Ward Price-interview with Adolf Hitler



September 17, 1938


The Czechs say they cannot conduct a plebiscite, since there are no provisions for such a measure in their Constitution. But to me it seems as though their Constitution provides for one thing only, that seven million Czechs shall oppress eight million members of minority peoples. This Czech illness must be dealt with once and for all, immediately. It is like a cancer in the entire organism of Europe: if allowed to grow, it will infect international relations until they finally break down.


“This situation has lasted for twenty years. No one can estimate how much it has cost the peoples of Europe in this time. As an ally of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia points like a dagger at the heart of Germany. It has reinforced my determination to create a mighty German Luftwaffe. This in turn drove Great Britain and France to build up their own air forces. Recently, I have doubled the Luftwaffe forces because of the present situation in Czechoslovakia.


If we do not succeed in resolving the crisis now, Field Marshal Goring would soon be asking me to double the German Luftwaffe’s forces once again, then, in turn, Great Britain and France would double theirs as well, and so the insane race would go on.


“Do you believe that I enjoy having to halt my great building and job creation plans throughout the country, to send half a million workers to the Western Front, to build a gigantic fortification line in record time? I would prefer to deploy them in the construction of workers’ quarters, superhighways, new schools, and social institutions, instead of in the construction of unproductive fortifications. However, as long as Czechoslovakia is responsible for the European fever caused by the oppression of a German minority, I must be prepared for all eventualities.


“I have studied the Maginot Line, and I have learned much in the process.


Nonetheless, we have built something according to our own ideas which is even better and which will resist any power in the world should we, when attacked, actually choose to remain on the defensive.


“However, all of this is insanity since no one in Germany thinks of attacking France. We do not harbor any resentments against France; to the contrary, there is a strong feeling of sympathy for the French people in Germany. Neither does Germany want a war with Great Britain.


“Good Lord, all the things I could do in Germany and for Germany, if it were not for this Czech oppression of millions of Germans, which must end.


And it will end!”


“However, now some people in France are talking about unleashing the dogs of war for a country in which they have neither economic nor any other direct interests at stake.


“And they are doing this simply to allow the Czechs to refuse the Sudeten Germans the right they themselves have accorded the Saarlanders. In the same manner, Great Britain granted complete autonomy to Southern Ireland, and guaranteed the full independence of Holland and Belgium a hundred years earlier. “The Czechs have never been an autonomous people:369 it was not until peace treaties raised them to an unmerited and artificial supremacy over minorities which are more numerous than they themselves.


Bohemia was a German electorate in the Middle Ages. The first German university was founded in Prague two hundred years before the days of Queen Elizabeth. The modern German language itself was derived from the language of the diplomats who served in the governmental offices of that city, the site that the German Emperor had made his capital for a time. Only in the course of the Hussite wars were the Czechs independent for any period of time. They made use of their independence in the same manner the Bolshevists do, plundering and pillaging until the Germans roused themselves and fought back.


“The creation of this heterogeneous Czechoslovakian Republic after the war was complete insanity. It does not have any characteristics of a nation, either from an ethnological or linguistic point of view, or from an economic or strategic one.


“It was a deed of insanity and ignorance to have a handful of obviously inferior Czechs rule over minorities which belong to the German, the Polish and the Hungarian people, people who can look back upon a culture one thousand years old. The Sudeten Germans have absolutely no respect for the Czechs and will not submit to their rule.


“Following the War, the Allies declared the Germans not worthy to rule over blacks, while at the same time placing a second-rate people like the Czechs in control of three and a half million Germans, people of a most noble character and culture.


“Had there been a strong Germany at that time, this would never have been possible, and as soon as Germany regained its strength, the Sudeten Germans began to speak out. The Czechoslovakian Government is making a desperate attempt to pit the European superpowers against one another-else the Czech state would no longer exist. But it is impossible to maintain such an unnatural configuration through political and diplomatic trickery!”


“If Henlein is imprisoned, I will be the leader of the Sudeten Germans, and then let us see for how long Dr. Benes will manage to issue his decrees.


Hopefully, he will not have me jailed as well! Had the Czechs a great statesman, he would long have permitted the Sudeten Germans to link up with the Reich and would have been glad to have secured continued autonomy for the Czechs themselves. But Dr. Benes is a politician, not a statesman.” In reply to the question of whether the visit of the Prime Minister had succeeded in rendering a peaceful resolution of the Sudeten German problem more likely, Hitler stated: “I am convinced of the honesty and good will of Mr. Chamberlain.”