Germany Could No Longer Remain Idle
By Adolf Hitler
September 1, 1939
For months we have been suffering under the torture of a problem which the Versailles Diktat created - a problem which has deteriorated until it becomes intolerable for us. Danzig was and is a German city. The Corridor was and is German. Both these territories owe their cultural development exclusively to the German people. Danzig was separated from us, the Corridor was annexed by Poland. As in other German territories of the East, all German minorities living there have been ill-treated in the most distressing manner. More than 1,000,000 people of German blood had in the years 1919-1920 to leave their homeland.
As always, I attempted to bring about, by the peaceful method of making proposals for revision, an alteration of this intolerable position. It is a lie when the outside world says that we only tried to carry through our revisions by pressure. Fifteen years before the National Socialist Party came to power there was the opportunity of carrying out these revisions by peaceful settlements and understanding. On my own initiative I have, not once but several times, made proposals for the revision of intolerable conditions. All these proposals, as you know, have been rejected - proposals for limitation of armaments and even, if necessary, disarmament, proposals for limitation of warmaking, proposals for the elimination of certain methods of modern warfare. You know the proposals that I have made to fulfill the necessity of restoring German sovereignty over German territories. You know the endless attempts I made for a peaceful clarification and understanding of the problem of Austria, and later of the problem of the Sudetenland, Bohemia, and Moravia. It was all in vain.
It is impossible to demand that an impossible position should be cleared up by peaceful revision and at the same time constantly reject peaceful revision. It is also impossible to say that he who undertakes to carry out these revisions for himself transgresses a law, since the Versailles Diktat is not law to us. A signature was forced out of us with pistols at our head and with the threat of hunger for millions of people. And then this document, with our signature, obtained by force, was proclaimed as a solemn law.
In the same way, I have also tried to solve the problem of Danzig, the Corridor, etc., by proposing a peaceful discussion. That the problems had to be solved was clear. It is quite understandable to us that the time when the problem was to be solved had little interest for the Western Powers. But that time is not a matter of indifference to us. Moreover, it was not and could not be a matter of indifference to those who suffer most.
In my talks with Polish statesmen I discussed the ideas which you recognize from my last speech to the Reichstag. No one could say that this was in any way an inadmissible procedure on undue pressure. I then naturally formulated at last the German proposals, and I must once more repeat that there is nothing more modest or loyal than these proposals. I should like to say this to the world. I alone was in the position to make such proposal, for I know very well that in doing so I brought myself into opposition to millions of Germans. These proposals have been refused. Not only were they answered first with mobilization, but with increased terror and pressure against our German compatriots and with a slow strangling of the Free City of Danzig - economically, politically, and in recent weeks by military and transport means.
Poland has directed its attacks against the Free City of Danzig. Moreover, Poland was not prepared to settle the Corridor question in a reasonable way which would be equitable to both parties, and she did not think of keeping her obligations to minorities.
I must here state something definitely; German has kept these obligations; the minorities who live in Germany are not persecuted. No Frenchman can stand up and say that any Frenchman living in the Saar territory is oppressed, tortured, or deprived of his rights. Nobody can say this.
For four months I have calmly watched developments, although I never ceased to give warnings. In the last few days I have increased these warnings. I informed the Polish Ambassador three weeks ago that if Poland continued to send to Danzig notes in the form of ultimata, and if on the Polish side an end was not put to Customs measures destined to ruin Danzig's trade, then the Reich could not remain inactive. I left no doubt that people who wanted to compare the Germany of to-day with the former Germany would be deceiving themselves.
An attempt was made to justify the oppression of the Germans by claiming that they had committed acts of provocation. I do not know in what these provocations on the part of women and children consist, if they themselves are maltreated, in some cases killed. One thing I do know - that no great Power can with honour long stand by passively and watch such events.
I made one more final effort to accept a proposal for mediation on the part of the British Government. They proposed, not that they themselves should carry on the negotiations, but rather that Poland and Germany should come into direct contact and once more pursue negotiations.
I must declare that I accepted this proposal, and I worked out a basis for these negotiations which are known to you. For two whole days I sat in my Government and waited to see whether it was convenient for the Polish Government to send a plenipotentiary or not. Last night they did not send us a plenipotentiary, but instead informed us through their Ambassador that they were still considering whether and to what extent they were in a position to go into the British proposals. The Polish Government also said that they would inform Britain of their decision.
Deputies, if the German Government and its Leader patiently endured such treatment Germany would deserve only to disappear from the political stage. But I am wrongly judged if my love of peace and my patience are mistaken for weakness or even cowardice. I, therefore, decided last night and informed the British Government that in these circumstances I can no longer find any willingness on the part of the Polish Government to conduct serious negotiations with us.
These proposals for mediation have failed because in the meanwhile there, first of all, came as an answer the sudden Polish general mobilization, followed by more Polish atrocities. These were again repeated last night. Recently in one night there were as many as twenty-one frontier incidents: last night there were fourteen, of which three were quite serious. I have, therefore, resolved to speak to Poland in the same language that Poland for months past has used toward us. This attitude on the part of the Reich will not change.
The other European States understand in part our attitude. I should like here above all to thank Italy, which throughout has supported us, but you will understand that for the carrying on of this struggle we do not intend to appeal to foreign help. We will carry out this task ourselves. The neutral States have assured us of their neutrality, just as we had already guaranteed it to them.
When statesmen in the West declare that this affects their interests, I can only regret such a declaration. It cannot for a moment make me hesitate to fulfill my duty. What more is wanted? I have solemnly assured them, and I repeat it, that we ask nothing of those Western States and never will ask anything. I have declared that the frontier between France and Germany is a final one. I have repeatedly offered friendship and, if necessary, the closest co-operation to Britain, but this cannot be offered from one side only. It must find response on the other side. Germany has no interests in the West, and our western wall is for all time the frontier of the Reich on the west. Moreover, we have no aims of any kind there for the future. With this assurance we are in solemn earnest, and as long as others do not violate their neutrality we will likewise take every care to respect it.
I am happy particularly to be able to tell you of one event. You know that Russia and Germany are governed by two different doctrines. There was only one question that had to be cleared up. Germany has no intention of exporting its doctrine. Given the fact that Soviet Russia has no intention of exporting its doctrine to Germany. I no longer see any reason why we should still oppose one another. On both sides we are clear on that. Any struggle between our people would only be of advantage to others. We have, therefore, resolved to conclude a pact which rules out for ever any use of violence between us. It imposes the obligation on us to consult together in certain European questions. It makes possible for us economic co-operation, and above all it assures that the powers of both these powerful States are not wasted against one another. Every attempt of the West to bring about any change in this will fail.
At the same time I should like here to declare that this political decision means a tremendous departure for the future, and that it is a final one. Russia and Germany fought against one another in the World War. That shall and will not happen a second time. In Moscow, too, this pact was greeted exactly as you greet it. I can only endorse word for word the speech of Russian Foreign Commissar, Molotov.
I am determined to solve (1) the Danzig question; (2) the question of the Corridor; and (3) to see to it that a change is made in the relationship between Germany and Poland that shall ensure a peaceful co-existence. In this I am resolved to continue to fight until either the present Polish government is willing to continue to bring about this change or until another Polish Government is ready to do so. I am resolved t remove from the German frontiers the element of uncertainty, the everlasting atmosphere of conditions resembling civil war. I will see to it that in the East there is, on the frontier, a peace precisely similar to that on our other frontiers.
In this I will take the necessary measures to se that they do not contradict the proposals I have already made known in the Reichstag itself to the rest of the world, that is to say, I will not war against women and children. I have ordered my air force to restrict itself to attacks on military objectives. If, however, the enemy thinks he can form that draw carte blanche on his side to fight by the other methods he will receive an answer that will deprive him of hearing and sight.
This night for the first time Polish regular soldiers fired on our territory. Since 5.45 A.M. we have been returning the fire, and from now on bombs will be met by bombs. Whoever fight with poison gas will be fought with poison gas. Whoever departs from the rules of humane warfare can only expect that we shall do the same. I will continue this struggle, no matter against whom, until the safety of the Reich and its rights are secured.
For six years now I have been working on the building up of the German defenses. Over 90 millions have in that time been spent on the building up of these defense forces. They are now the best equipped and are above all comparison with what they were in 1914. My trust in them is unshakable. When I called up these forces and when I now ask sacrifices of the German people and if necessary every sacrifice, then I have a right to do so, for I also am to-day absolutely ready, just as we were formerly, to make every possible sacrifice.
I am asking of no German man more than I myself was ready throughout four years at any time to do. There will be no hardships for Germans to which I myself will not submit. My whole life henceforth belongs more than ever to my people. I am from now on just first soldier of the German Reich. I have once more put on that coat that was the most sacred and dear to me. I will not take it off again until victory is secured, or I will not survive the outcome.
Should anything happen to me in the struggle then my first successor is Party Comrade Goring; should anything happen to Party Comrade Goring my next successor is Party Comrade Hess. You would then be under obligation to give to them as Fuhrer the same blind loyalty and obedience as to myself. Should anything happen to Party Comrade Hess, then by law the Senate will be called, and will choose from its midst the most worthy - that is to say the bravest - successor.
As a National Socialist and as German soldier I enter upon this struggle with a stout heart. My whole life has been nothing but one long struggle for my people, for its restoration, and for Germany. There was only one watchword for that struggle: faith in this people. One word I have never learned: that is, surrender.
If, however, anyone thinks that we are facing a hard time, I should ask him to remember that once a Prussian King, with a ridiculously small State, opposed a stronger coalition, and in three wars finally came out successful because that State had that stout heart that we need in these times. I would, therefore, like to assure all the world that a November 1918 will never be repeated in German history. Just as I myself am ready at any time to stake my life - anyone can take it for my people and for Germany - so I ask the same of all others.
Whoever, however, thinks he can oppose this national command, whether directly of indirectly, shall fall. We have nothing to do with traitors. We are all faithful to our old principle. It is quite unimportant whether we ourselves live, but it is essential that our people shall live, that Germany shall live. The sacrifice that is demanded of us is not greater than the sacrifice that many generations have made. If we form a community closely bound together by vows, ready for anything, resolved never to surrender, then our will will master every hardship and difficulty. And I would like to close with the declaration that I once made when I began the struggle for power in the Reich. I then said: "If our will is so strong that no hardship and suffering can subdue it, then our will and our German might shall prevail."
Proclamation to the German People
Adolf Hitler , Chancellor of the Reich,
September 3, 1939
Great Britain has for centuries pursued the aim of rendering the peoples of Europe defenseless against the British policy of world conquest by proclaiming a balance of power, in which Great Britain claimed the right to attack on threadbare pretexts and destroy that European State which at the moment seemed most dangerous. Thus, at one time, she fought the world power of Spain, later the Dutch, then the French, and, since 1871, the German.
We ourselves have been witnesses of the policy of encirclement which has been carried on by Great Britain against Germany since before the war. Just as the German nation had begun, under its National Socialist leadership, to recover from the frightful consequences of the Diktat of Versailles, and threatened to survive the crisis, the British encirclement immediately began once more.
The British war inciters spread the lie before the War that the battle was only against the House of Hohenzollern or German militarism; that they had no designs on German colonies; that they had no intention of taking the German mercantile fleet. They then oppressed the German people under the Versailles Diktat the faithful fulfillment of which would have sooner or later exterminated 20 million Germans.
I undertook to mobilize the resistance of the German nation against this, and to assure work and bread for them. But as the peaceful revision of the Versailles Diktat of force seemed to be succeeding, and the German people again began to live, the new British encirclement policy was resumed. The same lying inciters appeared as in 1914. I have many times offered Great Britain and the British people the understanding and friendship of the German people. My whole policy was based on the idea of this understanding. I have always been repelled. I had for years been aware that the aim of these war inciters had for long been to take Germany by surprise at a favourable opportunity.
I am more firmly determined than ever to beat back this attack. Germany shall not again capitulate. There is no sense in sacrificing one life after another and submitting to an even worse Versailles Diktat. We have never been a nation of slaves and will not be one in the future. Whatever Germans in the past had to sacrifice for the existence of our realm, they shall not be greater than those which we are to-day prepared to make.
This resolve is an inexorable one. It necessitates the most thorough measures, and imposes on us one law above all others: If the soldier is fighting at the front, no one shall profit by the war. If the soldier falls at the front no one at home shall evade his duty.
As long as the German people was united it has never been conquered. It was the lack of unity in 1918 that led to collapse. Whoever offends against this unity need expect nothing else than annihilation as an enemy of the nation. If our people fulfills its highest duty in this sense, that God will help us who has always bestowed His mercy on him who was determined to help himself.
ARMISTICE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GERMAN HIGH COMMAND OF THE ARMED FORCES AND FRENCH PLENIPOTENTIARIES
JUNE 22, 1940
Between the chief of the High Command of the armed forces, Col. Gen. [Wilhelm] Keitel, commissioned by the Fuehrer of the German Reich and Supreme Commander in Chief of the German Armed Forces, and the fully authorized plenipotentiaries of the French Government, General [Charles L. C.] Huntziger, chairman of the delegation; Ambassador [LÃ©on] Noel, Rear Admiral [Maurice R.] LeLuc, Army Corps General [Georges] Parisot an Air Force General [Jean-Marie Joseph] Bergeret, the following armistice treaty was agreed upon:
The French Government directs a cessation of fighting against the German Reich in France as well as in French possessions, colonies, protectorate territories, mandates as well as on the seas.
It [the French Government] directs the immediate laying down of arms of French units already encircled by German troops.
To safeguard the interests of the German Reich, French State territory north and west of the line drawn on the attached map will be occupied by German troops.
As far as the parts to be occupied still are not in control of German troops, this occupation will be carried out immediately after the conclusion of this treaty.
In the occupied parts of France the German Reich exercises all rights of an occupying power The French Government obligates itself to support with every means the regulations resulting from the exercise of these rights and to carry them out with the aid of French administration.
All French authorities and officials of the occupied territory, therefore, are to be promptly informed by the French Government to comply with the regulations of the German military commanders and to cooperate with them in a correct manner.
It is the intention of the German Government to limit the occupation of the west coast after ending hostilities with England to the extent absolutely necessary.
The French Government is permitted to select the seat of its government in unoccupied territory, or, if it wishes, to move to Paris. In this case, the German Government guarantees the French Government and its central authorities every necessary alleviation so that they will be in a position to conduct the administration of unoccupied territory from Paris.
French armed forces on land, on the sea, and in the air are to be demobilized and disarmed in a period still to be set. Excepted are only those units which are necessary for maintenance of domestic order. Germany and Italy will fix their strength. The French armed forces in the territory to be occupied by Germany are to be hastily withdrawn into territory not to be occupied and be discharged. These troops, before marching out, shall lay down their weapons and equipment at the places where they are stationed at the time this treaty becomes effective. They are responsible for orderly delivery to German troops.
As a guarantee for the observance of the armistice, the surrender, undamaged, of all those guns, tanks, tank defense weapons, war planes, anti-aircraft artillery, infantry weapons, means of conveyance, and munitions can be demanded from the units of the French armed forces which are standing in battle against Germany and which at the time this agreement goes into force are in territory not to be occupied by Germany.
The German armistice commission will decide the extent of delivery.
Weapons, munitions, and war apparatus of every kind remaining in the unoccupied portion of France are to be stored and/or secured under German and/or Italian controlÂ—so far as not released for the arming allowed to French units.
The German High Command reserves the right to direct all those measures which are necessary to exclude unauthorized use of this material. Building of new war apparatus in unoccupied territory is to be stopped immediately.
In occupied territory, all the land and coastal fortifications, with weapons, munitions, and apparatus and plants of every kind are to be surrendered undamaged. Plans of these fortifications, as well as plans of those already conquered by German troops, are to be handed over.
Exact plans regarding prepared blastings, land mines, obstructions, time fuses, barriers for fighting, etc., shall be given to the German High Command. These hindrances are to be removed by French forces upon German demand.
The French war fleet is to collect in ports to be designated more particularly, and under German and/or Italian control to demobilize and lay upÂ—with the exception of those units released to the French Government for protection of French interests in its colonial empire.
The peacetime stations of ships should control the designation of ports.
The German Government solemnly declares to the French Government that it does not intend to use the French War Fleet which is in harbors under German control for its purposes in war, with the exception of units necessary for the purposes of guarding the coast and sweeping mines.
It further solemnly and expressly declares that it does not intend to bring up any demands respecting the French War Fleet at the conclusion of a peace.
All warships outside France are to be recalled to France with the exception of that portion of the French War Fleet which shall be designated to represent French interests in the colonial empire.
The French High Command must give the German High Command the exact location of all mines which France has set out, as well as information on the other harbor and coastal obstructions and defense facilities. Insofar as the German High Command may require, French forces must clear away the mines.
The French Government is obligated to forbid any portion of its remaining armed forces to undertake hostilities against Germany in any manner.
French Government also will prevent members of its armed forces from leaving the country and prevent armaments of any sort, including ships, planes, etc., being taken to England or any other place abroad.
The French Government will forbid French citizens to fight against Germany in the service of States with which the German Reich is still at war. French citizens who violate this provision are to be treated by German troops as insurgents.
French commercial vessels of all sorts, including coastal and harbor vessels which are now in French hands, may not leave port until further notice. Resumption of commercial voyages will require approval of the German and Italian Governments.
French commercial vessels will be recalled by the French Government or, if return is impossible, the French Government will instruct them to enter neutral harbors.
All confiscated German commercial vessels are, on demand, to be returned [to Germany] undamaged.
Flight by any airplane over French territory shall be prohibited. Every plane making a flight without German approval will be regarded as an enemy by the German Air Force and treated accordingly.
In unoccupied territory, air fields and ground facilities of the air force shall be under German and Italian control.
Demand may be made that such air fields be rendered unusable. The French Government is required to take charge of all foreign airplanes in the unoccupied region to prevent flights. They are to be turned over to the German armed forces.
The French Government obligates itself to turn over to German troops in the occupied region all facilities and properties of the French armed forces in undamaged condition.
It [the French Government] also will see to it that harbors, industrial facilities, and docks are preserved in their present condition and damaged in no way.
The same stipulations apply to transportation routes and equipment, especially railways, roads, and canals, and to the whole communications network and equipment, waterways and coastal transportation services.
Additionally, the French Government is required on demand of the German High Command to perform all necessary restoration labor on these facilities.
The French Government will see to it that in the occupied region necessary technical personnel and rolling stock of the railways and other transportation equipment, to a degree normal in peacetime, be retained in service.
There is an immediate prohibition of transmission for all wireless stations on French soil. Resumption of wireless connections from the unoccupied portion of France requires a special regulation.
The French Government obligates itself to convey transit freight between the German Reich and Italy through unoccupied territory to the extent demanded by the German Government.
The French Government, in agreement with the responsible German officials, will carry out the return of population into occupied territory.
The French Government obligates itself to prevent every transference of economic valuables and provisions from the territory to be occupied by German troops into unoccupied territory or abroad.
These valuables and provisions in occupied territory are to be disposed of only in agreement with the German Government. In that connection, the German Government will consider the necessities of life of the population in unoccupied territory.
The French-Government will bear the costs of maintenance of German occupation troops on French soil.
All German war and civil prisoners in French custody, including those under arrest and convicted who were seized and sentenced because of acts in favor of the German Reich, shall be surrendered immediately to German troops.
The French Government is obliged to surrender upon demand all Germans named by the German Government in France as well as in French possessions, colonies, protectorate territories, and mandates.
The French Government binds itself to prevent removal of German war and civil prisoners from France into French possessions or into foreign countries. Regarding prisoners already taken outside of France, as well as sick and wounded German prisoners who cannot be transported, exact lists with the places of residence are to be produced. The German High Command assumes care of sick and wounded German war prisoners.
French troops in German prison camps will remain prisoners of war until conclusion of a peace.
The French Government assumes responsibility for the security of all objects and valuables whose undamaged surrender or holding in readiness for German disposal is demanded in this agreement or whose removal outside the country is forbidden. The French Government is bound to compensate for all destruction, damage or removal contrary to agreement.
The Armistice Commission, acting in accordance with the direction of the German High Command, will regulate and supervise the carrying out of the armistice agreement. It is the task of the Armistice Commission further to insure the necessary conformity of this agreement with the Italian-French armistice.
The French Government will send a delegation to the seat of the German Armistice Commission to represent the French wishes and to receive regulations from the German Armistice Commission for executing [the agreement].
This armistice agreement becomes effective as soon as the French Government also has reached an agreement with the Italian Government regarding cessation of hostilities.
Hostilities will be stopped six hours after the moment at which the Italian Government has notified the German Government of conclusion of its agreement. The German Government will notify the French Government of this time by wireless.
This agreement is valid until conclusion of a peace treaty. The German Government may terminate this agreement at any time with immediate effect if the French Government fails to fulfill the obligations it assumes under the agreement.
This armistice agreement, signed in the Forest of CompiÃ¨gne, June 22,1940, at 6:50 p.m., German summer time.
The line mentioned in Article II of the armistice agreement begins in the east on the French-Swiss border at Geneva and runs thence nearly over the villages of DÃ´le, Paray, Le Monial, and Bourges to approximately twenty kilometers east of Tours. From there it goes at a distance of twenty kilometers east of the Tours-AngoulÃ©me-Liborune railway line and extends through Mont de Marsan and Orthez to the Spanish border.
German Declaration of War with the United States:
December 11, 1941
December 11, 1941
The German Charg d'Affaires, Dr. Hans Thomsen, and the First Secretary of the German Embassy, Mr. von Strempel, called at the State Department at 8:00 A.M. on December 11, 1941. The Secretary, otherwise engaged, directed that they be received by the Chief of the European Division of the State Department, Mr. Ray Atherton. Mr. Atherton received the German representatives at 9:30 A.M.
The German representatives handed to Mr. Atherton a copy of a note that is being delivered this morning, December 11, to the American Charg d'Affaires in Berlin. Dr. Thomsen said that Germany considers herself in a state of war with the United States. He asked that the appropriate measures be taken for the departure of himself, the members of the German Embassy, and his staff in this country. He reminded Mr. Atherton that the German Government had previously expressed its willingness to grant the same treatment to American press correspondents in Germany as that accorded the American official staff on a reciprocal basis and added that he assumed that the departure of other American citizens from Germany would be permitted on the same basis of German citizens desiring to leave this country. He referred to the exchange of civilians that had been arranged at the time Great Britain and Germany broke off diplomatic relations.
The German Charg d'Affaires then stated that the Swiss Government would take over German interests in this country and that Dr. Bruggmann had already received appropriate instructions from his Government.
He then handed Mr. Atherton a note from the German Government. Mr. Atherton stated that in accepting this note from the German Charg d'Affaires he was merely formalizing the realization that the Government and people of this country had faced since the outbreak of the war in 1939 of the threat and purposes of the German Government and the Nazi regime toward this hemisphere and our free American civilization.
Mr. Atherton then said that this Government would arrange for the delivery of Dr. Thomsen's passports and that he assumed that we would very shortly be in communication with the Swiss Minister. He added that Dr. Thomsen must realize, however, that the physical difficulties of the situation would demand a certain amount of time in working out this reciprocal arrangement for the departure of the missions of the two countries. The German representatives then took their leave.
The text of the note which the German representatives handed to Mr. Ray Atherton, Chief of the European Division of the State Department, at 9:30 A.M., December 11, the original of which had been delivered the morning of December 11 to the American Charg d'Affaires in Berlin, follows:
MR. CHARG D'AFFAIRES:
The Government of the United States having violated in the most flagrant manner and in ever increasing measure all rules of neutrality in favor of the adversaries of Germany and having continually been guilty of the most severe provocations toward Germany ever since the outbreak of the European war, provoked by the British declaration of war against Germany on September 3, 1939, has finally resorted to open military acts of aggression.
On September 11, 1941, the President of the United States publicly declared that he had ordered the American Navy and Air Force to shoot on sight at any German war vessel. In his speech of October 27, 1941, he once more expressly affirmed that this order was in force. Acting under this order, vessels of the American Navy, since early September 1941, have systematically attacked German naval forces. Thus, American destroyers, as for instance the Greer, the Kearney and the Reuben James, have opened fire on German sub-marines according to plan. The Secretary of the American Navy, Mr. Knox, himself confirmed that-American destroyers attacked German submarines.
Furthermore, the naval forces of the United States, under order of their Government and contrary to international law have treated and seized German merchant vessels on the high seas as enemy ships.
The German Government therefore establishes the following facts:
Although Germany on her part has strictly adhered to the rules of international law in her relations with the United States during every period of the present war, the Government of the United States from initial violations of neutrality has finally proceeded to open acts of war against Germany. The Government of the United States has thereby virtually created a state of war.
The German Government, consequently, discontinues diplomatic relations with the United States of America and declares that under these circumstances brought about by President Roosevelt Germany too, as from today, considers herself as being in a state of war with the United States of America.
Accept, Mr. Charge d'Affaires, the expression of my high consideration.
December 11, 1941.
Adolf Hitler Radio address
After failed assassination attempt by Claus von Stauffenberg
My fellow Germans! Yet another of the countless attempts on my life has been planned and carried out. I am speaking to you for two reasons:
1. So that you can hear my voice and know that I myself am not injured and well.
2. So that you can hear the details of a crime without parallel in German history.
A very small clique of ambitious, unscrupulous, criminal and stupid officers formed a conspiracy to do away with me and at the same time to wipe out virtually the entire staff of the German High Command.
The bomb which was planted by Colonel von Stauffenberg exploded two meters to my right. It seriously injured a number of my colleagues who are very dear to me; one has died. I myself am completely unhurt apart from a few minor skin abrasions, bruises and burns. I interpret this as confirmation that Providence wishes me to continue my life's mission as I have in the past. For I can solemnly state in the presence of the entire nation that since the day I moved into the Wilhelmstraße my sole thought has been to carry out my duty to the best of my ability. And from the time when I realized that the war was unavoidable and could no longer be delayed, I have known nothing but worry and hard work; and for countless days and sleepless nights have lived only for my People!
At the very moment when the German armies are engaged in a most difficult struggle, a small group formed in Germany, as happened in Italy, which thought that as in 1918 it could now deliver the stab in the back. However, this time they totally miscalculated. The claim by these usurpers that I am no longer alive, is at this very moment proven false, for here I am talking to you, my dear fellow countrymen. The circle which these usurpers represent is very small. It has nothing to do with the German armed forces, and above all nothing to do with the German army. It is a very small clique composed of criminal elements which will now be mercilessly exterminated. I therefore give the following orders with immediate effect:
1. That no civilian agency is to obey an order from a government agency which these usurpers claim that they command.
2. That no military installation, no commander of a unit, no soldier is to obey any order by these usurpers. On the contrary, any person conveying or issuing such an order is to be immediately arrested or, if they resist, shot on the spot.
In order to restore complete order, I have appointed Minister of the Reich Himmler to be Commander of the Home Forces. I have drafted into the General Staff General Guderian to replace the Chief of the General Staff who is at the moment absent due to illness, and have appointed a second proven leader from the Eastern Front to be his aide.
In all the other agencies of government within the Reich everything remains unchanged. I am convinced that with the departure of this small clique of traitors and conspirators, we will finally create the atmosphere here at home, too, which the soldiers at the front need. For it is intolerable that at the front hundreds of thousands and millions of brave men are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, while here at home a small clique of ambitious, despicable creatures constantly tries to undermine this attitude. This time we will settle accounts as we National Socialists are accustomed to. I am convinced that at this time every decent officer, every honest soldier will understand that.
Few people can begin to imagine the fate which would have overtaken Germany had the assassination attempt succeeded. I myself thank Providence and my Creator not for preserving me - my life consists only of worry and work for my People - I thank him only for allowing me to continue to bear this burden of worry, and to carry on my work to the best of my ability.
It is the duty of every German without exception to ruthlessly oppose these elements, and either to arrest them immediately or, if they resist arrest, to shoot them on the spot. These orders have been issued to all military units. They will be carried out to the letter with the discipline typical of the Germany army.
Once again I take this opportunity, my old comrades in arms, to greet you, joyful that I have once again been spared a fate which, while it held no terror for me personally, would have had terrible consequences for the German People. I interpret this as a sign from Providence that I must continue my work, and therefore I shall continue it.
Anniversary of coming to power
by Adolf Hitler
Last Radio address
Last Radio address
January 30, 1945
GERMAN COMPATRIOTS! NATIONAL SOCIALISTS!
Twelve years ago, when, as the leader of the strongest party, I was entrusted by the deceased Reich President, [Field Marshal Paul] von Hindenburg, with the office of Chancellor, Germany found herself faced with the same situation internally as the one that today faces it externally. The forces of economic destruction and annihilation of the Versailles dictate led to a situation that had gradually become a permanent one-namely, the existence of almost 7,000,000 unemployed, 7,000,000 part-time workers, a destroyed farmers' class, a ruined industry and a commerce that had become correspondingly prostrate.
The German ports were nothing but ship cemeteries. The financial situation of the country threatened at any moment to lead to a collapse not only of the state but also of the provinces and of the communities. The decisive thing, however, was this: Behind this methodical destruction of Germany's economy, there stood the specter of Asiatic bolshevism. It was there then, just as much as it is there today.
In the years before our assumption of power the bourgeois world was incapable of opposing this development effectively on a small scale, just as it is incapable of doing so today on a large scale. Even after the collapse of 1918 this bourgeois world had failed to realize that an old world was vanishing and a new one being born and that there is no use in supporting and thus artificially maintaining what has been found to be decayed and rotten, but that something healthy must be substituted for it. A social structure that had become obsolete had cracked and every attempt to maintain it was bound to fail.
It was no different from today on a large scale, when the bourgeois states are doomed and when only clearly defined and ideologically consolidated national communities can survive the most difficult crisis Europe has seen in many centuries.
We were granted only six years of peace after Jan. 30, 1933. During these six years tremendous feats were achieved, and even greater ones were planned, so many and such huge ones that they caused envy among our democratic, impotent neighbors.
But this was decisive: That we succeeded during these six years, with superhuman exertions, to restore the German nation militarily-that is, to imbue it with the spirit of resistance and self-assertion rather than to equip it with a material war potential.
The horrid fate that is now taking shape in the east and that exterminates hundreds of thousands in the villages and market places, in the country and in the cities will be warded off in the end and mastered by us, with the utmost exertion and despite all setbacks and hard trials.
But if this is possible at all, it is only because a change has taken place in the German people since 1933. If Germany today were the Germany envisaged by the Versailles Treaty, Europe would long since have been swept away by the hurricane from Central Asia. It is hardly necessary to argue with those eternal blockheads who maintain that an unarmed Germany would, owing to its impotence, not have become the victim of this Jewish international world plot. Such reasoning would amount to a reversal of all laws of nature.
When was a helpless goose ever not eaten by the fox because she was constitutionally incapable of harboring aggressive designs? And when has a wolf ever reformed and become a pacifist because sheep do not wear armor? If there are still bourgeois states who earnestly believe this, that only proves how necessary it was to do away with an era that by its educational system managed to cultivate and maintain such notions, nay, even granted them political influence.
The fight against this Jewish Asiatic bolshevism had been raging long before National Socialism came into power. The only reason why it had not already overrun Europe during the years 1919-20 was that it was then itself too weak and too poorly armed.
Its attempt to eliminate Poland was not abandoned because of its compassion for the Poland of that time but only because of the lost battle before Warsaw. Its intention to annihilate Hungary was not discarded because they changed their minds, but because Bolshevist power could not be maintained militarily. Nor was the attempt to smash Germany given up because this achievement was not desired but because it proved impossible to overcome the natural resistance stamina of our people.
Thereupon Judaism began systematically to undermine our nation from within, and it found its best ally in those narrow-minded bourgeoisie who would not recognize that the era of a bourgeois world is ended and will never again return, that the epoch of unbridled economic liberalism has outlived itself and can only lead to its self-destruction and, above all, that the great tasks of our time can be mastered only under an authoritarian coordination of natural strength, based on the law of same rights for all and, thence, of same duties. On the other hand, the fulfillment of the same duties must necessarily entail an equality of rights.
Thus National Socialism, in the midst of gigantic economic, social and cultural reconstruction work, has also educationally given to the German people that armor without which no military values can be created.
The power of resistance of our nation has increased so tremendously since Jan. 30, 1933, that it cannot be compared any more with that of former times But the maintaining of this inner power of resistance is by the same token the safest guarantor of final victory. If Europe today finds itself stricken with a severe illness, the stricken countries will either overcome this illness by exerting their full and utmost power of resistance or they will succumb.
Yet the convalescent and survivor overcomes the climax of such an illness only in a crisis, a crisis that utterly weakens him, but in spite of all, it is all the more our immutable will not to shrink from anything in this battle for the salvation of our people from the most dreadful fate of all times and unflinchingly and faithfully to obey the law of the preservation of our nation.
God the Almighty has made our nation. By defending its existence we are defending His work. The fact that this defense is fraught with incalculable misery, suffering and hardships makes us even more attached to this nation But it also gives us that hard will needed to fulfill our duty even in the most critical struggle; that is, not only to fulfill our duty toward the decent, noble Germans, but also our duty toward those few infamous ones who turn their backs on their people.
In this fateful battle there is therefore for us but one command: He who fights honorably can thus save his own life and the lives of his loved ones. But he who, because of cowardice or lack of character, turns his back on the nation shall inexorably die an ignominious death.
That National Socialism succeeded in awakening and strengthening this spirit in our German people is a great achievement. Only when this mighty world drama will have died away and the bells of peace are ringing will realization come of what the German people owes to this spiritual renaissance: No less than its existence in this world.
Only a few months and weeks ago Allied statesmen openly outlined the German fate. Thereupon they were warned by some newspapers to be more intelligent and rather to promise something, even though nobody intended to keep this promise later.
As an inexorable National Socialist and a fighter for my people, I now wish to assure these statesmen once and for all that every attempt at influencing National Socialist Germany through slogans, lies and distortions presupposes a simple-mindedness unknown to the Germany of today. The fact that political activities and lies are inextricably linked in a democracy is of no consequence. Decisive is that every promise given by these statesmen to a people is today quite meaningless, because they are not in a position ever to fulfill any such promise. This is as if one sheep promised another sheep to protect it against a tiger.
I herewith repeat my prophecy: England will not only not be in a position to control bolshevism but her development will unavoidably evolve more and more toward the symptoms of this destructive disease.
The democracies are unable to rid themselves now of the forces they summoned from the steppes of Asia.
All the small European nations ,who capitulated, confident of Allied assurances, are facing complete annihilation. It is entirely uninteresting whether this fate will befall them a little earlier or later; what counts is its implacability. The Kremlin Jews are motivated only by tactical considerations; whether in one case they act with immediate brutality or, in another case, with some reticence, the result will always be the same.
Germany, however, shall never suffer this fate. The guarantor thereof is the victory achieved twelve years ago within our country. Whatever our enemies may plot, whatever sufferings they may inflict on our German cities, on German landscapes and, above all, on our people, all that cannot bear any comparison with the irreparable misery, the tragedy that would befall us if the plutocratic-Bolshevistic conspiracy were victorious.
Therefore, it is all the more necessary on this twelfth anniversary of the rise to power to strengthen the heart more than ever before and to steel ourselves in the holy determination to wield the sword, no-matter where and under what circumstances, until final victory crowns our efforts.
On this day I do not want to leave any doubt about something else. Against an entire hostile world I once chose my road, according to my inner call, and strode it, as an unknown and nameless man, to final success; often they reported I was dead and always they wished I were, but in the end I remained victor in spite of all. My life today is with an equal exclusiveness determined by the duties incumbent on me.
Combined, they are but one: To work for my people and to fight for it. Only He can relieve me of this duty Who called me to it. It was in the hand of Providence to snuff me out by the bomb that exploded only one and a half meters from me on July 20, and thus to terminate my life's work. That the Almighty protected me on that day I consider a renewed affirmation of the task entrusted to me.
In the years to come I shall continue on this road, uncompromisingly safeguarding my people's interests, oblivious to all misery and danger, and filled with the holy conviction that God the Almighty will not abandon him who, during all his life, had no desire but to save his people from a fate it had never deserved, neither by virtue of its number nor by way of its importance.
Therefore I now appeal to the entire German people and, above all, to my old fellow-fighters and to all the soldiers to gird themselves with a yet greater, harder spirit of resistance, until we can again-as we did before-put on the graves of the dead of this enormous struggle a wreath inscribed with the words: "And yet you were victorious."
Therefore I expect every German to do his duty to the last and that he be willing to take upon himself every sacrifice he will be asked to make; I expect every able-bodied German to fight with the complete disregard for his personal safety; I expect the sick and the weak or those otherwise unavailable for military duty to work with their last strength; I expect city dwellers to forge the weapons for this struggle and I expect the farmer to supply the bread for the soldiers and workers of this struggle by imposing restrictions upon himself; I expect all women and girls to continue supporting this struggle with utmost fanaticism.
In this appeal I particularly address myself to German youth. In vowing ourselves to one another, we are entitled to stand before the Almighty and ask Him for His grace and His blessing. No people can do more than that everybody who can fight, fights, and that everybody who can work, works, and that they all sacrifice in common, filled with but one thought: to safeguard freedom and national honor and thus the future of life.
However grave the crisis may be at the moment, it will, despite everything, finally be mastered by our unalterable will, by our readiness for sacrifice and by our abilities. We shall overcome this calamity, too, and this fight, too, will not be won by central Asia but by Europe; and at its head will be the nation that has represented Europe against the East for 1,500 years and shall represent it for all times: our Greater German Reich, the German nation.