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Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (1925)

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My own attitude towards the conflict was very clear and simple to me: in my eyes it was not Austria fighting for some Serbian satisfaction, but Germany fighting for her existence, the German nation for its being or non-being, for freedom and future. Bismarck's work now had to fight; what the fathers once had gained by fighting with their heroic blood in the battles from Weissenburg to Sedan and Paris, now young Germany had to earn again. If this fight would be carried through victoriously, then our nation would also have returned to the circle of the nations which are great in external power, and only then could the German Reich prove a powerful shield of peace without being forced to reduce its children's daily bread for the sake of this peace.

As a boy and a young man I had often formed the wish that at least once I might be allowed to prove by deeds that my national enthusiasm was not an empty delusion. Often I considered it a sin to shout 'hurrah' without perhaps having the inner right to do so; for who may use this cry without having proved himself there where all play is at an end and where the inexorable hand of the Goddess of Fate begins to weigh nations and men according to the truth and the durability of their convictions? Thus my heart, like that of a million others, was overflowing with proud happiness that at last I was able to free myself from this paralyzing feeling. So many times had I sung 'Deutschland ├╝ber alles' and shouted with full voice 'Heil,' that I considered it almost a belated favor that I was now allowed to appear as a witness before the tribunal of the Eternal Judge in order to proclaim the truth and the sincerity of my convictions. From the first hour I was certain that in the event of war (which appeared unavoidable to me), I would abandon my books in one way or the other. But I knew just the same that my place would be there where my inner voice directed me to go.

I had left Austria primarily for political reasons: but what was more natural that now that the fight had begun that I had to act according to this conviction? I did not want to fight for the Habsburg State, but I was ready to die at any time for my people and the Reich it constituted.

On August 3 I submitted a direct petition to His Majesty King Ludwig III with the request that I be permitted to serve in a Bavarian regiment. The cabinet office was certainly more than busy in those days; my joy was the greater when on the following day I received the reply to my request. My joy and my gratitude knew no end when I had opened the letter with trembling hands and read that my request had been granted and that I was summoned to report to a Bavarian regiment. A few days later I wore the uniform which I was not to take off again for six years.

Source: Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, eds. Alvin Saunders Johnson, John Chamberlain, et. al. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1939, pp. 210-13.

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