Adolf Hitler – speech in Memel
March 23, 1939
Memel Germans! Volksgenossen!
I greet you today in the name of the entire German Volk. I am happy to receive you into our Greater German Reich. I lead you back to your homeland which you have not forgotten and which has never forgotten you. In the name of the German Volk, I thank you for your brave, manly, and unshakeable insistence on your rights and your affiliation to the German Reich.
I believe I could not have expressed this gratitude in any better way than I just did by bestowing on your leader the one badge which adorns the chest of the new German Reich’s best fighters. That you are able to celebrate this day is not the result of chance, but of immense work, the most difficult of struggles and sacrifices. You were once forsaken by a Germany which had succumbed to disgrace and shame. Now you have come home to a mighty new Germany.
It upholds once more its unshakeable sense of honor. It shall not entrust its destiny to foreigners; it stands ready and willing to master its own destiny, to fashion it, whether or not this suits an outside world.
Eighty million Germans today stand up for this one new Germany. You shall now partake in the surge of our national life, our work, our faith, our hopes, and, should it become necessary, you shall partake in our sacrifices.
You appreciate this more than other Germans who enjoy the good fortune of living in our great Reich’s heartland. You live on its borders and you will perceive what it means no longer to feel forsaken now that you know a mighty Reich, a great united nation, stands behind you. Just as you once suffered because of Germany’s impotence and its fragmentation, other Germans did, too.
From despair and suffering now springs forth a new community. It is our will and our determination that it shall never again be shattered and that no power on earth shall ever break or bend it. Let this be our most solemn vow.
Twenty years of misery and suffering shall serve us as a lesson and as a warning in the future. We know what we have to expect of the rest of the world.
Yet we wish it no ill because of this. But the suffering it imparts to us must have an end.
Hence, I greet our German Volksgenossen of old as the newest of the Greater German Reich’s citizens. Let us join the other Germans throughout the Reich who, at this moment, express our love, our dedication, our willingness to sacrifice, our faith, our loyalty, and our confidence in the battle cry: our Volk and our German Reich-Sieg Heil!