Adolf Hitler on the Political Meaning of 'Folkish'

By Carolyn Yeager

TWO YEARS AGO, I ran a series of excerpts from Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, Vol. One, taken from Thomas Dalton's new 2017 German to English translation.

I'm now into Volume Two, and will do the same (summarizing the chapters) with it. I'll begin right at the beginning this time with Chapter 1, WORLDVIEW AND PARTY. But I'm going to START at subheading 1.4, page 25, “The Folkish Concept:


ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE, with all kinds of divergent opinions, are parading around under the 'folkish' banner. [...] The word 'folkish' doesn't express any clearly specified idea. It may be interpreted in several ways, and in practice it's just as vague as the word 'religious,' for instance. [...] The word 'religious' acquires a precise meaning only when it's associated with a distinct and definite form through which the concept is put into practice.

1.6, page 31-33: “Marxism versus Race and Personality”

If we try to penetrate to the inner meaning of the word 'folkish,' we arrive at the following conclusions: The current political conception of the world is that the State, though it possesses a creative, culture-creating force, has nothing to do with racial considerations.The State is considered rather as something resulting from economic necessity, or at best, the natural outcome of political forces. Such a conception, together with all its logical consequences, is not only mistaken about basic racial forces, but it also underestimates the individual. A denial of racial differences with respect to their culture-creating powers must also extend the same error to the valuation of the individual. The assumption of racial equality becomes the basis for a similar way of viewing nations and individuals. And international Marxism is nothing but the application, by the Jew Karl Marx, of a pre-existing worldview to a definite profession of political faith. Without the foundation of this widely-diffused infection, the amazing success of this doctrine would have been impossible. In reality, Karl Marx was the one among millions who, in a slowly decomposing world, used his keen insight to detect the essential poisons; he then extracted and concentrated them, with the skill of a wizard, into a solution that would bring about the rapid destruction of the independent nations of this Earth. And all this was done in the service of his race.

[…] For this reason alone, it's out of the question, and even ridiculous, to think that our so-called bourgeois world can offer any effective resistance. [...] In opposition to this, the folkish worldview recognizes that basic racial elements are of the greatest significance for mankind. […] It serves the truth of the aristocratic principle underlying all Nature's operations and it believes that this law is valid down to the last individual. [...]

In this world, human culture and civilization are inseparably bound up with the presence of the Aryan. If he dies out or declines, then the dark shroud of a barbarian era will again envelop the Earth.

In the eyes of a folkish worldview, to undermine the existence of human culture by destroying it's carriers would be a deplorable crime. […] Hence the folkish worldview corresponds to the innermost will of Nature.

1.7, p 35-37: “Organization of a Party”

Therefore it's necessary to create an instrument by which the folkish worldview can fight, in the same way that the Marxist party organization clears the way for internationalism. […]

Such a party formulation is a pre-condition for the victory of the folkish worldview. […]

The internationalist ideology succeeded because it was organized as a political party; the opposing worldview failed because it lacked a unified body to defend it. [...]

The National Socialist German Workers' Party extracts the essential principles from the generally folkish conception of the world. On these principles it establishes a political doctrine … This doctrine makes possible the organization of great masses of people in a strictly integrated sense. And this organization is the main pre-condition for the victory of this worldview.

I think this is crystal-clear and doesn't need any further commentary. I will say I'm very glad to get this understanding of "folkish" from the Leader, which I'm not sure comes across as clearly in other, older translations.




Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf