Background: Hans Schemm, Gauleiter of Bayerische Ostmark, was an early member of the party particularly interested in educational issues. He founded the Nazi teachers’ organization in 1927. He died in a plane crash in 1935. According to the book’s editor: “At the beginning of January 1935 I was invited by Hans Schemm to come to Bayreuth. Schemm gave me the task of organizing his work into a systematic book.” The editor had some chance to work with Schemm before his death on early March. I here translate several sections of the book. The whole book runs over 300 pages, and is an interesting attempt to bring together National Socialist thinking in a somewhat organized fashion. However, Schemm does not seem to have had lasting influence, since his book is not often cited in subsequent Nazi literature. I do include a link in the text to one of the weekly quotation posters the Nazis issued with a quotation from this material.
The source: G. Kahl-Furthmann (ed.), Hans Schemm spricht: Seine Reden und sein Werk (Bayreuth: Gauverlag Bayerische Ostmark, 1935).
The greatest era in world history has begun! We are the living generation born in a wonderful era, and it is our task to seize opportunities previously undreamt of. Under the leadership of our Führer Adolf Hitler, our people has taken the greatest step that any people on this earth has ever taken in history. We stand at a great turning point of German history; never before was there as significant a solstice in the political and spiritual sense as today.
You, German youth, have been born in the greatest age of your people’s history.
I wish the vast greatness of the age to burn in the hearts of my readers. I know that fate has decreed what is happening in Germany. The Lord God has torn us from the path we followed for fourteen years, and that led only to the grave, and led us back again with unspeakable grace to give new meaning to world history through the new life of the German people.
We thank the Lord God that he has let us work and fight in the greatest age of the German people! [p. 3]
a) The significance of racial philosophy
We must be clear about the force and greatness of today’s events. All the events of the past two thousand years are trivial in comparison. He who dares to think that the great events of German history such as the Reformation, the Seven-Years-War, Napoleon and the Battle of Nations at Leipzig, are equal to those of today has not recognized the greatness of the age we live in. However, our age has not yet reached its fullest extent.
Why is this age so great? Why is what is happening so powerful? There were great battles and events in the past. States and federations of states lived through great events and crises. However, the greatest, most valuable, most important factor was missing: the greatest factor that a people possesses, and that it must realize that it has, what its existence on this earth rests upon; this factor has only recently driven itself into the minds, into the hearts, into the consciousness of the German. For the first time, the National Socialist movement has fought a battle that can be described by the word “race.”
However often I glance through or study history, I can find no people that has, as the German people of this generation, placed with such awareness racial thinking in the center of political battle.
We National Socialists formed life and opened the door to freedom with the concept of race, which had never before been seen with the clarity with which it is seen today.
We must see the broad sweep of history with all its events and happenings from the birth of Christ through the Day of Potsdam [21 March 1933] as one great whole if we are to understand what a fortunate generation we who live today are, standing at the beginning of a new age.
One may not see such periods of the past, those of Hermann the Liberator, the Reformation, the Wars of Liberation, the World War, the various developmental periods in the area of art, literature, philosophy, and religion, all of which can be seen as epochs of world history, as being of the same magnitude as the period of history that is beginning today. No, the past belongs to a great historical whole that is now completed; today something entirely new is beginning. Today marks a new era after two thousand years.
For the first time since German history began to be written, since people fought and sacrificed, bled and prayed, laughed and wept, the German people stands racially aware and united as an acting, living thing.
Therefore we live in the greatest age of German history, since individual and the people, as well as politicians and the government, have become aware of the greatest value of the German people, race. We therefore stand at the threshold of the greatest spiritual, cultural, and political development of our people. The German people is building its government through National Socialism on the eternal foundation of its race. For the first time in millennia, German blood and German soul are coming into their own.
The racial and spiritual values of the German have been mobilized today because he recognizes: what speaks to me, what drives me on, is the voice of my blood, the language of my race. Adolf Hitler raised race, the eternal foundation of the German, from the unconscious to consciousness. Adolf Hitler recognized race as that which is eternal.
Germany proves that nothing can resist the idea of race, because Hitler made history with it, throwing the greatest ethnic force on earth onto the scales that weigh the fates of peoples.
We thank the Creator that after long, long centuries of searching in vain for the correct worldview, for the proper foundation, the Führer brought our people to this knowledge. Many came before, many prophets arose. It remained for Adolf Hitler to make this knowledge the common property of the people.
Previously Germany was the battle ground of various worldviews. When German fought against German, the reason lay in the depths of the German people, which has a uniquely deep understanding for cosmic and great ideas, for ultimate things. We Germans are interesting in everything deep in us and around us. New ideas become dangerous for us Germans only with some partial area, dogma, or worldview calcifies and claims to dominate everything. Then German fights against German.
How many things assailed the German people from the outside! Remember Catholicism, the history of dogmas, the French Revolution, materialism, and nationalism! During the Reformation and the Thirty Years War, some Catholics, some papists in Germany felt they had much more in common with French or Spanish papists that with German Protestants. And what about the recent past? A German Social Democrat felt much closer to a French Social Democrat than to a German National Socialist. Many major worldviews were brought to Germany, whether good or bad, and put into practice. When a few worldviews had come, we Germans accepted them and fought about them, always to our disadvantage. Why? Because we had not found anything more powerful, more unifying.
Now we stand on firm ground. Until today, we had not established racial roots. When we attempted to understand race, no one came along to take us further. We lived, as it were, on the surface of nationalist understanding, never going any deeper. We were always unsteady, and had to endure the fourteen post-war years. During this period, one attempted to twist racial thinking into internationalism and religious longing, Christianity into Bolshevist materialistic atheism. But that is the path into the abyss.
One sought a crushing blow against German seekers after the eternal. The insanity of international humanitarianism was set against German racial pride. Pacifism was set against innate German heroism, atheism against the concept of internal spirituality. Class warfare was set against the people’s community, and in the arts jazz and Negroism were set against German music. The flat roof fought against a Gothic style that longs for light.
Shortly before the Day of Potsdam, the German people was in danger of spiritual death, of sinking into decline, for the language of Germany during the previous fifteen years was a Babylonian confusion of tongues. We stood at the grave of the nation, at the grave of the German people, at the grave of its cultural, spiritual, political, and physical desires, at the grave of its will to life.
Rising unemployment was an example of the change in our people. Ever decreasing movement, ever decreasing enterprise, ever fewer deeds could be seen, and just as with an individual, that leads to death. Everything was slower. There were fewer signs of life in every area. No power of decision, no will, no future, no faith, no goal. Without Adolf Hitler, we would have sunk into death. [pp. 4-8]
b) Race in Light of Ethnic Science
c) Race in the Light of Biology
d. Race and Soul
Many opponents of National Socialism accuse us of racial materialism, since race is in the blood and blood is physical. Yes, blood is physical, but not physical in the false materialistic sense, but in the sense of home and earth and racial value. They, however, are eternal sacraments.
The concept of blood does not simply mean looking at its physical nature from a racial standpoint, but also at what is connected to German blood with regards to intellectual and spiritual values. Blood is the symbol of our racial soul; the racial soul is something purely spiritual. Blood is thus both something physical and metaphysical at the same time, connecting us to the earth, to family, and to people as a God-ordained whole.
We know that there is a blood that is not material, but yet has within itself the very essence of life. That is spiritual life, the blood of the German people that has flowed through the German people for centuries and millennia, expressing the longing of the German in spiritual and philosophical ways, like that of Faust, which always come to expression.
Physical blood in the racial sense and this spiritual stream of life are always deeply bound to each other. There is a deep connection between physical and spiritual things, between body and soul. They cannot be separated. We demand that the spirit, intellect, and character rule the body, however. Only then is life healthy. We are therefore absolutely correct when we focus our German people first on the importance of a healthy race. If one recognizes this spiritual racial nature, proper conduct will of necessity follow with respect to the blood of the physical race that is bound to it. [I omit a footnote on the background of the word “race.”]
The impact of race depends on the morals of a people. Morality is obedience to the laws of blood. One can see a people’s morals as its racial memory. Woe to that people that loses its racial memory, that denies its morals. Morality is an expression of commonality in feeling, will, thinking, and understanding, not a matter of the individual, but of the entire people. When we demand that one follow Germanic morality and customs, that is nothing but an affirmation by us of our people’s God-given race.
I cannot imagine anything greater that the concepts of race and soul, which are bound together inextricably. Race and soul are the foundation of our National Socialist worldview. We could also say physical and spiritual, or people and God.
Blood is the tie that holds us together on earth as a God-ordained whole. We see this race and the maintenance of racial purity, as well as the preservation of our German, Nordic, Aryan race as obedience to a natural law for humanity. And nature’s laws are God’s laws. Race is God-ordained. Each sin against racial purity is a sin against God’s will and the created order. If we fail honor our blood, we sin against the will of God; to serve our race, to maintain its purity, is to fulfill God’s will. To ignore blood, to fail to hear the voice of blood, to fail to respect race, is to destroy that instrument given to us by the creator of the world to enable us to hold our own in the cosmos.
From the point of view of our racial organism, no thought, no idea of National Socialism is in conflict with the laws and harmony of the cosmos. For the first time, our whole racial organism affirms its own blood and the relationship of its community of blood with the environment. National Socialism is nothing other than a seeking after this last and eternal source of strength.
The creator of the world created the races according to his will, and everything that is follows the great paths ordained by God.
The racial human being is the product of God’s creation, the only way through which God works his will in a child. Pure race is the way through which providence works on us. The purer and cleaner humans correspond to the will of God, the more clearly God’s will and nature are reflected in them. Just as a clean and well-tuned instrument produces clear notes, which is why one can play best on a properly tuned violin, the nature of the creator is best seen in instruments that have remained true to what God ordains, in racially pure human beings who give it the clearest, soundest, most glorious expression. Only if we affirm racial thinking on earth, only if we have not ruined the instrument necessary to receive divine vibrations, will we be one with the laws of nature, with the cosmos, with God!
The highest divine command, and the most important task of a race on this earth, is to understand and incorporate into itself the eternal harmonies of the universe, along with the more immediate laws governing landscapes and neighbors.
For the first time, Adolf Hitler made a whole people receptive to cosmic influences. As our German people drinks in ever more deeply those eternal harmonies, it will be ever more able in coming years, decades, and centuries to develop and form its life and actions in ways consistent with the nature of the cosmos. [pp. 22-25]
a) Becoming a People
1. The Proclamation of a People’s Community
2. Germany in the Past
3. Germany Today
4. The People as an Organism
After the family, the next God-ordained whole is the people. Today — and that is the greatness of the age — the German people is a united acting living thing; that is how it stands. This fact proves the complete hopelessness of all attempts to fight against this state or to reduce the creative strength of the people.
The people is not the sum of individuals, but rather a living principle of flesh and blood, a unique, unified, organized living thing, just as the family is.
Everything a living thing does depends on the possibilities and abilities, in the capacities that the living thing possesses. The higher the organization of a living thing is, the greater its capacities. As we move from a one-celled to two- or multi-celled things, from animals living in water to those living on land, the level of development steadily increases. We find that the greater the number of cells, the more organized the living thing is, the more advanced its nature.
The same laws apply to individuals and groups of individuals. If we look back in history, we see family life, tribes, occupations, classes, countries, dynasties, various structures, groups, organizations, with increasing capacities. The people is the most highly organized living thing on this planet. It is incontrovertible that we live in a wonderful age, since we see the most prefect imaginable expression of the racial soul.
Until now, we have wasted German strength against each other. Here something was done, there something else, but they were not working toward the same goal. Today, all Germans march together in the same direction. Think of what can be accomplished if each person knows that he is a part of the whole organism of the people, if he delights in being part of it and strives to become an ever more important part of it!
We are at the beginning of an era that will achieve things that will make the achievements of the past look small. The most highly organized individual [Hitler] stands today on the world stage and writes with eternal force.
Today’s battle is a battle of the German; that also explains the spiritual nature of today’s wonderful struggles. We see ourselves as a people, as a highly organized organism, that does not merely live and act in its motherland, reflecting its strength only there, but rather from the standpoint of blood and race everywhere it had organs and limbs. Just as a hand or a finger will perish if blood from the heart does not reach them, and then flow back to the heart, so Germandom abroad will die and lose its meaning if it does not maintain a living connection to the deepest intellectual, spiritual, and blood-life of the motherland and people, even to the last German abroad. Just as between a mother and her children, there is here a band of blood.
Life in this world is the life of peoples. The people is a powerful spiritual force on this planet that never rests, but rather always wants to become stronger. It is the highest entity striving toward God. We must, therefore, become accustomed to using the word “people” [Volk] with the same reverence and respect that we give to the concepts of God and religion. [pp. 38-39]
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