Lies being taught;
Mein Kampf is unintelligible ravings of a maniac.
Now the Truth;
CHAPTER V War Part A. Views on Origins of War;.
“When the news came to Munich that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand had been murdered, I had been at home all day and did not get the particulars of how it happened. At first I feared that the shots may have been fired by some German-Austrian students who had been aroused to a state of furious indignation by the persistent pro-Slav activities of the Heir to the Habsburg Throne and therefore wished to liberate the German population from this internal enemy. It was quite easy to imagine what the result of such a mistake would have been. It would have brought on a new wave of persecution, the motives of which would have been 'justified' before the whole world. But soon afterwards I heard the names of the presumed assassins and also that they were known to be Serbs. I felt somewhat dumbfounded in face of the inexorable vengeance which Destiny had wrought. The greatest friend of the Slavs had fallen a victim to the bullets of Slav patriots.
It is unjust to the Vienna government of that time to blame it now for the form and tenor of the ultimatum which was then presented. In a similar position and under similar circumstances, no other Power in the world would have acted otherwise. On her southern frontiers Austria had a relentless mortal foe who indulged in acts of provocation against the Dual Monarchy at intervals which were becoming more and more frequent. For some years past the State had been so completely identified with the personality of Francis Joseph that, in the eyes of the great mass of the people, the death of this venerable personification of the Empire would be tantamount to the death of the Empire itself. One fact which was entirely overlooked, perhaps intentionally, was that the more the Empire remained dependent on the so-called administrative talents of 'the wisest Monarch of all times', the more catastrophic would be the situation when Fate came to knock at the door and demand its tribute.
Was it possible even to imagine the Austrian Empire without its venerable ruler? Would not the tragedy which befell Maria Theresa be repeated at once? Those who did not wish this war ought to have had the courage to take the consequences of the refusal upon themselves. Those consequences must necessarily have meant the sacrifice of Austria.
Just those who are loudest in their imprecations to-day and make a great parade of wisdom in judging the causes of the war are the very same people whose collaboration was the most fatal factor in steering towards the war.
For several decades previously the German Social-Democrats had been agitating in an underhand and knavish way for war against Russia; whereas the German Centre Party, with religious ends in view, had worked to make the Austrian State the chief centre and turning-point of German policy.
Had the Vienna Government of that time formulated its ultimatum in less drastic terms, that would not have altered the situation at all: but such a course might have aroused public indignation. For, in the eyes of the great masses, the ultimatum was too moderate and certainly not excessive or brutal. Those who would deny this to-day are either simpletons with feeble memories or else deliberate falsehood-mongers.
The moment the news of the Sarajevo outrage reached Munich two ideas came into my mind: First, that war was absolutely inevitable and, second, that the Habsburg State would now be forced to honour its signature to the alliance. For what I had feared most was that one day Germany herself, perhaps as a result of the Alliance, would become involved in a conflict the first direct cause of which did not affect Austria. In such a contingency, I feared that the Austrian State, for domestic political reasons, would find itself unable to decide in favour of its ally. But now this danger was removed. The old State was compelled to fight, whether it wished to do so or not.
My own attitude towards the conflict was equally simple and clear. I believed that it was not a case of Austria fighting to get satisfaction from Serbia but rather a case of Germany fighting for her own existence--the German nation for its own to-be-or-not-to-be, for its freedom and for its future. The work of Bismarck must now be carried on. Young Germany must show itself worthy of the blood shed by our fathers on so many heroic fields of battle, from Weissenburg to Sedan and Paris. And if this struggle should bring us victory our people will again rank foremost among the great nations. Only then could the German Empire assert itself as the mighty champion of peace, without the necessity of restricting the daily bread of its children for the sake of maintaining the peace.
One thing was clear to me from the very beginning, namely, that in the event of war, which now seemed inevitable, my books would have to be thrown aside forthwith. I also realized that my place would have to be there where the inner voice of conscience called me.
On August 3rd, 1914, I presented an urgent petition to His Majesty, King Ludwig III, requesting to be allowed to serve in a Bavarian regiment. In those days the Chancellery had its hands quite full and therefore I was all the more pleased when I received the answer a day later, that my request had been granted. I opened the document with trembling hands; and no words of mine could now describe the satisfaction I felt on reading that I was instructed to report to a Bavarian regiment. Within a few days I was wearing that uniform which I was not to put oft again for nearly six years.
At long last the day came when we left Munich on war service. For the first time in my life I saw the Rhine, as we journeyed westwards to stand guard before that historic German river against its traditional and grasping enemy. As the first soft rays of the morning sun broke through the light mist and disclosed to us the Niederwald Statue, with one accord the whole troop train broke into the strains of DIE WACHT AM RHEIN. I then felt as if my heart could not contain its spirit.
And then followed a damp, cold night in Flanders. We marched in silence throughout the night and as the morning sun came through the mist an iron greeting suddenly burst above our heads. Shrapnel exploded in our midst and spluttered in the damp ground. But before the smoke of the explosion disappeared a wild 'Hurrah' was shouted from two hundred throats, in response to this first greeting of Death. Then began the whistling of bullets and the booming of cannons, the shouting and singing of the combatants. With eyes straining feverishly, we pressed forward, quicker and quicker, until we finally came to close-quarter fighting, there beyond the beet-fields and the meadows. Soon the strains of a song reached us from afar. Nearer and nearer, from company to company, it came. And while Death began to make havoc in our ranks we passed the song on to those beside us: DEUTSCHLAND, DEUTSCHLAND ÜBER ALLES, ÜBER ALLES IN DER WELT.
After four days in the trenches we came back. Even our step was no longer what it had been. Boys of seventeen looked now like grown men. The rank and file of the List Regiment (Note 11) had not been properly trained in the art of warfare, but they knew how to die like old soldiers.
[Note 11. The Second Infantry Bavarian Regiment, in which Hitler served as a volunteer.]
That was the beginning. And thus we carried on from year to year. A feeling of horror replaced the romantic fighting spirit. Enthusiasm cooled down gradually and exuberant spirits were quelled by the fear of the ever-present Death. A time came when there arose within each one of us a conflict between the urge to self-preservation and the call of duty. And I had to go through that conflict too. As Death sought its prey everywhere and unrelentingly a nameless Something rebelled within the weak body and tried to introduce itself under the name of Common Sense; but in reality it was Fear, which had taken on this cloak in order to impose itself on the individual. But the more the voice which advised prudence increased its efforts and the more clear and persuasive became its appeal, resistance became all the stronger; until finally the internal strife was over and the call of duty was triumphant. Already in the winter of 1915-16 I had come through that inner struggle. The will had asserted its incontestable mastery. Whereas in the early days I went into the fight with a cheer and a laugh, I was now habitually calm and resolute. And that frame of mind endured. Fate might now put me through the final test without my nerves or reason giving way. The young volunteer had become an old soldier.
I was then a soldier and did not wish to meddle in politics, all the more so because the time was inopportune. I still believe that the most modest stable-boy of those days served his country better than the best of, let us say, the 'parliamentary deputies'. My hatred for those footlers was never greater than in those days when all decent men who had anything to say said it point-blank in the enemy's face; or, failing this, kept their mouths shut and did their duty elsewhere. I despised those political fellows and if I had had my way I would have formed them into a Labour Battalion and given them the opportunity of babbling amongst themselves to their hearts' content, without offence or harm to decent people.”