Berlin, May 1, 1937
The problems of our life are worse than those of other peoples. Perhaps there are peoples who can afford the luxury of waging war at home, of wrangling and bashing each other’s heads in. Where Nature has given human beings everything in abundance, they will perhaps accord less importance to the necessity of uniform action and thus of a uniform will. Yet Nature has not been very kind to us Germans here on earth. A great Volk, an infinitely competent Volk, an industrious Volk, a Volk who has a will to live and a right to make demands on life, is living in a space much too tight and too confined to possibly provide to it everything it needs, even given the greatest diligence. When we sometimes hear foreign politicians say, “Why do you need a further, broader scope for life?” we might respond by asking them in turn, “Then why do you place such great emphasis on it?” It is for the very reason that our life-struggle is so much more difficult than elsewhere that we must draw specific conclusions from this fact which constitutes our fate. We cannot exist on phrases, cliches and theories, but only on the fruits of our labour, our ability and our intelligence.
For at the fore of our National Socialist economic leadership stands not the word “theory,” nor the word “money,” nor “capital,” but the word “production.” Believe me, my Volksgenossen: it requires more brain-work, more effort and more concentration to draw up and implement a Four-Year Plan to secure for our Volk the requisite vital goods for the future than to start up the rotary press to print more paper money.
It is very easy to stride before the public and say, “We’re raising salaries, earnings and wages”-and then tomorrow we shall raise prices. And it is very easy to say, “We’ll shorten working hours-that means output-and raise wages instead.” That may be popular at the moment. But the collapse is inevitable, for the individual does not live on a paper wage but on the total sum of the production of his Volksgenossen. That is the foremost precept of National Socialist economic policy.
Life itself puts every generation under an obligation to wage its own battle for that life. Yet what centuries of prejudice and irrationality have built up cannot be completely eliminated within four years’ time. Everything cannot be accomplished at once! But we have the will to master this problem and, armed with this will, we shall never capitulate! And we are applying ourselves thoroughly to our task; you will have to admit that. In these four years, we have established order; we have ensured that it is not the undeserving who walk off with the wages in the end, but the millions comprising the upright working masses in the cities and the countryside who are able to gain their just reward! In Germany we have truly broken with the world of prejudices. I may regard myself as an exception. I, too, am a child of this Volk, and did not issue from some palace; I come from the work site. Neither was I a general; I was a soldier like millions of others. It is a miraculous thing that, here in our country, an unknown man was able to step forth from the army of millions of German people, German workers and soldiers, to stand at the fore of the Reich and the nation! Next to me stand German people from every class of life who today are part of the nation’s leadership: former agricultural workers who are now Reichsstatthalters; former metalworkers who are today Gauleiters, etc. Though, mind you, former members of the bourgeoisie and former aristocrats also have their place in this Movement. To us it makes no difference where they come from; what counts is that they are able to work for the benefit of our Volk. That is what matters.
For subordinating oneself is something every person must do. We, too, subordinated ourselves. For nearly six years I was a soldier and never voiced a contradiction, but instead simply obeyed orders at all times. Today Fate has made me the one who gives orders.
And this I must demand of every German: you, too, must be able to obey; otherwise you will never be deserving or worthy of giving orders yourself! That is the prerequisite! It is thus we shall train our Volk and pass over the stubbornness or stupidity of the individual: bend or break-one or the other! We cannot tolerate that this authority, which is the authority of the German Volk, be attacked from any other quarter.
This also applies to all the Churches. As long as they concern themselves with their religious problems, the State will not concern itself with them. If they attempt, however, to presume by virtue of any actions, letters, encyclicals, etc. to claim rights which accrue solely to the State, we will force them back into their right and proper spiritual-pastoral activities. Nor is it acceptable to criticize the morality of a state from that quarter when they have more than enough reason to call their own morality into question?108 The German leadership of state will take care of the morality of the German State and Volk – of that we can assure all those concerned both within and without Germany.
Hence this May Day is the illustrious holiday of the resurrection109 of the German Volk from its disunity and its fragmentation. It is the illustrious day of the erection of a new and great Volksgemeinschaft that unites city and country, workers, peasants and intellectuals above and beyond any divisions, allowing the Reich to stand as sole presider over all in full panoply.
What is, therefore, more logical than for us to again wholeheartedly pledge ourselves to our Volk on this day of all days? We cannot renew this pledge often enough: that we wish to belong to this Volk, that we wish to serve it and will endeavour to understand one another; that we wish to overcome all that divides us and thus defeat the stupid doubters, the mockers and the incessant little cavillers; that today above all we wish to renew our faith in our Volk, our confidence that it is a marvellous, competent, industrious, and decent Volk, and that this Volk shall have its future because we are the ones responsible for that future!