The Führer's talk to Generals and Officers on May 26, 1944 at the Platterhof in Obersaltzberg, Part 2
Continued from Part 1:
Translated by Carlos Whitlock Porter
The Führer is speaking:
But first, of course, it’s not a pretty picture, I admit it. At first, we had all sorts of difficulties, and you can really get some white hair before you’ve put everything back in order again. But I always counted on one thing: the time will come when that will all have been worth it; then you’ll see that this selection process, which has been made one of the hard principles of the party, is correct. And really, that’s the most basic thing: the most decisive. Since today, when we speak of a national community, you can only do so on the condition of suitable leadership and people. There are a lot of training courses being given today for officers, in the so-called Ordenburgen [fortresses built by the Teutonic Knights], not just because they’re suited for it but because that gives them an insight into the way we start out with our youth, building up their education. Of course, gentlemen, nothing is perfect. You ought not to forget: we came to power in 1933. The war began in 1939. So we had barely 6 years. During the war, there’s a limit to what we can do to continue building, but there’s no doubt about it: when our people have had 50 years of peace, then we’ll see something: the whole nation will be completely organized, and the leadership of the nation will consist of the best political leadership corps we’ve ever had, carefully selected from the best we’ve got. There’s no doubt about that.
And of course, gentlemen, it’ll be not only a selection of the best speaking talent, but rather, the bravest leadership elements. We’re looking for these young people today not just from the point of view of intellectual gifts, the way they did before. That’s why so many talented people ended up wearing a dunce cap. The teachers revenged themselves by saying: “That’s your punishment, the dunce cap”, when the “talent” was too much for the teacher. Gentlemen, it’s not just purely a matter of intellectual talents, scholarship, but character; we’re examining these boys, their character, reactions, hardness, leadership ability, the so-called “ring-leader” ability, which they already possess as youngsters.
That must be evaluated in addition to their intellectual abilities. Sometimes you can tell yourself, when you look at a kid, a very talented boy, but he’d rather be boxing or something, or gymnastics, but he’s really bad at everything else. Before – about 30 years ago – that was enough: if you flunked one required subject, you failed. Today we settle matters differently. On the musical side, we go so far that a musically talented kid is sent to music school even if he flunks maths, is completely hopeless in French and geometry and chemistry, but he’s musically gifted and enthusiastic, so he goes to music school, since he’s not supposed to be a mathematician or a surveyor, but rather a musician, and that’s enough. All the rest of it is mostly forgotten in later life, and he’ll never need it in his career, and he’ll forget nine tenths of it. He’ll only remember what he learns in [primary] school and general education. So we’re looking for abilities without regard to birth or origins; and believe me, first of all, we eliminate the whole social question, for two reasons.
First: we’re building a people’s community, the leadership of which will be largely derived from the people themselves, that is, an elementary knowledge of all things that move the people. In constantly allowing blood from below to come flowing through I’m doing what the Catholic Church did through the circuitous route of celibacy; since the priests can’t have children, they were compelled to take their individual priests out of the people. This is why there are priests from families of lower-ranking officials, small businessmen, former farm boys, etc. This accounts for the strength of the allegedly disputatious Church. I’m doing exactly the same thing, taking the offspring of the entire people, just not on the way to celibacy, I can’t use that.
[Shouts of approval and merriment]
The entire people is sifted through, and I gradually get a class of people in the leadership of the nation who more or less know all the problems of life, from their own youth, from their own relatives, their parents, their brothers and sisters, etc. -- the environment. But they also elevate themselves, more and more, especially my Gauleiter, who are so wonderfully gifted in a practical sense, who have an exact knowledge of everything, so that it’s a matter of course for them to solve the problems that arise due to the very nature of people. All these Gauleiters, Kreisleiters, and Ortsgruppenleiter, etc. can do this, as easy as pie. You’ve seen this over and over. So I solve the social question by bringing a broadly-anchored element into the leadership.
Second, however, I solve it by forming this leadership class out of the best, most energetic, thereby depriving the broad masses of the possible starting point for a counter-revolution, ahead of time; particularly, however, by helping them to see that this State is not a class-State. Because, believe me that the purely “theoretical” is often more important than the so-called “actual”, which might be starting to make its appearance among us Germans. Don’t forget, we Germans are so mad about principles that we fought the Thirty Years War just over the question of whether we should take the Eucharist in one or two forms, and a few similarly important things. Among Germans, it’s not a matter of indifference for people to get the impression that the leadership class is being formed out of the entire people.
It’s important for the women and mothers, since it’s something wonderful for every mother to know she can perhaps have a child who can rise to a high position in the State. And if we’re only fair, and the positive services – not the political services, which, in the past, have been mostly much worse than among other [countries] – if we just imagine these services, which really require the entire life of the people, that is, the cultural life, the social, real achievements of a nation, the intellectual achievements – when we just think of that, and recognise that all these things are just the products of individual men, and if we could make these men parade before us out of the grey mists of the past, all the innumerable inventors, discoverers, scientific pioneers, engineers, technicians and chemists, etc., as well as the great artists, musicians from among our people and God knows what all else, to whom we owe everything, to whom we owe our cultural heights, whom we thank for giving us our language, [so] that we Germans can look at ourselves with pride as Germans; if we could just make them appear before us, and imagine their mothers here with us, next to them, like a stroke of magic, then you’d suddenly see what kind of lowly little women they were: peasant women, working men's wives, the wives of small artisans, etc., and what became of the sons of these women? It’s a tremendous reconciliation in a people when they know that the differences in ability exist after all, but that the differences administratively will not remain forever; if we at least convince the people as to the common good of a people, that, when some child is found – wherever he comes from – who has the ability, then we’ll take him under our wing immediately and provide him with everything he needs, instead of making all kinds of problems for him because of his birth. Rather, on the contrary, we’re going to help him to overcome these problems for the good of the State.
That will eliminate the last vestiges of the Marxist theory of class hatred. And this conviction, which already exists among the broad masses of the German people, gentlemen, we’re grateful for it, and to you, all of us, that today millions of German workers, even old men, go to the factories and work there, which many of them refused to do in 1917. If they do that today, in the conviction that they are fighting for their State, that it is their State, although they are just simple workers but they are convinced that they possess an equality of rights in the State, that they enjoy complete equality of rights – an immeasurable strength comes of this, and they are convinced that this State, if it continues to develop like this, will take care of them, their children, and that everybody will be correctly treated according to his abilities. At the same time, and I really have to say this, I’ve carried out this entire process without hurting other people or doing them wrong. Of course, you can do something like this, by first smashing everything to pieces and exterminating everybody. I haven’t done that. Since I believe in the principle of selection, which is, of course, a principle tried and tested in the past, I know that everybody in the leadership classes today is already the product of just such a selection process. Since I also believe in heredity, this also produces a constant hereditary stream [of new people]. I didn’t want to eliminate the good, the old, in order to favour something different, but rather, I wanted to keep the good, and the old, and gradually introduce something different.
Of course, this is not easy. It would have been far easier for me simply to exterminate the entire old leadership classes, let’s say, the way the Bolsheviks did, and then begin a process of reconstruction. But then the equalization possibilities would not have existed, which so often act as obstruction today. The war has had a colossally educational effect here, too, I’ve got to say that. Without the First World War, I would never have become a National Socialist. But the war had an endless educational impact, even without everything else. There were a lot of people who said, “You know, National Socialism is all very well, but when I imagine that I might one day have the honour to sit next to such a proletarian, you’ve got to understand what’s right, but in the end [illegible] and what do I do then? I’m keen on the people, of course, I want to be our own people of brothers, but naturally with some distance between us, with some reservations, sir! There are limits to everything, we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bath water!” And on the other side, they were saying the same thing. They said, “What? We’re supposed to sit next to this stuffed-shirt and these capitalists? Not on your life! We’re proletarians! We have our class-consciousness!” They were obsessed with class-consciousness on the one hand and their pride of place on the other hand, and sometimes these prejudices are stronger than the thickest concrete walls we’re building today.
[Laughter and enthusiastic approval.]
Nevertheless, we’ve gradually succeeded in pushing back class prejudice, and despite the talk on both sides, we’ve succeeded in building up the party, with many setbacks. And that, gentlemen, is how we built up our resistance to crises. You’ve got no idea how many setbacks I’ve had in my life! What we've suffered in military defeats serves for me to recognize mistakes, organize better and do better! That’s nothing compared to what I’ve suffered in setbacks in my life, in building up the party.
Do not say: But that was less important. Gentlemen, it was my life and my conviction, and Germany depended on it, exactly the way it depends on [the outcome of] this war today; and if we hadn’t succeeded in building it up, then sooner or later the Bolshevik hordes would have overwhelmed Europe. That the Poles would ever have restrained themselves and all the rest of it, nobody believes that today, with what we now know. And the struggle before 1933 was a struggle for life or death.And at that time we were convinced that all these setbacks could be overcome, because in a crisis situation like this, according to historical experience, you’ve always got to expect setbacks. Just name me one great process in world history that never suffered any setbacks. It doesn’t exist. Every State which has just made a fantastic advance will be faced with frequent crises. Yes, I say, great men are only tested in crises. There’s no great man that hasn’t overcome a crisis, you can believe that. What especially great and admirable men in German history mean to us is that they are the men who constantly had to fight in great crises. Whether it’s a Martin Luther, or, out of recent history, I don’t know, Frederick the Great or Richard Wagner, in quite another field; I’ve picked three different fields, they’re all just men who constantly had to overcome some catastrophe and in the end, with their stubbornness and their tenacity, who achieved their goals and fought their way through.But there was another problem that had to be solved at that time if the German nation was ever to rise again.
It was not only a question of the order of the social body, but above all, the mobilization of the intellectual elements who were already available in the time before I came along, as motive power, men who were capable of moving other men to the ultimate.There were two main points of view: on the one hand there was the nationalist ideal, which was vague and defined in various ways, but anyway it was a force for which one hundred men volunteered in 1918, men who were willing to fight and give their lives; and you can’t ask for more idealism from a man than to be ready even to risk his life if necessary. On the other side of the barricades there were idealists, too. They were the Communists, who believed that they were fighting for a Communist ideal. Basically, at that time, there were two phenomena, fighting with each other: on the one side a nationalist, a poor devil, and his officer, who was a poor devil, too; and on the other side, the Communist, or Spartakist or USPD man and so on, also a poor devil.It wasn’t the so-called upper classes of satisfied capitalists who were fighting at that time; and naturally the Jewish leaders of the Marxists weren’t fighting either.At that time it was a matter of course from the very start that this new movement -- which could have called itself by quite another name -- had to take account of these two existing elements. One could not say: “Let’s ignore them”, or “we refuse to have anything to do with them”, but rather, one had to acknowledge that these were forces to be reckoned with. The definitions of these two concepts were diametrically opposed to each other at that time. The one was on the right side of the barricade and the other was on the left, and I climbed up on the barricade in between them and was naturally shot at by both sides. I attempted to define this new concept with the motto that nationalism and socialism are the same in the end, namely, that the people are at the centre of everything worthwhile, that is, not any particularly class interest as antithesis, but rather, the people at the centre of everything worthwhile. Because socialism is nothing more than the struggle for this people as a whole and nationalism is the same thing. I had serious fights with both the right and the left at that time. The left declared: “It’s impossible, we cannot go with the nationalists”, because they understood “Nationalism” to mean the bourgeoisie, and vice versa, the bourgeoisie rejected socialism, because they understood “Socialism“ to mean Marxism, that is, internationalism.But one thing was clear: “people” and “people” are not the same [i.e. nationalism and socialism did not imagine themselves as representing the same people].I can imagine a “people” with a thin ruling class and a perfectly miserable mass of poor folk, squalid, louse-ridden, filthy, but raised to blind obedience, who simply follow. I can imagine that. This idea awakens no satisfaction in me; I find it horrible.
What I believe is the first, most worthwhile ideal to have to see, is a “people” who look healthy. Because I won’t be able to represent for long a governmental interest in the former people; one day it will disintegrate when a catalyst comes along, suddenly uniting and mobilizing this left-wing mass, and that [catalyst] is the foreign body of Judaism. So I must draw up another concept of “the people” as the ideal: and this can only come true when I set up a body of the people as the ideal of the future, in which there is actually the highest degree of education, of culture, of living standards. And when one first recognizes this ideal, that it is just as beautiful, believe me, to care for a people as it is for a brave company leader to care for his men; he, too, gradually starts to see this, what he’s there for. In his men, he doesn’t see something he doesn’t care about, something he only needs, but rather he sees his own fulfillment in them. He cares about his last man and takes care of him, and the more he does this the more satisfied his men will be, but also the more satisfied he’ll be himself one day and better able to appreciate them. This applies in the same way for the entire population generally. My movement set this goal for itself from the very beginning, of overcoming the former class [structure]. I must admit, now, that it was easy in one area. In the German people, we had about 800,000 Jews - over a million including the Ostmark and the Sudetenland. They were a foreign body in the body of our people, who had deliberately occupied all key positions, and when these position were occupied, necessarily and immediately moved countless others into that same category. Some people have not understood why I proceeded so brutally and ruthlessly here, and of course, the class that should have been the most grateful to me for it, didn’t understand it at all. Because if I hadn’t done it, then I would have had to intervene in the positions occupied by the members of older lifetime positions -- positions which they had also occupied, partly based on natural selection and partly out of protection, in order to build up a uniform body of the people. I forced the Jews out of their positions, and did so ruthlessly, of course.
I didn’t do it cruelly, like nature, but rather, rationally, in order to retain the best, and now I had hundreds of thousands of positions. I was able to place many tens of thousands of capable children of the people in these positions. I released innumerable peat-bog digging college students from their fate and was able to put them in these positions. But I also made it possible for hundreds of thousands of proletarians and peasant children to grow into these positions in the future, which would otherwise have been claimed by Jews, a foreign body.
But that is also an advantage, gentlemen, since I’ve eliminated the last catalyst from among the masses, as I already stressed. In eliminating the Jews, I eliminated the possibility of the formation of any nucleus of revolution among the masses. Of course, people can always say: “Couldn’t you have done it more simply, or, not more simply, since everything would have been more complicated, but more humanely?”Gentlemen, officers, we are engaged in a struggle for life and death. If our enemies succeed in this struggle, the German people would be exterminated. Bolshevism would have slaughtered millions and millions of our intellectuals. Anybody who wasn’t killed with a bullet in the back of the neck would be deported. The children of upper-class people would be taken away and eliminated. This whole bestiality is organised by Jews. Today incendiary bombs and other bombs are being dropped on our cities, although the enemy knows that they can only hit women and children. They machine-gun quite ordinary [passenger] trains and farmers in their fields. In one night in a city like Hamburg, we lost over 40,000 women and children, who burned alive. Do you expect anything different from me than to protect our national interests ruthlessly, since I believe that this is the way to achieve the most effective and greatest benefits for the German nation.
[Lengthy, enthusiastic applause]
Acting “humanely” under such circumstances would be the greatest cruelty towards our own people. If I draw the hatred of the Jews upon me, then I would at least like to derive some benefit from that hatred.
[Shouts: Quite correct!]
The advantage is that we now possess a cleanly organised body of the people, in which no outsider can any longer just talk his way in.
On the other hand, look at the other States. We’ve had an insight into another State that went the opposite way: Hungary. The whole State decomposed and eaten up, Jews everywhere, in all positions right up to the very highest ones, more and more Jews, the whole State is covered by a gapless network of agents and spies who were just waiting, and the only reason they never struck was that they were afraid that if they struck too early they would involve us. But they were waiting for the moment to strike.
I intervened here as well, and this problem has now been solved, too, and I must say anyway: the Jew has made the extermination of the German people its program. As I declared in the German Reichstag on 1 September 1939: “If anybody believes that such a world war would exterminate [Austrottung] the German people, he’s wrong: if Jewry really arranges it [world war], then the one that will be exterminated [ausgerottet] will be Jewry”.
[With this policy] We took perhaps the greatest step in the inner order. Everything else in innumerable areas is now connected to it. And here I’d like to return to the starting point of my remarks, namely, to the concept of “worldview”. I said that worldview is nothing more than the consideration of the entire world in its phenomena from a uniform standpoint of the latest scientific discoveries, serious discoveries. And I went after all other problems in the same way
. We solved our economic questions, gentlemen, when all the so-called experts claimed they couldn’t be solved. We solved our cultural problems. What didn’t they say earlier! They said, “What? You want to eliminate the Jews? Ha ha! Then you won’t have any more money, you won’t have any more gold”. As if the Jews were a gold-producing element! Gold only has any meaning when it represents value. Values are not created by Jews, but rather, by people who have invented valuable things, or produced them. The Jew simply inserts himself between the inventor or producer and the consumer. He is a valve that restricts the flow.
I built a valve which can cut off the flow when needed or let it flow again, at will.When I was young I often went to the German Museum in Munich. That was the first great technical museum at that time. I had a tremendous interest in it – almost the entire inventiveness of the human race is represented there. What was ever invented by Jews? The Jews, who rule everything, the whole economic system, our industrial life, they rule everything! – What did they ever invent? Where are the Jewish inventors? There’s not a single one there! Not one! You can raise the same question in cultural life. People have said to me, “So when you kick out the Jews, you can say goodbye to the theatre! But who really founded our culture? Was it the Jews? Who were our Jewish composers? Who were our great poets? Were our great thinkers [illegible] Jews, perhaps? How do the Jews suddenly succeed in inserting themselves into the production of the same goods that were created by the greatest Germans, or the discoveries that originated with the greatest Germans? Experiment showed that I was right. I removed the Jews; German theatres are full as never before. German film is flowering as never before. German literature, the German press, is being read as never before, better than ever before. Much better!We swept away [wir haben ausgerottet] vulgarities [Gemeinheiten] in innumerable fields, without ever falling victim to a prudery of the past. Since here we know a principle, namely, the maintenance of our race, our species. Everything that serves this principle is correct. Everything that detracts from it is wrong.
So naturally we took many steps in many areas which were revolutionary and which were not understood at first, even with the best will in the world, by those who never studied this whole movement from the ground up, according to their scholarly points of view. Because we often stumble over old traditions, old moral concepts, etc. It’s often forgotten that these moral concepts are just lies anyway because they don’t even exist among the people; the people think quite differently about it. What didn’t we have to clear away here! But, gentlemen, every such process in a great body of people or large-scale organisation of a people’s community must always proceed regardless of tradition, always!
I would like to come back to the military field. The rise of Prussia – I’ll begin with the nucleus of our present German Reich – was, after all, in the end, a process of gradually eliminating the innumerable traditions of other, smaller States. This was always painful. The rise of the German Reich, first as the North German Bund and later as the German Reich, was, again, an attack against innumerable traditions. Believe me, it was not easy for a State like Bavaria to do without many things associated, in their eyes, with its history, with the history of Bavaria. But it was no easier, earlier, for the Hanoverians, and no easier for the Saxons, no easier for the Württemburgers, no easier for the Austrians. Austria had been part of a great empire and its 9 million Germans had a total of 56 million other peoples under their administration. Giving up one’s self-sufficiency is painful. But where would they be now if the unified State had not been built up?Now, I’ve always stressed that this isn’t being carried out in a spirit of contempt for individual performance. One day, when a great soldier’s hall is built in Berlin, it will be there to immortalize ALL the great German generals of our history, I’ll have them [all] immortalized there quite regardless of where they may have fought in their lives. It will include Frederick the Great, it will have his generals in it, and on the other hand, it will also include a Daun [Austrian field marshall] a Laudon [also Austrian, one of Frederick’s greatest enemies]. It will include the enemies of German history from former centuries, finally all gathered together in brotherhood.
Our Reich, let’s be proud of it, unites the traditions of all the individual States of the past and all individual German tribes. And the great Reich's Hall in Berlin will also contain funereal monuments to all great German heroes of the past, from the past to the present, and they will all lie together as brothers, regardless of which tribe they may have belonged to, if they simply deserve to be kept alive in our memory. That means: this State will care for the memory of the whole many States of our German history; and that is a necessity. It will eliminate many painful things in particular; and that is a necessity. Nor have I, gentlemen, used the year 1933 as Year One of German history. A lot of people have said to me: “Why don’t you say Year no. 1, Year no. 2?” The English would have loved that, with their megalomania! When people ask me that, I say, I don’t know exactly, at the latest – the latest! – the battle of the Teutoburg Forest, probably, but even after a few battles of the Teutons and Cimbri. Why not them, too? When I include German history in this great framework, and when I include the current State as the perfection, I would like to say, after a long process of [nach lang angestrebten] military and political German activity, then I have the right to unite everything in this State which has been of service in the past; and then these ridiculous Englishmen come along and confront us! Let them come along with their ridiculous history of English kings; then I’ll show them the history of the German Reich. Then I’ll be able to tell them: at a time when the English possessed a ridiculous little island, the German Kaisers rode thousands and thousands of kilometres representing the German Reich.
What was England then? A ludicrous little enclave of Teutons, that’s all! German history doesn’t begin with us, the German revolution, but will, rather, be perfected with us. This so-called German Third Reich will bring to perfection that which was only attempted in the First Reich, that which was unfortunately overlooked in parts by the Second Reich, but which will finally find fulfilment in this Third Reich. That is the aim of this State. To this end, we founded this gigantic people’s organisation and with the party as the model and leaven of this organisation of the body of our people. And right now, I would like to answer an objection that has often been raised: “Why do you still keep the party as a small body within the German people?” I’ve already said: because the German people, taken as a whole, are not capable of leadership. The party built itself up in struggle, only people who wanted to fight and now we’re doing it. After all, I didn’t have to invent Communists artificially [just] to have somebody to fight against. The German youth, you must have noticed, is being educated in bravery, in absolute commitment. Because it’s crazy to imagine that bravery is only required for the leaders of military organisations, but that political organisations don’t need bravery. Gentlemen, political organisations manage everything, in the end; they are the administrators of everything that’s helped to create military ability over the past centuries. That’s what they manage, and if they’re cowardly, we’ll let slip through our hands everything that’s been won with the sword in the past. They can’t be brave enough. On the contrary, bravery is especially necessary here because civil courage is something that’s quite rare and must be especially cultivated.Those which we select from our youth today as descendants for the party must be of a kind so that the party will one day consist of our bravest people. That will be a solid leadership body.
A soldier is the last person who ought to take offense at this. Since that would be exactly as if I said: We are educating our entire German youth today in the love of their country and for the maintenance and defense of their country, so what do we need a military organisation for? We don’t need that! The thought of compulsory military service is shared by the whole German people anyway, everybody has to fight. Yes, gentlemen, the military organisation is the school of military exercise, in the sense of training in weapons. If I take away this school, then the purely theoretical education is worth nothing. The movement in itself, within the nation, is the school and the leadership organisation at the same time, in the light of the recognition of these truths as I just very briefly attempted to show you. Because I’d like to stress one thing: If I were to summarize this revolution – which I’d like to call a revolution of reason, to distinguish it from a revolution of madness – if I wished to summarize it in detail, then I’d naturally have to spend many, many hours on it. It would take 20 or 30 speeches because it [the revolution] affects almost all the problems of life, and caused new positions to be taken in many fields. The obsolete traditions are like old household effects all piled up on top of each other and covered with dust, thus many things are no longer seen clearly.We have now taken up all this and deliberately incorporated them and worked through them in detail, and this work is going forward without interruption. We’re not at the end of this revolution, but, so to say, only in the first year of this revolution. If I wanted to speak about it exactly, that would take “an eternity”. That’s impossible.
Finally, I would like to leave you with the impression that this is a gigantic phenomenon, out of and in light of which the gigantic transformation of the German people becomes understandable, including its readiness to subordinate itself to the current leadership and with it, to assume all the responsibilities with which the German people are burdened today. And that movements such as this are able to perform miracles is shown by history, over and over again. When the French revolutionary armies appeared to defend their revolutionary ideals, with which they inspired millions and millions of people with their Gallic verbosity, you could see that old, well trained army units simply collapsed, partly because the revolutionary ideal had [begun] to split them up mentally, and partly because they were intellectually inferior. In 1805-06, Prussia finally collapsed; and then began in Prussia on the basis of the concept of “Fatherland” – a dangerous concept in the dynastically divided age of that time, because it already implied the concept of a great German State. Some of the advocates of this concept were sentenced to death a few years later, and some of them to imprisonment, but this concept remained so powerful, in spite of the poor training of so many of the soldiers, that in the end they fought in quite a different manner because they were inspired by an ideal. I must say that many of the ideas that somebody like Scharnhorst had in mind at that time, could not be realized then, and only today and in today’s armed forces, are gradually and slowly finding their final fulfilment. So here, as well, we are not doing something that arose suddenly as in a dream, but rather, we are implementing the intellectual work that goes back generations. I myself do nothing other than to introduce discoveries in a closed form, and implement them in practical politics or militarily. That is my activity. We’ve had two additional examples in recent times. Russia. Can you imagine monarchist Russian behaving like today’s Bolsheviks? What a change brought about by a world view! Now, you shouldn’t, perhaps, believe that I [illegible].
A few days before the start [of the Eastern Campaign] I had a conversation with the Reich's Marshal, I said to him at that time: “Göring, this will be our hardest struggle by far!” And he saId to me at that time, “Why do you believe, my Fuhrer, that it will be so hard?” I said: “Because for the first time we’ll be fighting an ideological enemy, and an ideological enemy of fantastic consistency”.But Germany, too, is the proof of what such a spiritual conversion can do. And vice-versa, the others which had not undergone the spiritual conversion, are also proof of where you end up without it, so that in conclusion I must say: The German officer must play the most intense part in this intellectual conversion. It really must be his creed, since he is after all the first one in our recent history in the happy position of being able to say that State representatives and the idea of the State are completely uniform: I only need to suggest a single idea, and then I’m working to preserve the State in an orientation which was not possible for generations before. And he can also say something else: I don’t stand alone, but, rather, I get all the youths born in one year after another delivered up with this education and I have only this one job: continuing this upbringing. If I continue it, then I have a loyal, dedicated instrument in my hand. I know that because everybody who bears arms follows me just as exactly as they used to follow the political leadership and will continue to follow them.The soldier, the officer, is in the wonderful position of continuing an education which, in this Reich, begins practically in childhood. Because even small children are raised this way in kindergarten. Later the child enters the Jungvolk; he leaves the Jungvolk and enters the Hitler Youth; and there, once again, he’s raised further in the same way. Then he leaves the Hitler Youth and enters a business, and is once again educated in the same way. In the apprenticeship community, too, there’s a uniform education. Then this same youth enters the party when he’s 18, again, the same education. Some of them enter the SA – also the same education – or the SS, also the same education. Then he enters the Labour Service: a continuation of this same education. Then he enters the military, and the same education must be continued here, as well. And when the young man comes back from two years military service, he’s led into the political movement: continuation of this education. Until the man is actually an old dotard, a uniform education from childhood onwards. Believe me, a body of the people that’s been educated and moulded like this can no longer be destroyed, nobody can do a “1918” on it. It can thunder and storm all it wants, but you’ll be able to rely on them to the end.
Only one thing must never be permitted - an interruption somewhere in this educational process. And that is the big job of the whole German officer corps, fanatically to carry out this wonderful task, to take its share of this uniform education on itself, and continue it, while learning from it themselves, without interruption. To remain at the level of the knowledge conveyed by scientific discoveries, passed to us by tradition, in order not only to maintain this youth which has been entrusted to them, but to strengthen them even further and then, one day, to hand them over so that the stream of this youth of German blood runs incessantly along the same course until they reach old age, and thus they remain free of inner decomposition, and from all remorse.
We’re doing the people the greatest service with all this because, believe me, this mass wants to be led. The same way as it depends on its company commander and is happy when they get a company commander who knows how to lead them, and happy when they aren’t wrongly led [illegible] small community of 80, 100, 150 men, in the same way, the German people are happy when it is presented with a uniform leadership, which leads, and spares them from all future conflicts.
The people can’t decide all that, believe me. People have often said to me, “[illegible], why not let the people decide such a thing?” I always made the decision myself and only asked the people: “Do you agree with the decision?” and they [always] approved it. But I mustn’t expect the people themselves to make the decision. If the leadership lacks the courage to make a decision, should I expect the “little people” to reach a uniform decision? If the big intellectuals aren’t agreed on something, then somebody has to make a decision. That is also what’s wonderful about the career of officer: It’s quite natural, I can’t leave it to the company, I can’t leave it to the battalion, or to a subaltern, to decide what sort of decision should be made. And the more critical the decision, the prouder an individual officer should be to take the responsibility upon himself, even with the danger of acting wrongly once [in a while]; that’s not important.
It’s better to have acted wrongly once, since the masses must never get the feeling that it depends on them, or that the decision lies with them. That would be equivalent to a declaration of waiver of leadership and a declaration of cowardice on the part of the leadership. That must not be.And so I am so [deeply] convinced of this – it’s my rock-solid conviction – that precisely this war will increasingly intensify National Socialist feeling in the German armed forces that when this war is over, we will have won it through this new worldview, and that we all have only one goal: to be increasingly more active in the formation of the body of our people, to harden it more and more, until our people are formed into an indestructible block, which can then fulfill its mission in Europe, a mission it's been given. Since there can be no doubt as to one thing: Either we lose this war – that will be the end of our people – or we win – and that will be the case!
And that will be the beginning of our rule over Europe.
[Sustained lengthy applause]
Reichs Marshal Göring:My Führer!
Gentlemen:In this hour we have had a tremendous inner experience, and you, gentlemen, have been given a deep insight through the Fuhrer into the whole essence of National Socialism and what it is, and what it wants. I can act as interpreter here better than anyone else since I too, like you, we were all educated as officer’s candidates, as cadets, and we’ve all been through this education, we all went through it. I became a National Socialist very early – I thank my Creator. I was able to throw off my baggage early, baggage which many of you, gentlemen, have had to carry much longer and into recent years, right down to today. You would experience a great feeling of relief, if you could throw off all this old rubbish from yesteryear, which prevents us from seeing clearly in many areas, and enter the new and beautiful all the more easily. We must be clear in our own minds, precisely we officers, that it is our duty, in the future – as the Führer just said – to educate and form new officers. We must be clear in our own minds that what was once perhaps correct, can no longer be correct, today, in this State and above all, in this people. We must also find [our way] to these new ideals, and, gentlemen, we wish to say once openly, and it means a lot to me to say, when we were being educated as cadets or young lieutenants, the monarchy still existed, and as the Fuhrer correctly said:
it was a matter of course for the entire officer corps to be monarchist, and it was quite natural for the officer corps to stand and live for its monarch. For us, that was something completely natural. Nobody thought about it and dared to criticize it. Everybody took the top warlords as he found them, and felt bound to do so.And there I ask you now, gentlemen: how much happier and prouder can we be that duty assigns us in this hour to serve our Commander in Chief, a man whose coming to be we ourselves have seen, who, in these years so did so many incredibly difficult things, and had to endure so much. I believe there is no prouder feeling for an officer, than in this hour to crowd around this man and experience the happy feeling to stand by his side to the last. From our innermost hearts, long live our Führer for all time! Heil! Heil! Heil!
[Enthusiastic applause and renewed stormy demonstrations of applause for the Führer]