SPEECH OF APRIL 1, 1939
German Fellow-Citizens:- He who wants to have the deepest impression of the decay and resurrection of Germany most vividly must go and see the development of a city like Wilhelmshaven, which today reverberates with life and activity and which still a short time ago was a dead spot nearly without means of existence and without prospects of a future - it pays to revisualize this past.
When this city experienced its first upward move it coincided with the rise of the German Reich after its unification. This Germany was in a state of peace.
During the same time as the so-called peace-loving and Puritan nations led a great number of wars, Germany then knew only one aim: To maintain peace, to work in peace, to raise the prosperity of its inhabitants, and thereby to contribute to human culture and civilization.
This Germany of peace times has attempted, with unending diligence, with geniality, and with steadiness, to form its life within and to safeguard outwardly - through participation in peaceful competition with the nations - its due place in the sun.
Even though this Germany through the decades was the safest guarantor of peace, and even though she occupied herself with peaceful things, she was unable to prevent other nations, and especially their statesmen, from following this rise with envy and hatred and finally to answer with a war.
Today we know from the documents of history how the encirclement policy of those times was carried on in a planned way by England.
We know from numerous findings and publications that in that country the conception was that it would be necessary to bring down Germany militarily because its destruction would insure every British citizen a greater abundance of life's possessions.
Certainly at that time Germany made mistakes. Its most serious mistake was to see this encirclement and not to stave it off in time.
The only fault we can blame the regime of that time for is that the Reich had full knowledge of this devilish plan of a raid and yet it did not have the power of decision to ward it off in time and could only let this encirclement ripen until the beginning of the catastrophe.
The result was the World War. In this war the German people, although it had by no means the best armaments, fought heroically. No people can claim the glory for itself to have forced us down - much less so that nation whose statesmen today speak the greatest words.
Germany at that time remained undefeated and unconquered on land, at sea, and in the air - however, it was Germany.
But there was the power of the lie and the poison of propaganda which did not balk at misinterpretation and untruth.
This Germany faced the world in absolute defenselessness because it was unprepared.
When [President Woodrow] Wilson's Fourteen Points were published, not only many German fellow-citizens but above all the 'leading' men saw in these Fourteen Points not only the possibility of ending the World War but also the pacification of the world at large.
A peace of reconciliation and understanding was promised-a peace that was to know neither victor nor vanquished, a peace of equal justice for all, a peace of equal distribution of colonial domains and equal recognition of colonial desires, a peace that was to be finally crowned by a league of all free nations.
It was to be a guarantor of equal rights that would make it seem superfluous in the future for peoples to bear the armaments that previously, so it was said, were so heavily burdensome.
Therefore, disarmament-disarmament of all the nations.
Germany was to go ahead as a good example. Everybody was obliged to follow this disarmament. Also the age of secret diplomacy was to be ended. All problems henceforth were to be discussed openly and freely.
First of all, however, the right of self-determination of nations finally was to have been settled and raised to its proper importance.
Germany believed in these assurances. With faith in these declarations it had dropped its weapons. And then a breach of a pledge began such as world history had never seen before.
When our nation had dropped its weapons, a period of suppression, blackmailing, plundering, and slavery began. Not another word about peace without victor or vanquished, but an endless sentence of condemnation for the vanquished. Not another word about justice, but of justice on your side and injustice and illegality on the other.
Robbery upon robbery, oppression upon oppression were the consequences.
No one in this democratic world bothered himself any more about the sufferings of our people. Hundreds of thousands fell in the war, not from enemy weapons, but from the hunger blockade. And after the war ended, this blockade was continued for months in order to oppress our people still more.
Even German war prisoners, after an endless time, had to remain in captivity. The German colonies were stolen from us, German foreign holdings were simply seized and our merchant marine taken away.
Added to that was a financial plundering such as the world had never before seen. The monetary penalties which were imposed on the German people reached astronomical figures.
Of these an English statesman said that they could only be fulfilled when the German standard of living was reduced to the lowest possible level and Germans worked fourteen hours daily. What German spirit, German alertness, and German labor through decades and decades had collected and saved was lost in a few years.
Millions of Germans were either torn away from the Reich or were prevented from returning to the Reich. The League of Nations was not an instrument of a just policy of understanding among nations, but is and was a guarantee of the meanest dictation man ever invented.
So was a great people raped and led toward a misery that you all know. A great people through a broken pledge was cheated of its rights and its existence rendered practically impossible. A French statesman coined the following expression: 'There are 20,000,000 Germans too many in the world!'
Germans ended their lives out of despair, others slid into lethargy and an inevitable destiny and still others were of the opinion that everything must be destroyed; still others set their teeth and clenched their fists in unconscious rage. Still others believed that the past should be restored - restored just as it was.
Everyone had an idea of some sort. And I, as an unknown soldier of the World War, drew my conclusions.
It was a very short and simple program. It ran: Removal of the internal enemies of the nation, termination of the divisions within Germany, the gathering up of the entire national strength of our people into a new community, and the breaking of the peace treaty - in one way or another!
For as long as this dictate of Versailles weighed upon the German people it was actually damned to go to the ground. If, however, other statesmen now declare that right must rule on this earth, then they should be told that their crime is no right, that their dictate is neither right nor law but above this dictate stand the eternal rights of peoples to live.
The German people were not created by providence in order to follow obediently a law which suits the English or the French, but rather in order to champion their right to live. That is why we are here! I was determined to take up this battle of advocating the German right to live.
I took it up first within the nation.
In place of a great number of parties, social ranks, and societies, a single community now has taken its place - the German national community! To bring it to realization and to deepen it more and more is our task.
I had to hurt many in this time. However, I believe that the good fortune in which the entire nation is participating today must richly compensate every single one for what he had to give up dearly on his own part.
You all have sacrificed your parties, societies, and associations, but you have obtained in return a great strong Reich. And the Reich today, thank God, is strong enough to take your rights under its protection.
We no longer are dependent on the good graces or disgraces of other States or their statesmen.
When, more than six years ago, I obtained power, I took over a wretched inheritance. The Reich seemed to possess no more possibilities of existence for its citizens.
I undertook the work at that time with the one single capital which I possessed. It was the capital of your strength to work.
Your strength to work, my fellow-citizens, I now have begun to put to use. I had no foreign exchange. I had no gold reserve. I had only one thing - my faith and your work!
Thus we began the gigantic work of rebuilding based upon the confidence of the nation, instilled with the belief and the confidence in its eternal values.
Now we have found a new economic system, a system which is this: Capital is the power of labor and the coverage of money lies in our production.
We have founded a system based on the most sincere foundation there is, namely: Form your life yourself! Work for your existence! Help yourself and God will help you!
Within a few years we have wrenched Germany from despair. But the world did not help us. If today an English statesman says one can and must solve all problems through frank deliberations, I should like to tell this statesman just this: An opportunity has been open for fifteen years before our time.
If the world says today that the nations must be divided into virtuous nations and into such as are not virtuous - and that the English and French belong to the first class, and the Germans and Italians belong to those not virtuous - we can only answer: The judgment whether a people is virtuous or not virtuous can hardly be passed by a human being. That should be left to God.
Perhaps the same British statesman will retort: 'God has passed the verdict already, because He presented the virtuous nations with one quarter of the world and He took everything away from the nonvirtuous!'
The question may be permitted: 'By what means have the virtuous nations obtained for themselves this quarter of the world.'
And one must answer: 'They did not apply virtuous methods!'
For 300 years this England acted without virtue in order now in maturity to speak of virtue. Thus it could appear that during this British period without virtue 46,000,000 Englishmen have subdued nearly one-quarter of the world while 80,000,000 Germans, because of their virtue, must live at a rate of 140 to one square kilometer.
Indeed, twenty years ago, the question of virtue still was not entirely clear for the British statesmen insofar as it concerned conceptions of property. One still held it compatible with virtue simply to take away the colonies of another people that had acquired them through treaty or through purchase because one possessed the power - this very power which now, to be sure, should be deemed as something abominable and detestable.
I have only one thing to ask the gentlemen here: whether they believe what they say or do not believe it. We do not know.
We assume, however, that they do not believe what they say. For if we should assume that they themselves really believe it then we would lose every respect for them.
For fifteen years Germany patiently bore its lot and fate. I also sought in the beginning to solve every problem through talks. I made an offer in the case of each problem and each time it was turned down!
There can be no doubt that every people possesses sacred interests, simply because they are identical with their lives and their right to live.
When, today, a British statesman demands that every problem which lies in the midst of Germany's life interest first should be discussed with England,. then I, too, could demand just as well that every British problem first is to be discussed with us.
Certainly, these Englishmen may give me the answer: 'The Germans have no business in Palestine!' I answer that we do not want anything in Palestine.
Just as we Germans have little to do in Palestine, just as little business has England mixing in our German section of existence. And if they now declare that it involves general questions of law and justice I could approve of this opinion only if it was considered as binding to both of us.
They say we have no right to do this or that. I should like to raise the counter-question: What right, for example, has England to shoot down Arabs in Palestine just because they defend their homeland; who gives them this right?
Anyway, we have not slaughtered thousands in Central Europe but instead we have regulated our problems with law and order.
However, I should like to say one thing here: The German people of today, the German Reich of today is not willing to surrender life interests, it also is not willing to face rising dangers without doing something about them.
When the Allies, without regard or purpose, right, tradition, or even reasonableness, changed the map of Europe, we had not the power to prevent it. If, however, they expect the Germany of today to sit patiently by until the very last day when this same result would again be repeated - while they create satellite States and set them against Germany - then they are mistaking the Germany of today for the Germany of before the war.
He who declares himself ready to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for these powers must realize he burns his fingers.
Really, we feel no hatred against the Czech people. We have lived together for years. The English statesmen do not know this. They have no idea that Hradcany castle was not built by an Englishman but by a German and that the St. Vitus Cathedral likewise was not erected by Englishmen but that German hands did it.
Even the French were not active there. They do not know that already at a time when England still was very small a German Kaiser was paid homage on this hill [Hradcany castle]-that one thousand years before me the first German King stood there and accepted the homage of this people.
Englishmen do not know that. They could not know that and they do not have to know it. It is sufficient that we know it and that it is true that this territory lay in the living space of the German people for over a thousand years.
Despite this, however, we would have had nothing against an independent Czech State if, first, it had not suppressed Germans, and, second, if it had not been intended as the instrument of a future attack on Germany. When, however, a former French Air Minister writes in a newspaper that on the basis of their prominent position it is the task of these Czechs to strike at the heart of German industry with air attacks during war, then one understands that this is not without interest to us and that we draw certain conclusions from it.
It would have been up to England and France to defend this airbase. Upon us fell the task of preventing such an attack at all events. I sought to accomplish this by a natural and simple way.
When I first saw that every effort of that kind was destined to be wrecked and that elements hostile to Germany again would win the upper hand, and as I further saw that this State had long since lost its inner vitality - indeed, that it already was broken to pieces - I again carried through the old German Reich. And I joined together again what had to be united because of history and geographical positions, and according to all rules of reason.
Not to oppress the Czech people! It will enjoy more freedom than the suppressed people of the virtuous nations.
I have, so I believe, thereby rendered peace a great service, because I have rendered innocuous in time an instrument which was destined to become effective in war against Germany. If they now say that this is the signal that Germany now wants to attack the entire world, I do not believe that this is meant seriously: such could only be the expression of a bad conscience.
Perhaps it is rage over the failure of a far-flung plan, perhaps it is an attempt to create tactical preconditions for a new policy of encirclement.
Be that as it may: it is my conviction that thereby I have rendered peace a great service and out of this conviction I decided three weeks ago to name the coming party rally the 'Party Convention of Peace.'
For Germany has no intention of attacking other people. What we, however, do not want to renounce is the building up of our economic relations. We have a right thereto and I do not accept any condition from a European or a non-European statesman.
The German Reich is not only a great producer but also a gigantic consumer, just as we as a producer will be an irreplaceable trade partner, so as a consumer we are capable of honorably and fairly paying for what we consume.
We are not thinking about making war on other peoples. However, our precondition is that they leave us in peace.
In any case the German Reich is not ready everlastingly to accept intimidation or even a policy of encirclement.
I once made an agreement with England - namely, the Naval Treaty. It is based on the earnest desire which we all possess never to have to go to war against England. But this wish can only be a mutual one.
If this wish no longer exists in England, then the practical preconditions for this agreement therewith are removed and Germany also would accept this very calmly. We are self-assured because we are strong, and we are strong because we are united and because in addition we are looking forward. And in this city, my fellow citizens, I can address the one exhortation to you: Look into the world and to all its happenings with open eyes. Do not deceive yourselves about the most important precondition in life - namely, the necessity to be strong.
We have experienced this for fifteen years. Therefore I have made Germany strong again and erected an armed force, an army on land, at sea, and in the air.
When they say in other countries that they will arm and will keep arming still more, I can tell those statesmen only this: They will not be able to tire me out. I am determined to proceed on this road and I have a conviction that we shall proceed faster than the others. No power on earth will ever again be able to entice the weapons from us through any phrase.
Should, however, somebody be craving for measuring their strength with ours, then the German people also are ready at any time and I am ready and determined.
Just as we think, our friends also think, especially the State with which we are bound most closely and with which we are marching now and will march under all circumstances forever.
If hostile journalists do not know of anything else to write, then they write about rents or breaks in the Axis. They ought to hold their peace. This Axis is the most natural political instrument existing in this world.
It is a political combination which owes its origin not only to reasonable political deliberation and the desire for justice but also to the power of an ideal.
This construction will be more durable than the momentary ties of nonhomogeneous bodies on the other side. For if some one tells me today that there are no philosophical or ideological differences of any kind between England and Soviet Russia, then I can only say:
'I congratulate you, gentlemen!'
I believe that the time is not far distant in which the philosophical community between Fascist Italy and National Socialist Germany will prove essentially different than the one between democratic Great Britain and the bolshevist Russia of Stalin.
However, if there really should be no ideological difference, then I can only say: How correct, indeed, is my position toward Marxism and communism and democracy! Why two phenomena if they possess the same contents?
In these days we experience a very great triumph and a deep inner satisfaction. A country which also was devastated by bolshevism, where hundreds of thousands of human beings, women, men, children, and patriarchs have been slaughtered, has liberated itself, liberated despite all the ideological friends of bolshevism who sit in Great Britain, France and in other countries.
We can understand this Spain only too well in its struggle and we greet and congratulate it for its success. We Germans of today can express this with special pride, since many German young men have done their duty there. They have helped as volunteers to break a tyrannic regime and to return to a nation the right of self-determination.
We are pleased to note how fast, how extremely fast, the philosophical change came over the deliverers of war material on the Red side. We note how much they now, all of a sudden, understand this National Spain and how ready they are to conduct with this National Spain, if not philosophical, then at least economic business.
This also is a sign showing the trend of development.
My fellow-citizens, I believe that all States will be facing the same problem which we have faced.
State after State will either fall under the Jewish bolshevist pest or it will defend itself.
We have done it and have now erected a national German people's State. This people's State wants to live in peace and friendship with any other State but it will never again let itself be forced down by another State.
I do not know whether the world will become fascist! But I am deeply convinced that this world in the end will defend itself against the most severe bolshevistic threat that exists.
Therefore I believe that a final understanding between nations will come sooner or later. Only when this Jewish wedge among peoples is removed can the establishment of co-operation among nations - built on lasting understanding - be considered.
Today we must rely upon our own strength! And we can be satisfied with the results of this trust in ourselves - inwardly and outwardly.
When I came to power, my fellow-citizens, Germany was divided and impotent internally, and outwardly the sport of foreign designs. Today we are in order domestically. Our business is flourishing.
Abroad perhaps we are not loved, but respected. Yet we receive attention! That is the decisive factor! Above all we have given the greatest possible good fortune to millions of our fellow-citizens - the return into our Greater German Reich.
Second: We have given Central Europe a great piece of good fortune, namely, peace - peace that will be protected by German might. And this might can no longer be broken by any world power. That is our pledge!
So we will show that over two million citizens did not fall in the Great War in vain. From their sacrifice came Greater Germany. From their sacrifice was this strong young German people that the Reich called into being and that has now made itself felt. In the face of this sacrifice we shall not shy away from any sacrifice if it is ever necessary.
Let the world understand that!
It can make pacts and draw up declarations as much as it wishes. I have no faith in paper, but I do have faith in you, my fellow-citizens!
The greatest breach of faith of all time was committed against us Germans. Let us take care that our people internally are never again in a position to be broken. Then no one in the world will threaten us. Then peace will either be maintained for our people or, if necessary, peace will be enforced.
Then our people will bloom and flourish. Our people will be able to put their geniality, their ability, their diligence and steadfastness into the works of peace and human culture. This is our desire. We hope for it and we believe in it.
Twenty years ago that party was founded - at that time a tiny organization. Consider the road from that time until today! Consider the wonders which have occurred about us.
Believe, therefore, because of this wonderful road, also in the course of the German people in its coming great future!
Germany - Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!