Hitler's Speech to Reichstag-
February 20, 1938
We have seen that a certain portion of the foreign press inundated the new Reich with a virtual flood of lies and calumnies. It was a remarkable mixture of arrogance and deplorable ignorance which led them to act as the judges of a people who should be presented as models to these democratic apostles.
The best proof for showing up these lies is success. For if we had acted during these five years like the democratic world citizens of Soviet Russia, that is, like those of the Jewish race, we would not have succeeded in making out of a Germany which was in the deepest material collapse a country of material order. For this very reason we claim the right to sur" round our work with that protection which renders it impossible for criminal elements or for the insane to disturb it.
Whoever disturbs this mission is the enemy of the people, whether he pursues his aim as a Bolshevist democrat, a revolutionary terrorist, or a reactionary dreamer. In such a time of necessity those who act in the name of God are not those who, citing Bible quotations, wander idly about the country and spend the day partly doing nothing and partly criticizing the work of others; but those whose prayers take the highest form of uniting man with his God, that is, the form of work.
I had a right to turn against every one who, instead of helping, thought his mission was to criticize our work. Foreign nations contributed nothing apart from this spirit, for their rejection was tinged by hate or a spirit of knowing better than we know.
It was the ABC of our creed to find help in our own strength. The standard of living of the nation is the outcome of its total production; in other words, the value of every wage and salary corresponds to the volume of goods produced as a result of the work performed. This is a very unpopular doctrine in a time resounding with cries such as ''higher wages and less work.''
Next to the United States, Germany today has become the greatest steel country in the world. I could give many more examples. They are documentary proof of the work such as our people never before achieved. To these successes will be added in a few years the gigantic results of the Four-Year Plan. Is it not a joke of history when those very countries which themselves have only crises think they can criticize us and give us advice?
We have given the German nation that weapon of steel which presents a wall at our frontiers against the intentions of the malicious international press campaign.
At the conclusion of the next decade the German people will bear in mind the success of their efficiency and will be filled with a supreme pride. One of these achievements is the construction of a national leadership which is as far removed from parliamentary democracy as it is from military dictatorship.
If ever international agitation or poisoning of opinion should attempt to rupture the peace of the Reich, then steel and iron would take the German people and German homesteads under their protection. The world would then see, as quick as lightning, to what extent this Reich, people, party, and these armed forces are fanatically inspired with one spirit, one will.
If Great Britain should suddenly dissolve today and England become dependent solely on her own territory, then the people there would, perhaps, have more understanding of the seriousness of the economic tasks which confront us. If a nation which commands no gold reserves, no foreign exchange—not because National Socialism reigns but because a parliamentary, democratic state was exploited for fifteen years by a world hungry after loot—in other words, if a nation which must feed 140 people to the square kilometer and has no colonies, if a nation which lacks numerous raw materials and is not willing to live an illusory life through credits, reduces the number of its unemployed in five years to nil and improves its standard of living, then all those should remain silent who, despite great economic advantages, scarcely succeed in solving their own unemployment problems.
The claim for German colonial possessions, therefore, will be voiced from year to year with increasing vigor. These possessions, which Germany did not take away from other countries and which today are practically of no value to these powers, are indispensable for our own people.
T should like to refute here the hope that such claims can be averted by granting credits. Above all, we do not wish for naive assurances that we shall be pemmitted to buy what we need. We reject such statements once and for all.
You will not expect me to discuss in detail the individual international plans which appear to arouse the varied interests of the various governments. They are too uncertain and they lack the clarity necessary for me to be able to express myself on these questions. Above all, however, take note of my deep-seated distrust of all so-called conferences which may provide interesting hours of conversation for those taking part in them, but generally lead to the disappointment of hopeful mankind.
I cannot allow our natural claims to be coupled with political business. Recently rumors have been cropping up, rumors that Germany was about to revise her opinion conceming her retum to the League of Nations. I should like again to declare that in 1919 the peace treaty was forced upon some countries. This treaty brought in its train far-reaching inroads upon the lives of the peoples involved. The rape of national and economic destinies and of the communal lives of the nations took place under a cloud of moralizing phrases which, perhaps, tended to salve the uneasy conscience of those who instituted the affair.
After the revision of the map of the world and of territorial and racial spheres, which was as thorough as it was fundamental, had been effected by means of force, a League of Nations was founded whose task it was to crystallize these crazy, unreasonable proceedings and to coordinate its results into an everlasting and unalterable basis of life.
I notice very often that English politicians would be glad to give back to us our colonies if they were not so disturbed by the thought of the wrong and violence which would thus be done to the native inhabitants.
All those colonial empires have not come into being through plebiscites. They are today naturally integral parts of the states in question and fonn, as such, part of that world order which always has been designated to us, especially by democratic policies, as the "world order of right.''
That right the League of Nations now has been ordered to protect. I cannot understand why a nation which itself has been robbed by force should join such illustrious company, and I cannot pemnit the conclusion to be drawn that we should not be prepared to fight for the principles of justice just because we are not in the League of Nations. On the contrary, we do not belong to the League of Nations, because we believe that it is not
an institution of justice but an institution for defending the interests of Versailles.
A number of material considerations must, however, be added.
First, we left the League of Nations because—loyal to its origin and obligations—it refused us the right to equal armament and just as equal security.
Second, we will never reenter it, because we do not intend to allow ourselves to be used anywhere in the world by a majority vote of the League of Nations for the defense of an injustice.
Third, we believe we will please all those nations who are misled by misfortune to rely on and trust the League of Nations as a factor of genuine help. We should have regarded it as more correct, for instance, in the case of the Ethiopian war, for the League to have shown more understanding for vital Italian needs and less disposition to help the Ethiopians with promises. This would, perhaps, have enabled a more simple and reasonable solution for the whole problem.
Fourth, on no account will we allow the German nation to become entangled in conflicts in which the nation itself is not interested. We are not willing to stand up for the territorial or economic interests of others without the slightest benefits to Germans being visible. Moreover, we ourselves do not expect such support from others. Germany is determined to impose upon herself wise moderation in her interests and demands. But if German interests should be seriously at stake we shall not expect to receive support from the League of Nations but we shall assume the right from the beginning to shoulder our task ourselves.
Fifth, we do not intend to allow our attitude to be determined in the future hy any international institution which, while excluding offlcial recognition of indisputable facts, resembles less the acts of a man of considered judgment than the habits of a certain type of large bird. The interests of nations in so far as their existence or nonexistence are ultimately concemed are stronger than formalistic considerations. For in the year 2038 it is possible that new states may have arisen or others disappeared without this new state of affairs having been registered at Geneva.
Germany will not take part in such unreasonable proceedings by being a member of the League of Nations.
With one country alone have we scorned to enter into relations. That state is Soviet Russia. We see in bolshevism more now than before the incamation of human destructive forces. We do not blame the Russian people as such for this gruesome ideology of destruction. We know it is a small Jewish intellectual group which led a great nation into this position of madness. If this doctrine would confine itself territorially to Russia
maybe one could put up with it. Alas, Jewish intemational bolshevism attempts to hollow out the nations of the world from its Soviet center.
As I have more than once stated, Germany has in Europe no more territorial demands to make of France. With the return of the Saar we trust the period of Franco-German territorial differences is finally closed.
Germany also has no quarrel with England apart from her colonial wishes. However, there is no cause for any conceivable conflict. The only thing that has poisoned and thus injured the common life of these two countries is the utterly unendurable press campaign which in these two countries has existed under the motto "freedom of personal opinion."
The British government desires the limitation of ammaments or the prohibition of bombing. I myself proposed this some time ago. However, I also suggested at the time that the most important thing was to prevent the poisoning of the world's public opinion by infamous press articles. That which strengthened our sympathy with Italy, if this were possible, is the fact that in that country state policy and press policy tread the same road.
There are more than ten million Germans in states adjoining Germany which before 1866 were joined to the bulk of the Gemman nation by a national link. Until 1918 they fought in the Great War shoulder to shoulder with the German soldiers of the Reich. Against their own free will they were prevented by peace treaties from uniting with the Reich.
This was painful enough, but there must be no doubt about one thing: political separation from the Reich may not lead to deprivation of rights, that is the general rights of racial self-detemmination which were solemnly promised to us in Wilson's Fourteen Points as a condition for the armistice. We cannot disregard it just because this is a case conceming Germans.
In the long run it is unbearable for a world power, conscious of herself, to know there are citizens at her side who are constantly being inflicted with the severest sufferings for their sympathy or unity with the total nation, its faith and philosophy.
We will know there can scarcely be a frontier line in Europe which satisfies all. It should be all the more important to avoid the torture of national minorities in order not to add to the suffering of political separation, the suffering of persecution on account of their belonging to a certain people.
That it is possible to find ways leading to the lessening of tension has been proved. But he who tries to prevent by force such lessening of tension through creating an equilibrium in Europe will someday inevitably conjure up force among the nations themselves. It cannot be denied that Germany herself, as long as she was powerless and defenseless, was compelled to tolerate many of these continual persecutions of the German people on our frontier.
But just as England stands up for her interests all over the globe, presentday Germany will know how to guard its more restricted interests. To these interests of the German Reich belong also the protection of those German peoples who are not in a position to secure along our frontiers their political and philosophical freedom by their own efforts.
I may say that since the League of Nations has abandoned its continuous attempts at disturbance in Danzig and since the advent of the new commissioner this most dangerous place for European peace has entirely lost its menace.
Poland respects the national conditions in the free city of Danzig and Gemmany respects Polish rights.
Now I tum to Austria. It is not only the same people but above all a long communal history and culture which bind together the Reich and Austria.
Difficulties which emerged in the carrying out of the agreement of July 11, 1936, made essential an attempt to remove misunderstandings and obstacles to final reconciliation. It is clear that whether we wished it or not an intolerable position might have developed that would have contained the seeds of catastrophe. It does not lie in the power of man to stop the rolling stone of fate which through neglect or lack of wisdom has been set moving.
I am happy to say that these ideas correspond with the viewpoint of the Austrian chancellor, whom I invited to visit me. The underlying intention was to bring about a detente in our relations which would guarantee to National Socialist sympathizers in Austria within the limits of the law the same rights enjoyed by other citizens.
In connection with it there was to be an act of conciliation in the form of a general amnesty and better understanding between the two states through closer and friendlier relations in the various spheres of cultural, political, and economic cooperation. All this is a development within the framework of the treaty of July 11.
I wish to pay tribute to the Austrian chancellor for his efforts to find together with me a way which is just as much in the interests of both countries as in that of the entire German people, whose sons we all are regardless of where we came from. I believe we have thus made a contribution to European peace.
Our satisfactory relations with other countries are known to all. Above all is to be mentioned our cooperation with those two great powers which, like Germany, have recognized bolshevism as a world danger and are therefore determined to resist the Comintern with a common defense. It is
my earnest wish to see this cooperation with Italy and Japan more and more extended.
The German people is no warlike nation. It is a soldierly one which means it does not want a war but does not fear it. It loves peace, but it also loves its honor and freedom.
The new Reich shall belong to no class, no profession, but to the German poeple. It shall help the people find an easier road in this world. It shall help them in making their lot a happier one. Party, state, armed forces, economics are institutions and functions which can only be estimated as a means toward an end. They will be judged by history according to the services they render toward this goal. Their purpose, however, is to serve the people.
I now pray to God that he will bless in the years to come our work, our deeds, our foresight, our resolve; that the almighty may protect us from both arrogance and cowardly servility, that he may help us find the right way which he has laid down for the German people and that he may always give us courage to do the right thing and never to falter or weaken before any power or any danger.
Long live Germany and the German people