Hitler‘s Mein Kampf, which became the Nazi statement of faith, gave to the conspirators adequate foreknowledge of the unlawful aims of the Nazi leadership. It was not only Hitler’s political testament; by adoption it became theirs.
Mein Kampf may be described as the blueprint of the Nazi aggression. Its whole tenor and content demonstrate that the Nazi pursuit of aggressive designs was no mere accident arising out of an immediate political situation in Europe and the world. Mein Kampf establishes unequivocally that the use of aggressive war to serve German aims in foreign policy was part of the very creed of the Nazi party.
A great German philosopher once said that ideas have hands and feet. It became the deliberate aim of the conspirators to see to it that the idea, doctrines, and policies of Mein Kampf should become the active faith and guide for action of the German nation, and particularly of its malleable youth. From 1933 to 1939 an extensive indoctrination in the ideas of Mein Kampf was pursued in the schools and universities of Germany, as well as in the Hitler Youth, under the direction of Baldur von Schirach, and in the SA and SS, and amongst the German population as a whole, by the agency of Rosenberg.
A copy of Mein Kampf was officially presented by the Nazis to all newly married couples in Germany. [A copy of Mein Kampf (D-660) submitted by the prosecution to the tribunal contains the following dedication on the fly-leaf:
“To the newly married couple, Friedrich Rosebrock and Else Geborene Zum Beck, with best wishes for a happy and blessed marriage. Presented by the Communal Administration on the occasion of their marriage on 14 November 1940. For the Mayor, the Registrar.”
This copy of Mein Kampf, which was the 1945 edition, contains the information that the number of copies- published to date amount to 6,250,000.]
As a result of the efforts of the conspirators, this book, blasphemously called “The Bible of the German people,” poisoned a generation and distorted the outlook of a whole people. For as the SS General von dem Bach-Zelewski testified before the Tribunal, [on 7 January 1946] if it is preached for years, as long as ten years, that the Slav peoples are inferior races and that the Jews are subhuman, then it must logically follow that the killing of millions of these human beings is accepted as a natural phenomenon. From Mein Kampf the way leads directly to the furnaces of Auschwitz and the gas chambers of Maidanek.
What the commandments of Mein Kampf were may be indicated by quotations from the book which fall into two main categories. The first category is that of general expression of Hitler’s belief in the necessity of force as the means of solving international problems. The second category is that of Hitler’s more explicit declarations on the policy which Germany should pursue.
Most of the quotations in the second category come from the last three chapters — 13, 14, and 15 — of Part II of Mein Kampf, in which Hitler’s views on foreign policy were expounded. The significance of this may be grasped from the fact that Part II of Mein Kampf was first published in 1927, less than two years after the Locarno Pact and within a few months of Germany’s
entry into the League of Nations. The date of the publication of these passages, therefore, brands them as a repudiation of the policy of international cooperation embarked upon by Stresseman, and as a deliberate defiance of the attempt to establish, through the League of Nations, the rule of law in international affairs.
The following are quotations showing the general view held by Hitler and accepted and propagated by the conspirators concerning war and aggression generally. On page 556 of Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote:
“The soil on which we now live was not a gift bestowed by Heaven on our forefathers. But they had to conquer it by risking their lives. So also in the future our people will not obtain territory, and therewith the means of existence, as a favour from any other people, but will have to win it by the power of a triumphant sword.”
On page 145, Hitler revealed his own personal attitude toward war. Of the years of peace before 1914 he wrote:
“Thus I used to think it an ill-deserved stroke of bad luck that I had arrived too late on this terrestrial globe, and I felt chagrined at the idea that my life would have to run its course along peaceful and orderly lines. As a boy I was anything but a pacifist and all attempts to make me so turned out futile.”
On page 162 Hitler wrote of war in these words:
“In regard to the part played by humane feeling, Moltke stated that in time of war the essential thing is to get a decision as quickly as possible and that the most ruthless methods of fighting are at the same time the most humane. When people attempt to answer this reasoning by highfalutin talk about aesthetics, etc., only one answer can be given. It is that the vital questions involved in the struggle of a nation for its existence must not be subordinated to any aesthetic considerations.”
Hitler’s assumption of an inevitable law of struggle for survival is linked up in Chapter II of Book I of Mein Kampf, with the doctrine of Aryan superiority over other races and the right of Germans in virtue of this superiority to dominate and use other peoples for their own ends. The whole of Chapter II of Mein Kampf is dedicated to this “master race” theory and, indeed, many of the later speeches of Hitler were mainly repetitive of Chapter II.
On page 256, the following sentiments appear:
“Had it not been possible for them to employ members of the inferior race which they conquered, the Aryans would
never have been in a position to take the first steps on the road which led them to a later type of culture; just as, without the help of certain suitable animals which they were able to tame, they would never have come to the invention of mechanical power, which has subsequently enabled them to do without these beasts. For the establishment of superior types of civilization the members of inferior races formed one of the most essential prerequisites.”
In a later passage in Mein Kampf, at page 344, Hitler applies these general ideas to Germany:
“If in its historical development the German people had possessed the unity of herd instinct by which other people have so much benefited, then the German Reich would probably be mistress of the globe today. World history would have taken another course, and in this case no man can tell if what many blinded pacifists hope to attain by petitioning, whining and crying may not have been reached in this way; namely, a peace which would not be based upon the waving of olive branches and tearful misery-mongering of pacifist old women, but a peace that would be guaranteed by the triumphant sword of a people endowed with the power to master the world and administer it in the service of a higher civilization.”
These passages emphasize clearly Hitler’s love of war and scorn of those whom he described as pacifists. The underlying message of this book, which appears again and again, is, firstly, that the struggle for existence requires the organization and use of force; secondly, that the Aryan- German is superior to other races and has the right to conquer and rule them; thirdly, that all doctrines which preach peaceable solutions of international problems represent a disastrous weakness in a nation that adopts them. Implicit in the whole of the argument is a fundamental and arrogant denial of the possibility of any rule of law in international affairs.
It is in the light of these general doctrines of Mein Kampf that the more definite passages should be considered, in which Hitler deals with specific problems of German foreign policy. The very first page of the book contains a remarkable forecast of Nazi policy:
“German-Austria must be restored to the great German Motherland. And not, indeed on any grounds of economic calculation whatsoever. No, no. Even if the union were a matter of economic indifference, and even if it were to be disadvantageous from the economic standpoint, still it ought to
take place. People of the same blood should be in the same Reich. The German people will have no right to engage in a colonial policy until they shall have brought all their children together in one State. When the territory of the Reich embraces all the Germans and finds itself unable to assure them a livelihood, only then can the moral right arise, from the need of the people, to acquire foreign territory. The plough is then the sword; and the tears of war will produce the daily bread for the generations to come.”
“In regard to this point I should like to make the following statement: To demand that the 1914 frontiers should be restored is a glaring political absurdity that is fraught with such consequences as to make the claim itself appear criminal. The confines of the Reich as they existed in 1914 were thoroughly illogical; because they were not really complete, in the sense of including all the members of the German nation. Nor were they reasonable, in view of the geographical exigencies of military defense. They were not the consequence of a political plan which had been well considered and carried out, but they were temporary frontiers established in virtue of a political struggle that had not been brought to a finish; and indeed, they were partly the chance result of circumstances.”
In further elaboration of Nazi policy, Hitler does not merely denounce the Treaty of Versailles; he desires to see a Germany which is a world power with territory sufficient for a future German people of a magnitude which he does not define. On page 554 he declares:
“For the future of the German nation the 1914 frontiers are of no significance ***”
“We National Socialists must stick firmly to the aim that we have set for our foreign policy, namely, that the German people must be assured the territorial area which is necessary for it to exist on this earth. And only for such action as is undertaken to secure those ends can it be lawful in the eyes of God and our German posterity to allow the blood of our people to be shed once again. Before God, because we are sent into this world with the commission to struggle for our daily bread, as creatures to whom nothing is donated and who must be able to win and hold their position as lord
of the earth only through their own intelligence and courage.
“And this justification must be established also before our German posterity, on the grounds that for each one who has shed his blood the life of a thousand others will be guaranteed to posterity. The territory on which one day our German peasants will !be able to bring forth and nourish their sturdy sons will justify the blood of the sons of the peasants that has to be shed today. And the statesmen who will have decreed this sacrifice may be persecuted by their contemporaries, but posterity will absolve them from all guilt for having demanded this offering from their people.”
At page 557 Hitler writes:
“Germany will either become a world power or will not continue to exist at all. But in order to become a world power, it needs that territorial magnitude which gives it the necessary importance today and assures the existence of its citizens.”
“We must take our stand on the principles already mentioned in regard to foreign policy, namely, the necessity of bringing our territorial area into just proportion with the number of our population. From the past we can learn only one lesson, and that is that the aim which is to be pursued in our political conduct must be twofold, namely: (1) the acquisition of territory as the objective of our foreign policy and (2) the establishment of a new and uniform foundation as the objective of our political activities at home, in accordance with our doctrine of nationhood.”
Now, these passages from Mein Kampf raise the question, here did Hitler expect to find the increased territory beyond the 1914 boundaries of Germany? To this Hitler’s answer is sufficiently explicit. Reviewing the history of the German Empire rom 1871 to 1918, he wrote, on page 132:
“Therefore, the only possibility which Germany had of carrying a sound territorial policy into effect was that of acquiring new territory in Europe itself. Colonies cannot serve this purpose so long as they are not suited for settlement by Europeans on a large scale. In the nineteenth century it was no longer possible to acquire such colonies by peaceful means. Therefore, any attempt at such colonial expansion would have meant an enormous military struggle. Consequently it would have been more practical to undertake that military struggle for new territory in Europe, rather than to wage war for the acquisition of possessions abroad.
“Such a decision naturally demanded that the nation’s undivided energies should be devoted to it. A policy of that kind, which requires for its fulfillment every ounce of available energy on the part of everybody concerned, cannot be carried into effect by half measures or in a hesitant manner.
“The political leadership of the German Empire should then have been directed exclusively to this goal. No political step should have been taken in response to other considerations than this task and the means of accomplishing it. Germany should have been alive to the fact that such a goal could have been reached only by war, and the prospect of war should have been faced with calm and collected determination. The whole system of alliances should have been envisaged and valued from that standpoint.
“If new territory were to be acquired in Europe it must have been mainly at Russia’s cost, and once again the new German Empire should have set out on its march along the same road as was formerly trodden by the Teutonic Knights, this time to acquire soil for the German plough by means of the German sword and thus provide the nation with its daily bread.”
To this program of expansion in the East Hitler returns again, at the end of Mein Kampf. After discussing the insufficiency of Germany’s pre-war frontiers, he again points the path to the East and declares that the Drang nach Osten, the drive to the East, must be resumed:
“Therefore we National Socialists have purposely drawn a line through the line of conduct followed by pre-war Germany in foreign policy. We put an end to the perpetual Germanic march towards the South and West of Europe and turn our eyes towards the lands of the East. We finally put a stop to the colonial and trade policy of pre-war times and pass over to the territorial policy of the future. But when we speak of new territory in Europe today we must principally think of Russia and the border states subject to her.”
Hitler was shrewd enough to see that his aggressive designs in the East might be endangered by a defensive alliance between Russia, France, and perhaps England. His foreign policy, as outlined in Men Kampf, was to detach England and Italy from France and Russia and to change the attitude of Germany towards France from the defensive to the offensive.
On page 570 of Men Kampf he wrote:
“As long as the eternal conflict between France and Germany is waged only in the form of a German defense against the French attack, that conflict can never be decided, and from
century to century Germany will lose one position after another. If we study the changes that have taken place, from the twelfth century up to our day, in the frontiers within which the German language is spoken, we can hardly hope for a successful issue to result from the acceptance and development of a line of conduct which has hitherto been so detrimental for us.
“Only when the Germans have taken all this fully into account will they cease from allowing the national will- to-live to wear itself out in merely passive defense; but they will rally together for a last decisive contest with France. And in this contest the essential objective of the German nation will be fought for. Only then will it be possible to put an end to the eternal Franco-German conflict which has hitherto proved so sterile.
“Of course it is here presumed that Germany sees in the suppression of France nothing more than a means which will make it possible for our people finally to expand in another quarter. Today there are eighty million Germans in Europe. And our foreign policy will be recognized as rightly conducted only when, after barely a hundred years, there will be 250 million Germans living on this Continent, not packed together as the coolies in the factories of another Continent but as tillers of the soil and workers whose labour will be a mutual assurance for their existence.”
Mein Kampf, taken in conjunction with the facts of Nazi Germany’s subsequent behavior towards other countries, shows that from the very first moment that they attained power, and indeed long before that time, Hitler and his confederates were engaged in planning and fomenting aggressive war. Events have proved that Mein Kampf was no mere literary exercise to be treated with easy indifference, as unfortunately it was treated for so long. It was the expression of a fanatical faith in force and fraud as the means to Nazi dominance in Europe, if not in the whole world. In accepting and propagating the jungle philosophy of Mein Kampf, the Nazi conspirators deliberately set about to push civilization over the precipice of war.