German men and women, if I speak today again after
many long months to you it is not to reply to one of those statesmen
who recently wondered why I had been silent for such a long time. Posterity
will one day be able to weigh up which was more important in the past
three and a half months, the speeches of Churchill or my actions.
I have come here today to deliver a short introductory
address on the Winter Help scheme. This time it was particularly difficult
for me to come here because in the hours in which I can be here a new,
gigantic event is taking place on our eastern front.
For the last forty-eight hours an operation of gigantic
proportions is again in progress, which will help to smash the enemy
in the East. I am talking to you on behalf of millions who are at this
moment fighting and want to ask the German people at home to take upon
themselves, in addition to other sacrifices, that of Winter Help this
Since June 22 a battle of decisive importance for
the world has been taking place. Only posterity will clearly see its
dimensions and depth and will realize that it marked a new era.
I did not want this struggle. Since January, 1933,
when Providence entrusted me with the leadership of the German Reich,
I had an aim before my eyes which was essentially incorporated in the
program of our National Socialist party. I have never been disloyal
to this aim and have never abandoned my program.
I made efforts to bring about the construction of
a people who, after a war lost through its own fault, had experienced
the deepest collapse in its history. This in itself was a gigantic task.
And I began this task at a moment when others had either failed in it
or no longer believed in the possibility of ever accomplishing such
a task. What we achieved in these years in the way of peaceful reconstruction
It is for me and my collaborators an offense to be
compelled to have dealings with those democratic entities who are not
in a position to look back even upon one single true great work in their
lives. I and all of us did not need this war to perpetuate our names.
Moreover, we were not at the end of our achievements, but in some fields
still at the beginning.
We succeeded in internally restoring our Reich although
under difficult conditions for in Germany 140 people per square kilometer
have to be fed. Yet we have solved our problems, while others foundered
on the problem.
We had the following principles: First, the internal
consolidation of the German nation; second, the attainment of equal
rights externally; third, the unity of the German people and thus the
restoration of natural conditions which had been interrupted only artificially.
Our external program, therefore, was laid down in
advance. This did not mean that we would ever strive for war. But one
thing was certain, that we would in no circumstances renounce the restoration
of German freedom and thus one of the conditions of the German revival.
I have submitted to the world many proposals along
these lines. I need not repeat them here. This is done by my publicist
collaborators. How many peace offers have I made to the world and disarmament
proposals for a peaceful, new sound world economic order? All these
were rejected by those who could not hope that such peaceful work would
keep their regime at the helm.
In spite of that we gradually succeeded through long
years of peaceful work in carrying through not only great internal reforms
but also the unity of the German nation, in creating the German Reich
and in bringing back millions of Germans to their homeland.
During this period I succeeded in gaining a number
of allies. These were headed by Italy, with whose statesmen I am linked
by ties of personal and cordial friendship. Our relations with Japan
continue to improve. In Europe, too, there were a number of nations
and States which maintained their old friendship and sympathy, in particular
Hungary and some Nordic States. New nations have been added to a number
Unfortunately there is not among them the nation I
wooed most strongly, Britain. The British people as a whole do not bear
the sole responsibility. On the contrary, there are a few people who,
in their deep hatred, in their senselessness, sabotage every attempt
at such an understanding supported by that enemy of the world whom you
all know, international Jewry.
We did not succeed in bringing about such a link between
Great Britain, especially the English people, with the German people
as I had always hoped for. Just as in 1914 the moment came when a hard
decision had to be taken. I did not shrink from it, for I realized one
thing, that if it were impossible to gain the friendship of England
it would be better if Germany experienced her enmity at a time when
I was still the leader of Germany.
If the friendship of England could not be won by the
measures I had taken and the advances I had made, then it could never
be won in the future. There was no other choice then but to fight.
I am grateful to fate that I may lead this fight.
I am convinced that no understanding can be reached with these men.
They are mad fools, men who for ten years had not spoken another word
but "We want another war with Germany." When I endeavored
to bring about an understanding, Churchill cried, "I want war!"
He has got it now. And all his co-warmongers, who
say that this will be a "charming war," who congratulated
each other on Sept. 1, 1939, on this coming "charming war,"
may now perhaps think differently about this "charming war,"
and should they not know yet that this war is no charming affair for
England they will surely become aware of it in due course, as truly
as I am here. These warmongers succeeded in pushing Poland forward,
these warmongers not only of the Old World but also of the New World.
That was the time when England did not go about begging
others for help, but still magnanimously promised help to everyone.
This has since changed In those days I made proposals to Poland. Now
that events have taken a course different from the one we wished, I
must say that it was indeed Providence that prevented the acceptance
of my offer at the time.
This conspiracy of democratic Jews and Free Masons
dragged Europe into war two years ago. Arms had to decide.
Since then a struggle has been taking place between
truth and lies and, as always, this war will end in the victory for
truth. In other words, whatever lies British propaganda, international
world Jewry and its democratic accomplices may concoct they will not
change historical facts. And it is a historical fact that for two years
now Germany has been defeating one opponent after another.
I did not want it. Immediately after the first conflict
I again held out my hand. I have been a soldier myself and I know how
difficult it is to win a victory.
My hand was rejected. And since then we have seen
that each peace offer was immediately exploited by the warmonger Churchill
and his confreres so that they could say it was proof of our weakness.
I have, therefore, given up trying this way. I have laboriously reached
this conclusion: a clear decision must be fought out, that is to say,
a decision of importance for history for the next hundred years.
Always endeavoring to limit the scope of the war,
I decided to do something which was difficult for me to do. In 1939
I sent my Minister to Moscow. That meant the most bitter triumph over
my feelings. I tried to come to an understanding.
You yourselves know best how honestly we observed
our obligations. Neither in our press nor at our meetings was a single
word about Russia mentioned. Not a single word about bolshevism. Unfortunately,
the other side did not observe their obligations from the beginning.
This arrangement resulted in a betrayal which at first
liquidated the whole northeast of Europe. You know best what it meant
for us to look on in silence as the Finnish people were being strangled,
what it meant to us that the Baltic States were also being overpowered.
What that meant can be judged by those who know German history and know
that there is not a single square kilometer there of land which has
not been opened up to culture and civilization by German pioneer work.
Yet I remained silent. I took a decision only when
I saw that Russia had reached the hour to advance against us at a moment
when we had only a bare three divisions in East Prussia, when twenty-two
Soviet divisions were assembled there. We gradually received proof that
on our frontiers one airdrome after another was set up, and one division
after another from the gigantic Soviet Army was being assembled there.
I was then obliged to become anxious for there is
no excuse in history for negligence. I am responsible for the present
of the German people and as far as possible for its future. I was therefore
compelled slowly to take defensive measures.
But in August and September of last year one thing
was becoming clear. A decision in the West with England which would
have contained the whole German Luftwaffe was no longer possible, for
in my rear there stood a State which was getting ready to proceed against
me at such a moment, but it is only now that we realize how far the
preparation had advanced. I wanted once again to clarify the whole problem
and therefore I invited Molotov [Russian Foreign Commissar] to Berlin.
He put to me the four well-known conditions. First,
Germany should finally agree that, as Russia felt herself again endangered
by Finland, Russia should be able to liquidate Finland. This was the
first question which I found difficult to answer. But I could not do
otherwise than refuse this.
The second question concerned Rumania, a question
whether a German guarantee would protect Rumania against Russia. Here,
too, I stand by my word. I do not regret it, for I have found in General
Antonescu a man of honor who at the time blindly stood by his word.
The third question referred to Bulgaria. Molotov demanded
that Russia should retain the right to send garrisons to Bulgaria and
thus to give a Russian guarantee to Bulgaria. What this means we know
from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
In this question I said that such a guarantee was
conditioned by the wishes of the country whose guarantee was to be given
and that I did not know anything about it and that I would have to make
inquiries and to consult with my allies.
The fourth question referred to the Dardanelles. Russia
demanded bases on the Dardanelles. If Molotov is now trying to deny
this, that is not surprising. If tomorrow or the day after tomorrow
he will be no longer in Moscow, he will deny that he is no longer in
He made this demand and I rejected it. I had to reject
it. This made things clear to me and further talks were without result.
My precautions were called for.
After that I carefully watched Russia. Each division
we could observe was carefully noted and counter-measures were taken.
The position in May had so far advanced that I could
no longer dismiss the thought of a life and death conflict. At that
time I had always to remain silent, and that was doubly difficult for
me, perhaps not so difficult with regard to the German people for they
had to realize there are moments when one cannot talk if one does not
wish to endanger the whole nation.
More difficult was silence for me with regard to my
soldiers, who, division by division, stood on the eastern frontier of
the Reich and yet did not know what was actually going on. And it was
just on account of them I could not speak.
Had I dropped one single word I would not have changed
Stalin's decision. But the possibility of surprise, which remained for
me as a last weapon, would then not have existed.
Any such indication, any such hint, would have cost
the lives of hundreds of thousands of our comrades. I was therefore
silent until the moment when I finally decided to take the first step
myself. When I see the enemy levering his rifle at me I am not going
to wait till he presses the trigger. I would rather be the first to
press the trigger.
This was the most difficult decision of my whole life
for every such step opened up the gate behind which secrets are hidden
so that posterity will know how it came about and how it happened. Thus
one can only rely on one's conscience, the confidence of one's people,
one's own weapons and what one asks of the Almighty. Not that He supports
inaction but He blesses him who is himself ready and willing to fight
and make sacrifices for his existence.
On June 22, in the morning, the greatest battle in
the history of the world started. Since then something like three and
a half months have elapsed and here I say this:
Everything since then has proceeded according to plan.
During the whole period the initiative has not been taken even for a
second out of the hand of our leadership. Up to the present day every
action has developed just as much according to plan as formerly in the
east against Poland and then against the west and finally against the
But I must say one thing at this point: We have not
been wrong in our plans. We have also not been mistaken about the efficiency
and bravery of the German soldier. Nor have we been mistaken about the
quality of our weapons.
We have not been mistaken about the smooth working
of the whole organization at the front and extending over a gigantic
area in the rear. Neither have we been mistaken about the German homeland.
We have, however, been mistaken about one thing. We
had no idea how gigantic the preparations of this enemy were against
Germany and Europe and how immeasurably great was the danger, how by
the skin of our teeth we have escaped the destruction not only of Germany
but also of Europe.
That I can say now. I say it only today because I
can say that this enemy is already broken and will never rise again.
Her power had been assembled against Europe, of which
unfortunately most had no idea and many even today have no idea. This
would have been a second storm of Ghengis Khan. That this danger was
averted we owe in the first place to the bravery, endurance and sacrifice
of the German soldiers and also the sacrifice of those who marched with
For the first time something like a European awakening
passed through this continent. In the north, Finland is fighting, a
true nation of heroes, for in her wide spaces she relies on her own
strength, her bravery and tenacity.
In the south, Rumania is fighting. It has recuperated
with astonishing speed from one of the most difficult crises that may
befall a country and the people are led by a man at once brave and quick
at making decisions.
This embraces the whole width of this battlefield
from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea. Our German soldiers are now
fighting in these areas and with them in their ranks Finns, Italians,
Hungarians, Rumanians, Slovaks, Croats and Spaniards are now going into
battle. Belgians, Netherlanders, Danes, Norwegians and even Frenchmen
The progress of this unparalleled event is known to
you in outline. Of the three German Army groups, one had the task to
break open the center and to open up the way to the right and the left.
Two flanking groups had the task, one to advance against Leningrad and
the other to occupy the Ukraine. These first tasks have been substantially
During this time of great historical fighting the
enemy is asking, "Why is nothing happening?" But something
had always been happening. But because something was happening we could
If I were the British Prime Minister today, I would
probably keep talking in the circumstances because there is nothing
happening there and that is the difference. We could not, not because
we did not pay homage to the everlasting achievements of our soldiers,
but because we could not give any information to the enemy in advance
of situations of which he, with his miserable news service, became aware
only days or even weeks later.
A German High Command communiqué is the report
of truth even if some stupid British newspaper lout declares it must
first be confirmed. German High Command communiqués have been
thoroughly confirmed. We have defeated the Poles and not the Poles us,
although the British press has been saying the opposite. There also
is no doubt that we are in Norway, and not the British.
Nor is there any doubt we were successful in the Netherlands
and Belgium and not the English. There is also no doubt that Germany
has conquered France and that we are in Greece and not the English or
the New Zealanders. Nor are they in Crete but we are there. Thus the
German High Command spoke the truth.
It is not different in the East. According to the
British version we have for three months suffered one defeat after another,
yet we are 1,000 kilometers beyond our frontier. We are east of Smolensk,
we are before Leningrad and are on the Black Sea. We are before the
Crimea and the Russians are not on the Rhine.
If, therefore, the Russians have been continuously
victorious they did not make use of their victories. Indeed, after every
victory they marched back 100 or 200 kilometers, evidently to lure us
deep into the area.
The magnitude of this battle is shown by the following
figures. There are many among you who have experienced the World War
and they know what it means to take prisoners and to advance hundreds
The number of prisoners has now risen to roughly 2,500,000
Russians. The number of captured or destroyed guns in our hands is,
in round figures, 22,000. The number of captured or destroyed tanks
in our hands amounts to over 18,000. The number of destroyed and shot-down
planes is over 14,500.
Behind our front line is a Russian area twice as large
as the German Reich when I took over leadership in 1933, or four times
as large as England. The beeline covered by the German soldiers is from
over 800 to 1,000 kilometers. The marching distance of this is often
one and a half times or twice as great.
They are fighting on a front of gigantic length, and
against an enemy who, I must say, does not consist of human beings but
of animals or beasts. We have seen now what Bolshevism can make of human
We cannot bring to the people at home the pictures
we have at our disposal. They are the most sinister that human brains
can imagine The enemy is fighting with a bestial lust of blood on the
one hand and out of cowardice and fear of his commissars on the other
Our soldiers have come to know the land after twenty-five
years of Bolshevist rule. Those who went there and, in their hearts
or bodies, have something of a communistic outlook in the narrowest
sense of the term, have returned cured of this idea.
The pictures of this paradise of workers and peasants
as I have always described it will be confirmed by five or six million
soldiers after the end of this war. They will be witnesses upon whom
I can call. They have marched through the streets of this paradise.
It is a single armaments factory against Europe at
the expense of the standard of living of the people. Our soldiers have
won victories against this cruel, bestial opponent, against this opponent
with the mighty armaments.
I cannot think of a phrase that would do justice to
them. What they are continually achieving in bravery, courage and immeasurable
efforts cannot be imagined.
Whether we take our airmen or fighters, our dive-bombers,
our navy crews which man our U-boats, whether we finally take our Alpine
troops in the north, or whether we take men of the S. S. detachments,
they are all alike. But above all, and I would like to emphasize this
especially now, stand the achievements of the German infantrymen.
We have three divisions, my friends, which since Spring
have marched from 2,000 to 3,000 kilometers. This includes numerous
divisions which have covered 1,500 or 2,000 kilometers. This speaks
I can say that if one speaks of lightning war, then
these soldiers deserve to have their deeds described as lightning, for
such performances in marches forward have never been surpassed in history,
except by the headlong flights of some English regiments.
There are only some historic, precipitated retreats
which have surpassed these performances. In any case, there was no question
of such long distances, for the enemy took care to keep near to the
I do not mean thereby to disparage the enemy. I only
want to render to the German soldier the justice he deserves. He has
achieved the unsurpassable. All organizations associated with him are
partly workers, but also partly soldiers. For in this mighty space almost
everybody is a soldier today.
Every worker is a soldier. Every railway man is a
soldier. In the whole of this area everybody must build with weapons,
and it is a colossal area. What was achieved behind this front is just
as grandiose as the achievements at the front.
Over 25,000 kilometers of Russian railways are again
functioning. Over 15,000 kilometers of Russian railways have been converted
to the German gauge. In the east the length of line which today has
been converted into the German gauge is more than fifteen times as great
as what used to be the longest trunk line in the Reich, that from Stettin
to the Bavarian Alps, which is just short of 1,000 kilometers.
What this has cost in sweat and effort even the people
at home may not appraise. And behind all this there are the labor battalions
and labor services of our organization. The whole gigantic front of
these services and of the Red Cross, medical officers, stretcher bearers
and Red Cross nurses are all making sacrifices.
Behind this front a new administration is already
being built to look after the whole of this gigantic area.
If this war lasts much longer, Germany and her allies
will make use of it and its usefulness will be tremendous, for there
is no doubt that we know how to organize it. If I give you now, in a
few sentences, a picture of the unique achievements of the German soldiers
and of all those who are today fighting or working in the East, I would
also convey to you the gratitude of our soldiers for the excellent,
first-class weapons the country has supplied to them and their gratitude
for the munitions that are at their disposal in unlimited quantities
as fast as they can be transported.
There is only the problem of transportation. We have
seen to it that, in the midst of this huge war of material, the function
of production has been organized in a large area, for I know that there
is now no adversary who cannot be forced to yield by an available mass
And if at times you read in the newspapers about the
gigantic plans of other States, of what they intend to do, and to begin,
and when you hear of sums running into billions, remember I now say,
first, we place the whole continent in the service of this struggle;
second, we do not talk of capital but of labor, and we place this labor
100 per cent in this service. If we do not talk about it, this does
not mean that we are not doing anything.
I know perfectly well that the others are doing everything
better than we do. They are building tanks that are invincible, that
are faster than ours and do not need any gasoline. In the fighting we
have everywhere put many of them out of action. That is decisive.
They build wonder planes; everything they do is amazing.
All they do is incomprehensible, even technically incomprehensible,
but they have no machines that can surpass ours, and the machines we
drive or fly today, or with which we shoot today, are not the machines
we shall drive, fly or shoot with next year.
I believe that will satisfy every German. Everything
else will be seen to by our inventors and by our German workers and
working women. Behind this front of sacrifice and bravery in the face
of death there is also the home front, a front formed by city and country.
Millions of German workmen are laboring in the cities
and in the country. An entire people is engaged in the struggle.
This united German people was confronted by two extremes
in the world outside. In one the capitalist State denies the natural
right to their people by lies and treachery and in which they keep solely
their own vested interest. On the other side stood the Communist extreme,
a state that has brought inconceivable misery to millions and desired
to bring the same misery to the entire world.
In my opinion this imposes on us only one duty, to
strive more than ever after our National Socialist ideals. For we must
be clear on one point. When this war is concluded, it is the German
soldier who will have won it, the German soldier who has come from the
peasants and factories, who really represents the masses of the people.
It will have been won by the German home front, with
millions of men and women workers and peasants, the creative men in
the office and in the professions. All these millions of active people
will have won it. Those who labor at home have the right to know that
this new State will be built for them.
The experiences of the front will produce still more
fanatic National Socialists. In Germany the system of justice reigns.
He who has been able to lead, whether in the military, political or
economic field, will be equally valuable and equally esteemed in Germany,
but just so highly esteemed will be he who put out help, without whose
assistance the greatest leadership would not be capable of anything.
That is decisive.
The German people can be proud today. They have the
best political leaders, the best generalissimos, the best engineers
and economic organizers and also the best workmen, best peasants and
To weld all these people into one indissoluble community
was the task we set ourselves as National Socialists. This task confronts
Germany more clearly today than ever before.
I shall emerge from this war one day again with my
party program, the fulfillment of which is more important to me today
than during those first days. I have come here to tell the German people
that in the Winter Help scheme it has the opportunity to show the community
spirit. What sacrifices those at the front are bearing cannot be made
up by anything. What the German home front has achieved and will still
achieve will stand before history.
Only when the entire German people become a single
community of sacrifice can we expect and hope that Almighty God will
help us. The Almighty has never helped a lazy man. He does not help
the coward. He does not help a people that cannot help itself.
The principle applies here, help yourselves and Almighty
God will not deny you his assistance.