Adolf Hitler – speech at the Ordensburg Sonthofen
Allgäu, November 22, 1937
Since in international life there are only natural, sober interests, it should be based neither on gratitude nor on family connections. Family connections were as useless in preserving Prussia and Austria from war as they were for Germany and England.
In Europe, we have more difficult obstacles to overcome than those, for instance, which exist for England-which only [!] needed its naval supremacy to occupy large living spaces with relatively little loss of blood.
Nonetheless: we had Europe once before. We only lost it because our leadership lacked the initiative that would have been necessary to not only maintain our position, on a long-term basis, but also to expand it.
Today a new state is being established, the unique feature of which is that it sees its foundation not in Christianity and not in a concept of state; rather, it places its primary emphasis on the self-contained Volksgemeinschaft.
Hence it is significant that the “Germanic Empire of the German Nation” now puts this supremely capable concept of the future into practice, merciless against all adversaries, against all religious fragmentation, against all fragmentation into parties.
If we regard our German history in a very extensive sense from our most dim and distant past up to today, we are the richest Volk in Europe. And if, with utmost tolerance, we allow our great German heroes to march by, all our great leaders of the past, all our great Germanic255 and German emperors-for they were great without exception-England would have to shrink before us.
It is this unification of the German nation which gives us the moral justification to step before the world with vital demands. The fact is that ultimate justice resides in power. And power, in international life, resides in the self-containment of the nations themselves. Today the German nation has finally been given what it has lacked for centuries, namely, the organization of a leadership of the Volk.
Today we are laying claim to the leadership of the Volk, i.e. we alone are authorized to lead the Volk as such-that means every man and every woman.
The lifelong relationships between the sexes is something we will organize. We shall form the child!
We are giving you unconditional freedom in your teachings and in your views on what God is. For we are well aware that we ourselves know nothing of these things.
Yet let one thing be quite clear: the Churches may determine the fate of the German being in the next world, but in this world the German nation, by way of its leaders, is determining the fate of the German being. Only if there is such a clear and clear-cut division can life be made bearable in a time of transition.
At the bottom of our hearts, we National Socialists are religious. For the space of many millenniums, a uniform concept of God did not exist. Yet it is the most brilliant and most sublime notion of mankind, that which distinguishes him most from animals, that he not only views a phenomenon from without, but always poses the question of why and how.
This entire world, a world so clear-cut in its external manifestation, is just as unclear to us in its purpose. And here mankind has bowed down in humility before the conviction that it is confronted by an incredible power, an Omnipotence, which is so incredible and so deep that we men are unable to fathom it. That is a good thing! For it can serve to comfort people in bad times; it avoids that superficiality and sense of superiority that misleads man to believe that he-but a tiny bacillus on this earth, in this universe-rules the world, and that he lays down the laws of Nature which he can at best but study. It is, therefore, our desire that our Volk remains humble and truly believes in a God.
Hence an immeasurably large scope is given for the Churches, and thus they should be tolerant of one another! God did not create our Volk that it be torn apart by priests. This is why it is necessary to ensure its unity by a system of leadership. That is the task of the NSDAP. It is to comprise that order which, beyond the limits of time and man, is to guarantee the stability of the German development of opinion and hence of the political leadership.
The NSDAP is the largest organization the world has ever seen. All counted, it encompasses a total of twenty-five million people256 and has 300,000 functionaries. It is quite obvious that an organization that is only eighteen years beyond its founding cannot be the same as it would be after one hundred years.
Yet the important thing is that we equip it with the law according to which it came to power and which it shall retain. Here we have established the basic rule of absolute obedience and absolute authority. Just as the Army-the weapon- cannot prevail without this law of the absolute authority of each and every superior to those below him and his absolute responsibility to those above, neither can the political leadership of this weapon prevail. For what is gained by the weapon is ultimately subject to political administration, and what the political administration wants, the weapon is to procure. The leadership of the Volk in former times, the Church, also recognized only this one law of life: blind obedience and absolute authority.
Old Germany was overthrown because it did not possess this zealous blind will, did not have this confidence and this serenity. New Germany will be victorious because it integrates these virtues and at present has already integrated them in an extremely difficult struggle. I know quite well that this is independent of the individual. I know quite well that, were anything to happen to me today, the next one would take my place and continue in the same fashion, just as zealously; because that, too, is part of this Movement.
Just as it is not possible to instantly turn a political bourgeois association into a fighting group of heroes, it will be equally impossible to ever turn this Movement, which was built up from the very beginning on courage and initiative, into a bourgeois association.
That is also the future task above all of these schools: to conduct this test of courage over and over again, to break with the opinion that only the soldier must be brave. Whoever is a political leader is always a soldier, too! And whoever lacks bravery cannot be a soldier. He must be prepared for action at all times. In the beginning, courage had to be the basic prerequisite for someone to find his way to the Party-and it really was, otherwise no one came.
Today we have to install artificial obstacles, artificial trenches over which the person has to jump. That is where he now has to prove whether he is brave.
Because if he is not brave, he is of no use to us.