Adolf Hitler – speech on the “Wehrmacht Day”
September 14, 1936
For the third time you are assembled here on this square in Nuremberg! For the first time the war flags of the new Reich are flying before you! For the first time you are holding in your fists the new banners of your regiments! Thus even this external image illustrates the change which Germany, our and your Germany, has undergone.
This change is the result of the great work of educating our Volk and no less great an effort in all the areas of our national life.
The fact that we are able to stand here today and celebrate these days this way is something we owe to the infinite energy, the infinite diligence, the infinite work of our Volk. Yet this work would be in vain were the Reich not able to safeguard its internal and external peace. What today fills us with such great pride are the accomplishments of our work of peace. The supreme task assigned to us all is safeguarding and thus preserving this accomplishment and this work. And if millions of people dedicate their lives to this work year in, year out, in factories and workshops, in plants and offices, then it is understandable and reasonable that all of them are equally prepared to dedicate their lives to preserve what has thus been accomplished.
This is why you, my soldiers, have been called upon by the nation! Not to support some frivolous experiment of hysterical chauvinism-but to stand guard over our work! To stand guard over our Volk! To stand guard over Germany! When I see you thus before me, I feel and I know that this guard will stand firm against any danger and any threat.
Germans have always been good soldiers. The Army from which you have grown forth looks back on the proudest heritage of all time. If Germany collapsed back then, it was the consequence of its inner political collapse.
Today the nation stands as straight as you, my young comrades, stand here before me. Germany has once more become worthy of its soldiers, and I know that you will be worthy soldiers of this Reich! With the Volk, the Party and the Army, we make up an indissoluble, sworn community.
Grave times may lie ahead. They will never find us wavering, never disheartened and never cowardly! For we all know the kingdom of heaven cannot be gained by half-men! Freedom cannot be preserved by cowards! And the future belongs only to the brave! What is being asked of you is only a small part of what the past required of us. Back then we did our duty, today you will do yours. The two years I ask of you for Germany I will give you back with ten! For this discipline will make every one of you healthier than he has ever been before. Whatever you give to the Fatherland in your youth, will be returned to you in your old age. You will be a healthy generation, not suffocated in offices and factory halls, but raised in the sun and the outdoors, steeled by physical exercise, and above all strengthened in character. And believe me, Germany has a place in its heart for you, its soldiers! It has transferred the esteem, the admiration and the love it showed for our former great army to you. And you shall be worthy of it! The nation expects no sacrifices from you that you shall not make! Then Germany will never again approach the sorrowful times we were made to endure! Our Fatherland, your Germany, your homeland and the homeland of our children will be strong and great and happy. It will be able to preserve that very peace that safeguards our life.
In this hour we all join in professing our faith to this, our German Volk, and to the millions of toiling people in the cities and the countryside, in professing our faith in the German Reich.
To our Germany:
Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!
Adolf Hitler - closing speech at the Party Congress
Nuremberg, September 14, 1936
Thanks to the National Socialist idea and through the work of the National Socialist leadership, a new Germany has arisen! One can love it or one can hate it, but no one will change it, no one can do away with it!
The first and most difficult of our appointed political tasks can be said to be solved today. With the introduction of the two-year period service, the German Reich has once again been liberated, in scarcely four years of National Socialist leadership of state, from the worst consequences of that unscrupulous mutiny that attempted to defame us not only militarily, but first and foremost morally! It may be that the peoples who were not visited by a misfortune comparable to that of Germany have no concept of the emphasis we place on settling this question above all.
We did not defend Germany against Bolshevism back then because we were intending to do anything like conserve a bourgeois world or go so far as to freshen it up. Had Communism really intended nothing more than a certain purification by eliminating isolated rotten elements from among the ranks of our so-called ‘upper ten thousand’ or our equally worthless Philistines, one could have sat back quietly and looked on for a while.
The aim of Bolshevism is not, however, to liberate peoples from what is sick, but the opposite: to exterminate what is healthy, what is healthiest of all, in fact, and to place in its stead the most degenerated of all.
I cannot ally myself with a Weltanschauung which, as its initial action upon taking power, would invariably choose not to first liberate the working Volk, but to liberate instead the asocial scum of the earth concentrated in the penitentiaries, and then to let them loose like animals upon their frightened and stunned fellow beings. [-] We also reject this doctrine as a consequence of the more humane approach we have to our fellow men. The remarks of our speakers at this Party Congress and the events in Spain have once again provided to the world and to our German Volksgenossen an insight into atrocities of Bolshevist combat methods and government maxims. The German Volk is too good and too decent for such hideous monstrosities.
I have only been able to score these successes because, first of all, I endeavored to see things as they are and not as one would like to have them.
And secondly, because I have never allowed weaklings to talk me out of or lead me away from an opinion I had once formed; and thirdly, because I have always resolved under all circumstances to respond to a necessity once recognized.
Today, now that Fate has bestowed such great success upon me, I will not abandon my principles.
May the peoples living around us comprehend that, if they respect German independence, freedom and honor, they will nowhere find a more sincere friend than the National Socialist Third Reich.195 May, however, that very Bolshevism of which we learned only a few months ago that it intends to arm its forces in order to open the door to revolution among other peoples with force, if necessary; may this Bolshevism know that the new German Army stands guard at the German door.
The brutal mass slaughter of nationalist officers, igniting the gasoline drenched wives of nationalist officers, the slaughter of the children and babies of nationalist parents, for example in Spain, should be a warning to all like-thinking powers in other countries to shrink from any act of resistance in a similar situation.
Should these methods achieve their aim and the modern Girondins be replaced by Jacobins and Kerensky’s People’s Front by Bolshevists, Europe will perish in a sea of blood and mourning. European culture which-fertilized in prehistoric antiquity-will soon celebrate 2,500 years of history, will yield to the cruelest barbarity of all time.
No one will harbor a single doubt that National Socialism will defend itself everywhere and under any circumstances against the attacks of Bolshevism, and will conquer and destroy it. [-] We are marching in a rapid step toward turbulent times. The tempo requires men of determined toughness, and not weakly Philistines. It will not judge people according to the superficial manners of society, but according to the quality and toughness of their character in times of heavy burdens.
Now more than before, it is the Party’s task to ensure that hard views are established in our Volk and that above all a relentless war be declared on every trace of that pitiful cleverness Clausewitz castigated as the worst symptom of cowardice. We are approaching great historic periods; in courses of time such as these, pure cleverness has never triumphed, but invariably brave courage. Above all, the Party must embody the optimism we National Socialists know so well.
Every fault can be overcome, and its manifestations are easier to eliminate than pessimism and its consequences.
Let him beware who has no faith. He is committing a sin against the meaning of life as a whole. He is of no use for anything, and his existence will be nothing but a burden to his Volk.
In the course of my political struggle-and unfortunately I must stress this again-it was particularly in bourgeois circles that I encountered these sorry pessimists who, in their pitiful state, are incapable of any faith whatsoever and hence could not be used for any redeeming action. And even today I often meet them.
I have but one question I must confront them with: What would have happened to Germany had an unknown soldier not had the faith in 1919 that he would one day be able to rescue the German nation from its demise by steadfastness and dedication, by bravery and a willingness to sacrifice? What did Germany rescue after all? Was it the pessimism of these petty carpers, these pitiful doubters, these invariable despondent defeatists? Or was it not the unshakeable confidence that the eternal qualities of our Volk would win out against the inferior and the burdensome? No! It was the miracle of faith that rescued Germany.
Today, after all these historically unique successes, it is more than ever the duty of the Party to recall this National Socialist profession of faith and to carry it once more at its force as the holy symbol of our fight and our certain victory.
This is why the Party too must penetrate again and again to the heart of the Volk at large which is the best and the strongest supporter of the faith we have.
This Volk alone has in itself the courage and the bravery and the confidence Nature provides to primitive beings for their own self-preservation. Had commanders always been as courageous as grenadiers must be at all times, many battles would not have been lost. And if politicians are as strong of faith as the broad masses of a Volk are true, then they are invincible as leaders of their peoples.