Adolf Hitler – speech in Breslau
July 31, 1937
Germans! German Volksgenossen! My German Singers!
It has not always been the case that the German nation could welcome you at these festivals in the German Reich through the words of one man. Today I have the right to both welcome you to this city for your great festival of German song and to congratulate you in the name of these sixty-eight million people who live within the boundaries of the Reich. You who have come here from all the Gaus of the Reich and from those territories lying outside its boundaries in which you nonetheless live as members of our German Volkstum! It has nearly always been the misfortune of our particular Volk to lack political unification. Even today, millions of Germans live outside the Reich, nearly half the number of those who have their homes and residences within Germany itself. Yet especially a Volk that has not been able to form a political unit for so many centuries must possess other attributes which allow it to compensate, at least in an ideal sense, for the lack of actual political unity.
The first of these is our German language, for it is spoken not by sixty-eight million, but by ninety-five million people.
A second factor is the German Lied, sung not only within the boundaries of the Reich but sounding beyond them, everywhere Germans live throughout the world. This song accompanies us all the way from the cradle to the grave.
It lives in us and with us and, no matter where we are, it conjures up in our mind’s eye the image of our ancient homeland, namely of Germany and the German Reich. A bird that has lost its sight tends to sing and express its sorrow and its feelings even more fervently in its song. And perhaps it is no coincidence, either, that the German-so often forced to endure a sorely tormented existence on this earth-has sought refuge in singing in times like those; there he was able to express everything harsh reality denied him.
Today we are perhaps more conscious than ever of that bitter truth.
Particularly in these world-shattering and troubled times, German Volkstum as a whole-including its members beyond the Reich’s boundaries-is looking to that ancient homeland, to Germany, and in the absence of any other way of establishing a bond, it is seeking a connection in German song! And thus the songs of our Volk are sounding today not only within the Reich, but far beyond its borders, too. They are sung with faithful ardor, for in them resides the hope and yearning of all Germans.
Thus it follows that the song which we Germans perceive as most sacred is a great song about this yearning. There are many, in other countries, who do not understand this: in this song above all they choose to see something as imperialistic which is as far-removed from their idea of imperialism as can be.
What hymn for a Volk can be more splendid than that which constitutes a vow to seek one’s fortune and well-being within one’s Volk and to place one’s Volk above everything else on earth? And when today you sing this song of the Germans which was born in an age of torment, you are singing it with the joyful feeling that this Germany has now once again become worthy of being our Germany; that in our eyes it once again truly deserves to stand above everything else the world has been able to offer us. Whoever loves his Volk this much, whoever loves his homeland thus cannot be bad! Whoever stands behind his Volk and stands behind his homeland thus will continuously reap new strength from both! This is why the German song has always been a source of strength in the past and why it has today again taken on this role. Today Deutschland über alles is a pledge that fills millions with great strength, with the faith that is stronger than any other power on earth can be.
Hence this song also constitutes a pledge to the Almighty, to His will and to His work: for man has not created this Volk, but God, that God who stands above us all. He formed this Volk, and it has become what it should according to God’s will, and according to our will, it shall remain, nevermore to fade!163 Once again we have before us a proud Volk and a strong Reich, and all those who must leave this city at the close of these days of festivities and cross the boundaries of the Reich will reflect with pride, with joy and with confidence on what they were able to witness here and what was revealed to them. They will all leave with the feeling: a Volk has arisen once more, a Reich has been born anew! The German being has come unto himself. And in doing so, he has acted in accordance with the will of his Creator.
What power would have the right and the strength to block the course of life of a Volk which seeks, in its song, none other than itself: a strong Reich, a proud Volk, so great and so sublime that now every German can once more gladly proclaim: I am a German, and I am proud of it! And this recognition must come upon us in such a solemn hour! We who are gathered here today from all the German Gaus, from many territories outside the Reich: we all perceive ourselves here as one community. You are singers and thus the spokesmen of German Volkstum! It is such a pleasure for us to be able to overlook all that divides us in this hour and to perceive ourselves as indissolubly united and belonging together, one for all, and all for one. And I myself am infinitely pleased and proud to welcome you here in this hour on behalf of the Reich and the German nation residing within the Reich, and to be able to thank you not only for cultivating the German song, but also for devoting yourselves with this song to your German homeland and allying yourselves with it.
To you who were not deterred by the lengthy journey, to you who have come to this city from all the corners of Europe and beyond, I may extend a special welcome! May you leave this place with the firm belief: Germany stands strong, and nevermore will this Reich fade!