zondag 26 februari 2012
woensdag 8 februari 2012
zondag 5 februari 2012
The break between Dr. Goebbels and Kampfverlag
The tensions between Dr. Goebbels and the Strasser brothers escalated on 16 February 1927 after a violent altercation, which was about the anti-Semitism issue. From now on the
Attempts from Goebbels to expel Otto Strasser were shipwrecked because Hitler - who was also concerned about the situation - did not involve in the problems. In the Berliner Arbeiter-Zeitung on April 24, 1927 an infamous article written by Erich Koch appeared in which Goebbels was compared to the French diplomat (and opportunist) Talleyrand, who also limped. The article also very delicately pointed out the negative (both physical and mental) consequences of racial mixture. This attack was possibly the answer to the incitement by Goebbels during the chaotic conditions in the
"Kampfverlag" versus "Angriff"
As soon as at the end of 1925 Dr. Goebbels had the idea to publish his own magazine, which at that time wasn't realized because of the Kampfverlag project with the Strasser brothers. In the beginning of 1927 there were meetings between Dr. Goebbels and the
The conflicts didn’t end there. After Hitler had intervened several times, the two fighting fractions came to a peace treaty. Dr. Goebbels, Gregor Strasser and Hitler kept speeches at a joint meeting convention in
zaterdag 4 februari 2012
The new National-Socialist Leftwing
With the dissolution of the AGNW a potential "Fremdkörper" disappeared from the scene. The battle for a leftwing political direction however continued, although the circumstances had changed. Even the
The new leftwing of the National-Socialists was actually a remarkable fusion (symbiosis) of strength and weakness. It didn’t have an independent organizational unit, but from this moment on the entire NS movement was saturated by their ideas. The statement dated from May 22, 1926 regarding the full validity of the 25 points, it revealed itself to be an unexpected advantage; from now on the leftwing could use the party program in her advantage and she would be able to criticize
On 7 March 1926, the regional party congress in
Dr. Goebbels takes over the leadership in
In the summer of 1926, Dr. Goebbels was involved in an incessant series of conflicts, not only with his former comrades at the
The most rabid National Socialist forces soon concentrated themselves in the Berlin NSDAP and SA, to such an extend which never succeeded in the Rhine and
The foundation of "Kampfverlag"
On March 1, 1926 Kampf Verlag with its seat in
Anti-Capitalism and workers issues
In principle, there was no disagreement about the need for the formation of National-Socialist unions. However initially there was disagreement about the actual realization of such unions. The requirements (on the formation of NS unions) could count on positive acceptance by those who were representatives of class warfare and those who propagated mass action of the party and unions against the finance capital. On the background the idea to enforce Hitler to take this position also played a significant role. Gregor Strasser, Rosikat (alternate-Gauleiter of
On the contrary, an union committee during a meeting at the party congress in
donderdag 2 februari 2012
History of an organisation: the two-fold founding of the NSDAP
Rise and fall of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Nord-West
During the meeting of the North German NSDAP in Hamm (22 February 1925) the decision was made to form a Western block within the party. Dr. Goebbels was assigned to take on the daily management. Besides the political differences, this decision was made because of the chaotic conditions in the Munich NSDAP and the fact that Hitler was surrounded by the wrong people – a clear continuation of the old conflict – dating back from 1924 - was created. However these rebels first had to take the overhand in the North Rhine district during a long power struggle with Gau leader Ripke that lasted for months.
The concept of a Western block was again raised during a meeting between the Elberfeld group and Gregor Strasser on August 20, 1925. Both the block that reached far into the western state of Lower Saxony as well as the newspaper "NS Briefe" served as means in the fight against the "entrenched bosses" in Munich. This Northwest version of National-Socialism had to be adopted by Hitler, it was certainly not meant as an internal coup. Gregor Strasser was somewhat sceptical about his party leader at that time. According to Strasser the National-Socialist idea was more important than its leader. He wanted that the leader just as any other activist had to prove his value over and over again. In a letter to Oswald Spengler (July 1925) Strasser had already proclaimed that the 25 point program of the party was not suitable to pursue a socialist revolution. Dr Goebbels shared this opinion; according to him the whole program was not radical enough. They meant to take the initiative from the hands of the NSDAP central in Munich. Wolfgang Horns stated:
"Since 1925 the development within the NSDAP is marked by the tension between the pretention from Hitler to be the bearer and embodiment of National-Socialism and the attempt from a part of the party to unify the leader and the National-Socialist idea together by making the party program complete and by creating internal discussions."
On 10 September 1925 the Elberfeld group took on the initiative of organizing a party conference in Hagen, where the merger of Nord Germany and AG Nord-West against the South German Völkischen was sealed. The shires of Rhineland and Schleswig-Holstein were also represented. Gregor Strasser was chosen as the chairman of the AGNW and publisher of the NS-Briefe, the daily management and job of head-director was assigned to Dr. Joseph Goebbels. The characterization of the AGNW as one socialist unity certainly didn’t come without any trouble. Even the most extreme social Darwinists - like captain Pfeffer von Salomon (Oberster SA Führer) - were part of this group while crucial issues such as participation in elections, the alliance with Soviet Russia or a stronger orientation towards the working class remained controversial. The main points on which a minimal consensus existed were:
- Rejection of anti-Bolshevism
- No war against the Soviet Union
- Criticism on the bourgeois anti-semitism
- National and social integration of the working class
- A break with bourgeois nationalism and its adherence to certain privileges on a social, political and economical level
The first conference of the AGNW (including Berlin and Silesia) was held on February 22, 1925 in Hannover. There the decision was made that any cooperation with the Völkischen and Wehrverbände (paramilitaries) had to be rejected. The issue on trade unions was, until further notice, left to the Reichs leadership, meanwhile they took a firm stand against the yellow (= pro bourgeois) trade unions. With regard on the position relating to the Soviet Union, no reconciliation could be reached. However, the main result of the conference was the decision to specify the NSDAP 25 point program in a new design program. Together with his brother Otto a concept was made by Gregor Strasser. Kaufmann and Dr Goebbels worked on their own design of the program. Gregor’s program "Der Nationale Sozialismus" was finalised halfway of December. This was more a draft constitution and a moderate realization of the 25 points instead of a complete new program. Through the concretization of the 25 points the NSDAP leadership had to be recalled that the program of the movement had a binding character that should be defended against the rightwing populists. By unleashing a discussion about the party program the AGNW left the cadre of formal fraction formation and became dangerously close to an open rebellion against Hitler, who had taken a stand against such a discussion earlier in July. At no single time the sole leadership of the NSDAP by Hitler was this strongly criticized as by the AGNW.
The chances for success were not bad. The AGNW had been extended to Mecklenburg and all the way to the Oder, while contacts were being made with Saxony and Wurttemberg. Moreover Rosenberg, who was also in conflict with Esser, showed willingness to compromise. During the second party conference in Hannover (24 February 1926) a violent controversy arose about the representative of Munich, Gottfried Feder. The issue of expropriation (without compensation) of the German aristocracy was connected with the expropriation of the immigrant Eastern European Jews and the confiscation of all profits from the banking sector and the stock exchange (Due to the fact that these politics couldn't be realized it was constantly shifted ahead).
In the spring of 1926 the newly formed Kampf Verlag would begin with the publishing of its own magazine. The draft program of Gregor Strasser met with fierce criticism for various reasons. The group from Göttingen and OSAF Pfeffer, who continued to stay adherence to the social-Darwinian selection principle, the racial doctrine and the lebensraum program, were among the biggest critics - which shows that within the leftwing AGNW a rightwing opposition group existed. On the other side Kaufmann and Dr. Goebbels rejected the draft program because it was too moderate. Feder however continued to defend his original 25 points program. There were also disagreements regarding the draft program of Elberfeld. Although AGNW criticized the 25 points program - or rather the rightwing interpretation of it - they were not able to form a common position or a mutual agreement. As a compromise the decision was made to form a program committee headed by Gregor Strasser, which would give the results of her findings for review to the Munich central.
The simmering conflict with Munich now came to an open showdown, when the rejection of the blurry 25 points essentially turned against Hitler himself. Probably the only ones who were really prepared to cause an open rupture with the (in Hannover fiercely criticized) leader were Otto Strasser, Kaufmann, Dr Goebbels and Pfeffer. The only one who had actually been able to weld together a political power block of any supra-regional significance was Gregor Strasser, but he chose for unity within the party. Gregor Strasser never intended to bring down Hitler or forcing a rift within the party, he only wanted to get rid of the reactionary Munich wing. The controversy within the AGNW showed that a break with the "spiritual leader" Adolf Hitler would probably lead to a disintegration of the movement.
According to Pfeffer they began to realize that a leader with defects still has to be preferred over not having any leader. The observation of (Hjalmar) Shank fits this context; he said that Hitler didn’t reach the top because of his own quality, but by the total absence of those qualities in others. The final defeat took place at a meeting about the leadership convened by Hitler in Bamberg (14 February 1926). Leading up to the meeting Kaufmann urged to take a clear political direction, however Gregor Strasser was not willing to break and was only interested to keep the discussion going, while Dr. Goebbels was indulged in unwarranted optimism. In the end it was Hitler who made clear fronts with his speech. He stated:
- An alliance with Italy and Great Britain against France
- War for lebensraum in the East
- No alliance with the Soviet Union
- Respect for legitimately acquired private property
- And a ban on every discussion concerning the party program
The struggle for direction farced Hitler to choose for a Volkischer course or a National-Socialist direction. He managed to find an acceptable way out; he praised himself as the third way and raised his own views for the party program. A meeting followed in Gottingen where the situation was discussed and where the Elberfeld group once and again enforced her socialist position. At the 3rd conference of the AGNW (Hannover, 21 February 1926) the decision was made that they wouldn’t give up. The influence of the left wing should be strengthened through further activity within the Party. The failure of the AGNW had no further effect on the plans to publish a new journal and it was also scheduled to bring together the shires Rhineland-North and Westphalia as one Ruhr shire to form a new power block within the NSDAP. From that time on the AGNW led a sleepy existence and was silently dissolved by Hitler on 1 July 1926.
woensdag 1 februari 2012
History of an organisation: the two-fold founding of the NSDAP
Early conflicts within the NSDAP
The conflicts based on the interpretation of National-Socialism date back from before 1925 and started during the early days of the party. Mainly the Sudeten Germans and Austrian National-Socialists were the ones who put the emphasis on the character as a true workers party, with which they emphasized the socialist character of the movement. During these days there certainly was an important discussion about the transferring of the means of production to the working class and they supported the necessity of non-politicized trade unions as representatives of the workers interests. With the Kapp-Putch of 1920 the leftwing of the NSDAP clearly distanced themselves from the reactionary "Junkertum" and the monarchists. In the struggle for power between Adolf Hitler and Anton Drexler, in 1921, the political positions of the left wing against landlordism played a major role. Hitler from the start aimed his worldview more on the racial doctrine and rejected the social and economic revolution propagated by the leftwing. He first wanted to create a unified nation before a start could be made with social reforms.
The Janus face of National-Socialism appeared as soon as in 1923. On the party congress in Munich (in January 1923) Hitler took a firm position to benefit the private property of entrepreneurs, while in Northern Germany an alliance was formed by the anti socialist and the union hostile Deutschvölkische Freiheitspartei (DVFP). Very swiftly resistance arose against this from local NSDAP groups in
The attitude of the NSDAP on parliamentary issues was also controversial. After they wanted to broaden their own organisational basis with the purpose to use parliaments as a platform for agitation, Hitler soon changed this direction and oriented himself along the lines of the KPD: extra-parliamentary mass movement and the revolutionary minority. The way to parliaments should only take place if a real possibility presented itself that allowed to take over total control. The prohibition of the party after the November Uprising was later used by Rosenberg, who through a merger with the DVFP started the parliamentarisation of the movement. The State power had to be conquered by using its political institutions. Hitler stated this political course in his publication Mein Kampf in the summer of 1925. Otto Strasser had argued earlier in 1924 for a dual strategy. Namely a formation of National-Socialists and Deutschvölkischen, who would use parliaments while winning the working class within the main industrial centres of the Reich. With this position he followed the same course as his brother Gregor, who despite his revolutionary orientation was one of the driving forces behind the alliance with the DVFP.
The directorate of North German organisations
As a protest against the merger with Deutschvölkischen (which was considered as a reactionary party of the bourgeois class) and against the parliamentary process of the movement the North German directorate was formed in June 1924. This group held noisy attacks on the parliamentarism, the excesses of capitalism and its bourgeoisie and denounced the dilution of National-Socialism by half-hearted compromises. The Directorate included local groups from Westphalia, Pomerania,
Typical for this directorate was their scepticism about the Führer prinzip (leader idea) and their dislike of the personality cult surrounding Hitler. They however recognized the leadership of Hitler without reservations even though the
The Elberfeld group
In Elberfeld, the centre of the National-Socialists and Deutschvölkischen in the
The two-fold founding of the NSDAP
On February 16, 1925, Hitler made it clear that he intended to re-establish the NSDAP without the participation of the Deutschvölkischen. His course concerning parliament remained unclear, but his main goals were the destruction of Marxism and the spread of anti-Semitism. As soon as the following day an agreement was made with Gregor Strasser. For the second time he joined the NSDAP, but this time as an employee and not as a follower. Hitler gave him the full authority over the party’s North German fraction. On February 22, 1925 the inaugural meeting of the NSDAP took place in
"Thus, my task will precisely be to meet the most diverse temperaments, abilities and characteristics, and give them that amount of space in which they - all working in tandem - can develop for the benefit of the general interest."
With this two wings within the NSDAP crystallized themselves:
1 - The Völkischer movement of the Reich that was founded in
2 - The in North and
The spiritual leaders of this last wing derived mostly from the "Konservative Revolution" (Niekisch, Jünger, Solomon) instead of the classical leftist scene. But these spiritual activators had little to do with the actual daily politics of National Socialist Left, which focused on strengthening the nation through social justice and redistribution of incomes. The leftwing within the NSDAP must not be seen as "socialist" in the classical Marxist sense, but nevertheless they had strong socialist demands and in this context they reacted significantly more radical than the usual social-populism of the traditional NS movement. Their idea of socialism could be seen as somewhere between full nationalization and social entrepreneurship on the one hand and a share in the profits and participation by workers in companies on the other. Unlike her predecessors in the early NSDAP (until 1923) this leftwing of the party orientated itself more on concrete social-economical developments while formulating their ideas substantially more clearly. For the strength and dynamics of National-Socialism, the social-revolutionary positions were of an enormous significance. To put it drastically: the leftist National-Socialists supplied the ammunition, with which the rise of National-Socialism into a mass movement was possible.
However the two-fold foundation of the NSDAP proceeded differently than Hitler had intended. Instead of a centralized and tightly from
Bourgeoisie or working class
The National-Socialist leftwing regarded the NSDAP as the workers party for main- and manual workers and increasingly urged the formation of National-Socialist trade unions. The party leadership however continued to postpone on this issue; they first had to find a suitable leader and sufficient financial resources. Dr. Goebbels even went a step further: The NSDAP had to be transformed into a party based on the class struggle, in terms of propaganda while simultaneously the focus should be on the working class. He furthermore claimed that companies should be extensively socialized.
Gregor Strasser also took a stand for a semi-socialist organization of agriculture and a collectivist economic system. The editorial office of the "Volkischer Beobachter" however tended to a more moderate kind of shares capitalism (instead of a total socialization) and a type of share in profits for the workers. Hitler's speeches at the Hamburg National Club (industrialists) and the industrialists in the