the most powerful element of public feeling which the Chancellor has to take into account,
it may be of interest to consider the ideas of this extraordinary man, what he believes, and how he came to believe it. When Hitler was in prison, after the Bavarian Putsch of 1923, he set himself to write down for the instruction of his followers a full account of his political philosophy. The volume that resulted, entitled Mein Kampf ('My Fight'), is now the Bible of the National Socialist movement and is diligently circulated among faithful by the official 'Nazi' publishing house. It was not intended (in fact, Hitler has always declined) to offer a detailed programme or outline a specific procedure for attaining the National Socialist ideals when the actual control of Germany shall have fallen to his party; nevertheless the book does indicate very clearly the governing ideas, the fundamental points of view, the feelings and beliefs, which will guide him if he comes to power....
The principal articles of Hitler's political faith may be briefly summarized as follows:
His violent racial nationalism, which springs from his conviction that the Aryan stocks in general, and the Germans in particular, are a chosen people in whose victorious survival the divine purposes are bound up.
His violent animosity to Marxian Socialism as in essence opposed to his ideal of a nationally minded people and a racial state. He condemns the Socialism of Marx as a poisonous teaching which by its humanitarianism, its internationalism, and its pacifism—all legacies of the unnatural an unwholesome democracy of the French Revolution—operates to undermine the clean ideal of Aryan (that is, German) overlordship.
His violent hatred of the Jews as the racial enemies of all Aryans....
His concern for social betterment ('true Socialism') as a necessary prerequisite to the acceptance of his ideals by the masses.
His contempt for the intelligence of the ordinary man and for a democracy based on faith in his development to higher levels.
His contempt for parliamentary institutions as the organs of such a democracy, which substitutes for the decision of a competent leader the majority vote of the incompetent. A parliament, moreover, says Hitler, is the natural field of operations for the Jewish Socialist enemy.
His insistence on the power of personality and on the entire concentration of authority in the hands of one leader (up to now, himself).
His economic nationalism, with its distrust of international capital and its preference for small, locally controlled business organizations....
His insistence that Germany must acquire more land in Europe as a vital requirement for national expansion and progress (after the present corruption of the national blood and the national ideals has been stopped).
His insistence that France is the archenemy. France, he urges, must be broken before Germany can undertake to conquer land from Russia (the only possible source).
All these extraordinary ideas Hitler traces to their origin in the experiences of his early years--all except his passion for German nationalism, which seems to have antedated the beginnings of his conscious thought and to have been the guiding principle of his life.... During the last ten years, however, he has established himself in control of a movement which now numbers not less than eight million supporters, and he has certainly not done this on blood-and thunder talk alone....
He regards the mass meeting as the only really effective way of influencing people, because it is the only way of bringing the masses into immediate personal contact with the leader. Hitler himself has the gift of capturing audiences. Distrusting the written word, he says that great revolutions are 'never led by a goose quill.' Power depends on 'the magic of the spoken word.' The pen can serve only for the theoretical justification of a movement, but the movement itself must be of the people, who must be aroused either by suffering or by the flaming torch of the fiery word scattered among them. The Pan German movement in Austria failed, he says, because its representatives spoke only in Parliament and not to the people....
His views of German foreign policy before the war are illuminating. Germany had to provide for an annual increase in population of about 900,000, and this cardinal fact should have determined the course she was to follow. There are only four possible ways, says Hitler, of deaing with such a population problem: (1) by limiting the increase, as in France but this leads to a deterioration of the stock by eliminating the struggle for existence and causing weak children to be brought up; (2) by 'interior colonization' but Germany had no vacant land available for this purpose; (3) by conquering new land; (4) by building up colonies and expanding industry and export trade. The last course was the one that Germany adopted, but it was a mistake from every point of view. It brought on all the evils of a highly industrialized state and neglected the welfare of the peasantry, whose vigor was the surest foundation of the country's well being.
Instead of following a policy of economic conquest, Germany should have looked to her peasants and provided for their expansion by annexing new territory in Europe. This could only have been done at the expense of Russia, and all of Germany's alliances should have been directed toward this end. In carrying out such a programme, Germany would have had England as a natural ally, and could have advanced eastward with the assurance that her rear would be protected. England would have been eager for such an alliance shortly after 1900, and, if German diplomacy had been shrewdly directed, Germany would have taken over Japan's role in 1904 and there would have been no World War.
Instead of this, Germany chose the way of colonies, foreign trade, and sea power, and England became her enemy. On the greatness and toughness of England, and her desirability as an ally for Germany, Hitler dilates at some length, and he indicates that it is still not too late to win her over. As long as British sea power exists, he says, he would favor an alliance with England and would look to the acquisition of land in the not yet fully populated areas between Germany's eastern border and the Ural Mountains....
For centuries the German race pushed irresistibly to the south and west; now it must turn its gaze to the east. The fringe of small border states which now stand between Germany and Russia must not be allowed to block her path; in the affairs of a great people there is no place for altruism. When the present Jewish regime in Russia crumbles, and Hitler thinks it inevitable that it will, Russia will be in a state of collapse. Then will come Germany's opportunity, and she will win new ground through 'the might of a victorious sword.'
Of course France will never stand idly by and see Germany strengthen herself at Russia's expense, so France must be crushed first. France, says Hitler, will never be happy until Germany is destroyed; there is no defense against her, therefore, except to attack her. France is the mortal enemy, who must be broken before Germany can expand elsewhere. All this is to be accomplished, presumably, indeed, Hitler says as much, through the help of alliances with England and Italy. That such a programme of conquest would again arouse the world against Germany, Hitler fails to see; or, if the possibility occurs to him, he waves it aside, drunk with his doctrine of the survival of the fittest, and his faith that the fittest of all are the Germans. Confidently, then, he faces the world as he sees it 'this world of eternal struggle where, in every part of it, one being feeds upon another and the death of the weaker is the life of the stronger.'...
Thus, with Hitler, no aim changes, even though all aims may have to bend to the necessities of the moment. The philosopher sets the ultimate goal; the practical politician judges what is possible at any given instant and strives for that. And, among the Nazis, Hitler exercises both functions...