The following are extracts from a speech made by Adolf Hitler to business leaders of the Industry Club in Düsseldorf on January 27, 1932.Max Domarus, Hitler: Speeches and Proclamations, 1932-1945 (Wauconda, Illinois: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 1990), pp. 96-103. This speech apparently was a “major coup” for Hitler in talking to a skeptical German business elite, which he sought to convert. These are the lengthiest comments by Hitler discussing the white race that I have come across, a subject otherwise almost entirely absent from his public speeches, and generally touched upon only briefly in his books and recorded Table Talk.
Summary of the speech:
- Observation that whites conquered the world, notably America and India, based not on “law” but merely a sense of superiority. Europe then achieved more than did a stagnant, overpopulated, and closed China.
- Westerners’ privileged contemporary economic position was premised on low wages and captive markets in the rest of the world. Hitler highlights how incompatible this situation is with egalitarian and internationalist principles: “Thus, in reality, one part of the world is absolutely dependent upon maintaining a situation which we Germans as democrats and members of the international League of Nations have long since rejected in an intellectual sense.”
- Long discussions, in the context of the Great Depression, on the causes of unemployment, namely automation and global competition for the same limited markets (around which tariff barriers were anyway rising). Hitler argues that because of industrial rationalization: “The characteristic feature of our European nations is that gradually a certain percentage of the population is proven superfluous in terms of statistics.” This, notably, resulted in higher taxes to support the unemployed.
- The strength of communism as an ideological force, both threatening Europe and on the verge of conquering Asia. Europeans were not taking this seriously enough due to “the gradual growth of confusion in white European thinking.”
- That politics has primacy over economics, in two senses: 1) That economic interests must bow to political interests (such as financing a large army or achieving autarky). 2) That economic collapses originate in politically collapses.
- Finally, Hitler concludes with his classic arguments, not included here, against the Weimar Republic: that Germany’s weakness was not due to foreign factors, such as the Treaty of Versailles, but rather both the Treaty and the Republic were the side effect of Germany’s internal decay and divisions, which could only be remedied, appropriately enough, by an ultra-nationalist revolution and authoritarian state led by a charismatic dictator.
The speech is characteristic of Hitler’s evocative if rambling rhetoric and radical dialectic, leaping from plausible first principles to logical extremes – which included thinking about the implications of a principle, such as democracy or communism, decades or centuries in the future – however always reaching the same conclusion. As one Captain Truman Smith, a U.S. military attaché in Berlin, wrote after listening to one of Hitler’s speeches in 1922: “Never saw such a sight in my life. A marvelous demagogue! Have rarely listened to such a logical and fanatical man.”
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We have the so-called white race, which has, in the course of some thousand years since the collapse of ancient civilization, established for itself a privileged position in the world. But I am incapable of comprehending the economically privileged supremacy (Herrenstellung) of the white race over the rest of the world if I do not view it in the closest of connections to a political concept of supremacy which has been peculiar to the white race as a natural phenomenon for many centuries and which it has upheld as such to the outer world.
You can choose any single area, take for example India: England did not acquire India in a lawful and legitimate manner, but rather without regard to the natives’ wishes, views, or declarations of rights; and she maintained this rule, if necessary, with the most brutal ruthlessness. Just as Cortés or Pizarro demanded for themselves Central America and the northern states of South America not on the basis of any legal claim, but from the absolute, inborn feeling of superiority (Herrengefühl) of the white race. The settlement of the North American continent was similarly a consequence not of any higher claim in a democratic or international sense, but rather of a consciousness of what is right which had its sole roots in the conviction of the superiority and thus the right of the white race.
If I imagine things without this frame of mind which, in the course of the last three or four centuries of the white race, has conquered the world, then the fate of this race would in fact be no other than that, for instance, of the Chinese: an immensely congested mass of people in an extraordinarily restricted territory— overpopulation with all its inevitable consequences. If Fate allowed the white race to take a different path, it was because this white race was of the conviction that it had a right to organize the rest of the world. Regardless of what external disguise this right assumed in a given case—in reality, it was the exercise of an extraordinarily brutal right to dominate (Herrenrecht). From this political view there evolved the basis for the economic takeover of the rest of the world. [. . .]
Today we are confronted with a world situation which is only comprehensible to the white race if one recognizes as indispensable the marriage between the concept of domination in political will and the concept of domination (Herrensinn) in economic activity, a miraculous consensus which left its mark on the whole of the past century and in the consequences of which the white peoples have, in part, undergone a remarkable development: instead of expanding in a territorial sense, instead of exporting human beings, they have exported goods, have built up a worldwide economic system which manifests
itself most characteristically in the fact that—given that there are different standards of living on this earth—Europe, and most recently, America as well, have gigantic central world factories in Europe, and the rest of the world has huge markets and sources of raw materials.
The white race, however, is capable of maintaining its position, practically speaking, only as long as discrepancies between the standards of living throughout the world remain. If today you were to give our so-called export markets the same standard of living we have, you would witness that the privileged position of the white race, which is manifested not only in the political power of the nation, but also in the economic situation of the individual, can no longer be maintained.
The various nations have now—in accordance with their innate natural abilities—safeguarded this privileged position in various ways, perhaps England most ingeniously, for she has consistently tapped new markets and immediately anchored them in a political sense, so that it is quite conceivable that Great Britain—assuming its mental outlook remains unchanged—might develop an economic life more or less independent of the rest of the world. Other peoples have not attained this goal because they have exhausted their mental powers in internal ideological [weltanschaulich]—formerly religious—battles. During the great period when the world was partitioned they were developing their capacities internally, and later they attempted to participate in this world economy; but they have never created their own markets and gained complete control of these markets.
When Germany, for example, began to establish colonies, the inner conception, this entirely cool, sober, English concept of colonization, had already been replaced in part by more or less romantic ideas: the transmission of German culture to the world, the spread of German civilization—things which the English viewed as far-removed during the colonial period. Thus our practical results failed to meet our expectations, aside from the fact that the objects of our endeavors were, in part, no longer capable of fulfilling our lofty and romantic hopes, particularly since the white race has slowly increased to such numerical proportions that the preservation of these gigantic population figures appears guaranteed only if the economic world market potential is secured.
Thus, in reality, one part of the world is absolutely dependent upon maintaining a situation which we Germans as democrats and members of the international League of Nations have long since rejected in an intellectual sense. The result is obvious: competition forced the European peoples to an ever-increasing improvement in production, and the increasing improvement in production led to a steady economizing in the labor force. As long as the tapping of new international markets kept pace, the men who had been dispensed with in agriculture and later in the trades could be transferred to the new lines of production without further ado, so that we now perceive the characteristic features of the last century in that primarily men were being eliminated in agriculture and entering the trades; later, in the trades themselves, more and more people fell victim to rationalization in the methods of production and then, in turn, found new opportunities to earn a livelihood in an expansion of the branches of production. But this process was conceivable only as long as there was a constant increase in available sales potential, a potential which had to be as large as the increase in production.
The situation in the world today can be summed up as follows: Germany, England, France, and also—for non-imperative reasons—the American Union and a whole series of smaller States are industrial nations dependent upon the export business. After the end of the War, all of these peoples were confronted with a world market practically empty of commodities. Then the industrial and manufacturing methods, having become particularly ingenious during the War in a scientific and theoretical sense, pounced on this great void and began to restructure the factories, invest their capital and, as the inevitable consequence of the invested capital, to increase production to the utmost. This process was able to work for two, three, four, five years. It could have continued to function if new markets had been created which corresponded to the rapid increase and improvement in production and its methods—a matter of primary importance, for the rationalization of the economy leads, from the beginning of the rationalization of basic economy, to a reduction in the human work force, a reduction which is only useful if the workers who have been dispensed with can easily be transferred in turn to other branches of industry.
But we see that since the World War there has been no substantial increase in the number of markets;
quite the opposite, they have shrunken in number because the number of exporting nations has slowly been increasing; for a host of former sales markets have themselves become industrialized. We see, however, a new major exporter—the American Union, which today has perhaps not manifested itself
all-powerfully in all sectors, but certainly in individual areas—can count on advantages in production which we in Europe do not and cannot possibly possess.
The last and most serious phenomenon we observe is the fact that, parallel to the gradual growth of confusion in white European thinking, a Weltanschauung has seized hold of a part of Europe and a large part of Asia which threatens to actually tear this continent out of the framework of international economic relations—a phenomenon which German statesmen even today pass over with an astonishing lack of regard.
For instance when I hear a speech which stresses: “It is necessary that the German Volk stand together!”, then I am forced to ask: does one really believe that this standing together today is nothing but a question of good political will? Do they fail to see that a gulf has already grown in our midst,
a gulf which is not the mere figment of some people’s imaginations, but rather whose spiritual exponent today forms the basis for one of the largest world powers? That Bolshevism is not only a mob ranting about in a few streets in Germany, but a world view which is on the point of subjecting to its rule the entire continent of Asia and which today, in the form of a State, stretches almost
from our eastern border to Vladivostok?
Here the matter is presented as though these were only the purely intellectual problems of isolated visionaries or ill-disposed individuals. No, a Weltanschauung has conquered a State and, starting from there, will slowly shatter the whole world and bring about its collapse. Bolshevism will, if its advance is not halted, expose the world to a transformation as complete as the one Christianity once effected. In 300 years people will no longer say: this is a new idea in production. In 300 years people might already know that it is almost a new religion, though based upon other principles! In 300 years, if this movement continues to develop, people will see in Lenin not only a revolutionary of the year 1917, but the founder of a new world doctrine, worshiped perhaps like Buddha.
It is not true that this gigantic phenomenon could simply, let us say, be thought away in today’s world. It is reality, and must of necessity destroy and overthrow one of the basic requirements for our continued existence as the white race. We observe the stages of this process: first of all, a decline in the level of culture and, with it, of receptivity; a decline in the level of humanity as a whole and thus the breaking off of all relations to other nations; then the construction of an independent system of production with the aid of the crutches of capitalist economy. As the final stage, an independent system of production to the complete exclusion of the other countries, which, as a matter of course, will one day be faced along their borders with the most serious economic competitor.
I know very well that gentlemen in the Reich Ministry of Defense and gentlemen in German industry will counter: we do not believe that the Soviets will ever be able to build up an industry genuinely capable of competition. Gentlemen, they would never be able to build it solely from Russian, from Bolshevist natural resources. But this industry will be built from the resources of the white peoples themselves. It is absurd to say: it is not possible to build an industry in Russia using the forces of other peoples—it was once possible to equip an industry in Bohemia with the help of Germans. And one more thing: the Russia of old was already in possession of a certain amount of industry.
If people go on to argue that the methods of production will never by any means be able to keep pace with us, then do not forget that the standard of living will more than compensate for any advantages we have due to our methods of production. (Hear, hear!)
We shall, in any event, witness the following development: Bolshevism will—if today’s way of thinking in Europe and America remains as it is—slowly spread throughout Asia. Whether it takes thirty or fifty years is of no consequence at all, considering it is a question of Weltanschauungen. Christianity did not begin to assert itself throughout the whole of southern Europe until 300 years after Christ, and 700 years later it had taken hold of northern Europe as well. Weltanschauungen of this fundamental nature can manifest their unrestricted capacity for conquest even five hundred years later if they are not broken in the beginning by the natural instinct of self-preservation of other peoples. But even if this process continues for only thirty, forty or fifty years and our frame of mind remains unchanged, then, gentlemen, one will not be able to say: what does that have to do with our economy?!
Gentlemen, the development is obvious. The crisis is very serious. It forces us to economize in every sector. The most natural reduction is always made in human labor. The industries will of necessity rationalize more and more; that means increasing their productivity and reducing the numbers of their work forces. But when these people can no longer be given places in newly tapped professional fields, in newly tapped industries, this means that, in time, three people’s accounts must be opened: the first is agriculture. Once people were economized from this basic account for the second account. This second account was the trades, and later industrial production. Now, in turn, one is eliminating men from this second account and pushing them into the third account: unemployment.
In doing so, one is putting on a disgraceful show of glossing over reality. It can be best put by saying that those without a means of existence are simply regarded as “non-existent,” and thus superfluous. The characteristic feature of our European nations is that gradually a certain percentage of the population is proven superfluous in terms of statistics. Now, it is quite clear that the requisite maintenance of this third account is a burden thrust upon the other two. This increases the tax pressure, which in turn requires a further rationalization of the methods of production, further economization, a further increase in the third account.
In addition, there is the battle for world markets being waged today by all European nations with the consequence that this battle naturally affects prices, which again leads to a new wave of economizing. The final result, which can hardly be foreseen today will, in any case, be decisive for the future or the downfall of the white race and, above all, of the peoples who are greatly hampered in establishing inner economic autarky due to their territorial limitations. The further consequence will be that, for instance, England will reorganize her domestic market and erect customs barriers for its protection, high ones today and even higher ones tomorrow, and all other peoples who are in any way capable of doing so will take the same steps. [. . .]
When you read history and study the ways which have been chosen to rectify this situation, then you will in short always find one thing: the amount of goods was not adjusted to fit the tonnage, the tonnage was adjusted to fit the amount of goods—in fact not by voluntary economic resolutions on the parts of the shipowners, but rather by decisions of power politics. When a politician or an economist objects and says to me: that may have once been the case between Rome and Carthage, or between England and Holland or between England and France, but today it is business that decides; all I can answer is: that is not the spirit which once opened up the world to the white race, which also opened to us Germans the way into world economy. It was not the German economy which conquered the world, followed by the evolution of Germany’s power; but in our case, too, it was the power-state which created the basic conditions for ensuing prosperity in the economy. (Hear, hear!) [. . .]
The Peace Treaty of Versailles is itself nothing but the logical consequence of our slowly increasing inner, mental confusion and aberration. We happen to find ourselves in an age in which the world is approaching extraordinarily difficult mental conflicts which will thoroughly shake it up. I cannot avoid these conflicts by simply shrugging my shoulders in regret and—without clearly realizing their causes—saying: “What we need is unity!” These conflicts are not phenomena born merely of the ill will of a few individuals; rather, they are phenomena ultimately having their deepest roots in the facts of race.
If Bolshevism is spreading in Russia today, then ultimately this Bolshevism is just as logical for Russia as Czarism was before it. It is a brutal regime ruling over a people which, were it not led by a brutal government, could in no way be maintained as a State. But if this world outlook should spread to us as well, we must not forget that our Volk, too, is composed racially of the most diverse elements, that we thus of necessity must perceive in the slogan “Proletarians of all countries, unite!” much more than a mere political battle cry. In reality, it is the expression of the will of men who, in their natures, indeed do possess a certain kinship with respective peoples of a low level of culture.
Our Volk and our State were also once built up only through the exercise of the absolute Herrenrecht and Herrensinn accruing to the so-called Nordic people, the Aryan race elements which we still possess in our Volk today. Therefore whether or not we can find our way back to new political strength is only a question of regenerating the German body politic in accordance with the laws of an iron logic. [. . .]
 Max Domarus, Hitler: Speeches and Proclamations, 1932-1945 (Wauconda, Illinois: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 1990), pp. 96-103.