The 25 Points of the German Nazi Party (with Commentary)
The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan. —Adolf Hitler
The main plank in the National Socialist program is to abolish the liberalistic concept of the individual and the Marxist concept of humanity and to substitute for them the folk community, rooted in the soil and bound together by the bond of its common blood. —the Führer again
Classics of Political Incorrectness Dept. (16)
I took an interest in Nazi Germany as a boy, mainly, I suppose, because they were portrayed as such badasses in the movies, like modern Knights Templar, with cool-looking uniforms and a reputation for being very formidable fighters. My father, who fought the Germans in WW2, also used to say that the Germans made outstanding soldiers, and he clearly had some respect for them as human beings, as men, even though he sincerely believed the Nazis had to be stopped. Then many years later I came across some books on Hitler, the Third Reich, and on the War in general, and the details of that whole story in history really is fascinating—Hitler, despite his flaws, was a damned interesting guy, and I probably would enjoy an evening listening to the Führer talk more than, say, listening to Stalin or FDR (though I think Churchill would have been very interesting also). I think I’d have a better chance of walking out of the dining room alive with Hitler than with Stalin, too.
Nevertheless I am not a Nazi, or a National Socialist, or really any kind of fascist. Also I’m not a hard right-winger, nor a staunch ethno-nationalist, nor a hater of Jews, nor even necessarily a white supremacist. (About as far as I would go concerning personal inclinations is that, if I were required to choose between the two, I would prefer fascism to Marxism, as I am not ignorant of history, so I might be considered a kind of fash sympathizer or fellow traveller.) I write about what interests me; and also I set up this blog to be a platform for politically incorrect ideas, as a matter of principle—and Hitler and Nazism are about as non PC as they come. As they say, Hitler is the dankest meme. So here I am writing about the Nazi manifesto.
The manifesto was published way back in 1920, at the same time that the German Workers’ Party (DAP) had its name changed to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), and at a time when the Party was little more than a bunch of guys sitting around in a beer hall arguing the politics of the day—the calamity of the First World War and the punitive and disgraceful treaties that resulted from it, the hardships the German people were facing, the looming threat of Marxism, Lebensraum, and the perceived threat of globalist Jews, among other issues. Hitler had joined the Party while still a soldier working for German Military Intelligence, as he had been ordered to check the group out and see if it were a viable Party for the military to endorse as a working man’s alternative to Marxism. It was, and Hitler soon became a civilian Party leader, largely as a result of his skills at speechifying and rousing up a crowd, let alone his talent at Machiavellian maneuvering. Hitler himself officially read off the 25-point manifesto for the first time at a beer garden in Munich on 24 February 1920.
The 25 points quoted and discussed below were considered the defining program of the Nazi Party ever after; some Party members subsequently wanted to make changes, like by adding more points, but Hitler declared the manifesto to be inviolable. Nevertheless, the Führer never considered the points declared in the document to be binding in any way, but apparently considered them to be convenient talking points for purposes of propaganda. He didn’t give much of a damn about economics, and was not vehemently opposed to capitalism, and of course he chafed under any restrictions of rules, so some points in the manifesto were taken more seriously than others, and some were pretty much ignored.
Some points of the manifesto, like the abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, the unification of the German speaking peoples, the need for Lebensraum, and the rejection of Jews as citizens of the Reich, were striven for energetically by Hitler; though deviation from the original socialist platform of the manifesto was opposed by a more radical socialist faction within the early Party, led by Gregor Strasser. One of the purposes of the Röhm Purge of 1934, alias the Night of the Long Knives, was to eliminate these troublemaking and excessively left-leaning literalists, including Strasser himself, leaving Hitler and his opportunistic strategizing in firm control of the Party.
What follows is an English translation of the original document as read to the crowd by Herr Hitler himself at the beer garden, with some non-Nazi commentary by myself, and a little more at the end. Enjoy.
|Hitler's DAP membership card, with the number 555|
allegedly erased and replaced by 7, to cause Hitler to look more like a founding member
The 25 Points
This one is a good start, considering that it was truly a central tenet of Nazism, unification of the German speaking peoples, and one that Hitler took very seriously and apparently believed in so long as it didn’t interfere with current expediencies. Throughout the west most liberals at the time would not have argued against anyone’s right to self-determination, so this point was quite reasonable. The use of the word “demand” is rather haughty for a bunch of guys in a beer hall, but quite suitable for the eagles of the Reich.
2. We demand that the German people have rights equal to those of other nations; and that the Peace Treaties of Versailles and St. Germain shall be abrogated.
No doubt the French would have taken heated issue with this point, though equality with other nations is a reasonable demand. Also the abrogation of the punitive treaties of Versailles and St. Germain was very popular in Germany, as they were seen as a vindictive, unjust, and humiliating punishment of the German people. Hitler evidently felt strongly about this point too, and strove mightily to accomplish it.
3. We demand land and territory (colonies) for the maintenance of our people and the settlement of our surplus population.
This demand loudly smacks of colonialism, which is totally politically incorrect among polite sheeple nowadays, although Britain, France, Japan, and several other powers were actively colonialist at the time, so it wasn’t so outrageous of a demand in the 1920s and 30s as it would be now.
4. Only those who are our fellow countrymen can become citizens. Only those who have German blood, regardless of creed, can be our countrymen. Hence no Jew can be a countryman.
All right, this one is clearly racist and antisemitic. It’s essentially Teutonic nationalism, and one of the tenets that have caused German National Socialism to be called “far right.” Then again, that self determination mentioned in point 1 would presumably apply here also; and who knows, an ethnically unified people may form a much stronger state than a multi-ethnic one. At any rate there may as well be a diversity of political systems being tried in this world, including ethnic nationalism. So long as, of course, any ethnic cleansing required to homogenize the blood of the populace does not require atrocities like genocide, or even just rounding up herds of undesirables and driving them to the nearest border. But this point does not necessitate ethnic cleansing, as the following point indicates.
5. Those who are not citizens must live in Germany as foreigners and must be subject to the law of aliens.
This is not so different from many other great societies of the past, including classical Athens. Such non citizens were called metics and had limited rights, though no right to participate in a democratic government. I assume this point applies to most nations even, so it does not strike me as objectionable at all.
6. The right to choose the government and determine the laws of the State shall belong only to citizens. We therefore demand that no public office, of whatever nature, whether in the central government, the province, or the municipality, shall be held by anyone who is not a citizen.
We wage war against the corrupt parliamentary administration whereby men are appointed to posts by favor of the party without regard to character and fitness.
The first section of this one makes perfect sense, and should be objectionable to nobody. I would go so far as to insist that people with dual citizenship also should be banned from holding political office, as there could easily be a conflict of allegiance if one nation’s advantage is not advantageous to the other. As the Bible says, one cannot serve two masters. As for the rejection of parliamentary administration, that demand is idealistic more than realistic, especially considering that members of the National Socialist Party itself were generally chosen in part on the grounds of their loyalty to the Party.
7. We demand that the State shall above all undertake to ensure that every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood. If it should not be possible to feed the whole population, then aliens (non-citizens) must be expelled from the Reich.
Now we’re starting to enter the realm of actual socialism, leftist politics, not rightist. It’s fairly benevolent leftism, but still. Even so, this particular point should not be particularly obnoxious to anyone, except for such radical globalists as insist that citizens should not receive greater consideration than non-citizens.
8. Any further immigration of non-Germans must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who have entered Germany since August 2, 1914, shall be compelled to leave the Reich immediately.
Now we’ve veered back towards typically right-wing ethnic nationalism and abomination in the eyes of postmodern liberals. The implication of the second sentence, considering the preceding point, is that at the time the manifesto was penned there was not enough food for everyone in Germany. That is possible, considering the severe hardships endured by the German people after the end of the Great War and up to the chancellorship of Herr Hitler.
9. All citizens must possess equal rights and duties.
This one is pretty standard, and is wholly unobjectionable as far as I can see, although fascists or ultra-reactionary feudalists favoring severe class stratification might sneer at it.
10. The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. No individual shall do any work that offends against the interest of the community to the benefit of all.
The first sentence could be a sign of orthodox Marxism or orthodox Fascism, or just about anything in between; so it is another bland, sensible, unremarkable statement made by Nazis. The only people that would strongly object to it are probably the aristocratic leisure class, the financiers, and of course the welfare class and the political movements that rely on the votes of the welfare class. The second sentence, though, is veering towards authoritarianism—again, acceptable to either Marxists or Fascists. To some extent is is unavoidable, as otherwise there would be no laws, but a libertarian especially would hear warning bells accompanying such a statement. I suppose the most important point in enforcing that second sentence would be to have relatively wise, sensible people deciding what offends against the public interest.
Therefore we demand:
11. That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.
Adolf Hitler, though not exactly opposed to capitalism, did speak out against the kind of predatory capitalism that makes money from the work of others through mere investment, like playing the stock market, I suppose. Also I suppose this sentiment was partly inspired by the prominent position in such forms of capitalism enjoyed by God’s Chosen People, and Herr Hitler’s chronic smoldering resentment and contempt for that whole financial class in general.
12. Since every war imposes on the people fearful sacrifices in blood and treasure, all personal profit arising from the war must be regarded as treason to the people. We therefore demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
This point strikes me as one of the vague ones that could easily be employed as a weapon against undesirables. Obviously, even a factory worker engaged in building warplanes or munitions would be profiting from the war effort. I assume the early NatSoc resentment against Jewish financiers lending money to both sides in the same war may have inspired this point also.
13. We demand the nationalization of all trusts.
More socialism here. This particular topic is too economic and legalistic for my blood, so I pass on to the next point.
14. We demand profit-sharing in large industries.
I have to admit, I have often considered that it would be a just law to require any business selling stock to offer the stock first to its own employees, and not just to the higher echelon executives but even to the custodian. People will work harder if they get more benefit from it anyway, so I fail to see how this could be pernicious to anyone but those greedy financiers and “predatory capitalists” that Hitler and other National Socialists despised. But I am no economist, so there may be some pernicious element that I’m not seeing.
15. We demand a generous increase in old-age pensions.
Totally vanilla point that could gain the support of anyone, so long as the source of the money is not specified. It is evidently a promotion of a greater welfare state along socialistic lines.
16. We demand the creation and maintenance of a sound middle-class, the immediate communalization of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small tradespeople, and the strongest consideration must be given to ensure that small traders shall deliver the supplies needed by the State, the provinces and municipalities.
First off, I think it is significant that the Nazis did not insist upon a classless society as did the Marxists, and were evidently okay with a working class and an aristocracy in addition to a middle class for merchants, professionals, etc. That could easily be interpreted as right wing. But the communalization of large stores, turning them into markets or shopping malls with many independent businesses working in the same place, smacks more of socialism. It does make good sense in a populist sense that small businesses receive special consideration from the government; and this has been a live topic within the context of American capitalism as well. It would allow for capitalism while restricting the possible scope of corporatism. So this one is a mixed bag politically and economically.
17. We demand an agrarian reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to expropriate the owners without compensation of any land needed for the common purpose. The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.
This endorsement of “agrarian reform” could have come right out of the USSR or later Communist China. Also, the government’s right to confiscate property without compensation to the owner is yet another open door to tyranny, or so it seems to me.
18. We demand that ruthless war be waged against those who work to the injury of the common welfare. Traitors, usurers, profiteers, etc., are to be punished with death, regardless of creed or race.
If point 17 opened the door a little wider to totalitarianism, this one flings it all the way open. Who decides what is injurious to the common welfare? If the wrong people decide, then even objective criticism could be punishable by death. Only the wisest and most sober judges, guided by the most careful restrictions, could prevent a policy like this from becoming Orwellian totalitarianism without notice. The idea could be a noble one, but the opportunities for mayhem are many.
19. We demand that Roman law, which serves a materialist ordering of the world, be replaced by German common law.
Considering that I am no authority on either system of law, I am in no position to judge the wisdom of this point; although the whole concept of self-determination should allow any people to choose their own legal system, and it does make sense that Germans might consider a specifically German system of laws more suitable for themselves. I do like the implication that German National Socialism was ideologically opposed to Marxist style atheistic materialism, which will be made more conspicuous below.
20. In order to make it possible for every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education, and thus the opportunity to reach into positions of leadership, the State must assume the responsibility of organizing thoroughly the entire cultural system of the people. The curricula of all educational establishments shall be adapted to practical life. The conception of the State Idea (science of citizenship) must be taught in the schools from the very beginning. We demand that specially talented children of poor parents, whatever their station or occupation, be educated at the expense of the State.
This point pretty obviously mandates the virtual apotheosis of Herr Big Brother, with the idea no doubt being that the State will be patriotic and just, of necessity. The history of politics, and especially the politics of one-party systems, renders the very idea of this to be palpably unrealistic, however. I do very much approve the idea of teaching children what is likely to be useful to them in life, though: most people would be better off learning how to tie good knots than how to do algebra. Turning schools into political indoctrination centers is distasteful to me, although it seems that that’s what government-run public schooling always turns into anyhow. That’s how it is in the USA at present. And as for subsidizing bright students so they can rise as high as their own talents and industry can take them, I’m in favor of that too, although it would not absolutely necessitate socialized scholarships from the government.
21. The State has the duty to help raise the standard of national health by providing maternity welfare centers, by prohibiting juvenile labor, by increasing physical fitness through the introduction of compulsory games and gymnastics, and by the greatest possible encouragement of associations concerned with the physical education of the young.
More socialism and social engineering. On the other hand, a culture that strongly promotes physical fitness, as was the case in classical Greece, is not necessarily a bad idea. But not everyone is cut out to be an athlete.
22. We demand the abolition of the regular army and the creation of a national (folk) army.
The meaning of this is evidently that an army of patriots fighting for their Fatherland is to replace an army of mercenaries simply fighting for pay. It sounds reasonable; though it also sounds easier said than done. Idealism does not always translate well into reality. (Since posting this my friend Otto has informed me that the underlying purpose of this point was to replace the regular army with the brownshirts of the SA, or rather something analogous to that since it didn't exist yet at the time of this document's publication, although that idea was ultimately scrapped.)
23. We demand that there be a legal campaign against those who propagate deliberate political lies and disseminate them through the press. In order to make possible the creation of a German press, we demand:
(a) All editors and their assistants on newspapers published in the German language shall be German citizens.
(b) Non-German newspapers shall only be published with the express permission of the State. They must not be published in the German language.
(c) All financial interests in or in any way affecting German newspapers shall be forbidden to non-Germans by law, and we demand that the punishment for transgressing this law be the immediate suppression of the newspaper and the expulsion of the non-Germans from the Reich.
Newspapers transgressing against the common welfare shall be suppressed. We demand legal action against those tendencies in art and literature that have a disruptive influence upon the life of our folk, and that any organizations that offend against the foregoing demands shall be dissolved.
There is a hell of a lot to unpack in this one. First there is the very relatable dislike for what in the Trump era is called “fake news”; although the Nazi Party’s other points, and the Party’s subsequent history, indicate that the actual point here is for the Party-run machine of State to have a monopoly on propaganda, to facilitate, for example, point 20 above. On top of that is added some of the ethnic nationalism that has been viewed as abomination by liberals for decades. The final section appears to be a reiteration of the first part of point 20: The State will determine, or at least firmly guide, the opinions of the people.
24. We demand freedom for all religious faiths in the state, insofar as they do not endanger its existence or offend the moral and ethical sense of the Germanic race.
The party as such represents the point of view of a positive Christianity without binding itself to any one particular confession. It fights against the Jewish materialist spirit within and without, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our folk can only come about from within on the principle:
COMMON GOOD BEFORE INDIVIDUAL GOOD
This point is right wing in that it is pro religion, anti atheistic materialism, and again nationalist and racist. There is that open door again, however, of the State deciding what faiths do or do not offend the moral and ethical sense of the Germanic race. Subsequent history shows that pacifism, for example, was banned and punished by the Nazi Party, with Jehovah’s Witnesses being among the inhabitants of the labor camps due largely to their refusal to fight for a secular government. Presumably Buddhism would be out also, unless some militant form of it could be accepted which allows the spilling of blood. But at least the acknowledgement of a power higher than human power is allowed, and a duty higher, perhaps, than civic duty. The final point, all in capital letters, is a noble one I suppose, and necessary to some degree in a society; but it can easily be taken to extremes, for example in Marxist systems. Capitalism has prospered because it acknowledges that people looking out mainly for themselves tends to result in a more vigorous and dynamic social system, and a strong economy also.
25. In order to carry out this program we demand: the creation of a strong central authority in the State, the unconditional authority by the political central parliament of the whole State and all its organizations.
The formation of professional committees and of committees representing the several estates of the realm, to ensure that the laws promulgated by the central authority shall be carried out by the federal states.
This final point drives home the demand for a strongly centralized and authoritarian State in which the people are required to serve the purposes of the State, not vice versa. For people who are conformists by nature, or who are just fortunate enough to agree with the government’s policies anyhow, this may not be a problem; though western individualism is necessarily stifled, and I just do not consider such authoritarianism to be a good fit for individualist westerners following their own conscience. The majority will follow along, but the most important people for creating the culture, not just supporting it, are often left out or actively persecuted, namely the free-thinking intellectuals and inspired creative people. The question of how much individualism in a society is ideal has been argued for thousands of years in the west, and I do not want to argue it here, though I know I would not prosper in a society in which I could not believe what the State insists I believe. Thus I would hope that if America were to devolve into a one-Party system I hope to hell it’s a relatively reasonable Party and not, say the Democrats.
The leaders of the party undertake to promote the execution of the foregoing points at all costs, if necessary at the sacrifice of their own lives.
As a final comment I would like to examine these official 25 points and consider the question: Was German National Socialism politically leftist or rightist? It seems to me that the manifesto strongly endorsed nationalization of education, health care, pensions, and to a large degree also industry and commerce. On the other hand, the most blatantly right-wing policies in the agenda were along the lines of ethnic nationalism. Other points in the agenda, like centrally concentrated authoritarianism, may be associated with either the left or the right (depending particularly on the definition of “right” being used at the time). So just going with the official position of the NSDAP, it would appear pretty obvious that the Nazis were lefties, corrupted by a mass of politically incorrect racialism and nationalism.
A major complication with this is, as was mentioned above, the Führer was a pragmatic opportunist who didn’t feel any great need to follow his own rules. He used the 25 points as propagandist talking points; and though he evidently did believe strongly in some of the points, he pretty much ignored others. (He didn’t come up with the agenda himself, being a newcomer to the Party himself at the time, and there were some real radical socialists, as well as monarchist reactionaries and others, who insisted on having their pet demands included.) Some of the socialist points in particular were overlooked, and probably rightly so, as Hitler the ruthless pragmatist could see clearly enough that some form of capitalism, shorn of crony capitalism, corporatism, and the influence of manipulative globalist financiers, was most conducive to a prosperous society. He deflected demands for more socialism with comments like, “Why nationalize industry when you can nationalize the people?” or with whatever vague definition of “socialism” seemed convenient at the time. So long as he was in control of what he wanted to control, which included foreign policy and the socially acceptable attitudes of the nation, he was willing to go with whatever worked; and despite his reputation for being a psychopathic monster, he did have some political genius and made many politically wise decisions, especially towards the beginning of his career as a national leader.
So claims by conservatives that the Nazis were leftists are hardly more correct than the claims by liberals that all forms of fascism including Nazism are representative of the extreme right. The official manifesto of the NSDAP leaned more leftwards than rightwards, though Hitler brought the actual working policies of the Party more towards the center. So what we’ve got with the reality of German Nazism is some radical left socialist stuff and some radical right ethno-nationalist stuff combined together to balance out to a kind of chaotic neutrality. Consequently all in all I would agree with the historians who have declared Hitler a radical centrist.
|Hitler is the dankest meme|
“Why,” I asked Hitler, “do you call yourself a National Socialist, since your party programme is the very antithesis of that commonly accredited to socialism?” “Socialism,” he retorted, putting down his cup of tea, pugnaciously, “is the science of dealing with the common weal. Communism is not Socialism. Marxism is not Socialism. The Marxists have stolen the term and confused its meaning. I shall take Socialism away from the Socialists. We, National Socialists, recognize that each people has the right to live their own life according to their needs and idiosyncrasies. Bolshevism, on the other hand, establishes doctrinal theories that must be accepted by all peoples, without taking into consideration their particular character, their peculiar nature, their traditions, etc.
“Marxism has no right to disguise itself as socialism. Socialism, unlike Marxism, does not repudiate private property. Unlike Marxism, it involves no negation of personality, and unlike Marxism, it is patriotic. We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party. We chose to call ourselves the National Socialists. We are not internationalists. Our socialism is national. We demand the fulfillment of the just claims of the productive classes by the state on the basis of race solidarity. To us, state and race are one.” —from an interview with Herr Hitler in 1923