Adolf Hitler on Conflict With the Red Front

FROM MEIN KAMPF, SUMMARY OF CHAPTER SEVEN OF VOLUME TWO, pages 217 to 265 of the Thomas Dalton dual-translation. (See here for series introduction.)

Compare then and now ...


IN 1919-1920, AND ALSO IN 1921, I attended some of the so-called bourgeois meetings. It invariably had the same effect on me as the compulsory dose of castor oil in my youth. It has to be taken because it's supposed to be good for you, but it tastes terrible! […]

7.1 Bourgeois 'Mass Meetings'

… At that time, I attended meetings of the Democrats, the German Nationalists, the German People's Party, and the Bavarian People's Party (the Bavarian Center). … Nearly always they were made up exclusively of party members. The whole thing was more like a yawning card game than an assembly of people who had just gone through a great revolution.

The speakers did all they could to maintain this peaceful mood. They spoke—or rather read out—their speeches in the style of an intellectual newspaper article or a learned treatise, avoiding all strong expressions. Here and there, they threw in a feeble professorial joke, whereupon the honorable ones felt themselves obliged to laugh; not loudly or provocatively, but encouragingly and with subdued reserve.

What a committee!

I once saw a meeting in Munich's Wagner Hall; it was a demonstration to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Nations at Leipzig. The speech was delivered or read by a venerable old professor from one of the universities. … it was more like a religious ceremony … After 45 minutes the audience fell into a sort of hypnotic trance … [The chairman] finally closed the meeting by asking everyone to sing the Deutschland song. … By the third verse my belief strengthened that most of those present weren't very familiar with the text. [...]

Thereupon the meeting broke up, and everyone hurried to get outside … into the fresh air.... [W]as this the way to honor a heroic struggle in which hundreds of thousands of Prussians and Germans had fought? To the devil with it all!

[…] The minister for law and order need not fear that enthusiasm might suddenly get the better of public decorum; that suddenly, in a frenzy, these people might pour out of the room and, instead of heading to beer halls and cafes, march in rows of four through the streets, singing Deutschland hoch in Ehren [O Germany in high esteem] and causing some unpleasantness to a police force in need of rest.

No, they are quite satisfied with that kind of citizen.

7.2 Despicable Red Posters

On the other hand, National Socialist meeting were by no means peaceful. Two distinct worldviews raged in bitter opposition to one another, and these meetings didn't close with the insipid rendering of a patriotic song but rather with a passionate outbreak of folkish national feeling.

It was imperative from the start to introduce rigid discipline into our meetings and establish the absolute authority of the committee. … Our speeches … [were] intended to arouse our opponnents! And there were opponents in our meetings! How often they came in masses, with a few individual agitators among them … with insturction to smash up everything once and for all and put an end to these meetings.

And they had every reason to be irritated.

Merely the red color of our posters drew them to our meeting halls. The ordinary bourgeoisie … regarded this as something deviously ambiguous. … another variety of Marxism, perhaps even Marxists, or better still, socialists in disguise. The actual difference between socialism and Marxism still remains a mystery to these people. The specter of Marxism was conclusively 'proven' when it was discovered that we … addressed each other as party comrade. How often we roared with laughter at these silly faint-hearted bourgeoisie and their efforts to figure out our origin, intentions, and aims.

We chose red for our posters after thorough and careful deliberation, our intention being to irritate the Left … to drive them to our meetings … so that we had a chance to talk to the people.

7.3 Vacillating Tactics of the Marxists

… First they appealed to their followers to ignore us and keep away from our meetings. …

But as time went on, more and more of their followers gradually found their way to us and accepted our doctrine. …

Appeals were then made to the 'class-conscious proletariat' to attend our meetings in masses, and to strike at the representatives of a 'monarchist and reactionary agitaion' with the clenched fist of the proletarian. Our meetings suddenly became packed with workers, fully three-quarters of an hour in advance. [These meetings had an admission fee, unusual for political speakers then and now, which helped greatly in meeting their expenses.-cy] … People came as enemies and, when they left, if not ready to join us, were at least in a reflective mood and thinking critically about the correctness of their own doctrine. Gradually over time, my three-hour lectures resulted in supporters and opponents united into a single mass. … until finally the advocates of the radical tactic won the day. We had to be broken up. Then, after two, three … or ten meetings, it was realized that breaking [the meetings] up was easier said than done. … the other catchword was reintroduced: “Proletarians, comrades! Avoid meetings of the National Socialist agitators!”

The same eterally alternating tactics were also found in the Red press.


We were exceptionally well-informed in regard to these gentlemen's intentions. Not only because we allowed several of our party colleagues to remain members of the Red organizations for reasons of expediency, but also because the Red wire-pullers were afflicted with a degree of talkativeness that is still unfortunately very prevalent among Germans. They couldn't keep their mouths shut, and more often than not started cackling before the egg was laid. ...

7.4 Illegal Police Activity

The times compelled us to take the defense of our meetings into our own hands; one can never depend on the protection of the authorities; on the contrary, experience shows that it always favors only the disturbers. … The moment [the police] were informed of a threat that a meeting was to be broken up, instead of arresting the would-be-disturbers, they promptly advised the innocent parties that the meeting was forbidden. … This step they called a 'precautionary measure for the prevention of illegality.'

The political work and activities of decent people could therefore always be hindered by desperate gangsters. … [We see the very same with Antifa today -cy]

To avoid such eventualities, it was therefore necessary to see to it that every attempt at disturbance was nipped in the bud.

Another feature had to be considered: … Meetings that are only possible with the protective assistance of a strong police force convert no one, because in order to win over the lower strata of the people, there must be a visible display of one's own strength.

7.5 Psychologically Correct Meeting Management

[…] We had in those days 15 or 16 National Socialists against five-, six-, seven-, or eight-hundred opponents. But we tolerated no interference, and the attendees knew that we would rather be beaten to death than capitulate. […]

Those 15 or 20 men would certainly have been overwhelmed in the end, But the others knew that three or four times as many of them would have had their heads bashed, and they weren't willing to chance it.

We had done our best to learn from the Marxist and bourgeois meeting techniques, and learn we did.  [Could be called the Peace Through Strength approach? -cy]

Chapter 7 to be continued ...


Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf