Notes on the Leadership Principle

(Das Führerprinzip)



By Martin Kerr

Chief of Staff, NEW ORDER



There are different leadership doctrines or theories. That which we National Socialists embrace is known as the “Leadership Principle,” or in German “das  Führerprinzip.“ As with much else relating to our Movement and our Worldview, it has been the subject of deliberate distortion and misrepresentation by our enemies, so much so that even some National Socialists misunderstand it.


The Leadership Principle is an authoritarian leadership doctrine, in which power or authority rests in the hands of those in command. Leaders are appointed rather than elected. Instead of governing by committee, consensus or majority vote, an appointed leader makes all decisions for the field of operations under his command by himself. Likewise, along with absolute authority, a leader also bears absolute responsibilty for the decisions he makes; there is no passing the buck if something goes wrong.


As it is commonly (if falsely) portrayed, the Leadership Principle is synonomous with absolute dictatorship. That is, we are told that it means that all power in a given organization is concentrated into the hands of a single person at the top of hierarchal pyramid. He has all of the power (or 99 percent of it) and no one else has any. The leader is answerable to no one, and he can wield his power in any way that he chooses, for good or for ill. Anyone who dares to contradict this supreme leader or who goes against his stated desires faces punishment, which, in the popular imgination frequently means execution.


This description is a gross misrepresentation of the Leadership Principle, which is, in fact, a nuanced and efficient manner of leading men. Far from being capricious and unjust, it is a balanced and judicious method of command, that allows each person in the organizational chain to operate at his maximum potential.


The four cornerstones of the Leadership Principle are authority, responsibility, obedience and loyalty.




Although the person at the top of the leadership hierarchy is vested with the ultimate authority, that person is not the only leader. Rather, he has subordinates immediately beneath him who are also leaders. They, in turn have subordinates of their own and so it goes down to the lowest level of membership. All of these subordinates are leaders themselves and they also operate according to the leadership principle.


Each leader – at every level –  has complete authority to fufill the task assigned to him but at the same time he also has complete responsibility for seeing that the task is completed successfully and in the most efficient manner. A leader is given a job to do, along with the relevent instructions and parameters. Then he is left alone to do his work without interference. By “interference,“ we mean both outside interference from elsewhere in the organization but also from interference from above by superior officers who seek to micromanage what he is doing. Except in extraordinary situations and emergencies, micromangagement is not part of the Leadership Principle.


A superior leader is supposed to oversee the tasks of his subordinate but he should not take command and control from his hands unless that subordinate has taken his task off in the wrong direction or is bungling its execution. Care must be taken to distinguish between unimportant details and important ones. A superior leader should get involved if an important detail has been overlooked or is being done incorrectly, but not if he disagrees with his subordinate over something trivial.


In his recent biogaphy of Adolf Hitler, Ullrich Volker notes concerning the Führer’s leadership style:


He demanded of all his underlings that they spare him from unwelcome, banal, everyday details. “The best man is for me the one who burdens me the least by taking responsibility for himself ninety-five out of every one hundred decisions,” Hitler declared in October 1941. “Of course, there are cases that I ultimately have to decide.” In other words, Hitler claimed the solitary right to decide only on fundamental issues, not on routine matters he considered ancillary; it was then that he made use of his function as coordinator.


Seen from this perspective, it is clear that a National Socialist leader is a team captain rather than an Oriental despot.


If a leader is unable to perform his duties in a satisfactory manner, he should be replaced and assigned a task that he can manage properly. Because he is given absolute authority to complete his task, the leader must bear absolute responsibility if he fails. This should not be viewed as punishment but rather as organizational realignment to ensure that every person in the hierarchy is assigned a job that best suits his abilities.


By way of example, as chief of staff of the NEW ORDER, I have appointed one comrade to design and produce the NS BULLETIN as managing editor, and I have appointed another comrade as webmaster. I give each man general instructions on how I want a page of the website or of the newsletter to look and then I step aside and let him do his job. If I notice an error or if something is way off, I have it fixed – but I do not tell these comrades how to do do their job down to the smallest, tiniest detail. To do so would stifle creative ability and growth, and it would violate the Leadership Principle, one aspect of which is to enourage and train junior personnel so that one day they can assume a more senior role.


A subordinate officer must likewise take his responsibilities seriously. If he is successful, then he gets the credit for a job well done. If he is unsuccessful, he must own his failure and not try to put the blame on someone else. To do so would be dishonorable.


It is not true, as our oppoents charge, that the one on the top of the leadership pyramid has only authority and no responsibility – that there are no limits or controls on what he can or cannot do. In the first instance, the ultimate leader (whether he is called Führer or Commander or something else) is responsible to himself as a National Socialist and as an Aryan. Someone who is corrupt or venal – as most or many politicans are today – will not be able to rise to the senior-most position, as his character deficiencies will have been spotted long before he reaches the top. And even then, he will be surrounded by subordinates who are comrades of unassailable character who would serve as a brake on any illegitimate actions he might take.


But this is all hypothetical. As National Socialists, our main concern is not how to get a bad supreme leader out of office but rather how to put the best-qualified man into the post in the first place. And by best-qualified, we mean not just someone who has the technical ability to do the job but who likewise has the character and spiritual reserves required of the Movement’s leader.




Along with absolute authority and absolute responsibility come the principles of obedience and loyalty. Each comrade must follow the orders he is given to the best of his ability, even when he has personal doubts or misgivings.


This does not mean that debate or critical analysis are forbidden or suppressed. Quite the contrary! Every comrade has the duty to speak his mind while a decision is being made, even if he finds himself in sharp disagreement with other comrades or even with his superior officer. In fact, not to speak in opposition when a wrong course of action is being considered is a sin not just against the Leadership Principle but against the Movement itself. However, once a decision has been made, all debate and criticism must cease, and every comrade must enthusiastically suppport that decision, without any hesitation or holding back.


Running parallel to the practice of willing obedience is the practice of loyalty. This one of the key elements of the National Socialist worldview. A National Socialist is  loyal to his Race, to his Movement, to his superiors within the Movement and to his fellow comrades. But loyalty runs in both directions within the organization: just as a subordinate must show loyalty to his superior officer, that officer must show loyalty to those under his command.


In this manner, trust is created that allows the Movement to be resilient even in times of crisis, for if we trust the comrades above us, below us and beside us, our enemies have no chance of creating internal splits through rumor-mongering or by articially creating factions within the Movement which fight one another.


Being loyal to the Movement and its leaders, and being obedient to their commands, does not mean that one should be loyal and obedient only when things are going well, or only when one is in agreement. To have any meaning, loyalty means remaining loyal in “good times and in bad, whatever may come,“ to quote Rudolf Hess. I will not name names here, but in the past there were men who took the ANP/NSWPP “Stormtroopers Oath,“ in which they “irrevocably“ pledged their loyalty to the party’s commander – only to scurry away when things did not go the way they wanted. The Leadership Principle cannot function properly when comrades place their own egos before the good of the Movement!




The Leadership Principle served the Hitler movement well in Germany and it has well-served our Cause in America since the War. It is one reason why we have survived for 61 years and have endured two changes in leadership without missing a beat, whereas many other racialist formations have come and gone without leaving a trace. We note that the Leadership Principle is used by every military formation in the world, and that the Roman Catholic Church – the oldest institution in the world – also runs on its precepts.


So let the Republicans and the Democrats and their imitators have their elections and their committees. Let them run their organizations on consensus and majority votes – and let them see where that leads them in the end. The Leadership Principle, as an integral part of National Socialist theory and practice, gives us a tactical advantage that allows us to project strength far above our actual numbers. Our enemies may describe it as one of our weaknesses but in truth it is one of our hidden strenghts.