An extract from an 1928 article by Joseph Goebbels on the Reichstag, explaining why the Nazis – an anti-parliamentary political group – was campaigning for seats there. Extract reproduced with the permission of the German Propaganda Archive.
“We are an anti-parliamentarian party that for good reasons rejects the Weimar constitution and its republican institutions. We oppose a fake democracy that treats the intelligent and the foolish, the industrious and the lazy, in the same way. We see in the present system of majorities and organized irresponsibility the main cause of our steadily increasing miseries.
So why do we want to be in the Reichstag?
We enter the Reichstag to arm ourselves with the weapons of democracy. If democracy is foolish enough to give us free railway passes and salaries, that is its problem. It does not concern us. Any way of bringing about the revolution is fine by us.
If we succeed in getting sixty or seventy of our party’s agitators and organizers elected to the various parliaments, the state itself will pay for our fighting organization. That is amusing and entertaining enough to be worth trying.
Will we be corrupted by joining parliament? Not likely. Do you think us such miserable revolutionaries that you fear that the thick red carpets and the well-upholstered sleeping halls will make us forget our historical mission?
Is our entry into the Reichstag the beginning of a compromise? Do you really think that we who have stood before you a hundred or a thousand times preaching faith in a new Germany, who have smilingly faced death dozens of times from the red mob, who have joined you in battling every form of resistance whether of official or nonofficial nature, who have bent before no command or terror, do you really think that we would lay down our weapons in exchange for a railroad pass?
If we only wanted to become representatives, we would not be National Socialists, but German National Party members or Social Democrats. We do not beg for votes. We demand conviction, devotion, passion! A vote is only a tool for us as well as for you. We will march into the marble halls of parliament, bringing with us the revolutionary will of the broad masses from which we came, called by fate and forming fate. We do not want to join this pile of manure. We are coming to shovel it out.
Do not believe that parliament is our goal. We have shown the enemy our nature from the podiums of our mass meetings and in the enormous demonstrations of our brown army. We will show it as well in the leaden atmosphere of parliament. We are coming neither as friends or neutrals. We come as enemies! As the wolf attacks the sheep, so come we. You are not among your friends any longer! You will not enjoy having us among you!”