At the start, National Socialism had the pretension of putting in action the revolution of German existence. With its new German spirit, it would want to transform, thoroughly, every domain of the nation. According to the nature of things, it would direct its revolutionary energy primarily against the state existing on the interior of the country. It explained the “system” as an instrument of alienation, an administrative organism, literally conceived for the execution of the Diktat of Versailles. The attack lead against “the system,” with its parliamentarianism and pitiable mercantilism, would have equally touched on the regime of Versailles. No one doubted that the energy of the National Socialist push would finally reverse the international situation. As National Socialists, we consider equally it equally as a universal revolution. It was necessary to leave a German mark on the world.
This powerful pathos enchanted everywhere men greedy for action and charmed the youth. The torch that the movement bore was the construction gauge of a new world, after the former had been burned. Full of hope and impatience, hearts fluttered for this new world.
Certainly, the passionate revolutionary became bit by bit a simple covering. Hitler lost his revolutionary breath. He aspired to legality. The revolutionary will was paralyzed. On its sad vestiges flowered, luxuriously, the noble sentiment of a flawless legality.
As an Austrian, Hitler did not have, at any moment, the true temperament of a revolutionary. Never had an Austrian be able to defeat his instincts of order and calm. He always adopted a policy of waiting. Even through the blackest rage, we still feel his “sunny heart.” In all that he did, he brought “the heart.” In the worst case, it was a malicious and intriguing heart. The Austrian burst like a storm on a mountain, but even at the same time, he already desired to recover his calm and equilibrium. He was afraid when things were pushed to the extreme. We can never know how that would have ended.
When we put the world upside down, we lose our footing. Why initiate such a fatiguing work? When the spectacle happens at the strongest moment, compromise is not far away. We have fear when we want to scare others. We love to be considered as dangerous, but we were never required to be so in reality. We did not breach the law, we only kept it for an exit door. That, in summary, is the revolution we are capable of. When we learn to make revolution, it turns invariably to vaudeville – this applies as much to Hitler as for Pfriemer.
When Hitler affirmed his legality under oath, we discovered what he had been for years. The legalist Hitler is the true Hitler. The revolutionary was only a role that he permitted himself to play at the promising start.
The territory of legality extends today from Weimar to Versailles. Those who put their feet there are inevitably delivered from one to the other as well. Thus, neither Weimar nor Versailles can be destroyed by legal means. The profession of faith in favor of legality includes, from the beginning, the renunciation of all destructive intention. That is what binds the law to use it. Thus Hitler, by proclaiming his will to remain in legality, became a conserving element of the Weimar Republic and the regime of Versailles. Each regime has an opposition that is part of it. It is a means against stagnation and the guarantee maintaining its flexibility. In every case, it is an opposition “faithful to general opinion.” By taking the road of legality, National Socialism became this type of opposition for the Weimar Republic and Versailles. All intelligent tyranny voluntarily accepts such an opposition.
The legal revolution and the legal revolutionary do not exist, Where legality begins, revolution stops. Those who fight on the legal bases never touch the foundation. Their struggle is only a contest to obtain the best place on the common platform.
The legal protest of Hitler was the declaration of capitulation for National Socialism. The latter integrated itself into the existing system of internal and global politics. He renounced the ambition to destroy it. In this fact, his actions became simple simulacra. Finally Hitler employed all his energy to exhort the President of the Reich and the Chancellor to scrupulously observe the Weimar Constitution. The revolutionary he once was became the most faithful “guardian of the Constitution.”
The arm of interior politics that he used now was the ballot. He feared the test of force with the other powers. He wanted to reverse them with the aid of the pencil and the voting booth. When the proof of arms slips away, we are already vanquished. We no longer impose our will and we must negotiate. We do not become the dictator, we become the member of a coalition. In place of accomplishing creative acts, we henceforth limit ourselves to tactical artifices. We become like everyone else. The only difference we might still be able to hold onto is the roughest tone and the most brutal process.
The willingness of Hitler to enter into legality was perfectly coherent. He assured the foreigner of his respect for treaties. Before foreign journalists, he said not a word against Versailles, but inveighed before all about the Bolshevism that even threatened Versailles. He expressly recognized the private debts of Germany towards the foreigner. The politics of parties, until thus in power, always follows the same way, the only difference regarding Hitler was that he had yet to extend his finesse in diplomatic expression. Those who sow the desire for legality in Germany today will forcibly reap the fruits of the politics of executing treaties and the politics of coalitions.
The National Socialist youth became the heroes of one of the greatest German tragedies. They wanted to fight, conquer, or die, At present, they should content themselves with electoral campaigns. They have a very large confidence in the Fuhrer and the movement. They let themselves be convinced that in this case, he also acted on very serious decisions. Their eyes brightened when he was dropped in the ballot box. They acclaim legality as a ruse of war. This ruse should be especially effectively for the youth to enter into the shell of legality. With a wild enthusiasm, they exhibit a petite-bourgeois legality, a legality that thinks of the lion’s skin in which someone is draped. The youth, who thus still believe they are bellicose and subversive, were already contaminated by the poison of pacifism. Ultimately, legality is nothing other than the will to live on good terms with their neighbors.
Although Hitler adopted a scrupulously legalistic attitude, he always kept up appearances. Externally, the revolutionary character of the National Socialist movement was maintained. We do not want more bite, but it is necessary to bark all the more strongly. They think it necessary to believe that those who want to be revolutionary could remain with it. The weak and peaceful souls and the calculating caricatures, flocking to him later, had nothing to fear. Hitler was no longer revolutionary, but they could always take him for such. Certainly, the legality of Hitler tightened the reigns of those who were indignant towards the internal and external coercive order and the traditional religious, social, and economic institutions. From now on, even when overwhelmed with anger, they could not endanger the status quo and the existence of the old world.
The legality of Hitler was of a particular type. Although it wanted to be serious, it secretly played with revolutionary ideas. Thus it became the trap into which all the German protesters and rebels fell. As soon as they were taken there, they were mastered and rendered docile for Weimar and Versailles to use them.
Maybe this flagrant contradiction between the revolutionary mask and legality – where National Socialism betrayed itself – is the most evident proof of disloyalty, ambiguity, and ambivalence proper to this movement. Hundreds of thousands of men have relied on this mask. They pay for this error by becoming – against their will – servants of the West.