No political force knows what role it will play in history. Its goal is generally without any relation to its true function. Often the effect it produces is on another level and has another orientation than the idea that this force aimed for. The immediate intentions and political ideas are part of this multitude of means permitting training of men in the current of history. Although the promoters of an idea generally act in good faith, in a certain manner, they are all the same impostors. In the retelling of history, they lure themselves and they lure the world. But the order and logic of things remains and things follow their course.
As soon as Russian Bolshevism had achieved the destruction of bourgeois society, Russia, drawing from its Slavic-Asiatic instincts began to be reborn. During the campaign of annihilation against the bourgeoisie, Marxist doctrine had justified these instincts. They made them conscious of their mission and sure of their victory. But when the extermination was accomplished, we understood that Marxist ideas were not the origin of these motivating forces. Coming from the needs of the Slavic-Asiatic peoples, Russia transformed itself into a total state, though Marxism wanted to be done with the state, considering it as an obsolete institution. Despite the manifest antinomies between Marxism and the will of national preservation, it was all the same this doctrine that catalyzed the awakening, the mobilization, and the affirmation of the Russian will to life.
However, the National Socialist ideas seem to have a direct link with the German people’s will to life. We could say that they have a natural language and form of expression that uses the vital instincts to manifest itself. National Socialism seems like the revelation of the deepest secrets of the German soul. Germany is more upset than ever. This upheaval is a phenomenon with a very large importance. The existence of Europe and the entire West is in danger. It is, by some fate, the source from which the German peril may brusquely arise, the peril that has always made France shudder. The danger threatens as soon as Germany breaks the chains of its alienation. The true nature of the people, or the alienation that destroys the personality, that is question posed to Germany! Before, the same question was posed to Russia.
Knowingly, National Socialism ranked itself on the side of the West. The fact that it became Fascist, bourgeois, civilized, and parliamentary democratic is only, in summation, the proof of its Westernization. Certainly, this Westernization has a particular type and heavy consequences. It was constructed in Germany, draped in the skin of Germanic bears, and it invoked its German origins so no one could doubt is authenticity. Thus National Socialism offered to the German revolt its service of exegesis, defense, and pioneering – thus it won the confidence of the people. It mastered the obscure violence of ebullient blood and popular torment to obey its commands.
But despite all, it did not directly embody “the German peril” in the eyes in the eyes of the powers that wanted to alienate Germany in the exterior and interior plans. All on the contrary – it was a very intelligent means of surmounting this danger and triumphing. When National Socialism took the hand of the revolt that growled in the hearts of Germans, a decisive step was taken. The revolt was cornered in an impasse – and repressed. In Germany, a profound distrust of alienation from the stranger was reawakened. National Socialism succeeded in conquering this distrust. He trapped Germany, which had been in the middle of recovering its true nature, in the ditch of the Western way. Crying “Germany awake!” he marched before it.
This slogan of the propaganda of the day summarized bit by bit what Rosenberg expressed in awareness in The Myth of the 20th Century. This “Myth” touched on the deepest origins and militated in their favor. This book was nevertheless declared a “personal work.” Thereby, this proclamation of German awakening was labeled, within National Socialism, as an individual step, as a curiosity that the movement was not responsible for. The “Myth” existed and they could use it when it seemed opportune, but without any engagement. It was reduced to bait whose scent attracted all sorts of German quarry.
The author of “Myth,” Rosenberg had explored his depths. The magic, but poorly understood, word that Hitler had given to him was courage. And barely had he taken knowledge of that which was his own, then Hitler discarded it. What Rosenberg lived through is indicative of the life, in general, of the National Socialist today. The National Socialist movement gave him the illusion of a return to himself. It let him rock in sweet dreams and suddenly discover he is the new victim of foreign alienation, that again he denies.
The bourgeois parties have known the same fate. They were political organs of capitalist society. Each of them occupied, to say thus, a particular domain of economic interest; the interests of industry, of finance, of agriculture, of artisans and domestic work. All were founded before the war. After 1918, they had undertaken certain transformations. But only the form was changed and not the base. They had learned nothing, but they had forgotten nothing also. Certainly, they tried to follow the tendencies of modern democracy. In general, they all wanted to be considered as “democratic” parties, without true success. They resembled an aristocracy that had never ultimately hidden their secret disgust for the efforts that they must make to meddle with the people, to do as they do, to sit at the table with the man in the street and adopt his customs.
After that “great crisis” made its ravages, the foundations of capitalism were shaken and the precursory signs already announced its decline. In this extreme situation, the traditional parties had no relief; there was nothing for them that could save capitalism. We realized that the Parliament was only an organ to absorb the interior tensions of the bourgeois order and that put in question the entire institution.
When National Socialism invaded the electorate of the bourgeois parties and wiped the field in domestic politics, there was no question of changing the capitalist and bourgeois way of life. The parties were swept because they no longer fulfilled their function. The movement replaced them in order to fulfill this same function in a more radical and durable manner. The old pillars of the bourgeois parties massively flocked to it. They had not changed, but they knew that no party could protect the bourgeois and capitalist way of life any longer, if not for National Socialism.
In this fashion, National Socialism equally bore grave prejudices against the Deutschnationale Volkspartei. This party, like all the others, represented interests, but its role was not limited to that. The typical German currents were united there and their conservation was essential to the existence of the nation. It acted from rural, Prussian, and Protestant forces.
By reason of its democratic spirit and its lack of traditions, National Socialism is far too urban to able to understand the vital needs of the peasantry, as the Deutschnationale Volkspartei knew. Although it could have had National Socialist peasants, there is no National Socialist peasant. The fact that the National German party was submerged by National Socialism diminished, in a disturbing way, “the attachment to the soil.”
National Socialism completely broke the Prussian-Protestant resistance, which was better than what this party could generate. By infecting the moral substance of the Deutschnationale Volkspartei, National Socialism accomplished its mission in the name of the West. The dust raised by the collapse of this party of this party landed like a vapor of Catholic incense on the North East region of Germany. When the Stahlhelm was equally undermined by National Socialism, the last Prussian-German rampart on German soil was ceded.
In great spirit and with ardor, National Socialism began that which the Zentrum, equally engaged in the tortuous ways of the West, would gladly do. The separation with the populist and conservative elements, that Brüning had started in secret, was only a political means, permitting the Catholic tendency to check the Protestant-Prussian ensemble of the Deutschnationale Volkspartei. Hitler is more brutal. When he bites into something, he swallows it as well.
We thus understand the secret affinity between National Socialism and political Catholicism. They aim for the same goal, but National Socialism is the more violent, more enthusiastic, more boorish brother. When he utters his screams, the Zentrum is equally aware. That is why all the attempts of Hitler to dissolve it fail. When they have the same objective, it allows little impression of the savagery of Hitler. It is always possible to remove him under his arguments. We already possess the things of which he boasts. Brüning’s politics of law-decrees resemble a more adroit Hitlerism.
The progress of National Socialism was nothing other than the emergency measures of the capitalist bourgeoisie. At the same time, they had so many successes over the remains of anti-Occidentalism, the anti-Occidentalism that had so often aided the attempts to renew German independence.
Certainly, when National Socialism devoured the old parties, they freed Germany of certain remaining doubts and forms without a reason for being, but it had equally deprived it of the nourishing elements of unfathomable German stubbornness, that did not fear the world – “even if it is full of devils.” When Hitler won the territory in the North of Germany, under the sign of the Roman salute and the Fascist spirit, he nibbled away the Protestant heritage of Luther and tardily avenged the Austrian defeat of Königgrätz on the Prussian patrimony transmitted by Bismarck. The doctrine of Hitler’s national liberation was a coaxing Western melody that made all the Protestants and all the Prussians lose their heads. Psychologically disarming Protestantism and Prussianism and abandoning them to the Roman fate that waits for them, that is the most important “Western” task which National Socialism could accomplish.