Adolf Hitler – speech in Wurzburg
June 27, 1937
Hence a new Volk was born-painfully, just as everything which is born can only be born in pain. Yet I believe that we can say, as history is our witness, that in no other case in history was this painful process carried out more intelligently, more reasonably, more cautiously, and with more feeling than here.
The future will one day describe this process as one of the most intelligent- and I may say so myself-one of the most brilliant ever to take place. As one of the most tremendous revolutions ever, the course of which did not abandon the premise of unconditional legality for a single second.
It is the sole desire of National Socialist Germany, while preserving its own rights, to live in peace and enter into friendly cooperation with its environment as a whole. However, we do have reason to doubt the effectiveness of certain international promises or warranties. I have attempted to test the effectiveness of such international agreements in practice in a particular case. You know that only recently Marxist-Bolshevist criminals launched a treacherous attack and bombed a German ship, which cost us thirty-one dead and seventy-three injured. At that time I resolved to immediately relay to those gentlemen of Valencia that specific warning which is, in my opinion, the sole effective way to call such criminals to order and bring home to them that the times when the German nation was treated as such are over and done with once and for all.
Then came the objection that this would be a completely unjustified course of action. In our modern times, the correct thing to do in respect to such measures would be to approach those institutions which presently endeavor everywhere to divest the individual nations of defending their own interests and place this in collective hands.
I complied with this request, and we went back to the Control Commission with the good intention and sincere hope that such plans would now be put into practice. As a result of our declaration that from now on we would fire at any approaching Red aircraft and ocean-going vessels, the Bolshevist criminals were no longer able to attack by sea; therefore the Bolshevist rulers have now gone under water and launched four torpedo attacks on the Leipzig. We had expected that international solidarity would initiate collective and mutual action to protect the peace. But you yourselves have seen what happened: commissions were to be formed for the purpose of investigating whether, etc. We had demanded only that the rulers in Valencia be shown-by means of a mutual demonstration of all participating control powers-that they are no longer dealing with a single power only, but with all the powers. And even this modest measure was no longer practicable. This is an indication of what we Germans would have to expect were we ever to deliver the fate of the Reich into the hands of those types of institutions or such agreements. That is one thing of which London may be certain: the experiences we have gained this time are a lesson we will never again forget! From now on we will opt instead to take into our own hands the freedom, the independence, the honor, and the security of the nation and protect ourselves! And thank God today we are in fact strong enough to be able to protect ourselves! The conclusions we have drawn from this incident will apply for all time to come. In the future, we will no longer be obfuscated by empty promises in parliaments or from the lips of statesmen. We have experienced one attack, seen how it was handled, and have thereby been cured forever! I did what anyone must have done as his duty. We gave it a try, and today no one in the world can claim that we are in any way maliciously prejudiced against collective agreements.
No! Had this collective agreement of June 12 proved useful, one might have considered continuing nonetheless. But now that even this most minimal agreement has proven unworkable in practice, it should be a warning to us not to one day experience a similar disappointment yet againin what might be a worse case.
Any cat can burn its paws once, and every human being makes mistakes, but only fools make the same mistake twice! Neither I nor the German nation have any desire to expose ourselves to that kind of danger again.
The coming generation-this I can predict to all the former destroyers of the consolidation of the German Volk-is something they will not get! To those carpers who ask, “Who do you think you are to make predictions like that?” [I say: Who was I to predict as a soldier in 1919 that I would create a movement that would one day conquer Germany? Who was I to believe in 1933 that we would come to power, that we would rescue Germany once more, that we would rebuild our Wehrmacht, make the economy function, eliminate the individual parties? I was the one who did so because I believed in us! We German National Socialists believe in nothing on this earth-besides our Lord God in heaven-except our German Volk.
And I can tell those doubters something else, too, namely, that I am well aware of what a human being can accomplish and where his limits lie, but it is my conviction that the human beings God created also wish to lead their lives modeled after the will of the Almighty.
God did not create the peoples so that they might deliver themselves up to foolishness and be pulped soft and ruined by it, but that they might preserve themselves as He created them! Because we support their preservation in their original, God-given form, we believe our actions correspond to the will of the Almighty.
As weak as the individual may ultimately be in his character and actions as a whole, when compared to Almighty Providence and its will, he becomes just as infinitely strong the instant he acts in accordance with this Providence. Then there will rain upon him the power that has distinguished all great phenomena of this world. And when I look back on the five years behind us, I cannot help but say: this has not been the work of man alone. Had Providence not guided us, I surely would often have been unable to follow these dizzying paths. That is something our critics above all should know. At the bottom of our hearts, we National Socialists are devout! We have no choice: no one can make national or world history if his deeds and abilities are not blessed by Providence.