Adolf Hitler - New Year’s Proclamation to the National Socialists
and Party Comrades
Fuhrer Headquarters, January 1, 1944
German Volk! National Socialists! Party Comrades!
During this year, my Volksgenossen, bitter and difficult decisions had to be made. After the Allies succeeded in landing in French North Africa, which was made possible by the breach of word and loyalty of the French admirals, generals, and other officers, I had to try to win time under any circumstances.
We needed time not only to carry out the mobilization of the absolutely necessary new German armies, but also to prepare measures for countering the impending defection of Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel [III], which could no longer be overlooked. The history of this war will one day decide who conducted themselves wisely in this period: our enemies or we. I do not believe that, had Providence ever offered us such an opportunity, we would have failed so pitifully to take advantage of it as our enemies did.
We should thank Providence that, despite these hard trials, it gave us the opportunity time and again to overcome difficult crises by swift action, to set right apparently hopeless situations, and, in so doing, to carry out the expansion of our military forces according to plan. The shameful betrayal of the Duce, to whom Italy owed everything, suddenly placed in front of the German Reich and its leadership the most difficult decisions. It was a matter of course that the resulting consequences would influence the facts of the war. The German leadership was forced to weigh mercilessly the necessary against the less than absolutely necessary. It had to make very harsh decisions, which were very difficult to understand for the individual soldier, who might have been told to retreat over a hundred kilometers without having been attacked.
In spite of this, every German can be sure that no more than was absolutely necessary happened or will happen in order to render justice to the new great and mighty tasks. This task now is to win the war in any event! The building of new mighty lines of communication, the taking possession of great railway lines, their securing and operation, compelled us to limit ourselves at other fronts. The adjustment of forces, which we sought, can today already be regarded as a success.
If thus right now there is an attempt, by trips, conferences, new appointments of commanders in chief, and other such maneuvers-in view of the lack of other means to support the Russian offensive-to burden Germany, the German Volk, and its leaders with a war of nerves, then they are not only mistaking the German Volk, but also the German leaders for those of the former Italian kingdom. It is no news to us that the English intend to undertake a landing in the west or in the Balkans; not to mention that they have already been at most of these locations before. That they want to see these landings through by all means at their disposal is a matter of course.
That they appoint special commanders in chief for these landings is nothing new in the history of war. It was no different even during the pitiful coalition wars of the past. That they finally plan to defeat us in doing this has been their intention from the start, of course. I can therefore only assure the German Volk that we took account of all these intentions from the start and prepared ourselves, not only in terms of personnel and materiel but also by an reinforcement of those points that to us seemed to be crucial or important for such a landing. We did so to an extent which will probably surprise our enemies more than their landing can surprise us. They assure us that the new invasion can no longer be compared with the attempted landing at Dieppe. Well, we expect nothing different, since our defense has also changed in the meantime.
Above all, the English who landed at Dieppe did not have any direct contact with the German defense at the time. I am speaking before the German Volk completely confident that wherever the Allies carry out their landing, they will be given an appropriate welcome. The German soldier will do his duty there, too, realizing the fateful significance of this struggle.
In such a worldwide, mighty, and dreadful struggle, it cannot be avoided that the psychological stress for the individual sometimes reaches the limit of what is bearable, even surpassing it at times. In spite of this, on the whole, every German unit has time and again done justice to its duties, after the necessary recovery. The heroism of our soldiers in the army, navy, Luftwaffe, and Waffen SS is without precedent in history. While before the front was always held up to the homeland as a glorious example of sacrifice, today the homeland can be held up to the front as an example of a no less great heroism and sense of sacrifice. The bomb warfare against German cities profoundly moves all our hearts. It is not so much the cities themselves, their houses, and public buildings but rather the loss for good of our artistic monuments that we lament; but we will rebuild our cities to be more beautiful than they were before. The organized National Socialist Volksstaat will have eliminated within a few years all traces of this war. From the ruins, a new splendor of German cities will burst into bloom. Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Kassel, and all the other big or small cities will be barely recognizable only a few years after the war.
Wherever historic values can be replaced, we will reproduce them faithfully. If the National Socialist state succeeded in peacetime in building over three hundred eighty thousand apartments per year, then it should not be a problem for our cooperative effort to produce two to three million apartments after the war. What pains all of us and me in particular is the sacrifice of life, especially of women and children, and the loss of so many personal belongings and small remembrances, which, in spite of their lack of material worth, mean so much for the life of the person who either inherited them from his father, saved up the money for them himself, and for whom they are irreplaceable souvenirs of times past.
By the way, the hour of retribution will come! However, there is another side of this bomb warfare. The man who has lost everything knows that only victory will return his belongings to him. Only the success of this war will again transform our German cities from heaps of rubble into blossoming communities. Only success will again give millions of men space to work and live. Success alone can create a situation which, above all, renders impossible the attempt of these international criminals to bring such suffering upon mankind once again. When millions of men have nothing they can call their own anymore, when they have nothing they can lose, then they can only win something.
The National Socialist state leadership is therefore determined to wage this war with the utmost fanaticism to the bitter end. In this, it will differ from the weak and cowardly leadership of the German nation in the World War. The party, whose members sacrifice their blood disproportionately at the front- with its organizations for the youth, the elderly, women and girls-carries out the work of responsibility not only in the education, but also and above all in the conduct of our Volksgenossen in the most difficult and bitter hours. War once brought forth the National Socialist movement and, therefore, it must and will hold its own all the more in the war today.
The achievements of the fighting soldiers at the front and the fighting Germans in the homeland are complemented by the work of our Volksgenossen and those Europeans who are in our ranks. The German peasant, that is, primarily the German peasant’s wife-they are contributing to the feeding of our Volk. They also know that the collapse of the German Reich would mean the end of the German peasantry. Therefore, they can have only one goal, namely, to secure for our Volk what is absolutely necessary in terms of foodstuffs in order to get through this most difficult fight successfully.
The achievements of German agriculture are correspondingly unique.
They are supplemented by the activities of millions of our workers, who deliver weapons and ammunition to our soldiers. In contrast to the World War, when we were opposed by thirty-five hundred tanks and had barely a dozen of our own and no antitank defenses whatsoever, the quality and number of our production of tanks increase constantly, like that of the weapons of defense.
Germany is perhaps the only state in the world that has not lowered its production of coal but has increased it and, by throttling private consumption, has subordinated everything to waging the war. Thanks to the huge Lebensraum and great number of people deployed in Europe for the fighting of our war, and also to our glorious allies in East Asia and the nations fighting together with us in Europe, which are likewise defending their homelands and the European continent, we represent a powerful factor in terms of people no less powerful than that of our enemy, especially if you consider not only numbers but also productively employable manpower as the actual value.
These enormous events are made possible by the achievements of our transport, our general administration, and the unpaid work of millions of men, who dedicate every free hour to the care and assistance of others. The deployment of this Volk is perfected by the unique achievements of the German woman and girl, and today already by a brave German youth.
It is the mighty rhythm of life of the National Socialist Volksstaat which makes the war possible for us. It created the material and ideological prerequisites for this struggle of survival not only of the German Reich, but also of the entire continent. However, this socialist Volksstaat is also the target of the hatred of the Bolshevik-plutocratic international conspirators and their Jewish wire-pullers. It will also be the reason for the decline of this coalition! The year 1944 will make heavy and difficult demands on all Germans. The tremendous developments in the war will reach a crisis point this year. We are completely confident that we will successfully ride it out.
Let us pray to the Lord for the victory not as a gift, but let us ask Him to weigh justly our bravery, our diligence, and our sacrifices. The objective of our struggle is well-known. It is none other than to preserve the existence of our Volk, which He has created. Our willingness to sacrifice and our diligence will not remain a secret to Him. We are ready to give and do everything in the service of this goal. With fairness, He will examine us until He can pronounce a sentence. It is our duty to appear not too light before Him, so that we shall be accorded the merciful judgment which calls itself “victory” and means life.
Adolf Hitler – address to the Wehrmacht:
January 1, 1943
History will be forced to record the year 1943 as the second year of a great crisis.
The long-standing sabotage by the Italian royal house, its attendant camarilla, and the plutocratic-capitalist cliques have finally led to the betrayal by the French generals, admirals, and officers in North Africa. This resulted in the slackening of all means of resistance in this area.
Through a systematic, passive resistance of the responsible Italian offices, traffic to North Africa was paralyzed so that, because of the lack of material instruments of power and provisions, our units could no longer hold the North African area. The complete failure of the Italian ally in the east led to a further crisis, which ended in the heroic struggle of Stalingrad.
Finally, the underground activity of these traitors-at the time already paid by England -began to undermine the Balkans and threatened to cheat the German soldier out of the rewards of his blood sacrifice. The arrest of the Duce led to a shamelessly frank treason, which is perhaps unique in history in its profligacy. The consequences were very hard for us. In a few weeks, Germany had first to defeat the troops of the traitors and then disarm them. More than a million men met this fate. In part, they had threatened to cut off the rearward communications of the German troops in Italy and the Balkans. We occupied countless islands. Some had to be reconquered after heavy fighting against the troops of the Italian king. In other instances, we were forced to evacuate islands because of the impossibility of securing contact. In southern Italy, it became immediately necessary to improvise a new front and consolidate it. In the Balkans, the Italians and bandits of all sorts had to be defeated and disarmed.
Numerous divisions had to be brought up into these areas for this purpose and new armies had to be assembled, but at the same time the expansion of our fortifications and the continued training of their crews could not be neglected.
In the same period it also became necessary to erase at all costs the impending offensive by the Russians [while it was] still in the summer, so as to use up their forces as much as possible before the onset of winter. In the homeland, measures to fend off enemy bomb attacks had to be reexamined and improved. New offensive and defensive weapons had to be developed, their methods of application studied, and finally [they had to be] practically tested.
During this year, my comrades, the German leaders were weighed down by the greatest task which could ever be set to anybody. Thanks to the bravery, dedication, and spirit of sacrifice of the front and the homeland, thanks to the diligence of our workers, we managed with the support of our allies in East Asia and our comrades in arms in Europe, to resolve these enormous questions.
In Europe, the German Volk and the German soldiers bore the main burden.
All the problems presented to us by the treason of the Italian king are now basically resolved. The front stands south of Rome and is constantly being reinforced in order to fend off the Anglo-American units. The rush on the Brenner Pass has become an offensive at a snail’s pace. The Allied warlords are today happy if they report the “conquest” of the ruins of one or two peasant villages per week. The Balkans are in our hands; all the islands are occupied by German troops. The landing of Allied units, no matter where it should take place, will run into German resistance, which will look completely different from the welcome of the Americans by the traitorous French generals in North Africa or the characterless Badoglio creatures in Sicily.
These positive points are opposed by negative ones. The mighty new tasks can be accomplished only by renunciations elsewhere. The taking up of positions essential to the defense of Europe in the south necessitates an adjustment of duties to the rear and supply lines at the expense of the east.
Many new deployments earmarked for the east are now tied down and must help to protect the rest of the European Lebensraum. This is the cause of many of your cares and needs, my comrades at the eastern front.
In spite of this, there is no doubt that this greatest year of crisis in our history, which the English and the Bolsheviks were firmly convinced would end in our complete collapse, has become a great historic success. No matter how difficult the fighting was and will continue to be in the east, Bolshevism has not reached its goal. No matter where the plutocratic world undertakes the threatened attempt to land in the west, it will fail! The attempt to wear down the German homeland will result in its opposite! Their intention of eliminating the German war production will be foiled. Our resistance will not diminish; instead, it will become even more successful in the year 1944.
Even if the scales of technological progress have tipped temporarily in favor of our enemies in the year 1943, we will catch up again. After all, the German spirit of invention has not been asleep but active. The products of its achievements will reestablish the balance of technological weapons.
It is a hard fact that our enemies, who unleashed this war hoping for a completely certain victory, have been forced back almost everywhere. After four years of struggle, Germany, which had a Lebensraum of six hundred thirty-four thousand square kilometers at the beginning of the war, today occupies two million six hundred fifty thousand square kilometers in Europe.
And it is a fact that the smashing of the German Reich has not taken place for a fourth year. They did not manage to exterminate our Volk or break its vital force. Instead, we continue with great confidence to defend the Reich and, therefore, Europe, in the fifth year of the war.
This goes to the credit of the leadership and the soldiers of the entire Wehrmacht.
The accomplishments of the army with all its formations in this year have earned it the greatest glory. Even if it appeared to the brave grenadier to surpass by far what is humanly possible, he had time and again found the strength to assert himself. In this bloody struggle, the front in the east stands in defiance of all enemy forces. The Bolshevik attempt to invade Europe will again fail, for good this time, in one way or another. I know what I demand of you, my soldiers of the army. Still, even the greatest sacrifice you make today is no greater than the sacrifice demanded even of women and children in Germany.
They must and do make this sacrifice everywhere with a faithful heart. No less are the accomplishments of the navy, which, through its fight, gets a grip on the tasks which are set for the Wehrmacht in general. The apparent subsiding of the U-boat warfare is caused by a single technical invention on the side of our enemies. We are not only in the process of eliminating it, but we are also convinced that we will succeed in this shortly.
Like the army, the Luftwaffe has made tremendous accomplishments while fighting on all fronts. In addition, it faces the task of defending the homeland’s soil. Its heroism rises above everything.
The heroic divisions and units of the Waffen SS, which fight within the framework of the army, feel tied to the army for better or for worse.
All other institutions and units which are deployed at the front and in action likewise deserve the greatest praise: the men and women of the Red Cross, the Reich Labor Service, the NSKK, and the OT.
The accomplishments of the German railroad men are also matchless.
The year 1943 is now over. It has not only refused our adversaries what they had hoped for, but, on the contrary, it has dealt them perhaps their severest disappointment.
The year 1944 will be very difficult. It is our joint task to transcend the purely defensive in its course and deal the adversary such heavy blows that finally the hour will come in which Providence can grant the victory to that nation which deserves it most. When I look at you, my German soldiers, your heroism, bravery, and courage, and when I consider the sacrifices and accomplishments of the homeland, then my confidence is transformed into an unshakable certainty: more a nation cannot do, suffer, and bear. Thus, if Providence gives the prize of life to whoever fights for and defends it most bravely, then our Volk will be received graciously by Him who as a just judge has at all times granted the victory to those most deserving of it.
In this struggle of life and death, Germany will win in the end!