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Martin Bormann’s Directive 55/43 (September 29, 1943)

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It is essential that Party comrades remain unaffected by any fluctuation of mood. The flood of rumors and defamatory statements, which are systematically spread by the enemy in order to unsettle our people, must break against the calm and unshakeable spirit of all Party comrades! We have on occasion put up with much too much in the way of insults and abuse of our national socialist leadership. Any Party comrade who does not straight away and publicly stand up to fainthearts, wets and defeatists thereby brands himself as the greatest political weakling and, through his pathetic example, encourages the enemy's attempts to undermine morale. Now more than ever everything depends on the influence of every man and every woman on their fellow men and women. We must expect that every Party comrade has the guts and civil courage to shut up all malicious gossips. Every rumor-monger and unreliable compatriot must at once be confronted by a committed and combative Party comrade. Unfortunately, a number of Party comrades have become too comfortable and too posh to oppose the insidious wets with the requisite vigor.

We want to continue to help compatriots who are genuinely in search of advice and assistance. Fainthearts and despondent compatriots will be most effectively convinced by the example of the strength of our faith and our calm confidence in victory. But, in the case of shameless rumor-mongers and thoughtless gossips, politeness and restraint are out of place. They must be firmly put in their place or handed over to the police.

The leadership cannot always respond directly to every conceivable rumor and question that comes up. It gives out a line on the most important issues as far as possible. But, if no directives come from the top, then the resourceful Party comrade will have to look out for himself.

The movement can no longer be bothered with passengers and observers. The Party leadership makes no bones about the fact that it is ruthlessly determined to part company with insecure and fickle elements. Anyone who today no longer has the courage to declare their commitment to National Socialism is no longer one of us. But, if anyone is excluded from the movement, it is not as if they were being expelled from some association; they are being thrown out of the political order of the German people in its critical hour in disgrace.

If every Party comrade clearly and decisively exerts the necessary influence on the formation of the mood and opinion of his acquaintances and the section of the population led by him, then our nation's attitude and will to resist in this fateful struggle can never decline.

Source of English translation: Jeremy Noakes, ed., Nazism, 1919-1945, Vol. 4: The German Home Front in World War II. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1998, pp. 104-106.

Source of original German text: Anordnung Nr. 55/43 (Betrifft: Generalmitgliederappelle zum verstärkten Führungseinsatz der gesamten Parteigenossenschaft) (September 29, 1943), Bundesarchiv Berlin, NS 6/167.

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