Discipline and Order: Foundations of National Socialist Ethics

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translated from the Third Reich original Zucht und Ordnung: Grundlagen einer nationalsozialistischen Ethik by Georg Usadel. The main principle is that the folk was created by God and that each folk comrade has a divine duty to serve the folk. Conscientiousness draws strength from a feeling of responsibility and personal honor, which moves the individual to voluntarily do his duty. This duty is his life content and includes his spouse and their offspring, who must be raised as good National Socialists. Over generations, the folk will improve. Topics include sexuality (including premarital sex and the illegitimate child), marriage, child raising (both in the parental home and in the Hitler Youth), serving as a follower, honor, truthfulness, loyalty, faith (including a carefully written presentation of the friction between non-Christian and Christian) and leadership.

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SC. 63pp. $10.00.

We have seen that our new will very strongly affects marriage. Men and women are simultaneously also members of following and leadership. Since the entirety of our folk is encompassed by National Socialism, the raising of the children must also be included in the formation of the National Socialist folk comrade, for we never want to lose sight of the goal of our striving that through better marriages, which are formed by better followers and leaders, a better German folk develops in the future, which then provides a better following and a better leadership. If for the National Socialist more than ever training is directly connected to discipline, then in education the will must be formed with such emphasis, so that the will for healthy discipline and through it again an escalated will for education becomes possible. Since training within the family – already in the first years of life – is of such extreme importance, we want to be clear about the values that we want to present to our children day after day. Even the small child must become accustomed to conscientiously concern with punctuality and order. Outside the punctually maintained meal times, it should rest. Even screaming, which is usually just a substitute for work and is intended to summon the adults – must not cause an interruption of the necessary rest. Precise punctuality and conscientiousness are here the prerequisite for a National Socialist order. We should not think that these things have nothing to do with the training of the small child or that this demand is synonymous with pedantry and rigid mechanics. Whoever is not trained to be conscientious in the little things in life, will not be able to do so in the big things later. Those who – with poorly played originality – claim to have always been unpunctual, sloppy, distracted and forgetful in life, in no way have anything to do with those whose sublime mind spends its time with the eternal things, so that they forget the moments of this world.

We want – at the right time – to accustom our children to emotional and psychology toughening up. Pain in this world begins for the child with the painful contact with objects that do not make way for him. The parents are not there to regret this pain or just to make them impossible by not wanting the child to come into contact with hard objects. The greatest portion of our knowledge of life comes from experience. Hence we sin against our children, if we exclude them from experience and put them in an unreal world, from which they will one day necessarily be driven out. But then the realization will be all the more painful, if it has not had years of life which – like the child’s first – have been arranged by a wise nature so that the cloak of forgetfulness conceals the memory of the experience of the first years of life.

The Spartans even went so far that they accustomed even boys to pain. It is reported of a Spartan boy who had stolen a fox and hidden it under his cloak that he suddenly collapsed dead in front of his interrogating judges, without having first given a sign of pain, although the fox had eaten into his body. We also want to accustom our children to the bearing of pain. To this belongs, above all, that they learn deprivation, because that is one of the most painful things in this world. We already saw at the beginning that this deprivation can most easily be learned in a family with many children, in which the selfish desires of the individual must necessarily be subordinated. For the same reasons, the training for self-sufficiency can also be developed, because self-sufficiency and decisiveness, as was portrayed above, are necessary characteristics of leadership.

The views about parental training have changed a lot in the history of our folk. In the last decades of decline, we all experienced that a liberal view entered this area as well. Live and let live, a so-called freedom and the parents giving in to the child’s wishes characterized “the century of the child”. On the other hand, in the decades before 1870, children down to the small peasantry and petty bourgeois families were raised with strict discipline. Children often had to address their parents with the formal “Sie”, which is in part to be explained by the French domination of the 18th century, but in this period was a sign of distance between parents and children. At mealtime, the children were not allowed to speak, often they had to stand, since sitting was a privilege of the adults. Along with the strictness came the will of the parents to protect their children against bad influences. Hence especially the daughter was fearfully withheld from the outside world. Only in southern Germany’s predominantly peasant families were more natural views preserved, so that a conversation between a girl and a lad were not immediately considered an immoral matter.

We must be clear that training in the sense of protection is not possible today. The community institutions (school and Hitler Youth) claim the youth already in such early years that no parental home would succeed in hiding them from the outside world. But where communities form, they also receive – despite all discipline and supervision – elements with the inclination to evil, not only to good. School and Hitler Youth bring the youth together, so it is impossible for the parents to keep their children away from bad influences. Hence the training of youth must not be chiefly aimed at protecting them against the bad, rather to steel them in time for the encounter with the bad. To this belongs, above all, that the parents receive their children’s trust. Excessive strictness and severity alienate parents and children so that an influencing of the will in the direction of the formation of strength of resistance is made impossible. Only defiance and at best a false toughening emerge to stubbornly take these hardships of youth and to overcome them. Trust, yes, even comradeship, must dominate between parents and children. Children turn to their parents with questions for so long until they have the feeling that they are given truthful answers. Comforting answers – with the mention that they are still too young or inexperienced in order to be able to give them a clear answer – are wrong. They will turn to other people in order to obtain the desired clarity, to comrades, who are far less suited to give them the truth than the parents, or they wind up with evil books as sources of their curiosity. Hence we parents always want to give our children answers that correspond to their ability to question and to comprehend.

Precisely the comradely relationship that we want to have with our children demands of us an exemplary bearing. In father and mother, children should see good examples, who possess the will for those virtues that we demand from our sons and daughters. They are the same virtues than we want to display as followers and leaders. Our existence receives its crown in this: Inside our four walls as well, we are not freed from service to our folk, quite the opposite, here we must prove it the most decisively. As father and mother, we want to live honor, loyalty, truthfulness, silence, modesty and duty as good example, for we thereby educate better than by punishment. If we have entered our marriage based on the bearing portrayed earlier, then the inclination toward these values will also be present in our children, so that we only need to awaken and promote them.

Hence we want, above all, to guide our children by being able to show them aversion and disgust at vices with great passion. We thereby educate better than by chastisement. In the acceptance of physical punishment, a kind of heroism can all too easily emerge in the youth, just to prove that one is able to control oneself and endure pain. All too easily, that stimulates the boy to test his resistance against parental orders and the physical pain of the chastisement. But it would be better to use that as a last resort, which must be viewed as despicable, because the appeal to honor failed. One can awaken a feeling for honor very early, the respect for high values, and one can clearly show the contempt that one feels for misdeeds. The strictest justice must dominate the parents, for one of the children should never notice that he is treated even the slightest differently for an offense than his siblings. Children can certainly be directed toward great tasks, such as courage and bravery, because the fatherland will one day demand these things from them. Among the most beautiful memories of youth will always be when the most beautiful and sublime songs of the fatherland have been sung to the children by the parents, or the mother opens for them the deep content of German fairy-tales. Certainly, children must not be overfed with experiences, because they otherwise tend toward blaseness. Despite every demand for comradeship, the children must be silent when adults speak. We want to always admonish our consciousness that in our children we train the future followers – and if heaven wills it, the future leaders. We want to implant in them the ambition to be the folk’s future servants. It is also a healthy sign, if parents strive for their children to surpass them in their position in life. But this healthy striving should never fall into the insanity of the liberal era that a higher position must solely be tied to a university study. After everything that has been said here, it is self-evident that it just depends on the moral bearing with which a profession is fulled, but not on the title or the income.

One mistake is made especially often in the training of sons and daughters in the parental home. Not just the fathers, rather also the mothers often excuse it that they see something special in their sons compared to the daughters, and do not have them perform certain jobs, because they are supposedly not suited for their gentlemen sons. One finds the view widely spread in many families that it is unworthy of the sons to participate in keeping the house tidy and clean. They are fearfully kept away from keeping their own clothes clean, polishing their shoes, acquiring and packing the necessary items for a trip or journey, but all the more so assign these tasks solely to the mother and daughters. The opinion gradually forms that the girls are the born servants of the boys who must fulfill any wish. It is obvious that from this easily emerges the view that girls outside the family are also there to satisfy the desires of the young gentlemen. We want to train our sons to respect our daughters, we want to let them help, because work never shames, so that they do not later become husbands who view their spouse as servant as opposed to life comrade. Furthermore, young men raised so will not later stumble over the ridiculous little things in life in their future communities, in the Work Service, in the Reichswehr and in the SA, in that they do not know how one cleans a pair of dirty boots or sows on a pants button. Respect for the female gender must be set in the sons’ hearts already in the family, so that they do not later live a false error and are unable to select a wife based on the will for the new National Socialist marriage.

For this is the goal of our training, this must be stressed again and again: Marriage for the improvement of the racial composition of the German folk, the National Socialist marriage based on the will for moral responsibility, to ennoble two lives that have grown from the German folk through devotion for devotion to the folk. Hence the training in the parental home must not ignore the life area of sexuality. It is strange: In many thousands of families, the child’s life drives are subject to education – eating, drinking, sleeping, life preserving drives are integrated into the family community; only the area of sexuality is usually ignored. Shyness and embarrassment of the parents have often closed their eyes, so that they believe these problems do not exist for their child, so that they can leave it to older, youthful comrades to open their eyes. One day the children’s knowledge of sexuality will then be accepted by the parents as self-evident, or the children go totally astray, because they fall into the hands of ruined and indecent people. This cannot remain so. The prerequisite for a change is that the parents gain the inner freedom to openly and clearly talk to their children about these things and consciously educate them, that means to strengthen their will here as well. This does not mean that they at a set hour suddenly start to talk in the sense of the so-called enlightenment, rather to first influence the child in earliest youth and second to tell it the truth in all things. The child should sleep hard and cool. One should give it no pampering mattress and coverlet. Movement, gymnastics, sports and hiking should ensure from earliest youth that sufficient tiredness – lasting through the night until getting up in the morning – is present. The first question will pop up at the birth of children in the family or among acquaintances. We parents want to answer them in such a way that we do not say everything, but that the answers always contain the seed of the whole truth: Children are God’s gift to people who live together as man and wife and who love each other. That will suffice many children for several years. Later, the question easily arises why mother is “ill” in bed, when a baby has arrived. Then one will answer that it has grown under the mother’s heart and parted from her with great pain. The final stage of answers will then be able to come at an age when the knowledge of the reproduction of plants – perhaps also of house pets – allow gentle comparisons. We do not want to talk with cynical expressions – but also not with extraordinary phrases – about the final thing, rather we want to refer to the moral responsibility that the anchoring of the drives demands from us, that they do not exist because of lust, that they are not base and indecent things, rather things that eternity gave us so that we can indeed make them indecent, but that we are also in the position as strong-willed folk comrades to keep far away from baseness.