SPEECH OF MAY 1, 1935
. . . A WRITER has summed up the impressions made on him by this time in a book which he entitled 'The Decline of the West.' Is it then really to be the end of our history and of our peoples? No! we cannot believe it. This age must be called, not the decline of the West, but the resurrection of the peoples of this West of ours! Only that which was old, decayed and evil perishes; and let it die! But new life will spring up. Faith can be found, if the will is there. Our leadership has the will, and faith is with the people....
So we have come together on this day to prove symbolically that we are more than a collection of individuals striving one against another, that none of us is too proud, none of us too high, none is too rich, and none too poor, to stand together before the face of the Lord and of the world in this indissoluble, sworn community. And this united nation, we have need of it. When was a leadership at any time faced with a heavier task than our German leadership? Consider, my comrades, what our Germany is, and compare it with other countries. What have we? One hundred and thirty-seven people to the square kilometer; no colonies; no raw materials; no foreign exchange, no capital, no longer any foreign credits; only heavy burdens, sacrifices, taxation, and low wages. What have we, compared with the wealth of other States, the wealth of other countries, the wealth of other peoples, with the possibilities of living that they possess? What have we? One thing only; we have our people. Either it is everything or it is nothing. On it alone can we count. On it alone can we build. Everything that we have created up to the present we owe solely to its goodness of heart, its capacity, its loyalty, its decency, its industry, its sense of order. And if I weigh all this in the balance, it seems to me to be more than all that the rest of the world can offer us. So this, I believe, can be our message to the other peoples on this first of May: 'You need have no fear that we want anything of you. We are proud enough to confess that we ourselves own that treasure, which you certainly could not give us - our people.' I could, as leader, think of no more glorious, no prouder task in this world than to serve this people. One might give me continents, but I would rather be the poorest citizen among this people. And with this people we must and shall succeed in achieving also the tasks that are still to come.
What we want lies clear before us: not war and not strife. Just as we have established peace within our own people, so we want nothing else than peace with the world. For we all know that our great work can succeed only in a time of peace. But just as the leadership of the nation in the domestic sphere has never sacrificed its honor in its relations with the German people, so it can never surrender the honor of the German people in its dealings with the world.
We know what we owe to the world. May the world come to understand what she can never deny to a proud people, and above all may she comprehend one thing: the Germany of today is not the Germany of yesterday - just as little as the Germany of yesterday was the Germany of today. The German people of the present time is not the German people of the day before yesterday, but the German people of the two thousand years of German history which lie behind us.