A revised, social-revolutionary draft programme for the NSDAP, written by Karl Otto Paetel and supporters in late 1929
Karl Otto Paetel is most well-known today for his 1933 National Bolshevist Manifesto. The Manifesto was written in a period when Paetel was a leader of the ‘Group of Social-Revolutionary Nationalists’ (GSRN), an organization which, inspired by the Communist Party of Germay’s (KPD) 1930 ‘national-communist’ programme and its nationalist-oriented propaganda journals like Aufbruch, centered much of its activism on encouraging nationalists to forge links with the revolutionary Left. The GSRN’s heavily pro-communist orientation in part stemmed from earlier, unsuccessful attempts by Paetel to reform the National Socialist movement. Before the GSRN was founded on Ascension Day, 1930, Paetel was involved in an informal grouping called the ‘Young Front Working Circle’. While still focused on promoting cooperation between left and right, the Young Front at the time regarded the NSDAP as being the key source for potential social-revolutionary change, directing most of its energies towards supporting the ‘left-wing’ opposition within the NSDAP and encouraging internal Party debate over its policies and direction. It was for this purpose that Paetel and other Young Front members wrote the short draft programme reproduced below. A revised version of the NSDAP’s original 25-Points (a number of the items are almost word-for-word identical), the Young Front’s draft programme is more explicitly social-revolutionary, including demands for mass nationalization, land expropriation, and a German-Soviet alliance. The programme was first distributed clandestinely at the August 1929 Nuremberg Party Congress before its formal publication in nationalist journal Das Junge Volk on October 1st. The document, inevitably, had little real impact – in May 1926, in the wake of the Bamberg Conference, Hitler had already officially declared the 25-Points “unalterable”, and the Young Front’s programme made no headway in encouraging debate among the leadership. It did generate interest among some of the Party’s grass-roots, however, leading to stronger links with members of the NSDAP, many of whom would later go on to form the core of the GSRN.
A Proposal for the Revision of the Programme of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP)
First published in Das Junge Volk, XI, 1st October 1929.
The NSDAP is a nationalist party. Its goal is the free German nation.
The NSDAP is a socialist party. It knows that the free German nation can arise only through the liberation of the working masses of Germany from all forms of exploitation and oppression.
The NSDAP is a workers’ party. It professes itself to the class-struggle of the productive against parasites of all races and creeds.
The NSDAP therefore demands:
1. The integration of all Germans, on the basis of peoples’ rights to self-determination, into a Greater German Reich;
2. Equal status for the German Volk with other nations; the annulment of all the treaties, obligations, and debts of the prior capitalist government;
3. That only he who is a folk-comrade should be a citizen, – folk-comrades can only be those of German blood. Jews, Slavs, Latins [Welsche] can therefore not be German citizens; non-citizens to be classed as guests and placed under legislation governing foreigners;
4. That the right to determine the leadership and laws of the state may be conceded only to citizens; therefore, the NSDAP demands that every public office of whatever kind, whether in Reich, state, or municipality, may be occupied by citizens alone;
5. Elimination of the corrupting parliamentary state of affairs; realization of the self-government of the working Volk on the basis of enterprises, with the dismissal and destruction of the organizational apparatus of all parties; the organizational form of self-government is the Peoples’ Council-State [Volks-Rätestaat]; the council structure is organized from the bottom up through indirect elections from the council formations;
6. That the state has the obligation above all to provide for the employment opportunities and living conditions of its citizens; if it is not possible to support the total population of the Reich, the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled;
7. That any further immigration by non-Germans is to be prevented; the NSDAP demands that all non-Germans who have immigrated to Germany since 2nd August 1914 be compelled to immediately leave the Reich;
8. That all citizens must have equal rights and duties;
9. That the first duty of citizens must be to work mentally or physically; the activity of the individual must not infringe upon the interests of the general public, but must take place within the context of the whole and for the benefit of all; – the NSDAP therefore demands:
10. Abolition of incomes unearned by work and effort, – Breaking of interest-slavery.
11. Transfer of all the country’s economic resources into the common ownership of the nation;
12. A solution to the land question [Landfrage] tailored to national requirements; nationalization of all large- and medium-sized estates, – immediate, generous settlement of the depopulated border-areas in the East, – remission for smallholders as Reich Entails;1
13. Ruthless struggle against those who harm the common interest through their activities; criminals against the people [Volksverbrecher], usurers, racketeers, etc., are to be punished with death, regardless of creed and race.
14. Replacement of Roman (private) law, which serves the materialist-capitalist world-order, by German (common) law.
15. Expansion of our national education-system; free tuition in all schools;
16. State provision for the improvement of public health; free medical assistance;
17. Abolition of the mercenary army and the formation of a peoples’ army;2
18. Legal struggle against conscious political lies and their dissemination through the press;
19. Freedom for all religious denominations, so long as they do not jeopardize the existence of the Peoples’ Council Republic [Volks-Räte-Republik] or violate the moral faculties and feelings of the Nordic race; the NSDAP combats the Jewish-materialist spirit in all its manifestations, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our Volk can only take place from within, in accordance with the old German principle of law: common interest before self-interest.
The NSDAP is aware that the ideas laid down in these guiding principles cannot be fulfilled without a fundamental rearrangement of the existing balance of power. Since total control over the entire economic resources of Germany today is in the hands of the institutions of international finance capital, the national revolution is itself targeted directly against that international finance capital. It follows from this that any revolution carried out in Germany will immediately call into action all the instruments of power of the League of Nations and America against the German Workers’ and Peasants’ State.
The first task of National Socialist foreign policy is, therefore, the organization of revolutionary defense against the imperialist powers, alliance with the Soviet Union, and support for those revolutionary movements in all the countries of the world which are directed against international finance capital.
Social-Revolutionary Left of the NSDAP
1. ‘Reich Entails’ – In German Reichserblehen. An ‘entail’ was a form of property-ownership established in the feudal era. Declaring a piece of land an ‘entail’ placed significant restrictions upon its sale or inheritance, essentially ensuring that ownership was kept solely within the hands of a specific family group. Anticapitalist elements of the New Nationalist movement in interwar Germany and Austria typically looked to pre-capitalist, feudal organizational systems for inspiration; as a consequence, the idea of resurrecting entails in various forms was a popular one. The proposal as mentioned here by Paetel was common among the ‘left’ factions of the NSDAP and in National Bolshevik & fascist-corporatist groups: that large and small farms & estates should be nationalized, while the smallholdings of peasants should be declared Reich Entails and legally prohibited from being sold or otherwise taken out of the peasant family’s ownership. The National Socialist government actually ended up implementing a version of this policy with its Reich Entailed Farm Law [Reichserbhofgesetz] of 29 September, 1933.
2. This demand, like several others, is taken word for word from the original 1920 25-Point NSDAP Programme. The ‘mercenary army’ [Söldnertruppe] referred to is the Reichswehr, so-called because they were derisively regarded as being “paid by the Republic”. While many individuals within the Reichswehr were respected by the National Socialists, as an institution it was seen as imperfect, a mercenary force of paid soldiers serving the respective whims of changing governments rather than the needs of ‘eternal Germany’. Against the Reichswehr the NSDAP proposed instead a ‘Volksheer’, sometimes translated as ‘national army’, although ‘peoples’ army’ or ‘popular army’ is probably more evocative of its real meaning. The Volksheer would not consist of paid, professional soldiers, but would mobilize the entire population through conscription, something forbidden in the Treaty of Versailles.