Originally published under the title: „Der Hitlerprozeß“ – by Karl Richard Ganzer
Whoever views the history of the Weimar Republic and its countless effort to preserve its existence will find that in the struggle against its domestic enemies it again and again resorted with noticeable clumsiness to measures that in the end benefited these enemies. It struck at its opponent – but it hit him so that he only became harder, more tenacious, more insubordinate and burst the old fronts with a new defiance. The republic perished, because it did not summon up the courage for ultimate decisions. When it was still young, it indeed mocked Imperial Germany – but it allowed itself to be saved by counterrevolutionary troops. When it believed itself to be in its peak years, but was already very aged, it removed the shirts from the charging opposition – but it did not find the courage to totally exterminate the opponents. There is not one of its measures that did not suffer from the worst of all political evils, half-measures. And there is not more precise proof for the lack of political instinct than the fact that this always the same failure, this always the same indecisiveness, this always the same half-measure could continue to thrive despite all bad experiences through the fifteen long years – to the deserved end.
One must also view the Hitler trial in the context of the system’s extraordinary inner insecurity in order to grasp it in its full significance. For indeed, on November 9th the rulers had triumphed at the Feldherrnhalle with salvos of fire. And indeed, after this bloody victory the system powers from all camps – from the red and black and bourgeois – came together in a unified front of loudly stressed confidence, but actually just poorly concealed fear. But as self-serving as they again and again confirmed their own glory, as permanently as the National Socialist movement seemed to be mashed and shot up: a single force, the decisive force in all history’s conflicts, escaped the clever and all too selfcertain deliberations of the „victors”: the folk.
For now the new political idea, which had proven for the first time that one could also die for it, sprang like a river of fire into the hearts of countless people who were waiting, hesitating, unbelieving. The folkish movement experienced an upsurge in Bavaria like never before. And opinions were henceforth sharply divided. November 9th had already, in the middle of the great despair of these hours, let one experience how quickly a folk can transform itself, if a great example stirs the slumbering courage and the hidden defiance. In the following weeks as well, the excitement did not abate. Quite the opposite: the more arrogantly the „victors” of November 9th bragged in their statesmen speeches and the louder their sympathetic press attested their great statesmanship, the more hostile the mood of the masses in broad circles became. An intensive leaflet struggle, combated by the police only unsuccessfully, put the government under the heaviest bombardment for months. The government itself brought up its heaviest guns with its official dispatches, press declarations and large wall posters. A generous influencing of public opinion against the imprisoned leaders of the revolt set in – already many weeks before the trial, which was supposed to clarify the question of guilt unbiased. But while the confidential memos of Kahr, Lossow and Speisser, in which the gentlemen put the blood guilt of November 9th on National Socialism and elevated themselves into heaven as innocents and made the rounds, spreading poison, in the loyal newspaper offices, in the circles of „good society” and in all circles of influence and rank, the folk outside remained true in a moving way. Undeterred, Hitler’s soldiers sang their old song: „Hitler spirit in the heart must not perish, Storm Troop Hitler will soon be resurrected!” And even the children, enchanted by the name Hitler in a strange way, found a new version for their counting verses: one, two three, Hitler will be free” [„Eins, zwei drei, der Hitler, der wird frei…”]
Could one employ police against this? And what did the base agitation publications of the white-blue reactionary, with which one flooded the land, miss here through miscalculation? Say those infamous pamphlets in white-blue jacket, which an anonymous „Veni Vidi” had written and proved with an introduction, which was ingratiating like a bad sermon and in the process dripping with hidden insults? Hitler was portrayed as the typical ambitious man from lowly origins who had been made megalomaniac through flattery; one of the dead of the Feldherrnhalle, Scheubner-Richrer, was defamed as an adventurous political swindler who from the background fatefully guided the decisions of a hesitant Hitler; Ludendorff was described as the great Prussian militarist who had only come to Bavaria in order to prepare a new war – there was nobody who was not attacked by the poisonous spite of this hidden writer.
Nonetheless: what did such insults count? They just pulled the front of the reliable closer together and incited them to even greater passion in their own struggle. For it was felt clearly enough that no moral, and hence no political, energies stood behind a government that recruited witnesses of the inferior quality of such slanderers.
The first hour of the „victory“‘, after all, had already proven how unsure and inwardly unstable this government was, how it allowed itself to be ruled by such dangerous half-measures even in its most objective decisions. Already in the night of November of 8th it had boldly banned the NSDAP, the Bund Oberland and the Reichskriegsflagge, and thereby believed it had broken forever the revolutionary movement; but now these organizations had expanded beyond their own independence and merged together into the „Deutschen Kampfbund”, which was its own legal body: but one had forgotten to ban the one who had actually carried the revolt! Should the folk gain confidence in a government that in hours of decision loses its nerve so much that it only knows the language of the machinegun and in its other measures commits half-measure after half-measure? Could the folk continue to give its agreement to a system that accuses its shot down opponent of hostility to the constitution a hundred times on one day and today smashes his organization – but on the next day assures that it would allow him to enter the parliaments unhindered, if he just wishes it. True to parliamentarian error, the Reich Chancellor back then announced that the ban of the political parties merely prohibited the outward activity and the organizational union of those who belonged to the banned political parties; it „did not hinder giving expression to political views through election of certain representatives for parliamentary bodies.” The opponent who had just stood on the whipping-post as the enemy of all enemies — he could march along in the same republic, if he just put up a parliamentary appearance…. The folk has an unerring feeling for the inner strength of an institution that makes political decisions.
I hit just like the Bavarian, so did the government of Ebert-Stresemann as well reveal in its decisions the evil of half-measures, which the healthy sense of the folk never forgives. The „traitors” had to make all that much greater an impression, who, even if they had failed, had nonetheless always let be surmised that history-shaping energies stood behind their will!
It was no wonder that, in the face of this background of pitiful uncertainty, even more energetic plans that the system rallied to found no echo. Even though the Weimar Republic took action against rebelling communists and Seeckt’s emergency decrees had preserved makeshift order, it could still be sensed behind it that there existed nowhere a firmly founded authority under Ebert’s rule. Even the sole positive accomplishment of those months, the creation of the Rentenmark [currency], was not able to bestow any superiority on the system; for one knew everywhere that the plans for the security of the totally shaken currency had been worked out by the politicians of the opposite and not by system big-shots such as perhaps Hilferding.
The Bavarian government as well found little support when it strove to demonstrate its security and systemization of its political conceptions with great enterprises. It was quickly proven that after as before the innermost striving of the ruling white-blue regionalism aimed at a loosening of the Reich. Then the suspicion of the National Socialist influenced masses only became greater.
The Hitler revolt had smashed the Reich threatening plans of the separatist reaction. But now it cloaked its old goal in constitutional forms: a few weeks before the court was supposed to decide whether Hitler had committed high treason, the Bavarian presented a renewed attack against the Reich’s unity in a great memo. It demanded that the governmental sovereignty of the individual states be re-established to the full extent; the Reich’s right of sovereignty had to be restricted; even military sovereignty has to be greatly loosened; hence the Bavarian provincial commander should be named and removed only with the consent of the Bavarian government; even „a temporary dispatch of Bavarian troop elements to a non-Bavarian location (!) may only take place with the consent of the Bavarian government”; hence Bavarian troops were to be obligated to the Bavarian government in addition to the Reich government; and if the Weimar Constitution with incomprehensible generosity allowed the individual states to conclude state treaties with other states, leastwise with the Reich’s consent, then this Reich destroying memo wants to allow the Reich the meaningful right of a mere protest, with which nobody concerns himself… Eighteen young Germans had died at the Feldherrnhalle for the winning of a single, solidly unified Reich. But Hitler and his friends had stood up for the strengthening of the Reich in a time of utmost urgency, they sat behind the walls of the Landsberg fortress and waited for the verdict about their „high treason”. But while one treated these rebels for the power and the glory of the Reich like state criminals, one pushed forward wedge after wedge against the Reich structure oneself…
The Hitler trial prepares itself in such a situation, in the middle of a time filled with great tensions, amidst excitement, lack of clarity, in a city that is filled with political guerrilla warfare with leaflet, poster and press work, but also in a city in which the accused have at their disposal almost no public means of defence against the pubic attacks of the officials and the pro-system press. For weeks, the masses wait for the scheduling of the beginning of the trial. For weeks they are stalled, comforted, fed uncertain answers to burning questions. For weeks a breathless tension lies over Munich, because each asks how far Kahr wants to still expand his regimen of ban; whether the official influencing of public opinion, of the witnesses, yes, of the court would not finally cease; how the rulers would probably behave in a painful questioning of the witnesses.
For weeks such questions hang in the air unanswered. Then the arming news suddenly comes that Kahr and Lossow with him have resigned from their offices.
A few days after that the trial begins: „Against Hitler and associates for high treason and abetting high treason”.
For a long time it had been a main concern of the Bavarian government whether one would be able to protect the trial against disruptions: so correctly did one assess the folk mood, which viewed the case as the act of a dead paragraph judiciary. After long hesitation, one had nonetheless chosen Munich as the trial site. The court was supposed to convene in the same infantry school whose ensigns had marched under the swastika flag on November 8 to the Bürgerbräukeller. The ensigns’ dining hall has been transformed into the courtroom.
A few days before the beginning of the trial large posters hang everywhere in the city. They announce the security measures, which the government deems necessary in order to avoid surprises. One reads the sentences with concern and pedantry.
A whole part of the city around the infantry school is put under special law: assemblies of three (!) or more people is forbidden here. Photographing or filming is forbidden here. Peddling, even newspapers, is forbidden. No political assemblies may be held in the halls in this district; but since the largest halls of Munich lie here – Löwenbräu, Arzbergerkeller, Augustinerkeller and Zirkus Krone – the political assemblies relating to the events in the trial are largely prevented. Furthermore, the whole quarter is under the strictest police observation. All motor traffic is blocked. Violations are punishable with prison. And when on the first day of the trial the residents along the Blutenburgstrasse look out their windows, they even discover that the square in front of the infantry school is barricaded with bard-wire and chevaux de frise like in wartime. Narrow passages are left open, they are guarded by armed sentries. The sparse visitors who are admitted to the trial, even the reporters, even the women, wait inside the building for a painful body search for weapons…
Munich, the city with the calmest populace, is amazed…
Already many weeks before the beginning of the trial a brisk rush for the available press cards had set in. Special attention had been aroused by the participation of the foreign press: it was obvious that it did not view the case as a purely legal every or as merely an internal Bavarian matter, rather as a sign of crisis that should provide insight into the inner strength of the Weimar Republic. The press was so strongly represented that only a few rows of chairs remained free for the other visitors.
The defendants, with one sole exception, wore civilian clothes, even the old General Quartermaster of the old army. The press noticed uniformly that Adolf Hitler looked around in the courtyard with interest: they had looked forward all too much to seeing a crushed sinner in order to not be amazed now to find him with the free certainty of the attacker. The press of the left feels it a provocation that he wears the Iron Cross First Class; but the bourgeois press from the Kahr camp, moved, remains silent that one drags the bravest soldiers, proven leaders, before the judge. And certainly, it is also not an easy office for the chief judge to now have to try these defendants by the same procedure that is also the exact same for chicken thieves. The report with the customary „here”, these ten „traitors” – Adolf Hitler, „author in Munich”, the victor of Tannenberg, Ludendorff the highest judge in Bavaria, Pöhner, the high Bavarian administrative official Frick, the general staff member Kriebel, the front officers Brückner, Wagner, Weber, Röhm, Pernet… They let the banality of this naming pour over them – and then the prosecutor reads the indictment. In whose first sentences two paragraphs resound like a symbol: „The behaviour of the accused constitutes a crime of high treason according to § 81 No. 2 and § 47 of the Reich Legal Code…”
The reading of the indictment lasts one and one- quarter hours: it is so detailed, it expresses the events under indictment down to the smallest detail. Often it rises to sharply pointed, dramatic portrayals; then it again carefully arranges its accusations together point by point – in the most painstaking effort not to forget a single offense from the plenitude of suspicions. It teams with names and details, with quotes and testimonies, it reveals an amazing effort in the gathering of material – what it lacks, so that it remains poor and meager despite its extensive contents, is something very essential: the understanding for the tremendous necessities of the political situation and the unnameable tensions out of which the deed of November 9th took place. This indictment is down to the smallest detail thought out legalistically. But that beyond legal systems there exists a life full of elemental conflicts, this it excludes from its deliberations. That the people of the year 1923 hunger and from their distress shout like crazy for some kind of solution, it does not figure in. That foreign claws tear at unprotected German borders, it leaves unspoken. That the threat of the end has grinned over Germany since the ruinous day when the masters of the new German conditions smashed a fighting army and defiled a proud Hag; that shame and rage glowed in proud hearts for years until a decision flamed up from these fires, has no room in the cool logic of these legal doctrines. When the accused could still fight out there for their image of a new Reich, their enemies were the many powers of German decay. Now, in this hall, they find themselves before a new enemy: their opponent is the paragraph with its claim to regulate according to rigid law life, in which since ancient times only the creative passions of great men of deeds are valid.
But when then in the afternoon Adolf Hitler states his position on the indictment, with his words he draws precisely the worlds into the field of vision of which the prosecutor’s indictment did not have the vaguest idea. With a single blow, the impressions have transformed themselves: no longer the pale shadow of paragraphs and pandects, rather the swaying words of the political shaper dominate in the hall.
Adolf Hitler begins with great calm. But already his first sentence points to a historical tension, which almost nobody in Germany feels yet and in which nonetheless the fate of this republic lies most innately determined: „It seems amazing that a human being who for almost six years was accustomed to blind obedience now suddenly comes into conflict with the state and its constitution…”. The decisive problem of the whole post-war period has here in a single sentence been thrust into a bright light: that the prevailing condition of Weimar remains so tremendously distant from a genuine state that it must trigger the rebellion of all truly creative people. Where in Germany did there exist a more passionate will for state and power and clear folk structure than in Adolf Hitler? And where did there exist worse insults and slanders of these highest values of a community than among the Weimar mighty, who had the audacity to cloak themselves with the claims of any genuine state despite their secret hostility toward the state? It was not otherwise: the will for genuine state power and strong public order lived from the start on only among those whom one dragged before the court as national rebels and dangerous desperados. The powers, however, who set themselves up us judges, had never known the creative passion, the strict breeding, the lofty discipline from which the „rebels’’ drew their formative energies. They had become great through treason against the state; they lived from continued dissolution of all order; they practiced an ongoing subversion of the community idea. If there existed anywhere in Germany these eternally same values, which were always necessary for the establishment of a state, then solely among the outlawed opposition, which had never accepted the decay. It was no wonder that already just this basic position gave the accused Adolf Hitler immeasurable superiority over the passionless world of the paragraph. It was nonetheless surprising, however, how he immediately exploited this inner superiority for an attack of historical rank. He has just spoken for a few minutes when the fact began to show itself that made this trial become one of the most memorable political trials: namely that the accused who were called to account by a doubtful political system rose up to become merciless accusers against the same system and to encounter it with such blows that looking back it loses the moral foundations for its indictment. The speech with which Adolf Hitler is supposed to defend himself becomes a dismissal without pity.
Will he crawl to the cross and disavow his struggle, which, after all, has failed? That is what the wise men in all camps hoped. But each sentence of this speech becomes a grip on the decisive leverage points of German distress; and beyond that, each sentence becomes an attack against the sources of the great decline.
„I came to Vienna as a seventeen-year-old human being and learned to study and observe three important questions there: the social question, the race problem and finally the Marxist movement. I left Vienna as an absolute anti-Semite, as mortal enemy of the whole Marxist world-view, as pan-German in my political thinking.
„The Marxist movement is a life question of the German nation. By Marxism, I mean a doctrine that in principle rejects the value of personality, which replaces energy with mass and hence has a destructive effect on all of cultural life… Germany’s future means the destruction of Marxism. Either this race tuberculosis thrives and then Germany dies off, or it is expelled from the folk body, then Germany will thrive…”.
„The German revolution (of 1918) was a revolution and hence successful high treason [against the state], which, after all, is known to be not punishable…. What happened in 1918 in Germany, however, was not high treason, rather betrayal of country, which can never be forgiven. For us, that was a vile crime against the German folk, a stab in the back of the German nation…”
The blows struck home. The Marxist press will howl in a wild chorus. A flow of insults on the following day will be the answer, arrogant, impertinent, with the screaming shamelessness of the exposed. The reporters in the hall jot down the insults for the next day’s lead article: „November criminals around Ludendorff, big mouth Hitler, politically bankrupt people, criminal dilettantes…” But the Führer continues to speak.
He portrays the rise of the party from the band of the first seven unknown men. He reports about the creation of the first S.A.: „For the man who is willing to fight with intellectual weapons, we have intellect, for the others, the fist.” He glows with rekindled shame over the pitiful bearing of the system politicians in the Ruhr struggle. And he finally comes to speak about Bavaria as well and the national movement under the protection of the Bavarian government authorities: for the first time, the name Kahr is mentioned. Hitler’s first sentence about him is a verdict: „I became acquainted with Mr. Kahr in 1920. He made the impression on me that he was an honourable official, but that was all.” And after a clear portrayal of the highly tense situation in late summer 1923. including all the essential threads, an equally annihilating verdict over Lossow comes out: “A military commander in an army with only seven divisions. Whoever has one division in hand and rebels against his chief, must be determined to take it to the end, or he is a common mutineer and rebel.”
The relationship of the forces which in autumn 1923 wrestled for the fate of Bavaria and Reich, is very sharply outlined. And now the direction of the thrust also becomes visible: for the first time, he refers to the separatist threat, in which Bavaria tottered for months: The struggle such as Dr. von Kahr wages, is a crime, unless one is determined from the first minute on to integrate oneself into the German national uprising… The path of looking around for foreign help is for every German the most shameless one that exists… Lossow thought in the Ruhr struggle that there were two possibilities: either to dress the resistance in an energetic form, or, if the thing collapsed, each individual state must see how it got through; that would naturally lead to the Reich ‘s disintegration. Back then, I was very moved inwardly by that; for my position is: rather be hanged, if Germany turns Bolshevik, than to perish under French saber rule.”
They must have been fearful minutes when Hitler spoke about these dangers. And the listeners, moved, again and again felt from his words the desperate struggle that back then had to have been waged for the decisions of the triumvirate Kahr-Lossow-Seisser: how Hitler again and again made attempts to push them back from the Reich threatening plans; how at each discussion he struggled anew for the shared German solution; and how he finally thought he could believe that the three gentlemen were in full agreement with his own direction of will. From the words with which he portrayed the final result of these conferences, from these bitter, disappointed, accusing words, one senses the feeling of salvation that obviously prevailed within him when the unity of views seemed achieved: „The fact was: Lossow, Kahr and Seisser had the same goal as we, namely to eliminate the Reich government in its present international and parliamentarian orientation and to replace it with an anti-parliamentarian government. If indeed our whole enterprise would have been high treason, then Lossow, Seisser and Kahr must have been committing high treason with us the whole time, since during all these months nothing else was discussed than that for which we now sit in the defendant’s chair…”.
A movement of amazement passes through the hall. What consequences will these words have?
Initially, they had no other consequences than that they revealed the direction of the second thrust that the accused planned to make in this trial. If the one line of their offensive defence aimed at Bavarian separatism, then this second one followed the daring, yes, adventurous sounding idea of forcing the accusers themselves onto the defendant’s seat. The plan is unique. Again and again, Hitler presents it to the court:
„We did not threaten in the Bürgerbräukeller, rather I reminded the gentlemen what they had promised us the whole time, and they offered to draw the consequences, whereby, however, I foresaw that they would go to prison with us, if the thing fails – an opinion, however, that I must correct today… It is impossible that I committed high treason, for that could not lie in the events of November 8th, rather in all the negotiating and bearing of the previous months – and then I am amazed that those who did the same thing as I do not sit next to me… If we committed high treason, then Kahr, Lossow, Seisser and an endless number of others did the same thing. I deny any guilt, as long as my company is not supplemented with those gentlemen who helped prepare things down to the most minute detail!”
The attack continues. A barrage of reprimands, refutations, facts flies at the opponent and covers him. Bit by bit, it has smashed his carefully constructed positions into pieces. The hardest will, the boldest intellect from the front of attackers has already on the first day whipped the charge forward, and the companions only have to make sure to catch up with the charging ardour. The attack had been launched from a quite unfavourable basis. But now it has already penetrated deep into the enemy zone. Overwhelmed, the observers follow the unaccustomed collision. Their feelings are already leaning toward the leader of the charge, who now at the conclusion of his attack signal declares in triumphant defiance:
„I feel myself as best German who has wanted the best for the German folk.”
It is not possible to subject the justification speeches of the other defendants to a thorough examination. Decisive is that the companions as well without exception charged behind the Führer. Decisive is furthermore the courage of the thinking that dominated them all uniformly. Seldom has the court seen a similar loyalty to one’s own deed, which has nonetheless suddenly been declared a crime: not one who does not declare that he would repeat this „crime” at any hour, because Germany demands that from him. Seldom as well did a group of defendants confront its judges in a similar competition for the responsibility: Adolf Hitler had already declared in his speech that he as leader demanded sole responsibility. Now his companions claimed responsibility for their own decisions with the same passion. There are no requests for forgiveness. There is only the attack in the same front.
Again and again, both lines of attack in this battle also become visible: the attack against the not accused fellow traitors Kahr, Lossow and Seisser, and the attack against the diverse regionalist tendencies in Bavarian politics.
Most of the accused had for years already played a leading role in Bavarian post-war politics – some as high officials of the state, others as officers, still others as leaders of paramilitary formations, which, after all, since the days of the local militias had also always worked very closely with the political groups around Kahr. Their testimony then put a spotlight on the background of previous Bavarian politics; and again and again they let it be seen that these politics – exactly like the action of the defendants themselves – had been glaringly directed against the Weimar constitution: yes, after all. only the common front against the Weimar system had brought the National Socialist opposition into a unified front with the Bavarian government men. But now that Weimar had the upper hand in the conflict with Hitler, the Bavarian „battle companions” had defected to the victorious camp. How shameful for them and their political honour the memories of the joint actions against Weimar, the „misfortune” of yesterday, the „legal power” of today, is now put to them from all sides – by men, who after November 9th did not crawl in homage before the Weimar presidential seat, rather who remained true to the old political conviction and the old oaths and manly words.
Pöhner, Bavarian judiciary official, for years in close political contact with Kahr, testifies: „I learned to highly value Kahr, since he, like I, was of the opinion that what had played out in November 1918 had been a crime… I was (on November 8th) very pleased that somebody had finally been found who possessed the courage to pull along with himself the gentlemen who long already planned what the new government in the Reich had long since decided… I do not hide my whole political position. If what you accuse me of is high treason — I have been engaged in this business for five years already! ”
And a defence attorney, who asks him whether Kahr in the year 1920 and again in 1922 had taken very illegal paths in order to come to power, receives the answer with laughter: „Yes, I was there, after all!”
Lieutenant-Colonel Kriebel jumps to his side as he relates the same matter, where Kahr had ensured himself leadership in Bavaria: „Back then I earned my state coupe spurs.” But Kriebel passes a different verdict over the time when Kahr, in possession of power, began to switch to „legal” circumstances: that „Kahr is a man of the open backdoor, who does not draw the final consequences from a decision.” And at the conclusion of his examination, quite agitated: „I feel no kind of regret to have helped, I am proud that I have done it, because I have long already loathing for men who have spoken with the mouth to do something, but who have never done something”.
Robert Wagner, First Lieutenant in the Reichswehr, also attests of General Lossow that he has done nothing other than the struggle against the Weimar constitution, to which he had sworn an oath, and which he brushed aside in a coup d’état manner when he had his own division swear allegiance to Bavaria: „General Seeckt called Lossow’s action a breach of oath… But we saw in Lossow the new Yorck.”
Exactly so docs Frick remember Kahr’s very illegal political past, who does not fit his present sudden loyalty at all: „During the Kapp revolt I got close to Kahr, who on March 13th and 14th played an outstanding role…”.
All of them then also go into extensive presentations about the days immediately before November 8th. when one conference followed the other and each ended with the realization that Kahr, Lossow and Seisser wanted to push their already long made break with Berlin to a violent confrontation as soon as the desired opportunity to strike just presented itself. When the examination of the defendants has ended, there can no longer be any doubt that the three winners of November 9th have been hard hit in their present assurances of loyalty: that their loyalty to the constitution, which they now put on display so sedulously, did not always inspire them; that even a few months ago they were totally one with the accused in hostility against the constitution, for whose benefit they now level their indictment. The day’s media waits with suspense, since the most important counterparts of the defendants, the gentlemen Kahr, Lossow and Seisser, must present themselves to the court as witnesses. This expectation becomes all the livelier when one of the defending attorneys summaries the result of the previous proceedings and then in the process also refers to the various secret negotiations that the trial has already brought with it. After all, the public had always been excluded, when „state security” appeared to be threatened by the testimony. But it had again and again been guessed that often enough an incrimination of the three Bavarian government men was connected to these testimonies. Now on the day when witness examination begins, the defence hurls its attacking statement at the court: „These witnesses, who appear as crown witnesses against the accused, were the wire-pullers of the whole enterprise, so that it is impossible that the people who instigated the whole enterprise now appear as witnesses against those who carried out the enterprise”.
Here the plan is very sharply outlined, according to which the accused led the great campaign for their justification and for smashing the opponent’s positions.
But now the examination of the defendants has made yet another main question pops up, which makes the public hold its breath: each of the defendants had in his testimony also supported the thrust against Reich threatening Bavarian separatism introduced by Adolf Hitler.
Ludendorff wielded the sharpest weapon in this struggle, when he referred to the again and again appearing machinations of the politicized clergy – to the lurking spider in the separatist web that spread itself out in Germany. It had been forgotten all too quickly, after all, how closely the Centrum had since its existence stood in one front with all Reich threatening forces. And in the confusion of the post-war period it had also been relatively little noted that the leading Centrum prelates and leading men of the clergy led Bavarian Folk Party had again and again in very incriminating negotiations become involved with the French and with separatists, with conspirators for a new Rhine Federation and with proponents of a Catholic Danube monarchy. Ludendorff pulls these dark plans into the light, presents in broad outline their history since Bismarck’s days, shows how they become alive again since the November revolt. All the questionable figures of the separatist underworld in Bavaria are conjured up – the Bothmers and Leoprechtings, the Fuchs and Machhaus, the French agent Richert and the French emissary Dard, who let his money flow through all possible dark channels. Kahr’s politics are outlined: he spoke „of strong states in a strong Reich, while I had spoken of healthy states in a strong Reich.” The whole dangerousness of this position pops up when the general brands the words of the „temporary separation of Bavaria from the Reich”: „I have always viewed the idea of a temporary separation of Bavaria from the Reich as high treason.” But the great question about the wire-pullers and beneficiaries of such politics always stands above it. And this question always finds the answer in an old historical realization: „The creation of a powerless Germany was the result of ultra-Catholic politics such as they put in an appearance at the Reich foundation and then during the world war”.
The general presents example after example. The signal terrifies the separatist and politicized clerical front. From the Cardinal’s palace in Munich to the smallest chapel residence, from Rome to San Francisco, the ecclesia militans feels hit at a nerve. Its press howls…
This is how the attack unfolds across the broadest front through the defendants when witness examination finally begins. The court had already questioned many witnesses about a series of details. Then the day came on which the examination of the main witnesses Kahr, Lossow and Seisser will start.
What typifies the testimonies of the three gentlemen is initially an amazing agreement in the testimonies down to individual formulations. One clearly recognizes that shared discussions have preceded, in which the statements were coordinated. Whether it is about the controversial scenes in the Bürgerbräukeller, where Lossow, according to his testimony and that of his companions, claims to have issued the motto „comedy games”; where the talk is about the measures of the witnesses immediately after the Bürgerbräukeller assembly; where the inner stand on the enterprises is put to question at all: in all these statements the testimonies of the three gentlemen betray a careful common revision. Nobody can claim that the gentlemen faced the examination unbiased, all the less so, since Kahr namely again and again tries contrary to trial regulations to read his testimony from a brought along memorandum.
But even aside from such individual questions, the gentlemen show a noticeable agreement in the great political line of their presentations. The position of the back then ruling circles on National Socialism itself downright appears in them.
Above all, it is conspicuous that with amazing boldness they equate their own mortal person with the eternity of the state. Lossow, aggressively: „If Kahr and the bearers of the state’s power sectors are with all means made despicable, that is not directed against our person, rather against the state idea and the authority of the state. Not Kahr and his companions are injured here, rather the state… Who gave the order to fire at the Feldherrnhalle? I can answer the question exactly: the state gave the order!”
Kahr also gives himself airs: „My activity was devoted above all to Bavarian interests, the preservation of state authority and the establishment of the idea of state power. Only the state and state power may be master in the land and one clearly hears behind that his old self-conscious claim: „But state power is embodied in we!”
Seisser confirms this claim: „Kahr wanted to gather the patriotic forces under his own command, under „unconditional subordination to state authority.”
But they all forget that in November 1923 any state authority was already long smashed to pieces and that any national order and all faith in the folk could only be maintained through the work of the defendants, whom one now endeavoured with all means to portray as criminals against the state.
Kahr’s, Lossow’s and Seisser’s second claim went that they had indeed wanted to form a new government in the Reich, but naturally only in a totally legal way. While the defendants again and again portrayed and through witnesses proved that the three gentlemen as well must have thought of a violent advance and always instructed the Kampfbund [fighting federation] in this sense, the three gentlemen now claimed that they had always endeavoured for a totally peaceful change of the government in the Reich. A confusing shift of all previously valid political concepts hence then set in: if one had spoken of a „march to Berlin” in 1923, one now explained that as totally harmless, that it was just about a soft „pressure on Berlin” or even just a „spiritual rejuvenation”; if one had had speakers from the most diverse associations in 1923 speak all through the land without contradiction of the necessity of a national „dictatorship” and again and again affirmed this demand, one made these clear and hard words harmless in that one speaks of a „directorship” that was supposed to be formed back then; if Lossow had declared himself ready for any coup d’état, if it just offered a chance of success, he now defines this clearly violent term with soft formulations, which completely conform to the parliamentarian feelings of the Weimar world and could not offend even the most loyal Republican. No concept remains unblurred during the testimonies of the three gentlemen, no shared plan of 1923 unaltered.
For an endless flood of insults and accusation forms the third trait in the examination of the three main prosecution witnesses. Each according to the temperament of the three gentlemen, they pounce more or less vigorously upon the defendants. Kahr weighs his utterances most carefully: he gladly conceals himself in the cloak of contempt put on display, when he, for example, instead of immediately answering one of Hitler’s questions, turns to the chief judge as a mediator or even merely addresses the speaker’s podium. Seisser formulates his attacks sharply, cleverly concealed, but in a dialectic so insulting that the Führer once mutters the word „shamelessness”. Lossow, however, rages around cursing in the courtroom as if he were passing time in a barracks courtyard dressing down a company of recruits. Already during his extensive speak he had coarsely insulted: „I noticed that Hitler lacked the sense of reality, the measure for what is useful and achievable… I often declared that Hitler is not capable of leadership of a dictatorship. But I agreed that he could be the political drummer… Hitler is fixated on the word brutality, I have never heard the word sentimentality from him.” And when the general must in cross examination answer to even very sensitive questions, he quickly falls into such agitation that he totally loses his nerves. Agitated, biting, barking, he throws his answers at the defence, rattling his spurs he runs back and forth in front of the witness seat, each answer, instead of remaining objective, is seasoned with a raging after-taste. In this mood he then encounters Hitler as well, who at various important problems – the question of dictatorship or directorate, about violent march or peaceful „pressure”, about Lossow’s participation in the preparations for the universally planned „coup d’état” – intervenes in the examination with sharply outlined questions. When Hitler attempts to correct that shameful accusation that he broke his word of honour on November 8th, it comes to a clash that has become famous.
Hitler, with concise statement: „November 8th was the execution of a long-discussed plan.”
Lossow: „Seisser has raised the objection right from the start: ‘Between us stands your breech of word of honour.’ You have replied: ‘Forgive me, it is in the interest of the fatherland.”‘
Hitler, outraged by the ongoing insults, in sharp attack: „Was that the sentimental or the brutal Hitler, who requested forgiveness?”
Lossow, totally uncontrolled: „That was neither the sentimental nor the brutal Hitler, rather the Hitler with the guilty conscience!”
Hitler, quite agitated: „I need no guilty conscience in regard to breech of word of honour, such as of which Mr. von Lossow accuses me, all the less so, as the only one who broke his word of honour was Mr. Von Lossow, and indeed on May 1st!”
Lossow storms to the door and slams it closed behind him menacingly. The trial is adjourned, because the witness has through his illegal departure removed himself from examination…
The trial escalates to such dramatic scenes several times. Specifically, there are clashes when the public is supposed to be excluded again. That occurs regularly, when the further testimony will in all probability prove things that incriminate the witnesses Kahr, Lossow and Seisser. Regarding the question what was the nature of the enterprise that they themselves planned, nothing has hence been publicly determined through the trial.
Kahr’s examination as well has not provided any decisive open answers here. If Lossow had provided a unique example of the attempt with which one could behave so crudely in front of a court, then Kahr presented the equally unique role of a man who in a hardly conceivable manner refused all dangerous answers at all. As soon as he encountered the question of the background to November 9th’which proved that he himself and his cronies were most intimately entangled in the anti-republican plans, he held ready the same pitiful answer – dozens of times, with an amazing courage for (light: I cannot remember – or: I am bound by official secrets – or: I am not allowed to say. Dozens of times, tricky questions pelt down on him, and dozens of times, he refuses to reply – an unprecedented image of a lost human being, with lowered head, regrettable victim of his own inadequacies, trembling down to his deepest soul with the feverish wish to just as quickly as possible escape this torture. When his examination has ended the world knows that here a man who once felt himself to be the called representative of the state has collapsed in a humiliating manner with all his great claims…
But this is not the place to deal with the details of the lines of questions to which the witness examination was devoted. Already before the announcement of the verdict, as the decisive result of the trial, the fact came out, which, after all, after an almost ten-year long struggle then experienced the same historical justification, that namely inner right, the greater moral weight, the great historical courage for decision and for responsibility stood solely on the side of the accused. The representatives of the accusing state had, perhaps with the most honest intentions, defended an inwardly rotten world. Kahr’s pitiful fall was a symbol of that, and Lossow’s noisy trump playing was only the sign of the weakness of an order that was not firm enough within itself in order to fend off an attack with calm certainty. At any rate, the action-readiness of the defendants showed that the instinct for history-shaping values was more alive in them than in the called representatives of state authority. The courageous have always triumphed over the hesitant, straightforwardness over evasion, the man over the bureaucrat.
Above all, the trial had clarified that the many honour slighting accusations against the Führer and his companions were defamation. It furthermore clarified that the three main accusers had for months in eternal hesitation discussed with the defendants anti-constitutional plans, which the defendants alone in their own way had the courage to achieve. It finally clarified that the actual plans of the three government men were probably aimed at different and highly dangerous final goals than the decisions of the „rebels”; but the final disclosures about precisely this question, the most interesting one of the whole trial, do not lie in the protocols of the public, rather only of the closed proceedings. When witness examination is closed and when the prosecution and defence have tested themselves with sharp juristic weapons, the historical result stands firm: the enterprise of November 8th and 9th had to come given the situation back then, it was the release of a tension that had become unbearable, the daring incision into the centre of a ravaging fever that convulsed the body of the German folk. An unspeakable confusion had dominated the period before November 9th, chaos, plans, dissatisfaction, projects, violent, talk. An energetic will intervened sharply into this turmoil – and the tangled, drifting, dangerous forces of unrest and sickness already arranged themselves.
So November 9th had brought clarity in any case. As the day of the announcement of the verdict approached, the historically so decisive question does not aim so much at the degree of punishment. It is different: which of the opposing forces will preserve for the future the ability to transform the experiences and knowledge of the year 1923, and the decisions of the trial, into creative impulses for future political formations?
The last days of the trial have provided the answer to this question to every awaken and believing human being. On the 19th day of trial, the prosecutor in an extensive speech gives the basis for the requested punishment. On the 24th day of the trial, Adolf Hitler in his closing speech once more summarizes for himself and his friends realization and obligation. In the speeches, both opposing historical worlds encounter each other, which will still struggle for ten more years for the final result.
The prosecutor’s feelings are conflicting. As a human being, he does not deny how deeply the defendants have moved him in their purity, their affirmation and their national passion. Sometimes it seems as if he wants to affirm his goal with an unconditional Yes. But the office suffocates the moved human being, to represent the prosecution for the state, in a tangle of paragraphs and doctrines, which give no room for human affirmation. Indeed, he admits what was the decisive impulse for the defendants’ deed: „Certainly, what happened in November 1918 was a crime of high treason”; and this confession is amazing. Nonetheless, he believes that he should protect the Weimar state: „The Weimar constitution forms the foundation of the Reich. Opposition against the constitution, even if it may appear justified for national reasons, must never lead to one trying to change or eliminate the constitution by force.” This speech is dominated by the dangerous doctrine that any political system, insofar as it simply possesses outer power, is also good and God given, inviolable and unalterable. A rigid formalism forbids any rebellion, even it is being ever so necessary for the life of the folk. The bond to a dead constitutional regulation appears more obligating than the burning faith in the future of the nation, which feels this constitutional regulation to be a rope around all its limbs. The prosecutor formulates his demand quite sharply to affirm every right of even an unhealthy governmental condition insofar as it is simply outwardly covered by a constitution: „It is a dangerous illusion, which has formed in the world of ideas of the nationalist activist circles, that everything that happens out of patriotism and in the interest of the national cause is also simply allowed, even if one thereby still so very much violates valid laws and the legal order.” The naked consequence is clear: „legal order” stands above the well- being of the folk, even if it would be exploited by a Bolshevik regime…
In contrast, it will remain eternally memorable how Adolf Hitler countered this cool doctrine with a new political faith. His speech is attuned to a mighty chord: a condition is only good and just, if it serves the folk; a constitution may be legally ever so good: but if it harms the folk, every rebellion against it is sacred right and even more sacred obligation. At the hour when he and his political work were supposed to be smashed, he preached more fervently and compelling than ever before the inalienable right of a betrayed folk for a creative national revolution.
He stands before the count as an accused. But every word that he speaks into the hall, into the open hearts of moved human beings, becomes an indictment, which passes its verdicts on the strength of historical right. The Germany of the November crime is surrendered to his lashing will.
Has the revolt of 1918 benefited the German folk? Has it through construction and daring formation legalized the fact that it emerged through high treason? The answer, which the speaker draws from an observation of the German present, paints apocalyptic images:
„The failure of the new masters in the economic sphere is so horrible that the masses are driven onto the streets: the soldiers, who are supposed to fire into the masses, however, do not want to constantly shoot at the folk… What all did the revolution prophesize politically? One heard about the folks’ right of self- determination, about the League of Nations, about the self-government of the folk. And what came? A world peace on our field of corpses… Self-determination for every Negro tribe, but Germany does not count as a Negro tribe. We have become the pariah in this world. What else are our government organs than the executive organs of our external tyrants? Can anybody say the revolution has succeeded, while the object of the revolution, Germany, perishes?”
Imploring the words, compelling the voice, the hall listens as if enchanted. For weeks, jurists have calculated here brooding, but now suddenly all the distress and the energy, the inexhaustible treasure of faith and the fate of all German desperation are conjured up in this somber room. The files no longer rustle, diligent pens no longer write thick volumes of protocols, fate itself reckons now through this mouth about the rise and the fall of this struggling folk, whose deepest energies have become awake in these raging words that have the courage to examine, to elevate and to pitilessly reject. He fetches them, the destroyers of German authority, who have done their work since the November betrayal, and his speech threatens:
„The young soldiers stand up, who went to their deaths in Flanders with the German national anthem on their lips, and call: You are at fault that we lie here as victims of your crimes. Then the expellees come, who had been driven out, and accuse… Our proud ships lie on the bottom of the sea and accuse those who helped to destroy the pride of a sixty million folk…”
Yes, he makes himself the executor of the humbled living Germans and the betrayed German dead, and stands large like a judge before the countenance of the nation:
„I accuse Ebert, Scheidemann and comrades of treason against the nation and of high treason. I accuse them, because they destroyed a seventy million folk.”
The words swing over listening Germany like the ring of alarm-bells, like a threat that one day the end will dawn for the powers of German decline a different one than the one they themselves are determined to prepare for the leader of the coming uprising.
For that he has been bestowed the leadership office of the German nation, he knows even at the hour when one will send him behind prison walls. And that more stands behind his claim than a vain personal wish, namely the mission of fate and necessity itself, he affirms with bold freedom: „I take the standpoint that the bird must sing, because it is a bird. And a man who has been born for politics must engage in politics, whether he is free or in prison, sits on silken seat or must be satisfied with a hard bench. The fate of his folk will move him from the earliest morning until late into the night. Whoever has been born to be a dictator, which not be pushed back, rather he wants to, he will, himself push forward… Whoever feels called to govern a folk does not have the right to say: if you want me or fetch me, I will go along. Me has the duty to do it.”
Unforgettable words! The world had expected the imploring gestures of a humbled and broken man, but now it must experience that this persecuted man more masterfully than ever reaches for the leadership of the folk; that his will for power has only become greater. An unbounded certainty resonates in his words: „In my eyes it would be pitiful to plead for something of which I know that posterity will give it to me anyway… What stood before my eyes was from the first day on was to become a thousand times more than a [government] minister. I wanted to become the destroyer of Marxism. And I will fulfil this task!”
For a long time now, this speech has no longer been a speech of justification. It has become a stern affirmation, and now it totally soars to the blaze of a prophecy, devout, unerringly certain in the validity of the proclaimed word:
„The deed of November 8th has not failed. It would have failed, if a mother had come to me and had said: You also have my child on your conscience. But I may assure you: no mother came. Quite the opposite, thousands of others have come and have joined our ranks. That is the visible sign of the success of November 8th, that in its aftermath the youth has arisen like a flood and joins together. That is the greatest gain of November 8th, that it is has not led to depression, rather has contributed to greatly enthusing the folk. I believe that the hour will come when the masses who today stand on the street with our swastika flag will unite with those who on November 9th fired upon us. I believe that the blood will not eternally separate us… The army that we have formed grows faster from day to day, from hour to hour. Precisely in these days I have the proud hope that the hour will one day come when these wild throngs become battalions, the battalions regiments, the regiments divisions, that the old cockades will be pulled out of the dirt, and that the old flags will again flatter up front, that then reconciliation comes at the eternal final judgment of God, to which we are willing to step. Then, from our bones and from our graves, the voice of the court will speak which alone is called on to judge us. For not you, my sirs, pronounce the verdict over us, the eternal court of history pronounces the verdict… That court will judge us, the General Quartermaster of the old army, his officers and soldiers, who as Germans wanted the best for their folk and fatherland, who want to fight and die You may pronounce us guilty a thousand times, the goddess of the eternal court of history will laughingly tear up the prosecutor’s request and the court’s verdict: for she acquits us!”
When the court pronounces the verdict the following day, the republic has apparently triumphed over the captured high traitors. Adolf Hitler, together with Weber, Kriebel and Pöhner, is sentenced to five years imprisonment. But while the chief judge reads aloud the verdict in the hall, outside on the streets, watched by police lines, thousands and thousands wait for the opportunity to perhaps see one of the convicted men, so that they can cheer him: cheer like only an enflamed folk cheers a victor. The hearts of thousands burn brightly. Each of them carries on his faith. Each of them is an invincible force of loyalty and affirmation. Each of them is an incalculable threat to the condemning republic.
Then one led the „high traitors” to the fortress at Lech. And the victors were happy that the bearers of German unrest would supposedly for years be shut off from the only places where they could have an effect. But again, the calculation proved itself wrong. For while the system now proceeded, with all tricks and all terror, to put into effect the Dawes Plan, the new pariah pact that one had tried to force upon the folk with golden talk, in Landsberg a tenacious will forged new weapons. But behind the walls, a restless prisoner walks up and down and dictates a book. A time will come when the system realizes with horror that this book represents a most dangerous weapon: that here the weapons are stockpiled that will smash all old walls; that here the foundation stones are hewn from which one day a new order will rise over Germany. They still mock and revile, the powers of right and left, the reds and the blacks [conservative Catholic Centrum] and the masters of big business. But with a solemn ardour, in the solitude of his cell, an imprisoned man pieces together the plan that will one day smash the rotten and shape the new. Like from the trumpets of Jericho, it echoes in the Jew related world: Victory, victory, the enemy has been destroyed. But the traders have never known that danger still threatens, if just one single brave heart carries its faith forward like a flag.
by Carolyn Yeager
THE JEWISH WORLD IS CELEBRATING! The 89-year-old woman they have dubbed the “Nazi Grandma” has finally been incarcerated in a prison in western Germany for a two-year term. According to Jewish news outlets, Ursula Haverbeck was picked up at her home in Vlotho, North-Rhine Westphalia by police on Monday and taken to the prison at nearby Bielefeld to begin serving her sentence.
I have been informed that her lawyer is already petitioning to have her released on grounds of health.
The laws under which the Federal Republic of Germany (which is a non-Constitutional construct) prosecutes and punishes people like Haverbeck were put in place by the Americans in the late 1940’s as a temporary legal structure until the people were “re-educated” enough to form a new Constitution. Called the ‘Basic Law’, it installed the findings of the ‘International Tribunal of Major War Criminals’ and subsequent post-war tribunals carried out by the WWII victor nations as law that supercedes any of the freedoms guaranteed to Germans. Under this ‘legal’ system, non-Germans are given great liberties and protections while the indigenous German people are forced to comply with the multiculturalization and multiracialization, and also subservience to Israel, of their homeland. If they publicly express their disagreement, they are arrested, tried, fined and jailed.
Note that the name of this people in their own language is ‘Deutsch’ and their country is Deutschland. Land of the Deutsch … land where Germans live. The post-war global order wants to destroy nationalism by destroying the nation itself – as said above, by multiculturalizing and multiracializing every European homeland. This is the idea behind ‘One Europe.’ So Deutsch people are to disappear as a unique product of evolution so that their superior qualities don’t make other, less well-endowed people look bad. And so they won’t be able to sucessfully interfere with the Jewish ‘One Europe’ plan.
The liberal political parties (that sometimes call themselves ‘conservative’ or ‘centre’ but remain liberal-globalist) that have been in power since 1945 do not want to return to a national orientation or perspective. They actually want to retain whatever American control mechanisms are in place because that helps them retain their power. This is the reason no new Constitution has ever been called for. The Basic Law is called the Constitution now, and no one questions it except the small number of patriots like Ursula Haverback who refuse to quietly let the Deutsch people disappear. Watch her talk about the phony German Constitution here.
Witches in the Middle Ages
This treatment of ‘holocaust deniers’ in Deutschland is similar to hunting witches in the Middle Ages. At that time, the very powerful Catholic Church terrorized women in order to keep the faithful in fear of the Church’s power to condemn their souls to Hell. Sacrificing a few innocent victims in this cause did not bother the hierarchy for they told themselves the end justified the means – they were saving souls.
It is no different now. The importance of keeping the Jewish-inspired global order in place (the horrific world wars also gave them the opportunity to establish this order in the first place) is the “end” that justifies the sacrifice of the ‘free speech’ and democratic processes they claim to offer. In other words, Big Lies have to be backed up with many more lies, thus those who still insist on telling the truth must be sacrificed.
The greater good that they are protecting is the Global New World Order that they say is necessary to bring peace to the world.
Canadian citizen, violinist Monika Schaefer was arrested for no crime committed in Germany and has been held in a Munich prison for many weeks now because of a video she released onto the Internet from her home country of Canada where it is not against the law. Because she was visiting her brother in Germany, and attended a court hearing for Sylvia Stolz (another woman who spent a long stretch in prison for ‘holocaust denial’), the German government applied it’s strict laws to Monika.
The Jews are trying to get more countries to pass ever more stringent laws against ‘holocaust denial’ with their global campaign against ‘anti-Semitism.’ They flood the media with this campaign, while not covering people like Ursula Haverbeck and Monika Schaefer at all. This is a kind of tyranny and dictatorship that must be fought, but requires a level of intelligence that is being bred out of our Western and European people at a rapid rate. We are at a critical stage.
This is the first fully-digitized edition of the original translation of this book, published in the Third Reich before the WWII.
Written by Adolf Hitler’s chief of press in 1934, this book details the three tumultuous election campaign years from 1930 through to the coming to power of the NSDAP in January 1933. The author formed part of Hitler’s inner circle and campaign staff during this period – which included six full elections in two-and-a-half years-and later went on to become the chancellor’s personal press officer. Starting with a short backgrounder of the growth of the National Socialist party, Dietrich then springs into a vivid description of the exhausting and intense electoral campaigns. Many fascinating details are included, such as Hitler’s hectic speaking schedule, and his ground-breaking – and sometimes highly dangerous-innovation of flying to meetings up and down the country. Hitler’s schedule, Dietrich recalled, was so intense that his entourage had trouble keeping up with him.
The following is a transcript of remarks by NEW ORDER Commander Matt Koehl before a special Midwest seminar on National Socialist ideology and doctrine held on July 31, 1994.
Who is Adolf Hitler? Who was this remarkable figure who came into the world in modern time?
Was he just another man, another mortal like you and I? Was he simply a great statesman and brilliant political strategist? Or was he something infinitely more; and if so, what?
There are those who say that we are trying to deify Hitler. But I say that all we want to do is recognize, as fully and comprehensively as possible, who this remarkable person was – and is. In all that we have said or written, we are simply trying to come to terms with the fact that Adolf Hitler represents more than just another man like others. It’s as simple as that.
How should we describe Adolf Hitler? Was he a superman, a superior being – an Übermensch, to use Nietzschean terminology? Was he a world genius, a prophet or an avatar? Was he the god-hero of Aryan tradition or the second coming of Christ or Odin? An arguable case could undoubtedly be made for each of these.
Aside from all of this, however, we are prepared to state two things categorically:
(a) Adolf Hitler was and is the greatest figure of the age; and
(b) He is the special gift of Providence to Aryan man in modern time.
Adolf Hitler’s greatness derives from the fact that he is a man of destiny, a figure who divides history into two parts – that which comes before him, and that which follows him. And it should be noted that a personality of this magnitude is not routinely given to the world, but appears but once in thousands of years.
So it is in this instance. Into a world that had lost its direction, this figure came to show the way. Into a world of decadence and false values, he came to proclaim great, eternal truths. Into a world grown cynical and materialistic, he came to bring a new birth of radiant idealism. Into a world standing at the abyss, he came to offer hope and salvation for an entire race.
Let us consider Hitler’s achievement. It consists of four things:
I ask: Where is his equal?
The Uniqueness of Adolf Hitler
Throughout history there have been many great figures. Some have introduced revolutionary new ideas; others have attempted to realize such ideas. We can readily think of Christ and Marx, of Napoleon and Lenin, for example.
In the person of Adolf Hitler, however, we find the unique phenomenon of someone who not only introduced a new worldview, but also created a new human society based upon that worldview. In so doing, he demonstrated the fundamental validity and soundness of his idea with a working model – something of which no other ideology is capable.
In 74 years Marxism has been unable to produce the Utopia it promised. In 200 years Liberalism has not been able to give us its world of universal Equality, Happiness and Plenty. In 2,000 years Christianity has not been able to show us a strong and viable society based upon its professed beliefs.
But in just 12 years – 4,482 days – half of them under siege and despite greatest adversity, Adolf Hitler created a society that worked, a society which did exactly what it said it was going to do to raise the human condition – a society that took an entire world mobilized in war to destroy.
The fact is that it was none other than Adolf Hitler who pointed the way to the coming New Order and toward our higher destiny.
Man Against Time
In her book, The Lightning and the Sun, Savitri Dêvi describes three types of great personalities: the Man in Time; the Man above Time; and the Man against Time. Our Leader was the latter.
It is this that introduces the element of tragedy. Adolf Hitler was obliged to act within the constraints of a higher destiny. He had to „lose,“ to die – in the same sense that one might say that Christ had to „lose“ and die. This is the issue with which we are confronted. The question is: How do we respond to the challenge that such a stark reality poses?
Our Leader Himself gave us the key when, before his death, He said:
„It is necessary that I should die for my people; but my spirit shall rise from the grave, and the world will know that I was right.“
Yes, Adolf Hitler did die. Indeed, he had to. But as one observer noted:
„The German eagle is the phoenix that consumed itself in flames, and is destined by God to rise from the ashes to surpass its former glory and transform the Earth.“
Adolf Hitler is that German eagle. His spirit has indeed risen from the grave, just as he said it would; and for his enemies there can be no more terrifying statement than this: „HITLER LIVES!“
A new awareness, a new consciousness has been reborn in each one of us. The immortal charisma of Adolf Hitler infects our soul. His spirit lives within us. For he is the One who was born, and who died, and who was resurrected, and now lives forever in our hearts as the author of our Faith, without whom our race has no future, but with whom all things are possible, according to his will.
I leave you with these translated words from the chorus of the Hitler Youth song:
Hitler’s banner waves above our ranks;
Hitler’s banner is the great, new age;
Hitler’s banner leads on to a world without end –
Yes, his banner is greater than death!
(broadcast read by Dr. Goebbels)
For years we have witnessed the fate of our fellow Germans in Austria with deep distress. An eternal historical bond, severed only by the events of the year 1866 but forged anew in the World War, has from time immemorial destined Austria to take its place in the German national community and share its fate. The suffering which was imposed on this country, first from outside and then from within, we experienced as our own, and we know that the misfortunes of the Reich caused millions of German Austrians similar anxiety and concern!
When the German nation regained the proud self-confidence of a great People, thanks to the triumph of the ideals of National Socialism, in Austria a new period of suffering and most bitter adversity began. A regime with no legal mandate was attempting by means of the most brutal terror and physical mistreatment as well as punitive and destructive economic measures, to maintain an existence which was rejected by the vast majority of the Austrian People. Thus, we as a great People saw how a numerically small minority, which had simply been able to seize the necessary instruments of power, was suppressing more than six million people with whom we share a common origin. Their political disenfranchisement and the deprivation of their freedom was accompanied by an economic decline which was a shocking contrast to the blossoming of new life in Germany.
Who could blame these unfortunate fellow Germans if they looked toward the Reich with longing eyes? To that Germany with which their forefathers had been united for so many centuries, with which they had once fought shoulder to shoulder in the most terrible of all wars, whose culture was their culture and to which they themselves had contributed their most cherished values in so many areas. To suppress these longings was to condemn hundreds of thousands of people to the most profound spiritual distress. Whereas years ago, this suffering was still borne patiently, as the prestige of the Reich steadily increased, the determination to end this oppression became stronger and stronger.
Germans! In recent years I have tried to warn the former rulers in Austria not to continue on this path. Only a maniac could believe that suppression and terror can deprive human beings of their love of their own People. European history proves that this causes nothing but more intense fanaticism. This fanaticism then forces the suppressor to employ ever more cruel and violent methods, which in turn only increase the revulsion and hatred felt by the victims of this violence.
I also tried to convince those in power that in the long run it is impossible, because it is unworthy, for a great nation to be forced constantly to watch as a People of the same nationality are persecuted and incarcerated merely because of their origin, or their allegiance to a People, or their dedication to an idea. Germany alone has had to accept more than 40,000 refugees, 10,000 others have been in jails, prison cells and holding camps in this small land. Hundreds of thousands have been made beggars, reduced to misery and poverty. In the long run no nation in the world could tolerate such conditions on its borders without itself deserving same disrespect.
In 1936 I tried to find some way which could offer the prospect of alleviating the tragic fate of this German brother nation, and in this way perhaps achieve genuine reconciliation. The Agreement of July 11 was signed only to be breached a moment later. The vast majority remained deprived of their rights. Their humiliating position as a pariah in this state was in no way changed. Anyone who openly supported the ideal of one German nation continued to be persecuted, no matter whether he was a National Socialist street labourer or an old meritorious army commander who had fought in the World War.
I tried a second time to reach an understanding. I attempted to explain to the representative of this regime, who without any legitimate mandate of his own stood before me in my capacity as the elected leader of the German People, I tried to explain to him that in the long run this situation would become intolerable, since the growing outrage of the Austrian People could not be suppressed forever by the increasing use of force, and that from a certain point in time the Reich would find it impossible to continue to stand idly by and silently observe such outrageous treatment.
Today, when even the solution to colonial problems must take into consideration the right of inferior nations to self-determination, it is intolerable that six and a half million members of an old and great civilized People are in practical terms deprived of these rights by the nature of the governing regime. Hence in a new agreement I wanted all Germans in this country to be granted the same rights and be subject to the same obligations. This agreement was to fulfil the terms of the Treaty of July 11 1936.
A few weeks later it unfortunately became obvious that the men of the Austrian government in power at that time had no intention of complying with the terms of this agreement. However, in order to acquire an alibi for their continued failure to grant equal rights to the Austrian Germans, a plebiscite was devised which was intended to finally deprive the majority in this country of its rights! The modalities of this procedure were to be unique. A country which has not had an election for many years, which lacks all the documentation required to compile voters’ lists, announces a vote which is to take place within just three and a half days.
There are no electoral lists. There are no voters’ cards. There is no scrutiny of the eligibility to vote. There is no obligation to preserve secret ballot. There is no guarantee that the voting will be conducted with impartiality. There is no method of ensuring fair counting of the votes, and so on. If these are the methods to give a regime legality, then we National Socialists in the German Reich were utter fools for 15 years! We went through a hundred election campaigns and took great pains to gain the approval of the German People!
When the late Reichspräsident finally called upon me to form the government, I was the leader of the party which had by far the strongest support in the Reich. Since then I have repeatedly sought to have the legality of my existence and my actions confirmed by the German People, and it was confirmed. If the methods Herr Schuschnigg wanted to use were the right ones, then the plebiscite we once held in the Saar can only have been a device to harass a People whose return to the Reich we wanted to make more difficult. We, however, do not subscribe to that view. I believe we can all be proud that it was in this very plebiscite in the Saar that we received such an indisputable vote of confidence from the German People.
The German People of Austria themselves finally rose up in protest against this unprecedented attempt at election fraud. If, however, it was again the intention of the regime to simply crush the protest movement with brute force, the result could only be a new civil war. The German Reich will, however, henceforth not permit Germans to be persecuted in this territory because of their membership in our nation or because they profess certain views. It wants peace and order.
I have therefore decided to offer the millions of Germans in Austria the assistance of the Reich. Since this morning soldiers of the German armed forces have been crossing all of the German-Austrian borders. Armoured units, infantry divisions and SS units on the ground and the German Luftwaffe in the skies, summoned by the new National Socialist Government in Vienna, will ensure that the Austrian People are within the very near future finally given the opportunity to determine for themselves their future, and thus their fate, through a genuine plebiscite. And these units are supported by the will and determination of the entire German nation.
I myself, as Führer and Chancellor of the German People, will be happy once again to be able to enter the country which is also my homeland as a German and a free citizen. The world, however, shall see for itself that for the German People in Austria these days are filled with hours of blissful joy and deep emotion. They regard their brothers who have come to their aid as saviours who have rescued them from great distress!
Long live the National Socialist German Reich! Long live National Socialist German Austria!
Berlin, March 12, 1938
With explanations provided by Gottfried Feder, Dipl. Engineer
The Manifesto for the Abolition of Enslavement to Interest on Money
Implementation and Rationale
The Conversion of War-Bonds into Bank-Credit
Rather than simply declare war-bonds to be currency, a better idea is to require that they be surrendered for conversion into bank-credit.
Special Comments on the Demand for Laws in the Manifesto
Elaboration of the nine points.
The Objections and their Refutation
Objections from various perspectives are addressed.
Manifesto for the Abolition of Enslavement to Interest on Money
Mammonism is the heavy, all- encompassing and overwhelming sickness from which our contemporary cultural sphere, and indeed all mankind, suffers. It is like a devastating illness, like a devouring poison that has gripped the peoples of the world.
By Mammonism is to be understood: on the one hand, the overwhelming international money-powers, the supragovernmental financial power enthroned above any right of self-determination of peoples, international big capital, the purely Gold International; on the other hand, a mindset that has taken hold of the broadest circle of peoples; the insatiable lust for gain, the purely worldly- oriented conception of life that has already led to a frightening decline of all moral concepts and can only lead to more.
This mindset is embodied and reaches its acme in international plutocracy.
The chief source of power for Mammonism is the effortless and endless income that is produced through interest.
From the thoroughly immoral idea of interest on loans the Gold International was born. The mental and moral constitution grown from the lust for interest and profiteering of every kind has led to the frightening corruption of a part of the bourgeoisie.
The idea of interest on loans is the diabolical invention of big loan-capital; it alone makes possible the lazy drone’s life of a minority of tycoons at the expense of the productive peoples and their work-potential; it has led to profound, irreconcilable differences, to class-hatred, from which war among citizens and brothers was born.
The only cure, the radical means to heal suffering humanity is the abolition of enslavement to interest on money.
The abolition of enslavement to interest on money signifies the only possible and conclusive liberation of productive labor from the hidden coercive money- powers.
The abolition of enslavement to interest signifies the restoration of the free personality, the redemption of man from slavery, from the curse whereby Mammonism has bound his soul. Whoever wishes to fight capitalism, must abolish enslavement to interest.
Where must the abolition of enslavement to interest begin? With loan-capital! Why? Because loan-capital, compared to all industrial big capital, is so overpowering that the great money- powers can only be fought effectively through the abolition of interest-slavery.
20:1 is the proportion of loan-capital to industrial big capital. The German people must annually raise more than 12 billion in interest for loan-capital in the form of direct and indirect taxes, rent, and the rising cost of living, while even in the boom-years of the war the sum- total of all dividends distributed by the German joint-stock companies amounted to only 1 billion.
The avalanche-like growth of loan- capital surpasses all human capacity for calculation, through eternal, endless, and effortless income from interest, and from interest on interest.
What blessing does the abolition of enslavement to interest bring for the laboring folk of Germany, for the proletarians of all countries of the Earth? The abolition of enslavement to interest gives us the possibility of pursuing the repeal of all direct and indirect taxes. Hear this, you value-producing men of all lands, all states and continents: all state revenues flowing from direct and indirect sources pour constantly into the pockets of big loan-capital.
The profits of state-owned businesses, including the postal service, telegraph, telephone, railroad, mines, forests, and so on, suffice entirely for the funding of all essential state commitments for schools, universities, courts, administrative agencies, and social welfare.
Thus no true socialism will bring any blessing to humanity as long as the profits from public enterprises remain tributary to big loan-capital.
Therefore we demand as a fundamental law of the state, first for the German peoples, then as a fundamental law for all those kindred peoples that wish to enter with us into the cultural community of a league of nations, the following:
§ 1. War-bonds, along with all other debt-instruments of the German Reich, along with all other debt-instruments of the German federal states, especially railroad-bonds, as well as debenture-bonds of all local governments, are declared, under cancellation of the obligation for interest, to be legal tender for the face-value [or rather are to be converted into bank-credit].
§ 2. With all other fixed-interest papers, covered bonds, industrial bonds, mortgages, etc., the obligation for interest is replaced by the obligation to repay the principal; thus after 20 or 25 years, depending on the interest- rate, the lent capital is repaid and the debt retired.
§ 3. All real-estate debts, mortgages, etc., are to be paid off on installments of the same amount as the payments required hitherto, in keeping with the charges recorded in the land-register. The property in houses and land freed from debt in this manner becomes partly the property of the state or of the local government. [In this way the state becomes better situated to control and to lower rents.]
§ 4. The entire monetary system should be under the state’s central bank. All private banks likewise; postal-check banks, savings banks, and credit unions, all become affiliated as branch-operations.
§ 5. All credit for real estate is awarded only through the state’s bank. Personal credit and commercial credit are mandated to private bankers under a concession from the state. This concession is granted based on consideration of need, with a ban on the establishment of branches for certain districts. The scale of charges is fixed by the state.
§ 6. Equity-securities are paid off in the same manner as fixed- interest papers at the annual rate of 5%. Excess profits are paid out in part to the stockholders as compensation for “risked” capital (in contrast to fixed-interest and coin-backed papers), while the remaining surplus, by the sovereign right of labor, is either socially distributed or applied for the reduction of the prices of products.
§ 7. For all persons who for physical reasons (advanced age, illness, physical or mental work- disability, extreme youth) are not in a position to earn their livelihood, the interest-incomes from present capital assets continue to be paid as a pension at the same, and eventually even increased levels, in return for delivery of securities.
§ 8. In the interest of a reduction of the current inflation of paper money, a universal, strongly graduated tax on war-bond certificates and other debt- instruments of the Reich and of states is enacted. These papers are to be pulped.
§ 9. Through intensive enlightenment of the people, it is to be made clear to the people that money is and should be nothing other than a voucher for completed labor; that while every highly developed economy of course has need of money as a medium of exchange, the function of money also ends with that, and in no case should money be lent a supramundane power to grow of itself by means of interest, at the expense of productive labor.
Why have we not already done all this, which is so self-evident, which must be regarded as the Egg of Columbus for the social question? Because in our Mammonistic blindness we have unlearned how to see clearly that the doctrine of the sanctity of interest is a monstrous self-deception, that the gospel of the loan-interest that alone makes one blessed has entangled our entire thinking in the golden web of international plutocracy. Because we have forgotten and are deliberately kept in confusion by the omnipotent money- powers about the fact that — except in the case of a few rich people — the interest that seems so lovely, and is so beloved of the thoughtless, is completely offset by taxes. All of our tax-legislation is and remains, so long as we do not have liberation from enslavement to interest, only a tribute-obligation to big capital, and not, as we would imagine, a voluntary sacrifice for the accomplishment of labor for the community.
Therefore liberation from enslavement to interest on money is the clear motto for the global revolution, for the liberation of productive labor from the chains of the supragovernmental money-powers.
Implementation and Rationale We stand in the midst of one of the most grievous crises that our impoverished folk has had to endure in its painful history. Seriously ill is our folk; seriously ill is the entire world. Helplessly the nations stammer; a passionate longing, a cry for redemption passes through the gloomy masses. With laughter and dancing, with cinema and pageantry, the folk seeks to forget its own lamentable destiny — to forget about its disillusioned hopes, about the deep inner pain, about the terrible disappointment over what one would so gladly call “gains of the revolution.” But how did we imagine it all differently? How did all the fine promises run differently? All that we hoped to gain in the dark of night, in the darkness of our military collapse, seemed to be glistening gold, but now, when the gray day illuminates the find, it is all rotten bits of wood. Now we stand here at a loss. For the sake of these rotten bits of wood that shone so finely in the night, we have thrown away everything that hitherto was dear and valuable to us, and have stuffed all our pockets with this lamentable trove. No wonder that the rage of despair grips precisely the poorest of the poor, and that they rage in senseless wrath against their own brothers, and in their deep longing for redemption seek to destroy all that stands in the way. This condition must lead to utter madness, if consciencelessness and stupidity goad the people further.
And whither this madness leads, we see in Bolshevik Russia. Nationalization, as socialization is called in Russia, has proven to be a failure, declares an unperturbed Lenin. The economy is destroyed, the buying-power of money down to nothing, the intelligentsia killed, the laborer without bread. Despair in the entire people; only bloody terror based on Chinese and Latvian mercenaries is able to protect the Red dictators from the vengeance of the betrayed folk. Among us too the development will follow this course, if international speculators, obsessed party-fanatics, representatives of the most grievously burdened bourgeoisie, and members of a race most deeply alien in nature to the German folk, continue to be allowed in the government.
What indeed were those pretty, pretty words that one whispered into our ear? Negotiated peace, League of Nations, parliamentarism, sovereignty of the people, democracy, dictatorship of the proletariat, socialism, destruction of capitalism, liberation from militarism, and other such pretty slogans. A new free people was supposed to arise, which should determine its own destiny.
None of any of that has come true, was able to come true, or ever could come true, if we do not with the highest moral seriousness investigate all these apparitions, all these slogans — if we do not conscientiously test the symptoms of the illness like an intelligent, concerned physician, and painstakingly diagnose the present condition of the sick person, sparing no effort to ascertain whence this serious critical illness arises.
* * * * *
The sickness of our age is called Mammonism.
What is Mammonism? Mammonism is the sinister, invisible, mysterious reign of the great international money-powers. Mammonism is however also a mindset; it is the worship of these money-powers on the part of all those who are infected with the Mammonistic poison. Mammonism is the unlimited hypertrophy of the — in itself healthy — human drive for acquisition.
Mammonism is the lust for money grown into a madness, which knows no higher goal than to pile money on top of money, which seeks with unequaled brutality to coerce all forces of the world into its service, and must lead to the economic enslavement, to the exploitation of the work-potential of all peoples of the world. Mammonism is the mindset that has led to a decline of all moral concepts. Mammonism considered as a worldwide phenomenon is to be equated with brutal, ruthless egoism in man. Mammonism is the spirit of greed, of boundless desire to rule, of the mentality entirely focused on seizing the goods and treasures of the world; it is at its core the religion of the purely worldly- oriented human type.
Mammonism is the direct opposite of socialism. Socialism, conceived as the highest moral idea, as the idea that man is not in the world only for himself alone, that every man has duties toward the community, toward all humanity, and that he is not only responsible for the momentary wellbeing of his family, of the members of his tribe, of his folk, but that he also has unshakable moral obligations toward the future of his children and his folk.
More concretely, we must see Mammonism as the conscious collusion of the power-hungry big capitalists of all peoples. Noteworthy in this has always been the hidden arrival of Mammonism.
The big tycoons lurk indeed as the ultimate driving force behind world- encompassing Anglo-American imperialism; nothing else. The great money-powers indeed financed the terrifying mass-homicides of the World War. The great money-powers have indeed, as owners of all great newspapers, woven the world into a web of lies. They have with satisfaction whipped up all lower passions, have diligently fostered the growth of present tendencies, and have through clever press-propaganda brought French revanchism to a boil. They carefully nurtured the Pan-Slavic idea, the Serbian conceit of being a great power, and the need of these states for money, to the point that the world conflagration must ignite.
Even among us in Germany the spirit of Mammonism that wanted to know only more export-figures, national wealth, expansion, big bank projects, and international finance deals, led to a rout of public morality, to the decline of our ruling circle into materialism and hedonism, to a superficiality in our national life, all factors that share blame for the terrifying collapse.
* * * * *
With astonishment we must ask ourselves whence Mammonism, whence international big capital derives its irresistible power.
It is not to be overlooked that the international collaboration of the great money-powers represents a completely new phenomenon. We have no parallel for this in history. International obligations of a monetary nature were practically unknown. Only with the rising global economy, with general global commerce, did the idea of international interest-economy establish itself, and here we touch the deepest root, here we have hit upon the innermost source of strength from which the Golden International draws its irresistible power.
Interest, the effortless and endless influx of goods based on the mere ownership of money without any addition of labor, has caused the great money-powers to grow. Loan-interest is the diabolical principle from which the Gold International was born. Loan- capital has firmly attached its blood- funnel absolutely everywhere. Like the arms of an anemone big loan capital has ensnared all states, all peoples of the world.
Government loans, government bonds, railroad bonds, war bonds, mortgages, covered-bond obligations — in short loan-instruments of every kind have in a manner ensnared our entire economic life, so that henceforth all the peoples of the world wriggle helplessly in the golden webs. For the sake of the interest-principle, in keeping with a thoroughly mad political delusion that every kind of possession carries an entitlement to earnings, we have submitted to enslavement to interest on money. Not a single real, valid moral reason can be given as to why mere possession of money should bring an entitlement to perpetual interest- payments.
This inner opposition to interest, and to income of every kind without any occurrence of productive labor, extends through the soul-life of all peoples and times. But never has this deep inner resistance to the power of money become so conscious for the nations as in our time.
Never has Mammonism been prepared in such a world-encompassing manner to begin world-domination. Never yet has it placed in its service all baseness, lust for power, lust for revenge, greed, envy, and falsehood in such a cleverly concealed and yet brutally pushy manner as now. The World War is at its inmost core one of the biggest decisions in the evolutionary process of humanity in the struggle to decide whether in the future the Mammonistic-materialistic worldview or the socialistic-aristocratic worldview should determine the fate of the world.
* * * * *
On the surface, the Mammonistic Anglo- American coalition has without a doubt been initially victorious. As a reaction against it, Bolshevism arose in the East, and if one wishes to see a great idea in Bolshevism, it is without a doubt the position diametrically opposed to the Mammonistic worldview. The methods that Bolshevism seeks to employ for this however are the botched cures of a Dr. Eisenbarth. They are the attempt to help someone sick from internal poisoning with a scalpel, by amputating his head, arm, and legs.
Against this rampage of Bolshevism, against this senseless overturning, we must present a workable new idea that with unifying force unites all laboring classes, so as to drive out the poison that has made the world sick.
I see this means in the abolition of enslavement to interest on money.
There are three factors that make interest on loan-capital conspicuous as the authentic and true cause of our financial misery.
First, the monstrous disproportion of fixed-interest loan-capital, thus of capital that grows of its own accord without application of creative labor, and indeed grows on forever. Among us in Germany this loan-capital has already reached a level that we do not consider too high at 250 billion. In contrast to this enormous sum, the industrial working capital of our entire German industry stands at only 11.8 billion. In addition there is the 3.5 billion in capital of the 16,000 industrial limited-liability companies [G.m.b.H], so that altogether we have only about 15 billion in industrial capital to tabulate. 20:1is the first fundamental finding. [* Obviously 17:1 is more accurate, but maybe Feder is allowing for the likelihood that the proportion will increase.] This appraisal means that in financial problems of the largest importance, all measures concerned with loan-capital must prove 20 times as effective as measures directed at industrial big capital.
Second: the interest-payment on the loan-capital above, estimated at 250 billion, considered in its totality for all times, amounts to about 12½ billion annually. By contrast, the sum-total of all industrial dividends distributed in the year 1916 amounted in the year 1915 to about one billion marks. In the preceding decades this number was, on the average, about 600 million. In the last two years of the war [1914-1918] it may very well have gone up considerably, but will record an all-the- greater crash for the current year .
The average profitability of all German stock-corporations [A.G.] was 8.21%; thus only about 3½% higher than the average return on fixed-interest loan- values.
Thus, I recapitulate, in the future the German people will have to pay about 12.5 billion [annually] for the various eternal interest-charges of big loan- capital, while the yield from industrial capital in the greatest boom-year was 1 billion, and in times of undisturbed prosperity only 0.6 billion. Thus we see again here a proportion on the orders of magnitude of 20:1 to 12:1.
The third and most dangerous factor is the enormous growth beyond comprehension of big loan-capital through interest and through interest on interest. I must here digress a bit more and hope through a small excursion into higher mathematics to explain the problem. First some examples.
The charming story of the invention of the game of chess is well known. The rich Indian king Shihram granted to the inventor, as thanks for the invention of the royal game, the fulfillment of a wish. The wish of the wise man was that the king should give him one grain of wheat on the first square of the chess-game, two on the second, four on the third, and thus always on each square twice as many as on the one before. The king smiled at the seemingly modest wish of the wise man and ordered that a sack of wheat be brought so that for every square the grains of wheat could be apportioned. As we all know, the fulfillment of this wish was impossible even for the richest prince in the world. All the world’s harvests in a thousand years would not suffice to fill the 64 squares of the chessboard.
One more example: many will still remember from their schooldays the torture of calculating compound interest; how the penny invested at the time of the birth of Christ multiplies at compound interest so that it doubles every 15 years. In the year 15 after the birth of Christ the penny has grown into 2 pennies, in the year 30AD to 4 pennies, in the year 45AD to 8 pennies and so on. Very few will remember what value this penny would represent today: a volume of gold equivalent to the volume of the Earth, the Sun, and all the planets combined would not be adequate to represent the value of this penny invested at compound interest.
A third example: the fortune of the House of Rothschild, the oldest international plutocracy, is valued today at about 40 billion. It is well known that in Frankfurt around the year 1800, old Mayer Amschel Rothschild, without wealth of his own worth mentioning, laid the foundation for the gigantic fortune of his house through fractional- reserve lending of the millions that Count Wilhelm I of Hesse had entrusted to him for safekeeping.
Had the accretion of money through interest and interest on interest with Rothschild succeeded only at the modest rate of the penny, the curve would not have climbed so steeply as it has. But assuming that the Rothschilds’ collective wealth increased only at the rate of the penny, the Rothschilds’ fortune in the year 1935 would be 80 billion, in 1950 160 billion, in 1965 320 billion, and with that it would already exceed by far the total German national wealth.
From these three examples a mathematical law can be derived. The curve that represents the rise of the Rothschild fortune, the curve that can be derived from the number of wheat-grains for the chessboard, and the number that the multiplication of the penny produces at compound interest, are simple mathematical curves. All of these curves have the same character. After initially modest and gradual increase the curve becomes ever steeper and soon practically approaches being almost tangential to infinity.
Altogether differently, however, does the growth-curve of industrial capital proceed. Likewise sprung mostly from small beginnings, soon a strong escalation of the curves appears, until a certain saturation of capital is reached. Then the curves run flatter, and in certain industries will perhaps even decline slightly, if new inventions have led to the devaluation of existing factories, machines, and so on. I would like to select only one example here, the development of the Krupp works. In 1826 old man Krupp died almost without assets. In 1855 Alfred Krupp received his first order for 36 cannons on behalf of the Egyptian government. In 1873 Krupp already employed 12,000 workers. In 1903 Frau Berta Krupp sold the entire works and property to the Alfred Krupp joint-stock company for 160 million. Today the total value of the stock-capital amounts to 250 million. What does the name Krupp connote for us Germans? The acme of our industrial development. The world’s first maker of [steel] cannons. A vast sum of the most tenacious, purposeful, intensive productivity. For hundreds of thousands of our folk-comrades the Krupp endeavor has meant bread and work. For our nation, weapons and defense – and yet it is a dwarf compared to the Rothschild billions. What significance does the growth of the Krupp fortune during a century have compared to the growth of the Rothschild fortune through effortless and endless accretion from interest and interest on interest?
The two curves drawn in bold lines represent loan-interest and indeed the upper curve shows the development of the Rothschild fortune and the lower curve, at first flat and then rapidly rising, shows in a very general way the characteristic development of all such curves, in which a small advance on the horizontal axis can produce a doubling of the value on the vertical axis. The hatched line shows the development-curve of our total industry in the course of the last 40-50 years. The differently hatched fine lines show the development of several randomly selected big industrial enterprises from which the general character of the hatched curve of industrial capital is derived.
It must be expressly remarked that the curves of loan-capital are shown strongly compressed. Thus for example the curve of the Rothschild fortune must be set 80 times so high as the Krupp curve. The purpose of showing the curves of course is only to demonstrate the fundamentally different character of the two types of capital. The curves of loan-capital show at first a quite gradually rising development; the development then goes faster until, ever wilder and dragging everything with it, it raises itself far beyond human concepts and strives toward infinity.
The curve of industrial capital by contrast remains in the finite! However strong the divergences that a trace may show in detail, overall the fundamental character of industrial development will always be such that after strong initial development a certain period of maturity, of saturation, follows, after which sooner or later the decline ensues.
Nothing shows us more clearly the deep essential difference between loan- capital and industrial capital. Nothing can make the difference clearer for us between the devastating effects of loan- capital and the business-profits (dividends) of business-capital put up and risked in large industrial enterprises, than this comparison.
It cannot be emphasized enough that the recognition of the mathematical laws that loan-capital and industrial capital follow, alone shows us the clear path where the lever is to be applied for setting aright our wrecked finance- economy. We recognize clearly that not the capitalistic economic order, not capital in itself and as such, is the scourge of humanity. The insatiable interest-need of big loan-capital is the curse of all laboring humanity! Capital must be! Labor must be! Labor alone can do little. Capital alone can do nothing! Capital without labor can only be sterile! Therefore the most important demand, the most noble task of the revolution, the most sensible meaning of a world-revolution, is the abolition of enslavement to interest on money.
The House of Rothschild today is valued at 40 billion. The billionaires of American high finance, Misters Cahn, Loeb, Schiff, Speyer, Morgan, Vanderbilt, and Astor, are valued together at 60-70 billion at the least. At an interest-rate of only 5% this means an income for these eight families of 5-6 billion, which, according to the researches of Karl Helfferich, is roughly 75% of the annual income that all taxpayers in Prussia had in the year 1912. (There were at that time around 21,000,000 taxpayers, 75% of that would be about 15,000,000. For every taxpayer there are on the average 1.56 relatives; hence 23 million relatives.) Around 38,000,000 Germans thus have had to live on what the afore-mentioned billionaires have as a yearly income. Certainly the American billionaires are not pure loan-capitalists in the same sense as the House of Rothschild and so on. I do not care at all to argue about whether the American billionaires are really “100-million-dollar millionaires” or “1000-million-mark billionaires”; in the former case one would just have to reckon in one or two dozen additional Croesuses. Or let us simply accept Rathenau’s “300”; then our inventory will certainly be in order. Here it is not important to give an exact number, but the acknowledged ratio of 300 to 38,000,000 opens our eyes about the brutal reign of international loan-capital.
Therefore let us cast off these terrible chains that can only strangle all energetic labor; let us tear away from money the power to bear interest, and ever again to bear interest until all humanity has become entirely obligated for interest to international loan-capital.
Thus it is these three points that make clear to us for the first time where alone the lever may be effectively applied for the alleviation of our internal financial distress.
For another thing, we recognize that the assault of the entire socialist world of ideas against industrial capital has been completely off the mark, because even an intended complete regulation or socialization of all entrepreneurial profit – assuming an unweakened economy – would yield a laughably meager sum, compared to the enormous financial burdens of the budgets of our Reich and our State.
Through the abolition of enslavement to interest on money the entire financial malaise can be eliminated with one blow. At once we feel solid ground under our feet again; at once it must and will become clear to us that we have only deceived ourselves in the most grotesque manner with this wretched bond-economy.
For what else is loan-capital, but debts? Loan-capital is debts! One cannot repeat that often enough. What form of madness is it when the German people in its totality have borrowed 150 billion for its war? When it has even promised itself for this a quantity of 7½ billion in interest and now feels itself shifted into the awkward situation, inevitable from the start, of trying to collect this 7½ billion from itself in the form of entirely fanciful taxes?
* * * * *
The tragic thing about this self-deception meanwhile is less the stupidity of this whole war-bond economy, of which we have always made so much better use than the rest of the world, than the fact that only a relatively small number of big capitalists derives enormous benefit from it, while the entire laboring folk, including the medium-sized and smaller capitalists, as well as business, trade, and industry, must pay the interest. And here the political side of the whole idea comes to light. Here they can recognize that in fact big loan-capital and only this [i.e. not industrial capital] is the curse of all laboring humanity. One may twist and turn the thing as one wishes, but always the mass of all hard-working people must in the end bear the cost of interest- payments on loan-capital. The middle- sized and smaller capitalists have nothing to show for their lovely interest-payments; can have nothing to show, for the sums of interest must be entirely taxed away. Whether in the form of direct taxes or indirectly in the way of indirect taxes, stamps, tariffs, or other burdens on commerce, the hard-working folk is always the sucker and big capital the beneficiary.
It is now quite astonishing to see how the socialist idea-world of Marx and Engels, from the Communist Manifesto to the Erfurt Program (especially Kautsky), and even the current socialist leaders, spare the interests of loan- capital as if on command. The sanctity of interest is taboo; interest is the holy of holies; no one has yet dared to call it into question. While property, nobility, security of person and possessions, the laws of the Crown, privileges and religious conviction, honor of officers, fatherland, and freedom are more or less outlawed, interest is holy and unassailable. Confiscation of wealth and socialization, thus outright violations of the law that are only somewhat sugarcoated, insofar as they are committed ostensibly in the name of the totality of individuals, are the order of the day: all of that is permitted, but interest, interest is the noli me tangere, the “touchmenot.” The interest payment on the Reich’s debt is the alpha and omega of the state budget. Its gigantic weight drags the ship of state into the abyss and yet … it is all a big swindle … a monstrous self- deception, fostered only and solely for the benefit of the great money-powers.
Here I would like to touch briefly now upon the objections relating to small pensioners, to be discussed later, so that one does not get hung up thinking about them. In the consideration of the very big questions these are not considered, but it goes without saying that these compensations will be provided through the broadest expansion of social-welfare services.
Swindle, I said! Interest-swindle! A strong word. But if this word has justification, which during the war was perhaps the most used word in the field and at home, it has the most justification in regard to the interest-swindle.
But what about the war-bonds? With the first 5 billion, the Reich took out of the pockets of the people savings that actually existed. The money flowed back again. Then came the new loan to suck up the money again, and with that the last residual savings. And again came the pump and sucked up the billions, and again they ebbed back again, until merrily, after this charming game was repeated nine times, the Reich had incurred 100 billion in debt.
In exchange the people of course held in their hands 100 billion in finely printed paper – at first we imagined that we had become so much richer – but then comes the state and says, “I am facing bankruptcy.” Yes, but why? – I myself certainly cannot go bankrupt even if I occasionally take a hundred-mark note from the right upper pocket and put it into the left. Certainly it would be the biggest folly of all if we continued the folly of our war- bond economy by declaring bankruptcy. [* Feder here is regarding the German nation as a unified entity rather than a mere aggregation of individuals: the money that has been transferred from some Germans to other Germans remains within the German nation, which means that it is within the power of the German government to adjust the distribution, perhaps to the immediate disadvantage of some individuals but for the good of the nation as a whole.] Let us break the enslavement to interest on money! Let us declare the war-bond certificates to be legal tender with interest canceled, and the nightmare of state bankruptcy will melt away from us like March snow under the Sun.
People say to me, the cancellation of interest-payments is a disguised state bankruptcy. No, that is not true! – The specter of state bankruptcy is really only a fairytale and a bogeyman invented by the Mammonist forces.
The book by Franz Röhr, Was jeder vom Staatsbankerott wissen muß [What Everyone ought to Know about State Bankruptcy], is completely stuck in Mammonistic ways of thinking. Although the author in general quite clearly recognizes the economic problems that threaten us through socialization, and although he advises emphatically and correctly that in the end only a rebuilding of our economy can save us – he cannot free himself from the superstitious belief in the sanctity of interest, and therefore he depicts state bankruptcy entirely in accord with the interest of Mammonism, as a completely terrifying catastrophe.
It is interesting to observe that Röhr, in spite of better historical knowledge, cannot free himself from the Mammonistic view, and notes in his closing word: “If the ruinous economic catastrophe is not averted, no one will be spared by it,” while on page 81 he admits that the consequences of public financial mismanagement have been partially reversed very quickly, and on page 68 he says that in any case there should be no doubt that Russia (in the last century) overcame these currency- crises without lasting problems. On page 76 he says, while examining the effects of state bankruptcies, that although of course profound economic problems etc. have occurred, by and large neither the destruction of the state nor that of its economic strength resulted. On the contrary a rapid revival of the national economy and a recovery of public finances have been observed often enough. When the author then continues for three more lines saying that state- bankruptcy absolutely means economic catastrophe and causes infinite misery; I regret being unable to follow this logic.
But back to our particular case! Which would be more honest? To speak pharisaically of the unassailability of war-bonds while oppressing the people with an egregious tax-burden? Or, if a finance-minister had the courage to approach the people openly and to declare, “I cannot make the interest- payments on the war-bonds, or I can only if I collect exactly the same amount in taxes from you. “. . . . But back then during the war I absolutely needed money; nothing more clever (see England) occurred to me, and so I did the swindle with the high-interest war- bonds. You must forgive me, beloved folk; it was ultimately all for you, but if we wish to play hide-and-seek no more … I, the state, shall pay no more interest, and you, the taxpayer, need not pay taxes to cover these interest payments…. That thoroughly simplifies our transactions; we avoid the enormous tax-bureaucracy and likewise the enormous interest- paying bureaucracy, thus conserving an immense quantity of money and work- potential.” I have lingered long on exposing this swindle, but I consider it absolutely fundamental here at no point to lose sight of the big picture.
* * * * *
According to Bavarian tax-returns, the circle of people that would suffer — let us say, precisely those that according to their tax-returns received over 30,000 marks in interest-payments — are 822 people, which is only 0.4% of those obliged to pay taxes (Bayr. St-Z. 1913) in all Germany, therefore, approximately 10,000. (The upper 10,000!) Let us clarify for ourselves now as briefly as possible the most important aspects of this revolutionary demand, and indeed let us consider the questions first from our national perspective.
For this there is first need of a clear look at our current situation. Secretary of State Eugen Schiffer, in his big speech in the Berlin Chamber of Commerce, has declared it “impossible to ignore.” That is only partially correct. Possible to ignore is the enormous indebtedness of our national economy, and the unprecedented devaluation of our currency — in short, the fact that we have become an impoverished people overnight.
The burdens that are being imposed on us through the peace-treaty, however, cannot be ignored. The currently existing certificates of indebtedness, as we have seen, amount to around 250 billion. Let us assume first that the Entente imposes on us an additional 50 billion in war- reparations in some form: that makes a total of around 300 billion in debt.
However heavily it may strain the narrow confines of this treatise, nonetheless some words must be said about the magnitude of German national wealth. The investigations of Helferrich and Steinmann-Bucher assess the German national wealth at around 350 billion. One can only attribute very limited value to such findings, however carefully they may have been derived. They are valid only for times of undisturbed economic activity. But they are also quite misleading since state and municipal properties are included, thus for example also road-repairs, waterway-modifications, and so on. It is clear that although the production of such works may have cost enormous money, nonetheless they have strictly speaking no intrinsic value. A better yardstick for national wealth is so-called taxable wealth as it emerges from the tax-returns for the defense-contribution or the wartime wealth-tax. For this a sum-total of 192 billion results, thus much less by far than Helfferich’s figure. To this sum nonetheless about 10% may be added, according to experience, for the legally tax-free small fortunes, and about an equal amount for “silent reserves.” [* “Silent reserves” are the result of underestimating positive values and overestimating negative values in accounting, so as to create the appearance of the lowest possible net- worth.] In any case it seems to me overly optimistic to speak of a national wealth of more than 250 billion. But even this number has only a very limited importance. The most correct thing would be to break away entirely from the idea of a national wealth that is at all numerically graspable, and to penetrate to the recognition that national wealth finds its expression exclusively in the mental and physical work-potential of the entire nation, and thus belongs to orders of magnitude that have no relation to the narrower concept of capital.
Indeed we must still see a further source of national wealth in the presence of mineral resources, the riches of the forest, and fertile soil, but these things also cannot be grasped numerically, since their value fluctuates between zero and infinity, depending on whether the mineral resources lie unexploited, or, based on a geological report, can be reckoned for billions of tons of coal and so on.
Let us not forget that Germany really is a poor country. Of monopolies it possesses almost none. In wealth of mineral resources it stands far behind most of its neighbors, to say nothing of the unparalleled mineral resources of the Chinese, Indian, and American empires. In fertility of the soil it falls far short compared to the blessed fields of Russia’s black soil, and compared to the effortlessly productive stretches of tropical and subtropical land. Therefore in the end we have always only the potential and will of our people to work, as well as the availability of sufficient work, and we must understand clearly that in this state of affairs there can be no talk of secured debts, of collateral for our debt-instruments…
Whether interest-bearing war-bonds or non-interest-bearing Reich banknotes, behind them stands only and solely the tax-potential of the entire people – and what is tax-potential other than a function of the work-power of the total working population? * * * * * We must now clarify for ourselves yet another relevant complex of questions, and of course the chief entries of our state revenue-sources and expenditures. There is a remarkable contrast between the broad space that the concern for making money occupies in our private lives, and the attention that we give to the great questions of our state financial management, and yet between individual economy and national economy no essential difference exists whatsoever.
The chief entries for state revenue are: first, the net profits of the post-offices and railroads; second, those of the mines, forestry-administrations, and other state enterprises; third, tolls and indirect taxes; fourth, direct taxes.
So as not to foster purely theoretical discussions in such eminently practical questions, I want to elucidate the individual entries from the Bavarian state budget of the year 1911 according to their order of magnitude.
Post, telegraph, and railroads brought 120 million; forests, mines, etc., around 40 million; indirect taxes, 53 million; direct taxes, 60 million. An additional 67 million flowed from stamp-duties, fees, inheritance-taxes, land-taxes, revenue-transfers from the Reich, and so on.
What about expenditures? We find here in the first place the payments for interest on the state debt including the railroad-debts with 85 million. For the royal house, 5 million; administration of justice, 27 million; internal administration, 40 million; churches and schools, 51 million; financial administration, 13 million; expenditures for Reich-related purposes, 50 million; pensions, 36 million. Miscellaneous expenditures 5 million. Back then in this fortunate year of Bavarian finances the annual budget left a revenue-surplus of 27 million.
In the scope of our thought however only those expenditures concern us that can be omitted through the abolition of interest-slavery. Here the interest- payment on the state debt naturally stands in first place at 85 million marks; add to that the greatest part of our payment for financial administration at about 10 million; furthermore a large part of the payments for Reich-related purposes, of which let us add half, 25 million, and finally the 5 million in payments for the royal house are now gone: a total of 125 million.
The disappearance of these entries means the possibility of renouncing imposition of all direct and indirect taxes, which, as we saw, brought in 53 million and 60 million marks, a total of 113 million marks! We are now not at all of the opinion that one should entirely abolish direct and indirect taxes; unquestionably within reasonable limits they serve on the one hand to educate, on the other hand to regulate. It is certainly not more than right and fair that the profits from property owned free and clear remain subject to a moderate, graduated tax, since the state of course must also maintain secure ownership with its policing agencies. It seems just as advisable that trade and industry be required to make tax-contributions corresponding to their working profits, since the state also has to care for the maintenance and development of public paths of commerce for them. A corresponding minimum poll-tax for every citizen entitled to vote is likewise a requirement of fairness, since care for the security of the person and his property is also required from the state.
In the area of indirect taxes a strong expansion of all pure luxury-taxes has a regulatory effect in the best sense, while all simple foodstuffs and necessities of the people should be kept free of taxes! The result of such a tax-policy would be found less in high revenues – about which there can be no talk, since for the great mass of the population taxation should be not a real burden but only a reminder that the person is not only an individual essence but also a citizen of the state, and that in addition to civil rights he also has civil duties.
Tax-revenues should be less necessary for paying off the debts of state-owned businesses, whose net-profits, as we have seen, suffice to cover the normal expenditures of the state for schools, universities, administration of justice, internal administration, etc. Tax- revenues should be used to advance special cultural tasks of the state for which adequate resources were never available in the scope of the normal state budget. Here I am thinking primarily about orphanages, institutes for the blind and the crippled, daycare centers, care for expectant mothers, the battles against tuberculosis, alcohol, and venereal diseases, and the construction of garden- cities and settlements, especially for the accommodation and humane care of our war-disabled.
* * * * *
Our view broadens. We see virgin land. Could the abolition of interest-slavery mean the cancellation of all taxes? It would mean that, if we had come out of this gigantic struggle as a victorious people. As things are, let us not celebrate too early; the burdens imposed on us by our enemies will make sure that we do not. But in any case we see virgin land based on the indeed quite simple example of our Bavarian state budget that we just used…
In general we find quite similar relationships in the other German federal states, and it is not too much to say that from the surpluses of the state-owned businesses, the railroads, post-offices, telegraphs, forests, mines, and so on, all state expenditures for the entire administration of justice, for all internal administration, including state construction-projects, all outlays for schools and universities, just as for cultural purposes, could be covered without difficulty. Thus a perfectly ideal condition.
Why is that not the case? Interest has crept in. Because of the payment of interest the population’s foodstuffs become expensive; because of interest sugar and salt, beer and wine, matchsticks and tobacco and countless other necessities of daily need carry indirect taxes. Because of interest, direct taxes must be raised, which are divided into land-taxes that are passed on in the form of higher prices for grain, house- taxes that drive up rent, business-taxes that burden productive labor, income- taxes that unavoidably depress the living-standards of civil servants and people on fixed salaries, and finally at the very end, modest in giving but insatiable in taking, loan-capital pays taxes on capital dividends. According to the tax-returns of the year 1911, out of 253 million in capital dividends received in Bavaria, all of 8.1 million was paid in state taxes.
We have seen that all capital dividends, all interest on capital, ultimately must be raised through the labor of the entire people. We have seen that the interest- payment on public debts constitutes the largest entry in our state budget, and we have seen that those obliged to pay taxes on interest-payments make only an extremely limited contribution to state revenues.
In terms of relative magnitude, the capitalist paid 8 million out of a total of 60 million in direct taxes, which is only an eighth to a sixth of the direct state taxes paid in Bavaria in 1911. Direct taxes however are only about a fifth of the total state revenue. Therefore loan- capital contributes only about a thirtieth to a forty-eighth share of the state’s total needs.
It should not be denied that tax- legislation during the war, especially in the last years, resorted to a stronger tax on capital dividends, but stronger indirect taxation has more or less kept pace with it, so that the relative size has hardly changed.
The picture becomes dire when we consider the budget of the Reich. Here the proportions in themselves are already much less favorable. The Reich does not have the same tax-sources as the individual federal states. Direct taxes are reserved to the federal states; the enterprises of the Reich are limited to the Reich’s post-office and railroad (note that this does not include the Prussian state railroads), and consequently only tolls and indirect taxes remain.
The orders of magnitude of the Reich’s revenue-sources (see Statistisches Jahrbuch für das Deutsche Reich for the years 1917 and 1918) were, in the year 1915, 1 billion in indirect taxes, 0.8 billion in special revenues (war- contribution, matricular fees), and so on. Here too the same picture again. More than a third, 1.3 billion to be specific, was devoured already in the year 1915 by payment of interest on the Reich’s debt. Here too loan-capital pushed its way in again. Here too it requires all direct taxes to satisfy it. Sugar pays 163 million, salt 61 million, beer 128 million, tobacco, schnapps, sparkling wine, lamp-fuel, matches, playing cards, and countless other items had to be taxed in order to scrape together a billion marks that then flows completely into the pockets of the capitalists.
Today, how to pay the interest on the Reich’s debt is a riddle. Interest- payments alone devour 8 billion [annually], based on 100 billion in war- bonds plus other war-credits. Revenues from the post-office and railroad can hardly be further increased. A further increase in tolls will hardly be tolerated; therefore probably only a five- or ten- fold increase in indirect taxes is left — an impossibility! — or the clear insight that only and solely the abolition of enslavement to interest on money can bring us salvation. An enormous self- deception is what the entire war-bond economy was. The German nation borrowed a hundred billion from itself for its war. For that it promised 5 billion in interest to itself; it must therefore pay 5 billion in taxes. All benefit goes to the big capitalist, who draws so much in capital dividends that he cannot possibly use it up, and yet only a quite modest percentage is taken away through the tax on capital dividends, as we have seen.
* * * * *
I hope now through the main thrusts of my presentation already to have dispelled the humanly comprehensible terror that many readers may have of eventually losing the interest-income from their pretty certificates. Let it just be demonstrated very briefly with one example that the whole interest-economy is a big self-deception, and along with that I want to look at an upper level of solid middle-class income.
Assume that the head of a household has an income from labor of 10,000 marks, and on top of that another 5000 marks from capital dividends. In the first place about 1500 marks of this will be paid in direct taxes; then at least 1000-1200 marks in the form of high rents will be stripped away for eternal interest. Another 1000 marks are likely to be drained off in the form of indirect taxes for a family of five or six, and already now one realizes that not much is left of the lovely capital dividends that the small and middle-sized capitalists enjoyed under the happy tax-rates of earlier years. Indeed, already today there can be no more talk of “surplus”; on the contrary, if one examines for oneself today the current fantastic tax- proposals, considerably more income from labor will probably be taxed away.
Naturally the situation seems to be quite different for the big capitalist, who, let us say for example, collects only 1 million in capital dividends. (Such people are fairly numerous in Germany today.) Of the tax on capital dividends this fortunate man pays at the most 50-60 thousand marks. Of indirect taxes he also pays no more than the family-father of the previous example. On his budget after all he can still live quite comfortably indeed with 40-50 thousand marks, even in the current expensive era. If roughly a nice 900,000 marks cash remain to him, for that with 5% interest on loans he will get another 45,000 marks in the next year and that, by law, at the expense of the working population.
The small pensioner who only lives on his interest undoubtedly would be harmed. If he is able to work, then he must of course resolve to earn an income from labor. With that he then situates himself very much better than the millions of his folk-comrades who have nothing other than their physical or mental work-potential. If he does not want that, then he must eat into his wealth. Ultimately he has 20 years to nibble at it again and again, if he continues to consume the annual sum that he has been receiving at 5% interest. For persons that are not in a position to work, or are weakened by illness or age, obviously an appropriate livelihood must be arranged through the development of social welfare for all segments of the population.
I visualize social welfare as follows: Let us assume that an older lady, a widow, who hitherto had to live on the interest from a capital investment of 60,000 marks, is, through the legally proclaimed abolition of interest-slavery, deprived of her source of income. Here, through the broadest expansion of the pension-system, opportunity would be given the afore-mentioned person to draw a pension corresponding to her capital, wherewith the annual pension could even be increased relative to the previous interest-yield, so as also to give a certain compensation for the diminished value of money even to this circle of people. Thus, for example, in exchange for the surrendered 60,000 marks in debt-instruments of the Reich, of the states, or in covered bonds, an annual lifelong pension of 4000 marks could be given. If the widow has children and she wants to will a portion of the wealth to them, then it can be allowed to her that only 40,000 marks be transformed into a pension, while the remaining 20,000 would be kept for the children. Out of the 40,000 marks, depending on the age of the pension- applicant, up to 1/12 of the received capital could be given annually.
Furthermore, let it also be noted here that, with the discontinuation of oppressive taxes as a result of the abolition of interest-slavery, the widow’s cost of living will be quite considerably decreased.
It would greatly exceed the scope of this essay to examine in detail the personal interests of each stratum of the population. Such a revolutionary demand cannot be about personal interests; nevertheless as the idea takes effect one will find that the healthful consequences personally benefit every individual in the end.
Precisely by the problem already isolated above, of how to achieve release from interest on war-bonds, I have tried to make it clear already that small capitalists — by which I mean all the hundreds of thousands that have been induced through a hyper-American advertising-campaign to devote their savings for subscription to war-bonds — not only receive no benefit from interest, since of course they must pay for it themselves with taxes, but, with tax- legislation tailored for the protection of big capital, must support interest- payments for million-mark subscriptions.
It seems to me that, apart from these immediate considerations, an appeal to all for the sake of their children’s wellbeing must in itself persuade the anxious bondholder to accept as completely natural the renunciation of eternal interest from the Reich’s debts. In this case, what does the patriot, who has given 10,000 marks to his fatherland in direst need, really lose, other than a usurious claim to draw 50,000 marks in interest within a hundred years, without even diminishing the principal? Eternally his children and grandchildren must work, just to pay all the interest.
* * * * *
The question of repayment of the lent sums can be solved in various ways. In my briefly stated main ideas about the problem at hand, which I submitted to the government of the People’s State of Bavaria [under Kurt Eisner] on 20 November of last year , I proposed simply to have repayment take the place of interest-payment at the rate of 5% annually for 20 years. I believe that in what follows I can even make a much better suggestion, which because of its simplicity certainly deserves preference: “The war-bond certificates upon cancellation of interest will be declared to be currency.” That is the Egg of Columbus. The advantage of this measure is in the first place that nobody really feels anything from it. The war- bond certificates continue to lie at rest in the depots; but no young people get them, any more than a book, or a cabinet, or some otherwise useful object that somebody would lend to his friend.
If one needs money, then one simply whips out a war-bond note and pays with that. War-bond notes have, after all, just as much beauty and paper-value as our other 10, 20, 100, and 1000-mark notes. There can certainly be no talk of the market’s being flooded with currency in such a bump-free transition from the interest-economy into the interest-free national economy. All the war-bond certificates are indeed already well protected and stored in bank-vaults, or other places of concealment considered secure by the people, such as a woolen stocking or a manure-heap. Indeed it cannot be denied that our issued paper currency, as much as about 40 billion, is also not in circulation but for the most part is hoarded in the manner described above. Our need for currency in the times of economic boom before the war was also only about 4-6 billion, and it is inconceivable that we would need more than twice that much today in the ever more customary cashless economy.
[In a later section Feder states that he has decided that simply letting war-bond certificates be used as currency is not the best idea. He proposes that they should be converted into bank-credit instead.]
* * * * *
The cancellation of interest is to be done in precisely the same manner for all fixed-interest assets. For these assets, just as for dividend-yielding assets, the originally proposed “repayment” in 20 or 25-year annual pensions is recommended, especially for mortgages.
The abolition of interest-slavery for mortgages means without a doubt the solution of the housing problem, the liberation from exorbitant rents. It is not at all evident why the holder of a mortgage should have the eternal benefit of interest from a sum lent once, why an effortless and endless influx of goods should be granted to him, why the great mass of a people, only for this unhealthy principle of interest, should pay high rents year in, year out. Let it be interjected very briefly that self- evidently there can be no talk of a complete cancellation of rent, since of course the management and upkeep of houses demands constant labor and money. A lowering of rents thus can only occur so far as it results of its own accord through the accomplished repayment of mortgages.
Only one thing should be sharply emphasized, that the abolition of enslavement to interest has not the slightest thing to do with our total value- producing labor, insofar as no hindrance is posed in any way to the entrepreneurial spirit, to productive labor, to the manufacture of goods, to the acquisition of wealth. On the contrary, as we have seen, the entire working folk is liberated from a stifling, unreasonable, heavy burden; our soul- life is purged of an intoxicating poison.
* * * * *
We can tell how correctly the fruitfulness of the interest-problem has been recognized in the course of history, by the fact that minds in all ages and all peoples have been occupied with it…
In various passages of the Old Testament, such as Leviticus 25 and Deuteronomy 15, we find regulations about the cessation of interest in the form that the seventh year should always be an acceptilation or jubilee, in which all debts of folk-comrades should be abated.
Solon in the year 594B.C. abolished personal debt-slavery through legislation. This law was called the great Seisachtheia (shaking off of burdens).
In ancient Rome the Lex Gemicia of the year 332 B.C. abruptly forbade Roman citizens entirely from charging any interest.
Under Justinian a prohibition on compound interest was enacted, with the regulation that no more interest whatsoever should be demanded when overdue interest has accumulated to the level of the sum originally lent.
Pope Leo I (the Great) decreed in the year 443 a general prohibition on taking interest; until then only clerics had been prohibited from demanding interest on a loan. The ban on interest was now part of Canon Law and also a binding regulation for the laity. Secular legislation also gradually fell in line with canonic views, and even threatened punishment for charging interest. We find this in the police ordinances of the Holy Roman Empire for the years 1500, 1530, and 1577.
Of course such laws were now much opposed and frequently circumvented, and in this quite short historical retrospective it may only be mentioned as an astonishing historical fact that although under the canon law of the 11th to 17th centuries the charging of interest was forbidden to Christians, it was permitted to Jews.
It would be extraordinarily charming to investigate in each instance what economic tumors led to these powerful shedding of burdens. It would be especially valuable to see which powers and forces have violated the prohibitions on interest again and again.
In the Middle Ages certainly short work was often made of usurers; the farmers or citizens having been bled dry got together and beat the profiteers to death. Today we have entered into a completely different phase of the interest-problem. Such pogroms are most deeply disapproved.
Also it is no longer a matter of individual locally confined symptoms of illness that could be combated by excising the pus-pocket; what is happening is a serious sickening of all humanity.
* * * * *
It should be most emphatically stressed that precisely our contemporary culture, precisely the internationality of economic relations, make the interest- principle so murderous. The foregoing historical retrospective should also not be regarded as providing an analogy for the circumstances of today. When the Babylonians overcame the Assyrians, the Romans the Carthaginians, the Germans the Romans, then there was no continuation of enslavement to interest; there were no international world- powers. The wars were also not financed through borrowing but with treasures accumulated during peace.
David Hume gives a very nice overview of this in his Essay on Public Credit. Only the modern age with its continuity of ownership and its international law allows loan-capital to escalate into infinity. The penny that was invested at interest at the time of the birth of Christ exists no more, because since then all rights of ownership have had to give way to violence several times; by contrast the penny that old Rothschild invested at interest still exists, and will exist, if there is international law, for all eternity.
In addition it ought to be considered that broad stretches of the Earth have only in the modern age gone over from natural economy to money-economy. It is quite especially important in this connection that only in the middle of the 19th century were all restrictions on charging interest, and likewise all prohibitions on interest, abolished: thus England in the year 1854, Denmark 1856, Belgium 1865, Austria 1868.
Thus today’s concept of interest as inseparable from the possession of money is not much older than half a century. But precisely this interest- concept has for the first time caused money to turn into the demonic power of such universal coercion that we have come to know.
The incipient and then ever-increasing indebtedness of states to capitalists likewise dates only to the middle of the 19th century. Only since that time do we see the state degraded from being the trustee of the folk-community into being the trustee of capitalistic interests. This development has reached its highpoint in war-bonds, which we encounter in all lands, which exclusively, as we have recognized, serve only Mammonistic interests, which should be crowned with the gigantic credit-edifice of a world- loan.
* * * * *
These brief retrospectives should make it easier for us finally to break away from the supposition that unto loan- capital must be lent the supramundane power to grow eternally and interminably from itself. Gifted with a terrifying potential for sucking dry. We must break away from the notion that loan-capital, unaffected by worldly deeds and misdeeds, should be able to sit enthroned above the clouds, unaffected by transitoriness, unaffected by the forces of destruction, unaffected by the shots of our giant guns. For, should even houses and huts, railroads and bridges shattered by shells sink into dust and ash, the mortgages will still exist; the railroad bonds and public certificates of indebtedness are not thereby erased. Should villages and cities, entire provinces fall victim to the insane destruction of war, what is the result? New certificates of indebtedness are what it means. With eyes flashing greed the Gold International enthroned above the clouds watches the mad rush of humanity. And not long distant is the time when all humanity finally shall serve only as interest-slaves to Mammonism.
The idea is international; it must liberate the entire world. Hail to the nation that first dares the bold step. Soon others will follow.
The question often directed to me, whether the idea is nationally realizable at all, I answer with yes. We are internally indebted.
Against foreign interest-claims we are naturally powerless for now; these must simply be paid. Excessive capital- outflow must be blocked to the extent possible, but, as little as the lawgiver refrains from working out laws against murder, manslaughter, fraud, etc., because there would still always be scoundrels, just as little should a people in its totality restrain itself from taking a step recognized as necessary for the healing of its public finances, just because of the fact that not exactly the best elements of the folk are trying to carry their loot into safety outside the country. If we assume that hundreds of millions, even billions in war-bond certificates would be spent abroad; even this could still not be a significant impetus for failing to abolish interest- slavery; for proportionally, of the more than 250 billion marks in fixed-interest domestic investment-assets, by far the majority must still be in the country.
Let us again summarize briefly. – The abolition of enslavement to interest is the radical means for the final and permanent healing of our public finances. – The abolition of the interest- community means the possibility of renouncing oppressive direct and indirect taxes, because the state-owned businesses, especially after the socialization of further suitable sectors (inland navigation, electricity, air- traffic, etc.), will give sufficient surpluses to the public coffers to support all social and cultural tasks of the state.
Aside from this financial consideration, the abolition of the interest-community will grant to productive labor in all fields of endeavor the priority that it deserves. Money is returned once again to the role appropriate to it, to be a servant in the powerful drive of our national economy. It will become again what it is, a voucher for completed labor, and therewith the path is cleared for a higher goal, for abstention from the raging money-lust of our age.
The idea points toward the establishment of a united front of the entire working population: from the unpropertied laborer who, as we have seen, is very heavily burdened with indirect taxes for the satisfaction of loan-capital, through the entire bourgeois class of civil servants and employees, of the farming and small-trades middle class, which get to feel the pitiless tyranny of money in the form of wretched housing, farmland- rental, bank-interest, and so on, all the way up to the leading heads, inventors, and directors of our big industry, who are one and all more or less stuck together in the claws of big loan-capital, for whom the first task of life is always to work for the sake of pensions, dividends, and interest for the money- powers playing behind the scenes. No less do all circles of the intelligentsia – artists, writers, actors, scholars, as well as other independent professionals – also belong to this group.
Although big loan-capital, as a group of natural persons or as the personification of the interest-principle, seeks consciously or instinctively to conceal the fact of its boundless lust for control, and although our entire legal tradition based upon Roman law, thus upon law serving for the protection of a plutocracy, has ever so strongly emphasized the protection of property and therewith permeated our people’s sense of justice, the abolition of enslavement to interest on money must come, as the only way out of the threatening economic enslavement of the entire world by the Gold International, as one of the ways to drive out the poison of Mammonism with its corruption and contamination of the mentality of our age.
The Conversion of War-Bonds into Bank-Credit The demand in § 1, for the conversion of war-bond certificates etc. into legal tender, has on numerous occasions been met with the objection that it would mean excessively flooding the market with currency. This objection is in itself quite erroneous. Inflation occurs through the mere existence of war-bond.
It is however true that, in spite of its wrongheadedness, the concern about the physical presence of these papers declared to be currency is not going away, and therefore despite being unrealistic this concern might generate unfortunate side-effects, as if in fact a new inflation had taken place. Therefore, amending § 1, we demand, after legislative cancellation of the obligation to pay interest, conversion of war-bond certificates, along with other public debenture-bonds, [not into currency but] into bank-credit.
This formulation has the great advantage that the physical existence of war-bonds as paper would cease; the war-bond certificates would be delivered to the Reichsbank by banks, bankers, thrift- institutions, etc., and would be destroyed after a credit-note for the face-value is issued. Therewith nearly every person in Germany would receive a bank-credit, an open bank-account that he could use.
Such a procedure would also have the great advantage that the retention of larger investments in private possession would not be possible, since after the expiration of a specified deadline the undelivered certificates would be declared void.
Furthermore it would at least be possible to control how much war-bond is spent outside the country [thus affecting Germany’s trade-balance]. The last point however must not in any way block fulfillment of the abolition of enslavement to interest. Since we really feel too weak compared to foreign countries, we must satisfy (only) the interest-demands that confront us from abroad. Personally I am entirely of the opinion that we should also uphold the cancellation of interest even for foreign bondholders. We need not fear that foreign interest-claims would be enforced by force of arms, since there has been so much progress in returning [from war-madness] to something resembling self-awareness, and never yet in history has a warlike action been undertaken against a great state because of financial measures affecting private persons. It also ought not to be imagined that even the French people would issue an ultimatum to Germany because of the interest-claims of Messrs. Mayer, Schulze, and Cohn from Germany, based on their German war-bonds carried across the border.
Beyond this it would be possible, so as to avoid even the appearance to the rest of the world of a state bankruptcy, to conduct a lottery of the war-bond, which then of course could easily be rigged based on statistics obtained through the required delivery of certificates, so that at first just the numbers presumably belonging to people abroad would be drawn and paid off in Reich banknotes.
Yet a third thing would be the welcome ascertainment of the distribution of war- bonds, and the accompanying opportunity that still exists for an extraordinarily simple collection of the wealth-tax, while the bursaries of course would need only to instruct the Reichsbank offices to charge the account of Mr. N.N. with so and so many marks in tax. In this manner tax-payments would be more painless by far — although of course the taxpayers’ right of appeal would continue to exist in its full extent.
With such a transformation (conversion) of war-bonds into bank-credits a certain social leveling could also be accomplished, insofar as smaller investments in war-bonds, thus all small subscriptions of all of those for whom the subscription of war-bonds really is to be accounted a patriotic deed; let us say up to 5 or 10 thousand marks, would be made good at par, while all larger subscriptions could be credited at a rate to be established. The credits for all other government paper would be handled precisely the same.
Special Comments on the Demand for Law in the Manifesto On § 1 It is completely indispensable that all state and municipal debt-subscriptions be treated in the same way, since only such a unitary large-scale regulation of our entire monetary system, hand in hand with the abolition of interest-slavery, can be implemented.
On § 2 It is already clear that the abolition of interest-slavery must be applied simultaneously to all the other fixed-interest papers, so as not to cause an absurd boom in these papers, which obviously would occur if the public papers alone were declared interest-free. The reduction of the debt as such would be accomplished through annual repayment, whereby a constant and consistent un-debting of all debt- laden objects would be accomplished.
On § 3 This paragraph is very closely related to the preceding ones, as well as with the demand for nationalization of mortgage- lending in § 5. The farmer or homeowner burdened with mortgages continues, after as before, to pay the amount that he had to pay to his creditors, but no longer as eternal interest, rather as repayment. Thus after 20, 25, or 30 years, depending on the preexisting interest- rate, ownership of land and home will be freed from debt. (The mortgage-bank for its part can naturally likewise only during this time continue correspondingly to pay interest on covered bonds to covered-bond- holders.) Hand in hand with this liberation from debt arises the community’s right of ownership in the real-estate freed from mortgages.
A universal registry of dwellings, or rather a real-estate cadaster, would have to come first; because debt-free real- estate ownership naturally also has the right to repayment of invested capital, and also a permanent claim on a portion of the rent, to pay all the charges, expenses, and so on that come with real- estate-ownership, as well as appropriate compensation for work that the owner himself does. [* The connection between the registry of dwellings and the rights of debt-free owners is puzzling, unless the idea is to manage the growth of rental property so as to keep it reasonably profitable.] Let us consider this in broad outlines with the example of an urban apartment- house. The house has a value of 100,000 marks. Against that is recorded a mortgage-bank’s investment of 50,000 marks at 4% in position 1, a noncorporate investment of 20,000 marks at 5% in position 2, and 30,000 marks is the amount put up by the house- owner himself. The revenues from rent are 7000 marks. From this must be paid 2000 marks for the first mortgage, 1000 marks for the second mortgage, and 1000 marks for expenses, outlays, and so on: in all 4000 marks. Thus 3000 marks remain to the house-proprietor as an interest-payment [so to speak] for his own invested capital of 30,000 marks.
Following implementation of the legal abolition of interest on money the situation after ten years is as follows: 1s t mortgage 30,000 marks, 2nd mortgage 10,000 marks. The house-owner has completely recovered his capital- investment, but on the other hand there is a new, public right of ownership in the amount of 50,000 marks. With that the right of the state to have a say about further income from rent and to determine the amount of rent begins. [* Feder does not state how he derives the figure of 50,000 marks: it is half the value of the apartment-house, but also equal to the amount of the corporate mortgage. Probably the most important fact is that it is not more than the amount owed in mortgages, and therefore causes no pain to the house-owner. Presumably, given the emphasis that Feder puts on painless transition, if the amount owed on the house were less than half the value, the state according Feder’s plan would still not claim a share of ownership greater than what is owed on mortgages.] It would be unjust now, in regard to repayment, to put the house-proprietor on the same level as mortgages. For his capital is not pure loan-capital in the narrower sense that should be affected by the abolition of interest-slavery; here we are talking about “risk” capital, specifically about money converted into a valuable good, specifically a house. It is therefore up to the owner of the house whether to grant a longer duration of payments, or a corresponding percentage permanently included in the operating expenses of the house.
It cannot be the purpose here to make any binding proposals; here only suggestions are being made as to how a frictionless transition of the interest- economy into the interest-free economy could occur even in the area of real- estate.
So as to complete the example, let the status after 25 years be presumed as follows: by that time all mortgages are paid off; only the permanent expenses are the same or, because of the greater age of the house, increased from 1000 marks to perhaps 1500 marks. Let the return afforded to the house-proprietor from this sum also be about 1000 to 1500 marks; thus accordingly it appears that around 3000 marks of the rent- revenues go to cover non-negotiable charges, while the remaining 4000 of the original 7000 in rent-revenues would be freely disposable. The state thus has the possibility of lowering the rents by more than half; it will do this e.g. in workers’ dwellings, or the state may cut rents by only 20, 30, or 40%, and thus gain from the difference an enormous source of revenue for other public necessities, above all naturally for publicly conducted home-construction. For mansions the rents are not lowered, or not lowered much, whence very great additional means become available also for the better construction of homes, or for special social purposes. This future state of affairs however reveals – and I hold this for a very fruitful prospect – the inner justification for the community (state) even now to take part in determining the amount of rent in the manner that I sketched above, with a lowering of rent for workers’ dwellings.
In the growing right of the state to participate in real-estate-ownership also lies the foundation for a sound bank of issue, and issue of credit to mortgage- creditors.
On § 4 and 5 These paragraphs demand the socialization of the entire monetary system. Money is only and exclusively a voucher for completed labor issued by a community that has its own state. To issue money-tokens is one of the sovereign fundamental rights of the state. The counterfeiting of the state’s money- tokens is subject to the most severe punishments; thus it is a quite forceful social demand that the monetary system be placed under the control of the collectivity. The work-power of the collectivity is the sole substrate of money-tokens, and only the failure to appreciate this fundamental fact has led in general to the deterioration of our public finances and to complete anarchy of the monetary system in general.
With the surrender of personal and commercial credit by private bankers, proposed in § 5, a deeper incision is made into the total credit-system. For the state credit-system, as well as for municipal and even real-estate credit, one must cleave to the abolition of interest-slavery with utmost rigor and energy, because it is the indispensable prerequisite for the social state in general.
The situation is different with personal credit. We also demand, in and for itself, the interestlessness of personal credit; yet this demand does not carry the same enormous and principal importance. We remember the 250 billion in fixed- interest loan-capital compared to the only 12 billion in dividend-paying stocks.
All such credits, stocks, participation- certificates, mining shares, equity- holdings, and so on, are risk capital. The yield of this capital depends on the industry and efficiency of those persons to whom the money was entrusted. Here the element of risk and danger of loss thus comes into play, along with the question of personal trust. For that, a certain compensation of a special kind still appears indispensable. The owner of stocks and so on is in no way compensated or benefited if the enterprise to which he entrusted his money earns nothing. He loses his money entirely if the enterprise collapses.
It is otherwise with, for example, the owner of debenture-bonds of the Reicheisenbahn. The Reich’s railroads [in Elsaß-Lothringen] are completely lost with the loss of Elsaß-Lothringen. Nonetheless the holder of railroad- bonds continues to receive his interest- payments. From whom? From the taxes of the collectivity. The railroads may work with a deficit balance of any magnitude as in Prussia and Bavaria in the last year; yet the bondholders receive their interest-payments just the same. From whom? From tribute paid out of the work-potential and consumption of the working population.
One would just like to make this fundamental distinction perfectly clear, in order finally to recognize where it is that the vampire sucks from the work- potential of the people.
Thus personal credit should remain, or rather be allocated again, to personal dealing through the private bank. The personal efficiency of the credit-seeker, with which the banker is personally familiar, should again become the determining factor for personal credit. The fees set by the state will regulate themselves by themselves, in accord with the fluidity of money that will in any case commence with the abolition of interest-slavery.
On § 6 The main point of § 5 is also valid for dividend-assets in particular. In the interest of the social state-community it must be demanded that a repayment of the capital once lent be attempted also for the great industrial enterprises – in order to bring about here too a reduction of the indebtedness of the individual industrial works toward those that are only investors.
For in fact what we were able to observe in the relationship of loan- capital toward all peoples repeats itself here on a smaller scale. Here too the capitalist exploits the worker, the foreman, the engineer, the entrepreneur, all equally, because the compulsion to have to earn dividends takes priority. [* This is a problem of joint-stock companies. Companies owned free and clear by families, as is common in Germany, do not have this characteristic.] If however we attain the liberation of industries and businesses from the eternal interest-sucker, then the way is clear for the lowering of prices of products, and for the delivery and distribution of surplus value, partly to the community, partly to the laborers, middle management, and boards of directors of the particular enterprises, thus to those that really alone create manufacturing and values.
On § 7 In this paragraph naturally the entire field of insurance also comes into play, which can be constructed on an analogous interest-free basis. The premiums paid cannot grow through addition of interest; rather the insurance- companies will become thrift- institutions; in other words the risk and advantage of insurance are retained. For this the political community has to be responsible.
On § 8 With regard to the devaluation of our money, which has resulted only through the enormous mass of our innumerable certificates of indebtedness, we demand a strongly graduated wealth-tax. We lay the emphasis in this on “strongly graduated.” A [flat] wealth-tax [for the purpose of] reduction of the number of notes and so forth would be nothing but a self- deception whereby one throws sand into the eyes of the people. For if I also confiscate half of all of the wealth everywhere and receive payment in bonds and pulp these, all that is really accomplished thereby is a diminution of the amount of paper, while in return a conversion-factor will increase the fictive value of the totality of circulating paper to the same level as before. Real value belongs always only to goods for consumption and goods for use, never to the paper vouchers for completed labor.
Another question is whether the foreign exchange-rate of our mark-currency can be improved. But even this improvement of the exchange-rate is again in the final analysis only dependent on work- potential and production, in other words the possibility for production of our total national economy.
The Objections and their Refutation Never yet has an idea been able to establish itself without opposition, least of all an idea that makes such a radical departure from the long-established assumptions about the sanctity and inviolability of interest. With the objections already raised and those expected there is always a two-fold observation to be made: it must be asked, first, what part of the objections being made is based on deliberate distortion of the idea of abolition of interest-slavery, and second, what ought to be said in response to all sincere and fact-based misgivings? The most frequent objection is the assertion: without the charging of interest nobody will lend money.
We do not in fact want anyone to lend his money anymore. Credit was the trick, was the trap, into which our economy entered, and in which it is now helplessly ensnared.
If the folk really urgently needs greater capital, then it gets the needed moneys interest-free at the central state treasury, with only repayment required. Eventually it will issue new banknotes. Why should it issue interest-bearing certificates?! Whether the paper bears interest or not makes no difference! Its only and sole backing is the work- potential and tax-potential of the folk. Why burden every public expenditure from the beginning with the leaden weight of eternal interest? Yes, but how should the state fulfill its cultural labors for the community? It still needs money and can be fair in this task only by way of loans that charge interest.
This assertion is based on an entirely Mammonistic way of thinking. It would have to be deliberately calculated for misdirection after thorough reading of this Manifesto; for in the first place we have proven that after the abolition of interest-slavery all cultural and social tasks of the state can be covered out of state-owned businesses, out of the revenues of the postal service, railroad, mines, forests, and so on, without anything further. In the second place the sovereign people’s state [Volksstaat] has the power, at any time, to take care of special cultural tasks through the issue of interest-free value-tokens in lieu of the interest-bearing certificates declared to be the rule in the Mammonistic state.
It is thoroughly impossible to see why the state should make special cultural tasks, e.g. railroad, canal, and hydroelectric construction, more costly for itself with an eternal promise of interest that is completely unnecessary. If it cannot pay the costs of construction from the revenues of its current state- owned businesses, then there is no reason to see why the state should not create the money; the sovereign people must indeed pay for it, while it recognizes precisely this money as a means of payment. Why however should the folk, with its entire work- and tax- potential, stand behind another slip of paper (the interest-bearing loan), which imposes on the folk in its totality only an eternal interest-obligation for the benefit of the capitalist!? Therefore away with this obsession of the Mammonistic state! The capitalists then will just take up the issued paper notes and accumulate paper money.
This is refuted in two ways. First, the demand that mere possession of money should be rendered unprofitable would then of course be already fulfilled, and the abolition of interest-slavery voluntarily undertaken by the capitalists themselves, since the capitalist renounces interest of his own accord if he piles up his paper notes at home. Second, the capitalist’s fear for his money makes it unlikely; one need only imagine the sleepless nights of the currency-hoarder who keeps great sums of money piled up at home and must constantly see his possession threatened by thieves, robbers, burglars, house- searches, fire, and flood. I am convinced that the upright citizen would become tired of these worries in a short time, and would soon find his way to the state bank. The state bank issues a receipt and is now legally responsible for the account, but not for any interest- payments. Otherwise of course a third possibility still remains open to everyone, specifically to work with his money, to create values and to manufacture goods, to participate in industrial undertakings, to render his life ever richer and finer, to support art and scholarship, in short to make beneficial use of his money while rejecting the Cult of Mammon.
It can however still happen that private need of capital for some goals urgently presents itself, e.g. for testing of inventions, founding of businesses by young, competent craftsmen or businessmen, etc.
To begin with, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the abolition of interest-slavery! For, in the first place, one must logically assume that the capitalist, who after the abolition of interest-slavery of course has no more opportunity to invest his moneys in a bombproof manner and to expect idle consumption of interest, will rather, as in an earlier age, be inclined to risk his money for such purposes, so that a lack or need in this direction will therefore occur much less than hitherto. Or has one not heard on the contrary again and again from the efficient businesspeople, from the cleverest inventors, precisely the complaint of how difficult it is to get money in the Mammonistic state for such purposes unless a “dividend” could be guaranteed? In the second place, it must be the task of the coming state to foster every competent force through generous support. There were indeed even before now already beginnings toward this in the old bureaucratic state, but so small- hearted that, instead of a stimulus, an inhibition and reluctance resulted, because of the harassing regulations that accompanied the granting of public support. In the third place let it be noted that with the allocation of several million marks, enormously much could be achieved. The joy of labor, the industriousness and tenacity of the German inventor, engineer, craftsman, etc. is so great that, through the state’s right of participation in the results of fortunate inventions, the expenditures most likely would be richly rewarded (England as an example).
The abolition of interest-slavery leads necessarily to the exhaustion of wealth.
Oho! Who claims that? But of course! Whoever has adapted his life to the consumption of his interest-payments on capital and cannot resolve to work, with him it is certainly true: consuming 5% annually he will have completely exhausted his wealth in 20 years. Of course, but that is indeed completely in order! What we want is precisely the abolition of interest-slavery; we want living on a pension to cease being the citizen’s highest ideal. We want to end this Mammonistic decadence; indeed we want no longer to tolerate that one, that many, can live in comfort permanently only from interest-payments on loans — in other words at the expense of others! I repeat: it is also not true at all that the abolition of the lordship of interest would lead to the elimination and exhaustion of wealth. On the contrary, the abolition of interest-slavery would promote the creation of wealth based on labor that manufactures goods and produces value, unburdened and liberated from eternal interest-outlays. The abolition of interest-slavery leads, as we have seen, to a comprehensive lowering of costs in all of life; it unburdens us from the excessive weight of taxation so that for every working man the possibility of accumulating savings must be greater in the future than hitherto. One more thing! The goods- and values-producing national-economic labor of industry, commerce, and trade is in no way hindered, but fostered to the utmost through the abolition of interest- slavery.
What does the worker get if capitalists receive no more interest-payments? This question really ought not to be coming up anymore! In the first place, of course it was the constant battlecry of labor that the capitalists would exploit the workers; in the second place we have indeed clearly and plainly seen that it is the laborer more than anyone else that is required to pay the interest on loans. [In other words, what the worker gets is lower taxes and a lower cost of living.] The bonds of family are weakened and damaged if one can leave no wealth behind for the children.
Yes what is the reality here? Quite generally I think that money has little or nothing to do with the sense of family. Or has one heard that the children of wealthier parents cleave to their parents more than those of poor parents? Or do rich parents love their children more than the less propertied? What is likely to be more important for the children, that their parents arrange for them the best possible upbringing and have them learn some discipline, raising them into industrious and healthy and courageous people, or that they leave behind for them the biggest possible moneybag? In particular cases a justified striving to secure the children’s financial future undoubtedly will have to be acknowledged. This striving, and thus the thriftiness of the parents for their children, will be in no way adversely affected by the abolition of interest- slavery; on the contrary. The possibility of saving will become greater, when our national economy will be liberated from the all-encompassing pressure of interest-slavery.
We have seen from the example of the man with earnings of 10,000 marks and pension-income of 5000 marks that all medium-sized and smaller fortunes are in fact robbed of any beneficial effect by the circuitous route of the direct and indirect taxes of housing-rent and so on.
I cannot repeat often enough: interest on bonds for possessors of small and medium amounts of wealth is a swindle, a self-deception, a running around in circles, but big capital through its devoted press has quite diabolically propagated and proclaimed in all the world the faith in the sanctity and inviolability of interest. It allows everyone seemingly to take part in the lovely, anaesthetizing consumption of interest, in order to lull to sleep the bad conscience that must invariably accompany idle, laborless consumption of interest – and in order to recruit comrades for the struggle, for the defense of this highest good of Mammonism.
The civil servant, the statesman, will say: the state cannot renounce the obligation that it has undertaken toward its creditors.
What does “obligations” mean? Is it in any way moral to enter into obligations about which the state must know from the beginning that it can only fulfill these obligations if it takes the interest away from the creditors through direct and indirect taxes in precisely the same amount? Where is the morality in that? Or is it not perhaps more honest to admit: “I can only pay the interest if I collect just as much in taxes – but back during the war I absolutely had to have money, and for that I did the swindle with the war-bond; you have to forgive me, beloved folk; it was ultimately for you, and now we want to play no more hide-and-seek; I the state am paying no interest and you, the taxpayer, need not pay taxes for the interest; that will substantially simplify our transactions. Thus we shall do without the enormous tax-bureaucracy and likewise the extraordinary interest-serving bureaucracy. Right? Do we have a deal?” And you, Herr Scheidemann, do not again post your name on every advertising pillar as the secretary of state of the old compromised government amid foolish declarations relating to the security and inviolability of the war-bond. You only embarrass yourself: the benefit of the entire swindle has indeed gone only and solely to big loan-capital.
Financial officials and banking professionals are declaring that the abolition of enslavement to interest on war-bonds and public debts is impossible because it is synonymous with public bankruptcy.
You will forgive me: according to your speeches we are indeed publicly bankrupt anyway, or must become so. An overt declaration of public bankruptcy however would be the greatest stupidity that we could commit: to the actual incompetence of the current power- holders it would add prematurely the historical confirmation of this incompetence.
Why declare bankruptcy? If I have put 3 marks from the right pants-pocket into the left, I must still not on that account declare the bankruptcy of the right pants- pocket! It was indeed no different with the war- loan! The Reich took out of the people’s pockets the first actually present billions, then the moneys flowed back again; then came the new loan and again the money streamed back; once again came the pump and sucked the billions and again they ebbed back, until, after the game had been repeated nine times, the state had merrily generated 100 billion in debt. For that the people had 100 billion in finely printed paper in their hands. At first the folk imagined that it had become so much richer; then came the state and said: “It is horrible; I have 100 billion in debt and face bankruptcy.” – Yes but why? That is in any case only a self-deception! I myself can indeed never become bankrupt if every so often I take my money from the one pocket and place it in the other. Therefore we can rest at ease about state bankruptcy in regard to our internal war- bond debts. Therefore we really need not declare public bankruptcy and we can really spare ourselves the gigantic labor with the stupid interest-payments and the big, but even stupider, taxes.
Let us indeed finally free ourselves from doing the bidding of big loan-capital! Only big loan-capital benefits from this loan-interest tax-swindle, since a lovelier lump of gold is left over for it and the laboring folk pays this surplus in the form of indirect taxes; meanwhile, however, the small and middle-sized capitalist simply chases his own tail.
The global economic official says: The abolition of interest-slavery is not possible for us to accomplish in Germany alone; it must be done internationally; otherwise we shall lose all credit, capital will flow away, and we will still have to fulfill our interest- obligations toward the rest of the world.
I confess that I myself was at a loss about this question for the longest time.
It is the most difficult question because it involves our relationship with the rest of the world; meanwhile the matter has two sides. On the one hand, the idea of the abolition of interest-slavery is the battlecry of all productive peoples, against international enslavement to interest on money; on the other hand it is the radical cure for our internal financial woe. But it is really no reason to refrain from using a cure, just because the equally sick neighbor does not employ it at the same time. It would however be added stupidity if we in Germany continued to run in a crazy circle and pay taxes and interest when we have clearly recognized that this ridiculous activity benefits only the big capitalists and nobody else. Therefore let us lead the way by our liberating example; let us liberate ourselves from the enslavement to interest on money, and we shall soon see that the force of this victorious liberating idea will stimulate the peoples of the world to follow us.
I am actually convinced that our initiative – if this initiative is not suppressed by the German Mammonists – will sweep the other peoples along with irresistible necessity.
The Spartacist says: The whole idea only amounts to a protection of capital; it still remains then as it was: the poor man has nothing and the rich remain.
Yes, my friend; it is in general very hard to have a discussion with you — if you really are in the depths of your soul a Communist, and will therefore actually maintain that “all things belongs to all men” [* Peter Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread], and if along with that you are indeed familiar with the actual ideas of the great Bolshevik leaders in Russia, especially Lenin, and regard them as correct, and accordingly regard the next tasks of the Soviet Republic designated by Lenin, “universal tendering of accounts and control of all production and distribution,” as humanly possible.
If however you are completely clear about the fact that this task is really only feasible, if at all, under a horrible tyranny, and you still remain at the bottom of your heart a convinced Communist or Spartacist and so on, then let us not dispute further with each other; we just do not understand each other and are speaking different languages, and the future will decide, either for the strait- jacket state that can ultimately result from the chaos of Bolshevism, or the new state for which I hope, with a national economy liberated from interest-slavery.
But if, at the bottom of your Communist heart– if you are honest — you find that you still think about, still long for wife and child, for a human soul that stands closer to you than an Eskimo or a Zulu kaffir, if during factory-labor commanded by the soviet-director you think that it would still be nice to possess your own little cottage, a little garden-plot, if indeed in the very depth of your soul it would really give no true satisfaction that you should be entitled like a dog on the street to use every bitch that crosses your path, if you want to call somebody your wife, if you merely think about saving something from your wage, which then should belong to you alone, then you are already no longer a Communist; then you have already in your heart broken from your so loudly proclaimed catchphrase, “All things belong to all men”; then precisely what you do not want is that all things should belong to all men; you want that precisely what you wish for yourself — wife, child, house, farm, savings — whether you already have it or only hope to get it, even then should belong to you alone.
And do you see, my friend, if you only suspect in your heart that it might make a difference to you, if some random individual came and simply took your savings away from you in the name of “all,” and if he brought another child for you and took with him yours because all children belonged to “all,” then my friend, let us not continue to speak completely past each other.
Perhaps I could ask you to contemplate whether in fact the Communist message that all things should belong to all men would not necessarily mean the end of every culture, because the lack of any concept of ownership must with compelling logic force man down to the level of the beast.
If all things belong to all men, if a tendering of accounts and control of all above-ground production and distribution in Lenin’s sense could be coerced, then in the best-case scenario an ant-colony would result. But in that case we can also do without language, soul, and thought; mutely and instinctively we can perform our forced labor. The end of man is there. [* “The End of Man” is from Ezekiel. There it means the purpose of man but here it could have a double meaning. Man’s purpose under Communism becomes mindless slavery, which is the destruction of man.] But enough now, friend Spartacus. Let this fundamental consideration sink deeply into your head and heart. A more exact answer to your question will then result during conversation with the other parties.
And now, you comrades of the two socialist orientations, moderate and independent! [* Feder refers here to the Social-Democratic Party and its pacifist offshoot, the Independent Social- Democratic Party.] I cannot imagine that serious contradiction or objections against the abolition of interest-slavery would come from your side, and yet I must deal with you categorically, along with the entire socialist world of ideas, from Marx up to the current leaders Ebert, Scheidemann, Kautsky, and so forth.
Now the proof: point 2 says that the paths trodden by Social-Democracy are almost entirely wrong.
The whole agitation conducted throughout the country has led to a deep division within the population of our nation. The constantly repeated slanders against employers of every kind, indeed of every bourgeois calling whatsoever, as exploiters and bloodsuckers of the manual laborer working ostensibly unassisted, have led to an unjustified embitterment and to the haughtiness of labor, which today necessarily finds its expression in the demand for the “dictatorship of the proletariat” (Communist Manifesto). The essential demand of the Erfurt Program – the transfer of the means of production from private ownership into the ownership and operation of the community – has today been compressed into the cry for “socialization.” It is completely clear to every serious politician that full socialization of our economic ruin would mean complete state bankruptcy. But one dare not confess this openly and freely to the people.
Not socialization but desocialization would have to be the motto now. Thus one attempts to compensate the blatant miscarriage of every socialization through delusional tax-projects and by this route to “expropriate the expropriators” for the second time. All of that means nothing other than abandoning the entire national economy to utter ruin. Instead of growth (a doubling of production, as the entire socialist literature for the period after the revolution promised, is out of the question) the exact opposite has occurred.
The worst thing however would be if the current socialist government thought of accepting big foreign loans. With that not only would our economic decline be sealed, but we would furthermore quite entirely deliver ourselves into interest-slavery to the Entente, from which there would be no return.
The fundamental failure, the basic error, upon which this whole wrong chain of treaties, demands, and promises to the people has been constructed, is an entirely wrong attitude toward industrial capital and loan-capital. The Communist Manifesto, the Erfurt Program, Marx, Engels, Lasalle, Kautsky, have not recognized the radical difference between industrial capital and loan- capital.
On this point the entire Social- Democracy must relearn; this fundamental error must be clearly recognized and frankly admitted without reservation. Then however one must also relentlessly draw the only possible conclusions. These however signify radical renunciation of the pointless, because completely mistaken, rage against industry, against the employer. Worker and work-giver belong together; they have the same goal — work, production; for without production, without work, there can be no life, no culture, no forward, and no upward. The self-evident and unavoidable oppositions that exist among humans, just because they are humans, are much less important than the great shared interest of employer and employee. These oppositions are and have been resolvable by means of wage- contracts and trade-organizations to the mutual satisfaction of both sides.
But let us not pursue further these questions that are trivial in the scope of our treatise on the largest political lines of force, and let us only emphasize that the interest of labor collectively is perfectly aligned with our national industry, with the national economy of our people.
Whoever teaches otherwise and presents the oppositions between employer and employees as more important reveals himself as irresponsible precisely in regard to the workers; for he thereby lays the axe to the roots of the tree that nourishes and supports the worker.
Social-Democracy however has done that, and with that it has incurred eternal guilt before German labor; with that it has brought unspeakable misery upon our folk, because it cannot keep all its promises, because it cannot bring to us the peace of mutual understanding, because it cannot create work for us, because it must even set up an armed force against us, because it cannot get by without the civil service, because it must demand the obligation to work, because universal equal and direct suffrage for men and women over the age of 20 helps nobody to earn a living, because without the state’s guarantee of the security of person and property chaotic circumstances must occur, because without integration and subordination of the individual into society no vitality of the state is possible.
Thus a deep, despair-filled wave of disappointment passes through the entire people. If individuals still do not understand it, ministers, members of parliament, and people’s delegates continue cheerfully lying to each other that the “gains of the revolution” must be defended against “reaction”: what these two terms mean, if anything, no sincere statesman would be able to tell the people clearly.
The negative actions of the revolution, the deposing of a series of antiquated dynasties, deposing of officers, abolition of the nobility, dissolution of the army, in short the “Great Demolition,” is indeed no “gain.” And reaction?! The swept-away, rotten doctrine of divine right does not have anywhere in the entire folk enough moral support to result in any forceful action; the bourgeoisie, as regards the real bourgeois, is much too cowardly, much too morally corrupt, to rally against class-conscious labor: therefore it is not necessary for the ruling class of the workers to be worried about a dynastic or bourgeois reaction.
But the deep disappointment of the people about the so-called gains of the revolution, in other words about the lack of any real improvement of the people’s situation, that is the great danger. This disappointment leads to the streaming away of great masses ever farther to the left, where the promises already made are outbid by far.
Ultimately one can no longer make promises such as “all things to all men.” That is pure madness, but every idea, every phenomenon, every activity stretched and exaggerated to the extreme becomes madness in the end, and then changes into its opposite. So goes it likewise with the Communist idea that all should belong to all, for this ultimately comes to an end and resolves into all … having nothing. Hunger, despair, misery, sickness, and need have arrived in Russia; people have lost the last remnant of courage and joy in living.
I repeat: the enormous fundamental error in the socialist idea-world is ultimately to be traced back to the failure to recognize the deep essential difference between industrial capital and loan- capital. Interest-devouring loan-capital is the scourge of humanity. It is the eternal effortless and endless growth of big loan-capital, not productive, goods- manufacturing, industrial working- capital, that leads to the exploitation of peoples.
I cannot forgo here the examination of the question of why this essential difference has not been recognized; whether it really has not been recognized, or whether it perhaps has been obscured for the benefit of big loan-capital; whether the leaders and chiefs in the struggle against Capitalism, whether the authors of the Communist Manifesto, of the Erfurt Program, and the current leaders always have proceeded with the necessary conscientiousness.
It is the most grave and terrible thing when one casts doubt on the absolute earnestness and firm conviction of another; it seems all the more grave, the more carefully one seeks after the causes and relationships pertaining to life’s occurrences. I want therefore also to give no answer at all to this question itself, rather only to allude to big, obscure connections by citing an utterance of Disraeli, the greatest English Prime Minister, Lord Beaconsfield. This he writes in his novel Endymion: “No man will treat with indifference the principle of race. It is the key of history, and why history is often so confused is that it has been written by men who were ignorant of this principle and all the knowledge it involves.” [Baron Sergius to Endymion] The bourgeois.
The bourgeois, to whom rest appears as his bourgeois duty, is certainly disturbed by every new revolutionary demand, as always with every new idea. It means unrest for him; for perhaps he would even have to think something about it.
All change is odious to him; he wants to have his rest, and woe unto him that covets his moneybag. Now indeed one does want from him his interest- payments, his income from rent on houses, the interest-payments from his covered bonds, the interest that he collects on mortgages; in short, what constitutes his rest, his contentment, and his good fortune.
Even so, we must inquire what the members of the classes owning loan- capital will have to say. They form, apart from the true bourgeois…. Bourgeois is a human type, with which nothing further is to be initiated; the bourgeois is a branch on the tree of humanity that should be lopped off, the sooner the better. These are the smug, self-satisfied Babbitts with their deplorably narrow horizons, who are capable of no enthusiasm. They while away their days in eternal monotony with coffee, morning newspaper, morning drink, noon paper, lunch, afternoon nap, coupon-clipping, afternoon drink, friends at the pub, and occasionally the movie-house. Lacking comprehension for all that moves the world, all for which youth longs, all that distresses the folk, the state, and society, untroubled about war and victory, they vegetate and decay, simultaneously arrogant and obsequious – but the bourgeoisie is such a broad class that it cannot be ignored.
Thus, through the abolition of interest- slavery, thrift is destroyed; people end up in the poorhouse.
That the abolition of interest-slavery quite generally may have its influence on thrift must be decisively denied. Thrift has just as little to do with the prevailing economic views as e.g. wastefulness. Thrift and wastefulness are human qualities that either are present or not, indifferent to whether an age approves or frowns upon the idea of interest.
In times of transition perhaps an increase or diminution of thrift can be promoted. In the given case however I tend much more to the view that a rational, economically minded person will say to himself the following: “I can no longer in the future count on living on my interest alone. I want however to live in later years and also still leave something behind for my children; therefore I must now save more.” The abolition of interest-slavery must, in my opinion, exert this effect on the majority of people. As for the elderly, of course they will be referred to public support.
Here too I must once again stress emphatically that, given the current burden of direct taxes on property and the burden of indirect taxes on every lifestyle, nothing of the lovely interest- payments remains, except in the case of that person for whom – and it is indeed something iniquitous and to be combated – all income flows only from eternal interest-payments. Therefore a decline in thrift is probably not to be feared.
Is (loathsome) big capital really so utterly unfruitful? Has it not also created the means to large-scale progress that bears fruits for humanity greater than what the interest on loan- capital destroys? No! The posing of the question only proves that Mammonistic phraseology has clouded our clear vision.
Big capital has not created the means to large-scale progress; rather big capital has grown from labor! All capital is accumulated labor. Big capital is in itself unproductive, because plain money by itself is a thoroughly unfruitful thing. From mind, labor, and available or already developed raw materials or mineral resources, values are produced and goods are manufactured – through labor and only through labor.
For if one pours so much money onto the most fertile farmland, into the richest coalmine, the farmland does not on that account bear grain, nor the coalmine spit out coals by itself! Let us conclusively affirm this.
If people have invented money, it is accordingly quite useful and reasonable; for in every complex economy one needs this (universally recognized) “voucher for completed labor.” But that a potential should inhere in these “money- empires” to grow eternally from themselves into enormity – and money does that, if it can bear interest – it is that against which the core of our being rebels; it is that which exalts money far above all other earthly manifestations; it is that which makes money into an idol. And all of that is indeed only the most enormous self-deception of humanity! Nothing, nothing at all, can come from money alone. Table, cabinet, clothing, house, tool, in short everything around us has some value; in the end one can still use a broken piece of furniture as firewood to warm oneself, but with a twenty-mark note one cannot do anything; I cannot even wrap a piece of cheese in it. Only after people have sensibly agreed on the facilitation of the exchange of goods for consumption, to write vouchers for completed labor, only with that does the slip of paper receive meaning and purpose, and it is very reasonable that the farmer for his grain receives from the coalmining company not coal but money; thus a voucher for other completed labor, e.g. pitchforks, crockery, plough, and scythe. But with that the power of money should end.
Thus the large-scale progress of humanity has been made not by money but by the men themselves, their bold spirit, their proud daring, their clever mind, the strength of their hands, their shared, therefore social, industrious labor. So proudly and so clearly must we see. The men were the thing, certainly not the pitiful pieces of paper that men invented for the simplification of commerce.
Further Program Although the abolition of interest- slavery is not the final goal of the new statecraft; it is truly the most incisive deed, the only deed that is able to unite all peoples into a true league of nations, against the tyranny of Mammonism that encompasses all peoples. But it is not the end. On the contrary, the abolition of interest-slavery must lead to further steps, because, as we have seen, it lays hold of the global evil by the root, and indeed by the main root.
Only when the groundlaying demand for abolition of interest-slavery is fulfilled, is the path cleared for the first time ever for the social state. This must be clearly recognized, and it must be accomplished in spite of all Mammonistic powers. The cry for socialization [while interest-slavery persists] is nothing more than the attempt to bring about the formation of a trust of all industries and to create giant conglomerates everywhere, over which big loan-capital, in spite of all wealth- taxes, will naturally also have the deciding influence again in the future. A socialistic state on a Mammonistic foundation is an absurdity and leads by nature to a compromise between Social- Democracy, already strongly contaminated with Mammonism, and big capital.
We, by contrast, demand radical rejection of the Mammonistic state and a reconstruction of the state according to the true spirit of socialism, in which the ruling basic idea is the obligation to nourish — in which an old basic demand of Communism can find its rational and useful satisfaction — in the form that every member of the folk shall receive his assigned entitlement to the soil of the homeland through the state’s allocation of the most important foodstuffs.
We further demand, as a skeleton for the new state, a representation of the people through the Chamber of People’s Representatives, which is to be elected on the broadest basis, and next to that a permanent Chamber of Labor, the central council in which the nation’s workers have a voice in proportion to their distribution by profession and economic class. Finally we demand the highest accountability for the directors of the state. This new construction of the state on a socialist-aristocratic basis will be treated in an additional work that will appear soon from the same publisher.
The prerequisite for all this construction however remains the abolition of interest-slavery.
My unshakable belief, nay more, my knowledge makes me recognize clearly that the abolition of interest-slavery is not only enforceable but will and must be taken up everywhere with indescribable jubilation. For bear in mind: in contrast to all other ideas and movements and endeavors, however well intentioned, that aim at the improvement of mankind, my proposal does not want to try to improve human nature; rather it applies itself against a toxic substance, against a phenomenon that was artfully – no, diabolically – invented, completely contrary to the deepest feeling of man, in order to make humanity ill, in order to ensnare humanity in materialism, in order to rob from it the best thing that it has, the soul.
Hand in hand next to it goes the frightful, pitiless tyranny of the money-powers, for which people are only interest- slaves, exist only to work for the dividend, for interest.
Deeply troubled we recognize the frightful clarity and truth of the old Biblical proverbs, according to which the god of the Jews Yahweh promises to his chosen people: “I want to grant to you to own all treasures of the world; at your feet shall lie all peoples of the Earth and you shall rule over them.” This global question is now laid out before all of you. Global questions are not solved with a wave of the hand, but the idea is clear as day. And the deed must be diligently propagated; we must understand clearly that we face the most formidable enemy, the world-encompassing money-powers. All force on the other side, on our side only justice, the eternal justice of productive labor.
Extend your hands to me, working people of all countries, unite! Publisher’s Afterword While repetitive at times, this Manifesto clearly stresses the importance of ending interest-slavery and presents some of the many benefits that would arise from such a radical departure of what we know as the “norm.” What most Americans are unaware of is how much emphasis the Nazis placed on uplifting the working class. This lack of awareness comes in spite of the NSDAP name : National- Socialist German Worker’s Party.
Concern and struggle for the working class continues today, as does the movement to end profits without work – interest-slavery. Such modern struggles have been far more successful in Europe than in the United States, but there is a single American organization calling itself the “American Nazi Party” ( http://www.anp14.com ) that continues to harp on very similar economic principles as Feder and the NSDAP. In fact, due to the ever increasing wage disparity in the US, coupled with high unemployment rates nationwide and general dissatisfaction with the current government, such movements are currently seeing relatively strong growth.
It is clear as to why Feder’s ideas have not taken root in modern society, and that is because of the influence that the international banking powers wield over most nations. In the US, the Federal Reserve is a private banking entity that is not accountable to the US Government, yet they hold tremendous power over the American economy. Had Feder’s ideas been implemented here in the States, Ceteris paribus, it is almost certain that the recent mortgage crisis of 2007, which led to deep recession, high unemployment, and the big bank “bailouts” wouldn’t have occurred.
This publisher hopes that the Manifesto was read with an open mind, free of any preconceived ideas about “Nazism” or the horrors of war that are so often associated with the 3rd Reich. Clearly there was much more to the ideology and practices of National- Socialist Germany than the History Channel or even most “history” books provide. Modern governments have taken much from Nazi Germany such as laws protecting animal rights, the “green” movement (see Richard Walther Darré), paid vacations and other labor comforts that we take for granted today. Would it be too absurd to suggest that maybe their economic policies held some merit as well?  The following declarations about the Bavarian state budget are in rounded figures taken from the Bavarian State Yearbook of the year 1913. This is the last statistical yearbook that appeared before the war, which gives exhaustive reporting about Bavarian finances. During the war no more recent reports appeared.
 The unceasing increase in interest-rates and material-prices has led to the fact that the net yield of the Bavarian state railroad in the year 1918 has declined to 3 million marks, compared to an average of 80 million in preceding years. In Prussia, according to the reports of Finance-Minister Simon, the previously customary average profit of 700 marks has even been replaced by a deficit of 1,300,000,000 marks. We will therefore be less able than ever to think about continually increasing direct and indirect taxes; we must think more than ever about immediately reducing the new debts that have grown through catastrophic finance-economy by very strong requisitioning of wealth, especially from the very large fortunes.