Background: This is the partial text of Hitler’s major speech to the 1927 Nuremberg party rally. Hitler outlines the Nazi claim that it provided not a political platform, but a political faith. Hitler claims of Germany: “It wants a leadership in which it can believe, nothing more.”
The source: Alfred Rosenberg and Wilhelm Weiß, Reichsparteitag der NSDAP Nürnberg 19./21. August 1927(Munich: Verlag Frz. Eher, 1927), pp. 38-45.
Our fellow party member Rosenberg began his speech by saying that it is critical for a nation that its territory correspond to its population. As he put it so well: “The nation needs space.” How well we know that the fulfillment of this sentence has guided and determined the fate of our nation for many centuries. We know further that, save for a relatively short period of German history, we have not succeeded in the task. The question confronts us today as insistently as ever: No government, of whatever kind, can long escape dealing with it. Feeding a nation of 62 million means not only maintaining our agricultural productivity, but enlarging it to meet the needs of a growing population. This is true in many areas. We National Socialists maintain that industrial production is not the most important in terms of the future of the European peoples. In coming decades it will be increasingly difficult to increase production. It will reach a dead end as the governments that presently do not pay great heed to industrial production over time give themselves to industrialization.
These governments will not be able to meet their own needs with their population. Difficulties in industrial production will inevitably develop, made more serious because they will affect not only one state, but a large number of states in Europe. Increasing competition will naturally force these states to use ever sharper weapons until one day the sharpest economic weapons will give way to the sharpness of the sword; that is, when a healthy nation faces the last either-or, and despite the greatest diligence cannot withstand the competition, it will reach for the sword because the question of life is always the problem about which life turns. It is a question of power.
The first way to satisfy this need, the adjustment of territory to population, is the most natural, healthy and long-lasting. We must however conclude when considering this first or second way that the foundation is power, always power. Power is also a part of economic struggles. Power is the prerequisite to earth and soil. We can see that today. Even the sorrowful effort to adjust the population to the available territory by encouraging the emigration of new generations requires power, even more today as states hermetically seal themselves from the immigration of uncomfortable elements. The more economic difficulties increase, the more immigration will be seen as a burden. The so-called workers’ states seal themselves off more than others as a way of building a protective wall against cheap labor. The newcomer after all must be either cheaper or better. Here, too, one comes to the conclusion that maintaining this way of supporting the population requires power.
When we examine the concept of power more closely, we see that power has three factors: First, in the numerical size of the population itself. This form of power is no longer present in Germany.
62 million people who seem to hold together are no longer a power factor in a world in which groups with 400 million are increasingly active, nations for which their population is their major tool of economic policy.
If numbers themselves are no longer a power factor, the second factor is territory. This, too, is no longer a power factor for us, even seeming laughable when one can fly across our German territory in a mere four hours. That is no longer an amount of territory that provides its own defense, as is the case with Russia. Its size alone is a means of security. If the first two sources of power, population, and territory, are inadequate, there remains always the third, that which rests in the inner strength of a people. A nation can do astounding things when it carries this power in its own internal values. When, however, we examine the German people, we must to our horror see that this last power factor is no longer present.
What is the nature of a nation’s internal power? Three things are involved: First, a people has intrinsic value in its race. That is the primal value. A people that has the best blood but does not understand it, squandering it, receives no protection from its intrinsic value. And the purity of blood means nothing if the nation can be persuaded of the absurdity that its blood is worthless. Such a deepest value can be present, but not recognized. Individual people today are placed in large groups that no longer enable them to see this value. To the contrary, their program almost claims that there is no value in blood. They see race as completely insignificant.
Second, internal power depends, aside from the value of blood, on the abilities that such a nation still has. A nation cannot be called impotent as long as it is able to produce the minds that are necessary to solve the problems crying out for solution. We can measure the greatness of a people by the minds it produces. That, too, is a value, but only when it is recognized as a value. If a nation has the ability to produce great minds a thousand times over, but has no appreciation for the value of these minds and excludes them from its political life, these great men are of no use. It can therefore collapse, in the best case perhaps passing on its inventions and ideas to the minds of other nations, teaching these nations, but no longer is it a nation called to lead itself.
The third value hidden within a nation is the drive to self assertion. A people that has lost this has almost given up its place in the world, in which each living creature owes its existence only to the eternal striving to rise higher. If a nation today proclaims the theory that it will find happiness in lasting peace, and attempts to live according to that theory, it will one day inevitably succumb to this most basic form of cowardice. Pacifism is the clearest form of cowardice, possessing no willingness to fight for anything at all.
The same person today who preaches limiting the number of children to the nation murders others so that he himself may live.
He therefore eliminates the second form of intrinsic strength, namely the possibility of producing more minds at all. A people that limits the number of its children cannot demand of fate that it give it great minds from the few children who are born. More likely, such a people will hatch the most unworthy offspring and will attempt to preserve them at any price. Such a nation has first born, but no longer any great men.
Truly these three points that form the intrinsic strength of a people are no longer regarded in Germany. The opposite. As I have said, today one places no value on our blood, on the intrinsic value of our race, but rather apostles proclaim that it is completely irrelevant whether one is Chinese, Kaffir, or Indian. If a nation internalizes such thinking, its own values are of no use. It has renounced the protection of its values, for they too must be protected and encouraged. A people that sees its blood as worthless cannot possess the intrinsic will to withstand the competitive struggles of this world. It needs no great minds, does not even want them any more. It will inevitably believe that all people are equal in terms of blood, and will no longer have a need to rise above the others. That is why one needs great minds. It will no longer desire to rise, and that is why one needs great spirits. Since such peoples no longer value their race and see themselves as the same as everyone else, and no longer feel the inner need for happiness or great men, they can no longer struggle, nor do they desire to.
That leads to what the large parties proclaim, namely to a nation that thinks internationally, follows the path of democracy, rejects struggle, and preaches pacifism. A people that has accepted these three human burdens, that has given up its racial values, preaches internationalism, that limits its great minds, and has replaced them with the majority, that is inability in all areas, rejecting the individual mind and praising human brotherhood, such a people has lost its intrinsic values. Such a people is incapable of policies that could bring a rising population in line with its territory, or better said: adjust the territory to the population.
Our party comrade says one must give the people territory. In Germany, unfortunately, we must first give the territory a people. We see before us today Marxist masses, no longer a German people.
All this would be in vain if the fundamental values were not there. The only thing we may be proud of is this: We have this value, we have our blood-building value, the best proof of which is the great men of world history over the millennia. We have this value of race and personality. We have a third value: a sense of battle. It is there, it is only buried under a pile of foreign doctrines. A large and strong party is attempting to prove the opposite, until suddenly an ordinary military band begins to play. Then the sleeper awakes from his dreams and begins to feel himself a member of a people that is on the march, and he marches along. That is how it is today. We only need to show our people the better way. They see: we are marching already! The German people will come to a knowledge of their intrinsic values when the systematic organized poisoning of their values is replaced by their systematic organized defense.
That large international world power infects a part of the people with the ideas of pacifism to weaken their resistance, and uses another part to attack.
When the German pacifist feels threatened in his practical political activity, he can suddenly become an anti-pacifist, but only against an opponent of his political thinking. He can even reach for bloody weapons. But he calls the battle for the life of the entire nation murder!
This large international power organizes its terror groups by appealing to their lower instincts, but also reduces their potential resistance through intellectual influence. The German people have split in two as a result. In a masterful way, Hitler showed how the split between thinking and action in the politically-minded German citizen or politician leads him to become a democrat, although he knows that the fate of the world is never determined by majorities. This dear German citizen knows that for 1900 years after Christ and for many thousand years before Christ’s birth, the world was changed by men, but he now suddenly believes that history is made by the German National Party’s Reichstag delegation, which finds the greatest wisdom in the majority principle. In so far as the political citizen has accepted this principle, he has practically given up all hope of victory. The majority, that is cowardice, is for him decisive. Inability, limited wisdom. In theory the majority decides, but in reality it is the international Jew that stands behind it.
We deceive ourselves if we believe that the people want to be governed by majorities. No, you do not know the people. This people does not wish to lose itself in “majorities.” It does not wish to be involved in great plans. It wants a leadership in which it can believe, nothing more.
The bourgeois world can no longer master these problems. It does not wish for the elimination of the burdens that weaken our people, The burdens that weaken us are in reality the cause of the success of those powers that Rosenberg calls the world power without a territory. Consider the following facts:
62 million people have an impossible amount of land. There are 20 million “too many.” This nation cannot survive in the long term. It must find a way out, which lies neither in the size of its population nor the amount of its territory. Divided in its energies, it must become the victim of those we all know to be our masters. Can that change in the coming years? No!
That is the task of our movement. We are not burdened with the vast and wise experiences of other politicians. We entered political life as soldiers who served at the front while we were overcome by miserable little scum at home. That was our first motivation to enter politics. Nor could we accept the idea that things were as they were, and that we had to adjust to reality. Hitler then brilliantly described the feelings of front soldiers to conditions in the homeland.
There was one place in Germany where there were no class divisions. That was in the companies at the front. There were no middle class or proletarian units, only the company. That was all.
There had to be a way to build this unity at home, and this was clear to them. Why was it possible at the front? Because of the enemy! Because one knew the danger that one faced. If I am to build unity among the people, I must first find a new front, a common enemy so that everyone knows: We must be united, because this enemy is the enemy of us all. If we are not united, the entire German people will sink into the abyss.
It was necessary to make clear the relationship of the individual to his people. It first had to be made clear why he had to feel that relationship. It was the feeling of honor that said to the individual: I am a member of a people of a certain level, and it would be shameful for me to aid in this people’s downfall. It would be a break in the holiest solidarity with the members of my own blood.
As I watched the procession today, I thought: Is it not wonderful to have thousands of men who grew through struggle, who matured in it. It is not the outward patriotism of middle class citizens. We want to put an end to this silly squandering of the values of blood. We want to plant responsibility in the people and put an end to the nonsense that leads our people to spill their blood for fantasies or romantic dreams. We want to teach our people one thing: Take care that your children do not starve.
If someone says to you that you are an imperialist, ask him: You do not want to be one? If you say no, then you may never be a father, for he who has a child must always worry about his daily bread. But if you provide his daily bread, then you are an imperialist.
Our goal must be to form a kernel that will steadily grow, winning energy and strength for the great goal. To whom heaven has given the majority of decisiveness, it has also given the right to rule.
Our entire struggle is a battle for the soul of our people. It is further a structure, a structure consisting of those minds who are the bearers of our worldview and who will be the foundation of the new state. In November 1918 the old colors were lowered. These colors have however for us a special significance, not because they were the symbol of the former state, but because they flew before us during four and a half years of battle. One does not soil that for which one has fought for four and one half years. In doing so, one soils only his own honor. When democracy lowered the old colors it did not soil the lasting fame of the German army, but rather established an eternal monument to its own shame, a monument that will live longer than this state. One can lower the colors, but one can not destroy the content of four and one half years, it is an historical fact. The Republic chose its own colors. With bitter pain we saw it reach impotently into an earlier period of German history for its colors. Today it is clear that the Republic could not succeed even in winning the general respect of its citizens for these colors. Today it only suggests that these colors were once really quite respectable.
Believe me, if it was possible to set aside the colors of the most glorious war in our people’s history by the stroke of a pen, I admire the faith of those in the present government who believe that the colors of the current German republic will last for eternity.
Hitler discussed the fact that the German people today lack a national flag. One has never considered the flag of the leading group of the time to be the symbol of the nation. There is no symbol today that represents the whole people. The order to see the flag as such a symbol cannot succeed. One thing however is clear: A movement today in Germany that fights for the renewal of the people must give its own symbol to this effort, and that is why we have chosen a new flag that is the symbol of the coming new German Reich: a symbol of national strength and power joined with the purity of the blood.
Our goal is for this flag to increasingly lose its character as a party flag and grow to be the German flag of the future. We see this flag is inextricably bound to the renewal of the nation. May these colors be a witness of how the German people broke its chains of slavery and won freedom. On that day this flag will be the German national flag.
Today you see thousands behind this flag. Seven years ago there was no one. All these people marched past us today under this flag with enthusiasm and glowing eyes because they see in these colors the struggle for the freedom of our people.
With one accord, the whole enormous gathering rose to its feet and greeted Hitler’s final words with thousands of outstretched hands: sentences of brilliant force and majesty, a holy oath of all National Socialists as this Reich party rally were met with constant thundering shouts of “Heil,” rendering some of the words unintelligible. Hitler said:
We National Socialists therefore make the holy promise never to rest in raising the honor of this flag, making it our symbol of self discipline, obedience, and order. Let it be to us a symbol of eternal struggle. We see in this flag the victorious sign of freedom and the purity of our blood. We want this flag to be a symbol of salvation, a sign that faith in these great possessions is alive in our people. May in the coming years a party rally occur at which five times as many people march, even if their sacrifice is still greater than ever before!
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