In Mein Kampf, Hitler described the impulses and motivations that had given birth to the movement. On the occasion of a conference with Gottfried Feder, he heard for the first time in life “an exposé of the operating principles of the stock market and international loans.” “After having followed the first conference of Feder, I had suddenly discovered one of the indispensable conditions for the foundation of a new party.” A bit later, he encountered, by chance, a little distraught group that was given the appellation of “Deutsche Arbeiterpartei” (“German Worker’s Party”). He obtained “a provisional membership card, number 7.”
It was these little people, the workers to which they joined themselves. The unvoiced feeling of the German debacle lived in them. They vaguely suspected the relation between the tasks of national and social liberation of the German people. Coming from their social milieu, they were in search of a form that corresponds to them in order to serve the national needs and their particularity in an effective fashion.
Gottfried Feder was never more than a mediocre fabricator of recipes. In general, moral precepts are the gospel of sects: we strive to cure all the sores of this world and the other equally by starting from this point. The strength of the recipe of Feder was to know to summarize, in a simple formula, the dependency of Germany by relation to the international powers that stood since 1918. Here, we show a visible enemy. No recipe could consider the whole of the phenomenon. Feder was not the best at that. He presented a method of national economy to an undemanding public and gave an explanation to the national and social catastrophe, that was given to modest people.
Hitler brought to the “Deutsche Arbeiterpartei” the recipe of Feder. He became the key with which he tried to interpret the “obscure desire” of this little group. He planted the idea of Feder in the social terrain where, generally, this type of “vegetation” develops very well. This idea was already mixed with its own psychic structure in such a fashion that it could speak of good faith, sincerely and from the bottom of the heart. Consequently, he had wanted to speak. He possessed the pride of the born orator. His instinct pressed towards the element that suited him, that is to say the public rally, the meeting. A culminating point of his life was the first “popular assembly” crowned with success. The memory that he held was sacred. On a solemn tone, he recounted how he obtained it by force and how it would take place. “The opening was planned for 7:30. At 7:15, I entered into the hall of the Hofbräuhaus on the Platzel in Munich and my heart was filled with joy. The immense room – that is how it seemed to me then – was packed, heads pressed to each other, a crowd of near two thousand people.” From the public rally, it moved to the next and appeared to each of them as a victory. He counted the participants, like a general counts his divisions. By speaking, he accomplished his acts. The streets and the great rooms of the rally were his fields of battle. In 1918, the democratic spirit made an irruption in Germany. The demagogue became the hero of the day. By its essence, democracy is an alienation. It turns its point against the German personality. The true demagogue is always a Westerner, that is in the nature of things. As a clerk of the foreigner, Hitler’s invective is what is proper for Germany.
Mixing his very strong demagogic instincts with the German values was the first exploit of Hitler. He used his demagogic means against this spirit that was the origin of democracy. The democratic machinery had started on the Germany territory to annihilate the country. Hitler succeeded to reverse this march in the fashion that it began to function to the detriment of is creator, the Western spirit. The greatest demagogue that Germany had ever known, exceeded all his rivals by seizing the German cause which, according to its internal law, was at the antipodes of the forces of the democratic era. In place of reinforcing the alienation, he did the opposite and incited the German people to protest against it. The demagogue, who makes war on democracy, was a variety of “democratic man” in which democracy had attained its final limit. In this man, it rages against itself, pushing to its own loss and preparing his suicide.
Nevertheless, the profound contradiction between the democratic machinery and the anti-demagogic spirit of the form of life proper to Germany persists. That was the great danger. If the German cause had been taken into the wheels of democratic machinery, it would have been crushed.
It is true that during the first years, Hitler was undeniably one of the spokesmen of German protest. Given the enormous trickery that the German people was the victim of, no cry could be so piercing, no accusation could be so violent, no objection so strong. Hitler was certainly a demagogue, by covering the insolent noise made by the “victorious” Western democracies, but in the force of his voice resounded all the same the primitive sound of the German being, martyred and violent. The obstinate revolt of the German will to life recognized itself in Hitler’s loud harangues.
Nowhere is this will to life is more threatened than in Munich, the center of alienation, by separatist elements, Catholics, Romans, and French. That is where we weave the most perfidious plots, it is equally there where we entertain the most cordial relations with the corrupters of the German people. It was exactly beside this unstructured place, that the young “Nationalistische Arbeiterpartei” showed its elementary depth. In these times, Ludendorff had chosen to live in Munich. His pact with Hitler was a symbol and a promise. The demagogy of Hitler was submitted to Prussian discipline, that was the guarantee that he would remain only a means, only an instrument. Hitler accommodated himself to the role of “drummer.” While Ludendorff gave the order to the masses who ran, to line up and align themselves with the German cause, the necessary precautions were taken that the sterile resentments were not unleashed and that the troops marched. The setting in motion of the masses, which the zeal of the demagogue provoked, was a chance for Germany, from the moment where the general had prepared to put them in order and utilize them effectively.