A rare, early speech by Adolf Hitler, delivered on 7 August 1920 to the 2nd Inter-State Representatives’ Conference of the National Socialists of Greater Germany in Salzburg, Austria
Over 7-8 August 1920, representatives from the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, NSDAP), the German Socialist Party (Deutschsozialistische Partei, DSP), and the Czech, Polish, and Austrian branches of the German National Socialist Workers’ Party (Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei, DNSAP) gathered together in Salzburg, Austria for the 2nd Inter-State Representatives’ Conference of the National Socialists of Greater Germany. Among the various attendees who met in Salzburg to discuss tactical questions and points of theory was a certain delegate of the NSDAP who, at the time, was still largely unknown outside völkisch circles in Munich: a rabble-rousing young orator and propagandist named Adolf Hitler. Hitler’s appearance at the Salzburg Conference would turn out to be an important moment in the history of his career. The speech he delivered to the assembled representatives made a significant impression upon those present, leading to Hitler’s statements being mentioned in the DNSAP party press and also to the DNSAP leadership extending him an eager invitation (which he accepted) to undertake a speaking tour of Austria in support of the party’s upcoming electoral campaign. There is even a story (possibly a piece of hagiographical propaganda) that, upon the speech’s conclusion, Czechoslovakian DNSAP delegate Rudolf Jung turned to his secretary and declared: “One day he will be our greatest.” Regardless of the veracity of Jung’s reaction, the reaction of the broader National Socialist movement was certainly enthusiastic, and following the conference’s conclusion DNSAP branches across Austria clamored for a visit of their own from Hitler, evidence of a growing international recognition of his talents and of an influence which was beginning to extend beyond the confines of Munich’s beer-halls. Hitler’s speech at Salzburg thus arguably marks the first beginnings of the Führer myth, in which Hitler was to be gradually elevated from the movement’s evangelistic ‘drummer’ to the role of overarching Leader – first of the cross-border National Socialist movement, then ultimately of every member of the German Volk wherever they might reside. The speech was considered significant enough that a transcript of it was preserved by attendees and survives to this day within the German Bundesarchiv in Berlin, although unfortunately it is in terrible condition, barely legible in some areas due to faded type. My translation of Hitler’s Salzburg speech – the only complete translation in English, so far as I’m aware – has been made from historian Eberhard Jäckel’s reconstruction of the transcript. Jäckel put a considerable amount of effort into locating National Socialist newspaper articles and historical works which mentioned the Salzburg Conference, using their quotations from Hitler to reconstruct those portions of the text which are virtually unreadable in the original transcript. Some words were unfortunately still indecipherable (these have been marked [illegible] in my translation), but for the most part the speech is otherwise now available in full. Considering the sorry state of the original transcript, Jäckel’s work deserves commendation – I would not have been able to make a translation of the speech without it.
Speech to the 2nd Inter-State Representatives’ Conference of the National Socialists of Greater Germany
By Adolf Hitler
Delivered 7 August 1920 in Salzburg, Austria
Dear folk-comrades! [Liebe Volksgenossen und Volksgenossinnen!]
I am almost ashamed that only today, after so many years, has that same movement which began in German-Austria as early as 1904 begun to gain a foothold in the German Reich.1 And it is tragic that only the great misfortune which has befallen us was able to demonstrate to our Volk that they must above all forsake personal interests, that the class conflict which differentiates only between proletarians and non-proletarians must come to an end, and that ultimately a distinction must someday be made between folk-comrades who produce honestly, and the drones and scoundrels.2 (Applause). The collapse had to come first, and it did not occur because seven, eight, or nine Jews made a revolution for us, it came because we were genuinely morally indolent inside, because we had forgotten and forsaken the numerous principles which a Volk must acknowledge if it wishes to achieve self-determination for itself at all. We have enveloped ourselves in class arrogance on the one hand and in class-conscious proletarian conceit on the other, and we have forgotten that there is no difference between physical and intellectual workers, that together we must [illegible] the state or thereby bring it to ruin. We have also forgotten that such a state must possess moral foundations, and that it is lunacy when in such a state, at the very moment in which thousands of folk-comrades are being forcibly bled to death, others are merely giving money to the state at interest and doing nothing but trading with the [illegible]. We have forgotten that it should have been a social and a moral duty – in a situation where thousands of others were making sacrifices for the highest good; where families at home were enduring hardship, sorrow, and poverty; where unscrupulous, sordid fellows were running rampant among this [illegible] Volk and ignoring the fact that a Volk which is not national ultimately pronounces the death sentence upon itself – to keep clear in our minds that there can be only one goal, to be national, or else to perish in the maelstrom of internationalism. (Applause). And we have forgotten a further truth, that a Volk can and should be led only by its folk-comrades. We have forsaken the fundamental law and fundamental truth of [illegible] that only he who is a [illegible]3 can be a citizen of the state, and that it is madness to introduce foreign races into the [illegible] citizenship rights and eventually to entrust to them the entire [illegible] and to place the leadership of the Volk into their hands. As a result, what had to happen happened – we collapsed. And out of that collapse came disillusionment. Then came the pressure of the Entente, which day by day weighs more and more heavily upon the German Volk, and which increasingly sparks the conviction that the provision of relief through small measures, via minor reforms, is no longer productive. The system of the bourgeoisie and the system of the proletariat have outlived themselves, and that is how our party was born. We should not reproach one another, for the same thinking and the same hardship caused the same movement to arise at all ends of the Reich. Naturally we were independent of one another. Hence nobody in Düsseldorf even realized that things were also the same with us, and Munich did not realize that it was also thus in Kiel; and this road to a solution which we have found is proof that our programmes, although they arose independently from one another, ultimately say the same thing.
When we formed, however, we emphasized [illegible] words. With emphasis upon one word, initially. We recognized that if it has thus far been possible to tear out of our Volk the most natural thing that there ever was, national feeling, that if it has thus far been possible for individual groups to bring millions of people to say that we are international, and thus to express the unnatural, then it must also be possible to tell them that they are and must be national.
Regrettably, for [illegible] the word “German” is heavily burdened today with a great many sins. I am thinking of various parties which also bear the word “German,” of former parties, of the deutschfreiheitliche,4 of the German People’s Party,5 etc., and we know what nonsense has been wrought by misuse of the word “German.” If some have the courage to declare that they are international, then we had the courage to declare that we are national. That is its polar opposite. We then desired to associate ourselves with a second word, the word “worker.” Our thinking was as follows. If 200 years ago Frederick the Great was already able to state, “I wish to be nothing more than the first official and servant of the state, the first worker,” then today especially do we have all the more reason and need to demand that no folk-comrade should be ashamed of this term, but that instead he should be proud of being permitted to call himself a worker. That should be the most important difference separating us from those who are drones. Whether in the chemical laboratory, whether in the technical design bureau, whether as an official in his office or as a worker at his machine, for us the word “worker” is practically the touchstone, because this word shows us who is ready for our movement and who is not. Whoever is ashamed of this term is not yet ready for our movement, for he is still living in a bygone world. For us, only those who are worthy of this term are valid and worthy of taking it upon themselves as a title of honour. And our goal especially is to win over to our ideas those workers who have been called workers up to now. Any popular movement [Volksbewegung] which does not have millions behind it is worthless, useless. That is the precondition, that the national idea no longer remains restricted to only a few thousand individuals but that it instead gains ground and eats its way into the millions and millions who come out of the factories and workshops day after day, who now know that they possess a Fatherland and that it is necessary to intercede for this Fatherland, that it is necessary to be national. The national idea only becomes effective when it becomes the common property of the entire Volk. Now, we were also obliged to incorporate another word which we didn’t care to adopt, the word “party.” It is a word which sounds downright dirty. All the same, we had to include it. The theoretical understanding of a threat alone is not enough to neutralize it. A theoretical understanding of Bolshevism is not enough to prevent us from being Bolshevised; a theoretical understanding of the dangerousness of the Jews is not enough to render the Jews harmless. Theory can only form the groundwork. It only acquires value when that which it recognizes as right, when that which it has to be, is implemented by means of force. (Applause). This implementation need not take place in the form of pogroms, for our party programme has drawn up very specific guidelines for this theoretical implementation and fulfillment of praxis, including also with the Jewish question. The first and most important thing which we wished to set down, and which at the end of the day seems to us to be the ultimate goal of the Volk’s entire existence, is the struggle for freedom and unity and for the amalgamation of the entire Volk. This morning it was mentioned that we have been summoned here to Salzburg in order to be shown this festive pearl, and I felt no joy over this, but instead only grief that there is in God’s wide world a Volk who cannot call such a pearl its own. That being a single people [einziges Volk] is not a matter of course; that that which the Italian takes for granted, which is natural to the French, which is a principle of the English, for whom a third of the entire Earth belongs, does not exist with us – [illegible] that one [illegible] is divided and must suffer and endure in deepest impotence, in part under foreign rule. And to us this seems to be the primary objective of a German party, that it be prepared, quite irrespective of any considerations, as Jung pointed out, to advocate ruthlessly for this one position. We demand a Greater Germany, the unification of all German tribes. We do not demand this as an act of charity, but as an inalienable right. (Applause). Only the fulfillment of this demand will thereby make it possible for us to fulfill a second. For what we have discussed today about social reforms, about improvements in our [illegible], is not realistic.6 Let us not forget that today we are not the masters of our own destiny. We are slaves of the Entente. The constitution of the German Reich is not the constitution of Weimar, but the Peace Treaty of Versailles; the constitution of German-Austria is not that which was produced in Vienna, but the Treaty of St. Germain. It is impossible to accomplish anything for our Volk so long as our Volk are nothing more than the [illegible] slaves of foreign countries. That is the primary objective, that we demand and that we must continue to demand that our Volk are set free, that the chains are broken, that Germany regains mastery over itself, that it be able to determine its own destiny, inclusive of all of those who wish to join with Germany. (Applause).
And the first of these demands, and its fulfillment, will then pave the way for all further reforms; although perhaps there is something setting us apart which is purely programmatic, which is perchance not in the spirit of this issue. Our position on the Jewish question. For us this problem is not a problem which one can pass by blindfolded, which can only be solved through minor concessions, for us it is a problem which determines above all whether our Volk will become internally healthy again, whether the Jewish spirit will actually disappear. For do not think that you can fight a disease without killing the causative agent, without destroying the bacillus, and do not think that you can fight racial tuberculosis without ensuring that the Volk are freed of the pathogen of racial tuberculosis. The activities of Jewry will never perish, and the poisoning of the Volk will not end, until the causative agent, the Jew, is removed from our midst. (Applause).
And do not think this demand to be outrageous at a time when, in Germany, we are witnessing hundreds of thousands being conditioned into emigrating, when one can see and can soberly concede that the Jewish press is advocating for this day after day and is declaring to the workers that there is no Fatherland, that you are at home wherever you can earn something, that there is your Fatherland. At the same time, we would like to see this same principle applied to all those for whom Germany is not their Fatherland. And we are denied that when we say, how can you be so brutal in expelling those who have lived here with us in the German Reich for so long? The fact is that part of our Volk are half-starved and are deteriorating morally, and a part are being forced to emigrate. So long as this is the case, we have a sacred and moral right to demand that this Reich exist for our own folk-comrades and not for others. And so long as an entire world is capable of denying ten to eleven million Germans the right to self-determination, and can suppress and hold down 60 million, then we are going to claim the courage and the right to liberate ourselves from those to whom, we are profoundly convinced, we ultimately owe this misfortune. (Applause). Hence why our basic demands include: Only he who is a folk-comrade, who has German-Aryan blood, can be a citizen of the state. Others [ein anderer] cannot hold state office. No non-citizen is entitled to live within the state so long as there are insufficient living opportunities available for its citizens. And the moment that he does not comply, he is thrown out; and so long as this condition does not disappear, our Volk cannot recover, for the bad example spoils the best moral standards. Our Volk were drawn into the War pure; divisions marched out ready for self-sacrifice; hundreds of thousands offered up their last mites of wealth and none expected remuneration; each was prepared to sacrifice everything; and millions volunteered for service and gave up their lives. And at home the contamination of the race began and corrupted our entire Volk, and we are suffering because of it and will not recover until this issue is resolved. Only then will we solve the problem of abolishing income unearned by effort. The preconditions for this are old-age benefits for each individual, the nationalization of all banks, and the nationalization of the entire financial system. The madness of the state being nothing more than the begging debtor of a financial group – this madness must go. The state must also become sovereign in this area. An additional consequence will be that we will classify the individual worker exactly the same as others, i.e. if we know the profit share, the royalties and the gratuities, then this principle must be decisively implemented for all those who contribute with diligence; every worker must share in the profits of such endeavors.
We can affirm the entire programme here.7 The establishment of land reform and of German Law appear particularly important to us. Situations such as that of the Erzberger trial,8 where the plaintiff was dismissed and yet had to be paid legal costs, must no longer occur. This blow against the healthy sensibilities of the Volk must come to an end. We do not desire a Sachsenspiegel or a Schwabenspiegel, but a law adapted to economic and modern requirements, based upon Germanic and not Jewish feeling.
As an additional demand, we do not desire so much an immediate, monumental restructuring of our entire system of popular education, as we do in the main the opportunity for everyone who has the ability to at the least be able to take part in the existing educational system, that every intelligent child be able to participate at the very least in what already exists, regardless of the status of their parents – meaning that, if they are too poor, they are to be educated at public expense. Only then do we demand that there also be a gradual revision of the syllabus, depending upon the practical history to be studied, but primarily that of the German. (Applause). Then may we assuredly expect that the intelligentsia who grow up thereafter will be interspersed with members of the lower classes, and that a bridge will be created between the leading minds of the nation and the great body of the people.
Above all, we demand the abolition of the mercenary army. I do not raise a word of insult here against our German Reichswehr. But the German Reich cannot afford this defense, and hundreds of thousands and millions feel it unjust that all of us served for years for only a few pfennig, that we placed our lives at risk, allowed ourselves to be shot at and crippled and to suffer from hunger, while our youth are not supposed to be willing to make a small sacrifice in the interest of the Fatherland, to dutifully serve for even just a few months. We do not demand this because we wish to torment them, instead we must demand it because we also expect of them that they have love for their Volk. (Applause).
And, finally, we have to advance a specific foundational demand, which is for the struggle against the press. And for us this struggle has a precondition. It must be assured that newspapers published in the German language should no longer be promoted and maintained with non-German money. By which we mean money belonging to non-Germans, including all Jewish money. The reason being that this tide of lies and deceit flooding over our Volk day after day will thereby disappear; the reason being that our Volk will finally be liberated from the press, which calls itself the educator of the people yet in reality mis-educates and stupefies them. The press must be rid of that abuse which it permits itself in art, painting, theater, and the cinema. Decency must also be established here as a matter of principle. And the final requirement is that we cast out the entire materialistic spirit, and that we instead set the basic principle of “common interest before self-interest” at the forefront of all of our thoughts and actions. And I would like to emphasize one thing. We reject all denominational struggles. We recognize that, particularly for those of us in Germany, one can rest assured that every denomination without exception has hundreds of thousands and millions of members who are German and who sympathize and empathize with the Volk’s present misfortune with every fiber of their being, who are ready for any sacrifice, irrespective of whichever denomination they belong to. We must learn that we need to seek that which is binding and to put aside everything divisive, that we cannot think like Herr Dr. Heim and Bodinger,9 who are perpetually declaring that the division of north and south must take place, even if only temporarily. We must repudiate such an endeavour, for, as comrade Jung explained today, to be national means to be German, without regard for the advantages, and if people seek to assure us today that if one does not submit to France then they will become Bolshevist – well, I would prefer to be hanged in a Bolshevised Germany than be content in a French Southern Germany. (Applause).
You can rest assured that we will find comrades10 everywhere; and that this should be the much larger goal. We recognize that we are faced with tremendous struggles. We are confident that things are already coming to a head in Germany, perhaps in just a few months. And it is our responsibility there to work through ruthless propaganda and to raise the banner not of international but of national socialism. This is what inspired us, this pressing need, this calamity that is coming upon us so rapidly that we do not have time enough to think twice, to succinctly summarize our programme, to formulate into slogans that which is most crucial. Throughout all of Germany – for we are no Bavarian party, but a German one. (Applause).
And thus we began: two men, three men, five men, and when the council period came in Munich we were suppressed again. There were days when our meetings, our movement, consisted of two men, Herr Drexler and myself.11 (Applause). And we were constantly expecting it to take its place alongside those who have bled to death for their convictions. And yet the movement expanded again and became seven, then eleven, and to its meetings came 20, then 50, then 100, 110, 200, 250 participants, and instead of a monthly meeting there was a meeting with 400 people every fortnight, every eight days. And when we presented ourselves to the wider public for the first time on 24 February , 1,700 people assembled in the Hofbräuhaus festival hall. And we have been making weekly public appearances ever since. More and more come to us week by week, and today there are 2½ to 3½ thousand people who fill our halls and who are convinced that this movement can no longer be destroyed.
In defiance of indifference and neglect, in defiance of idleness, it will one day pull Germany from its swamp and from its morass. And one thing above all will be achieved, the unity of all those millions of whom we are aware know of but one goal, a Greater German Fatherland. (Applause). And so I declare to all of you outright, including to Herr Ing. Brunner,12 that we are ready and willing at any time not only to join together, but most importantly also to work together. (Cries of “Heil”). We are ready at any moment to dedicate all of our energies. And if today one asserts that recovery must come out of Bavaria, then we will be able to proudly beat our breasts and say that it is not to our credit, that it is not our doing, that we created a refuge of freedom in which the individual could reveal his opinions without eventually being crushed by the mob. For we desire that this energy does not fragment in mutual struggle, but that we pursue the same goal together. Should the name really not be able to be changed, then even this does not signify that the movements stand in opposition to one another. For the time being, then, and in spite of the name not being able to be agreed upon, we must try to ensure that the two movements do not get in one another’s way, but that they concentrate instead on those places where success can truly be achieved. We need only desire one thing – that wherever our movement begins, whether it is called National Socialist or German Socialist, that it be successful and break through there, that it not remain restricted to individual paths but accomplish what we have accomplished in Munich, that of drawing in the broad masses and transforming the whole movement into a true people’s movement and thereby becoming the nucleus out of which Germany’s recovery can later emerge.
We must now set about consciously and systematically erecting an absolutely stable and secure dam against attempts to Bolshevize or Gallicize13 Germany, for both such movements are dangerous. I salute you once again, with deep emotion. We are happy to have heard you say that, in all your distress, you have never forgotten the notion that you belong to us. I can assure you of that. When Herr Schilling14 speaks in Munich on Monday, I will relate to the people how you held firm to the Greater German ideal here. Then Herr Dr. Schilling will be able to relate to you how 3,000 individuals erupted in great jubiliation over the fact that Germany is not forgotten here. (Applause).
And I ask one more thing [illegible] thereof, for there are also unscrupulous commercial politicians15 prowling about amongst us today who, in the terrible hardship of the present, are haggling with the misfortune of their Volk and who will not rest in ensuring that, in Munich, Stuttgart, Minden, and even here in German-Austria, only Anschluss with Bavaria is desired. Document it here, loudly and clearly, raise your hands! “We want only a united Germany!” (Applause. Hands raised in oath.) Let that be said to those gentlemen who believe that Germany can be splintered. That is what commercial politicians do, it is not what the German Volk do. Something which I will be proud and glad to be able to declare in Munich is that, if the conference has not achieved anything else, then it has achieved one thing – the courage to continue working to a greater extent than hitherto. And the conviction that this work is successful makes me aware that you harbor the same thoughts, that you know only one goal: firstly, Germany above all else in the world, and secondly, that our Germany reaches as far as the German tongue is heard. (Stormy applause).
1. This is a rather remarkable statement. In later years Hitler generally avoided public admission of the fact that the völkisch National Socialist movement had predated the founding of the Bavarian DAP/NSDAP, as highlighting that the movement had begun elsewhere and that its ideological groundwork had been laid by others might have somewhat undermined the impact of the Führer myth. As a result, National Socialism’s origins in the Sudetenland were often glossed over in speeches or writings by Hitler or by other NSDAP officials, even being omitted from many Party histories – the notable exception being those produced by the German-Austrians and Sudeten-Germans, who were proud of their role as the movement’s forebears and who published several historical works on Austro-Sudeten National Socialism in order to help ensure their pivotal contributions were not overlooked. This lack of recognition is also a common feature in modern histories of the ‘Nazi Party’. Some contemporary liberal historians seem uncomfortable with the links between Hitler and the original National Socialists in Austria-Hungary, possibly because acknowledging these links would also mean having to concede a line of influence (however indirect) leading from the NSDAP back to Social-Democracy via the Austro-Hungarian labor movement, out of which the original German Workers’ Party (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei in Österreich, DAPÖ) had undeniably emerged. As a result, modern historical works also frequently ignore or breeze over the existence of the Austrian and Sudeten National Socialists, who when they are mentioned are often mentioned only in passing, sometimes accompanied by (to my mind unconvincing) explanations seeking to downplay the connections between the NSDAP and the earlier DAPÖ/DNSAP. Hitler’s direct statement here is thus fairly significant for a number of reasons. It is also worth noting a similar admission made by Alfred Rosenberg many years later in his post-WWII memoirs, written in 1945-46 while undergoing trial for war crimes (Letzte Aufzeichnungen: Ideale und Idole der Nationalsozialistischen Revolution, Plesse Verlag Göttingen, 1955):
In old Austria, with its many different ethnic groups, he [Hitler] had experienced nationalism as a force which needed to be defended time and time again, unlike in the Reich where it came as a gift in the cradle. A small National Socialist party had already emerged there within the Sudetenland – inspiration for his own founding… The term ‘Nationalsozialismus’ comes from the Sudetenland; Adolf Hitler shaped, styled, fought for, and led that ideal to the highest level of the Reich as a rebirth of folkdom, as a form of state and polity which overcomes the damage caused by democracy.
2. “Scoundrels”– in the original German, “Lumpen.”
3. Although illegible in the original transcript, the word here is almost certainly “folk-comrades” (“Volksgenossen”). It is a reference to point 4 of the NSDAP programme, which reads:
Only he who is a folk-comrade can be a citizen of the state. Only those who are of German blood, regardless of creed, can be a folk-comrade. Accordingly, no Jew can be a folk-comrade.
This is a slightly more draconian approach to the issue of citizenship than that adopted by the other National Socialist parties at the Salzburg Conference. The DNSAP made no explicit mention of the citizenship question in its own programme, beyond its vague demand for “völkisch self-governing bodies” in a “democratic, social German Reich.” Rudolf Jung would later clarify the issue in the 2nd edition of his book National Socialism, flatly stating that:
Citizens of the German People’s State can only be those of German blood (Aryans). Those with foreign blood (Jews, etc.) fall under legislation relating to foreigners, and are subject to a separate system of taxation for aliens. Their immigration requires the approval of both the state government and the local municipality.
The DSP by contrast did explicitly address the topic in its own party guidelines, and adopted a somewhat more ‘relaxed’ attitude than the NSDAP, suggesting that Jews (and presumably other minorities) should retain their citizenship but that they should also enjoy fewer overall rights than ethnic-German ‘folk-comrades’:
Accordingly, we demand… freedom from every form of foreign domination, particularly Jewish rule. Once Jewry has been recognized as a racially-alien Volk and once it acknowledges itself as such, then it must be treated accordingly. It will enjoy the protection of the state and official recognition as a national minority which can elect its own representatives [to the Reichstag]. Naturally, however, the Jews will also no longer have the right to be the representatives, leaders, judges, and teachers of the German Volk. We count baptized Jews and Mischlings as part of the Jewish Volk.
4. The deutschfreiheitliche were a political current active in Austria-Hungary, part of the so-called “third camp” of liberals and nationalists standing inbetween the other two major national political currents, the Marxists and the Catholics. I provided a brief explanation of the term “freiheitlich” in the footnotes to my previous article on the Salzburg Conference:
The third camp was very broad, comprising ethnic-German political liberals (deutschfreiheitlichen) on the one side and German nationalists (deutschnationalen) on the other, with a highly complex shading of the two groups existing inbetween. What united them generally were their anti-clerical and anti-Marxist sentiments; their Greater German nationalism (although, again, this ranged from a moderate liberal-nationalism to radical völkisch-racialism); and a ‘progressive’ position on politics and culture (i.e. a repudiation of the Catholic Church’s intervention on cultural matters, and a rejection of traditional Habsburg authoritarianism in favor of greater democratic reform and German autonomy). Freiheitlich thus became a useful alternative word to liberal, a way of indicating one’s support for certain progressive-reformist political positions while simultaneously distancing oneself from the word liberal and all of its associated political baggage.
5. It is unclear here whether Hitler means the German People’s Party (Deutsche Volkspartei, DVP) of Weimar Germany, a center-right political party founded in December 1918 and representative of the National Liberal tradition, or (in light of the Austrian audience and Hitler’s own personal background) the old German People’s Party of Austria-Hungary, which had split from the Schönerian Pan-Germans in 1896 and which later became part of the bourgeois-nationalist Greater German People’s Party (Grossdeutsche Volkspartei, GdVP) in 1920. Probably the former is more likely, considering the Austrian DVP was closer in sentiment to the nationalism of the National Socialists.
6. Hitler here, and in the remaining sentences until the end of the paragraph, is referring to tactical disagreements which had emerged between himself and other delegates during the proceedings of the Salzburg Conference. Members of the DSP and DNSAP placed a strong emphasis on the pursuit of socio-economic reform. By necessity this meant working within the existing political system through parliament and the workers’ movement, which by implication also meant accepting the system upon its own terms, at least on some level. Hitler by contrast argued that such reformism was ultimately fruitless under conditions in which the German Volk were not the masters of their own nation and their own destiny, i.e. so long as they remained “slaves of the Entente.” This explains why Hitler, at least until his failed putsch in 1923 (which prompted a personal reassessment and change in tactics), rejected electoral participation so strongly and put such a strong emphasis instead upon revolutionary activity. In Hitler’s eyes, pursuing and expecting socio-economic change was just not a realistic course for the German Volk until national liberation, the primary objective, had been achieved.
7. Hitler here is affirming his support for the “programmatic report” read out by Rudolf Jung as part of the opening of the Salzburg Conference. Jung’s report consisted of an overview of the general theoretical principles of National Socialism; a summary of it can be seen in the third paragraph of the first article in my blog entry on the Salzburg Conference.
8. The “Erzberger trial” was a famous legal conflict between Karl Helfferich (b.1872 – d.1924), a prominent politician in the monarchist-traditionalist German National People’s Party (Deutschnational Volkspartei, DNVP), and Matthias Erzberger (b.1875 – d.1921), a Centre Party politician who was loathed by nationalists for his role in the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The trial was initiated in January 1920 when Erzberger filed a lawsuit against Helfferich in response to Helfferich’s public accusations of corruption against him. A verdict was reached by March, with the court sentencing Helfferich to pay a fine of 300 marks for defamation against Erzberger, even though verifiable examples of misconduct and corruption had actually been demonstrated during the proceedings – Erzberger’s reputation was so damaged by the evidence which had arisen during the affair that he was forced to resign as Finance Minister and his political career effectively came to an end.
9. Dr. Georg Heim (b.1865 – d.1938) was a leader of the Bavarian People’s Party (Bayerische Volkspartei) and a notable public advocate of Bavarian secessionism. I am not sure who “Bodinger” was, although the inference here is that he is another of the era’s numerous Bavarian separatists, who argued either for Bavarian statehood or for Bavaria to separate itself from Germany and to merge with Austria. Those who supported Bavaria’s Anschluss to Austria usually did so for cultural reasons, arguing that as both were predominantly Catholic and less culturally ‘Prussian’ than northern Germany it made more sense for them to form a united state.
10. “Comrades” – in German, “Kameraden und Genossen.” German has two separate words for “comrade,” the use of which is context-dependent. Genosse has strong trade-unionist or labor connotations, and was (and still is) the word used for “comrade” by Social-Democrats, Communists, and others on the Left. Kamerad by contrast is a martial term, and was commonly used by German soldiers as a way to refer to their brothers-in-arms. Kamerad during the Weimar era especially was adopted by paramilitarists, Freikorps members, and patriotic groups as a nationalist alternative to Genosse. Hitler’s employment of both terms here is an interesting choice, indicative of the syncretic nature of National Socialist ideology.
11. Hitler seems to be rather overstating things here. There was never any period during 1919-1920 when the DAP/NSDAP’s membership or leadership were reduced by circumstances to just “two men.” Certainly there were times when Hitler and Drexler met alone to discuss the party, which is perhaps what Hitler actually means – for example, according to Drexler the NSDAP programme was largely written by he and Hitler alone, composed over several “long nights together in the workers’ canteen at Burghausenerstrasse 6.”
12. Alfred Brunner (b.1871 – d.1936) was the leader and founder of the German Socialist Party (Deutschsozialistische Partei, DSP). “Ing.” is short for “Ingenieur,” an honorific title indicating that the bearer possesses a doctorate in mechanical engineering.
13. “Gallicize” – in German, “französisieren.” Sometimes translated as “Frenchify,” the word essentially means to submit something to French rule, to subordinate it to the French state and to French cultural domination.
14. Dr. Alexander Schilling-Schletter was a former Social-Democrat and a prominent member of the Polish (Silesian) and Austrian branches of the DNSAP, known for his theoretical writings and left-wing leanings.
15. “Commercial politicians” – in German, “Geschäftspolitiker.” Geschäftspolitiker are politicians or activists who are driven more by personal gain or financial incentives than they are by by principle and conviction.