Background: The following essay was published in Der Angriff, 21 September 1930. The Nazis had just won their first major electoral success, winning 107 seats in the national Reichstag election. Goebbels does not want to be too clear as to what the Nazis will do with their power, in part because the victory caught even the Nazis by surprise.
The source: Joseph Goebbels, Der Angriff. Aufsätze aus der Kampfzeit (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP, 1935), pp. 94-96.
by Joseph Goebbels
That is a nice, round, impressive, and weighty number. Some of us recall the time when we wrote that number on a membership book and thereby documented that the number of party members was entering its second hundred. It hardly seems possible that we now have that many members in the Reichstag, that we are the second largest party, and the largest of the non-Marxist parties. We will have to adjust to our new role. Overnight we have changed from a small and despised group to a leading mass party and our victory on 14 September is unprecedented in political history. In the past a party that doubled its vote celebrated the achievement as a triumph. The Social Democrats fought for decades to get their first twenty seats. In the last two years our party has grown by a factor of ten. It has conquered bastion after bastion and fortress after fortress throughout the nation, regardless of lies, slanders, and bans. It has built a strong organization, begun fifty newspapers, and developed a battalion of the best political speakers. It had produced a flood of plans and ideas and many organizers and thinkers. This cannot be explained by ordinary means. It is a political mystery, something of a miracle.
Our duty is to transform the miracle of this political mystery into reality. The broad masses who have expressed themselves in our movement have given a clear and unmistakable statement against the Germany of today and for the Germany of tomorrow. They want a radical break with the domestic, foreign, economic and cultural policies of the past government. No more threatening assault on the System can be imagined. It is clear that the will to rid Germany of the old parties and their ideas is no longer that of a small party, but of an entire awakened nation. Our propaganda has unleashed this popular will. Now we must transform words into deeds.
Those in the center know our goals: the National Socialist movement has no desire to join the bourgeois party bosses. We have no intention of ducking responsibility. We are not purveyors of pathos, as the newspapers like to say about us. We will accept responsibility only when we can justify it to the people and the nation. We do not think holy what the Republic thinks untouchable. The National Socialist movement wants a transformation of things as they are. We have not come to prop up that which is collapsing, but rather to topple it.
The conditions under which we would be willing to use the power we have are clear. They are clear, proper, and precise to anyone who knows us. We are interested not in the good of our party, but in the good of the German people. The millions who have voted for us want National Socialism to determine the fate of the Reich. They have no interest in parliamentary horse trading, even less that we use our strength to support a collapsing system. Anyone who wants to govern with us must accept the fact that the time when one could ignore the interests of the working people is over. We also refuse absolutely to dicker for party advantage. We will take care of our party by ourselves. The government should consider only the interests of the people.
We have recovered from last week’s surprising and completely unexpected triumph. Our hearts are once more hot and our minds cool. Not the other way around. We view our sudden strength with good sense, ready to use it at a moment’s notice. We can govern, or we can be in the opposition. But we will do either in the spirit of National Socialism. We can sit as comfortably in the ministerial seats as in the parliamentary benches. We are at home anywhere in German politics. But wherever we are, we will untiringly serve the German people and its welfare. That is the oath we make in this happy hour that fate has blessed us with after so much sacrifice, effort and bloodshed.
We stand by the people and we fight for Germany! We want nothing for ourselves, everything for the nation! We will give our full efforts for the good of the community, striving to win back honor and prosperity for the fatherland. We will stand or fall according to Germany’s fate.
Raise the banner high!
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