A front experience will be presented here, which says more about the unity of officer and men in our troop than instructive words, one of those modest occurrences among hundreds. And yet, deep and genuine loyalty radiates from this story about an unfulfilled comradely deed.
That was back in the west, in the last days of May in the year 1940, when our regiment smashed into the collapsing enemy. A company commander worked his way with two messengers into the foremost line in order to reconnoitre new positions. On his orders the bulk of the company stayed back under cover so as to not unnecessarily endanger life in the hail of enemy shells. In the thick bushes and enemy fire, he lost his two messengers and leapt from cover to cover alone. Not far. For an enemy bullet ripped his hand and another his leg. Laboriously, he crawled back until he reached his company again. Seriously wounded. A few bandages supplied the first aid. With silent and sad mood, the officer’s driver had been the first to rush over and stood before his chief as if he wanted to complain: “Why didn’t you take me along? I would have certainly protected you…!”
But the next moment his vehicle was already ready to take his wounded chief to the field hospital.
On the trip the driver did not speak one syllable.
A soft, almost motherly expression was on his face and a fearful sadness. Then his clear head became iron and rigid again, as if the trip led to hell. Every encouraging word of the officer faded without being able to produce more than a painful tremble on his mouth. It almost looked as if not the chief, rather the upright driver, had to drive back to the surgeon with the bullets in his body. The driver remained silent to the chiefs questions and a restrain sobbing coughed the youth.
“Faiss, good old driver, what is wrong with you? I will soon be well again and with you!” The officer tried to comfort him. But then the youth lost his composure.
“No”, he said, and a few tears slid down his dusty face. “That alone is not what it is, Hauptsturmführer. I have always thought that I must be with you… and if you were one day wounded… that I could then save you. And today it happened, and I was not with you…”
As if a whole world had collapsed, so shaken did he speak it. But the company commander’s heart was moved, when he heard these few words, which encompassed an entire world, and a glowing wave of comradeship embraced both of them.
The wounds no longer burned and the day was suddenly brighter and more beautiful.
The comradeship, which day and night seemed a self-evident manifestation of soldierly life to both of them, had through the words of the loyal driver been suddenly brightly illuminated, and almost hurt in its kindness and purity…
That is the story of an unfilled comradely deed, which actually in truth had found its highest fulfillment in the decoration of the heart. It is also a little monument to all of our good soldiers. That is the best bond that surrounds officer and enlisted man in the Waffen-SS: the unbreakable loyalty.
Should we in the Waffen-SS speak of “authority”? Does not a mysterious energy flow from the genuine leader, which shines through the whole unit and draws all to him? What kind of pitiful authority was the one that Jews and Marxists tried to convince us of: authority as something not personal, rather only a function of the office or uniform of the holder? They themselves only wanted to interpret the concept of authority so as to bestow the appearance of leadership on their pitiful inability. There is no officer among us who would claim authority, because he wears the rank insignia of a superior, rather National Socialist authority declares the opposite, that is wears the rank insignia, because it documents the inner and outer worth for it. Hence our authority does not last as long as we wear the insignia, rather we wear the insignia s long as we possess the inner worth for it. Thus we must always strive to prove ourselves worthy, always work on ourselves, and the outer rise of a career can be nothing other than the equal rise of our accomplishment. Only so should we perceive the concept of authority. The content of our work, of our accomplishment, of our life, can alone be the measurement for the degree of our authority. Only its being made visible needs as external attribute the rank insignia. Thus perceived, every officer rank will demand respect from the start, for every subordinate knows that the difference in rank is only a criterion for the superior strength of accomplishment.
The Political Soldier
It is obvious that the force of attraction that emits from the military officer is in the final analysis based on his faith in Germany, which means in his political view. Today it may already seem incomprehensible that there were once non-political officers and non-political soldiers. This manifestation can only be understood in terms of the political division of our German folk. The far-reaching result was that after splendid military victories, the following political results were often enough pitiful. The great historical end of such ideological division came about through the Führer through the creation of the political soldier in his embodiment in the Waffen-SS! Unfortunately, in the past, politics and Wehrmacht too often marched separately. In the Waffen-SS, for the first time, the indissolvable union has been created in such a way that idea and sword belong together, that the political will strengthens the sword of the soldier to invincibility!
From that each officer in the Waffen-SS must draw the conclusion that he sees as his highest example the Führer as the most glorious union of the political and military will-bearer of the nation. The Führer lives as an example of this necessity for us and for the entire German folk numbering millions. Each SS officer must be a small copy of this in his circle of activity, the officer of a platoon, of a company or of a regiment. The military deeds of his unit can be nothing else than the application of the political will of his superiors on the military plain. He must always appear to his men as the National Socialist, as the radiant political soldier with excellent military ability. In both life tasks, he must always endeavor to perfect himself. The National Socialist in him must always jealously strive to match the military expert in him, and the military officer must never stand behind the political one. The ideal of the union of both most outstanding elements of an officer in the Waffen-SS must accompany us in all future in all great and small things.
Of Volunteers and Reservists
In the Waffen-SS we have a large number of volunteers. When the Führer started his fight for Germany, he had nothing but the firm faith in the great future of his folk. Faith, however, gave him words and deeds of enthusiasm and of power. His first followers came and their number climbed from hundreds to thousands and hundreds-of-thousands.
But nobody was drafted and brought by the power of a written law. Nobody was compelled to come and dragged by the force of an external order. All of them came voluntarily!
And voluntarism became a graduator of the inner and outer power of the movement. The Waffen-SS as the final perfection of the National Socialist military idea is nothing other than a continuation of the military power of this idea. The decision to join the Führer’s military corps is nothing other than the free will for the continuation of the former political struggle on another level. So the volunteers in the Waffen-SS are the descendants of the old fighters who wish to do more than duty requires, to voluntarily wage the fight for Germany like those old followers of the Führer. They may claim for themselves to be young comrades of these old ones. They may say of themselves that they, too, want to voluntarily dedicate their life to Germany. Thus must we also value the action of these young men.
In addition to these volunteers among the Waffen-SS are also the reservists, who constitute the main contingent of the German army. Inside our Waffen-SS, they are naturally only a smaller portion. They have taken their path under more difficult conditions than the young, active SS man. They have devoted time and energy to learning a profession and at the same time they are soldiers. What personal self-confidence must lie within them, since they belong to the “older” age groups. Nonetheless, they believe in their strength so much that they feel strong enough to be able to still keep up with the Führer’s charging youth. But they have at least one thing in common with their young comrades: their young heart, and no young man can say that these “older” men are behind him in that. But where the heart is young, then body and spirit are with it! I do not believe that there is anybody who can tell during a charge into enemy positions who is a reservist and who is active. The life age is no longer written in the sweaty, dripping faces, in the dusty features of the warriors, and the radiant eyes of both are the same. Reservist or active soldier? Who asks about that in the hail of shells, in the shell crater and in the trench? Both are comrades in the assault pace of our struggle. How many are there among the reservists who come to the flag of victory for the second time out of the same faith as in the period of struggle, from the unshakeable loyalty to the Führer, to whom they can now visibly again prove that they still want to fight for him and Germany with all the strength of their hearts and fists. And who had been there in the period of struggle? Through the decision to voluntarily fight in our ranks, they have proven that they belong to us and have always belonged to us. They have made up the time and put themselves in the circle around the Führer, have grasped our hands and hearts, and we have taken them in as our good comrades. The older a reservist is, the younger must be his heart, the greater must we value him in his faith in eternal Germany. The coming victory will have been won by neither “actives” nor “reservists” alone, rather simply the German musketeer, and both are that to the same degree. As long as we have reservists in our ranks, we know that the faith in its own strength and the glorious victory does not only live within the enthusiastic heart of the youth.
Achieve much, stand out little, be more than appear. – Clausewitz