Merry Christmas for 2018!

And a Happy New Year from ARPLAN

For Christmas this year, ARPLAN  gifts you something simple: a 1936 poem by an anonymous National Socialist from Auslandsdeutsche journal Die Brücke, which weaves National Socialist sentiment with the Christmas spirit and its Germanic traditions. The poem concerns a young “Hitler girl” who rejects the materialism and commercialization of the holiday with her gifting of traditional handicrafts, and who expresses a selfless purity and altruism through her concern and love for her family and her Führer. To allay her concerns, the poet teaches her that she can express her Christmas spirit best by extending it from her immediate family to the family of her nation  – and thus the modern Winterhilfswerk program, in which Germans organized en masse to provide donations to the underprivileged, becomes analogous to the ancient ‘Germanic custom’ of the giving of gifts around the Christmas tree.   


A Hitler girl recently stood before me,

And said: “Now, soon there will drift across the German land,

Our Christmas celebrations. 

I’ve already prepared for my favorites;

Handicrafts for my parents and aunts,

Grandparents and other relatives

They are lying in the drawer, wrapped up,

And with Christmas cards appropriately decorated.

I don’t think I’ve forgotten anyone, 

Because all my loved ones will see the measure, 

Of how wholeheartedly grateful I am to them

They must see that in the burning Christmas candles. 

Only, one thing will not leave my mind:

Because I am a Hitler girl for the festival, I must remember him,

And send him, our Führer, something.

Yet what could I think of for Christmas gifts,

He will have it all! Continue reading

Feder vs. Führer

Gottfried Feder’s critical letter of 10th August, 1923, calling Hitler to task for his poor leadership and bohemian lifestyle


The following letter was sourced from an academic article by historian Oron James Hale which was published in The Journal of Modern History in December 1958. Mr. Hale thoughtfully reproduced the letter in its entirety, but only in German; this despite the rest of his article discussing the letter’s contents being entirely in English. Perhaps Mr. Hale was under the impression at the time that fluency in German is commonplace. In any event, since I could find no actual English translation, I translated the letter myself, the result of which is reproduced below. Written by National Socialist ideologist Gottfried Feder to Adolf Hitler only a few months before the Bürgerbräukeller Putsch, the letter is distinctive in how openly critical it is. Hitler by this time was undisputed leader of the Party, yet the principles of Führerprinzip had not yet permeated the movement and it was not yet totally unthinkable to contradict or criticize the Führer. Feder’s complaints represent those of a circle of Party founders and senior figures (including Anton Drexler), a group who were deeply concerned about Hitler’s work habits, about the lack of effective Party organization, and about the Führer’s growing connections with High Society, and who consequently wanted to save Hitler’s “workingman’s soul”. On top of these group complaints Feder sprinkled a number of personal grievances: Hitler’s refusal to meet with Feder, and his lack of interest in reading Feder’s new work The German State on a National and Social Foundation. Hitler apparently reacted with fury to the contents of the letter, though he did eventually supply Feder with the much-desired introduction to Feder’s new book. 


Some poet once spoke some very earnest words about a great and important man who, however, “could not control himself, and thus his work as well as his life slipped away.”

Serious concern for our work – the German freedom movement of National Socialism – and for you as its leader who we all ungrudgingly accept, causes me to tell you in a frank way what I have already partly told you in person.

You know for yourself that our movement has grown so hugely and rapidly that the expansion of the internal Organization has not kept pace with it. You yourself complained to me about the pernicious lack of space for the housing of the individual departments [of the Party], which we absolutely must have if one is even only remotely thinking of renewing a terminally ill state and economy.

Certainly the question of space is difficult, but it is easier to overcome than the second question – the question of people. A truly capable circle of staff for the upcoming tasks of state is not at all available. Probably in Rosenberg we have a first-class strength for our newspaper – Kapitänleutnant Hoffmann also makes a very good impression. [Hoffmann was a former Ehrhardt Brigade member and was chief-of-staff to Goering, then head of the SA – Bogumil]

Otherwise, if I do not name anyone else, this should by no means be taken as a disparaging judgement of our other staff of whom most are very suitable for their positions, as far as I can judge. Another question however is whether the important tasks of our movement do not seem to suggest a change of person here or there. However, this is not due to the people but due to the tasks themselves, which simply exceed the suitability of some of the individuals. I think especially of the good Christian Weber. [Weber was a burly horse-dealer and at this time part of Hitler’s close circle of associates; he was widely regarded as corrupt and was very unpopular with the older leaders like Drexler, Feder, etc. – Bogumil]

In general, there is quite a difference in ability between you, who have grown so well along with your greater responsibilities, and the men of your former closest circle. You understand that yourself, which is why you would like to be introduced to “society” by Mr. Hanfstaengl. I would now like to reassure you that I do not – as so many others do – see in Hanfstaengl a “danger” or a camarilla; I appreciate Hanftstaengl’s dedicated enthusiasm, his honesty and decency, too much for that. Yet I cannot shake an unpleasant feeling, as if you yourself were wrong about things. “Society” is a thing, a monster, something that has nothing to do with your current mission. That mission has no social obligations, just a terrible responsibility to the State and People [Volk]. Certainly you can find a valuable person here or there “in society” – but in general these are probably few and far between. In your stressful work perhaps one does need to relax in the company of groups of artists or of beautiful women. Continue reading

Monthly Fragebogen: The National Movement Swallowed Whole

Nationalist writer Ernst von Salomon’s account of the Third Reich’s absorption of the National Movement, from his 1951 memoir Der Fragebogen


This is the first entry in a new ARPLAN series: The Monthly Fragebogen. Over the next year I intend to post, once a month, an excerpt from Ernst von Salomon’s famous novel Der Fragebogen (in English ‘The Questionnaire’ or ‘The Answers’). Der Fragebogen was first published in 1951 by the Rowohlt Verlag publishing house and instantly became a huge success. Using the US Military Government’s de-nazification questionnaire for its structure, the autobiographical novel was the first major best-seller in West Germany and sold in large numbers both inside Germany and out, helping to cement Ernst von Salomon’s place in German literature. von Salomon, a Freikorps veteran and a member of the Weimar-era Conservative Revolutionary literary milieu, had been a successful novelist before the War, but it was Der Fragebogen which really made his name. It is an excellent book, one of my personal favorites, and as well as being a stirringly-written novel it provides an unparalleled introduction into the chaotic tumult that was German life and politics from the early 1900s until the collapse of the Reich in 1945. von Salomon rubbed shoulders with countless people of historical importance at one point or another, many of them members of the National Movement – Adolf Hitler, Ernst Röhm, Hans Zehrer, Ernst Jünger, Claus Heim, Bodo Uhse, Othmar Spann, Hans Grimm, Martha Dodd, Otto Meissner, Konrad Henlein, Hans Fallada, Hanns Ludin… He lived quite a life, and Der Fragebogen is quite a book. 

The excerpt below is taken from Section E. of Der Fragebogen, ‘Membership in Organisations’. This long passage provides an on-the-ground view of the complicated relationship which the new National Socialist government had with other members of the National Movement during the regime’s early years. Although they were all ostensibly on the same side, the National Socialists and nationalist paramilitaries like the Stahlhelm, Wehrwolf, Kampfring, etc. had competed and occasionally fought against one another during the ‘time of struggle’, and the peace between them after 1933 was uneasy. In this excerpt von Salomon describes how the paramilitary he was associated with – the Marinebrigade Ehrhardt, headed by the eponymous, infamous nationalist revolutionary Captain Hermann Ehrhardt (“the Kapitän”) – was swallowed whole by the National Socialists like the Stahlhelm and all the others. The Ehrhardt Brigade had taken part in the Kapp Putsch; it had provided training to the SA when it was first being established; its members (as the ‘Organization Consul’) had been responsible for the assassination of government ministers Erzberger and Rathenau; under the name Bund Wiking it had dabbled in plotting revolution; and yet now it could no longer independently exist in the Third Reich it had longed to bring to power. On 17th July, 1933, as von Salomon describes below, the Brigade took part in a ceremony at Saaleck to both honor its fallen martyrs and to finally publicly commit its loyalty to Hitler’s government. A month later the Marinebrigade was incorporated as an independent unit of the SS. Less than a year after that, in February 1934, its independence was annulled, it was dissolved, and its members expelled or absorbed. Four months on and Kapitän Ehrhardt was forced to flee his fatherland lest he meet the same fate as Röhm or Schleicher. von Salomon’s description of these events is bitter; a man who fought and yearned for a nationalist Germany, yet was appalled at the betrayals this resulted in. 

The nationalist militant organisations had ‘profited’ by the National-Socialists’ seizure of power. As the result of a compromise within the ‘national government,’ which had included such non-National-Socialist ministers as Hugenberg, Seldte and Papen, they had been placed on an equal footing with the Party’s organisations – which meant that they might do part of the latters’ dirty work. The SA and they received a sort of authority to act as police.

“Wonderful, wonderful,” I remarked to the Kapitän. “Just what we always wanted!”

The Kapitän said angrily:

“God knows, I don’t wish to see you in a spot where you’ll be glad I kept the Brigade together.”

The Kapitän had appointed Walther Muthmann commandant of the Berlin division of the Brigade, a force of some fifty unemployed seamen whom the Kapitän had set up in a home and who wore the old, grey uniform of the navy with the imperial crown on their buttons and the Viking ship on their sleeve. They did nothing but sit about in the home and cost the Kapitän a considerable amount of money. But there they were, and Muthmann, also dressed in uniform and wearing the long loose officer’s cape, the spanier of the old navy, appeared everywhere as though behind him reverberated the tramp of a hundred thousand marching feet.

“Have you got guns?” I asked him.

“Not many,” he said. “A couple of pistols – but,” he added emphatically, “we clean them every day.”

At that time we were all living on the cheap fame of time passed, the Kapitän at our head. There was a splinter-group called, officially, the German National Youth League, and popularly the ‘green boys’ because they walked about in green shirts. This group had long been a thorn in the eye of the SA, and one day the SA fell upon them, and among the men arrested and lugged off to the SA headquarters in the Pape Straße was a member of the Brigade. Muthmann, in all the glory of his cloak, went there at once to demand the man’s release. But the SA just locked up Muthmann too. He was put in the cellar with the other arrested men and, like them, he was beaten up. But in contrast to the others this was no novelty for Muthmann, and he managed to fight his way through the SA men until he got to Group Leader Ernst. Bloody and bruised, he shouted in Ernst’s face:

“And you pretend to be soldiers!” Continue reading