Background: F. H. Woweries held a variety of top Nazi positions, including a term as editor of Der Hoheitsträger, a monthly for party leaders. This book intends to present something of a Nazi book of ethics. I here translate the first quarter of the book. After getting that far, I managed to leave the copy I was working from on an airplane. The second copy I secured was of the earlier edition, which is available in a full translation elsewhere.
The source: F. H. Woweries, Deutsche Fibel. Worte an Kameraden (Berlin: Wilhelm Limpert-Verlag., 1941).
A German Primer
Words to Comrades
by F. H. Woweries
God is with us!
All the nations that fought during the World War honored an “Unknown Soldier.” In Paris, he rests under the “Arc de Triomphe.” 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
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 Army, and that I will be ready at any time as a brave soldier to give my life for this oath. [the oath German soldiers took]
Comrade, you know that we soldiers in this campaign are part of a decision that is only rarely entrusted to men of our people. We are part of this decision whether we fight or wait, in action or in readiness. 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 if a third of a century 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. Where millions of our fathers had to sacrifice their blood for the exhausting achievement of a peace that was betrayed even before it began, we today are fighting a total war for a truly total peace. A total war means that all of us together, and each of us individually, are fighting for our people. A success that is not a success for each who fights, for each who contributes, for each who sacrifices, will be no success at all. What is demanded of us is every way far less than what we win will mean for our community, our people and our young Reich. This is true for all of our sacrifices, whether of what we possess or of our very lives!
A Führer guarantees that to us, one who sacrificed and suffered as a front soldier far more than we. And as a commander, he knows far better than we the unavoidable dedication and action necessary. He has taken from us in this war the question of what for and why. He was not above being a simple front soldier himself. Who of us may therefore think himself too good for it? Whatever and wherever duty may lead me as a soldier or as a contributor, comrade, I may not complain. Wherever the front and whomever the enemy makes no difference, and no one is too good to play his role. An outwardly clever chap may have a different opinion and someone else may be unhappy with his particular duty, but we know that this is a war of the entire continent and all that surrounds it. When we think in this way, we follow the actions of our Führer. We want to conscientiously exhibit a corresponding readiness. The commands of ones conscience come not from reason alone, but just as strongly from faith. Honorable is the man of bravery, reason and faith, each of these basic strengths in the same degree. The form and place of our action in war is of secondary importance. Where we stand, our flag stands, even if others may not see it. Where we act, the Reich acts, even if we are not the ones in charge! Whatever is demanded of us, it will be lighter and easier to bear if we ask ourselves: How would I act if I had come here entirely by my own decision! We wear the field gray uniform not only because we have been ordered to do so by the Reich. We bear in our hearts the clear knowledge that this struggle will win a future whose happy breadth is more than we can see. This war is not only the conflict of two armies. Thus it is not important where I serve, but rather whether I stand and do whatever the war and its necessities require of me.
The fruit of our victory will be that which other peoples have not succeeded in doing over a hundred generations: bringing 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. Military reports mean little to them, stock exchange news everything. Not service to humanity, but rather earning from humanity was their goal, these 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 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 daily keep clean and ready. 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 member of a nation of serfs, or live without determining our own fates. We know that each of us as a member of the peoples community is the bearer of freedom for our people, and that each individual has only as much freedom as his people has freedom. We care for our good weapons, we build and we work even during weeks of apparent calm with all the inborn joy in weaponry of healthy manliness. Each piece that is entrusted to our hands should make us glow with this pleasure of the heart. The Führers wonderful words must always remain true, and be demonstrated in the care we take: “You have the best weapons!” Military service restricts some of the freedoms of peace. This is easy to understand and comprehend when we understand the necessities of war. 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 hour of fate of our people to gain a cowardly sham peace. For every month the war might have been postponed, countless more Germans would have fallen. There is plenty of evidence from our enemys leaders that they wanted war. Who believes that that if their feverish weapon-making had continued, or if they had caught up with us, that their desire for war would have changed into a desire for peace.
We believe rather in the holy justice of our struggle. Just as it is for any other people in Europe, we too much 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 it?
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. Thank God that he gave us a Führer who took action as military commander at the right moment and who just as importantly made preparations at the right time. Prepared as only a front soldier can be prepared.
How happy and encouraging it is for us soldiers and for all who work to support us to know that this last battle for our honor and for the eternal rights of the people is led by men who themselves experienced and suffered for a thousand days the life of a front 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. He did that not only during his thousand days as a front soldier, but regardless of his wounds and the fact that he was no longer in the army gladly and repeatedly continued to do so immediately following the Great War. Such a willingness to work long after the war should even today be a model for us of how to live after this war is over. We know that he who wins the war has the right to make the peace, a peace won through the greatest shedding of blood, the most fighting. When the Reich Marshall [Göring] gives a man in the mines the war service medal with crossed swords, it is a sign to us of the breadth of this anti-plutocratic war.
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 led the Führer from Germanys deepest misery to the building of the Greater German Reich. We believe that the Lord God who did not let us perish after 1918, but rather gave us the Führer who led us to victory in Narvik, in France and Athens will be with us in the same way in the future.
But there are still the uneducable know-it-alls who think that one can “win oneself to death.”
They should remember the victorious path of the NSDAP before 1933, which so often was written off for dead. That should be enough proof for them that the Reich is led by men accustomed to victory, who know how to use it, who see into the future.
“Winning oneself to death” is simply not possible for such people.
“Winning oneself to death” is the only hope of those who do not recognize that leaders accustomed to victory are not leaders spoiled by victory.
We remain victorious because we are not spoiled by our victories. We will surely not win ourselves to death. We have all with our own eyes often seen how, after the great victories in battle, the enormous strength of the Reich has begun work for the spiritual successes of tomorrow.
There was not after even one of our great and not easily won victories the slightest sign of a worn out acceptance of the laurels which would have given even the slightest appearance of justice to the enemys propaganda about winning oneself to death.
One morning we marched with our weapons through Paris, and that evening we were 20 kilometers south of the Place de la Concorde, once more under fire. Our tireless will to further victories was incomprehensible to the fleeing French. And this proud day 14 June 1940 is not unique, but rather one of a long series of similarly remarkable days and victories of this war. With such an aggressive spirit on the part of the leadership and the troops, with such armaments and such planning, we will not win ourselves to death!
But a defender can win himself to death if he bitterly resists the overwhelming force of a well-equipped enemy, without having the strength for a counterattack, a defender who is attacked without being able to attack. And one who is accustomed to achieving his victories, even if they be only miserable propaganda victories, through other means. Only the English, spoiled by such victories, will win themselves to death, particularly after our weapons continue doing what our navy and air force have already begun to do.
We will remain victorious abroad just as we remain victorious at home against Jewry and Versailles.
We win because we are fanatic fighters, always ready to sacrifice. We
remain confident of victory in those serious or weary hours of greatest
trial, which can never be avoided. We believe in the inevitability of
further German victory, come what may.
The hardest hours, we know, are also those that bring the end nearer.
In the end we know this: We value that which cost us dearly twice as much. We even believe that when we face the hardest tests, we are nearest to the final test of fate. German, is your heart strong enough, despite all the misery and sorry of your heart, to leave your sons a strong Reich that is a power in the world? The hour of testing is the hour of the soldiers affirmation: Despite it all!
A soldier knows that he can die. He who has the courage to face that fact calmly and collectedly is also strong enough to meet a major crisis in the same way. A major crisis is an unexpected burden, a temporary defeat in this or that corner of the war, which few even among the victorious are spared. That we will resist by saying “Now more than ever” or “Despite it all!” That means reducing its value to the enemy such that it is only the success of an hour, not a lasting one, and that final victory will yet come. The slogan of this war is “Forward over the graves,” which should not apply only to the last resting place of this or that good comrade. It also applies to a disappointment in war, to a failed attempt. The slogan should always ring out: “Come what may, forward over the graves!” The spirit of the Führer turned our gave to a grave hour. He said: “If we lose this struggle, it would mean not nearly the end of our socialist work of construction, but the end of the German people itself” (10.11.1940).
It is completely clear to us soldiers that whatever crises the war may bring, our response can only be this burning will: “Now more than ever, come what may, forward over the graves!”
Thus we have all become used to victory without being spoiled by it, battle-tested without losing the ability to endure other forms of testing.
The heavy cruiser “Blücher” sank, but Oslo was still captured by those who swam to shore from it. The Bonte flotilla went under, but Narvik was still captured by the men of the ships that had sunk. Both names will live in the immortal history of this leap to the north. Why? Because the losses of an unavoidably hard and dreadful hour were mastered by men who remained hard and unbroken, men who balanced the losses of a hard hour by going on to victory. Something great may sink as long as the will to final victory remains, and that will to final victory remains because confidence in victory remains. A great, faithful and total confidence in victory. And even greater than confidence in victory is confidence in what will come. Greater than success is what will be done with that success, greater than any victory is the victor who remains unchanged and determined, who remains modest and dutiful.
Come what may, whatever happens, this war is already decided. Nothing and no one will take it from us as long as we remain German soldiers and our leader is Adolf Hitler.
Whatever we may face, we pledge that we have but a single will: to stand firm.
You and I and all our loved ones at home, we all feel surely that we cannot avoid this battle for the final security of our blood, for our children and our jobs. Even if it were somehow a brief pause, that would only aid our enemies.
Man for man, we feel that in bearing arms we are carrying out a mission given by God to Germanys great Führer, the greatest man of our time.
The head of Englands government, who began this war but did not survive it, was a big stockholder in a British armaments factory. This is only one of many examples. Stock in poison gas is typical of the morals of enemy statesmen. A man who gets big dividends from poison gas stocks and does not see the path leading into the abyss is everything but a statesman, even less a leader. A leader is someone who, despite being blinded by poison gas, saw the way to rescue his people and despite all the confusion in the collapse of the cosmos, showed the way to a new ascent. And all of the human groups in the England that is our enemy, who follow blindly their Jewish-owned warmongers like lambs to the slaughter, are no citizens of a state of the present day, even less members of a ruling people.
A ruling people must be there for a continent if the world order of this earth and the coexistence of peoples is to bring people and families more good than harm, more freedom than restrictions.
The leading people of the new era will be those who organize the common good such that community rights and duties have the central role in a people, a Reich and a continent.
We are becoming the leading people that can build from the new peoples community a new and better order of the peoples in Europe.
The unshakeable strength of the Axis that is together waging this war is clear proof how strong the new connections in a just comradeship of peoples is. That is no less true of the Three Power Pact that spans the globe. An old and bloodless world order breaks against this camaraderie.
We shall destroy a world order that only earns money through human blood.
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.
It 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. 181 Conservative members of the British 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 clear to a listening world that is seeking the way and needs leadership to rid itself of the exploiters who are “lords” of its economy and rulers of its seas.
The tortures of plutocracy and the freedom of labor, exploitation of 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, it is also the entrance of freedom for truly productive labor.
Where we win, so also the good fortune of workers wins. The recognition of labor as the measure of honor wins its final recognition. We are fighting so that labor, not theft or exploitation, is the foundation of the honor of a person and a people. We want people to exchange what they produce, not be subject to capitalist interest.
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