My German Countrymen, Men and Women,
Changes of Government have occurred frequently in history, and in the history of our people. It is certain, however, that never was a change of Government attended with such far-reaching results as that eight years ago. At that time, the situation of the Reich was desperate. We were called upon to take over the leadership of the nation at a moment when it did not seem to develop towards a great rise. We were given power in circumstances of the greatest conceivable pressure, the pressure of the knowledge that, by itself, everything was lost, and that, in the eyes of the noblest minds, this represented a last attempt, while in the eyes of evil-wishers it should condemn the National Socialist Movement to final failure. Unless the German nation could be saved, by a miracle, the situation was bound to end in disaster. For during a period of 15 years, events had moved downwards without respite. On the other hand, this situation was only the result of the World War: of the outcome of the World War, of our own internal, political, moral, and military collapse. For these reasons, it is particularly important on a day like this to think back to the course of that entire national misfortune.
What was the cause of the World War? I do not want to explain it from the personal aspect, about which so many treatises have been written. Ordered by the present President Roosevelt, American scholars have investigated the cause of the World War and made sure that there could be no German guilt. In moments of so great importance in contemporary history, individuals can play a significant part only if they enter the scene as really outstanding personalities. This was not then the case. Neither on the German nor on the other side were there personalities cast in an unusual mould. The cause, therefore, could not be due to the failure or to the will of individuals. The reasons went deeper. The German form of government, certainly, could not have been the cause of that war, for Germany was a democracy already – and what a democracy! Strictly copied from the western countries, it was compromise between monarchy and parliamentary leadership. On account of its form of government then, this State could certainly not be the cause of the war waged by the democracies against the Reich as it was then. Germany, considered as a political factor in the world, was much more of a cause, for after centuries of disruption and ensuing weakness, the German tribes and states had at last combined into a new State which naturally introduced a new element into the so-called Balance of Power, an element which was regarded as an alien body by others. Even more potent, perhaps was dislike of the Reich as an economic factor. After Germany had tried for centuries to remedy her economic distress by letting people gradually starve or forcing them to emigrate, the increasing consolidation of the, political power of the Reich gave rise to a development of economic power. Germany began to export commodities rather than men, thereby securing the necessary markets in the world, a process, natural and just from our point of view, but others regarded it as encroachment into their most sacred domains.
Here we come to the State which regarded this encroachment as intolerable – England.
300 years earlier England had gradually built her Empire, not perhaps through the free will or the unanimous demonstrations of those affected, but for 300 years this World Empire was welded together solely by force. War followed war. One nation after another was robbed of its freedom – one state after another was shattered so that the structure which calls itself the British Empire might arise. Democracy was nothing but a mask covering subjugation and the oppression of nations and individuals. This State cannot allow its members to vote if today, after they have been worked upon for centuries, they should freely choose to be members of this Commonwealth. On the contrary, Egyptian Nationalists, Indian Nationalists in their thousands are filling the prisons. Concentration camps were not invented in Germany; it is the English who were the ingenious inventors of this idea. By these means they contrived to break the backbone of other nations, to remove their resistance, to wear them down, and make them prepared at last to submit to this British yoke of democracy.
In this process, a formidable weapon was that of lying, that is, of propaganda. A proverb says that if the Englishman speaks of God he means cotton. And so it is today. Considering how pious and religious are the outward gestures of men who deliberately, and with a cold heart, drive nation after nation into a struggle serving only their material interests, one is compelled to state that rarely has human hypocrisy reached such a pitch as that of the English today. At any rate, at the end of the blood-stained path of British history over three centuries stands the fact that 46,000,000 Englishmen in the mother country are ruling about a quarter of the globe.
This means that there are 46,000,000 men for about 40,000,000 square kilometres. It is important, my countrymen, to shout this to the world again and again, for they are brazen democratic liars who assert that the so-called Authoritarian States are out to conquer the world, while in fact, the conquerors of the world are our old enemies. The British World Empire has left behind an icy stream of blood and tears in the path of its creation. It rules today, undoubtedly, a tremendous section of the globe. But this world government is affected not by the power of an idea, but essentially by force, and where force does not suffice, by the power of capitalist or economic interests.
Bearing in mind the history of the British Empire, we can understand the process itself only as a result of the complete absence of the European Continent as an entity in face of this development, particularly by the absence of the German Reich. For 300 years, Germany was practically non-existent. While the British talked of God without losing sight of their economic interests, the German nation, overstrained to the limit, raised religious problems to such importance that bloody wars, lasting for centuries, ensued. This was one of the conditions which made the formation of the British Empire possible, for in the same measure with which the German nation spent its strength internally, it was eliminated as a power internationally, and in the same measure England could, undisturbed, build her Empire through robbery.
Not only was Germany practically eliminated from competition on this globe during those three centuries; the same holds for Italy, where there were similar phenomena as in Germany, but of a political and dynastic rather than a religious nature. For other reasons again, another great nation in East Asia was eliminated, which also for nearly four centuries had gradually withdrawn from the rest of the world, and ceasing to regard its own living space as vital plunged into voluntary solitude.
In this way a system arose, particularly in Europe, which England called the Balance of Power, which means, in fact, disorganization of the European Continent in favour of the British Isles. For this reason it was for centuries the aim of British policy to maintain this disorganization, not under the name of “disorganization” of course, but with a better sounding name. Just as they do not speak of cotton, but say “God,” they do not speak of the disorganization of Europe but of the “Balance of Power.” And this so-called Balance of Power, that is the real internal importance of Europe, enabled England again and again to play one State against another, so keeping the forces of Europe involved in internal struggle. Thus England could thrust forward undisturbed into other areas offering comparatively little resistance.
And yet to speak today of England’s World Power or of England as the master of the world, is nothing but an illusion. To begin with her internal situation: England, in spite of her world conquests is perhaps socially the most backward State in Europe. Socially backward – that is, a State orientated entirely in the interests of a comparatively small and thin upper stratum and the Jewish clique with which it is allied. The interests of the broad masses are of no weight in determining the orientation of this State. Here again propaganda phrases must serve. One speaks about freedom, one speaks about democracy, one speaks about the achievements of a Liberal system meaning nothing but the stabilization of the regime of a section of society, which, thanks to its capital, is able to get hold of the Press, to organize and direct it, and to create public opinion. Thus, in a State commanding the riches of the world, having gigantic living space at its disposal, in a State with altogether hardly one inhabitant per square kilometre, in a State so blessed by nature, millions are excluded from these benefits, and live in greater poverty than the population of any of the over-populated central European States. The country which is a paradise for a few, is nothing but continuous misery for many, that is, for the masses. Misery in nourishment, misery in clothing, misery particularly in housing; misery in security of income, and in the entire social legislation. And if all of a sudden a British Labour Secretary, who, incidentally, as a member of the Opposition, is paid by the State, appears and says:
After this war, after victory, England will have to tackle social problems; we will have to care for the wide masses.
…I can only reply:
We have done this long ago.
It is only interesting to us as a confirmation of our thesis that England in reality is socially the most backward country in the world. Thus, considered internally, this gigantic external wealth is really barren as far as the masses as distinct from the few are concerned. But even externally this world domination is only a figment. New centres have been given to the world. Gigantic States have arisen which can be neither attacked nor even threatened by Great Britain. The whole British idea of world domination was based on getting others to proceed against the Continent. But outside this European Continent or far beyond it great States have come into existence which are completely unassailable by England. British diplomacy may only attempt to maintain its position there by clever manipulations and by trying to bring other forces into play, which means that it must now attempt to raise the so-called Balance of Power in Europe to a Balance of Power in the world. In other words, it has to play Great Powers against each other in order to maintain at least a semblance of a World Power.
In Europe, itself, however, the awakening of the nations has already done away with the theory of the so-called Balance of Power, that is, disorganization of the Continent.
The national development of Germany and the creation of the new German Empire pierced into this disorganized European Continent and to the south of us, Italy did the same. To this must be added new elements which make the Balance of Power appear an illusion. It exists no longer. Therein we really see the real reason for the World War. Since 1871, when Germanic tribes began to organize themselves and, under the leadership of a statesman of genius, formed an Empire once more, and the national rebirth of the German nation found expression in a united state, Great Britain has been persecuting this new apparition. In 1871, even in 1870, immediately after the battle of Sedan, British newspapers began to point out that this new structure was more dangerous to Great Britain than France had been. It had been hoped even then that Prussia might succeed, perhaps, by a long war, in throwing back France, but there was no wish that from Prussia’s rise there should emerge a national German re-birth or, even more, a new German Empire.
Thus began the period from 1871 to 1914, in which Great Britain continually plotted for a war against Germany, in which she was hostile and aggressive to Germany at every opportunity, until finally the World War broke out, the work of quite a small group of international, unscrupulous rogues. And Great Britain received foreign help for this World War, which, again, she was only able to wage with foreign help.
It is interesting to visualize the development of the British policy of world domination during the last 400 years. First, there was Spain, with Dutch help; then the fight against the Dutch, with the help of other European States, France amongst them; then, finally, was against France, with the help of Europe and that part of the world at Great Britain’s disposal.
The World War which shook Europe from 1914 to 1918 was exclusively the longed-for result of British statesmanship. Although the whole world had at that time been mobilized against Germany, Germany was actually not defeated. We may safely state this today.
I should not like to be a critic of the past if I had not improved upon it. But today, as one of the historic men who have improved matters, I may critically examine and judge the past, and all I can say is that the result of the year 1918 is merely the consequence of a rare accumulation of personal inefficiency in the leadership of our nation, a unique accumulation which had never existed before in history, nor – let me tell these gentlemen – will it ever be repeated. In spite of all this, this country and the German soldier for four years withstood the attack of a hostile world, and the German nation still believed in the honor of the remaining democratic world and its statesmen.
This credulity of the German nation, which was at the time regretted by many, received a terrible reward. If today Englishmen come along and believe that it is only necessary to put on the gramophone the old propaganda records of the years 1917-18 in order to achieve a new result, I can only say they have not forgotten anything, but unfortunately for them, they have not learned by experience. In this respect they differ from the German people. The German nation has learned since then; nor has it forgotten anything.
We do not wish to be mean. Many times there have been broken pledges in the past. But what happened in the years following 1918 was not one broken pledge; broken pledges were mass-produced. Not a single pledge has been fulfilled. Never before has a great nation been deceived as the German nation was then deceived. It had received so many assurances, this credulous nation had been promised so much, and what did they do to our nation? It was plundered, it was exploited. A foreign statesman, an American, was employed to make the German people even more credulous. Perhaps this was really the reason why the German people were duped by this manoeuvre. But in this respect, too, they are immune against any similar attempts. The German people had opportunities, year after year, to ponder the sincerity of democratic promises and assurances and the honesty of democratic statesmen, to make comparison and to test them against their own experiences. It was in this period that the National Socialist movement originated.
If they now say:
But why did they pounce on a new ideology?
…my answer is:
Because the old one failed miserably.
Not only in the interior – Heavens! Democracy was a pitiful thing with us! When 40 or 50 odd parties compete with their gigantic philosophical interests, ranging from that of property down to the level of cyclists’ clubs, estate owners and so on, that in itself is a very bad sight; but quite apart from that; if we only had been rewarded externally for this miserable internal democratic distortion of our lives, we could at least say:
Well, that stuff has certainly failed at home, but at least you received decent treatment outside.
At home, the whole thing was, of course, nothing but a joke, but foreign countries took you seriously – or at least they pretended that they wanted to take you seriously. If they had kept some of their promises because you were willing to be good democrats on the pattern of others. Oh, if at least this had been the case! But who was it they blackmailed? Who was it they sweated? Was it the National Socialist State? It was the German democracy!
When I came home in 1918 and lived through the winter of 1918 and 1919, I realized, like many other people, that we could not expect regeneration from the existing political world in Germany, and so I began to search – as did so many others – and this was how that conception originated which later conquered the German nation as National Socialism. I started from the one insight: the German nation fell because it indulged in the luxury of spending its strength at home. This use of strength in the interior took away external strength according to an external law.
The German nation had hoped to gain, in turn, the goodwill of others but it met only the naked egotism of the cruelest and meanest vested interests, which began to loot everything there was to loot. One should not have expected anything else. But now the die was cast. One thing seemed obvious to me: any rise could not originate from outside. First, the German nation had to learn to understand its own political struggle, which enabled it to rally Germany’s entire strength above all its idealistic strength. And this idealistic strength was at the time only to be found in two camps; in the Socialist and in the Nationalist camps. But these were the camps between which there was the most mortal feud and strife. These two camps had to be fused into a new unit.
Today, my countrymen, when millions and millions are marching under the symbol of this unity, this appears to be obvious. But in the years 1918 and 1919, this seemed to be the product of a diseased imagination. At best, people pitied me. Perhaps, my countrymen, it was lucky that it was so. If people had taken me seriously at that time, they would probably have destroyed me, and the movement at that time was much too small to be able to survive such a destruction. But it was perhaps destiny willed by nature or by God, that they laughed at us, mocked us, and that a certain type of propaganda only ridiculed us and regarded us as a joke. Thus we succeeded, gradually, in forming the first germ, and the first nucleus of a new national community – an almost incredible historical phenomenon started by unknown people and willing followers among the masses of the people itself.
There is only one other State in which this process may be regarded as having come to a successful conclusion: Italy; nowhere else in Europe. In many States we see, perhaps, a beginning and in all the democracies they fully realise the importance of such a process, and believe that they can achieve similar results by swindle. They forget one thing: such a rebirth of a nation is really a miraculous event, an event which pre-supposes faith rather than so-called abstract and super-clever knowledge.
The fact that in the years 1918 to 1921 the simple belief of the broad masses slowly came to us, was the beginning of our Movement. That made the little man from the factories and the mines, from the farms, from the offices, believe in his future, in the future of this idea and this Movement, and in the victory which was yet to come. At that time our point of view was that if the German nation were not to repair its prestige in the world, that is to say, did not again become a powerful factor, Germany would shortly have 20,000,000 people less. This was a matter of simple deduction.
Year after year, unemployment increased and caused the confusion of national conceptions and of economic plans. The constant change of Governments prevented any wider vision. Projects could not even be made for two or three months ahead, because one could be sure that in three months the government would have changed. One would say,
Why should I clear up the mistakes made by others?
Another would say,
Why should I make improvements only for someone else to benefit?
There was no longer any reason to attempt any efficacious and real solution. But this state of affairs naturally increased national weakness, and the economic decline, and caused more unemployment. The burden became greater, the capacity to carry it less, and the end had to be a collapse, the result of which could not be foreseen.
It was well to be believed that the kind and humane prophecy of the great democrat Clemenceau that we had 20,000,000 people too many would become the truth. Thus the programme of unification of the German forces, of blind obedience to a goal was created to assure our right to live forever and ever.
By so doing we chose a path between two extremes. The one of these extremes was holding our people: It was the liberal-individualist extreme which made the individual not only the centre of interest but also the centre of all action. On the other hand, our people were tempted by the theory of universal humanity which alone was to guide the individual. Our ideals were between the two: we saw the people as a community of body and soul, formed and willed by Providence. We are put into this community and within it alone can we form our existence. We have consciously subordinated all considerations to this goal, have shaped all interests according to it, and all our actions. Thus the National Socialist world of thought arose which has overcome individualism, but not by cutting down individual capacities or individual initiative, only by asserting that the common interest is superior to individual liberty and the initiative of the individual. This common interest regulates and orders, if necessary, curtails, but also commands.
Thus we started a struggle against everyone in those days, against the individualist as well as against the humanitarians. And in this struggle we slowly conquered the German nation during 14 years. The 1,000 members which this Movement counted at the end of its first year of life, a number which was to increase steadily – these followers were but Germans who had come from other movements. Hundreds of thousands of my SA and SS had been fighters in other organizations, whom we had all convinced and conquered by winning their inner allegiance. That was perhaps the greatest battle of souls in our history. I could not force anybody to go with me, to enter my organization – they all had to be inwardly convinced and this conviction caused them to make great sacrifices. This struggle was to be really fought out in the spirit by word, form and writing. Only when an ill-willed opponent said:
I cannot defeat you in the spirit, but I am stronger than you.
Only then did I, the former soldier, rightly answer violence with violence. Before I […] …the fighting movement which fought by the spirit as long as the opponent kept to spiritual weapons… But I did not hesitate to appeal to violence when the other thought he would help the spirit by violence.
Our opponents at that time were those who have always fought us inside as well as outside the country: a conglomeration of people who feel, think and act according to international ideas. We know the coalitions of that time. In this battle of the spirit we have defeated them everywhere. For when at last I was called to power, I came in the legal way, under the Presidency of Reichs General Field Marshal von Hindenburg because I was backed by the strongest movement.
This means that the so-called National Socialist Revolution has defeated democracy, within democracy, by democracy. We acquired power legally and today, too, I am facing you here on a mandate given to me by the German nation, a mandate more comprehensive than that which any one of the so-called democratic statesmen possess today.