Mein Kampf Chapter 5
By Richard E. Noble
In chapter seven, Adolf establishes ‘the stab in the back conspiracy’. Here it becomes fairly clear that Adolf Hitler is a composite from the battle of World War One. Adolf makes his case against all the ‘traitors’ back home.
“… In the height of the summer of 1918, after the southern banks of the Marne had been cleared, the German press, above all, behaved so miserably and clumsily, nay criminally stupidly, that with my daily growing wrath the question arose in my mind whether there was really nobody at all who would put an end to this waste of the army’s spiritual heroism ... In this same way, the lamenting letters from home had long since begun to have an effect. Now it was no longer necessary for the enemy to forward these letters to the front in the form of leaflets, etc. Also nothing was done against this except for some indescribably stupid ‘warnings’ from the ‘side of the government’. Now as before, the front was flooded with this poison, manufactured by thoughtless women at home, without their guessing, however, that this was the means to strengthen enormously the enemy’s belief in his victory, thus prolonging and increasing the sufferings of their own people on the battlefront. The German women’s silly letters in the time that followed cost hundreds of thousands of men their lives...”
What a horrible thing to say. But this immediately gives us scope to Adolf’s attitude; a disgruntled soldier looking for someone to blame. He even finds hatred for the young women back home who were sending their letters of regret and fear for their brothers, sons, husbands, and lovers fighting at the front.
Adolf certainly didn’t like loosing. But once again we have a true human feeling. There are still Vietnam vets here in America who harbor intense hatred for the American press and the folks back home who protested against that ‘conflict’, and ‘stabbed their efforts in the back’. I think that this is only understandable. It would be a sad state for the human condition if soldiers were able to commit themselves to endanger their own well-being, and put themselves in a position to take other human lives without a rational and emotional commitment to their cause. Adolf committed himself gladly to the cause of World War One, which he considered to be the defense and establishment of the German nation and its people. And truthfully, though I haven’t a considerable knowledge on the subject, it doesn’t seem that Germany was any more the ‘cause’ of the war than any other of its European participants. The problem that I see here is not committing one’s self to specifics but to generalities. Committing yourself cart blanche to your ‘nation’ is a moral difficulty for the world and the nations of the world. The notion of defending “the nation” under whatever cause, is or was a part of the problem with World War Two Germany, and leaves no quarter to the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ of whatever is going on.
What about when the cause of your nation is in conflict with your personal morality? What, for example, if you didn’t consider the ‘Jew’ to be the scum of the earth and an enemy in general to mankind, yet you were ordered to kill them? Do you perform your patriotic duty, or do you resist? Is there an acceptable line for personal conscience even in time of war?
This question was debated at the Nuremberg trials. Many German soldiers argued for the cause of “duty”, many thousands of victims and others argued for the priority of the individual moral conscience. This argument has yet to be clarified even in our own society and military thinking today. Adolf’s argument was very simple; anyone who didn’t act one hundred percent in accordance with his nation’s cause or direction was a traitor to his homeland. This even included young girls sending letters to the front. I can imagine that any young girl sending a patriotic soldier at the front a ‘dear John’ letter would be considered for a firing squad in Adolf’s eyes.
He goes on to criticize malingering soldiers, and the ‘cowards’ who injured themselves purposely to escape from the battlefield. He goes on to make his case against labor, the Marxist, the Social Democrats, Bavaria, and the government and political opposition parties in general. He is vehemently against anyone and everyone who, for whatever reasons; personal, political, or otherwise, did not support ‘his’ war (World War I).
“…Towards the end of the year 1917 it seemed as though the depth of the army’s despair had passed. After the Russian breakdown the entire army now breathed new hope and fresh courage ... Especially the Italian breakdown of the fall of 1917 had exercised the most wonderful influence; for one saw in this victory the proof of the possibility that one would be able to break through the front at a place distant from the Russian battlefield ... Suddenly a fierce red light flashed up in Germany and threw its rays as far as into the remotest shell hole of the enemy’s front, at the moment when the German divisions received their last instructions for the great attack, the general strike broke out in Germany ... Now with one blow the means was found with which one was able to raise the sinking confidence of the Allied soldiers ... One could let the Germans win as many victories as they might want to; Revolution awaited its entry into their country and not the victorious army...”
The dissatisfaction with the war was obviously corrupting the war effort everywhere. For one thing, the war was lingering on and the death toll on all sides was immense. The Russians walked. The Italians were toppling. The French were on the ropes of defeat. The British were having riots and protests and the like. The United States was involved with its own bitter battle against “Marxist-union-socialists-anti-government” activity. And Germany was having a ‘revolution’ at home. For some reason Adolf thinks that this ‘revolution’ in his own country was more of an influence on the outcome of the war than the same efforts, by the same factions, for basically the same reasons (discontent with the war for one reason or another) in other countries, was on those nation’s war efforts.
The Marxist revolution was clearly working to his advantage. It had toppled the Russians, crippled the Italians, and was in general weakening the abilities of all of his enemies, but to all of this he gives no points. It was solely the fault of ‘his’ Marxists in Germany who had sacrificed the war and unjustly taken over the government at home. He closes out this chapter with a very emotional appeal.
“… Now all had been in vain. In vain all of the sacrifices and deprivations, in vain the hunger and thirst of endless months, in vain the hours during which, gripped by the fear of death, we nevertheless did our duty, and in vain the death of two millions who died thereby. Would not the graves of all the hundreds of thousands open up, the graves of those who once had marched out with faith in the fatherland, never to return? Would they not open up and send the silent heroes, covered with mud and blood, home as spirits of revenge, to the country who had so mockingly cheated them of the highest sacrifice which in this world man is able to bring to his people? (death in the name of victory, I presume. Certainly they weren’t cheated out of death, or of the sacrifice of their lives for their fellow man or countrymen.) Was it for that that they had died, the soldiers of August and September, 1914, was it for this that the regiments of volunteers followed the old comrades in the fall of the same year? Was it for this that boys of seventeen sank into Flanders Fields? Was that the meaning of the sacrifice which the German Mother brought to the fatherland when in those days, with an aching heart, she let her most beloved boys go away, never to see them again? Was it all for this that now a handful of miserable criminals was allowed to lay hands on the fatherland? ...”
I think that it becomes very clear here where much of Adolf’s hate is coming from. He is an unhappy veteran of a lost cause. And the loss was through no fault of his or their own, and it had nothing to do with the genius, or courage of the enemy. They lost because of the cowardly influence of the ‘Traitors’ back home the press, the pacifists, the Marxists, the workers, the social democrats who supported the workers and Marxists, and even the stupid young girls who wrote their regrets to the newspapers.
Another point here of what I consider a trap of incorrect thinking is this notion that unless there is a victory all the dead of the past have been sacrificed uselessly. This is a consequence of ‘WAR’, not of the victory or loss of a war. The time to think of the wasted dead is before the conflict or before the war begins. Once war or violence begins all the dead are wasted. The dead are dead whether their side won or lost, and no victory on the battlefield has ever killed the propagation of an idea. Incorrect thinking must be defeated by stronger more convincing arguments to the contrary. Adolf expressed this exact thought earlier.
I remember reading a quote by someone whose name slips my mind, but it does seem fitting here. He said something to this effect; The war is not over until the last soldier dies.
I don’t know what it is to be a soldier in a war. I also do not know what it is to be a defeated soldier in a war. But I do know what it is to be beaten and humiliated, and for sure the feeling never goes away. How so it must have been for a man to see thousands of his battle buddies blown apart, or suffocated in a horrible death by poison gas or other methods. Adolf’s appeal here to dead soldiers is reminiscent of Abraham Lincoln, or Winston Churchill, or Teddy Roosevelt, or Douglas MacArthur. This type of appeal can not be underestimated, especially in a nation of ex-soldiers; ex-soldiers who had fought their hearts out, right on the borders of their own country, their ‘Fatherland’ as Adolf puts it.
But, what was the cause for fighting World War I? What was this “just” cause that Adolf was fighting for? For that matter, what were the Allies fighting for? What was the just cause of the Allies?
Adolf claims that he was fighting for the Fatherland. The Allies claim that they were fighting for “freedom” and more specifically against world domination by the Germans. And if we listen to what Adolf has to say in this book, fighting for the Fatherland does mean fighting for the domination and control of the world and its people by the German Nation. And Adolf considered this to be a “just” cause? Okay, what more can be said.
I would have to say that the cause of the German people in fighting World War I was not just – if world domination was their goal. I conclude that the German soldiers were rightfully defeated in their attempt to unjustifiable rule the world. But the German soldiers who lost World War I felt justified in promoting World War II for the same unjust purpose.
It then seems just to conclude that soldiers who lose a war – whether their cause was just or unjust – still feel righteousness on their part to revenge their losing. This unfortunately seems to be a part of the irrational nature of war. And as was stated above – once a war has begun it does not end until the last soldier (or maybe even participant) is dead.
Knowing, or feeling the depths of an ex-soldiers hate and revenge, a revenge reinforced by the visible bloody, personal nightmare of their immediate past, I am very grateful for our system of civilian control above the military. I am also grateful that this respect has even permeated the minds of our military leaders and soldiers themselves. It is interesting to note the final days of Douglas MacArthur. After being fired in Korea by President Harry S. Truman, MacArthur returned home to a tickertape parade, a hero’s welcome. He was clearly acknowledged by the American people as a brave and bold defender of their country. Yet in his bid for the presidency a short time thereafter, he was soundly defeated. Americans, in this case, had no problem putting their hearts aside for their heads.
This chapter also brings to mind something that General Schwarzkopf said on a TV interview shortly after the Desert Storm War. He was asked about nuclear weapons, and almost laughingly he interjected that the most foolhardy thing that any nation can do would be to put the Atomic bomb into the arsenal of a combat general in the field. He explained that he did not think that there would be any General who would not use whatever weapon in the defense and protection of his boys in the field.
When Adolf Hitler gained control of his country, their homeland was now in the charge of a combat hardened ‘grunt’; a trench fighter who would use any weapon; just as any weapon was used against him and his comrades - a man whose philosophic principles were that of a warrior; kill or be killed.
And Adolf knew who is enemies were. And the biggest of these were his countrymen. More than all the allies combined, he hated these, his own countrymen, more. He would purge the land of these traitors, these back-stabbers who had caused defeat, and destroyed the honor of his country and reduced his homeland to a country of occupation, economic deprivation, massive unemployment, and personal depression. And, who specifically were these scoundrels?
“… Kaiser Wilhelm II was the first German Emperor who extended his hand to the leaders of Marxism without guessing that scoundrels are without honor. While they were still holding the imperial hand in their own, the other was feeling for the dagger.
With the Jews there is no bargaining, but only the hard either - or. I, however, resolved now to become a politician...”
The editors of this edition of Mein Kampf go on at the close of this chapter to discuss the support, or lack of historical support, for this ‘stab in the back’ theory, but from my point of view this doesn’t matter. Every loyalist German veteran of the World War One war understood him perfectly. And there can be no doubt that there is a strong emotional foundation for this attitude whether it holds up to the facts or not.
It is his conclusion on who to hate that presents the problem to my mind. I can understand his hate for his fellow countrymen who turned on the war effort, or didn’t support it from the beginning. I can understand his hate for the Marxists who for a brief moment near the surrender had actually taken over the government. I can understand his hate for the capitulators who now in the eyes of defeat were willing to sacrifice the causes and the lives of the soldiers still in the fields for a better negotiating position with the soon arriving enemy. I think that this is where a part of his inordinate hate for the Socialist Democrats comes in. They capitulated not only with the enemy but with the internal rebellion of the Marxist labor movement. I can even understand his annoyance with the ‘silly’ young girls who, with their whimpering, assisted the enemy. I can understand all these feelings. I don’t agree with these feelings, but at least I can understand where they are coming from - but where do the Jews come into all of this?
I have no doubt that Adolf considered Karl Marx a Jew, and that there were other Jews supporting anti-war efforts at home along with Jews who were members of those leaning towards Marxism. But there were also German Jews who fought and died or were wounded at Adolf’s side on the front lines. There were Jews on all sides of all of the issues. So how does Adolf isolate an entire religion, or “race” of people as being the ones entirely responsible for his country’s humiliation? But there is no doubt that by picking out the Jews, Adolf had provided a flesh and blood outlet for him and his ex-soldier comrades to persecute.
The bitterness and revenge that lingers in the defeated after a war, is a very strong reason against getting into a war in the first place. The time to prevent a war is before it starts. This is the time for the anti-warriors, and the pacifists to mount their opposition. After the bodies begin to pile up it becomes more difficult. And after the war begins, the ideological arguments become absurd and obfuscated by the blood and personal tragedy. The time to strike is before the first shorts are ever fired. War is only a stall in the negotiation. War is only an intermission, in which the basic arguments are temporarily forgotten. After the war ends, immediately, the ideological dispute resumes. The real problems are never solved until there is a meeting of the minds. Even if all of ones opponents are destroyed, his arguments will remain to re-emerge once again in the future. The arguments must be defeated in the minds of all of the survivors. War is merely an interlude in the battle for the truth of ideas. The truth will prevail, eventually; the better argument, temporarily.
Adolf and his Comrades were injected with the blood of killing, death, and hatred on the battlefields of Flanders, Somme and elsewhere. Once the hate was instilled, and unable to find a quenching and satisfaction in victory, where does it go?
It doesn’t. It festers inside until it drives a man insane or to acts of insanity or retribution. Adolf was obviously not one for therapy. And besides this new psychology-hogwash was just another part of the Jewish conspiracy, and Jew science. Sigmond Freud along with Albert Einstein would have found a not too comfortable death if Adolf could have gotten his storm trouper’s hands on them.
At this point I am reminded of a poem or translation of a poem that I once read written by the Russian Poet Boris Pasternak. I won’t quote the poem here but just give you my interpretation of his poetic idea, or expression.
The poet paints a picture of a soldier at the bottom of an enemy hill. The enemy is encamped at the top; the hill is mined and littered with the bodies of his comrades. The soldier sits at the bottom of the hill with the sights of his weapon aimed upon the enemy. The battle for the hill is a gory one, and the soldier at the bottom must face and is facing the prospects of his own destruction. Yet Boris stops here and interjects a sigh ... a sigh of relief, and longing. How lucky this soldier is, Boris explains, for he is blessed with a visible, explainable, actual, external enemy. How lucky it is for a man to know his enemy, and have an actual tangible outlet for his bitterness and hatred. How lucky is this man who does not have to continue the search for his own bitter hate, misery, discontent and lust for revenge, into the depths of his own soul. How lucky is the man who can simply kill another creature and rid himself reasonably and justifiably of all this frustration, hate and misery.
How lucky indeed. And what a penetrating look into ourselves, and the confused heart of mankind provided by Mister Boris Pasternak, the Poet.
And here, in a very practical way, Adolf finds an enemy for he and his friends, to rape, murder, and torture, and to vent their wildest hatreds, and most confused passions and lusts, and satisfy and return to the world that had given them World War I, all that had been heaped onto them; and give it back not only in kind, but double and triple, and feel no regret or remorse, because these were the enemy and they had earned what they had inherited. This is another possible reason for being very careful about considering hardened Military officers for Civilian leadership. They have been hardened by the battlefield, and the human tendency, whether conscious or subconscious, is to return to the world what he feels the world has given to him. Adolf returned to the world, World War II as payment for the World War I; the War that the world had given to him.