The Little ABC of National Socialists

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 phrase ‘social’ wants to grant the oppressed segments of the people the imperfect rights of fear and cowardice, grace and mercy; ‘socialism’ gives 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! Continue reading

The ‘Strasser Program’

Too moderate, too democratic, too Marxist? The 1926 NSDAP draft program proposed (and rejected) as a replacement to the ’25 Points’

On January 5th, 1926, a meeting was convened in Hanover between members of the ‘National Socialist Working Group’, an association of prominent National Socialists from the north and west of Germany, including such figures as Goebbels, Ley, Pfeffer von Salomon, and Gregor & Otto Strasser. What united these National Socialists was their belief in National Socialism as an anticapitalist force, and their concern that the NSDAP was drifting in the wrong direction. At Hanover the group circulated a document which it was hoped would help address these issues: a new draft for a Party program that would replace the ‘outdated’ 25 Points of 1920, would more explicitly spell out the Party’s anticapitalist principles, and would more clearly describe the structure of the future NS-state. It was also felt that binding Hitler to a more concrete program would set stricter boundaries on his role as Führer. The draft program was primarily written by Gregor Strasser, based on the ideas of the Working Group, with some revisions to the text by Otto and Goebbels. It was contentious even within the Working Group, where it was criticized for being too ‘mild’ and lacking völkisch spirit, and its existence created some small turmoil within the Party. Hitler, seeing a threat to his authority, called a meeting at Bamberg on February 14th, 1926, where the draft program was soundly rejected; the 25 Points declared ‘inviolable’; and the foundations of Führerprinzip more firmly entrenched. The full text of the draft ‘Strasser program’ is reproduced below, translated by myself from the German ‘Quarterly Journal for Contemporary History’. 

National Socialism

Draft design of a comprehensive program of National Socialism

I. Introduction

(A nation is a community of fate, need, and bread!)

a.)  In brief the disorder of conditions:

  • in foreign policy
  • in domestic policy
  • in economic policy

b.)  Characterization of National Socialism as a wholly new, comprehensive view of political economy (synthesis of a politically creative nationalism and of a socialism which guarantees the support and development of the individual).  

c.)  Prerequisite for carrying out this mighty project is the national dictatorship. Fateful and causal connection between the economic emancipation of German employees and the political emancipation of the German people.

II. Foreign Policy

a.)  Borders of 1914, including colonies, and the unification of all German Central Europe in a Greater Germanic Reich (including Austria, the Sudetenland, and South Tyrol).

b.)  Tariff union with Switzerland, Hungary, Denmark, Holland, and Luxembourg.

c.)  Colonial empire in central Africa (former German colonies, the Congo, Portuguese colonies, portions of French colonies).

d.)  United States of Europe as a European league of nations with a uniform system of measurement and currency. Preparation for a tariff union with France and the other European states; otherwise, reciprocal most favored nation status.

III. Domestic Policy

A. Reich

1. Levels of office:

a.)  Reichspresident with a seven-year term (first Reichspresident the dictator), with    broad powers, comparable to the American President. His specific functions:

    • designation of the presidents of the individual regions,
    • appointment of ministers,
    • contracting of treaties, declaring of war and peace in cooperation with the ministry.

b.)  Reichsministry: led by the Reichschancellor, who heads the individual ministries and is responsible to the Reichspresident and, to a certain extent, to the Reich Chamber of Corporations.  (In the case of a two votes of no confidence, which must be a period of at least one year apart, the Cabinet must resign; likewise individual Ministers).   Continue reading