Joseph Goebbels’s best-selling 1925 primer on National Socialist doctrine
‘The Little ABC of National Socialists’ (Das Kleine ABC des Nationalsozialisten) – one of the most popular documents outlining the tenets of National Socialist philosophy – was written and published by Joseph Goebbels in late 1925, not more than a year after “the little Doktor” first became politically active in the national-socialist movement. Goebbels at the time of publication was not the leading figure he would later become. At this point in his life he was a mostly penniless agitator, a demagogue-in-training, an organizer in the Gau North-Rhineland who was just starting to make his name in the wider Party outside of the city of Elberfeld. ‘The Little ABC’ was one of the many factors which played a part in Goebbels’s later notoriety. The pamphlet was immensely successful; the first edition of 10,000 copies sold out rapidly, leading to praise from Hitler, and more than 75,000 had been printed and distributed by 1927. By the time Hitler was appointed Reichschancellor in 1933 it was one of the most widely-read pieces of National Socialist literature. This is in large measure due to its style of writing – a pithy question-and-answer format, with simple, straightforward language intended to make National Socialist doctrine easily accessible to young people and workers. Winning proletarians to the cause was always a central focus of Dr. Goebbels, and even the title of the work attests to that fact – it deliberately calls to mind Bukharin & Preobrazhensky’s ‘ABC of Communism’. The translation of the ‘Little ABC’ below was made by myself personally; as far as I can tell no English translation is otherwise generally available.
THE LITTLE ABC OF NATIONAL SOCIALISTS
Dr. Joseph Goebbels
For the downtrodden!
Against the exploiter!
The Common Good Comes Before Self-Interest!
What is the first commandment of every National Socialist?
Love Germany above all and love your folk-comrades [Volksgenossen] like yourself!
What is the aim of the National Socialist freedom-concept?
The people’s community [Volksgemeinschaft] of all honest, productive Germans!
What is the substance of this people’s community?
Freedom and bread for every German folk-comrade!
Who is our German folk-comrade?
Any honest productive German, so long as he is of German blood, German customs, and German culture, and speaks the German language!
Through what principle do we National Socialists want to do away with today’s economic struggle of all against all?
Common interest before self-interest!
Why National Socialist German Workers Party?
Can and should a workers’ party still be national today?
It not only can and should, it must be national today. The cause of the people is the cause of the nation, and vice versa; the might and welfare of the state are the might and welfare of the people, and thus the might and welfare of every individual!
Isn’t there a conflict between the national and social concepts?
No, on the contrary! The truly national man thinks socialist, and the true socialist is nationalist!
When am I a nationally-minded person?
I am a nationally-minded person when I have the will, and use all my power, to make my people and my Fatherland free, healthy, and strong!
When do I think as a socialist?
I think as a socialist when I recognize that the natural rights of the oppressed portion of my folk-comrades, the rights to liberty and bread, are rights that must be fought for and preserved, they are not gifts that are given freely or even imposed!
What is the difference between ‘social’ and ‘socialist’?
The term ‘social’ means granting the oppressed segments of the people the imperfect rights of fear and cowardice, grace and mercy; ‘socialism’ means giving them their full right to justice and state imperative!
Why ‘Workers Party’?
Because every honest, productive German who belongs to us already, or who shall belong to us yet, is a German worker, whether of brain or fist; because the will to creative work is a fundamental feature in German man; because work does not dishonor man but honors and ennobles!
The Class Struggle
Does the NSDAP want class conflict to achieve its goal?
No, the NSDAP does not want class conflict, it wants to fight against class conflict. Class conflict tears the German people into two pieces and makes it impossible for them to become a nation.
How does one most effectively fight class conflict?
One fights class conflict most effectively through the struggle for the right to existence of working people; that is, by fighting for the elimination of the foundations and causes of class conflict.
State, Folkdom, Culture, Custom, and Economy
What is the German state to the National Socialist worker?
To the National Socialist worker the German state is the organic community of all productive German folk-comrades, which elevates and expands German thought, German power, German prestige, German culture, custom, language, and economy.
How do we elevate and expand German folkdom, German culture, and German customs?
By the means of eliminating everything racially and culturally foreign [alles Fremdblütige und Fremdländische, lit. “everything foreign-blooded and foreign-landish”] from the body of the German Volk and leading the German people back to the original wellsprings of the German race, German spirit, and German culture.
Why is the NSDAP anti-Jewish?
Because the Jew is a corrosive foreign body in the German people; because he poisoned German folk-morality [Volksmoral] through his mendacious “cultural institutes”; because he tears down instead of building up; because he is the father of the concept of class warfare, through which he tears the German people into two parts in order to be able to control them all the more brutally; because he is the creator and bearer of international stock-market-capitalism, the main enemy of German liberty.
How do we elevate and expand the German economy?
Through giving to the whole productive German people a share in the German economy, so that each individual all the more joyfully and conscientiously fulfills his duty of work to the Volk and to the State.
How do we elevate and expand German power and prestige?
By rearing every German man to be able to defend himself, so that the German Volk, when it comes to their existence or their honor, can defend those in return.
War and the League of Nations
Do we National Socialists want war with France?
No, we National Socialists seek to avoid war with France where possible. But we want a war without mercy against international big business [Großkapital], which robs and enslaves productive peoples.
Why do we National Socialists not place our trust in the moral law guaranteed by the League of Nations or similar international organisations?
Because we have realized that there can be no absolute law among states: law is power. Only when Germany constitutes a power once more will it come into its own again.
The Old and the New System
Is the NSDAP state-denying?
No, the NSDAP is consciously state-affirming; however, it bitterly fights today’s parliamentary-democratic-capitalist system.
Why is the NSDAP fighting today’s democratic-parliamentary-capitalist system?
Because this parliamentary-democratic-capitalist system is only the figurehead of the most blatant Mammonistic and capitalistic egoism, maintained and led by Jews and comrades of the Jews, for the collective exploitation of the productive German people through the medium of the state.
Why are we National Socialists anti-parliamentarian?
We are anti-parliamentarian because today’s democratic parliament is just a smokescreen behind which the capitalist spirit hides. Election to this parliament, accomplished through money, lies, and slander, can never represent the will of the productive Volk.
What does the NSDAP want in place of the democratic parliament?
The NSDAP wants to replace parliament for a transitional period with a National Socialist dictatorship, since this is absolutely necessary to create the conditions for the coming National Socialist state. The National Socialist dictatorship should be supported by a strong German leader [Führer] who enjoys the unlimited confidence of the conscious and responsible fighters for German freedom.
By what should this National Socialist dictator be superseded?
By an occupational parliament, which is to be elected by the whole productive German people, based not on party groups but on professional associations.
Social Question and Social Misery
What is the social question for us National Socialists?
For us National Socialists the social question is not only the question of the economic betterment of the oppressed class of our people, rather it is larger and more sweeping: the question of the Volksgemeinschaft’s sense of mutual understanding for one another, in order to elevate, promote, and increase all the moral, cultural, and economic assets of the entire nation and of every individual.
For us National Socialists, what is social misery?
For us National Socialists, social misery is the lack of common understanding of folk-comrades for one another, with the menacing result being the erosion of all these assets [i.e. moral, cultural, and economic] until they are finally and shockingly depleted.
What is the National Socialist Volksgemeinschaft?
The National Socialist Volksgemeinschaft [people’s community] is the realization among folk-comrades of common understanding for one another, therefore yielding socialist thinking and action.
What, in short, is the meaning of the National Socialist worldview?
The meaning of the National Socialist worldview is nothing other than this: feeling liberated, thinking völkisch, acting socialist.
What hinders social understanding among our people today?
The facets of the economy, their form and their content; capitalist-liberal thinking; and irresponsible, un-völkisch action.
Why is Marxism unable to answer the key question of our time, the social problem?
Marxism addresses it on the surface, but not in any depth. Its foundation is the materialist perception of the world. It supposedly wants to wrest industrial enterprises from the hands of their owners in order to give them to the general public. Bolshevism in Russia has shown that this approach ends in the most terrible slavery of the workers.
Which expression quickly and clearly summarizes our National Socialist program?
“To improve a nation, you have to give its oppressed portion political independence, freedom, and property.”
So, for the National Socialist, what is the the fundamental requirement for resolution of the social question?
The radical will of the disenfranchised German worker for property rights, therefore yielding him co-ownership of the plants [Werke, lit. ‘factories/works’] in which he works, as well as proprietary ownership of land, in order to settle him [i.e. security of housing] and safeguard him in his old age.
Capitalism and Marxism
Who is the main enemy of National Socialist freedom?
Capitalism in its various forms and pressure groups.
What does the National Socialist have to understand under the capitalist form of government and economic system?
Under the capitalist form of government and economic system, the National Socialist has to understand the type of system of government and economic system in which the main bearers of power are capitalist interest groups who direct the fortunes of the state and economy to their own benefit, and not for the welfare and freedom of folk-comrades and the state.
Which two types of capitalism does National Socialism distinguish?
The National Socialist distinguishes between state-capitalism and stock-market capitalism, that is, between national creative capital and international-rapacious capital.
How do creative state-capital and rapacious stock-market capital differ?
State-capital is direct creative productive capital. In its pure form it is still, especially in small industry, national and earthbound [erdverbunden, i.e. bound to local soil, völkisch]; it works and provides work; it exists for the most part in immobile assets and not in money; it may not and cannot be destroyed, because it is indispensable for the life of the Volk. However, over the last few decades it has developed into such unhealthy forms that thorough-going reform is required. Stock-market capital is not creative, but a parasitic-rapacious capital. It is no longer earthbound, but rather groundless and international; it does not work productively; it has been forced into the normal course of production in order to suck out percentages. It consists of mobile assets, that is, cash; its main pillar is Jewish high finance, which endeavors to let productive peoples work for themselves yet sticks the proceeds of the work into its own pocket.
Why is Marxism not able to counter this high capitalism?
Because the leaders of Marxism work hand in hand with the sponsors of stock-market capital, because they are bribed by them, they have cross-bred with them, they are wedded to them. Because the leaders of Marxism, as with the sponsors of stock-market capital, originate for the most part from the same Jewish race and, in accordance with their racial instinct, know of no other goal than to subjugate productive people to the service of capitalist interests.
Why does Marxism posture as being so worker-friendly?
To deceive those masses of workers seduced by it about its true goals. The German worker is not supposed to notice what a sinful game is being played with him. He is incited against his employer [Brotgeber, lit. ‘bread-giver’] – who God knows largely deserves a good measure of blame for today’s social injustices – but prudently conceals that above these irresponsible capitalists in the value-creating industry perch even more cruel and brutal tyrants and deceivers-of-the-Volk [Volksbetrüger], who live and feast on the labor of the working people without even being involved in this value-creating work in the slightest. These are the gentlemen from the Loan Guild, who sink their hard cash into industry in order to let this money work for itself, earning percentages from it, which of course must be generated by the deceived worker.
So National Socialists are the guardians of industrial-capitalists, then?
Not at all! They want to compel these industrial-capitalists to give to the worker property rights to the plants in which he labors. But they realize very well that this is not possible if bondage under the interest-whip of the Jewish stock-exchange is not eliminated first.
Breaking of Interest-Slavery
What do we National Socialists mean by the breaking of interest-slavery?
By breaking interest-slavery we mean the elimination of the tyrannical money-power of the stock market in the state and economy, which exploits the productive Volk, making them morally contaminated and incapable of national thinking.
What do we National Socialists want as our ultimate goal?
How can we achieve this goal?
By liberating the disenfranchised part of our Volk, by liberating the German working-class from wage-slavery within our own Fatherland, by making every productive person a property-owner. Then will the German learn to love his Fatherland again; then will he learn to think and feel nationally again, and to entrust his salvation to the leaders who have emerged from the German Volksgemeinschaft.
And a justly-governed 60-million people will through their mere existence alone break free from slavery.
Is the NSDAP not biased towards the interests of the working class?
No, it represents the interests of intellectual workers just as aggressively. It wants understanding between the two, faithful to the statement by Adolf Hitler: “They must learn to respect one another again, the worker of brain for the worker of fist, and vice versa. Neither would exist without the other. From these two a new man must arise, the man of the coming German Reich.”
Whose interests do the National Socialists represent, then?
They don’t represent any special interests at all. They represent the interests of the entire productive German Volk.
Where does the NSDAP stand on the Christian worldview?
The NSDAP is grounded in the Christian worldview, without being bound to a particular denomination.
What kinds of cultural renewal does the NSDAP strive for?
The NSDAP strives for the renewal of the German spirit through systematic cultivation of German culture, science, art, and custom.
Who is the main enemy of this cultural renewal of Germany?
Jewry, which has systematically poisoned the German mind by suffusing its cultural institutions, such as the press, theater, science, and literature, with a perfidious spirit.
How does the NSDAP want to bring down this bitter enemy?
Through demanding the elimination of the Jews from all German cultural institutions. The Jew cannot and must not be the bearer of German education and the German spirit.
The Jew and the German
Who writes the majority of the German newspapers?
Who shall write them in the future?
Who directs our German theaters?
Who shall direct them in the future?
Who provides a large percentage of our university teachers?
Who is solely permitted to become a teacher at German universities in the future?
Who leads our German working-class today?
Who will lead them in the future?
Who can vote for the German Reichstag today?
Anyone who possesses German citizenship and is at least 20 years old.
Who will be able to vote for our German parliament in the future?
Every productive man who is born a German.
What are German youth missing today?
Ideas and a leader; as a result they misspend their lives in unnerving indulgence and are frequently oblivious to the need of the Fatherland.
What does the NSDAP want to make of German youth?
A conscientious generation that sees as its main task the increase of German dignity, German power, and German prestige; a generation that feels itself to be the bearer of German ideas of the future.
How does the NSDAP believe it can achieve this?
By nurturing the German spirit in the youth, through education in military concepts [Wehrgedanken, lit. ‘defence ideas’] and conscientious political thinking.
What is pacifism to National Socialists?
Pacifism to National Socialists is a frequently hypocritical ideological sham used to emasculate the Volk and make genuine political thinking infertile.
Where does the NSDAP stand with the different estates of our Volk?
The NSDAP values the estates in their idiosyncrasy, but it does not want this idiosyncrasy to degenerate into class-arrogance and status-arrogance. For the National Socialist, every honest, productive German is honored and respected in his place, and is a member of the Greater German Volksgemeinschaft.
What does the National Socialist think of the German political parties?
The political parties in Germany are merely a business community, driven to politics to continue their particular business, only with the use of state resources.
What does the National Socialist think of the German Völkisch Freedom Party?
The Freedom Party is allegedly the party of völkisch renewal, whose goals here and there seemingly coincide with those of the NSDAP. What divides the two is the position on the question of social compensation [i.e. rights for the working-classes]. The Freedom Party is, like all bourgeois parties, social; we however are consistent socialists.
What does the National Socialist think of the German National People’s Party?
The German National People’s Party is that party that represents the national idea in rhetoric, but not in political clarity and consistency, and which in consequence decisively played a role in the adoption of the Dawes Plan in the wake of the policy of fulfillment, thereby nipping in the bud any type of social policy.
What does the National Socialist think of the German People’s Party?
The German People’s Party is that party that unilaterally advocates for the great industrial interests under the guise of national labor and, under the pretext of safeguarding the welfare of small industry and cottage industries, tries to mobilize them for the interest of corporations and trusts.
What does the National Socialist think of the Center Party?
The Center Party is that party that purports to represent the concerns of the Catholic Volksgemeinschaft but in reality goes hand-in-hand with Christianity-hating Marxism, letting itself be used to help introduce international-Jewish interests.
What does the National Socialist think of the Economic Party?
The Economic Party is that party which purports to represent the economic interests of the middle-classes but in reality, by splintering the combined might of the disenfranchised masses, actually has achieved the opposite of what it wants.
What does the National Socialist think of the Democratic Party?
The Democratic Party is that party that purports to fight for the liberal ideals of democracy, but in reality only represents the parliamentary amalgamation of all the political forces working in the service of the Jewish stock-exchange for a dictatorship of money over productive peoples.
What does the National Socialist think of the Social-Democratic Party?
The Social-Democratic Party is the party of distorted socialism. It attempts to reach the socialist state via the path of international-Marxism and making use of the power of capitalist democracy. Social-democracy stands in service to the stock-exchange, and its leaders are Jews and comrades of the Jews.
What does the National Socialist think of the Communist Party of Germany?
The Communist Party of Germany is the revolutionary class-struggle party of the working-class, which strives through violence and terror to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. Its economic goal, the socialization of the means of production, is thoroughly unattainable, especially in an industrialized nation; its methods are Russian-Jewish, its intellectual leaders are predominately Jews, and they are demonstrably in the closest of contact with the Golden International.
Socialism and Democracy
What is true socialism?
True socialism is that form of political, cultural, and economic attitude which, instead of seeking an inwardly false liberalism, strives instead for the voluntary, socialist binding of every folk-comrade to the state, with their rights and duties corresponding to their nature, their character, and their abilities.
Why do we National Socialists fight the democratic system of the majority?
Because the rule of the majority is always the rule of the foolish, the indolent, the irresponsible – behind which lies the more brutal rule of money and the cowardly lie. We National Socialists know all too well that Germany’s recovery can only come about through the destruction of the majority principle.
Which principle do we National Socialists demand instead of the principle of the majority?
Free rein to the industrious! [Note: Goebbels here is quoting former German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, who coined this slogan in a Reichstag speech on 28th August, 1916. The basic meaning behind the aphorism is that a person who has proven themselves capable deserves to be granted the necessary conditions to freely and fully develop their abilities as far as they can. –Bogumil]
Who should the leader of the German people be?
The best, most industrious, noblest, and bravest of the German Volksgemeinschaft is just good enough to lead the German Volk to freedom. It is irrelevant which denomination, lineage, or class he is.
Why do we bear the swastika on our banner?
We bear the swastika on our banner as a symbol of work in both mind and deed; as a symbol of faith in the future; as a watchword for our battle for the rights of the productive Volk.
What does the white on our banner mean?
The white is for us the symbol of national thought and action, a perpetual admonition: “Remember that you are a German!”
What does the red field on our banner mean?
The red field is the symbol of our truly socialistic will to liberate the spiritually and materially enslaved, of the will to social action, of the unshakable conviction that Germany can only be made free via the liberation of the productive German man.
The True National Socialist
What does it mean to be a National Socialist?
To be a National Socialist means nothing but struggle, faith, work, sacrifice.
What do we National Socialists want for ourselves?
What do we National Socialists want for the productive German Volk?
What binds us National Socialists together in this struggle for inner and outer German freedom?
The awareness of belonging to a community of fate [Schicksalsgemeinschaft] of radical spiritual renewal, chained to one another for better and for worse.
What is the National Socialist slogan for freedom?
Our Lord God helps those who help themselves!
Translated from Joseph Goebbels’s Das kleine ABC des Nationalsozialisten (1925), Verlag der Nationalsozialistischen Briefe