Join Our Mailing List

Sponsor Us!

Joseph Goebbels:
On National-Socialism, Bolshevism & Democracy

(September 10, 1938)


Goebbels: Table of Contents | Biography | On the "Big Lie"


Print Friendly and PDF

Men and women of the National-Socialist Party: Public life in Europe to-day is influenced by three striking political phenomena which I will group together under the popular heading 'National-Socialism, Bolshevism, and Democracy.' It is, however, clear to me that these names cannot define their full significance. The general public thinks of them as a triangle of irreconcilable contrasts. It would be understandable and logical if their reactions upon political personalities, actions, achievements, negotiations, and developments showed a corresponding degree of contrasts, but this is only the case to a limited extent. Often, and indeed mostly, we find, where decisive political problems are concerned, a united front of democracy and Bolshevism opposed to the nationalist, authoritarian States and their representatives. This is one of the most puzzling phenomena of modern politics. It can only be explained by the essential nature of the three political systems. I therefore think it necessary to analyse them in some detail from the theoretical point of view and in their effect on racial relations in Europe.

The political starting-point of democracy dates from the storming of the Bastille in 1789. The new principles of the State and social life which were then proclaimed, as previously in liberal philosophy, were Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. ... Economic and cultural liberty was proclaimed. The individual, who in the authoritarian State was of secondary importance, emancipated himself and was released from the authoritarian tie to the State. The ideas and conceptions of this so-called 'Great Revolution' were expressed in the popular and psychologically prevalent slogan that all those who bear human form are equal. ... Everywhere the more or less complete severance of the tie which binds the individual to the community was elevated into a principle. The Revolution thus carried within it the seeds of the Marxist-Bolshevist conceptions which were later to arise. It was not until the twentieth century that this lack of connexion found its ultimate expression in the Bolshevist system. ...

The fact that the causes and effective potentialities of Bolshevism were already existent in a latent form in democracy explains why Bolshevism flourishes only on democratic soil, and is indeed generally the inevitable consequence of a radical and excessively democratic conception of the State. Bolshevism allegedly makes a classless society its aim. The equality of whatever bears a human form, which democracy applied only to political and social life, is set up as a ruling principle for economic life also. In this respect there are supposed to be no differences left. But this equality of all individuals in respect of economic goods can, in the Marxist-Bolshevist view, result only from a brutal and pitiless class struggle. ... It is only logical that in connexion with this, Bolshevism should proclaim the equality of nations and races. ... The opposition between the democratic and the Bolshevist mentality and conception of the State are in the last resort merely theoretical, and here we have the answer to the mysterious riddle which overshadows Europe and the explanation both of the opposition in the lives of nations to-day and of the things which they have in common. It enables us to see at once why democracy and Bolshevism, which in the eyes of the world are irrevocably opposed to one another, meet again and again on common ground in their joint hatred of and attacks on authoritarian nationalist concepts of State and State systems. For the authoritarian nationalist conception of the State represents something essentially new. In it the French Revolution is superseded. ...

It is no proof to the contrary that democracy and Bolshevism will not make public admission of any common cause. ... They put up artificial oppositions of a purely theoretical character which on closer inspection are seen to be without substance. ... They do not touch the root on the matter. At heart democracy and Bolshevism are closely related and indeed almost identical. They represent merely different stages in the development of a common outlook. Bolshevism is in a sense the bad boy of democracy. Democracy gave it birth, brought it up, and alone keeps it alive. It may be ashamed of the connexion now and again, but at critical moments in European life the maternal instinct breaks through and the two again present a common front, united above all by the violence of their assault upon authoritarian-nationalist State concepts, which they have come to recognize as their bitterest, most dangerous foes. ...

We have modernized and ennobled the concept of democracy. With us it means definitely the rule of the people, in accordance with its origin. We have given the principle of Socialism a new meaning. ... Never have we left anyone in doubt that National-Socialism is not for export. ... We do not aim at world domination, but we do intend to defend our country, and it is our new conceptions which give us the inexhaustible and ever-renewed strength to do so. ...

We Germans were strong in the past, but nothing more than strong; and when our weapons were taken from us, we lay helpless. In that time of national suffering we learned that the strength of nations lies not only in weapons, but in ideas. A great idea and the faith which it inspires can remove mountains. Weapons cannot produce ideas, but, as Germany has shown, ideas can produce weapons. ... The Fuehrer himself gave us this great and vivid idea of liberty which fills and inspires us all to-day. And, most essential of all, he is producing the weapons with which to defend the ideas and their political and economic outcome. Now we no longer fear anyone or anything. ...


Sources: "Documents on International Affairs," vol. II, 1938, pp. 17-19; Yad Vashem<

Back to Top