Adolf Hitler speech to the Reichstag
April 26, 1942
Deputies! Men of the German Reichstag!
The 11th of December of 1941 when I last spoke to you it was my privilege to lay before you an account of the course of events of the preceding year. In their historical magnitude and lasting political significance they are such as may not be recognized to the full extent for centuries to come. After a few weeks the suppression of the uprising in Belgrade which had been instigated by Britain and Moscow, Europe for the first time in perhaps centuries to come became aware of the common danger from the East, upon the successful warding off of which the very existence of the whole of our continent had so often before depended. For many people the causes of this terrible war into which we were forced in 1939, began to be more clearly recognized, for this war did not bear the characteristics of the previous conflicts among the European nations to which we were accustomed. To an ever increasing degree it began to be generally realized that the reasons for this conflict were no longer to be sought in the usual interests even if plausible of the various nations, but that in reality it was one of those elementary struggles which shaking the foundations of the world but once in a thousand years, introduce a new millennium.
Many of the historical figures which have come to the fore in the course of these conflicts have been as little aware of the most profound import, as the simple soldier can be expected to be when he is in the midst of great military operations.
Moreover, the duration of such volcanic eras is so great that the individual human being only too easily fails to appreciate the situation in its entirety and the meaning of the share which he himself takes considered in relation to the whole course of events. But nevertheless, apparently the meaning and purpose of such a process which shakes people and continents, thereby apparently becomes easily recognizable. As you are well aware, there are those who would draw advantage from the existing conditions. Many therefore believe that they are the ones who are driving, when in reality they are the ones who are being driven. Others want to strike and find themselves to be the stricken in the end.
When on the third of September, 1939, after Germany had made countless efforts in the cause of peace, France and Britain declared war on the New Reich, after these states had shoved Poland into the foreground by giving her authority to act as a means of starting the conflagration, one was compelled to doubt the common sense of a world, which instead of averting the terrible misfortune of such a mad war literally forced this catastrophe to happen without any apparent reason.
Now we all know that ever since the internal disruption of the European states Britain had entered into a conspiracy based upon a political doctrine which saw in the disintegration of the continent the essential conditions for the prosperity and the growth of the British Empire. No doubt this thought which dominated British policy was in itself very alluring. While Europe was exhausting her strength in numerous internal wars, Great Britain succeeded in burning up a world-wide structure with a minimum of sacrifice in blood. The title of "Empire" which was given to this structure deserved to be compared with that of imperial Rome as little as an international business concern for the creation of cultural values.
It is an overestimation of the British statesmanship as well as of the political and military capacities of the British to assume that these are the causes for the decay of Europe. Here the origin of the condition is confused with its exploitation. For Europe's decay is due partly to the natural senility of the continental power pre-eminent after the collapse of the Roman Empire, and partly to the deterioration of the elements which had provided the Western center of that time with its racial and constitutional foundation. The dissension between the classical Roman conception of the state on the one hand, and the no less imperial claims of the Roman church on the other brought about the gradual destruction of the foundations of the central state in Europe. To this was added the profound earnestness with which the world then treated questions which were suited to involve Europe in endless internal religious status, while the same problems are today recognized as being completely unimportant as far as the state is concerned, and treated accordingly.
Thus, the collapse of the old German Empire and consequently of the center of the dominant internal European organization was just as little brought about by the British as the collapse of Rome was brought about by the Germanic tribes. In both cases, however, internal conditions of weakness resulted in situations which enabled external forces to intervene, thus imposing a new course on the history of the world for many centuries to come.
Thus, primarily England herself has not been able to cause the disintegration of the continent for as a state she was at that time far too unimportant but she did succeed in profiting from the resulting disintegration of Europe. Thanks to her insular position she acquired only a minimum of strength combined, however, with a maximum of cleverness to continue to maintain the impotence of Europe and with her own scarcely diminished strengths to conquer another world which was partly unexplored or at least culturally and militarily inferior, and partly exhausting itself in continuous internal struggles.
Only a fool can overlook or deny the fact that, like every political organizing process, this process too confers its benefits on the human race, but it is just as foolish to assume that the British Empire could forever maintain the so-called balance in Europe. The racial elements of this continent linked together by blood and outlook who were striving to establish unity could not in the long run be prevented from combining. It was, moreover, completely foolish to assume that on the appearance of a danger forming an equal threat to the existence of all the people in Europe they could prevent the union of the countries thus threatened.
All the uninterrupted series of wars waged for centuries by Britain against the continent could in the main be successful only as long as they were wars against states of a purely dynastic character in order to create (?) other states of a similar nature. As soon, however, as the nations began to awaken to something more than dynastic interests the means employed hitherto by Britain's policy in Europe were doomed to failure. In spite of numerous wars, Britain was in the end not in a position to annihilate the French National State.
In spite of all her efforts, she failed to prevent the unification of the Italians, and in spite of all intervention the German Empire, through the will of the German peoples, and thanks to the endeavor of its great heroes, arose from its former ruins in the moment when it appeared in the superior genius of a Bismarck, not as something to mature with the years to come, but as a completely developed and powerful state. The more firmly the European peoples became established in statehood and convinced of their own worth, the more difficult the maintenance of the European situation was bound to become, which as the so-called balance of power no longer was in accordance with the true power relationships.
This mistaken belief in her ability to keep the European nations continually divided and to stir them up against one another by means of stupid tricks and nonsensical arguments was condemned to ever more drastic failure. Consequently, England was compelled to exchange her role of comfortable beneficiary of a given state of affairs for that of defender, or even of permanent maintainer. As a further consequence, however, the art of negotiation came to an end and in its place came the necessity of doing her own fighting, for which she lacked not only the will but also the ability.
This ability, however, is affected by the consideration of the tremendous and ever-increasing burden laid on the Empire on the one hand and of the ever-increasing sacrifices of blood required to maintain the desired disintegration in Europe on the other. The maintenance of the European balance of power had at least originally, merely the purpose of helping Britain to avoid spilling any of her own blood, and in this way of enabling her to do justice more easily to the requirements of its known world mission. Just as this country was forced to spill her own blood in Europe so there had to come a time when a maintenance of an European fragmentation demanded more strength of England than she could spare from the maintenance of her own Empire. The great exhaustion which followed the Napoleonic wars, which after all were conducted with Continental forces, was the first sign that the British doctrine of maintaining the European balance of power had had its day. However, apart from this the idea that the British Empire required a weak and disrupted Europe for its very existence, only held good as long as there were no threatening and equally strong opponents on the periphery of the Empire itself.
Then the Russian colossus fought his way from Europe across Asia to the Far East, when the North American Union became a structure not only independent of England but also completely safe from attack by her, and even more when the Japanese Empire, like Italy and Germany, woke from its sleep to become the leading power in the Far East, the pre-supposed conditions for the existence of the British Empire were fundamentally changed. Its structure could in the long run not be kept up in opposition to Europe but at best, in collaboration with Europe. In 1914, in spite of sustained efforts on the part of Germany to preserve peace, Britain, still following her old doctrine, declared war on the German Reich of those days with the help of a superior coalition of powers. For the time being this weakened Germany in her importance and in her position in Europe and ousted her from the rest of the world. But two facts at least had to be recognized and admitted by anyone who was not completely blind, at the end of what was up till then the bloodiest struggle in the history of the world.
First, that it was only a question of time until Germany would shake off the fetters imposed upon her, that a nation that could hold out for four years against the whole world could only have been forced by swindles and lies and through an inner revolt to Versailles, and which some day will not only recognize the deception that it had to undergo, but which will do away with its consequences as a matter of course in spite of the force which is practiced against it.
Second: the help that England had been asked for in the course of the war could not be canceled any more that, is the appeal of the English government to America as a last resort, has brought this continent to an economic and political importance which England will never be able to erase.
When England entered the world war she was fighting to retain her power at sea, and was not prepared to grant Germany a strength of five or even six to ten. When England, as she believed at that time, had victoriously terminated the war, Japan had taken the place of Germany, and America the place of England herself.
The structure of the British world empire had, however, not gained in inner strength by this fight; it began to weaken. If, for tactical reasons, later rather the idea of the world Empire was used instead of the world Empire, it was done in order to make a virtue out of a necessity which could not be avoided. When she in that time of severest military crisis asked for help with the aid of promises which she did not intend to keep, it was quite clear already that some day the deceived would ask for their repayment, which means that notes had been given which sooner or later would have to be redeemed.
Neither the English nor the German world is able to forget the assurance by the means of which they were once deceived into the sacrifice for the maintenance of the British empire. The fact that England herself came out of this war badly shaken, burdened financially and exhausted in blood, may serve as further proof that already the first world war was a war of position, that is a success which would only be the father of later defeats.
Another such war for the maintenance of the European balance of power and England would be forced to loose the necessary balance within the frame of the world Empire itself, that is to say the force which has been dissipated in the defense of an impossible European order, is lost in connection with the defense of their own Empire, and for this reason the new war will only end with the catastrophe of the British Empire.
With whomever England allies herself, she will see at the end of this war her allies stronger than she is herself or ever will be. Her arch-capitalists and the Bolshevist statesmen may greet each other with the greatest possible deceptive friendship, her archbishops may embrace the bloody spectre of Bolshevism as fervently as possible, the more lies, deception and corruption have to be used in order to hide the unnatural coalitions of this Empire from her own people or from humanity, the less they will be able to deceive the nations with a vision and to hinder the natural progress of a forced historical development.
There is a wise proverb which says that the gods strike blind those whom they wish to destroy. I do not know whether every Englishman today still thinks that Britain acted with wisdom and inspiration when she declined the innumerable proposals for an understanding which I have made since 1933. Nor do I know whether every Englishman today is as convinced that it was wise to refuse my offer of an alliance renewed as late as September 1st, 1939, and to repudiate my peace proposals at the conclusion of the campaign in Poland and France.
I, for my part, acknowledge another precept which says that man must deal the final blow to those whose downfall is destined by God.
So, what must happen, will happen. If, however, in the life of a people, judgment and reason seem to have been silenced, that does not necessarily mean that there is no thinking organ present where from outward appearances the only causes are stupidity or stubbornness.
The British Jew, Lord Disraeli, once said that the race problem is the key to the history of the world. We National Socialists have become great in this knowledge. By devoting our attention to the existence of the race problem, we have found the solution for many problems which would have otherwise have seemed incomprehensible . . .
The hidden forces which incited England already in 1914, in the first world war, were Jews. The force which paralyzed us at that time and finally forced us to surrender with the slogan that Germany was no longer able to bear homeward a victorious flag, came from the Jews. It was the Jews who fomented the revolution among our people and thus robbed us of every possibility at further resistance. Since 1939 the Jews have maneuvered the British Empire into the most perilous crisis it has ever known. The Jews were the carriers of that Bolshevist infection which once threatened to destroy Europe. It was also they who incited the ranks of the plutocracies to war, and it is the Jews who have driven America to war against all her own interests, simply and solely from the Jewish capitalistic point of view. And President Roosevelt, lacking ability himself, lends an ear to his brain trust, whose leading men I do not need to mention by name; they are Jews, nothing but Jews. And once again, as in the year 1915, she (America) will be incited by a Jewish President and his completely Jewish entourage to go to war without any reason or sense whatever, with nations which have never done anything to America, and with people from whom America can never win anything. For what is the sense of a war waged by a state having territory without people against people without territory. In the terms of the war it is no longer a question of the interests of individual nations; it is, rather, a question of conflict between nations which want to make the lives of their people secure on this earth, and nations which have become the helpless tools of an international world parasite.
The German soldiers and the allies have had an opportunity to witness at first hand the actual work of this Jewish International-war mongers in that country in which Jewish dictatorship has exclusive power and in which it is being taught as the most ideal form of government in the world for future generations and to which low subjects of other nations have become inexplicably subservient just as this was the case with us at one time.
And at this juncture this seemingly senile Europe has, as always in the course of its history, raised aloft the torch of its perception and today the men of Europe are marching as the representatives of a new and better order as the genuine youth of social and national liberty throughout the world.
Gentlemen! In the course of this winter a decision has been reached in international struggle which as regards to problems involved far exceeds in scope those difficulties which must and can be solved in normal warfare; when in November 1918 the German nation being befogged by the hypocritical phraseology of the American President at that time, Wilson, laid down its arms, although undefeated, and withdrew from the field of battle it was acting under the influence of that Jewish race which hoped to succeed in establishing a secure bulwark of Bolshevism in the very heart of Europe.
We know the theoretical principles and the cruel truth regarding the aims of this world-wide pestilence. It is called, "the Rule of the Proletariat," and it really is "Jewish Dictatorship," the extermination of national government and of the intelligent element among the nations, and the rule over the proletariat after it has thus deprived of its leaders and through its own fault ended defenseless by the concerted efforts of Jewish international criminals.
It was desired that what had been accomplished in Russia to such an appalling extent, namely the extermination of countless millions of leading men, should be continued in Germany. If this scheme failed then it was due to the fact that our people still possessed so many healthy qualities and that the Bolshevist faction lacked courage at least as far as its leaders all of whom were Jews were concerned; while the proletariat under its leadership lacked the unity of mutual feeling necessary to carry out throughout Germany quickly what had been accomplished in Russia.
Nevertheless in certain part of the Reich we did experience the preliminary stages of these conditions proof of which are the blood sacrifices of countless idealists.
The curse of this devilish work pressed more heavily upon Hungary, and there the Jewish power could only be broken by force. The name of the man who became the savior of Hungary in the struggle against the criminals still lives among us as one of the first representatives of the beginning European renaissance.
The real strong action against the menacing destruction of people and state took place in Italy. In a heroic revolt without equal, the Italian participants of the war and the youth have destroyed under the leadership of one who was blessed above all others, the compromise of democratic cowardice and Bolshevist force in a bloody struggle and have erected on their place a new positive idea of people and state. I recommend to every German the study of the history of the Fascist revolution, and in doing so, he will not without inner excitement pursue the road and the emotion of a man who has so much in common with us that we perceive his struggle almost as a part of our own fate. Only from the victory of Fascism on it was possible to speak of the beginning of the salvation of Europe, for from now on not the blunt force of the ..., but a truly constructive new idea had taken the place of the conglomeration of thought of destructive and decomposing nature.
For the first time the Bolshevists were not only beaten by a government, but above all the Marxists were won over, won over for the reconstruction of a better and healthier order of society which does not see in the state the carrier of a protection for a certain stratum of society, but the supposition for the conservation of the life of all.
At the same time when this history making event took place, the National Socialist movement for the fulfillment of this mission was growing in our own people. Here, too, came the hour when in the struggle between Jewish Internationalism and National Socialist conception of people and state, healthy nature came to life.
In most of the other European countries the same conflict has developed, only with this difference that in some countries it was first covered with compromise while in others it was eliminated for the time being with drastic government measures. All of us have in mind the next great decisive conflict Spain, where under the leadership of a single man a clear and definite and final decision was enforced and where again by a bloody civil war the national revolution succeeded in the overthrow of its arch enemy, Bolshevism.
With the mounting knowledge that the Jews are the parasitic germ of these diseases, one European state after another was forced during the past year to take a stand towards this vital question of fate. The desire for self-preservation forced them to adopt measures which would strongly protect their own peoples against this international poison.
It is true that Bolshevist Russia is the practical product of this Jewish infection, but it should not be forgotten that democratic capitalism is creating its preliminary condition. Here the Jews prepare what they accomplish in the second act of the process. During the first stage they disinherit millions of creating people to helpless slaves, or, as they say themselves, to ex-proprietary proletarians, in order to inflame them as fanatic masses to the destruction of their foundations of state; later follows the extermination of their own national intelligence and finally the removal of those cultural foundations, of that thousand year old hereditary power which gives these peoples their inner value and which may have the effect of warning for the future. What then is left is the animal in man and a Jewish clique, which, if admitted to leadership, destroys in the end the own soil on which it lives. To this process, which, as Mommsen says, is decomposing in the hands of the Jews the peoples and states, the young awakening Europe has declared war. Proud honorable peoples in other parts of the world have rallied to its cause.
They will yet be joined by hundreds of millions of people, suppressed people, who, no matter how their present leaders may view the situation, will one day break their bonds. An end will be put to those liars who pretend that they are protecting the world from a menacing foreign domination and in reality are trying to save their own world rule.
In this tremendous and truly historical uprising of the nations we are all now taking our part, some of us as leaders, others as actors or performers. On one side we find the exponents of democracy, that is Jewish capitalism with all its deadweight of obsolete political theories and parliamentary corruption, its out-moded social order, the Jewish brain trust, the Jewish newspapers, stock exchanges and banks, a concern of mixed political and economic profiteers of the worst order, arm in arm with the Bolshevist state. Those powers of a perverted humanity are ruling, over them the Jew, who brandishes a bloody scourge in Soviet Russia.
On the other side we find the nations who are fighting for their freedom and independence, who above all are fighting to assure the daily bread of their people. That is, the so-called Haves from the cellars of the Kremlin to the vaults of the banking houses in New York against the Have-Nots, that is those nations for whom a single bad harvest means privation and hunger and who, all of us, ask for the daily bread for our inhabitants to live by, when in the states and countries of the haves wheat, corn, coffee, etc. are being burned or otherwise destroyed, simply in order to obtain somewhat higher prices. But Eastern Europe is today the battlefield on which the decision will be reached in this struggle. I have preferred to speak to you, my delegates, about the successes in the years of fighting now behind us when the time and circumstances were opportune, and on the operations of the past year this was possible for the last time on December 11.
Let me emphasize especially here, that these speeches are directed first of all to the German people and its friends. I do not speak in order to convince people of something, who whether out of stupidity or ill intent neither are able to see nor wish to heal the truth, for, to pick out an example, if we compare the real course of events with those inferences which a Mr. Churchill draws from them, there appears such a glaring discrepancy between the events and their interpretations that any attempt to bridge these opposite viewpoints must be futile.
Since September, 1939, in fact ever since National Socialism came into power I would appear to have been the victim of error and always to have done the wrong thing. On the other hand there has been no phase during these events which Mr. Churchill has not described as encouraging nor will he ever presumably desist from doing so. The fact that England once upon a time declared war on us was an "encouraging sign" of her internal strength. That it was possible to find others who were willing to let themselves be led to the slaughter house in the interest of British egotism, was of course, no less "encouraging." Even a simple meeting between Churchill and Daladier or Paul Reynaud or others always showed "encouraging" symptoms. Discussions between two or more Allied generals are just as "encouraging" proofs of the progress of the military aspect of the democracies as the fireside talks of the sick man of the White House are of the moral aspect.
When Cripps flew to Moscow for the first time it was no less encouraging than his return flight from India. That General Mac Arthur succeeded in fleeing from the Philippines just in time was also "encouraging" just as it is encouraging if 20 Englishmen with blackened faces and on rubber soles succeed in creeping to some point of the coast occupied by us in the rubber dingy, to land only to withdraw hastily as soon as a German patrol came into sight.
When an emigre government, i.e. a collection of the zeros, issued a statement against Germany then it is hailed as encouraging just as much as when Churchill formally announces the destruction of German U-boats or a new invention or a new offensive or a second front, etc. There's nothing one can do about that. Every nation has its own kind of encouragement. For instance I once considered it encouraging that we succeeded within 18 days and in a number of tremendous battles of annihilation in sweeping away the Polish state with its 33 million people.
I also regarded it as encouraging that during this entire period neither France nor England dared take even the slightest action on the Siegfried line. I believe it also was encouraging when we were able to land in Norway but not at night with blackened faces and rubber shoes but during broad daylight and in hob nail boots and that we took control of the entire country of Norway in barely six weeks.
And in any case it was most encouraging for all of us to witness how the British expeditionary army was driven out of Norway in a few weeks.
Similarly I believe that we all have a right to find encouragement in the fact that it was possible for us in the short space of six weeks entirely to annihilate the Anglo-French armies, to bring Holland under our power in less than a week and Belgium in a bare three weeks, and as for the British forces, to smash them, capture them, and drive them into the sea at Dunkirk.
I personally found it especially encouraging that together with Italy we were able to win great victories, not only in France but also in North Africa. In my opinion it was no less encouraging that we were able, together with our allies, to smash within a few weeks the Serbian revolt inspired by Washington and London and plotted by Moscow. Further, we were encouraged also by witnessing the rapid withdrawal of the British expeditionary army there too, first toward the Peloponnesus and then via Crete into the sea, in so far as it was not likewise annihilated by us or taken prisoner. No less encouraging was the fact for the German people, that since the 22nd of June of last year, together with our allies, we were able to drive the Bolshevik menace over a thousand kilometers back from our frontiers in battles unique in history, and that at the same time our U-boats and other naval forces, as well as our air force, sank more than 16 million tons of enemy merchant shipping and are continuing to sink them today and will go on sinking them.
I regard it as encouraging, for example, that in the wide spaces of the East we were able to construct and operate a network of railways to our own gauge which is today larger than that of all Great Britain.
And as for the heroic deeds of Japan, that singular march of victory, I can say nothing other than that in our eyes they are extremely "encouraging."
I could therefore counter the encouraging factors off of which Mr. Churchill and Mr. Roosevelt live with countless deeds which constitute an encouragement for us. But perhaps the most encouraging thing that I'm able to find at all for Germany and her allies is the fact that Messrs. Churchill and Roosevelt are in London and Washington and not in Berlin or Rome. The English won't believe this, but it's the truth.
My delegates, men of the Reichstag, when I was speaking to you last time the East was being enshrouded in a winter such as Europe had not witnessed even in those regions for over 140 years.
In a few days the thermometer dropped from zero and above to 47 degrees below zero and more. What that means, nobody can imagine who has not lived through it himself. Four weeks earlier than anticipated all further operations found an abrupt end. The front which was in the advancing stage was not allowed to flow back, neither could it be left in the positions where it was at that moment. Thus followed therefore the retreat to a general line which reaches from Taganrog to the Lake of Ladoga. I can reveal at present that this procedure which can be represented in such an easy way here was in reality extremely hard to execute. The lightning arrival of a cold which even in these territories makes its appearance only once every hundred years, did not only paralyze the men but also the machines. There were moments when it threatened to paralyze both. Whoever sees the vast expanses of the east, has to reckon with the psychological burden which destroyed in 1812 the French armies and which just for that reason even as remembrance is still able to paralyze the energy of weak beings.
The main burden of the struggle was now with the army and with the allied foreign detachments. I have, therefore, looked upon it as my duty of honor to join my name in this moment with that of the army. I feel myself as a soldier so responsible for the conduct of this struggle that I would have looked upon it as ... not to identify with my person in this grave hour what fate still seemed to have in store for us.
That we have now succeeded to master this menacing catastrophe completely, I have to thank in the first and final place the bravery, the faithfulness and the unbounding readiness for suffering of our brave soldiers.
They alone have made it possible for me to hold a front against which our enemies began to throw countless numbers of men. All through these months fresh and hardly trained hordes from the interior of Asia and from the Caucasus hurled themselves against our lines which especially at night could only be manned from point to point. For it is obviously impossible to lie out in the open without any cover at 30 or 40 or more degrees below zero. Whenever however the Russians did succeed by continuously attacking in penetrating or infiltrating between these hardly fortified localities they had to sacrifice their men by the hundred thousands.
The problem, however, which weighed most heavily on us during this time was that of reinforcement and supplies. Neither the German soldiers nor the German tanks nor the German railway engines were prepared for spells of such intense cold as we encountered. Yet the problem of insuring supplies for the army was a question of vital importance. Thus, I feel sure that you will understand and certainly approve that here and there it took hard and drastic measures in order to master by the grimmest determination the fate to which we might otherwise have to succumb.
Gentlemen, when in 1812 Napoleon's armies swarmed back from Moscow and were finally destroyed the lowest temperatures were in the neighborhood of 25 centigrade below zero. This year, however, the lowest degree of cold recorded by us at one point of the Eastern front was exactly 52 degrees below zero. In generally appraising the achievements of our troops I can only say one thing and that is, that every man has done his full duty. Top honors certainly go to our infantry again. After marching thousands of miles, going from attack to attack, they found themselves suddenly, overnight as it were, in the throes of a winter such as they had never dreamed of much less experienced. We all know the numbing effects of intense cold. It exerts a soporific influence on man and thus kills him without pain. The fact that we were spared this fate during those critical weeks we owe to the superhuman efforts and will power not only of those men but especially of the non-commissioned officers and all officers up to those generals who recognizing the impending danger again and again stirred up the men regardless of their own life and forged them into that unity which is today the best thing that could ever have been defended by a German soldier. Speaking of the infantry, however, I wish to mention today for the first time the ever constant and exemplary fortitude and determination of my good SS divisions and SS police formations.
From the very first I have looked upon them as a determined body of men, obedient, loyal and brave in war just as they had pledged themselves to be in times of peace.
But beside this infantry, the tank corps men, the anti-tank fighters, the pioneer and the gunners, the dispatch writers and last but not least the drivers of our motorized columns fought in exactly the same way. All of them have earned the gratitude of their country.
The Luftwaffe has helped these brave soldiers again and again with heroic action, and not only with their chasers and fighters, their observation and transport flyers, but where it was necessary even with Falk and Luftwaffe-battalions which protected in the ground war their own airfields and sectors of the front which were especially menaced. Construction troops of the Organization Todt, of the Standard Pseer helped amidst great cold to free the veins of traffic again and again from impediments and to defend the traffic lanes if necessary with their own blood against partisans. Men of the labor service fought interchangeably once with the shovel and another time with the rifle.
Superhuman feats were demanded of medical officers, corporals, stretcher-bearers, male nurses, and especially of the Sisters of the Red Cross and of the N.S.V. (National sozialistische Volkswohlfahrt). Railroad engineers constructed always new lines, bridges, viaducts, in a time when the steel was so brittle that the rails started to crack under the impact of the machines. Over-tired, the engine and switch personnel has tried to help the comrades on the front, for there was a time when everything depended on single line and single trains.
That this could be mastered, we have to thank the courage of death and the readiness for action of numerous nameless heroes. They will enter the history of our people as unforgettable carriers of glory.
It would be a great wrong if I would not recall today all those who have shared with us the same suffering. To speak of our Finnish comrades in arms is hardly necessary. They are so remarkable and so experienced in this struggle that they will always be a prototype. They possessed above all the great calm in regards to the penetrated or filtered Russian detachments. After decoying the Russians first, they began with the destruction of the Bolshevists who were operating behind their backs. But now that I speak of the north, I have to mention the soldiers of a Division which comes from the south of Europe and who have gone through all the experiences which we had to demand of our own soldiers.
When the Spanish Division will return to its homeland, we will not be able to give them any other testimony but the recognition of faith and valor unto death.
This same valuation we have to accord all other detachments, the Hungarian as well as the Slovakian and Croatian Allies. They have fulfilled their task with the greatest bravery and dependability. The three Italian divisions have stayed during the entire winter where they were in spite of a cold which must have been especially painful for them, and also with them, thanks to their courage every Russian break through has been condemned to failure.
The same can be said for the brave soldiers of the Rumanian army under the leadership of their Marshal Antonescu. On the entire front a slow melting together of the very different European peoples can be observed against the common enemy. This does not only apply to the German volunteer troops in the S.S. detachments, but also to the Belgian and French participants in this common action, yes, even Lithuanians, Latvians and Esthonians, Ukrainians and Tartars took part in the fight against the Bolshevist world enemy.
The air force of our Allies too from the Finns to the Italian chasers have cost heavy losses to our enemies. Only in a few single instances in the course of these formidable historic successes has it become necessary for me to act personally; only when lack of nerve or obedience or of sense of duty in the fulfillment of certain tasks became evident did I make hard decisions by virtue of the sovereign right which I feel the German people has conferred upon me for meeting such emergencies; let me here express my thanks not only on behalf of myself but also of our soldiers that the home land supported me in this struggle. I am justly proud and I am highly gratified that now the effects of a national Socialist education of our people are beginning to make themselves felt more and more, despite the fact that the National Socialist Party has the greater part not only of its members but also of its leaders at the front and that millions of men belonging to the political organization, the labor front, the Nationalist-Socialist welfare section and so on, are fulfilling their duty and ... function in an exemplary manner. Not only our occasional emergency at home gets relief by such organizations of a party as the labor front or the welfare section but the party also attends to the comfort of the soldiers at the front. My appeal for warm winter clothing made it possible with the assistance of various measures for the improvement of supplies for the front to furnish the soldiers above all with warmer clothing than had hitherto been the case.
Therefore, all of us, and I, now speaking in particular on behalf: of the men in the front lines, must be possessed with this proud feeling; we have mastered a destiny which has crushed some one else one hundred and thirty years ago.
The test which the front of the country passed during this winter should be a lesson for us all. As regards organization I have taken those measures which are necessary to save our country from a repetition of similar emergencies. The German national railways will during next winter wherever it may find us do even more justice to their task than the winter before. From railway entrance to tanks, tractors, platoons and trucks our army in the East will be better equipped for the individual soldier, however, should such severe climate conditions repeat themselves, similar conditions to those of last winter will not arise again as the result of experience and work.
That I am determined to do everything in this direction in order to do justice to these problems, you, my old party comrades will not doubt. However, there's one thing I shall expect, namely that the country will give me the authority to immediately intervene and take personal charge whenever unconditional attention is not paid in the service of great and vital tasks. The front and the homeland, transportation administration, and our agriculture (?) must obey only one thought and that is to win the victory.
Nobody at this stage can insist on his vested rights and all must know that today there are only duties to be fulfilled. Therefore, I ask all the German Reichstag the definite assurance that I possess the legal authority to see to it that every individual performs his duty and that I may condemn such cases which in my opinion do not fulfill their duties to be imprisoned or to be deprived of their office and position no matter who they be or what rights they may have acquired and especially because there are only very few exceptions among millions of decent people.
For above all rights to these exceptions stands today the only common duty; I am therefore not interested during the present time of stress in each special case, for instance whether or not the officials or employees could be granted leave, and I also forbid that this leave which cannot be granted should be accumulated for later times. If anyone would have the right to ask for leave then it would be our soldiers on the front.
Only he, and then maybe the worker and the female worker, ... and since I was not able to give any leave for the past months on the eastern front, let nobody come ... with the phrase of his well-earned right to leave in some official position.
I myself have the right to refuse it for what is may be not known to all of you-I myself have not taken three days of leave since 1933. I also expect that the German jurisprudence understands that the nation is not there for them but they for the nation. That not the entire world is allowed to perish, in which also Germany is included, so that there is a formal right, but that Germany has to live, notwithstanding the formal interpretation of justice.
I have no understanding for it, just to mention an example, that for instance a criminal who married in 1937 and then mistreated his wife that she became mentally deranged and who then died of the results of his last mistreatment, is sentenced to 5 years of hard labor in a moment when 10,000 brave German men have to die in order to save the homeland from Bolshevism, that means to protect their wives and children.
I will take a hand in these cases from now on and direct the order to the judges that they recognize that as right what I order.
What German soldiers, German workers, peasants, our women in city and country and millions of our middle-class etc. do and sacrifice all only with the one thought of victory in their minds, then one can ask a congenial attitude for them who have been called by the people themselves to take care of their interests.
At present there are no self-styled saints with well-earned rights, but we all are only obedient servants in the interests of our people.
My representatives and men of the Reichstag: We have a gigantic winter battle behind us. The hour will come when the fronts will awaken from their paralyzed state, and then history will decide who has been the victor in this winter, the attacker who sacrificed his masses of men idiotically; or the defender who thought of nothing but the holding of his positions.
I read this week continually of the terrible threats of our adversaries. You know that I take my task much too wholly and serious, in order to be ever frivolous. What men can do to prevent dangers, I have done and I will also do it in future. And how sufficient our preparations are for the conquest of these dangers, the future will tell.
The great generals of England and the U.S. inspire neither fear nor horror to me. In my eyes generals, for instance as MacArthur, do not possess attracting capacities but rather fleeing ones (play with words which cannot be translated properly). I am astonished about the frugality of my adversaries in the planning of the measure for the greatness of their own successes or of their persons.
But if in England the idea should prevail of carrying on air warfare against the civilian population with new methods, then I should like right now to state the following to the whole world: Mr. Churchill began this warfare in May, 1940. For four months I warned him and waited. Then the time came in which I was compelled to act. The person who was alone responsible for this kind of fighting began to complain. Even now my waiting is no weakness. Let this man not complain and whine again when I find myself compelled to give an answer which will bring very much suffering upon his own people.
From now on I shall repay blow with blow until this criminal himself and his work are crushed.
When I look at the world which we embody, at all the men with whom I have the pleasure of being connected or who are my friends, and then when I look at the groups of political leaders in the Reich, at my Reich, ... Gauleiter, Reich governors, General Gouverneurs, Reich Commissars, at my Ministers, at my Reich Marshal, the Field Marshals, ... Major Generals and the countless other leaders on the fronts, then I look forward with the greatest confidence to a future in which history will not be made by clowns but by men.
The fight in the East will have its continuation. The Bolshevik colossus will be beaten by us just as it is. With England itself it is first a question of the German submarine arm.
As early as the fall of 1939 Mr. Churchill, after he had sunk about ten U-boats almost every day, had promised the English people that he had mastered the U-boat peril; so I will assure him today that this peril will sooner master him.
I have already remarked elsewhere that the paralysing of German U-boat activity last year was to be ascribed exclusively to the endeavour to avoid every conceivable occasion for a conflict with America. But this could not prevent the President of the American union, driven by his Jewish bosses, from trying new measures (?) all the time to him in German warfare and by means of declarations contrary to international law to make U-boat warfare altogether impossible. Consequently it was a relief for us when the brave Japanese people decided to answer the shameless provocations of this madman in the only manner answerable to their own people and to history.
... finally exposed the ocean in the greatest degree to the German U-boat arm. And if the British and American press spin new inventions every week which would lead to the certain annihilation of the U-boats, this is no more new than the opposite would be new, that the German U-boats and those of our allies improve their weapons from year to year.
What the German Navy has accomplished in spite of its small numbers surpasses by far everything that our so much larger one of the World War was able to accomplish. What our U-boats can do will be demonstrated more each month. For in reply to the assertions of Churchill in the fall of 1939 about the end (?) of the German U-boats, I can only assure him, that their number is growing in a steady rhythm from month to month and that today already it has left far behind the highest number of all U-boats in the World War.
While the Italian-German cooperation in the Mediterranean has led to a comradeship which has become closer and closer, the cooperation between Germany, Italy and Japan and the other Allies achieved just as great success in other theatres of war. The fact that the provocation of Japan to enter this war was an entirely senseless act on the part of our enemies has been proven in a few months by the heroic struggle of this nation. I do not know whether every Englishman is today firmly convinced that Mr. Churchill's and Roosevelt's policies were correct and that this war could ever have been profitable to them.
We Germans have everything to gain in this struggle for existence, for to lose this war would mean our finish. Asiatic barbarism would flood Europe just as it happened at the time of the Huns or the Mongolians. Nobody knows that better than the German soldier and the nations who are fighting by his side and who have had an opportunity to become acquainted with the meaning of Bolshevist liberation of humanity.
England however, will win nothing in this war. It will lose and then perhaps it will gradually begin to realize that the fate of nations and peoples must not be entrusted to the care of a cynical drunkard nor of people who are mentally ill.
Truth will be the final victor in this fight. Truth, however, is with us. I'm proud of the fact that destiny has chosen me to lead the German nation in such a great period. I have no ...
For always I aim to tie my name and my life to its fate. I have no other favor to ask of the Almighty but to let us be victorious in the future as we were in the past and to let me live only as long as he considers necessary to conclude this fight for existence of the German nation for there is no greater glory than the honor to be the leader of one's people and thereby the bearer of responsibility in times of stress and nothing could make me feel any happier than the thought that that people is my own, my German people.
Hermann Göring closing words for the Reichstag session
There can be no doubt that, in the present time of war in which the German Volk struggle for to be or not to be, the Fuhrer must possess the right claimed by him to do all that serves the struggle for victory or contributes to it. Therefore-without being bound by existing regulations-in his capacity as the Fuhrer of the nation, as supreme commander of the Wehrmacht, as head of government, and supreme bearer of the executive power, as supreme Law Lord, and as leader of the party, the Fuhrer must be able at all times to order every German-whether he is a common soldier or officer, low or high-ranking administrator, or judge, leading or lesser functionary in the party, worker or employee-to fulfill his duties by all means that appear appropriate to him; and if he neglects these duties, the Fuhrer must be able to assign him a suitable punishment following a conscientious examination, irrespective of so-called acquired rights, and, in particular, without initiating prescribed procedures, to relieve him of his office, rank, or position.