Adolf Hitler – speech at the Bürgerbräukeller
Munich, November 8, 1939
Party Comrades! My German Volksgenossen!
I have come to join you for a few hours to relive in your midst the memory of a day which has become of supreme significance to us, to the Movement, and hence to the entire German Volk.
It was a most difficult decision which I had to make and see through at the time. The apparent failure led to the birth of the great National Socialist Liberation Movement. It was as a result of this failure that the big trial came about, which allowed us, for the first time, to step before the public in defense of our views, our goals; it allowed this decision of ours to bear the responsibility in order to acquaint the broad mass of our Volk with our ideas.
That it was possible for the National Socialist Movement to grow so much in the span of the four years leading from 1919 to 1923, for it to succeed in mobilizing the entire nation, for the first time, by this eye-opening event, must largely be ascribed to the general situation in Germany at the time. A terrible catastrophe had come over our Volk and our land. After a peace of nearly fortyfive years, Germany had been driven into a war. The question of guilt in this war has been much debated.
We know today-and we already knew it back then-that, up to the year 1914, the Reich Government was guilty of only one thing, namely, of not having done everything which could have been done and should have been done, in the service of the nation’s recovery. Moreover, it could be blamed for allowing Germany to enter the war only at the most inopportune moment.
Undoubtedly, had Germany truly wanted war, there would have been many better opportunities earlier.
The forces which opposed us at the time have also engineered the present war against Germany-with the same empty phrases and the same lies. All of us, insofar as we were soldiers back then, know that neither the English nor the French conquered us on the battlefield. A monumental lie was needed to rob this Volk of its weapons.
Today there may be one or the other man abroad who is surprised at my great self-confidence. I can only say to him: I won this self-confidence on the battlefield! In those four years, I never for a moment had the conviction or the oppressive knowledge that any of our enemies was superior to us. Neither the French nor the English displayed greater courage, greater valor, or greater defiance of death than did the German soldier.
What brought Germany to the ground back then were the lies of our enemies. It was the same men who lied then who lie today once more, since they are the same old warmongers who already opposed Germany in the Great War.
At the time, Mr. Churchill agitated for war. At the time, there was a weak government in Germany. And it is the same Mr. Churchill who is agitating for war today. But in Germany, there is another government! It was the government of today which fought the British back then. It has no more respect for them than for any other party. And it does not feel inferior in the least. To the contrary, it is convinced of its superiority.
The lies back then were the same ones as today.
Why did England go to war back then? In 1914, the English claimed: Great Britain is fighting for the freedom of the small nations. Later we all saw how Great Britain dealt summarily with the freedom of these small nations, how little its so-called statesmen cared for the freedom of these small nations, how they repressed the minorities there, abused the peoples. And this is precisely what they are doing today and what they do whenever it suits their ends and programs.
They claimed at the time: England is fighting for justice! Well, England has been fighting for justice for three hundred years now and, as recompense, the dear Lord has given it about forty million square kilometers of soil on this earth and, in addition, the “right” to rule over 480 million human beings. Such is the Lord’s recompense for “people who fight only for justice.” Especially for people who fight only for the “right of others to self-determination,” as, in 1914, England supposedly fought for this “right to self-determination.” It declared: “The British soldier is not fighting for his own interests, but for the right of all peoples to self-determination.” Now, England could well have proclaimed this right to self-determination for the peoples of the British Empire at the time.
Apparently, it was saving this for the next war! And then England was fighting for “civilization,” which can be found only in the British Isles. Civilization reigns supreme only in the English miners’ districts, in the English slums, in Whitechapel, and the other quarters of mass destitution and social debasement.
Moreover-as usual-England set out to do battle for the cause of “humanity.” Humanity was stuffed into shells as gunpowder. After all, you can employ whatever weapons, as long as you are fighting for a noble, lofty goal.
And this is something England has always done! They went a step further yet to declare: We English are not fighting against the German Volk; to the contrary, we love the German Volk. We-Churchill, Chamberlain, and the others-are only fighting the regime which oppresses the German Volk. For we English have only one mission: to deliver Germany from this regime and to thereby make the German Volk happy. And to this end, the English are fighting primarily to relieve the German Volk of the burden of militarism. Yes, the day will come when it will not need to carry any more weapons. We English will make it totally free of weapons.
Moreover, they declared it was a shabby thing to write that German trade was a thorn in their side. “On the contrary, we want free trade. We have nothing against the German merchant marine!” That is what Herr Churchill said at the time. They declared it was disgraceful slander to claim that England had its eyes on Germany’s colonies-even to think as much was disgraceful. They declared this in 1914, 1916, 1917, and in 1918 still.
They went a step further to say they were fighting not for victory, but for a peace of understanding, a peace of reconciliation, and, above all, a peace of equality of rights. And this peace would make it possible to renounce armament in the future.
Hence, in all truth, they were fighting against war. England fought against war, to eliminate war, to wage war against those fighting wars, to fight the resistance of those invaded. Thus, they declared there could be no talk of reparation payments as a goal in British war policy. On the contrary, they were seeking a peace devoid of reparations. This peace was to be attained through a general disarmament. This peace was to be crowned by the creation of an institution uniting all peoples.
And England’s great second, Wilson, summed all this up in Fourteen Points, supplemented by three further ones. They assured us that we had nothing to fear, that we would be treated fairly. All we needed to do was to lay down our arms and to trust England. Then we would be welcomed with open arms into a true community of man, ruled by law. There, the colonies would be redistributed fairly in a manner in which all justified claims to colonies would be heard. This would be done in all solemnity in the League of Nations. War would be abolished for good, and eternal peace would reign.
From the English point of view, it was understandable that a power, which ruled over forty million square kilometers and 480 million human beings with only forty-six million Englishmen, should desire peace after nearly three hundred years of world conquest by England. “For three hundred years, we have subjugated country after country, thrown down people after people. We now rule the world and we would like to have some peace and quiet for this, please!” This was clear, and it was comprehensible that the League of Nations was set up in an effort to warrant stabilization of the state of affairs which thus had come about.
Things developed differently, however.
And today, an English minister steps up, tears in his eyes, and says: “Oh, how we would love to come to an understanding with Germany. If we could only trust the word of the German leadership!” The same is on the tip of my tongue! How we would love to come to an understanding with England.
If we could only trust the word of its leadership! When has there ever been a people more vilely lied to and tricked than the German Volk by English statesmen in the past two decades? What happened to the promised freedom of the peoples? What happened to justice? What happened to the peace without victors and vanquished? What happened to the right of all peoples to self-determination? What happened to the renunciation of reparations? What happened to the fair settlement of the colonial question? What happened to the solemn declaration not to take its colonies from Germany? What happened to the sacrosanct assurance not to burden us unnecessarily? What finally happened to the assurances that we would be welcomed as equals into the open arms of the so-called League of Nations? What happened to the assurances of a general disarmament? All lies. Broken promises.
Our colonies were taken from us. Our trade was ruined. Our merchant marine was robbed. Millions of Germans were torn from us and abused.
Reparation payments were demanded of our Volk which it could not possibly have paid in a hundred years. We were all thrust into deep poverty.
The National Socialist Movement came into being because of this poverty.
Let no one act as though today, if only Germany were not National Socialist, a golden British heart would open up to it.
God knows the Germany we once knew was completely different from the National Socialist one. That Germany was democratic, it was cosmopolitan, it blindly believed in the assurances of British statesmen. That Germany still knew trust, it disarmed itself, and it dishonored itself. And it was lied to and tricked all the more! Our Movement came into being because of the misery this brought on. From the greatest breach of faith of all time came the events at Spa and then the shameful Diktat of Versailles.
You know, my old Comrades in Arms, how I expounded this treaty before you time and time again from this very spot. Point for point. Over 440 articles, each of which represented an insult and a violation of a great nation.
Destitution and despair took hold of the Volk. Then followed the years of inflation, robbing the Volk of all means of sustenance, the times of rampant unemployment, of enormous numbers of suicides in Germany. In two years, we had more suicides in Germany than Americans were killed in the course of the war in the West. The National Socialist Movement came into being because of this great poverty; and from its beginnings it had to make the most difficult decisions.
One of these decisions was the decision to revolt on November 8, 1923. It ended in failure, or so it appeared at the time. Still, its sacrifices brought the delivery of Germany. Sixteen dead! Millions of living were revived through their deaths. National Socialism then set out on its triumphant march.
In the days since then, Germany has become a world power-thanks to our Movement! Of course, it was understandable that the enemy of old began to agitate once more the minute we overcame the aftereffects of the defeat.
Undoubtedly, there are two kinds of Englishmen. We do not wish to be unjust here. There are many men in England, too, who dislike all these hypocritical airs, and who wish to have nothing to do with this. Either they have been silenced or they are helpless. What is decisive for us is that, despite searching for years, we have not found this type of Englishman.
My Party Comrades, you know how I worked for an understanding with England for nearly two decades. How we limited ourselves in the conduct of German politics to bring about this understanding! This was the case with France also. The things we wrote off, the things we renounced! One thing was obvious: no German Government can renounce Germany’s right to life! And, above all, a National Socialist Government has no intention of renouncing such a right to life! On the contrary, our protest was spurred by the renunciation of this right to life once made by our democratic politicians.
Therefore, I shall carry through the life and the security of the German Volk and Reich under all circumstances! I have never presumed to interfere in British or French affairs. If an Englishman stands up today to say, “We feel responsible for the fate of the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe,” then I can only reply to this gentleman: Then we are just as responsible for the fate of the peoples of Palestine, Arabia, Egypt, and, for all I care, of India as well.
Should a fourth Englishman say, “For us the frontier runs along the Rhine,” and the next comes up to say, “For us the frontier runs along the Vistula river,” then all I can reply is: Scurry back to the Thames, gentlemen, or else we will have to help matters along! In any event, today’s Germany stands determined to secure its borders and to preserve its Lebensraum. It is an area not cultivated by the English. We did not go anywhere the English brought culture before us. Since, in his speech yesterday, Lord Halifax declared himself to be a champion of the arts and culture, and because of this Germany had to be destroyed, then all we can say is: Germany already had a culture when die Halifaxe had no inkling of the term yet.
Within the last six years more has been done for culture in Germany than in England within the last 100 years. And in those locations which we have reached to date, we have not found any monuments of British apostles of culture, but only cultural monuments of great Germans. In vain I searched for British monuments of culture in Prague and Posen [Poznan], Graudenz and Thorn, Danzig and Vienna. Perhaps they can be found only in Egypt or India.
In any event, we uplifted the German nation year by year, beginning in the year 1933 and throughout the years 1934, 1935, and 1936. One stage at a time, step by step we liberated Germany and made it strong! And in this instance, I do understand the plight of the international warmongers. To their great regret, they were forced to realize that the new Germany is by no means the old Germany.
And I strove not only to develop the cultural aspects of our life, but also to revise our position in power politics, and this thoroughly. We have built up a Wehrmacht-and I can well permit myself to say so today: there is not a better one to be found in the world! And behind this Wehrmacht stands the Volk with its ranks closed as never before in German history! And above this Wehrmacht, above this Volk, there stands a government of zealous willpower, the like of which has not been seen in Germany in the past centuries! And, as you know, this new German Reich possesses no war aims in this struggle against England and France. In my last speech, in which I held out my hand to England and France one last time, I already made clear where I stand in this matter. When we are attacked now, this cannot have anything to do with the questions of Austria, Czechoslovakia, or Poland, because they are brought up as the occasion demands only to be promptly forgotten.
The case of Poland proves that England is not interested in the existence of such states; otherwise it would have had to declare war on the Soviet Union as well, since Poland was divided approximately in half. But now the English say that this is not really decisive any longer; we have a different war aim. First, it was the independence of Poland, then the elimination of Nazism, then again guarantees for the future. It will always be something else. They will wage war as long as they find someone willing to wage the war in their stead, someone willing to sacrifice himself for them. The reasons are the same old empty phrases. If it declared it wished to stand up for liberty in general and in particular, Great Britain could set a wonderful example for the world by granting full liberties to its own peoples. How noble might this new British crusade look, had it been preceded by the granting of liberty to 350 million Indians or a proclamation of independence and the right of free elections for the remaining British colonies! How gladly would we bow to such an England! Instead, we see England oppressing these millions, just as it stood by and watched the oppression of several million Germans.
Hence it cannot move us in the least when today an unctuous British minister proclaims England has an eye only to ideals and not to any selfish goals. Of course-I have mentioned this before-the British have never yet fought for selfish goals. And, as recompense for this selfless struggle, the dear Lord presented them with so many lands and so many peoples.
And when, on this day, they declare they are not fighting for any selfish goals, then this is simply ridiculous! The German Volk cannot help but be astounded at the simplicity of those who believe, after twenty years of this incredible deception of the world, they can approach us once more with the same swindle.
Or when they say that they stand up for culture: England as the creator of culture is a chapter in its own right. The English cannot tell us Germans anything about culture: our music, our poetry, our architecture, our paintings, our sculptures, can more than stand a comparison to the English arts. I believe that a single German, let us say, Beethoven, achieved more in the realm of music than all Englishmen of the past and present together! And we take care of this culture better than the English are capable of doing.
Now that they say their only aim in this war is to finally end all wars-well, why did they begin this war in the first place? This war began solely because England so desired! And we stand convinced that there shall be war as long as the goods of this earth are not fairly distributed, and as long as this distribution is not a voluntary and a just one. This could have been done long ago! And today they say: “Yes, we simply cannot return the colonies to National Socialist Germany, as much as we regret this. We would truly like to redistribute the raw materials of this earth, but we would need to be able to give them to someone we could trust.” Well, gentlemen, there were other governments in power in Germany before ours. And these were governments greatly to England’s liking, in part even propped up by England. You should have been able to vest your trust in them! Why did you not let them have some of the goods, these governments which you trusted? After all, there would have been no reason to redistribute them, had our belongings not been stolen from us in the first place.
And we, too, are of the opinion that this war must come to an end. War cannot, should not, and will not come to haunt us every few years. We hence think it necessary for nations to limit themselves to their spheres of influence.
In other words, there must be an end to this situation where one people takes upon itself to play the world’s policeman and interferes in everybody else’s affairs. The British Government will come to realize that, at least as far as Germany is concerned, the attempt to erect a police dictatorship over us will fail, and must fail.
Neither in the past nor in the present have we encountered members of the British Government in their role as self-proclaimed apostles of culture-and in the role of policemen we simply cannot bear to see them.
The true reason for their actions is a different one. They hate social Germany (das soziale Deutschland)! What have we done to them? Nothing at all. Have we threatened them? Not in a single instance. Were we not ready to conclude an agreement with them? Yes, we were. And we even did so. Did we not restrict ourselves in our armaments? Alas, all this was of no interest to them.
What they hate is the Germany which sets a dangerous example for them, this social Germany. It is the Germany of a social labor legislation which they already hated before the World War and which they still hate today. It is the Germany of social welfare, of social equality, of the elimination of class differences-this is what they hate! They hate this Germany which in the course of seven years has labored to afford its Volksgenossen a decent life. They hate this Germany which has eliminated unemployment, which, in spite of all their wealth, they have not been able to eliminate. This Germany which grants its laborers decent housing-this is what they hate because they have a feeling their own peoples could be “infected” thereby. They hate this Germany of social legislation, this Germany which celebrates the first of May as the day of honest labor.
They hate this Germany which has taken up this struggle for improved living conditions. This Germany they hate! They hate this Germany, this ethnically healthy (volksgesund) Germany, where children are washed and are not full of lice, and which does not allow conditions to take hold, such as their own press now freely admits to.
It is their big money men, their Jewish and non-Jewish international banking barons, who hate us because they see in Germany a bad example potentially rousing other peoples, especially their own people. They hate this Germany with its young, healthy, blossoming new generation, the Germany which takes such care of the well-being of this generation.
And, of course, they hate the strong Germany, the Germany on the march, which takes upon itself sacrifices voluntarily.
We have just seen how much they hate us. We drew up a Four-Year Plan to help ourselves. We have not taken anything from anyone through this Four-Year Plan. When we turn coal into gasoline or rubber, or when we see to other forms of substitution, what are we thereby taking from others? Nothing, nothing at all. To the contrary, they should have been happy and said: “Then they do not burden our markets. If they make their own gasoline, they do not need to export to be able to import.-All the better for us!” No, they fought this Four-Year Plan because it made Germany healthy! That was the only reason.
It is a fight against a free, an independent, a viable Germany! That is their fight.
And this we oppose in our fight. This struggle is our eternally unchanging National Socialist fight for the erection of a healthy, strong Volksgemeinschaft; for an overcoming and repairing of the damage done to this community and for the security of this community against the outside world. And this is the goal: we fight for the security of our Volk, for our Lebensraum. We shall allow no one to interfere in this! And now that the English declare this battle to be the Second Punic War, history has not yet determined who shall play Rome and who shall play Carthage in this case. In the first war England assuredly did not play Rome, as Rome emerged victorious from the First Punic War. In the First World War England was not the victor, but rather others won that war for it. And in the second-I can assure you of this much-England will even less be the victor! This time a different Germany faces the England of the World War; this it will be able to appreciate in the foreseeable future! It is a Germany suffused by a tremendous will and it can only laugh at the antics (Blodeleien) of British phrasemongers. And now if an Englishman comes and says, “We fight for the freedom of the world; we fight for democracy; we fight for culture; we fight for civilization; we fight for justice; and so on,” then this will be met with resounding laughter in Germany.
And, moreover, a generation is still alive today which personally can appreciate the “uprightness” of such British versions of the war. And even if we have not learned anything since then, we have not forgotten anything either. And not only have we not forgotten anything, we have learned something.
And every British balloon which the wind blows over our lines and which drops off more or less spirited leaflets here proves to us that time stood still in this outside world during the past twenty years.
And every echo elicited in Germany should prove to them that a Movement has taken place here, a Movement of enormous proportions, of enormous force and effectiveness. England does not want peace! We heard this again yesterday.
In my speech before the Reichstag, I already declared that, for my person, I have nothing to add. The rest we shall discuss with the English in the only language which they seem capable of understanding. I regret that France has entered the service of these British warmongers, and has allied itself with England in this manner. As concerns Germany, we have never been afraid of one front. Once we successfully defended two fronts. We have one front now, and we shall hold our own on this front with success-of this rest assured! I regarded the success in arriving at an understanding with Russia not as a triumph of German politics, but as a triumph of reason. Once before these two peoples engaged each other in war and nearly fatal blood-letting. Neither of us profited from this and now we have resolved not to do the gentlemen in London and Paris this favor a second time. We are facing times of great change today. Struggle carried National Socialism forth. We all were soldiers back then. A great number of us have pulled on the gray tunic once more. The others have remained soldiers.
Germany has undergone a thorough change. Just as the Prussia of 1813–14 could not be compared to the Prussia of 1806, so the Germany of 1939, 1940, 1941, or 1942, cannot be compared to the Germany of 1914, 1915, 1917, or 1918.
What happened then will never again happen in the future! We will make sure, and the Party shall vouch for this, that the occurences we were so unfortunate as to witness in the World War will never again happen in Germany. We squarely dealt with them, my National Socialist fighters, when we were fighting still as a ludicrously small minority within Germany. Then we had only our belief. Nevertheless, we brought down these manifestations and eliminated them. And, moreover, today we have power! Our will shall not bend in this external struggle any more than it did in the internal struggle for power. Then I repeatedly told you: everything is conceivable with one exception: we will never capitulate. And as a National Socialist standing before the world today, I can only repeat: everything is conceivable-a German capitulation never! And if someone informs me, “Then the war will last three years,” I answer: Let it last as long as it will. Germany will never capitulate: not now and not in the future! I was told that England is preparing for a three-year war. On the day of the British declaration of war, I ordered the Field Marshal to immediately gear all preparations toward a duration of five years. I did so not because I believe this war will take five years, but because we shall not capitulate at the end of five years either-for nothing in the world! We shall show these gentlemen the force of a people eighty-million strong, united under one leadership, led by one will, forged together in one community. Commemoration of our great dead drives the Party to labor all the more in fulfillment of its great mission. It has become the bearer of the will, the unity, the integration, and hence of the German Volksgemeinschaft as such.
Whatever the individual among us must bear in terms of sacrifice will pass and is of no importance. What is and remains decisive is only the victory! Thanks to our preparations we are able to wage this war under far more favorable circumstances than in the year 1914. Then Germany blindly stumbled into the war. Today we have a nation which prepared psychologically for many years. Above all, it is economically prepared. We have taken great pains to assure through our planning that the German planes do not run out of fuel. We have taken care that from the day the war is declared rationing sets in immediately, so that, in the first year of the war, costly goods are not squandered, wasted, or destroyed.
We have secured all prerequisites necessary for the longest time possible. We have furthermore developed Germany’s potential to the fullest in all other areas as well. Thus, today, I can give you the assurance: they shall not overpower us either militarily or economically-not in the least. There is only one possible victor: it is we.
That Mr. Churchill cannot believe this I attribute to his great age. Others have not believed it either. Had the English not driven them into this war, our Polish enemies would never have gone to war. England backed them, propped them up, and incited them. The course of this war has perhaps for the first time shown precisely what mighty military instrument the German Reich has meanwhile forged for itself.
It was not, my Volksgenossen, as if the Poles were so cowardly that they ran away-this was not the case! The Poles fought with great valor at many a location. And although this state of over 36 million men had nearly fifty divisions with recruits numbering 300,000 every year as compared to the 120,000 in France presently-this state was militarily beaten in an unbelievable ten [!] days, was destroyed in eighteen days, and was forced to finally capitulate in thirty days.
In this we acknowledge as well how much Providence has helped us here. It has allowed our plans to ripen fully and has visibly blessed their fruits.
Otherwise, this work could not have succeeded in such a short time. Hence, we believe that Providence willed what has come to pass. I often used to tell you that the defeat of 1918 was well-deserved, as we had never before shown ourselves worthy of great victories and have not known how to preserve them.
No one shall accuse us of this in the future.
With profound gratitude, we bow before our heroes, our valiant soldiers, our dead comrades, and our injured men. Through their sacrifice they have contributed to the defeat, within only thirty days, of the first enemy who brought about this war. May every German realize that the sacrifice of these men is worth no less than the one another man may have to make in the future.
No one has the right to regard his future sacrifice as a more demanding one. As National Socialists, we have gathered knowledge and made vows in veneration of the dead of November 9 in the history of our Movement. May the realization always be with us that the cause for which the first sixteen died is worthy of the similar sacrifices to which it obliges many others, if necessary.
Countless millions fell on the battlefield for this, our German Volk, in the course of the centuries, even the millenniums. Millions of others shed their blood for it. Not one of us knows if this will not be his fate also. Yet every one of us must know that he is not making a greater sacrifice than others have made before him, and others after him will have to make. The sacrifice of the woman bearing a child for this nation is equal to that of the man who defends this nation.
We National Socialists have always been fighters. This is a great time. And in it, we shall prove ourselves all the more as fighters.
In so doing, we shall best honor the memory of this first sacrifice made by our Movement. I cannot end today’s evening without, as always, thanking you for your loyal following throughout those long years, or without promising you to hold up high our old ideals in the future. We shall stand up for them and we shall not shrink from putting our own lives on the line to realize the program of our Movement, that program which demands nothing but to secure our Volk’s life and existence in this world.
This is the first commandment of our National Socialist profession of faith and it also is the last one which hangs over every National Socialist when, after the fulfillment of his duties, he departs this life.
Sieg Heil-to our Party Comrades of the National Socialist Movement, to our German Volk, and above all to our victorious Wehrmacht!