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a document which it was hoped would help address these issues: a new draft for a Party program that would replace the ‘outdated’ 25 Points of 1920, would more explicitly spell out the Party’s anticapitalist principles, and would more clearly describe the structure of the future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

‘The Commercial Absurdity of Financial Democracy’

Chapter V of William Joyce’s book on British National Socialism, ‘Twilight Over England’

Das_ist_England

William Joyce, ex-Propaganda Director of the British Union of Fascists and leader of the tiny National Socialist League, is more infamously known by his sobriquet ‘Lord Haw Haw’, a name given him by the British public in response to the jeering propaganda broadcasts he made to the United Kingdom on behalf of the German government during World War II. In 1939 Joyce, anticipating internment by the British government, fled to Germany with his wife, the Reich offering them asylum in exchange for English-language propaganda work. It was in 1940 that Joyce’s book ‘Twilight Over England’ was first published in both German and English. Intended in part for distribution to British prisoners-of-war, it is a striking book. Its cynical, informal, self-effacing tone is typical of Joyce’s writing and speaking style, and helps both disarm the reader’s defenses while seeking to inflame their sense of injustice. The book serves as an overview of UK history, politics, and economics from a National Socialist perspective, critiquing all three in service of the lambasting of the British government for its hypocrisy regarding Germany’s foreign policy and treatment of minority ethnic groups. The foundation of the book is Joyce’s passion for economic reform and issues of social justice – the book is redolent with the evisceration of Britain for its treatment of its poor, its disenfranchised, and its laboring industrial and agricultural workers. In chapters such as the fifth, ‘Finance’, which is reproduced in full below, Joyce contrasts the deficiencies of British capitalism with what he regards as the more socially conscious ideals of National Socialist economic ideology. 

In the last chapter, some account, however sketchy, was given of the deplorable economic condition into which the majority of British men and women had sunk in recent times. It must not be forgotten, however, that there was a rich and contented minority. Whereas the state of the masses of the people was unworthy of any civilized nation, above all unworthy of a nation which had such resources as England, there was in the land a ruling class which was probably more prosperous than any similar class in the world. Attached to this sacred caste was an “upper-middle-class” stratum which certainly had no good reason to complain. There were, in fact, two Englands, each ignorant of the other’s existence. If nine or ten people were crowded into a little damp basement in Hoxton Market, there were 550 persons in Britain whose personal wealth had passed the million mark.

The plain fact of the matter is that Jewish Law ruled in England. Those who merely produced wealth were the lowest caste. The path to splendour was the path of exchange. To make the soil yield up a few more turnips was to attract the highly suspicious attention of Government servants. To sit on the fattest rump that good living could provide and wait for foreign dividends to come in was the qualification for national approval and membership of the Order of Sacred Beasts. The soundest advice that a business-man could give to his son, unless destined for the Guards, would be: “Produce nothing, my boy — not even children. Buy something in the way of shares, if you can, and wait till you find some bloody fool who will pay you more than you gave for them. Also, join the Craft. Above all, do nothing extraordinary. Otherwise people won’t trust your judgement.” Continue reading

Work and Bread!

Presented by Gregor Strasser as a speech to the German Reichstag, May 10, 1932.
Arbeit_Freiheit_Brot

Gregor Strasser, who joined the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) sometime between 1921 and 1922, was one of the most significant, talented members of the Party. Considered second only to Hitler, he had a string of accomplishments to his name: he became SA Leader for Lower Bavaria in March 1923; Gauleiter of Lower Bavaria in March 1925; Reichspropagandaleitung [national Propaganda Leader] in September 1926; and Reichsorganisationsleiter [national Organisation Leader] in January 1928. Strasser additionally became a member of the Bavarian Landtag in April 1924, and was elected to the Reichstag as representative for Westphalia North in December 1924 (a seat he held until stepping down in March 1933).  Strasser was in addition one of the NSDAP’s most important spokesmen on economic issues, working closely with Dr. Otto Wagener, chairman of the NSDAP’s Economic Policy Department, and with Walther Funk, member of the Party’s Reich Economic Council. It was in this context that the following speech was made on May 10, 1932. Although never officially endorsed by Hitler, it was republished and distributed by the Party in article and pamphlet form and became the basis for the ‘Emergency Economic Programme’ propagated by the NSDAP as its statement of economic principles prior to the Reichstag elections of July 1932. The ‘Work and Bread!’ speech is regarded as perhaps Strasser’s most important – in it he clearly sets forth a vision of National Socialist anticapitalism, advocating autarchy, a full-employment program, and heavy government intervention in the economy. The speech received some acclamation at the time, generating interest from trade union leaders and being publicly praised by Chancellor Brüning. 

Emergency Decrees are the Only Recourse of the Present System!

The last time I spoke here in October 1930 I settled our accounts with the System, and on the basis of our electoral victory of September 1930 I announced the basic domestic and foreign policy principles of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Since that time nothing has changed, nothing at all. The only new thing we have experienced since that time is the weapon of emergency decrees, which on the one hand reveal emergency and on the other hand decree emergency. But otherwise no new and above all no redeeming idea has emerged from the whole political development since that time. I see the reason for this in the fact that Germany’s ruling men have limited themselves to concentrating their entire political effort on the suppression and the exclusion from power of the national and social forces present in National Socialism; also in the fact that the government, like the debates in the German Reichstag on the few days in which it met, has always recognised but a single theme: the fight against us, and no longer a fight for the interests of the German people.

The entire energy of the government during the last election campaign, the whole manner of its propaganda with all its resources for influencing the people, was devoted to slandering us before the whole people and before the world. No mention was made of what the government had achieved itself in the interim.

The Reich Chancellor’s recent statement that a National Socialist takeover of the government would automatically entail chaos, inflation, and civil war is from the political standpoint the more dangerous because here in the Reichstag there is surely no one who doubts that the solution to the great German problems can never be attempted or found against our opposition or without our help.

The Rise of National Socialism

Despite the unprecedented resistance of all the people involved in the Brüning system and of all the men in government, the elections of recent times have brought about the incessant and irresistible rise of the movement. I think it is time for German officialdom to take off its party-shaded glasses and take a close look at where this rise comes from. Continue reading