Adolf Hitler - speech in Karlsruhe
March 12, 1936
I know no regime of the bourgeoisie, no regime of the workers, no regime of the city dwellers, no regime of trade or commerce. Nor do I know a regime of industry; I know only a regime of the German Volk!
I have endeavored to bring to the German Volk internal peace. Today, after three years, I can say: the German Volk is internally the most content people in the world. It is my desire to resolve the great differences in the life of peoples as I have those within this country-from the vantage points of law, of justness, and hence of reason.
One might say, “that is not possible, that is fantastic, those are ideologies.” Well, I believe in these ideologies, and wonderful things have already been accomplished in this sector! I am not approaching the German Volk as an idle gabbler. I can say: these thoughts have guided me for three years, and they have guided me well.
When I took over the government three years ago, the German Volk was surrounded only by animosity in Europe. And the worst thing about it was that this mentality appeared to be based on so little reflection on every side; neither here nor elsewhere had the problems been thought over with sufficient sobriety.
People were allowing themselves to be driven into hatred, envy, fear, and jealousy.
I have endeavored to introduce reason into Germany’s relations with its environment. I have endeavored to promote these relations on the basis of principles which have proven to be eternally just, principles of a shared sense of belonging to the human race and of working on behalf of the human community.
I have attempted to make clear to the world and the German Volk that Europe is a limited term; that no far-reaching shifts have taken place in this small Europe for centuries; that here in Europe we have one family of peoples; that the individual members of this family are each, however, tremendously consolidated. That they represent nations rich in traditions, looking back on a great past and a culture they call their own, and proudly place their hopes in the future. I have endeavored to make comprehensible to our Volk and, in addition, to the others as well, that every hate-filled conflict will reap only very shortlived, minor successes.
The European borders of the states may change, but their peoples remain stable! One can change the borders between states, but the borders between peoples have become virtually unalterable! There are no empty spaces in Europe into which the masses in Europe could flood. There are no unconsolidated peoples in Europe which could easily be deprived of their essential character. But neither is there any necessity for this, and, therefore, it is senseless to attempt to divest a people of its individuality and force it to take on an alien one. I have endeavored, proceeding from this quite sober consideration, to improve Germany’s relations with its surroundings, and my efforts have not been without success.
Three years ago, when Germany stood in profound opposition to Poland, I succeeded in gradually lessening those tensions, and thanks to the profound understanding of another great leader and statesman,83 the attempt of two peoples to slowly approach one another was successful.
From this rapprochement there gradually grew an understanding, and from this understanding the conviction of the necessity for living side by side in friendship, and from that in turn grew mutual consideration. I am of the conviction that, after a certain time has passed, it will have become incomprehensible that two peoples could possibly have lived within the framework of an evolving, so-called “traditional archenemy relationship.” I have endeavored to bring about a normalization of this relationship between the two peoples, as far as concerns Germany. This has been successful for the benefit of both peoples. I have attempted to transfer this same idea from the East to the West. Here as well I endeavored as a German National Socialist-as the first, I believe-to show that further maintaining this so-called “doctrine of the hereditary enemy” (Erbfeindscbaftslehre) must be and is unreasonable-because pointless-for both peoples. Granted-here, too, many will perhaps say that is but an ideal. Yet I believe in this ideal and believe that one day reason shall triumph here as well! In any case, I believe it will be necessary to do everything to help this reason be victorious.
My own policy of rapprochement is based on this, namely, on the idea that there can be either two partners with equal rights or none at all. Only this equality of rights can bring forth mutual respect, and only from this mutual respect can esteem for one another ensue, and only from this esteem for one another can mutual consideration finally grow.
Both peoples have drenched the battlefields countless times with the blood of their best men. The borders moved fifty, 100 kilometers back and forth from one side to the other. A final decision would never come about in this way; yet the two peoples would again and again lose their best blood while their economy suffered from the trouble and distrust, the fear and the hatred. I believe that calm deliberation must one day show these two peoples the path to an understanding.
And that is what I am offering toward such an understanding, as spokesman for more than sixty-seven million people! Then again, there are many who say reason is not what matters; there are other imponderabilities to be taken into consideration. I believe that nothing of value exists which cannot ultimately be grasped by reason as well.
I object that, in statesmanship, certain views are found to be correct which cannot be anchored in reason. Sometimes I am told: but that has never been the case before, and statesmanship has proven that it is not possible on the long term. No, statesmanship teaches us the opposite, that past policies have not led to long-range success, and thus I reject this type of statesmanship.
I am told that, if you are a German nationalist, you must want military triumphs. I can only say that my ambition is directed toward completely different triumphs. I am a German nationalist and will represent my Volk with all the zealousness of a soldier in that great army of the past. It is my ambition to establish a memorial to myself within the German Volk. But I am also aware that it would be better to erect this memorial in peacetime rather than in times of war. My ambition is aimed at creating the best possible institutions for training our Volk. I want that we in Germany have the greatest stadiums; that our road network is expanded; that our culture becomes elevated and refined; I want our cities to become beautiful; I want to put Germany at the top in every field of human cultural life and cultural aspiration. That is my ambition! I want the working capacity of my Volk not to lie fallow, but to be utilized to give us new values. I want to convert this working capacity into beauty for our Volk, into life and joy for our Volk. I want to dedicate my efforts toward ensuring that this Volk can lead its life as free of cares as possible. I shall dedicate my efforts toward ensuring that its life-goods are distributed as rationally as possible. However, I do not want anyone else to interfere here and think he can take anything away from us! I live only for my Volk, and the National Socialist Movement thinks only of this Volk.
I live only for the thought of the future of this Volk seeing before me these countless millions of people who work so hard and have so little to live on, who often have to struggle with so many cares, and who are so seldom favored by fortune. The National Socialist Movement wants only to help these people; it wants to try to make their life easier, to organize it more pleasantly. Toward this purpose, it will place all the capacities of its work, its genius, and its organizational talent at the service of maintaining this life.
Thus I ask of you, go to the polls this coming election day. Do your duty and do not forget: Germany is not borne by a single man, but by the entire German Volk. And one man can only be the spokesman for this Volk as long as this Volk stands behind this man-man for man and woman for woman. It is not for myself that I ask you to do your duty on this March 29, but for our Volk and its future.
Whereas we shall perish, Germany will survive! We may die, but Germany must live, now and for all time to come!