BERLIN, SPORTPALAST

SPEECH OF OCTOBER 5, 1938

WHEN six years ago I took over the leadership of the Reich one of our so-called 'statesmen' of that day said: 'Now this man has taken the decisive step. Up to now he has been popular, because he has been in opposition. Now he must govern and we shall see in six or eight weeks how his popularity will look'! Six years - not six weeks only - have passed and I believe that they have been the most decisive years for German history. The most characteristic feature of this period is the close unity of the German people. What I have achieved in these six years was possible only because I had standing behind me the whole German people. The problems which faced us no single man could solve unaided: only when he could speak and, if necessary, also act in the name of the whole German people could he master these questions....

During the last few months and weeks I have had in my foreign policy a great helper and previously, in my last speech in this hall [the Sportpalast], I expressed my thanks to the man who took his stand in support of Germany as a true, great friend, Benito Mussolini. He has thrown into the scale of a just solution the entire force not only of his own genius but of the power which stands behind him. I must also thank the two other great statesmen who at the last minute recognized the historical hour, declared themselves ready to give their support to the solution of one of Europe's most burning problems and who thereby made it possible for me, too, to offer the hand towards an understanding. But above all my thanks fly to the German people which in these long months has never deserted me. . . .. I am proud of my German people! I hope that in a few days the problem of the Sudeten Germans will be finally solved. By October 10 we shall have occupied all the areas which belong to us. Thus one of Europe's most serious crises will be ended, and all of us, not only in Germany but those far beyond our frontiers, will then in this year for the first time really rejoice at the Christmas festival. It should for us all be a true Festival of Peace....

Above us all stands the motto: 'no one in the world will help us if we do not help ourselves.' This programme of self-help is a proud and manly programme. It is a different programme from that of my predecessors who continually ran round through the world, going a-begging now in Versailles, then in Geneva, now in Lausanne or at some conference or other elsewhere. It is a prouder thing that to-day we Germans are determined to solve our own problems and to help ourselves. . . .

We have been witnesses of a great turning-point in history. At this moment we must bethink ourselves, too, of those who through twenty years in an apparently hopeless state still nursed a fanatical faith in Germany and never surrendered their *Deutschtum*-their life as Germans. It is so easy here in the heart of the Empire to profess one's belief in Germany. But it is inexpressibly difficult, in the face of an unceasing persecution, not to allow oneself to be drawn away from this faith - to remain fanatically true to it, as though redemption were coming the next day. But now the hour of redemption has come. I have just had my first sight of these areas and what moved me so profoundly was two impressions. First: I have often known the jubilation and the enthusiasm of joy, but here for the first time I have seen hundreds of thousands shedding tears of joy. And secondly I saw appalling distress. When in England a Duff Cooper or a Mr. Eden say that injustice has been done to the Czechs, then these men should just for once see what in reality has happened there. How can one so pervert the truth! I have seen here whole villages undernourished, whole towns reduced to ruin. My fellow-countrymen, you have a great debt of honor to pay! . . . I expect of you that the Winter Help Contribution of 1938-39 shall correspond with the historical greatness of this year.

In the history of our people the year 1938 will be a great, incomparable, proud year.... Later historians will show that the German nation found its way back again to the position of an honourable great nation - that our history has once more become a worthy history. . .