Adolf Hitler on ‘Defects in our Educational System’ and ‘Concentration on a Single Enemy’

MK_Dalton

Continuing with passages from Mein Kampf, 2017 Thomas Dalton translation.

DEFECTS IN OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

Such conduct is not the result of a malicious intent, nor is it the outcome of orders given from ‘above’; but such a lack of national determination is due to defects in our educational system. Instead of inculcating a lively sense of German nationality, the aim of the educational system is to make the youth submit to ‘the idea’ become idol.

Education in such abstract notions as ‘democracy,’ ‘international socialism,’ ‘pacifism,’ etc., is so hard and fast and exclusive, and so purely subjective, that they fundamentally influence one’s picture of the world. But on the other hand, the attitude towards their own German nationality has been very objective from youth upwards. The pacifist (insofar as he is a German) who surrenders himself subjectively to the dictates of dogmatic principleswill always first consider the objective right or wrong of a situation when danger threatens. But he will never take his stand in the ranks of his own people, and fight for them from the sheer instinct of self preservation.

That this also applies to the different religious denominations is shown by the following:

Insofar as its origin and tradition are based on German ideals, Protestantism defends those ideas better. But it fails the moment it is called up to defend national interests, ones that don’t belong to the sphere of its ideals and traditional development—or which, for some reason or other, may be rejected by that sphere.

Therefore Protestantism will always take its part in promoting German ideals as concerns moral integrity or national education, when the German spiritual being or language, or spiritual freedom are to be defended; these represent the principles on which Protestantism itself is grounded. But this same Protestantism violently opposes every attempt to rescue the nation from the clutches of its mortal enemy. The Protestant attitude towards the Jews is more or less rigidly and dogmatically fixed. And yet this is the first problem which has to be solved, unless all attempts to bring about a German resurgence, or to raise the level of the nation’s standing, are to remain senseless and impossible.

During my sojourn in Vienna, I had ample leisure time to study this problem without allowing any prejudices to intervene; and in my daily contacts I was able to confirm my view thousands of times.

In this focal point of various nationalities, it was quite obvious that the German pacifist was always and exclusively the one who tried to consider his own national interests objectively. But you would never find a Jew who took a similar attitude towards his own people. Furthermore, I found that only the German Socialist is ‘international’ in the sense that he feels himself obliged to demand justice for his own people only by whining and wailing to his international comrades. No one could ever charge the Czechs, or Poles, or other nations with such conduct. In short, I recognized even then that this evil is only partly a result of these doctrines, but mainly the result of our totally inadequate system of education, and its resulting lack of devotion to our own nation.

Thus, the first theoretical argument advanced by the pan-German leaders in their offensive against Catholicism was quite untenable.

The only way to remedy this evil is to train the Germans from youth upwards to an absolute recognition of the rights of their own people, instead of poisoning their minds with the curse of ‘objectivity’—even in matters concerning the very maintenance of our own existence. The result of this would be that the Catholic in Germany—just as in Ireland, Poland, or France—would be a German above all. But all this presupposes a radical change in the national government.

CONCENTRATION ON A SINGLE ENEMY

The pan-German movement would never have made this mistake if it had properly understood the psyche of the broad masses. If the leaders had known that, for psychological reasons alone, one should never place two or more sets of adversaries before the masses—since that divided their fighting strength—they would have concentrated the full and undivided force of their attack against a single adversary. Nothing in the policy of a political party is so fraught with danger as to allow its decisions to be directed by those jack-of-all-trades who want everything, even though they don’t know how to do anything.

But even though much can be said against the various religious denominations, political leaders mustn’t forget that the experience of history teaches us that no purely political party, in similar circumstances, ever successfully brought about a religious reformation. One doesn’t study history for the purpose of later forgetting or mistrusting its lessons. It would be a mistake to believe that in this particular case things were different, so that the eternal truths of history no longer applied. […]

The art of leadership, as displayed by all truly great popular leaders of history, consists in focusing the attention of the people against a single adversary, and ensuring that nothing will break it up. The more the militant energies of the people are directed towards one objective, the more will new recruits join the movement—attracted by the magnetism of its unified action. […] Therefore the striking power will be all the greater. The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to one category. Otherwise, weak and wavering followers may easily begin to doubt the justice of their own cause, if they have to face different enemies.

As soon as the vacillating masses find themselves facing many enemies, their sense of objectivity will be aroused. They will ask how it is possible that all the others can be wrong, and that they themselves, and their movement, alone are right.

Such a feeling would be the first step towards a paralysis of their own power. Hence it will always be necessary to group all opponents together, as forming one solid front, so that the mass of followers will see only one common enemy against whom they have to fight. Such uniformity intensifies their belief in the justice of their own cause, and strengthens their feeling of hostility towards the opponent.

The pan-German movement was unsuccessful because the leaders […] clearly saw that the goal and their intentions were right; but they took the wrong road.

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Published in: on May 1, 2018 at 10:27 am  Leave a Comment  

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