Internal and External German Freedom

by Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg

Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg

Whenever talk comes around to freedom, some of the most vehement disputes in world history arise for our mind’s eye. Not only were all revolutions tied to the idea of freedom but severe tyranny was often allied with the idea of freedom in the course of history. It was freedom that the ancient tyrannical murderers called for; it was freedom the slaves in ancient Rome yearned for when they rendered the fatal blow against an honorable system; it was for freedom of conscience that caused religious reformers to fight against traditional dogmas; it was freedom of science that had been defended in thousands of scientific laboratories against the medieval church. Finally, the question of whether human freedom and a free will exist at all has been investigated by many great philosophers. It is clear to see that whenever there was a major movement in religious, scientific or political life, it was almost always bound to the idea of freedom. The fact that millions and millions of people followed this idea and fought for it in all fields, will forever dignify freedom for us regardless of the dross that is attached to this idea.

Nobody dares to make a dogmatic decision on whether man is free or not. The representatives of both sides argue vehemently for their point of view and in an equally compelling manner. Especially since the rise of the exact sciences the attempt to completely integrate man into nature has increasingly been accompanied by the argument that the idea of a free will is an illusion and that therefore all consequences derived from this idea must be declared null and void. Only thinkers who honestly acknowledged both sides of the questions and the consequences of both sides were able to provide an idea of where to surmise a solution. It was especially Kant who anticipated findings of the exact natural sciences and integrated man into the laws of nature, just like any other natural or living phenomena. In the manner of a natural scientist drawing physical conclusions, he investigated just as thoroughly, the inner nature of man. He finally arrived at the seemingly paradoxical conclusion that man is perfectly unfree but nevertheless free.

Similar to Goethe, Kant saw that man is a member of two worlds that mutually influence one another. The origins of these worlds are different and cannot be traced down to their very roots. It seems that, without voicing any dogmatic opinion, we may well stand on Kant’s foundation. With equal truth we can face the fact that human life is dependent on many influences of its world and environment. In the game of life that we will never completely comprehend, man is but a bridged period of power, just like any other living being. We have to acknowledge a certain inner force that enables man to consciously live and die for an idea, which proves the existence of a force of some sort. That contravenes the other principles of existence and thus leaves us to assume a force that is not beyond the ideas of space, time and causality. Certainly there is no perfect freedom, even if we want to acknowledge free will as such. Freedom is contingent on external possibilities and internal „Gestalt’, but in my eyes this very fact is the only possible presentation of freedom. In the life of a nation, therefore, freedom does not mean the opportunity to achieve everything and, individual freedom cannot mean that one can create, invent or form everything. On the contrary, freedom has to be thought or as a „Gestalt”. This means that freedom, in the sense of creative power, opposes the tyranny of performed patterns, and it also opposes the arbitrariness of chaos and the absence of „Gestalt”.

If we take a look at intellectual and political disputes from this point of view, we find nowhere that freedom equals freedom and the claim to be free. This means the claim for opportunities to create is not given to everybody and must not be given to everybody. True freedom, as a demand and opportunity must always be accompanied by biological power, character and a creative soul. There are individual personalities and there are national personalities. For the latter, an over-extension of freedom opportunities cannot be allowed and a limitation is necessary for the benefit of everybody. It can be seen from the life and lot of many fanatic philosophers and demagogic people’s courts that it may result in a fatal destabilization of powers caused by driving ambition and extravagant will that arise because certain external forces are missing. The examples of the Grachas of Rienzi, Mirabeau and many figures in today’s political life show all too clearly that freedom and law have to form a unit. This fact is expressed in Goethe’s very belief that: „only laws will bring us freedom”.

Duly external ties shape internal creation. This is where the old German understanding of freedom that today is represented in National Socialism reappears. This concept is entirely different from the liberte of the French Revolution and different from the raving madness of Marxist-Bolshevist destruction. The other nations never quite understood this German concept of freedom as they generally never grasped the inner side of the concept of personality. The French historian Guizot once coined a phrase that Goethe especially loved: „it was the Germans who first introduced the concept of personality to the European nations“. It was a concept of Gestalt, in sharp distinction to all egalitarian phrases and confused political constructions. However, it was the concept of a personality that consciously defends its individuality and winds circles of creative performances around a deep and firm inner core, thus expanding and being bound to a center at the same time. It was this German idea of freedom that Martin Luther presented when he argued for a spiritual and religious freedom he was ready to risk his life for. But at the same time he demanded a rigid political regime that could protect this inner freedom against the choice of neighbors and also provide defense against individual choice. The very same opinion was expressed by Goethe when he talked about the existence of respect, especially self-respect. He did not argue for a superficial, arrogant overestimation of one’s capacities, but acknowledged the indestructible metaphysical center, without which it would be impossible to understand magnificent creations in the fields of art, sciences and political development.

It is essentially the same concept of freedom (although it might not be present philosophically) that shows itself with increasing clearness in the relation between what we call personality and community. We strive for a community of millions of Germans, firmly shaped and guided, while at the same time we demand that there is room for outstanding, creative personalities. We do not feel that these two demands oppose one another, although other nations do because they only know the choice between tyranny and chaos. The National Socialist Movement followed its inner instinct and arrived on a political basis at the same conclusions that had earlier been drawn by the important religious leaders of the German people as well as by our thinkers and glorious poets. We could achieve this goal because the National Socialist Movement was led by Germans and had come to life in a fight for freedom.

If we look at the German nation as a whole, it is hindered and bothered by other stipulations that affect world history. Neither for Germany nor for any other nation can national sovereignty be absolute. According to our conviction it would only be harmful and dangerous for the creative power of a nation if there were no borders in this world. Demarcation, competition and the constant check of possibilities is not only part of an individual’s life but part of any nation’s existence. This educational and philosophical thought alone makes it clear that Germany does not strive for world dominion. This National Socialist Weltanschauung that has been attacked so often, wants only that the earth finally be given a Gestalt . A transformation that would end the time of chaotic liberalism which on the one hand strived after a world-trust and world-republic that should be built on democratic internationality and Marxism, while on the other hand it called for a world-revolution to be carried out by so-called proletarians. Earth is not populated with an abstract mankind, but with certain races and nations. These nations and races have their own past and their history can more and more be comprehended by examining the outside of their nature as displayed in combat. In this way they reveal their achievements and make claims for further possibilities of performance. In the middle of the process of political formation we find a natural law. It does not make any sense to protest against this law as rejection of a natural fact doesn’t alter its existence. The fact is that in the evolutionary process we find large nations and small nations. It is clear that a giant plant will reach up further into the heavens and will grow its roots deeper into the ground than small bushes or flowers can. This doesn’t tell us anything about the beauty of life forms, and nothing derogatory is said about the creative possibilities of so-called small nations.

The Greeks were once a small nation but they became the magnificent founders of ancient Indo- Germanic culture. For millennia their educational power produced an effect on related Germanic tribes and young as ever, it still reaches into our time that is marked by a Nordic awakening. On the other hand there were giant nations that threatened to break all boundaries. In their destructive power they probably prepared the ground for a change of things but compared to the example of ancient Greece, they left behind little more than memories of a dark age.

Therefore, the political education of the German nation is governed by both the law of limitation and the right to demand a European unity. In the course of centuries other nations did not take advantage of their chance to accomplish this mission. It is not disgraceful for the German nation to acknowledge its spheres of interest and rights among other great nations on this planet. Germany is even prepared to support their creative powers. On the other hand it is an honorable duty for the German nation to carefully treat the people of those small nations that are protected by the Greater German Reich or those who seek to be protected by us. If they have realized their general destiny we let them generously take part in everything that comes with the inner formation of our old and well respected continent. This is an attitude that once prevailed for a short period of time in ancient Rome; at the time when the powerful and strong Roman nation founded its own state, fighting off all oriental influences. In a synthesis of strict Roman laws and the pride of a Roman citizen they gave an admirable example of the ancient Indo-Germanic attitude.

On a small scale many towns in medieval Germany had organized their life in a way that combined outward strength with an inner creative joy. Prussia, although it was harassed by many enemies, was in many fields an example of the Nordic-German attempt to combine law and freedom. The rigid Friederician order was closely related to the ideas proclaimed by Kant and other great Germans. This is why in the German nation the idea of freedom has always been connected with duties rather than with rights. A German philosopher once made the excellent point that freedom had never been a question of „being free from”, but always a matter of being „free to“. This is an important concept that reveals a whole attitude. The German fight, is not a fight for freedom in the sense of being free from duties. It is the fight for a mission in which we try to live up to the great duty we were given. This is why the German nation is the most revolutionary nation in Europe and at the same time it is the nation where the all-enlightening ideas of inner freedom originated. We are convinced that the conscious inner values of the Germans -honor, faithfulness, loyalty and pride- represent the best elements of all European races. Our political power therefore, is justified as it protects these values.

Ever since the medieval Weltanschauung disappeared we saw various confessions, theories of art and philosophical doctrines, but no great Weltanschauung. Such a Weltanschauung (a view that creates an inner unity in all fields of life) has finally been born in National Socialism.

ALFRED ROSENBERG, „Revolution and Fulfillment”

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