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Hitler on British Values (4)



In the first volume of this book I discussed the inadequacy of our policy of alliances before the War. There were four possible ways to secure the necessary foodstuffs for the maintenance of our people. Of these ways the fourth, which was the most unfavourable, was chosen. Instead of a sound policy of territorial expansion in Europe, our rulers embarked on a policy of colonial and trade expansion. That policy was all the more mistaken inasmuch as they presumed that in this way the danger of an armed conflict would be averted. The result of the attempt to sit on many stools at the same time might have been foreseen. It let us fall to the ground in the midst of them all. And the World War was only the last reckoning presented to the Reich to pay for the failure of its foreign policy. 

The right way that should have been taken in those days was the third way I indicated: namely, to increase the strength of the Reich as a Continental Power by the acquisition of new territory in Europe. And at the same time a further expansion, through the subsequent acquisition of colonial territory, might thus be brought within the range of practical politics. Of course, this policy could not have been carried through except in alliance with England, or by devoting such abnormal efforts to the increase of military force and armament that, for forty or fifty years, all cultural undertakings would have to be completely relegated to the background. This responsibility might very well have been undertaken. The cultural importance of a nation is almost always dependent on its political freedom and independence. Political freedom is a prerequisite condition for the existence, or rather the creation, of great cultural undertakings. Accordingly no sacrifice can be too great when there is question of securing the political freedom of a nation. What might have to be deducted from the budget expenses for cultural purposes, in order to meet abnormal demands for increasing the military power of the State, can be generously paid back later on. Indeed, it may be said that after a State has concentrated all its resources in one effort for the purpose of securing its political independence a certain period of ease and renewed equilibrium sets in. And it often happens that the cultural spirit of the nation, which had been heretofore cramped and confined, now suddenly blooms forth. Thus Greece experienced the great Periclean era after the miseries it had suffered during the Persian Wars. And the Roman Republic turned its energies to the cultivation of a higher civilization when it was freed from the stress and worry of the Punic Wars. 

Of course, it could not be expected that a parliamentary majority of feckless and stupid people would be capable of deciding on such a resolute policy for the absolute subordination of all other national interests to the one sole task of preparing for a future conflict of arms which would result in establishing the security of the State. The father of Frederick the Great sacrificed everything in order to be ready for that conflict; but the fathers of our absurd parliamentarian democracy, with the Jewish hall-mark, could not do it. 

That is why, in pre-War times, the military preparation necessary to enable us to conquer new territory in Europe was only very mediocre, so that it was difficult to obtain the support of really helpful allies. 

Those who directed our foreign affairs would not entertain even the idea of systematically preparing for war. They rejected every plan for the acquisition of territory in Europe. And by preferring a policy of colonial and trade expansion, they sacrificed the alliance with England, which was then possible. At the same time they neglected to seek the support of Russia, which would have been a logical proceeding. Finally they stumbled into the World War, abandoned by all except the ill-starred Habsburgs. 

The characteristic of our present foreign policy is that it follows no discernible or even intelligible lines of action. Whereas before the War a mistake was made in taking the fourth way that I have mentioned, and this was pursued only in a halfhearted manner, since the Revolution not even the sharpest eye can detect any way that is being followed. Even more than before the War, there is absolutely no such thing as a systematic plan, except the systematic attempts that are made to destroy the last possibility of a national revival. 

If we make an impartial examination of the situation existing in Europe to-day as far as concerns the relation of the various Powers to one another, we shall arrive at the following results: 


For the past three hundred years the history of our Continent has been definitely determined by England’s efforts to keep the European States opposed to one another in an equilibrium of forces, thus assuring the necessary protection of her own rear while she pursued the great aims of British world-policy. 

The traditional tendency of British diplomacy ever since the reign of Queen Elizabeth has been to employ systematically every possible means to prevent any one Power from attaining a preponderant position over the other European Powers and, if necessary, to break that preponderance by means of armed intervention. The only parallel to this has been the tradition of the Prussian Army. England has made use of various forces to carry out its purpose, choosing them according to the actual situation or the task to be faced; but the will and determination to use them has always been the same. The more difficult England’s position became in the course of history the more the British Imperial Government considered it necessary to maintain a condition of political paralysis among the various European States, as a result of their mutual rivalries. When the North American colonies obtained their political independence it became still more necessary for England to use every effort to establish and maintain the defence of her flank in Europe. In accordance with this policy she reduced Spain and the Netherlands to the position of inferior naval Powers. Having accomplished this, England concentrated all her forces against the increasing strength of France, until she brought about the downfall of Napoleon Bonaparte and therewith destroyed the military hegemony of France, which was the most dangerous rival that England had to fear. 

The change of attitude in British statesmanship towards Germany took place only very slowly, not only because the German nation did not represent an obvious danger for England as long as it lacked national unification, but also because public opinion in England, which had been directed to other quarters by a system of propaganda that had been carried out for a long time, could be turned to a new direction only by slow degrees. In order to reach the proposed ends the calmly reflecting statesman had to bow to popular sentiment, which is the most powerful motive-force and is at the same time the most lasting in its energy. When the statesman has attained one of his ends, he must immediately turn his thoughts to others; but only by degrees and the slow work of propaganda can the sentiment of the masses be shaped into an instrument for the attainment of the new aims which their leaders have decided on. 


As early as 1870-71 England had decided on the new stand it would take. On certain occasions minor oscillations in that policy were caused by the growing influence of America in the commercial markets of the world and also by the increasing political power of Russia; but, unfortunately, Germany did not take advantage of these and, therefore, the original tendency of British diplomacy was only reinforced. 

England looked upon Germany as a Power which was of world importance commercially and politically and which, partly because of its enormous industrial development, assumed such threatening proportions that the two countries already contended against one another in the same sphere and with equal energy. The so-called peaceful conquest of the world by commercial enterprise, which, in the eyes of those who governed our public affairs at that time, represented the highest peak of human wisdom, was just the thing that led English statesmen to adopt a policy of resistance. That this resistance assumed the form of an organized aggression on a vast scale was in full conformity with a type of statesmanship which did not aim at the maintenance of a dubious world peace but aimed at the consolidation of British world-hegemony. In carrying out this policy, England allied herself with those countries which had a definite military importance. And that was in keeping with her traditional caution in estimating the power of her adversary and also in recognizing her own temporary weakness. That line of conduct cannot be called unscrupulous; because such a comprehensive organization for war purposes must not be judged from the heroic point of view but from that of expediency. The object of a diplomatic policy must not be to see that a nation goes down heroically but rather that it survives in a practical way. Hence every road that leads to this goal is opportune and the failure to take it must be looked upon as a criminal neglect of duty. 

When the German Revolution took place England’s fears of a German world hegemony came to a satisfactory end. 

From that time it was not an English interest to see Germany totally cancelled from the geographic map of Europe. On the contrary, the astounding collapse which took place in November 1918 found British diplomacy confronted with a situation which at first appeared untenable. 

For four-and-a-half years the British Empire had fought to break the presumed preponderance of a Continental Power. A sudden collapse now happened which removed this Power from the foreground of European affairs. That collapse disclosed itself finally in the lack of even the primordial instinct of self-preservation, so that European equilibrium was destroyed within forty-eight hours. Germany was annihilated and France became the first political Power on the Continent of Europe. 

The tremendous propaganda which was carried on during this war for the purpose of encouraging the British public to stick it out to the end aroused all the primitive instincts and passions of the populace and was bound eventually to hang as a leaden weight on the decisions of British statesmen. With the colonial, economical and commercial destruction of Germany, England’s war aims were attained. Whatever went beyond those aims was an obstacle to the furtherance of British interests. Only the enemies of England could profit by the disappearance of Germany as a Great Continental Power in Europe. In November 1918, however, and up to the summer of 1919, it was not possible for England to change its diplomatic attitude; because during the long war it had appealed, more than it had ever done before, to the feelings of the populace. In view of the feeling prevalent among its own people, England could not change its foreign policy; and another reason which made that impossible was the military strength to which other European Powers had now attained. France had taken the direction of peace negotiations into her own hands and could impose her law upon the others. During those months of negotiations and bargaining the only Power that could have altered the course which things were taking was Germany herself; but Germany was torn asunder by a civil war, and her so-called statesmen had declared themselves ready to accept any and every dictate imposed on them. 

Now, in the comity of nations, when one nation loses its instinct for self-preservation and ceases to be an active member it sinks to the level of an enslaved nation and its territory will have to suffer the fate of a colony. 

To prevent the power of France from becoming too great, the only form which English negotiations could take was that of participating in France’s lust for aggrandizement. 


As a matter of fact, England did not attain the ends for which she went to war. Not only did it turn out impossible to prevent a Continental Power from obtaining a preponderance over the ratio of strength in the Continental State system of Europe, but a large measure of preponderance had been obtained and firmly established. 

In 1914 Germany, considered as a military State, was wedged in between two countries, one of which had equal military forces at its disposal and the other had greater military resources. Then there was England’s overwhelming supremacy at sea. France and Russia alone hindered and opposed the excessive aggrandizement of Germany. The unfavourable geographical situation of the Reich, from the military point of view, might be looked upon as another coefficient of security against an exaggerated increase of German power. From the naval point of view, the configuration of the coast-line was unfavourable in case of a conflict with England. And though the maritime frontier was short and cramped, the land frontier was widely extended and open. 

France’s position is different to-day. It is the first military Power without a serious rival on the Continent. It is almost entirely protected by its southern frontier against Spain and Italy. Against Germany it is safeguarded by the prostrate condition of our country. A long stretch of its coast-line faces the vital nervous system of the British Empire. Not only could French aeroplanes and long-range batteries attack the vital centres of the British system, but submarines can threaten the great British commercial routes. A submarine campaign based on France’s long Atlantic coast and on the European and North African coasts of the Mediterranean would have disastrous consequences for England. 

Thus the political results of the war to prevent the development of German power was the creation of a French hegemony on the Continent. The military result was the consolidation of France as the first Continental Power and the recognition of American equality on the sea. The economic result was the cession of great spheres of British interests to her former allies and associates. 

The Balkanization of Europe, up to a certain degree, was desirable and indeed necessary in the light of the traditional policy of Great Britain, just as France desired the Balkanization of Germany. 

What England has always desired, and will continue to desire, is to prevent any one Continental Power in Europe from attaining a position of world importance. Therefore England wishes to maintain a definite equilibrium of forces among the European States - for this equilibrium seems a necessary condition of England’s world-hegemony. 

What France has always desired, and will continue to desire, is to prevent Germany from becoming a homogeneous Power. Therefore France wants to maintain a system of small German States whose forces would balance one another and over which there should be no central government. Then, by acquiring possession of the left bank of the Rhine, she would have fulfilled the pre-requisite conditions for the establishment and security of her hegemony in Europe. 

The final aims of French diplomacy must be in perpetual opposition to the final tendencies of British statesmanship. 

Taking these considerations as a starting-point, anyone who investigates the possibilities that exist for Germany to find allies must come to the conclusion that there remains no other way of forming an alliance except to approach England. The consequences of England’s war policy were and are disastrous for Germany. However, we cannot close our eyes to the fact that, as things stand to-day, the necessary interests of England no longer demand the destruction of Germany. On the contrary, British diplomacy must tend more and more, from year to year, towards curbing France’s unbridled lust after hegemony. Now, a policy of alliances cannot be pursued by bearing past grievances in mind, but it can be rendered fruitful by taking account of past experiences. Experience should have taught us that alliances formed for negative purposes suffer from intrinsic weakness. The destinies of nations can be welded together only under the prospect of a common success, of common gain and conquest, in short, a common extension of power for both contracting parties.