Adolf Hitler – speech on the Befreiungsplatz in Saarbrücken
October 9, 1938
If in the midst of these great days and their occurrences I have come into your district, then it was done in the conviction that nobody can evince greater appreciation of these last weeks and days than yourself.
You may, men and women of Saarland, you have experienced for yourselves what it means to be separated from the Reich and you yourselves have gone through the joy of being reunited. You, too, suffered all this woe for two decades, and you, too, were supremely happy when the hour of reunion struck and you could return to the common Reich. Exactly that same thing was experienced and participated in by millions of Germans. The same joy seized them that once stirred you. At the beginning of this year, the twentieth after our collapse, I made a decision to lead back into the Reich 10,000,000 Germans who still stood outside.
It was perfectly clear to me that this return could be compelled only by our own strength. The rest of the world, for the largest part, had no understanding. It neither saw nor wanted to see that here, 10,000,000 humans, in violation of the so-called right of self-determination of peoples, had been separated from the German people and the Reich and had been maltreated. But it has not understood that these human beings had but one great yearning, namely, to return to the Reich. These international world citizens have compassion indeed, for every scoundrel who is called to account in Germany, but they are deaf to the sufferings of millions. That world is still filled with the spirit of Versailles. It did not free itself from it. No, Germany has liberated herself from it.
Even today it still is a mixture of terrible inconsiderateness and appalling ignorance for these countries to overlook justice and give lasting effect to injustice. And so these world democracies remained deaf for twenty years to all the sufferings and demands of 10,000,000 Germans. Accordingly, a hard decision had to be made. Among us, too, there were weak characters who did not understand this. It is self-evident, however, that statesmen conscious of their responsibility made it a point of honor to take responsibility.
The following were the preconditions for bringing about and carrying through solutions:
First, internal unity of the nation. I am convinced I am Leader of a manly people. I know what probably many in the rest of the world and even isolated ones in Germany do not seem as yet to know - namely, that the people of the year 1938 are not the people of 1918. Only those who were blind concerning National Socialism could overlook the tremendous work of education that the good philosophy of life has accomplished. There has been created today a community of spirit throughout our people of power and strength such as Germany never before has known. This was the first precondition for the undertaking, and for the success of this task.
Second was national rearmament, which I sponsored fanatically for six years. I am of the opinion that it is cheaper to prepare one's self before events than to lie prostrate unprepared for events and then pay the foreign country.
The third thing was rendering secure the Reich, and here you yourselves are witnesses to the tremendous work that is being accomplished in your very neighborhood. I need tell you no details about it. I will give expression, however, to but one conviction: NO POWER IN THE WORLD WILL BE ABLE TO PUSH THROUGH THIS WALL.
Fourth, we have gained foreign friends. That axis that people in other countries so often think they can ridicule has, during the last two and a half years, not only proved durable but has proved that even in the worst hours it continues to function. Nevertheless, we are especially happy that this task of the year 1938 of again joining 10,000,000 Germans and about 110,000 square kilometers [42,470 square miles] to the Reich could be accomplished in peace.
We are all so happy no blood was shed over this despite the hopes of so many international agitators and profiteers. If I mention the help of the rest of the world in bringing about this peaceful solution, I must again and again place at the head of it our only real friend whom we possess today - Benito Mussolini.
I know, and I know that you know what we owe this man. I should like also to mention two other statesmen who tried hard to find a way to peace and who, together with the great Italian and us have concluded an agreement that secured justice for 10,000,000 Germans and peace for the world. I am happy these millions of Germans are free, that they belong to us and that peace has been secured.
Nevertheless, the experiences, especially of the last eight months, must strengthen our resolve to be careful and never to leave anything undone that must be done for the protection of the Reich. Opposite us are statesmen who - that, we must believe of them - also want peace. HOWEVER, THEY GOVERN IN COUNTRIES WHOSE INTERNAL CONSTRUCTION MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR THEM AT ANY TIME TO BE SUPPLANTED BY OTHERS WHO DO NOT AIM AT PEACE. THESE OTHERS ARE THERE. IN ENGLAND, IT MERELY IS NECESSARY THAT INSTEAD OF CHAMBERLAIN, A DUFF COOPER OR AN EDEN OR A CHURCHILL COME INTO POWER. WE KNOW THAT THE AIM OF THESE MEN WOULD BE TO START WAR. They do not attempt to hide it. That obligates us to be on the watch to think of the protection of the Reich.
We know further that now, as before, there is lurking threateningly that Jewish-international world enemy who has found a living expression in bolshevism. We also know the power of the international press that lives solely on lies and calumniation. In view of this peculiarity of the world about us and of these forces we must be careful about the future. We must at all times have a will for peace but be ready for defense.
I have, therefore, decided to continue construction of our fortifications in the west with increased energy as already indicated in my Nuremberg speech. Also, I shall include large districts that hitherto lay before our fortifications namely the Aachen region and Saarbruecken region, in this belt of fortifications. That will be done for the protection of the Reich.
As for the rest, I am happy now to be able within the next few days to rescind those measures that we have projected or been compelled to introduce during critical months and weeks. I am happy hundreds of thousands of men can go home and reservists can be discharged. I am happy to be able to thank them for doing their duty. I am particularly happy to be able to thank the German people for having conducted itself in so wonderfully manly a manner. Especially do I thank a hundred thousand German workers, engineers and others of whom 10,000 are standing in your midst - men who helped build fortifications. You have helped, my comrades, to secure peace for Germany, and so, as a strong State, we are ready at all times to embark upon a policy of understanding with the world about us. We can do that. We want nothing from others. We have no wishes or demands. We want peace.
There is only one thing - THIS REFERS TO OUR RELATIONS TO ENGLAND: IT WOULD BE GOOD IF IN ENGLAND CERTAIN MANNERISMS HELD OVER FROM THE VERSAILLES PERIOD WERE DISCARDED. WE JUST CANNOT STAND FOR A GOVERNESS-LIKE GUARDIANSHIP OF GERMANY.
Inquiries by British statesmen or Parliamentarians concerning the fate of the Reich's subjects inside Germany are out of order. We do not bother about similar things in England. The rest of the world would sometimes have had reason enough to bother about international happenings - happenings in Palestine. We leave this to those who feel themselves pre-ordained by God to solve these problems. And we observe with amazement how they do solve them. We must, however, give these gentlemen advice to attend even more to the solution of their own problems and to leave us in peace.
It also is part of the task of securing world peace that responsible statesmen and politicians look after their own affairs and refrain from constantly meddling talk with the problems of other countries and peoples. By such mutual considerateness, preconditions are really created for durable peace, of which no one is more earnestly desirous than the German people.
We have great tasks facing us, great cultural tasks. Economic problems must be solved. No people can make better use of peace than we. However, no people knows better than we what it means to be weak and be at the mercy of others for better or for worse.