The first recorded speech of Adolf Hitler
… The great time of decision has arrived. Destiny has given Germany’s present rulers more than thirteen years to prove themselves and to show what they can do. They themselves pronounce the most damning judgment on themselves, for by the very nature of their propaganda today they acknowledge the failure of their efforts.
Once they wanted to govern Germany better than it had been governed in the past, and all they can say about their art of governing is that Germany and the German People are not yet dead. In those November days in 1918 they solemnly swore to lead our nation, and especially the German work force towards a better economic future. They have had almost fourteen years to keep that promise, and they cannot cite a single German trade or profession as evidence of their success.
The German farmer is in dire straits, the middle class is ruined, the hopes of many millions of people that social conditions would improve have been dashed; a third of the work force, male and female, is unemployed and thus without a livelihood. The national government (Reich), the local authorities and the individual German states are overburdened with debt, everywhere finances are in disarray and the public purse is empty.
How much more could they have destroyed? But the worst thing is that they have destroyed the Nation’s faith, leaving it utterly without hope or confidence. In thirteen years they have not succeeded in mobilizing the forces dormant within our nation. On the contrary! In their fear of awakening the nation they have created dissension, pitting town against country, salaried workers against civil servants, blue collar workers against white collar workers, Bavarians against Prussians, Catholics against Protestants and so on.
The energies of our race have been consumed solely in dealing with its own internal problems. What remained for the world outside Germany were fantasies, fantastic hopes of cultural awareness, international law, the world conscience, conferences of ambassadors, the League of Nations, the Second International, the Third International, proletarian solidarity and so forth. And the world treated us accordingly. And so, slowly the destruction of Germany has progressed and only a maniac could hope that the forces which caused this decline could now achieve the nation’s regeneration. If the parties currently in power are serious about saving Germany, why haven’t they done so? If they really wanted to save Germany, why hasn’t it happened? If the men of these parties honestly intended to do that, then their programs must have been wrong. If their programs were right, then they themselves could not have genuinely wanted to save Germany, or else they were simply too ignorant or too weak.
After thirteen years during which they have totally destroyed Germany, the time has finally come now to eliminate them, too. Whether the current parliamentary parties survive is not important, what matters is to save the German nation from complete destruction.
It is our duty to defeat these parties because to ensure their own survival they are constantly compelled to divide the nation. For years they have told the German working man that he could ensure his own salvation unassisted. For years they have fooled the farmer into believing that only his own organization would help him. The middle class was supposed to be saved from ruin by middle class parties and industry saved by industrial parties. Catholics were was supposed to seek refuge in the Centre Party (Zentrum) and Protestants in the Christian Social People’s Service (Christlichsozialer Volksdienst). Yes,and in the end the home owners got their own political representation just like the renters, the salaried workers and the civil servants.
But now these attempts to divide the nation into classes, estates, professions and confessions and to lead them one by one towards a better economic future have finally failed.
On the day when we founded our National Socialist movement we were already convinced that the fate of the individual German is inseparably linked with the fate of the entire nation. If Germany is ruined the worker cannot prosper in favorable social conditions nor can the entrepreneur; and neither will the farmer be able to save himself nor the middle class. No, the ruin of the Reich, the collapse of the nation means the ruin and destruction of us all! No one confession and not a single German tribe (Stamm) will escape the fate which will overtake us collectively.
On the day when the National Socialist movement was founded we had long since realized that it was not the proletariat which would triumph over the middle class, nor the middle class which would triumph over the proletariat. In the end it would be the international financiers alone who would triumph over both. And this is precisely what has happened!
Recognizing this process of decay thirteen years ago I and a handful of others formed a new movement, whose very name is intended to proclaim the new national community. Socialism cannot exist unless it is served by the power of the intellect, nor can there be social well-being unless it is protected and its existence ensured by the strength of a nation. And there can be no nation and thus no nationalism unless the millions of intellectual workers are joined by the millions of manual laborers and the millions of farm workers.
As long as nationalism and socialism march onward as separate ideas they will be vanquished by the united forces which oppose them. On the day when these two ideas unite as one, they will be invincible!
And who would deny that when everything in Germany is falling apart and in decline, when both the economy and political life are grinding to a standstill or are already at an end, one single organization has enjoyed an unheard of and astonishing upswing?
Thirteen years ago with seven men I began this task of unifying Germany, and today more than 13 million have joined our ranks! But it is not their number which matters; what matters is the kind of person they are! Thirteen million people from all walks of life, thirteen million workers, farmers and intellectuals, thirteen million Catholics and Protestants from all the German regions and tribes have formed an inseparable alliance. And thirteen million Germans have recognized that the future of each of them lies only in the collective struggle and collective success of all of them.
Millions of farmers have now realized that whether they themselves understand the necessity for their existence is not important. What matters is to enlighten those in other walks of life and other professions about the German farmer and to gain their support for him.
And today millions of working men have also realized that in spite of all theories their future does not lie in international organizations. What matters is that their fellow Germans realize that without German farmers and German workers Germany cannot be strong.
And similarly millions of middle class intellectuals have come to realize how unimportant their sense of their own worth is, unless the millions of other Germans ultimately recognize the importance of the German intelligentsia.
Thirteen years ago we National Socialists were laughed at and scorned. Today our opponents are laughing on the other side of their faces! A community of believers has come into being which will slowly overcome the absurd prejudices about class and social status. A community of believers who are determined to take up the struggle to preserve our race, not because they are from Bavaria or Prussia, or Württemberg or Saxony, not because they are Catholics or Protestants, workers or civil servants, middle class citizens or salaried employees and so forth, but because they are all Germans.
From this feeling that an inseparable bonds unites them all has grown a sense of mutual respect, and from this respect has come understanding and from that understanding the tremendous power which moves us all.
This is why we National Socialists march forward to each election with the sole commitment that the next day we will resume our efforts to achieve the reorganization of our body politic. For we are not fighting for seats in parliament or cabinet appointments; we are fighting on behalf of our fellow Germans whom we want to – whom we shall -reunite in an inseparable community with a common destiny.
The Almighty who has allowed our numbers to grow from seven to thirteen million in thirteen years, will also permit the thirteen million to form the nucleus from which will grow a new German nation. We believe in a nation. It is for this German nation that we are fighting, and, like thousands of fellow Germans before us, it is to this German nation that we are ready – if called upon – to dedicate ourselves with body and soul.
If the nation does its duty, the day must come when once again we shall have a Reich with honor and freedom – work and bread!