Adolf Hitler - speech in the Lustgarten
Berlin, May 1, 1937
The problems of our survival are more difficult than those of other nations. Perhaps there are nations which can afford the luxury of internal strife, quarrelling and beating each other up. Where Nature provides the human race with an abundance of everything, it may not value so highly the need for unity of action and thus of will. We Germans, however, have been treated very shabbily by Nature on this earth. A great People, an infinitely capable People, a hard-working People, a People who want to live and have the right to expect something from life, live in an area which, no matter how hard we work, is much too confined and limited to provide us with all we need. When we sometimes hear foreign politicians say: "Why do you need more space?", we could reply by asking them: "Why is this so important for you?" Precisely because the struggle to survive is so much more difficult in our country than anywhere else, we are forced to draw special conclusions from this which determine our fate. We cannot live on phrases, clichés and theories but only on the fruits of our labour, our abilities and our intelligence.
The most important word in managing our National Socialist economy is not the word "theory", or the word "money", or "capital" but the word "production". Believe me, my fellow Germans: it takes more thought, effort and concentration to draw up and implement a four year plan that will ensure that our People have the necessities of life in future, than to have a printing press churn out more money.
It is very easy to go before a nation today and say: "We are raising salaries, earnings and wages"; and then the following day we raise prices. And it is very easy to say: "We are reducing working hours, in other words productivity, and to compensate for this we are raising wages." That is perhaps popular at the time. But the system must collapse, because what keeps people alive is not the paper money they receive but the overall production of their fellow citizens. That is the most basic principle of National Socialist economic policy.
Life imposes on each generation its own struggle for this life. The prejudices and the irrationalities which centuries have created cannot be completely eradicated in four years. It cannot be accomplished overnight! But we do have the will to do this and with this will we shall never capitulate!
And you will concede that we are doing a thorough job. In these four years we have established order. We have ensured that it is not the dishonest person who is ultimately rewarded, but that the millions of decent working people in the towns and villages were able to enjoy the success they deserve!
In Germany we have completely broken with a world of prejudices. I look at myself. I am after all a child of the People and I do not come from some castle but from a working-class family. I was not a General either but a soldier like millions of others. There is something wonderful about the fact that in our country an unknown figure from the millions of Germans, German working people and soldiers, could reach the highest position in the Reich and the Nation! At my side stand Germans from all walks of life who today are the leaders of the nation; former agricultural workers are Lieutenant Governors (Reichsstatthalter); today former metal workers are District Administrators (Gauleiter) and so on. However, former middle class citizens and former members of the aristocracy also have their place in this movement. We do not care what their origins are as long as they can work for the benefit of our People. That is what matters.
For everyone has to obey orders. We have obeyed orders. I was a soldier for almost six years and I never talked back, I always obeyed orders. Today fate has singled me out to be in command. And I must demand this of every German: You, too, must be able to obey orders, or else you will never be worthy of giving orders! That is essential. We shall educate our People to do this and ignore the obstinacy or stupidity of individuals. Bend or break - one or the other! We cannot permit this authority, the authority of the German People, to be challenged from any other quarter.
This also applies to all the churches. As long as they concern themselves with their religious problems, the State will not concern itself with them. If they try by whatever means, by letters, encyclicals and the like, to claim rights which are those of the State alone, we shall force them to return to the realm of spiritual and pastoral activities where they belong. Nor is it appropriate for them to criticize the morality of the state, when they have more than enough reason to worry about their own morals. The leadership of the German nation will take care of the morals of the German nation and its People; we can assure all the concerned individuals inside and outside Germany of that.
This first day of May is the glorious day when we celebrate the resurrection of the German People from its disunity and disintegration. This is the glorious day when a great new Community of the People was founded, which sweeps aside all barriers, unites the towns with the countryside, working people, farmers and intellectuals, and establishes as the supreme goal the protection of the Reich.
What could be more appropriate than to profess our most sincere faith in our People on this very day. We cannot often enough renew our pledge; we want to be part of this People, to serve it and to strive to understand each other, to remove all barriers which separate us and thus to triumph over all the stupid skeptics, those who mock us and the petty-minded critics. Above all on this day we wish to express our renewed faith in our People, our confident belief that it is an outstanding, industrious, hard-working and decent People, and that this People shall have a future, because it is we who will ensure that future!