Background: F. H. Woweries held a variety of top Nazi positions, including a term as editor of Der Hoheitsträger, a monthly for party leaders. He was also an SS member. This book intends to present something of a Nazi view of military ethics for soldiers. The copy I’m working from brought the print run to 675,000. At least a million copies were published in total.
The text changed somewhat as new editions appeared. I began translating this from the 1941 version — which I then lost. So when I got back to the translation, I began using the earlier 1940 edition, and quickly noted significant changes. This original version was written before the campaign in France. The 1941 edition makes changes that take account of the war’s developments. It becomes even more fulsome in its praise of Hitler. For anyone who might be interested in seeing how the pamphlet changed, I’ll keep the translation that I completed of the first chapter of the 1941 version available. And for yet another possibility, Scott Slocum provides a paraphrase of my translation, providing a smoother read, and some explanatory notes.
The source: F. H. Woweries, Deutsche Fibel. Worte an Kameraden (Berlin: Wilhelm Limpert-Verlag, 1940).
A German Primer
Words to Comrades
by F. H. Woweries
Weapons and worldview determine the fighting strength of the military
— Colonel General von Brauchitsch
All the nations that fought during the World War honor an “Unknown Soldier.” In Paris, he rests under the “Arc of Triumph.” In London, he sleeps his final sleep under the black marble of Westminster Abbey. But in Berlin, he lives in the Reich Chancellery. Germany is the only country whose “unknown soldier” is not dead, but lives.
F. Böök, Swedish Academy, Stockholm
He who wants to live must fight, and he who does not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle does not deserve to live. — Adolf Hitler
We marched silently through a damp, cold night in Flanders. The day began to break through the mists. Suddenly, an iron greeting whizzed over our heads. The small bullets pounded into the wet earth between our ranks, and before the small clouds they caused vanished, the first two hundred messengers of death replied from our guns. Now things really began to clatter and thunder, to sing and to howl, and each now pressed forward with fevered eyes until suddenly man-to-man combat broke out in the turnip fields and hedges. In the distance we heard the sounds of a song, coming closer and closer, springing from company to company, and just as death was busy in our ranks the song also reached us and we carried it on: Germany, Germany over all, over all in the world!
We came back after four days. Even our tread was different. Seventeen-year old boys looked like men.
I swear before God this sacred oath, that I will obey absolutely the Führer of the German Reich and people, Adolf Hitler, the Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht, and that I will be ready at any time as a brave soldier to give my life for this oath. [This is the oath German that soldiers took upon induction.]
Comrade, you know that we soldiers in this campaign are part of a decision that is only rarely entrusted to men of our people. It will determine whether our children will be able to live freer, more peaceful, and happier lives than all the German generations before us. It will determine whether three millenia of the shedding of German blood in the West can finally be ended by a German peace. A German peace under Adolf Hitler is a peace that will last, a peace for all of Europe. Europe has had 70 wars over the past 300 years, wars that generally brought misery to the greater part of the European peoples. Millions of our fathers sacrificed their blood for the exhausting achievement of a peace that was betrayed even before it began. Today, we are fighting a total war for a truly total peace. No sacrifice we make in this war will be in vain.
We have a leader who guarantees that to us, one who sacrificed and suffered as a front-line soldier far more than we. He was not above being a simple front-line soldier himself. Who of us may therefore think himself above it? We wear the field gray uniform not only because the Reich has called us to it. We wear it because we carry in our hearts the clear knowledge that this battle will win a future of unimaginable and happy scope. The fruit of our victory will be something that other peoples have not succeeded in doing over a hundred generations: to bring down the dark forces that stand behind governments, the forces that always make money from each bloody war. The larger the sacrifice in blood, the more money they make. There has been enough of that.
Military news means little to them, stock exchange news everything. Their goal is not service to humanity, but rather making money from humanity. They are carriers of a blood whose greed is nourished only by what working people have created in selfless devotion to the health and prosperity of the community. We fight this war in the service of our most precious possessions and traits of character, the best values of the community, for the freedom of creative labor. Labor and blood gave the rulers of the stock exchange and the speculators easy profits, building the power of the plutocrats. It is time to put an end to it. As soldiers of Greater Germany, we bear the weapons that the Führer has entrusted to us, which we keep clean and ready every day. This is no careless adventure! We are fighting for everything that makes life worth living for a free man on this earth. We are soldiers because none of us wants to live the life of a slave, or be a citizen of a nation of serfs, or live without determining our own fates.
Ask yourself, comrade, and your inner self will tell you that we Germans could not have found even an outwardly good excuse to escape this unique trial of fate of our people to gain a cowardly sham peace.
We believe in the holy justice of our struggle. Just as any other people in Europe, we have the right to hold open the door for the millions of German brothers and sisters who want to return home.
What is self-evident for the English and easy for the French must be our right as well. That is why we must win. Who is not willing to fight for this?
We believe that no power on earth has the right to keep that door closed through bloody power. Where it nonetheless happens, where all appeals to reason fail, where intolerable endurance leads only to new acts of force, then it is a sacred right to meet foreign force with still stronger force.We know that this last battle for our honor and for the eternal rights of our people is led by men who themselves experienced and suffered for a thousand days the life of a front-line soldier.
Our leadership will never act carelessly.
We all know that no glory-hungry adventurer has led us down dangerous paths. We know that the Führer who makes decisions knows better than most of us what war means. A Führer who risked his blood and his life for us more than once.
We believe firmly that after our unparalleled generosity and will for peace, the Almighty will not withhold his blessings from our actions. It is the same blessing that allowed the Führer to lead us from Germanys deepest misery to the building of the Greater German Reich.
We believe that the Lord God who did not allow us to perish after 1918, but rather gave us the Führer, will also be with us in the future. We will defeat our foreign enemies, just as we defeated our domestic enemies, Judah and the Treaty of Versailles. We have been victorious in the past because we were fanatic fighters, always willing to sacrifice, firmly confident of victory even in the darkest hour of greatest trial.
We believe in the inevitability of further German victory, come what
A world order that earns its money with human blood should be destroyed!
Each year, millions in profits flow to the family of former Prime Minister Balfour from the Vickers armaments industry. Its profits rose from 530,000 pounds in 1932 to 1,500,000 pounds in 1938.
That is plutocracy.
Plutocracy fears our socialist example. No leader of the new Germany owns stocks! No German Reichstag representative is a member of a board of directors, even in an unpaid capacity. Payment in any form is prohibited. In Britain, 181 Conservative members of parliament alone have 775 highly-paid positions on boards of directors! The program of the NSDAP says clearly and concisely: “Because of the great sacrifice in property and blood that any war demands from the people, personal enrichment through war is a crime against the people.”
This spirit makes the new German order a model for all decent people. We do not want to export our program, but it is open to a watching world.
The tortures of plutocracy or the freedom of labor, exploitation or Strength through Joy [a Nazi labor organization], stock exchange dictatorship by the Jews or the common good of the workers, that is what this struggle is about.
Whenever we cross a border in this war, Jews and exploiters flee.
Where we enter by fighting, we make way for the freedom of truly productive labor.
Where we win, so also the good fortune of workers wins. The understanding of
wins its final recognition. We are fighting so that labor, not theft nor exploitation, is the foundation of the honor of a person and a people. We want peoples to exchange what they produce, not be subject to capitalist interests. We want the good of a people to come before profits, the freedom of the peoples to come before economic war. Our mission is to free Europe totally in all areas of life!
The either/or of this war for Germany, and for Europe, is the choice between money or blood.
In the Reich, we have eighty million people of the same type, united by National Socialism. We have a Führer blessed by the Almighty like no other. We have officers and soldiers who were victorious a thousand times against 29 countries in the World War. Given these three gifts of fate, only our own inability can prevent these gifts from bearing fruit for our people. From he who directs the fate of nations, we received three strengths: first, the numerically largest people, second, the best soldiers, and third, and most important, the best leader. In short, we have everything on which to base a certain victory.
“Yes, but what about raw materials?” — Comrade, what are raw materials without people? Technology asks about material.
First ask about people!
The unified feeling and unified spirit of a whole people in all its classes and groups is more important than raw materials or technology.
Before the economic four-year plan, the Führer had a four-year plan for a new people.
Before mobilizing the treasures of the earth, one mobilizes the treasures of blood.
The specific characteristic of German blood, our blood, is its outstanding military strength. Even when we were weaponless, each time we heard march music, we sensed the military spirit in our blood.
For centuries the world has sought to use this ancient value of our blood. The most desired, the most important, in most cases the decisive “raw material” was the German soldier, which our enemies entirely lack in this war. A Hapsburg deserter, one single man, is the only miserable exception that proves the rule.
The rule is: German soldiers are the best when they want to be.
So these three factors: Führer, people, and military strength, are the strongest war resources of any power of our day!
Our war resources, comrade!
Germany’s war resources!
Either we use these resources with determination, faith, and a clear vision of what our people and our children lack in comparison to the abundance of other peoples —
in which case we will prove ourselves truly worth of fate’s great gifts —
or else a hundred later generations will suffer as the exploited slaves of foreign powers because of our failure.
However great the sacrifice of blood and wealth this war demands of us, whatever it takes in time and strength, greater and more powerful will be the benefits that victory brings us.
England has colonies 105 times as large as its homeland, France 22 times as large, Holland 60 times as large, Belgium 80 times as large.
As large as our population is, as great as our ability is in every area of culture, as brave as our old soldiers were, our state is the poorest of all in terms of land. We are the proletarians of the world.
We must end that situation. Therefore we want to serve the Führer gladly and willingly with our weapons.
You do not need a university education to recognize German’s shameful situation, only to be a man of character who is ready to use all his strength to end Germany’s lack of space. The earth is not only for the rich. That is why we are fighting.
What others have, we should have too! What other states have gained in the world, they have always gained only with the help of German soldiers, officers and weapons.
No state and no political leader in the last two thousand years of Europe’s history won his campaigns or his victories without using German strength. Germans themselves were usually defeated by their own countrymen. From the victory by the German-blooded Marshall Findram for Poland over the order of knights at Tannenberg in 1410 to the desperate order by British Admiral Seymour on 22 June 1900 from the German-built fort at Peiho during the Chinese Campaign — “Send in the Germans!” — the amount of blood Germans shed for others cannot be measured.
The past teaches: Whatever enemy Germans fought, white or black, they were victorious.
This year, too, our enemies may draw their troops from wherever they can. History proves that we Germans will be the victors if we are as unified and as brave as our fathers.
Over eighty million Germans have awakened, pulling together their strength that has for centuries been spread about in 300 other nations
What an enormous concentration of power that is becomes clear when one looks back to see what a few thousand German soldiers have accomplished elsewhere in the world. For the first time, this valuable resource is entirely unavailable to our enemies. In the past, the whole world called brave men out of German, who were deserted by their fatherland, who had no people’s community.
Despite that, they remained brave soldiers, models for the world. In the same way, German accomplishments are clear in every other area of life.
We, and above all our children, no longer want to remain fools in the service of others, since we can demonstrate our achievements, sometime the very highest achievements, in every area of human life. Our achievements were stolen by others for centuries. Each could take what he wanted. But woe to the German government that dared to make a demand.
It might be only the demand to bring together all its ethnic comrades, something self evident for anyone else.Yet in this war, only Germany’s reincorporation of the East was given as a ground for the war. Russia’s corresponding step was ignored. The result of this double moral standard is that other states have done more with German achievements that we ourselves. For too long, we have given other states, without charge, the unending strength of our farmers and soldiers, workers and inventors, explorers and other great minds, without any regard for our own people’s good.
We did not have that holy egotism that would have allowed each German to say: “My own people comes first, than all the others; first my homeland, then the world!” (B. v. Selchow).
But now, alongside the countless gifts that our fathers and brothers have given to the world,
Thus Germany must wage this war as its last resort. It is a war for Europe’s peace. We are not waging war because our own policies failed.
We are not fighting to repair our own political failures, but rather to establish and build the same peace abroad that the Führer has established at home through the National Socialist movement, which led our people from the horrors of civil war to the peace of the people’s community.
Our weapons and the war are only the last entry in the balance sheet of German contributions to the prosperity and possessions of the nations of this earth. Entry after entry could be made to record our contributions, our discoveries and inventions, our organization and creativity throughout the world, but then this little book would become a large world book of German achievements.
It is enough for us here in the field to know that:
“Who can equal us?” Ludendorff asked the world in his war memoirs after his discussion of the great administrative and cultural work of the Supreme Command East in wartime Poland. “Poland is in our debt,” he said.
That is also true today!
Already in 1940, the harvest in former Polish territory will be much higher than before.
When in 1688 four regiments from Brandenburg, lent by great [German] electors, occupied England and marched into London, they brought the English a king whom they declared to the world to be their savior. If this war destroys the Jewish capitalism that rules England, the true English spirit can only be grateful! Our victory will give the better England opportunity to come to its senses.
What the new Germany brings is more than it demands.
What we are giving Europe is more valuable than the colonies that we will regain.
In a foreign land.
Wherever we are, as German soldiers we have a clear right to move about proudly and freely. We do not come to foreign countries as robbers.We do not come to beg, to disgrace ourselves, to plunder or to exploit. Rather, in the occupied territories we should
If we conduct ourselves in the way honest people in all other nations remember as the German way, all of the attempts by the Jews to soil the German image in the world will be immediately washed away. The atrocity propaganda will vanish with no effort at all.
The Jews and all our enemies know a thousand ways to deceive. Manliness faces its greatest test abroad. Be resolved to be true to yourself, whatever the temptations. “He who cannot believe enjoys what he can take; he who can believe does without.”
Where we disgrace ourselves in the eyes of foreigners, they soon cease to respect or honor us. They immediately begin to say: “The Jews were right after all when they warned us about the Germans!”
You can, comrade, through your actions easily become either the conquerer of another people or a traitor to the image of your own!
and that Germany will be seen as its solders are seen.
He is respected whose actions can stand to be seen, and he remains respected who continues to act in such a way.
In such matters, we want to be comrades and teachers to each other. No real comrade simply allows or ignores your mistakes and his own.
Ernst Moritz Arndt, the preacher of the German wars of liberation, teaches us of military manliness:
Your civilian occupation is no basis for questioning the manly experience or instruction of a German officer. Even if you think you are older or have accomplished more in life.
The desire to object is a sign of inner weakness.
It is not age or occupation that justifies the military’s right to teach us when we are soldiers, but rather a long tradition built on achievement and countless blood sacrifices.
Even the ability to silently accept an apparent or real injustice proves that one is a soldier. Discipline is a treasure; he who wastes it hurts the community.
He who wants to train us, even as adults, can spare us many difficulties later in life.
You may think that you have gone to war to fight, not to be trained. You may think that your path in life is clear enough to be able to dispense with the necessity for further training. My friend, that sounds good, but it is wrong.
After the German nation wins this war, it will need leadership as never before. We will no longer need to take care only of ourselves. In other words:
Countless new tasks will await us. War is a test of fate only before victory, just as duties come before rights.
The war is leadership selection for peace.
In war, leadership selection because of protection or personal relationships is at a minimum.
Selection by obedience and bravery is not only a way to recognize the best military leaders, but also to find the men who have the character and ability to carry out an order with their full strength, regardless of its personal cost to them. Without false acquiesce, with ready acceptance of a perhaps incomprehensible command.
He who ignores his own feelings and reservations, paying no heed to what he knows or to his private interests, earns the right to leadership in peace as well as in war. The Führer’s associates, the Reichsleiter and other party leaders, are the example and model here. Like the Führer himself, they were mostly excellent front line soldiers during the World War. Front line soldiers, regardless of their military rank, created National Socialism, and through it, our Reich. National Socialism’s idea, its worldview of blood and soil, grew from the blood of three million who died for Germany during the great battles of the World Wars. While in the hospital, the Führer decided to become a politician.
What has worked so well in the past will surely work as well in the future. A leader should be in control of himself, of both his inner and outer enemies. In battle, both enemies look us in the eyes, and are equally dangerous. If we master them, we are free. The same is true for our people. During the period of struggle [1919-1933], we fought our domestic enemies: desperation, parties, class struggle, class confusion. In this war, we will master our external enemies and thus demonstrate in both our accomplishments and our military achievements
The ruling man is the prerequisite to a ruling people. The ruling man in the new Germany — thank God — does not come from a particular class or a particular family.
The ruling man for us is someone who can rule himself. He who can order and control himself can also command others, and be obeyed by them.
The numerous promotions of tested NCOs to officers and chiefs are clear proof to German soldiers that in the military, just as in the vocational competitions of the NSDAP during peace, the path is open to him who is capable and worthy, for a soldier just as much as worker. The NCO who is a sergeant is more common than ever before, and not only since the beginning of the war, he has exercised all the rights and duties of an officer. You, too, comrade, will have seen that the path to advancement is made as easy as possible in the new Germany. You, too, will never have a better opportunity to advance than during the war!
The prerequisite is your personal bravery. Practical experiences replace advanced education.
You ask if bravery can be learned. It can be learned by example, and through self control.
We can all probably find opportunity in life, in war or in peace, to learn bravery. Recklessness is not bravery!
Avoidable losses diminish any victory. They are not sacrifices, but mistakes.
Bravery requires thought, a consideration of the goal of a courageous decision. What can I achieve if I leave cover, what can I destroy before the enemy destroys me.
We learn to be brave only by thinking. Few receive bravery as the gift of fate. For many, bravery is the result of victory over weakness. The more we know our weaknesses, comrade, the better we can learn to be brave. Never give in to weakness when it attacks us, resist it, fight cowardice, ask what it is good for.
It can never tolerate that question!
For weakness must answer that it is good for nothing, that it is the beginning of all evil.
But then you will be able to find this answer: “To be brave is good!” That is the answer to cowardice. Remember that, comrade, both the question and the answer!
It is the answer of a great man who found faith as he experienced a German attack.
A word on bravery in a war of matériel. There is an outwardly intelligent fear that gives but a limited yes to the final exertion. It says yes to “an honorable soldier’s death in open battle,” but then finds a hundred ifs and buts: gas, mines, bombs, the Colored, darkness, water, and the like.
Away with this false cleverness!
Men determine the outcome, not matériel.
Means can be found and overcome. “He who looks into the abyss with eagle’s eyes — he has courage.” There are a thousand means, but a single death, a thousand possibilities, but only one character. High explosives are no pleasanter than gas, Levisit no deadlier than Bethlehem Steel, the English blockade no more humane than Negroes with knives in their mouths.
The value of a man or of his life does not depend on the means of death. Rather, be prepared for the unexpected!
To expect the unexpected means to have overcome it in advance. The burdens of war cannot be chosen.
Not the particular choice, but the decision, is decisive.
The last sacrifice reveals either a whole life or half a life.
The whole life overcomes death before encountering it. The real man strives for a whole life, defying death, laughing at it, as our ancestors teach us in the “Edda,” or as we read in a letter from one who fell during the World War: “I am free to risk everything. My eternity belongs to God, my life to the fatherland. To me remains joy and strength.”
Rich or poor?
You ask, comrade. But the war does not! Only defeat asks.
It wants the poor to be still poorer, those with possessions to lose them.
To be still poorer means slavery, it means deportation and chaos or unemployment. What those who possess something at least have until their defeat, those without possessions will never enjoy. All hope is lost. To be without possessions is the last form of being without weapons. The winner wins, the loser loses.
Every one who is defeated loses, whether rich or poor. War makes no distinctions.
Still, it is valuable for you to know that it is far worse to lose hope than to lose dead possessions.
Defeat takes no more or no less from anyone. It takes everything! Also you and me!
Germany’s poorest son was its best during the last war, and also the most intelligent!
What a lost peace withheld from him twenty years ago, our peace will guarantee to him who remains loyal and brave, not holding to his private possessions.
He who says “I have nothing to lose!” is a liar and a fool. Friend, it is not a matter of losing, but of gaining.
Our Reich is socialist.
What our nation gains benefits everyone who in the past lacked everything that the German money state and social state withheld.
And how much better will our socialism be with the means that the money-sack powers would rather have burned or thrown into the sea than have sold to us.
Not only poor people, but poor countries are convinced that our victory will lead to new ways of prosperity for all.
Rich or poor, comrade, is a question that this war will solve not only for us, but for all of Europe. For everyone!
War weddings and war children.
Yes or no?
The question was asked frequently during the weeks of waiting. Life gave the answer. The greatest thing in this war is that the “yes” was so clear.
There were 1.6 million births in the first war year 1939. That is 300,000 more than in England and France together. Three times as many children here as in France. In a hundred years, there will be more than 100 million Germans in Europe, but only 5 million Englanders!
There the birth rate is falling, here it is rising; there hopelessness, here the faith of a rising birthrate. In 1939, 100,000 more couples married than in the peaceful year 1938! During 1914, the first year of the World War, there were 500,000 fewer marriages than in the year before! That is evidence of long-range confidence and assurance of victory.
Most soldiers in the Maginot Line have neither brothers nor sisters.
There more coffins than cradles, here laughing life. There so many dead even before the first battle, here even before victory the weapon of life.
Do not think it reckless marry during war and have children. He who lives on in his children only half dies. The woman who loses her husband but has his children has defeated death and is stronger than fate. Blood lives on. When war kills the last of a line, a hundred die at once.
Do not think it reckless to have even more children during war.
One helps the other. Many children means a lot of work gets done.
And work for the whole economy, not only for the household. The number of people determines the number of requests, the amount of work.
Work, as we have learned during the years of progress, is the way to happiness. Each child left is a milestone on the way to happiness.
You may doubt that friend, since the grayness of everyday life seems to depend on others.
Forget these doubts!
Learn faith that our new age is overcoming the past, that the present difficult battles of our children of every class will come out well in the end.
Our sacrifice will make our children free.
The greatness of our victory will lead to an even greater people.
The great harvest will need more barns.
[The next page reproduces a page from Hitler’s World War I paybook, which lists the battles he fought in. It includes the following text.]
The first solder of the Reich. The achievements of the Führer as a front line soldier. What other people has ever had such a statesman?
Adolf Hitler’s pay book, with a list of battles. Our war, too, has given bloody proof of the dangerous nature of the Führer’s military service. The first death on the Western Front in 1939 was a corporal on courier duty.
The Führer is fulfilling a mission.
His life is his mission.
His battle is our battle.
He who has taken an oath to the Führer, as have we who swore to him in faith when we were inducted, are also bound by oath to the Führer’s mission.
All of us — each soldier — is fulfilling a mission today. It is the Führer’s mission for Europe’s peace. We thought we could fulfill this mission within Germany. But envy and baseness preferred to sacrifice Europe rather than to tolerate Germany’s rise.
Germany’s freedom, and the freedom of Europe, depend upon a German victory. When the enemy wanted war, the Führer made peace with Russia. That shows the strength of his desire for peace.
Comrade, your life and my life belong to this great peace mission. Our lives are the Führer’s mission. To separate ourselves from the Führer is to separate ourselves from life. It would mean our death for all eternity.
To fulfill our mission to the last breath makes us immortal, even if we must fall, for the flag is more than death.
How small, how tiny, how filthy in character are those who even dare to make the attempt to separate us from the Führer. They want to take from us the Führer given to us by God!
And not only through force, but through paper. With leaflets!
Powers that so underestimate us are contemptible. Such base attempts are evidence of the justice of our glowing hatred against these enemies. He who would like to make us so base is himself base. If we stop them, it will beas good for the world as it will be bad for the Jewish underworld.
A renaissance of ethnicity.
If we feel that this war is for the ordering of Europe, for a better ordering of the continent, for its liberation from warmongers and the murderers of nations, then we must also see that Europe is waiting for us.
Not the envious, everyday Europe, but rather the other Europe, just as there is also another England without poison gas concerns on the royal throne.
Money ruined politicians.
No Rothschild will transform the blood of our battles into stock certificates. Nobler values are taking the stage.
We are not exporting our worldview!
We are fulfilling a law of nature in human life, a higher law of our epoch, by proclaiming the victory of blood, the right of ethnicity. This is a truly godly law: the right of the highest life force of an ethnic group.
There is no higher law on this earth!
Ireland is one example of many:
For 750 years, little Ireland fought relentlessly against Great Britain. Its sacrifice in blood and wealth is unparalleled, the horror and hardness is unlimited, the proud sorrow of the ethnic fanatic nameless. In 1921, three million Irish were victors over a world power, against all the means used against them.
Over 600,000 Italians live in the south of France!
Neither the jails of Hungary nor Czechoslovakia stopped Father Hlinka until there was a free Slovakia. World power and world stock exchanges, world fleets and a world church, are not enough to hinder the victory of ethnicity. The doctrine of human equality is mocked. The doctrine of humanity is silenced.
To be a people is a holy affirmation by billions. World Jewry or World Freemasonry, or whatever other dark powers striving for world domination there may be, ethnicity will defeat them all!
Not always gladly, often against their will, but it is absolutely certain wherever blood awakes. As the Irish tortured the English, so it will be elsewhere. How many other ethnic groups in Europe want justice and peace?
Comrades, the world is waiting for us!
That means: march.
We remember our own ethnic victory a thousand times from the Greater German year of the loudspeaker : One People, one Reich, one Führer! A victory against a world of enemies, against the front of the counter race, that is a victory that brings true peace to the peoples: the victory of ethnic freedom!
The campaign in the East at the beginning of this war gave vivid proof of this:
A word from the Führer, a single word, and 200,000 people left what had been their homeland for centuries.
In the middle of the war, over a distance as great as that from Tilsit to Vienna, in temperatures of -40 C., they left the rich black soil of the Warthegau, perhaps leaving their possessions behind. They come.
They come with horse and wagon, and because Hitler needs iron, the wagon carries not only wife and children, hay and food, but also the old oven. They travel 80 kilometers a day.
Forgotten for centuries by the Reich, left as outposts, the Reich calls the Baltic Germans in the middle of the war.
The Führer calls.
A referendum under foreign supervision, but despite war and hatred: of 100 voters, 100 voted for their people. It was no less powerful than the independent referendum of nearly 200,000 people’s comrades in Tyrolia, in the middle of the war! That is the miracle of a new world, the renaissance of ethnicity. Faith without borders!
Comrade, do not disappoint that faith! Never!
They believe in the victory of ethnicity, and in us, in Hitler’s soldiers, a vctory that will bring peace.
We may recognize the law of a higher power, and faithfully fulfill it. We thank the Creator who gave us such fruitful times. We want to stand fast, comrade, and fulfill that law we are fighting for:
Be thankful for those “old timers” who are still with us! The young will join them one day. The war experience of the old is our greatest possession after the Führer. Poland proved that. The war lasted 18 days. In 1914, the approach alone took 18 days. And the relatively light losses of the Polish campaign are due to the military experience of veteran soldiers. General Ludendorff wrote of the major battles in the East in 1916:
History will say the same of German skilled workers on the homefront in our war. Their accomplishments equal those who bear weapons. The work place in an armaments factory is a danger zone every day. Comrades, that we want to say or write to those whose tasks and abilities keep them from serving with the troops. They should feel our camaraderie, and the appreciation of those who need the work of their hands to serve as soldiers.
Those of military age have bowed to the order of the good of the community. Thus there are those with gray hair with the troops, and “young men still at home.”
And that will continue! For both are of great value to us: the experience of the old at the front, and the work of others in industry. Both are giving their full effort to the war. There is no reason to complain. We want to say that to those who have not understood.
We may believe that victory will be ours because of the old, whose field gray camaraderie gives us double cause for faith. Among our splendid young soldiers, we have gray-haired heroes who proved for all time their invincibility during the World War. Both in the courage of the young and the experience of the old, we are far ahead of those who stand against us!
And then there is the silent heroism of the German woman “above all else in the world.” We greet you, German woman and mother, who today, perhaps for the second time in your life, is a soldier of the silent homefront! We greet you, fighters in the front of big hearts! Let those of us wearing the gray helmet always see your loving face: calm , brave, undaunted and faithful! And know that we will always win over life and death if you can see you so at home, dear comrade.
We the men of the field gray front believe in you, fighters on the homefront, because we believe in the German people. We are able to fight as never before under a Führer whose life has always been marked by one sign: victory.
On the battlefield of labor, you men and women of the great, silent homefront won victories long before the first shot was fired. Like a rock in the ocean, your daily labor has made the German currency and the German economy unassailable. We are proud, immeasurably proud, of you.
And you may believe in us, on the example of the old and the loyalty of the young!
A day in the bunker.
How easy to believe that one is in the wrong place.
It sounds big, but is nonetheless small, when one pleases oneself by cheap boasting: “Well, if only I had the right place instead of this boring little...”
One does not ask for service, comrade, particularly military service. Prussia’s honor grew from the Potsdam Honor Guard. Courage and character, not some other factor, is the measure of accomplishment. It is an art of life, and proof of personality, to be great in small things, and multi-faceted in monotony.
The military personality refuses to judge the situation according to personal feeling. Private feelings weaken one’s carrying out of orders. Test your military value on the strength of your weaknesses. One does not choose one’s orders.
The order is proof enough of its necessity. If you begin to doubt your orders, you will lose strength that cannot be regained.
Where you stand is not decisive; what you make of it is.
Even the least military seeming activity offers enough possibilities to develop one’s abilities. He who does not recognize that, comrade, whether in the bunker or during an attack, has no right to complain about anything except his own weakness, his lack of ability, his inadequate decisiveness.
Every command, even the worst, can be multiplied by your personal decisive force and become a valuable experience. It depends only on your abilities Only the incapable complain that they are “above” this or that activity.
Even the smallest bunker is a little world. Your world.
Puppies, skat, and picture books are not enough to pass a day in a bunker.
Of course one will play cards, but the so-called joke that the first casualties on the West Wall were the result of “hand injuries due to overexertion while playing skat” is foolish, unedifying, and banal. We reject it in the name of the hours we stood watch, wet and cold, under the threatening barrels of the artillery of both sides. Weeks of adjusting to the mysterious nature of technical warfare, and the frequent, if often ineffective, attacks of enemy shells.
We reject it in the name of the quiet sacrifices in the common room, where each should feel at ease: no smoking in the fighting and personal quarters, washing to be done outside, the unfamiliar beds, the nighttime test alarms, fetching mail and water from kilometers away, changing the guard, digging holes, listening posts, duty in constant rain, minefields and cable ditches, deserted livestock, and the empty streets of evacuated villages. Here your ability can find a hundred ways each day to laugh, to be a commander in the smallest space, to remain cheerful each day in the eyes of one’s comrades, to keep men and equipment at the highest readiness.
Each group leader is a commander, each commander is a king in the battlefield of fortresses. Each soldier in the bunker guarantees the military security of the greatest German fortification ever built. Each is the guardian of what the people has built.
Comrade, whether we are in a bunker or on the attack, at our post or in command, what is decisive is what we make of it.
And it is always our own fault if we consider our position unworthy of us.
However early we rise, the cook is already up.
How ever far we have marched, there has to be food. One may gripe and complain when too much seems to be demanded. But the more arduous the day, the louder the call for food, for the field kitchen, which Ludendorff called “a blessing everywhere.”
Consider what the military supply system does every day, and what it accomplished while we were still innocent civilians. How rarely is it cause for complaint — and even less often for thanks. But how quickly, comrade, are we ready to mutter and complain about things of the stomach.
We do not know the shortages our fathers suffered. He who experienced them does not complain today.
You know how the size of the piece of meat determines the evaluation of the meal.
That is incorrect, friend!
Countless great men are witnesses that the amount of meat does not determine the value of a meal. The notion that meat and sausage alone provide good nourishment and strength is silly.
Nature teaches differently.
The horse finds his strength without meat, the pig his fat from an unroasted diet.
Let us learn from them!
The amount of meat does not determine the value of a soup or butter the value of a portion.
“But a stew every day?”
Excuse me, friend, how many stomachs do you have each day?
One more thing about eating. One says “commissary” (or Barras in Southern Germany). One speaks of commissary grub.
Germany after 1918 hated soldiers. It was unmilitary. It didn’t want commissary grub, and did not have any grub at all.
A respect for one requires respect for the other.
It is a defect in human and military self esteem when one carelessly refers to food as commissary grub.
To be careless is to be contemptuous.
To take one’s holy food carelessly is unworthy, it is unmilitary!
Do not respect your food only when it is too late!
Value it always!
The invisible enemy.
The myth of an invisible enemy is ancient. Technology served deception. Alberich developed.
In the world-wide struggle against the powers of money, in the war of the poor peoples against plutocracy, invisible enemies use all possible means in their secret war.
On 9 November of the first year of war, the invisible enemy made clear its murderous intentions [This was the date of an attempt to kill Hitler in Munich with a bomb].
However, it was not a National Socialist, but rather an officer in Department 2 of the French general staff, Lieutenant Desgranges, who even during the World War made the remarkable statement: “Invisible veils conceal these rulers, who seek only money and shadows...”
The enemy is everywhere, and everywhere we are his superior. Those are the two lessons of the murderous attack in Munich.
To be everywhere alert, even far from the visible front, is our redoubled promise after Munich.
To watch the borders, the bridges, the depots, to watch conscientiously by day and even more at night.
No means of battle, be it ever so small, may find a hole in our front!
The art of the warrior is also to be able to see the hidden enemy. To be a soldier means to keep the enemy always in sight. Only innocent civilians believe that the enemy is to be seen only at the front lines, or just behind the lines.
But you, comrade, know that wherever you are: “The enemy is listening!”
If some dead comrades of the Great War could speak, they would have this warning: “I died, because one of you could not keep silent!”
The Führer says:
You know, comrade, that the enemy has a thousand ears listening for idle chatter.
You know also that the invisible enemy has radio transmitters as well as listening ears.
They are a means of battle that aim straight for the heart and mind. The noblest elements should be hit by the dreadful use of this weapon. To fight it directly is impossible. But how disheartened the enemy must become when they broadcast every day with no audience!
Your manliness and obedience destroy these otherwise dangerous weapons. Not only because listening to them is forbidden, but because now more than ever it is the smart thing to do, each foreign station must be turned off. Fighting morale will be protected and preserved by the ban on listening to foreign stations. That is as important as a weapon, and cannot be replaced.
He who listens to enemy radio commits spiritual self-mutilation!
That is the epitome of cowardice.
The first blows do not hurt. Perhaps they even cause laughter. They are like the pleasant odor of poison gas.
Despite the ever so pleasant odor, you would reach for your gas mask on the battlefield.
Despite the amusing methods, your ear is constantly closed to the radio poison attack! As tightly as your mouth is closed against gas.
You know the order against listening. It is for your good, comrade. It protects your pure will for victory.
You think that nothing could weaken your will.
Neither should it be soiled! Gas cannot damage your weapon, but we nonetheless protect it so that the gas does not harm its sheen.
Remain therefore firm and unreachable for the enemy’s radio!
He who listens to enemy radio lets himself be shot through the heart and mind.
He who carelessly risks such damage, whether from disobedience or stupidity, risks the community and the victory.
No verdict against him can be too harsh.
A blow in the war of nerves.
This war is hardly suited for storm attacks singing the national anthem. Its nature is fundamentally different. That is not a matter of values. Still, the fact that the individual man can sing the laughing affirmation “That can’t bother a sailor” (my company sings “That can’t bother the infantry”) is an important advantage we have over against the others.
This hit song may have had less serious intentions, but at the front — the “war of nerves” one calls it — it has become a million-fold assertion that “We won’t let life get us down.” The life-affirming strength of a positive worldview is revealed by the spread of this song through the military, and happily to all circles of our people.
Weak nerves don’t sing that.
Only those who are free sing freely.
He who can sing “We won’t let life get us down. Don’t worry! Don’t worry, Rosemarie!” is self-aware and strong.
And was not that little song frequently the response to some sort of everyday military annoyance?
And does not its effectiveness reach to the homeland, to the domestic front, with the words “don’t worry, Rosemarie”?
This hit song, written by an unknown soldier, speaks to the spirit of both fronts.
It is an affirmation of laughing determination, which can be shaken by nothing.
A “yes” to every difficulty.
But over there in Paris, the highest government offices offered a major prize to the man who can write a new hit song for their soldiers.
One pulls the last tired poet from the boulevard, just as one looks for the last tired horse in the stables. One pulls out the busty old canteen singer Madelon Elan to try to inspire. Old tricks, moth balls and dust. The common people watch and freeze. Madelons’s tire charms have no effect. Paris has its troubles.
One tries the tired old poet again.
No, he says.
“No, you will not win” gets the state prize.
Now the people should sing it. A fighting song that begins with no: “Non! Jls ne la gagn’ront pas.”
That truly cannot bother us.
Here, too, the stronger force is on our side! The weaker side over there.
And not only since the war began, but since the “Marseillaise,” dedicated to a German general and to the tune of a German melody. Just as England’s royal song would not exist were it not for the German “barbarians.”
The last strengths are revealed in song. On this field too we are superior — ‘don’t worry.!”
The silent comrade [the talk here is of horses, on which the German military depended heavily].
Not many words, but one big request, friend, a matter of the heart,
You know the unpleasant command: “Supply detachment, march!”
We heard it in the Austrian mountains, in the Sudetenland, in the hills of the west. After 20 kilometers, it was burden, after 40 a torture, and after longer marches impossible
But nothing is impossible to the man who wants to do it!
“Supply detachment, march!”
It’s not bad to grumble.
But aggravation reaches for the whip.
That is worse!
Meanness pretends to search, but leaves the silent comrade in the lurch,
That is mean!
Think of what the silent comrade carries for you! What will you have to carry if he fails?
A big request: be a good comrade to our horses in the field as well as in feeding them! Their eyes will thank you.
Life has given us more than a little. Let us see if it also demands more of us! Brigade leader Ernst Wurche, who fell in the East, left this military affirmation. In his company comrade Walter Flex’s book Wanderer between Two Worlds, it lives on.
In a position occupied by Moroccans, I found a picture of a fallen one. The discovery reminded of a letter that Wurche’s mother probably received from Flex. It was about the soldierly death of his comrade: “He could never have achieved anything greater had he lived....”
He could never have done anything greater.
The same day, my bunker comrades wondered why I asked for the addresses of their loved ones.
It should be our desire and our hope that the letters the homeland receives about us should always make them proud.
The news may be hard, as long as it is good.
To be brave is good.
Only a weak spirit sees a war’s losses as greater than its gains in spiritual strengths. He who sees the gains in character that each people’s war causes will affirm anew the old statement:
War is the father of all things!
The battle itself does not give the wider view or manly maturity, but rather one’s response to things that result from a completely changed personal situation. The serious environment raises serious questions.
It is not the worst who see in war great changes for the good, despite its horrors and hardness.
What would our victory mean for the Reich without an increase in the value of the good strengths of each individual.
Only an increase in moral strength assures that peace will be won along with victory. Here you should want to be a war profiteer!
The victory of weapons is the victory of a thousand hearts.
Even during the collapse of 1918, the undefeated German soldier, who had triumphed a thousand times, did not forget Germany’s mission. Faith in Germany created, as its last word in the Great War, a faithful affirmation of the mission of the German soldier, which we today fulfill: “We must carry the light into a dark world —” (Zöberlein in Faith in Germany.)
Such a faith provides the strength that is determined to be stronger than fate. That is the highest human strength.
To be stronger than fate sounds so hard, but it is so easy. To give more help than one accepts means to be stronger than fate. To offer more help than one asks for, to give more than one takes, that is to be more than one seems, to be stronger than fate. To be a comrade means to be stronger than one’s own fate.
What the man alongside can no longer do, camaraderie does for them both. The effort of one contributes to the success of both, and the success of both contributes to the success of the troop, the next higher unit. From small-scale camaraderie grows large scale camaraderie, from personal camaraderie grows a community, the people’s community, the German socialism that is the expression of our faith, the goal of our struggle:
Go to the 1933-1945 Page.
Go to the German Propaganda Archive Home Page.