The Holocaust Historiography Project

Hitler and the 'Big Lie'

It has been repeated so often that virtually no one bothers to challenge it: Adolf Hitler created and used the "Big Lie," one of his many evil techniques. As holds true for so many things we are told, this belief, too, must be examined to see the underlying truth.

In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote:

But it remained for the Jews, with their unqualified capacity for falsehood, and their fighting comrades, the Marxists, to impute responsibility for the downfall [of Germany in WWI] precisely to the man who alone had shown a superhuman will and energy in his effort to prevent the catastrophe which he had foreseen and to save the nation from that hour of complete overthrow and shame. By placing responsibility for the loss of the world war on the shoulders of Ludendorff they took away the weapon of moral right from the only adversary dangerous enough to be likely to succeed in bringing the betrayers of the Fatherland to Justice. All this was inspired by the principle -- which is quite true in itself -- that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily, and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes.

From time immemorial, however, the Jews have known better than any others how falsehood and calumny can be exploited. Is not their very existence founded on one great lie, namely, that they are a religious community, whereas in reality they are a race? And what a race! One of the greatest thinkers that mankind has produced has branded the Jews for all time with a statement which is profoundly and exactly true. He (Schopenhauer) called the Jew "The Great Master of Lies." Those who do not realize the truth of that statement, or do not wish to believe it, will never be able to lend a hand in helping Truth to prevail.

Clearly, Hitler is not advocating the use of the "Big Lie," and, far from creating it, he in fact is ascribing the "Big Lie" technique to the Jews and Marxists. The "Big Lie" technique is Hitler's in the same fashion that Halley's Comet is Halley's -- not because either man was the inventor, but rather because he was the discoverer.

Sources

Adolf Hitler. Mein Kampf. James Murphy, translator. London, New York, Melbourne: Hurst and Blackett Ltd; April 1942; page 134.

Or:

Page 231 of the Mannheim translation, London: Hutchinson; 1969.

Page 232 of the Houghton-Mifflin edition.