BEFORE THE MUNICH COURT

SPEECH OF FEBRUARY 26, 1924

IT SEEMS strange to me that a man who, as a soldier, was for six years accustomed to blind obedience, should suddenly come into conflict with the State and its Constitution. The reasons for this stem from the days of my youth. When I was seventeen I came to Vienna, and there I learned to study and observe three important problems: the social question, the race problem, and, finally, the Marxist movement. I left Vienna a confirmed anti-Semite, a deadly foe of the whole Marxist world outlook, and pan-German in my political principles. And since I knew that the German destiny of German-Austria would not be fought out in the Austrian Army alone, but in the German and Austrian Army, I enlisted in the German Army....

When, on November 7, [1918] it was announced that the Revolution had broken out in Munich, I at first could not believe it. At that time there arose in me the determination to devote myself to politics. I went through the period of the Soviets, and as a result of my opposition to them I came in contact with the National Socialist German Workers Movement, which at that time numbered six members. I was the seventh. I attached myself to this party, and not to one of the great political parties where my prospects would have been better, because none of the other parties understood or even recognized the decisive, fundamental problem.

By Marxism I understand a doctrine which in principle rejects the idea of the worth of personality, which replaces individual energy by the masses and thereby works the destruction of our whole cultural life. This movement has utilized monstrously effective methods and exercised tremendous influence on the masses, which in the course of three or four decades could have no other result than that the individual has become his own brother's foe, while at the same time calling a Frenchman, an Englishman, or a Zulu his brother. This movement is distinguished by incredible terror, which is based on a knowledge of mass psychology....

The German Revolution is a revolution, and therefore successful high treason; it is well known that such treason is never punished....

For us it was a filthy crime against the German people, a stab in the back of the German nation. The middle class could not take up arms against it because the middle class did not understand the whole revolution. It was necessary to start a new struggle and to incite against the Marxist despoilers of the people who did not even belong to the German race - which is where the Marxist problem is linked with the race problem, forming one of the most difficult and profound questions of our time....

Personally, at the beginning I held a lost position. Nevertheless, in the course of a few years there has grown from a little band of six men a movement which today embraces millions and which, above all, has once made the broad masses nationalistic....

In 1923 came the great and bitter scandal. As early as 1922 we had seen that the Ruhr was about to be lost. France's aim was not merely to weaken Germany, to keep her from obtaining supremacy, but to break her up into small states so that she [France] would be able to hold the Rhine frontier. After all the Government's reiterations of our weakness, we knew that on top of the Saar and Upper Silesia we would lose our third coal region, the Ruhr; each loss brought on the next one....

Only burning, ruthless, brutal fanaticism could have saved the situation. The Reich Government should have let the hundreds of thousands of young men who were pouring out of the Ruhr into the Reich under the old colors of black-white-red flow together in a mighty national wave. Instead, these young people were sent back home. The resistance that was organized was for wages; the national resistance was degraded to a paid general strike. It was forgotten that a foe like France cannot be prayed away, still less can he be idled away....

Our youth has - and may this be heard in Paris - but one thought: that the day may come when we shall again be free. .. . . My attitude is this: I would rather that Germany go Bolshevist and I be hanged than that she should be destroyed by the French rule of the sword.... It turned out that the back-stabbers were stronger than ever.... With pride I admit that our men were the only ones to really resist in the Ruhr. We intended to hold fourteen meetings and introduce a propaganda campaign throughout Germany with the slogan: DOWN WITH THE RUHR TRAITORS!, But we were surprised by the banning of these mass meetings. I had met Herr von Kahr in 1920. Kahr had impressed me as being an honest official. I asked him why the fourteen mass meetings had been banned. The reason he gave me simply would not hold water. THE REAL REASON WAS SOMETHING THAT COULD NOT BE REVEALED. . - -

From the very first day the watchword was: UNLIMITED STRUGGLE AGAINST BERLIN....

The struggle against Berlin, as Dr. von Kahr would lead it, is a crime; one must have the courage to be logical and see that the struggle must be incorporated in the German national uprising. I said that all that had been made of this struggle was a Bavarian rejection of Berlin's requests. But the people expected something other than a reduction in the price of beer, regulation of the price of milk and confiscation of butter tubs and other such impossible economic proposals - proposals which make you want to ask: who is the genius that is advising them? Every failure could only further enrage the masses, and I pointed out that while the people were now only laughing at Kahr's measures, later on they would rise up against them. I said: 'Either you finish the job - and there is only the political and military struggle left. When you cross the Rubicon, you must march on Rome. Or else you do not want to struggle; then only capitulation is left....'

The struggle had to turn toward the North; it could not be led by a purely Bavarian organization . . . I said: 'The only man to head it is Ludendorff.'

I had first seen Ludendorff in 1918, in the field. In 1920 I first spoke personally with him. I saw that he was not only the outstanding general, but that he had now learned the lesson and understood what had brought the German nation to ruin. That Ludendorff was talked down by the others was one more reason for me to come closer to him. I therefore proposed Ludendorff, and Lossow and Seisser had no objections.

I further explained to Lossow that right now nothing could be accomplished by petty economic measures. The fight was against Marxism. To solve this problem, not administrators were needed but firebrands who would be in a position to inflame the national spirit to the extreme. Kahr could not do that, I pointed out; the youth were not behind him. I declared that I could join them only on the condition that the political struggle was put into my hands alone. This was not impudence or immodesty; I believe that when a man knows he can do a job, he must not be modest....

One thing was certain: Lossow, Kahr, and Seisser had the same goal that we had: to get rid of the Reich Government with its present international and parliamentary position, and to replace it by an anti-parliamentary government. If our undertaking was actually high treason, then during this whole period Lossow, Seisser, and Kahr must have been committing high treason along with us - for during all those months we talked of nothing but the aims of which we now stand accused....

How could we have called for a new government if we had not known that the gentlemen in power were altogether on our side? How else could we, two days before, have given such orders as: at 8:30 o'clock such and such a government will be proclaimed....

Lossow talked of a coup d'etat. Kahr quite openly declared that he would give the word to strike. The only possible interpretation of this talk is that these men wanted to strike, but each time lost their nerve. Our last conversation, on November 6, was for me the absolute confirmation of my belief that these men wanted to, but - !....