Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 5



Night of 21st-22nd July 1941

Similarities between Germany and Italy—Dante and Luther—Delightful Italian towns—Rome and Paris.

Luther had the merit of rising against the Pope and the organisation of the Church. It was the first of the great revolutions.

And thanks to his translation of the Bible, Luther replaced our dialects by the great German language! It’s remarkable to observe the resemblances between the evolution of Germany and that of Italy. The creators of the language, Dante and Luther, rose against the oecumenical desires of the papacy. Each of the two nations was led to unity, against the dynastic interests, by one man. They achieved their unity against the will of the Pope.

The Italian people’s musical sense, its liking for harmonious proportions, the beauty of its race! The Renaissance was the dawn of a new era, in which Aryan man found himself anew. There’s also our own past on Italian soil. A man who is indifferent to history is a man without hearing, without sight.

Such a man can live, of course—but what a life? The magic of Florence and Rome, of Ravenna, Siena, Perugia! Tuscany and Umbria, how lovely they are! The smallest palazzo in Florence or Rome is worth more than all Windsor Castle. If the English destroy anything in Florence or Rome, it will be a crime.

Giuseppe Zocchi - The Piazza della Signoria in Florence

I’ve seen Rome and Paris, and I must say that Paris, with the exception of the Arc de Triomphe, has nothing on the scale of the Coliseum, or the Castle of San Angelo, or St. Peter’s. These monuments, which are the product of a collective effort, have ceased to be on the scale of the individual. There’s something queer about the Paris buildings, whether it’s those bull’s-eye windows, so badly proportioned, or those gables that obliterate whole façades. If I compare the Pantheon in Rome with the Pantheon in Paris, what a poor building—and what sculptures! What I saw in Paris has disappeared from my memory: Rome really seized hold of me.

Naples, apart from the castle, might be anywhere in South America. But there’s always the courtyard of the royal palace. What nobility of proportions!

My dearest wish would be to be able to wander about in Italy as an unknown painter.

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 38


21st-22nd October 1941, night


The need for decorum—The face of new Berlin—Monuments that will last a thousand years.
We need an impressive décor, and we ought to create one. More and more we should give our festive occasions a style that will remain in the memory. In England, the traditional forms, which from a distance seem baroque, have retained their full youth. They remain vital because they represent customs that have been observed for a long time and without the slightest interruption.

I regard it as a necessity that our ceremonial should be developed during my lifetime. Otherwise one of my successors, if he has simple tastes, could quote me as his authority. Don’t speak to me of Prussian simplicity! We must remember how Frederick the Great took care of his State’s finances.

Berlin has the monuments of the days of Frederick the Great. Once upon a time it was the sand-pit of the Empire. Nowadays, Berlin is the capital of the Reich. Berlin’s misfortune is that it’s a city of very mixed population; which doesn’t make it ideal for the development of culture. In that respect, our last great monarch was Frederick-William IV. William I had no taste. Bismarck was blind in matters of art. William II had taste, but of the worst description.

What is ugly in Berlin, we shall suppress. Nothing will be too good for the beautification of Berlin. When one enters the Reich Chancellery, one should have the feeling that one is visiting the master of the world. One will arrive there along wide avenues containing the Triumphal Arch, the Pantheon of the Army, the Square of the People—things to take your breath away! It’s only thus that we shall succeed in eclipsing our only rival in the world, Rome. Let it be built on such a scale that St. Peter’s and its Square will seem like toys in comparison!


For material, we’ll use granite. The vestiges of the German past, which are found on the plains to the North, are scarcely time-worn. Granite will ensure that our monuments last for ever. In ten thousand years they’ll be still standing, just as they are, unless meanwhile the sea has again covered our plains.

If I try to gauge my work, I must consider, first of all, that I’ve contributed, in a world that had forgotten the notion, to the triumph of the idea of the primacy of race. Secondly, I’ve given German supremacy a solid cultural foundation. In fact, the power we to-day enjoy cannot be justified, in my eyes, except by the establishment and expansion of a mighty culture.

Berlin will one day be the capital of the world.

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 42



29th October 1941, evening

Stupid pedagogical system—
The monuments of Paris.

It’s all wrong that a man’s whole life should depend on a diploma that he either receives or doesn’t at the age of seventeen.

I was a victim of that system myself. I wanted to go to the School of Fine Arts. The first question of the examiner to whom I’d submitted my work, was: “Which school of arts and crafts do you come from?” He found it difficult to believe me when I replied that I hadn’t been to any, for he saw I had an indisputable talent for architecture. My disappointment was all the greater since my original idea had been to paint. It was confirmed that I had a gift for architecture, and I learnt at the same time that it was impossible for me to enter a specialised school, because I hadn’t a matriculation certificate.

I therefore resigned myself to continuing my efforts as a self-taught man, and I decided to go and settle in Germany.

So I arrived, full of enthusiasm, in Munich. I intended to study for another three years. My hope was to join Heilmann and Littmann as a designer. I’d enter for the first competition, and I told myself that then I’d show what I could do! That was why, when the short-listed plans for the new opera-house at Berlin were published, and I saw that my own project was less bad than those which had been printed, my heart beat high. I had specialised in that sort of architecture. What I still know about it now is only a pale reflection of what I used to know about it at that time.

Von Kluge asked a question: “My Fuehrer, what were your impressions when you visited Paris last year?”

I was very happy to think that there was at least one city in the Reich that was superior to Paris from the point of view of taste—I mean, Vienna. The old part of Paris gives a feeling of complete distinction. The great vistas are imposing. Over a period of years I sent my colleagues to Paris so as to accustom them to grandeur—against the time when we would undertake, on new bases, the re-making and development of Berlin.

At present Berlin doesn’t exist, but one day she’ll be more beautiful than Paris. With the exception of the Eiffel Tower, Paris has nothing of the sort that gives a city its private character, as the Coliseum does to Rome.

It was a relief to me that we weren’t obliged to destroy Paris. The greater the calm with which I contemplate the destruction of St. Petersburg and Moscow, the more I’d have suffered at the destruction of Paris. Every finished work is of value as an example. One takes the opportunity of learning, one sees the mistakes and seeks to do better. The Ring in Vienna would not exist without the Paris boulevards. It’s a copy of them.

On the whole Paris remains one of the jewels of Europe.

Published in: on September 19, 2015 at 10:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 65



Night of 13th-14th January 1942

The composer Bruckner—Brahms at his height—Wagner and Goring—Great architects—Talent must be encouraged.
After a hearing of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony: This work is based on popular airs of upper Austria. They’re not textually reproduced, but repeatedly I recognise in passing Tyrolean dances of my youth. It’s wonderful what he managed to get out of that folklore. As it happened, it’s a priest to whom we must give the credit for having protected this great master. The Bishop of Linz used to sit in his cathedral for hours at a time, listening to Bruckner play the organ. He was the greatest organist of his day.

One can imagine this obscure peasant’s arrival in Vienna, amidst an effete society. One of Bruckner’s opinions of Brahms was published in a newspaper recently, and further increased the sympathy I felt for him: “Brahms’s music is very beautiful, but I prefer my own.” There you have the self-awareness, full both of humility and of pride, such as a peasant can feel, in all simplicity, when he is inspired by a true conviction. The critic Hanslick depicted Bruckner’s life in Vienna as a real hell for him. When the moment came when it was no longer possible to ignore his work, he was covered with decorations and overwhelmed with honours. What did all that mean to him? Wouldn’t it have been better not to have misunderstood him so long?

Jewry had raised Brahms to the pinnacle. He was lionised in the salons and was a pianist of theatrical gestures. He exploited effects of the hands, effects of the beard and hair. Compared with him, Bruckner was a man put out of countenance, an abashed man.

Wagner also had the feeling for gesture, but with him it was innate. Wagner was a man of the Renaissance—like Goring in a certain aspect (and it would be silly to blame him).

There is nothing crueller than to live in a milieu that has no understanding for a work already achieved or in process of gestation. When I think of a man like Schiller or Mozart! Mozart who was flung, nobody knows where, into a communal grave… What ignominy!

If I hadn’t been there to prevent it, I believe the same thing would have happened to Troost. That man revolutionised the art of building. Perhaps it would have taken a few years—and he’d have died without anyone having the slightest idea of his genius. When I got to know him, he was depressed, embittered, disgusted with life. It often happens that architects are hyper-sensitive people. Think merely of Hansen, who was the most richly gifted of the architects of Vienna. And Hasenauer? The critics had attacked him so savagely that he committed suicide before his great work was finished—and yet the Vienna opera-house, so marvellously beautiful, puts the Paris Opera into the shade. To know that one is capable of doing things that nobody else can do—and to have no possibility of giving proof of it!

It seems that people should make sacrifices for their great men as a matter of course. A nation’s only true fortune is its great men. A great man is worth a lot more than a thousand million in the State’s coffers. A man who’s privileged to be the Head of a country couldn’t make a better use of his power than to put it at the service of talent. If only the Party will regard it as its main duty to discover and encourage the talents! It’s the great men who express a nation’s soul.

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 74



Night of 25th-26th January 1942

Beauty and the ancient Greeks
—Human genius and politics.

If we consider the ancient Greeks (who were Germanics), we find in them a beauty much superior to the beauty such as is widespread to-day—and I mean also beauty in the realm of thought as much as in the realm of forms. To realise this, it’s enough to compare a head of Zeus or of Pallas Athene with that of a crusader or a saint!

The period stretching between the middle of the third and the middle of the seventeenth century is certainly the worst humanity has ever known: blood-lust, ignominy, lies.

I don’t consider that what has been should necessarily exist for the simple reason that it has been. Providence has endowed man with intelligence precisely to enable him to act with discernment. My discernment tells me that an end must be put to the reign of lies. It likewise tells me that the moment is not opportune.

When the war’s over, and I have the sense of having accomplished my duties, I shall retire. Then I would like to devote five or ten years to clarifying my thought and setting it down on paper. Wars pass by. The only things that exist are the works of human genius.

This is the explanation of my love of art. Music and architecture—is it not in these disciplines that we find recorded the path of humanity’s ascent?

If somebody else had one day been found to accomplish the work to which I’ve devoted myself, I would never have entered on the path of politics. I’d have chosen the arts or philosophy. The care I feel for the existence of the German people compelled me to this activity. It’s only when the conditions for living are assured that culture can blossom.

Published in: on September 8, 2015 at 7:00 pm  Comments (1)  

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 83


4th February 1942, evening


Improving living conditions—For the Reich no sacrifice is too great.

We’ll transform the spaces of the East into a country in which human beings will be able to live. We must not forget that over there are found iron, coal, grain and timber. We’ll build there welcoming farms, handsome roads. And those of our people who thrust as far as that will end by loving their country and loving its landscapes—as the Germans on the Volga used to do.

You’ll understand, Himmler, that if I want to establish a genuine civilisation to the North and East, I’ll have to make use of men from the South. If I were to take official architects of the Prussian Government to beautify Berlin, for example, I’d do better to abandon the project!

In our ambition to play a rôle on the world level, we must constantly consult Imperial history. All the rest is so new, so uncertain, so imperfect. But Imperial history is the greatest epic that’s been known since the Roman Empire. What boldness! What grandeur! These giants thought no more of crossing the Alps than crossing a street.

The misfortune is that none of our great writers took his subjects from German Imperial history. Our Schiller found nothing better to do than to glorify a Swiss cross-bowman! The English, for their part, had a Shakespeare—but the history of his country has supplied Shakespeare, as far as heroes are concerned, only with imbeciles and madmen.

Immense vistas open up to the German cinema. It will find in the history of the Empire—five centuries of world domination—themes big enough for it.

When I meet the heads of other Germanic peoples, I’m particularly well placed—by reason of my origin—to discuss with them. I can remind them, in fact, that my country was for five centuries a mighty empire, with a capital like Vienna, and that nevertheless I did not hesitate to sacrifice my country to the idea of the Reich.

I’ve always been convinced of the necessity of welcoming into the Party only truly sturdy fellows, without taking heed of numbers, and excluding the lukewarm. In the same way as regards the new Reich, wherever there are wholesome Germanic elements in the world, we shall try to recover them. And this Reich will be so sturdy that nobody will ever be able to attempt anything against it.

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 124



Berlin, 28th April 1942, at dinner

Budapest and Linz—Plans for a new Linz.

The Fuehrer turns to Speer: Budapest is by far the most beautiful city on the Danube. But I am determined to make of Linz a German town on the Danube which surpasses it, and by so doing to prove that the artistic sense of the Germans is superior to that of the Magyars.

Not only shall I have the bank of the river built up in a magnificent fashion, but also I intend to build a number of dwelling-houses which will be models of their kind.

Ten years after the end of the war Linz must have become the new metropolis of the Danube. I become daily more enthusiastic about this beautifying of Linz, and I think it is the reaction of the artistic sense in me. This city possesses something which no architecture, however magnificent, could give her—a unique natural situation. In spite of the bonds of affection which tie me to Linz, I can honestly say that it is its wonderful position which alone impels me to carry out the project. The Viennese would be quite wrong to worry that this might prove harmful to their monopoly, or to the cultural interests of the Alpine and Danubian Provinces.

Far be it from me to lessen the importance of Vienna, so long as she remains on a sound and solid foundation. But when one thinks of the truly unique position of Linz, it is impossible, simply out of consideration for the feelings of the Viennese, to give up the idea of making Linz the metropolis of the Danube. It would be a crime.

Published in: on August 1, 2015 at 1:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 126



Berghof, 1st May 1942, midday

Architectural problems—Our architects must plan on a grand scale—Bayreuth, Weimar and Dresden—Development of cultural life.

I am very grateful to Professor Giesler for having so successfully transformed the Schloss Kiessheim, which is to be our Guest House for distinguished visitors and which was opened in its new rôle by a visit from the Duce. The general lay-out, which corresponds so closely to my own ideas of spaciousness, pleases me particularly.

Giesler has planned on a grand scale. He has succeeded in leaving vast spaces between the portals and the staircase, and between the staircase and the entrance to the reception halls.

A sense of spaciousness is important, and I am delighted to see our architects planning on broad and spacious lines. Only thus shall we avoid the springing up of more towns in which the houses are cluttered up almost on top of each other, as one sees in Zwickau, Gelsenkirchen and so on.

If I were banished to a town of this kind, devoid of all beauty, I should lose heart and happiness just as surely as if I had been banished from my fatherland. I am therefore determined that some measure of culture and beauty shall penetrate even into the humblest of our towns, and that, step by step, the amenities of all our towns will reach a higher level. There is a lot of truth in the assertion that the culture of a town is dependent upon its traditions. Bayreuth, Weimar and Dresden afford classic examples.

It is not sufficient that a town should have a museum which the students occasionally visit; our representative must see to it that the men of the Labour Service and the Wehrmacht find it worthy of visit, and that gradually in this way the interest in, and the appreciation of, art will be aroused throughout the masses of the nation. The eye of the children must be weaned from the niggardly and trained on the grandiose, for only thus will they learn to appreciate both the ensemble and the finer points of any work of art.

Published in: on July 30, 2015 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 176



28th August 1942, midday
Budapest and Vienna
—The new capital of the Reich.


The Hungarian aristocracy has predominantly German blood in its veins; all the original aristocracies of Europe belong, fundamentally, to one single international community.

The Reich must get a worthy capital. At the moment Budapest is the most beautiful town in the world, and there is no town in the whole German Reich that can even compare with it. The Houses of Parliament, the Citadel, the Cathedral and the bridges, seen in the shimmer of the setting sun, present a spectacle of beauty unsurpassed in the world. Vienna, too, is impressive, but it is not on a river. And all these beauties have been built by German architects.

It shows one how important the construction of a capital city can be. In olden days, Buda and Pest were both a conglomeration of peasant hovels. In a single century, Budapest rose from a city of forty thousand inhabitants to a great capital with a million and a quarter citizens. With the exception of the Town Hall, all the buildings in Budapest are twice the size of their equivalents in Vienna.

Berlin must follow suit, and I know we shall make a magnificent city of it. Once we have got rid of the hideous expanse of water which defaces the north side of the city, we shall have a magnificent perspective, stretching from the Sudbahnhof to the Triumphal Arch, with the cupola of the People’s Palace in the distance.


Consider obtaining a copy of the complete notes
published by Ostara Publications.

Published in: on March 25, 2015 at 1:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 186



13th June 1943, evening

The French painters—The great artistic achievements of the nineteenth century were German—Architecture in Munich.

I cannot make up my mind to buy a picture by a French painter, because I am not sure of the dividing line between what I understand and what I do not understand. I have the same feeling when I look at paintings by Corinth and Trübner—to mention only two of our German artists. These men started by painting pictures of great merit, and then, urged on by pride, they started to produce the most startling and extraordinary works. In literature the Jew has already blazed the same pernicious trail, and artists like Corinth and Trübner have followed them. The result is the frightful daubs with which they now inflict us.

In painting, the Italians were truly great from the fourteenth century to the seventeenth; in the eighteenth century they rested on their laurels, in the nineteenth their light began to wane, and today Italian art is completely degenerate. All this seems quite incomprehensible to me, but I suppose it is the law of averages. In the nineteenth century the greatest masterpieces in every branch were the works of us Germans. In the same period the French, too, had some good artists, but they all deteriorated in time.

When I think of the Paris Opera House, I cannot help feeling that those of Dresden and Vienna are in a very different category. The design itself of the Paris Opera is a work of genius, but the execution, from the artistic point of view, is very ordinary; and the interior is pretentious, overcrowded with decoration and devoid of all artistic taste. We must make sure that the new Opera House which we intend to build in Munich surpasses everything, in every way, that has ever gone before it.

The Palace of Justice in Munich is perhaps the most beautiful example of the baroque of recent times. Typical of the epoch of liberalism is the Palais de Justice in Brussels. It is a cyclops which dominates the whole town; and fancy having the Law Courts, of all things, as the dominating feature of a place! I am quite sure that a man is never more ready to fight for his country than when it is a question of defending the artistic and intellectual heritage of the nation. We have a fresh proof of it today. The destruction of a national monument has a greater effect on public opinion than the destruction of a factory.


Consider obtaining a copy of the complete notes
published by Ostara Publications.

Published in: on March 15, 2015 at 1:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

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