Adolf Hitler - Speech to the Reichstag
Berlin, January 30, 1934
Deputies! Men of the German Reichstag!
Today in retrospect we call the year 1933 [sic!] the Year of the National Socialist Revolution, and one day an objective assessment of its incidents and events will judge it right to put this name down in the history of our Volk. What will be regarded as decisive is not the moderate form in which this revolutionary change took place externally, but the inner greatness of the transformation this year has brought to the German Volk in every sector and in all facets of its life.
In the space of barely twelve months, one world of ideas and institutions was eliminated and another put in its place. What happened in this short space of time before our very eyes was still regarded and described as a fantastic utopia on the very eve of the memorable day of January 30, 1933 by the certainly overwhelming majority of our Volk and in particular by the supporters, spokesmen and representatives of former conditions.
However, such a miraculous historic event would truly be inconceivable had the command which brought it about been due only to the whim of some capricious human spirit or even a quirk of fate. No. The prerequisites for this event have necessarily evolved and resulted from the developments of many long years. A horrible crisis cried out for a remedy. So that the hour was waiting only for a will ready to fulfill the historic undertaking.
The State has dealt no less radically with the two Christian confessions.
Filled by the desire to secure for the German Volk the great religious, moral and ethical values anchored in the two Christian confessions, we have eliminated the political organizations while, at the same time, reinforcing the religious institutions. For an agreement with the powerful National Socialist State is more valuable to a Church than the conflict between denominational political associations which, in view of the policy of compromise necessitated by their coalition, are forced to spiritually abandon a truly inward, religious education and stabilization of the Volk in order to pay for personal advantages to party members.
However, we all harbor the expectation that the merger of the Protestant Land Churches and confessions to form a German Protestant Reich Church might truly satisfy the yearning of those who believe that, in the muddled dividedness of Protestant life, they must fear a weakening in the power of the Protestant faith.
This year the National Socialist State has clearly demonstrated its high regard for the strength of the Christian faiths, and hence it expects the same high regard on the part of the confessions for the strength of the National Socialist State! [-] Thus at this time I would like to protest against the theory which has been advanced again recently that Germany could only be happy under the rule of its traditional princes.
No! We are one Volk, and we want to live in one Reich.
And those who sinned against this principle so often in the past in German history were not able to credit their mission to God’s merciful will but instead, as history has taught us, unfortunately all too often to the expedient favor and support of their worst enemies.
In this year, we have thus consciously enforced the authority of the Reich and the authority of the Government against those infirm descendents and heirs to the politics of the past who believed themselves capable of declaring their traditional resistance to the National Socialist State.
It was one of the happiest hours of my life when it became clear that the entire German Volk was granting its approval to a policy which exclusively represented its interests.
With all due respect to the values of the monarchy and in all esteem to the truly great emperors and kings of our German history, the question of permanently shaping the structure of the State of the German Reich is completely beyond discussion today. No matter how the nation and its leaders may one day decide, there is one thing they should never forget: he who personifies Germany’s highest peak receives his calling from the German Volk and is obligated to it alone! For my part, I regard myself merely as an agent of the nation engaged to implement those reforms which will one day enable it to make the final decision on the permanent constitution of the Reich.
…It was all the more difficult to apply the principles of the National Socialist movement to the economic sector because herethree urgent tasks had to be tackled immediately:
1. It was necessary to introduce measures affecting trade and pricing policy in order to save the farmers who were facing utter disaster, and then to pass legislation in order to restore strong and permanent support for the farmers.
2. The ever-increasing general corruption forced us to take action to cleanse our economic life of ruthless speculators and profiteers.
3. The need to put six and a half million unemployed back to work meant that we simply could not rely on theories whose superficial appeal would all too easily have concealed the fact that today they are irrelevant and thus pointless. For when the National Socialist Revolution took over the government, one person was unemployed for every two persons who were employed. If, as was not merely to be feared but expected, the number of unemployed had increased, this ratio would soon have been reversed, thus creating a hopeless situation.
You cannot feed six and a half million unemployed by the Marxist practice of reciting fine theories; the only way is to create real jobs. And so in this first year we have already made our first general assault on unemployment. In a quarter of the time I asked for before the March elections, useful work has been found for a third of the unemployed. We attacked this problem from all directions and this is what ensured our success.
As we look back on the year which has just ended, we are ready to launch a renewed attack on this problem armed with the experience we have gained from the past year. The combination of government incentives and private initiative and energy was, however, possible only because our People have renewed confidence in their leadership and in the stability of a certain economic and legal system.
Some of our opponents feel obliged to detract from the glory of our achievements by pointing out that after all the entire People have helped to achieve these goals. They are absolutely right! And we are full of pride that we have really succeeded in rallying the entire nation to help in its renewal. For this is the only way that we were able to solve the problems which defeated many earlier governments, because without this confidence they were bound to fail. And ultimately this was the only reason why this gigantic practical and partly improvised task could be so closely linked with our ideological principles.
The simple statement that the People are not there for the sake of the economy nor the economy for the sake of capital, but capital must serve the economy and the economy must serve the People, was already the Government's guiding principle in all the measures which it took in the course of the past year.
This was the primary reason why the major practical measures initiated by the Government could be continued in an atmosphere of understanding and enthusiasm. By introducing tax reductions and by the wise application of government subsidies, we also succeeded in stimulating the production of raw materials to an extent which even twelve months ago most of our critics had considered completely inconceivable.
Some of the measures which were introduced to achieve this goal will not be fully appreciated until the future. This applies particularly to our promotion of the motorization of the German transport system together with the construction of the national freeway system (Reichs-Autobahnen). A solution was found for the old rivalry between the national railway system (Reichsbahn) and the automobile which will one day be of great benefit to the entire German People.
We realized that in order to kick-start the economy in this first year we would have to begin by providing basic types of employment, so that the resulting increase in purchasing power of the broad mass of the population would then gradually stimulate the production of more sophisticated goods.
In the process of achieving all this we attempted by a combination of generous assistance and rigorous economies to restore order to the completely bankrupt finances of the Reich, the individual states and the local authorities.
The extent of the economic recovery can be most clearly seen from the enormous reduction in the numbers of unemployed and the no less significant increase in the entire national income for which we now have statistical evidence. Because our first priority had to be the resumption of national production and reduction of the number of unemployed, we reluctantly decided to forgo some otherwise desirable measures.
The fact that our activities during this past year were nonetheless put under fire from countless foes is only natural. We have borne this burden in the past and will also be able to bear it in the future. Degenerated emigrants, who for the most part quitted the scene of their former operations not for political, but for purely criminal reasons because the changed atmosphere had given them cause for alarm, are now attempting to mobilize a gullible world against Germany with truly villainous dexterity and a criminal lack of conscience, but their lies will catch up with them all the faster now that tens of thousands of respectable and honorable men and women are coming to Germany from other countries and can compare with their own eyes the accounts delivered by these internationally “persecuted” parties with the actual reality.
Furthermore, the fact that a number of Communist ideologists believe it necessary to turn back the tide of history and, in doing so, make use of a subhumanity (Untermenschentum) which mistakes the concept of political freedom for the idea of allowing criminal instincts free rein will similarly cause us little concern. We were able to deal with these elements when they were in power and we were in the opposition. In the future we will be even more certain of being able to deal with them because they are now in the opposition and we are in power.
A number of our bourgeois intellectuals as well are of the conviction that they cannot accept the hard facts. However, it is much more useful to have this rootless intellectuality as an enemy than as a follower. For these persons turn away from all that is healthy, and all that is diseased awakens their interest and is given their support.
I would also like to add to the ranks of the enemies of the new regime the small clique of those whose gaze is incorrigibly directed backward, in whose eyes the peoples are nothing other than abandoned trading posts who are only waiting for a master so as to find, under his divine guidance, the only possible inner satisfaction. And last of all, I add that little group of völkisch ideologists who believe that it is only possible to make the nation happy by eradicating the experiences and consequences of two thousand years of history to start out on new trails, clad, so to speak, in their “bearskins.” All of these opponents taken together, in numerical terms, scarcely amount to 2.5 million people, in contrast to the more than forty million who profess their faith in the new State and its regime. These two million are not to be rated as opposition, for they comprise a chaotic conglomeration of the most diverse opinions and views, utterly incapable of pursuing any type of common goal, and capable only of joining in rejecting today’s State.
More dangerous than these, however, are the two categories of people whom we must perceive as a genuine burden to our present-day Reich and the Reich of tomorrow.
First of all, there are the political birds of passage who alight wherever the crops are being harvested in summer. Spineless, weak characters-yet true opportunists who pounce on every successful movement, and endeavor by overloud clamor and more than perfect behavior to avoid or answer from the very start the question of their past origins and activities.
They are dangerous because they attempt to satisfy their purely personal and egotistical interests behind the mask of the new regime and, in doing so, become a genuine burden to a Movement for which millions of decent people spent years making the most difficult sacrifices without ever even having conceived of the idea that they could ever be repaid for the suffering and deprivation which they had taken upon themselves for their Volk.
Purging the State and the Party of these importunate parasites will be an important task, particularly for the future. Then many inwardly decent people, who were unable to come to the Movement earlier, often for understandable and even cogent reasons, will also find their way to it without having to fear being mistaken for such dubious elements.
And another heavy burden is the army of those who were born into the negative side of the völkisch life due to their hereditary predisposition.
Here the State will be able to take genuinely revolutionary measures. The National Socialist Movement deserves great credit for having launched, by way of legislation as early as last year, an initial offensive against this threat of the gradual disintegration of the Volk.26 When objections are raised-particularly from the denominational quarter-and opposition is offered to this legislation, I am forced to reply by saying that it would have been more effective, more decent and above all more Christian not to have stood by those who deliberately destroyed healthy life instead of rebelling against those who have no other goal but to avoid disease from the very onset.
Apart from that, whatever is allowed to happen in this sphere not only constitutes an act of cruelty against the innocent victims themselves, but is also an act of cruelty against the Volk as a whole. If the development were allowed to progress at the rate of the last hundred years, the number of those dependent upon public welfare would one day threaten to approach the number of those who ultimately would be the only support for the preservation of the community.
It is not the Churches who must feed these armies of the unfortunate, but the Volk. Were the Churches to state their willingness to take those suffering from hereditary illnesses into their care and keeping, we would gladly be willing to dispense with their sterilization. But as long as the State is condemned to raise gigantic, annually increasing sums-today already exceeding the mark of 350 million-from its citizens toward maintaining these regrettable hereditarily ill people in the nation, then it is forced to resort to that remedy which both prevents that such undeserved suffering be passed on in the future and also prohibits that millions of healthy persons are often deprived of the bare necessities of life in order to artificially preserve the lives of millions of ill people.
Men of the German Reichstag! No matter how great the results of the Year of the National Socialist Revolution and leadership of State were, one fact is even more significant: namely, that this great transition could take place in our Volk first of all with what was absolutely lightning speed, and secondly almost totally without bloodshed.
It is the fate of the overwhelming majority of all revolutions to completely lose their footing in rushing to storm ahead, only to be dashed to pieces after all somewhere in the end when meeting up with the hard facts. However, our leadership of the national uprising has been, for the most part, so exemplary as to bar comparison with practically every other in history with the exception of the Fascist Revolution in Italy.
The reasons for this lie in the fact that it was not a Volk driven to despair and otherwise disorganized which raised the flag of revolt and laid the torches to the existing State, but a brilliantly organized movement with followers who had become disciplined in long years which waged the battle. The National Socialist Party and its organizations deserve undying credit for this; the brown Guard is to thank for it. It prepared the German uprising, carried it through and completed it almost without bloodshed and with an incomparable methodicalness.
This miracle, however, was also inconceivable without the voluntary and absolute consent of those who aspired to identical goals as leaders of similar organizations or who, as officers, represented the German Wehrmacht.
It is a unique historic example of how such a sincere attachment could form between the powers of the Revolution and the responsible leaders of an utterly disciplined Wehrmacht in the service of the Volk which is comparable to that between the National Socialist Party and myself as its leader on the one hand and the officers and soldiers of the German Army and Navy on the other.
Whereas the Stahlhelm increasingly came to join National Socialism in these twelve months to finally most fairly express this fraternity in a fusion with it, the Army and its leadership has, in this same space of time, stood by the new State in unconditional loyalty and allegiance and actually first made the success of our work possible before history.
For it was not a civil war which could save Germany, but only the unanimous uniting of all those who, even in the worst years, had not lost their faith in the German Volk and the German Reich.
At the closing of this year of the greatest domestic revolution and as a special sign of the enormous, unifying power of our ideal, I may note that in a cabinet which contained only three National Socialists in January 1933, today all of the ministers are still doing active duty with the exception of one man who left of his own volition and who, to my great pleasure, was elected on our list, a real German patriot, in this auditorium.27 Thus the men of the government formed on January 30, 1933 have also accomplished in their own ranks what they demanded from the entire German Volk: disregarding earlier differences to work together for the resurrection of our Volk and the honor and freedom of our Reich. The struggle for the inner reorganization of the German Volk and Reich, which was best expressed in the fusion of Party and State and of Volk and Reich, has not yet been completed.
True to our proclamation when our Government took office one year ago, we will continue the struggle. Thus the tasks of our domestic intentions and actions are already lined out for the future: strengthening the Reich by uniting all powers in an organizational form which finally accomplishes what has been neglected for half a millennium as a result of selfishness and incompetence.
Promotion of the welfare of our Volk in all spheres of life and civilized culture.
The German Reichstag will be called upon within the next few hours to pass a new law to give the Government further legal authorization to continue the National Socialist Revolution.
In principle, the German Government is proceeding on the assumption that, in respect to the character of our relations with other countries, it is naturally of no consequence which type of constitution and form of government the peoples choose to adopt for themselves. It is each and every Volk’s very own private matter to determine its domestic life at its own discretion. However, it is thus also the absolutely private matter of the German Volk to choose the spiritual contents and the constructive form of its organizations and leadership of State according to its own wishes.
For many months we have been painfully forced to observe that the difference which is evident between our world view and that of other nations has been used as an excuse not only to heap numerous unjustified accusations upon the German Volk and the German Reich, but also to view it with a completely unfounded distrust.
We have not adopted these views. In the past twelve months, we have made a sincere endeavor to cultivate the relations of the German Reich to all other States in the spirit of reconciliation and willingness to compromise, even if there were great, even irreconcilable differences between us and the concept of the State in these countries.
In regard both to States with a democratic structure and States with antidemocratic tendencies, we were consistently motivated by the single aim of finding ways and means to balance the opposites and bring about international cooperation.
This is the only explanation for the fact that, in spite of the great difference between the two prevailing Weltanschauungen, the German Reich also endeavored this year to cultivate amicable relations with Russia. In his last major speech, Herr Stalin expressed the fear that forces hostile to the Soviets might be acting in Germany; I must, however, take this opportunity to correct this opinion by saying that Germany will tolerate Communist tendencies or even propaganda just as little as German National Socialist tendencies would be tolerated in Russia.
The more clearly and unambiguously this fact is evidenced and respected by both States, the more natural it will be to cultivate the interests which both countries have in common. Hence we also welcome the endeavors toward a stabilization of relations in the East by a system of pacts if these are guided less by factors of a tactical and political nature and more designed to contribute to strengthening peace.
For this reason and in order to make good these intentions, the German Government has endeavored from the very first year onward to establish a new and better relationship with the Polish State.
When I took over the government on January 30, the relations between the two countries appeared to me more than unsatisfactory. There was danger that the obvious differences, which had their origins, on the one hand, in the territorial provisions of the Treaty of Versailles and, on the other, in the resultant tension on both sides, would gradually harden to become a relation of enmity which, if allowed to persist, could all too easily have taken on the character of a burdensome political heritage for both sides.
But such a development, aside from the latent danger it holds, would comprise a hindrance for any beneficial cooperation between the two nations for all time to come.
The Germans and the Polish will have to come to terms respectively with the facts of each other’s existence. Thus it is more feasible to regulate a state of affairs which a thousand years were incapable of eliminating and will, after us, also fail to eliminate in a manner which will provide the largest possible profit for both nations.
It also appeared to me to be necessary to use a concrete example to illustrate that differences which quite evidently exist must not be allowed to prevent that, in the lives of nations, the form for mutual intercourse be found which is more beneficial to peace and hence to the welfare of the two nations than the political-and ultimately economic-paralysis which inevitably results from the permanent lying in wait of mutual distrust.
It also appeared to me to be right to attempt, in such a case, to acknowledge and deal with the problems affecting the two countries in a frank and open exchange of views between the two than to keep entrusting this task to third and fourth parties. In other respects, be the future differences between the two countries what they may: the catastrophic consequences of attempting to remove them by warfare would be in no proportion to any possible gains! The German Government would thus be happy to meet with this same generous attitude in the leader of the present Polish State, Marshal Pilsudski, and to lay down this mutual realization in an agreement which will not only be equally advantageous to the Polish and the German Volk but also represent a major contribution toward preserving general peace. The German Government is willing and ready to cultivate economic relations with Poland within the scope of this agreement, so that here, as well, the period of unprofitable reserve can be followed by a time of advantageous cooperation.
The fact that the National Socialist Government in Danzig was also able to bring about a similar clarification of its relations with its Polish neighbor this same year fills us with particular pleasure.
In contrast, to the great regret of the German Reich Government, the relations of the Reich to the present Austrian Government are not satisfactory.
The blame does not lie with us. The allegation that the German Reich is planning to do violence to the Austrian State is absurd and can neither be substantiated nor proven.
It is, however, obvious that a single idea which seizes the entire German nation and moves it to its very depths will not halt before the border posts of a country which not only, in terms of its Volk, is German, but which also, in terms of its history as the Ostmark, comprised an integral part of the German Reich for many centuries; whose capital had the honor, for half a millennium, of being the seat of the German emperors; and whose soldiers fought side by side with the German regiments and divisions as recently as the World War.
Even apart from this, there is nothing peculiar about this fact when one considers that nearly all revolutionary thoughts and ideas in Europe have always made themselves felt hitherto beyond the borders of individual countries. For instance, the ideas of the French Revolution extended beyond the borders between States to inspire the peoples throughout Europe, just as today the National Socialist idea has naturally been seized upon by the German element (Deutschtum) in Austria out of an instinctive intellectual and spiritual association with the entire German Volk.
If the present Austrian Government considers it necessary to suppress this movement by utilizing every means at the State’s disposal, then this is, of course, its own affair. However, it must then also personally assume the responsibility for the consequences of its own policy and answer for them. The German Reich Government only came to the obvious conclusions concerning the actions of the Austrian Government against National Socialism at that point when German citizens living in Austria or visiting there as foreigners were affected.
The German Reich Government cannot be reasonably expected to send its citizens as guests to a country whose Government has unmistakenly made clear that it considers National Socialists, in and of themselves, undesirable elements.
Just as we would be unable to count on American and English tourists coming to Germany if these tourists had their national emblems and flags torn away from them, the German Reich Government cannot accept that those Germans who visit another country-and a German country at that-as foreigners and guests are subjected to this disgraceful treatment, for the national emblems and the swastika flags are symbols of today’s German Reich. And Germans who travel abroad today, with the exception of the emigrants, are always National Socialists! When the Austrian Government complains that Germany restrains its citizens29 from traveling to a country whose Government is hostile even to the individual member of a Weltanschauung which here constitutes the prevailing one, it might take into consideration that, were these measures on Germany’s part to be avoided, this would necessarily result in conditions which would, in fact, be unbearable. Since the modern German citizen is too proud and too selfconfident to allow his respected national symbols to be torn down without resistance, there is no alternative but to spare such a country our company.
I must emphatically reject the Austrian Government’s further allegation that the Reich would even plan, much less carry through, any such type of attack against the Austrian State.
The fact that tens of thousands of Austrian political refugees in Germany today are taking an avid interest in the events in their homeland may, in terms of its effects, be regrettable; however, the Reich is all the more incapable of preventing this since the rest of the world has hitherto not been able to put a stop to the activities of certain German emigrants abroad in respect to developments in Germany.
If the Austrian Government is complaining of political propaganda against Austria supposedly emanating from Germany, the German Government has a right to complain of the political propaganda being carried on against Germany in the other countries by political emigrants living there.
The fact that the German press is published in the German language and thus can also be read by the population of Austria is, perhaps, regrettable for the present Austrian Government, but this cannot be changed by the Reich Government. However, the fact that German newspapers are published in the millions in non-German countries and shipped to Germany would constitute genuine grounds for the German Government to protest, for there is no explanation for the fact that, for instance, Berlin newspapers are published in Prague or Paris.
How difficult it is to prevent political emigrants from taking action against their mother country is most clearly evident in the fact that even where the League of Nations is sovereignly responsible for the doings of a particular country, the activities of these circles of emigrants against their former mother country evidently cannot be stopped. Only a few days ago, the German State Police arrested another sixteen Communists at the border of the Saar who were attempting to smuggle large quantities of treasonous propaganda material from that domain of the League of Nations into the German Reich. If something of this sort is allowed so close to the source, one can hardly blame the German Reich for alleged incidents of a similar nature.
The German Reich Government also refrains from lodging any further complaint against the neighboring States based upon the anti-German propaganda of the emigrants which is tolerated there and has gone so far as to institute the performance of a judicial farce mocking the highest German court, a circumstance which ultimately resulted in a wild campaign of boycotts continuing even today. The German Reich Government can refrain from filing suit because it feels that it is the unshakable representative and trustee of the will of the German nation. It has preserved domestic security by not omitting to appeal to the German Volk several times in the space of one year, for its own peace of mind and for the purpose of enlightening the rest of the world, to have this trust confirmed by way of a plebiscite while by no means having been forced to do so.
It would instantly invalidate the attacks being directed against the present Austrian Government were it to finally decide to similarly call upon the German Volk in Austria to ascertain before the whole world whether its will is identical with that of the Government.
I do not believe that, for instance, the Government of Switzerland-a country with millions of citizens of German nationality-could have any complaint to make of any attempts on the part of German circles to interfere with its domestic affairs. It appears to me that this is based upon the fact that the government in existence there evidently enjoys the trust of the Swiss people and thus has no reason to blame domestic difficulties on motives of foreign policy.
Without wishing in the least to interfere in the internal affairs of other States, I nonetheless believe that I must say one thing: no regime can prevail for any length of time with force alone.
Thus it will always be a primary concern of the National Socialist Government of the Reich to ascertain over and over again the extent to which the will of the nation is personified in the government at its fore. And in this sense, we ‘savages’ are truly the better democrats.
In other respects, while myself being proud and happy to affirm my faith in the Austrian Bruderland as my homeland and the homeland of my fathers, I must protest against the idea that the German temperament of the Austrian Volk would require any stimuli at all from the Reich.
I believe that today I still know my homeland and its Volk well enough to know that the throbbing which fills the 66 million Germans in the Reich also moves its own hearts and senses.
May Fate decree that, in the end, a way may nevertheless be found out of this unsatisfactory state of affairs and to a truly reconciliating settlement. The German Reich is willing at all times, given full respect to the free will of Austrian Deutschtum, to extend its hand to a real understanding.
In this review of foreign policy, I cannot omit mentioning my pleasure at the fact that the almost traditional friendship to Fascist Italy which National Socialism has consistently cultivated and the high esteem which the great leader of that people is also accorded in our country have been further and variously reinforced in the relations between the two States in the past year. The German Volk feels grateful for the many proofs of the both statesmanlike and objective fairness which modern Italy has demonstrated toward it at the Geneva negotiations as well as subsequent thereto.
The visit of the Italian State Secretary, Suvich, to Berlin has given us the opportunity to exhibit, for the first time, an indication of these sentiments for the Italian people-whose Weltanschauung is so close to our own-and for its outstanding statesman.
Just as the National Socialist Government of the Reich endeavored to come to an understanding with Poland this year, we have similarly made an honest attempt to reduce the differences between France and Germany and, if possible, to find the way to a final understanding by reaching a general settlement.
The fight for German equality of rights which, because it is a fight for the honor and the rights of our Volk, is one we will never give up, could, in my opinion, be terminated in no better way than in a reconciliation of the two great nations which have so often shed the blood of their best sons on the battlefield in the past centuries without effecting any essential and permanent change in the facts of the matter.
Thus I also believe that this problem cannot be viewed only through the spectacles of cold professional politicians and diplomats, but that it can be permanently solved only by the warm-hearted resolve of those who perhaps once faced each other as enemies but who, in their high regard for each other’s bravery, might find a bridge to the future which must rule out a repetition of past suffering if Europe is not to be driven to the brink of disaster.
France fears for its security. No one in Germany wants to threaten it, and we are willing to do everything to prove this. Germany demands its equality of rights. No one in the world has the right to deny this to a great nation, and no one will have the power to prevent it for any length of time.
However, for us, the living witnesses of the horrors of the Great War, nothing is further removed from our thoughts than to make any sort of connection between comprehensible sentiments and demands and a desire to once more put the forces of the nations to the test on the battlefield, an act which necessarily would result in international chaos.
Motivated by these sentiments, I have attempted, in the spirit of the necessary and desired cooperation between both nations, to bring about a solution to questions which otherwise are all too liable to cause a fresh ignition of the passions at play.
My proposal that Germany and France might already now mutually settle the problem of the Saar originated in the following considerations:
1. This is the only territorial question still open between the two countries.
When this question is solved, the German Government is willing and determined to accept not only the letter but also the spirit of the Locarno Pact, for there would no longer be any territorial problem between France and Germany in its view.
2. In spite of the fact that a plebiscite will result in a tremendous majority for Germany, the German Government fears that, in the course of preparations for the plebiscite, national passions will flame up, urged onward by fresh propaganda and fueled particularly by irresponsible circles of emigrants; in view of the already certain result, this would not be necessary and is hence to be deplored.
3. Regardless of the outcome of the plebiscite, it will in any case necessarily leave behind the feeling of defeat for one of the two nations. And even if the bonfires would be burning in Germany, from the viewpoint of a reconciliation between the two countries, we would be happier if a solution equally satisfactory to both sides could be found in advance.
4. We are of the conviction that, had France and Germany provided for and resolved this question beforehand by mutually drafting an agreement, the entire population of the Saar would have enthusiastically approved of this solution with an overwhelming majority and with the consequence that the request of the population of the Saar to cast its vote would then have been granted without one of the two nations in question having to be made to experience the outcome of the plebiscite as a victory or a defeat, and without providing a new opportunity for propaganda to obstruct the mutual understanding budding between the German and French peoples.
Thus today I still regret that, for their part, the French are not inclined to accept this idea. However, I am not relinquishing hope that nevertheless the will to achieve a genuine reconciliation and to once and for all bury the hatchet will grow consistently stronger in the two countries and win out in the end.
If this succeeds, the equality of rights unwaveringly demanded in Germany will no longer be perceived in France as an attack against the security of the French nation, but as the self-evident right of a great Volk with which it not only maintains amicable political relations, but with which it also has so infinitely many economic interests in common.
We gratefully welcome the endeavors of the Government of Great Britain to place its assistance at the disposal of promoting these amicable relations. We will do our best to examine the draft of a new disarmament proposal given to me yesterday by the British Ambassador in the spirit which I endeavored to explain in my speech in May as being the guiding principle in our foreign policy.
When the German Government was forced to decide this year to withdraw from the Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations, it did so because the developments surrounding the question closest to Germany’s heart of granting equality of rights in connection with international arms control were no longer compatible with what I had to establish in May as the inalterable basic demand not only for the national security of the German Reich but also for the national honor of our Volk.
At this time, I can only once again repeat to the world that there is no threat and no force which could ever move the German Volk to relinquish its claim to the rights which can never be denied to a sovereign nation.
But I can further pledge that this sovereign nation has no other desire than to gladly invest the power and the weight of its political, ethical and economic values not only toward healing the wounds inflicted upon the human race in times past, but also in the interests of a cooperation between the civilized nations which, as a British statesman has rightly stated, through the products of their intellect and labors, are what make life in this world a beautiful thing and genuinely worth living.
After one year of the National Socialist Revolution, the German Reich and the German Volk have become inwardly and outwardly more mature to assume that share of the responsibility for the prosperity and good fortune of all peoples which is allotted to such a great nation by Providence and hence cannot be denied it by human beings.
The willingness to fulfill this genuinely international obligation cannot he expressed in any symbol more fitting than in the person of the aged Marshal who, as an officer and victorious leader, waged wars and battles for the greatness of our Volk and today, as President of the Reich, is the most venerable guarantor for the task of peace so important to all of us.