Presented by Gregor Strasser as a speech to the German Reichstag, May 10, 1932.
Gregor Strasser, who joined the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) sometime between 1921 and 1922, was one of the most significant, talented members of the Party. Considered second only to Hitler, he had a string of accomplishments to his name: he became SA Leader for Lower Bavaria in March 1923; Gauleiter of Lower Bavaria in March 1925; Reichspropagandaleitung [national Propaganda Leader] in September 1926; and Reichsorganisationsleiter [national Organisation Leader] in January 1928. Strasser additionally became a member of the Bavarian Landtag in April 1924, and was elected to the Reichstag as representative for Westphalia North in December 1924 (a seat he held until stepping down in March 1933). Strasser was in addition one of the NSDAP’s most important spokesmen on economic issues, working closely with Dr. Otto Wagener, chairman of the NSDAP’s Economic Policy Department, and with Walther Funk, member of the Party’s Reich Economic Council. It was in this context that the following speech was made on May 10, 1932. Although never officially endorsed by Hitler, it was republished and distributed by the Party in article and pamphlet form and became the basis for the ‘Emergency Economic Programme’ propagated by the NSDAP as its statement of economic principles prior to the Reichstag elections of July 1932. The ‘Work and Bread!’ speech is regarded as perhaps Strasser’s most important – in it he clearly sets forth a vision of National Socialist anticapitalism, advocating autarchy, a full-employment program, and heavy government intervention in the economy. The speech received some acclamation at the time, generating interest from trade union leaders and being publicly praised by Chancellor Brüning.
Emergency Decrees are the Only Recourse of the Present System!
The last time I spoke here in October 1930 I settled our accounts with the System, and on the basis of our electoral victory of September 1930 I announced the basic domestic and foreign policy principles of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Since that time nothing has changed, nothing at all. The only new thing we have experienced since that time is the weapon of emergency decrees, which on the one hand reveal emergency and on the other hand decree emergency. But otherwise no new and above all no redeeming idea has emerged from the whole political development since that time. I see the reason for this in the fact that Germany’s ruling men have limited themselves to concentrating their entire political effort on the suppression and the exclusion from power of the national and social forces present in National Socialism; also in the fact that the government, like the debates in the German Reichstag on the few days in which it met, has always recognised but a single theme: the fight against us, and no longer a fight for the interests of the German people.
The entire energy of the government during the last election campaign, the whole manner of its propaganda with all its resources for influencing the people, was devoted to slandering us before the whole people and before the world. No mention was made of what the government had achieved itself in the interim.
The Reich Chancellor’s recent statement that a National Socialist takeover of the government would automatically entail chaos, inflation, and civil war is from the political standpoint the more dangerous because here in the Reichstag there is surely no one who doubts that the solution to the great German problems can never be attempted or found against our opposition or without our help.
The Rise of National Socialism
Despite the unprecedented resistance of all the people involved in the Brüning system and of all the men in government, the elections of recent times have brought about the incessant and irresistible rise of the movement. I think it is time for German officialdom to take off its party-shaded glasses and take a close look at where this rise comes from. Continue reading