April 9, 1938
First of all, this land is a German land, and its people are German! Here the Reich once established its Ostmark. The Reich’s people moved here and throughout the centuries fulfilled their duties in the Ostmark of the Reich. Not only did they remain German, they became what one might term bearers of the shield for Germany.
Secondly, this land cannot exist without the Reich for any period of time.
What are 84,000 square kilometers today? What are six and a half million people? No one takes notice of them. Here, too, the realization applies that each German tribe by itself can be destroyed easily but once all tribes stand united they are invincible.211 Reality has proven that this land and these six and a half million people cannot exist in seclusion. This tiny country is incapable of solving the problems of its 300,000 unemployed and hundreds of thousands of dispossessed. And this proves that so small a country is not a viable unit. The greatest evidence yet for the lack of all prerequisites for life lies with the development of birth and mortality statistics. No one can deny that this is the country with the lowest birth rates and the highest mortality rates.
Third, this Volk never wanted to be separated from the Reich. The instant that its mission as leader of the peoples of the Reich was rendered obsolete, the voice of its blood spoke out. After the 1918 collapse, German- Austria desired to return to the Reich immediately. The democratic world prevented the Anschluss of German-Austria. Now the Volk has turned against this world. As the banner of National Socialism rose in Germany, the people here as well began to increasingly look to this symbol. In their hearts, hundreds of thousands pledged their allegiance secretly. Then came the time when this Volk suffered abuse at the hands of a group that could claim neither numerical superiority nor moral supremacy to justify its leading position.
Fourth, all I can say to those still not content: it is my homeland! I fought as a decent German soldier, and once this war was over, I went on a pilgrimage through Germany, and I won this country for me, this country so dear and lovely. When Germany was in despair, I was so proud to be German.
I fought and struggled for this Volk, and I won its trust. I have wasted my best years in this struggle! This Reich has become so dear to me. It should come as no surprise that I yearned to integrate my own homeland in this dearest of Reichs.
Fifth, all I have to say to those who still remain untouched: I stand here today because I fancy that I can do better than Herr Schuschnigg!
I believe that it was also God’s will that from here a boy was to be sent into the Reich, allowed to mature, and elevated to become the nation’s Fuhrer, thus enabling him to reintegrate his homeland into the Reich. There is a divine will, and all we are is its instruments.
When Herr Schuschnigg broke his word on March 9, at that very instant I felt that Providence had called upon me. And all that happened in the next three days could only have come about because Providence willed and desired it. In three days the Lord struck them down!212 And it was imparted upon me to reintegrate my homeland into the Reich on the very day of its betrayal.
When one day we shall be no more, then the coming generations shall be able to look back with pride upon this day, the day on which a great Volk affirmed the German community. In the past, millions of German men shed their blood for this Reich. How merciful a fate to be allowed to create this Reich today without any suffering! Now, rise, German Volk, subscribe to it, hold it tightly in your hands! I wish to thank Him who allowed me to return to my homeland so that I could return it to my German Reich! May every German realize the importance of the hour tomorrow, assess it and then bow his head in reverence before the will of the Almighty who has wrought this miracle in all of us within these past few weeks!