Adolf Hitler's Zweites Buch
Chapter 12: German Goals
We cannot examine Germany's foreign policy possibilities without first possessing clarity on what we want in Germany itself, that is, on how Germany itself thinks to shape her future. Further, we must then try to determine clearly the foreign policy goals of those powers in Europe which, as members of the coalition of victors, are important as world powers.
I have already dealt with Germany's various foreign policy possibilities in this book. Nevertheless, I shall once more briefly present the possible foreign policy goals so that they may yield a basis for the critical examination of the relations of these individual foreign policy aims to those of other European States.
1) Germany can renounce setting a foreign policy goal altogether. This means that, in reality, she can decide for anything and need be committed to nothing at all.
Thus in the future she will continue the policy of the last thirty years, but under other conditions. If now the world consisted just of States with a similar political aimlessness, Germany could at least endure this even though it could hardly be justified. But this is not at all the case. Thus, just as in ordinary life a man with a fixed life goal that he tries to achieve at all events will always be superior to others who live aimlessly, exactly likewise is it in the life of nations. But, above all, this is far from saying that a State without a political goal is in the position to avoid dangers that such a goal may bring in its train. For just as it seems exempt from an active function, in consequence of its own political aimlessness, in its very passiveness it can also just as easily become the victim of the political aims of others. For the action of a State is not only determined by its own will, but also by that of others, with the sole difference that in one case it itself can determine the law of action, whereas in the other case the latter is forced upon it. Not to want a war because of a peaceful sentiment, is far from saying that it can also be avoided. And to avoid a war at any price is far from signifying saving life in the face of death.
Germany's situation in Europe today is such that she is far from allowing herself to hope that she may go forward to a condition of contemplative peace with her own political aimlessness. No such possibility exists for a nation located in the heart of Europe. Either Germany itself tries actively to take part in the shaping of life, or she will be a passive object of the life-shaping activity of other nations. All the sagacity hitherto supposedly able to extricate nations from historical dangers through declarations of a general disinterest has, up to now, always shown itself to be an error as cowardly as it is stupid. Whoever will not be a hammer in history, will be an anvil. In all its development up to now, our German Voelk has had a choice only between these two possibilities. When it itself wanted to make history, and accordingly joyfully and boldly staked all, then it was still the hammer. When it believed that it could renounce the obligations of the struggle for existence, it remained, up to now, the anvil on which others fought out their struggle for existence, or it itself served the alien world as nutriment. Hence, if Germany wants to live, she must take the defense of this life upon herself, and even here the best parry is a thrust. Indeed, Germany may not hope at all that she can still do something for shaping her own life, if she does not make a strong effort to set a clear foreign policy aim which seems suitable for bringing the German struggle for existence into an intelligent relation to the interests of other nations.
If we do not do this, however, aimlessness on a large scale will cause lack of planing in particulars. This lack of planing will gradually turn us into a second Poland in Europe. In the very proportion that we let our own forces become weaker, thanks to our general political defeatism, and the only activity of our life is spent in a mere domestic policy, we will sink to being a puppet of historical events whose motive forces spring from the struggle for existence and for their interests waged by other nations.
Moreover, nations which are not able to take clear decisions over their own future and accordingly would like best of all not to participate in the game of world development, will be viewed by all the other players as a spoilsport and equally hated. Indeed, it can even happen that, on the contrary, the lack of planing of individual political actions, grounded in the general foreign policy aimlessness, is regarded as a very shrewd impenetrable game and responded to accordingly. It was this which befell us as a misfortune in the pre War period. The more impenetrable, because they were incomprehensible, were the political decisions of the German Governments of that time, the more suspicious they seemed. And all the more, therefore, were especially dangerous ideas suspected behind the most stupid step.
Thus, if today Germany no longer makes an effort to arrive at a clear political goal, in practice she renounces all possibilities of a revision of her present fate, without in the least being able to avoid future dangers.
2) Germany desires to effect the sustenance of the German Voelk by peaceful economic means, as up to now. Accordingly, even in the future, she will participate most decisively in world industry, export and trade. Thus she will again want a great merchant fleet, she will want coaling stations and bases in other parts of the world, and finally she will want not only international sales markets, but also her own sources of raw material, if possible, in the form of colonies. In the future such a development will necessarily have to be protected, especially by maritime means of power.
This whole political goal for the future is a Utopia, unless England is seen as defeated beforehand. It establishes anew all the causes which in 1914 resulted in the World War. Any attempt by Germany to renew her past along this way must end with England's mortal enmity, alongside which France may be reckoned as a most certain partner from the outset.
From a Voelkish standpoint setting, this foreign policy aim is calamitous, and it is madness from the point of view of power politics.
3) Germany establishes the restoration of the borders of the year 1914 as her foreign policy aim.
This goal is insufficient from a national standpoint, unsatisfactory from a military point of view, impossible from a Voelkish standpoint with its eye on the future, and mad from the viewpoint of its consequences. Thereby, even in the future, Germany would have the whole coalition of former victors against her in a compact front. In view of our present military position, which with a continuation of the present situation will worsen from year to year, just how we are to restore the old borders is the impenetrable secret of our national bourgeois and patriotic government politicians.
4) Germany decides to go over to a clear, farseeing territorial policy. Thereby she abandons all attempts at world industry and world trade, and instead concentrates all her strength in order, through the allotment of sufficient living space for the next hundred years to our Voelk, also to prescribe a path of life. Since this territory can be only in the east, the obligation to be a naval power also recedes into the background. Germany tries anew to champion her interests through the formation of a decisive power on land.
This aim is equally in keeping with the highest national as well as Voelkish requirements. It likewise presupposes great military power means for its execution, but does not necessarily bring Germany into conflict with all European great powers. As surely as France here will remain Germany's enemy, just as little does the nature of such a political aim contain a reason for England, and especially for Italy, to maintain the enmity of the World War.
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