As I wrote in my post on National-Socialist Economics, Gottfried Feder played a pivotal role in shaping Adolf Hitler’s vision for the NS State he was to later build in Germany. In Volume I, Chapter VIII of Mein Kampf, Hitler had the following to say about Gottfried Feder and his teachings on economics:
Previously I did not recognize with adequate clearness the difference between capital which is purely the product of creative labour and the existence and nature of capital which is exclusively the result of financial speculation. Here I needed an impulse to set my mind thinking in this direction; but that impulse had hitherto been lacking.
The requisite impulse now came from one of the men who delivered lectures in the course I have already mentioned. This was Gottfried Feder.
For the first time in my life I heard a discussion which dealt with the principles of stock-exchange capital and capital which was used for loan activities. After hearing the first lecture delivered by Feder, the idea immediately came into my head that I had now found a way to one of the most essential pre-requisites for the founding of a new party.
To my mind, Feder’s merit consisted in the ruthless and trenchant way in which he described the double character of the capital engaged in stock-exchange and loan transaction, laying bare the fact that this capital is ever and always dependent on the payment of interest. In fundamental questions his statements were so full of common sense that those who criticized him did not deny that AU FOND his ideas were sound but they doubted whether it be possible to put these ideas into practice. To me this seemed the strongest point in Feder’s teaching, though others considered it a weak point.
When I heard Gottfried Feder’s first lecture on ‘The Abolition of the Interest-Servitude’, I understood immediately that here was a truth of transcendental importance for the future of the German people. The absolute separation of stock-exchange capital from the economic life of the nation would make it possible to oppose the process of internationalization in German business without at the same time attacking capital as such, for to do this would jeopardize the foundations of our national independence. I clearly saw what was developing in Germany and I realized then that the stiffest fight we would have to wage would not be against the enemy nations but against international capital. In Feder’s speech I found an effective rallying-cry for our coming struggle.
Here, again, later events proved how correct was the impression we then had. The fools among our bourgeois politicians do not mock at us on this point any more; for even those politicians now see–if they would speak the truth–that international stock-exchange capital was not only the chief instigating factor in bringing on the War but that now when the War is over it turns the peace into a hell.
The struggle against international finance capital and loan-capital has become one of the most important points in the programme on which the German nation has based its fight for economic freedom and independence.
Regarding the objections raised by so-called practical people, the following answer must suffice: All apprehensions concerning the fearful economic consequences that would follow the abolition of the servitude that results from interest-capital are ill-timed; for, in the first place, the economic principles hitherto followed have proved quite fatal to the interests of the German people. The attitude adopted when the question of maintaining our national existence arose vividly recalls similar advice once given by experts–the Bavarian Medical College, for example–on the question of introducing railroads. The fears expressed by that august body of experts were not realized. Those who travelled in the coaches of the new ‘Steam-horse’ did not suffer from vertigo. Those who looked on did not become ill and the hoardings which had been erected to conceal the new invention were eventually taken down. Only those blinds which obscure the vision of the would-be ‘experts’, have remained. And that will be always so.
In the second place, the following must be borne in mind: Any idea may be a source of danger if it be looked upon as an end in itself, when really it is only the means to an end. For me and for all genuine National-Socialists there is only one doctrine. PEOPLE AND FATHERLAND.
What we have to fight for is the necessary security for the existence and increase of our race and people, the subsistence of its children and the maintenance of our racial stock unmixed, the freedom and independence of the Fatherland; so that our people may be enabled to fulfill the mission assigned to it by the Creator.
All ideas and ideals, all teaching and all knowledge, must serve these ends. It is from this standpoint that everything must be examined and turned to practical uses or else discarded. Thus a theory can never become a mere dead dogma since everything will have to serve the practical ends of everyday life.
Thus the judgment arrived at by Gottfried Feder determined me to make a fundamental study of a question with which I had hitherto not been very familiar.
Considering how important a good understanding of economics was to Germany’s miraculous recovery in the early 1930’s under Hitler, it should go without saying that at least a basic understanding of Feder’s ideas and proposals is required by 21st Century National-Socialists. Gottfried Feder’s primary manuscript that laid down his plan was entitled, Das Manifest zur Brechung der Zinsknechtschaft des Geldes, and is now finally available in a new English translation by Hadding Scott: Manifesto for the Abolition of Enslavement to Interest on Money