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

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I consider the present cabinet of General von Schleicher to be particularly unfortunate because through the person of its leader alone it must show even less appreciation of this question than any other would do. This time, as ever in history, this problem of the intellectual rearmament of the nation cannot be solved by an army but only by an ideology. To involve the Army in the matter makes it appear prejudiced in many people's eyes just as such an involvement thereby compromises the task itself in the eyes of the masses. For, neither the police nor the military have ever destroyed ideologies even less have they been able to construct them. However, no human structure can survive in the long term without an ideology. Ideologies are the social contracts and bases on which substantial human organizations have to be built. Thus, in contrast to our present statesmen I see Germany's tasks for the future as follows:

1. Overcoming Marxism and its consequences until they have been completely exterminated. The creation of a new unity of mind and will for our people.

2. A general intellectual and moral rearmament of the nation on the basis of this new ideological unity.

3. Technical rearmament.

4. The organizational mobilization of the national resources for the purpose of national defense.

5. Once this has been achieved, the securing of the legal recognition of the new situation by the rest of the world.

Only a deep-rooted process of regeneration instead of the present experimentation and continual seeking after new and petty palliatives can bring about a final and clear-cut solution to the German crisis. I would be grateful, Colonel, if you would judge my behavior in the light of this view.

[ . . . ]

Source of English translation: Jeremy Noakes and Geoffrey Pridham, eds., Nazism, 1919-1945, Vol. 3: Foreign Policy, War and Racial Extermination. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2001, pp. 11-15.

Source of original German text: Typescript — Alexandria, Va. Departmental Records Branch, The Adjutant General's Office, Record Group 1035. EAP 250-a/14: Adolf Hitler, Chancellery.— Microfilm in the Archive of the Institute for Contemporary History, National Archives Microcopy No. T-81, Roll 1, Serial 7, fol. 11 542-11 552; reprinted in Thilo Vogelsang, Dokumentation: “Hitlers Brief an Reichenau vom 4. Dezember 1932,” Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 7 (1959), Heft 4, pp. 434-37.

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