Anton Drexler’s original party program, first published in ‘Auf gut deutsch’ on January 5, 1919
The Guidelines of the German Workers’ Party was the original political program of the German Workers’ Party (DAP). Along with Anton Drexler’s pamphlet Mein politisches Erwache (‘My Political Awakening’) it served as the main literary statement of the Party’s aims and worldview until the adoption of the ‘Twenty-Five Point Program’ on February 24 1920, when the Party rechristened itself as the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. The exact authorship of the Guidelines is unknown, although it was almost certainly written by Drexler; whether or not Karl Harrer (the co-founder of the DAP) was also involved is unclear. What is certain is that the Guidelines were first announced on January 5 1919, and published in Dietrich Eckart’s völkisch newspaper Auf gut deutsch on the same day. In terms of content the Guidelines are briefer and less detailed than the later NSDAP program, being far more a general statement of worldview than an actual outline of specific political goals. Nonetheless, the Guidelines’ National Socialist content is obvious – völkisch nationalism, anti-Marxism, opposition to Jewish influence, and a concern with social reform. The clear emphasis on workers’ issues and on corporatist appeals (“work cooperatives”) should be noted, being typical elements of early pre-Hitlerian National Socialism.
What is the German Workers’ Party?
The DAP is a socialist organization, composed of all folk comrades [‘Volksgenossen’] engaged in mental or physical work. It may only be guided by German leaders who put aside selfish goals and allow national needs to be the highest concern of the program.
What does the German Workers’ Party offer the worker?
The DAP seeks the ennoblement of the German worker. Skilled resident workers have the right to be considered members of the middle class. A sharp distinction between workers and proletarians should be made. An international agreement with the trade unions of other countries must stabilize wages, making it impossible for the working-class of a particular country to engage in sharp bargaining. In the future the competitive position of an individual country shall be determined not by the lowest wages but by the diligence and efficiency of its workers. In this way the causes of friction among the various countries will be avoided. Big business provides food and employment and is therefore to be protected, as long as it does not relentlessly exploit the worker making it impossible for him to lead a worthwhile life. The DAP believes that the socialization of German economic life signals the collapse of the German economy. By controllingsocialized businesses our enemies would be in the best possible position to collect efficiently the war indemnities which have been imposed on us, and to do so at the expense of the workers. Therefore the German worker should have not socialization but profit sharing. Profit sharing can be made possible by founding work cooperatives in the cities, and in the country, farm cooperatives among the agricultural workers, to protect land and soil.
Who is the DAP fighting against?
The DAP is fighting with all its strength against usury and the forcing up of prices. Against all those who create no values, who make high profits without any mental or physical work. We fight against the drones in the state; these are mostly Jews; they live a good life, they reap where they have not sown. They control and rule us with their money. For these drones Germany and her entire people were just objects of speculation; their party slogans are much the same. Talk, no action. The DAP honors the principle: he who will not work shall not eat. We fight for justice, true freedom, and happiness. No dictatorship of the proletariat! Equal justice for all. No rule of bayonets. Everyone shall feel himself to be a free German. There is no happiness in phrases and empty speeches at meetings, demonstrations, and elections. Our striving is toward the free happiness of good work, the full pot, and prospering children.
To what extent is the DAP politically active?
The DAP opposes any threat to the unity of the Reich, but excludes the predominance of one single state. We want to be governed only by Germans; foreigners and Jews govern us only in their own interest or in the interest of a foreign country. With the people and with the government they make deals, not politics. The Foreign Office shall consist of German representatives from all of the states participating in the federation, representatives elected by the peoples of the federated states. The party advocates an international law for the press of all countries. By punishing the international reporting of false news, this law will prevent the kind of incitement of peoples to aggression which occurred during the World War. The highest principles of justice and truth must again be made valid in today’s world.
How does the DAP think the costs of the war can be paid?
Our guiding star is this: war is a disaster for a country and disaster means suffering. For this reason no one had any right to gather riches at home while our soldiers fought abroad. Regardless of earnings before the war, we consider 10,000 marks to be the highest permissible annual earnings during the war; the rest is to be delivered to the central government, which will use it to pay war costs. Furthermore, property owners must be called upon to help cover the war costs, and any estates which are little encumbered are to be forced to take up compulsory mortgages.