Berlin, February 12, 1942 in Berlin
at the Funeral of Dr. Fritz Todt
In the sad hour of this ... it is very hard for me to think of a man whose deeds speak louder and more impressively than words can do. When we received the terrible news of the misfortune, to which our dear Master Builder Dr. Todt had fallen victim, many million Germans had the same feeling of emptiness which always occurs when an irreplaceable man is taken from his fellow men.
However, the whole German nation knows that the death of this man means an irreplaceable loss for us. It is not only the creative personality which was taken from us, but it is also the loyal man and unforgettable comrade, whose departure touches us so deeply.
Dr. Todt was a National Socialist. He was that not only intellectually in (that?) moment when for the first time he learned of ..., but also with his whole heart. The first contact with the Party in the year 1922, the first encounter with me personally had not only drawn this man inwardly to me, but also bound him outwardly to adhere to what he envisioned as the only possibility for a German renaissance.
The combination of the national concept with the social concept did not appear to this technician and engineer, who at one time depended for his living on the labor of his own hands, as a problem to be solved or even as a question to be answered, but as the categorical obligation of the struggle for a real German re-arming, which had to be more than just a mere restoration of an external form of government rendered obsolete by the collapse of the ... .
As early as 1922 this man saw clearly that the aim of German revival had to be, not a restoration of shattered old forms, but a revolutionizing of the German spirit, of German thought, and hence of the German people in its inner social order.
When Dr. Todt first threw himself whole-heartedly into our movement, he was 31 years old. Behind him was a life which included an education from grade school to college of liberal arts. From 1910 to 1911 he served a year as a volunteer enlisted man ... in Karlsruhe. From 1911 to August 1914, he studied again, as a graduate civil engineer at the School for Advanced Technical Studies in Munich and in Karlsruhe. As early as 1913 he passed his first preliminary examination at School for Advanced Technical Studies in Munich. At the outbreak of war he joined the fourth regiment of field artillery and first saw action on the western front. In October, 1914, he was named Lieutenant of the Reserve and assigned to the 110th Regiment. With this outfit he fought up to January, 1916. Then he joined the air force, became an aerial observer, and was finally leader of an independent flight squadron up to war's end on the Western Front. He was also wounded in an air battle.
In 1919 he completes his studies and in the winter of 1920 passes his final examination at the School for Advanced Technical Studies in Munich. It is interesting to note that the subject of his doctor's thesis at the School for Advanced Technical Studies in Munich is the following: "Disadvantages of Highway Construction using Tar and Asphalt."
On the 5th of January, 1923, Dr. Engineer Fritz Todt of Pforzheim finally entered in his ..., namely in the local troup of Oetting in Bavaria. Immediately after the ban against the Party was lifted in November, 1923, he again becomes a member and remains one until January, 1925. In the meantime he is unswervingly active in the Party and it is not until 1924 that the various charges against him are finally quashed.
In 1931 he joins the S.A. (Storm-Troopers) and to be sure as a real National Socialist, starting as an ordinary Storm-Trooper. He then becomes a squad leader; in the same year is advanced to standard bearer and by 1938 he has risen to Chief Leader, Brigade Leader, and finally Chief Brigade Leader. Only his activity in the Party is not all expended in the service of the Storm Troopers. In the beginning he is an associate of the Progressive League of German Architects and Engineers in Munich. And in addition he is Technical Consultant of highway construction in the then existent office for Economic coordination and Work Procurement of the N.S.D.A.P. (the National Socialist German Workers Party.) In 1932 ... is expanded ... of the construction Engineers and Countrymen (sic!) of the Progressive League of German Architects and Engineers. During that period occurred the amalgamation of the division presided over by him with that of the Progressive League of German Architects and Engineers, and with the Technical Bureau, resulting finally in the National Socialist German Technical Union under his leadership.
In 1936 the Technical Bureau was raised to the Central Technical Bureau in recognition of its meritorious service. In the meantime this man enters that field of activity, where for the first time not only the German people but in addition a large part of the rest of the world was to become acquainted with him. In connection with the opening of the Automobile Exposition, which took place in 1933, I tried to realize the principles proclaimed at that time in the field, not only of the improvement of the German road network already in existence, but also in the field of the construction of new special auto roads. This was a general plan which essentially only embraced the general principles. In Dr. Todt, after long trials and deliberations, I believed I had found a man who was suited to transform a theoretical intention into practical reality. A brochure published by him about new ways of road construction was submitted to me and especially strengthened me in this hope.
After long discussions I entrusted him, on June 30, 1933, with the task of building the new Reich's auto roads, and in connection with this, the general reform of the whole German highway construction system, as general director of construction for the German highway construction system. With that, this man had found a frame which he began to fill in a truly incomparable and imperishable way.
The German Reich's auto roads are, in the planning of their layout and the execution, the work of this quite unique technical-and in addition, also artistic-talent. We can no longer think of the German Reich without these roads. In the future also they will find their continuation as natural great communication lines in the whole European transportation region. But what has in addition been done in Germany in this same time in the broadening and improvement of roads, in the elimination of bad curves, in the construction of bridges is so incomprehensible in its scope, that only an exhaustive study will permit a comprehensive and just conception of the accomplishment in its entirety.
All of you, my dear party comrades, will still remember those impressive minutes, during which our Road Construction Inspector in Chief, Dr. Todt, at the Party Congress in Nuremberg, demonstrated briefly and clearly how his task came into being, and how it began to grow far beyond the scope of any previous construction problems anywhere in the world. It was therefore only a matter of course, that this man was finally made chief administrator in all fields of construction.
Thus, it was only natural that this man was appointed chief administrator, first, for the regulation of all construction, and that then, in the Four Year Plan, he was given a special position as Inspector General for special projects.
Meanwhile, the clouds of a more and more menacing war danger began to gather about Germany at that time already. When it could no longer be ignored, especially as a result of the unswervingly inciting speeches of Churchill and his following in England, that in view of the uncertain situation of the parliamentary democrats in those countries there might be a sad change of regime working against peace, I was obliged to make provision for the defense of the Reich on a large scale and as soon as possible.
I had conceived the plan of erecting a fortification opposite the Maginot Line, but from different points of view, which was to protect the vitally important western portion of the Reich against any attack, under any circumstances, even in the event that quite large German forces ... in the East. There was only one man who was in a position to solve this technical engineering problem, unique in the history of the world, and to solve it, indeed, in the shortest possible time.
When, on May 28, 1938, I made known my resolve to the army and the air force, I entrusted the Inspector General for Construction, Dr. Todt, at the same time with the responsibility and supervision of the construction of the largest part by far of this gigantic new work, in cooperation with the proper military authorities, with the provision that as early as September, 1938, at the latest, at least 5,000 concrete and steel positions would have to be ready or usable.
The whole program was planned with a total of 12,000 units, a number which ... air force in barely a year and a half increased to about 23,000.
The present war experiences have confirmed our conviction, that no power in the world could succeed in breaking through this most gigantic defense zone of all time. This marvel is, in its technical plan of construction, in the purely organizational measures of its construction, as well as in the technical building itself for all time associated with the name of Dr. Todt.
The war which broke out presented new ... problems to this greatest organizer of modern times. A system of great roads for deploying troops had to be built up in those regions of the Reich in the shortest possible time, which previously had been very much neglected. Thousands and more thousands of kilometers of roads were either newly built or widened, provided with a hard surface and made dust proof. When the fighting finally began, units called into being by this unique talent for organization marched behind and forward with the troops, removed obstacles, ... destroyed bridges, improved roads, erected everywhere new Juncture over valleys, ravines, rivers, canals, and thus complemented in an indispensable way the engineering troops who were of many 2..., identified themselves closely with the forward-pressing front, and thereby could enter more actively into the fighting, in which otherwise they could not have had complete .. The victory in Norway, the victory in the West brought new tasks. After former party comrade Todt had been named to the Reich's Ministership for Armaments and Munitions, and thereby had to organize and lead a new, truly formidable sphere, there came in addition the task of protecting ... against enemy attacks through the construction of new, powerful fortifications.
Thereby the homeland will (seven points absolutely unintelligible, due to static).
The ... work, however, including his service as Reich's Minister for Armaments and Munitions, this man accomplished with a minimum of assistance. He was without doubt in this field the greatest organizer whom Germany, whom the German people, has produced up to now. He managed with the smallest conceivable staff of his own, and without any bureaucracy, to utilize all the agencies and forces which appeared useful either for ... the solution of his problems sooner, or in any other way.
Much of what the man has done can be made known to the German people or brought to the amazed attention of the world, only after the war. What this man has created is so unique that we all can not thank him enough for it.
If, however, I spoke just now about the technician and organizer, Fritz Todt, I must also bear in mind the man, who has stood so near to us all. It is not possible to give any better characterization of his personality than in determining that this great director of work never has had an enemy either in the movement or among his coworkers.
I myself must especially thank him for the fact that he has never lost or abandoned the ideological heritage of National Socialism, the aims of the movement, in the excess of his responsibilities, but on the contrary has been a co-creator of our world of ideas. And this applies particularly to his attitude toward social problems in life. The man, who himself has directed millions of workers, was not only understanding but above all in his heart a true Socialist.
There was a time when fate forced him, the greatest construction engineer of all times, to earn his daily bread as a simple laborer, just as this has happened in my own case. Never for a moment was he ashamed of that fact. On the contrary, in later years it was for him a source of proud and satisfying memories, when he, the greatest construction chief the world has ever known, had occasion to look at or to show to others a photograph of himself depicting him in his sober working attire, working on the road, covered with dust and dirt, or in front of a seething vat of tar. For this reason he especially took to his heart his German "road builders," as he called them.
It was his continuous desire to improve their social and often so trying living conditions, to replace their former miserable tents with modern ... and shelters, to take away from the road worker's camps the character of stagnant mass quarters, and especially to create within the laborer the feeling that road building, yes, the entire field of construction is a field of work of which anyone can always be proud, because it creates documents not only of the highest importance to mankind, but also of the greatest durability.
Before Dr. Todt the work of the road worker was not regarded very highly. Today the 10,000 road builders are a proud fraternity fully aware of their great usefulness. In this way be has accomplished a basic national socialistic educational work, and for this we are today especially indebted to him. Just as every human progress has had its model, so the "Todt Organization" has created permanent social models, and it was on its way to develop them still further.
Gradually not only a social injustice, but also a human, thoughtless folly, was to be eliminated, and eliminated, indeed, forever.
Thus, whether this man had dealings with a workingman, a Minister or a general, he always remained the same. An equally confident leader and solicitous friend of all decent national comrades. It was no wonder that this man, who so loved his people, was passionately attached to his family, his wife and his children. The creator of the greatest technical enterprises spent every free hour, whenever he could, among the great creations of Nature, in the little house beside the lake, in the midst of his beloved Bavarian peasants.
When under the fire of enemy guns the West Wall was completed, while in Poland the columns of the Todt organization for the first time joined the advancing armies and gave them assured supply lines, I had it in my mind to award him the Knight's Cross, as one of the leading creators of German resistance ... and of the German will for self-expression in the war. However, I changed my mind.
Because this distinction, famous though it is, could never have done justice to the importance of this unique man. I had already made the decision some time previously to establish such a decoration, which, founded on the principles of our movement, is to honor, in several classes, the most valuable services that a German can perform for his people.
After the conclusion of the campaign against France, I said to Dr. Todt that I proposed for him some day, as God wills, the recognition of his unique service, that he will be the first to whom I shall award the highest class of the order. In his modesty at that time he did not want to know anything about it. As now the National Order for Art and Science was awarded first to Dr. Todt-no, to the deceased Prof. Trost-so now today I confer for the first time, in the name of the German people and its National Socialist movement, the new order on our dear and unforgettable party comrade, Dr. Todt, the general inspector of our roads and builder of the West Wall, the organizer of armaments and munitions in the greatest battle of our people for their freedom and their future.
I myself can add only a few words for myself. (Deep emotion) I have lost in this man one of my most faithful coworkers and friends. I regard his death as a contribution to the National Socialist movement, to the fight for freedom of our people.