by Anton Drexler, Honorary Chairman and Founder of the National Socialist German Workers Party, is translated from the 1923 third edition of the German original Mein politisches Erwachen: Aus dem Tagebuch eines deutschen sozialistischen Arbeiters. Obviously, Drexler was a key figure in the earliest history of what would soon, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, become the NSDAP, rise to power and give birth to the Third Reich.
The ideas set down here are supposed to show the German worker, insofar as he thinks Marxist, that nationalist feeling and action is supreme duty even for socialist oriented folk comrades, but they should also show nationalist oriented folk circles that social feeling and action toward employed worker comrades is likewise supreme duty.
My Marxist work colleagues often criticized my nationalist orientation and claimed that I could accomplish much more for the German worker inside Social Democracy than in the nationalist camp. And among the nationalists, one could not comprehend how I could always talk so much about the necessary struggle against the exploiters and hence think socialist in the positive sense.
A comparison of the socialist newspapers shortly before the beginning of the war, and even still in the first years of the war, with the war-political effusions from this direction from 1917 onward showed precisely the causes for this change of thinking that took place among the German workers. Their nationalist orientation lasted for precisely as long as it seemed useful to the socialist press. At the moment when the “worker” press shifted again from radical nationalist to its pacifist-internationalist original direction, the led German socialists as well shifted, who up until then had fought with enthusiasm for the greatness and freedom of their German fatherland.
And only to this anti-nationalist spiritual direction, with which a very specific goal was pursued in the “leader”-heads of the Marxists – the main task of this publication is to take a closer look at that – do we owe our present national and social misery, do we owe the contempt shown us in other nation states – and those are all the other states on the whole globe, including Soviet Russia.
As a “neutral” party, up until 1919 standing outside the fence of the many political parties – hence not having previously absorbed any party catechism – I have followed the domestic-political life and activity with the greatness objectivity and observed the foreign affairs effects.
As one of the few German workers who did not let himself be deceived by the “stock-market and worker press” about the intentions of the Allied Powers, and hence publicly worked for the achievement of a “good peace”, I have not only the right, rather I feel also the obligation within me to enlighten the public about my experiences and impressions since my political awakening that took place in 1917.