SS Leadership Guide: Loyalty
by Alfred Kotz
6 August 2004
Manly virtues determine the basic direction of our way of life, first of all loyalty. We best understand loyalty through the feeling in our blood. This feeling tells us clearly what loyalty is.
Loyalty is lack of deception. Loyalty means action and inaction without deception. It demands reliability and maintenance through action and inaction, so that the trusted one is not deceived. It demands pursuit of the goal with complete seriousness and devotion.
Whoever is loyal, does not have to swear it twice. Loyalty is like a banner that goes out in front of those following.
Behind the flag also march those who have not stood by it under fire. That cannot be otherwise. They will nonetheless know what they owe to the flag. But those others, who on quiet soles sneak into the column of victors returning from battle, cannot know it. They were not loyal to their cause and they cannot be loyal to our cause. They seek refuge for their wretchedness or they seek a way to make business through their cleverness.
The flag must remain pure. Everyone who follows it must learn to see how can emerge on it. Whoever swears loyalty should learn to avoid sinning against it.
When we are surrounded by the good life, when everything goes well, when the position one serves in produces a profit, then it seems easy to be loyal.
We don't have to explain loyalty to the man who had nothing other than himself, who lived, fought and suffered for an idea, who had no material gain from it, but who nonetheless remained loyal. But we must learn from this man, everyone who becomes a leader, so that the leader's value is not lower than the leader's rank. We thereby also protect ourselves against the danger of overlooking that the follower has a right to loyalty just like he has a duty of loyalty.
Every leader must realize that he not only receives loyalty from the follower, rather that he also gives him loyalty. If the follower waives in his loyalty, then always look whether the blame lies with the man who, as leader, is responsible for the follower -- whether he has himself been loyal to him.
Loyalty is not showing a bowed back toward the superior and accepting whatever comes with a constant, servile smile. Such behavior can also never produce loyalty downward.
Loyalty is the inner obedience carried by trust and by affirmative love, not servitude. Orders formed by correct obedience look different than hypocrisy in the guise of over-anxious obedience. The enlisted man clearly feels the difference. He has a sure feeling if he is met with loyalty. Even if the order is very sharp; the man perceives whether this order springs from a sense of responsibility, from care and concern, hence from loyalty to the cause and to the men, or whether the sharp command tone merely hides the inner poverty of the man giving the order.
Compliance is different than obedience. The enlisted man knows that, too. And that is good. He notices fast whether somebody above him views loyalty as a one-sided thing, receives but does not give it. We can be glad that many an enlisted man has so much inner fortitude and certainty. He does not reject everything simply because he one time stumbles onto a superior who simply orders compliance instead of -- as a non-commissioned officer loyal to his superiors -- commanding.
The higher your office as leader, the greater the claim to your loyalty. Above you, the circle becomes smaller. It becomes more difficult, because beneath you the field of your responsibility expands. Remain true to the enlisted man under all circumstances! Do not shift the blame to those who failed because they couldn't bear the burden of responsibility you gave them in your area.
Protect your non-commisioned officer, even if, with the best of intentions, he erred, if he missed the mark. Only whoever is so mediocre that he never acts will never make a mistake.
It is Germanic nature not to leave one's comrade in the lurch. That's clear to us in immediate physical danger. It must also become self-evident to stand behind the man who has inner conflict. He should still believe in something when he is too weak to master it himself. Do not withdraw from your responsibility for what the man missed. You thus encourage the courage to faithfully report mistakes to you. Otherwise temptation leads to cover-up, and that does more damage, like a creeping cancer.
Remove the dishonest! He does not belong to us anyway. Punish the negligent if necessary. But put the honest man in the position corresponding to his ability!
Your loyalty to the follower demands that you assume responsibility for the insufficiencies he creates through ability less than his intention.
Loyalty carries with it mutual responsibility. It must be exercised with insight and tact. This responsibility for each other means more than just good intentions on the one side or pushiness and aggravating over-ambition on the other.
The one should not feel greatly slighted if he is once openly told what must be said. The other should not overlook the good points of the comrade because he is too inexperienced or too proud to draw attention to himself, as would often be desired.
Knowledge of the reciprocity of responsibility alone produces the security in giving and receiving. This avoids the suffocating feeling of dependence, but it achieves the belonging in the higher sense.
Loyalty hence means loyalty for loyalty.
That is true for all of us, for leader and follower: A sign of loyalty is not the mute or even crumbling execution of an order, rather the bright joy in service for Fuehrer and Reich. His enthusiasm for the idea will preserve loyalty, even if things don't always go according to his wishes, even when he receives a hard blow.
If the hearts do not glow, then all effort is in vain.
Our inalterable love is Germany's treasure; our constant loyalty is its protection and security.
If our love is small and confined to just the smallest circle of immediate comrades, then it is false and unworthy of a National Socialist. If it flows from noble manliness, if it encompasses all genuinely German life, then it is a gift of God. Then our loyalty becomes a vessel that covers and protects this precious gift from God.
This love and loyalty cannot be strong enough. By caring for this, our strength grows. If you are befallen by a feeling of grief for not achieving anything greater than what you have, then think of this: the heroism you seek does not only show itself in armor and shiny weapons. Heroism is often silent and invisible. You can be a hero of loyalty in everyday life, if the faith in Germany lives inside of you. Your faith, your love, and your loyalty to Germany willl eventually reveal themselves. Even if your name is one day forgotten, you have nonetheless belonged to those who have built the new Reich. To you, too, will belong the thanks of the Germans who later will be able to fully recognize what Adolph Hitler has meant to Germany, and that only through the sacrifice and loyalty of his followers, whose comrade you are, did the huge breakthrough in Germany's fate become possible.
From your loyalty grew the exultant affirmation of the nation: one Fuehrer, one Folk, one Reich.
Isn't that a reward for your loyalty?