Adolf Hitler – speech at the opening ceremonies for work
on the subway at the Goetheplatz.
Munich, May 22, 1938
Within the past five years, a series of construction projects has been undertaken in Munich and now that some of these projects have already been completed, on this day we commence a new project. I am certain it is the greatest yet for the expansion and beautification of this city.
The task which we have resolved to undertake is one that has been around for generations. Already prior to the War, people were aware that Munich’s railroad facilities were not only disgraceful but also could not keep up to the demands of technological advance. However, there was a shortage of power to arrive at a true solution for the problem. At the time, this was due to the disintegration of the Reich and to the eternal bickering in the parliaments of the Lander.
The question of an underground for Munich was already on the table in times of peace. Following the War, the issue was raised again, and a superficial plan was drawn up. In order to preserve the old Munich and the Munich of the times of King Louis I, it is necessary to arrive at a solution which keeps at least part of the traffic off the streets. Therefore, there is only one possible way to go, the way under the earth.
As soon as the amount of traffic has doubled or tripled, the streets in the inner part of the city will no longer suffice to handle this massive flow of traffic.
However, the flow of traffic will not only triple or quadruple but, let me assure you, it will increase by a factor of six or eight. Today it is our obligation to anticipate this development and its consequences instead of waiting until a catastrophe occurs and it will have become impossible to master the problem.
The men before us did not have the force of character to take this realization seriously and to implement the measures necessary for its resolution. However, today, the maxim of the National Socialist Movement applies to this issue as well: never to capitulate in face of difficulties! Acknowledging the exponential growth of the flow of traffic demands us to take timely precautions today that shall allow us to smoothly channel the flow of traffic in the future. Here this shall be done in an uncommonly generous fashion.
At this point, I would like to thank the gentlemen of the Reichsbahn, and especially its brilliant chief Dr. Dorpmuller, for not broaching this problem with half-hearted attempts at resolution, but rather seeking a real solution for a real problem and ensuring its implementation.
Therefore, the city receives an exemplary net of suburban fast trains linking the surrounding areas with the center. In a few years, it will be possible to remove the streetcars from the city center and hence to make the streets calmer than is the case today. I would like to point out right away that, of course, some streets will be tumultuous in the next few years. Other big cities have had to go through this, too! Wherever there are subways, there is noise for an initial period. However, once construction is complete, the noise will disappear, and you will not hear a thing. In this or that street, where the underground will be built, there will be some noise for about a year. But one has to take that upon oneself to have peace for the next five hundred or thousand years. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the humor of our Munich people will help them over the initial period.
Besides that, we experienced something similar when we laid the foundation for the Haus der Deutschen Kunst and 1,600 cement pillars had to be driven into the earth. At the time, it was as noisy there as it will be noisy here in a moment.
Some may have shaken their heads back then, and certainly there were some particularly annoyed by the commotion, but 1 believe that there is not one man among Munich’s citizens today who is not proud of his Haus der Deutschen Kunst.
We have now determined to find a generous solution for the traffic problems of the city of Munich. And you should know me well enough by now: whatever we begin, we will finish.
At the latest in five or six years, this task will be accomplished. Munich then will call an exemplary rapid mass transportation system its own as well as enormous railroad constructions surrounding the great new central railroad station. The same thing will happen in Berlin. I hope that both cities will enter into a noble competition of the kind where each attempts to outdo the other in realizing the necessity of the problems posed. The resolution of the traffic problems is the first step toward the resolution of other major problems facing us in Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg.
The second reason is the following: up to now it has been customary for everyone in Germany to build how and where he liked. This caused the disharmony in the overall design of German cities. Do you think a Ludwigstrasse would ever have been constructed had it been up to the citizens and other institutions of Munich? Great architectural solutions can only come about through a central plan, and this is the way it will be once again today.
All architectural projects, be it those of the Reich, of the Lander or communities, of insurance companies or private buildings, will be placed under one single central planning authority. This will be done in due consideration of aesthetic conditions and exigencies, of the needs of the cities and of traffic flow.
And this is how it will be done in this city.
In addition, there will be a plan to secure those culturally important buildings which are essential in defining Munich’s character as a city of the arts.
Here, too, the maxim applies: idleness rusts the mind. When you review the new projects, you must admit efforts are being made constantly to improve the physical appearance of the city.
Thirdly, we wish to resolve these problems in the spirit of our times, a spirit of concern for the future of our German Volk. 1 desire that these construction projects we are undertaking today will be considered magnificent for centuries to come. A few statistics reveal that our ancestors also shared these concerns for magnificence: when the boulevard ‘Unter den Linden’ was built in the 17th century, Berlin had less than 40,000 inhabitants. And when the Ludwigstrasse was built, Munich had scarcely 70,000 inhabitants. Today Munich has a population of more than 800,000 and Berlin has more than 4,500,000. Nobody shall dare to come up to me to say that the new streets we are building are too wide.
The tasks we have to solve today simply cannot be of too grandiose a nature.
As a National Socialist I have from the very first day divorced myself from the bourgeois and sluggish attitude of, “Yes, this street has to be constructed, but we shall leave that to our children.” I have always followed the one maxim that says: there is no such thing as a problem requiring resolution which we do not resolve ourselves.
In just a few years’ time, a new Berlin will have become a metropolis synonymous with the German Reich and its leadership, and a new Hamburg a metropolis synonymous with German trade. A new Nuremberg will come into being, symbolizing the festive spirit of the National Socialist Movement. A new Munich will come into being as the great city of German art and as the capital of our Party, of the National Socialist Uprising.
I have taken great care to choose four cities at once so that no one can claim receiving special treatment. No, everyone has to say to himself: if the others can bear it, so can we. Whoever feels himself unfairly burdened by the constant noise of piledrivers or the like, to him all I can say is: “My dear friend, it would sound entirely different if you had to stand next to it or had to work down there. If thousands of German workers can bear it, so can you!” It will take five years, perhaps six, and no more than one year per street, and then the great feat shall be accomplished, a feat of which generations to come will be proud and which will place the great creations in our great and beautiful city in an even more favorable light.
Now as we begin this enormous work, we realize time and again that all this is only possible because the concentrated force of seventy-five million people stands behind it. It is not Berlin building Berlin, not Hamburg building Hamburg, not Munich building Munich, not Nuremberg building Nuremberg, but rather Germany building its cities-its beautiful, proud, and magnificent cities! And that is why once again our thoughts turn to our Germany to which we loyally pledge our life and soul. In this spirit, let us begin our work!