Adolf Hitler - radio address to the German Folk
July 20, 1944
My fellow Germans!
Yet another of the countless attempts on my life has been planned and carried out. I am speaking to you for two reasons:
1. So that you can hear my voice and know that I myself am not injured and well.
2. So that you can hear the details of a crime without parallel in German history.
A very small clique of ambitious, unscrupulous, criminal and stupid officers formed a conspiracy to do away with me and at the same time to wipe out virtually the entire staff of the German High Command. The bomb which was planted by Colonel von Stauffenberg exploded two meters to my right. It seriously injured a number of my colleagues who are very dear to me; one has died. I myself am completely unhurt apart from a few minor skin abrasions, bruises and burns. I interpret this as confirmation that Providence wishes me to continue my life's mission as I have in the past. For I can solemnly state in the presence of the entire nation that since the day I moved into the Wilhelmstraße my sole thought has been to carry out my duty to the best of my ability. And from the time when I realized that the war was unavoidable and could no longer be delayed, I have known nothing but worry and hard work; and for countless days and sleepless nights have lived only for my People!
At the very moment when the German armies are engaged in a most difficult struggle, a small group formed in Germany, as happened in Italy, which thought that as in 1918 it could now deliver the stab in the back. However, this time they totally miscalculated. The claim by these usurpers that I am no longer alive, is at this very moment proven false, for here I am talking to you, my dear fellow countrymen. The circle which these usurpers represent is very small. It has nothing to do with the German armed forces, and above all nothing to do with the German army. It is a very small clique composed of criminal elements which will now be mercilessly exterminated. I therefore give the following orders with immediate effect:
1. That no civilian agency is to obey an order from a government agency which these usurpers claim that they command.
2. That no military installation, no commander of a unit, no soldier is to obey any order by these usurpers. On the contrary, any person conveying or issuing such an order is to be immediately arrested or, if they resist, shot on the spot.
In order to restore complete order, I have appointed Minister of the Reich Himmler to be Commander of the Home Forces. I have drafted into the General Staff General Guderian to replace the Chief of the General Staff who is at the moment absent due to illness, and have appointed a second proven leader from the Eastern Front to be his aide.
In all the other agencies of government within the Reich everything remains unchanged. I am convinced that with the departure of this small clique of traitors and conspirators, we will finally create the atmosphere here at home, too, which the soldiers at the front need. For it is intolerable that at the front hundreds of thousands and millions of brave men are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, while here at home a small clique of ambitious, despicable creatures constantly tries to undermine this attitude. This time we will settle accounts as we National Socialists are accustomed to. I am convinced that at this time every decent officer, every honest soldier will understand that.
Few people can begin to imagine the fate which would have overtaken Germany had the assassination attempt succeeded. I myself thank Providence and my Creator not for preserving me - my life consists only of worry and work for my People - I thank him only for allowing me to continue to bear this burden of worry, and to carry on my work to the best of my ability.
It is the duty of every German without exception to ruthlessly oppose these elements, and either to arrest them immediately or, if they resist arrest, to shoot them on the spot. These orders have been issued to all military units. They will be carried out to the letter with the discipline typical of the Germany army.
Once again I take this opportunity, my old comrades in arms, to greet you, joyful that I have once again been spared a fate which, while it held no terror for me personally, would have had terrible consequences for the German People. I interpret this as a sign from Providence that I must continue my work, and therefore I shall continue it.