Adolf Hitler – speech for the 20-th anniversary of the N.S.D.A.P.
in the Hofbrauhaus
Munich, February 24, 1940
In four years of struggle, this Volk faced off twenty-six states and was only vanquished by betrayal and dishonesty! Had there not been Germans back then to undermine trust in their own regime, England and France would never have won! Had then [in 1918] a certain Adolf Hitler, instead of serving as a German musketeer, been German Reich Chancellor, do you really believe that then the false gods of capitalism and international democracy would have carried the victory?!
When I conjure up all these so-called international statesmen in the democracies, who today talk big in Europe, before my mind’s eye and envision their lives’ achievements, then all I can say is: At home and abroad, I have always had the misfortune of fighting against zeroes. These folk rule over the largest of terrains on this earth and yet are not even capable of eliminating unemployment in their own countries. And these folk speak of the necessity of a new order for Europe. That reminds me of the talk of our own democrats of earlier days who preached the necessity of a new order for Germany. This new order was indeed established-although without them. And a new order will be established in the world-although equally without them! My struggle for the liberty of our Volk was a struggle against Versailles.
What was at stake were not so much the endless paragraphs of Versailles, but beyond this it was a struggle against the mentality which found its expression in the Diktat of Versailles. Its roots lie in the conception that two to three peoples have simply been ordained by the Lord to rule over the entire earth, and that, every time one people refused to be subjected to their rule, they have the right to claim that this one people is set on mastery of the earth. Mr. Chamberlain is saying as much at a time when all of India is rising up in protest against him, at a moment when Arabs are calling for resistance to him.
Against such a background, this Mister stands up to declare: England is fighting against a German attempt at forcible mastery of the world.
With similar phrases it was perhaps possible to make some impression on the Germany of the year 1918. But this is no longer the case with National Socialist Germany! The Lord Almighty assuredly did not create this earth for the English exclusively! The Lord Almighty has assuredly not provided that a few small races, which cannot supply their own people with basic necessities, should subjugate three quarters of the earth and condemn all other peoples to starvation. This all became possible only due to the weakness of these other peoples. But this weakness has been overcome! And these peoples are now staking their own vital claims. I have expressed this claim in the most modest of terms. Our goal was:
1. To secure our own Lebensraum. And this Lebensraum encompasses, in my understanding, all that was cultivated, civilized, and economically developed by us Germans, and not by the English. There are several of these areas. At least in Central Europe, the inspiring influence of Great Britain has not yet been felt, neither in the past nor in the present. Germany built up this Central Europe.
We desire to live in this German Lebensraum. Here we will not stand for foreign threats. Here we will not stand for political alliances being constructed to our detriment. And,
2. I demanded the return of the German colonies, our German rightful possessions which the world plutocrats have robbed us of without any discernible benefit for their own peoples. The goals I set were limited in nature.
I took all precautions to clearly delineate our claims against England and France so that their peoples could under no circumstances feel threatened. In spite of this, our old acquaintances from the World War made their appearance once more and so did their agitation for war. Mr. Churchill, Mr. Duff Cooper, Mr. Eden, and Mr. Chamberlain himself rose up, followed by the specter of the eternal Jew Hore-Belisha. In the Great War, Mr. Churchill had already served as the well-known party whip who belongs to those people who today make no bones about having plunged the world into a war back then. Back then I was only an exceedingly small, unknown soldier without any political clout. I did my small duty just as any other German. Hence we came from completely different worlds: there was the capitalist war agitator and here the simple German soldier. After the war the people there went about their business in the armament industry and pocketed enormous profits. I, however, fought then for my German Volk. And just how hard I fought you know best yourselves as my witnesses.
For years now, these people have agitated for war once again. Once more they make no bones about their one, actual objective: to wage a great war. And once more they cherish the hope that other people shall step in for them. And this hope is not unfounded on the one hand as they have their Jewish cohorts sitting everywhere. On the other hand, this hope has already been disappointed. For this time a German front-line soldier has risen up against them and, for his part, has taken all precautionary steps. He has done so as thoroughly as only a man can who is suffused with his duty towards his own Volk.
I warned of these people when it became necessary. I never left a doubt as to one thing: it is my unshakeable will and decision to free Germany again.
That they should hate me for this fills me with the greatest of pride. You know well, my Old Party Comrades, how often I told you in this very hall: when the Jews and all that other riffraff running about Germany at the time turned to scold me-how often did I tell you this in this very hall-then I felt this to be a great honor.
Had they turned to praise me, I should have felt like the greatest scoundrel. And this holds true today.99 When a man like Churchill says he hates me-then: I must thank you, Mr. Churchill, for this compliment! When Mr. Chamberlain declares that he cannot trust me-I must equally thank you, Mr. Chamberlain, for not believing that I could ever become a traitor to my Volk. When Mr. Duff Cooper or Mr. Eden asserts that, in their eyes, I am a most despicable monster-I am happy that they do not count me among their friends, at least.
I have only one ambition: to struggle for the love and affection of my own Volksgenossen and to preserve this! The hatred of my enemies does not move me in the least. Neither did it move me in the thirteen years I struggled for power in Germany, nor does it move me in the least now. As, during these thirteen years, I fought at home for the freedom of my Volk, against its domestic oppressors, exploiters, and so on, I will fight today abroad as well, if necessary. They do not know us. The best proof for how little they know us lies in the British hope, so I believe, to see another year 1918 come to pass.
This probably best explains the idiotic leaflets they drop on Germany for lack of other ammunition.
Apparently, they believe they can repeat the maneuvering of the years 1917 and 1918 in the Germany of the present. The gentlemen are completely ignorant of today’s Germany. Today the situation has changed significantly from that of the year 1914 and has done so in a number of spheres. First of all, foreign policy has changed, as Germany is Italy’s friend today. It is not only the friendship of the two regimes, I may well say the friendship of the two leading men, but it is above all the realization that the two countries’ futures lie with each other and are dependent one upon the other. And towards Russia, too, our relations have changed. The hope to spark a great war between Russia and Germany as in 1914, this hope has pitifully failed its authors.
I do understand that London is nettled by the “baseness” with which I of all people succeeded in precluding this move all of a sudden. But I do believe that, in this instance, the Russian and the German regimes did something most beneficial for both peoples as both of us are too good to bleed to death only so that the London stock exchange and all of Jewry might rejoice. With this another mighty state deserted the front against Germany. And you know, my Volksgenossen, that I do not do anything by halves. Once I set out on a path, I follow this path to the end. The hope that this might change tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, this hope is in vain! And Japan, too, which also joined the ranks of Germany’s enemies in 1914, stands on our side as a close friend this time. That makes three mighty states which were our foes then and today stand by our side in the most benign neutrality. Quite a significant change in the political landscape.
And militarily the situation has changed also. I have armed and-as always in my life I go the whole way and not just half the way-I have thoroughly carried out this armament. For years I did not speak of this for reasons you can well imagine. I did not want to upset the others needlessly!100 For years I remained silent, but as you all know I did work. We built up a Wehrmacht which looks quite different today from the one of 1914. Back then, it was poorly equipped; in part it was truly wretchedly short of supplies.101 This time we spared no efforts to equip our Wehrmacht with the most modern armament in the world. That this is not an empty phrase was proved in the Polish campaign. I believe it went a bit faster than the strategists in London and Paris had anticipated.
And the future will continue to confirm this. As for the spirit of this Wehrmacht, beyond all material considerations, you may all rest assured. The spirit of the soldier is always the spirit of the supreme leadership. May the Lord see to it that this supreme leadership of today is not mistaken for the leadership of the year 1914! And in economic matters also, we have prepared ourselves in a different fashion. For years, I have had the basis for selfsufficiency secured, much to the anger of our enemies. Actually our opponents should have rejoiced at this and said: “Thank God, the Germans are assuring their own existence within their sphere of life.” But no, they were angered instead, since they knew only too well that this self-sufficiency robs them of the opportunity to suddenly attack Germany and to strangle it with a blockade. This blockade nevertheless affords us certain loopholes, and we are protected against blockades today in a manner quite different from 1914.
Back then our resistance to the blockade was almost zero, just as were our preparations for self-sufficiency. Today we are actively resisting from day one on. This resistance is made possible through the securing of thoroughly organized bases for economic self-sufficiency to rest on. Neither militarily nor economically can Germany be wrestled to the ground! Decisive, nonetheless, is the leadership. And when I speak of leadership here, I am not speaking of myself alone, but of all those who have come together in the leadership in Germany within the twenty years since I first spoke to you.
I have often told you: I am nothing other than a magnet which, in constantly passing over the German nation, extracts the steel from within this nation. I have often declared the time would come when everyone who counts himself a man in Germany will stand on my side, as he who does not stand on my side is not worth much anyway. I have termed this process the formation of the historic minority. And it came to pass as I predicted. In the course of thirteen years, a sum of personal energies gathered in the National Socialist Party, from the smallest Blockwart or Zellenwart to the Ortsgruppenleiter, the Kreisleiter, the Gauleiter, the Reichsstatthalter, the Reichsleiter, and so on. Selection took place in all areas. Enormous energies were mobilized and today are positioned in the appropriate places.
If you find it difficult to grasp the whole picture at first glance, just imagine any old national event of the years 1903 or 1905, let us say 1908, 1910, or 1912.
And then look at a similar national celebration today. Let us think of the unveiling of a memorial dedicated to a national hero, let us say Bismarck, or the launching of a ship. The first impression: a sea of top hats-only top hats- no real people anywhere. And today there are real people and no top hats. That is the difference! When I speak to you today, my dear Old Party Comrades, you will say to yourselves: our dear old revolutionary Fuhrer!-Sorry, your head of state. And do not forget how all this would look abroad if a head of state were speaking.
Just as it might have looked twenty or fifteen years ago. Look at the picture today. Today we truly have a German Volk and at its head we see leaders all over today, leaders who issued forth from the people, irrespective of descent. It is truly an immense sum of manly energy and determination which leads the German nation today. It is truly worth something when a nation is so well organized that at each post someone stands who issued forth from the Volk itself. He does not stand there by virtue of name or high birth, but only due to his ability as a man of action. And one last point: we have a different Volk today.
This Volk has straightened itself up, it has found its way back to itself. It has recovered its self-confidence to an unprecedented degree. It knows nothing is impossible in this world. It knows our history. It knows that in our resolve today we are no less than the great heroes of our past.
The German Volk graduated from a school which, in Western Europe, no other Volk possesses, with the exception of Italy. It is a school of enlightenment and political education. This Volk is organized through and through. When today one of those English top hats wants to make propaganda, propaganda to work inside our Volk, then I say: Others have tried and have failed faced with us. Mr. Chamberlain might use his phrases for his own people. With us they have no effect whatsoever.
We know these gentlemen; we know their advisors better yet. We know them exceedingly well because only eight years ago they were still among us.
We recognize their accents when they speak.
They speak German as awkwardly as they probably speak English awkwardly. We had these people living in our midst once when they ruled Germany by force. Today they have no force other than the force of their voices. These find little resonance here in Germany. The German Volk dislikes this jargon. It does not want to hear it. And when it sees the persons hiding behind these voices, the German Volk has already seen more than enough. What these people say is of no import; no one in the German Volk believes a word of it. They lie their heads off-this every German knows.
No, this German Volk has become a different one today. There are no more Bethmann-Hollwegs among its leadership.102 No more Spartacist gangs permeate the Volk. All this is over. A new Volk has come and this Volk will wage the war forced upon it. And I am determined to wage this war! Doubtless there will be some who say: “But why not wait a few years?” No, it is better this way since the fight cannot be avoided. These gentlemen forced it upon us now. And, moreover, it is intolerable that, every other decade, one people should say to another, which is eighty million strong: “We do not want you to do this or that. And if we feel like it we will cut you off from imports through a blockade, and then you will get nothing and starve.” We will not tolerate this! We will eliminate this organized terror of this despicable clique of world plutocrats! We have routed these sharks of international finance in Germany, and we will not stand for others telling us what to do now. The German nation has the same right to life as other peoples do.
We are hence determined to wage this war until we break this reign of terror abroad, just as we once destroyed the reign of terror of this clique at home! That I have no respect for these people is founded on a few facts of life: Insofar as they were already here with us in former times, you will understand that there is no need for me to respect them. Those who held power before in Germany, after thirteen years, had to vacate their posts for me, an anonymous, unknown soldier. Why should I respect them? And abroad, the story is no different. As a soldier, I myself sat across from these people for four years. No one can tell me they were better than we were! At the time, they faced us with gigantic superiority. They no longer possess this superiority today, not even in terms of weaponry.
And that I have taken advantage of the intervening time, this you, my Old Party Comrades, will certainly believe. Whatever I may be blamed for-one thing assuredly not: that I have ever been lazy, or that I sat around for half a year with my hands folded in my lap and did not do anything. I worked during these past five months as only a man can work. Actually it was relatively easy, as I had only to launch something we had prepared for launching long ago. And now that it is launched, it runs and does so thoroughly. The German Volk today is better prepared militarily than ever before in its history. We can calmly vest our trust in its leadership. And its military leadership is also at the height of its potential to meet the demands of the day. The others still have to prove what we have proved already.
Besides that, I believe one thing: there is a Lord God! And this Lord God creates the peoples. And, as a matter of principle, He accords all these peoples the same fundamental rights. We Germans terribly misbehaved in history some twenty, twenty-two, twenty-three years ago. There came a revolution and hence we suffered a defeat.
Then began the resurrection of our Volk in immeasurable labor. And during this entire period, Providence blessed our work time and time again. The more brave we were, the greater were the blessings accorded us by Providence.
And within the last six years, Providence was constantly on our side for, believe me: some call it luck, some have another name for it, but in the end such great works cannot be accomplished without its approval. And just a few months ago, I myself bore profound testimony to the workings of Providence which stands by mankind and assigns it missions to be fulfilled. And we serve it through these missions. What we desire is not the oppression of other peoples, but our freedom, our security, the securing of our Lebensraum. It is the securing of our Volk’s life itself. For this we fight! Providence has blessed us in this fight, a thousand times over. Could it have done this, would it have done this, had it harbored the intent now, all of a sudden, to allow this battle to end to our detriment? Here I believe in a higher and eternal justice. It is imparted to him who proves himself worthy of it. And it was in this belief that I stood up before you here for the first time twenty years ago. Back then I believed: it simply cannot be that my Volk is forsaken. It will be forsaken only if there are no men to be found to rescue this Volk. If, however, someone pledges himself with a trusting heart to this Volk and works for it, who places himself wholly at the disposal of this Volk, then it cannot be that Providence will allow this Volk to perish. Providence has wrought more than miracles for us in the time since.
All I can ask of you now: Firmly take hold of your faith as old National Socialists. It cannot be any different: we must win, and therefore we will win! And even if our foes so terribly threaten and press upon us, it cannot be any worse than it was once before. Our ancestors were forced to endure all this many times. And thus we all want to bring ourselves to pronounce once more the great avowal of faith once spoken by a mighty German: “And if there were only devils in this world, we would still succeed!”