Adolf Hitler – speech at the Technical University in Berlin
November 27, 1937
Today marks the beginning of a period of architectural renewal in Berlin which will radically change the image and-it is my belief-also the character of this city. The former residence of the Hohenzollern princes, kings, and emperors shall now become the eternal capital of the first German Reich of the Volk. In it, that plight will be banned for all future which led one great historian to make the astute observation that it had always been the misfortune of the Germans to in fact have capital cities, but never to have one true capital. For a truly lasting national formation of a volklich community only seems conceivable to us, in view of all our insights and all our historic experience, if the leadership of such a community also possesses an undisputed, leading center at a certain locality. It was for this reason that, as regards the great states of the past, their establishment was frequently bound up not only with the birth, but also with the very name of their capital cities.
The opinion that the downfall of these states was caused by the expansion of their dominant capital cities as organizational centers for every aspect of life, is based upon a false conclusion. For the states of antiquity in particular did not perish because of their cities; the cities of antiquity perished because of a failure to recognize and respect the laws of blood which conditioned them and thus formed their foundation. Hence the Roman Empire did not decline because of Rome, for without Rome as a city, there never would have been a Roman Empire! The most natural course of the foundation of most of the great states almost always commences, in its initial stage, with a point at which the political and subsequently the cultural life crystallizes, which very often then lends the entire state its name as the capital city! Yet because the German Reich is the belated product of an eventful struggle of various German tribes and states for a national-political unification of our Volk, it is for this reason above all that this long-awaited foundation of the state lacks the natural outstanding center of political power. For we intend, as regards the significance of such a capital city, to place less emphasis on the number of its inhabitants and more on the size and extent of its scope as a whole and hence its merit as a whole. In terms of inhabitants, with its four-and-a-half million people, Berlin is unquestionably the capital of the Reich. Yet, if we furthermore compare the importance of its cultural and monumental significance and structure to the similar merits of other German cities, it is not.
Therefore, it is my inalterable intention and decision to now bestow upon Berlin the streets, edifices, and public areas it needs to allow it to be fitting and worthy of being the capital city of the German Reich. The size of these facilities and works shall not be calculated to fit the needs of the years 1937, 1938, 1939, or 1940; rather, they shall be determined by the knowledge that it is our task to build a thousand-year city equal to a thousand-year Volk with a thousand years of historic and cultural past for the unforeseeable future lying before it. Hence an evaluation of the work which will be accomplished to this end for the next twenty years in Berlin is something we are consciously denying the present; we are submitting this work instead to the judgment of those generations which will one day come after us. No matter how this judgment turns out, one should not be able to deny us one justification: in accomplishing this work, we were not thinking of ourselves, but of those who will come after us.
In this sacred conviction I now lay the cornerstone for the Faculty of Defense Technology at the Technical University in Berlin as the first edifice which is being built in realization of these plans. It shall be a monument to German Culture, German knowledge and German strength.