Adolf Hitler – speech in Saarbrücken
March 1, 1935
Two years ago, in 1933, I spoke for the first time before many tens of thousands of Saarlanders at the Niederwald Monument.50 At that time, in the midst of one of the most difficult battles to establish our ideas and principles in the new Germany, I was filled by anxious concern for the future of the Saar.
One year later I was already facing hundreds of thousands in Koblenz.51 Once more I was moved-as were you all-by a deep-felt concern for the future of this territory which had been torn from the Reich. At that time, we mutually pledged two things: You promised me that, when the hour should come, you would stand up, man for man and woman for woman, in support of Germany.
You have kept your vow. I promised you that Germany would not desert you, never and nevermore, and Germany reciprocated and kept its promise; both times I was able to assure you with all my heart that I would be happy the day I would be able to reward you for coming to Koblenz.
At that time I promised that I would come to you in the initial hours of your freedom, and now I am happy to be here in your midst. It is my belief that we can all thank Heaven for having made possible that our third encounter does not find you as guests in the Reich, but that I am now able to come to you in your homeland, in our German Saarland, as Chancellor of the Reich and as your Fuhrer. It is the latest possible date the international bodies could schedule for a rally in this territory. And I believe that is why the sky is overcast and is letting rain fall. We have not been deterred by this rain, for even if the sky is shedding tears, today we have had the sun in our hearts.
We are all so overjoyed to be able to take part in this happy day. This very minute countless millions of Germans are listening throughout the Reich. A happy day for the entire nation. From here to Hamburg, from Western Germany to Konigsberg-everywhere the same sentiment: finally, finally you are back with us. But it is not only a happy day for Germany; I believe it is also a happy day for the whole of Europe. It was a hallowed decision to finally fix this day and to respect its outcome. To restore this territory, which so easily could have become a permanent bone of contention, to the German Reich, whence it had been torn with no right and no reason. A happy day for Europe particularly because this return of the Saar might perhaps best serve to remedy the crisis from which two great nations are suffering most. We hope that by virtue of this act of conciliatory justice reinstating common sense, we hope that by virtue of this act the relations between Germany and France will improve once and for all.
Just as we desire peace, so must we hope that our great neighboring people is also ready and willing to seek with us this peace. It must be possible for two great peoples to join hands to combat by mutual effort the crises which threaten to bury Europe beneath their weight.
And this day shall also be a lesson, a lesson to all those who, ignorant of an everlasting historic truth, delude themselves that terror or violence could strip a Volk of its innermost character; a lesson to those who imagine they could tear away a part of a nation to steal its very soul. May all statesmen draw one conclusion from this: that it is useless to attempt to tear asunder peoples and nations by such methods. In the end, blood is stronger than any documents of mere paper.
What ink has written will one day be blotted out by blood. This most profound voice, ringing loud and clear, will ultimately drown out every other sound. Woe to him who refuses to learn in the face of this certitude. He will bring distress and troubles upon mankind without achieving his goal. He will bring suffering and misery upon the peoples for a time, but in the end he will sustain a humiliating defeat.
Through this solemn plebiscite and this demonstration of belief in the Reich, you have rendered yet another great historic service. In a hard phase of the struggle to rebuild the German Reich, you have made my own work easier with this belief.52 As God is my witness: this work has no other aim than to make Germany free and happy once more.
You have thus earned great credit and with it, a sacred right to celebrate this day of joy. And I am happy to be allowed to pass this day in your midst.
May we today surrender to the embrace of happiness and joy, and tomorrow we shall return to work, to the great task of working for our new German Reich.
For we know that, whatever has been accomplished, and be it oh so wondrous, it is only a start, only the beginning of what we envision. You are not entering a finished building; you are entering a community of people which has just now been joined together. You shall help build and help work, and you shall be proud, you shall be happy that you were able and allowed to work together on the new German structure. It is a wonderful thing to turn the word Volksgemeinschaft into a reality. We shall now accomplish what many centuries past have vainly yearned for.
We first had to meet up with misery to make our Volk ready for this idea. Sometimes we are overcome by the feeling that everything which has happened is part of an unavoidable fate destined to lead us to where happier days unfortunately could not have brought us; the feeling that the hand of the Lord had to strike us to make us ready for this, the greatest inner good fortune there is, the good fortune of mutual understanding within one’s own people.
What is external glory, what are external advantages in comparison to this greatest of possessions a Volk can acquire? We would be unable to understand the world, and the world would not comprehend us-if we did not first learn to understand each other.
That is the first step to a better future for mankind. We have earnestly pursued this route, endeavoring to rip from our inner depths vanity, class madness, and the arrogance of rank. We have endeavored to judge people on the basis of their inner worth, endeavored to depart from the mere appearance, from the superficial, endeavored to forget origin, rank, profession, wealth, education, knowledge, capital, and all those things which separate people from one another, in order to penetrate to what can join them together. To penetrate to the heart, to the character, to the conscience, to decency-and we have been rewarded. We have found rich treasures. We have been able to discover what we had not seen for centuries: the German Volksgenosse in every class of our Volk, in every rank of our Volk, in every profession. To rightfully address people of the highest value as “Genossen” of a Volk.
And it is as a witness on behalf of this community that I have come here to you, as a witness and as a fighter in this community which today joins together the millions who are Germans.
I know that Heaven does not bestow perfection upon men. Their lot is to earn all, hard and painfully. And I know that today this great goal is far from being achieved in full. But we strive for it with burning hearts, and Heaven and Providence have blessed our efforts. For there is one thing I can surely say: may my opponents at home and the opponents of the German Volk everywhere bear one thing in mind: fifteen years ago I began my struggle for Germany with a handful of people, and it was difficult to spread beyond this handful, to spread into the environment, out into a city, out into a Land, out of a Land and into the German Reich. Fifteen years of struggle, and when I take stock of the result today, I must thank Heaven, for it blessed the struggle and blessed it again and again. The struggle has not been in vain. Fifteen years of struggling for a Volk, fifteen years of fighting for a Reich, and today I am able to welcome you in the German homeland on behalf of this Volk and on behalf of this Reich.
I have come to you today, but this shall be only the first of many visits. I shall return, and I shall speak to you again.
But now I could wait no longer. It would have been impossible for me to have spent today sitting in Berlin or somewhere else, impossible53 to pass this day in inner turmoil and impatience.
I have come because my heart has led me here to you to tell you how infinitely happy the German Volk is and how happy I myself am.
I shall return and then-I hope-speak to you many times over.54 It is a wondrous evolution this Movement has made. A truly unique rise from the smallest beginning to such a large following. This evolution gives all of us the confidence that the undertaking will be completed, that we will not only envision the great aim, but perhaps even live to see it materialize. You are now invited to take part in this work. I ask you to give to the new Reich the virtues you have retained these fifteen years. For fifteen years you kept the faith. I beseech you: keep the faith in the new Reich, too; believe in its future, believe in the task and in its accomplishment, believe in the success of this task, believe in the freedom, believe in the greatness and permanence of our Volk.
If you had not had faith as your support during these fifteen years, what would you have left? If you had not had faith during these fifteen years, who would have been your leader? Faith can move mountains; faith can also free peoples. Faith can fortify nations and lead them to rise again, however humiliated they may have been.
And you have remained loyal for fifteen years. And once more I ask of you: place this loyalty in the new Reich! You were loyal, regardless of what you were offered; you were loyal, regardless of what you were promised. You did not weigh the material advantages. And so I ask of you: be just as loyal in the work you are taking on, be loyal in this new Reich, be loyal to this Movement, loyal to this German Volksgemeinschaft, never be distracted by what those outside our ranks promise us, never forget: We were just as loyal when Germany was at its worst; it was then we hoisted the flag. When Germany was most deeply humiliated, it was then we unfurled the flag of faith, the flag of commitment to this Germany. We did not say: we are ashamed of being Germans; we said: we are prouder than ever to be Germans.
And we have never asked what else we might be offered, have never weighed what we were actually offered; we believed in Germany, and we remained loyal to it every hour of the day, in every crisis, in every danger, through all the wretchedness and through all the misery. And I ask you to give this loyalty to the new Germany, your Germany, our Germany.
And I ask you too to give this Germany your will. What good is a man who does not establish a goal which he pursues with zealousness and determination? The will is a tremendous force when used persistently by someone persistently striving towards his goal. It was your will to return to Germany, and your will has triumphed. It was our will to lead Germany once again to the top, and as you see, our will has triumphed.
When Germany sank into the depths of humiliation, our will to establish the German Volksgemeinschaft grew. When Germany split into classes and ranks, our will to overcome them and make the nation ruler over its own life grew. And the will triumphed. Germany has become one, a new banner has gone up, and there, beneath the waving banner, march the millions in step; there marches the entire German nation.56 I ask you to transpose the will of the last fifteen years, the will that inspired you, now fresh and alive, onto the new Reich and enter into it with the one great resolution of serving it. Enter with the resolve to subordinate yourselves to this Reich and to place yourselves at its disposal.
If you thus enter our Reich, the Reich we have all built together, the Reich which is ours because no one gave it to us, for the German Volk itself created it; if you thus enter this Reich, you will all be happy! Then you will be happy in knowing that you have not accepted a gift but achieved something magnificent by your joint effort.
Happiness and good fortune are things you cannot be given. The utmost good fortune which can be bestowed is the conviction of having accomplished something through one’s own effort. You will be as blessed with this good fortune as we all already are today, for we are proud of the fact that we were the ones who designed and hoisted this flag fifteen years ago, and by virtue of our work it today constitutes a symbol of mutuality everywhere Germans are.
We are happy knowing that we were given nothing by others,57 but have achieved all in a thousand battles, in untiring work, by our diligence and our will, with our loyalty and with our faith. And you will be just as happy in fifteen or twenty years, when Germany will be completely free, when Germany, as a nation of peace but also as a nation of freedom and honor, will once more supply its sons and its children with daily bread. You will be happy and proud in knowing that you, too, have contributed to winning this wealth for our Volk.
Gathered here in this evening hour, we wish to look not only at the past but also gaze into the future; we want not only to rejoice in our accomplishments, but to establish new goals for the work which shall lie before us.
We shall turn our gaze from the past and fix it on the future of our Volk.
There we see the tasks to which we are assigned, and we are pleased, for we have no desire to be a generation which simply takes what is given and which expects things to fall into its lap; we would rather end our days with the feeling: we have met our obligations, we have done our duty. That is the utmost good fortune.
When today we set our sights on the future, our goal appears to be this new Reich of a more noble Volksgemeinschaft, this new Germany of a purer Volksgenossenschaft;; our goal appears to be this Germany which is as peaceloving as it should be strong and must be honorable and true! And to this Germany, which we all see before us at this moment, we shall now swear our oath. It is to this Germany we wish to devote ourselves in this solemn hour, it is under its spell we wish to fall as long as we breathe, and we wish to confirm this oath together now, man for man and woman for woman: To our Germany, our Volk and our Reich:
Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil!