GHDI logo

Hitler’s Letter to Colonel Walther von Reichenau on Germany’s Situation with Respect to Foreign Relations (December 4, 1932)

page 4 of 5    print version    return to list previous document      next document

That is to say: In the event of a war being forced on Germany, more than half of the population consists of people who are either more or less pacifist or else consciously hostile to defense and military matters. The opinion of some generals that military training (in a sudden war it could only be very brief) would eradicate ideological indoctrination by political parties is positively puerile. Even the two years military service [before 1914] in peacetime did not damage the SPD. To say that the SPD workers nevertheless did their duty in 1914 is wrong. For it was not the convinced Marxist who did his duty but the German in the Marxist who was stirred enough temporarily to renounce Marxism. The convinced Marxist leadership was already beginning to fight back in 1915 and, after remarkable and splendid resistance on the part of the population, finally in 1918 provoked a revolution and thereby caused the collapse of the Reich.

The Social Democracy of those days cannot be remotely compared with the KPD of today. In 1914 Marxism was a theory; today it dominates in practice an enormous part of the world. A war fought by Germany in its present state would from the start subject the whole nation to a test of nerves which, as far as the home front is concerned at any rate, would bear no comparison with similar events in the World War.

The idea that in this case one can fall back on the nationalist leagues is very flattering for these organizations which nowadays suffer such abuse and persecution, but is likely to be not only of no practical significance, but rather produce fearful consequences. For, if the nationalist elements are called up and moved to the front as more or less untrained cannon fodder, the homeland would then be simultaneously delivered into the hands of the red mob. The year 1918 was child's play compared with what would happen then.

Thus, while our political and military strategists regard German rearmament as a technical or organizational matter, I see the precondition for any rearmament as the creation of a new German national unity of mind and of will. Without the solution of this problem all talk of 'equality of rights' and 'rearmament' is superficial and idle chatter.

This creation of a unity of ideology, mind, and will among our people is the task which I set myself fourteen years ago and which I have struggled to achieve ever since. I am not surprised that our official civil and military agencies treat this problem with a total lack of understanding, not to say stupidity. It has always been thus throughout history. No great ideas and reforms of humanity have ever come from the professionals. Why should it be any different today. However, recognition of this historical truth does not relieve the person who has taken the measure of this question in all its enormous significance from the duty of working to resolve it. I must, therefore, however regretfully, make a stand against, indeed must combat, any German government which is not ready and determined to carry out this inward rearmament of the German nation. All other measures follow from it.

first page < previous   |   next > last page