Adolf Hitler – proclamation to the German Folk
November 12, 1944
National Socialists! Party Comrades!
The requirements for waging total war have compelled me to postpone the commemoration from November 9 to the next available Sunday. Likewise, work at the headquarters does not allow me to leave it even for a few days at this time. Besides, I regard it less as my task today to give speeches than to prepare and implement those measures that are necessary to force our way through this fight. After all, as in the time of crisis in the year 1923, I am today moved by only one dominating thought: now really to risk everything for the necessary success! And just as the dead comrades were rightly told ten years later that the victory was theirs in the end, so the victory must and will belong in the end to the fighting front and the no less heroically fighting homeland in the great struggle of to be or not to be.
In the past, I repeatedly pointed out that it is necessary for a nation to appreciate and honor its great men. Especially in grave times, a despairing nation can gather courage and strength for the present from its behavior in the past. How much more does this apply to a nation that behaves as boundlessly bravely as the German one! It will be able to learn the only correct lesson for the present from the struggle of its great men, namely, that Providence in the end helps only him who does not despair and takes up the struggle against the adversities of the time and, therefore, in the end decides his own destiny.
Insofar as the Almighty opened our eyes in order to grant us insight into the laws of His rule, in accordance with the limited capabilities of us human beings, we recognize the incorruptible justice which gives life as a final reward only to those who are willing and ready to give a life for a life. Whether man agrees to or rejects this harsh law makes absolutely no difference. Man cannot change it; whoever tries to withdraw from this struggle for life does not erase the law but only the basis of his own existence.
As the National Socialist movement began its struggle to win over the German human beings, every insightful person realized the impending internal collapse of the Volk and nation. The inevitable consequence of this was an increasing threat to our national existence, a slow decline in our birthrates, together with a slow national death many times the number of the dead of the World War. After all, this corresponded to the objective of our enemies. By economic strangulation of the Reich, they intended to destroy the basis for the material existence of the German nation. Thereby, they hoped to realize Clemenceau’s demand for the reduction of the German Volk by twenty million people. The struggle of the years 1914 through 1918 cost two million people their lives, but there were twenty million that had to be taken out of our Volk according to the wishes of the democratic benefactors of mankind. Today, this demand has gone up to forty million. However, since it is not up to people themselves to stop backward movements in the life of a nation whenever there is a need for it, nobody could say when this process of shrinking the substance of our Volk would come to an end. In the same matter, another natural realization forces itself on us: the world does not know any empty spaces! Nations which are numerically or biologically too weak and no longer able satisfactorily to fill their Lebensraum will in the most favorable scenario be put on a reservation that corresponds to their value and size. Other life will flow into the now empty spaces. In accordance with Providence’s law, other nations-and, regrettably, often primitive races-will then take up the fight for existence in an area that an aging nation has lost due to cowardice and weakness, that is, unfitness for life. So, in the year 1919, we faced the realization that only a reform of our Volk from head to foot would in the long run enable it to resume successfully this struggle for existence. Only a complete turning away from the phraseology of the democratic corruption of nations and the Bolshevik destruction of nations could return to our Volk its natural vitality and thus secure the conditions for a successful defense of life in the future.
According to this realization, the National Socialist movement entered the fight. Confronted with these great objectives, the proletarian as well as the bourgeois state of classes had to pale in insignificance. What still appears as the ideal to the existing classes had, in the eyes of the young movement, already proven to be insanity, a deadly poison for our Volk. The intention to erect, for the first time in our history, a Volksstaat encompassing all Germans could be realized only by the mobilization of the entire strength of the nation. By so doing, the synthesis between nationalist and socialist ideas was best able to produce that strength necessary as a prerequisite for such a fight. The proclamation of the young nationalist and socialist Volksstaat immediately elicited the hatred of all those opponents at home and abroad who had represented the earlier system of Germany’s fragmentation and impotence: the parties, small parties, groups, ranks, professions, organizations, classes, and finally creeds as the main beneficiaries of the inner-German divisions, and abroad, the democratic-Marxist world hostile to us as the main party interested in Germany’s impotence. The hatred of this conspiracy of our enemies at home and abroad has since then loyally followed the movement throughout the years of fighting, before and after the seizure of power. It has persecuted us with the refinement and brutality of which that system was capable at the time. Since the march on the Feldherrnhalle, thousands of murdered National Socialists and tens of thousands of wounded have become the victims of this only true aggression.
Since the day of the seizure of power, the old enemies all the more refused to change. Instead, their hatred increased. At the most, they adapted their methods to the new situation. As the ultimate inspiring and driving force, Jewry has not allowed any opportunity to pass since the year 1933, as at the time of the struggle for power, in order to express its satanic will to persecute and destroy this new concept of a state as such and its young state. It regarded them as the first dawn of a general realization of its destructive work against the nations and as an eminent danger. Perhaps times have changed, but the essence of the fight forced on us has remained the same. What has remained is, first, our own objective: the preservation of our Volk and the securing of its future by all means; and, second, the objective of our enemies: the annihilation of our Volk, its extermination, and the ending of its existence.
That this was not nor is it now a slogan of National Socialist propaganda was proved by the fact of Germany’s decline at home and, today, is proved by the proclamations of our enemies. No National Socialist propaganda minister could put the objectives of our enemies more plainly than the Jewish press has done for decades and does so in particular today. Beyond this, the enemy statesmen above all do this publicly through their ministers. The objective of our enemies has likewise remained the same. Promoted by the democracies, Bolshevism at one time tried to destroy our movement by terror at home.
Supported by the democracies, the Soviet Union strives to destroy the Reich and exterminate our Volk. That the bourgeois world, which at the time consciously or unconsciously acted as the accomplice of Bolshevism at home, was struck with blindness by God and headed for its own downfall does not change its behavior. The fact that today’s democracies would be dead with the victory of Bolshevism, which would smash the democratic states with all their ideas against a wall, does not change the reality of their present procedure. You can explain the incomprehensible absurdity of their actions at the moment you realize that the Jew is always behind the stupidity and weakness of man, his lack of character on the one hand, and his deficiencies on the other. The Jew is the wire-puller in the democracies, as well as the creator and driving force of the Bolshevik international beast of the world (Weltbestie).
Even before National Socialism, many at home already had an idea of this danger. However, an effective fight against it only began after this anemic insight became a confession of flesh and blood, which found an organization of combat strength in the National Socialist Party. An understanding of the necessity of rescuing Europe from the Bolshevik monster today also exists on the part of numerous foreign statesmen, parliamentarians, party politicians, and economists. This understanding will only lead to a practical result if a strong European power manages [to succeed], beyond these theoretical hopes, in successfully organizing and fighting through this common struggle of life and death of all. Only the National Socialist German Reich can and will do this.
Almost always, Europe consisted of a multitude of competing nations and states. In spite of this, Europe most of the time meant just one state or a community of related nations. There was certainly a great advantage in the eternal conflict among the European nations. Like any competition, it challenged the fitness and striking power of the individual nations. However, in times of fateful struggle of life and death for all, there was the great danger of a dissipation of the forces of this continent confronted with the impending attack of the Central Asian east, this eternally latent danger to Europe. In long periods of European history, the thesis of the European balance of power was all too often regarded by the obtuse west as a licence for allying itself with the impending danger, contrary to the commandment of European solidarity, in order more easily to strangle one unpleasant competitor or another. For centuries, the old Reich was forced to wage its fight against Mongols and Turks alone, or with a few allies, in order to spare Europe a fate whose consequences would have been as unthinkable as realizing a Bolshevization would be today.
Even though this struggle in the past centuries was accompanied by many setbacks and demanded the greatest sacrifices of our Volk, it led to success in the end. It alone made possible the development and existence, as well as the prosperity, of the European family of nations. Besides, in confrontations of world-historical impact, it is not likely that the outcome of the fight should be decided in months or years, but rather over long periods, with perseverance. In these periods, divine Providence has men line up to try them for what they are worth. It thereby decides whether they deserve life or death. That our National Socialist state will today pass this historic trial is already guaranteed by the stand of our movement up to now. Which bourgeois party would have been able to survive the collapse of November 9, 1923? Which party would have been capable, following such a complete collapse, of reaching a total victory by an unprecedentedly hard fight? Even though this fight may today appear to the superficial observer to have been minimal compared with the present events, this only reveals his failure to understand decisive values. After all, the struggle for the movement at the time was just as much a fight for Germany as the fight of the present Reich is today. It was a fight for our Volk and its future, which had first to be decided at home before it could face our foreign enemies’ will to exterminate us. How hopeless the fight of the party appeared to our adversaries was revealed by their statements that, following November 9, 1923, National Socialism could be regarded as dead and, herewith, the danger for the enemies of our Volk as eliminated. In spite of this, only a few years later, this party, which was thought to have been eliminated at the time, stood in the midst of the decisive struggle for power. For nearly a decade, it waged this fight by the reckless deployment of numerous men and women, suffered only passing setbacks, and brought it to a victorious conclusion in the end. During this time, the movement developed its mental attitude. It has proved that it is today capable of leading the nation and having the Reich lead Europe. And just as we witnessed at the time that the whole world of the bourgeois democratic party, corrupted by its compromises and cowardly renunciations, slowly began to fall apart on its own, and then finally to die, we today observe the same drama on a large scale.
Nations and, above all, their statesmen, generals, and soldiers always find it easy to tolerate days of happiness and visible successes. What is remarkable about the great men of world history, as well as nations destined for great things, is their steadfastness in days of trouble, their confidence at times when their situation appears hopeless, their defiance and courage when they suffer setbacks. As National Socialists, we were always happy about the short or long periods of prosecution in our fight, because they rid the party of all that light ballast: fellow travelers who surely would have boasted the loudest on the day of victory. Likewise, in this mightiest struggle of nations of all time, we see those elements desert us that are cowardly and unfit for life. That monarchs lose their courage, in complete ignorance of their position, which today can only be regarded as prehistoric, and that they thereby become traitors is the result of their mental and moral incapacity produced by centuries of inbreeding. At such times, nations need leaders different from these dynasties that have become ill and morbid. That even so-called statesmen and generals are deluded by the view that such a confrontation of life and death, and its impact on world history, can be decided in their favor by cowardly capitulation likewise only proves the experience of the ages that not too many great men live at the same time. Wherever such a capitulation took place, or was considered, or may be considered today, the result will not be a cheap slipping away from this crisis with its impact on world history, but the inevitable and certain extermination of the nations in question and the annihilation of its leading men.
After all, a first consequence of this will be Bolshevik chaos and civil war in the interior of these states. Second, there will be an extradition of the socalled war criminals, in other words, first the most valuable men, then endless columns of men who will set out for the Siberian tundra to fade away, all a result of the weakness of the leaders of their states. Even though from the beginning the consequences of these betrayals have, from a military point of view, been very grave for Germany as the bearer of the main burden in this war, they have not succeeded, neither in unbending the structure of the Reich nor in eliminating its spirit of resistance. On the contrary, the nation hardened in its willingness to fight and became all the more fanatical.
We are happy that in a number of the nations which have shown signs of decay a number of elements of resistance could be found: in Italy, they gather around the creator of the new state, the Duce Benito Mussolini; in Hungary, around Szalasi; in Slovakia, around the leadership of state president Tiso; in Croatia, around the Poglavnik Ante Pavelich. All these men are the leaders of young nations.
We know that committees and governments were likewise formed by other nations that have decided not to recognize the capitulation and not to accept the extermination of nations simply because a few spineless weaklings failed their honor and sense of duty, or because some blockheads allowed themselves to be deluded by opportunities in which they themselves no longer believe today. From the first day, our greatest ally, Japan, recognized this fight for what it is: a decisive confrontation of life and death. From this day on, it waged it with the bravery of a true nation of heroes.
My party comrades! Volksgenossen! Since the breakthrough of the Russians at the Romanian Don front in November 1942, since the ensuing complete disintegration of the Italian and Hungarian units with all its terrible consequences for our waging of the war, betrayal after betrayal hit our Volk hard. In spite of this, the hopes of our enemies were not realized. Again and again, we managed to cushion our fronts and halt the enemies. Only one hope remained for them: the stab in the back. As always when they are otherwise unable to succeed against Germany, they try to bring about a decision by stabbing us in the back from the inside. Spineless creatures, a mixture of feudal arrogance, bourgeois deficiency, and former parliamentary corruption came together-in the hope that they would immediately receive a reward for this act of perjury (Meineidstat)-in order to cut the German resistance off at its root.
They were right in one respect: as long as I live, Germany will not submit to the fate of the European states swept away by Bolshevism; as long as I have not breathed my last breath, my body and soul will serve only one goal: to make my Volk strong in the defense, for the attack on the deadly danger threatening it.
While wars used to be fought out of dynastic or economic interests, the war we are fighting today is a fight for the preservation of our Volk itself.
Therefore, all the sacrifices in this war will lead, as a logical consequence, to the strengthening of the German Volksstaat. If some outdated individuals are offended by this, I cannot help them. The Volksstaat will pass over them and resume its agenda. If individual subjects of outdated parties, classes, or other splinters in our Volk think that the time has come for their resurrection, they will face their total extermination at exactly this moment. The day after the seizure of power, National Socialism, which was the victim of bloody persecution before, treated its political opponents not only in a conciliatory manner, but generously. Countless men who once persecuted me received pensions from me in this state, or were appointed to new and higher offices: the justice minister of a land where I spent thirteen months locked up in a fortress was nonetheless appointed German Reich minister of justice by me. Prussian ministers and Reich ministers who earlier were our cruelest persecutors received from me high pensions of charity although I was not obliged to do so.
I felt that it was beneath me to subject Social Democrats to hardship, just because they had opposed me as ministers. Judges who had sentenced us were not hindered in their careers because of this and often were even promoted.
Only those who threw down the gauntlet to the new state in word and deed were treated by it according to the law. Through the manner in which I took over power, I have moreover made it easy for every German, especially every state official and officer, to do his duty without throwing them into an inner conflict. For over a year and a half, the departed Reich president was my superior and was accordingly treated by me with admiration and great respect.
Whoever now believes that he can throw others into inner conflicts, without ever having been forced into one by me, should know that this means his end is dead certain. As long as these people only persecuted me, I was able to magnanimously ignore and forget about this persecution. Today, however, whoever raises the sword or bomb against Germany will be ruthlessly and mercilessly annihilated. A few hours sufficed in order to suffocate the attempted putsch of July 20. It took only a few months to round up and completely eliminate this coterie of dishonorable Catilinarian characters.
Just as I took the occasion to cleanse the movement in the year 1934, after the revolt of a small group within, this new revolt likewise started a thorough overhaul of the entire state apparatus. The time for compromises and reservations is over for good. These days the Reich war flag becomes the regimental flag of the German Wehrmacht, as a symbol of the National Socialist idea of revolution and state. The German salute is now in use in the Wehrmacht. The Volk grenadier division and the German youth will help the National Socialist world of thought achieve a completely victorious breakthrough. What most profoundly moved and rejoiced me after the events of July 20 was the realization that the army, the navy, and the Luftwaffe as a whole-the Waffen SS need not be considered here-had already adopted the National Socialist spirit, even though this was regrettably not outwardly visible before, so that hardly anything remained to be done other than to expel the unworthy from party, state, and Wehrmacht in order to bring about a complete agreement of opinions and will in party, Volk, state, and Wehrmacht.
In spite of this, the consequences of this day were bitter. In a fit of hope, our enemies gathered their entire strength, filled with the belief that shortly they would be able to overrun Germany. That they have not succeeded in this, I owe to the brave behavior of the Wehrmacht and, above all, the brave behavior of the German homeland, which is most worthy of praise. The response to the appeal for the expansion of the Reich’s defense and the Volkssturm was only a symbol of the increasingly evidenced German Volksgemeinschaft in this fateful struggle for the future of the nation. Thus, next to the old grenadiers of the army, the soldiers of the navy and Luftwaffe, the soldiers of the homeland step up in complete equality of rank; not only its men, old men, and boys, but also its women and girls. As I consider the total sum of all the unspeakable sacrifices that our Volk makes today, all the suffering that the millions in our cities must bear, the sweat of our men and women laborers, and our people in the countryside, I would like to ask the criminals of July 20 only one question: with what right can you demand these sacrifices if you do not have the sacred resolve, before your conscience, to strengthen the Volksstaat at the end of this fight, develop it ever the more, so that this greatest epoch of our Volk culminates in the birth of a Reich that not only encompasses all Germans at the outside but also makes them happy at home? By fighting for the National Socialist German Volksstaat, I give the only possible moral and ethical meaning to this greatest struggle in our history.
Whoever thinks of the interests only of his class at such an hour, acts not only as a criminal but also as an insane egotist. He must be insane because it takes incredible narrow-mindedness to imagine that you can rally a nation for a fight of life and death for over half a decade on behalf of a medieval feudal state.
My party comrades! As the year 1923 ended I wrote Mein Kampf in prison.
I incessantly had in mind the realization of the National Socialist Volksstaat.
For years after the seizure of power, we fought for this idea and worked for it.
Rage and envy filled our enemies in view of the accomplishments in all areas of our economic and social life, the increasing culture and satisfaction of our classes. If so-called social plans for the future are today published in other countries, then this is only a pale imitation of what National Socialist Germany has already achieved. So today I can only again pledge the continuation of this work. As an old National Socialist, I will not waver in this fight for one second in the fulfillment of the duties incumbent upon me. I did not choose this duty.
Providence imposes it on every German: to do everything and not to neglect anything that can secure the future of our Volk and make its existence possible.
We will respond to the most severe blows of fortune with a defiant fury, incessantly filled with the conviction that Providence often loves only those whom it chastises; and that it tries human beings and must try them in order to arrive at a just appraisal of their value. I have the unshakable will to set posterity a no less praiseworthy example in this fight than the great Germans did ages ago.
My own life does not play a role in this, which means that I will not spare my health or my life in any manner in the fulfillment of this duty conferred to me as the first German. If, at this time, I speak little and not very often to you, my party comrades and the German Volk, then I do this because I work; I work to fulfill the tasks with which time has burdened me and which must be fulfilled in order to bring about a turn of events. After all, since I have this will and see the loyal following of the German Volk, I do not doubt for a minute that, in the end, we will successfully survive this time of trial and that the hour will come when the Almighty again grants us His blessings as before. At the time, we gained the greatest victories in world history but did not become arrogant. At a time of setbacks, we will never bend and will thereby reaffirm in a positive sense the portrayal of the character of the present German Volk for posterity. I therefore believe with imperturbable confidence that, through our work and sacrifice, the moment will one day come when our efforts will finally be crowned by success. The goal of our struggle is no different from what we fought for in the year 1923, and for which the first sixteen martyrs of our movement died: our Volk’s rescue from misery and danger, the securing of life for our children, grandchildren, and distant generations! In the shadow of our nation, a Europe marches which feels that not only Germany’s fate is being decided today but also the future of all nations that count themselves part of Europe and are consciously disgusted by Bolshevik barbarism. So I greet you from afar, my old party comrades, through the person who will speak this confession of my faith, in dogged determination, with my old unbending fighting morale and my unshakable confidence. On this occasion, I again thank the fighters of twenty-five years ago, who also have set us an example for the future of our Volk and the Greater German Reich!