Hitler: Phenomenon and Portent

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THE National Socialist Party came into being in Germany eleven years ago, founded by a group of seven men. Adolf Hitler was the seventh to join. He was soon, however, "the man" in the group; and so he is today in the party numbering millions of adherents which is often designated by his name. There may be cleverer, better educated, more energetic individuals in the party than he. All the same, "the Nazis" and "Hitler's Party" are synonymous terms. The party, such as it is, exists because there has been a man like Hitler for it to gather around, a man of a definite driving force that is powerful and contagious; an electric person whose appeal is irresistible.

I have used the word party as the term readiest to hand. It is not, however, a case of Hitler's having added just one more parliamentary machine to the many -- the far too many -- which figure in German political life. Here is a movement nourished on a variety of social, moral and economic forces and which has hardly reached the political stage in its evolution. For this very reason Hitler's party is as intolerant as any young movement can be. It has as yet no definite program, nor as yet any definite support which it can use to bargain with other parties and measure its pretensions with reference to what it can actually obtain. In a word, the Hitler movement has not yet assumed its rational physiognomy. The currents of feeling which it expresses lie deep down in German life. They have still to come to practical expression.

As always happens in such cases, there is no way of knowing whether the party can ever take on full status as a party. We do not know whether its leaders feel certain that it can. We are not even sure whether Hitler in his secret heart is free from doubts, whether, out of the inner aspirations, the chemically pure ideals, which his

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