Adolf Hitler on 'Causes of the Collapse', part 4

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

This is the conclusion of Chapter 10, titled Causes of the Collapse. Adolf Hitler criticizes the political misuse of religion by both Christian denominations, Catholic and Lutheran, and tears into the failures of the parliamentarians in the Reichstag. He writes at length about the mistakes of the German Naval policy. Then praises the three institutions that he considered the basis of the strong pre-war German state: the monarchical form of government, the army, and the civil service. He concludes by pointing to ignorance or rejection of the importance of race in the life of a nation as the ultimate reason for the German decline. He writes:


All these symptoms of decay must be attributed to the lack of a definite and uniformly accepted worldview, and the subsequent general uncertainty of attitude toward the great questions of the time. This accounts for the habit of doing everything half-way, beginning with the educational system, the reluctance to undertake responsibilities, and finally, the cowardly tolerance of recognized abuses. Humanitarian garbage became the fashion. And in weakly submitting to these aberrations and sparing individual feelings, the future of millions was sacrificed. [Exactly where we are today, and increasingly so since 1945.]

An examination of the religious situation before the war shows that the general process of disintegration was growing. […] While both Christian denominations maintain missions in Asia and Africa in order to win new followers—with only modest success compared to the growth of Islam—these same denominations were losing millions and millions of adherents at home in Europe. These former adherents either gave up all religion or adopted their own interpretation. The consequences, particularly in morality, are not good.

[O]ur world would be inconceivable without the practical existence of a religious faith. The great masses of a nation are not philosophers. For the masses of people, faith is the only basis of morality. The various substitutes that have been offered haven't shown any results that would justify replacing existing faiths. […] The purely intellectual idea is, of itself, a variable thing that is subject to endless interpretations. It's only through dogma that it has a precise and concrete form, without which religion couldn't become a living faith. […] [So much for the idea that in his teens, the young Hitler already wanted to dynamite the Catholic church. That may have been a passing thought.]

A political leader shouldn't estimate the value of a religion by taking its shortcomings into account, but rather by virtue of a demonstrably better substitute. Until such a substitute is available, only fools or criminals would think of abolishing that which exists. […] In the conflict [between religion and so-called exact science], victory will nearly always be on the side of science, though perhaps after a hard struggle. And religion will thus suffer heavily in the eyes of those who can't penetrate beyond mere superficial knowledge.


But the greatest damage of all has come from the misuse of religion as a means to serve political interests. […] The impudent liars who do this profess their faith before the whole world to stentorian tones, so that all sinners may hear—not that they are ready to die for it, but rather that they may live all the better. They are ready to sell their faith for a single political swindle. For ten parliamentary mandates they would ally themselves with the Marxists, who are the mortal foes of all religion. […] If religious life in pre-war Germany left a bad taste in many mouths, it was because Christianity was abused by a so-called 'Christian' party. They shamelessly attempted to identify the Catholic faith with a political party. [Hitler always wanted the Church to stay out of politics, but he did go along, for awhile after he became Chancellor, with the idea of a specifically German Christian Church (Protestant), broadly along the lines of the Anglican Church. But it was not to be done under the aegis of the NSDAP, but as a movement within the Protestant Church faithful. Later he declared privately that he was glad it didn't work out as it had been a bad idea. (Table Talk)]


Even before the war, the institution that should have represented the strength of the Reich was recognized by many as its greatest weakness: the parliament, the Reichstag. Here, cowardice and irresponsibility were completely unified.


From the immense number of devastating evils that were due either directly or indirectly to the parliament, I'll pick one of the most typical, that was the most irresponsible of all time: the terrible half-heartedness and weakness of the political leaders in conducting the internal and external affairs of the Reich. This was primarily attributable to the action of the Reichstag, and was one of the principal causes of the political collapse. […]

The foreign policy of the Reich in the matter of alliances was an example of such half-heartedness. They wanted to maintain peace, but in doing so they steered straight into war.

Their Polish policy was also carried out by half-measures. One merely irritated without ever finishing anything. It resulted neither in a German triumph nor Polish conciliation, and it made enemies of the Russians.

They tried to solve the Alsace-Lorraine question through half-measures. Instead of crushing the French hydra's head once and for all with a brutal fist, and then granting Alsace-Lorraine equal rights, they did neither. Nor could they have done otherwise, for the biggest parties had among their ranks the biggest traitors.


But all this would have been bearable, if the half-heartedness hadn't extended to that one power that was ultimately responsible for the survival of the Reich: the army.

[…] On the most miserable of pretexts, these parliamentary henchmen filched from the hands of the nation its weapons of self-defense—the only thing protecting the liberty and independence of our people. If the graves of Flanders were to open today, bloodstained accusers would arise: hundreds of thousands of our best German youth, who, poorly-or-half-trained, were driven into the arms of death by those conscienceless parliamentary criminals. […]

While the Jews, in their Marxist and democratic press, spread the colossal falsehood about 'German militarism' throughout the world and tried to incriminate Germany by every possible means, at the same time the Marxist and democratic parties obstructed measures that were necessary for the adequate training of our national defenses. […]

The German people lost the struggle for the freedom and independence of their country because of the half-hearted and defective policy employed during peacetime, in the organization and training of the defensive strength of the Fatherland.


The number of recruits trained for the land forces was too small. But the same half-heartedness was shown in regard to the navy, and it made this weapon of national self-preservation more or less worthless. Unfortunately, even the naval authorities themselves were infected with this spirit of half-heartedness. The tendency to build all ships somewhat smaller than the British didn't show much foresight, and less genius. A fleet that can't achieve the same numerical strength of the enemy should compensate by the superior fighting power of the individual ships. It's superior fighting power that counts, and not any sort of traditional 'quality.” […]

If they neglected superior artillery power and speed, it was because of their fundamentally false so-called 'principle of risk.' The naval authorities from the very beginning renounced the principle of attack, and thus had to follow a defensive policy. But by this attitude they also renounced any chance of final success, which can only be achieved by attack.


As already emphasized, army leadership didn't allow themselves to be led astray by such fundamentally erroneous ideas. Ludendorff, who was then a colonel in the General Staff, led a desperate struggle against the criminal half-heartedness with which the Reichstag treated the most vital problems of the nation. In most cases, it voted against them.


At the same time, higher government authorities knew little or nothing of the value and nature of propaganda. Only the Jews knew that, by an able and persistent use of propaganda, heaven itself can be presented as hell, and vice versa, the most miserable kind of life as paradise. Only he knew this, and acted accordingly. But the German, or rather his government, hadn't the slightest idea of this.


The foremost advantage was the fact that, alone among the European nations, the German nation made the strongest effort to preserve the national character of its economic structure; for this reason, it was less subject than others to control by international finance. And yet, this was a dangerous advantage, one that later turned out to be the chief cause of the World War.

[…] we must single out three institutions that were constant sources of regeneration.

First, the state form as such, and the manner in which it was developed in modern Germany. […]

[In spite of all it's defects, which Hitler enumerates] the monarchical form guarantees stability in the entire state leadership, and safeguards public offices from the speculative turmoil of ambitious politicians. Furthermore, the dignified tradition […] and the fact that the whole corps of officials, and the army in particular, are raised above the level of party obligations. […] another was that the supreme rulership of the state was embodied in the monarch as an individual person, and whose example of personal responsibility was stronger than that of any anonymous parliamentary majority.


During that process of disintegration that was slowly extending throughout the social order, the most positive force of resistance was the army. This was the strongest school of the German nation, and for that reason, the hatred of our enemies was directed against this buttress of national freedom and independence. The strongest testimony in favor of this unique institution is the fact that it was derided, hated, combated, and also feared, by all inferior peoples. The fact that the international exploiters of our people, who gathered at Versailles, directed their enmity especially against the old German army proved once again that it deserved to be regarded as the defender of our national freedom against the power of the stock exchange. Without this warning power, the intentions of Versailles would have long since been carried out. There is only one word to express what the German people owe to this army: everything.


The army trained its men with a spirit of idealism and devotion to the Fatherland, while greed and materialism dominated everywhere else. The army united a people who were divided into classes; and in this respect had only one defect, which was the voluntary one-year military service. It was a mistake because the principle of absolute equality was thereby violated. Those who had a better education were thus placed outside the setting of their general environment. [...]

But the greatest credit earned by the army was that, at a time when the individual person counted for nothing and the majority was everything, it placed individual personal values above majority values. Confronted with the Jewish-democratic idea of a blind faith in numbers, the army defended its belief in personality.


There was a third institution of value that has to be placed beside the monarchy and the army; this was the civil service of the Old Reich.

Germany was the best organized and best administered country in the world. There may have been objections to the bureaucratic red tape, but from this point of view, the other countries were no better; and often worse. […] What other country in the world possessed a better-organized and administered business enterprise than the German State Railways? It was left to the revolution to destroy this exemplary organization […]

Efficiency and capability have been replaced by party ties, and independence of character and initiative are more of a hindrance than a help.


The wonderful might and power of the old Reich was based on the monarchical state-form, the army, and the civil service. On these three foundations rested that great strength that's now entirely lacking: State authority! […] In the long run, systems of government are not maintained by threats of violence but on the belief of the people in the merits and sincerity of those who administer and promote the public interests.

Though in the pre-war period, certain grave evils tended to infect and corrode the inner strength of the nation, it must be remembered that the other states suffered even more than Germany from these drawbacks. And yet they didn't fail and breakdown when the time of crisis came. If we remember further that those defects in pre-war Germany were outweighed by great positive qualities, we'll have to look elsewhere for the effective cause of the collapse. And this is actually the case.

The ultimate and most profound reason for the German decline is the fact that the racial problem was ignored*, and that its importance in the historical development of nations wasn't grasped. Events that take place in the life of nations are not due to chance, but are the natural results of the effort to conserve and multiply the species and the race—even if people aren't conscious of the inner motives of their conduct.

*I believe the racial problem Hitler is referring to here is mainly 'the Jewish Problem,' since he thought the Jews spearheaded the targeting of Germany for destruction—or for their takeover of the nation economically and otherwise—because Germany had retained its national independence & sovereignty vis a vis Jewish influence more than other European countries. He mentions several times in this section International Finance and the Stock Exchange.

End of Chapter 10