German Socialism – Adolf Hitler’s Socialism – is a totally different thing from what is generally understood by this term, from the Socialism derived from Marxian and Communistic theory.
The first essential difference between the two consists in this, that the former is strictly national in aim, scope and limit; the latter is international, without boundaries of race or land. The second vital distinction is that the first has been set up by the wish of the people concerned, the second is imposed upon nations by the will of those who organise and propagate it. A third contrast can be drawn inasmuch as German Socialism tends to draw all sections of the nation closely together, international socialism initiates class war. German Socialism is directed by the country’s nationals; international Socialism is an instrument of the Jews2. In the former it is the personality of the Leader which tells; in the latter we have nothing but the inertia of the mass which is exploited by its organisers.
By the above signs is German Socialism to be recognised and distinguished. When it has completely assimilated Germany to itself, it will extend and become the groundwork for the future development of other countries. Marxism and Communism are finished in Germany. They have played their part and their role is over. Long enough have they made their influence felt in every sphere of German life, intellectual, political and economic, to the suppression of the truer socialism. Socialism is not a thing to be apprehended through dreary theory only, but to be tested and proved in action. We have written enough, elsewhere, very fully to show that the present German Government is inspired in its legislation by the spirit of active philanthropy which it calls Socialism. This legislation incorporates the very essence of German Socialism.
As Dr. Goebbels writes: "Socialism, as we understand it, does not reduce men to a dead level, but ranges them in order according to their individual capacity and leading. If I were to try and put our aims and objects in this direction in a nutshell, I should say that it is our endeavour to build up in Germany a people who all possess the same rights in life. We want everyone, high and low, to belong to such a people. We desire that the highest among them shall feel themselves more closely united with the last and lowest of their own kith and kin than with the highest of any other nation. We aim at this – that the highest of our people would rather be the lowest of his own nation, than the highest of any other nation. Such an aspiration can only be the outcome of an absolutely unified national will.”
It would lead us too far afield to instance the many measures in which Hitler has exemplified his conception of true Socialism. We must confine ourselves to a mere sketch of the most important and obvious incorporations of the ideas through which he has restored to the German worker his honour and self-respect.
THE GERMAN LABOUR FRONT
The law of April 10th, 1933, which arranged May 1st as a great Labour Day Holiday initiated the abovenamed reorganisation of labour in Germany. The first celebration of the new holiday was unanimous and universal: the Germans had never had anything like it before. Thousands of people gathered together at the same time, all over the country to listen to the Leader’s speech, and then to make high holiday. All trades and callings and professions for the first time were assembled in common, symbolising the unity which was henceforth to unite both types of labour – that of the head, and that of the hand, symbolising the necessary equal value to the community of both. German Socialism recognises no discriminating difference between the brain worker and the hand worker.
Quick on the heels of May 1st and its celebrations, came action. The German Labour Front emerged. On May 2nd the premises of all Marxian Labour Unions were taken over and the contents sequestrated.
Abroad, similar Marxist Unions described this action of Hitler’s as a theft of the German workman’s hardly earned pay, saved up for years and years in the Unions’ funds. Such a charge could not be substantiated, since these moneys were not taken from the workmen, to whom they rightly belonged, but from the greedy grasp of union officials to whom they did not belong, but who administered them wastefully, or appropriated them in disproportionate salaries.
With the workman himself went his money also, into the Labour Front. Here it could only be put to the best and most legitimate uses on his behalf.
The great object of the Labour Front is to secure German industry from the incessant recurrence of strikes and all their disintegrating consequences. German Socialism utterly opposes itself to strife between employers and men. Here again it shows quite a different face from that of Marxian Socialism which seeks to foment such discord, whereby, moreover, it maintains its own sovereignty.
In Germany to-day a strike is impossible for the reason that no employer dare pay less than the standardised daily wage, or the State would immediately take up the workers’ grievance. On the other hand, were the workers to demand more than their due they themselves would bring about the collapse of the concern for which they worked. The standard of wages is arrived at by experts representing the men and concerned to secure their best interests.
Together with wages, the question of hours has also been considered. In Marxist-Socialist Germany after the War, very hard times set in for German working men. Their leaders had every opportunity to show what the theory could accomplish; they had a majority in the Reichstag, a member of the Party was President of the Reich. Nevertheless, they were all either too lazy or too indifferent to carry out their programme.
So long as the masses went hungry they were easy to inflame, and to excite against capitalism and the wealthy. While six and a half million unemployed hung about the streets while their wives and children were starving, selfish employers exploited this wretched state of things just because they were paying the dole, forsooth! If a man grumbled he lost his job; hundreds were only waiting to pounce upon it in his stead. If he sought the assistance of the Secretary of his Union he drew another blank. What cared the employer for the Unions? Should a strike ensue all he had to do was to close shop or factory as the case might be, and say, "All right. We’ll see who can stick it out the longest, you or I.”
Days or even weeks might go by, but the result was always the same. The men came back with hangdog mien, glad of the work again at any cost! This is where the German working man had lost in his own eyes. It was from this sort of victimisation and wretchedness that Hitler designed to rescue him, and give him back his self-respect. Hitherto he had been the prey of vicious circumstances, the slave of an unscrupulous class.
All was altered in a twinkling when Adolf Hitler came to power. A cry of gratitude and relief went up from all ranks of German working men. The Brown Shirts were everywhere welcomed as they made their way into shop and factory and yard to enquire after the needs and circumstances of every employee in the place. Union secretaries were hauled to account no less than unsocialistic-minded employers. The German Labour Front was out to accomplish what it promised.
With the exception of peasants and officials, who have their own organisations, the German Labour Front comprises workmen of all kinds, employees, employers and people working on their own account. Hitler is its patron, Dr. Ley is its Leader. The standards of wages are carefully regulated and observed by reliable workers themselves. The Reich is divided up, under this scheme, into Regions, these, in turn, into Districts, these into Circuits or Local Groups, and these latter again into Trade Communes, Cells and Blocks.
STRENGTH THROUGH JOY
Perforce of its iron will, its absolute refusal to com-promise and its terrific onset, National Socialism wrenched itself suddenly into power. Long years before this happened its better ideas had attracted people away from those of the old system then in vogue, and so it is readily to be understood how, in March, 1933, the aforesaid old system simply collapsed.
The first and greatest duty before National Socialism was to win the German people back to a sense of nationality, and in impressing its own principles upon them. A State that is to endure for centuries ahead must be built upon the very foundations of organic life, upon blood and soil, nationality and home.
In order to replace one kind of State with another, and better one, it is not enough merely to do away with the former: the people themselves must be re-educated. In place of a system full of class enmity and distinctions and pride of place, there is now a commonwealth. The new State, organically designed, is founded upon the principle "The common good before that of the individual.”
Under National Socialism the culture of an entire people must not be identified with any particular caste, class, or level: it must characterise and belong to the mass. Nor must aesthetic enjoyments be only for the few; they must be common to all. Just as the creation of a united working people has been confided to the German Labour Front, so is it the business of another organisation, that of "Strength through Joy,” to make every member of the nation free of its cultural and artistic treasures and resources. The two endeavours are inter-related. By means of the latter every German working man can look to his free evening as a real opportunity for refreshment and "uplift ”; money which had formerly gone merely in organising strikes, can now be spent far more profitably and agreeably.
It is not the object of "Strength through Joy" to educate the people politically. Few want to attend classes in civics after a hard day’s work. Its aim is rather to bring the people together on a broad basis of enlightenment, an effort in which they, too, of course, must concur.
The Director of "Strength through Joy" is also Dr. Ley. His work is comprised under many headings. It is one of his principal endeavours to open up to worker and unemployed alike all the best sources of entertainment, opera, theatre and concert hall. For the fact that a workman in any German city can obtain admission to the finest operas for practically a nominal sum is Hitler himself directly to be thanked. Hitler often starved, in the old days, in order to buy the meanest standing room in the house, to hear Wagner. Now that he is Chancellor, no working man in Germany need be put to such shifts to gratify his artistic longings.
The "Kulturamt" has opened to the people all sorts of intellectual resorts hitherto sacred to the upper ten. It is a mistake to suppose that only such appreciate the best. In Germany Wagner takes precedence, even with the poorest people, over nigger minstrelsy and jazz.
Even the working man’s week-ends are provided for. Previously he went for a bit of a walk in the park perhaps, on Sunday, or took a tram out of the suburbs to get a breath of air. If he were a single man he might spend the most part of his leisure in a beer hall, listening to the band. Although this sort of thing can still be observed everywhere, nowadays the workman looks to the sort of week-end right away which previously could only be enjoyed by the better to do. For a couple of marks, to-day, he can go thirty miles out of the city, follow a personally conducted tour around some beauty spots, and enjoy a good meal into the bargain. When his holiday comes round, it is provided for, lavishly as far as good things are concerned, at equally small cost.
Workmen from Munich can now envisage holidays by the North Sea with all sorts of trips and bathing fun thrown in. Those from Berlin can go to the Alps, do a bit of mountaineering and try what hotel life is like. These are dreams come true which for whole generations past must have ever remained unrealisable. All thank: to Adolf Hitler.
The section of this activity which deals with "Volkstum und Heimat,” seeks to revive, for urban populations, the knowledge of and delight in old peasant and traditional customs, songs, dances, costumes. This sort of thing reawakens love of the country and their origins in people long divorced from the land. It bridges the gull between the peasant and the townsman.
Kraft durch Freude ("Strength through Joy”) looks also to sport to give the working man zest and change in exercise. It is Hitler’s keenest desire to see the worker, particularly the youthful worker (Hitler’s Germany is all being built for the future – the past must now look after itself, "let the dead bury the dead”) made "crisis resisting.” The young workman goes in for tennis and golf and every other vigorous game that’s going.
Through the instrumentality of innumerable exhibitions, it is sought to rouse the worker’s pride in his own achievements, in his niche in society, in the part he plays in the whole. His craft is displayed before him in its entire interest, or beauty, or significance. Prizes and com-petitions abound. Each man becomes conscious of the part he takes in the whole, and discovers fresh pride in his trade and in himself.
Cheap classes are held for those who desire to advance in their particular calling, or to study more particularly the trade to which they belong, and for the acquisition of foreign languages. The best teachers are retained and the instruction is given in the buildings of the local University.
People are assisted to acquire their own dwelling- houses. Loans for this purpose can be repaid by instalments over a series of years. In this way it is hoped to promote a cheerful small villadom beyond the limits of the greater cities.
The department for propaganda aims at bringing all these activities and facilities before the people, to encourage them to make the utmost use of them. Only so will they be bringing about the National Socialist State envisaged by Adolf Hitler. There are still more departments in this one Movement alone, but space forbids their description.
Much, indeed, has been written about the new Germany. In England and America so much attention has been directed to its political aspect, that these others have been neglected. Of that attention, moreover, by far the greater part is highly inimical, highly critical. Few outside Germany yet realise why Hitler is prepared to go to all lengths to save this new Germany from being torpedoed either from within or without. He saves it in his own way and from those he considers its enemies, whether his action is understood abroad or not.
Let those disbelieve it who will, Adolf Hitler has done more for Germany since he came to power than any other statesman at any other time, and the wrecking of his work would not only spell the final ruin of Germany, but the ruin of Europe at large.
1. Germany’s political development has been along lines totally different from those in England, and has led to a type of political public opinion very different from that of the average Englishman. The latter make a great mistake to judge of affairs in another country as if they had happened in their own. This is the universal mistake of the onlooker and critic: perhaps it accounts for two-thirds of the international misunderstanding in Europe today.
2. Vide the period of the Soldiers’ and Workmen’s Councils in Munich.