By Hermann Goering
In Bavaria the Party had already reached its zenith. At the same time the Bavarian Government Party considered that the time had come to exploit the general discontent with the Berlin Government: they would move to the attack and therewith split the Reich. Hitler himself was firmly resolved to prevent this happening and to use the disgust with Berlin to organize a united and general attack against the Government of the Reich as such. The events which led up to the so-called Hitler Putsch are well known and it would take up too much space to describe them here. On the 9th November, 1923, on the fifth anniversary of the shameful November revolt, it was planned to strike the decisive blow. Confidently trusting the solemn promises of von Kahr, Lossow and Seisser (Government, Army and Police), Hitler, in the night from the 8th to the 9th November, proclaimed the new Germany and declared the Government of the Reich to be removed from office. On the following day the march to Berlin was to have started. We know today that Herr von Kahr, as representing Catholic and Wittelsbach tendencies, had planned quite a different action for the 12th November. And so the movement, without knowing it, had, by its action, saved the unity of the Reich.
At about noon on the 9th November the first of the unarmed marching and singing columns of the fighters for freedom were treacherously shot down by the police near the Feldherrnhalle in Munich. Eighteen sacrificed their lives and many more were wounded. Beside Hitler marched General Ludendorff, and beside Ludendorff myself as commanding officer of the Storm Troops. Hitler and Ludendorff were saved as by a miracle. I myself fell, seriously wounded by two shots. Abruptly and brutally the rattle of the machine-guns had wrecked the rejoicings and had murdered the hope of freedom. Once more, as has happened several times in German history, treachery prevented victory. The young movement which had only just sprung up, seemed already destroyed. The followers were dispersed, the leaders in prison, wounded or in exile. To the weak, once more discouraged, it seemed as if Germany was now finally lost.
But it soon became clear that these sacrifices had not been in vain. The seed sown in blood began wonderfully to put out shoots. The fighters the activities, were united more firmly than ever. Hitler himself was stronger, more experienced, more confident in the future than ever before. During his imprisonment the situation seemed hopeless. But he had hardly been released when the enormous attractive force of this leader and prophet became apparent. He took the banner into his own hands again, and immediately the old fighters gathered round him afresh and thousands of new ones as well. The movement was now established not only in Bavaria, but also in North Germany. With the march to the Feldherrnhalle in Munich the young movement had made its entry into world history, and had taken over the leadership and direction of the struggle for freedom, honour, work and bread which was now beginning. For the future no other organization could lay claim to the same position. It was a Middle-class Government which had given the order to shoot down the soldiers of National Socialism at the Feldherrnhalle. And therewith many honest German workers lost the last traces of mistrust towards the movement. The Middle Class parties could no longer take in the people with the lie that they represented the nation. At the Feldherrnhalle they had come out in their true colours, and there it was that National Socialism finally tore from the Bourgeoisie their distorted idea of Nationalism. In the same way the movement could no longer allow the Social Democrats to call themselves the representatives of Socialism. The Middle Classes had taken the sublime conception of Nationalism, which is to promote the good of the whole people, and had degraded it to jingoism, which has its roots in alcohol and in the winning of profits. In the same way the Social Democrats’ had taken the pure conception of Socialism, which means service to the community and the right of each individual to live a decent life, and had degraded it to a mere question of food and wages.
Germany was split into two hostile camps; on the one hand the Proletariat, and on the other the Middle Classes. The Middle Classes appeared as the representatives of Nationalism, hated by the workers as the symbol of compulsion and oppression; the Proletariat, hated and feared by the cowardly Bourgeoisie, appeared as the symbol of destruction and the abolition of private property. The two ideas seemed mutually exclusive and inevitably opposed to each other. lf the one side seemed to offend against the nation, then the other side offended against the people. There could be no bridge built between the two parties; there could be no reconciliation. Hitler saw that the distortion of these two ideas had brought about the division of the people, and that as long as they remained distorted no unity was possible. Therefore he took the symbols from both parties and melted them in the crucible of our philosophy to make a new synthesis. The result was National Socialism, which is the unique and indissoluble union of the two ideas at their deepest and finest. He explained to the workers that there can be no socialism, no socialist justice, unless one is prepared to recognize the good of the whole nation. He who would better the lot of the individual must be ready to better the lot of the whole nation. At the same time he convinced supporters of the Middle Classes that they could never achieve national strength and unity unless they were ready to grant each individual fellow-countryman his rights, unless they were ready to look upon the lot of each individual fellow-countryman as their own personal concern. He explained to both sides that Nationalism and Socialism are not mutually exclusive, but are absolutely necessary to each other. He thus combined both ideas to one philosophy, and he had then logically to bring the representatives of the two ideas together and to unite them and thus achieve national solidarity. And so it will always remain Hitler’s greatest merit that he did not bridge over the gulf between Proletariat and Bourgeoisie, but filled it in by hurling both Marxism and the Bourgeois parties into the abyss. Thus the ruinous war between classes and parties was brought to an end, and the unity of the nation and the solidarity of the people was achieved.