Adolf Hitler - speech in Hamburg (Hanseatenhalle)
March 20, 1936
It is a pity that the statesmen-and population-of the rest of the world cannot catch a glimpse of modern Germany. They would, I believe, then be cured of their misconception that this Volk is languishing under a dictatorship that oppresses it, and of their misconception that one can do with this Volk what one wishes! [-] The German Volk will cast its vote on March 29 not for my regime-I need no votes for that [!]. However, I do need the German Volk in a battle I am waging for its own sake only, in a battle for equal German rights, in a battle against the presumptuousness of others who are once again treating the German Volk as inferior. I need the German nation in order to proclaim with it to the whole world the vow that, come what may, we will not retreat an inch from our claims to equality of rights. Not because we desire a disruption of European order, but because it is our conviction that a long-term order in Europe is only conceivable given peoples with equal rights. The view that it is possible to base European order on the defamation of a population of sixty-seven million for any length of time is ahistoric, insane and a folly. [-] My only aim is that this German Volk grows to become an equal member of the European community. I feel sorry for the statesmen who believe that such participation is best prefaced by a new defamation of the German nation. Were they to look beyond the immediate moment, beyond the supposed success of days, weeks or months, they would be frightened by the realization of the inevitable consequences of such ahistoric action. [-] I, on the other hand, must profess: never was the Party as attached to me and never was this unity between Fuhrer and Movement stronger than when the opponents believed they had already conquered us or were capable of wrestling us down! We have always achieved the greatest determination in the gravest crisis.
I know that the German Volk will stand as one, united as never before, come what may. Fuhrer and Volk have but one desire: to live in peace and friendship with the other peoples; yet they also have but one resolve: by no means to abandon the claim to equality of rights.
Even if the rest of the world has not yet lost the spirit of Versailles, the German Volk has dismissed it, once and for all! The problem with which we are faced is not the revision of the letter of the Treaty, but the revision of an outlook evidenced in the fact that now, seventeen years after the end of the War, the belief persists that it is possible to deny the German Volk its equality of rights.
This problem must be solved, and there is only one way to do it: either it is solved decently, as is our goal, and we are thus enabled to cooperate with the rest of Europe, or Germany will go its own way alone-but under no circumstances will it ever again betray its rights or its honor! This resolve is a threat to no one. On the contrary! It takes an impossible burden off the world! It was on the basis of this resolve that our generous offer was made, an offer from which we hope-still hope-that it can contribute to giving Europe a long-awaited peace. We stand by this offer. The world asks, “Yes, but will they adhere to it?” The world has no business whatsoever talking about complying with treaties. We could draw up a balance showing how treaties have been complied with since 1918. The German Volk will allow no one to deny it its honor. We, for our part, do not take the liberty of censoring other peoples.
I have scheduled this election for all to see that I am not the only one with these concepts of honor; they are cherished by the entire nation! Let it be seen that I am not making this offer of peace on my own, but on behalf of these sixty-seven million; and further that I am not the only one who rejects insulting demands,88 but that the entire German Volk will not stand for such treatment! I also want this vote to show the world that the bayonet does not tyrannize the Volk in Germany, but that here the government is supported by the trust of the entire population.
I myself come from out of the Volk. In fifteen years I have worked my way up out of this Volk with my Movement. I was not appointed by anyone to stand above this Volk.
It is from the Volk I have evolved, it is within the Volk I have remained, and it is to the Volk 1 shall return!89 I will stake my ambition on the fact that there is no statesman I know in this world who has more right than I to say he is a representative of his Volk! And if someone says, “But we know that anyway! Why all the excitement and the trouble, the rallies, and then voting all over again?”-My dear friend! Do you think that all this does not mean work and trouble for me? In my opinion, if I have been working for two or three years, you can go to the polls once, too! That is why you are here today, together with hundreds of thousands of fellow inhabitants of this Hanseatic city. That is why thousands of my leaders in the Movement have been visiting the German Gaus in recent weeks.
The aim is to document the indissoluble bond joining the Movement of the regime, the Party, and the German Volk to its leadership! Hence today, my German Volk, I call upon you: stand behind me with your faith! Be the source of my power and my faith. Do not forget: he who does not abandon his principles in this world will not be abandoned by the Almighty either! The Almighty will always help those who help themselves; He will always show them the way to their rights, their freedom and thus to their future. And this is the reason why you, German Volk, are going to the polls on March 29.
I have taught you to have faith, now give me your faith!