Adolf Hitler - speech at the Gautag
of the Thuringian National-socialists
Weimar, November 6, 1938
What seems to us almost a miracle as we look back upon it is nothing else than the reward for infinite and unwearying labor.... And now for that labor we have received from Providence our reward, just as the Germany of 1918 received its reward. At that time Germany shared in those blessings which we think of under the collective idea Democracy. But Germany has learned that democracy in practice is a different thing from democracy in theory.
If today at times in foreign countries Parliamentarians or politicians venture to maintain that Germany has not kept her treaties, then we can give as our answer to these men: the greatest breach of a treaty that ever was practiced on the German people. Every promise which had been made to Germany in the Fourteen Points - those promises on the faith of which Germany had laid down her arms - was afterwards broken. In 1932 Germany was faced with final collapse. The German Reich and people both seemed lost. And then came the German resurrection. It began with a change of faith. While all the German parties before us believed in forces and ideals which lay outside of the German Reich and outside of our people, we National Socialists have resolutely championed belief in our own people, starting from that watchword of eternal validity: God helps only those who are prepared and determined to help themselves. In the place of all those international factors - Democracy, the Conscience of Peoples, the Conscience of the World, the League of Nations, and the like - we have set a single factor - our own people. . . .
We were all convinced that a true community of the people is not produced overnight - it is not attained through theories or programs - but that through many decades, yes, and perhaps always and for all time the individual must be trained for this community. This work of education we have carried through ever since the Party was founded and especially since we came into power. But nothing is perfect in this world and no success can be felt to be finally satisfying. And so, even today, we have no wish to maintain that our achievement is already the realization of our ideal. We have an ideal which floats before our minds and in accordance with that ideal we educate Germans, generation after generation. So National Socialism will continually be transformed from a profession of political faith to a real education of the people....
The umbrella-carrying types of our former bourgeois world of parties are extinguished and they will never return...
From the very first day I have proclaimed as a fundamental principle: 'the German is either the first soldier in the world or he is no soldier at all.' No soldiers at all we cannot be, and we do not wish to be. Therefore we shall be only the first. As one who is a lover of peace I have endeavored to create for the German people such an army and such munitions as are calculated to convince others, too, to seek peace.
There are, it is true, people who abuse the hedgehog because it has spines. But they have only got to leave the animal in peace. No hedgehog has ever attacked anyone unless he was first threatened. That should be our position, too. Folk must not come too near us. We want nothing else than to be left in peace; we want the possibility of going on with our work, we claim for our people the right to live, the same right which others claim for themselves. And that the democratic States above all others should grasp and understand, for they never stop talking about equality of rights. If they keep talking about the rights of small peoples, how can they be outraged if in its turn a great people claims the same right? Our National Socialist Army serves to secure and guarantee this claim of right.
It is with this in view that in foreign policy also I have initiated a change in our attitude and have drawn closer to those who like us were compelled to stand up for their rights.
And when today I examine the results of this action of ours, then I am able to say: Judge all of you for yourselves: Have we not gained enormously through acting on these principles?
But precisely for this reason we do not wish that we should ever forget what has made these successes of ours possible. When certain foreign newspapers write: 'But all that you could have gained by the way of negotiation,' we know very well that Germany before our day did nothing but negotiate continuously. For fifteen years they only negotiated and they lost everything for their pains. I, too, am ready to negotiate but I leave no one in any doubt that neither by way of negotiation nor by any other way will I allow the rights of Germany to be cut down. Never forget, German people, to what it is you owe your successes - to what Movement, to what ideas, and to what principles! And in the second place: always be cautious, be ever on your guard!
It is very fine to talk of international peace and international disarmament, but I am mistrustful of a disarmament in weapons of war so long as there has been no disarmament of the spirit.
There has been formed in the world the curious custom of dividing peoples into so-called 'authoritarian' States, that is disciplined States, and democratic States. In the authoritarian, that is, the disciplined States, it goes without saying that one does not abuse foreign peoples, does not lie about them, does not incite to war. But the democratic States are precisely 'democratic,' that is, that all this can happen there In the authoritarian States a war - agitation is of course impossible, for their Governments are under an obligation to see to it that there is no such thing. In the democracies, on the other hand, the Governments have only one duty: to maintain democracy, and that means the liberty, if necessary, to incite to war....
Mr. Churchill had stated his view publicly, namely that the present regime in Germany must be overthrown with the aid of forces within Germany which would gladly co-operate. If Mr. Churchill would but spend less of his time in emigre circles, that is with traitors to their country maintained and paid abroad, and more of his time with Germans, then he would realize the utter madness and stupidity of his idle chatter. I can only assure this gentleman, who would appear to be living in the moon, of one thing: there is no such force in Germany which could turn against the present regime.
I will not refuse to grant to this gentleman that, naturally we have no right to demand that the other peoples should alter their constitutions. But, as leader of the Germans, I have the duty to consider this constitution of theirs and the possibilities which result from it. When a few days ago in the House of Commons the Deputy Leader of the Opposition declared that he made no secret of the fact that he would welcome the destruction of Germany and Italy, then, of course, I cannot prevent it if perhaps this man on the basis of the democratic rules of the game should in fact with his party in one or two years become the Government. But of one thing I can assure him: I can prevent him from destroying Germany. And just as I am convinced that the German people will take care that the plans of these gentlemen so far as Germany is concerned will never succeed, so in precisely the same way Fascist Italy will, I know, take care for itself!
I believe that for us all these international hopes can only teach us to stand firm together and to cling to our friends. The more that we in Germany form a single community, the less favorable will be the prospects of these inciters to war, and the closer we unite ourselves in particular with the State which is in a position similar to ours, with Italy, the less desire they will have to pick a quarrel with us! . . .
Germany has become greater by the most natural way, by a way which could not be more morally unassailable.... When the rest of the world speaks of disarmament, then we too are ready for disarmament, but under one condition: the war-agitation must first be disarmed!
So long as the others only talk of disarmament, while they infamously continue to incite to war, we must presume that they do but wish to steal from us our arms, in order once more to prepare for us the fate of 1918-19. And in that case, my only answer to Mr. Churchill and his like must be: That happens once only and it will not be repeated!