Adolf Hitler – speech about the culture
Nuremberg, September 7, 1937
The weapons of those bourgeois ballad-singers of freedom (Freiheitssanger) were, at worst, pen and ink. Yet the National Socialists were expected to bear a thousand privations. But their struggle gradually brought about genuine freedom. A freedom which is not the product of poetic contemplation, but the result of hard political battles compounded not of essays or leading articles, but of historically established events and hence accomplishments. Of course it was more difficult to arrive at a March 16, 1935, or to occupy the Rhineland than to concern oneself in newspapers or literary pamphlets with theoretical discussions on the true nature of genuine freedom.
In history, however, surely only the factual counts; that means that in history, neither political desire nor theoretical contemplation will be material, but political achievement, and that means the deed itself. It is the task of cultural policy-just as in the area of politics in general-to lead onwards to new and, in this case, cultural achievements!
Therefore the civilized nations have always constituted the counterpole to the nations without culture, just as within them the artist is, in turn, the solitary figure in contrast to the masses of the artistically indifferent, or to people even lacking any understanding whatsoever. This, however, is due to the following: the genius consistently stands out from the masses in that he unconsciously anticipates truths of which the population as a whole only later becomes conscious! [-] Of all the questionable concoctions of our so-called “Modern Art,” not even five percent would have been able to gain a place in the art collection of the German Volk had it not been that, by means of propaganda having nothing at all to do with art, but oriented along political and weltanschaulich lines, public opinion had been talked into them-indeed, even forced into them-by likeminded political factors. The Volk’s deep-seated aversion to the enrichment of its art by virtue of such products is something obvious to anyone from the impressions made upon the viewers of the “Entartete Kunst” exhibition in Munich.
However, a clever and indeed cunning Jewish cultural propaganda has nonetheless succeeded in talking at least his so-called “appointed art experts”- but not healthy individuals-into smuggling these supremely pitiful concoctions into our galleries and thus ultimately forcing them upon the German Volk after all.
The path from the sacred and serious work of our good old German masters to the great painters of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was certainly more difficult than the path from the average decent art of the nineteenth century to the primitive scrawlings of our so-called “Moderns,” whose products basically attract attention only because they are behind modern times by a few thousand years.
We have our litterateurs to thank for this ignominious retrogression. They have succeeded, by perpetually using the word “kitsch” to describe a wellmeant, 175 decent, average accomplishment, in breeding those exalted aberrations which, to a blase literary attitude, might perhaps seem to present an interesting and even phenomenal innovation, but in fact are nothing but a disgraceful reversion, a deterioration of culture which has never before taken place at any time in the past-and never could take place, either, because never before had litterateurs been accorded such an outrageous influence on the performing and visual arts.
In this context, it is now amusing to note that it is least of all the products of these so-called “Moderns” which can be judged as being, for example, “original” or possessing “originality.” On the contrary, all of these so-called modern artists are the most pathetic and inept copyists of all time. Naturally not copyists of what is decent, but of nonsense!
Never before in German history were greater and more noble edifices planned, commenced and completed than in our time.
The authority that is saving the German Volk from collapse in the twentieth century, that has snatched it away from the chaos of Bolshevism, is not the authority of an economic association, but that of the National Socialist Movement, of the National Socialist Party and thus of the National Socialist State! The opponents will sense it, but the adherents above all must know it: it is to fortify this authority that these structures are being built! Therefore these edifices are neither designed for the year 1940 nor for the year 2000; instead, they are to tower, like the cathedrals of our past, into the millenniums of the future. And if today God perhaps allows the poets and singers to be fighters, He has, in any case, given the fighters the architects who will ensure that the success of this fight finds an immortal substantiation in the documents of a unique and great art! That is something small minds perhaps cannot comprehend, but then again they have not understood our fight on the whole. It may embitter our opponents, but then again their hatred has never yet been capable of thwarting our success, either. One day, however, it will be understood with utmost clarity how very great the blessing is which shines forth throughout the centuries from the tremendous edifices of this history-making age. For they above all will help, in a political sense, to unify and fortify our Volk more than ever before; in a collective sense, they will-for Germans- become part of a proud feeling of belonging together; in a social sense, they will prove the ridiculousness of any other differences of this world in comparison to these tremendous, gigantic witnesses of our sense of community.
This State shall neither be a power without culture nor a force without beauty. For the armament of a Volk is only morally justified when it is the sword and shield of a higher mission. Therefore we are not striving for the brute strength of someone like Genghis Khan, but instead for an empire of strength which is instrumental in shaping a strong social and protected community as the support and guard of a higher culture!