…Particular attention should be paid to the Press; for its influence on these people is by far the strongest and most penetrating of all; since its effect is not transitory but continual. Its immense significance lies in the uniform and persistent repetition of its teachings...
Adolf Hitler Speaks:
On the function of the so-called liberal German Press
“The function of the so-called liberal Press was to dig the grave for the German people and Reich.”
~ Adolf Hitler
“In journalistic circles it is a pleasing custom to speak of the Press as a ‘Great Power’ within the State. As a matter of fact its importance is immense. One cannot easily overestimate it, for the Press continues the work of education even in adult life. Generally, readers of the Press can be classified into three groups:
First, those who believe everything they read;
Second, those who no longer believe anything;
Third, those who critically examine what they read and form their judgments accordingly.
Numerically, the first group is by far the strongest, being composed of the broad masses of the people. Intellectually, it forms the simplest portion of the nation. It cannot be classified according to occupation but only into grades of intelligence. Under this category come all those who have not been born to to think for themselves or who have not learnt to do so and who, partly through incompetence and partly through ignorance, believe everything that is set before them in print. To these we must add that type of lazy individual who, although capable of thinking for himself out of sheer laziness gratefully absorbs everything that others had thought over, modestly believing this to have been thoroughly done. The influence which the Press has on all these people is therefore enormous; for after all they constitute the broad masses of a nation. But, somehow they are not in a position or are not willing personally to sift what is being served up to them; so that their whole attitude toward daily problems is almost solely the result of extraneous influence. All this can be advantageous where public enlightenment is of a serious and truthful character, but great harm is done when scoundrels and liars take a hand at this work.
The second group is numerically smaller, being partly composed of those who were formerly in the first group and after a series of bitter disappointments are now prepared to believe nothing of what they see in print. They hate all newspapers. Either they do not read them at all or they become exceptionally annoyed at their contents, which they hold to be nothing but congeries of lies and misstatements. These people are difficult to handle; for they will always be skeptical of the truth. Consequently, they are useless for any form of positive work.
The third group is easily the smallest, being composed of real intellectuals whom natural aptitude and education have taught to think for themselves and who in all things try to form their own judgments, while at the same time carefully sifting what they read. They will not read any newspaper without using their own intelligence to collaborate with that of the writer and naturally this does not set writers an easy task. Journalists appreciate this type of reader only with a certain amount of reservation.
Hence the trash that newspapers are capable of serving up is of little danger – much less of importance – to the members of the third group of readers. In the majority of cases these readers have learnt to regard every journalist as fundamentally a rogue who sometimes speaks the truth.
Most unfortunately, the blue of these readers lies in their intelligence and not in their numerical strength, an unhappy state of affairs in a period where wisdom counts for nothing and majorities for everything. Nowadays when the voting papers of the masses are the deciding factor; the decision lies in the hands of the numerically strongest group; that is to say the first group, the crowd of simpletons and the credulous.
It is an all-important interest of the State and the national duty to prevent these people from falling into the hands of false, ignorant or even evil-minded teachers. Therefore it is the duty of the State to supervise their education and prevent every form of offence in this respect. Particular attention should be paid to the Press; for its influence on these people is by far the strongest and most penetrating of all; since its effect is not transitory but continual. Its immense significance lies in the uniform and persistent repetition of its teachings. Here, if anywhere, the State should never forget that all means should converge towards the same end. It must not be led astray by the will-o’-the-wisp of so-called ‘freedom of the Press’, or be talked into neglecting its duty, and withholding from the nation that which is good and which does good. With ruthless determination the State must keep control of this instrument of popular education and place it at the service of the State and the Nation.
But what sort of pabulum was it that the German Press served up for the consumption of its readers in pre-War days? Was it not the worst virulent poison imaginable? Was not pacifism in its worst form inoculated into our people at a time when others were preparing slowly but surely to pounce upon Germany? Did not this self-same Press of ours in peace time already instil into the public mind a doubt as to the sovereign rights of the State itself, thereby already handicapping the State in choosing its means of defence? Was it not the German Press that understood how to make all the nonsensical talk about ‘Western democracy’ palatable to our people, until an exuberant public was eventually prepared to entrust its future to the League of Nations? Was not this Press instrumental in bringing in a state of moral degradation among our people? Were not morals and public decency made to look ridiculous and classed as out-of-date and banal, until finally our people also became modernized? By means of persistent attacks, did not the Press keep on undermining the authority of the State, until one blow sufficed to bring this institution tottering to the ground? Did not the Press oppose with all its might every movement to give the State that which belongs to the State, and by means of constant criticism, injure the reputation of the army, sabotage general conscription and demand refusal of military credits, etc. – until the success of this campaign was assured?
The function of the so-called liberal Press was to dig the grave for the German people and Reich. No mention need be made of the lying Marxist Press. To them the spreading of falsehood is as much a vital necessity as the mouse is to the cat. Their sole task is to break the national backbone of the people, thus preparing the nation to become the slaves of international finance and its masters, the Jews.
And what measures did the State take to counteract this wholesale poisoning of the public mind? None, absolutely nothing at all. By this policy it was hoped to win the favour of this pest – by means of flattery, by a recognition of the ‘value’ of the Press, its ‘importance’, its ‘educative mission’ and similar nonsense. The Jews acknowledged all this with a knowing smile and returned the thanks.
The reason for this ignominious failure on the part of the State lay not so much in its refusal to realize the danger as in the out-and-out cowardly way of meeting the situation by the adoption of faulty and ineffective measures. No one had the courage to employ any energetic and radical methods. Everyone temporised in some way or other; and instead of striking at its heart, the viper was only further irritated. The result was that not only did everything remain as it was, but the power of this institution which should have been combated grew greater from year to year.
The defence put up by the Government in those days against a mainly Jew-controlled Press that was slowly corrupting the nation, followed no definite line of action, it had no determination behind it and above all, no fixed objective whatsoever in view. This is where official understanding of the situation completely failed both in estimating the importance of the struggle, choosing means and deciding on a definite plan. They merely tinkered with problem. Occasionally, when bitten, they imprisoned one or another journalistic viper for a few weeks or months, but the whole poisonous brood was allowed to carry on in peace.
It must be admitted that all this was partly the result of extraordinary crafty tactics on the part of Jewry on the one hand, and obvious official stupidity or naivety on the other hand. The Jews were too clever to allow a simultaneous attack to be made on the whole of their Press. No one section functioned as cover for the other. While the Marxist newspaper, in the most despicable manner possible, reviled everything that was sacred, furiously attacked the State and Government and incited certain classes of the community against each other, the bourgeois-democratic papers, also in Jewish hands, knew how to camouflage themselves as model examples of objectivity. They studiously avoided harsh language, knowing well that blockheads are capable of judging only by external appearances and never able to penetrate to the real depth and meaning of anything. They measure the worth of an object by its exterior and not by its content. This form of human frailty was carefully studied and understood by the Press.
For this class of blockheads the Frankfurter Zeitung would be acknowledged as the essence of respectability. It always carefully avoided calling a spade a spade. It deprecated the use of every form of physical force and persistently appealed to the nobility of fighting with ‘intellectual’ weapons. But this fight, curiously enough, was most popular with the least intellectual classes. That is one of the results of our defective education, which turns the youth away from the instinctive dictates of Nature, pumps into them a certain amount of knowledge without however being able to bring them to what is the supreme act of knowing. To this end diligence and good will are of no avail, if innate understanding fail. This final knowledge at which man must aim is the understanding of causes which are instinctively perceived.
Let me explain: Man must not fall into the error of thinking that he was ever meant to become lord and master of Nature. A lopsided education has helped to encourage that illusion. Man must realize that a fundamental law of necessity reigns throughout the whole realm of Nature and that his existence is subject to the law of eternal struggle and strife. He will then feel that there cannot be a separate law for for mankind in a world in which planets and suns follow their orbits, where moons and planets trace their destined paths, where the strong are always the masters of the weak and where those subject to such laws must obey them or be destroyed. Man must also submit to the eternal principles of this supreme wisdom. He may try to understand them but he can never free himself from their sway.
It is just for intellectual demi-monde that the Jew writes those papers which he calls his ‘intellectual’ Press. For them the Frankfurter Zeitung and Berliner Tageblatt are written, the tone being adapted to them, and it is over these people that such papers have an influence. While studiously avoiding all forms of expression that might strike the reader as crude, the poison is injected from other vials into the hearts of the clientele. The effervescent tone and the fine phraseology lull the readers into believing that a love of knowledge and moral principle is the sole driving force that determines the policy of such papers, whereas in reality these features represent a cunning way of disarming any opposition that might be directed against the Jews and their Press.
They make such a parade of respectability that the imbecile readers are all the more ready to believe that the excesses which other papers indulge in are only of a mild nature and not such as to warrant legal action being taken against them. Indeed such action might trespass on the freedom of the Press, that expression being a euphemism under which papers escape legal punishment for deceiving the public and poisoning the public mind. Hence the authorities are very slow indeed to take any steps against these journalistic bandits for fear of immediately alienating the sympathy of the so-called respectable Press. A fear that is only too-well founded, for the moment any attempt is made to proceed against any member of the gutter press all the others rush to its assistance at once, not indeed to support its policy but simply and solely to defend the principle of freedom of the Press and liberty of public opinion. This outcry will succeed in cowering the most stalwart; for it comes from the mouth of what is called decent journalism.
And so this poison was allowed to enter the national bloodstream and infect public life without the Government taking any effectual measures to master the course of the disease. The ridiculous half-measures that were taken were in themselves an indication of the process of disintegration what was already threatening to break up the Empire. For an institution practically surrenders its existence when it is no longer determined to defend itself with all the weapons at its command. Every half-measure is the outward expression of an internal process of decay which must lead to an external collapse sooner or later.
I believe that our present generation would easily master this danger if they were rightly led. For this generation has gone through certain experiences which must have strengthened the nerves of all those who did not become nervously broken by them. Certainly in days to come the Jews will raise a tremendous cry throughout their newspapers once a hand is laid on their favourite nest, once a move is made to put an end to this scandalous Press and once this instrument which shapes public opinion is brought under State control and no longer left in the hands of aliens and enemies of the people. I am certain that this will be easier for us than it was for our fathers. The scream of the twelve-inch shrapnel is more penetrating than the hiss from a thousand Jewish newspaper vipers. Therefore let them go on with their hissing.
Mein Kampf, Chapter X – Why the Second Reich Collapsed, Pages 191-195
James Murphy, Hurst & Blackett, 1939