We are not hermits. We do not want to be that – and we cannot. Most of us would perish, if we became hermits. Without others we would be more or less helpless.
There have often been hermits because of fanaticism. Did they plow their fields? Did they sew their cloths? How did they manage to live? They begged from others! Did they live on through children? They freed themselves from duty and lived without responsibility for the coming.
We are a folk. Our German folk is not a stubborn mass, which would be the flat opposite of the hermit. We have by no means ceased to be individual beings, but these individual beings do not rebel against each other, because they are anchored in the folk. They represent a multitude of individual values that supplement each other and thus become a unit.
Along with the people of this unit develops a higher level of joy in creation and ability to work, of knowledge and disposition, of art and culture. If we are personalities within this bond, we cannot degenerate into either hermits or a herd. Individuals' values produce community values. Many individual values are born from the community values. Contemplation and the need to occasionally be alone are by no means the start of becoming a hermit. If we need to be alone, then only to better form our relationship to the whole. The community alone makes our life livable. What we have learned, we have mostly learned from others, and we again pass on the best of it to others. We share the treasures of art, which others have created for us. The railroads, which take us swiftly and safely through great expanses, have been built for us by others. The music that pleases and uplifts us was composed by one man for all of us. Our thankfulness for all these gifts of the community is a self- evident duty, so that the creative people continue their work with joy. Their joy then manifests itself in new ideas, new plans, new music and new beautify – in short: in new values, which will be shared by others even after a long time.
Furthermore, we are obligated to all of us, because everybody can do something the other cannot do, because each can think and feel what value is, so that it is not only revealed to him, but is absorbed into the spiritual or material goods of the great community of our folk.
If things go badly for the community, then they go badly for the individual, too. If things are to go well, then it’s clear – although it is so often forgotten(!) – that all of us must contribute to it. Thus we have obligations to fulfil that go far beyond the responsibility normally talked about. Usually, one only thinks of responsibility in the narrower sense, which is bound to the concept of the fulfilment of duties and tasks having the consequence of reward or punishment.
Of greater significance are those duties that people feel because of their inclinations, because of their character, the demands of the moral law within their own breast. We recognize a higher responsibility. For example, we feel the great joy in having children. For us no law requiring care for the children would be necessary. We feel a holy responsibility for them far beyond that; we concern ourselves for the higher development of the child’s body and soul and feel a great task for the future in that we educate a good member for the community of the future.
The more a German develops inner values, the more clearly he perceives his moral responsibility toward his environment, his folk, Germany. If this value declines, his feeling for moral responsibility decreases, until the point is reached where the state establishes laws, whose observance it forces.
Let’s stay with our soldiers! You know the expression from the pre-war period for this manifestation that had no wings, but was just a creeping evil: “Just don’t stand out!”
Just don’t stand out, one way or another, was the rule of this cleverness. If you stood out in the positive sense, you landed in the crossfire of criticism, envy or ill intent. You had a heavy burden to carry. The smallest oversight would be held against you more severely than against anyone else. The others laughed in unison, for they achieved the same as you. Things went down the line. One remained under cover as much as possible. If one didn’t stand out, one had the chance to avoid the exposure of nakedness. That worked. Whom did they always have by the neck? The one who always made an effort. He was always visible, as were his mistakes. These were mercilessly put under the spotlight. Hence many who stood back remained an unwritten book; perhaps one would even be even pleased by this flawless life and gave him a good grade for good behaviour.
These so-called „exemplary soldiers“ were actually not good soldiers. Just ponder the men of the good patrol-line in the field! In peacetime they all had a lot to answer for. Those among them who didn’t stand out due to exceptional accomplishment stood out because they had hotter blood than those who always sleep.
It was advantageous to be average. Just don’t stand out, one way or another.
National Socialism, on the other hand, demands this: Send the men who can accomplish - and who wish to accomplish - something to the front!
Hitler soldiers! You should accomplishment something. You should be the opposite of mediocrity in life. That’s why you will stand out despite your modesty. And you leaders have the duty to stand out, because you must lead. Whoever simply desires to not displease his superior does not fit in with us, because it could be fateful in the decisive hour. Certainly, we like recognition. But a reproach does not really stop us from wanting to achieve the most extreme accomplishment, regardless of what „one“ says.
Whoever messes up catches it, and then we’re the same old fellows again. For the same reason no leader should make the mistake of the liberal world of bending over backward trying to beg for respect. Take care that you maintain the trust and love of your comrades! They don’t make long, pretty speeches about such things. If you are unsure of this love from your comrades, their respect is without value.
Practical use: Place every better experience, regardless of where it shows itself, in the service of the unit! Train the enlisted men for the courage to not shun independent action and to assume responsibility for it!
It is wrong to always wait for an order „from above“. We must do like the soldiers in the field did when in an emergency a corporal shouted – and had to shout, because nobody else had the nerve – „Company! Follow my command!“
It must be practiced so that in the absence of the responsible leader the next in rank assumes leadership, even without a special order, and makes good use of the time or orders another practical measure and is responsible. An example: The officers of a S.S. battalion are called to a conference. The leader is unexpectedly detained. It’s not permissible for the others to stand around for hours and finally return home without getting anything done. This inactivity has a negative effect. Either one man finds the courage to make good use of the time – perhaps through training – or the oldest assumes responsibility and dismisses the comrades. No superior will reproach this sensible, independent action taken as a result of a new situation. On the contrary, he has all reason to be glad.