SPEECH OF APRIL 1, 1939
German Fellow-Citizens:- He who wants to have the deepest impression of the decay and resurrection of Germany most vividly
must go and see the development of a city like Wilhelmshaven, which today reverberates with life and activity and which still
a short time ago was a dead spot nearly without means of existence and without prospects of a future - it pays to revisualize
When this city experienced its first upward move it coincided with the rise of the German Reich after its unification.
This Germany was in a state of peace.
During the same time as the so-called peace-loving and Puritan nations led a great number of wars, Germany then knew
only one aim: To maintain peace, to work in peace, to raise the prosperity of its inhabitants, and thereby to contribute to
human culture and civilization.
This Germany of peace times has attempted, with unending diligence, with geniality, and with steadiness, to form its
life within and to safeguard outwardly - through participation in peaceful competition with the nations - its due place in
Even though this Germany through the decades was the safest guarantor of peace, and even though she occupied herself
with peaceful things, she was unable to prevent other nations, and especially their statesmen, from following this rise with
envy and hatred and finally to answer with a war.
Today we know from the documents of history how the encirclement policy of those times was carried on in a planned way
We know from numerous findings and publications that in that country the conception was that it would be necessary to
bring down Germany militarily because its destruction would insure every British citizen a greater abundance of life's possessions.
Certainly at that time Germany made mistakes. Its most serious mistake was to see this encirclement and not to stave
it off in time.
The only fault we can blame the regime of that time for is that the Reich had full knowledge of this devilish plan of
a raid and yet it did not have the power of decision to ward it off in time and could only let this encirclement ripen until
the beginning of the catastrophe.
The result was the World War. In this war the German people, although it had by no means the best armaments, fought heroically.
No people can claim the glory for itself to have forced us down - much less so that nation whose statesmen today speak the
Germany at that time remained undefeated and unconquered on land, at sea, and in the air - however, it was Germany.
But there was the power of the lie and the poison of propaganda which did not balk at misinterpretation and untruth.
This Germany faced the world in absolute defenselessness because it was unprepared.
When [President Woodrow] Wilson's Fourteen Points were published, not only many German fellow-citizens but above all
the 'leading' men saw in these Fourteen Points not only the possibility of ending the World War but also the pacification
of the world at large.
A peace of reconciliation and understanding was promised-a peace that was to know neither victor nor vanquished, a peace
of equal justice for all, a peace of equal distribution of colonial domains and equal recognition of colonial desires, a peace
that was to be finally crowned by a league of all free nations.
It was to be a guarantor of equal rights that would make it seem superfluous in the future for peoples to bear the armaments
that previously, so it was said, were so heavily burdensome.
Therefore, disarmament-disarmament of all the nations.
Germany was to go ahead as a good example. Everybody was obliged to follow this disarmament. Also the age of secret diplomacy
was to be ended. All problems henceforth were to be discussed openly and freely.
First of all, however, the right of self-determination of nations finally was to have been settled and raised to its
Germany believed in these assurances. With faith in these declarations it had dropped its weapons. And then a breach
of a pledge began such as world history had never seen before.
When our nation had dropped its weapons, a period of suppression, blackmailing, plundering, and slavery began. Not another
word about peace without victor or vanquished, but an endless sentence of condemnation for the vanquished. Not another word
about justice, but of justice on your side and injustice and illegality on the other.
Robbery upon robbery, oppression upon oppression were the consequences.
No one in this democratic world bothered himself any more about the sufferings of our people. Hundreds of thousands fell
in the war, not from enemy weapons, but from the hunger blockade. And after the war ended, this blockade was continued for
months in order to oppress our people still more.
Even German war prisoners, after an endless time, had to remain in captivity. The German colonies were stolen from us,
German foreign holdings were simply seized and our merchant marine taken away.
Added to that was a financial plundering such as the world had never before seen. The monetary penalties which were imposed
on the German people reached astronomical figures.
Of these an English statesman said that they could only be fulfilled when the German standard of living was reduced to
the lowest possible level and Germans worked fourteen hours daily. What German spirit, German alertness, and German labor
through decades and decades had collected and saved was lost in a few years.
Millions of Germans were either torn away from the Reich or were prevented from returning to the Reich. The League of
Nations was not an instrument of a just policy of understanding among nations, but is and was a guarantee of the meanest dictation
man ever invented.
So was a great people raped and led toward a misery that you all know. A great people through a broken pledge was cheated
of its rights and its existence rendered practically impossible. A French statesman coined the following expression: 'There
are 20,000,000 Germans too many in the world!'
Germans ended their lives out of despair, others slid into lethargy and an inevitable destiny and still others were of
the opinion that everything must be destroyed; still others set their teeth and clenched their fists in unconscious rage.
Still others believed that the past should be restored - restored just as it was.
Everyone had an idea of some sort. And I, as an unknown soldier of the World War, drew my conclusions.
It was a very short and simple program. It ran: Removal of the internal enemies of the nation, termination of the divisions
within Germany, the gathering up of the entire national strength of our people into a new community, and the breaking of the
peace treaty - in one way or another!
For as long as this dictate of Versailles weighed upon the German people it was actually damned to go to the ground.
If, however, other statesmen now declare that right must rule on this earth, then they should be told that their crime is
no right, that their dictate is neither right nor law but above this dictate stand the eternal rights of peoples to live.
The German people were not created by providence in order to follow obediently a law which suits the English or the French,
but rather in order to champion their right to live. That is why we are here! I was determined to take up this battle of advocating
the German right to live.
I took it up first within the nation.
In place of a great number of parties, social ranks, and societies, a single community now has taken its place - the
German national community! To bring it to realization and to deepen it more and more is our task.
I had to hurt many in this time. However, I believe that the good fortune in which the entire nation is participating
today must richly compensate every single one for what he had to give up dearly on his own part.
You all have sacrificed your parties, societies, and associations, but you have obtained in return a great strong Reich.
And the Reich today, thank God, is strong enough to take your rights under its protection.
We no longer are dependent on the good graces or disgraces of other States or their statesmen.
When, more than six years ago, I obtained power, I took over a wretched inheritance. The Reich seemed to possess no more
possibilities of existence for its citizens.
I undertook the work at that time with the one single capital which I possessed. It was the capital of your strength
Your strength to work, my fellow-citizens, I now have begun to put to use. I had no foreign exchange. I had no gold reserve.
I had only one thing - my faith and your work!
Thus we began the gigantic work of rebuilding based upon the confidence of the nation, instilled with the belief and
the confidence in its eternal values.
Now we have found a new economic system, a system which is this: Capital is the power of labor and the coverage of money
lies in our production.
We have founded a system based on the most sincere foundation there is, namely: Form your life yourself! Work for your
existence! Help yourself and God will help you!
Within a few years we have wrenched Germany from despair. But the world did not help us. If today an English statesman
says one can and must solve all problems through frank deliberations, I should like to tell this statesman just this: An opportunity
has been open for fifteen years before our time.
If the world says today that the nations must be divided into virtuous nations and into such as are not virtuous - and
that the English and French belong to the first class, and the Germans and Italians belong to those not virtuous - we can
only answer: The judgment whether a people is virtuous or not virtuous can hardly be passed by a human being. That should
be left to God.
Perhaps the same British statesman will retort: 'God has passed the verdict already, because He presented the virtuous
nations with one quarter of the world and He took everything away from the nonvirtuous!'
The question may be permitted: 'By what means have the virtuous nations obtained for themselves this quarter of the world.'
And one must answer: 'They did not apply virtuous methods!'
For 300 years this England acted without virtue in order now in maturity to speak of virtue. Thus it could appear that
during this British period without virtue 46,000,000 Englishmen have subdued nearly one-quarter of the world while 80,000,000
Germans, because of their virtue, must live at a rate of 140 to one square kilometer.
Indeed, twenty years ago, the question of virtue still was not entirely clear for the British statesmen insofar as it
concerned conceptions of property. One still held it compatible with virtue simply to take away the colonies of another people
that had acquired them through treaty or through purchase because one possessed the power - this very power which now, to
be sure, should be deemed as something abominable and detestable.
I have only one thing to ask the gentlemen here: whether they believe what they say or do not believe it. We do not know.
We assume, however, that they do not believe what they say. For if we should assume that they themselves really believe
it then we would lose every respect for them.
For fifteen years Germany patiently bore its lot and fate. I also sought in the beginning to solve every problem through
talks. I made an offer in the case of each problem and each time it was turned down!
There can be no doubt that every people possesses sacred interests, simply because they are identical with their lives
and their right to live.
When, today, a British statesman demands that every problem which lies in the midst of Germany's life interest first
should be discussed with England,. then I, too, could demand just as well that every British problem first is to be discussed
Certainly, these Englishmen may give me the answer: 'The Germans have no business in Palestine!' I answer that we do
not want anything in Palestine.
Just as we Germans have little to do in Palestine, just as little business has England mixing in our German section of
existence. And if they now declare that it involves general questions of law and justice I could approve of this opinion only
if it was considered as binding to both of us.
They say we have no right to do this or that. I should like to raise the counter-question: What right, for example, has
England to shoot down Arabs in Palestine just because they defend their homeland; who gives them this right?
Anyway, we have not slaughtered thousands in Central Europe but instead we have regulated our problems with law and order.
However, I should like to say one thing here: The German people of today, the German Reich of today is not willing to
surrender life interests, it also is not willing to face rising dangers without doing something about them.
When the Allies, without regard or purpose, right, tradition, or even reasonableness, changed the map of Europe, we had
not the power to prevent it. If, however, they expect the Germany of today to sit patiently by until the very last day when
this same result would again be repeated - while they create satellite States and set them against Germany - then they are
mistaking the Germany of today for the Germany of before the war.
He who declares himself ready to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for these powers must realize he burns his fingers.
Really, we feel no hatred against the Czech people. We have lived together for years. The English statesmen do not know
this. They have no idea that Hradcany castle was not built by an Englishman but by a German and that the St. Vitus Cathedral
likewise was not erected by Englishmen but that German hands did it.
Even the French were not active there. They do not know that already at a time when England still was very small a German
Kaiser was paid homage on this hill [Hradcany castle]-that one thousand years before me the first German King stood there
and accepted the homage of this people.
Englishmen do not know that. They could not know that and they do not have to know it. It is sufficient that we know
it and that it is true that this territory lay in the living space of the German people for over a thousand years.
Despite this, however, we would have had nothing against an independent Czech State if, first, it had not suppressed
Germans, and, second, if it had not been intended as the instrument of a future attack on Germany. When, however, a former
French Air Minister writes in a newspaper that on the basis of their prominent position it is the task of these Czechs to
strike at the heart of German industry with air attacks during war, then one understands that this is not without interest
to us and that we draw certain conclusions from it.
It would have been up to England and France to defend this airbase. Upon us fell the task of preventing such an attack
at all events. I sought to accomplish this by a natural and simple way.
When I first saw that every effort of that kind was destined to be wrecked and that elements hostile to Germany again
would win the upper hand, and as I further saw that this State had long since lost its inner vitality - indeed, that it already
was broken to pieces - I again carried through the old German Reich. And I joined together again what had to be united because
of history and geographical positions, and according to all rules of reason.
Not to oppress the Czech people! It will enjoy more freedom than the suppressed people of the virtuous nations.
I have, so I believe, thereby rendered peace a great service, because I have rendered innocuous in time an instrument
which was destined to become effective in war against Germany. If they now say that this is the signal that Germany now wants
to attack the entire world, I do not believe that this is meant seriously: such could only be the expression of a bad conscience.
Perhaps it is rage over the failure of a far-flung plan, perhaps it is an attempt to create tactical preconditions for
a new policy of encirclement.
Be that as it may: it is my conviction that thereby I have rendered peace a great service and out of this conviction
I decided three weeks ago to name the coming party rally the 'Party Convention of Peace.'
For Germany has no intention of attacking other people. What we, however, do not want to renounce is the building up
of our economic relations. We have a right thereto and I do not accept any condition from a European or a non-European statesman.
The German Reich is not only a great producer but also a gigantic consumer, just as we as a producer will be an irreplaceable
trade partner, so as a consumer we are capable of honorably and fairly paying for what we consume.
We are not thinking about making war on other peoples. However, our precondition is that they leave us in peace.
In any case the German Reich is not ready everlastingly to accept intimidation or even a policy of encirclement.
I once made an agreement with England - namely, the Naval Treaty. It is based on the earnest desire which we all possess
never to have to go to war against England. But this wish can only be a mutual one.
If this wish no longer exists in England, then the practical preconditions for this agreement therewith are removed and
Germany also would accept this very calmly. We are self-assured because we are strong, and we are strong because we are united
and because in addition we are looking forward. And in this city, my fellow citizens, I can address the one exhortation to
you: Look into the world and to all its happenings with open eyes. Do not deceive yourselves about the most important precondition
in life - namely, the necessity to be strong.
We have experienced this for fifteen years. Therefore I have made Germany strong again and erected an armed force, an
army on land, at sea, and in the air.
When they say in other countries that they will arm and will keep arming still more, I can tell those statesmen only
this: They will not be able to tire me out. I am determined to proceed on this road and I have a conviction that we shall
proceed faster than the others. No power on earth will ever again be able to entice the weapons from us through any phrase.
Should, however, somebody be craving for measuring their strength with ours, then the German people also are ready at
any time and I am ready and determined.
Just as we think, our friends also think, especially the State with which we are bound most closely and with which we
are marching now and will march under all circumstances forever.
If hostile journalists do not know of anything else to write, then they write about rents or breaks in the Axis. They
ought to hold their peace. This Axis is the most natural political instrument existing in this world.
It is a political combination which owes its origin not only to reasonable political deliberation and the desire for
justice but also to the power of an ideal.
This construction will be more durable than the momentary ties of nonhomogeneous bodies on the other side. For if some
one tells me today that there are no philosophical or ideological differences of any kind between England and Soviet Russia,
then I can only say:
'I congratulate you, gentlemen!'
I believe that the time is not far distant in which the philosophical community between Fascist Italy and National Socialist
Germany will prove essentially different than the one between democratic Great Britain and the bolshevist Russia of Stalin.
However, if there really should be no ideological difference, then I can only say: How correct, indeed, is my position
toward Marxism and communism and democracy! Why two phenomena if they possess the same contents?
In these days we experience a very great triumph and a deep inner satisfaction. A country which also was devastated by
bolshevism, where hundreds of thousands of human beings, women, men, children, and patriarchs have been slaughtered, has liberated
itself, liberated despite all the ideological friends of bolshevism who sit in Great Britain, France and in other countries.
We can understand this Spain only too well in its struggle and we greet and congratulate it for its success. We Germans
of today can express this with special pride, since many German young men have done their duty there. They have helped as
volunteers to break a tyrannic regime and to return to a nation the right of self-determination.
We are pleased to note how fast, how extremely fast, the philosophical change came over the deliverers of war material
on the Red side. We note how much they now, all of a sudden, understand this National Spain and how ready they are to conduct
with this National Spain, if not philosophical, then at least economic business.
This also is a sign showing the trend of development.
My fellow-citizens, I believe that all States will be facing the same problem which we have faced.
State after State will either fall under the Jewish bolshevist pest or it will defend itself.
We have done it and have now erected a national German people's State. This people's State wants to live in peace and
friendship with any other State but it will never again let itself be forced down by another State.
I do not know whether the world will become fascist! But I am deeply convinced that this world in the end will defend
itself against the most severe bolshevistic threat that exists.
Therefore I believe that a final understanding between nations will come sooner or later. Only when this Jewish wedge
among peoples is removed can the establishment of co-operation among nations - built on lasting understanding - be considered.
Today we must rely upon our own strength! And we can be satisfied with the results of this trust in ourselves - inwardly
When I came to power, my fellow-citizens, Germany was divided and impotent internally, and outwardly the sport of foreign
designs. Today we are in order domestically. Our business is flourishing.
Abroad perhaps we are not loved, but respected. Yet we receive attention! That is the decisive factor! Above all we have
given the greatest possible good fortune to millions of our fellow-citizens - the return into our Greater German Reich.
Second: We have given Central Europe a great piece of good fortune, namely, peace - peace that will be protected by German
might. And this might can no longer be broken by any world power. That is our pledge!
So we will show that over two million citizens did not fall in the Great War in vain. From their sacrifice came Greater
Germany. From their sacrifice was this strong young German people that the Reich called into being and that has now made itself
felt. In the face of this sacrifice we shall not shy away from any sacrifice if it is ever necessary.
Let the world understand that!
It can make pacts and draw up declarations as much as it wishes. I have no faith in paper, but I do have faith in you,
The greatest breach of faith of all time was committed against us Germans. Let us take care that our people internally
are never again in a position to be broken. Then no one in the world will threaten us. Then peace will either be maintained
for our people or, if necessary, peace will be enforced.
Then our people will bloom and flourish. Our people will be able to put their geniality, their ability, their diligence
and steadfastness into the works of peace and human culture. This is our desire. We hope for it and we believe in it.
Twenty years ago that party was founded - at that time a tiny organization. Consider the road from that time until today!
Consider the wonders which have occurred about us.
Believe, therefore, because of this wonderful road, also in the course of the German people in its coming great future!
Germany - Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!
SPEECH OF SEPTEMBER 19, 1939
My District Leader, My Dear Danzigers:
Not only you experience this moment with deepest emotion; nay, the entire German nation experiences it with you, and
I, too, am aware of the greatness of the hour when I, for the first time, tread on the soil which German settlers occupied
five centuries ago and which for five centuries was German, and which - thereof you may rest assured - will remain German.
The fact that a province was torn from the German Reich and that other German territories were given to the Polish State
was explained on the grounds of national necessity. Later, plebiscites everywhere showed that no one wished to become a part
of the Polish State - that Polish State which arose out of the blood of countless German regiments. It then expanded at the
expense of old settlement areas and above all at the expense of intelligence and economic possibility.
One thing has been clearly proved in the last twenty years; the Poles who had not founded that culture also were not
able to maintain it. It has been shown again that only he who is himself culturally creative can permanently maintain real
Thirty years would have been sufficient to reduce again to barbarism those territories which the Germans, painstakingly
and with industry and thrift, had saved from barbarism. Everywhere traces of this retrogression and decay were visible.
Poland itself was a 'nationalities State.' That very thing had been created here which had been held against the old
Austrian State. At the same time Poland was never a democracy. One very thin anemic upper class here ruled not only foreign
nationalities but also its so-called own people.
It was a State built on force and governed by the truncheons of the police and the military. The fate of Germans in this
State was horrible. There is a difference whether people of lower cultural value has the misfortune to be governed by a culturally
significant people or whether a people of high cultural significance has forced upon it the tragic fate of being oppressed
by an inferior.
In this inferior people all its inferiority complexes will be compensated upon a higher culture-bearing people. This
people will be horribly and barbarically mistreated and Germans have been evidence of this fate for twenty years.
It was, as already emphasized, tragic and painful. Nevertheless, as everywhere else, I tried to find a solution here
which might have led to a fair adjustment. I have tried in the West and then later in the South to maintain final frontier
delineations in order thus to deliver region upon region from uncertainty and assure peace and justice for the future. I made
the greatest efforts to attain the same thing here also. . .
The world, which immediately sheds tears when Germany expels a Polish Jew who only a few decades ago came to Germany,
remained dumb and deaf toward the misery of those who, numbering not thousands but millions, were forced to leave their home
country on account of Versailles - that is, if these unfortunates were Germans. What was for us and also for me most depressing
was the fact that we had to suffer all this from a State which was far inferior to us; for, after all, Germany is a Great
Power, even though madmen believed the vital rights of a great nation could be wiped out by a crazy treaty or by dictation.
Germany was a big power and had to look on while a far inferior people of a far inferior State maltreated these Germans.
There were two especially unbearable conditions: First, this city whose German character nobody could deny was not only prevented
from returning to the Reich but in addition an attempt was made to Polonize it by all kinds of devices; second, the province
[East Prussia] severed from the German Reich had no direct contact with the Reich, but traffic with this province was dependent
upon all kinds of chicanery or upon the good will of this Polish State.
No power on earth would have borne this condition as long as Germany. I do not know what England would have said about
a similar peace solution at its expense or how America or France would have accepted it. I attempted to find a solution -
a tolerable solution - even for this problem. I submitted this attempt to the Polish rulers in the form of verbal proposals.
You know these proposals. They were more than moderate....
I do not know what mental condition the Polish Government was in when it refused these proposals. I know, however, that
millions of Germans sighed with relief, since they felt I had gone too far. As an answer, Poland gave the order for the first
mobilization. Thereupon wild terror was initiated, and my request to the Polish Foreign Minister to visit me in Berlin once
more to discuss these questions was re- fused. Instead of going to Berlin, he went to London. For the next weeks and months
there were heightened threats, threats which were hardly bearable for a small State but which were impossible for a Great
Power to bear for any length of time.
We could read in Polish publications that the issue at stake was not Danzig but the problem of East Prussia, which Poland
was to incorporate in a short time. That increased. Other Polish newspapers stated that East Prussia would not solve the problem,
but that Pomerania must, under all circumstances, come to Poland.
Finally it became questionable in Poland whether the Oder would be enough as a boundary or whether Poland's natural boundary
was not the Oder but the Elbe. It was debated whether our armies would be smashed before or behind Berlin.
The Polish Marshal, who miserably deserted his armies, said that he would hack the German Army to pieces. And martyrdom
began for our German nationals. Tens of thousands were dragged off, mistreated, and murdered in the vilest fashion. Sadistic
beasts gave vent to their perverse instincts, and this pious democratic world watched without blinking an eye.
I have often asked myself: Who can have so blinded Poland? Does anyone really believe that the German nation will permanently
stand that from such a ridiculous State? Does anyone seriously believe that? It must have been believed because certain quarters
described it as possible to the Poles, certain quarters which general warmongers have occupied decades long, yes, hundreds
of years long and which they occupy even today.
These quarters declared that Germany was not even to be considered as a Power. The Poles were told that they would easily
be able to resist Germany, and, going a step further, assurance was given that if their own resistance was not enough they
could depend on the resistance and assistance of others. The guarantee was given which put it into the hands of a small State
to begin a war, or again perhaps not to do so.
For these men Poland, too, was only a means to an end. Because today it is being declared quite calmly that Poland was
not the primary thing, but that the German regime is. I always warned against these men. You will recall my Saarbruecken and
Wilhelmshaven speeches. In both these speeches I pointed out the danger that in a certain country such men could rise and
unmolested preach the necessity of war - Herren Churchill, Eden, Duff-Cooper, etc.
I pointed out how dangerous this is, especially in a country where one does not know whether these men may not be the
Government in a short time. I was then told that that would never happen. In my opinion they are now the Government. It happened
exactly as I then foresaw. I then decided for the first time to warn the German nation against them. But I also have left
no doubt that Germany, under no circumstances, will capitulate to the threats or coercion of these people.
On account of this answer I have been strongly attacked: because certain practices have gradually been developed in democracies:
namely, in democracies war may be advocated. There foreign regimes and statesmen may be attacked, calumniated, insulted, sullied
because there reign freedom of speech and the press. In authoritarian States, on the other hand, one may not defend one's
self because there reigns discipline.
You know, of course, of those August days. I believe it would have been possible in those last August days, without the
British guarantee and without agitation by these warmongers, to have reached an understanding. At a certain moment England
herself offered to bring us into direct discussion with Poland. I was ready. Of course it was the Poles who did not come.
I came to Berlin with my Government and for two days waited and waited. Meanwhile, I had worked out a new pro- posal.
You know it. I had the British Ambassador informed of it on the evening of the first day. It was read to him sentence by sentence
and the Reich Foreign Minister gave him a supplementary explanation. Then came the next day and nothing occurred except for
Polish general mobilization, renewed acts of terror, and finally attacks against Reich territory.
Now in the life of nations, patience must not always be interpreted as weakness. For years I patiently looked on these
continuous provocations. What keen suffering I underwent in these years only few can imagine, because there was hardly a month
or week in which deputations from these districts did not come to me depicting unbearable conditions and imploring me to interfere.
I have always begged them to try again. This continued for years, but I have recently also warned that this could not
go on forever. After again waiting and even receiving new proposals I finally decided, as I declared in the Reichstag, to
talk with Poland in the same language as they talked to us, or believed they could talk to us - the language which alone they
seem to understand.
Also, at this moment peace could have been saved. Friendly Italy and I1 Duce came in and made a suggestion for mediation.
France agreed. I also expressed my agreement. Then England rejected also that suggestion and replied that, instead, Germany
might be served with a two-hour ultimatum with impossible demands. England erred in one thing. There once was a government
in Germany in November, 1918, that was kept by England, and they confound the present German regime with one they kept and
confound the present German nation with the misled and blinded nation of that time.
One does not send ultimatums to the Germany of today. - May London make note!
In the last six years I had to stand intolerable things from States like Poland - nevertheless I sent no ultimatum. The
German Reich is not inclined and will not be addressed in such a tone. I knew if Poland chose war she chose it because others
drove her into war, those others who believed they might make their biggest political and financial killing in this war. But
it will not be their biggest killing, but their biggest disappointment.
Poland chose to fight and she received a fight. She chose this fight light-heartedly because certain statesmen assured
her they had detailed proof of the worthlessness of Germany and her armed forces, of the inferiority of our armament, of the
poor morale of our troops, of defeatism within the Reich, of a discrepancy between the German people and its leadership.
The Poles were persuaded that it would be easy not only to resist but also to throw our army back. Poland constructed
her campaign on these assurances of the Western general staffs. Since then eighteen days have passed, and hardly elsewhere
in history can the following be said with more truth: The Lord has struck them down with horse, with man and with wagon.
As I speak to you our troops stand along a great line from Brest-Litovsk to Lwow, and at this moment endless columns
of the smashed Polish Army have been marching as prisoners from that sector since yesterday afternoon. Yesterday morning there
were 20,000; yesterday afternoon 50,000; this morning 70,000. I do not know how great the number is now, but I know one thing:
what remains of the Polish Army west of that line will capitulate within a few days, they will lay down their arms or be crushed.
At this moment, our thankful hearts fly to our men. The German Army gave those genius-statesmen, who were so well-informed
as to conditions within the Reich, a necessary lesson....
At this moment we want to give the Polish soldier absolute justice. At many points the Pole fought bravely. His lower
leadership made desperate efforts, his middle-grade leadership was too unintelligent, his highest leadership was bad, judged
by any standard. His organization was - Polish...
I ordered the German Air Force to conduct humanitarian warfare - that is, to attack only fighting troops. The Polish
Government and army leadership ordered the civilian population to carry on the war as francs-tireurs from ambush. It is very
difficult under these circumstances to hold one's self back. I want to stress that the democratic States should not imagine
it must be that way. If they want it otherwise, they can have it otherwise. My patience can have limits here also. . . .
So, we have beaten Poland within eighteen days and thus created a situation which perhaps makes it possible one day to
speak to representatives of the Polish people calmly and reasonably.
Meantime, Russia felt moved, on its part, to march in for the protection of the interests of the White Russian and Ukrainian
people in Poland. We realize now that in England and France this German and Russian co-operation is considered a terrible
crime. An Englishman even wrote that it is perfidious - well, the English ought to know. I believe England thinks this co-operation
perfidious because the co-operation of democratic England with bolshevist Russia failed, while National Socialist Germany's
attempt with Soviet Russia succeeded.
I want to give here an explanation: Russia remains what she is; Germany also remain what she is. About only one thing
are both regimes clear: neither the German nor the Russian regime wants to sacrifice a single man for the interest of the
Western democracies. A lesson of four years was sufficient for both peoples. We know only too well that alternately, now one
then the other, would be granted the honor to fill the breach for the ideals of the Western democracies.
We therefore thank both peoples and both States for this task. We intend henceforth to look after our interests ourselves,
and we have found that we best have been able to look after them when two of the largest peoples and States reconcile each
other. And this is made simpler by the fact that the British assertion as to the unlimited character of German foreign policy
is a lie. I am happy now to be able to refute this lie for British statesmen. British statesmen, who continually maintain
that Germany intends to dominate Europe to the Urals now will be pleased to learn the limits of German political intentions.
I believe this will deprive them of a reason for war because they profess to have to fight against the present regime because
it today pursues unlimited political goals.
Now, gentlemen of the great British Empire, the aims of Germany are closely limited. We discussed the matter with Russia
- they, after all, are the most immediately interested neighbor - and if you are of the opinion that we might come to a conflict
on the subject - we will not.
Britain ought to welcome the fact that Germany and Soviet Russia have come to an understanding, for this understanding
means the elimination of that nightmare which kept British statesmen from sleeping because they were so concerned over the
ambitions of the present [German] regime to conquer the world. It will calm you to learn that Germany does not, and did not,
want to conquer the Ukraine. We have very limited interests, but we are determined to maintain those interests despite all
dangers, despite anyone.
And that we did not permit ourselves to be trifled with in those past eighteen days may have been proved sufficiently.
How a definite settlement of State conditions in this conflict will look depends first and foremost upon the two countries
which there have their most important vital interests.
Germany has there limited but unalterable claims, and she will realize those claims one way or another. Germany and Russia
will put in place the hotbed of conflict in the European situation which later will be valued only as a relaxation of tension.
If the Western Powers now declare that this must not be, under any circumstances, and if especially England declares
that she is determined to oppose this in a three- or five- or eight-year war, then I want to say something in reply:
Firstly, Germany, by extensive yielding and renunciation in the west and south of the Reich, has accepted definite boundaries.
Germany tried by these renunciations to attain lasting pacification. And we believe we would have succeeded were it not that
certain warmongers could be interested in disturbing the European peace.
I have neither toward England nor France any war claims, nor has the German nation since I assumed power. I tried gradually
to establish confidence between Germany and especially its former war enemies. I attempted to eliminate all tensions which
once existed between Germany and Italy, and I may state with satisfaction that I fully succeeded.
That ever closer and more cordial relations were established was due also to personal and human relations between Il
Duce and myself. I went still further, I tried to achieve the same between Germany and France. Immediately after the settlement
of the Saar question I solemnly renounced all further frontier revisions, not only in theory but in practice. I harnessed
all German propaganda to this end in order to eliminate everything which might lead to doubt or anxiety in Paris.
You know of my offers to England. I had only in mind the great goal of attaining the sincere friendship of the British
people. Since this now has been repulsed, and since England today thinks it must wage war against Germany, I would like to
Poland will never rise again in the form of the Versailles Treaty. That is guaranteed not only by Germany but also guaranteed
It is said in England that this war, of course, is not for Poland. That is only secondary. More important is the war
against the regime in Germany. And I receive the honor of special mention as a representative of this regime. If that is now
set up as a war aim, I will answer the gentlemen in London thus:
It is for me the greatest honor to be thus classed. On principle I educated the German people so that any regime which
is lauded by our enemies is poison for Germany and will therefore be rejected by us. If, therefore, a German regime would
get the consent of Churchill, Duff-Cooper and Eden it would be paid and kept by these gentlemen and hence would be unbearable
for Germany. That, certainly, is not true with us. It is, therefore, only honorable for us to be rejected by these gentlemen.
I can assure these gentlemen only this: If they should praise, this would be a reason for me to be most crestfallen. I am
proud to be attacked by them.
But if they believe they can thereby alienate the German people from me, then they either think the German people are
as lacking in character as themselves or as stupid as themselves. They err in both. National Socialism did not educate the
German people in vain during the past twenty years. We are all men who, in their long struggle, have been nothing but attacked.
That only tended to increase the love of our followers and created an inseparable union. And as the National Socialist party
took upon itself this years-long struggle, finally to win it, thus the National Socialist Reich and the German people take
up the fight and those gentlemen may be convinced: By their ridiculous propaganda the German people will not be undermined.
Those bunglers will have become our apprentices for many years before they can even attempt propaganda.
If peoples go to pieces it will not be the German people, who are fighting for justice, who have no war aims and who
Rather, those peoples will break when they gradually find out what their misleaders plan, and gradually grasp for what
little reason they are fighting, and that the only reasons for war are the profits or political interests of a very small
clique. A part of it declared in Britain that this war will last three years. Then I can only say: My sympathies are with
the French poilu. What he is fighting for he does not know. He knows only that he has the honor to fight at least three years.
But if it should last three years, then the word capitulation will not stand at the end of the third, and at the end of the
fourth year the word capitulation also will not be, and not in the fifth either, and also not in the sixth or seventh year.
These gentlemen should take note of the following: Today you have the Germany of Frederick the Great before you. These
gentlemen can believe this. The German people will not split up in this fight but become more unified. If anything splits
up it will be those States that are not so homogeneous, those empires built on the oppression of peoples. We are fighting
only for our naked beings. We are not able ourselves to be misled by propaganda.
Just imagine! There are people who say there are those ruling in another land who do not please us, so now we have war
with them. Naturally they do not carry on the war themselves, but look about for someone to conduct it for them. They provide
cannon and grenades while others provide grenadiers and soldiers. Such an utter lack of conscience!
What would be said if one of us should say that the present regime in France or Britain does not suit us and consequently
we are conducting a war? What immeasurable lack of conscience. For that, millions of persons are whipped into death. These
gentlemen can say that calmly, for they themselves never have been on the battlefield for even an hour.
But we will see how long they keep nations at war. There can be no doubt of one thing. however. We will take up the gauntlet
and we will fight as the enemy fights. England, with lies and hypocrisy, already has begun to fight against women and children.
They found a weapon which they think is invincible: namely, sea power. And because they cannot be attacked with this weapon
they think they are justified in making war with it against women and children - not only of enemies but also of neutrals
Let them make no mistake here, however. The moment could come very suddenly in which we could use a weapon with which
we cannot be attacked. I hope then they do not suddenly begin to think of humaneness and of the impossibility of waging war
against women and children. We Germans do not like that. It is not in our nature. In this campaign I gave an order to spare
human beings. When columns cross a market-place it can occur that someone else becomes the victim of attack.
In those places where insane or crazy people did not offer resistance not one windowpane was broken. In Cracow, except
for the air field, railroads and the railroad station, which were military objectives, not one bomb fell. On the other hand,
in Warsaw the war is carried on by civilian shootings in all streets and houses. There, of course, the war will take in the
whole city. We followed these rules and would like to follow them in the future. It is entirely up to England to carry out
her blockade in a form compatible with international law or incompatible with international law. We will adapt ourselves thereto.
But there should be no doubt about one thing:
England's goal is not 'a fight against the regime' but a fight against the German people, women and children. Our reaction
will be compatible, and one thing will be certain: This Germany does not capitulate. We know too well what fate would be in
store for Germany. Mr. King-Hall [Commander Stephen King-Hall, retired naval officer who writes a privately-circulated news
letter] told us in the name of his masters: A second Versailles, only worse.
What can be worse? The first Versailles Treaty was intended to exterminate 20,000,000 Germans. Thus the second can only
realize this intention. We received more detailed illustrations of what has been intended, what Poland shall have, what crowns
will be placed on what heads in France, etc. The German people take notice of this and shall fight accordingly. . .
We are determined to carry on and stand this war one way or another. We have only this one wish, that the Almighty, who
now has blessed our arms, will now perhaps make other peoples understand and give them comprehension of how useless this war,
this d=E9b=E2cle of peoples, will be intrinsically, and that He may perhaps cause reflection on the blessings of peace which
they are sacrificing because a handful of fanatic warmongers, persons who stand to gain by war, want to involve peoples in
SPEECH OF OCTOBER 6, 1939
IT WAS a fateful hour, on the first of September of this year, when you met here as representatives of the German people.
I had to inform you then of serious decisions which had been forced upon us as a result of the intransigent and provocative
action of a certain State.
Since then five weeks have gone by. I have asked you to come here today in order to give you an account of what has passed,
the necessary insight into what is happening at present and, so far as that is possible, into the future as well.
For the last two days our towns and villages have been decorated with flags and symbols of the new Reich. Bells are ringing
to celebrate a great victory, which, of its kind, is unique in history. A State of no less than 36,000,000 inhabitants, with
an army of almost fifty infantry and cavalry divisions, took up arms against us. Their arms were far-reaching, their confidence
in their ability to crush Germany knew no bounds.
After one week of fighting there could no longer be any doubt as to the outcome. Whenever Polish troops met German units,
they were driven back or dispersed. Poland's ambitious strategy for a great offensive against the territory of the Reich collapsed
within the first forty-eight hours of the campaign. Death-defying in attack, advancing at an unconquerable rate of progress,
infantry, armored detachments, air force and units of the navy were soon dictating the course of events.
They were masters of the situation throughout the campaign. In a fortnight's time the major part of the Polish Army was
either scattered, captured, or surrounded. In the meantime, however, the German Army had covered distances and occupied regions
which twenty-five years ago would have taken over fourteen months to conquer.
Even though a number of peculiarly gifted newspaper strategists in other parts of the world attempted to describe the
pace at which this campaign progressed as not coming up to Germany's expectations, we ourselves all know that in all history
there has scarcely been a comparable military achievement.
That the last remnants of the Polish Army were able to hold out in Warsaw, Modlin, and on Hela Peninsula until October
1 was not due to their prowess in arms, but only to our cool thinking and our sense of responsibility.
I forbade the sacrifice of more human lives than was absolutely necessary. That is to say, I deliberately released the
German Supreme Command from adherence to a principle still observed in the Great War demanding that for the sake of prestige
certain objectives must under all circumstances be reached within a certain time limit.
Everything which it is imperative to do will be done regardless of sacrifice, but what can be avoided will not be done.
There would have been no difficulty for us in breaking the resistance of Warsaw between the 10th and 12th of September,
just as we finally broke it September 25-27, only that in the first place I wanted to spare German lives and in the second
place I still clung to the hope, misdirected though it was, that the Polish side might for once be guided by responsible common
sense instead of by irresponsible lunacy. But in this instance we were once more confronted with the spectacle which we had
witnessed before on the largest possible scale.
The attempt to convince the responsible Polish command - in so far as it existed - that it was futile and in fact insane
to attempt resistance, especially in a city of more than a million inhabitants, proved entirely fruitless. A 'generalissimo,'
who himself took to inglorious flight, forced upon the capital of his country a resistance which could never lead to anything
but its destruction.
Since it was realized that Warsaw's fortifications alone were not likely to withstand the German attack, the entire city
was converted into a fortress and barricaded in every direction. Batteries were mounted in every square and great courtyard,
thousands of machine-gun posts manned and the whole population called up to take part in the fighting.
Sheer sympathy for women and children caused me to make an offer to those in command of Warsaw at least to let civilian
inhabitants leave the city. I declared a temporary armistice and safeguards necessary for evacuation, with the result that
we all waited for emissaries just as fruitlessly as we had waited at the end of August for a Polish negotiator. The proud
Polish commander of the city did not even condescend to reply.
To make sure, I extended the time limit and ordered bombers and heavy artillery to attack only military objectives, repeating
my proposal in vain. I thereupon made an offer that the whole suburb of Praga would not be bombarded at all, but should be
reserved for the civilian population in order to make it possible for them to take refuge there.
This proposal, too, was treated with contempt on the part of the Poles. Twice I attempted to evacuate at least the international
colony from the city. In this I finally succeeded after great difficulties, in the case of the Russian colony, actually at
the last moment. I then ordered a general attack on the city for September 25.
The same defenders who at first considered it beneath their dignity even to reply to my humane proposals, made on grounds
of humanity, then very rapidly changed face. The German attack opened on September 25, and Warsaw capitulated on the 27th.
With 120,000 men the defenders did not even attempt to break through as our German General Litzmann once did at Brzesiny
with a vastly inferior force, but, on the contrary, preferred to lay down arms.
Any comparison with the Alcazar is entirely out of place. There for weeks on end Spanish heroes defied the bitterest
attacks and earned a right to lasting fame. Here, on the other hand, a great city was unscrupulously exposed to destruction,
only to capitulate after a forty-eight-hour assault.
The Polish soldiers as individuals fought bravely on many occasions, but their officers, beginning with the command,
can only be described as irresponsible, unconscientious and inefficient. Before the bombardment of Hela I had also given orders
that not a single man should be sacrificed until the most careful preparation for action had been made. There, too, surrender
came at the very moment when the Germans had at length announced their intention of attacking and had begun to do so.
I have made these statements, gentlemen, with the object of forestalling the invention of historical legends, for if
legend is to be woven around any who took part in this campaign, it should be woven around German soldiers who, during the
attack and on the march, added yet another page to their immortal glorious record.
Legends could be woven, too, around the heavy artillery which performed untold feats of endurance in rushing to the assistance
of the infantry. Men of our armored mechanized units who, with dauntless courage and heedless of counterattacks and numerical
superiority of the enemy, attacked again and again are worthy of this legend.
Such a legend should also immortalize the airmen who, fearless of death and knowing that if anti-aircraft fire did not
kill them in the air, they would, if forced to make a parachute landing, inevitably suffer frightful death, continued with
steadfast courage to carry out reconnaissance flights and attacks with bombs or machine-gun fire whenever they were commanded
to do so and whenever they found objectives.
The same is true of the brave men of our submarine fleet. If, within four weeks, we totally annihilated a State with
a population of 36,000,000 and corresponding military strength, and if during this whole period our victorious arms have not
suffered a single setback, this cannot be ascribed simply to good luck but constituted certain proof of fine training, excellent
leadership, and indomitable courage.
Our knowledge of the strength of our fighting forces fills us all with a well of confidence, for they have not only proved
that they are strong in attack, but also that they are strong in retaining what they have won. The excellent training received
by the individual officers and men has been amply justified. It is this training which is responsible for the extremely few
casualties which - hard as they are for the individual to bear - are on the whole far less than we ventured to expect.
Admittedly the total number of casualties gives no idea of the severity of the various encounters, for certain regiments
and divisions suffered very heavy losses when they were attacked by Polish forces which were numerically superior or came
into conflict with such forces when they themselves were attacking....
As I am now about to make known to you the number of our dead and wounded, I request that you rise from your seats. Though
owing to the training given our troops, the effectiveness of our weapons and the command of our forces the figures do not
amount to even one-twentieth of what our apprehensions had been at the outset of the campaign, we will never forget that every
soldier who fell fighting brought for his people and our Reich the greatest sacrifice that man can bring.
According to the casualty list of up to September 30, 1939, which will not change materially, the total losses for the
army, navy and air force, including officers, are as follows: 10,572 killed; 30,322 wounded; 3,404 missing. Unfortunately,
of those missing a certain number who fell into Polish hands will probably be found to have been massacred and killed.
All our gratitude is due to the victims of the campaign in Poland, while the wounded may be assured of our best attention
and care, and the families of those killed of our sympathy and help.
By the capitulation of the fortresses of Warsaw and Modlin and the surrender of Hela, the Polish campaign has come to
an end. The task of safeguarding the country against vagabonding marauders, gangs of robbers and individual groups of terrorists
will be carried through with all energy.
The outcome of the war was the annihilation of all Polish armies, followed by the dissolution of the Polish State. Six
hundred and ninety-four thousand prisoners have set out on their march to Berlin. The amount of war material captured cannot
yet be estimated.
Since the outbreak of the war, the German forces have at the same time in calm preparedness taken up positions in the
West ready to meet the enemy.
The naval forces of the Reich have fulfilled their duty in the attack on the Westerplatte, Gdynia, Oxhoeft and Hela,
and in protecting the Baltic Sea and the German North Sea coast our submarines are fighting in a spirit worthy of the memory
of our heroes in the last war.
In the face of this historically unprecedented collapse of a structure purporting to be a State, the question in almost
everybody's mind is as to the reason for such a phenomenon.
Versailles was the cradle of a Polish State which had emerged from the untold sacrifice of blood - not of Polish but
of German and Russian blood. Poland, who for centuries past had proved herself incapable of existence, was in 1916 artificially
begotten and in 1919 no less artificially born by a German government just as incapable of existence.
In utter disregard of almost 500 years of experience, without consideration for the lesson of historical development
during many centuries, without appreciation for ethnographic conditions and with no regard for all economic expediencies,
a State was constructed at Versailles which, according to its whole nature, was sooner or later bound to become the cause
of a most serious crisis.
A man who, I am sorry to say, now ranks among our fiercest enemies, at that time clearly foresaw all this. I mean Mr.
Lloyd George. Like so many others he sounded warning, not only at the time of the creation of that structure but also in the
course of its subsequent expansion which had taken place in utter disregard of reason and right.
At that time he expressed apprehension that in that State an accumulation of conditions was being created containing
the risk of conflicts which sooner or later might lead to great European complications.
As a matter of fact, conditions surrounding the structure of this new so-called State, as far as its nationalities were
concerned, could not be clarified until now. It requires some knowledge of Polish census methods to realize how utterly alien
to truth, and therefore irrelevant, statistics on the national composition of that territory were and are.
In 1919 the Poles laid claims to the territory where they pretended to have a majority of 95 per cent - in East Prussia,
for instance - whereas a plebiscite later showed the Poles actually had reached a figure of 2 per cent.
In the State finally created, which contained parts of former Russia, Austria, and Germany, non-Polish elements were
so brutally ill-treated, suppressed, tyrannized and tortured that any plebiscite depended entirely on the good will of local
administrative officials for producing such results as were desired or demanded.
Nor did indisputable Polish elements receive much better recognition. And then, on top of all this, statesmen of our
Western Hemisphere spoke of this kind of creation as of democracy of the fundamentals of their own system.
In that country there ruled a minority of aristocratic or non-aristocratic large, vast estate-owners and wealthy intellectuals
to whom under the most favorable circumstances their own Polish compatriots were nothing but mass man power. For that reason
the regime was never backed by more than 15 per cent of the total population.
The economic distress and low cultural level corresponded with these conditions. In 1919 this State took over from Prussia
and also from Austria provinces which had been developed through hundreds of years of hard toil, some of them being in a most
flourishing condition. Today, after the elapse of twenty years, they are at a point of gradually turning into steppes again.
The Vistula, the river whose estuary has always been of such tremendous importance for the Polish Government, owing to
the lack of any and all care is now already unsuitable for any real traffic and, depending on the season, is either an unruly
stream or a dried-up rivulet.
Towns as well as villages are in a state of neglect. The roads, with very few exceptions, are badly out of repair and
in a terrible condition. Anyone who travels in that country for two or three weeks will get the proper idea of the classical
German term 'Polnische Wirtschaft,' meaning a 'Polish state of affairs!'
In spite of the unbearable conditions prevailing in that country, Germany endeavored to establish peaceful relations
with it. During the years 1933 and 1934 I endeavored to find some equitable compromise between our national interests and
our desire for the maintenance of peace with that country. There was a time, when Marshal Pilsudski was still alive, when
it seemed possible for this hope to materialize were it only to a modest extent.
Unlimited patience and still greater self-restraint were called for because many of the regional Polish administrative
officials took the understanding between Germany and Poland to be merely a license for the persecution and annihilation of
the Germans in Poland with even less risk. In the few years up to 1922 more than one-and-a-half million Germans had been forced
to leave their homes. They were hunted out, often without being able to take even their most necessary clothing.
When, in 1938, the Olsa territory went to Poland, they used the same methods against the Czechs who lived there. Often
within a few hours many thousands of these had to leave their working places, their homes, their villages and towns at the
shortest notice without being allowed to take anything more with them than a suitcase or a little box with clothing.
Things like this went on for years, and for years we looked on, always striving to attain some improvement in the lot
of the unhappy Germans living there by establishing closer relations. It was, however, impossible to overlook the fact that
every German attempt thereby to secure the removal of these intolerable conditions was taken by the Polish rulers to be nothing
more than a sign of weakness, if not of stupidity.
When the Polish Government proceeded in a thousand ways gradually to subjugate Danzig as well, I endeavored, by means
of practical proposals, to secure a solution whereby Danzig, in accordance with the wishes of its population, could be nationally
and politically united with Germany without impairing the economic needs and so-called rights of Poland. If today any one
alleges that these were ultimative demands, that allegation is a lie.
The proposals for a solution, as communicated to the Polish Government in March, 1939, were nothing but the suggestions
and the ideas already discussed long ago between myself and Polish Foreign Minister Beck, except for the fact that in the
spring of 1939 I thought I would be able to facilitate the acceptance of these proposals by the Polish Government in the face
of their own public opinion by the offer to concede to them an equivalent.
The fact that the Polish Government at that time refused to consider a discussion of these proposals was due to two reasons:
for one thing, the inflamed chauvinist powers behind the Government never intended to solve the problem of Danzig, but on
the contrary already lived in the hope, expounded later in publications and speeches, of acquiring territory from the Reich
far beyond the bounds of Danzig; in fact, they hoped to be in a position to attack and conquer.
'These aims, far from stopping, at East Prussia, were climaxed by a flood of publications and a continuous sequence of
speeches, addresses, resolutions, etc., in addition to the incorporation of East Prussia, for the annexation of Pomerania
and Silesia. The Oder represented the minimum of frontier claims and finally even the Elbe was described as the natural dividing
line between Germany and Poland.
These demands, which today may appear crazy but which were then presented with fanatical seriousness, were based in a
simply ridiculous manner on the assumption of a 'Polish mission of civilization' and declared justified because they were
supposed to be capable of fulfillment in view of the strength of the Polish Army.
While I was inviting the then Polish Foreign Minister to take part in a conference for the discussion of our proposals,
the Polish military generals were already writing about the inefficiency of the German Army, the cowardice of the German soldiers,
the inferiority of the German weapons, the obvious superiority of the Polish forces and the certainty, in case of war, of
defeating the Germans at the gates of Berlin and of annihilating the Reich.
The man, however, who intended, as he expressed it, to hack the German Army to pieces at the gates of Berlin, was not
just an illiterate, insignificant Pole but their commander-in-chief, Rydz-Smigly, who at present resides in Rumania.
Violations and insults which Germany and her armed forces had to put up with from these military dilettantes would never
have been tolerated by any other State, just as they were not expected from any other nation. No French or English generals
would ever have presumed to express a judgment of the German armed forces similar to that which we heard read from the Polish
side for years, particularly since March, 1939; and on the other hand no German general would have spoken in that manner of
English, French or Italian soldiers.
A great deal of self-control was needed to keep calm in face of these simply shameless insults, in spite of the fact
that we knew that the German armed forces could destroy and sweep away the whole of this ridiculous State and its army within
a few weeks.
But this attitude, for which the Polish leaders themselves were responsible, was the fundamental reason why the Polish
Government refused even to discuss the German proposals.
Another reason was that fatal promise of guarantee given to the State which, although not menaced at all, very rapidly
became convinced it could afford to challenge a Great Power without risk once it was assured of the support of two Great Powers,
perhaps even hoping this way to lay the foundation for realization of all its own insane ambitions.
For, as soon as Poland felt certain of that guarantee, minorities living in that country had to suffer what amounted
to a reign of terror. I do not consider it my task to speak of the lot of the Ukrainians, or White Russian population, whose
interests now lie in the hands of Russia.
However, I do feel it my duty to speak of the lot of those helpless thousands of Germans who carried on the tradition
of those who first brought culture to that country centuries ago and whom the Poles now began to oppress and drive out. Since
March, 1939, they had been victims of truly satanic terrorization. How many of them had been abducted and where they are cannot
be stated even today.
Villages with hundreds of German inhabitants are now left without men because they all have been killed. In others women
were violated and murdered, girls and children outraged and killed. In 1598 an Englishman - Sir George Carew - wrote in his
diplomatic reports to the English Government that the outstanding features of Polish character were cruelty and lack of moral
Since that time this cruelty has not changed. Just as tens of thousands of Germans were slaughtered and sadistically
tormented to death, so German soldiers captured in fighting were tortured and massacred.
This pet lapdog of the Western democracies cannot be considered a cultured nation at all.
For more than four years I fought in the great war on the Western Front, but such things did not happen on either side.
Things that have occurred in Poland, in the past few months, and especially the last four weeks, constitute flaming accusations
against those responsible for the creation of a so-called State lacking every national, historical, cultural, and moral foundation.
Had only 1 per cent of these atrocities been committed in any part of the world against the English people, I should be interested
to see the indignation of those gentlemen who today in hypocritical horror condemn the German or Russian procedure.
No! To grant guarantees to this State and this Government as was done could only lead to appalling disasters. Neither
the Polish Government, nor the small cliques supporting it, nor the Polish nation as such were capable of measuring the responsibilities
which were implied in such guarantees in Poland's favor by half of Europe.
The passionate sentiment thus aroused, together with the sense of that security which had been unconditionally guaranteed
to them, counted for the behavior of the Polish Government during the period between April and August this year.
It was also the cause of the attitude they adopted toward my conciliatory proposals. The Government rejected these proposals
because they felt themselves protected, or even encouraged, by public opinion and public opinion protected them and encouraged
them on their way because it had been left in ignorance by its Government and particularly because in its every action it
felt itself sufficiently protected from without.
All this led to an increase in the number of appalling atrocities committed against German nationals in Poland and to
the rejection of all proposals for a solution and in the end to the steadily growing encroachments on actual Reich territory.
It was quite comprehensible that such a state of mind interpreted German longsuffering as a weakness, that is, that every
concession on Germany's part was regarded as proof of the possibility of some further aggressive steps.
A warning given Poland to refrain from sending Danzig any more notes amounting to ultimata and above all to desist from
economic strangulation of that city did not ease the situation in the least; it resulted, in fact, in complete stoppage of
all Danzig means of communication.
The warning to suspend or at least to take steps against the unceasing cases of murder, ill treatment and torture of
German nationals in Poland had the effect of increasing these atrocities and of calling for more bloodthirsty harangues and
provocative speeches from the Polish local administrative officials and military authorities.
The German proposals aiming at a last-minute agreement on a just and equitable basis were answered by a general mobilization.
The German request that an intermediary should be sent, founded on a proposal made by Great Britain, was not complied with
and on the second day was answered by an offensive declaration.
Under these circumstances it was obvious that if further incursions into the Reich's territory occurred, Germany's patience
would be at an end. What the Poles had erroneously interpreted as weakness was in reality our sense of responsibility and
my firm determination to come to an understanding if that at all was possible.
Since they believed that this patience and longsuffering was a sign of weakness which would allow them to do anything,
no other course remained than to show them their mistake by striking back with the weapons which they themselves had used
Under these blows their State has crumbled to pieces in a few weeks and is now swept from the earth. One of the most
senseless deeds perpetrated at Versailles is thus a thing of the past.
If this step on Germany's part has resulted in a community of interests with Russia, that is due not only to the similarity
of the problems affecting the two States, but also to that of the conclusions which both States had arrived at with regard
to their future relationship.
In my speech at Danzig I already declared that Russia was organized on principles which differ from those held in Germany.
However, since it became clear that Stalin found nothing in the Russian-Soviet principles which should prevent him from cultivating
friendly relations with States of a different political creed, National Socialist Germany sees no reason why she should adopt
another criterion. The Soviet Union is the Soviet Union, National Socialist Germany is National Socialist Germany.
But one thing is certain: from the moment when the two States mutually agreed to respect each other's distinctive regime
and principles, every reason for any mutually hostile attitude had disappeared. Long periods in the history of both nations
have shown that the inhabitants of these two largest States in Europe were never happier than when they lived in friendship
with each other. The Great War, which once made Germany and Russia enemies, was disastrous for both countries.
It is easy to understand that the capitalist States of the West are interested today in playing off these two States
and their principles against each other. For this purpose, and until it is realized, they certainly regard the Soviet Union
as a sufficiently respectable partner for the conclusion of a useful military pact. But they regard it as perfidy that their
honorable approaches were rejected and in their place rapprochement took place between those two very powers who had every
reason for seeking happiness for their respective peoples in developing their economic relationship along the lines of peaceful
Months ago I stated in the Reichstag that the conclusion of the German-Russian non-aggression pact marked the turning
point in the whole German foreign policy. The new pact of friendship and mutual interest since signed between Germany and
the Soviet Union will insure not only peace but a constant satisfactory co-operation for both States.
Germany and Russia together will relieve one of the most acute danger spots in Europe of its threatening character and
will, each in her own sphere, contribute to the welfare of the peoples living there, thus aiding to European peace in general.
If certain circles today see in this pact either the breakdown of Russia or Germany - as suits them best - I should like to
give them my answer.
For many years imaginary aims were attributed to Germany's foreign policy which at best might be taken to have arisen
in the mind of a schoolboy.
At a moment when Germany is struggling to consolidate her own living space, which only consists of a few hundred thousand
square kilometers, insolent journalists in countries which rule over 40,000,000 square kilometers state Germany is aspiring
to world domination!
German-Russian agreements should prove immensely comforting to these worried sponsors of universal liberty, for do they
not show most emphatically that their assertions as to Germany's aiming at d domination of the Urals, the Ukraine, Rumania,
etc., are only excrescences of their own unhealthy war-lord fantasy?
In one respect it is true Germany's decision is irrevocable, namely in her intention to see peaceful, stable, and thus
tolerable conditions introduced on her eastern frontiers; also it is precisely here that Germany's interests and desires correspond
entirely with those of the Soviet Union. The two States are resolved to prevent problematic conditions arising between them
which contain germs of internal unrest and thus also of external disorder and which might perhaps in any way unfavorably affect
the relationship of these two great States with one another.
Germany and the Soviet Union have therefore clearly defined the boundaries of their own spheres of interest with the
intention of being singly responsible for law and order and preventing everything which might cause injury to the other partner.
The aims and tasks which emerge from the collapse of the Polish State are, insofar as the German sphere of interest is
concerned, roughly as follows:
1. Demarcation of the boundary for the Reich, which will do justice to historical, ethnographical and economic facts.
2. Pacification of the whole territory by restoring a tolerable measure of peace and order.
3. Absolute guarantees of security not only as far as Reich territory is concerned but for the entire sphere of interest.
4. Re-establishment and reorganization of economic life and of trade and transport, involving development of culture
5. As the most important task, however, to establish a new order of ethnographic conditions, that is to say, resettle
ment of nationalities in such a manner that the process ultimately results in the obtaining of better dividing lines than
is the case at present. In this sense, however, it is not a case of the problem being restricted to this particular sphere,
but of a task with far wider implications for the east and south of Europe are to a large extent filled with splinters of
the German nationality, whose existence they cannot maintain.
In their very existence lie the reason and cause for continual international disturbances. In this age of the principle
of nationalities and of racial ideals, it is utopian to believe that members of a highly developed people can be assimilated
It is therefore essential for a far-sighted ordering of the life of Europe that a resettlement should be undertaken here
so as to remove at least part of the material for European conflict. Germany and the Union of Soviet Republics have come to
an agreement to support each other in this matter.
The German Government will, therefore, never allow the residual Polish State of the future to become in any sense a disturbing
factor for the Reich itself and still less a source of disturbance between the German Reich and Soviet Russia.
As Germany and Soviet Russia undertake this work of re-establishment, the two States are entitled to point out that the
attempt to solve this problem by the methods of Versailles has proved an utter failure. In fact it had to fail because these
tasks cannot be settled sitting around a table or by simple decrees. Most of the statesmen who in Versailles had to decide
on these complicated problems did not possess the slightest historical training, indeed they often had not even the vaguest
idea of the nature of the task with which they were faced.
Neither did they bear any responsibility for the consequences of their action. Recognition that their work might be faulty
was of no significance because in practice there was no way for a real revision. It is true that in the Treaty of Versailles
provision was made for keeping open the possibility of such revisions but in reality all attempts to attain such a revision
miscarried and they were bound to miscarry because the League of Nations as the competent authority was no longer morally
justified to carry out such a procedure.
After America had been first to refuse to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, or to join the League of Nations, and later
when other countries also felt they could no longer reconcile their presence in this organization with the interests of their
respective countries, the League degenerated more and more into a clique of parties interested in the Versailles dictate.
At any rate it is a fact that none of the revisions recognized from the outset as necessary had ever been effected by
the League of Nations.
Since in our time it became customary to regard a refugee government as still existing even if it consists of three members
provided they have taken with them sufficient gold so as not to be an economic burden to the democratic country offering hospitality,
it may be assumed that the League of Nations, too, will carry on bravely if but two nations sit there together. Perhaps even
one will do!
But according to the government of the League any revision of the Versailles clauses would still be adjudicated exclusively
by this illustrious organization - that is, in other words, revision would be practically impossible.
The League of Nations is not living but already a dead thing, nevertheless the peoples concerned are not dead but alive
and they will uphold their vital interests, however incapable the League of Nations may be of seeing, grasping, or respecting
National Socialism is not a phenomenon which has grown up in Germany with the malicious intent of thwarting League efforts
at revision, but a movement which arose because for fifteen years the most natural human and social rights of a great nation
had been suppressed and denied redress.
And I personally take exception at seeing foreign states- men stand up and call me guilty of having broken my word because
I have now put these revisions through.
On the contrary I pledged my sacred word to the German people to do away with the Treaty of Versailles and to restore
to them their natural and vital rights as a great nation.
The extent to which I am securing these vital rights is modest.
This I ask: If forty-six million Englishmen claim the right to rule over forty million square kilometers of the earth,
it cannot be wrong for eighty-two million Germans to demand the right to live on 800,000 square kilometers, to till their
fields and to follow their trades and callings, and if they further demand the restitution of those colonial possessions which
formerly were their property, which they had not taken away from anybody by robbery or war but honestly acquired by purchase,
exchange and treaties. Moreover, in all my demands, I always first tried to obtain revisions by way of negotiation.
I did, it is true, refuse to submit the question of German vital rights to some non-competent international body in the
form of humble requests. Just as little as I suppose that Great Britain would plead for respect of her vital interests, so
little ought one to expect the same of National Socialist Germany. I have, however, and I must emphasize this fact most solemnly,
limited in the extreme the measure of these revisions of the Versailles Treaty.
Notably in all those cases where I did not see any menace to the natural, vital interests of my people, I have myself
advised the German nation to hold back. Yet these eighty million people must live somewhere. There exists a fact that not
even the Versailles Treaty has been able to destroy; although it has in the most unreasonable manner dissolved States, torn
asunder regions economically connected, cut communication lines, etc., yet the people, the living substance of flesh and blood,
has remained and will forever remain in the future.
It cannot be denied that since the German people has found its resurrection through National Socialism, the relation
existing between Germany and the surrounding nations has been cleared up to a great extent.
The uncertainty that today is weighing down the common life of nations is not due to German demands, but to the malignant
insinuations published in the so-called democracies.
The German demands themselves were formulated in a very clear and precise way. They have, it is true, found their fulfillment
not thanks to the insight of the League of Nations but thanks to the dynamics of natural development.
The aim of the German foreign policy as pursued by me has never been other than to guarantee the existence - that is
to say, the life - of the German people, to remove the injustice and nonsense contained in a treaty which not only destroyed
Germany economically but has drawn the victor nations into disaster as well.
For the rest, however, our whole work of rebuilding was concerned with the home affairs of the Reich and no country in
the world had a greater longing for peace than the German people. It was fortunate for humanity and no misfortune at all that
I succeeded in removing the craziest, most impossible clauses of the Versailles Treaty by peaceful methods and without compromising
foreign statesmen in the internal politics of their countries.
That some details of this action may have been painful to certain interested parties is comprehensible. But the merit
is all the greater for the fact that this reorganization was brought about without bloodshed in all cases but the last one.
The last revision of this treaty could have been brought about in exactly the same peaceful way had not two circumstances
I have mentioned had the contrary effect. That is chiefly the fault of those who not only tool; no pleasure in the former
peaceful revision, but on the contrary com- plained of the fact that by peaceful methods a new Central Europe was being built
up; that is to say, a Central Europe that was able once more to give its inhabitants work and bread.
As I have already mentioned, it was one of the aims of the Government of the Reich to clear up the relation between ourselves
and our neighbors. Allow me to point out some facts that cannot be refuted by the scribblings of international press liars.
First. Germany has concluded non-aggression pacts with the Baltic States. Her interests there are of an exclusively economic
Second. In former times Germany never had any conflict of interests or indeed litigation points with the Northern States
and she has none today either.
Third. Germany has taken no steps in regard to the German territory handed over to Denmark under the terms of the Treaty
of Versailles; she has, on the contrary, established local and friendly relations with Denmark. We have claimed no revision,
but we have concluded a non-aggression pact with Denmark. Our relations with that country are thus directed toward unswervingly
loyal and friendly co-operation.
Fourth. Holland: the new Reich has endeavored to continue the traditional friendship with Holland; it did not take over
any differences between the two States nor did it create new ones.
Fifth. Belgium: immediately after I had taken over the Government I tried to establish friendly relations with Belgium.
1 renounced any revision as well as any desire for revision. The Reich has put forward no claim which might in any way have
been regarded as a threat to Belgium.
Sixth. Switzerland: Germany adopted the same attitude toward Switzerland. The Reich Government has never given the slightest
cause for doubt regarding their desires to establish friendly relations with the country. Moreover, they themselves have never
brought forward any complaint regarding the relations between the two countries.
Seventh. Immediately after the Anschluss [with Austria] became an accomplished fact, I informed Yugoslavia that the frontier
in common with that country would henceforth be regarded as unalterable by Germany and that we wished only to live in peace
and friendship with that country.
Eighth. The bond which binds us to Hungary is old and traditional, one of close and sincere friendship. In this instance,
too, our frontiers are unalterable.
Ninth. Slovakia appealed to Germany of her own accord for assistance in connection with her establishment as a State.
Her independence is recognized and not infringed upon by the Reich.
Tenth. However, it is not only with these states but also with the Great Powers that Germany has improved and settled
those relations which to a certain extent had been adversely affected by the Treaty of Versailles.
My first step was to bring about an alteration in the relations between Italy and the Reich. The existing frontiers between
these two States have been formally recognized as unalterable by both countries. Any possibility of a clash of interests of
a territorial nature has been removed. One-time enemies during the World War, they have in the meantime become sincere friends.
Establishment of friendly relations was not the final development, but, in the periods which followed, this led to the
signing of a cordial pact based on our mutual philosophies and political interests which has proved itself to be an important
factor in European co-operation.
My chief endeavor, however, has been to rid our relations with France of all trace of ill will and render them tolerable
for both nations. I once set forth with the utmost clarity Germany's claims in this domain and have never gone back on that
declaration. Return of the Saar territory was one demand which I regarded as an indispensable pre-condition of Franco-German
After France herself had found a just solution of this problem, Germany had no further claims against France. No such
claim exists any longer and no such claim shall ever be put forward. That is to say, I have refused even to mention the problem
of Alsace-Lorraine not because I was forced to keep silent, but because this matter does not constitute a problem which could
ever interfere with Franco-German relations.
I accepted the decision made in 1919 and refused to consider ever embarking upon war for the sake of a question which,
comparatively speaking, is of slight importance for Germany's vital interests, but which is certainly likely to involve every
second generation in a deadly war fear. France realized this.
It is impossible for any French statesman to get up and declare I have ever made any demands upon France the fulfillment
of which would be incompatible with French honor or French interest. It is, however, true that instead of demands I have always
expressed to France my desire to bury forever our ancient enmity and bring together these two nations, both of which have
such glorious pasts.
Among the German people, I have done my utmost to eradicate the idea of everlasting enmity and to inculcate in its place
a respect for the great achievements of the French nation and for its history, just as every German soldier has the greatest
respect for the feats of the French Army. I have devoted no less effort to the achievement of an Anglo-German understanding,
nay, more than that, of an Anglo-German friendship.
At no time and in no place have I ever acted contrary to British interests. Unfortunately I have only too often been
forced to guard against instances of British interference in German affairs, even in cases which did not concern Great Britain
in the least. I actually considered it as one of my life aims to reconcile these two peoples, not only through mutual understanding
but through inner sympathy.
The German nation has gladly followed my lead in this respect. If my endeavors have been unsuccessful, it is only because
of an animosity on the part of certain British statesmen and journalists, which has deeply affected me personally.
They made no secret of the fact that - for reasons which are unfathomable to us - their sole aim was to seize the first
opportunity in order to resume the fight with Germany. The fewer reasons of substantial nature these men have for their schemes,
the more they attempt to motivate their actions with empty phrases and assertions.
But I believe even today that there can only he real peace in Europe and throughout the world if Germany and England
come to an understanding. Because of this conviction I have often shown the way to an understanding. If in the end there was
not the desired result, it was really not my fault.
Finally, I now also attempted to bring the relations between the Reich and Soviet Russia to a normal and, in the end,
to a friendly basis. Thanks to a similar trend of thought on the part of Mr. Stalin these endeavors have now been realized.
Now with that State lasting and friendly relations have been established, the effect of which will be a blessing to both nations.
Thus the revision of the Versailles Treaty carried through by me did not cause any chaos in Europe, but on the contrary
produced the prerequisite of clear, stable and bearable conditions.
Only those who detest this order of things in Europe and wish for disorder can feel hostile to these actions. If, however,
certain people think themselves obliged to reject with a hypocritical air the method by which a tolerable order of things
was established in Central Europe, then my only reply to them is that in the end it is not so much the method but the useful
result that counts.
Before I came into power Central Europe, that is to say not only Germany but also the surrounding States, was sinking
into the hopeless distress of unemployment and production had decreased, involving an automatic jump in commodity consumption.
The standard of living went down. Distress and misery were the result.
No criticizing foreign statesman can deny that not only in the old Reich but also in all the territory now merged with
it, it has become possible to remove these indications of decay in the face of the most adverse conditions.
It has thus been proved that only as an entity is this Central European space capable of existence and that whoever breaks
up that entity commits a crime against millions of people.
To have wiped out that crime does not amount to a breach of my word, but to me is honor itself; I am proud of it as my
deed before history.
Neither the German people nor myself has taken an oath on the Treaty of Versailles; I have merely taken an oath on the
welfare of my people, who gave me my mandate and on the welfare of those whom destiny has placed within our living space,
thus inseparably binding them to our own welfare.
To guarantee the existence and thus the life of all of them is my sole concern.
Any attempt to criticize, judge or reject my actions from the rostrum of international presumption has no foundation
before history and personally leaves me stone-cold. I was called to my post by the confidence vested in me by the German people,
whose attitude toward me is only strengthened by any such attempt at criticism or interference from abroad.
Moreover, previous to each single revision I have put forward proposals. I had attempted, by means of negotiations, to
achieve and secure what was absolutely indispensable. In a certain number of cases I was successful. In other cases, I am
sorry to say, my readiness to negotiate and perhaps also the small extent of my demands and the modesty of my proposals were
interpreted as a sign of weakness and therefore rejected. Nobody could have regretted this more than I did.
There are, however, in the life of nations certain necessities which, if they are not brought about by peaceful methods,
must be realized by force, however regrettable this appears, not only to the life of the individual citizen but also to the
life of the community. It is undeniable that the greater interests common to all must never be impaired by the stubbornness
or ill will of individuals and communities. To Poland, too, I made the most moderate proposals.
They were not only rejected, but on the contrary brought forth the general mobilization of that State, for which reasons
were advanced which proved conclusively exactly that it was the very modesty of my proposals which was considered a confirmation
of my weakness, nay, even of my fear. Really, such an experience is apt to make anyone shrink from ever again making any reasonable
and moderate proposals.
Also at present I once more read in certain newspapers that every attempt to bring about a peaceful settlement of relations
between Germany on the one hand and France and England on the other was doomed to failure, and that any proposal in that direction
only proved that I, filled with apprehension, anticipated Germany's collapse and that I only made such a proposal out of cowardice,
or from a bad conscience.
When, irrespective of all this, I have expressed my ideas on this problem, I am prepared to appear in the eyes of these
people as a coward or a finished man. I can afford to run that risk, because the judgment to be passed upon me by history
will not, thank God, be written by these miserable scribblers but is established by my life's work, and because I do not care
very much about any judgment that may be passed upon me by these people at the time.
My prestige is sufficient for me to allow myself such an attitude, because the question of whether my following thoughts
are actually dictated by fear or desperation will in any case be settled by the future course of events. Today I can only
regret that those people, whose bloodthirstiness cannot have enough of war, unfortunately are not where the war is actually
being fought, and never were at such places where people were shooting it out.
I can very well understand that there are interested parties who profit more from war than from peace, and I also understand
that for a certain variety of international journalist it is more interesting to report on war than on peaceful activities
or cultural achievements, which they are incapable of either judging or understanding. And finally it is clear to me that
there is a certain Jewish international capitalism and journalism that has no feeling at all in common with the people whose
interests they pretend to represent, but who, like Herostrates of old, regard incendiarism as the greatest success of their
lives. But there is still another reason why I feel obliged to voice my opinion.
When reading certain international press publications, or listening to speeches of various capitalist glorifiers of war,
I consider myself entitled to speak and reply in the name of those who are forced to serve as the living substance for the
mental activities of these formulators of war aims, that living substance to which I myself belonged as an unknown soldier
for more than four years during the Great War.
It is, perhaps, a magnificent effect when a statesman or a journalist stands up and in enthusiastic words announces the
necessity of removing the regime of another country in the name of democracy or something similar. Practical execution of
these glorious slogans, however, has quite a different aspect.
Newspaper articles are being written today which are sure of an enthusiastic reception by the distinguished public. Realization
of demands therein contained, however, is apt to arouse much less enthusiasm; I shall not deal with the powers of judgment
or the gifts of such people. Whatever they may write has no bearing on the real nature of such a struggle.
These scribblers announced before the Polish campaign that German infantry perhaps was not bad, but that tank and mechanized
units in general were inferior and would be, sure to break down in action.
Now, after the defeat of Poland, the same people brazenly assert that the Polish armies have collapsed only because o
German tank formations and other mechanized troops, but that, on the other hand, German infantry had deteriorated most remarkably
and had got the worst of it in every clash with the Polish.
'In this fact,' so one such writer actually says, 'one has the free right to see a favorable symptom for the course of
the war in the West, and the French soldier will know how to take advantage of this.'
I think so, too, provided he has read that article and can remember it later on. He will then probably box the ears of
these military soothsayers. But unfortunately that will be impossible, since these people never will put their theories on
inferiority of the German infantry to a personal test on the battlefields, but will merely describe these qualities from their
Six weeks - let us say fourteen days - of concentrated shellfire, and these war propagandists would soon think differently.
They always are talking of the necessities of world politics, but they have no knowledge of military realities.
I do know them and for that reason I consider it my duty to speak here, even at risk of the warmonger again seeing in
my speech evidence of my anxiety and symptoms of the degree of my despair.
Why should this war in the West be fought? For restoration of Poland? Poland of the Versailles Treaty will never rise
again. This is guaranteed by two of the largest States in the world. Final re-organization of this territory and the question
of re-establishment of the Polish State are problems which will not be solved by a war in the West but exclusively by Russia
on the one hand and Germany on the other.
Furthermore, the elimination of the influence of these two Powers within the territories concerned would not produce
a new State but utter chaos.
The problems awaiting solution there will never be solved either at the conference table or in editorial offices, but
by the work of decades. It is not enough that a few statesmen who are not really concerned with the fate of the people affected
get together and pass resolutions. It is necessary that someone who has himself a share in the life of these territories takes
over the task of restoring really enduring conditions there. The ability of the Western democracies to restore such ordered
conditions has at least in recent times not been proved.
The example of Palestine shows it would be better to concentrate on the tasks at hand and solve these in a reasonable
manner instead of meddling with problems which lie within the vital spheres of interest of other nations and could certainly
be better solved by them. At any rate, Germany has in her Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia not only established peace and
order but, above all, has laid the foundation for a new economic prosperity and increasing understanding between the two nations.
England still has much to accomplish before she can point to similar results in her Protectorate in Palestine.
One also realizes that it would be senseless to annihilate millions of men and to destroy property worth millions in
order to reconstruct a State which at its very birth was termed an abortion by all those not of Polish extraction.
What other reason exists? Has Germany made any demands of England which might threaten the British Empire or endanger
its existence? On the contrary, Germany has made no such demands on either France or England.
But if this war is really to be waged only in order to give Germany a new regime, that is to say, in order to destroy
the present Reich once more and thus to create a new Treaty of Versailles, then millions of human lives will be sacrificed
in vain, for neither will the German Reich go to pieces nor will a second Treaty of Versailles be made. And even should this
come to pass after three, four, or even eight years of war then this second Versailles would once more become the source of
fresh conflict in the future.
In any event, a settlement of the world's problems carried out without consideration of the vital interests of its most
powerful nations could not possibly, after the lapse of from five to ten years, end in any other way than that attempt made
twenty years ago which is now ended. No, this war in the West cannot settle any problems except perhaps the ruined finances
of certain armament manufacturers, newspaper owners, or other international war profiteers.
Two problems are ripe for discussion today.
First, the settlement of the problems arising from the disintegration of Poland and, second, the problem of eliminating
those international difficulties which endanger the political and economic existence of the nations.
What then are the aims of the Reich Government as regards the adjustment of conditions within the territory to the west
of the German-Soviet line of demarcation which has been recognized as Germany's sphere of influence?
First, the creation of a Reich frontier which, as has already been emphasized, shall be in accordance with existing historical,
ethnographical and economic conditions.
Second, the disposition of the entire living space according to the various nationalities; that is to say, the solution
of the problems affecting the minorities which concern not only this area but nearly all the States in the Southwest of Europe.
Third, in this connection: An attempt to reach a solution and settlement of the Jewish problem.
Fourth, reconstruction of transport facilities and economic life in the interest of all those living in this area.
Fifth, a guarantee for the security of this entire territory and sixth, formation of a Polish State so constituted and
governed as to prevent its becoming once again either a hotbed of anti-German activity or a center of intrigue against Germany
In addition to this, an attempt must immediately be made to wipe out or at least to mitigate the ill effects of war;
that is to say, the adoption of practical measures for alleviation of the terrible distress prevailing there.
These problems can, as I have already emphasized, perhaps be discussed but never solved at the conference table.
If Europe is really sincere in her desire for peace, then the States in Europe ought to be grateful that Russia and Germany
are prepared to transform this hotbed into a zone of peaceful development and that these two countries will assume the responsibility
and bear the burdens inevitably involved.
For the Reich this project, since it cannot be undertaken in an imperialistic spirit, is a task which will take fifty
to a hundred years to perform.
Justification for this activity on Germany's part lies in the political organizing of this territory as well as in its
economic development. In the long run, of course, all Europe will benefit from it. Second, and in my opinion by far the most
important task, is the creation of not only a belief in, but also a sense of, European security.
For this it is necessary first that aims in the foreign policy of European States should be made perfectly clear.
As far as Germany is concerned the Reich Government is ready to give a thorough and exhaustive exposition of the aims
of its foreign policy.
In so doing, they begin by stating that the Treaty of Versailles is now regarded by them as obsolete; in other words,
that the government of the German Reich, and with them the whole German people, no longer see cause or reason for any further
revision of the Treaty, apart from the demand for adequate colonial possessions justly due to the Reich, namely, in the first
instance, for the return of German colonies.
This demand for colonies is based not only on Germany's historical claim to German colonies but above all on her elementary
right to a share of the world's resources of raw materials. This demand does not take the form of an ultimatum, nor is it
a demand backed by force, but a demand based on political justice and sane economic principles.
Secondly, the demand for a real revival of international economic life, coupled with an extension of trade and commerce,
presupposes a reorganization of the international economic system; in other words, of production in the individual States.
In order to facilitate the exchange of goods thus produced, however, markets must be organized and a final currency regulation
arrived at so that the obstacles in the way of unrestricted trade can be gradually removed.
Thirdly, the most important condition, however, for a real revival of economic life in and outside of Europe is the establishment
of an unconditionally guaranteed peace and of a sense of security on the part of the individual nations.
This security will not only be rendered possible by the final sanctioning of the European status, but above all by the
reduction of armaments to a reasonable and economically tolerable level. An essential part of this necessary sense of security,
however, is a clear definition of the legitimate use of an application of certain modern armaments which can, at any given
moment, have such a devastating effect on the pulsating life of every nation and hence create a permanent sense of insecurity.
In my previous speeches in the Reichstag I made proposals with this end in view. At that time they were rejected -maybe
for the simple reason that they were made by me. I believe, however, that a sense of national security will not return to
Europe until clear and binding international agreements have provided a comprehensive definition of the legitimate and illegitimate
use of armaments.
A Geneva convention once succeeded in prohibiting, in civilized countries at least, the killing of wounded, ill treatment
of prisoners, war against noncombatants, etc., and just as it was possible gradually to achieve universal observance of this
statute, a way must surely be found to regulate aerial warfare, use of poison gas and submarines, etc., and also so to define
contraband that war will lose its terrible character of conflict waged against women and children and against noncombatants
in general. A growing horror of certain methods of warfare will of its own accord lead to their abolition and thus they will
In the war with Poland I endeavored to restrict aerial warfare to objectives of so-called military importance, or only
to employ it to combat active resistance at a given point. But it must surely be possible to emulate the Red Cross and to
draw up some universally valid international regulations. It is only when this is achieved that peace can reign, particularly
in our densely populated continent - a peace which, uncontaminated by suspicion and fear, will provide the only possible condition
for real economic prosperity.
I do not believe that there is any responsible statesman in Europe who does not in his heart desire prosperity for his
people. But such a desire can only be realized if all the nations inhabiting this continent decide to go to work together.
To assist in assuring this co-operation must be the aim of every man who is sincerely struggling for the future of his own
To achieve this great end, the leading nations of this continent will one day have to come together in order to draw
up, accept, and guarantee a statute on a comprehensive basis which will insure for them all a sense of security, of calm -
in short, of peace.
Such a conference could not possibly be held without the most thorough preparation; this is, without exact elucidation
of every point at issue.
It is equally impossible that such a conference, which is to determine the fate of this continent for many years to come,
could carry on its deliberations while cannon are thundering or mobilized armies are bringing pressure to bear upon it.
If, however, these problems must be solved sooner or later, then it would be more sensible to tackle the solution before
millions of men are first uselessly sent to death and milliards of riches destroyed.
Continuation of the present state of affairs in the West is unthinkable. Each day will soon demand increasing sacrifices.
Perhaps the day will come when France will begin to bombard and demolish Saarbruccken. German artillery will in turn
lay Mulhouse in ruins. France will retaliate by bombarding Karlsruhe and Germany in her turn will shell Strasbourg.
Then the French artillery will fire at Freiburg, and the German at Kolmar or Schlettstadt. Long-range guns will then
be set up and from both sides will strike deeper and deeper and whatever cannot be reached by the long-distance guns will
be destroyed from the air.
And that will be very interesting for certain international journalists and very profitable for the airplane, arms, and
munitions manufacturers, but appalling for the victims.
And this battle of destruction will not be confined to the land. No, it will reach far out over the sea.
Today there are no longer any islands. And the national wealth of Europe will be scattered in the form of shells and
the vigor of every nation will be sapped on the battlefields.
One day, however, there will again be a frontier between Germany and France, but instead of flourishing towns there will
be ruins and endless graveyards.
Mr. Churchill and his companions may interpret these opinions of mine as weakness or cowardice if they like. I need not
occupy myself with what they think; I make these statements simply because it goes without saying that I wish to spare my
own people this suffering.
If, however, the opinions of Messrs. Churchill and followers should prevail, this statement will have been my last.
Then we shall fight. Neither force of arms nor lapse of time will conquer Germany. There never will be another November
1918 in German history. It is infantile to hope for the disintegration of our people.
Mr. Churchill may be convinced that Great Britain will win. I do not doubt for a single moment that Germany will be victorious.
Destiny will decide who is right.
One thing only is certain. In the course of world history, there have never been two victors, but very often only losers.
This seems to me to have been the case in the last war.
May those peoples and their leaders who are of the same mind now make their reply. And let those who consider war to
be the better solution reject my outstretched hand.
As Fuehrer of the German people and Chancellor of the Reich, I can thank God at this moment that he has so wonderfully
blessed us in our hard struggle for what is our right, and beg Him that we and all other nations may find the right way, so
that not only the German people but all Europe may once more be granted the blessing of peace.