Posts Tagged ‘‘Volksgemeinschaft’’

The Industrialists’ Oath to Serve Hitler and the Nation in Nazi Germany

April 2, 2016

Robert A. Brady in his 1937 book, The Spirit and Structure of German Fascism, gives the oath every member of the Advisory Chamber of the National Economic Chamber had to take when they took office:

I bind myself as follower to The Leader and National Chancellor with unalterable faith. In fulfilment of the National Socialist will, I will dedicate all my power to the upbuilding of the Third Reich, and I will direct all my thoughts and energies so that in my own activities and those of my co-workers, and through all the functions and authorities entrusted to me, only the highest aims will be pursued, the work of The Leader promoted, and an enduring and true people’s community asserted.

The words translated ‘people’s community’ are probably the German term Volksgemeinschaft. Volk does indeed mean people, but it also has racial overtones, so you could also translate it ‘racial community’.

Since the days of Maggie Thatcher, industry has been increasingly involved in the running of nearly every aspect of the British state. Vital central and local government services have been outsourced to firms like G4S, Serco and Maximus, who run everything from prisons to schools, hospitals and doctors’ surgeries. The outsourcing companies, the financial sector and big accountancy firms, like the former Anderson Consulting send their personnel to assist ministers and shadow ministers with the drafting of government policy, particularly regarding tax and the financial sector, always with an eye to getting the rich pay less. They also sponsor the talks and discussion at the party conferences. The other year, Jeremy Hunt was talking to the head of one of the private healthcare companies about health care policy in an event sponsored by the healthcare companies.

I wonder, however, if the same privatisers and outsourcers would be quite so willing to take such responsibilities if they also had to take something like the above oath, stripped of its racist and totalitarian content. If they had to swear their allegiance to a democratically elected prime minister, and that they would use their energies to benefit not just themselves, but the people of Britain, here articulated in a sense that included the entire community, regardless of particular ethnic origin. And that penalties would follow for profiteering and exploitation.

My guess is that for many, it would make no difference. They’d swear the oath and carry on as before. But can see others baulking at the prospect of having to work for the whole community, instead of for their own private profit. And whines and accusations of Nazism would certainly follow. This shouldn’t make any difference. If private firms want to supply public services for the state and the British public, then they should truly have to work for the good of the British public, and not just their own private profit and those of their extremely rich company bosses.