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dream of saving Austria
And this brings about the first paralysis of their own power. Hence a multiplicity of different adversaries must always be
combined so that in the eyes of the masses of one's own supporters the struggle is directed against only one enemy. This strengthens their faith in their own right and enhances their bitterness against those who attack it.
That the old Pan-German movement failed to understand this deprived it of success.
Its goal had been correct, its will pure, but the road it chose was wrong. It was like a mountain climber who keeps the peak to be climbed in view and who sets out with the greatest determination and energy, but pays no attention to the trail, for his eyes are always on his goal, so that he neither sees nor feels out the character of the ascent and thus comes to grief in the end.
The opposite state of affairs seemed to prevail with its great competitor, the Christian Social Party.
The road it chose was correct and well-chosen, but it lacked clear knowledge of its goal.
In nearly all the matters in which the Pan-German movement was wanting, the attitude of the Christian Social party was correct and well-planned.
It possessed the necessary understanding for the importance of the masses and from the very first day assured itself of at least a part of them by open emphasis on its social character. By aiming essentially at winning the small and lower middle classes and artisans, it obtained a following as enduring as it was self-sacrificing. It avoided any struggle against a religious institution and thus secured the support of that mighty organization which the Church represents. Consequently, it possessed only a single truly great central opponent. It recognized the value of large-scale propaganda and was a virtuoso in influencing the psychological instincts of the broad masses of its adherents.
If nevertheless it was unable to achieve its goal and dream of saving Austria, this was due to two deficiencies in its method and to its lack of clarity concerning the aim itself.
The anti-Semitism of the new movement was based on religious ideas instead of racial knowledge. The reason for the intrusion of this mistake was the same which brought about the second fallacy
If the Christian Social party wanted to save Austria, then is; the opinion of its founders it must not operate from the standpoint of the racial principle, for if it did a dissolution of the state would, in a short time, inevitably occur. Particularly the situation in Vienna itself, in the opinion of the party leaders, demanded that all points which would divide their following should be set aside as much as possible, and that all unifying conceptions be emphasized in their stead.
At that time Vienna was so strongly permeated especially with Czech elements that only the greatest tolerance with regard to all racial questions could keep them in a party which was not anti-German to begin with. If Austria were to be saved, this was indispensable. And so they attempted to win over small Czech artisans who were especially numerous in Vienna, by a struggle against liberal Manchesterism, and in the struggle against the Jews on a religious basis they thought they had discovered a slogan transcending all of old Austria's national differences.
It is obvious that combating Jewry on such a basis could provide the Jews with small cause for concern. If the worst came to the worst, a splash of baptismal water could always save the business and the Jew at the same time. With such a superficial motivation, a serious scientific treatment of the whole problem was never achieved, and as a result far too many people, to whom this type of anti-Semitism was bound to be incomprehensible, were repelled. The recruiting power of the idea was limited almost exclusively to intellectually limited circles, unless true knowledge were substituted for purely emotional feeling. The intelligentsia remained aloof as a matter of principle. Thus the whole movement came to look more and more like an attempt at a new conversion of the Jews, or perhaps even an expression of a certain competitive envy. And hence the struggle lost the character of an inner and higher consecration; to many, and not necessarily the worst people, it came to seem immoral and reprehensible. Lacking was the conviction that this was a vital question for all humanity, with the fate of all non-Jewish peoples depending on its solution.
Through this halfheartedness the anti-Semitic line of the Christian Social party lost its value.
It was a sham anti-Semitism which was almost worse than none at all; for it lulled people into security; they thought they had the foe by the ears, while in reality they themselves were being led by the nose.
In a short time the Jew had become so accustomed to this type of anti-Semitism that he would have missed its disappearance more than its presence inconvenienced him.
If in this the Christian Social party had to make a heavy sacrifice to the state of nationalities, they had to make an even greater one when it came to championing Germanism as such.
They could not be 'nationalistic' unless they wanted to lose the ground from beneath their feet in Vienna. They hoped that by a pussy-footing evasion of this question they could still save the Habsburg state, and by that very thing they encompassed its ruin. And the movement lost the mighty source of power which alone can fill a political party with inner strength for any length of time.
Through this alone the Christian Social party became a party like any other.
In those days I followed both movements most attentively One, by feeling the beat of its innermost heart, the other, carried away by admiration for the unusual man who even then seemed to me a bitter symbol of all Austrian Germanism.
When the mighty funeral procession bore the dead mayor from the City Hall toward the Ring, I was among the many hundred thousands looking on at the tragic spectacle. I was profoundly moved and my feelings told me that the work, even of this man, was bound to be in vain, owing to the fatal destiny which would inevitably lead this state to destruction. If Dr. Karl Lueger had lived in Germany, he would have been ranked among the great minds of our people; that he lived and worked in this impossible state was the misfortune of his work and of himself.
When he died, the little flames in the Balkans were beginning to leap up more greedily from month to month, and it was a gracious fate which spared him from witnessing what he still thought he could prevent.
Out of the failure of the one movement and the miscarriage of the other, I for my part sought to find the causes, and came to the certain conviction that, quite aside from the impossibility of bolstering up the state in old Austria, the errors of the two parties were as follows:
The Pan-German movement was right in its theoretical view about the aim of a German renascence, but unfortunate in its choice of methods. It was nationalistic, but unhappily not socialist ic enough to win the masses. But its anti-Semitism was based on a correct understanding of the importance of the racial problem, and not on religious ideas. Its struggle against a definite denomination, however, was actually and tactically false.
The Christian Social movement had an unclear conception of the aim of a German reawakening, but had intelligence and luck in seeking its methods as a party. It understood the importance of the social question, erred in its struggle against the Jews, and had no notion of the power of the national idea.
If, in addition to its enlightened knowledge of the broad masses, the Christian Social party had had a correct idea of the importance of the racial question, such as the Pan-German movement had achieved; and if, finally, it had itself been nationalistic, or if the Pan-German movement, in addition to its correct knowledge of the aim of the Jewish question, had adopted the practical shrewdness of the Christian Social Party, especially in its attitude toward socialism, there would have resulted a movement which even then in my opinion might have successfully intervened in German destiny.
If this did not come about, it was overwhelmingly due to the nature of the Austrian state.
Since I saw my conviction realized in no other party, I could in the period that followed not make up my mind to enter, let alone fight with, any of the existing organizations. Even then I regarded all political movements as unsuccessful and unable to carry out a national reawakening of the German people on a larger and not purely external scale.
But in this period my inner revulsion toward the Habsburg state steadily grew.
The more particularly I concerned myself with questions of foreign policy, the more my conviction rose and took root that this political formation could result in nothing but the misfortune of Germanism. More and more clearly I saw at last that the fate of the German nation would no longer be decided here, but in the Reich itself. This was true, not only of political questions, but no less for all manifestations of cultural life in general.
Also in the field of cultural or artistic affairs, the Austrian state showed all symptoms of degeneration, or at least of unimportance for the German nation. This was most true in the field of architecture. The new architecture could achieve no special successes in Austria, if for no other reason because since the completion of the Ring its tasks, in Vienna at least, had become insignificant in comparison with the plans arising in Germany.
Thus more and more I began to lead a double life; reason and reality told me to complete a school as bitter as it was beneficial in Austria, but my heart dwelt elsewhere.
An oppressive discontent had seized possession of me, the more I recognized the inner hollowness of this state and the impossibility of saving it, and felt that in all things it could be nothing but the misfortune of the German people.
I was convinced that this state inevitably oppressed and handicapped any really great German as, conversely, it would help every un-German figure.
I was repelled by the conglomeration of races which the capital showed me, repelled by this whole mixture of Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, Ruthenians, Serbs, and Croats, and everywhere, the eternal mushroom of humanity-Jews and more Jews.
To me the giant city seemed the embodiment of racial desecration.
The German of my youth was the dialect of Lower Bavaria, I could neither forget it nor learn the Viennese jargon. The longer I lived in this city, the more my hatred grew for the foreign mixture of peoples which had begun to corrode this old site of German culture.
The idea that this state could be maintained much longer seemed to me positively ridiculous.
Austria was then like an old mosaic; the cement, binding the various little stones together, had grown old and begun to crumble; as long as the work of art is not touched, it can continue to give a show of existence, but as soon as it receives a blow, it breaks into a thousand fragments. The question was only when the blow would come.
Since my heart had never beaten for an Austrian monarchy, but only for a German Reich, the hour of this state's downfall could only seem to me the beginning of the redemption of the German nation.
For all these reasons a longing rose stronger and stronger in me, to go at last whither since my childhood secret desires and secret love had drawn me.
I hoped some day to make a name for myself as an architect and thus, on the large or small scale which Fate would allot me, to dedicate my sincere services to the nation.
But finally I wanted to enjoy the happiness of living and working in the place which some day would inevitably bring about the fulfillment of my most ardent and heartfelt wish: the union of my beloved homeland with the common fatherland, the German Reich.
Even today many would be unable to comprehend the greatness of such a longing, but I address myself to those to whom Fate has either hitherto denied this, or from whom in harsh cruelty it has taken it away; I address myself to all those who, detached from their mother country, have to fight even for the holy treasure of their language, who are persecuted and tortured for their loyalty to the fatherland, and who now, with poignant emotion, long for the hour which will permit them to return to the heart of their faithful mother; I address myself to all these, and I know that they will understand me !
Only he who has felt in his own skin what it means to be a German, deprived of the right to belong to his cherished fatherland, can measure the deep longing which burns at all times in the hearts of children separated from their mother country. It torments those whom it fills and denies them contentment and happiness until the gates of their father's house open, and in the common Reich, common blood gains peace and tranquillity.
Yet Vienna was and remained for me the hardest, though most thorough, school of my life. I had set foot in this town while still half a boy and I left it a man, grown quiet and grave. In it I obtained the foundations for a philosophy in general and a political view in particular which later I only needed to supplement in detail, but which never left me. But not until today have I been able to estimate at their full value those years of study.
That is why I have dealt with this period at some length, because it gave me my first visual instruction in precisely those questions which belonged to the foundations of a party which, arising from smallest beginnings, after scarcely five years is beginning to develop into a great mass movement. I do not know what my attitude toward the Jews, Social Democracy, or rather Marxism as a whole, the social question, etc., would be today if at such an early time the pressure of destiny-and my own study - had not built up a basic stock of personal opinions within me.
For if the misery of the fatherland can stimulate thousands and thousands of men to thought on the inner reasons for this collapse, this can never lead to that thoroughness and deep insight which are disclosed to the man who has himself mastered Fate only after years of struggle.
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler: Chapters Below.
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