THE BEGINNING OF MY POLITICAL ACTIVITIES
After another few weeks I received orders to attend a course of lectures which were being given to members of the army. This course was meant to inculcate certain fundamental principles on which the soldier could base his political ideas. For me the advantage of this organization was that it gave me a chance of meeting fellow soldiers who were of the same way of thinking and with whom I could discuss the actual situation. We were all more or less firmly convinced that Germany could not be saved from imminent disaster by those who had participated in the November treachery--that is to say, the Centre and the Social-Democrats; and also that the so-called Bourgeois-National group could not make good the damage that had been done, even if they had the best intentions. They lacked a number of requisites without which such a task could never be successfully undertaken. The years that followed have justified the opinions which we held at that time.
In our small circle we discussed the project of forming a new party. The leading ideas which we then proposed were the same as those which were carried into effect afterwards, when the German Labour Party was founded. The name of the new movement which was to be founded should be such that of itself, it would appeal to the mass of the people; for all our efforts would turn out vain and useless if this condition were
lacking. And that was the reason why we chose the name 'Social-Revolutionary Party', particularly because the social principles of our new organization were indeed revolutionary.
But there was also a more fundamental reason. The attention which I had given to economic problems during my earlier years was more or less confined to considerations arising directly out of the social problem. Subsequently this outlook broadened as I came to study the German policy of the Triple Alliance. This policy was very largely the result of an erroneous valuation of the economic situation, together with a confused notion as to the basis on which the future subsistence of the German people could be guaranteed. All these ideas were based on the principle that capital is exclusively the product of labour and that, just like labour, it was subject to all the factors which can hinder or promote human activity. Hence, from the national standpoint, the significance of capital depended on the greatness and freedom and power of the State, that is to say, of the nation, and that it is this dependence alone which leads capital to promote the interests of the State and the nation, from the instinct of self-preservation and for the sake of its own development.
On such principles the attitude of the State towards capital would be comparatively simple and clear. Its only object would be to make sure that capital remained subservient to the State and did not allocate to itself the right to dominate national interests. Thus it could confine its activities within the two following limits: on the one side, to assure a vital and independent system of national economy and, on the other, to safeguard the social rights of the workers.
Previously I did not recognize with adequate clearness the difference between capital which is purely the product of creative labour and the existence and nature of capital which is exclusively the result of financial speculation. Here I needed an impulse to set my mind thinking in this direction; but that impulse had hitherto been lacking.
The requisite impulse now came from one of the men who delivered lectures in the course I have already mentioned. This was Gottfried Feder.
For the first time in my life I heard a discussion which dealt with the principles of stock-exchange capital and capital which was used for loan activities. After hearing the first lecture delivered by Feder, the idea immediately came into my head that I had now found a way to one of the most essential pre-requisites for the founding of a new party.
To my mind, Feder's merit consisted in the ruthless and trenchant way in which he described the double character of the capital engaged in stock-exchange and loan transaction, laying bare the fact that this capital is ever and always dependent on the payment of interest. In fundamental questions his statements were so full of common sense that those who criticized him did not deny that AU FOND his ideas were sound but they doubted whether it be possible to put these ideas into practice. To me this seemed the strongest point in Feder's teaching, though others considered it a weak point.
When I heard Gottfried Feder's first lecture on 'The Abolition of the Interest-Servitude', I understood immediately that here was a truth of transcendental importance for the future of the German people. The absolute separation of stock-exchange capital from the economic life of the nation would make it possible to oppose the process of internationalization in German business without at the same time attacking capital as such, for to do this would jeopardize the foundations of our national independence. I clearly saw what was developing in Germany and I realized then that the stiffest fight we would have to wage would not be against the enemy nations but against international capital. In Feder's speech I found an effective rallying-cry for our coming struggle.
Here, again, later events proved how correct was the impression we then had. The fools among our bourgeois politicians do not mock at us on this point any more; for even those politicians now see--if they would speak the truth--that international stock-exchange capital was not only the chief instigating factor in bringing on the War but that now when the War is over it turns the peace into a hell.
The struggle against international finance capital and loan-capital has become one of the most important points in the programme on which the German nation has based its fight for economic freedom and independence.
Regarding the objections raised by so-called practical people, the following answer must suffice: All apprehensions concerning the fearful economic consequences that would follow the abolition of the servitude that results from interest-capital are ill-timed; for, in the first place, the economic principles hitherto followed have proved quite fatal to the interests of the German people. The attitude adopted when the question of maintaining our national existence arose vividly recalls similar advice once given by experts--the Bavarian Medical College, for example--on the question of introducing railroads. The fears expressed by that august body of experts were not realized. Those who travelled in the coaches of the new 'Steam-horse' did not suffer from vertigo. Those who looked on did not become ill.
In the second place, the following must be borne in mind: Any idea may be a source of danger if it be looked upon as an end in itself, when really it is only the means to an end. For me and for all genuine National-Socialists there is only one doctrine. PEOPLE AND FATHERLAND. All ideas and ideals, all teaching and all knowledge, must serve these ends.
I began to study again and thus it was that I first came to understand perfectly what was the substance and purpose of the life-work of the Jew, Karl Marx. His CAPITAL became intelligible to me now for the first time. And in the light of it I now exactly understood the fight of the Social-Democrats against national economics, a fight which was to prepare the ground for the hegemony of a real international and stock-exchange capital.
One day I put my name down as wishing to take part in the discussion. Another of the participants thought that he would break a lance for the Jews and entered into a lengthy defence of them. This aroused my opposition. An overwhelming number of those who attended the lecture course supported my views. The consequence of it all was that, a few days later, I was assigned to a regiment then stationed at Munich and given a position there as 'instruction officer'.
I took up my work with the greatest delight and devotion. Here I was presented with an opportunity of speaking before quite a large audience. I was now able to confirm what I had hitherto merely felt, namely, that I had a talent for public speaking. My voice had become so much better that I could be well understood, at least in all parts of the small hall where the soldiers assembled.
I am able to state that my talks were successful. During the course of my lectures I have led back hundreds and even thousands of my fellow countrymen to their people and their fatherland. I 'nationalized' these troops and by so doing I helped to restore general discipline.
Here again I made the acquaintance of several comrades whose thought ran along the same lines as my own and who later became members of the first group out of which the new movement developed.”
Excerpts from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf