Lies being taught;
Mein Kampf is unintelligible ravings of a maniac.
Now the Truth;
POLITICAL REFLECTIONS ARISING OUT OF MY SOJOURN IN VIENNA.
Views on Religion versus politics;
"Because man has made laws he subsequently comes to think that he exists for the sake of the laws..."
"Anyone who believes that a religious reformation can be achieved through the agency of a political organization shows that he has no idea of the development of religious conceptions and doctrines of faith and how these are given practical effect by the Church.
No man can serve two masters. And I hold that the foundation or overthrow of a religion has far greater consequences than the foundation or overthrow of a State, to say nothing of a Party.
It is no argument to the contrary to say that the attacks were only defensive measures against attacks from the other side.
Undoubtedly there have always been unscrupulous rogues who did not hesitate to degrade religion to the base uses of politics. Nearly always such a people had nothing else in their minds except to make a business of religions and politics. But on the other hand it would be wrong to hold religion itself, or a religious denomination, responsible for a number of rascals who exploit the Church for their own base interests just as they would exploit anything else in which they had a part.
Nothing could be more to the taste of one of these parliamentary loungers and tricksters than to be able to find a scapegoat for his political sharp-practice--after the event, of course. The moment religion or a religious denomination is attacked and made responsible for his personal misdeeds this shrewd fellow will raise a row at once and call the world to witness how justified he was in acting as he did, proclaiming that he and his eloquence alone have saved religion and the Church. The public, which is mostly stupid and has a very short memory, is not capable of recognizing the real instigator of the quarrel in the midst of the turmoil that has been raised. Frequently it does not remember the beginning of the fight and so the rogue gets by with his stunt.
A cunning fellow of that sort is quite well aware that his misdeeds have nothing to do with religion. And so he will laugh up his sleeve all the more heartily when his honest but artless adversary loses the game and, one day losing all faith in humanity, retires from the activities of public life...
But from another viewpoint also it would be wrong to make religion, or the Church as such, responsible for the misdeeds of individuals. If one compares the magnitude of the organization, as it stands visible to every eye, with the average weakness of human nature we shall have to admit that the proportion of good to bad is more favourable here than anywhere else. Among the priests there may, of course, be some who use their sacred calling to further their political ambitions. There are clergy who unfortunately forget that in the political mêlée they ought to be the paladins of the more sublime truths and not the abettors of falsehood and slander. But for each one of these unworthy specimens we can find a thousand or more who fulfil their mission nobly as the trustworthy guardians of souls and who tower above the level of our corrupt epoch, as little islands above the sea swamp.
I cannot condemn the Church as such, and I should feel quite as little justified in doing so if some depraved person in the robe of a priest commits some offence against the moral law. Nor should I for a moment think of blaming the Church if one of its innumerable members betrays and besmirches his compatriots, especially not in epochs when such conduct is quite common. We must not forget, particularly in our day, that for one such Ephialtes (Note 7) there are a thousand whose hearts bleed in sympathy with their people during these years of misfortune and who, together with the best of our nation, yearn for the hour when fortune will smile on us again.
[Note 7. Herodotus (Book VII, 213-218) tells the story of how a Greek traitor, Ephialtes, helped the Persian invaders at the Battle of Thermopylae (480 B.C.) When the Persian King, Xerxes, had begun to despair of being able tobreak through the Greek defence, Ephialtes came to him and, on being promiseda definite payment, told the King of a pathway over the shoulder of the mountainto the Greek end of the Pass. The bargain being clinched, Ephialtes led adetachment of the Persian troops under General Hydarnes over the mountainpathway. Thus taken in the rear, the Greek defenders, under Leonidas, King of Sparta, had to fight in two opposite directions within the narrow pass. Terrible slaughter ensued and Leonidas fell in the thick of the fighting.
The bravery of Leonidas and the treason of Ephialtes impressed Hitler, as it does almost every schoolboy. The incident is referred to again in MEIN KAMPF (Chap. VIII, Vol. I), where Hitler compares the German troops that fell in France and Flanders to the Greeks at Thermopylae, the treachery of Ephialtes being suggested as the prototype of the defeatist policy of the German politicians towards the end of the Great War.]
If it be objected that here we are concerned not with the petty problems of everyday life but principally with fundamental truths and questions of dogma, the only way of answering that objection is to ask a question:
Do you feel that Providence has called you to proclaim the Truth to the world? If so, then go and do it. But you ought to have the courage to do it directly and not use some political party as your mouthpiece; for in this way you shirk your vocation. In the place of something that now exists and is bad put something else that is better and will last into the future.
If you lack the requisite courage or if you yourself do not know clearly what your better substitute ought to be, leave the whole thing alone. But, whatever happens, do not try to reach the goal by the roundabout way of a political party if you are not brave enough to fight with your visor lifted.
Political parties have no right to meddle in religious questions except when these relate to something that is alien to the national well-being and thus calculated to undermine racial customs and morals.
If some ecclesiastical dignitaries should misuse religious ceremonies or religious teaching to injure their own nation their opponents ought never to take the same road and fight them with the same weapons.
To a political leader the religious teachings and practices of his people should be sacred and inviolable. Otherwise he should not be a statesman but a reformer, if he has the necessary qualities for such a mission.
But even though there is much that can really be said against the various religious denominations, political leaders must not forget that the experience of history teaches us that no purely political party in similar circumstances ever succeeded in bringing about a religious reformation. One does not study history for the purpose of forgetting or mistrusting its lessons afterwards, when the time comes to apply these lessons in practice. It would be a mistake to believe that in this particular case things were different, so that the eternal truths of history were no longer applicable. One learns history in order to be able to apply its lessons to the present time and whoever fails to do this cannot pretend to be a political leader. In reality he is quite a superficial person or, as is mostly the case, a conceited simpleton whose good intentions cannot make up for his incompetence in practical affairs.
Austria was then like a piece of ancient mosaic in which the cohesive cement had dried up and become old and friable. As long as such a work of art remains untouched it may hold together and continue to exist; but the moment some blow is struck on it then it breaks up into thousands of fragments. Therefore it was now only a question of when the blow would come.
Because my heart was always with the German Empire and not with the Austrian Monarchy, the hour of Austria's dissolution as a State appeared to me only as the first step towards the emancipation of the German nation.
All these considerations intensified my yearning to depart for that country for which my heart had been secretly longing since the days of my youth.
I hoped that one day I might be able to make my mark as an architect and that I could devote my talents to the service of my country on a large or small scale, according to the will of Fate.
A final reason was that I longed to be among those who lived and worked in that land from which the movement should be launched, the object of which would be the fulfilment of what my heart had always longed for, namely, the union of the country in which I was born with our common fatherland, the German Empire.
There are many who may not understand how such a yearning can be so strong; but I appeal especially to two groups of people. The first includes all those who are still denied the happiness I have spoken of, and the second embraces those who once enjoyed that happiness but had it torn from them by a harsh fate. I turn to all those who have been torn from their motherland and who have to struggle for the preservation of their most sacred patrimony, their native language, persecuted and harried because of their loyalty and love for the homeland, yearning sadly for the hour when they will be allowed to return to the bosom of their father's household. To these I address my words, and I know that they will understand.
Only he who has experienced in his own inner life what it means to be German and yet to be denied the right of belonging to his fatherland can appreciate the profound nostalgia which that enforced exile causes. It is a perpetual heartache, and there is no place for joy and contentment until the doors of paternal home are thrown open and all those through whose veins kindred blood is flowing will find peace and rest in their common REICH.
Vienna was a hard school for me; but it taught me the most profound lessons of my life. I was scarcely more than a boy when I came to live there, and when I left it I had grown to be a man of a grave and pensive nature. In Vienna I acquired the foundations of a WELTANSCHAUUNG in general and developed a faculty for analysing political questions in particular. That WELTANSCHAUUNG and the political ideas then formed have never been abandoned, though they were expanded later on in some directions. It is only now that I can fully appreciate how valuable those years of apprenticeship were for me.
That is why I have given a detailed account of this period. There, in Vienna, stark reality taught me the truths that now form the fundamental principles of the Party which within the course of five years has grown from modest beginnings to a great mass movement. I do not know what my attitude towards Jewry, Social-Democracy, or rather Marxism in general, to the social problem, etc., would be to-day if I had not acquired a stock of personal beliefs at such an early age, by dint of hard study and under the duress of Fate.
For, although the misfortunes of the Fatherland may have stimulated thousands and thousands to ponder over the inner causes of the collapse, that could not lead to such a thorough knowledge and deep insight as a man may develop who has fought a hard struggle for many years so that he might be master of his own fate."