Die Fahne Hoch - Horst Wessel

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Who Was Horst Wessel ?

Horst Wessel (September 9, 1907– February 23, 1930) was a German National Socialist who eventually became a hero of National Socialism after being martyred by Jew led Communists.
As a teenager Horst Wessel was a leader among the youth group of the German National People’s Party, a conservative nationalist party.
He would often lead the group into brawls against Communists, but when the organization began viewing him as too extreme he became more involved with the National Socialists and the Stormtroopers (the SA).
Eventually in 1926, he abandoned his studies of law at Berlin’s Friedrich Wilhelm University to become a full-time Stormtrooper; and also to develop more of an understanding of workers’ problems and to protect lower class Germans from the Red Terror and Communist intrusions.
Now, as a leader of the SA, he often made speeches and led marches and fights against Communists in the streets.
While Berlin was a mainly Liberal and Communist city, with his charisma Horst Wessel began winning over the support and votes of many Berliners for the National Socialists.

The Judeo-Communists did everything they could to thwart Wessel’s influence, including killing SA members, and also spreading lies about Horst Wessel, saying he was originally a street beggar, a thief, and even a Berlin pimp.
Eventually Wessel became too much of a threat, so the Communist Party decided to assassinate him.
On the night of January 14, 1930 Horst Wessel opened the door to a Communist assassin who shot him in the face.
Wessel was rushed to the hospital, and would survive for forty days before passing away.
During those forty days he was frequently visited by Joseph Goebbels and SA members. Goebbels describes his experience of this in the essay below tiled “Raise the Flag High”


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

An essay by
Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels

It was late in the evening and I was enjoying the rare pleasure of reading a good book. 
I was relaxed and at ease. 
The telephone rang. 
I picked up the phone with trepidation. 
It is worse than I expected. “Horst Wessel has been shot.” 

Trembling with fear, I asked: “Dead?” “No, but there is no hope.” 
I felt as if the walls were collapsing around me. It was unbelievable. It cannot be! 
A few days later I step into the small hospital room on the ground floor and am shocked by the sight. 
A bullet in the head has done terrible damage to this heroic lad. 
His face is distorted. I hardly recognize him. 
But he is happy. His clear, bright eyes shine, though we cannot talk for long. 
The doctor has ordered him to keep calm. He only repeats a few words: “I am happy.” 
He does not need to say it. One sees it by looking at him. 
His young, bright smile overcomes the blood and wounds. He still believes. 
I sat by his bed on a Sunday afternoon as streams of visitors came until evening. 
One can hope. He is improving. The fever has dropped, the wounds healing. 
He sat up part way and talked. What about? A foolish question! 
About us, about the movement, about his comrades. 
They stood outside his door today, and one after the other came by and raised his arm to salute the young leader for a moment. 
I could not bear it otherwise! I look at his hands, which are now small and white. 
His strong nose stands out in the middle of his face, and two bright eyes sparkle. 
But the fever is back. He cannot eat, his strength gradually declines, though his spirit remains fresh and alert. 
He is not allowed to read. He may only talk. It is hard to obey the warning look of the nurse. Will I ever see him again? Who knows! If blood poisoning does not develop, everything will be OK. 
A lonely mother sits outside. Her face reflects a question. “Will he make it?” 
What can one say but yes? I try to persuade myself and others. 
Blood poisoning develops. 
By Thursday, there is little hope. He wants to talk with me. 
The doctor gives me a minute. How hard it is to walk past the death watch into the room! 
He does not know how serious his condition is. But he senses it may be the last time: 
“Do not go away!” he begs. The nurse relents, and he is comforted. “Do not lose hope“. 
The fever comes and goes. 
“The movement, too, has suffered in the last two years, but today it is hard and strong.” 
That consoles him. 
“Come back!” his eyes, his hands, his hot dry lips, say, as I leave with a heavy heart. 
I fear I have seen him for the last time. 
Saturday morning. It is hopeless. The doctor is no longer allowing visits. 
He is hallucinating. He does not even recognize his own mother any longer. 
It is 6:30 Sunday morning. He dies after a hard struggle. 
As I stand by his bed two hours later, I can not believe that it is Horst Wessel. 
His face is yellow, the wounds still covered with white band aids. 
Stubble shows on his chin. The halfopen eyes stare glassily into the eternity that we all face. The small cold hands lie in the midst of flowers, while and red tulips and violets. 
Host Wessel has passed on. His mortal remains have given up struggle and conflict. 
Yet I can almost physically feel his spirit rise, to live on with us. 
He believed it, he knew it. He himself put it in words: 
He “marches in spirit in our ranks.” 
One day in a German Germany, workers and students will march together singing his song. He will be with them. He wrote it in a moment of ecstasy, of inspiration. 
The song flowed from him, born of life and bearing witness to that life. 
The brown soldiers are singing it across the country. 
In ten years, children will sing it in the schools, workers in the factories, soldiers on the march. 
His song makes him immortal. 
That is how he lived, that is how he died. 
A wanderer between two worlds, between yesterday and tomorrow, between that which was and that which will be. 
A soldier of the German revolution! 
Once he stood with his hand on his belt, proud and upright, with the smile of youth on his red lips, always ready to risk his life. 
That is how we will remember him. 
I see endless columns marching in spirit. A humiliated people rises up and begins to move. An awakened Germany demands its rights: Freedom and prosperity! 
He marches behind them in spirit. Many of them will not know him. Many will have gone where he now is. Many others will have come. 
He strides silently and knowingly with them. 
The banners wave, the trumpets sound, the pipes sound, and from a million threats the song of the German revolution resounds: “Raise the flag high!” (This was the opening line to the “Horst Wessel Song,” a poem he had written that became the Nazi Party anthem.)

'The Flag High ! The flag high ! The ranks tightly closed! The SA march with bold, firm steps. Comrades shot by the Red Front and reactionaries March in spirit in our ranks. Clear the streets for the brown battalions, Clear the streets for the stormtroopers! Already millions look with hope to the swastika. The day of freedom and bread is dawning! Roll call has sounded for the last time! We are all already prepared for the fight! Soon Hitler's flag will fly over the barricades.
Our slavery will soon end! The flag high! The ranks tightly closed! The SA marches with a bold, firm pace. Comrades shot by the Red Front and reactionaries March in spirit in our ranks.'


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Originally entitled “Die Fahne hoch!” from the opening phrase the “Horst-Wes­sel-Lied” (“Horst Wessel Lied/Song” in English), as it quickly came to be known was composed by SA-Mann Horst Wessel, seemingly in March 1929.
After Hitler's coming to power on 30 January 1933 it formed the second part to the Na­tional Anthem after the Deutschlandlied (“Deutschland über alles”) and remained as such until the demise of the Third Reich in May 1945.
The song can still evoke an emotional re­sponse, favourable or unfavourable, even today from many in Germany who experienced the period of the Third Reich.
Under §86a of the Strafgesetzbuch (Criminal Code) it is an offence punishable in law in Germany today to sing or play the melody of the song even with an unfamiliar text.
Much has been written about the Horst-Wessel-Lied since the time of Horst Wessel's death on 23.02.1930 down to the pre­sent.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
his life and times in brief

Horst Wessel, born Horst Ludwig Wessel (see right) on 9 October 1907 in Bielefeld, was the first of three chil­dren (Ingeborg and Werner being the other two) to Pastor Dr Wilhelm Ludwig Georg Wessel (see right) and Luise Margarete (née Richter).

His father's family came from the area of Oberwesertal in Hessen, his mother from a protestant family of pastors in Uerzen, Kreis Hameln.
During the period 1906-08 Pastor Wessel was incumbent at the Pauluskirche in Biele-feld (see right), and from 1908-13 ministered at the Petrikirche in Mülheim in the Ruhrgebiet.

In November 1913 Horst Wessel's father took over ministry of Berlin's oldest church, the St. Nicolai-kirche, and the family went to live in Jüdenstr. 51/52 in the former Jewish quarter of central Berlin.
After the First World War Wessel senior involved himself in conserva­tive and nationalist politics, founding and holding the presi­dency of the Reichsbürgerrat.

In 1921 he took over the literary and political columns of the newly established “Große Berliner Illustrierte”.
He died aged 42 in May 1923, the family still living on at the old ad­dress.
Horst Wessel was thus brought up in a milieu of conservative/nationalist thinking which was to determine his own political direction later on.
At Easter 1914 Horst Wessel began attending the Volksschule des Köllnischen Gymnasiums in Berlin, and in 1922 he moved to the Gymnasium in Königstadt.
In the autumn of the same year he at­tended the Luisenstadt Gymnasium where in February 1926 he sat and passed his Abitur ('A' Levels).
In the late summer of 1922 when still only 15 he joined the Bismarckjugend (the youth move­ment of the Deutschnationale Volkspartei (DNVP)) and became a member of Orts­gruppe (local group).

Bismarckjugend, 'Bismarck Youth', was an anti-Marxist youth movement in Weimar Germany. Bismarckjugend was the youth wing of the monarchist German National People's Party (DNVP).
Bismarckjugend organized men and women between the ages of 14 and 25.
By 1928, the organization had 800 local organizations around Germany.
Its total membership had reached 42,000, making it the second largest youth movement in the country at the time (after the SPD Socialist Worker Youth, Sozialistische Arbeiter-Jugend).
Generally the movement had a stronger appeal in Protestant areas.
Strongholds included Berlin, Magdeburg, Hesse, Thuringia, Lower Saxony, Pomerania, Württemberg and Hamburg.
Most of the members came from bourgeois or noble families, however the single largest affiliate body of the movement, the Bismarck League Berlin, had an overwhelmingly working class membership.
As of 1922 the Bismarck League Berlin had around 6,000 affiliates, approximately 80% from working class families.

In March 1924 he transfered to local group “Kronprinzesin” where he set up his own “Selbstschutz” or self protection group that provided stewarding at DNVP meetings.
It was in such circumstances that Horst Wessel partook in street fights with Communists and Reichsbanner ac­tivists which was to stand him in good stead, as it were, in similar activity later with the SA.
His ex­peri­ences with the Selbstschutz by all ac­counts developed his leadership qualities.
While still a member of the Bismarckjugend (in 1929 renamed “Bismarckbund der DNVP”) he joined, in December 1923, the more radical Wiking-Bund, a successor to the proscribed “Organization Consul”.
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For Horst Wessel political activity within an organiza­tion had to achieve practical results; if not it was abandoned for something else.
He was evidently not interested in hankering after times past, but in changing the present political situation, i.e. getting rid of the Weimar Republic (see right).
When the Bismarckjugend and Wiking-Bund ceased to be of use to him in that respect he left them, the former in February 1925, the latter in late autumn 1926.

On 19 April 1926 (i.e. start of the summer semester) Horst Wessel enrolled at the Friedrich-Wil­helm (now Humboldt) University in Berlin (see right) to study law, and at the same time became a member of the student corporation Corps Normannia.

On 7 December 1926 he joined the NSDAP (membership no. 48 434) and at the same time Standarte I of the Berlin SA in Bötzow Quarter (Prenzlauer Berg).
He felt that in the NSDAP/SA he could satisfy his radical political appetite.
Initially he was involved with stew­arding SA meetings and what were termed “propaganda marches”, as well as distributing leaflets, etc.
In December 1926 Goebbels was made Gauführer/Gauleiter of Berlin for the Nazi party with the task of the “Conquest of Red Berlin”, and at the beginning of 1927, to raise the pro­file of the NSDAP/SA in Berlin, organized provocative meetings and marches to draw out the opposition which led to street fights with Communists and po­lice, etc.
This action in turn led on 6 May 1927 to the banning of the NSDAP and its attendant organizations in Berlin till 31 March 1928.

Horst Wessel's superiors were evidently satisfied and impressed with his ac­tivities as SA-Mann, for from mid-January to the end of July 1928 he was commissioned by Goebbels (see right) to visit Vienna in order to study organizational and tactical methods of the Nazi apparatus there, especially the HJ, with a view to using any methods learned for a better structuring of the Berlin HJ on his return2.

It was during his stay in Austria that Horst Wessel became one of the most prominent supporters of the Welteislehre (World Ice Theory), or Glazial-Kosmogonie (Glacial Cosmogony) of Hanns Hörbiger (see left) - and he later popularised the cosmological theory in Germany.

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After the lifting of the ban in March 1928 the SA underwent reorganiza­tion and restruc­tur­ing under its new chief of staff von Pfeffer.
Berlin now had five Standarten comprised of ca.800 men.
Horst Wessel became attached to Sturm 1 Alexanderplatz (part of Standarte IV Berlin Central and North).
On 1 May 1929 Horst Wessel took over the leadership of SA-Trupp 34 (Friedrichshain District, i.e. near his home).
On 4 May Trupp 5 (Königstor District) was disbanded; Horst Wessel's Trupp then received its num­ber, i.e. 5.
In consideration of the dramatic rise in the membership of Horst Wessel's new Trupp (from ca.30 when he took over to 83 two weeks later, and ca. 250 at the time of his death in Feb.1930), evidently due to Wessel's oratorical talents developed during his time with the Wiking-Bund, Trupp 5 on 19 May 1929 was promoted to Sturm 5 as an independent unit subject only to the SA leadership in Berlin.

Its area of operations was to be Friedrichshain (north and west of Alexanderplatz).
In August 1929 Horst Wessel, in an unusual move deliberately designed for maximum propa­ganda effect, founded a Schalmeienkapelle (see right), or shawm band, within his own area – Wessel himself played the shawm (see left) - a type of oboe popular in Germany
At that time bands of that sort were associated only with Communists and Socialists, and in­deed possession of a shawm or associated instrument in the SA was forbidden, however, it evidently achieved the desired effect.

The shawm was a medieval and Renaissance musical instrument of the woodwind family made in Europe from the 12th century.
It was developed from the oriental zurna and is the predecessor of the modern oboe.
The body of the shawm was usually turned from a single piece of wood, and terminated in a flared bell somewhat like that of a trumpet.
Beginning in the 16th century, shawms were made in several sizes, from sopranino to great bass, and four and five-part music could be played by a consort consisting entirely of shawms.
All later shawms had at least one key allowing a downward extension of the compass; the keywork was typically covered by a perforated wooden cover called the fontanelle.
The bassoon-like double reed, made from the same Arundo donax cane used for oboes and bassoons, was inserted directly into a socket at the top of the instrument, or in the larger types, on the end of a metal tube called the bocal.
The pirouette, a small cylindrical piece of wood with a hole in the middle resembling a thimble, was placed over the reed—this acted as a support for the lips and embouchure.
Since only a short portion of the reed protruded past the pirouette, the player had only limited contact with the reed, and therefore limited control of dynamics.
The shawm’s conical bore and flaring bell, combined with the style of playing dictated by the use of a pirouette, gave the instrument a piercing, trumpet-like sound well-suited for out-of-doors performance.

At about that time Horst Wessel (see right) made it his business to visit bars and cafés around and about the Alexanderplatz and adjacent Scheunenviertel to hold discus­sion sessions with the clientèle in the hope of obtaining converts.
In this respect he appears to have had some suc­cess.
At the start of the 1929 winter semester (October) Horst Wessel, due to his full time commitment to the SA and the Hitler cause, gave up his law studies.
On 22 December Horst Wessel's younger brother Werner was killed on a skiing trip in the Riesengebirge.
Feeling re­sponsible, as he had seemingly talked his brother into taking the trip Wessel be­came quite depressed.
At ca.22.00hrs that evening Horst Wessel answered the door only to receive a gunshot wound to the mouth from a certain Alfred (Ali) Höhler, by all accounts a pimp and deputy leader of the Communist 3rd Bereitschaft (squad) in the Mulackstraße (about 20 min. walk away).
Horst Wessel was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital (see left) where he died on 23 February and buried on 1 March 1930 in the St. Nicolai Friedhof, Central Berlin.
The reason for the attack was for long years a matter of dis­pute. It is generally believed that it was a po­litical murder.
The outcome of the affair was, through Goebbels’s efforts, given Horst Wessel's high profile in the Berlin SA, the elevation of Horst Wessel to the status of martyr, and the exaltation of his song “Die Fahne hoch!” as the offical Weihelied (song of consecration) for the Nazi party, and after 30.01.1933 as the of­ficial second part of the National Anthem after the Deutschlandlied. 


Horst Wessel was elevated by Goebbels' propaganda apparatus to the status of leading martyr of the Nazi movement.
Goebbels himself began the process with his 17 February 1930 account of Wessel's death "Raise High the Flag!" (see below)

Horst Ludwig Wessel was buried on 1 March in the Nikolaifriedhof, in Prenzlauer Allee.
It was reported that 30,000 people lined the streets to see the funeral procession (see left and right).

Goebbels delivered the eulogy in the presence of Hermann Göring and Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia, son of former emperor Wilhelm II, who had joined the SA.

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Die Beerdigung von Horst Wessel

The Berlin district of Friedrichshain, where Wessel died, was renamed 'Horst Wessel', and a square in the Mitte district, Bülowplatz (see right), was renamed 'Horst-Wessel-Platz', as was the U-Bahn station nearby.
In 1936, the Kriegsmarine commissioned a three-masted training ship and named her the 'Horst Wessel' (see left).
Examples of German military units adopting the name of the Party's martyr in World War II include the 18th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division, known as the "Horst Wessel" Division (see right below),

and the World War II era Luftwaffe's 26th Destroyer (or heavy fighter) Wing (Zerst Rergeschwader 26), as well as its successor day fighter unit Jagdgeschwader 6, which was similarly named the "Horst Wessel" wing (see left).
During the Battle of Britain, one successful attack on British planes was celebrated as the name of Horst Wessel represented absolute "devotion to duty", so too would they carry on until victory.

The martyrdom of Horst Wessel led directly to 'Das Horst-Wessel-Lied' , also known as 'Die Fahne hoch' ("The Flag On High") from its opening line, being promoted as the anthem of the  Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei  from 1930 to 1945.
From 1933 to 1945 it was a co-national anthem of Germany, along with the first stanza of the 'Deutschlandlied'.

The function of the Kampflied in the SA

Before looking more closely at Horst WesselL it is felt pertinent here to outline the function of the Kampflied in SA politics.
Practically all, if not all, SA songs before 1933 could be classed as Kampflieder, whose authors were usually members of the SA.
Given that the mass media as we know it today was at that time only in its infancy, the Kampflied still bore the impor­tant function of disseminating the phi­losophy and aims of any political (in this case the NS) movement, often through catchy slogans set to dynamic tunes played with much brisk­ness and gusto. As Hans Bajer puts it:

'Das wirkungsvollste Propagandamittel für die SA war das Kampflied.
Wenn ein Sturm auf seinen häufigen Propagandamärschen singend durch die "roten" Stadtviertel zog oder an Sonntagen hinausmarschierte auf die Dörfer und Flecken, so stand das ganze Dorf im Bann der sangesfreudigen braunen Kolonnen.'

(‘The most effective means of propaganda for the SA was the Kampflied.
When­ever a Sturm on one of its frequent propaganda marches came singing through the ‘Red’ areas of the town, or marched out on a Sunday into the small villages and places, the entire village would be spellbound by the hearty singing of the brown­shirt columns’)(Bajer 1939b: 586).
The messages incorporated in the songs were designed to appeal to the various sections of the community and to offer an alternative to what was perceived as the chaotic situation of the Weimar Republic:
'Das Kampflied sieht seine wichtigste Aufgabe darin, die Zeitgenossen auf die Be­wegung des Führers hinzuweisen, ihnen einen neuen Glauben zu geben und das baldige Ende der augenblicklichen Not und Schmach anzukündigen.'
(‘The most important function of the Kampflied was to inform the public at that time about the Hitler Movement, to give them a new faith and to herald a quick end to the distress and ignominy of the moment...’)(Bajer 1939b: 587).
The concept of the mass movement, as promoted by the NSDAP, and the Kampflied are to be seen in close association, the latter serving the propaganda interests of the former.
In this regard it could be said that right from the very beginning, but especially towards the end of the Weimar Republic, the Kampflied was the embodiment of the song in action, or “Lyrik im Einsatz”, as the Nazis called it, to serve a given end.
The importance of the Kampflied in this context was evidently not lost on Horst Wessel either:
'Das Zaubermittel des gesungenen Liedes hatte auch Horst Wessel erkannt.
Es verging kaum ein Sturmabend, an dem er nicht ein neues Lied mit seinen Kamer­aden einübte, und in Berlin wußte man, daß sein Sturm die meisten und schönsten Kampflieder der Bewegung kannte.
Der sichtbare Erfolg blieb denn auch nicht aus: Horst Wessel hatte einen derartigen Andrang zu verzeichnen, daß sein Sturm 5 bald alle übrigen Berliner Stürme an Stärke überflügelte [cf. §1.1.above][...]. Das Kampflied war der Gradmesser für das Vorwärtsstürmen der Bewegung'

(‘Horst Wessel was also well aware of the magical impact songs could evoke. Hardly an evening passed with his Sturm when he would rehearse a new song with his com­rades, and in Berlin it was common knowledge that his Sturm knew the greatest number of the Movement's best Kampflieder.
The inevitable success was for all to see: Horst Wessel scored such a success that his Sturm 5 soon surpassed all other Berlin Stürme in strength of numbers.
The Kampflied was the gauge whereby the Move­ment's surge forward in popularity was measured’)(Bajer 1939b: 587).

History of "Die Fahne hoch!" before 1945

According to Engelbrechten & Volz (1937: 90-91) “Die Fahne hoch!” was composed by Horst Wessel on the evening of 24 March 1929 following the first march made by the Berlin SA (Standarte IV - to which Horst Wessel then belonged) on that day via Bülowplatz (later Horst-Wessel-Platz, now Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz) and past Karl-Liebknecht-Haus.
As with other SA marches the inten­tion, as mentioned earlier, was to provoke and draw out the op­posi­tion, and in expectation of an attack by Communists the Standartenführer is said to have given the order “die Reihen dicht geschlossen!” (‘the ranks tightly closed!’), which, according to Engelbrecht & Volz and “Rüdiger” (1933 quoting from a lecture delivered by Ingeborg Wessel), in­spired Horst Wessel that night to com­pose his song.
The need for a song with a vibrant melody and an e'asy-to-learn and sing' text, that could be sung at the end of a meeting or march, as a balance to the “Internationale” of the Commu­nists, was felt to be lacking in the SA repertoire (cf. “Rüdiger” 1933:).
The story goes that it was first sung at an NSDAP mass meeting in the Neue Welt-Halle some two months later (between 19-26 May 1929), at which Dr Goebbels was to speak. Standarte IV and the newly created Sturm 5, whose leader was Horst Wes­sel, stood be­hind the curtain waiting for the signal that Goebbels had ended his speech.
The applause had not yet died down when the curtain rose and the new song echoed round the hall ‘from 400 young throats’.
By the time the fourth quatrain (i.e. the first repeated) was reached the whole meeting had joined in the song (“Rüdiger” 1933).
According to “Rüdiger” and Engelbrecht & Volz (1937), the song was heard first on the streets of Berlin on 26 May 1929 (by Standarte IV and Sturm 5) follow­ing a æpropaganda march” to Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and found cur­rency at the NSDAP Parteitage in Nürnberg 1-4 August that same year.
It was first sung at the Sportpalast, Berlin, at a mass meeting of the NSDAP on 7 February 1930.
After Wessel's death the song had already before 30.01.1933 took on the func­tion of a Weihelied for the NSDAP, and after the “Machtergreifung” was elevated to the status of Party Anthem and as such played as an adjunct to the National Anthem, the Deutschlandlied (Oertel 1988).
However, Goebbels (Tagebuch 30.06.1937, quoted by Oertel) was of the opinion, somewhat belated, that in such circumstances the text would need to be modified, as it was felt to be unsuitable as it stood.
As it turned out, no modification took place - nor was it deleted (“Aber abschaffen kann man es nicht” (‘but one cannot do away with it’) - 30.06.37), and the text re­mained unaltered till the song fell into disuse after the end of the war.
As to the manner in which the song was to be sung, a regulation attached to a printed version of the song in 1934 made it clear that the right arm had to be raised (i.e. in a Hitler salute) whenever the first and fourth verses were sung.
In the pre-war years songs such as Horst WesselL, Deutschlandlied, and other popular patriotic and NS songs seemingly found free expression among street musi­cians, or in Gaststätten (bar restau­rants), for example.
But in February 1940 as part of the official “Schutz na­tionaler Symbole und Lieder” (‘Protection of National Emblems and Songs’; in the context of the war situation) Goebbels, in association with the Interior Ministry, ordered the ban­ning of such songs, including Horst Wessel Lied, in such as the above mentioned places, except on of­fi­cially sanctioned special occasions.
The ban also covered the use of the melody with other texts.
In the case of the Deutschlandlied and the Horst-Wessel-Lied, these could no longer be played/sung in potpourris.

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'Die Fahne Hoch'
Nürnberg Reichsparteitag - 1934
'Tag der Freiheit'

'Die Fahne Hoch' - Text and Melody

The Text

Although the song is believed to have been composed in March 1929, the first printed version of the text, so far as is known, did not appear till six months later in a supplement to Der Angriff Nr. 38 Berlin, 23 September 1929 entitled “Der Unbekan­nte SA-Mann”.
The text (see below) itself bears the title “Die Fahne hoch!”
This seems to be the original version of the song. The text is comprised of four quatrains, the fourth being a repeat of the first.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
('The flag high, the ranks tightly closed. SA marches pluckily at a firm pace. Comrades, shot dead by Red Front and Reaction, march in spirit within our ranks (also stanza 4).

The street clear for the brown battalions, the street clear for the SA man. Already millions are looking to the swastika full of hope. The day of freedom and bread is dawning.

For the last time the rollcall has sounded, we are all ready for the fight. Soon Hitler flags will fly over barricades; the servitude will not last long now').

Notes on the Text 

I.1. die Reihen fest geschlossen. This exhortation is not uncommon in songs of the pe­riod, cf. the 4th stanza in Weit laßt die Fahnen wehen by Gustav Schulten 1917: 
Die Reihen fest geschlossen 
und vorwärts unverdrossen 
Kann er nicht mit uns laufen 
so mag er sich verschnaufen 
falle, wer fallen mag, bis an den jüngsten Tag. 
(Uns geht die Sonne nicht unter. Lieder der Hitler-Jugend. Köln 1934:44). 
l.2. Mit ruhig festem Schritt. As with the above, this is not a new creation, cf. the An­dreas-Hofer-Lied (Zu Mantua in Banden), text: Julius Mosen 1831; melody: Leopold Knebelsberger ca. 1844, stanza 2: 
Die Hände auf dem Rücken Andres Hofer ging 
mit ruhig festen Schritten, ihm schien der Tod gering 
der Tod, den er so manches Mal 
vom Iselberg geschickt ins Tal 
im heiligen Land Tirol 
(cf. Allgemeines Deutsches Kommersbuch. Lahr/ScHorst Wesselarz-wald: Schauenberg 1966: 8-9). 
I.3. Rotfront : meant here is the KPD, and possibly the USPD whom the Nazis sus­pected/feared might collude with the KPD. The SPD was seemingly regarded as “collaborators” with the Reichswehr. 
Reaktion : meant here is the “Zen-trum Partei”; also the “Deutschnationale Volkspartei” and any other monarchist or separatist groupings. 
Kameraden, die Rotfront und Reaktion erschossen: this line can also be read as active (which was also the case) as well as the intended passive. 
I.4. Marschieren im Geist in unseren Reihen mit would refer not only to Kameraden killed in Berlin street fights and attacks, but probably also to the 16 who fell at the abortive putsch at the Feldherrnhalle, Munich, on 9 November 1923. 
II.1/2. Die Straße frei... This would refer to the task the Nazis set themselves of “clearing” the streets of Communists, and others, in their “Conquest of Red Berlin”. 
In the pro­cess people would see the swastika flags and (as the Nazis hope for) look upon them as a sign of better times to come, achieving "Freiheit und Brot”. 
Barrikaden: : Street barricades were in evidence in Berlin during the early 1920s, but not so much thereafter or when Horst WesselL was composed (1929). 
The reference is possi­bly meant figuratively, but probably for the reasons given above was quickly substituted. 
III.4. Knechtschaft : meant here is probably the effects of the Treaty of Versailles (the so-called “Versailler Schandvertrag”) which set Germany under a heavy burden of repa­rations and associated difficulties. 

It is interesting to note that there is no anti-semitic sentiment in the text.
The tenor of the song evokes a certain unity: with the flag raised on high as a symbol of the movement and its aims the troops (SA) in tightly closed ranks, including those who march in spirit (a notion of the dead assisting the living in the cause), remove the opposition, and in doing so offer a signal of hope to (as they see it) a beleaguered populace.
The “final bat­tle” comes which the movement is confident of winning, after which the servility (as it is perceived) under which the country is suffering will be removed and a new dawning will arrive.
This motif of achieving victory through strife (common in songs extolling revolu­tion) - in this context “for a New Germany” - is a reoccurring theme in many SA songs, e.g. Brüder in Zechen und Gruben (ca. 1927), Volk ans Gewehr (1931).

Metre and Linguistic Structure

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

The metre used is essentially iambic, with each quatrain having the pattern 51 5 61 5.
It falls into the pattern of the so-called “long metre”, reminiscent of the type: “O Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling...”. A caesura occurs in each line after the second foot. ( • = short; - = long).

• - | • - || • - | • - | • - | •

Die Fahne hoch! Die Reihen fest geschlossen

|• - | • - || • - | • - | • -

S A marschiert mit mutig festem Schritt

| • - |• - || • - | • -|• - | • - | •

Kam'raden, die Rotfront und Reaktion erschossen

| • - | • - || • - | • - | • -

Marschieren im Geist in unseren Reihen mit

In “free metre”, i.e. in normal speech rhythm, we would expect the following:

• - • - • - • •/- • - •

Die Fahne hoch! Die Reihen fest geschlossen

- - • - • - • - • -

S A marschiert mit mutig festem Schritt

- - • • • - • - • - • - •

Kam'raden, die Rotfront und Reaktion erschossen

• - ( • )• - • - • - • -

marschieren im Geist in unsren Reihen mit

The melody (cf. § 3.5. below), however, has a slightly different schema.
It is simple in structure, in 4 4 (Common) time; the main stress/beat falls on the first element of the bar, with decreasing stress on the third, second, and fourth elements in that order, i.e. = 1, + 2, - 3, • 4 (the vertical single stroke | would here represent bar division). Thus we have:

|+ - • | = || • | = + - • | = -

Die Fahne hoch! Die Reihen fest geschlossen

+ - • | = || • | = + - • | =

S A marschiert mit mutig festem Schritt

+ - • | = || + - • | = + - • | = -

Kam'raden, die Rotfront und Reaktion erschossen

+ - • | = || • | = + - • | =

Marschieren im Geist in unseren Reihen mit

The result is that the main emphasis, resulting in elongated stress, occurs before before the caesura.
Given that the song is appellative to a specific group (i.e. the SA) recognisable slogans and Aufrufe would therefore be expected in places of emphasis, e.g. before the caesura: (I.1.) Die Fahne hoch! (I.2.) S A marschiert, (II.1/2) Die Straße frei! (III. 1/2.) Zum letzten Mal.
In the third line, the longest, the main emphasis comes on the second bar, with the highpoint reached in (I.3.) die Rotfront (which would be a term of abuse), (II.3.) Hakenkreuz, (III.3.) Hitlerfahnen, all meeting the appellative re­quirements of the song.
In I.3, however, the rhythm of the line requires unnatural stress on die (long instead of short). In II.4. Freiheit and III.4. dauert are split by the caesura, viz. Frei || heit, dau || ert, thus giving an unnatural and awkward emphasis, avoidable if sung in free rhythm.
As noted by Kurzke (1990: 128-29), Zum letzten Mal is reminiscent of the “last battle” motif found in La Marseilles and the Internationale, while the slogans Der Tag für/der Freiheit und für Brot bricht an (i.e. “Freiheit und Brot”) and Die Knechtschaft dauert nur noch kurze Zeit recall the concepts of “Knechtschaft”, “Reaktion”, along with the “Fahne” and “Kampf” metaphors, in 19th century Communist/Socialist Kampflieder.
There is also a certain amount of internal rhyme and alliteration used for ef­fect:

I.2. marschiert mit mutig festem Schritt

I.3. Rotfront und Reaktion erschossen

I.4. im Geist in unseren Reihen mit

II.3. Es schaun aufs Hakenkreuz voll Hoffnung schon Millionen

II.4. für Freiheit und für Brot bricht an

III.1. Mal...geblasen

III.3. Bald flattern Hitlerfahnen über allen Straßen/Barrikaden

In addition the frequent re-occurrence of the /ai/ diphthong, through its high phonological profile, gives a greater zest and vitality to the song: Reihen, Geist, Frei, Freiheit, bereit, Zeit.

It is clear that some considerable thought has gone into fashioning it to achieve a desired effect.
We have seen the emphatic use of slogans and Aufrufe, found in lines 1, 2, and 4.
In contrast the third line of each stanza, i.e. the longest one containing six feet, makes use of the three tenses, past, present, and future, to give a sense of continuation and momentum to the song: (past) Kameraden, die Rotfront und Reaktion erschossen, (present) Es schaun aufs Hakenkreuz voll Hoffnung schon Millionen, (future) Bald flattern Hitlerfahnen über allen Straßen (cf. also Kurzke 1990: 128).
Along with skilful use of alliteration and internal rhyme, as we have seen, the final result cannot be said to be entirely devoid of some liter­ary merit and quality.

The Melody

Melodic analysis

Melodies A and B are identical. The pattern of the phrases is typical of the Lied style.
In B bars 2b-3a correspond exactly to the opening and imply a sequential phrase, but 1b-2a and 3b-4a negate this. Bars 4b-6b are characteristically at the highest pitch, and with the final phrase returning to the key note. Implied harmonic framework

An implied harmonic framework could be sketched as follows:

bar 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

implied I IV V I I IV Ic V I


It is quite possible to use only the three basic chords of I, IV, and V to harmonise the melody satisfactorily. Bars 3-4 are sequential to bars 1-2, as was implied, but not fully car­ried out in the melody.

The final cadence of Ic V I is characteristic of Northern European music from the Baroque period onwards.

There is no sense of implied modulation.

Rhythmic structure

The rhythmic structures are very similar, with only a small modification in B.
Each phrase begins on an anacrusis, leading to a longer note on the first beat in bars 1, 3, and 7. Bar 5 reflects this but with a dotted note of shorter value. However, bar 5 has greater movement, with a note on each half-beat.

Bars 6b-8a return to the original pattern.

B uses more dotted rhythms, as in bars 1b, 3b, 5b, and 7b.

In Western European tradition these often have a military implication of an heroic nature, cf. Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony (No. 3), Slow Movement - Funeral March.



In an editorial in the Völkischer Beobachter, Alfred Rosenberg (see right) wrote of how Horst Wessel was not dead, but had joined a combat group that still struggled with them; and afterwards, members of the NSDAP spoke of how a man who died in conflict had joined "Horst Wessel's combat group" or were "summoned to Horst Wessel's standard."
When the Third Reich was established in 1933, an elaborate memorial was erected over the grave (see left), and it became the site of annual pilgrimage, at which "Die Fahne hoch" was sung, and speeches made.
Horst Wessel was also commemorated in memorials, books and films.

for more information about

Hanns Heinz Ewers, another supporter of the Welteislehre, wrote a novelistic biography of him.
One of the first films of the Nazi era was an idealised version of his life, based on Ewers' book, although the main character's name changed to the fictional "Hans Westmar".

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Culture and the Occult Reich


What did Adolf Hitler himself have to say about National Socialist culture ?
His ideas are written large in many documents and speeches, for he dominated the Third Reich in every phase of its activities.
It is therefore only fitting that we should hear from him before we start our inquiry.
Hitler wrote and talked continually, and what he had to say about cultural activity would fill many volumes.
The purpose of our small selection is merely to reflect in his own words the direction of thought contained in the material which follows.

The first group of selections is taken from 'Mein Kampf'.
There are two reasons for quoting from Hitler's only published book.
'Mein Kampf' was required reading in the schools of the Third Reich as well as in many other organizations.
Secondly, even if the book was not read, the speeches made by various individuals during the Third Reich, and a host of other books and articles, reflect the contents of 'Mein Kampf' with great faithfulness.
Hitler never changed the world view he had laid down when he started on the road to power, and the culture of the Third Reich reflected his all-encompassing ideology.

'Mein Kampf' in fact would have been a successful book even if it had never been read: its contents were spread throughout the nation by the whole cultural drive of the new Reich.

Karl Haushofer and Rudolf Heß
Hitler in Landsberg
Hitler dictated the book to his deputy, Rudolf Hess, from July to December 1924, when they were in easy confinement in the Bavarian Landsberg fortress as a result of the unsuccessful Nazi putsch of November 8-9, 1923. At first Hitler wanted to write his autobiography, but he decided instead to combine the 'story of his life' with an account of the National Socialist world view and party organization.
There was good reason for Hitler's change of mind: by fusing his own personality with the Nazi party the book would help him regain undisputed party leadership when he left prison.
The cry, so often heard in the Third Reich, that "Hitler is Germany, and Germany Hitler" had to be preceded by the cry that "Hitler is the party."
Though it took several years after he left Landsberg to re-establish his ascendancy, there can be little doubt that 'Mein Kampf' helped him in this process, however, the book had more than a political purpose; it also represented some - although not all - of his most profound beliefs.
These beliefs were based upon the primacy of the world view in determining man's fate.

Hitler's War Experience
The power of an ideal was all-important, and in one passage Hitler links this to the war experience.
Idealism is contrasted with materialism, symbolized by what he calls the teachings of Marxism, which have also infected the bourgeoisie.
His own world view is Völkish: based upon the racial principles which are fundamental to all of life.

The term völkisch derives from the German word Volk, corresponding to "people" -  the word also has "overtones of 'nation', 'race' and 'tribe' with connotations in German of "people-powered", "racial" and "folkloric". A direct translation would somehow be "ethnic". Therefore this term cannot be used for translation. Strictly speaking, the term völkisch has no direct translation in English, as no existing term corresponds to its exact meaning, but it could be rendered as "ethno-nationalistic", "racial-nationalistic", "ethno-racialist". The defining idea that the völkisch movement revolved around was that of a Volkstum (lit. "folkdom", with a meaning similar to a combination of the terms "folklore" and "ethnicity"). "Populist", or "popular", in this context would be volkstümlich.

Thus race is the foundation of all culture.
The state is only a means to the end of preserving the race, and we will find this concept of the state made law ten years later in the Third Reich.
Racial ideas are combined with a belief in an aristocracy, which rises from the mass of the population.

Aryan Man
Hitler stressed the "great personality" who made history - but always on the foundation of a common racism: personal ethics must be related to this basic factor of life.
All culture is the product of the Aryan: only he can produce true personalities.
As culture is the expression of an ideal, materialism can never produce culture.

Jews Cannot Produce Cultur
Materialism has taken hold of the bourgeoisie through the influence of Marxism, an invention of the Jews.
They are the true adversary of the Germanic world view, and must be dealt with ruthlessly.
Jews cannot produce culture, but they do serve a function: symbolizing all that is evil, they spur the Aryan on to struggle against them and thus to become ever more conscious of his own race.
Therefore Hitler, adopting a phrase of Goethe, calls Jews a 'power which wants evil but produces good'.
The "revolution in world view" can succeed only if it becomes part of a mass movement.
Propaganda is designed to accomplish this, but it must be backed up by an effective party organization.
It is worth remembering that Hitler devotes half of 'Mein Kampf' to problems of political organization.

The Masses are Swayed by Emotion 
Because of his belief that an ideology is unimportant unless it is embodied in a mass movement, Hitler's concept of the masses is of the greatest importance.
He recognizes the imperative of giving status to the people, but this is secondary to the techniques necessary to "unlock their souls."
The masses are swayed by emotion and feeling: they are a part of primeval nature itself, which reflects not the rational handiwork of God but instead an irrational view of man and the world.
Hitler builds upon the romantic tradition.
Throughout National Socialist culture the parallel between man and nature will be drawn in this manner.
The masses of Aryans are as "genuine" in their basic emotions as Nature herself.
The task of the leader is to awaken these emotions, to bring to the surface the belief in Rasse und Blut - race and blood which provide the foundations.

The masses of Aryans are as "genuine"
in their basic emotions as Nature herself.
From these presuppositions it follows that, as the people are a part of nature, their feelings are simple and direct..
Simple and direct because Nature herself is held to be such, in contrast with the artificiality of a materialist civilization; partisan because, in the last resort, the voice of the race will be heard.
This view of the masses is allied with the culture necessary to activate them in the struggle.
Propaganda, as Hitler used the word and as the National Socialists put it into practice, is the infusion of cultural attitudes into the mass of Aryans.
The anti-intellectualism which resulted will run like a theme throughout this study.
Hitler's own view of the nature of education will provide the foundation for the attempt to capture youth.
He calls for general rather than specialized education, meaning that the teaching of the National Socialist world view must take precedence.

Haus der Deutschen Kunst
When he was at the height of his power Hitler gave a succinct summary of his concept of culture - at the opening of the first Grosse deutsche Kunstausstellung - (Exhibition of German Art) (July 18, 1937), for this was more than just another art exhibit.
The exhibition, in a new building (see left) specially constructed for it, was to exemplify the entire direction of Aryan culture through the instrumentality of visual art.
Representations of nature played a leading role (40 per cent of the pictures), but peasant and family motifs also abounded.
Art must have clarity, as Hitler stated, and the idyllic pictures symbolize well the traditionalism of the framework within which National Socialism did its work.
The exhibition was a success; the sales figures reached extraordinary heights.
The Aryan needed an adversary in his struggle.
We have seen how the Jews fulfilled this function and on this occasion too an enemy was represented.

'Die Ausstellung Entartete Kunst'
Art must have Clarity
The 'Die Ausstellung Entartete Kunst' - (Exhibition of Degenerate Art) was held nearby, providing an object lesson for a people who, as Hitler put it, did not "understand handshakes."
The 'moderns' were hung under the appropriate slogans: "German peasants through Jewish eyes," "Blaspheming the German heroes of the world war," and "Making fun of German womanhood."
What a contrast with the ideal types of peasants, heroes and women who graced the "Exhibition of German Art." 

This, then, is the setting in which Hitler defined culture, a definition which had already been put into practice throughout the Third Reich.
When Hitler spoke in Munich, the "revolution of the world view" was already four and a half years old.

The Power of Ideals

'One should beware of evaluating the force of an ideal too little.
Those who today become faint-hearted in this regard, I would like to remind, in case they once were soldiers, of a time the heroism of which was the most overwhelming profession of the force of ideal motives.
For, what made people die at that time was not care of their daily bread, but the love of their country, the confidence in its greatness, the general feeling for the honour of the nation.
And only after the German people turned its back on these ideals in order to follow the material promises of the Revolution, and after it exchanged the gun for the knapsack, it came, instead of into an earthly heaven, into the purgatory of general disdain and, not less, of general distress.
Therefore it is all the more necessary to oppose the calculating masters of the erstwhile material Republic with the faith in an ideal Reich.'
Adlof Hitler

The Aryan as Custodian of Culture

'The Marxist doctrine is the brief spiritual extract of the view of life that is generally valid today.
Merely for this reason every fight by our so-called bourgeois world against it is impossible, even ridiculous, as this bourgeois world also is essentially interspersed with all these poison elements, and worships a view of life which in general is distinguished from the Marxian view only by degrees or persons.
The bourgeois world is Marxist, but it believes in the possibility of a domination of certain human groups (bourgeoisie), while Marxism itself plans to transmit the world systematically into the hands of Jewry.
In opposition to this, the Völkish view recognizes the importance of mankind in its racially innate elements.
In principle, it sees in the state only a means to an end, and as its end it considers the preservation of the racial existence of men.
Thus it by no means believes in an equality of the races, but with their differences it also recognizes their superior and inferior values, and by this recognition it feels the obligation in accordance with the Eternal Will that dominates this universe to promote the victory of the better and stronger, and to demand the submission of the worse and the weaker.
Thus in principle it favors also the fundamental aristocratic thought of nature and believes in the validity of this law down to the last individual.
It sees not only the different values of the races, but also the different values of individual man.
In its opinion, out of the masses emerges the importance of the person, but by this it has an organizing effect, as contrasted with disorganizing Marxism.
It believes in the necessity of idealizing mankind, as, in turn, it sees in this the only presumption for the existence of mankind.
But it cannot grant the right of existence to an ethical idea, if this idea represents a danger for the racial life of the bearers of higher ethics; for in a hybridized and negrified world all conceptions of the humanly beautiful and sublime, as well as all conceptions of an idealized future of our mankind, would be lost forever.
In this world, human culture and civilization are inseparably bound up with the existence of the Aryan.
His dying off or his decline would again lower upon this earth the dark veils of a time without culture.
The undermining of the existence of human culture by destroying its supporters appears, in a Volkish view of life, as the most execrable crime.
He who dares to lay hand upon the highest image of the Lord sins against the benevolent Creator of this miracle and helps in the expulsion from Paradise.'
Adlof Hitler

The State Is Not an End But a Means

'The basic realization is that the state represents not an end but a means.
It is indeed the presumption for the formation of a higher human culture, but not its cause. On the contrary, the latter lies exclusively in the existence of a race capable of culture.
Hundreds of exemplary states may exist on this globe, but in case of a dying off of the Aryan culture supporter, no culture would exist which would correspond to the spiritual level of the highest peoples of today.
One can even go further and say that the fact of human state formation would not in the least exclude the possibility of the destruction of the human race, insofar as the superior intellectual ability and elasticity, in consequence of the lack of its racial supporters, would be lost.'
Adlof Hitler

The Jew Has No Culture

'The Jewish people, with all its apparent intellectual qualities, is nevertheless without any true culture, especially without a culture of its own.
For the sham culture which the Jew possesses today is the property of other peoples, and is mostly spoiled in his hands.
When judging Jewry in its attitude toward the question of human culture, one has to keep before one's eye as an essential characteristic that there never has been and consequently that today also there is no Jewish art; that above all the two queens of all arts, architecture and music, owe nothing original to Jewry. What he achieves in the field of art is either bowdlerization or intellectual theft.
With this, the Jew lacks those qualities which distinguish creatively and, with it, culturally blessed races.'
Adlof Hitler

The Necessity of Propaganda

The most striking success of the revolution of a view of life will always be won whenever the new view of life is, if possible, taught to all people, and, if necessary, is later forced upon them, while the organization of the idea - that is, the movement - has to embrace only so many people as absolutely necessary for the Occupation of the nerve centres of the state involved.
That means, in other words:
In every really great revolutionary movement propaganda will first have to spread the idea of this movement. Thus, it will untiringly try to make clear to the others the new train of thought, to draw them over to its own ground, or at least to make them doubtful of their own previous conviction.
Since the propagation of a doctrine - that is, this propaganda - has to have a backbone, the doctrine will have to give itself a solid organization.
The organization receives its members from the followers in general won by propaganda.
The latter will grow the more quickly, the more intensively propaganda is carried out, and the latter in turn is able to work the better, the stronger and the more vigorous the organization is that stands behind it.

How Hitler Viewed the Masses

'The national education of the great masses can only take place through the detour of a social uplift, since exclusively by this all those general economic presuppositions are created which permit the individual to take part in the cultural goods of the nation.
The nationalization of the great masses can never take place by way of half measures, by a weak emphasis upon a so-called objective viewpoint, but by a ruthless and fanatically one-sided orientation as to the goal to be aimed at.
That means, therefore, one cannot make a people "national" in the meaning of our present "bourgeoisie," that is, with so and so many restrictions, but only nationalistic with the entire vehemence which is harboured in the extreme.
Poison is only checked by antidote, and only the insipidity of a bourgeois mind can conceive the middle line as the way to heaven.
The great mass of a people consists neither of professors nor of diplomats.
The small abstract knowledge it possesses directs its sentiments rather to the world of feeling.
In this is rooted either its negative or positive attitude.
It is open only to the expression of force in one of these directions, and never to a half measure swaying between them.
Their sentimental attitude, however, is caused by their exceeding stability.
It is more difficult to undermine faith than knowledge, love succumbs to change less than to respect, hatred is more durable than aversion, and at all times the driving force of the most important changes in this world has been found less in a scientific knowledge animating the masses, but rather in a fanaticism dominating them and in a hysteria which drove them forward.
He who would win the great masses must know the key which opens the door to their hearts.
Its name is not objectivity - that is, weakness-but will power and strength.
One can only succeed in winning the soul of a people if, apart from a positive fighting of one's own for one's own aims, One also destroys at the same time the supporter of the contrary.
In the ruthless attack upon an adversary the people sees at all times a proof of its own right, and it perceives the renunciation of his destruction as an uncertainty as regards its own right, if not as a sign of its own wrong.
The great masses are only a part of nature, and this feeling does not understand the mutual handshake of people who assert that they want various things.
What they want is the victory of the stronger and the annihilation or the unconditional surrender of the weaker.
The nationalization of our masses will only be successful if, along with all positive fighting for the soul of our people, its international poisoners are extirpated.
All great questions of the times are questions of the moment, and they represent only consequences of certain causes. Only one of them is of causal importance, that is, the question of the racial preservation of the nationality.
In the blood alone there rests the strength as well as the weakness of man.
As long as the people do not recognize and pay attention to the importance of their racial foundation, they resemble people who would like to teach the greyhound's qualities to poodles, without realizing that the greyhound's speed and the poodle's docility are qualities which are not taught, but are peculiar to the race. Peoples who renounce the preservation of their racial purity renounce also the unity of their soul in all its expressions.
The torn condition of their nature is the natural, necessary consequence of the torn condition of their blood, and the change in their spiritual and creative force is only the effect of the change in their racial foundations.
He who wants to redeem the German people from the qualities and the vices which are alien to its original nature will have to redeem it first from the alien originators of these expressions.
Without the clearest recognition of the race problem and, with it, of the Jewish question, there will be no rise of the German nation.
The race question not only furnishes the key to world history, but also to human culture as a whole.'
Adlof Hitler

Education Must Be Based on Ideals

'It is a characteristic of our present materialized time that our scientific education turns more and more toward the subjects of natural science only, namely, mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc.
No matter how necessary this is for a time in which techniques and chemistry dominate in daily life and represent its symptoms, at least as far as outwardly recognizable, it is just as dangerous if the general education of a nation is always directed exclusively at this.
On the contrary, this education has always to be an ideal one.
It has to correspond more to the classic subjects and should only offer the foundations of a later training in a special field.
Otherwise, one renounces forces which are still more important for the preservation of the nation than any technical or other ability.
Especially in history instruction one should not let oneself be deterred from studying antiquity. Roman history, rightly conceived in very broad outlines, is and remains the best teacher not only for today but probably for all times.
The Hellenic ideal of culture, too, should be preserved for us in its exemplary beauty.
One must not allow the differences of the individual races to tear up the greater racial community.
The struggle that rages today involves very great aims: a culture fights for its existence, which combines millenniums and embraces Hellenism and Aryanism together.
A sharp difference should be made between general education and specialized knowledge.
Since the latter, today more than ever, threatens to sink into the service of pure Mammon, general education, at least in its more ideal orientation, has to be preserved as a counterbalance.
Here, too, one has continuously to inculcate the principle that industry and techniques, trade and professions are able to flourish only as long as an idealistically disposed national community offers the necessary presuppositions. But the latter do not lie in material egoism, but in a joyous readiness to renounce and to sacrifice.'
Adlof Hitler

Education, Instinct, and Will

'A change in education is a further necessity: today we suffer from over-education.
Only knowledge is prized.
The know-it-alls are the enemies of action.
What is needed is instinct and will.'
Adlof Hitler


The Cultural Renascence

Haus der Deutschen Kunst

On July 18, 1937, Adlof Hitler delivered a speech at the opening of the House of German Art in Munich, which was to take the place of the former "Glass Palace."

'In the collapse of Germany after the war, he said, the economic decline had been generally felt, the political decline had been denied by many, the cultural decline had not even been observed by the majority of the people. It was an age of phrases and catchwords: in the economic sphere the hard facts of misery and unemployment deprived these phrases of their force: in the political sphere such phrases as "international solidarity" had more success and veiled from the German people the extent of the political collapse.
But in the long run the failure of the parliamentary-democratic form of government, copied from the West - a West which regardless of this democratic form still continued to extort from Germany whatever there remained to extort - defeated the phrase-mongers.
Far more lasting was the effect of these phrases in the cultural field, where they resulted in a complete confusion concerning the essential character of culture.
Here the influence of the Jews was paramount and through their control of the press they were able to intimidate those who desired to champion "the normal sound intelligence and instinct of men," Art was said to be "an international experience," and thus all comprehension of its intimate association with a people was stifled: it was said that there was no such thing as the art of a people or, better, of a race: there was only the art of a certain period.
Thus it was not Greeks who created the art of Greece, Romans the art of Rome, etc. - a particular period had found in each art its expression.
Art is a "time-conditioned phenomenon."
So today there is not a German or a French art, 'but a "modern art."
This is to reduce art to the level of fashions in dress, with the motto "Every year something fresh" - Impressionism, Futurism, Cubism, perhaps also Dadaism.
These newly created art phrases would be comic, if they were not tragic.
The result was uncertainty in judgements passed on art and the silencing of those who might otherwise have protested against this Kulturbolschewismus, while the press continued to poison our sound appreciation of art. And just as in fashions one must wear "modern" clothes whether they are beautiful or not, so the great masters of the past were decried.
But true art is and remains eternal, it does not follow the law of the season's fashions: its effect is that of a revelation arising from the depths of the essential character of a people which successive generations can inherit. But those who do not create for eternity do not readily talk of eternities: they seek to dim the radiance of these giants who reach out of the past into the future in order that contemporaries may discover their own tiny flames.
These facile daubers in art are but the products of a day: yesterday, non-existent: today, modern: tomorrow, out of date. The Jewish discovery that art was just the affair of a period was for them a godsend: theirs could be the art of the present time.
Theirs was a small art - small in form and substance - and at the same time intolerant of the masters of the past and the rivals of the present.
There was a conspiracy of incapacity and mediocrity against better work of any age.
The new rich, having no judgement of their own in art matters, accepted these artists at their own valuation.
It was only an attraction that these works of art were difficult to understand and on that account very costly: no one wished to admit lack of comprehension or insufficient means!
And if one does not oneself understand, probably one's neighbor will not either, and he will admire one's comprehension of obscurity.
For this "modern art" National Socialism desires to substitute a "German" art and an eternal art.
This House of German Art is designed for the art of the German people - not for an international art.
"The people in the flux of phenomena is the one constant point.
It is that which is abiding and permanent, and therefore art as the expression of the essential character of the abiding people must be an eternal monument, itself abiding and permanent; there can be therefore no standard of yesterday and today, of modern or un-modern: there can be only the standard of 'valueless' or 'valuable,' of 'eternal' or 'transitory.
"And therefore in speaking of German art I shall see the standard for that art in the German people, in its character and life, in its feeling, its emotions, and its development."
From the history of the development of our people we know that it is composed of a number of more or less distinct races which in the course of millennia through the formative influence of a certain outstanding racial kernel produced that mixture which we see before us in Our people today.
This force which formed the people in time past and which still today continues that formative activity lies in the same Aryan branch of mankind which we recognize not only as the support of our own civilization but of the earlier civilizations of the ancient world.
The way in which our people was composed has produced the many-sidedness of our own cultural development, but as we look upon the final result of this process we cannot but wish for an art which may correspond to the increasing homogeneity of our racial composition, and thus present in itself the characteristics of unity and homogeneity.
Many attempts have been made through the centuries to define what "to be German" really means.
I would not seek to give an explanation in the first instance.
I would rather state a law - a law previously expressed by a great German: "To be German is to be clear," and that means that to be German is to be logical and true.
It is this spirit which has always lived in our people, which has inspired painters, sculptors, architects, thinkers, poets, and above all our musicians.
When on June 6, 1931, the Glass Palace was burned down there perished with it an immortal treasure of German art. The artists were called Romantics, and yet they were but the finest representatives of that German search for the real and true character of our people, for an honest and decent expression of this law of life divined by our people.
For it was not only their choice of subject which was decisive, but the clear and simple mode of rendering these sentiments.
Many of their original works are lost, we possess only copies or reproductions, but the works of these masters are removed by a great gulf from the pitiable products of our modern so-called "creative artists."
These masters felt themselves to be Germans, and consequently they created works which should be valued as long as there should be a German people to appreciate them.
But these modern works we would also preserve as documents illustrating the depths of that decline into which the people had fallen.
The "Exhibition of Degenerate Art" is intended as a useful lesson.
During the long years in which I planned the formation of a new Reich I gave much thought to the tasks which would await us in the cultural cleansing of the people's life: there was to be a cultural renascence as well as a political and economic reform.
I was convinced that peoples which have been trodden underfoot by the whole world of their day have all the greater duty consciously to assert their own value before their oppressors, and there is no prouder proof of the highest rights of a people to its own life than immortal cultural achievements.
I was therefore always determined that if fate should one day give us power I would discuss these matters with no one but would form my own decisions, for it is not given to all to have an understanding for tasks as great as these.
Among the plans which floated before me in my mind both during the war and after the collapse was the idea of building a great new exhibition palace in Munich; and many years ago I thought of the place where the building now stands.
In 1931 I feared that I should be anticipated and that the "men of November" would erect an exhibition building. Plans indeed were produced for an edifice.
But when we came to power in 1933 the plan had not been executed: the erection of the building was left to the Third Reich.
And the building is so unique, so individual, that it cannot be compared with anything else: it is a true monument for this city and more than that - for German art....
It represents a turning point, the first of the new buildings which will take their place among the immortal achievements of German artistic life.
But the House is not enough: it must house an Exhibition, and if now I venture to speak of art I can claim a title to do so from the contribution which I myself have made to the restoration of German art.
For our modern German state that I with my associates have created has alone brought into existence the conditions for a new, vigorous flowering of art.
It is not Bolshevist art collectors or their henchmen who have laid the foundations: we have provided vast sums for the encouragement of art, we have set before art itself great, new tasks.
As in politics, so in German art-life: we are determined to make a clean sweep of phrases.
Ability is the necessary qualification if an artist wishes his work to be exhibited here.
People have attempted to recommend modern art by saying that it is the expression of a new age: but art does not create a new age, it is the general life of peoples which fashions itself anew and therefore often seeks after a new expression.
A new epoch is not created by littérateurs but by the fighters, those who really fashion and lead peoples, who thus make history.
It is either impudent effrontery or stark stupidity to exhibit to the people of today works which perhaps ten or twenty thousand years ago might have been made by a man of the Stone Age.
They talk of primitive art, but they forget that it is not the function of art to retreat backward from the stage of development which a people has already reached: its sole function must be to symbolize that development.
The new age of today is at work on a new human type.
Men and women are to be more healthy, stronger: there is a new feeling of life, a new joy in life.
Never was humanity in its external appearance and in its frame of mind nearer to the ancient world than it is today.
This is the type of the new age.
The artist does not create for the artist: he creates for the people and we will see to it that henceforth the people will be called in to judge its art.
No one must say that the people has no understanding for a really valuable enrichment of its cultural life. Before the critics did justice to the genius of a Richard Wagner he had the people on his side, while the people has had nothing to do with so-called "modern art."
The people regarded this art as the outcome of an impudent and unashamed arrogance or of a simply shocking lack of skill; it felt that this art-stammer - these achievements which might have been produced by untalented children of from eight to ten years old - could never be valued as an expression of our own times or of the German future.
When we know today that the development of millions of years repeats itself in every individual compressed into a few decades, then this art, we realize, is not "modern"; it is on the contrary in the highest degree "archaic," far older probably than the Stone Age.
The people when it passes through these galleries will recognize in me its own spokesman and counsellor: it will draw a sigh of relief and express its glad agreement with this purification of art.
And that is decisive: an art which cannot count on the readiest and most intimate agreement of the great mass of the people, an art which must rely upon the support of small cliques, is intolerable.
Such an art does but endeavour to confuse, instead of gladly reinforcing, the sure and healthy instinct of a people.
The artist cannot stand aloof from his people.
This exhibition is but a beginning, yet the end of the artistic stultification of Germany has begun.
Now is the opportunity for youth to start its industrious apprenticeship, and when a sacred conscientiousness at last comes into its own, then I doubt not that the Almighty, from the mass of these decent creators of art, will once more raise up individuals to the eternal starry heaven of the imperishable God-favored artists of the great periods. We believe that especially today, when in so many spheres the highest individual achievements are being manifested, so also in art the highest value of personality will once again assert itself.'

Archaic Postmodernity

National Socialist dignitaries devoted much energy to the promotion of German sculptors and helped them considerably in the execution of massive bas-reliefs and in the erection of monumental stone and bronze sculptures.
The political goal was obvious: to bring German art as close as possible to the German people, so that any German citizen, regardless social standing, could identify himself or herself with a specific artistic achievement.
It should, therefore, come as no surprise that the German art of that time witnessed a return to classicism.
Models from Antiquity and the Renaissance were to some extent adapted to the needs of National Socialist Germany.
Numerous German sculptors benefited from the logistic and financial support of the political elite.
Their sculptures resembled, either by form, or by composition, the works of Praxiteles or Phidias of ancient Greece, or the sculptures of Michelangelo during the Renaissance.
The most prominent German sculptors of that time were Arno Breker, Josef Thorak, and Fritz Klimsch, who although enjoying the significant resources of the National Socialist regime, were never members of the NSDAP.
Sculptures of female nudes, such as “Flora” by Breker, “Girl” by Fehrle, or “Glance” by Klimsch, show beautiful and geometrically defined women with perfect bodies, narrow ankles, and well rounded and well-proportioned breasts.
In addition, the fact that many sculptures show nude males embracing nude females indicates that National Socialism was by no means a “conservative” or “reactionary” movement, and that Puritan Anglo-Saxon prudishness was completely alien to it.
It is difficult to deny the great talent of Breker or Klimsch, even if some critics characterize their sculptures as workmanlike 'copies' of classic artists.
As a young man, Breker lived in France where he was influenced by his future friend and sculptor, Aristide Maillol.
After the war, many of Breker’s sculptures were destroyed by American soldiers.
In spite of his political troubles, Breker continued to work after the war making busts of his friends, (Salvador Dali, Hassan II, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, etc).
It should be noted that Breker, in the wake of the Allied occupation of Germany, was requested by the Soviets to continue his artistic career in the Soviet Union - an offer that he refused.
It goes without saying that it is possible to draw certain parallels between the gigantism of the plastic art in National Socialist Germany and that of the Soviet Union (the naked Prometheus vis-à-vis the muscular and shirtless hammer-holding proletarian!).
Yet the differences are again glaring: in Communist countries one could never find sculptures representing nude women and men - which confirms the thesis that Communism, although politically frightening, was primarily a prudish and conservative system.
Indeed, even today, one can hardly encounter pictorial or plastic representations of embracing couples in China, Cuba, or in North Korea.
Neverthless, the sculptures of Venus or nymphs by Breker or Thorak display nothing provocative or pornographic; they rarely trigger sexual fantasies or erotic dreams, as is perhaps the case with the naked beauties painted by the Jewish-Italian artist Amadeo Modigliani.
Upon the faces of the sculptures representing nude women made by German artists, one comes across an enigmatic and aristocratic smile, and a deep sense of the tragic, which reflect, symbolically, the feelings of a whole nation in search of its geopolitical identity.
Little trace can be found of female coquetry or flirtatiousness, such as one encounters among the nudes painted by the French realist, Gustave Courbet, by the Impressionist Edouard Manet, or by Paul Cézanne.
German painting of that time represents a chapter apart.
Contrary to widespread ideas, “kitsch” was never part of art in National Socialist Germany. Indeed, the German National Socialist authorities adopted repressive measures against kitsch” in the arts resembling those invoked against alleged “degenerate art.”
Regarding painting, the early school of expressionism was abandoned and even severely repressed by the authorities as “degenerate art.”
Expressionism, as opposed to Impressionism which originated in France, is paradoxically the typical feature of the German character and temperament, just as it is of other Germanic peoples (Flemings, Scandinavians).
Nevertheless, German artists of the expressionist school did not obtain the regime’s green light to exhibit their works.
Schools of thought that had emerged from cultural circles such as 'Die Brücke' or 'Neue Sachligkeit' at the beginning of the twentieth century, were assailed by the National Socialist censorship.
Nevertheless, Dr. Joseph Goebbels was a great admirer of expressionist artists, and was on friendly terms with the Norwegian forerunner of expressionism, the famous painter, Edvard Munch.
In December 1933, Goebbels sent a telegram to Edvard Munch on his seventieth birthday describing him as the spiritual heir of the Nordic spirit.
Goebbels was also among the first to send condolences to his family on the occasion of his death in January 1944.
There were thus serious differences among Völkisch politicians and academics regarding the nature and artistic value of expressionism, not just in its pictorial form, but also as poetic expression, as indicated by a still much admired German expressionist poet and cultural pessimist, Gottfried Benn, who was himself very close to National Socialism, and who, in his earlier days, conceived of National Socialism as first and foremost a cultural movement.
This is important because it shows that the National Socialist experiment, contrary to the later liberal-communist propaganda, was by no means a monolithic movement, and that considerable personal and  æsthetical differences prevailed among its high ranking members and sympathizers.
The German painters, who, between 1933 and 1945, gained considerable reputation were by and large neo-classicist portraitists and landscape painters, who avoided pathetic and exaggerated compositions, and attempted to rid artistic work of every trace of the influence of Cubism and abstract art.
Overall, one can sense in many of their paintings the revival of the taste for primitive art and a return to the Flemish masters of the fifteenth century.
Certain parallels can again be drawn with the paintings known as “socialist-realist” in the Soviet Union and other communist countries, however, even here the difference is obvious.
Whereas one can see on the paintings of Soviet artists peasants and workmen adorned with their perpetual grins, and in the background a factory under construction, on the German paintings of that time seldom can one see signs of industrialization.
Traces of the asphalt, chimneys spewing fumes, or factories in full gear - such as one can observe among “socialist-realist” painters (and in their titanic and apocalyptic form among the futuristic artists in fascistic Italy!), very rarely appear in the German paintings of that period.
Just as one can draw a comparison between German sculptors and Soviet sculptors, one can also notice a difference between figurative art under Communism and figurative art under National Socialism.
In the art galleries of the Third Reich the scenes of attractive rural nymphs abound (Amadeus Dier, Johannes Beutner, Sepp Hilz, etc).
These pastoral beauties, which can be observed on oil paintings, exude family harmony, and seem to anticipate a well-deserved rest after a hard day’s work in the cornfields.
Also worth mentioning is the artist and a wood engraver, Ernst von Dombrowski, whose scenes of country life and young children playing, still win great praise from critics.
In conclusion, one can state that the German sculpture of that time, proclaims, at least as a rule, a message of racial and Promethean hygiene, while the paintings of that time reveal a distinct and populist (völkisch) tendency that can hardly be misconstrued for any ideological or political speculation.


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