III. Leaflet of the White Rose

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Leaflets of the White Rose
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“Salus publica suprema lex.”
All ideal forms of government are utopias. A State cannot be constructed on a purely theoretical basis; rather, it must grow and ripen in the way an individual human being matures. But we must not forget that at the starting point of every civilization the State was already there in rudimentary form. The family is as old as man himself, and out of this initial bond, man was endowed with reason, creating for himself a State founded on justice, whose highest law was the common good. The State should exist as a parallel to the divine order, and the highest of all utopias, the civitas dei, is the model which in the end it should approximate. We do not want to pass judgment here on the many possible forms of a State – democracy, constitutional monarchy, and so on. But one matter needs to be brought out clearly and unambiguously: every individual human being has a claim to a useful and just State, one which secures the freedom of the individual as well as the good of the whole. For, according to God’s will, man is intended to pursue his natural goal, his earthly happiness, in self-reliance and self-chosen activity, freely and independently within the community of life and work of the nation.

But our present “State” is the dictatorship of evil. “Oh, we’ve known that for a long time,” I hear you object, “and we don’t need to have it brought to our attention yet again.” But, I ask you, if you know that, why do you not bestir yourselves, why do you allow these men in power to rob you step by step, openly and in secret, of one domain of your rights after another, until one day nothing, nothing at all will be left but a mechanized State system presided over by criminals and drunkards? Is your spirit already so crushed by abuse that you forget it is your right – or rather, your moral duty – to abolish this system? But if a person no longer can summon the strength to demand his right, then it is an absolute necessity that he should fall. We would deserve to be dispersed throughout the earth like dust before the wind if we did not muster our powers at this late hour and finally find the courage which up to now we have lacked. Do not hide your cowardice under a cloak of prudence! For with each day that you hesitate, failing to oppose this monster from hell, your guilt will keep growing as in a parabolic curve.

Many, perhaps most of the readers of these leaflets are not quite sure how to offer effective resistance. They see no chance to do so. We want to try to show them that everyone is in a position to contribute to the collapse of this system. It won’t be possible through individualistic enmity, in the manner of embittered hermits, to prepare the ground for the overturn of this “government” or even bring about the revolution at the earliest possible moment. No, it can be done only through the cooperation of many convinced, energetic people – people who have agreed on the means they must use to attain their goal. We don’t have a great deal of choice. There is only one means available to us: passive resistance.

The sense and the aim of passive resistance is to topple National Socialism, and in this struggle we must not recoil from any course of action, wherever it may lie. We must attack National Socialism wherever it is open to attack. We must bring this monster of a state to an end as soon as possible. A victory of fascist Germany in this war would have immeasurable, frightful consequences. The military victory over Bolshevism must not become the primary concern of the Germans. The defeat of the Nazis must unconditionally be the absolute priority, the greater necessity of this latter demand we will demonstrate to you in one of our forthcoming leaflets.

And now every convinced opponent of National Socialism must ask himself how he can fight against the present “State” in the most effective way, how he can strike it in its most vulnerable places. Through passive resistance, without a doubt. It is obvious that we cannot provide each individual with a blueprint for his acts, we can only suggest them in general terms, and each person has to find the right way for himself to attain this end.

Sabotage in armament plants and war industries, sabotage at all gatherings, rallies, and meetings of organizations launched by the National Socialist Party. Obstruction of the smooth functioning of the war machine (a machine for a war that goes on solely to shore up and perpetuate the National Socialist Party and its dictatorship). Sabotage in all the areas of science and scholarship which further the continuation of the war – whether in universities, technical colleges, laboratories, research institutes or technical bureaus. Sabotage at all cultural events which could potentially enhance the “prestige” of the fascists among the people. Sabotage in all branches of the arts even the slightest bit connected with National Socialism or rendering it service. Sabotage in all publications, all newspapers in the pay of the “government” that defend its ideology and aid in disseminating the brown lie. Do not give a penny to street collections (even when they are conducted under the cloak of charity). For this is only a disguise. In reality the proceeds benefit neither the Red Cross nor the destitute. The government does not need this money; it is not financially dependent on these collections. After all, the printing presses run continuously to manufacture any desired amount of paper currency. But the people must constantly be kept in suspense; the pressure of the curb must not slacken! Do not contribute to the collections of metal, textiles, and the like. Seek to convince all your acquaintances, including those in the lower social classes, of the senselessness of continuing, of the hopelessness of this war; of our spiritual and economic enslavement at the hands of the National Socialists; of the destruction of all moral and religious values; and urge them to offer passive resistance!

Aristotle, Politics: “… and further, it is part [of the nature of tyranny] to strive to see to it that nothing
is kept hidden of that which any subject says or does, but that everywhere he will be spied upon, … further, to set all men against each other, friends against friends, the people against the nobility, and even the rich among themselves. Then it is part of such tyrannical measures to make the subjects poor, in order to be able to pay the bodyguards and to keep them occupied with earning their livelihood so that they will have neither leisure nor opportunity to instigate conspiratorial acts… Further, such taxes on income as were imposed in Syracuse, for under Dionysius the citizens had gladly paid out their whole fortunes in taxes within five years. The tyrant is also inclined to constantly foment wars.”

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