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Protocol of Hitler’s Speech to Gauleiters on the Role of the NSDAP (February 2, 1934)

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Even the consequences of wrong decisions must be mitigated by absolute unity. One authority must never be played off against another. There must be only one view, that of the movement.

To work against someone in an official position, who embodies part of this authority, is to destroy all authority and trust completely.

There must therefore be no superfluous discussions! Problems not yet decided by individual officials must under no circumstances be discussed in public. Otherwise, this will mean passing the decision on to the mass of the people. That was the crazy idea behind democracy. By doing that, the value of any leadership is squandered. The man who has to make the decisions must make them himself and everyone else must back him up. The authority of even the most junior leader is the sum of the authority of all leaders and vice versa.

Apart from this we must carry on only one fight at a time. The saying, 'Many enemies, much honor' should really run: 'Many enemies, much stupidity'. In any case, the whole nation cannot engage in twelve campaigns at the same time and understand what is involved. For this reason, we must always instill the whole nation with only one idea, concentrate its attention on one idea.

In questions of foreign policy it is particularly necessary to have the whole nation behind one as if hypnotized. The whole nation must be involved in the struggle as if they were passionate participants in a sports contest. This is necessary because, if the whole nation takes part in the struggle, they also will be losers. If they are not involved, only the leadership loses. In the one case the wrath of the nation will rise against the opponent, in the other against their leaders.

Source of English translation: Jeremy Noakes and Geoffrey Pridham, eds., Nazism, 1919-1945, Vol. 2: State, Economy and Society 1933-1939. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2000, pp. 40-42.

Source of original German text: Gauleiter-Tagung am 2.2.1934 in Berlin, in Hans-Adolf Jacobsen and Werner Jochmann, eds., Ausgewählte Dokumente zur Geschichte des Nationalsozialismus, 1933-1945. Vol. 2, Bielefeld, 1961, no page (Dokument 2. II. 1934).

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