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The time of the blazing storm of steel in the First World War had a good side. Where shells burst, there was nobody who did not totally belong to us. Whoever had the desire and opportunity to shirk duty, because he was cowardly, was no longer among us.
Comrades, I know your yearning for everything to go forward. You don’t want anybody to march in our ranks who falsifies our community. You yearn for what we once had in the company: a piece of home, a piece of the homeland. You yearn for a company commander of the same type as the front officer. And you fear that something might, very quietly and unnoticed, sneak in, something that is not in accord with our essence; you fear that one day it might be there and cannot be wiped away. You worry that we might not keep what we had when the going was rough. You are concerned that we might not preserve what we achieved with great effort under Hitler’s victorious banner.
The time of the receding red flood also had a good side. We all knew what to think of each other. Here, too, nobody was there who did not totally belong to us.
How long has it been, actually, since we stood in one spot for five hours in the great Tennishalle meeting-hall to see our Führer, who went from man to man and looked each one in the eye? Those in power had forced the comrades to remove their boots, because they were a danger to the state. But the comrades did not waiver. They stood bare-foot even though it was winter. We had to hide our blue caps, because they were considered a „uniform“ and banned. Outside were police, masses of police. Inside were huge, closely packed columns of silent, faithful men. Hunger brought many a man to his knees, but he did not walk away, unless the medics carried him off. All hearts there beat as one. There were no „ifs and buts“.
What did Adolf Hitler tell us then? „My comrades, one thing I know for sure: There is no coward among you!“ Those were blessed hours despite the discomfort. We knew that all who stood there belonged together in life and to the death.
Comrades, now you are filled with hope that is remains so. It must and it will remain so, if we stand together in the spirit of the front. We must simply take care together, each in his own place.
The man at the front did not fear death as much as the falseness of life: pretense, insolence, conceit and arrogance. The warrior who steps aside after he has done his share conceals all too easily the braggart as soon as the danger has passed. In 1918 we still sat in the bunkers. The inadequacy from the rear brought what had become unavoidable. All that still sits in our bones. We immediately feel the old fear and the old distrust as soon as something not genuine becomes visible.
But there is a huge difference between the times.
November 1918: We stood before the emergence of the poisonous bloom of parties and corruption. Thus began the decay of state, folk and nation. And – a leader was lacking.
January 1933: We experienced the beginning of the end of the party system. Corruption and profiteering suddenly ceased. The state created a solid foundation for the reformation of folk and nation. The best sign of the difference between the years of misery and the new rise is our Führer.
We verify: The front is good, for we ourselves know who we are and what is going on, and the leadership is good. If there is something needing correction between these poles, then the Führer will master it just like he mastered division and laziness. The greatest task has been accomplished. We still look at Adolf Hitler with complete confidence, always and everywhere ready to help with full effort to finish his huge work and again and again to secure and defend this work with our lives.
This fact remains unalterable. Now let us become clear what must be done so that the final victory is not unnecessarily expensive. We understand each other quickly when I simply describe the Führer’s nature – things that you have already so often felt and thought yourselves. What I relate are obvious truths, but still not everybody knows them.
„Leadership and Following“ was not written with the intention of being something new. Serious work had already prepared the ground. The first draft reflected the training lessons for non-commissioned officers in my branch of the service. Our „revolutionary activities“ were actually nothing other than the proof of superiority over the enemy: cleaner, more courageous and strong in our faith in Germany, in Adolf Hitler and his mission. Along the way many things were hard and unspeakably difficult for us, but whatever was difficult for us always becomes easier when we looked at the Führer. He was and remained, always and everywhere, an unparalleled example for us. What we endured was nothing in comparison to the burden that this man mastered. Whoever stood for him, who shared sacrifice and danger with us, was a comrade for life and in death: he was a Hitler soldier.
The Führer’s strength again and again won over new followers – from the enemy or from those who hadn’t cared. The number of Hitler soldiers grew and grew until the sun finally dawned on the day when not just our small band of Germans were Hitler soldiers, but the entire German folk.
„Leadership and Following“, however, does not have to change its title because of that. This work remains aimed at Hitler soldiers. For we are all soldiers, soldiers of work or soldiers of arms. Today no decent German is an exception. We all want to be soldierly people, upright like soldiers, genuine and clear, honorable and knightly, hard if necessary, considerate and comradely among ourselves, and faithful to Germany to the death.
Ongoing successes are no coincidence. They emerge solely from the values of character, from diligence and sacrifices. Creation of these values is the goal of education. Successes achieved by the whole are also successes for the members. Therefore, the members are obligated to submit to this education.
The examples in „Leadership and Following“ almost always point into the world of soldiery, because duty and sacrifice find their highest demands there. Their use naturally applies to all other Germans, for the factory head as well as for the worker, for the scholar as well as for the student, for teacher and pupil, for mother and child. One thing is sure: Whatever we do is always but a weak thanks to the men who bled and gave everything for us.
When during the period of struggle, at the request of my comrades, I wrote down a short draft of this instruction, I intentionally did not write down everything I had said, so that the reader would have room to further develop the main ideas. In this new edition I have consciously filled some of these gaps, because „Leadership and Following“ now has a much broader task and is no longer merely a class guideline, rather it is very often simply read. This is not meant to attack the old custom of reading aloud, because the spoken word is superior to the read word. Even in the current form there is enough room for individual style of presentation. The key points remain unchanged; they offer enough material for whoever seeks it.
The picture of the present is like a mosaic whose bright polish does not deny dark colored stones. They remind us of what is still to be done. The past carries the seal of a mighty, heroic time. It is our task to prove ourselves worthy of it; it is our duty to use all our strength to meet the needs of the future.
The highest quality weapon is important; more important is that the best man operates the weapon; most important, however, is the indestructible unity of the folk, whose sons are not only the best soldiers, but also the best workers, who stand behind the soldiers.
To the highest man belongs the highest on earth: leadership and rule. The best should always lead. It’s bad, when it’s otherwise; we know that from bitter experience. Each must employ his best values for the will of the Führer. These values, however, do not fall to any of us from the sky. They must be achieved and earned. We are not super men. If we want to be the best – and we must do so out of gratitude to those left behind in enemy soil – then we must gladly accept the exertion required by education, training and advanced training, so that when we must lead, we lead right, and so that we confidently follow, when we belong to the following.
Proper leading and proper following have been given an eternal monument by the time of iron: the heroic glory of the living and of the dead.
We are concerned with Germany, always with Germany. That must be anchored and said again and again. Otherwise we run the risk – under the pressure of personal concerns – of paying less attention to the great idea or even of forgetting that the individual is part of the whole, that his life only becomes a life when it becomes part of the higher entirety of kind and language, of feeling and thought, of past, present and future of the folk.
An experience, which initially seemed very trivial, still occupies me. Years ago I took a Sunday excursion with my boy. The short train ride made such a deep impression on the little fellow that he asked me in Tegel: „Are we still in Germany?“ At first we laughed about it. But then it dawned on me that the child didn’t deserve to be laughed at on account of this question. Quite the contrary! He had started to form a concept of Germany. I have met folk comrades who have never in their life left their village. Many of our big city children are the same. Even many of us who have fought for Greater Germany have remained rather provincial.
It is hard to free oneself from the bonds of the provincial. Each initially sees the world from the perspective formed by origin, social circumstances, intellectual level and occupation. Newspapers and radio have certainly helped to create change, but our concepts of Germany are necessarily again and again distorted by local patriotism, if not by distrust and jealousy.
The positive results cannot yet be measured from the fact that now Germans are shown Germany, that German works whose wages never before enabled travel can now see how Germans live in other provinces. It is not just the strength through joy, rather also their strength through knowledge that our village, our city alone is not Germany, that we have a fatherland, big and magnificently beautiful, and that we are sons and daughters of a single, robust, industrious and ambitious folk.
The great events of the present fully shown the German men, who stand as soldiers on the crossroads of historical transformation, the essence and nature of the homeland. Even in the distance they can make countless comparisons. They will find that this country is beautiful. Or that nature blessed one region even more, because there are two harvests each year, and they will see that each person loves his homeland and considers it beautiful, even if it is ever so barren.
Just this thought, love of the homeland, already shows the right perspective. The German soldier does not only learn from books. He sees with his own eyes the monuments to the rise and fall of entire nations. He gets to know the proud, spotlessly clean people of the north and he sees in other lands that great nations have neither the strength nor the will to climb out of their poverty.
The living racial, cultural and social history constantly surrounds the warrior in foreign countries. He knows that he has a role in a huge transformation, unprecedented in world history. But his thoughts always return to Germany, of which he is rightly proud in comparison. Now it is easy for him to embrace the noble and clean. And he knows that the valuable must not only be preserved, but that the deeper meaning of life lies on the endless struggle for the better, the search for the most beautiful, the fulfillment of the more noble.
He knows how very necessary such reflections on Germany are. This is immediately shown when you ask one of your followers who works for Germany back home what thoughts he has about the concept of Germany. Try it! Help the fellow by hinting at the answers to your questions through new formulations. Often it can only be a hint. But even this provides enough material for thought and education. You won’t have time for an in-depth presentation.
But your encouragement achieves the valuable result of leading your comrade to the sources he all too easily overlooks, because they are too close to his path.
Question: Is Germany whatever is shown on a map with a colored border?
Answer: Did you stop viewing the Saar as part of Germany when the borders shown on a map where different than they are today? Was it otherwise with Austria, the Sudetenland and Danzig?
Question: Are the landscapes, cities, villages, rivers, bridges, monuments and everything else that is visible within these borders Germany?
Answer: Do not German ships sail on foreign seas? Do not the achievements of technology proclaim throughout the whole world German ability, German spirit and German industriousness?
Question: Are the people of German kind and German tongue within German borders Germany?
Answer: Do not our countrymen who live among foreign peoples belong to us, to Germany?
Question: And if we now take together everything that belongs to us, and the German people wherever they may live, is all that together Germany?
Answer: Does not that belong to Germany which is of German origin, that which once was, all that which emerges in and around Germany in unbroken struggle, of which history reports so much that warns and obligates?
Question: Is Germany the German folk of the present, the folk that today lives and works?
Answer: Whence do we come? Would we even exist without those before us? And what would we be if our ancestors had not cared, fought and hoped for more than just themselves, but also for us? Who did more for Germany: the creators of the present or the many who labored before us?
Question: Is Germany all of this? Past and present?
Answer: Do we not carry the seeds of new Becoming within us? Does not new life fulfill itself through us? Are we not the fathers, the parents of a coming generation? Does not our love and loyalty belong to it, our care and our duty? Who would wish something bad for his children?
Many things will be newly formed, newly established and newly created in Germany. Do not the works of the future also belong to Germany?
As a leader, ask your followers like this! When answering these questions he will feel his love grow for those who will come after him. This love will show him his duty toward those who have not even been born yet. And it will be easier for him to recognize what he owes those whom now live, live and suffer at his side. It will be of decisive importance for his life to clarify that his children and their children will one day be that what he now is, that they will one day harvest what he now sows, just like we now pay the price for what was neglected before us, and how we can enjoy what our fathers and grandfathers created.
Germany is the sum of what was German and what will be German. We stand right in the middle of this. We only live our life when we feel reverence and thankfulness toward the people who went to their graves before us, and toward the works they left in our worthy hands, and if we are conscious of the high responsibility we bear toward coming German people and things.
Who among us would want to be cursed by our descendants?
Germany and the German nation are like a mighty storm that comes from the primeval past and continues into eternity.
The nation is an unbroken column, which marches there and then crosses the bridge connecting past and future. Even if only those standing and walking on this bridge are visible, even if only they think, feel, endeavor and create, nonetheless the Germans of the present alone are not the nation. To it also belong those lost in the vast distance on the other side as well as those coming from the distance who will one day step upon the bridge of the present.
Course and strength of this river, of this marching column depend on two great factors: on blood and soil. One or the other can dry up, if one is more fertile than the other. They depend on leadership and following, because the energy between them alone can overcome the danger that the soil is not as fertile as the blood or that the blood does not remain pure, that is dries up and foreign blood becomes master over the soil. Proper leadership alone gives the river a firm river bed and hence the invincible strength to secure its living space, the strength which would otherwise with deadly certainty dwindle senselessly into a thousand tiny streams.
War is the father of invention. A Greek wise man already said that more then two thousand years ago. It was like that in ancient times and it will probably be that way in the distant future, too. Much has been written about what the World War meant to the front soldier, but the final word will never be said. Experience shapes a man. The previously never suspected world of the horror of mud and filth, raining iron, blazing fires, wildly pounding blood, deprivation, hunger and thirst gave birth to the patrol leader, the assault group leader, the infantryman as the ruler in no-man‘s land, the military engineer in bunkers, Richthofen, Bölcke and Immelmann. This world and its bright lights also revealed its abominations. It lifted the brave to lofty heights; it made the heroes immortal. Whatever was small and pitiful melted in its furnace into nothingness. It was not the crushing force of the material battles that shook the front soldiers of the world war. From the height of his clarity he often looked down with a shudder at the abyss of human inadequacy, which gaped like a gorge next to the lofty towers of mighty accomplishment and splendid nobility.
He kept his eye for the contrasts after the cannon fell silent. He saw a great law in the fact that the proven warrior later, too, carried on the fight against evil, against everything hostile to the fatherland, wherever he met it, but also acted with goodness toward people and things wherever possible. It was so very necessary and so decisively important that this bearing did not perish. Such a way of acting cannot be commanded or forced by external measures. It can only be the expression of inner clarity and decency. To prevent the bad from happening, as essential as it may be, is no substitute for the good that can be done. Compulsion does not encompass everything. One could often simply leave the good undone and nobody would say anything; one could be comfortable or tired or cowardly; one could avoid encroachments or violating jurisdictions, but for the man who has served his folk by risking his life a hundred times, there is no question about whether he will live his life so as to simply obey the law or whether he will do good even if nobody sees it, even if it takes effort or even if it becomes uncomfortably conspicuous.
How the war changed men cannot be portrayed. Each experienced that for himself. One fellow became a complainer and slave; the other became a hero and a master. Every unit, however, that underwent the baptism of fire on the front got its own uniform mark, which nobody could escape.
The front never again let us go. Even later after the cannons had long fallen silent; we lived according to its law. That‘s why we find hurrah patriotism so disgusting. That’s why we hate braggarts. That’s why any kind of bureaucracy turns our stomach. That’s why the crazy self-importance of people without personality makes us sick. That’s why we are overcome with laughter when we see people frantically trying to make up for something they failed to have the courage to take care of earlier when the time was right. That’s why we are repulsed by the way some people suck up to us after the rise to power, who now put on an act to draw attention to themselves and their suitability for open positions.
The true front soldier has nothing to do with all of that. He has become a unique type. His kind does not tolerate the half-hearted. For him it’s about the „either-or“, the clear „yes or no“. The front separated two worlds: one of cowardice and wretchedness, and one of courage and the deed. The front soldier had stood in the great furnace of the nation. He saw the mass death of men. That burned out anything unmanly in him. That’s why he would rather perish than become a slave.
He was always where the action was. Adolf Hitler, the front soldier, forced a decision in Germany. That’s why front soldiers were his enthusiastic followers. That’s why the armchair generals who prefer compromises to decisions hated him.
The soldier front strove unerringly for his goal. The thought on the goal determined the actions of each individual. Each acted just as the comrade in the same situation would act and each knew he could totally reply on the other. Any other bearing would be dishonorable and unworthy of the front soldier; unreliability would threaten not only the sure success, but also honor and life of the community. The behavior of the front soldier falls under sacred commandments, which are affirmed and fulfilled from the inside, from the depth of the soul. Disloyalty is alien to the man of the front.
The war taught us hard necessities, which we hadn’t known at first. Due to this ignorance we made many mistakes; the greatest was that we had not deeply enough comprehended the seriousness of soldiery.
When we put on the uniform in peacetime, and after we overcame the unaccustomed, a colorful, active life began. Despite drill and compulsion our heads were still always full of notions. A maneuver was great game, a little romantic and a lot of fun in quarters and in bivouac. During assembly one eye still searched for blonde locks in the village. We didn’t grasp the seriousness. We saw cannons fire. The thunder was magnificent!
But then came the sight of the first dead comrade! Oh, how did the terror of night watches grow, how did everything fall away from a man which was no longer solid on the grade between life and bottomless, flaming depth. How tiny did the Self become, how terrible, how horrible did the realization come: It is about the existence or non-existence of our folk!
The youngsters among us learned this seriousness! Tell them the full truth! Show them no sugarcoated pictures! A maimed man does not look nice. A leader and a following must suffer immeasurably for a holy idea before it is fulfilled. Only whoever knows that and still stands by the flag passes the test of history, for he himself forms it. Teach the comrades this sacred seriousness so that they can complete what started with us! The pounding of the front hammered it into our soul. We will preserve it for the sake of everything that matters to Germany.
We who know the horror of war have never more earnestly yearned for anything other than that the reason of nations avoids it. We have ridden through days of glorious victories and would have more easily believed in reason if we had been spared nights of deepest mourning and unspeakable shame. What happened to us made this clear to us: our passionate desire for peace could never mean that we would impotently bow to unreasonableness. We had for a while become unarmed, but we did not want to become dishonorable. God knows there was never a lack of good will and readiness to participate in an enduring peace. But if it was to be enduring, then it had to be based on justice. It had to give us our due.
Whoever has no instrument perishes in the concert of power. But even the listener who masters his instrument can distance himself from the disharmony surrounding him. Fate taught us the great lesson that strength, not weakness, maintains peace.
The greatest son of front soldiery, Adolf Hitler, drew the consequences from this realization. Within the German heart, as the seal of honor, remained the vow: Rather dead than slave!
From this spirit the Führer created the new Wehrmacht, and the nation followed him enthusiastically. What was accomplished during this rebuilding through devotion, loyalty, sacrifices and sweat was already a quiet victory, before unreasonableness made it necessary for the old front soldiers and their young comrades to again be called to arms.
We do not know what it will mean in the mirror of coming events that the military commander led his young Wehrmacht to lightning victories against a world full of enemies, to victories the likes of which history had never seen. Only later generations will be able to fully appreciate the service of the man who created a new German defense amidst a world of chaos to preserve the honor of the German folk and to create and secure an enduring, joyous peace.
We had often worried that front soldiery would die-out, that with it would be buried things that people later on could no longer comprehend. We knew it was still about the existence or the non-existence of the German folk. Hence it was easy for us to maintain the bearing of the front soldier during peaceful work for folk and fatherland, to keep ourselves healthy and clean in mind and spirit, always ready for the day the Führer could again call us.
The teachings of front soldiery have not been bought at a senselessly high price, neither by our sacrifices nor by the precious blood of our fallen comrades. A young team has already formed solid battalions behind us. And again as before we see how youngsters ripen to steel manhood in days. Our old front soldiery celebrates its re-emergence in the victories of the young comrades, in everyone’s faith in the Führer of the Germans and in a joyous German future.
When the guns fall silent and the enemy is defeated in the land, when the warrior advances into the arena of new dangers, the work of the rear starts in the newly won territory. The front soldiers do not hold it in high esteem.
To the men who knew nothing other than resisting the enemy, the rear, its essence, its task and its condition were initially unknown. What we gradually heard and saw, however, left a bad taste to our mouth, even long after the war. Of course, the rear was necessary. But whence came the contrast, which we occasionally felt, especially at the end? Because the man of battle is silent about his experience, whereas the other tries to fill his hollowness with a big mouth! Because the torn, bruised, mud-caked front soldier found ironed uniforms and white collars in the safe rear area; because a pair of pants seemed much more important than the man wearing tall boots; because one avoided him; because the others wanted to be fine gentlemen. Often defeated enemies were better comrades for us than the people behind our third line were. When we returned to the homeland, they ripped off our cockades and shoulder-tabs. The rear had turned sour!
There was something else beside the rear: the homeland, which we loved more than anything, for which we were where we were. The rear ate into the homeland. Forces were at work, deformed forces that slowly alienated us from even this homeland: beer-room gossip, know-it-alls, shirkers, profiteers in the editorial rooms and the black market. All that melted into our concept of the rear. We became proud of our own world of struggle and of the title „front swine“. There were some who wrinkled up their noses because the term was not fine enough for them, just like they also repulsed us.
But in all this contrast lurked a danger for our thought and feeling. We all too easily encapsulated ourselves and overlooked that even there, where we often justifiably viewed things with inner dislike – there in that area that laid behind us spatially and spiritually -, there were still a lot of things that deserved respect, service and appreciation. In reality, we were not alone. In the rear there were actually many people yearning for clarity and truth, for honor and unity.
When this yearning finally found its fulfillment, we looked back with a shudder and realized that the Führer’s New Order made a repetition of what had proven itself rotten in the rear impossible. Never again should the man of the front have to step back and notice with amazement that in the meanwhile the inferior has gained the upper hand.
In our concern for the new the rear also received justice. It was unavoidably necessary. It had taken care of our supply. The distrust of what was behind us had to cease. It was not the replacement’s fault that he came later. It was up to us to help those who joined or wanted to join the front to shape up.
When those of us standing amidst the great struggle for the protection of German life today look back on our concern then, we see that it was indeed justified, but nonetheless very small. We have almost totally forgotten the rear of that time, simply because there isn’t one anymore. Even the word has become strange to us.
Each war has its own face. The present one has seized the rear with its claws. Now peaceful cities, hundreds of kilometers behind the front, experience heavy artillery fire, woman and children must flee bombs. Nobody can escape the war anymore. It pulls everyone into its wake. Not just the soldier firing a round wages war. Behind him follow the one who brings it to him. Behind that one is the one who manufactures it. Each is dependent on the diligence and readiness of the other. That certainly was the same in the past. But now there is no longer a rear with great comfort for the non-combatant. Each of us without exception stands in the service of Germany. We cannot choose this or that service because one is more interesting or more profitable than the other is. Here and there an individual might not like a position, perhaps because there is too little variety. Then think about the man at the flak gun, who week after week stands at the gun searching for the enemy, who sees the same faces every day, who is chained to his stuffy bunker and in the end still has not seen an enemy. We also think about the men in the north. How long is the night there! And the soldiers are always on duty.
You, my comrade on lonely, monotonous duty, do not forget that your fate carries the silent heroism of the homeland! Often they are weak, but always-loyal hands, which for your sake never tire to labor for your sake. When your thoughts take you home, then they shouldn’t overlook our brave women who spend the day at work for you and who care for their children in the late hours.
It’s a common thoughtlessness for people to be dissatisfied with their work. They’d feel the same about another one! That’s not what this is about. Any work we are called to do is service! If we view others and compare justly, we will find our service is not the hardest one. It is our sacred duty to help prevent the homeland in the rear from again becoming rotten.
If each does his work in a way so that he can be proud of himself, then victory will be ours.
Rearward service is necessary and honorable. It stretches from the sources of raw material to the last transportation means on the way to the front. Many hands contribute to the success of the fighting man. His glory is shared by the hearts of all who, making a total effort despite deprivation, help.
Leadership quality is a gift from god. One must be a born leader. What makes a leader cannot be gained by office or promotion. The leader among the masses is like a diamond in the sand. He is inconspicuous until he is polished. Even unpolished, he is still more valuable than polished glass in a fancy shape; that remains trifle and hypocrisy.
Shiny glass and expensive façade blind. The viewer eventually recognizes the deception. But the damage it causes is too great.
It’s good for a community when those with leadership quality gain office and authority. We must hence select the core without being blinded by the façade. We must also look at the heart and courage of a man, but not at the smooth face of the braggart. The saying holds true: „Whom God gives an office, he also gives reason“. When he has achieved what he wants, he assumes a shiny exterior. The man gifted with leadership quality, however, prays to God for the strength to fulfill his duty well and loyally – and to remain modest!
There is no instruction manual or patent for correct leadership. Leadership obligates. The leader learns through ceaseless hard work on himself to meet the demands of his office better and better. For his following will be like him.
The leader is there for the others, always and everywhere. The leader educates, promotes enthusiasm and joyous devotion.
The false leader pardons. He causes disdain and laziness. He disappoints the man who does always have the strength to keep his eye on the great idea despite bitterness.
People are always the same, but the one kind of leader creates a bundled force from them that remains in his hand; the other kind of leader creates rebellion and dissolution, which leads to the destruction of service and the following slips out of his control.
The leader stands before and protects his follower. The weakling in a leadership position, however, seeks protection through him. The right leader promotes responsible and meaningful action. There might be mistakes, which the leader must certainly correct. The false leader shifts responsibility onto his subordinates. The result is avoidance of decision. From this emerge lameness, timidity and mediocrity. Then it gets so bad that the men no longer sense any leadership and begin to let things and themselves go. Everybody „sneaks through“. Then it’s there again, the terrible „just don’t become conspicuous!“
A sign of those who may be selected, but not called, is that every braggart puts in his two cents with them. One doesn’t want to offend anybody, to make an enemy; one wants everybody as a friend. The door is wide open for the meek and the self-important. The modest, industrious, loyal man on the other hand is overlooked. Well-behaved children wish nothing; well-behaved children also get nothing.
The genuine leader encourages the able. He is not afraid of losing his authority because he nurtures the value of each follower and listens to the advice of the knowledgeable.
Not to fear the superiority of the subordinate means being superior to the subordinate.
The following of the true leader will know how to obey, because he knows how to command, and because the healthy following gladly acknowledges the leader’s superiority and even wishes it.
Under the leadership of those without this calling too many issue orders to enable real obedience. The uniform mold, the bond between leadership and following is destroyed.
You, leader, do not need to punish every transgression, but you must not tolerate them, either.
We want to train decent fellows in the following, but we consciously do without insisting on perfect boys alone. We prefer a man who once did something stupid out of hot blood. That will be compensated for another time, if – as is long customary in German soldiery -, we treat subordinates well and with due consideration. Our concern for the man helps us to easily find the right path and proper measure. Then a necessary severity will not be viewed as an injustice.
We also don’t need to pounce on an issue, which, wrongly handled, seems huge and over which one just laughs a year later.
There are, of course, events where the leader must remain unforgiving. He can’t always be told where the line runs between hardness and well intent. He must find it alone. When in doubt, the decisive question is: what best serves discipline?
The man whom we once help overcome a violation – after he has otherwise behaved well – will go through fire for us.
The leader’s spirit is also the spirit of the following. The group needs direction. Without the right spirit it never achieves the right tune. The most expensive machine remains dead if the builder erred in his calculations. Spirit and mass must be inwardly in balance in order to build a genuine community. If the calculations are right, then all gears move in harmony.
When we spoke of leadership, we until not too long ago meant, often exclusively, „leadership“ in the military sense. Indeed, that’s the sense where it has its most unambiguous and clear expression. We immediately think of somebody who leads, commands, is responsible, and of others, who obey. In our mind’s eye we see somebody standing in from of a unit. We expect a specific bearing from the leader and even recognize him by his facial expression. From the very beginning we have no doubt about the essentials of leadership. Maybe that’s because soldiery lies in German blood. Military education through many generations consequently bred a clear conception of the fundamentals of soldiery down to the last descendant. One does not just know it; one feels in it every utterance, whether something – if it is about a matter of leadership – is right or wrong. If we imagine a person who must lead, we cannot even imagine that something false could happen. And if we think about the unit, then it’s self-evident to us that this group of individuals becomes one mold through their obedience.
Even if one spoke of any individual within the unit, there was no doubt that he would behave properly toward the right leadership. The men in the unit by no means became soulless zeros, a mere mass. Each one of them, dependent on himself, could at any time, even under the most difficult circumstances, meaningfully execute an unexpected task for the whole, for his behavior is simultaneously solid proof of his ability and of his training, hence of his leader.
A man who is angry and not convinced of his task, achieves nothing, rather he fails in the decisive hour. Good will alone does not suffice to obtain success. First, good leadership must show direction and goal and it must decisively influence the independent action of the individual.
It is very important to never forget that in any group of people that has come together each always influences, steers and, ultimately, leads the other. Often that happens without notice. And if an officer lets his leadership slip, in the end it’s taken over by a soldier council. One always leads, whether he likes it or not. Hence whoever commands should also see to it that he leads.
A unit is a force if it is formed by individuals with a common will and if a good spirit inseparably binds them together. We could say: „Leadership is spirit, following is movement!“ Good leadership is good spirit, which carries over onto the subordinates and triggers a strong, uniform burst. Bad leadership becomes dissatisfaction, laziness and decay.
Adolf Hitler disciplined every life expression of the nation and simultaneously gave it the most effective unity. Each life expression finds its firm foundation and loses nothing of value. Furthermore, we proceed on the basis that work alone is true wealth, but not hoarded gold. Since he did these thing, it has become clear to all of us that military service is only one part of the national expressions of strength, which from inner necessity must be led.
The term military service puts us on the right track, because we emphasize the word „service“. It’s about service in general, about service in all areas and in all forms. All of us serve all the time and everywhere.
The National Socialist does not serve solely through his occupation. His entire life is service for the folk and fatherland; otherwise it is not the life of a National Socialist. Already in his occupation, a man should obtain the strength and training to be an officer of life, whose essence is not command, rather – after learning to command himself – to be an example of bearing and action and thereby to lead.
Service is selflessness. Again, this is shown to us mostly clearly in the occupation of the soldier, who makes great exertions in order to be ready for battle and ready for death. One does not die in order to make a profit from it.
The highest demands are placed on his physical and spiritual bearing.
For whom? For all of us and for the future of our children! Let us learn from the soldier! His service is a sacrifice.
No such comparable sacrifice is demanded of us. We even earn through service. Wherein lies the selflessness of our service? Therein that we add to our work our sweat, our loyalty and the affirmation of our obligation to the whole.
We all serve in one unit or another, be it an office or business, in a factory or as a member of an orchestra. Somewhere and somehow our effort and desire always flow toward the same goal: our fatherland. Everywhere where we may serve, the same inner command stands over us that finds such clear expression in military service: the law of leadership.
Even though nobody can sever the bond that tie us to the community, we nonetheless do not sink into a stubborn, uniform mass. Such a mass would be unordered, dead; it’s movement would be impossible. Movement is life. The whole only lives because it is filled with the life of its parts and their diversity. The individual only lives, when he lives consciously, when he is given room for inner growth, when he takes pleasure in his work, when he is surrounded by decency, and when he sees that his strength and his work advance the prosperity of the whole. The life of the individual must, just like we saw in military service, be filled with a good spirit. And because nobody can withdraw from his life unit, the worker from the factory or the teacher from the school, the attitude toward service, its results and form will depend on whether the unit has a good or a bad leadership.
If service is the great current of a nation, then this all-encompassing leadership in general can be compared to a river bed into which the many tributaries flow. A higher organization, the state, must show the direction and give a might push, otherwise the water becomes slow and stale.
To service belong both: leadership and following. That means much more than command and obedience.
Their proper application means the recognition of the common responsibility toward the same goal. Direction is given by one and the impetus by the other. This is determined by the joyful relationship between spirit and mass. The spirit of the leadership must not ignore the enthusiasm of the following. „Following“ can only mean gladly following, willingly, voluntarily and insightfully. Loyalty and appreciation are pillars of reciprocity.
The master bricklayer master without his bricklayers would not be a master. He would hardly be a bricklayer. The bricklayers need their master, otherwise they build no livable house, rather just a piles of bricks. If the master reaches not just the working hands, rather also the hearts of his people, if he leads them, then the work is blessed with a feeling of joy for the master and his bricklayers. But if the master is a grumpy, unjust slave driver, a curse lies within each brick, it seeps into the house and fills the hearts and homes of the bricklayers. Such work is servitude, perhaps due to the need for bread. It is no joy, rather a misfortune from which new harm always emerges.
If the bricklayers are uncooperative, moody, unwilling or even rebellious, then they eventually strangle all good ideas of the master. They take away the possibility of realization of the planes, which have perhaps emerged in quiet evening hours. He dissipates his strength in the defense against invisible hostility. Things remain undone that would have been otherwise achieved for the prosperity and use of living and future people.
Consider how much good would have been done if our own inertia or the envy and jealousy of others had not stuck pointed border-markers into our existence.
If at the very least the negative had not been there! How much energy is lost to the nation solely through unfruitful legal cases! Ill intent and stupidity are parasites on the folk’s resources.
German people can never be molded into a uniform type, which as a norm would simply vegetate toward its end. The drive for advancement, accomplishment, responsibility and the individual life must never be prevented. The better should grew and prosper. It grows from the individual life, but it will never harm the whole. For all impulses of the individuals to again flow into the most disciplined possible leadership, means a concentration of force, without which the community could not achieve any joint accomplishment.
The concepts of leadership and following belong, as we have seen, together. Their essence does not change whether we serve here or there, whether we are soldiers of the weapon or soldiers of work.
German soldiery has never known it otherwise than that the officer advances in front of his soldiers. It comes down to this „in front“, always this „in front“. This „in front“ is the basic essence of leadership. It accompanies the doing and not doing of the leader every step. Hence he must show his men what they should do. He lives an example for them to life according to. He must, if he is a soldier, have the strength to die first, if the others are also supposed to die. False games stop short of death. When it gets tough, the shiny shell of the false leader bursts.
It does not have to always concern death if you want to see the requirement of setting a good example. What reason fails to see is suspected by the simplicity of a child’s spirit. The common soldier has a sure feeling for what it’s about. Because he remains silent, the false is often first discovered when the misfortune has struck.
If the lieutenant stands in front of his platoon wearing a monocle, he shouldn’t hide it when the colonel comes. If the soldier goes hungry, the officer must not eat. If the subordinate freezes, the leader goes without a coat. The leader’s concern is his men’s welfare. The leader is the last in the barracks, the last to eat and the last to lay down on the straw, but the first at every business. Only then does he learn the men’s morale. The leader who has to ask afterward, has long since lost the inner connection to his men. He has already ceased to be a leader. No badges help him anymore. One only has to get to k now a company commander in order to know his company’s condition.
Look at the silent faces of the comrades at the front and you will know what’s going on with their leader. If the unit’s spirit is right, you will see bright, happy faces. Where sulking is visible, the higher commander must set things right fast.
Intermediaries, reports and interrogations after the fact are miserable, unworthy of the genuine leader and fateful for all. They undermine the leader’s authority. The leader stands in front of his comrade, eye to eye; he speaks to him with needing a third person.
As a commander, take care not to make your subordinate comrades look ridiculous with careless questions. The man stands in front of you dead serious, otherwise he wouldn’t be there. It’s all right to ask him if he’s married, but for goodness sake don’t ask him why he is married. (I once witnessed a painful scene when a young commander asked a long-time veteran that.) Being ridiculous kills – not the man, rather you.
A leader completely misperceives his task, if he forgets – or is even able to every forget – that he is above all a comrade to the comrades placed under him. Maintaining authority and nonetheless being a comrade: that is the difficult art the leader must master.
Sometimes a false sense of honor emerges. Honor cannot be segregated, say in the honor of the enlisted man, of the non-commissioned officer and of the officer. There can only be one honor: that of the soldier. For the enlisted man and the non-commissioned officer are also soldiers. What can be escalated through rank, training and inner manly value is the conception of duty and again and again the concern for the others and loyalty, for honor cannot exist without loyalty. The man who correctly sees his own leadership qualities, still hidden from the others, cannot escape this escalated duty, either. This duty does not depend on rank. Its demand is the most difficult one that can be planned on the rank and file. He must practice subordination, remain a comrade among comrades, not push ahead and still he has the duty to at the right time help steer something in the right direction.
We forget all too fast that among the silently obeying subordinates one often finds men who are too modest and proud to speak up for themselves, but who have more words – even command words – in themselves than the superior at the front knows.
The great values must not be held down through petty jealousy.
Do not think your leadership positions means you must do everything yourself even though helpers stand at your side. Otherwise you can see that none of your many plans succeed.
Your power does not became greater simply because you don’t give your subordinates any power; you don’t become smaller because you let others grow.
Value and valuable men cannot be better preserved than by fighting inferiority with all means. It demonstrates your strength and security when you do not tolerate the sickening braggarts who always show up and shoot poisoned arrows at their comrades, taking effort to preferably remain unnamed. The very first time, summon the other man! No tattle-teller can take that and he doesn’t try it again. It’s different if the report concerns something the man must report, because it’s about something unworthy. You must be thankful for such a report. But combat gossip. It has a terrible effect, even though it usually emerges from trivialities. Strangle petty envy, for it weakens the faith in the community.
A leader always has the duty to bring an especially capable comrade to the attention of a superior officer. In the new Germany the time must finally be past when heroic deeds were first discovered in an inn.
When after a battle Frederick the Great searched for his fallen friend Wedell among the wounded in a barn, a bandaged fellow cried out, „All of us are Wedell!“ That man was right. Without the silent loyalty of the many soldiers in an army, there would be no fame for their generals. Although our national history produces so many famous names, it must not be forgotten that the fame of individual names also proclaims the glory and heroism of the many who marched behind the great men. Back then we were proud of our company commanders who received the Iron Cross and told us at the front that they wished to wear it as the company’s medal.
Among the crowd there are many real great men wearing an inconspicuous uniform. Adverse circumstances hold them down. Only when coincidence or fate draws them out of the small circle in which mass and unreason had held them does everybody stare at in amazement at what ability is suddenly revealed. Some of our front soldiers might have passed or marched along with the corporal Hitler. And…?
Providence does not bless a folk with an excessive number of great men. Perhaps Adolf Hitler will remain an unprecedented great man in history. Nonetheless, his past shows that it is presumptuous arrogance to pass final judgment about the value a man based on his present position or past rank.
One might claim that a special leader promotes himself on his own. That is only conditionally correct, for if men before him have marked the right path, he considers it wrong to leave it. A man of format will then subordinate himself and wait until he is correctly integrated. Only half-a-man will then try a different path.
Whoever knows his own value should not expect others to also know it right away. He has the moral duty to guard and increase it. Whoever’s development is blocked on the horizontal plane, is still not blocked from going skyward to the stars. He should be ready for the day when fate knocks on his door.
If we nonetheless demand modesty from him, that also means heightened attentiveness and responsibility for all who must lead men.
Genuine heroism is often very quiet and frequently goes unrecognized into the grave. What do we really know about the most inner essence of our comrades? Actually very little, mostly we usually just see ourselves; we stick to whatever matters to us alone; we don’t know the needs of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow; we are too chained to arrogance. We do not see that the relationships between past and present, between power and goal-setting require prerequisites other than those formed by the dictates for the achievement of selfish desires.
Every leader must know that. Only then does he see the diverse values within his unit. He learns to also evaluate his men by how they want to subordinate themselves and not just by how they act when they are supposed to obey. Then superficiality disappears. It honors the leader when he respects the value of a man and integrates him into the common service for Germany. All that looks so difficult and is, essentially, really very simple. Whoever avoids unnatural puffery, whoever presents himself as he is, whoever remains natural, is always on the mark. That’s the first and best bridge from heart to heart. That is better and much more binding than all regulations and punishments.
Nothing has a worse impact at the front than a polished and limited character. Such fellows always know how to sneak in anywhere. It’s a good sign of manly discipline if the first man who senses and sees what’s up fights back the grin and conquers his own anger! The wise-guy is not a good recruit. He knows that one rainfall suffices to make a terrible mess out of all the fine feathers.
Any leader who is afraid of his own superiors should immediately resign, for he certainly cannot win the respect of his subordinates.
The leader is the superior, because he is there for the others, because he is comrade, friend, advisor…and because his greater strength, will and farsightedness provide him with the inner justification and duty.
Refrain from cursing! Whoever is unnecessarily loud betrays that he is wrong. Don’t forget that the enlisted man should be silent. Do not tempt him to premature talk! Always have the courage to make good your mistakes. Your authority does not suffer in the least if you admit to having treated an enlisted man unjustly.
None of us is a master. Each must continue to learn. Each improvement, each reproach, each punishment is based on the common principle of learning together, helping and improving. That certainly takes a lot of courage. But one must have it; otherwise the shimmer of power from the insignia of rank is one day lost.
The enlisted man, standing in rank, should remain silent. When you speak as a leader, always ask what you are doing, whether you are building or destroying values.
Leaders are naturally a minority compared to the following. This minority nonetheless remains decisive. For it has the greater and harder task. Without leadership a company’s strength dissipates. It doesn’t achieve the goal. The task of the leadership is to ensure that the unit achieves the goal. The art of leaderships decides whether a unit gets to its goal without losses. There is a grave difference between whether a unit is led into battle fresh and enthusiastic along the shortest path or totally exhausted by an unnecessary detour, whether it remains at full strength or suffers unnecessary losses along the way because of inadequate supply.
This image illustrates a truth for everybody participating in the planning and execution of a work. Just think of business life: every aggravation, every delay, every deficiency reduces the profit, means a loss of material value or, worse yet, of spiritual value. A loss of the first kind can be seen and compensated for, but the effect of a loss of spiritual values cannot be measured. If lack of desire, a sense of suffered injustice or distrust seizes the hearts, then no door can close tightly enough to keep out misfortune.
This realization by the leader must be supplemented with another: Subordinates, don’t make your leader’s life unnecessarily difficult! You don’t know how the leader, who isn’t allowed to become tired, must get new strength through your bearing. Without leadership you lose yourself. Without your faith, your trust and your discipline the leader is powerless. Together, with the right attitude toward each other, your are an unprecedented unity of values and strength.
Otherwise you are a lost bunch. Correct leadership and following mean victory. Failure here means defeat.
Stopping means perishing.
SS man! Have you taken a close look at the skull insignia on your cap? Have you during a quiet hour reflected when it has to say to you? You will fully understand that it you place your hand on a skull and feel the bony shell of a once living brain. In spirit, the man who left behind this skull – and you know that you are, what he once was – stands in front of you. You shudder at the thought that you will one day be what he now is. You will feel something like fear of something that you didn’t understand before. Do not be ashamed of that! You have the right fear, which you must deal with all by yourself. You cannot talk about it with others, because they prefer to hide it behind a smile. But that would be a shame, because we must start with the very first things if we wish to proceed to the very last things. This journey is nothing other than education, which should enable us to help to create a new type of men in Germany
There is no condition of fearlessness. Otherwise there would be no courage. Those who like to brag about their bravery are not the truly courageous ones. For them it starts with concern what others might say and it ends with cowardice. All that can be prettily hidden. Look more closely beyond the veils! You will soon discover that they have never shared the fate of men in battle who have experienced the worse things. What do they know of enduring need – about which one doesn’t like to speak? When it was down to the last, when we knew that death came in the bright flames amid the roar of explosives, all of us had fear, all. It just comes down to how it was overcome and mastered. There’s when the real leaders showed themselves. We looked to them. They made us strong again.
Our skull symbol leads you to the middle between passing and becoming, between cradle and coffin. We are nothing but the link between that what sank and that what will arise. The fear of a man that it might be over tomorrow, the fear of being too late with that, which must be done, is natural and right. Without all who existed before you, you would not exist. Upon everything we do and do not do is built the life of those coming after us. In our days we carry the huge responsibility for Germany’s future. Everything we do poorly is a debt our children must pay. Even the simplest person could not survive if he were not integrated into the folk community. Our action can thus never be solely for the present; it goes beyond that. A strong breed should again live in Germany. We help toward that goal as long as there is still time. But we do not preach to the other fellow, rather we begin with ourselves. The skull symbol calls on us to burn out whatever is invalid and cowardly within ourselves. It calls us to build and secure whatever is important and honorable. Strong and daring, it calls us to be ready for any deed that serves the goals of the nation, so that those after us can truthfully say: We Germans fear God, but otherwise nothing in the world.
SS man! The skull on the cap should be a help to you on your way. The symbol has more to tell you than can be written down in a book. The world of the soul can only be comprehended by the soul, not by the letters of the alphabet. The skull reminds us of the mortal. It also reminds us of the eternal, inner goods of the nation that you serve. What is still to be feared after the realization of a demand placed on a man and his manliness? From German history we see how well the German knows how to die decently. Comrades, let us look toward the last moment without hesitation ! We do that all the better if we also have the courage to live decently, so that we do not have to be ashamed of ourselves if the last minute allows us enough strength to look back.
In life a thousand hesitations meet us with their „ifs and buts“. What do we care about the opinion of the mass if it does not correspond to our thought and our goal? Why do we have to consider the false compulsion of social ties if we have recognized them to be false? Indeed, it is often easier to die bravely than to live bravely.
We are not afraid of the last; why should we be afraid to be as we want to be? Namely: straight and simple and pure in body and spirit – honest, conscientious and loyal – loyal to the Führer, loyal to the fatherland, loyal to ourselves and our clan, and loyal to our ancestors!
What is straight remains straight to us; we do not make it crooked. But if something is crooked, we seize it firmly and make it straight. Right is right, and that remains so. We are the sworn enemy of injustice. We have the courage to practice moderation, even if that is not always done in our surroundings.
Whoever has been led by fate into fire has in that grave hour seen past the curtain of this existence. He gained a view into the endless expanses before the dark gates again quietly closed. His eyes saw the many trivialities of everyday life. The shallowness that leads so many people to exaggerate their measure is revealed to him and vanity seems especially faded. Appearance is so ridiculous to him. He understands why people who belong together so often pull apart. Frequently trivialities, often mere prejudice and disfavor are the cause.
His eyes then see everything that is important, above all what pure German initially means, to do a German thing for its own sake, that being German means: to be clear. It is better to be clear though a silent deed than through great words.
We wish to be seed among wheat, but not a weed, which becomes overgrown and hides its own lack of value with pretty colors. We agree with the old Moltke: be more than appearance.
We make no bones about it that – through iron discipline and joyous obedience – we seek full value in bearing of character and accomplishment
Anything beyond that is bad. Anything less than that is a neglect of the good of a nation.
What we achieve through our efforts lives on. It lives in countless little things. It lives in the good example of our own bearing. It works day after day and often in places where we do not even notice it. It germinates and manifests itself long after we have closed our eyes. It will live on when we ourselves have already been forgotten.
Thus we fulfill the purpose of SS. We will always be ready to protect the Führer with our bodies. Our souls, however, protect Adolf Hitler’s spirit. Hence we demand more and more difficult things from ourselves than from others.
Every deficiency eventually finds its explanation in comfort and sloppiness…and cowardice. Whoever is cowardly, even just a little, cannot be true. The triumph over fear and the consolidation of loyalty grow from the same seed. The skull reminds you of that.
That’s why, SS, your honor is your loyalty.
Manly virtues determine the basic direction of our way of life, first of all loyalty. We best understand loyalty through the feeling in our blood. This feeling tells us clearly what loyalty is.
Loyalty is lack of deception. Loyalty means action and inaction without deception. It demands reliability and maintenance through action and inaction, so that the trusted one is not deceived. It demands pursuit of the goal with complete seriousness and devotion.
Whoever is loyal does not have to swear it twice. Loyalty is like a banner that goes in front of the following.
Behind the flag also march those who have not stood by it under fire. That cannot be otherwise. They will nonetheless know what they owe to the flag. But those others, who on quiet soles sneak into the column of victors returning from battle, cannot know it. They were not loyal to their cause and they cannot be loyal to our cause. They seek refuge for their wretchedness or they seek a way to make business through their cleverness.
The flag must remain pure. Everyone who follows it must learn to see how blemishes can emerge on it. Whoever swears loyalty should learn to avoid sinning against it.
When we are surrounded by the good life, when everything goes well, when the position one serves in produces a profit, then it seems easy to be loyal.
We don’t have to explain loyalty to the man who had nothing other than himself, who lived, fought and suffered for an idea, who had no material gain from it, but who nonetheless remained loyal. But we must learn from this man, everyone who becomes a leader, so that the leader’s value is not lower than the leader’s rank. We thereby also protect ourselves against the danger of overlooking that the follower has a right to loyalty just like he has a duty to loyalty.
Every leader must realize that he not only receives loyalty from the follower, rather that he also gives him loyalty. If the follower waives in his loyalty, then always look whether the blame lies the man who, as a leader, is responsible for the follower – whether he has himself been loyal to him.
Loyalty is not showing a bowed back toward the superior and accepting whatever comes with a constant, servile smile. Such behavior can also never produce loyalty downward.
Loyalty is the inner obedience carried by trust and by affirmative love, not servitude. Orders formed by correct obedience look different than hypocrisy in the guise of over-anxious obedience. The enlisted man clearly feels the difference. He has a sure feeling if he is met with loyalty. Even if the order is very sharp: the man perceives whether this order springs from a sense of responsibility, from care and concern, hence from loyalty to the cause and to the men, or whether the sharp command tone merely hides the inner poverty of the man giving the order.
Compliance is different than obedience. The enlisted man knows that, too. And that is good. He notices fast whether somebody above him views loyalty as a one-sided thing, receives but does not give it. We can be glad that many an enlisted man has so much inner fortitude and certainty. He does not reject everything simply because he one time stumbles onto a superior who simply orders compliance instead of – as a non-commissioned officer loyal to his superiors – commanding.
The higher your office as a leader the greater is the claim to your loyalty. Above you, the circle becomes smaller. It becomes more difficult, because beneath you the field of your responsibility expands. Remain true to the enlisted man under all circumstances! Do not shift the blame to those who failed because they could bear the burden of responsibility you gave to them in your area.
Protect your non-commissioned officer, even if, with the best of intentions, he erred, if he missed the mark. Only whoever is so mediocre that he never acts will never make a mistake.
It is Germanic nature not to leave one comrade in the lurch. That’s clear to us in immediate physical danger. It must also become self-evident to stand behind the man who has inner conflict. He should still believe in something when he is too weak to master it himself. Do not withdraw from your responsibility for what the man missed. You thus encourage the courage to faithfully report mistakes to you. Otherwise temptation leads to cover-up, and that does more damage, like a creeping cancer.
Remove the dishonest! He does not belong to us anyway. Punish the negligent if necessary. But put the honest man in the position corresponding to his ability!
Your loyalty to the follower demands that you assume responsibility for the insufficiencies he creates through ability less than his intention.
Loyalty also carries with it mutual responsibility. It must be exercised with insight and tact. This responsibility for each other means more than just good intentions on the one side or pushiness and aggravating over-ambition on the other.
The one should not feel greatly slighted if he is once openly told what must be said. The other should not overlook the good points of the comrade because he is too inexperienced or too proud to draw attention to himself, as would often be desired.
Knowledge of the reciprocity of responsibility alone produces the security in giving and receiving. This avoids the suffocating feeling of dependence, but it achieves the belonging in the higher sense.
Loyalty hence means loyalty for loyalty.
That is true for all of us, for leader and following: A sign of loyalty is not the mute or even crumbling execution of an order, rather the bright joy in service for Führer and Reich. His enthusiasm for the idea will preserve loyalty, even if things don’t always go according to his wishes, even when he receives a hard blow.
If the hearts do not glow, then all effort is in vain.
Our inalterable love is Germany’s treasure; our constant loyalty is its protection and security.
If our love is small and confined to just the smallest circle of immediate comrades, then it is false and unworthy of a National Socialist. If it flows from noble manliness, if it encompasses all genuinely German life, then it is a love of God. Then our loyalty becomes a vessel that covers and protects this precious gift from God.
This love and loyalty cannot be strong enough. By caring for this, our strength grows. If you are befallen by a feeling of grief for not achieving anything greater than what you have, then think of this: the heroism you seek does not only show itself in armor and shiny weapons. Heroism is often silent and invisible. You can be a hero of loyalty in everyday life, if the faith in Germany lives inside of you. Your faith, your love and your loyalty to Germany will eventually reveal themselves. Even if your name is one day forgotten, you have nonetheless belonged to those who have built the new Reich. To you, too, will belong the thanks of the Germans who later will be able to fully recognize what Adolf Hitler has meant to Germany, and that only through the sacrifice and loyalty of his followers, whose comrade you are, did the huge breakthrough in Germany’s fate become possible.
From your loyalty grew the exultant affirmation of the nation: one Führer – ein Folk – ein Reich.
Isn’t that a reward for your loyalty?
About its Essence – The Forms of Order –
The Art of Ordering
About its Essence
An order is spiritual strength. This spiritual strength becomes visible through the order’s success. There are different kinds of orders. One bristles with strength, the other downright trembles with weakness. Between the two of them there are many degrees.
The spiritual strength comes from the person who commands. This explains the variations in value and expression of orders, for one person is talented and strong, but the other is clumsy, of thin blood and weak.
The order reveals the character of the commander. It reflects his ability, his knowledge, his will, his knowledge of people, and his joy of responsibility.
Just as the character of men varies, so does their relationship to the concept „command“, both in the ability to themselves command and the way they obey orders. Command and obedience are a unity, viewed from two sides. Only this unity ensures the success. To command must also belong obedience. An order without obedience has no effect. It can look splendid and is nonetheless like fireworks, which expend their energy in pretty colors.
Our entire life is filled with orders. From a false sense of feeling, some people will rebel against our concept of the essence of the command, if they do not fully think through how life is inalterably encircled by command and obedience.
Many will resist the general demand of the command, which is however a moral demand, because an order in the realm of our world-view is always aimed at the regulation of moral expressions of people in the narrower or wider sense. If an order demands unconditional obedience, then this unconditionality should also be defended, even if somebody objects that the infamous „order“ could be given to leap from a high tower onto the pavement That wouldn’t be an order; it would be an insanity. In the German fatherland care has been taken so that such a misuse of spiritual power over others is impossible.
Anyone who rebels at „always being ordered around“ comforts himself with a deception. He is simply excited by the name of something that always has value. He also deceives himself when the command no longer is called an „order“, but in truth remains one. Why must he stumble over false concepts while he consciously marches in rank in file in the folk order? Does he not give up his train seat for the war-injured comrade? Among moral people the necessity of consideration is also a command; consideration is obedience. Both simply bear different names.
A well brought-up man, a man of good character will of his own accord do what must be done. Trying to regulate the entire action of this man with orders is only conceivable for the person who does not know how to get along with people. That kind of order insults and demeans. It has the consequence that the result remains far less than what would have been accomplished without some ordering around.
Don’t forget that the tone makes the music.
We can thus somehow relate every part of our life to the factor „order“, whose secret is not exclusive for men. The mother’s effort as well for the education of children is an unbroken series of orders and struggles for the right success, hence for obedience. Is it not a reward for a mother to know she has gained her child’s obedience before it is two years old? What the child refuses at two, it will not give at twenty.
Every order is directed at a goal. Its path always leads through obedience. Whoever commands has the responsibility for the goal, which, as we have seen, always stands in connection to matters of life in the moral sense. This knowledge protects us against thoughtless orders. It demands of us knowledge of everything within the circle whose center is the order we give.
We must already know much about the subordinate. For example, we must know whether he is in a position to carry out our order. We must know that the way the order is carried out depends on our way of commanding. It is necessary to precisely know the cause that led to our order and we must know the effect before we command.
Our knowledge must have no gaps; otherwise uncertainty emerges when giving the order. The consequences are ambiguity and mistakes in the execution.
Next to knowledge stands our will. It is the father of the deed. It fills an order with strength. If it is weak, the deed is weak.
Whoever leads must command. We do not need a company or a platoon to lead, we do not have to be the chairman of a club or the head of a big department or factory; we will nonetheless often have to lead and to command. We must in the end also command when we face difficult tasks all alone, where norms and forms are lacking or fail. We will have to command where no other person obeys. We must have learned to also command ourselves.
Here it’s shown most clearly whether the convincing strength of the will lives within us. From here we recognize the many, many individual wills within the folk. And when we become conscious of our own strength, we see, filled with thanks or with envy, but in either case in amazement, how these individual wills are encompassed and directed by the stronger will of other people, until we view the man blessed by God with a will so strong and noble as the world had not yet seen: our Führer. His example shows us the huge burden such a will is able to carry and that a man’s entire life represents a single command and a single obedience. Then our concern for the order becomes easy, even if it previously seemed so burdensome to us, and we will fulfill our obedience more joyfully than before.
The Forms of Order
An order can wear many kinds of clothing. It can look friendly and immediately please. It can also be gray and simple or obvious and self-evident. An order can also be dressed so unattractively that it repels, or even so ugly that it provokes resistance and rejection. All that is possible. Therefore, an order must never wear a mask. Its face must be clear, clean and inalterably directed toward its goal
If we put an order into a soldier’s uniform, we initially call it a command. The command is the shortest form of an order. The command is bound to both – the person who commands and the person who executes the command – by a regulation. Both know the regulations. Knowledge of regulations saves the superfluous. Any further word or explanation is unnecessary.
Whoever commands must limit himself to the correctness of the execution. Otherwise there is nothing to say, nothing at all. Fine expressions are not appropriate for us. They endanger the seriousness. Roaring is hence detestable. The enlisted man burns with desire to improve. You can tell him that in a reasonable manner, considerate and direct. The enlisted man should never get the slightest impression of being provoked or harassed. It’s your fault if he gets such an idea.
Go far ahead of the front! Place yourself there! Know what you want! Now command! The execution will be like your command. But if who run around like a toad who doesn‘t know what he wants, then your helplessness and agitation become infectious. Then don’t be surprised how your men squawk during the next break.
If you make a mistake, don’t immediately get excited! If your knowledge of command speech fails you, then order the way that seems natural to you! Have your goal in front of your eyes and go ahead unerringly! Only the goal matters. The enlisted men know that, too, and they follow you.
Helpless figures at the front are the terror of all soldiers. If looks could kill!
Make you men listen by means of the loud opening order! Put your whole strength into the following execution order. You will be pleased by the smartness of your men. Don‘t forget half! If you order, „At Attention!”, then don’t go away without having commanded „At ease!“ Otherwise the men start to do so on their own. What else should they do? But their disobedience – and what they did is indeed disobedience – is your fault! Improve by command, not by placing in question! For example, don’t say: „Heavens, whose stomach is sticking out?“ You have asked, but you don’t really want an answer. If you have a bright lad, he’ll irritably shout, „Soldier X has his stomach out!“ What do you want to do then? Probably you yell at him and thereby make a second mistake. Instead, you correct: „Soldier X, step back three centimeters!“ and all complications are avoided. Otherwise seriousness is lost, because the matter is ridiculous. The purpose of the short order is undermined, and at the same time your authority, for if one laughs, they all laugh at you!
The order has a different expression if the seasoned soldier’s training is lacking. For example, during a maneuver you want to secure an area. For the former officer or non-commissioned officer, the following order would suffice: „Place guards at the village exits there and there!“. He repeats the order, marches off with his men and knows exactly what he must do.
If you send a green recruit, you must first explain the requirements to him. If you want your order to be properly executed, you will not only instruct him; rather you will also have to convince yourself that he has understood everything. It’s possible that you do not fully understand a task placed on you. That could happen without endangering your position. Then find a comrade to whom you can entrust this task. Openly admit you must care for splendid comrades, but don’t be a know-it-all. You dispatch a guard but don’t bring him back, because you don’t know the situation, and then reproach the man who naturally acts on his own accord and returns. Nothing can help now – you’ve become impossible for these soldiers, even if thanks to their good, voluntary discipline they continue to obey you a thousand times.
The art of handling people does not just lie in great problems. It’s proven through the little things. The solution of the big problems emerges from these little things. Ignorance is not the same as stupidity. Nothing works against arrogance and stupidity, which however are often the same. Here’s an example of what damage ignorance in these spheres can cause, something we’ve often seen in the barracks. A non-commissioned officer throws open the door to the enlisted men’s room: „One of you can come to me!“ The clever „old warriors“ understand. They pull down their caps and disappear without a trace. An innocent lamb remains. A little while later the non-commissioned officer is back. „Ah, my son, why didn’t you come? Didn’t I say that one should come? Come along!” First: this soldier gets punished. Second: At the next assembly it’s report, exercise and aggravation! The „old warriors“ stand there calmly. „He didn’t say anything to me!“ The result: one learns to shirk.
What would have been correct? Door opens: “Soldier X, come along! Do this and this!“ The command is repeated and executed. The clear, precise order gave the other soldiers no cause for „discussion“. Each carried on and there was no aggravation or complication.
When you command, then supervise the exact execution! Therefore take care not to command something that cannot be executed!
Do not demand more than you can perform yourself! Therefore train as long as necessary so that the enlisted man knows exactly what he should do! His limbs can only execute what he has in his head. For example, at the command „at ease“ he must automatically assume the correct position. If he does it right, you’re saved later corrections.
An order can also have its fine points. In this regard, progress is conceivable. We must refrain from them, because another bond is necessary, namely a similar education and training. Conscription is not the essence of an order. A „request“ from the regiment to a company is nothing other than an order. And the „please“ of a commander to his officers results in obedience. Yes, in the final development a self-evident obedience is conceivable where the superior does not even have to speak and barely needs to make a gesture.
The better both parts are attuned to each other – the more they share the same knowledge and will to serve the higher goal, the more both possess character values – the happier is the relationship that gives the stamp to the order on the one side and the execution on the other. The superior officer merely needs to express his wish. Eventually, even this expression is not always necessary, because the other feels the intention and already views it as an order. In such cases the subordinate officer can be given free room for his own decisions and independent action. The precondition is, of course, to create security. Only whoever is secure in ordering – and precisely knows the cause and effect – ,educates toward certainty in obeying. Whoever is not completely certain in obedience forfeits the right to dominate the field in which he is supposed to command.
Although we base our observations on the world of soldiery, this doesn’t mean we only wish to address soldiers, i.e. those who bear weapons. We see what is valid everywhere. The essential points from these observations can be applied to all segments of the folk and to all aspects of its life. Right down into the family, the law of command and obedience accompanies us. The child already receives orders; it already reads from the mother’s voice whether it must obey or can delay or even avoid the order.
Mothers, too, easily make the mistake of overlooking things. They don’t take the execution of their instructions seriously enough and then one-day make the painful realization that their children slide out of their control. It is not the task of the woman to command, but it is nonetheless her duty to force her will on her children, and in professional life we find many women who also command. Hence our soldier examples also apply to the German woman.
The Art of Command
Correctly commanding is difficult. New parents already learn this. But if it’s already difficult in family life, which is filled with love, care, hope and joy, so much more difficult is command when ignorance or even stupidity and ill-intent confront us!
As everywhere where people are supposed to learn something, we find masters and pupils. Among people who must command there are those who are as certain as sleepwalkers with command and those who smash to pieces everything around them. We find the masters, the average and the below average of commanders. Correct command is an art, which actually means nothing else than correctly leading people and treating them justly. The most inner, difficult demand of an order returns to whoever gives the order. We cannot expect complete obedience if the spiritual strength that forms an order is insufficient. If we are lazy, we cannot order others to be industrious. Setting an example is part of command. We have a feeling of joy when we are joyfully obeyed. We must not, however, be afraid to make ourselves unpopular, even if we also demand obedience from those who think it’s not necessary, because they’re „good friends“. We must not become sidetracked, even if others only obey with clenched teeth.
Initially, it’s always about obedience. Whatever is required for instruction and education comes second. Obedience is just as indivisible from command as is responsibility.
The command must be specific and understandable. It is given, when it must be given, not sooner and not later. It must never be the result of a mood. The result would be that obedience would also depend on mood. We wish our orders to be received by subordinates who obey with insight and joy. That they are so depends on us. For this reason, each command should avoid any unnecessary burden. We guard against any demeaning favoritism. We don’t like it ourselves, either.
From the way a command is given an attentive observer can draw important conclusions. The attentive observer is always the person who must obey. Your character, you knowledge and your will are judged by the observation that your order is so precise that it cannot be twisted, that it avoids nobody and nothing and does not waiver. One recognizes the degree of your wisdom if your order correctly reveals advanced planning. One will not overlook the deviousness if everything possible is carefully ordered so that no matter what happens, the blame can be placed on others.
Therefore, always give an order only at the right time and when it is necessary!
Always bear the responsibility for your order!
Supervise the execution of your orders!
Avoid „orders“ full of „ifs and buts“ that help you avoid the reef and shift the blame to others.
Report short and simply!
Do not order what cannot be executed!
Do not forbid what will be done anyway!
Never demand the impossible!
Don’t play the tough guy!
We all know regrettable examples when somebody whose own negligence and personal neglect undermined his leadership and who then suddenly pounded his chest and sharply demanded a new, stricter discipline: “ From now at, by all means punctuality!”, one hears him roar. Some people know this game. They smile to themselves and remain completely passive. They know that within three days everything we revert to the old way, because his will collapses. It’s most difficult for the lazy fellow to get up early.
The leader should be his subordinate’s best comrade. But you must also remain their superior. That’s way command is a difficult art. The command encompasses two things: your authority and the discipline of the comrades under you. The power of command is the most difficult part of your leadership. It depends on you whether you have an enthusiastic following or whether you breed outrage. You have the duty to heed the limits of your ability. All too easily can you sin against the precious value entrusted to you. What you damage here is very hard to make good again. Whoever must command, should practice to command, so that obedience can be joyful.
Disobedience requiring punishment is often not so much the fault of the man who does not obey or who obeys poorly as it is of the man who commands poorly. It is often just a small step from the justifiable dissatisfaction caused by the inability or thoughtlessness of a superior to disobedience.
Discipline is hence not merely the obedience of the subordinate, rather also the authority of the superior. Authority is not just the certainty that the order will be executed, rather beyond that justified trust. That must be earned and proven.
Command and obedience rest on one purpose. The commander must know this purpose, otherwise he doesn’t command but only blabs. This purpose must also be made clear to the subordinate – that’s the task of the commander – otherwise effect and subordination seem senseless to him. That kind of obedience becomes blind obedience, whereas it is absolutely essential for a living connection to be established between the man who commands and the man who obeys, and then between them and the goal that they must and want to achieve.
The infantryman who goes into battle must be informed of the connection between the things that affect him; otherwise he becomes a machine. He forgets he’s an important part of a whole. He losses the possibility to act accordingly for the goal. A knowledgeable commander presents the current situation as often and as well as he can. This produces a good connection between the leader and the men he leads. They feel again and again that they are led. This produces trust in the leadership, even if the contact is perhaps broken and the man is on his own. Despite his dangerous situation and loneliness, he knows that the higher ups are doing the right thing. He knows through his nurtured trust that all threads lead to a strong hand somewhere. Thus emerges, grows and endures the trust in the highest leadership, because the immediate leader explains the purpose of orders and creates trust in himself.
It’s not just that way in military life. In political life as well the bound between the higher and the lower is always trust. It must remain even when it’s not possible to explain, when the enemy is listening, when everybody cannot know everything.
The machine-gunner behind the loophole only sees the field along his line of fire. The squad leader’s view is not so limited. The machine-gunner and the squad leader must, however, know the range of fire of the company and their contact with their neighbors. The concept of „company“ is usually sufficient for the enlisted man. The center of all things – order, danger, purpose and trust for the hundred men of a company – is the company commander. Anything beyond that is outside his range of vision.
What must fill and be preserved in great armies must already be present and stamped on the small company.
It is of far-reaching importance to allow sufficient room for the ability of others. If one tries to encompass and direct everything possible with orders, one causes others to simply restrict themselves to the execution of whatever is ordered, whereas even the smartest man can sometimes forget something or be prevented from giving orders as usual.
That is another reason for the sad fact that many things that should have been done were not done. Nobody sees it, nobody complains, but the loss is still there, even if nobody realizes it right away and nobody can measure it exactly. Those who command should think about that. They should not be scared off because the freedom of action given others might lead to mistakes. Instruction and an encouraging word accomplish more than a long face, scolding or senseless punishment. The subordinate officer‘s success due to his own decisions should never be met with his superior’s envy, rather with shared joy and recognition.
It’s impossible to issue orders for every detail from the distance. Their solution is tied to the overall direction the order has for the whole. Within the parameters, give your non-commissioned officers and enlisted men free reign! This eliminates two sources of mistakes: first, even the best leadership can overlook something, and second, your orders might not reach the others.
One must view an independent action as the proper execution of an order that in all probability would have been given for the overall operation. That still does not help the man who stands there alone with nobody to tell him what to do. He still does not know whether what he does will later prove itself correct. Here it simply comes down to whether or not we’re dealing with a man with strong character. The man with courage to act without hesitation according to his best knowledge and conscience will accept the order whose purpose he fulfills, even if he does not receive that order.
After all, it is less bad for his action to later turn out to be wrong than if he had folded his hands in his lap and done nothing. If the action was wrong, that still does not mean the right thing cannot be done in a similar situation in the future. The courage to act must not be undermined. Despite possible mistakes responsible action is almost always the prerequisite for surprising successes. Unwise and incorrect critique does not increase the action-readiness of the subordinates. Instead, it causes valuable forces to be crippled or held back in the future.
If the feeling of security in independent action is not strengthened, then the seeds of fear are planted, not fear of the unknown enemy in front of us, rather of the superior, the friend behind us. A superior cannot always be friendly, but in his command and in his criticism of our action he should not cease to be our friend, so that our reliability thanks him and so that our whole heart belongs to the common work.
Contradiction of various kinds is possible. It can be criticism, resistance, defiance, impertinence or negation. Contradiction can also be affirmation and it can become duty.
Even criticism has various appearances. It can be justified and instructional. Criticism requires a high degree of tact and self-discipline. Among the like-minded one can discuss a matter and affirm or reject it. Criticism in the positive sense is justified for the person who is himself ready and able to perform the task better. Criticism can also become a terrible affair. Then the wolves in sheep’s clothing suddenly turn up, serve up „facts“ and cripple – intentionally or not – the other’s faith and zeal. Whoever does that intentionally is a real stinker. He can’t help but to drag every word and every deed through the mud regardless of how well meaning it is. Basically, he is a puppet, not a man, for he is incapable of deeds. He tears apart what others do.
We wouldn’t waste words on criticism in the sense of defiance, rejection or rebellion. This does not exist for National Socialists. For Hitler soldiers it’s impossible.
But there is still something else that we must evaluate. Criticism can be something that is not rebellion. It can be recognition of an other‘s mistake or presentation of better suggestions. It comes down to the way this „criticism“ is presented. In rank-and-file we remain silent on principle. Otherwise we would turn the iron, irreproachable law of discipline upside down. We already saw what it means to be a leader. The leader should and must make an effort to command in such a way that precludes contradiction. The enlisted man does not only obey, he also thinks along. And that is good. What leader would want to command just hollow-heads and puppets? Thought must be communal; it must have a common goal.
Now the individual can face a dilemma. It’s possible that a commander has not fully considered all the pros and cons when he gives or is ready to give an order. As the subordinate, you see a problem. You must report this in the appropriate manner. But then you obey, because the other has full responsibility. This contradiction has nothing to do with impertinence. Nonetheless, it requires, as said, much tact – and courage at the same time. One can easily give the wrong signal. Just as the „contracting“ person must have the necessary feeling for the right way to present his objective, so too must the superior hearing it be a man with insight. A great man does not just tolerate it; he wishes this kind of contradiction. He knows that he is no god; he is pleased by tactful, clever subordinates; and he is joyfully recognizes a new kind of fulfillment of genuine, enduring comradeship. A small man, however, suffocates on contradiction by others. He does not even tolerate this kind of noble contradiction.
There are situations where the real leader downright demands the open expression of other views and better suggestions from his subordinates.
The enlisted man must possess the certainty that he is a valuable individual within the whole. He should consciously help toward the great work. He should himself be satisfied with what he should do. If this is practiced and executed in little things, then he will not fail if he must sometime obey when it’s not possible to tell him the purpose of his obedience in this specific case. Unconditional obedience emerges from the unconditional trust in those who command. The task of the leader is to earn and preserve that tust. In the future this will remain just as necessary as it has been in the past.
Among us we don’t speak unnecessarily. But you must occasionally give your comrade a chance to talk if you want to know what bothers him. That’s impossible at assembly. Larger gatherings are also not appropriate. But at the end of the evening together the troop leader can take care of his men. He reports what’s necessary to his superior. They continue up the rank in the same manner. However, what is important must not get stuck along the way!
Once I observed the building of a bridge for a prolonged time. At the beginning everything looked like chaos until, taking a closer look, I could indeed recognize an inner order. The harmony of numerous and diverse forces became visible. Promoted by goal-conscious work, the form of the finished work gradually became apparent. Many eyes gazed at the man who directed the industrious hands. He did that in a measured and certain manner. The others executed his orders in the same measured, certain manner.
Measure and position of the industriousness of the throng were not arbitrary. The utilization of men and material corresponded from the beginning of the work to the plan the director carried with him. He did not deviate from his plan and he watched to make sure no one else deviated from his instruction, either from misunderstanding or from stubbornness.
He already knew the extent and effect of the means entrusted to him. He knew the exact path and purpose. He knew: Here, at this place, no other, the first piling must stand, and over there, at a precisely calculated and determined point, not an inch more to the left or to the right, the other shore must be reached. The blueprints were like an inalterable law for him, which he was subservient to. He knew perfectly well that the existence or non-existence of his work depended on he himself following the plan entrusted to him. For the others it was just as obvious that they had to follow the instructions of the director, otherwise the success of the whole would be disturbed, delayed or even prevented.
In his reverence for the workers, who placed stone onto stone in their colorful work, defying the oppressive weight of the heavy iron railings with a „heave“, the observer did not at first think about the person whose orders were being followed. The man from whose mind sprang the idea to connect the shores at this spot had transcended time and space. The man could even be long dead; perhaps his own time had not been ripe for such a farsighted idea. Or he could be inconspicuously standing among us.
He first notices that the creative idea is the start of the new work when the purpose flows into a goal, namely when idea and fulfillment start to become a unity. As a ring forms a circle, so is the circular sequence of creation: the first consideration, the firm intention, the systematic execution and the great success, which finally imperceptibly bonds again with the origin, hence with the idea.
Now I still see the throng in front of me. Soon the bridge will stand; the purpose of the work will be achieved. The conception of the person who had thought far beyond his time is fulfilled, who had foreseen the development of the stretches on land on both sides or who had wanted to give the necessary connection to what had already become. The goal was to serve the prosperity of the entire folk with the new construction. The purpose was the bridge and the means to this purpose were the men and material that served him. The idea nears its realization. The goal appears before us.
Our bridge will be even more to us than a finished picture that we can look at and admire. To this bridge belong from now on all those who will one day step upon it, even those for whom the mail-truck delivers a letter to the other side. To this bridge also belong above all and for all time all who helped to build it. That includes not just the mere work, rather also the inner attitude of the workers toward their work, their behavior toward each other, and their behavior toward subordinates and superiors. These relationships are even more, they are even more important than the pilings and the new path, for people do not sink into the grave upon completion of this one task, rather they live on as active parts of the folk and they will participate in many more works. Again and again, the gears must mesh. We carry the values of our time into the future if the harmony of thought and execution, of idea and realization crown work after work.
Today every German knows the necessity of this inner harmony. He knows the individual means nothing; the folk means everything in our life. The right attitude toward our work is also a relationship to the whole, to folk and fatherland. We understand our world-view best in that we say that National Socialism is service for folk and fatherland.
What held together and drove on the individual helpers during the bridge construction, whether they belonged to a column who „together“ moved the iron railings, whether they were burnishers or carpenters or the men in the swinging cranes or the draftsmen in the office, what determined their bearing? Wages? It didn’t have to be craftsmen whose wages had to be paid! We can think of work service men or soldiers in their place. The success would have been the same. What then would have caused these men to behave the way they certainly would have? Fear of punishment?
Naturally, the worker must receive his wages, and indeed his just wages. But in his business he does not think first of all about his wages, rather about his work, which thus becomes even more precious than if it were merely the effort needed for wages. The man, whether worker or soldier, devotes not just his spirit and talent, not just the strength of his hands to his duty, rather also a piece of his heart. We must never forget that. We learn to generally recognize what we owe to our fellow men. We also learn to think more justly about many whom we may for whatever reason not otherwise find particularly sympathetic. The folk is not the encapsulated selection of those who make no mistakes, rather to the existence of a folk also belongs inseparably also those who require improvement. Let us not ignore the fact that even the person whom we personally find less pleasant also has his good points.
Does the soldier fulfill the task we give him out of fear of punishment? Certainly, that may happen as an exception. In the case of genuine soldiers, however, who have genuine leaders, the most powerful drives emerge from a strength of disposition. These soldiers don’t even have any thought about laws of punishment.
Every day new glorious monuments to the higher advancement of German men are created by men and women who loyally and lovingly work for Germany, and by the heroes who devote their life to their loyalty to the fatherland. The inner law of a German order receives its stamp from the strengths of the hands, of the spirit and of the hearts at the same time.
Not wages, not fear of punishment should bind a man to his place, rather a higher insight, the connection of all moral forces to a common goal which already flows into our concept of Germany. Everything that makes it possible to direct this river, to tap its forces and transform them into use, we call discipline
It is worthwhile for every responsibility-conscious, genuine leader to once discuss this topic with his following, even if it turns out he can still learn a lot from his subordinates. Upon closer examination it will be determined that the German man already stands on a higher level. He often practices discipline without even knowing it. It comes from his kind, from his blood. He seldom gives a name to this kind of discipline, for he has a fine feeling for what must be. He knows what he should do, and he also knows whether others behave properly toward him. Everything that is false has an effect that is injurious and destructive. It wounds the soul, whose parts are: the feeling for right and justice, the joy of creating, consideration of the next fellow and trust in the leadership. Germany’s most precious possession is the soul of its sons. What would Germany be if it no longer possesses the thankfulness and devotion of its sons? The spoiled son is a lost son. Greater Germany, however, needs all of its sons; it cannot spare anyone. But it must not allow the soul of one to be smashed by injustice and or to become rotten. Given its great tasks, Germany needs men who are great in their belief, great in their accomplishment and great in their love and loyalty.
In this respect all of us are responsible for the other. Standing next to each other binds us. Leadership of every kind obligates us. Make a test by asking your subordinate what he understands by discipline. He will answer you: „obedience!“ or „keeping one’s mouth shut“ or „standing at attention“! You will not often hear this in the answer: „trust – concern – insight – consideration – thankfulness!“
Also ask one who must command and observe whether he first – or even at all – mentions his duty toward his subordinates. Often you will notice that the realization from our example of the bridge construction is still missing, namely that only the harmonious interaction of all forces will achieve a goal, the path to which is prepared by the discipline of all participants.
Under discipline we must also understand a duality. The discipline of the external kind regulates the direct relationship of the individual to another or to the whole. Discipline of the inner kind appears to find its termination in the individual’s life and not directly relate to the environment. It binds and forces strength from the way of thinking. It protects against the pricks of the insufficient and petty that we meet. It leads to a higher being; it protects against becoming flat.
Discipline is authority downward and obedience upward, but both bind through a mutual trust and through loyalty. You can solicit authority, but the basic element, the strength of a strong soul, must be given to you. If your industriousness produces a better ability, if your loyalty produces a better consistency, if your example gives support to the weaker, then you will not need to fight for authority. It follows from this that the person who fights for authority does not have it at all. He can only be a despot, on whom his following is dependent. And if they must hold their tongue about his big-shot behavior and scolding, then that is not a result of discipline, rather fear or cunning. Such a rule, however – it is not authority – has feet of clay. Superiority is only earned through hard work on one’s own spirit and character, not through puffery and noise. Stand in front of your men with a quiet superiority of inner strength and you will see that you find recognition, even if you yourself remain modest. Command and demand what you must demand, but demand with responsibility for the men entrusted to you and for moderation and goal. The other will then obey, and he will be obedient with the knowledge of his participation in the path and goal. He accepts you with his joy and his trust.
That does not mean that you should be timid. A man always wants to be treated like a man. Consideration often stems from comfort, becomes a weakness and finally leads to inferiority. A powerful example, on the other hand, pulls along the following. Don’t view it as a tragedy if they occasionally curse you behind your back. That is often just a leftover bad habit, although it can also be a release. You yourself should never curse about your men! What must be said, say to their face! All of us should fundamentally in general accustom ourselves to only saying something about a person what he could hear himself.
If you limit yourself to command and instruction from a distance because you cannot stand your men’s sweat, if you pass along your own duties toward your subordinates to another officer, then you are a shirker from German demand. Unfortunately, looking from the top down one often cannot see the inadequate leader, but looking from the bottom up he is quickly spotted and his authority is finished. The harder it gets the more intense the observation. If one is close to death, one places greater demands on the short existence, and the man becomes sensitive to anything that is somehow false and disturbs the goal. He does not close his eyes from the view upward. Nor should he. At any rate, what he sees there should enthuse, not repel, him. We have often seen that he feels, even from a single word directed at him, the world in which the decent fellow is at home. That pleases him and promotes his good effort. He will separate himself from everything else or even despise it.
Manly discipline obtains in soldiery such a strong expression of self-evidence that we soldiers require no proof for it. To be a German soldier has always meant to be a man of discipline. To be a leader of German soldiers does not mean rule, rather to be able to control, first oneself, and that the more so the higher the rank.
It is clear that the unprecedented successes of our Wehrmacht are not based just on the effect of our guns. Rather it stems just as much on the character training of each and every bearer of arms, on the firm will of each and every soldier and the deeply ingrained form of their soldiery. The trust of the enlisted man in his officer, the trust of all members of the Wehrmacht in its leadership is so strong that the hardest sacrifices are willingly made and the worst deprivations are endured without a murmur, because each is firmly convinced that they are unavoidable. Manly discipline, trust, insight, the obedience of German warriors, thorough mastery of the weapons, of the equipment and the motors made it possible that all decisive movement on all fronts of the war could be executed with lightning speed. The Führer could count on his soldiers just as the soldiers could count on their Führer.
Behind the front stands the homeland. One is inconceivable without the other. Millions of men and women work for the front day and night. How could the unprecedented successes of the great fighting unit be conceivable, if the foundation was not uniform! Without discipline in the work place, without consideration for one another in heavy traffic, without mutual aid in the home, without a solid foundation in the family we Germans would no longer be a folk. Being a folk means constantly practicing discipline. Just image what would happen if everybody would do and not do the things he is motivated to do by noble drives, above all affirmation of order! We experienced an example of that before Adolf Hitler created a folk by leading the masses to enthusiastic, affirmative discipline.
Offenses against discipline are in most cases also offenses against laws. The more serious the time, the more serious such offenses must be viewed. They are the start of lack of desire and negligence. They deserve attention right at the start. Every problem must be attacked at the roots so that it does not sprout weeds. That means the source must be found so that it can be eliminated before it produces bad consequences.
The good example is discipline’s best helper. Under no circumstances should a leader hence let himself go. He must know his men’s morale, which he must assume himself if necessary. On the one hand, that is not always pleasant, but on the other hand it creates the trust that firmly binds leader and follower. Only when he is able to rise above doubt, to preserve his joy for service and to look with full confidence to his superior will the discipline of the individual evolve into corps spirit and unit loyalty. As the soldier is rightly proud of his regiment, so is the worker proud of his company. There is always something wrong somewhere if a soldier dislikes service. Likewise, a bad condition must exist if a worker does not like to go to his company. If he likes spending time at his work place, there’s a good relationship between the company’s head and the worker.
Every folk comrade has the right to the development of his personality as long as this does not hinder the requirements of the whole. This makes it necessary for everybody to maintain discipline in his own life. This also means that he does not allow himself to become paralyzed by a disappointment. The greater the hope and expectation, the more painfully do reverses hamper the man storming ahead. He must again and again orient himself on the realization: Whoever has talent receives tasks. For the warrior for the idea of Adolf Hitler, the reformation of all Germans often doesn’t proceed fast enough. Failures hit him hard, much harder than they do somebody who never participated in this struggle. We said it already, but in our struggle for perfection we must accept people as they are with their strengths and weaknesses. Next to the clean, knightly, modest man stand many people who base their behavior toward others solely according to the power relationships within their circle or other „connections“. Aside from the splendid, powerful and heroic we here and there also meet the blemishes and insufficiencies. Whoever is receptive to the silent nobility of the soul will always be driven into the middle of the fight. His measure is different than that of those who leisurely follow. His eye is keen for the desired goal, but he also sees through more quickly than most the colorful cloaks of pettiness and worthlessness.
What subordinate hasn’t occasionally discovered his superior had a weakness? This situation must motivate especially everyone who has something to say to combat his own selfishness and laziness and to practice justice and care for his fellow men, especially for his subordinates.
We furthermore wish to live with the blissful knowledge that our action and inaction are a duty toward providence, and that it is hence part of the development that leads upward. We will take strength from this wellspring, even if a person who had been an example for us fails.
There is truth in the expression that discipline also means standing at attention. Standing at attention in front of his superior is self-evidence for a soldier. May it become a custom for all Germans for each to also, silently and always at the right time, stand at attention before himself. The result would be an increasing sureness in command, but also in obedience, which is real manly virtue, because it emerges from within, because it is the expression of an enlightened and firm character.
All of us live for only a short time. But we participate in eternity, if we fill our span with loyalty and devotion to folk and fatherland. Our goal is the Reich of a heroic, German nation. A bridge is built from the present to the shore of the future. The formation of this future depends on us. We are obligated to it, whether we serve with the weapon in our hand or with our quiet work in the homeland. The harmonic interaction of all motions promises fulfillment and the bond of the many to the one inseparable whole is our discipline.
We are not hermits. We do not want to be that – and we cannot. Most of us would perish, if we became hermits. Without others we would be more or less helpless. There have often been hermits because of fanaticism. Did they plow their fields? Did they sew their cloths? How did they manage to live? They begged from others! Did they live on through children? They freed themselves from duty and lived without responsibility for the coming.
We are a folk. Our German folk is not a stubborn mass, which would be the flat opposite of the hermit. We have by no means ceased to be individual beings, but these individual beings do not rebel against each other, because they are anchored in the folk. They represent a multitude of individual values that supplement each other and thus become a unit.
Along with the people of this unit develops a higher level of joy in creation and ability to work, of knowledge and disposition, of art and culture. If we are personalities within this bond, we cannot degenerate into either hermits or a herd. Individuals’ values produce community values. Many individual values are born from the community values. Contemplation and the need to occasionally be alone are by no means the start of becoming a hermit. If we need to be alone, then only to better form our relationship to the whole. The community alone makes our life livable. What we have learned, we have mostly learned from others, and we again pass on the best of it to others. We share the treasures of art, which others have created for us. The railroads, which take us swiftly and safely through great expanses, have been built for us by others. The music that pleases and uplifts us was composed by one man for all of us. Our thankfulness for all these gifts of the community is a self-evident duty, so that the creative people continue their work with joy. Their joy then manifests itself in new ideas, new plans, new music and new beautify – in short: in new values, which will be shared by others even after a long time.
Furthermore, we are obligated to all of us, because everybody can do something the other cannot do, because each can think and feel what value is, so that it is not only revealed to him, but is absorbed into the spiritual or material goods of the great community of our folk.
If things go badly for the community, then they go badly for the individual, too. If things are to go well, then it’s clear – although it is so often forgotten(!) – that all of us must contribute to it. Thus we have obligations to fulfill that go far beyond the responsibility normally talked about. Usually, one only thinks of responsibility in the narrower sense, which is bound to the concept of the fulfillment of duties and tasks having the consequence of reward or punishment.
Of greater significance are those duties that people feel because of their inclinations, because of their character, the demands of the moral law within their own breast. We recognize a higher responsibility. For example, we feel the great joy in having children. For us no law requiring care for the children would be necessary. We feel a holy responsibility for them far beyond that; we concern ourselves for the higher development of the child’s body and soul and feel a great task for the future in that we educate a good member for the community of the future.
The more a German develops inner values, the more clearly he perceives his moral responsibility toward his environment, his folk, Germany. If this value declines, his feeling for moral responsibility decreases, until the point is reached where the state establishes laws, whose observance it forces.
Let’s stay with our soldiers! You know the expression from the prewar period for this manifestation that had no wings, but was just a creeping evil: “Just don’t stand out!”
Just don’t stand out, one way or another, was the rule of this cleverness. If you stood out in the positive sense, you landed in the crossfire of criticism, envy or ill intent. You had a heavy burden to carry. The smallest oversight would be held against you more severely than against anyone else. The others laughed in unison, for they achieved the same as you. Things went down the line. One remained under cover as much as possible. If one didn’t stand out, one had the chance to avoid the exposure of nakedness. That worked. Whom did they always have by the neck? The one who always made an effort. He was always visible, as were his mistakes. These were mercilessly put under the spotlight. Hence many who stood back remained an unwritten book; perhaps one would even be even pleased by this flawless life and gave him a good grade for good behavior.
These so-called „exemplary soldiers“ were actually not good soldiers. Just ponder the men of the good patrol-line in the field! In peacetime they all had a lot to answer for. Those among them who didn’t stand out due to exceptional accomplishment stood out because they had hotter blood than those who always sleep.
It was advantageous to be average. Just don’t stand out, one way or another.
National Socialism, on the other hand, demands this: Send the men who can accomplish – and who wish to accomplish – something to the front!
Hitler soldiers! You should accomplishment something. You should be the opposite of mediocrity in life. That’s why you will stand out despite your modesty. And you leaders have the duty to stand out, because you must lead. Whoever simply desires to not displease his superior does not fit in with us, because it could be fateful in the decisive hour. Certainly, we like recognition. But a reproach does not really stop us from wanting to achieve the most extreme accomplishment, regardless of what „one“ says.
Whoever messes up catches it, and then we’re the same old fellows again. For the same reason no leader should make the mistake of the liberal world of bending over backward trying to beg for respect. Take care that you maintain the trust and love of your comrades! They don’t make long, pretty speeches about such things. If you are unsure of this love from your comrades, their respect is without value.
Practical use: Place every better experience, regardless of where it shows itself, in the service of the unit! Train the enlisted men for the courage to not shun independent action and to assume responsibility for it!
It is wrong to always wait for an order „from above“. We must do like the soldiers in the field did when in an emergency a corporal shouted – and had to shout, because nobody else had the nerve – „Company! Follow my command!“
It must be practiced so that in the absence of the responsible leader the next in rank assumes leadership, even without a special order, and makes good use of the time or orders another practical measure and is responsible. An example: The officers of a S.S. battalion are called to a conference. The leader is unexpectedly detained. It’s not permissible for the others to stand around for hours and finally return home without getting anything done. This inactivity has a negative effect. Either one man finds the courage to make good use of the time – perhaps through training – or the oldest assumes responsibility and dismisses the comrades. No superior will reproach this sensible, independent action taken as a result of a new situation. On the contrary, he has all reason to be glad.
Form and bearing are closely related concepts. We distinguish: a form is the expression of the external. Bearing is not always that. One is directed at practicality, namely the security of the content. The other is tied to a goal. It is a matter of the soul. It can be completed within the world of thought; it is part of character building and is not always visible on the outside.
Form must correspond to content. The essence of each Hitler branch is a content of which there can only be one form: that of German soldiery. Form simultaneously serves education. It thus becomes an essential component of the content. Or can you image a soldier with an umbrella? This soldier could nonetheless be a good marksman; he could be a hero in battle. But his form would be inconceivable for us Germans; it would be a caricature. Wherever the manly virtues of Germans has found fulfillment, a very specific form has been created. It has preserved itself though German history. It remains with us, especially with us! For what we must be, there is no game-playing, no wisecracks, no hair-splitting, no chatter and no ceremony. Everything is plain and simple just as we ourselves must be. The young comrade, who may still have some wrong ideas, must be led into this world. Again, it is the leader’s task to be a good example of soldierly simplicity.
By form there can be confusion between the things that seem important and the ones that are important.
The uniform is pact of the form. But it is only a means toward an end, not an end in itself. It’s not the important thing; rather the important thing is the man inside it. What would be accomplished by this uniform of honor if the man wearing it were a scoundrel? How greatly would our being be disfigured if somebody wore a uniform for its own sake and then strutted like an arrogant peacock? It’s important for the man to be held in form by his uniform, for this uniform to always remind him what he owes to Germany‘s present and future, to himself and to the Führer.
It is not important for us to wear a tie, but it is important for us to tie it properly. The buttons are not important, but it is important for them be polished if they are supposed to be polished, and it is important that none are missing.
The form of official discourse is always command and obedience. We have seen where the wrong concept of duty has led in Germany. Germany would have talked itself to death if the soldier Adolf Hitler had not restored the proper form.
We find all people repulsive who blew away in a strong wind. Their morale is subject to swings. When glasses are toasted, they are over-enthused. Moving music, a march with flying flags or an impassioned speech excites them. But if leaflets are to be distributed in a red district, they become sober and remain at home. When the victors arrive and hold court, they become skeptics. If the sun doesn’t shine, they start to become defeatist. We don’t really have anything to do with this kind of people. But we must know what they look like.
We only concern ourselves with the fighters, the soldiers. The good morale of the soldiers is just as important as that they can eat their fill as often as possible. However, good morale isn’t something one can package in tins and transport on supply wagons as emergency rations. Morale can easily transform into bitterness. Neither the past exuberance of music nor the echo of a speech help. We have experienced how and why this came about. Those who experienced it and stood right in the middle of it were the best, namely the core troops of 1914. The soldier bears the sight of a shot up comrades. He can also stand not having had anything to eat for three days. If for three days cold rain penetrates his greatcoat and uniform and if wet mud fills his boots, no one can seriously expect him to be in a good mood. But if somebody walks by with fresh bread without fairly sharing it, then his even-tempter ends. The soul is wounded, and what emerges from this wound cannot be foreseen. Whoever is capable and well meaning, learns from mistakes. They cannot always be avoided. One person then does the right thing on his own; another person must first suffer bitter consequences before he learns how to act appropriately; and many people never learn.
What preserves the spirit of the troops? The good leader is also the good spirit of his troop. He might strictly punish negligence, he might drive his men to the limits of their ability – but if he remains just, if he doesn’t eat when they hunger, if he suffers deprivation with them, if he has a fine feel for when a man needs a personal word, and if through his example he can make it clear that all difficulties are necessary, then the unit cannot be shaken. Then he can afford it if something goes wrong. Calling this morale would be wrong. There is actually no appropriate word for this unshakable unity.
Good training of the troops, the leader as he should be, good terms between both, knowledge of a common goal – these factors product an enduring whole. The individual becomes tough. What he does and suffers becomes self-evident to him. Those who back in the safe harbor comfortably compose verses about the honorable heroes’ death have no idea of heroism. A single night under a gray November sky with rage in stomach and intestines would for all time knock the lyre from their hands.
We remain with our eternal front and summarize: the morale of your troop depends on you, the leader. It’s up to you whether the good spirit of your men is preserved or whether your unit fails in the decisive, hard hour.
Education always serves higher development. It has roots in the human soul. Its result should be the moral development of the individual; it’s goal is the joyous formation of the relationships among people.
As there is strength and weakness, so are there also an up and a down in questions of education. Once a person himself knows the moral demands of humanity, of folk, of the whole, he gladly and voluntarily accepts them and climbs upward through hard work. Another person is stubborn, a third is too comfortable or selfish to subordinate himself to the education necessary for the community, and still another is too downright rebellious if his condition is affected.
Faith and confidence, insight, knowledge, love and devotion carry one person toward the heights. Compulsion must first tear another person from his narrowness so that he sees. It comes down to the increase of the morale value of the community. It’s unimportant if some people’s education bears the mark of compulsion and the success is achieved by drill. We’re not talking about them here. All of us have been volunteers where there has been a forward. We were always led by our hearts, and thus we view the questions of education solely with an eye on all those who do so voluntarily, this means whose souls are receptive for everything noble and beautiful. To this group belong many more than a fleeting glance recognizes. Many desire the best; unfortunately there are also weaklings about them. Hence education will in essence be nothing other than help and assistance, which the strong gives to the weaker, so that everyone finds within the realm of the soul the ground on which they can develop new values.
Just ask somebody who it really is who requires education. The answer is all of us, and most of all he who thinks he needs it the least, the one who is the most conceited.
And who is the educator? Life, which levels lonely heights and fills forgotten abysses, life, that wants to be formed by robust people with strong souls and noble desire! Education means leading to the better, hence again: leading. Whoever is a leader has the noble task of education. Whoever cannot educate might have an external rank, but he is nonetheless never a leader, because he lacks the inner leader value.
How could he fill the soul of another with goodness, if he himself is too poor to give something?
Education is more than presenting information. Educating means to guard and form souls.
We haven’t reached the point where we only need to paint people so that they become the way we want them. We would be happy if we could reach everybody with a good core. Filing away the imperfections that hamper this core is the difficult task we must undertake. Performing this work means doing the best for Germany. Stars and oak leaves on the collar are not a prerequisite. In the German fatherland there are also quiet leaders of the nation, who have no external leadership rank. We often pass them by. We seldom know them. But they are there, and that is enough for us.
Among the units, the task of education steps into the foreground. The carriers of this responsible task are the leaders. If their education proceeds properly and if the success is not driven into empty, bottomless pits, if instead expectation and results coincide, in short: if promises are kept, then we need no treatises and no books about psychology. Much has already been written about the psychology of the soldier! How often has one tried to get at the root of the problem? If he thinks he has found an answer, then the same people he based everything upon later turn things upside down. Forgetting also plays a big role. How do the realizations of individuals help, if the others who must assume this task do not want to learn from these realizations and must instead learn the hard way through their own bitter experiences? Or: Weren’t the worst ones those who were once nothing, who vastly exaggerated every incorrect treatment by superiors, didn’t they become the worst ones when they became something? The era of political favoritism thoroughly proved that.
But the foundations have now changed. They still hold true, because the premises we proceed from are genuine. The premises were namely there before the foundation was created. Hitler and his brown soldiers were already there before the National Socialist State existed!
The education of which we speak has proven its justification through success. Now it’s about expanding the foundation. Every National Socialist helps, each at his place, quietly and without advertising himself. The battle-proven unit provides a firm framework. No word is needed for the old Hitler soldiers who have the University of the Revolution behind them. The effort is necessarily for the sake of the comrades who later joined us.
What does the enlisted man seek from us, what does he expect? Not everyone came with a clear knowledge. The enlisted man still does not know the final tasks. He initially came because he inconspicuously sought the community of his own kind. All share the faith to find what they seek. All share the faith in the Führer. They believe in him, because they know that he speaks, strives for and does that which they themselves have already desired and wished.
That’s enough to build on. Education should bring everybody and everything to ONE formulation, first comradeship. Each has different ideas about it according to experience, events, knowledge, training, character and age. The front soldier seeks his own kind. He wishes the fulfillment of the world from which he comes. These comrades are in order. They always fit in the formation. The younger comrade still misses the essence of things. He is drawn by the rhythm of the marching column, the great common drive and the uniform; he takes pleasure in the uniformity and discipline. Each brings along only a piece of what is needed. The other things are images that miss the real point. This means a lot of weakness must be destroyed and replaced with firmness and permanence. The enlisted man must first learn to be a comrade. He must learn that an opposition can emerge between comradeship and discipline, and that discipline always has priority.
It’s good for every unit to want to be the best. It’s good for regiments to compete with their achievements. So nobody should accuse us of presumption, if we want to be the best men in Germany. May others wish the same! Accordingly, we stand by our unit. Because of this pride, we place the highest value on a uniform, purposeful, hard training.
That’s why we have nothing to do with self-conceit and arrogance, for arrogance is simply a disguise for lack of values. A man of great character will never be vain. For vanity is also stupidity. It is stuck to the present and not woven into future things, which we wish to serve. The great man will always be natural. He does not forget where he comes from. He easily mingles with the little people, but he remains great.
We wish to learn together. Hence we practice things that are inconspicuous. We show good form and good bearing. One can certainly be a good comrade without laying in the gutter with everybody. When standing at attention we cross our thumbs in order to remind ourselves what we want. We do not speak in formation, because we want to practice to be master over ourselves and not let ourselves go.
Sturmführer! Tell this to your men in a similar way and you will see the desired success does not go lacking!
We wish to learn to fit in so that we don’t immediately fall over if some matter does not go according to our wishes. It is always necessary to observe the whole. The small „I“ must be second. Eventually something you’re involved in will go wrong. Don’t pout! Don’t speak of great injustice! National Socialism looks to the whole, and the Hitler soldier is the best National Socialist.
All of us admire the great Prussian king. Do you think everybody loved him in his time? Do you think there wasn’t anybody who could not have truthfully said, „He was unjust to me?“ Even under him, many a splendid man had to stand to the side. He always rejected Lieutenant Yorck. What did this capable officer feel and suffer? But would Yorck have finally become the leader in the War of Liberation and the hero of Tauroggen if Frederick the Great had not rejected him? A person all too easily forgets the big things surrounding, if he himself must accept a small deficiency. Indeed, this small deficiency does not even have to affect him directly. He only needs to hear of it – „one has said that…“ In the blink of an eye, even this small deficiency becomes a teeth-gnashing cannibal. One should do something against this philistine!
Hitler soldiers, you are not philistines. Don’t be afraid of drowning, if you can swim! Pay attention instead to those who are in danger, because they do not know how to swim!
To education belongs practice. Practice is drill. Let us hence subordinate ourselves to drill! Those who don’t need it, should nonetheless be there, because the others need a good example.
This work on ourselves is hard. The Hitler soldier must not become soft. It is a dangerous mistake, if someone thinks his work is done because swastika flags fly over Germany. The fight for Germany is not over. It simply has a different face. It continues to be the struggle for the soul of German man, because every decent man should proudly affirm the Third Reich.
Although the state also needs laws to preserve order and to enforce its will on the rebellious, we nonetheless know that the German folk is something else than the small segment that must be forced to obey the command of the state and to not endanger the valuable.
We know from experience that legal codes and regulations are not the essential thing, rather it comes down to the art of ruling and practicing how to win the soul of all folk comrades and to guard it as the most precious treasure.
Our struggle is now devoted to education. We have a fine means for that: the shiny shield of honor, the cleanness of action and belief. It comes down to the living example.
More will be demanded of us than of others. We are the bearers of the folk community. We must make sure it never again comes down to: „bourgeois here, proletariat there! Scholar here, worker there!” We must ensure that it comes down to: “Germans – comrades!” We must be the Führer’s helpers, so that in the circle in which life has placed us nobody spoils the love and joy for common work through false treatment and arrogance. An unspeakably difficult task has been given us. We will fulfill it, if we who speak of training make an effort to ourselves be trained.
When we returned home in 1918 we silently shook hands. The shouting by others filled the muggy air. There were those who had never seen the realm of shells but who bragged at the beer table about heroic deeds. There was the crowd on the street which, directed by Marxist editors, mimicked radicalism. They bragged and „radicalized“ Germany into the ground. It is often necessary to remember how sad and disgusting all that was. We easily become spoiled and quickly forget the bad.
A false radicalism haunts men’s minds. Being radical and revolutionary only means for them to tear down. Whether and how something can replace what’s torn down was known least of all by those who behaved the most radical. Their radicalism was hate, rage and negation.
Wild narrow-mindedness acts like sub-humanity. If it takes control, it foams with „radicalism“. We Hitler soldiers have nothing to do with such radicalism.
Nonetheless, we must be radical. Radicalism is good, if it includes affirmation. We do not rant and rage against things that we don’t like and which aren’t appropriate for us. Otherwise we would only rant and rave, but we would not be radical. Getting to the root of the problem, combating it with determination so that bad developments are avoided, to us that means being radical. The word „radical“ refers back to the word „root“ (radix = root).
To research and fight the source of disturbing events that endanger our goal is something totally different than a Don Quixote duel against the outward manifestations.
Any idiot can run headfirst against a certain condition, if it’s just about running head first against this condition. But he does not know its prerequisites. He is unable to eliminate the greater evil. We, however, wish to research the cause that produces the bad result.
We want to take this to heart for everything that concerns us. A great effect often stems from a very small cause. It might be due to the tardiness, negligence or lack of character of individuals, if detestable conditions arise, which expand beyond the circle of the action and jurisdiction of these individuals and cause widespread damage. Let us first of all through loyal fulfillment of duty and through correct treatment of the people entrusted to us avoid such causes within our own area!
We can, however, find bad conditions caused by others. Then we must eliminate the cause as fast as possible. We must have the courage to replace sick parts with healthy ones and not satisfy ourselves with patchwork, which only hides the damage from the eye. A house filled with dry-rot cannot be saved from collapse by nailing boards over the beams eaten away by fungus. No, the beams must be ripped out and flawless beams installed! We must not be diverted from this even if the homeowner complains about the inconvenience.
Applying the strictest standard to our action and inaction and, where necessary, replacing the rotten with the robust is in truth being radical. We do not allow ourselves to be blinded by agreement or contradiction.
We know grumbling. It is bad. It’s even worse when there’s a reason for grumbling. Worst of all, however, is if we do not eliminate this reason.
You will interject: „That must come from above. The individual cannot do that!“ I tell you: it depends on the action and inaction of the individual, whether a work develops inwardly solid or feeble. You, Sturmführer, can perform extremely valuable educational work in this regard.
If all of us Hitler soldiers are radical – even, when necessary, revolutionary – toward ourselves, if we are loyal to ourselves and to the others, if we remain plain and simple, if we are exemplary in work and service, if we resist the temptation to let ourselves go, in short, if we live as the Führer demands, then it is easy to see where a bad root germinates. The fulfillment of these demands makes even the great throng we have become easy to see through. Mistakes don’t come from us. Because we are radical, they can be seen from above and removed.
It’s a mistake if somebody thinks he has done enough for Adolf Hitler, if he has stood his ground in battle and now figures he can rest on his laurels and celebrate. Two things belong to a Hitler soldier proving himself: first, to have the courage to stand against the red flood in bad times, and then after the rise to power to demonstrate the manly values which Adolf Hitler expects from his followers, and expects anew each day.
Whoever only meets the first requirement should not be surprised to now also see people in our ranks who make an effort to meet the second requirement, although they did not actively stand in our ranks before. Still less should they look down on them, if they are serious about proving themselves in the present and future.
The more time passes between the present and past events, the more we must view as comrades all those who are industrious, clean and loyal. The further we come, the less we can ask the past and the more we must observe the present.
We are building a new Germany. Everyone should carry building blocks for the Führer. Although we can do without the hurrah shouters, we cannot do without the folk comrade who gladly and joyfully helps, and we want to make sure that his joy is not turned sorrow. It should be all of Germany! More and more it will depend on the accomplishment and character of those who are willing to serve the better Germany.
If the lecturers in the higher and highest staffs in the rear had ever had to replace a company commander, many would have shown a different face. The company command in the war was the most plagued creature on this earth. Just when the big shots visited the sector, the Tommy didn’t fire. Again and again he found something wrong for which to blame the company commander. Perhaps shells laid around, or a sign was missing, and „that soldier there doesn’t have his third button buttoned!“ After surviving the barrage of shells came the barrage of the paper war. Oh, that damned paper war! No wonder if the front-fighter developed an elephant’s thick skin! The thousand pinpricks did that.
I always think about the lieutenant commanding the company when I remember the ranks of the old comrades, in whose middle stood the Sturmführer. This or that soldier might be absent for one reason or another. But the Sturmführer always had to be there. He was never absent. Nobody ordered that of him. It simply had to be so. Things just didn’t work otherwise. Nobody thought about it. There was nothing more self-evident for us than that the Sturmführer was always there.
We were glad he was there and exercised the office nobody envied him for. Whether or not he was allowed to war three stars, we didn’t know. That wasn’t important. What was important was that somebody took over the concern for the others. That you Sturmführer of the period of struggle once carried this concern for us, for that your old comrades will always be thankful!
Your whole being was oriented toward the „storm-troop“. Wherever you went, your heart hammered in tact: Storm-troop, storm-troop and storm-troop! When you were unemployed, you were „only“ storm-troop. When you had work, the storm-troop was in your mind’s eye. Wherever you were seen, somebody wanted something because of the storm-troop, often the police as well. When you came home in the evening, you had no time for wife and child. You had to „take off again right away“. If you had a carpet, it was completely trampled by the boot steps of the many visitors. Your wife often passed out some pastries, because she knew your men. If you had a half-hour to relax, you had to use this opportunity to comment regarding missed appointments. Today we no longer say what we said then.
Whoever thinks back to the period of struggle with pride or longing, his memory will dwell on the Sturmführer, who represented its most manly and battle-ready manifestation.
When a Sturmführer entered the storm-troop inn, he had to divide himself into pieces so that each piece could answer questions. The Sturmführer always stood in the crossfire of observation. He was like a double lightning rod. One harmlessly diffused the charges from „below“. The other caught the lightning from „above“.
If the storm-troop was stuffed onto trucks and the Sturmführer among his own, then he had finally „made it“. Now the world could perish. Now the circle was complete, which no storm could destroy. On such a journey one could hear a lot. One spoke clearly. It was very coarse. No fancy talk here. Language was clear and without fancy nuances. The Sturmführer participated. Or he quietly smiled when the language became „too clear“. He knew the very honest hearts of his men. He let them grumble. He knew that from the Prussians. There was cursing, but the work was still done. As long as the men grumbled in their fashion, everything was in order. But when they became quiet, the Sturmführer listened carefully. He soon knew where he had to take action.
Today hardly a comrade knows what it meant back then to be a Sturmführer. And whoever stood above them without having been one himself knows just as little about it.
A company commander in peace time had several officers and a well-trained corps of non-commissioned officers as helpers. He had these 120 men for two years inside the barrack walls. More was expected from the Sturmführer, because his men roamed around in the world during the day. And the Sturmführer alone had to train his staff of subordinates. The paper war placed the same demand on him as on the lieutenant in trench warfare. It always devoured the best forces. But they belonged at the front, not in the office.
Comrades, if you’re proud of your formation, then also be a little proud of your best comrade, your Sturmführer!
Young Sturmführer, if you can today wear your neat uniform without being persecuted, cursed and attacked, then don’t forget that leadership is not fulfilled by the uniform, rather that it depends on the man inside it!
From time to time also remember your predecessors from a difficult time who paved the way to the present.
There’s a bit of a dirty dog inside each of us. The first demand on you is to combat and defeat him, if you want to be a comrade to comrades. This demand is the most difficult.
The Russians once hit my unit’s sector with a very intense artillery bombardment. During the excitement I forget than a war volunteer from another regiment was with us. Later I noticed how splendidly by men accepted him. Then it was learned that he had – let’s not say deserted – ran away from his regiment, because the old people and the non-commissioned officers had not treated him well. He was only 17 years old, but he already wore the black-white ribbon of the Iron Cross. It paid off that I took him aside and said, „So, you already wear the Iron Cross? Did you feel great fear then? Did many die around you? You stood your ground and mastered the world of death, and now you want to break on the manifestations of life? I gave him a letter addressed to his company commander, to whom he should turn in the future. And if one of the old fellows ever bothered him again, he should throw a spoonful of hot soup into his face. The others would immediately respect him more. That I was right, was proven by the letters I later received from Serbia.
Is life in the barracks so free of friction? Isn’t there also squabbling? The members of various regiments were not always of one heart and soul. Cuirassier could not stand dragoon. Both nonetheless again stood together on training fields facing different divisions. When we rode through foreign lands, everything that seemed important before was forgotten, because it was so ridiculously trivial. One of us laid under a canvass along the road, and a rider would dismount from his horse and look to see if it was „one of us“. His head was lowered when he found a field-gray infantryman beneath the blood-soaked canvass. One of us! Now it made no different whether it was a cavalryman or an infantry-man, whether guard or regular. One of us… One had comprehended the great bond of all German comrades. That wasn’t just anybody. It was a dead comrade from the manly front of our folk.
Something mysterious lies in the deepest foundation of comradeship. Yesterday evening they helped another with feeling, whose squad had caused a restless hour. Today he laid wounded and moaning in front of the barbed wire, and the others risked their lives, which several others before them had lost, in order to bring him back to the trench.
Shared experiences bind. The same uniform educates toward pride in the community. But only danger promotes the goodness of heart, which is otherwise hampered by the little things of selfishness. When it gets down to the last, everything false and unimportant falls away from us. If we want to correctly understand and practice comradeship, then we must learn to suppress selfish urges within ourselves – without the final tool of education becoming necessary. Our life receives valuable content more swiftly. Those who march together do not just hear the same beat of steps; they also listen into the others. Otherwise one cannot be a real comrade. You discover all sorts of strengths and weaknesses in the man next to you. One learns from him, takes strength from him or gives him support. Many march among us compared to whom we feel so small, even if we don’t like to admit it. Or we find somebody whom we must help with a firm or a gentle hand. That we divide a piece of bread among ourselves is just a self-evident means toward an end. Therefore, comrades, do not become thoughtless! If you ask a companion for a drink from his canteen, do not drink it empty! If you must clear a camp, don’t shirk from stooping, especially not if in civilians life you have a position where you command others!
If all Germans could correctly practice comradeship, we would need no laws. One would follow from the other; discipline would be a part of comradeship.
The spirituality of the movement would again and again come from the marching column itself; nothing from a foreign world could sneak in between us. But know this: Where lions dominate a landscape, jackals also arrive. Next to the solidarity of revolutionary German men walk the corpse robbers on quiet soles. They are like vultures. Wherever they see a weakness, they attack. They wear the mask of men of honor or disguise themselves as late fighters, but they avoid danger and they do not carry a burden.
Look at the platforms when you enter a stadium for a mass assembly! Why shouldn’t well-dressed and well-groomed spectators enjoy the view of manly discipline and strength! Two worlds become apparent already in the external form: here the atmosphere of sweat and leather, of will and deed, and there the mood of expectation and waiting in the scent of fresh wash and good soap. One thing above all must be noted: With deadly seriousness stand among those sincerely cheering spectators always and everywhere those people, also fine and noble standing and cheering from the platforms, who earlier marched with the Reichsbanner, and who would have raised the clenched fist salute if instead of us the red front were assembled. The hypocrisy makes this type of people opportunists when a gap opens. These gaps are prevented by your bound, your comradeship. That separates the fronts. Whoever cannot be our comrade, is our enemy. We, however, ceaselessly practice the expressions of comradeship. Whoever walked among us and was once called upon to be a leader, he remains our comrade. But we do not hold him back by hanging onto his coat. We step aside so his view into the distance is not blocked. You, leader-comrade, must never forget where you come from!
Like kind belongs to like kind. The foreign undermines our will and strength. The foreign fogs the goal. Thus we Germans must remain among ourselves. The racially alien is a danger. Thus our comradeship is the first prerequisite for the preservation of our race.
There are men who remain marchers their whole life; they must eternally carry their pack. There are certainly many among the marchers who have what it takes to accomplish much in general command. To oneself know that and to nonetheless march on without muttering is a high song of comradeship. How much glory in the world would fade if the story of genuine accomplishments were written! Behind the shine of the few often stands the hard life work of others, who remain silent and unnamed. Here a holy comradeship manifests itself, not proclaimed by any heroic song or heroic book. Hats off to these men!
Now, comrades, you will see the fellow next to you with different eyes. For all too often you do not know what is going on in the fellow wearing the same uniform. Be patient with him, if he cannot follow fast enough. Be considerate when it is necessary to help! Learn to have understanding for each gesture of the other! The other comrade finds something harder than you do. Another comrade is better in some area than you are. And many next to you are better than you are.
One thing is eternally true: your comrade shares your fate, you participate in his life and his soul. You bear responsibility for him.
If we behave thus toward our comrades, then we have the right relationship to those who will later fall for Germany’s freedom. And we maintain the proper thankfulness to those who in their faith for Germany’s future have fallen.
„Comrades, shot dead by red front and reaction, march along in spirit in our ranks!“ Horst Wessel and his heroic song are always a sacred reminder that we Hitler soldiers must always stand in unbreakable comradeship.
You know the colonies of small gardens on the outskirts of large cities – participation in the fatherland, the joy of the flourishing flowers and the growth of practical plants on this piece of leased land. One would think that a least here a community, carried by a deeper purpose, would be affirmed. We have almost forgotten how poorly the community looked just a few short years ago. There was a harvest festival, but it didn’t always bear the face of our community.
I remember the end of one such festival. The colorful lights went out. A last laugh sounded, and then a latecomer, a musician, played into the quiet night: „Deutschland über alles! – What courage! Germany had become in bad taste in Germany. Enraged men fumed. They felt „provoked“. A few notes from the Germany national anthem meant a declaration of war to them. Misery surrounded the people and misery surrounded Germany. Germany stood before its death hour. German hearts had been devoured by the crookedness of the political parties. Equality of all with a human face was preached, but one smashed his brother’s skull! The men standing at the machines during the workday felt no joy from the swing of hammers and the turning gears. They sang nothing other than the song of deep hatred.
These men did not see themselves as the masters of the machines, rather as their servants. In them was no pride that they were the ones who shaped the strong steel, rather the gears ruled the men, because the men did not rule themselves. They had lost themselves in thoughts that flowed into hate, hate against German people and against the machinery which actually only had the purpose to serve men.
German life has greatly changed since then! In such a short time! Let us never forget that, so that we do not sin against what has become and again endanger it! Over technology stands the German man. The German men, however, have become comrades. They are the masters over the machines and again feel joy from the glowing pinchers. They now know: they command the masters‘ and the result of these commands and the obedience of the machines serves not just one businessman, rather the entire German nation.
A few years ago one believed the machines – or the execution of some task – was the company. Machines alone and work alone are still not the company! The company is creation through the community of leadership and following. It represents the harmony of spirit, creativity and materials. Clever consideration and skilled hands form the raw materials and create products that the salesman brings to the market. The company, however, has a soul, a living purpose that is higher than simply producing products and selling them for a profit.
Hitler soldiers, you now stand in the companies, whether the roar of motors surrounds you or the silence of the office. It’s up to you that not only brains and hands create, rather also the hearts of the creators, that the love of all for their work is there, and that joy for work is made easy. It’s not about a boring uniformity, rather it’s about everybody’s value being recognized. For each is just as important. But nobody should act more important; otherwise he destroys the other’s joy and faith. The general director is important. The cleaning lady is also important, so that he has a clean work place.
Company after company, large and small, factories and work places in the home, all of them produce the community of creative Germans, and the unity of living requirements for all. They unity grows into the Germany that belongs to these creative people, in which there is no place for people who only take. It grows into the German folk. The individual must not just hear of this. He must experience and understand it. He understands it best through the deed. You, Hitler soldier, are the deed! You must live as an example of this community for the folk comrades! Those who think they can perform their task through great words and acting are not Hitler soldiers. Look at their mouths and their fingers! They smash what Hitler built; they wound the souls of those for whom we struggle and whom we must not lose. All Germans belong to us. It depends on every single man and woman.
None of us belongs solely to himself. Each also belongs to the other; we just didn’t know that before. Each belongs to the other just as the other belongs to him. Resistance and standing aside don’t help. All of us belong together, even if we pass each other a thousand times on the street without a greeting. We are bound by the community, regardless of whether we reject or affirm it.
Yes, it binds us even on the last journey. If this community dies, the folk dies. We often bow to this compulsion without realizing it. But it is such a shame that we are not always conscious of this community – live it, experience it and joyfully affirm it.
Think of this: Would one of us even get a glass of water if other folk comrades hadn’t built pipes, others laid them, other manned the pumping station, so that one simply has to turn a handle? At breakfast do you consider that the bread has a long path behind it? That an unknown folk comrade tilted the soil and planted the seed, that one cut the wheat and brought the harvest home, that one baked the flour into bread? You couldn’t walk home with dry feet if others had not placed stone after stone to form the pavement and still others had not created a drainage system for the rainwater. Who produced our clothes; who build the railroad system to serve you? In a crowd you meet those who built your home. You do not recognize or greet them. You enjoy reading a book that uplifts you and helps you to widen your perspective. Do you also think of the person who wrote it for you in long nights? Or about the craftsmen who printed and bound it? Can you build a telephone all by yourself which you can use with reliability? Whom do you call under distress to the sickbed of a loved one? You call a doctor, a folk comrade, and hence another one. Always and everywhere you find silent witnesses that others create for you, so many that you cannot even perceive them. Your entire being depends on them. Know that you must cease to exist if your folk comrades cease to create for you! None of us can withdraw himself from this bond, not even the most stubborn loner.
We want to make at least a modest effort to become conscious of this bond, to contribute our love and loyalty, so that it becomes a harmony of hearts. Works and materials are otherwise cold and joyless. So we stand at our work and in our folk with our industriousness and our love. It’s no longer hard for us to practice consideration for others. It becomes easy for us to cast off from ourselves whatever would hurt others.
The German folk community is something different than the achievement of the Marxist dreams of equality. Our community is based on the bonds of a blood, of a folk kind. But it’s inconceivable that all individuals become personal friends. The traits and abilities are, thank God, different for all. One is more advanced in the intellectual area and another has skilled hands. The violin player cannot drive a beer truck or the craftsman become the senate president. The demands of a profession increase the demands of education. Intellectual education requires greater means, which many have to scrape together under hunger. It is just for a judge to receive a larger salary than his typist, for he had no income for a long time while the typist already did. The general director must – he must – dress differently than his clerk. He must – he must – be able to join a circle of culture that corresponds to his intellectual level.
It does not harm the folk community if a tuxedo is worn to a formal occasion, if regulations do not call for a uniform. It does, however, disturb the folk community if we find fault with the folk comrade in tuxedo. It undermines the folk community if we criticize and envy the person with a higher wage. We should make a greater effort to look more closely and to understand the other, for he also has his cares. It’s in our hands to teach our boy industriousness and ambition so that he becomes capable and can earn more.
No, the differences of rank, class and intellectual interests do not hamper the folk community; they are necessities. What is constructive and what must be shared is the clarity of attitude and character and the understanding for the other, the pride of every man and woman to be a member of the German unity. Works ennobles, if it is honest. Hence it’s wrong for somebody to say „I am ‚only‘ a worker!“ He demeans himself. In the folk community there is no „only“. If a right thinking street cleaner performs his work faithfully and conscientiously, then he performs a noble serve for the nation. This man stands endlessly higher than some dignitary with the character of a scoundrel does.
This, however, should hinder neither tuxedo nor bricklayer’s apron. Each one folk comrade’s heart should be warm for the other. Everything else follows naturally. Then no one hungers or freezes without his own fault while others live in luxury without earning it.
Hitler men, we grew from our formation – and through our tasks – into the folk community. It’s up to us to form this community and to indestructibly anchor its foundation, namely justice. As we are, so will the others be. All of us must fulfill the highest purpose, to serve Germany with all our strength. It depends on service alone. Earning is just a means toward an end. End and goal is, however, service to folk and fatherland. That’s how we perceive the community of the German folk. That’s how we perceive Germany. It’s up to us to make sure that never again do people curse, because a trumpeter plays: “Deutschland über alles!”
Most Germans have passed through the schools of soldierly institutions. It is superfluous to make observations about bearing of the external kind. Each of us, yes, even each German child knows that a soldier walks upright. Each knows that a straight man of character firmly sets his foot on the earth, in contrast to those who step lightly. For us the German man’s confident appearance is natural. This bearing, which we especially expect from leaders, is nothing other than the expression of an inner maturity.
Education toward this maturity is important. But it is not solely decisive. There must namely already be something present, which education can build on and from which a certain form can be molded, so that bearing and action correspond. The prerequisite is the moral law within us, the feeling of responsibility and the concept of duty.
If these values do not exist within us, then our supposedly good external bearing is nothing but a costume or mask. An exhibited, fine restraint must be distinguished from hollowness in that the distance from triviality is not only maintained, rather that it is maintained in order to protect what is important.
The concept of duty is often misused. We often surprise ourselves in that we tell ourselves – let us openly admit it – to avoid a duty, in that we barricade ourselves behind the concept of duty. It happens in life that we are occasionally tired, that we are aggravated, disappointed or even embittered. Then we hear the cheap expression: „I do my duty and everything else doesn’t matter to me. Let them do what they want! I won’t concern myself with anything else!“
Whoever says that has reached the point where forgetting duty starts. „Everything else doesn’t matter to me!“ Capitulation? „I won’t concern myself with anything else!“ Refusal of service, cowardice, desertion? Don’t give ground, comrades! Did you perhaps cause your aggravation yourself? Have you perhaps been rightly led back to the limits of your ability? Is the „other“ perhaps in fact better than you are? Do you perhaps stubbornly try to run headfirst through a brick wall without paying attention to what you break? Or did you lack insight and turn a molehill into a mountain? Did you earn what you got and is your attitude is unjust?
Let us presume, however, that the other side indeed gave cause for your bitterness. Was the boss in a bad mood? Naturally, we just shrug our shoulders and walk away. Did you miss a promotion? Nothing more? Have the little daily things make you tired? Have you been worn down by the jealousy and meanness of other people? You were the weaker, although you thought you were the better. Have people you believed in disappointed you? That is certainly bad. But is the whole responsible for the failure of individuals? Look instead at the good people around you, whom you yourself should not disappoint! You leave the decent and right-doing people in the lurch, if you „don’t concern yourself with anything else“. We love Germany just as it is. That does not mean silently accepting mistakes that turn up. We wish to be a help to all the good people, but to combat the inferior wherever we met it. The fact of opposites is a law of nature. To light belongs shadow; to the positive belongs the negative. The great and the pitiful lie close together. Even at the high points of human life expression, for example in the struggle between life and death, the high and the low stand shoulder to shoulder. One stands with a clear and pure heart before eternity and right next to him there’s another who grabs the belongings of the fallen. We look with pride to the heroic figures of German history, but we do not overlook that they were surrounded by treason and baseness. How much magnificence has the new Germany created in such short time through faithful hearts and respectable, industrious hands, but how much pettiness and wretchedness had to be swept away first!
Our view is directed at everything great that has nothing to do with spit and polish, rather simply represents the essence of everything beautiful, noble, robust and healthy. Next to it indeed exists the small and ugly. It grows downward and it creeps upward onto the heights, but it can only live in the shadow of the great. Do not be misled by this smallness! It wants to appear great. Impertinence mixed with cleverness, maneuverability and accommodation can easily present itself as genuine accomplishment and real value.
You have the choice of affirming one side or the other. There is no halfway here. If you affirm the small, the egotistical, the circle of opportunists, then you remain there. If, however, you choose the side of genuine German men, then, comrade, you must never desert. We understand your bitterness, because we also feel it. We see you stumble, but we will not let you fall. We lead you back to your bearing.
What is „duty“? What is „the other“? According to the concept of the person who really only wants to do „his job“ and not „the other“, duty would only be a compulsion such as the fulfillment of a required task. If something is demanded, then there is something in the background beginning with compulsion. That kind of „duty“ is just bowing to force. If we are forced to an action through threat of regulations, then our action becomes a compulsion that is put on us from outside. By duty we, however, understand something entirely different. We want something from inside of us; we are moved by a moral demand: our love, our conviction, our affirmation of life and our sense of community. These forces can become so strong within us that they become a compulsion for us, but that is nothing else than the finest duty from the heart. Then we must do something that we wish to do.
A high task for all leaders shows itself here, namely care for the soul of the subordinate, so that they respond to the hard compulsion which is placed on them externally with their desire, their insight and their joy. The leadership ability of a manager determines whether compulsion is received by others with bitterness or if it is encouraged by the recognition that his work is the creation of his intellectual gifts or the skillfulness of his hands. Volunteerism is born from the same compulsion; willingness and obedience together are the foundation of genuine community. They must show themselves everywhere German people stand together. Behind the whole again stands a compulsion, a great, fate-bound, relentless compulsion, directed toward existence or non-existence, which we as a community only master if each of its parts master the small world of its own compulsion.
Our concept of duty aims at the service to the whole. Whoever is true, is true to himself, and also to others. This loyalty will grow into the service that each of us must perform. Whoever is honorable practices this virtue toward his fellow men; his sweat creates his contribution to the prosperity of the whole.
The sum of such manifestations of the moral desire of individuals determines the growth of the cultural condition of all. Their state must hence protect the good and the purposeful, in other words the positive forces, and combat and prevent the harmful and negative.
A moral will – its emergence, its breath and its action – has its roots in our soul. Its expression is service. We must be sure of that. If we now return to the concept of duty, we find a clear aim. We recognize that for the individual its limits do not lie in the fulfillment of what he must do because of occupation or order. We live only the smallest part of life for ourselves. The more full it is, the more it is devoted to others. Laws cannot encompass all aspects of existence; orders cannot regulate all parts of life. Aside from law paragraphs, rules and regulations there are still many things that enter into the circle of duties. During the period of struggle, who forced us to openly affirm German nationalism? Who forced us to march in the SA and SS? What law paragraphs determined that? There were often enough ones that even forbade it. Who ordered us to risk existence, health and life? Our duty called us, the voice of our own conscience.
Only an inner voice can tell us the limits of our duty, because it is more than a compulsion based on an order. Whoever is at home in his own conscience can do that himself. Whoever sacrifices his character, perhaps because of his position, replaces conscience with calculation. This, too, is a duty: do not hide German character.
The more we associate with people, the more certainly we will, despite all precautions, experience errors that pain us. These often undermine the best forces. It’s also part of our duty to help preserve these best forces. We help best through our own behavior, so that those who believe in us are not disappointed.
More than any other period of German history, our present has proven that life means struggle. We know that the soft life is completely gone. Even service in the homeland is struggle, struggle for the better, struggle against the lingering of the bad, struggle against human inadequacy.
However, it is not enough to be a fighter. We must also be able to lead. Each who has the stuff for that should grow into a leadership position – not in the external sense, rather into a leader’s rank of the kind that another cannot confer or mark. It’s not about position, rank and insignia, rather the development of a reserve of values. Fighting ability and leadership value of a man are nothing other than his concept of duty and his bearing. Our bearing creates for us the necessary distance from the guerrilla warfare of daily life. We succumb to it just as little as to any shallowness we meet. Those are manifestations that exist and they will continue to exist. They are not important to us; they are in truth void. Bearing is distance; distance from what is void.
We are never entirely finished. Fate forms us continuously. What today appears finished can tomorrow be made better. There can be painful realizations, opposites can collide and friendships can waiver. We should accept this with neither indifference nor exaggeration. Our combative passion shows itself in our bearing: Help! Improve! Be an example!
We affirm genuine leadership. It remains plain and simple and has nothing in common with external shininess. We make an effort to add value to value, quietly and unobtrusively, and wait until providence gives us our task. We won’t forget then what we have always expected from others: to remain true to oneself and to show justice to all.
There were times when a man made himself ridiculous if he spoke about honesty and unselfishness. This decline must be remembered in order to show that your bearing corresponds to the purpose of your life and the fulfillment of clear, manly virtues.
Outward bearing without the spine of the inward is acting. It fails at the first painful experience. Our bearing is based on mastery, which is nothing other than the strength to control ourselves. We do not want to be the slave of bad habits. Our bearing is the result of hard training in all areas. Bearing is not a uniform. Each will give it his own expression in accordance with his own world of thoughts and feelings. But it always elevates the intellectually and physically well-educated, healthy man of good character over the mass.
Good bearing does not make us stubborn and stiff. It is the self-evident and natural for us. It is the expression of proportion and certainty, which shows itself in both command and obedience. It includes the right to an honest, open word, because it protects us against exaggeration. We do not violate the law of tact. Our bearing lets us overcome the fear that every person sometimes shows. It protects us against the dirty dog within. It gives us the calm ease that elevates us over any manifestation of life which so easily breaks the undisciplined person. Many a superior is not our ideal, but we nonetheless practice good discipline, not out of fear, rather because our bearing has become an example and a duty. Even what we dislike helps to school us. Everything that we find difficult to overcome makes us stronger. Each day gives occasion to practice. May each day end with a victory!
Bearing is the measuring stick of the personality. Good bearing is straightness, clarity and truth.
Fate takes the person it loves, seizes him in its pinchers, steels him in fire, forges him with its blows and hardens him in coldness. He may receive blows that he thinks will knock him down; well-practiced bearing will again pull him up from the pressing pain. Beyond disappointment and resignation, he sees himself as a link in the chain of generations and feels the responsibility toward the descendants. The ancient river of life again carries him in its center and forces him to renewed struggle for the necessities of the day and for the values of the eternal. What does it mean, from the view into the endless expanse opening up ahead of us, if one of those next to you does not march in step, if one of them does not find a way out of his own narrowness, or if someone you believed in fails? You must remain untouched by all this!
The fighter must not fail because of the fact that his struggle does not end after victory. The fate of the great men of German history shows us this: All helped to form their fatherland, but none left behind something complete and final. All of them were surrounded by the same enemy: human inadequacy. A state of enduring bliss cannot exist on this earth. Filled will passions, we all struggle for content and expression of our life, of our community, of our fatherland.
We have lain under fire with men who did not flinch or waiver. Many could not have given an answer if asked why he risked his life. But he most deeply felt and comprehended what it was about.
In the hurricane of annihilation and in sight of blood and mud, the world „fatherland“ would have seemed like a mockery to him. The civilians back home at the beer table also spoke of the „fatherland“. By whom was the real fatherland? One had not known the name, but he had experienced the fatherland a thousand times, and perhaps he did not even have any hope for himself. The beer hall citizens, however, criticized the accomplishments of the gray front. They often had the word fatherland in their mouth, but they had never comprehended it in their heart. Only outwardly did they live in it; they did not experience it inwardly.
The combative and faithful men carry the fatherland in themselves. During the period of national shame the best ones asked themselves: „Is this Germany our fatherland?“ They were not led astray by the easily aroused debate between „yes“ and „no“, for their fatherland lived inside them, in their faith, in their conviction. In their warm hearts the future fatherland lived before it existed outside as well. It looked different there than it showed itself at the moment.
And when the sun again shined on Germany, many of those who had joyfully marched toward it in the battle of light thought his fatherland had finally been fulfilled. Whoever at this splendid turning point of German history saw something perfect and complete did not understand the beginning of the new reconstruction, new exertion, new battles. He had to become disappointed, because he overlooked this: perfection does not exist; there is just a forward!
To be a fighter means more than being the bearer of an idea, rather one must also be an example of its confirmation. Assuming leadership does not yet mean fulfillment. The struggle remains. It simply has a different face. Old mistakes among by new people. Being human, all-too-human shows itself. A new layer starts, but it does not place itself onto the old one without friction. One cannot kill everything in order to create everything new as desired; one cannot tear down everything in order to build it new. Even if one could: the ground on which the new stands would still be the old. Our love for the German fatherland demands of us to ourselves be a piece of what is desirable, a part that contributes to the better formation and the higher development of the whole. Where there is deficiency, there is no right to demand from others that they be better than they are. And if we look more closely, we must honestly admit that those whom we do not like also have good points that could become essential to the well-being of the community. But let us now look at others; let those of us who have stood together in bad times look at ourselves! Have we ourselves been perfect? Did not many of us hang our heads after victory because this or take turned out differently than expected? Was that the final fatherland? There was always a new demand. It always came down to this: build, rebuild and improve something. Imagine what the consequence would have been without these manifestations! It would start with standing still and it would end with decay and death. The fatherland is the property of eternity, not of one period of time. History shows us what happened during the levels of development. It reminds us to serve this advancement. This means that the fatherland living within us is always different from what it is. We are always ahead of it with our desires and hope of fulfillment.
So, basically, each condition is right as it is at the time. Each time merely reflects the stage of development, which could not be different. It reflects the forces that shaped it. The fatherland is as good or as bad as its folk, its community. Only the best always think ahead; they act for the future.
Their fate is often very tragic, because those who foresee and promote a better condition with a warm heart and clever spirit do not experience it themselves. Their worst enemy is the ignorance and inertia of the crowd.
We know that only the nobleman was able to correctly lead in the land of our fathers. The living history lesson of our years has taught us this truth. A land always remains the same. Its rivers flow along their – compared to human standards – eternal course. Its mountains are witnesses of millennia. The land only offers people a homeland, offers them resources and fertility. It is up to the people, however, to create a fatherland in their land. We saw many lands whose soil was blessed with natural resources, and still its people were impoverished, vegetating in filth, crippled in their soul. Despite the richness under their feet they nonetheless only had a miserable home, which was not a fatherland to them. The spirit of the people determines the development or decline of their fatherland, and it depends on what the leadership makes out of the people, whether it suffocates their spirit or gives it room to grow upward.
The noble man fills the hearts of his fellow men with a faithful strength and with his love, in which his fatherland lives. He helps his folk to prepare the paths to the fatherland. He helps to form it. He is a living example. He follows his duty like something holy, which already is devoted to those who sleep in his blood. In his loyalty to this responsibility he finds the field of his duty. Tasks given by humans can always show only part of this duty. The limits provided by regulations and service rank only satisfy the conscience of those who do not look beyond the field of their jurisdiction, who cannot ride outside the well-traveled lanes of their usual route, or who are inwardly hollow, who have a crippled soul which feels nothing of the responsibility to prevent the great river of the whole from becoming sand blocked.
That doesn’t mean one has to be 150%. There is always a time and place for the good deed, which always aims at the fatherland. And modesty, but also sure bearing from an unshakable faith in the fatherland, can very well stand next to the good deed.
The final responsibility of a noble person can only be determined by his own conscience. In his honesty and loyalty he finds the command of his duty, whose field is also greater than his strength. He quickly sees the area where no one else can prescribe anything. If matters of our duty revolve around our conscience, then the will to perform them, and the inner calm and sureness of being able to perform them, are carried and supported by our bearing toward the fatherland, toward the eternal, toward God.
Much has already been written about National Socialism. There are people who examine every line of text for „ifs and buts“. There are others for whom everything is completely clear. They do not need to read anything. When looking at National Socialism it does not come down to agreeing with the written presentation of a problem. National Socialism is not a problem. Many people who read Hitler’s „Mein Kampf“ have suddenly found that they had always been National Socialists. Indeed, the essence of National Socialism must already be inside us before it can fulfill itself outwardly. The German might have been subjected to many influences from environment and situation, many things that cloud the view and make it narrow. If one peels all that away, a National Socialist suddenly appears. How many of those people who for their whole lives thought they were died in the wool Marxists had to see that they had taken the wrong path. One day they realized that they were not Marxists at all, rather National Socialists. Conversely, a person who at the bottom of his soul is a scoundrel can wear ever so many swastikas; he will never become a National Socialist. It follows that one can be a National Socialist without knowing it. And furthermore, that down deep and in terms of world-view, one must already be a National Socialist, that one cannot become a National Socialist. In this train of thought, „National Socialist“ naturally does not mean the concept „party member“. The person who in terms of world-view must be viewed as a National Socialist can under circumstances still stand outside the party.
The characteristics that make a National Socialist must basically have been planted by God in your breast at birth.
A person can, however, become a Hitler soldier. This man must be a National Socialist – not just from the standpoint of party membership.
From Hitler soldiers the very most is expected for Germany: unconditional devotion to the great, sacred idea of National Socialism and the unconditional, total effort of the man. This best corresponds to German essence. For this reason the Hitler army has grown into millions. This is why the old fighters of the movement can safely remain assured, because these demands cannot be long met by the unworthy who creep into our ranks. They might be able to hide behind hypocrisy for a while; they might even try to erect a platform for their loudly proclaimed importance and for an emphasized necessity to hold an influential office. If the firm, secure foundation of National Socialist bonds is lacking – cleanliness, honesty, courage, manliness and selflessness -, then they one day sink again into their own hollowness and insignificance. They are not Hitler soldiers and will never become ones.
This is, in short, the foundation for the development of the spiritual life in the formations. We don’t really need to talk about physical training. You know that yourselves, and others also know what demands are placed on Hitler soldiers. German blood drives to performance. German manliness finds joy in success against exertions and dangers. Even the suffocating bad air of the deceased system of softness was unable to kill off the drive of German blood. How else would it have been able to rejuvenate itself again so quickly, especially among the German youth?
After all, it wasn’t totally crippled even by the pacifistic Reichsbanner. We saw many SPD-bourgeoisie, who thoroughly cursed „militarism“, stomping along in four-man-wide columns.
Although the purpose of our drill already distinguishes us from such „soldiers“, the purpose of nurturing physical strength at all, drill and exercise of the body alone are not decisive for us. Decisive is the spirit which fills us and which we will know how to preserve.
Through this spirit it is possible to achieve the highest: well-trained, steeled personalities. Therefore, we gladly subordinate ourselves to the hard training for truth, for steadfastness and for loyalty.
Our kind hence remains the kind of the soldier.
Our essence: manly virtues.
Our love, our obedience for all time belongs to our Führer.
Our goal always remains Germany.
The highest increase of our life content comes as a natural consequence of this. Not like the Roman gladiators who marched from their small world into a senseless fight in the arena with the shout: „Hail Caesar, we who are about to die salute you!” We seek instead to be worthy to step in front of the German nation when the Führer commands, to raise our arm and call out: „Those who are ready to die for the fatherland greet you, Adolf Hitler!“
#547-01 SS Culture- Volume One: Germanic Crusade in the East
#547-02 SS Culture – Volume Two: Be Hard
#547-03 SS Culture – Volume Three: SS Faith
#547-04 SS Culture – Volume Four: SS Woman
#547-05 SS Culture – Volume Five: Germanic First Millennium
#547-06 SS Culture – Volume Six: Early Germanic Man
#547-07 SS Culture – Volume Seven: Christianity
#547-08 SS Culture – Volume Eight: Saga and Song
#547-09 SS Culture – Volume Nine: Great
#547-10 SS Culture – Volume Ten: Heroes
#547-11 SS Culture – Volume Eleven: Beauty
#547-12 SS Culture – Volume Twelve: Soldier
#589-A German Home Front: Volume One
#590-A Faith in Germany – Volume One: Verdun
#592-01 Panzer Attack – Volume One: Poland is Overrun
#592-02 Panzer Attack – Volume Two: Thrust to the Atlantic
#592-03 Panzer Attack – Volume Three: Behind the Maginot Line to the Swiss Border
#597-01 Rudolf Hess Speaks – Volume One: Peace
#597-02 Rudolf Hess Speaks – Volume Two: Party
#597-03 Rudolf Hess Speaks – Volume Three: Folk
#597-04 Rudolf Hess Speaks – Volume Four: Liberation
#597-05 Rudolf Hess Speaks – Volume Five: Soldiers
#597-06 Rudolf Hess Speaks – Volume Six: Leaders
#598-01 Adolf Hitler Speaks – Volume One: The National Will
#598-02 Adolf Hitler Speaks – Volume Two: The Social Struggle
#598-03 Adolf Hitler Speaks – Volume Three: Economics & Aesthetics
#598-04 Adolf Hitler Speaks – Volume Four: Scientific Ethics
#620-01 SS Creed – Volume One: England
#620-02 SS Creed – Volume Two: Western Decadence
#620-03 SS Creed – Volume Three: Blood
#620-04 SS Creed – Volume Four: Jews
#620-05 SS Creed – Volume Five: Denmark
#620-06 SS Creed – Volume Six: Norway
#620-07 SS Creed – Volume Seven: Sweden & Finland
#620-08 SS Creed – Volume Eight: Holland
#620-09 SS Creed – Volume Nine: Southern Provinces
#620-10 SS Creed – Volume Ten: Northern Provinces
#620-11 SS Creed – Volume Eleven: Japan
#620-12 SS Creed – Volume Twelve: Flanders
#622-01 The Poisonous Mushroom
#622-02 The Mongrel
#622-03 The Jewish Question in the Classroom
#622-04 Trust No Fox on Green Heath and No Jew on His Oath (English/German)
#622-05 Jews Introduce Themselves & Without Solution of the Jewish Question No Salvation of the German Folk (English/German)
#626-01 The Jews in the USA – Volume One.
#626-02 The Jews in the USA – Volume Two
#627-01 USA Behind the Scenes – Volume One
#627-02 USA Behind the Scenes – Volume Two
#627-03 USA Behind the Scenes – Volume Three
#627-04 USA Behind the Scenes – Volume Four
#628-01 Roosevelt and Company – Volume One
#628-02 Roosevelt and Company – Volume Two
#628-03 Roosevelt and Company – Volume Three
#628-04 Roosevelt and Company – Volume Four
#630-01 The Eternal Jew – Volume One
#630-02 The Eternal Jew – Volume Two
#630-03 The Eternal Jew – Volume Three
#630-04 The Eternal Jew – Volume Four
#632-01 Youth Around Hitler / Jugend um Hitler (English/German)
#632-02 Hitler in His Mountains / Hitler in seinen Bergen (English/German)
#632-03 The Hitler Nobody Knows / Hitler wie ihn keiner kennt (English/German)
#632-04 Hitler Off Duty / Hitler abseits vom Alltag (English/German)
#632-05 Hitler in His Homeland / Hitler in seiner Heimat (English/German)
#632-06 Hitler builds Greater Germany / Hitler baut Großdeutschland (English/German)
#632-07 Hitler in Italy / Hitler in Italien (English/German)
#632-08 Hitler Liberates Sudetenland Hitler befreit Sudetenland (English/German)
#632-09 Hitler in Bohemia-Moravia-Memel / Hitler in Böhmen-Mähren-Memel (English/German)
#632-10 A Folk Honors its Führer / Ein Volk ehrt seinen Führer (English/German)
#632-11 With Hitler in Poland / Mit Hitler in Polen (English/German)
#632-12 With Hitler in the West / Mit Hitler im Westen (English/German)
#633-01 The Brown Army / Das Braune Heer (English/German)
#633-02 Dr. Robert Ley and His Path with the German Worker to the Führer / Dr. Robert Ley und sein Weg mit dem deutschen Arbeiter zum Führer (English/German)
#635-01 Reichsarbeitsdienst – Volume One: Women (English/German)
#635-02 Reichsarbeitsdienst – Volume Two: Peace (English/German)
#635-03 Reichsarbeitsdienst – Volume Three: Poland (English/German)
#635-04 Reichsarbeitsdienst – Volume Four: Norway (English/German)
#635-05 Reichsarbeitsdienst – Volume Five: Russia(English/German)
#637-01 Men and Weapons of the German Army (English/German)
#637-02 Luftwaffe War Art (English/German)
#637-03 Kriegsmarine War Art (English/German)
#637-04 Infantry War Art (English/German)
#637-05 Panzer & Artillery War Art (English/German)
#637-06 Afrikakorps War Art (English/German)
#637-07 Flak on Rhine and Ruhr (English/German)
#637-08 French Campaign Sketches (English/German)
#637-09 Russian Front Sketches (English/German)
#637-10 German War Artists (English/German)
#638-01 SS Song Book with English Translation. Volume One (English/German)
#638-02 SS Song Book with English Translation. Volume Two (English/German)
#638-03 SS Song Book with English Translation. Volume Three (English/German)
#640-01 SS Viewpoint – Volume One: SS Front Reports 1941-1942
#640-02 SS Viewpoint – Volume Two: SS Front Reports 1942-1943
#640-03 SS Viewpoint – Volume Three: SS Front Reports 1943-1945
#640-04 SS Viewpoint – Volume Four: SS Heroes
#640-05 SS Viewpoint – Volume Five: SS Lead Articles 1941-1942
#640-06 SS Viewpoint – Volume Six: SS Lead Articles 1942-1943
#640-07 SS Viewpoint – Volume Seven: SS Lead Articles 1943-1945
#640-08 SS Viewpoint – Volume Eight: Soldier and War
#640-09 SS Viewpoint – Volume Nine: Wife and Family
#640-10 SS Viewpoint – Volume Ten: Germany
#640-11 SS Viewpoint – Volume Eleven: Europe
#640-12 SS Viewpoint – Volume Twelve: Honor and Loyalty
#641-001 SS Chronicles – Complete Set of Twelve Volumes
#644-01 Eternal Front
#644-02 Priest Power
#644-03 Master Life
#644-04 God’s Law
#677-01 Blood and Honor: Volume One – Against the Old System
#677-02 Blood and Honor: Volume Two – For the New Reich
#677-03 Blood and Honor: Volume Three – Worldview and Culture
#677-04 Blood and Honor: Volume Four – Foreign Policy
#680-01 Struggle for Berlin: Vol. One – Fresh Start
#680-02 Struggle for Berlin: Vol. Two – Banned
#680-03 Struggle for Berlin: Vol. Three – Resurrection
#683-01 Attack. Volume One: The Voice of the Persecuted
#683-02 Attack. Volume Two: The Stupidity of Democracy
#683-03 Attack. Volume Three: Proclamation of the Idea
#683-04 Attack. Volume Four: The Socialist Word
#683-05 Attack. Volume Five: Isidor
#687-905 Signals of the New Time – Complete Set of Five Volumes
#688-912 Adolf Hitler War Speeches – Complete Set of Twelve Volumes
#689-001 Father of All Things
#689-003 The War of the Warrior
#689-004 The German Demon
#689-005 The Emperor of the Romans Against the King of the Jews
#689-006 The Funeral Pile – Words of Great Heretics