Adolf Hitler's Zweites Buch
Chapter 5: German Needs and Aims
The question of a nation's foreign policy is determined by factors that lie partly within a nation, and partly given by the environment. In general the internal factors are the basis for the necessity of a definite foreign policy as well as for the amount of strength required for its execution. Voelks living on an impossible soil surface fundamentally will tend to enlarge their territory, consequently their living space, at least as long as they are under healthy leadership. This process, originally grounded only in the concern over sustenance, appeared so beneficent in its felicitous solution that it gradually attained the fame of success. This means that the enlargement of space, at first grounded in pure expediencies, became in the course of mankind's development a heroic deed, which then also took place even when the original preconditions or inducements were lacking. Later, the attempt to adapt the living space to increased population turned into unmotivated wars of conquest, which in their very lack of motivation contained the germ of the subsequent reaction. Pacifism is the answer to it. Pacifism has existed in the world ever since there have been wars whose meaning no longer lay in the conquest of territory for a Voelk's sustenance. Since then it has been war's eternal companion. It will again disappear as soon as war ceases to be an instrument of booty hungry or power hungry individuals or nations, and as soon as it again becomes the ultimate weapon with which a Voelk fights for is daily bread.
Even in the future the enlargement of a Voelk's living space for the winning of bread will require staking the whole strength of the Voelk. If the task of domestic policy is to prepare this commitment of the Voelk's strength, the task of a foreign policy is to wield this strength in such a manner that the highest possible success seems assured. This, of course, is not conditioned only by the strength of the Voelk, ready for action at any given time, but also by the power of the resistances. The disproportion in strength between Voelks struggling with one another for land leads repeatedly to the attempt, by way of alliances, either to emerge as conquerors themselves or to put up resistance to the over-powerful conqueror.
This is the beginning of the policy of alliances.
After the victorious war of 1870-1871, the German Voelk achieved a position of infinite esteem in Europe. Thanks to the success of Bismarcks statesmanship and Prussian German military accomplishments, a great number of German States, which heretofore had been only loosely linked, and which, indeed, had not seldom in history faced each other as enemies, were brought together in one Reich. A province of the old German Reich, lost 170 years before, permanently annexed at that time by France after a brief predatory war, came back to the mother country. Numerically thereby the greatest part of the German nation, at least in Europe, was amalgamated in a unitary State structure. It was cause for concern that ultimately this State structure included .......... million Poles and .......... Alsatians and Lorrainers become Frenchmen. This did not correspond either with the idea of a National or of a Voelkish State. The national State of bourgeois conception must at least secure the unity of the State language, indeed down to the last school and the last street sign. Further it must include the German idea in the education and life of these Voelk and make them the bearers of this idea.
There have been weak attempts at this; perhaps it was never seriously wanted and in practice the opposite has been achieved.
The Voelkish State, conversely, must under no conditions annex Poles with the intention of wanting to make Germans out of them some day. On the contrary, it must muster the determination either to seal off these alien racial elements, so that the blood of its own Voelk will not be corrupted again, or it must without further ado remove them and hand over the vacated territory to its own National Comrades. That the bourgeois national State was not capable of such a deed is obvious. Neither had anyone ever thought about it, nor would anyone ever have done such a thing. But even if there had been a will to do this, there would not have been sufficient strength to carry it out, less because of the repercussions in the rest of the world than because of the complete lack of understanding that such an action would have found in the ranks of the so called national bourgeoisie. The bourgeois world had once presumed it could overthrow the feudal world, whereas in reality it continued the latter's mistakes through bourgeois grocers, lawyers, and journalists. It has never possessed an idea of its own, but indeed a measureless conceit and money. But a world cannot be conquered with this alone, nor another one built. Hence the period of bourgeois rule in world history will be as brief as it is indecently contemptible.
Thus, right from its foundation, the German Reich had also assimilated toxins into the new State structure whose deleterious effect could all the less be evaded as bourgeois equality, to top things off, gave Jews the possibility of using them as their surest shock troops.
Aside from that, the Reich nevertheless encompassed only a part of the German Nation, even though the largest. It would have been self evident that even if the new State had not possessed any great foreign policy aim of a Voelkish character, at least as a so called bourgeois national State it should have kept in view further unification and consolidation of the German Nation, as its minimum foreign policy aim. This was something that the bourgeois national Italian State never forgot.
Thus the German Voelk had obtained a National State which in reality did not completely encompass the Nation.
Thus the new borders of the Reich, viewed in a national political sense, were incomplete. They ran straight across German language areas, and even through parts which, at least formerly, had belonged to the German Union, even if in an informal way.
But these new borders of the Reich were even more unsatisfactory from a military viewpoint. Everywhere were unprotected, open areas which, especially in the West, were, in addition, of decisive importance for the German economy, extending far beyond the border areas. These borders were all the more unsuitable in a military political sense, since grouped around Germany were several great States with foreign policy aims as aggressive as their military means were plentiful. Russia in the east, France in the west. Two military States, one of which cast covetous glances at Eastern and Western Prussia, while the other tirelessly pursued its centuries old foreign policy goal for the erection of a frontier on the Rhine. In addition there was England, the mightiest maritime power of the world. The more extensive and unprotected the German land borders were in the east and west, the more restricted, by contrast, was the possible operational basis of a naval war. Nothing had made the fight against German submarine warfare easier than the spatially conditioned restriction of its port areas. It was easier to close off and patrol the triangle shaped body of water than would have been the case with a coast, say, 600 or 800 kilometers long. Taken all in all, the new borders of the Reich as such were not at all satisfactory from a military point of view. Nowhere was there a natural obstacle or a natural defense. As against this, however, everywhere were highly developed power States with hostile thoughts in the back of their minds. The Bismarckian premonition that the new Reich founded by him would once again have to be protected with the sword was most deeply justified. Bismarck expressed what was fulfilled forty five years later.
As little satisfactory as the new Reich borders could be in a national and military political sense, they were nevertheless even still more unsatisfactory from the standpoint of the possibility of sustenance of the German Voelk.
Germany in fact was always an overpopulated area. On the one hand this lay in the hemmed in position of the German nation in Central Europe, on the other in the cultural and actual importance of this Voelk and its purely human fertility. Since its historical entry into world history, the German Voelk has always found itself in need of space. Indeed, its first political emergence was forced primarily by that need. Since the beginning of the migration of Voelks, our Voelk has never been able to settle this need for space, except through conquest by the sword or through a reduction of its own population. This reduction of the population was sometimes effected through hunger, sometimes through emigration, and at times through endless, unfortunate wars. In recent times it has been effected by voluntary birth control.
The wars of the years 1864, 1866 and 1870-71, had their meaning in the national political unification of a part of the German Voelk and thus in the final end of German State political fragmentation. The black, white, red flag of the new Reich therefore did not have the slightest ideological meaning, but rather a German national one in the sense that it overcame the former State political fragmentation. Thus the black, white, red flag became a symbol of the German Federal State which had overcome the fragmentation. The fact that, notwithstanding and despite its youth, it enjoyed a positively idolatrous veneration, lay in the manner of its baptism, for indeed the very birth of the Reich towered infinitely above otherwise similar events. Three victorious wars, the last of which became a literal miracle of German statesmanship, German military leadership, and German heroism, are the deeds from which the new Reich was born. And when it finally announced its existence to the surrounding world in the imperial proclamation, through its greatest imperial herald, the thunder and rumbling of the batteries at the front surrounding Paris reechoes in the blare and the flourish of the trumpets.
Never before had an Empire been proclaimed in such a fashion.
But the black, white, red flag appeared to the German Voelk as the symbol of this unique event exactly as the black, red and yellow flag is and will remain a symbol of the November Revolution.
As much as the individual German States increasingly fused with one another under this banner, and as much as the new Reich secured their State political prestige and recognition abroad, the founding of the Reich still did not change anything with regard to the major need, our Voelk's lack of territory. The great military political deeds of our Voelk had not been able to give the German Voelk a border within which it would have been able to secure its sustenance by itself. On the contrary: in proportion as the esteem of German nationality rose through the new Reich, it became all the more difficult for the individual German to turn his back on such a State as an emigrant, whereas, conversely, a certain national pride and a joy in life, which we find almost incomprehensible today, taught that large families were a blessing rather than a burden.
After 1870-1871 there was a visibly rapid increase in the German population. In part its sustenance was covered through the utmost industry and great scientific efficiency with which the German now cultivated his fields within the secured frontiers of his Voelk. But a great part, if not the greatest, of the increase in German soil productivity was swallowed up by an at least equally great increase of the general living requirements which the citizen of the new State now likewise claimed. The nation of sauerkraut eaters and potato annihilators, as the French derisively characterized it, now slowly began to adjust its living standard to that of other Voelks in the world. Thus only a part of the yield of the increase of German agriculture was available for the net population increase.
As a matter of fact, the new Reich never knew how to banish this need. Even in the new Reich, at first, an attempt was made to keep the relation between population and land within tolerable limits through a permanent emigration. For the most shattering proof of the soundness of our assertion of the towering importance of the relation between population and land lies in the fact that, in consequence of this disproportion, specifically in Germany during the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s, the distress led to an epidemic of emigration which even at the beginning of the 1890s had swollen to a figure of nearly one and a quarter million people a year.
Thus the problem of the sustenance of the German Voelk had not been solved for the existing human mass, not even by the foundation of the new Reich. A further increase of the German Nation, however, could not take place without such a solution. Regardless of how such a solution might turn out, it had to be found in any case. Hence the most important problem of German foreign policy after 1870-1871 had to be the question of solving the problem of sustenance.
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