The role of coming generations—Extension of the Germanic idea—A new name for the Reich capital—Youth should lead youth—Influence of the National Socialist youth within the family—Propaganda—The role of the Press in national education.
During dinner photographs were passed round, showing the Reich Youth Leader in the company of Youth Group Leaders, male and female, from Norway, Denmark, Holland, etc., the Fuehrer expressed himself as follows: It is an excellent thing that Axmann has been at the front as a soldier. The loss of an arm in battle will undoubtedly enhance his prestige with the youths, not only of Germany, but also of the other countries. I am very pleased, too, to welcome Axmann’s efforts, and to see how he strives continuously to bind the youth of the German lands with ever closer bonds to National Socialism and to the German way of thought. For once youth has been won over to an idea, an action like that of yeast sets in. Youth effervesces and goes on working and working for an idea, regardless of anything that the older generation can do to stop them. Even in Denmark, the opposition of the older generations will not prevent the youth from adopting in ever-increasing numbers the German way of thought, for they feel they spring from the same racial origins.
Following the example of Bismarck, who never ceased to preach the pan-Germanic idea to the Bavarians, the Prussians, etc., we must systematically draw all the Germanic peoples of continental Europe into the German channel of thought. I really believe that by re-naming Berlin the capital of our Reich “Germania,” we would give very considerable impetus to the movement. The name Germania for the capital of the Reich in its new representative form would be very appropriate, for it would give to every member of the German community, however far away from the capital he may be, a feeling of unity and closer membership. There would be no technical difficulty about re-naming Berlin, as we can see from the Germanisation of Gdynia into Gotenhafen and the changing of the name of Lodz into Litzmannstadt.
In the same way as the press, the school also must be used as an instrument for the education of the people, and must therefore be organised and directed without any regard for private interests. The school alone, however, as the instrument for the education of youth, does not suffice, because it is too prone to give priority of interest to purely academic achievement. It is for this reason that I have formed the supplementary organisation of the Hitlerjugend and endowed it with the bold motto “Die Jugend von Jugend gefuehrt werden soll”—Youth must be led by Youth.
In the choice of leaders for the Hitler Youth and of teachers for the Department of Education, our first principle must be to ensure that these instructors of both kinds are chosen from men who will remain as an example to youth for the rest of their lives, exactly as the instructors in the gymnasia of Ancient Greece set the example of bodily and spiritual perfection to the youth submitted to their charge. It is between the ages of ten and seventeen, that youth exhibits both the greatest enthusiasm and the greatest idealism.
It is also during these years of adolescent development that a child’s sensibility is at its strongest. How many of our leading Party members were originally brought into the National Socialist movement by the influence of their own children! Again and again young people, filled with enthusiasm for National Socialism, have succeeded first in persuading their mother, and then, with her help, in winning over the father for the NSDAP.
Conversation then turned to questions of administration, the complexities of its organisation and the duplication of effort which not infrequently ensued. The Fuehrer said: It is only by means of the concentration of the whole machinery of press and propaganda in one single organisation that a unified direction of the press can be assured. And a unified press is a prerequisite, if the press is to enjoy the confidence of the people and thus also to become effective as an instrument of popular education.
How little this was understood in the circle of the so-called national press was brought home to me in 1920 in the course of an altercation with the Reverend Traub, the editor of Eiserne Blätter. When I told the reverend gentleman as bluntly as I could that a free press must give way to a unified and controlled press, because the former was nothing more nor less than a free forum for the dissemination of Jewish impertinences, he crumpled entirely. The mentality of the so-called Nationalists of the type of the Reverend Traub was very correctly assessed by Dietrich Eckart, when he declared that the Eiserne Blätter (Pages of Iron) should more properly be called “Blecherne Blätter” (Pages of Lead).
What an enormously important instrument for the education of public opinion the press could become was never understood by the so-called Nationalists. And yet, what other instrument is so well suited to the purpose? I myself put the press on the same footing as the Department of Education, and in both cases, I maintain, private interests must play no part whatsoever, either in their organisation or in the control of them.