Adolf Hitler on Propaganda and Organizaion

Published by carolyn on Fri, 2022-09-30 14:19

Chapt. 11  Propaganda and Organization summary

11.1  Organization is something that owes its existence to organic life, to organic development. […] One must take account of those human weaknesses that make men hesitate, especially at the beginning, to submit to a superior mind. For this reason it's advisable to sift through the gathering human material to look for leading minds. It sometimes happens that apparently insignifical men will nevertheless turn out to be born leaders.

Great theoreticians are only very rarely great organizers. The organizer must first of all be a psychologist. He must take men as they are … must not have too high or too low an estimate of human nature. Rarely is a great theorist also a great leader. ...An agitator who shows himself capable of transmitting ideas to the broad masses must always be a psychologist, even though he may only be a demagogue. …Being a leader means: to be able to move the masses. The gift of formulating ideas has nothing to do with leadership abilities.

The noblest conceptions of human understanding remain without purpose or value if the leader cannot move the masses towards them. …When the theorist, organizer, and leader are united in one person, then we have the rarest phenomenon on this earth; this combination creates the great man.

11.2  If a movement proposes to overthrow a certain world order and construct a new one in its place, then the leader must ...first divide them into two groups: supporters and members. The function of propaganda is to attract supporters; the function of organization is to win members. A movement's supporter is one who understands and accepts its aims; the member is one who fights for them. Understanding is sufficient for the majority of humanity, who are generally lazy and timid. Membership requires intellectual activity, and therefore applies only to a minority of men. [The word "timid" relates to "intimidation." A great word choice by A.H. The timid are easily intimidated. -cy]

Propaganda works on the whole from the standpoint of an idea, preparing the way for its victory; whereas the organization achieves victory through the persistent, organic, and militant union of those supporters who have proven willing and able to carry the stuggle to victory. [...] As a result, there's no limit to the number of supporters, but the number of members can more easily be too large than too small.


The greater and more revolutionary an idea is, the more active will be its members, because a doctrines's subversive force becomes a danger to the small-minded and faint-hearted. Some will privately be supporters but are afraid to acknowledge their belief publicly. By reason of this very fact, however, an organization inspired by a veritable revolutionary idea will attract into its membership only the most active of those supporters who have been won over by propaganda.

11.3  The greatest danger that can threaten a movement is an abnormal increase in the number of its members, due to its too-rapid success. So long as a movement is carrying on a bitter fight, people of weak and egotistic temperament will shun it. But these same will rush to be accepted as members the moment the party achieves a manifest success through its development. … As a result of their early successes, so many undesirable, unworthy, and especially timid individuals entered the organization that they finally secured the majority over the militants. They then turned the movement to the service of their personal interests, debased it to the level of their own miserable heroism, and no longer struggled for the triumph of the original idea.

It is therefore necessary that a movement should block its enrollments the moment it becomes successful. Any further increase in its organization should be allowed to take place only with the most careful foresight and after a painstaking sifting of those who apply for membership. Care must be taken that the movement is led exclusively by this core.

11.4  As propaganda director for the party […] the more radical and inflammatory my propaganda was, the more it frightened away any weak and hesitant characters, thus preventing them from entering the core of our organization. … They said that the movement was so radical that membership would expose them to the gravest difficulties and dangers, so that they would rather continue on as honest and peaceful citizens and remain aside for now, though at heart devoted to our cause.

And that was good.

The lively and combative form that I gave to all our propaganda resulted in only radicals [being] ready for membership. Within a short time, hundred of thousands became convinced in their hearts that we were right and wished us victory—even though they were personally too timid to make sacrifices for our cause or even participate in it.

11.5 In the summer of 1921, this simple activity sufficed to benefit the movement. A group of folkish dreamers attempted to take over the party, which led to me being given leadership of the whole movement. From 1 August 1921 I undertook an internal party reorganzation and was supported by a number of excellent men. I introduced principles that none of the other parties possessed or would even have recognized.

The party currently embodied that which the movement was fighting against, namely parliamentarianism.... It was imperative to change this, so the party could fulfill its high mission. There was no such thing as personal responsibility. I refsed to submit to that kind of nonsense, and avoided the meetings. I did only my propagada work, and didn't permit any incompetent to poke his head into my activities. Conversely, I didn't interfere in the affairs of others.

11.6   When I was appointed as first chairman, I had the necessary authority and right to introduce the principle of absolute responsibility in place of committee decisions. Each man is solely responsible for the task assigned to him, subordinate only to the chairman. This law of fundamental responsibility is gradually being adopted throughout the movement [as of 1925] – it will take years before this principle can be [fully] imposed, because cowards and incompetents are naturally opposed to it; for them sole responsibility for an act is always unpleasant. They always feel freer and better when hiding behind the majority of a so-called committee. … Ultimately this ['law'] will bring forth leaders who are truly called and chosen for the role.

11.7 This idea led to a sharp distinction between the principles of personal responsibility and political leadership, bringing a healthy liberation from political influences and allowing them to operate solely on economic principles. [...]

We first met in a tavern on the Herrengasse and then in a cafe on Gasteig. I quickly set to work to rent a [private] room for use by the party. Our first business office was small, dim and gloomy. Slowly we got electric light, slower still a telephone; a table, chairs, etc.

Our system of running the movement with weekly leadership meetings was unsustainable; only a paid official … could guarantee ongoing operations. The movement still had so few members that it was hard to find among them a suitable person. After a long search, we found a soldier, an old war comrade of mine, Schüssler, to be our first business manager. He eventually extended his hours to full time, and he worked from morning until late at night. He was an industrious, upright, and thoroughly honest man, devoted to the movement. Schussler brought with him his own small Adler typewriter; the first machine used in the service of the movement. Later the party acquired it through installment payments.


A year and a half later, our business office had become too small, so we moved to a new place in the
Corneliusstrasse. We were again in a tavern, but we now had three smaller rooms and one large room with great windows. We stayed there until November 1923. [When the party was banned and disbanded and Hitler went to prison -cy]

In December 1920, we acquired the Völkisher Beobachter, a newspaper that was to become the organ of the NSDAP. In contrast to the enormous Jewish press, there was hardly a single significant folkish newspaper. I learned the reason for this was the incompetent management of the so-called folkish enterprises. They were conducted according to the view that conviction should prevail over achievement. … The underlying idea was that folkish newspapers should be subsidized by folkish contributions, without recognizing that it had to compete with the others, and that subscriptions of good patriots could not make up for negligence or errors.

Luckily, in midsummer 1921 I met one day by chance … my old Army superior from 1914, Max Amann [and asked him to be the business manager]. After a long hesitation (he then held a good position), he agreed to my request on the condition he not be at the mercy of incompetent committees.

This first business manager brought order and integrity into the party's business affairs. [...] The movement remained pactically debt-free, except for small current accounts. Employees hold their jobs by virtue of their achievement and can in no sense take cover behind that famous 'conviction.' … He who doesn't fulfill his duty in the job he holds cannot boast of his conviction. […] No one got a position based solely on party membership. […] It's offensive and un-National Socialist when incompetent people constantly interfere in the work of capable persons.

(End of Chapt. 11)


Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

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