Adolf Hitler – speech at the Reichstag – Berlin, May 21, 1935

Berlin, May 21, 1935

Adolf Hitler Portrait-15

Attention! Attention! Here is the German radio, the German station transmits from the building of the Reichstag in Berlin the 8th session of the Reichstag. We now move on to the meeting room in the Reichstag.

REICHSMARSCHALL HERMANN GÖRING SPEAKS:

Gentlemen! The session is open!

I welcome today for the first time the representatives in our midst of the Saarland which returned to Germany the first of March.

My honorable deputies! I beseech you to rise from your seats, and remember with me a great man who has been called to his maker a few days ago.

The German people, and with it especially the German Reichstag as an authoritative representative of the German people, stands in deep sympathy at the grave of the Grand Marshal of the now friendly Polish nation.

I was able to declare in its name the compassion of the German Reichstag there.

We Germans, educated and grown up in the Nazi cosmovision, have a special understanding of the significance of a personality.’ I think I can also say that we understand very particularly, what a great loss has befallen the people of Poland.

While we recognize the magnitude of the Marshal, we also know that he was one of those men who energetically advocated everywhere for peace and who considered as a visible fact of such a peace to bring about the German-Polish understanding.

Thank you for having raised from your seats in honor to the late Polish Marshal Pilsudski.

Before I proceed to the agenda, I give the floor to the Reich and Prussian Interior Minister Fritz.

German men of the Reichstag, on 6 March 1935 the Government has passed the law to build the armed forces, that introduced compulsory military service again.

Today the government of the Reich has passed a bill about the specific rules of the universal military service, which will be promulgated tomorrow.

The Führer and Chancellor of the German nation holds the floor:

THE FÜHRER SPEAKS:

Deputies!

Men of the German Reichstags!

The president of the Reichstag, party comrade Gцring, has summoned, by request of the German government, this session of the Reichstag to enable me to give you the explanation I feel is necessary to understand the attitude and the decision made by the German Government on the great problems of the time which concern us all.

With this intention I am speaking to you and thus to the whole German people. I speak also to all those in the rest of the world who, weather out of duty or interest, seek to gain an insight into our thoughts regarding to these questions that concern them too.

***

I am happy to be able to give such explanations from this place, because danger is thereby obviated to which conversations in a smaller circle are liable – namely, that of misinterpretation.

It is my belief that making this type of statement is particularly useful, for it not only gives me the right but actually places me under obligation to be completely open and to speak about the various problems with total frankness.

The German nation has the right to demand this of me, and I am determined to obey. I frequently hear Anglo-Saxon countries express regret that Germany should have departed from the very principles of a democratic concept of state which are particularly sacred to these countries. This opinion is based upon a grave error. Germany also had a “democratic constitution.” The present German Government of the National Socialist State has also been appointed by the people and feels itself responsible to the people in the same way. It does not matter how high the number of votes in the individual Lдnder were. There are Lдnder which require 20,000 votes for one deputy. In others, 10,000 or even 5,000 suffice; in still others, the figure is 60,000 or more.

The German Volk elected a single deputy as its representative with thirtyeight million votes! That is perhaps one of the most significant differences in comparison to the conditions in the other countries. It means, however, that I feel just as responsible to the German Volk as any parliament would.

***

I act thanks to its confidence and in its behalf.

The German people therefore has a right to expect a statement such as this that discusses the issues bluntly and openly that concern not only the other world but at least as much the German people. And I’m happy about it. Because: As Fuhrer-Chancellor and chief of the Reich government, I have often to make decisions, which are weighty enough, but the weight of which is made still heavier by the fact that I cannot share my responsibility or shift it to other shoulders.

So I have at least one wish,

to give the nation an insight into my concerning thoughts to facilitate its understanding of those decisions and actions that spring from these thoughts. The heavier these decisions are, the more I, as German, would like to act independently of all instincts of weakness or fear and to bring it in accordance with my conscience in the face of my God and the people that he lets me serve.

***

When the late Reich President called me on January. 30, 1933, to form a new government to take over the affairs of the State, millions of our people doubted whether the undertaking could succeed.

***

The then torn German people was filled both with malicious joy and care. Then our situation only seemed to be hopeful to the internal enemies, the true friends felt it, however, inexpressibly sad. In many areas the national life was threatened the most.

Although for many people – understandably – the economic disaster outshone everything else, it was clear for the good observer that it represented only a consequence.

The economically necessary consequence of a number of internal causes that were of a partly social, partly organizational and political nature but also especially moral. It was necessary great courage, given the overwhelming number of tasks, of the seemingly hopelessness of the situation as well as of the given limitation of all means, not to lose heart, but instead to immediately tackle the Work for the resurgence of the nation from its misfortune and decline.

Economically we were on the following situation: After a four-year war, which in itself had terribly harmed the entire national economy,the victorious opponents forced the German people in a dictated peace, which, devoid of any political and economic sense, wants to forever transform the resulting ratio of the forces at the of the war into the basis of life of the peoples.

Without any examination of the economic living conditions and laws, even in direct opposition to them, on the one hand the economic opportunities are cut down, on the other side, put outside of any real demand of production.

Under the general designation “Restitution” it was effected the destruction of the German economy. Out of this incomprehensible disregard of the most primitive economic insight ensued the following situation: 1st The nation has a superabundance of labor.

2nd The nation has a great need to recover its usual high standard of living which it had taken away by the war, the inflation and reparations.

3rd She suffers from a lack of food and raw materials in its living space.

4th The international market from all the necessary is too small and is also practically more and more restricted by many measures, and a certain inevitable development.

***

It is a bad report for the economic understanding of our former political opponents, that they only began to see the impossibility of the further performance of unlimited, and sometimes downright incomprehensible claims when, by their conduct, not only was the German national economy completely in ruins, but also the economies of other countries began to follow it.

In Germany the result of this madness was an abandoned industry, a destroyed agriculture, a ruined middle class, loss of all trade, an indebted national economy, completely shattered public accounts, six and a half million were registered as unemployed, but in fact over seven million were unemployed!

If one were to solely address this economic disaster, tough decisions had to be undertaken.

The German nation was once able to accumulate in a limited living space their human wealth, thanks to the sufficient conditions of life resulting from their participation in an international economy. As long as this condition existed, in the narrow German living space the 67 million people not only had their own domestic necessities of life secured, but were also a useful economic factor for the rest of the world.

The course of the war and particularly the effects of post-war policy will one day be regarded as a classic yet terrible refutation of that naive opinion – that unfortunately dominated before the war the thinking of many statesmen – that the economic benefit of a European State was best promoted by the economic destruction of another.

The economic burden of the German nation at peace, on the one side, as well as its international and domestic economic disadvantage, on the other side, force every ruler, whether they will or not, to take into account the given circumstances.

We are all convinced that the complete implementation of the idea of the economic autarky of all states, as is threateningly looming today, seen from a higher vantage point can only be unwise and harmful in its outcome for all peoples.

It is economically not very reasonable to make artificially from natural agricultural and raw material areas industrialized countries and, vice versa, to force overcrowded industrialized countries into a primitive production of raw materials or substitute materials.

For Europe, this development will one day have very unpleasant and bad consequences.

But a change of this irrational trend, seen from a wider perspective, is unfortunately not in Germany’s power.

In the same proportion in that the lack of international sales obliges us to restrict the purchase, it will have to be tried so that the German labor is not left idle, to win over the lack of raw materials either by complicated procedures, or, if this is not possible, to replace them. This task can only be resolved by a planned economy. A dangerous undertaking because every planned economy is too easily followed by the bureaucratization and thus the suffocation of the ever-creative private initiative.

However, in the interest of our people we cannot wish that an economy, which is similar to Communism and therefore puts to sleep the energy of production, will reduce the possible total efficiency of our capacity for work. Thus the general standard of living undergoes a deterioration instead of an improvement.

This danger will be further increased by the fact that in my view every planned economy abolishes too easily the harsh laws of economic selection of the fittest and the extermination of the weakest, or at least limits in favor of a guarantee of the preservation of the inferior at the expense of the higher ability, of the higher diligence and value and thus to the detriment of the common good.

Thus, if we have taken this path in spite of such realizations, it was done under the most severe compulsion of necessity. What was achieved in the two and a half years in the areas of job creation, of market regulation, of a planned price and wage setting, was considered totally impossible a few years ago.

But it was only successful because we put behind these seemingly dry economic measures the living energy of the entire nation.

A myriad of objective and psychological conditions had first to be created with that purpose. In order to guarantee the functioning of the national economy, it was necessary first to bring an absolute quiet to the eternal movement of the wage and price formation.

It was further necessary to remove every intervention which were not in a higher national economic interest, its driving conditions basis, i. e. to abolish the class organizations living from the wage and price policy of both sides. The destruction of the fighting trade unions both the ones of the employers and of the workers demanded the analogous elimination of the parties sustained by these interest groups and which therefore supported them. This forced again to the introduction of a new constructive and lively constitution and to a inner reconstruction of the nation and the state!

Should all this be more than purely external organizational changes, the people had even to be brought up to a new social thought and life.

Each of these tasks are large enough to fill a century and are from a kind that have broken peoples and nations. But when one wants to realize such a program that either totally succeeds or otherwise must fail from the outset in all its details, then the success depends on two conditions, on the degree of the existing order and on the length of time available.

We Germans can only complain that the rest of the world still takes so little effort to do an objective examination of what happened in Germany in the last two and a half years, and that they do not scrutinize the essence of a cosmovision to which these achievements are exclusively ascribable.

Since both the purpose and the implementation of the tasks that emboss the todayґs Germany with its unique stamp have come from the National Socialist body of thought, they are ascribible to the National Socialist Party, to its organization and its own and out-pouring energy.

In Germany has taken place a revolution in the last two years that is larger than the average man currently realizes. The scope and depth of this revolution have not been affected by the mercy with which it treated its former enemies. For this mercy did not quite spring from a feeling of weakness, rather from the conviction of an overwhelming superiority and a self-assured and unshakable confidence in the victory.

This new Germany can not be brought into comparison with the Germany of the past.

Its ideas are as new as its actions.

The spirit of middle-class jingoism is exactly so of the past a politically determining factor as the tendencies of Marxist internationalism.

If todayґs Germany advocates peace, then it does it neither out of weakness nor out of cowardice.

It advocates peace out of another idea which the National Socialism has of the People and State.

Germany sees in the forced coalescence of a people into a different foreign body not only an undesirable political objective but as a result a threat to the internal unity and thus to the strength of a people in the long term.

Its doctrine therefore rejects the idea of a national assimilation in a dogmatic manner. Thus the middle-class belief opposes a possible “Germanization”. It is therefore neither our desire nor our intention to take away the national traditions, the language or the culture from foreign parts of other peoples so as to impose on them instead a foreign, German one.

We give no instructions for the Germanization of non-German names, on the contrary, we do not want this. That is why our patriotic doctrine sees in every war for the subjugation and domination of a foreign nation a process that sooner or later changes internally the victor and weakens it and therefore makes it into the conquered one in future.

We therefore do not believe that in Europe the thoroughly nationalistically hardened peoples in the age of the principle of nationalities could ever be expropriated of their nationalistic sense!

The last 150 years offer here more than enough instructive and cautionary examples. The European nation- states will be able to achieve more with no future war – apart from a temporary weakening of their opponents – than minor national border adjustments of no consequence in relation to the offered victims.

***

The permanent state of war that is called into being by such procedures may seem useful to different political and business interests; for the peoples it spells only burdens and misery.

***

The blood which has been shed on the European continent for the past three hundred years bears no proportion whatsoever to the outcome of events in terms of nationalities. In the end, France has remained France, Germany Germany, Poland Poland, Italy Italy, etc. What dynastic egoism, political passion and patriotic blindness have attained by rivers of blood in the way of seemingly far-reaching national and political changes served, in terms of the nations, only to scratch the surface of peoples, doing very little to really alter their basic parameters. Had these states devoted merely a fraction of their sacrifices to wiser aims, the resultant success would certainly have been greater and more permanent.

When I, as a National Socialist, uphold this opinion in total frankness, I am moved by yet another realization: every war initially devours the cream of the crop. But because there is no more unoccupied space left in Europe, every victory-without effecting any change in the fundamental European misfortune-can at best bring about a numerical increase in the inhabitants of a given state. If, however, this means so much to the nations, they can accomplish it in a much simpler and above all more natural way than by shedding tears. A sound social policy can increase the willingness of a Volk to have offspring and thus, within only a few years, give to a nation more children of its own Volk than the number of foreign people who could be conquered and made subjects by war.

No! National Socialist Germany wants peace out of its innermost weltanschaulich convictions. It wants peace owing, too, to the simple and so basic realization that no war would be capable of essentially alleviating our widespread European distress, but would more likely increase it. Modern Germany is presently undertaking the enormous effort of repairing its inner damages.

None of our projects of material nature will be completed before ten to twenty years have passed. None of the tasks of an ideal nature which we have taken on can come to fruition in less than fifty or perhaps even a hundred years.

Back then I started the National Socialist Revolution by creating the Movement and I have actively carried on this revolution. I know that all of us will witness only the very beginning of this great and sweeping development. What more could I want than peace?

But if they claim that this is the desire only of the leadership, I must respond with the following: even if only the leaders and those in government wanted peace-the peoples themselves have never wanted war! Germany needs peace, and it desires peace.

I have now heard from the lips of an English statesman that such assurances mean nothing and that the only guarantee of sincerity is a signature on collective treaties, and I may ask Minister Eden to take into consideration that it is, in any case, an ‘assurance.’ On occasion it is much easier to sign one’s name to a treaty, inwardly reserving the right to review one’s attitude in the decisive hour, than to declare-before an entire nation and completely out in the open-one’s support of a policy which serves the cause of peace because it rejects the prerequisites of war.

I could have put my signature on ten treaties, and the weightiness of such an action would not have had the same significance as the statement I made to France on the occasion of the Saar plebiscite. When I, as Führer and appointed representative of the German nation, gave my assurance in front of the world and my Volk that Germany would make no further territorial demands upon France after the question of the Saar had been settled, this constituted a contribution to peace which is greater than many a signature on many a pact.

I believe that with this solemn declaration a long lasting dispute between both nations will be concluded.

We gave the declaration with the impression that for both nations this conflict and its related victims are out of proportion to the objective that without being ever questioned, always was repeatedly and would be the cause of so much suffering and unhappiness.

If, however, such a statement only finds the honor of “being taking note of”, then that certaily leaves us with no other choice but to also “take note of” this answer.

But I have to register a protest at this point against any attempt to assess the value of statements as it suits oneself.

If the German government assures on behalf of the German people only to desire peace, then this statement is worth either exactly as much as its signature under any special pact formulation, or it could not otherwise be more worth than the first formal statement!

It is peculiar that sometimes in the historical life of nations formal term inflation occurs that could hardly stand up to close examination of reason.

For some time the world lives, for example, in a formal mania of collective cooperation, collective security, collective duties, etc., that at first sight they all seem to be the real issues but upon closer examination they are open to at least multiple interpretations.

What is collective cooperation?

Who determines what is collective cooperation and what is not?

Has not the term “collective cooperation” been interpreted in various ways for 17 years?

I believe I express it correctly when I say that in addition to many other rights, the victors of the Treaty of Versailles have anticipated the right to define unchallenged what “collective Cooperation” is and what “collective cooperation” is not.

When I permit myself at this place to criticize these actions, it is because in this way the inner necessity of the last decisions of the national government may be made clear the earliest and the understanding of our real intentions awakened.

The current concept of the collective cooperation of nations is in its origin the intellectual property of the U.S. President Wilson. The policy of the prewar period was determined more by the idea of alliances of nations brought together by common interests. Rightly or wrongly, this policy was once made responsible for the outbreak of the World War.

Its was – at least as far as Germany is concerned – accelerated by the doctrine of Wilson’s 14 points and the three later added.

Therein was written down essentially the following reasoning to prevent the recurrence of a similar human catastrophe: Peace should not be a peace of unilateral right, but a peace of general equality and thus of the general law. It should be a peace of reconciliation, disarmament of all and thus security for all.

The culminating result was the idea of an international collective cooperation of all countries and nations in the League of Nations. At this point, I must assure again that there was never any people that, towards the of the war, has taken these ideas with more enthusiasm than the German. Their suffering and sacrifice were by far the largest of all the war participating countries. Trusting in this promise, the German soldiers laid his weapons down.

When in 1919 the Freedom of Versailles was dictated to the German people, first of all the collective cooperation of the nations was given the death sentence. Instead of the equality of all, the classification into victors and conquered came about. Instead of the equal rights, the distinction between those with rights and those without rights. Instead of the reconciliation of all, the punishment of the weakest. Instead of international disarmament, the disarmament of the conquered. Instead of the safety for all, the security of the victors came about.

***

Yet even in the Freedom Dictate of Versailles it was expressly provided that Germany’s reduction in arms was to be effected first only in order to enable the others to reduce their arms as well. And now this example may serve to illustrate the extent to which the concept of collective cooperation was violated by those very parties who are today its most vociferous advocates.

Germany performed the obligations imposed in the Treaty of Versailles with nothing short of zealousness. Financially, up to the complete collapse of its finances; economically, up to the total destruction of its economy; militarily, up to a complete lack of defenses. I may repeat here in general terms the facts of Germany’s performance of the treaties which are contested by no one.

The following were destroyed in the Army: 1) 59,000 guns and barrels; 2) 130,000 machine guns; 3) 31,000 trench mortars and barrels; 4) 6,007,000 rifles and carbines; 5) 243,000 MG barrels; 6) 28,000 gun carriages; 7) 4,390 trench mortar carriages; 8) 38,750,000 shells; 9) 16,550,000 hand grenades and rifle grenades; 10) 60,400,000 live fuses; 11) 491,000,000 small arms ammunition; 12) 335,000 tons of shell cases; 13) 43,515 tons of cartridge cases; 14) 37,600 tons of gunpowder; 15) 79,000 ammunition gages; 16) 212,000 telephone sets; 17) 1,072 flamethrowers, etc. Further destroyed were: sledges, mobile workshops, anti-aircraft vehicles, limbers, steel helmets, gas masks, machines of the former war industry, and rifle barrels.

Further destroyed in the air were: 1) 15,714 fighter planes and bombers; 2) 27,757 aircraft engines.

At sea, the following were destroyed: 26 capital ships, four coastal tanks, four battle cruisers, 19 light cruisers, 21 training ships and special ships, 83 torpedo boats, and 315 submarines.

Also destroyed were motor vehicles of all types, chemical warfare and, in part, anti-gas defense equipment, propellants, explosives, searchlights, sighting devices, range finders and sound rangers, optical instruments of all kinds, harnesses, etc.; all airplane and airship hangars, etc.

Hence in a genuine act of self-sacrifice, Germany fulfilled all of the conditions for cooperation in a collective sense in keeping with the American President’s thinking.

At the latest upon the consummation of Germany’s disarmament, the world should, for its part, have taken the same step toward establishing equality. It is merely one proof of the accuracy of this view that there was no dearth of admonishing and warning voices in the other peoples and in the other states who endorsed the performance of this duty. I wish to cite only a few of these men-who certainly cannot be referred to as friends of today’s Germany-in order to refute, by their own statements, those who seem to he suffering from amnesia and cannot recall that the Treaty of Versailles contained the contractual obligation not only for Germany to disarm, but for the other states as well.

Lord Robert Cecil, Member of the British Delegation to the Paris Peace Conference and Head of the British Delegation to the Disarmament Conference (Revue de Paris, No. 5, 1924): “The disarmament provisions of the Treaty of Versailles and the other peace treaties commence with a preamble which reads as follows: In order to make possible the introduction of general arms limitation for all nations, Germany undertakes to closely observe the following provisions on armed forces on land, at sea and in the air. This preamble amounts to an agreement. It constitutes the solemn promise of the governments to the democracies of all those states which signed the peace treaties. If it is not kept, the system set up by the peace treaties cannot be permanently upheld, and even partial disarmament will shortly cease to exist.” Paul-Boncour on April 8, 1927 at the British Meeting of the League of Nations’ Preparatory Commission for the Disarmament Conference: “It is true that the preamble to Part V of the Treaty of Versailles concerns the restrictions on arms which were imposed upon Germany as precondition and as precedent for a general arms limitation. This very clearly distinguishes Germany’s limitations on arms from other comparable limitations on arms which have been imposed in the course of history at the close of wars and which have incidentally in general proven rather ineffective. This time such a condition-and only then does it take on its full value-has been imposed not only on the party signing the treaty, but is moreover a duty, a moral and legal obligation of the co-signatories to take steps towards the general limitation of arms.” Henderson’s statement of January 20, 1931: “We must persuade our parliaments and our peoples that all of the members of the League of Nations are compelled to adopt this policy of general disarmament by solemn obligations imposed upon us both by international law and by a sense of national honor. I shall remind the Council that Article 8 of the Covenant, the preamble of Part V of the Treaty of Versailles, the final act of the Pact of Locarno, and the resolutions passed every year since 1920 by the assembly demonstrate that all members of the League are subject to the same responsibility in this sector. We have all assumed obligations, and if we do not perform them, doubt can be shed upon our peaceful intentions. The influence and the reputation of the League of Nations would suffer as a consequence.” Briand’s statement of January 20, 1931: “On behalf of my country, I may endorse the eloquent words with which our President has opened the session. . . I believe as you do. I have had the opportunity to say this on several occasions-that the obligations which the nations have contractually undertaken by signing Article 8 of the Covenant of the League of Nations may not be allowed to remain but lifeless words. They constitute a sacred commitment, and a country which would shirk this would dishonor itself.” Remarks of the Belgian Foreign Minister Vandervelde, Member of the Belgian Peace Delegation, on February 27, 1927: “From now on we are faced with the following dilemma: either the other powers must reduce their armies in proportion to the German Reichswehr or the Treaty of Versailles will be rendered invalid and Germany will claim for itself the right to possess armed forces in order to be in a position to defthe sovereignty of its territory. Two conclusions are to be drawn from these facts: first, that all measures of control have little effect; secondly, disarmament will either be general or not happen at all.” The same Foreign Minister on December 29, 1930 in the Populaire: “The Treaty of Versailles would be reduced to so many scraps of paper if the moral and legal obligations of the Treaty which forced disarmament upon defeated Germany with the aim of preparing for a reduction in arms by the others were not fulfilled.” Lord Robert Cecil in his radio speech of December 31, 1930: “International arms reduction numbers among our more important national interests. We have not only once, but many times over undertaken the obligation to reduce and limit the arms of the nations which were victorious in the World War to supplement the reduction in arms we imposed as a duty upon our former adversaries. We will destroy all faith in international obligations if we do not carry out what we have promised. In my view it is of secondary importance that we would know no answer were our former adversaries to approach us with the demand to be allowed to rearm.” And once again Paul-Boncour on April 26, 1930 in the Journal: “Finally, one does not have to be a prophet; it suffices to keep one’s eyes open to observe that,

in the event of a definitive failure of the disarmament negotiations or even only in the event of their continuing postponement, Germany-freed of other constraints-will prepare to shake off this arms reduction and to no longer tolerate alone a limitation of arms which the Treaty of Versailles itself describes as the precondition, but also as the promise, of a general reduction in arms. We no longer have a choice.”

***

– What, however, happened ? While Germany loyally fulfilled the obligations of the treaty dictated to her, the so-called victory States failed to fulfill what the treaty obliged them subsequently to fulfill. If one attempts today to apologize for the negligence through excuses, then it is not difficult to contradict these lame explanations. We know here, to our surprise, from the mouths of foreign statesmen, the intention for fulfillment existed, but the time for doing so had not yet come. But how ? All conditions for disarmament of other States existed at that time without exception. Germany had disarmed.

***

They could not really say that the completely militarily powerless-turned nations could have posed the slightest danger.

However, such a disarmament would have given such a great inner strength to the continuance of the League of Nations in return that later no state would have dared to become violent against any of the participants in this collective joint disarmament!

At that time the best opportunity would have been to turn “exterior confessions” into an internal “action”. And this all the more since,  second, politically all conditions for that existed. For Germany was then a democracy if ever there was one. Everything was copied exactly and was dutifully likened to its existing great models. The National Socialism did not rule in Germany. Even the bourgeois nationalism was as good as gone. The spectrum of the political parties extended from the Social Democracy through the Center to Democracy, that ideologically not only was like the environment but felt connected with it programmatically. What were people waiting for at that time?

When could ever be a better opportunity for the set up of a collective cooperation, than in the time when exclusively that political spirit ruled over Germany that gave also the environment the characteristic traits?

No! The time was ripe, it was there, only the will did not exist!

I do not absolutely want to, if I emphasize the contractual nonobservance of the other side of the Versailles Treaty, refer to the fact that it has not disarmed. Because if you think you could make allowances at that time for the contractually violated non-disarmament, then it will probably be difficult to find the reasons behind an increasing arming!

This is crucial: Not only have these other States not disarmed, but, to the contrary, they have in the most extraordinary manner completed, improved and thereby increased their armaments. The objection has no weight in that connection that partial limitation of personnel has taken place. For this personal limitation is more than equalized by technical and planned improvement of the most modern weapons of war. Besides, this limitation could very easily at any time be caught up with.

And it must be given special consideration to the following: Later, in the course of the disarmament negotiations it was attempted to classify the weapons in weapons that are more suitable for defense, and in those that would be mainly intended for the attack.

I have to emphasize here that Germany no longer possessed those weapons assessed to be suitable for the attack. They were all completely destroyed. And it must be further emphasized that even the weapons suitable for the attack and certain weapons of the partners of the Peace Treaty were developed, improved and increased in the most extraordinary way. Germany had destroyed all her airplanes. Germany became not only defenseless as regards active aerial weapons, but also defenseless as regards the passive means of air protection.

During the same time, however, not only did the contracting parties of the Treaty fail to destroy existing planes but, to the contrary, continued to develop them extraordinarily.

For example, the speed of the fighters went from about 220 Kilometers at the of the war, thanks to the newer improvements in the most modern types, to almost 400 kilometers. The arming of 2 machine-guns to 3, 4 and 5 and finally to small machine guns. The altitude of the aircraft from 6000 meters at the of the war to 9,000, 10,000 and 11,000 meters.

Instead of destroying existing bombing planes, as did Germany, these were most industriously improved, developed and replaced by ever larger and more complete types. In terms of weight, their capability at the of the war was increased from an average of 500 to 1,000 kilograms of payload to 1,000 to 2,400. The Speed was improved from an average of 125-160 kilometers to 250-280 with night bombers, to 350 kilometers with daylight bombers. The climbing ability was increased from 3,000-4,000 meters at the of the war to 6,000, 7000, yes finally to 9000 meters!

The armaments increased from 2, 3 and 4 machine guns to 4, 6, yes 8 machine guns. And eventually to pieces of artillery. The aiming devices were so brilliantly improved that it was openly admitted to be able to destroy with almost deadly accuracy the objects that were targeted. The dive bomber was really redeveloped. The explosive effect of the bombs were more and more terrific since the war’s in compliance with the desire for a better gassing through new inventions. The modern incendiary bombs are intended to serve the destruction of the residential towns that cannot be extinguished at all, as assured in the technical journals of the different navies with airplanes. The direction finder and aiming mechanism of these bombers were continuously improved and it was finally announced, probably as the last triumph of the disarmament concept, that now pilotless bombers would just be placed and unloaded by remote control on their defenseless objectives!

The number of flying fields and airdromes was only not reduced but everywhere increased. Warships were equipped with airplanes. But not only that the individual battle ships were given fighters and bombers as extra weapons, no, they proceeded to construct special giant aircraft carriers, and all that much influenced by the “disarmament” of offensive weapons! All that was executed after the destruction of aircraft made by Germany in compliance with the imposed Peace Treaty of Versailles.

***

Germany, in accordance with the obligations imposed upon her, destroyed her World War tanks. Thereby she also, true to the treaty, destroyed and scrapped an offensive weapon. It should have been the duty of other States on their part to begin destroying their tanks. However, not only did they fail to destroy them, but they continuously improved them, both as regards speed and their ability to resist attack. The speed of World War tanks, 4 to 12 kilometers increased to 30, 40, 50 and finally 60 kilometers an hour.

***

When Germany no longer had one of its former tanks, France went over from the middle types of 10-14 tons to heavy types of 25-30 tons and finally to the heaviest types of around 90 tons.

While any tank in battlefields could still be pierced by a 13-millimeter projectile, were the new war monsters equipped with armor plates of 50-60 mm thereby making them invulnerable to even the projectiles of the field artillery. Parallel to this terrible passive improvement of these weapons in relation to speed, weight, fordability, gas density, vision and tank strength, an enormous development of the offensive weapons of this war machine occurred. In place of the machine-guns or the 4-5 centimeter-guns, now appeared combinations. Tanks with 7.5 centimeter, 10 centimeter, with 15 centimeter guns and above that are no fantasy but have become a terrible reality.

Within the same time in which Germany has destroyed her tanks and waited for the fulfillment of the destruction of others, these others built over 13,000 new tanks and improved and enlarged them into ever more terrible weapons.

Germany had to destroy her entire heavy artillery according to the provisions of the Versailles treaty. This was done, too ! But while Germany’s howitzers and cannons were cut by blow-torches and went in as scrap iron to the blast furnaces, the other treaty partners not only failed to destroy their heavy artillery but, on the contrary even, there followed construction, development, improvement and perfection.

For there was long since no 42-centimeter mortar any more, we learned that the French factories had succeeded in creating a 54-centimeter howitzer.

Long-rage weapons from 60 to 120 km of range are created as new constructions. Ingeniously, the new and most recent heavy and heaviest artillery was classified into handy transportation and towing capacity so as to increase to the maximum their maneuverability with the help of tractors and crawler tractors.

This was done with a weapon that really has a very offensive character and, in comparison with it, in Germany there is not only no counter-weapon but not even the possibility of a purely defensive defense.

Gas weapons : as a prerequisite for a disarmament treaty, the partners of Germany had her destroy her entire gas weapons, according to the Versailles Treaty, and she did it. In other States the people were busy in chemical laboratories, not to scrap this weapons, but, to the contrary, in improving it in an unheard-of manner.

Quite openly, from time to time the world received the amazing news on the successful discovery of a new and still more deadly gas as well as of new shells and bombs to fire.

Submarines : Here, too, Germany had faithfully fulfilled her obligations in accordance with the letter or Versailles, to make possible international disarmament.

What even looked like a submarine, was completely cut up with the blow torch, torn up and scrapped.

The world about her not only has not followed this example, has not even merely preserved her stock left over from the war, but on the contrary, has constantly completed, improved and increased it. The increase in displacement was finally augmented to a 3,000-ton boat. Armaments increased to 20-centimeter cannon.

The number of the torpedo barrels was increased per boat, so was their caliber strength and the very torpedo in its tracking and explosive effect. The scope of these submarines increased sharply in relation to its performance in the war, the depth was lowered further, the visual facilities perfected brilliantly.

***

This, then, was the contribution to the disarmament on the part of States who in the Versailles Treaty obligated themselves, on their part, to follow the German example and destroy the submarine weapon.

***

These are only some facts. They can be expanded and completed in all aspects. They are all the proven documentary evidence that, contrary to the obligations of the Treaty of Versailles, the disarmament was not only, not observed but, on the contrary, a continuous increase and improvement of high-quality war machines was carried out.

Thus it was done what was opposed to not only the intentions of president Wilson, but also to the signed obligations of the Treaty of Versailles according to the views of the most prominent representatives of the other side.

***

If all this is not an open breach of the treaty, and a one-sided one at that, coming as it does after the other partner had without exception fulfilled his obligation, it will be difficult to see how in the future the signing of treaties can have any meaning whatsoever.

No, for this there is no extenuation, no excuse! For Germany, with her complete defenseless, was anything but a danger to other States. Although Germany waited in vain for years for the other side to make good its obligations under the treaty, Germany, nevertheless, was ready still not to withhold her hand for a real collective, cooperative effort.

***

These are only some facts. They can be expanded and completed in all aspects. They are all the proven documentary evidence that, contrary to the obligations of the Treaty of Versailles, the disarmament was not only, not observed but, on the contrary, a continuous increase and improvement of high-quality war machines was carried out.

Thus it was done what was opposed to not only the intentions of president Wilson, but also to the signed obligations of the Treaty of Versailles according to the views of the most prominent representatives of the other side.

If all this is not an open breaking of the treaty, and a one-sided one at that, coming as it does after the other partner had without exception fulfilled his obligation, it will be difficult to see how in the future the signing of treaties can have any meaning whatsoever.

No, for this there is no extenuation, no excuse ! For Germany, with her complete defenseless, was anything but a danger to other States. Although Germany waited in vain for years for the other side to make good its obligations under the treaty, Germany, nevertheless, was ready still not to withhold her hand for a real collective, cooperative effort.

The English Lord Privy Seal, Mr. Eden, said that the willingness to produce a parity in the numerical establishment of the military strength was evident everywhere. Then it is all the more regrettable that no practical consequences are drawn from it. It was not Germany that made the plan for an army of 200,000 men for all European States impossible of realization, but it was the other States that did not want to disarm. And it was not Germany which rejected the British proposal for mediation in the spring of 1934, but it was the French Government which on April 17 1934 broke off the negotiations.

***

The hope sometimes is expressed nowadays that Germany might herself advance a constructive plan. Well, I have made such proposals not once but repeatedly.

Had my constructive plan for a 300,000 man army been accepted, perhaps many a worry today would be less onerous, many a load lighter. But there is almost no purpose in proposing constructive plans if their rejection can be regarded as certain to begin with.

If, nevertheless, I decide to give an outline of my ideas, I do it merely from a feeling of duty not to leave anything untried that might restore to European peoples the feelings of solidarity. Inasmuch as hitherto not only the fulfillment of the obligations of other States to disarm had failed to materialize, but also all proposals for limitation of armaments had been rejected, I, as leader of the German nation, considered myself obligated before God and my conscience, in view of the formation of new military alliances as well as the verification of the peacetime strength of the Russian army at 960,00 men and after receipt of notification that France was proceeding to the introduction, of the two-year term of service, now to reestablish Germany’s equality, which had been internationally denied her, by virtue of the superior right to exist. It was not Germany who thereby broke the obligation laid on her, but those States, which compelled us to undertake this independent action.

For the introduction of universal conscription and the promulgation of the law on the establishment of the new German army was nothing more than the reduction of Germany to a state of equal rights that threatens nobody but guarantees the security of Germany.

***

I cannot refrain here from expressing my astonishment at the definition by the British Premier Macdonald who, referring to the restoration of the German Army, opined that the other States, after all, had been right in holding back their disarmament. If such ideas are to be generally accepted, what is to be expected from the future ? For, according to this, every breaking of the treaty will find later justification by the assumption the other party will probably break the treaty, too, that is to say: A and B conclude a treaty. B performs its obligation. A breaks his commitment. After years of warning B finally declares that the treaty is no longer valid for him, whereupon A now is entitled to state that its preceding breaking of the treaty has been morally later justified by the withdrawal of B from the treaty.

I want to deal here only briefly with the reproaches and misrepresentations that are aimed against the restoration of the German army.

It is said that Germany is threatened by nobody, and therefore it is incomprehensible why Germany should rearm at all.

A counterquestion would arise here, why did the other side, that could feel less threatened from the disarmed Germany than the other way round, not stop and dismantle the armament? If someone says that Germany threatens the other nations with its rearmament, then was not the arming of the other nations at least an even stronger threat to the disarmed and defenseless Germany?

There is the choice of only two things : either armaments are a menace to peace – then they are that in the case of all countries – or armaments are not a menace to peace. Then they are that for no State. It will not do for one group of States to represent their armament as an olive branch and the othersґ armament as an instrument of Satan.

***

A tank is a tank; a bomb is a bomb.

The view that the world can be divided in different countries for always, can only be recognized one-sided.

Germany refuses to be regarded and treated for all time as a second-class or inferior nation. Our love of peace perhaps is greater than in the case of others, for we have suffered most from war. None of us wants to threaten anybody, but we all are determined to obtain the security and equality of our people. And this equality is the first condition for practical collective cooperation. With mental reservations European cooperation is impossible.

***

As long as there are any ulterior motive about it, from the start, the realization of an actually successful European cooperation can be described as impossible.

With equality, Germany will never refuse to do its share of every endeavor, which serves peace, progress and the general welfare. At this point, I cannot withhold criticism of certain methods which were responsible for the failure of many well-meant efforts because they were conceived in the spirit of Versailles.

We are living in the age of conferences.

When so many of these meetings completely in failure, then the cause of this disappointment is not often in the laying-out of the program and objective.

Any cabinet feels – like also the rest of then – the necessity to do something for the peace in Europe that is considered to be threatened.

Now, instead of presenting all concerned with the general idea with the desire to get acquainted with the views of the individual states or their governments about the possible ways and means of treatment and solution to this issue, a program is drawn up between two or three chancelleries.

Yet, one can not help thinking sometimes that by fixing the content of the decisions to take, the wish plays a role as father to the thought, causing the failure, through a mixing of what is possible and impossible, at the expense of those invited to join later.

***

Then, when two or three States agree to a program, others invited to join later are told this program is an indivisible whole and must be accepted or rejected as such.

Inasmuch as such a program naturally very good ideas can also be found, the State not agreeing to the entire draft assumes the responsibility of failure of the useful part. This procedure reminds one very strongly of the practice of certain film distributors who, on principle, will give good and bad films only when they are joined together. Such procedure is understandable only as a last atavistic phenomenon that has its roots in the model of the so-called peace negotiations of Versailles.

***

A program is drawn up, handed over as a diktat to a third party, and the whole thing is solemnly declared a signed treaty!

With this recipe, it was tried at that time to bring to a beneficial that was so much desired by the peoples the biggest struggle of world history. The consequences of this process, however, were more than sad, and really not only for those countries in the weakest position, but also for the victors.

As far as Germany is concerned I can only say the following in reply to such attempts : We shall in the future take part in no conference in the formation of whose program we have not participated from the beginning. We do not propose, when two States concoct a pact dish, to taste the first dish as a third party. I do not mean by that to say we will not reserve to ourselves the right afterward to agree to treaties and affix our signature to them because we were not present when they were formulated, or rather, when conferences were held concerning them. Certainly not. It is well possible that a treaty, although we did not participate in its formulation or the conference which gave it effect for a number of States, nevertheless, in its final language, may be agreeable to us and seem useful to us.

We will not hesitate to possibly later give our approval to such a contract, provided this is desirable or possible. But to determine this case must be left to the German government itself.

We must re-emphasize, however, that the method seems to be wrong to offer drafts of programs for conferences that bear the superscription, “Everything or Nothing.” I consider such a principle impracticable for political life. I believe much more would have been accomplished for the pacification of Europe if there had been a readiness to be satisfied with what could be achieved from case to case. Hardly a proposal for a pact has been offered for discussion during recent years in which one or other points might not have been generally accepted without further ado.

However, by claiming an indissoluble connection with other points, which were partly more difficult, partly or entirely unacceptable to individual States, good things were left undone and the whole thing failed.

To me it seems a risky thing to misuse the indivisibility of peace as a pretext for proceedings which serve collective security less than collective preparations for war, intentionally or unintentionally. The World War should be a cry of warning here. I donґt think that for a second time Europe can survive such a catastrophe without the most terrible disruption. But such a catastrophe may happen all the more easily, the more a network of criss-cross international obligations makes the localization of a small conflict impossible and increases the danger of States being dragged in.

As far as Germany is concerned, I do not want to leave any doubt on the following: Germany has solemnly approved and guaranteed the frontier with France resulting from the Saar referendum. Germany has concluded a non-aggression treaty with Poland with no consideration for the past, as another more than useful contribution to the European peace that not only will hold blindly but from which we only have the one wish: It will be renewed again at every expiry of the set period, and the friendly deepening of our relations resulting from it. We did all this although, for example, we renounce Alsace-Lorraine for ever, a territory for which two wars were fought. We did it to spare especially our own German people more bloodshed in the future. We are convinced that this way we serve best not only our people but also that frontier zone. We want to do everything on our part in order to achieve a true peace and a real friendship with the French people. With the understanding and the warm friendship of sincere nationalists, we recognize the Polish State as the home of a large patriotic people. Although we want to spare the German people a new bloodshed, even where a sacrifice is needed, there is no way we are going to spill indiscriminately any of our blood for foreign interests. There is no way we are going to sell our German people, its men and sons for any possible conflict that is neither caused or can be influenced by us.

The German soldier would not stoop to that sort of thing, and we love our people too much to be able to reconcile it with our sense of responsibility, to commit ourselves in non-foreseeable obligations for assistance.

That way We believe to serve better the cause of freedom. For it can only increase the necessary sense of responsibility of every single State, when he does not know from the start that it has great and powerful military allies in its conflict. Finally, there are certain things that are possible and others that are impossible.

***

As an example I would like to refer briefly to the Eastern Pact suggested to us.

We found in it an obligation for assistance which, we are convinced, can lead to consequences that simply cannot be measured. The German Reich, especially the present German Government, has no other wish except to live on terms of peace and friendship with all the neighboring States.

We have these feelings not only towards the large States that surround us, but also towards the small ones. Yes, we see in their existence, as long as they are truly independent, a desirable peaceful neutral factor in our frontiers that are incidentally so open militarily and unprotected. Much as we ourselves love peace, it is not within our power to prevent the outbreak of conflicts between States, especially in the East. To determine who is guilty is infinitely difficult itself in such a case. There is not such a thing in this world as that authority gifted with divine insight who in this case is able to find and pronounce the eternal truth.

***

Once the fury of war rages among peoples the begins to justify every means.

And in the People usually forget quickly who is right and who is to blame. It is more than 20 years since the beginning of the World War, and every nation lives in the holy conviction that the right is on their side and the blame on the opponents.

***

I fear at the beginning of such a conflict an obligation for assistance will be less calculated to lead the way for recognizing who is the attacking body than it will to supporting the State that is useful to one’s own interests.

The cause of freedom would perhaps be better served if in the event of an outbreak of a conflict, the world immediately withdrew from both sides, and stop supplying weapons into the dispute from the outset.

Aside from these considerations of a fundamental nature, we have here to deal with a special case.

***

The Germany of today is a National Socialist State. The ideology that dominates us is in diametrical contradiction to that of Soviet Russia.

National Socialism is a doctrine that has reference exclusively to the German people. Bolshevism lays stress on international mission.

We National Socialists believe a man can, in the long run, be happy only among his own people. We are convinced the happiness and achievements of Europe are indissolubly tied up with the continuation of the system of independent and free national States. Bolshevism preaches the establishment of a world empire and recognizes only section of a central international.

***

We National Socialists grant each people the right to its own inner life according to its needs and its own nature.

Bolshevism, on the other hand, establishes doctrinal theories that are to be accepted by all peoples, regardless of their particular essence, their special nature, traditions, etc.

National Socialism speaks up for the solution of social problems, issues and tensions in their own nation, with methods that are consistent with our common human, spiritual, cultural and economic beliefs, traditions and conditions.

Bolshevism preaches the international class struggle, the international world revolution with the weapons of the terror and the violence.

National Socialism fights for the reconciliation and consequent adjustment of the differences in life and the union of all for common benefits.

Bolshevism teaches the overcoming of an alleged class rule by the dictatorship of the power of a different class.

National Socialism does not attach importance to a only theoretical rule of the working class, but especially on the practical improvement of their living conditions and standard of living.

Bolshevism fights for a theory and, for it, sacrifices millions of people, immense values of traditional culture and traditions, and achieves, compared with us, only a very low standard of living for all.

As National Socialists, our hearts are full with admiration and respect for the great achievements of the past, not only in our own people but also far beyond. We are happy to belong to an European cultural community that has so tremendously embossed todayґs world with a stamp of its mind.

Bolshevism rejects this cultural achievement of mankind, claiming that has found the beginning of the real cultural and human history in the year of birth of Marxism.

We, National Socialists, do not want to be of the same opinion as our church organizations in this or that organizational question.

But we never want a lack of belief in religion or any faith, and do not wish that our churches become club-houses or cinemas.

Bolshevism teaches the godlessness and acts accordingly.

We National Socialists see in private property a higher level of human economic development that according to the differences in performance controls the management of what has been accomplished enabling and guaranteeing the advantage of a higher standard of living for everyone.

Bolshevism destroys not only private property but also private initiative and the readiness to shoulder responsibility. It has not been able to save millions of human beings from starvation in Russia, the greatest Agrarian State in the world.

It would be unthinkable to transfer such a catastrophe into Germany, because, at the of the day, in Russia there are 10 city dwellers for every 90 country dwellers, but in Germany for only 25 farmers there are 75 city dwellers.

***

One could pursue this topic indefinitely. Both we National Socialists and the Bolshevists are of the conviction that worlds separate us, a gap never to be bridged. But beyond that we are separated by more than 400 murdered National Socialist Party comrades; thousands of other National Socialists in other associations who were killed repelling Bolshevist revolts; thousands of soldiers and police squads who were shot and massacred fighting to protect the Reich and the Lдnder against the never-ending Communist uprisings; and more than 43,000 injured in our Party alone. Thousands of them are partially blinded, partially crippled for the rest of their days.

***

In so far as the Bolshevism is a Russian affair, we are totally uninterested in it.

Every people has to find its own salvation. In so far this Bolshevism casts its spell on Germany, we are its most wrathful and its most fanatical enemies.

***

The fact remains that Bolshevism feels and acts as a world revolutionary idea and movement. I have here only a selection of the revolutionary events of the last 15 years, to which the Bolshevik press, the Bolshevik literature and prominent Bolshevik statesmen and orators admitted openly their solidarity, and even boasted about it.

***

1918 November: revolutions in Austria and Germany.

1919 March: Proletarian Revolution in Hungary; Uprising in Korea.

April: Council-revolution in Bavaria.

1920 September: occupation of factories by workers in Italy.

1921 March: Revolt of the proletarian vanguard in Germany.

Fall 1923: Revolutionary crises in Germany.

1924 December: Rebellion in Estonia.

1925 April: Rebellion in Morocco.

1927 July: Rebellion in Vienna.

1925 April: Explosion in the cathedral of Sofia.

Since 1925 Revolutionary movement in China.

1926 December: In the Dutch East Indies (Java) a communist rebellion was prevented in time.

1927 Increase of the revolution in China; Communist negro movement in the United States; conscription of communist agents in the Baltic States.

1928 Levying of communist organizations in Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Bolivia, Latvia, Italy, Finland,

Estonia, Lithuania, Japan; Communist riots in China, Communist ferment in Macedonia; Communist bombing in Argentina.

1929 May: Barricades in Berlin.

August: The Communist World Day “against imperialism”; Insurgency in Colombia.

September: Bomb blast in Germany.

October: arrival of the Bolsheviks from Russia into Manchuria.

1930 February: Communist rows in Germany.

March: The Communist World Day of “the unemployed”.

May: Communist armed uprising in China.

June, July: Fighting of the communist movement in Finland; Communist civil war in China.

1931 January: Fighting against communist gangs China; Official exposure of the communists in the United States.

May: Revolution in Spain breaks out.

June, July: Again fighting against communist gangs in China.

1931 August: Fighting against the communists in Argentina; Communist trade mission to South America is canceled, arrests, etc., etc.

It is an endless, endless series.

***

If I am not mistaken, I gather the impression from the last speech of the English Lord Privy Seal that the Soviet Union has no interest at all in such tendencies-in particular aggressive military tendencies. No one would be happier than we should this opinion prove true in the future. The past, in any case, indicates the opposite. If I presume to contrast my own impression with this finding, I am at least in a position to point out that the success of my own life-struggle is not due exclusively to a particularly large measure of incompetence on my part. I believe I do in fact understand some things here. I began my activities in Germany at approximately the same time Bolshevism was celebrating its initial achievements, i.e. the first civil war in Germany. When, after fifteen years, Bolshevism in our country had six million followers, I had risen to thirteen million. Then, in the decisive battle, it lost. National Socialism has ripped Germany and with it perhaps the whole of Europe back from the brink of the most horrible catastrophe of all time.

If the Western European critics of this idea would have the same practical experiences as I have, then I think they would get to much different opinions. But had my fight in Germany failed, and the Bolshevik revolt temporarily overpowered our nation, then I know the understanding of the significance of our historical achievement would be universally known. Therefore, I can perhaps only act as an admonisher ridiculed by the rest of the world. As far as Germany is concerned, I have to emphasize the following in accordance with my conscience and my responsibility: The German communist uprisings and revolutions had never taken place without the intellectual and financial preparation by the world Bolshevism. Their most outstanding leaders were not only trained and financed for their revolutionary activities in Germany, but also honored and decorated with a medal, even appointed leaders of Russian units. These are facts.

Germany has nothing to gain from a European war. What we want is liberty and independence. Because of these intentions of ours we are ready to negotiate non-aggression pacts with our neighbor States. If we except Lithuania, this is not because we desire war there, but because we cannot enter into political treaties with a State which disregards the most primitive laws of human society.

It is sad enough that because European nations are split up, the practical drawing of frontiers according to national boundaries corresponding with nationalities themselves can in some case be realized with difficult only. It is sad enough that in certain treaties consciously no regard was had for the fact that certain people belong nationally together. In that case, however, above all it is not necessary that human beings who have the misfortune of having been torn away from the people to whom they belong should additionally be tortured and maltreated.

***

In a major international newspaper I read the observation a few weeks ago that Germany could still easyly relinquish the Memel territory, that it was already big enough. This noble philanthropic scribbler forgets one thing: 140 000 people have finally its own right to exist, that it is not about whether Germany want them or not, but whether they themselves want to be Germans or not.

***

They are Germans; in an attack which was subsequently sanctioned and took place in the midst of peace they were torn away from the Reich, and as a penalty for continuing to be attached to German Volkstum, they are persecuted, tortured and maltreated in the most barbaric way.

What would be said in England or in France if members of these nations were to meet with such a sorry fate? When the feeling of belonging to a Volk which is harbored by people torn away from such a Volk contrary to all law or natural sentiment is deemed a punishable crime, then this means that people are being denied a right which is even granted to each and every animal: the right to be attached to its old master and the old inborn community. But 140,000 Germans in Lithuania were actually confined to a position below these rights.

Thus we see no possibility-as long as the responsible guarantors of the Memel Statute for their part are not in a position to lead Lithuania back to respecting the most primitive human rights-of concluding for our part any treaties whatsoever with this State.

***

With this exception, however, which any moment can be made non-existent by the great powers responsible for it, we are ready for every adjoining European State to heighten, by means of a non-aggression and non-force treaty, that feeling of security by which we, too, as the other contracting power, can profit. We, however, are unable to supplement such pacts by the obligations of a system, which dogmatically, politically and factually is unbearable for us. National Socialism cannot call citizens, of Germany, that is, its adherents, to fight for the maintenance of a system, which in our own State, manifests itself as our great enemy.

Obligations for peace – yes ! Bellicose assistance for Bolshevism we do not desire, nor would we be in a position to offer it.

As for the rest, we see in the conclusion of pacts of assistance, as they have become known to us, a development that differs in no wise from the formation of military alliances of earlier days. We regret this, especially because the military alliance concluded between France and Russia without doubt carries the element of legal insecurity into the only clear and really valuable mutual treaty of security in Europe, namely, the Locarno Pact.

The legal insecurity recently comes out of similar fears of presented parliamentary questions by various sides on the result of this legal obligation given to the new alliance both by questionig and answering, how large the number of the cases made possible by it is, which in any case may give rise to disputes.

***

The German Reich Government will be particularly grateful to receive an authentic interpretation of the repercussions and effects of the Franco-Russian military alliance on the contractual obligations of the individual parties to the Pact of Locarno. It would like to rule out any doubt on its own opinion, i.e. that it holds these military alliances to be incompatible with the spirit and the letter of the Covenant of the League of Nations.

No less impossible than the assumption of unlimited assistance obligations seems to us the signing of non-intervention pacts, so long as this conception is not most closely defined. Because we Germans would be only too delighted if a way or method were found to prevent foreign interference with other countries’ internal affairs. For them this Germany has suffered greatly since the war.

Our Communist Party was the section of a movement anchored abroad and directed from there.

***

All internal disturbances were fomented from abroad, and the world knows it, but it never excited itself about it ! — An army of emigrants is active abroad against Germany. In Prague, Paris and other cities revolutionary German newspapers are continously printed and smuggled into Germany. Public calls to violence meet with an eager reception not only in these mouthpieces but also in other large newspapers.

From so-called “pirate” radio stations it is asked for assassinations in Germany. Also other stations make propaganda in German for terrorist organizations banned in Germany. Courts are formed abroad quite openly, which attept to interfere from abroad with the German judicature. Much as we are interested to eliminate such attempts and behavior, the danger seems evident that, without precise definition of these proposed pacts, any regime based on force will seek to represent any internal revolt as the result of outside interference and will call outside help to suppress it.

There can be no doubt that in Europe political frontiers are not frontiers of the idea.

Since the introduction of Christianity, ideas have passed beyond frontiers and have created and linked elements in the European common destiny and community of peoples. When, for example, a foreign cabinet minister regrets that in todayґs Germany Western European notions are no longer current, it should be all the more comprehensible that, conversely, German Reich ideas cannot remain without effect in some one or other German land.

Germany neither intends nor wishes to interfere in inner-Austrian affairs or to effect an Austrian annexation or Anschluss. Born of a simple feeling of solidarity due to a common national origin, the German Volk and the German Government have, however, the understandable desire that not only alien peoples, but also the German Volk be guaranteed the right of self-determination everywhere. I personally believe that any regime which is not anchored in the people, supported by the people and wanted by the people cannot endure for any length of time. If such difficulties do not exist between Germany and Switzerland-itself to a large percentage German as well-this is for the simple reason that Switzerland’s independence is a fact, and because no one doubts that its government represents the true and legal manifestation of the will of the people. We Germans have, however, every reason to be pleased that there is a state on our border with a large proportion of German inhabitants which has a great degree of inner stability and is in possession of real and factual independence. The German Government regrets the tension caused by the conflict with Austria all the more because it has caused a disruption in our relations with Italy which were previously so good, to a state with which we otherwise have no conflicts of interests whatsoever.

When I now proceed from these general remarks to fix my aim more closely on the current problems at hand, I arrive at the following position of the German Reich Government: 1. The German Reich Government rejects the resolution passed in Geneva on April 17. It was not Germany which unilaterally breached the Treaty of Versailles; the Diktat of Versailles was unilaterally breached in regard to the points in question and thus rendered invalid by those very powers which could not bring themselves to follow up the reduction in arms required of Germany by one of their own as had been contractually stipulated. The new discrimination of Germany added by virtue of the resolution in Geneva makes it impossible for the German Reich Government to rejoin this institution unless the necessary foundation is laid for a truly equal legal status.

For this purpose the German Reich Government considers it necessary to make a sharp distinction between the Treaty of Versailles, which is based upon a division of the nations into victors and vanquished, and the League of Nations, which must be based upon the equal worth and equal rights of all its members.

This equality of rights must be a practicable equality and extto include all of the functions and property rights comprising international life.

  1. As a consequence of the non-performance of the disarmament obligations on the part of the other States, the German Reich Government has, for its part, renounced those articles which, as a consequence of the one-sided burden now placed upon Germany in violation of the Treaty, constitute an indefinite discrimination of the German nation. It hereby most solemnly declares, however, that its respective action is confined to those points giving rise to the moral and material discrimination of the German Volk as have been disclosed. The German Reich Government shall thus unconditionally abide by the other articles governing the coexistence of the nations, including territorial provisions, and put into effect solely by means of peaceful understanding those amendments which become inevitable by virtue of the changing times.
  2. The German Reich Government does not intto sign any treaty which it does not feel able to fulfill. It will, however, scrupulously comply with every treaty signed voluntarily, even if same was drawn up prior to its having taken office and coming to power. It will particularly abide by and perform all of the obligations arising from the Locarno Pact as long as the other parties are willing for their part to adhere to this Treaty. The German Reich Government holds that respecting the demilitarized zone constitutes for a sovereign state an enormously important contribution to the appeasement of Europe. It feels bound, however, to point out that the continued increase in troops on the other side can by no means be viewed as a complement to these endeavors.
  3. The German Reich Government is willing at all times to participate in a system of collective cooperation with the goal of safeguarding peace in Europe, but feels it would then be necessary to do justice to the law of perpetual evolution by keeping amendments to the treaty in reserve. It feels that a stipulation allowing such an evolution of the treaty would be instrumental in safeguarding peace, while choking off any necessary change would amount to bottling up the ingredients for ensuing explosions.
  4. The German Reich Government is of the opinion that the goal of rebuilding European cooperation cannot be achieved by means of foisting conditions upon one side. It believes that it is only right to be content with a minimum, in view of the diversity of interests involved, instead of allowing this cooperation to fail as a consequence of an unattainable maximum of demands. It further holds the conviction that this understanding-with one great aim in view-can only be achieved step by step.
  5. The German Reich Government is basically willing to conclude pacts of non-aggression with its respective neighboring states and to supplement these pacts by all such provisions designed to isolate those who would wage war and to limit the center of war. It is specifically willing to undertake any and all obligations which may thus arise to supply materials and weapons in peace or in war which are undertaken and respected by all the partners to the pact.
  6. The German Reich Government is willing to consent to an air pact to supplement the Pact of Locarno and to enter into talks with this aim.
  7. The German Reich Government has disclosed the extent to which the new German Wehrmacht will be built up. It will under no circumstances retreat from these parameters. It does not regard the fulfillment of its program on land, in the air or at sea as constituting any threat whatsoever to another nation. It is nonetheless willing at all times to perform those limitations on its armament which are undertaken by the other states as well. The German Reich Government has already announced certain limitations of its own regarding its intentions. It has thus best illustrated its good will to avoid an unlimited arms race. Its limitation on German air armaments at a level of parity with the other respective major western nations makes it possible at any time to fix a maximum figure with which Germany would then also be obliged to comply.

The limitation on the German Navy, amounting to thirty-five percent of the English Navy, is still fifteen percent below the total tonnage of the French fleet. Due to the fact that the opinion has been expressed in various commentaries in the press that this demand is only the beginning and would be increased to include the possession of colonies, the German Reich Government hereby makes the following binding declaration: for Germany, this demand is final andlasting.

Germany has neither the intention, the need nor the means to enter into any kind of new naval rivalry. The German Reich Government acknowledges of its own accord the paramount importance of and thus the justification for a dominating protection of the British World Empire at sea, just as we are conversely resolved to do all that is necessary to protect our own continental existence and liberty. It is the sincere intention of the German Government to do everything to find and maintain a relationship with the British people and the British State which will rule out forever a repetition of the only battle thus far between the two nations.

  1. The German Reich Government is willing to take an active part in all endeavors which can lead to a practical limitation of boundless armaments. It views a return to the lines of thinking at the former Geneva Red Cross Convention as the only possible way to achieve this at present. It believes that, initially, it will be possible only to gradually abolish and outlaw those weapons and methods of warfare which are at odds, by their most inherent nature, with the Geneva Red Cross Convention already in force. It believes in this context that, just as the use of dumdum bullets was once prohibited and thus, in broad terms, practically put to a stop, the use of certain other weapons can also be prohibited and thus practically put to a stop as well. It conceives of these as all such combat weapons which cause death and destruction not primarily to soldiers in combat but rather to women and children not directly involved in the fighting. The German Reich Government holds that the idea of doing away with aircraft but allowing bombardment is wrong and ineffective. However, it does see the possibility of instituting a global ban on the use of certain weapons as contravening international law and ostracizing those nations which persist in making use of such weapons from the realm of humanity and its rights and laws.

In this context as well it believes that a gradual process can most readily lead to success. To sum it up: bans on dropping gas, incendiary and demolition bombs outside the real battle zone.

This limitation could actually be extended until bombing were completely outlawed worldwide. So long as bombing as such is permitted, any limitation on the number of bombers is of questionable value in view of the possibility of quick replacements.

Should bombing as such be branded as a barbarity contravening international law, the construction of bombers would soon become superfluous and pointless of its own accord. If it was once possible by means of the Geneva Red Cross Convention to prevent, in a step-by-step process, the killing of defenseless wounded soldiers and prisoners, then it must also be possible, by an analogous convention, to prevent the bombing of equally defenseless civilian population and ultimately to bring this to a complete halt. Germany believes that such a comprehensive approach to this problem would mean a greater sense of ease and security for the peoples than any number of mutual assistance pacts and military conventions.

  1. The German Reich Government is willing to consent to any limitation which leads to the abolishment of those heaviest weapons which are particularly suitable as weapons of attack. These weapons include: first, the heaviest artillery and secondly, the heaviest tanks. In view of the enormous fortifications along the French border, such an international abolishment of the heaviest weapons of attack would automatically put France at least in possession of a one-hundred-percent security.
  2. Germany declares itself willing to consent to any limitation on the caliber of artillery, battleships, cruisers, and torpedo boats. Similarly, the German Reich Government is willing to accept any international limitation on the size of ships. And finally, the German Reich Government is willing to consent to a limitation of submarine tonnage or to its complete abolishment, should this be stipulated by international agreement.

Furthermore, it repeats its assurance that it will join any international limitation or ban on arms going into effect concurrently.

  1. The German Reich Government is of the opinion that all attempts to effectively ease certain tensions between individual states in the form of international or multilateral agreements must be to no avail until appropriate measures have been taken to prevent irresponsible elements from poisoning the public opinion of the peoples by the written and spoken word and in movies and the theater.
  2. The German Reich Government is willing at all times to consent to an international agreement which, by effective means, serves to prohibit and render impossible all attempts by third parties to interfere in other states. It must, however, demand that such a settlement go into force on an international scale and equally benefit all states. Due to the risk that domestic uprisings within countries whose governments do not enjoy the general confidence of their people may all too easily be ascribed by parties with respective interests to interference from without, it would seem necessary to arrive at a precise international definition of the term “interference.” Deputies! Men of the German Reichstag!

I have endeavored to give you an idea of the thoughts which move us today. However great the specific concerns might be, I believe that it is incompatible with my feeling of responsibility as Führer of the nation and Chancellor of the Reich to voice even a single doubt as to the possibility of preserving peace. The peoples want peace. The governments must be able to maintain it! I believe that the restoration of German military power will become a factor in this peace-not because we plan to increase this power to some pointless magnitude, but because the simple fact of its existence does its armaments to an infinite degree.131 We do not have 10,000 bombers and we will not build 10,000 bombers; on the contrary: we have imposed upon ourselves the limitation which guarantees, in our opinion, the protection of the nation without violating the concept of the possibility of a collective security and a respective agreement. We would be most pleased were such an agreement to afford us the opportunity to make use of the diligence of our Volk for production processes more beneficial than those of manufacturing instruments for the destruction of human life and goods.

We believe that if the peoples of the world could agree to jointly destroy all their fire, gas and explosive bombs, this would be a cheaper affair than to tear each other apart with them.

When I talk like that, I no longer speak as a representative of a defenseless country to which such an action of others could bring no commitments, but only advantages. It is not my intention to take part in the discussion lately going on in different places on the value of others, or of the own army, on the lack of courage of the others and on the outstanding bravery of the own soldiers.

We all know how many millions of bold and absolutely fearless opponents we have unfortunately faced in World War II. History bears witness from time to time that we Germans have understood less the art of the reasonable life than the art of the decent life. I know that the German, as soldier, will fulfill their duty better than ever, if the nation were ever attacked, in the wake of the decade and a half long teaching on the fate of conquered peoples. This certain conviction is for all of us the burden of a heavy responsibility, and therefore a supreme responsibility.

***

I cannot better conclude my speech to you, my fellow-figures and trustees of the nation, than by repeating our confession of faith in peace. ***

The nature of our new Constitution gives us the opportunity to put a stop to the war mongers in Germany.

May other peoples also succeed in putting into bold words the true yearning of their innermost depths. He who would brandish the torch of war in Europe can desire nothing but chaos. We, however, live in the firm conviction that our age will witness not the decline of the West, but its resurrection. That Germany may furnish an immortal contribution to this great work is our proud hope and our unshakeable belief.

***

RADIO COMMENTATOR: This station was received and is being received in the course of the night and the day by the majority of the Europeans and oversee stations of the world.

The End

4 comments on “Adolf Hitler – speech at the Reichstag – Berlin, May 21, 1935

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