The Measure of Greatness
National Vanguard Editorial
20 of this year  is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the greatest
man of our era -- a man who dared more and achieved more, who set his aim
higher and climbed higher, who felt more deeply and stirred the souls of
those around him more mightily, who was more closely attuned to the Life
Force which permeates our cosmos and gives it meaning and purpose, and
did more to serve that Life Force, than any other man of our times.
And yet he is the most reviled and hated man of our times. Only a few tens of thousands of men and women, in scattered groups around the world, will celebrate his birthday with love and reverence on April 20, while all of the scribblers and commentators of the controlled news media, the controlled politicians, and the controlled churchmen will pour out their hatred and venom and lies against him, and those lies will be believed by hundreds of millions. What is the measure of greatness in a man?
Only the most vulgar and doctrinaire democrat would seriously equate greatness with popularity -- although in any polling of average citizens on their choice for the greatest man of the century there are certain to be substantial numbers of votes for Elvis Presley, John Kennedy, Billy Graham, Michael Jackson, and various other high-visibility lightweights: charismatic entertainers on the stage of politics, rock concerts, spectator sports, or what have you.
More serious citizens would pass by the lightweights and choose men who have changed the world in some way. We would hear choices like Franklin Roosevelt ("he saved the world from fascism"), Albert Einstein ("he taught us about the nature of our universe"), and Martin Luther King ("he helped us achieve racial justice"), depending upon whether one's personal inclinations lay more in the direction of politics, science, or racial self-abasement, respectively.
But if the poll asked instead for the most evil man of the century, or the most hated man, or the man having the most negative influence, at least three-quarters of the blue-collar and the white-collar pollees alike would name one man: Adolf Hitler. This, however, would be merely a reflection of the role assigned to him by the controlled mass media, rather than a truly informed and reasoned choice.
All of this raises several very interesting issues. There is, for example, the question of how we came to the preposterous state of affairs prevailing today, wherein we place the destiny of our nation, our planet, and our race in the hands of a mass of voters whose powers of judgment are manifested in such things as the type of television entertainment their preferences have pushed into prime time and the type of men they have elected to public office. And there is the equally weighty question of how, knowing the ease with which this mass is misled, we permitted virtually all of the media of mass information and entertainment to fall into the hands of a race whose interests are so diametrically opposed to our own.
Perhaps even more pertinent to a consideration of human greatness, however, is the question of how our system of values came to be turned on its head, so that Franklin Roosevelt is regarded as a hero and Adolf Hitler as a villain, not only by the stolid and stunned masses, but also by a majority of the supposedly "educated" elite, many of whom pride themselves on their intellectual independence.
Whether we judge the greatness of a man by his intrinsic qualities of character and soul or by his accomplishments, Adolf Hitler had greatness of a very high order -- if we use the standards which have been traditional in our race.
We cannot, of course, make comparisons with all the "mute, inglorious Miltons" whose lack of notable accomplishment has made them anonymous, despite the sterling inner qualities they may have possessed. But when Hitler's character is held up beside those of other 20th-century political leaders, he stands as a giant among pygmies.
At the prosaic level, we can note his ascetic personal habits, compared with Winston Churchill's habitual drunkenness and notorious self-indulgence; or his personal loyalty to those who had been his comrades in the days of political struggle, compared with Joseph Stalin's habit of murdering his former comrades by the dozen, as potential rivals, as soon as he no longer needed their services; or his direct, frank, and straightforward manner, compared to the cunning deviousness which was Franklin Roosevelt's trademark.
At the spiritual level, the inner differences between Hitler and his contemporaries are even more striking. Hitler was a man with a mission, from the beginning. The testimony of his closest associates, from his boyhood days to the end of his life, agrees with the observations of more distant and impartial observers: Hitler had a mystical sense of destiny, a sense of having been singled out and called by a higher power to devote his life to the service of his race.
His childhood companion August Kubizek has related extraordinary evidence of this when Hitler was only 16 years old (August Kubizek, Adolf Hitler, mein Jugendfreund [Graz, 1953], pp. 127-135). Twenty years later, while he was in prison after an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the government, Hitler himself wrote of his motivation in a way which suggested the range of his vision:
What we must fight for is the security of the existence and reproduction of our race and our people, the sustenance of our children and the maintenance of the purity of our blood ... so that our people may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted them by the Creator of the universe.Hitler's opponents, Churchill and Roosevelt, were party politicians, with the minds and souls of party politicians. Great, impersonal goals, just as truth, meant nothing at all to them. The only thing that counted was the approval or disapproval of their times: the outcome of the next election, a good press claque, votes. Only Stalin shared in any way Hitler's disdain for approval; only Stalin was motivated to any degree by an impersonal idea. But the idea that Stalin served was the alien, destructive idea of Jewish Marxism. And while Hitler served the Life Force with the instincts of a seer, Stalin served Marxism with the instincts of a bureaucrat and a butcher. A comparison of careers leads us to a similar ranking of greatness of soul. Churchill and Roosevelt were born into the political establishment. They fed at the public trough for years, in one office after another, grabbing greedily at opportunities for a bigger serving of swill. But it was circumstance, not their own efforts, which thrust them onto the stage of world history.
Stalin hacked out his own niche in history to a much greater extent than his western allies, and he was an incomparably stronger man than either of them. He was tough, ruthless, infinitely cunning, and utterly determined to prevail, no matter what the obstacles. Even so, his struggle for prominence and power was entirely within the Bolshevik party and its predecessors. He was the consummate bureaucratic infighter, not the innovator or the lone pioneer.
Only Adolf Hitler started literally from nothing and through the exercise of a superhuman will created the physical basis for the realization of his vision. In 1918, recovering in a veterans' hospital from a British poison-gas attack, he made the decision to enter politics in order to serve that vision. He was a 29-year-old invalid, with no money, no family, no friends or connections, no university education, and no experience. Liberals, Jews, and communists ruled his country, making him and all those to whom he might appeal for support outsiders.
Five and one-half years later he was sentenced to five years in prison for his political activity, and his enemies thought that was the end of him and his movement. But less than nine years after being sentenced he was Chancellor of Germany, with the strongest and most progressive nation in Europe at his command. He had built the National Socialist movement and led it to victory over the organized opposition of the entire Establishment: conservatives, liberals, communists, Jews, and Christians. [Image: Hitler and Emil Maurice in the common room for NS prisoners at Landsberg; Ilse Pröhl, Rudolf Hess' future wife, had smuggled a camera into the prison.]
He then transformed Germany, lifting it out of its economic depression (while Americans, under Roosevelt, continued to line up at the soup kitchens), restoring its spirit (and much of the territory which had been taken from it by the victors of the First World War), stimulating its artistic and scientific creativity, and winning the admiration (or, in some cases, the envy and hatred) of other nations. It was an achievement hardly paralleled in the history of the world. Even those who do not understand the real significance of his creation must concede that.
And what was the real significance of Hitler's work? One of his most earnest admirers in India, Savitri Devi, has given us a poetic answer to that question. She wrote:
In its essence, the National Socialist idea exceeds not only Germany and our times, but the Aryan race and mankind itself and any epoch ... it ultimately expresses that mysterious and unfailing wisdom according to which Nature lives and creates: the impersonal wisdom of the primeval forest and of the ocean depth and of the spheres in the dark fields of space; and ... it is Adolf Hitler's glory not merely to have gone back to that divine wisdom -- stigmatizing man's silly infatuation for "intellect," his childish pride in "progress," and his criminal attempt to enslave Nature -- but to have made it the basis of a practical regeneration policy of worldwide scope, precisely now, in our overcrowded, overcivilized, and technically overevolved world, at the very end of the dark age" (Savitri Devi, The Lightning and the Sun [National Socialist World No. 1, p. 61]).More prosaically, Hitler's work, in contrast to that of his contemporaries, was above politics, above economics, above nationalism. He had mobilized a powerful, modern state and placed it at the service of our race, so that our race might become fit to serve as an agent of the Life Force.
Perceptive and idealistic young men from every nation in Europe -- and from many nations outside Europe as well -- recognized this significance, and they flocked to serve him and to fight for his cause, even at the cost of censure and ostracism from their more parochial and narrowminded countrymen. There was never before an elite fighting force to match the SS, which by the end of the Second World War had more non-Germans than Germans in it. [Image: Waffen SS Poster.]
The war, of course, is counted as Hitler's great failure, even as the proof of his lack of greatness, by his detractors. It merely proves that he was a man, not a god, even if a divine will worked through him, and that he could not perform miracles. He could not defend himself forever, with the governments of nearly the whole world allied in a total war to pull him down and destroy his creation, so that they and the interests they served could return to "business as usual." Even so, he gave a far better account of himself than any of his adversaries.
And what will count in the long run in determining Adolf Hitler's stature is not whether he lost or won the war, but whether it was he or his adversaries who were on the side of the Life Force, whether it was he or they who served the cause of Truth and human progress. We only have to look around us today to know it was not they.