GERMAN MINISTER ERNST ROHM
CHIEF OF STAFF
ADDRESSING THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS IN BERLIN
ON DECEMBER 7, 1933
SPECIAL REPRINT EDITION LIMITED TO 500 COPIES
First printed December, 1933
Reprinted December 1975
SONS OF LIBERTY
Metairie, Louisiana 70004
National Socialism is a new philosophy (Weltanschauung).
A time will come when National Socialism will become the
political philosophy of the entire world, modified by racial and
geographical differences and adapted to the character and
needs of the various nations.
The roots of National Socialism lie in the trenches
of the World War.
It would be contrary to all experience if a catastrophe such
as the World War were to occur without leaving a permanent
impression on the inner consciousness of the nations.
Nearly all the peoples of the earth stood, at one place or
another, in arms against each other. No corner of the earth
was spared from recruiting for the melting pot of humanity
on the battlefields of Europe. In all parts of the world mothers
and sisters, widows and orphans, are mourning those whom
the World War summoned to the halls of death. The scars
of this most fearful scourge of God which has ever flayed
humanity are some twelve million graves, the direct or indirect
results of the War.
It is inevitable that an event of such gigantic proportions
and such monstrous results should have left its indelible marks
on the face of the earth. And not alone on the face; for the
spiritual structure of humanity has undergone, and had to
undergo, a profound change.
A political, social and economic system which succeeded
in setting the whole world on fire, or at least was not afale
to prevent the conflagration, which compelled men who had
no personal grudge against one another to slaughter each other
by the million, which allowed millions of innocent women and
children and old people to die of starvation, such a system,
I say, can no longer regulate the relationships of individuals
and nations after such an overwhelming demonstration of its
It was only right and natural that the soldier in the
trenches, who suffered most directly from the effects of this
false system and philosophy, should begin to think over these
On this side of the line as well as on the other.
The realization of the -madness of this war had nothing to do
with cowardice, nothing to do with the idea of victory or defeat.
To the soldier pacifism is cowardice elevated to a
principle. Cowardice is no philosophy but a defect of
character. The two statesmen and leaders who have developed
from the philosophy of the soldier in the trenches an entirely
new philosophy and an entirely new response to life among
their countrymen — I mean Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini
— were no cowards but fought in the front line and proved by
their courage and the shedding of their Hfeblood that they made
no unmanly attempts to avoid the consequences of war. Nor
can one say that National Socialism or Fascism, two
philosophical systems which are at least related to the soldierly
spirit, are philosophies either of the victors or of the
At the time when Mussolini first thought of Fascism, i. e.
during the War, Italy had every reason to feel herself on the
losing side, and Adolf Hitler first evolved his idea of National
Socialism when he was a soldier whose comrades were
victorious in all parts of the world. When these two unknown
soldiers of the Great War presented to their compatriots the
philosophies which they had won on the battlefield, the
situation was reversed.
Both reached almost identical results starting from
utterly different premises. It was years after the War before
either was able to present to the nation what he himself had
won from the War.
This shows that these ideas of the two soldiers have
nothing to do with war or peace, with victory or defeat, but
have a broad and valuable application which has nothing to
do with either the one or the other. That is what we call a
Bolshevism Is no „ Weltanschauung".
There are some people who .rega'rd Bolshevism, which is
a doctrine of a completely apposite type, as a result of the War.
We absolutely refuse to see in Bolshevism a „WeItanschauung".
Bolshevism do^a riot spring from the same sources as National
Socialism d$e&, it has not its roots in the trenches of the Great
War. Not one of the spiritual fathers of Bolshevism stood in
the trenches, not one was a soldier. Only an exhausted nation,
spiritually shattered by defeat, by false leadership, by hunger,
privation and death, a nation which had become embittered or
stunned by the blows of fate could fall a prey to this false
doctrine. The spirit of destruction and civil war, the ecstasies
of hatred which are a part of Bolshevism, have nothing
whatever to do with the soldierly spirit which is the source of
National Socialism. It is, on the contrary, the very negation of
all that the soldiers of all nations and all times have stood for.
I venture to doubt whether Bolshevism will ever permanent-
ly be the view of a large part of the world. Hatred and
negation alone do not possess sufficient staying power to be
principles of state and of the relationships between nations.
Even now we can see how, under the pressure of circumstances,
a basic change is being brought about in this system.
Bolshevism could only hope to maintain itself as a creed
if it succeeded in winning Germany as its point of entry into
the rest of the world. Had the German nation taken over this
alien philosophy and, thanks to its energy, its intelligence and
its determination, given it a new constructive force, then
Bolshevism would have been a serious menace to the world
and — let me say so frankly — a deadly poison for humanity.
Germany is the cradle not only of Europe's fate
but of the fate of the world.
The history of the last few months is far more than the
history of a German revolution. The fate of Bolshevism has
been sealed in Germany, which has broken once and for all the
back of this menace to the world.
At the moment when National Socialism destroyed
Marxism and all its works in the heart of Europe Bolshevism
lost for ever its hope of a world revolution, which hope alone
had been nourishing it throughout the years.
Through National Socialism Germany has become, instead
of a gate of entry for Bolshevism, a bulwark protecting the
whole world from it.
Since the political and spiritual rebirth of Germany,
brought about by the spirit of National Socialism, Marxism is
definitely on the down grade throughout the world.
So long as a strong National Socialist Germany exists in
the heart of Europe the world has nothing more to fear from
the danger of Bolshevization. Humanity has only National
Socialism to thank that it has been freed from the nightmare
which has been weighing down on every nation.
The fact that Bolshevism is doing its utmost to-day to
come to terms with the rest of the world as it now is, compels
one to recognize that the strongest force in the life of peoples
and of nations is mutual love and the will to cooperate, and
not hatred and negation.
It is a lie that war teaches men to hate. The soldiers who
stood at the front with their arms— however terrible those
arms were— did not hate each other. They did their duty
as they were ordered by the responsible leaders of their
nations. The hatred which has poisoned mankind by inventing
atrocity stories about the German soldier was not spread by
those who stood face to face with him in the trenches.
These poisonous libels did not arise in the front lines
where death ruled and the same need and the same danger
wove an invisible bond between the combatants, whatever uni-
form they wore.
On the contrary: the German soldier is proud to see In his
former enemy of the front line his fairest and most unpre-
When one stood daily face to face with death all that was
only outward appearance faded into insignificance, all that
was worthless disappeared. Only the genuine, the true and
the manly kept its (worth. The hatred which others were
spreading abroad found no place in the heart of the soldier
because he simply did not feel it. He saw that those on the
other side were suffering under the same tragedy, were doing
the same duty and dying the same death as he — were indeed
but mirrors of himself. One does not hate one's own reflection
for then one would have to hate oneself.
There is no truer touchstone of character than the front
line. Hunger and thirst, rain and frost, suffering and danger,
wounds and death strip the mask from all pretence and face
each man with the challenge: Show what you are! Under this
pitiless searchlight nothing can lie hidden and men's thoughts
turn inevitably to the essential. There can be no swerving
aside, each one must ask himself the question: Why?
And then the soldier of the World War saw that there were
powers above him who determined his fate — life and death
— without sharing in it. He realized that the soldier on the
other side, whom the law of self-preservation compelled him
to kill, was also nothing but a tool in the hands of forces which
one could not grasp. He recognized that he could kill the
warrior on the other side again and again and yet again
— but the war lived on.
As he pondered and searched for the real reason of the
war it gradually became clear to the soldier that he, who in
sweat and blood bore the whole burden of this ghastly tragedy,
was nothing but a pawn of the war.
The soldier realized a bitter truth:
The soldier marches and fights, kills and is killed. This
has been his task and his fate from the beginning of time and
it will always be so. War obeys its own laws. These are hard
and pitiless and must be so if war is not to become a per-
manent state. The natural duty of the soldier is to make war
as hard and pitiless as possible, and this is also the most
humane way, since the sooner the war is over the sooner will
there be peace. The blood which is thus shed is no stain on
the soldier's honour.
The soldier has no influence on the causes of the war.
A decision by force of arms between two nations, war, is the
last resort of politics, and up until now politics have always
been made by others and not by the soldier who has to pay
the final price with his life-blood.
The politicians and the intellectual and material supporters
of the ideals or interests in support of which the sword has
been seized did not stand side by side with the soldier on the
field of battle. They sat at home in parliaments or in the
comfortable chairs of ministers and presidents. They pulled
the wires, moved the figures, calculated and did business. In
their hearts was nothing but coldness and the business of
dying for their political or business interests they left to the
It was against this that the soldier rebelled.
The soldierly spirit Is an attitude of mind which by no
means needs to be connected with the use of weapons.
For the soldierly spirit means to stand up for a thing to
the very last.
If the politicians, the big stock brokers, the captains of
industry, the oil "generals" and the "admirals" of the commer-
cial marine, all those whose interests were fought for on the
battlefields of the World War, had gone to the front them-
selves and been men enough to risk their own persons and
their own lives for tneir own cause, whether good or ill, the
soldier would have appreciated that, for that would have been
But the fact that they did not do so, that they caused the
world to suffer nameless misery for four and a half years
while they sat in the peaceful quiet of their meeting and board
rooms, and that they let millions of men die has made the
soldier's demand a moral right:
// the soldier is to fight and die for a good or bad policy,
it must be for him to decide what this policy is to be.
If policy were only dictated by soldiers, who are convinced
that the mistakes of their policy revenge themselves first and
last on them themselves, mankind would be spared much misery,
for it would be governed with more feeling of responsibility.
We can all remember how agitation in favour of war was
carried on year after year. The result was a poisoning of
international public opinion, and the consequence — as one of
the then leading statesmen in the world admitted — that the
nations stumbled into the World War. It was not the soldiers
who agitated in favour of war, for they knew only too well
that they personally would have to stake their lives. Every
war, even a successful war, demands frightful sacrifices, and
the man 'who has to make these sacrifices will therefore never
wantonly bring about a war.
The soldier who bears arms, who kills or is killed with
them, and who wins or loses honourably knows that every war
must come to an end some day and that a state of hostility
cannot last for ever.
Those who have fought honourably can come to terms
But the way In which the World War was ended was
dishonourable, unmanly and unsoldierly. The so-called "Peace"
Treaty of Versailles with its dishonouring and impossible con-
ditions was nothing else but a continuation of the war
with other means and a perpetuation of hate. It was
not the soldiers who lay opposite each other during the war
who made this treaty and added fuel to the fire of hateful
propaganda which, in spite of the so-called peace, was and is
still being conducted against Germany. The forces behind it
were and are still the same which drove mankind into this
In the course of thei last [few months in particular, since
National Socialism assumed the reins of power in Germany
and liberated the German nation /from its internal party dissen-
sions, we have been experiencing a fresh wave of hate directed
against the young Germany pf Adolf Hitler. And here again
we recognize perfectly clearly that those people are again at
work who are quite certainly not ready to take up arms on
behalf of their intrigues. .
The emigrants who were driven out of the country, not
by National Socialism but by their own bad consciences, are
engaged in adding fuel to the flames of the agitation against
Germany. And unfortunately there is a section of the press,
that is controlled by interests whose business is war, which
permits its columns to be used for this action which poisons
In the pamphlets of these irresponsible, unscrupulous and
expatriated vagabonds the same lie occurs again and again,
namely, that the political fighting organizations of National-
Socialist Germany are military in character and might therefore
become a menace to the peace of the world.
At the beginning of my remarks I emphasized that National
Socialism had its origin in the trenches during the World War;
that it means the rejection by the soldierly spirit of the mad
principle of the control of policy by men and forces which
are neither ready to nor capable of defending the consequences
of their doings with their bodies and lives; and that National
Socialism asserts the soldier's claim to political leadership
because the conviction that he himself will have to bear the
brunt of all sins and mistakes in his policy offers the" best
guarantee of responsible leadership.
As the responsible Chief of the Staff of the whole of the
German Storm Troops, in view of the fact that we have nothing
to conceal and that the new Germany is still ready to disarm
down to the last machine-gun, if the other states do the same,
I address myself to world public opinion in order to explain
what these units really are.
The Storm Troops cannot be compared with any army,
any militia or any other military system in the world.
For they are none of these things. All the aforementioned
may suitably be described as armed forces. But this is absolu-
tely not the case with the Storm Troops according to Adolf
Hitler's expressed will. On the contrary, in all the proclama-
tions which deal with relations between the Reichswehr and
the Storm Troops he has clearly and unmistakably indicated
the dividing line: the Reichswehr is the sole armed force in
the state and the Storm Troops are the representatives of the
will and ideas of the National Socialist German Revolution.
The Reichswehr is charged with the defence of the frontiers
and the protection of the interests of the Reich as against
foreign countries. The task set the Storm Troops is to form
the new German state in mind and will on the basis of National-
Socialist ideas and to educate the individual German as a
living member of this National-Socialist state. There is no
connection whatever between the Reichswehr and the Storm
Troops. Thus the German Army took no part whatever in the
National-Socialist Revolution, a fact which is probably unique
in the history -of revolutions,
In spite of their numerical strength of about 2,500,000 men,
the Storm Troops are not concentrated in barracks and
rationed in common, as is the case with all formations be-
longing to any military system in neighbouring states. They are
not paid and are not provided with service clothing. To-day,
as in the past, service in the Storm Troops is based on the
absolutely voluntary system. The Storm Trooper pursues his
civil vocation, and merely devotes his leisure hours, in the
evening and at night, to Storm Troop service.
The Storm Troops were created as a protective and
fighting force for dealing with the internal political opponents
of National Socialism, namely Communism and Marxism. For
fourteen years the Storm Troops waged the moral- .fight to
obtain power in the state. Their prime task is now to secure
the victory of the National-Socialist Revolution.
The Storm Trooper is the exponent of the National-
Socialist conception of human existence and its apostle who
conveys the principles of National Socialism to the remotest
cottage and to all his fellow-countrymen without exception.
In the course of the years of struggle the Storm Troops,
with enormous sacrifices, have given convincing proof of their
absolute loyalty to the Leader and to the movement, and thus
showed themselves qualified for their task. It will always be
a glorious page in the history of Germany that in times of the
greatest need hundreds of thousands of men came forward who
were ready, from pure idealism and absolutely voluntarily, to
defend their principles to the last.
As there is a fondness abroad for pointing out that these
associations receive military drill, I must expressly emphasize
that this is a means and not an end. From the very start,
Adolf Hitler's object was to regenerate Germany on the basis
of well-tried discipline and order. Large masses and, above
all, the exponents of a revolutionary conception of human
existence, cannot be held together without the strictest discipline
and absolute order and without the absolute authority of the
leaders and discipline on the part of their followers.
Do you believe that the German revolution would have
been carried out so bloodlessly if all the fighters had not been
imbued with this iron discipline?
And it is just because the German nation wishes for the
well-ordered and peaceful construction of its new state that
the discipline and order which foreign countries fear under the
name of "military drill" is the best guarantee against the
Bolshevization not only of Germany but also of the whole of
So far it was simply and solely due to the fact that the
Storm Troops in the heart of Europe stood for years with
consciously anti-Bolshevist aims as a bulwark protecting
peace and order in the world, that Bolshevism was' unable to
lay hands on the western European countries as well. Hence
it is absolutely in the interest of foreign countries to see order
and discipline firmly established in the German nation. The
world ought to be thankful for that, instead of distorting the
facts and representing the Storm Troops as a menace to peace.
The uniform clothing is also constantly used as an excuse
for representing Germany to the world as ready and determined
for war. But the brown shirt, both as regards material and
cut, is completely unsuitable as service dress. It affords no
protection against inclement weather. I do not believe that an
unprejudiced military expert in any army in the world can
honestly describe the brown shirt as serviceable in wartime.
Besides, I have so far not heard that anyone has objected to the
wearing of uniform by the numerous men's and women's
associations in neighbouring countries. And yet, at the present
time, nearly the whole of the young people in England, France,
Italy, the United States, Poland, and Russia are not only
dressed in uniform whiqh resembles that of their armies in cut
and colour, but they are even trained quite openly in the use
of arms for war service by military men on the active and
reserved lists. The service shirt of the Storm Troops, on the
other hand, is not suited to render its wearer invisible against
a natural background, as is required in the case of service
uniform. But it is intended, on the contrary, owing to the
unusual luminosity of its colour, to distinguish him from his
surroundings and to enable friend and foe to recognize him
as the exponent of the National-Socialist conception of human
No war could be waged with the SA.
There is no occasion to explain in detail that, with men so
strikingly clothed and in view of the complete lack of war-like
weapons, no war whatever could be waged.
Even the objection that the brown battalions could be
easily and rapidly armed and equipped with the technical
means of modern warfare will be overruled by every expert.
Those who make such assertions merely show that they have
no idea of the enormous difficulties connected with this
On the contrary, I know of numerous military experts in
neighbouring countries who describe such a rapid armament
as an impossibility. But I may mention that these opinions
were always given when it was a question of insisting upon
their own demands for armaments.
Apart from the fact that Germany has completely fulfilled
the obligations to disarm imposed upon her in the Treaty of
Versailles in the certainly unprejudiced opinion of the
Commissions of Control, she does not even possess the
financial and industrial possibilities for rearmament. Germany
is conscious of her unfavourable geographical position from
a military point of view, and has therefore the greatest interest
in the maintenance of an honourable peace. The German
industrial areas are nearly all within range of our neighbours'
artillery. Germany has not a single military aeroplane with
which to protect herself against the many thousands owned
by the states surrounding us.
Unarmed men with no regular training in the use of arms
cannot be converted overnight, merely by putting arms into
their hands into formidable soldiers menacing the safety of the
Some very smart observers have also meanwhile discovered
that my appointment as Reich Minister and the consequent
embodiment of the Storm Troops in the State is a most
suspicious measure on the part of the new Germany.
I constantly regret the vast quantity of calculations, based
on probabilities and efforts of the imagination, which inter-
national public opinion wastes on complicating the simplest and
most obvious things.
The world and the peace of the nations would be much
better served if all the clever people who rack their brains to
find the most wrong-headed explanations possible for any facts
whatever would take a little trouble and regard National
Socialism and its view of things as facts, and study its laws.
I am telling you no secret and nothing new when I invite
your attention to the totalitarian claim of the National-Socialist
state That is to say, the National-Socialist idea has seized
the power in the State and thus broken the chains which bound
National Socialism has Itself become the State and brooks no
movements of any kind beside itself.
It is clear that the nation as a whole is not yet fully
penetrated by the new ideas, and cannot yet be fully penetrated
The complete victory ot a new conception of human
existence takes time.
• I may recall to you how many centuries were required
before Christianity won the day.
Nothing is, therefore, more natural than that the National-
Socialist State should make use of the old and well-tried cham-
pions of this new political faith to educate the entire population
to accept in their hearts and really live in accordance with the
principles of National Socialism. It would be a contradiction
of the totalitarian claim of the National-Socialist State if the
State were not to include the party as representing the idea
upon which the State is based. This applies even more to the
Storm Troops who, as regards their ideas, organization and
fighting qualities, are the strongest expression of the power
of National Socialism as such. The Storm Troops have got
rid of a form of government in spite of the most embittered
resistance on the part of its supporters. They have replaced
the vanquished state of the November revolution and the Wei-
mar National Assembly by their own State, the National-
Adolf Hitler has now incorporated the Storm Troops in the
State. The Storm Troops have thus become not only the
representatives ol authority but also the bearers ol respon-
sibility in their, the National-Socialist, State.
The National-Socialist State is a final and irrevocable fact
— and that must be accepted by its enemies at home and
abroad. For the State is the nation, and the nation is the State.
Sons of Liberty
P.O. Box 214
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