Adolf Hitler proclaims the liberation of Austria
Heldenplatz, Vienna, March 15, 1938 - around 11:00 a.m
Germans! Men and Women!
Within a few short days, a radical change has taken place in the German Volksgemeinschaft, whose dimensions we might see today, yet whose significance can only be fully appreciated by coming generations. In the past few years, the rulers of the regime which has now been banished often spoke of the special “mission” which, in their eyes, this country was destined to fulfill. A leader of the legitimists outlined it quite accurately in a memorandum.
Accordingly, the so-called sel-sufficiency of this Land of Austria, founded in the peace treaties and contingent upon the mercy of foreign countries, was to perform the function of preventing the formation of a genuinely great German Reich and hence block the path of the German Volk to the future.
I hereby declare for this Land its new mission. It corresponds to the precept which once summoned the German settlers of the Altreich to come here. The oldest Ostmark of the German Volk shall from now on constitute the youngest bulwark of the German nation and hence of the German Reich. For centuries, the storms of the East broke on the borders of the Old Mark in the turbulent times of the past. For centuries into the future, it shall now become an iron guarantor of the security and freedom of the German Reich, and hence a safeguard for the happiness and peace of our Great Volk. I know the old Ostmark of the German Reich will do justice to its new task just as it once performed and mastered the old.
I am speaking on behalf of millions of people in this magnificent German Land, on behalf of those in Styria, in Upper and Lower Austria, in Carinthia, in Salzburg, in Tirol, and above all on behalf of the city of Vienna, when I assure the sixty-eight million other German Volksgenossen in our vast Reich listening this very minute: this Land is German; it has understood its mission, it will fulfill this mission, and it shall never be outdone by anyone as far as loyalty to the great German Volksgemeinschaft is concerned. It will now be our task to devote our labor, diligence, shared dedication, and joint strength to solving the great social, cultural and economic problems; yet first and foremost to make Austria ever grow and expand to become a fortress of National Socialist willpower.
I cannot conclude this address to you without calling to mind those men who, together with me, have made it possible to bring about this great change- with God’s help154-in such a short time. I may thank the National Socialist members of the government, with the new Reichsstatthalter Seyss-Inquart at their fore. I may thank the innumerable party functionaries; I may thank above all the countless anonymous idealists, the fighters of our formations who have proven in the long years of persecution that the German, when put under pressure, only becomes tougher.
These years of suffering have served but to strengthen me in my conviction of the value of the GermanAustrian being within the framework of our great Volksgemeinschaft. At the same time, however, the splendid order and discipline of this tremendous event is proof of the power of the idea inspiring these people. Hence in this hour, I can report to the German Volk that the greatest orders of my life have been carried out.
As the Führer and Chancellor of the German nation and the Reich, I now report to history that my homeland has joined the German Reich.