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“Du bist nichts; dein Volk ist alles”

“[T]he wishes and the selfishness of the individual must appear as nothing and submit,” declares Hitler in Mein Kampf; a man must “renounce putting forward his personal opinion and interests and sacrifice both. . . .”

The political implementation of “subservience to the Whole,” according to the Nazis, is subservience to the state—which requires of every German the opposite of self-assertion. Hence the ruling principle of Nazism, as defined by a group of Nazi youth leaders. The principle is: “We will.” “And, if anyone were still to ask: ‘What do we will?’—the answer is given by the basic idea of National Socialism: ‘Sacrifice!’”

Since the proper beneficiary of man’s sacrifices, according to Nazism, is the group (the race or nation), the essence of virtue or idealism is easy to define. It is expressed in the slogan “Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz” (“The common good comes before private good”). “This self-sacrificing will to give one’s personal labor and if necessary one’s own life for others,” writes Hitler,

is most strongly developed in the Aryan. The Aryan is not greatest in his mental qualities as such, but in the extent of his willingness to put all his abilities in the service of the community. In him the instinct of self-preservation has reached the noblest form, since he willingly subordinates his own ego to the life of the community and, if the hour demands, even sacrifices it.

“Du bist nichts; dein Volk ist alles” (“You are nothing; your people is everything”), states another Nazi slogan, summarizing the essence of the Nazi moral viewpoint.

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