Posts Tagged ‘Germany’
VALPARAISO | His time serving in the U.S. military didn’t make him a racist, T.J. Leyden said, but it made him “a better racist.”
Leyden and his wife, Julie, are now the founders of StrHATE Talk Consulting, an organization that combats bigotry and hatred through education.
To his college audience, Leyden described a life of hatred and violence, which began when he was 15 years old. He said blacks, Hispanics and Asians were “lucky to get out of my neighborhood without being beaten.”
When he joined the Marine Corps, Leyden displayed a swastika and a copy of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” in his locker and successfully recruited more skinheads while in the service.
“I brought my racism, prejudice and bigotry with me into the U.S. military,” he said.
After showing photos of “D.C. Sniper” John Allen Muhammad, serial bomber Eric Rudolph, and Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, Leyden asked the audience: “Do you know what those men had in common?”
His answer: “They were all trained by the U.S. military. They weren’t racists when they entered the military; they were recruited by racists while in the military, then they came out and did the deeds.”
Leyden said while he already was a racist when he entered the service, the military made him “a better racist” because it taught him how to fight and how to recruit.
After his early “other than honorable” discharge because of alcoholism, he began to recruit kids as young as 12 years old. He said kids at that age and in their teen years are easy to recruit because they are “looking for a place to fit in.”
With that example, Leyden warned the audience.
“You do the same in college — you find the group you fit in with and you’re not trying to learn about others,” he said.
Leyden said racist propaganda can easily be found in video games, on the Internet, in music and on television.
“Music is the most powerful recruitment tool in the world — genocide on CD,” said Leyden. “Hitler loves iTunes.”
Leyden listed songs available on iTunes, with titles such as “Fire Up the Ovens” and “6 Million More.” He said his six-year campaign to “get Apple to stop it” failed.
“So I buy nothing Apple creates,” Leyden said. “I refuse to because they know they’re selling it and their big thing is, ‘We can’t control what people are selling on iTunes.’”
Leyden said he began to question his lifestyle when he had children and his young son repeated a racial epithet.
“I realized this is who my children were going to become, and I didn’t want my boys to be like that,” he said. “My kids held a mirror up to my face that day, and I didn’t like the reflection.”
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/valparaiso/former-neo-nazi-speaks-at-valpo-forum/article_8fc2c945-4fd1-5e93-916d-2f0cd0b70620.htmlShare on Facebook
The items for the exhibition were chosen by the workers of the Bundeswehr Museum in Dresden. They include photos, weapons, uniforms, letters and personal belonging of soldiers of both Soviet and German armies.
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major and decisive battle of the Second World War in which Nazi Germany fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd). The battle took place between August 23, 1942 and February 2, 1943.
http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_12_13/Battle-of-Stalingrad-on-display-in-Germany/Share on Facebook
In North Africa, British and American forces had defeated the Italians and Germans by 1943. An Allied invasion of Sicily and Italy followed, and Mussolini’s government fell in July 1943, though Allied fighting against the Germans in Italy would continue until 1945.
On World War II’s Eastern Front, a Soviet counteroffensive launched in November 1942 ended the bloody Battle of Stalingrad, which had seen some of the fiercest combat of the war. The approach of winter, along with dwindling food and medical supplies, spelled the end for German troops there, and the last of them surrendered on January 31, 1943.
On June 6, 1944–celebrated as “D-Day“–the Allied began a massive invasion of Europe, landing 156,000 British, Canadian and American soldiers on the beaches of Normandy, France. In response, Hitler poured all the remaining strength of his army into Western Europe, ensuring Germany’s defeat in the east. Soviet troops soon advanced into Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania, while Hitler gathered his forces to drive the Americans and British back from Germany in the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944-January 1945), the last major German offensive of the war. An intensive aerial bombardment in February 1945 preceded the Allied land invasion of Germany, and by the time Germany formally surrendered on May 8, Soviet forces had occupied much of the country. Hitler was already dead, having committed suicide on April 30 in his Berlin bunker.Share on Facebook
Born on 3 October 1895 to a Sudetan German family in Decin, Bohemia, Arigi’s background saw him train variously as a waiter or electrical mechanic (depending upon differing sources).
Arigi signed up with the Austrian army on 5 October 1913, serving briefly with an artillery regiment prior to his transfer to the Austro-Hungarian air service in March 1914, four months before war was declared with Serbia. He duly received his pilot’s license on 26 November 1914.
Enjoying notable popularity with the general public who appreciated the apparent glamour and dash of the aerial war, Arigi gained a similar degree of approval from the royal court itself, including Emperor Franz-Josef I.
Arigi’s public acclaim was by no means merely a matter of public relations either. In addition to having escaped from captivity he amassed a total of 32 aerial ‘kills’, and was one of relatively few top-scoring aces to survive the war. His first victory was logged on 22 August 1916 – he went on to down four further aircraft that day – and his last 23 August 1918.
Following the war Arigi established himself in commercial aviation, co-founding Ikarus, of of Czechoslovakia’s pioneering civil aviation companies. After an eventful career in Czechoslovakia (which included assisting with the selection of new airfields and participation in espionage) he returned to Vienna, where following German annexation he wholeheartedly embraced the Nazi cause.
During the Second World War he acted a Luftwaffe instructor, retiring with Germany’s defeat in 1945. He died on 1 August 1981 in Attersee, Austria at the age of 85.Share on Facebook
Conducted between 9-14 September 1914, the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes (of two, thesecond in February 1915) was the second victory of the war by the Germans over the Russian army, the first occurring at Tannenberg in late August.
Having successfully dealt with the Russian Second Army, commanded by Samsonov, at Tannenberg, Paul von Hindenburg’s Eighth Army – comprising 21 divisions, 18 of infantry, 3 of cavalry – turned their attention to the Russian First Army, commanded by Rennenkampf. These two armies had been deployed as two arms of a pincer movement intended to snap up Hindenburg’s forces in East Prussia. With one arm of the pincer broken, Hindenburg determined to neutralise the other in short order.
Hindenburg aimed to encircle Rennenkampf by breaking through a weak flank of the latter’s southern corps who had belatedly moved south to support the Second Army at Tannenberg and who had become somewhat separated from the main body in the west (who had remained passive during the earlier battle).
Rennenkampf’s army was presently moving through the Insterburg Gap between Konigsberg and the Masurian Lakes. However, upon receiving news of the Second Army’s defeat, Rennenkampf ordered his forces to retreat to a firmer position extending from the Baltic south-east to Angerburg.
A preliminary German attack began on 7 September, lasting two days, launched from either side of the southern lakes, its aim being to push the Russians up towards the coast. Heavily outnumbered 3-to-1, the Russian forces dispersed, and the German advance continued northwards in pursuit of the main body of the Russian army.
Rennenkampf, who feared being outflanked, consequently authorised a further orderly withdrawal on 9 September, simultaneously ordering a counter-strike at the Germans by two divisions so as to hold up the German advance whilst his men pulled back.
In this Rennenkampf was successful, although with the retreat of his forces East Prussia had been cleared of all Russian troops by 13 September. Furthermore, Russian casualties during the battle were high: 125,000 compared to the German figure of at most 40,000, although the Germans could ill-afford such high losses in the east.
Yakov Zhilinski, the army group commander responsible for the Russian plan of invasion, was dismissed as a consequence of the Russian army’s perceived poor performance.
The action had resulted in two defeats of the Russian army, and largely removed any threat to German forces stationed in East Prussia, although a Russian counter-attack from 25-28 September (the Battle of the Niemen) forced a German retreat back to the border and resulted in the Russian army retaking much of the ground lost in the First Masurian battle.
As a consequence of Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes – although the former battle was a much clearer cut victory than the second – Hindenburg was hailed as a hero in Germany, subsequently succeeding Falkenhayn as Chief of the German Staff in late summer 1916.
Despite Hindenburg’s fame at home, his Chief of Staff, Erich Ludendorff, was the chief architect of these, and future, Hindenburg victories. He followed Hindenburg to Berlin as his quartermaster general upon Hindenburg’s promotion to Army Chief of Staff.Share on Facebook
Delivered at Munich, Germany, February 24, 1941 
FELLOW PARTY MEMBERS:
The 24th of February is always, and rightly so, a day of vivid memories for us. On this date and from this very hall began the Movement’s amazing march to victory, which bore it to the helm of the Reich, to leadership of the nation and its destiny. This day is a great day for me too. Surely, it is seldom that a political leader can stand before the same band of followers that hailed his first great public appearance twenty-one years before, and repeat the same program. Seldom can a man proclaim the same doctrines and put them into practice for twenty-one years without at any time having had to relinquish a single part of his original program. In 1920, when we met for the first time in this hall, many of you must have asked yourselves: “Dear me, a new party, another new party! Why do we want a new party? Don’t we have parties enough?”
If the new movement had been or had intended to be nothing but a continuation of the old parties or an addition to existing parties, such an objection would indeed have been justified. There were certainly more than enough parties in those days. But, after all, our movement was something quite different from all the existing and incipient parties of the time. It was a movement that declared for the first time and from the very outset that it had no intention of representing the definite, clearly outlined interests of individual classes. It did not stand for town or farm. It did not represent Catholic or Protestant interests; nor did it represent individual sections of the country. This was a movement which was definitely centered upon the concept of the German people. It was not a class party, sworn to uphold the right or the left, attempting to divide the nation, but one which from its very beginning had no thought for anything but the German people as a whole.
Thus began a heroic struggle, opposed at its inception by nearly all. Nevertheless, the essential objects of the movement embraced the decisive element. Its clear and unambiguous aim did not allow the movement to become the tool of definite and limited individual interests, but raised it above all special obligations to the particular obligation of serving the German nation in its entirety, of safeguarding its interests regardless of momentary dissensions or confused thoughts. Thus, today, after 21 years, I again stand before you.
In those days, we were in the middle of a great collapse; Versailles oppressed us all heavily. With heavy hearts individuals throughout the entire German Reich began to try to find a way out of this profound misery. There were many different views as to the reasons for the collapse. Political mistakes of the most serious kind had undoubtedly been made, not during the war years but many years before. It had been apparent that a storm was brewing. Certain warmongers throughout the world-the very ones who are doing the same thing today-were mobilizing the whole of Europe against Germany.
Although favorable opportunities of opposing these warmongers-and, moreover, of opposing them in good time-had presented themselves, the German government of that time proved a political failure. At the beginning of the Great War, too, the political leadership in both internal and external affairs was as clumsy as possible and, from the psychological point of view, utterly wrong.
However, in one particular sphere no reproach could be leveled against them: They had not wanted the war. On the contrary, had they wanted the war they would certainly have prepared for it differently, and they would have chosen a more favorable time for it. No, their greatest crime-if a mistake can be called thus-was that, although they knew that war was inevitable, they failed to act at the decisive hour and, consequently, at a more propitious time. Military mistakes were made too-many military mistakes. Yet despite all this, one fact remains: the German soldier, unconquered, defied his enemies for over four years.
A unique epic was enacted during these four years. Regardless of the greatness of our present victories or of our victories in the future, the German nation will always look back with deep emotion and inexpressible feelings to the great days of the World War when, alone and forsaken by the whole world, it fought a heroic struggle against an overwhelming superiority in numbers and an overpowering mass of armaments, yet never yielded one inch until the collapse occurred for which not the man at the front but disintegration at home was responsible.
This brings us to the really fundamental and decisive reason, to the actual cause of the collapse which took place at that time. The German nation had for several decades been exposed to gradual internal disintegration. It was divided into two worlds. We are only too conscious of them today, we old National Socialists, for we fought and struggled against them. We stood between these two worlds, and it was out of them that our movement gradually came into being.
You have not forgotten the political conditions of those days, my old party members-the conditions of our political life. You still remember the placards of the two great conflicting ideas-the bourgeoisie on the one side and the proletariat on the other; on the one side nationalism, on the other socialism. Between these two there yawned a gulf which, it was asserted, could never be bridged. The nationalist idea of the bourgeoisie was exclusively bourgeois, and the socialist ideal was exclusively Marxian. The bourgeois ideal was limited to a class; the Marxian ideal was unlimited internationally. But, fundamentally both movements were already sterile. When I first stood before you here, no sensible person believed that there would ever be any clear decision on this point. This, after all, was the decisive issue. This struggle was inevitable if our nation were not to disintegrate completely. One side would have to emerge from it as the decisive victor.
But even this was out of the question at the time, for the movements were already beginning to dissolve and to split up. They had lost their youthful élan. On the one side, the bourgeoisie was gradually dividing itself into countless parties, societies, groups, associations, bodies representing municipal and rural interests, house and land-owners, etc. On the other side were the Marxian movements, which were likewise disintegrating more and more rapidly. Majority Socialists, Independent Socialists, Communists, Radical Communists, the Communist Labor Party, Syndicalists, and so forth: Who can still remember the struggle of all these groups against one another?
Every placard was a declaration of war, not only against their opponents but often against their own world as well. The two camps that faced us then must finally have led to the complete dissolution of the German community, and naturally, therefore, to the waste and misuse of the German people’s entire strength.
Regardless of the decisions to be made, whether they related to internal matters or foreign policy, whether they were economic or purely internal questions, none of them could be successfully solved unless the whole nation stood solidly united for the purpose.
Versailles confronted us at that time. When I made my first appearance in this hall, my whole political conscience imposed upon me the duty of protesting against this subjection, the most ignominious of all times, and of calling upon the nation to take up arms against it. From the point of view of foreign policy, the dictate deprived the German nation of all its rights and rendered it defenseless. The foreign situation, moreover, also demanded a clear decision. The shameful dictate was intended to enslave the German nation forever. No limits had been set to this slavery. From the very outset they said: “We won’t state a definite sum for you to pay, because we ourselves do not know what you are able to pay. From time to time we will fix fresh sums; but you must pledge yourselves immediately to pay everything we determine.” And that is what the German governments of those days did.
The fulfillment of these obligations would have reduced Germany to complete ruin forever. And when a Frenchman said that the aim was really to annihilate 20 million Germans, that was by no means mere imagination. It was entirely possible to calculate the time when the German nation would actually number 20 or 3o million less. This enslavement-disastrous even from the purely economic point of view-was now opposed by the Germans, divided into two great camps. Their points of view were completely different; but both placed their hopes in international ideals. The more intellectually inclined camp said: “We believe in a world-conscience, in world justice. We believe in the League of Nations at Geneva.” The others were more proletarian and said: “We believe in international solidarity,” and things of that sort. But they all believed in something outside their own people-were ever ready to take refuge in the hope that others would come and help them.
The conception of the new Movement, whose fundamentals can be expressed in a single sentence: “The Lord helps those who help themselves,” opposed this. That is not only a very pious phrase, but a very just one. For one cannot assume that God exists to help people who are too cowardly and too lazy to help themselves and think that God exists only to make up for the weakness of mankind. He does not exist for that purpose. He has always, at all times, blessed only those who were prepared to fight their own battles. We have seen what can be expected from the help of others. An American President appeared and solemnly declared that if we laid down our arms we should receive this, that and the other thing. We laid down our arms, and the oath was broken and forgotten. When the gentlemen were reminded of it they became very unpleasant. It did not matter how much democratic Germany begged and prayed, she was granted not the slightest relief, not to mention equal justice. Democratic Germany was certainly treated justly: she was treated just as she deserved.
It was in this very town that I began my struggle, my political struggle against Versailles. You know this, you old members of my party. How often did I speak against Versailles! I probably studied this treaty more than any other man. To this day, I have not forgotten it. The Treaty could not be abolished by humility, by submission. It could only be abolished by reliance upon ourselves, by the strength of the German nation.
The days of bitter struggle necessarily led to a selection of leaders. When today I appear before the nation and look at the ranks that surround me, I look at a band of men, real men who stand for something. On the other hand when I regard the cabinets of my opponents, I can only say: “Quite incapable of being put in charge even of one of my smallest groups.” Hard times resulted in a selection of first class men who naturally caused us a little anxiety now and then. Everybody who is worth his salt is sometimes difficult to handle. In normal times it is not always easy to get divergent elements to work together instead of against one another. But as soon as danger threatens, they form the most resolute body of men. Just as selection is a natural consequence of war and brings real leaders to the fore among soldiers, so in the world of politics selection is the outcome of struggle. It was a result of this slow development, this eternal struggle against opposition, that we gradually acquired leaders with whose aid we can today achieve anything.
When, on the other hand, I look at the rest of the world, I am obliged to say: “They were simply asleep while this miracle was taking place. Even today they refuse to grasp it. They do not realize what we are, nor do they realize what they themselves are. They go on like a figure of “Justice”-with blindfolded eyes. They reject what does not suit them. They do not realize that two revolutions in Europe have created something new and tremendous. We are fully conscious of the fact that a second revolution, where the assumption of power occurred earlier than it did in our country, proceeded parallel with ours. The Fascist Revolution, too, yielded the same results. Complete identity exists between our two revolutions, not only as regards aims, but also as regards methods. Over and above this there is our friendship, which is more than cooperation with a purpose in view. Nor do our opponents realize yet, that once I regard a man as my friend, I shall stand by him and that in doing this, I have no eye for profit. I am not a democrat and consequently no mental contortionist. Nor am I a war profiteer, but a man who hopes that, at least after his death, common justice will concede that the struggle of his whole life served a single great ideal.
I wish to display no faltering in this matter. There cannot be the slightest doubt that the bond uniting the two revolutions, and especially the bond uniting their two leaders, is indissoluble, and that one will always support the other. Moreover, it is a common enemy whom we shall defeat.
There was a time when Italy, Fascist Italy, which is engaged in the same struggle as we are, which is shut in in the same way as we are, which is as over-populated as we are and, up until now, has been given no better chance of living than we, kept powerful enemies engaged on our behalf. Numerous British ships were engaged in the Mediterranean; numerous British airplanes were engaged in the African colonies. This was a very good thing for us, for, as I told you the other day, our warfare at sea is just, beginning. The reason for this is that we first wanted to train new crews for the new submarines which will now make their appearance on the scene. Let no one doubt that they are about to appear.
Just two hours ago I received a communiqué from the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy stating that the reports of the last two days from our ships and submarines on the high seas reveal that another 215,000 tons have been sunk; that of this total 190,000 tons were sunk by submarines alone, and that this figure includes a single convoy of 125,000 tons which was destroyed yesterday.
From March and April on, those gentlemen will have to be prepared for something very different. They will see whether we have been asleep during the winter, or whether we have made good use of our time. During the long months when we had so few submarines to fight our battles, Italy kept large forces engaged. It does not matter to us whether our Stukas attack British ships in the North Sea or in the Mediterranean; the result is always the same. One thing is certain: Wherever Britain touches the continent she will immediately have to reckon with us, and wherever British ships appear, our submarines will attack them until the hour of decision comes. Thus, except for Germany, only Italy has had a revolution which, in the long run, will lead, must lead and has led to the construction of a new national community.
We had to exercise patience for many a long year, and I can only say: My opponents may believe that they can terrify me with the threat of time, but I have learned to wait, and I have never been idle while waiting. We had to wait ten years after 1923 until we at last came into power. But you old members of the Party know that we accomplished much in those ten years. What did we not achieve; what did we not construct? The movement which came to power in 1933 was different from that of 1923. We had made good use of our time. It is for this reason that such threats do not frighten us. We were never in the habit of setting ourselves a limit and saying: This must be done on March 1, or June 15, or September 7.
It is only the journalists of our opponents who said that this was so. They always knew everything. They said: “If the National Socialists do not come to power by October 1928, they are lost.” We were not lost. Again they said: “If the National Socialists do not come into power after the September elections in 1930, National Socialism will be a thing of the past.” It was not a thing of the past, although we did not come into power. Then in 1932 they said: “National Socialism is dead. The Fuehrer has refused to enter the cabinet. He does not want any responsibility. He is too cowardly to accept it. We have always said so. We knew it. He shirks responsibility.”
These sharp-witted journalists who are now in England-they are no longer among us-knew all about it. Now they said: “August 13 is the turning point; National Socialism is done for.” August 13 came-and National Socialism was not done for. A few months later they had to fix a new date. Finally came January 30, 1933. Then they said: “Well, now they have made their mistake! They have gained power, and in six weeks they will be finished-three months at the most. Three months, and that will be the end of them.” The six weeks and the three months passed, and still we were not finished.
And so they kept on fixing new dates for our downfall, and now, in wartime, they are doing exactly the same thing. And why not? They are the same people, the same prophets, the same political diviners who prophesied the future so wonderfully when they were here. Now they are employed as assistants in the British Ministry of Information and the British Foreign Office. They always know exactly that on such and such a date the Germans will be finished. We have experienced that more than once. You all know what they said. I need only refer to the celebrated utterance of a great British statesman whom you in Munich know by sight-Mr. Chamberlain. A few days before April 9, of last year, he said: “Thank God, he has missed the bus.” I can remind you of another-the British Commander-in-Chief-who said: “A few months ago I was afraid, now I am afraid no longer. They have missed their opportunity. Besides, they only have young generals. That is their mistake and their misfortune; it is the same with all their leaders. They have lost their opportunity. It is all over.” A few weeks later this general had departed. Probably he too was too young.
Today they are doing exactly the same thing. They always fix final dates. In the autumn they said: “If they don’t land now, all is well. In the spring of 1941 Britain will transfer the offensive to the Continent.” I am still waiting for the British offensive. They have transferred the offensive elsewhere, and now, unfortunately, we must run after them wherever they happen to be. But we shall find them wherever they run. And we shall strike them where they are most vulnerable.
Thus, 21 years of a dauntless struggle for our Movement have passed. After 13 years we at last came to power. Then came years of preparation of our foreign policy, of gigantic work at home. You know that it is all an exact repetition of what happened in the party. We asked nothing of the world but equal rights, just as we asked for the same rights at home. At home we demanded the right to meet freely, the right which the others possessed. We demanded the right of free speech, the same right as a parliamentary party as the others held. We were refused and persecuted with terrorism. Nevertheless, we built up our organization and won the day.
In the same way, I appeared before the world and said: “I ask for no more than the others have. I am prepared to disarm to the limit.” I constantly made new proposals, but we were ridiculed and our demands were refused, exactly as they had been at home. I wanted to negotiate for everything. There can be no better way of achieving anything for a people than by negotiating. It costs less, and, above all, no blood is shed. Who would be so mad as to take by force anything that he could get by reason?
But there are things which must be left to Germany, because she must live. Others have no right to cut us off. It was monstrous for a nation that already possessed 15 million square miles to take another million square miles from another nation. It is intolerable for us to be the puppets of other nations and to have them prescribe for us, for example, what economic policy we are to pursue. We are carrying out the economic policy which is most advantageous to the German people. I am not persuading the others. If they want to sit on their money bags, let them do so. But when they say: “You do the same,” I shall take care not to buy dead gold with the productive power of German workmen.
I purchase the necessities of life with the productive power of German workmen. The results of our economic policy speak for us, not for the gold standard people. For we, the poor have abolished unemployment because we no longer pay homage to this madness, because we regard our entire economic existence as a production problem and no longer as a capitalistic problem. We placed the whole organized strength of the nation, the discipline of the entire nation, behind our economic policy. We explained to the nation that it was madness to wage internal economic wars between the various classes, in which they all perish together.
Of course, a fundamental social principle was necessary to achieve this. It is today no longer possible to build up a state on a capitalistic basis. The peoples eventually begin to stir. The awakening of the peoples cannot be prevented by wars. On the contrary, war will only hasten it. Such states will be ruined by financial catastrophes which will destroy the foundations of their own former financial policy.
The gold standard will not emerge victorious from this war. Rather, the national economic systems will conquer. And these will carry on among themselves the trade that is necessary for them. Whether this does or does not suit a few gold-standard bankers in the world is quite immaterial. And if some of these gold bankers declare: “We cannot tolerate your trading with this or that country,” it is none of their business. In future the peoples will decline to accept rules as to their trade policy laid down by a few bankers. They will follow the policy which is best adapted to their needs.
In this respect we can look to the future with confidence. Germany is an immense factor in world economy, not only as a producer but also as a consumer. We certainly have a great market for our goods. But we are not only seeking markets; we are also the greatest buyers. The Western world wants, on the one hand, to live upon its empires and, on the other hand, to export from its empires as well. That is impossible because in the long run the nations cannot carry on one-sided trade. They not only have to buy, but also have to sell. They can sell nothing to these empires. The peoples will therefore trade with us in the future, regardless of whether this happens to suit certain bankers or not. Therefore we will not establish our economic policy to suit the conceptions or desires of bankers in New York or London.
Germany’s economic policy is conducted exclusively in accordance with the interests of the German people. In this respect I am a fanatical socialist, one who has ever in mind the interests of all his people. I am not the slave of a few international banking syndicates. I am under no obligation to any capitalist group. I sprang from the German people. My Movement, our Movement, is a German people’s Movement, and it is only to this German people that we are obligated.
Our economic policy, I repeat, is determined solely by the interests of the German people. From this principle we shall never depart. If the rest of the world says: “War,” I can only say: “Very well. I do not want war, but no one, however peaceable, can live in peace if his neighbor intends to force a quarrel.”
I am not one of those who sees such a war coming and starts whining about it. I have said and done all that I could; I have made proposal after proposal to Britain; likewise to France. These proposals were always ridiculed-rejected with scorn. However, when I saw that the other side intended to fight, I naturally did that which as a National Socialist of the early days, I did once before: I forged a powerful weapon of defense. And, just as of old, I proclaimed that we should be not merely strong enough to stand the blows of others but strong enough to deal blows in return. I built up the German armed forces as a military instrument of state policy, so that if war were inevitable, these forces could deliver crushing blows.
Only a few days ago, an American general declared before an investigating committee in the House of Representatives that in 1936 Churchill had personally assured him, “Germany is becoming too strong for us. She must be destroyed, and I will do everything in my power to bring about her destruction.”
A little later than 1936, I publicly issued a warning against this man and his activities for the first time. When I noticed that a certain British clique, incited by the Jews-who are of course, the fellows who kindle the flames everywhere-was intentionally provoking war, I immediately made all preparations on my part to arm the nation. And you, my old Party comrades, know that when I speak it is not a mere matter of words, for I act accordingly. We worked like Titans. The armaments we have manufactured in the past few years are really the proudest achievement that the world has ever seen. If the rest of the world tells us: “We are doing likewise now,” I can only reply: “By all means do so, for I have already done it. But above all, don’t tell me any of your tales. I am an expert, a specialist in rearmament. I know exactly what can be made from steel and what can be made of aluminum. I know what achievements can be expected of men and what cannot be expected. Your tales do not impress me in the least. I enlisted the strength of the whole German nation in good time to assist in our arming and, if necessary, I shall enlist that of half Europe. I am prepared for all impending conflicts and consequently face them calmly.” Let the others face them with equal calm.
I place my confidence in the best army in the world, in the best army which the German nation has ever possessed. It is numerically strong, it has the finest weapons and is better led than ever before. We have a body of young leaders who have not merely proved their worth in the present war but, I can well say, have covered themselves with glory. Wherever we look today, we see a bodyguard of chosen men to whom the German soldiers have been entrusted. They in their turn are the leaders of soldiers who are the best trained in the world, who are armed with the finest weapons on earth. Behind these soldiers and their leaders stands the German nation, the whole German people. In the midst of this people, forming its very core, is the National Socialist Movement which began its existence in this room 21 years ago,-this Movement the like of which does not exist in the democratic countries, this Movement whose only pendant is fascism. Nation and army, party and state are today one indivisible whole. No power in the world can loosen what is so firmly welded together. Only fools can imagine that the year 1918 can be repeated.
We encountered the same ideas among our plutocrats at home. They, too, always hoped for internal disruption, dissolution, civil war of German against German. Exactly the same ideas are encountered today. They say: “There will be a revolution in Germany in six weeks.” They do not know who is going to make the revolution. There are no revolutionaries among us. Thomas Mann and others like him went to England. Some have already left England for America, because England is too close to their revolution’s future field of operations. They are establishing their headquarters far from their future field of battle. Nevertheless, they assert that the revolution will come. Who will make it? I do not know. How it will be made, I do not know either. All I know is that in Germany there can be, at the most, only a few fools who might think of revolution, and that they are all behind iron bars.
Then they said: “Winter, General Winter is coming, and he will force Germany to her knees.” But, unfortunately, the German people are “winter-proof.” German history has passed through I do not know how many tens of thousands of winters. We will get through this one, too.
Then they say: “Starvation will come.” We are prepared against this, too. We know the humanitarian sentiments of our British opponents and so have made our preparations. I believe that starvation will reach them before it reaches us.
Then they said: “Time is on our side.” But time is only on the side of those who work. No one has been harder at world than we. Of that I can assure them. In fact, all these vague hopes which they are building up are absolutely childish and ridiculous.
In general, I should like to add one thing: The German people can look back upon many thousands of years of development. Its history goes back 2000 years. For 1000 years there has been a German Reich, a Reich which actually contained only Germans. During this time our people survived the most astounding blows of fate. It will also survive everything that the present or the future may bring. Indeed, it will do so even better, because it is my belief that there has always been a German people and, for more than 1000 years, a German Reich, but there has never before been German unity nor the compact organization of our people that we possess today, and there has not always been the leadership which the German people possesses today.
And so, in all due modesty, I have just one more thing to say to my opponents: I have taken up the challenge of many democratic adversaries and up to now I have always emerged the victor from the conflict. I do not believe that this struggle is being carried on under different conditions. That is to say, the relation of the forces involved is exactly the same as before. In any case I am grateful to Providence that this struggle, having become inevitable, broke out in my lifetime and at a time when I still feel young and vigorous. Just now I am feeling particularly vigorous. Spring is coming, the spring which we all welcome. The season is approaching in which one can measure forces. I know that, although they realize the terrible hardships of the struggle, millions of German soldiers are at this moment thinking exactly the same thing.
We now have a year of incredible successes behind us-also of severe sacrifices, not as a whole, but certainly individually. We know, however, that these successes have not been gained without effort. Countless German men staked their lives at the front with the greatest bravery and are still doing so unflinchingly. What so many of our men are achieving in our regiments, in our tanks, in our airplanes, in our submarines, on our ships and everywhere else in our formations is without parallel. Better and braver soldiers have never existed.
We old National Socialists are particularly proud of them, for we are nothing but a party of ex-soldiers-the ex-soldiers of the Great War. We returned from that war with our hearts burning with rage and fury, but, at the same time, heavy and sore, deeply conscious of the shame that had been inflicted upon our brave people. We who went through the whole struggle of the Great War can best realize what our soldiers are achieving today.
I can only say to our soldiers that our hearts, the hearts of all the old National Socialists, are with them. They are soldiers’ hearts. How many of us were riddled with bullets in the Great War! How many were wounded! How many fought in the ranks! With flaming hearts, all of them watched the campaigns of our armies in the past year. Every single battlefield meant so much to them. It was a tremendous satisfaction to them to see that that for which through long years of terrible misfortune they had once shed their blood, and yet had not been able to achieve, was at last an accomplished fact. How proud they are today of their sons, of the young soldiers of the Third Reich. No one is more fitted to tell them this than the old party members, those old soldiers, who, when they returned from the Great War, refused to endure the disgrace they found at home and immediately began a new struggle within the country, the struggle against the destroyers of our country and of our home. Thus, we; National Socialists are now facing a new year of struggle. We all know that it will bring great decisions.
We look to the future with unshakable confidence. We have passed through the hardest school known to men. We know that the untold sacrifices we have made cannot have been in vain, because we believe in supreme justice. What have we not done in past years? How we have toiled, how we have labored, always with but one end in view: Our nation! Millions have devoted their lives to it; hundreds and thousands have sacrificed them for it.
Providence has not led us along these amazing paths in vain. On the day that the party was founded I recalled that our nation once gained immense victories. Then it became ungrateful, disunited, sinned against itself. Thereupon it was punished by Providence. We deserved our defeat. If a nation forgets itself as completely as the German nation did at that time, if it thinks that it can shake off all honor and all good faith, Providence can do nothing but teach it a hard and bitter lesson. But even at that time we were convinced that once our nation found itself again, once it again became industrious and honorable, once each individual German stood up for his nation first and not for himself, once he placed the interests of the community above his own personal interests, once the whole nation again pursued a great ideal, once it was prepared to stake everything for this ideal, the hour would come when the Lord would declare our trials at an end.
If fate should once more call us to the battlefield, the blessing of Providence will be with those who have merited it by years of hard work. When I compare myself and my opponents in other countries in the light of history, I do not fear the verdict on our respective mentalities. Who are these egoists? Each one of them merely defends the interests of his class. Behind them all stands either the Jew or their own moneybags. They are all nothing but money-grubbers, living on the profits of this war. No blessing can come of that. I oppose these people merely as the 0 champion of my country. I am convinced that our struggle will in the future be blessed by Providence, as it has been blessed up to now.
When I first entered this hall twenty-one years ago, I was an unknown, nameless soldier. I had nothing behind me but my own conviction. During the twenty-one years since, a new world has been created. The road leading into the future will be easier than the road from February 24, 1920, to the present. I look to I the future with fanatical confidence. The whole nation has answered the call. I know that when the command is given: “Forward march!” Germany will march.Share on Facebook
My German countrymen, men and women, (long pause) Changes of Government have occurred frequently in history, and in the history of our people. It is certain, however, that never was a change of Government attended with such far-reaching results as that eight years ago. At that time the situation of the Reich was desperate. We were called upon to take over the leadership of the nation at a moment when it did not seem to develop towards a great rise. We were given power in circumstances of the greatest conceivable pressure, the pressure of the knowledge that, by itself, everything was lost, and that, in the eyes of the noblest minds, this represented a last attempt, while in the eyes of evil-wishers it should condemn the National-Socialist Movement to final failure. Unless the German nation could be saved, by a miracle, the situation was bound to end in disaster. For during a period of 15 years, events had moved downwards without respite. On the other hand, this situation was only the result of the World War: of the outcome of the World War, of our own internal, political, moral, and military collapse. For these reasons it is particularly important on a day like this to think back to the course of that entire national misfortune.
What was the cause of the World War? I do not want to explain it from the personal aspect, about which so many treatises have been written. Ordered by the present President Roosevelt, American scholars have investigated the cause of the World War and made sure that there could be no German guilt. In moments of so great importance in contemporary history, individuals can play a significant part only if they enter the scene as really outstanding personalities. This was not then the case. Neither on the German nor on the other side were there personalities cast in an unusual mould. The cause, therefore, could not be due to the failure or to the will of individuals. The reasons went deeper. The German form of government, certainly, could not have been the cause of that war, for Germany was a democracy already-and what a democracy! Strictly copied from the western countries, it was compromise between monarchy and parliamentary leadership. On account of its form of government then, this State could certainly not be the cause of the war waged by the democracies against the Reich as it was then. Germany, considered as a political factor in the world, was much more of a cause, for after centuries of disruption and ensuing weakness, the German tribes and states had at last combined into a new State which naturally introduced a new element into the so-called Balance of Power, an element which was regarded as an alien body by others. Even more potent, perhaps was dislike of the Reich as an economic factor. After Germany had tried for centuries to remedy her economic distress by letting people gradually starve or forcing them to emigrate, the increasing consolidation of the, political power of the Reich gave rise to a development of economic power. Germany began to export commodities rather than men, thereby securing the necessary markets in the world, a process, natural and just from our point of view, but others regarded it as encroachment into their most sacred domains.
Here we come to the State which regarded this encroachment as intolerable-England.
Three hundred years earlier England had gradually built her Empire, not perhaps through the free will or the unanimous demonstrations of those affected, but for 300 years this World Empire was welded together solely by force. War followed war. One nation after another was robbed of its freedom-one state after another was shattered so that the structure which calls itself the British Empire might arise. Democracy was nothing but a mask covering subjugation and the oppression of nations and individuals. This State cannot allow its members to vote if today, after they have been worked upon for centuries, they should freely choose to be members of this Commonwealth. On the contrary, Egyptian Nationalists, Indian Nationalists in their thousands are filling the prisons. Concentration camps were not invented in Germany; it is the English who were the ingenious inventors of this idea. By these means they contrived to break the backbone of other nations, to remove their resistance, to wear them down, and make them prepared at last to submit to this British yoke of democracy.
In this process, a formidable weapon was that of lying, that is, of propaganda. A proverb says that if the Englishman speaks of God he means cotton. And so it is today. Considering how pious and religious are the outward gestures of men who deliberately, and with a cold heart, drive nation after nation into a struggle serving only their material interests, one is compelled to state that rarely has human hypocrisy reached such a pitch as that of the English today. At any rate, at the end of the blood-stained path of British history over three centuries stands the fact that 46,000,000 Englishmen in the mother country are ruling about a quarter of the globe.
This means that there are 46,000,000 men for about 40,000,000 square kilometres. It is important, my countrymen, to shout this to the world again and again, for they are brazen democratic liars who assert that the so-called Authoritarian States are out to conquer the world, while in fact, the conquerors of the world are our old enemies. The British World Empire has left behind an icy stream of blood and tears in the path of its creation. It rules today, undoubtedly, a tremendous section of the globe. But this world government is affected not by the power of an idea, but essentially by force, and where force does not suffice, by the power of capitalist or economic interests.
Bearing in mind the history of the British Empire, we can understand the process itself only as a result of the complete absence of the European Continent as an entity in face of this development, particularly by the absence of the German Reich. For 300 years, Germany was practically non-existent. While the British talked of God without losing sight of their economic interests, the German nation, overstrained to the limit, raised religious problems to such importance that bloody wars, lasting for centuries, ensued. This was one of the conditions which made the formation of the British Empire possible, for in the same measure with which the German nation spent its strength internally, it was eliminated as a power internationally, and in the same measure England could, undisturbed, build her Empire through robbery.
Not only was Germany practically eliminated from competition on this globe during those three centuries; the same holds for Italy, where there were similar phenomena as in Germany, but of a political and dynastic rather than a religious nature. For other reasons again, another great nation in East Asia was eliminated, which also for nearly four centuries had gradually withdrawn from the rest of the world, and ceasing to regard its own living space as vital plunged into voluntary solitude.
In this way a system arose, particularly in Europe, which England called the Balance of Power, which means, in fact, disorganization of the European Continent in favour of the British Isles. For this reason it was for centuries the aim of British policy to maintain this disorganization, not under the name of “disorganization” of course, but with a better sounding name. Just as they do not speak of cotton, but say “God,” they do not speak of the disorganization of Europe but of the “Balance of Power.” And this so-called Balance of Power, that is the real internal importance of Europe, enabled England again and again to play one State against another, so keeping the forces of Europe involved in internal struggle. Thus England could thrust forward undisturbed into other areas offering comparatively little resistance.
And yet to speak today of England’s World Power or of England as the master of the world, is nothing but an illusion. To begin with her internal situation: England, in spite of her world conquests is perhaps socially the most backward State in Europe. Socially backward-that is, a State orientated entirely in the interests of a comparatively small and thin upper stratum and the Jewish clique with which it is allied. The interests of the broad masses are of no weight in determining the orientation of this State. Here again propaganda phrases must serve. One speaks about freedom, one speaks about democracy, one speaks about the achievements of a Liberal system meaning nothing but the stabilization of the regime of a section of society, which, thanks to its capital, is able to get hold of the Press, to organize and direct it, and to create public opinion. Thus, in a State commanding the riches of the world, having gigantic living space at its disposal, in a State with altogether hardly one inhabitant per square kilometre, in a State so blessed by nature, millions are excluded from these benefits, and live in greater poverty than the population of any of the over-populated central European States. The country which is a paradise for a few, is nothing but continuous misery for many, that is, for the masses. Misery in nourishment, misery in clothing, misery particularly in housing; misery in security of income, and in the entire social legislation. And if all of a sudden a British Labour Secretary, who, incidentally, as a member of the Opposition, is paid by the State, appears and says: “After this war, after victory, England will have to tackle social problems; we will have to care for the wide masses,” I can only reply, “We have done this long ago.”
It is only interesting to us as a confirmation of our thesis that England in reality is socially the most backward country in the world. Thus, considered internally, this gigantic external wealth is really barren as far as the masses as distinct from the few are concerned. But even externally this world domination is only a figment. New centres have been given to the world. Gigantic States have arisen which can be neither attacked nor even threatened by Great Britain. The whole British idea of world domination was based on getting others to proceed against the Continent. But outside this European Continent or far beyond it great States have come into existence which are completely unassailable by England. British diplomacy may only attempt to maintain its position there by clever manipulations and by trying to bring other forces into play, which means that it must now attempt to raise the so-called Balance of Power in Europe to a Balance of Power in the world. In other words, it has to play Great Powers against each other in order to maintain at least a semblance of a World Power.
In Europe, itself, however, the awakening of the nations has already done away with the theory of the so-called Balance of Power, that is, disorganization of the Continent.
The national development of Germany and the creation of the new German Empire pierced into this disorganized European Continent and to the south of us, Italy did the same. To this must be added new elements which make the Balance of Power appear an illusion. It exists no longer. Therein we really see the real reason for the World War. Since 1871, when German tribes began to organize themselves and, under the leadership of a statesman of genius, formed an Empire once more, and the national rebirth of the German nation found expression in a united state, Great Britain has been persecuting this new apparition. In 1871, even in 1870, immediately after the battle of Sedan, British newspapers began to point out that this new structure was more dangerous to Great Britain than France had been. It had been hoped even then that Prussia might succeed, perhaps, by a long war, in throwing back France, but there was no wish that from Prussia’s rise there should emerge a national German re-birth or, even more, a new German Empire.
Thus began the period from 1871 to 1914, in which Great Britain continually plotted for a war against Germany, in which she was hostile and aggressive to Germany at every opportunity, until finally the World War broke out, the work of quite a small group of international, unscrupulous rogues. And Great Britain received foreign help for this World War, which, again, she was only able to wage with foreign help.
It is interesting to visualize the development of the British policy of world domination during the last 400 years. First, there was Spain, with Dutch help; then the fight against the Dutch, with the help of other European States, France amongst them; then, finally, was against France, with the help of Europe and that part of the world at Great Britain’s disposal.
The World War which shook Europe from 1914 to 1918 was exclusively the longed-for result of British statesmanship. Although the whole world had at that time been mobilized against Germany, Germany was actually not defeated. We may safely state this today.
I should not like to be a critic of the past if I had not improved upon it. But today, as one of the historic men who have improved matters, I may critically examine and judge the past, and all I can say is that the result of the year 1918 is merely the consequence of a rare accumulation of personal inefficiency in the leadership of our nation, a unique accumulation which had never existed before in history, nor-let me tell these gentlemen-will it ever be repeated. In spite of all this, this country and the German soldier for four years withstood the attack of a hostile world, and the German nation still believed in the honor of the remaining democratic world and its statesmen.
This credulity of the German nation, which was at the time regretted by many, received a terrible reward. If today Englishmen come along and believe that it is only necessary to put on the gramophone the old propaganda records of the years 1917-18 in order to achieve a new result, I can only say they have not forgotten anything, but unfortunately for them, they have not learned by experience. In this respect they differ from the German people. The German nation has learned since then; nor has it forgotten anything.
We do not wish to be mean. Many times there have been broken pledges in the past. But what happened in the years following 1918 was not one broken pledge; broken pledges were mass-produced. Not a single pledge has been fulfilled. Never before has a great nation been deceived as the German nation was then deceived. It had received so many assurances, this credulous nation had been promised so much, and what did they do to our nation? It was plundered, it was exploited. A foreign statesman, an American, was employed to make the German people even more credulous. Perhaps this was really the reason why the German people were duped by this manoeuvre. But in this respect, too, they are immune against any similar attempts. The German people had opportunities, year after year, to ponder the sincerity of democratic promises and assurances and the honesty of democratic statesmen, to make comparison and to test them against their own experiences. It was in this period that the National Socialist movement originated.
If they now say: “But why did they pounce on a new ideology?” my answer is “Because the old one failed miserably.” Not only in the interior-Heavens! democracy was a pitiful thing with us! When 40 or 50 odd parties compete with their gigantic philosophical interests, ranging from that of property down to the level of cyclists’ clubs, estate owners and so on, that in itself is a very bad sight; but quite apart from that; if we only had been rewarded externally for this miserable internal democratic distortion of our lives, we could at least say: “Well that stuff has certainly failed at home, but at least you received decent treatment outside.” At home the whole thing was, of course, nothing but a joke, but foreign countries took you seriously-or at least they pretended that they wanted to take you seriously. If they had kept some of their promises because you were willing to be good democrats on the pattern of others. Oh, if at least this had been the case! But who was it they blackmailed? Who was it they sweated? Was it the National Socialist State? It was the German democracy!
When I came home in 1918 and lived through the winter of 1918 and 1919, I realized, like many other people, that we could not expect regeneration from the existing political world in Germany, and so I began to search-as did so many others-and this was how that conception originated which later conquered the German nation as National-Socialism. I started from the one insight: the German nation fell because it indulged in the luxury of spending its strength at home. This use of strength in the interior took away external strength according to an external law.
The German nation had hoped to gain, in turn, the goodwill of others but it met only the naked egotism of the cruelest and meanest vested interests, which began to loot everything there was to loot. One should not have expected anything else. But now the die was cast. One thing seemed obvious to me: any rise could not originate from outside. First, the German nation had to learn to understand its own political struggle, which enabled it to rally Germany’s entire strength above all its idealistic strength. And this idealistic strength was at the time only to be found in two camps; in the Socialist and in the Nationalist camps. But these were the camps between which there was the most mortal feud and strife. These two camps had to be fused into a new unit.
Today, my countrymen, when millions and millions are marching under the symbol of this unity, this appears to be obvious. But in the years 1918 and 19l9, this seemed to be the product of a diseased imagination. At best, people pitied me. Perhaps, my countrymen, it was lucky that it was so. If people had taken me seriously at that time, they would probably have destroyed me, and the movement at that time was much too small to be able to survive such a destruction. But it was perhaps destiny willed by nature or by God, that they laughed at us, mocked us, and that a certain type of propaganda only ridiculed us and regarded us as a joke. Thus we succeeded, gradually, in forming the first germ, and the first nucleus of a new national community-an almost incredible historical phenomenon started by unknown people and willing followers among the masses of the people itself.
There is only one other State in which this process may be regarded as having come to a successful conclusion: Italy; nowhere else in Europe. In many States we see, perhaps, a beginning and in all the democracies they fully realise the importance of such a process, and believe that they can achieve similar results by swindle. They forget one thing: such a rebirth of a nation is really a miraculous event, an event which pre-supposes faith rather than so-called abstract and super-clever knowledge.
The fact that in the years 1918 to 1921 the simple belief of the broad masses slowly came to us, was the beginning of our Movement. That made the little man from the factories and the mines, from the farms, from the offices, believe in his future, in the future of this idea and this Movement, and in the victory which was yet to come. At that time our point of view was that if the German nation were not to repair its prestige in the world, that is to say, did not again become a powerful factor, Germany would shortly have 20,000,000 people less. This was a matter of simple deduction.
Year after year unemployment increased and caused the confusion of national conceptions and of economic plans. The constant change of Governments prevented any wider vision. Projects could not even be made for two or three months ahead, because one could be sure that in three months the government would have changed. One would say-“Why should I clear up the mistakes made by others?” Another would say, “Why should I make improvements only for someone else to benefit?” There was no longer any reason to attempt any efficacious and real solution. But this state of affairs naturally increased national weakness, and the economic decline, and caused more unemployment. The burden became greater, the capacity to carry it less, and the end had to be a collapse, the result of which could not be foreseen.
It was well to be believed that the kind and humane prophecy of the great democrat Clemenceau that we had 20,000,000 people too many would become the truth. Thus the programme of unification of the German forces, of blind obedience to a goal was created to assure our right to live forever and ever.
By so doing we chose a path between two extremes. The one of these extremes was holding our people: It was the liberal-individualist extreme which made the individual not only the centre of interest but also the centre of all action. On the other hand, our people were tempted by the theory of universal humanity which alone was to guide the individual. Our ideals were between the two: we saw the people as a community of body and soul, formed and willed by Providence. We are put into this community and within it alone can we form our existence. We have consciously subordinated all considerations to this goal, have shaped all interests according to it, and all our actions. Thus the National-Socialist world of thought arose which has overcome individualism, but not by cutting down individual capacities or individual initiative, only by asserting that the common interest is superior to individual liberty and the initiative of the individual. This common interest regulates and orders, if necessary, curtails, but also commands.
Thus we started a struggle against everyone in those days, against the individualist as well as against the humanitarians. And in this struggle we slowly conquered the German nation during 14 years. The 1000 members which this Movement counted at the end of its first year of life, a number which was to increase steadily-these followers were but Germans who had come from other movements. Hundreds of thousands of my SA and SS had been fighters in other organizations, whom we had all convinced and conquered by winning their inner allegiance. That was perhaps the greatest battle of souls in our history. I could not force anybody to go with me, to enter my organization-they all had to be inwardly convinced and this conviction caused them to make great sacrifices. This struggle was to be really fought out in the spirit by word, form and writing. Only when an ill-willed opponent said: “I cannot defeat you in the spirit, but I am stronger than you,” only then did I, the former soldier, rightly answer violence with violence. Before I (apparently one or two words left out by Hitler) . . . the fighting movement which fought by the spirit as long as the opponent kept to spiritual weapons…. But I did not hesitate to appeal to violence when the other thought he would help the spirit by violence.
Our opponents at that time were those who have always fought us inside as well as outside the country: a conglomeration of people who feel, think and act according to international ideas. We know the coalitions of that time. In this battle of the spirit we have defeated them everywhere. For when at last I was called to power, I came in the legal way, under the Presidency of Reichs General Field Marshal von Hindenburg because I was backed by the strongest movement.
This means that the so-called National Socialist Revolution has defeated democracy, within democracy, by democracy. We acquired power legally and today, too, I am facing you here on a mandate given to me by the German nation, a mandate more comprehensive than that which any one of the so-called democratic statesmen possess today.
When we came to power in 1933 our road was clearly mapped out. It had been defined in a struggle of 15 years, which in a thousand demonstrations had put us under an obligation to the German people. And I would be dishonourable and deserve to be stoned if I had deviated but one step from this programme, or if I were to do so now. The social part of this programme meant unifying the German people, overcoming all class and race prejudices, educating the German for the community, and if necessary, breaking any opposition to this unity. Economically, it meant building a National German economy which appreciated the importance of private initiative, but subordinated the entire economic life to the common interest. Believe me, here, too, no other aim is thinkable. In times in which the sons are arrayed for defence in battle, and where no difference can be made between those who represent much, and those who represent little, economic advantages or privileged positions to the disadvantage of the total community cannot be maintained. As everywhere, I proceeded here by teaching, educating and slow adaptation, for it was my pride to carry out this revolution without one single window-pane being broken in Germany. A revolution which led to the greatest changes ever achieved on earth, but which destroyed nothing, only slowly reorganized everything, until at last the entire great community had found its new road,-that was my goal.
It was the same in foreign politics. My programme was to do away with Versailles. People all over the world should not pretend to be simpletons and act as if I had only discovered this programme in 1933, or 1935 or 1937. These gentlemen should only have read what I wrote about myself a thousand times instead of listening to stupid emigre trash. No human being can have stated and written down as often as I what he wanted, and I wrote it again and again: “Away with Versailles!”
And this was not a whim of ours, but the reason was that Versailles was the greatest injustice and the most abject ill-treatment of a great people ever known in history. Without the abolition of this instrument of force-meant to destroy the German people-it would have been impossible to keep this people alive. I came forward as a soldier with this programme, and spoke about it for the first time in 1919. And I have kept to this programme as to a solemn obligation during all the years of the struggle for power, and when I came to power I did not say like democratic politicians (follows a quotation from Schiller’s Fiesco meaning roughly: “The monster has carried out his work, now he can be dismissed.”) But at that moment I said to myself: “Thank God, for having brought me to a point where I can put my programme into action.”
But again I did not want to do this with violence. I talked as much as any human being can. My speeches in the Reichstag, which cannot be falsified by democratic statesmen, are evidence for history. What offers did I make them! How I begged them to be reasonable! I begged them to see reason and not to interfere with the existence of a great nation. I proved to them that they themselves would derive no benefit from it. I told them it was senseless, and that they would only do themselves harm. What have I not done in all these years to pave the way to an understanding? It would never have been possible to begin this armament race unless others had wanted it. I made proposals to them. However, every proposal, coming as it did from me, was sufficient to cause excitement among a certain Jewish-international-capitalist clique, just as it used to happen formerly in Germany when every reasonable proposal was rejected only because it was made by National Socialists.
My Reichstag speech on 17th May 1933, or for that matter, my later speeches, my innumerable announcements at public meetings, all the memoranda which I wrote in these days-they were all governed by the one idea: whatever happened it must be possible to find a method for a peaceful revision of this Versailles Treaty. That this Treaty was an infamous document, all its authors finally admitted. In fact, the possibility of a revision was to be left open. Only they made the League of Nations the agent for this purpose, and this institution was quite unsuited for its task. The League of Nations was established on the one hand to prevent a revision of the Treaty, and, on the other hand, was to have jurisdiction for such a revision.
At first we were not members of the League, and later German participation amounted in the last analysis to nothing but the payments of yearly installments. That was the only positive thing as far as Germany could see. Of course, Germany was then a Democracy and the Democrats of Berlin begged, on their knees. They went to Geneva before the International Tribunal. They begged: “Give us a revision.” Everything was in vain.
I, as a National Socialist, recognized after a few months that this Tribunal would not help us. Accordingly, I did what I could, but I say our adversaries always confused us with the people with whom they had dealt since November 1918. The German nation had nothing in common with those men. That was not Germany. They were miserable individuals kept by England and France, who had doped them. That was not the German nation, and to connect the nation with such people we regard as a defamation.
If the others believed they could apply the same methods to us they applied to the November men, they were greatly mistaken. In that event both sides were at cross purposes. They could not expect us to go to Geneva and continue begging, to receive kicks, and to beg again. If they expected that, they mistook the former German soldier for the traitor of 1918. Of course, those November men could not do anything but give in, for they were in fetters; they were caught in the fetters of that other world. We, however, have no reason to give in to that other world, or do the English perhaps believe that we have an inferiority complex when we compare ourselves with them. (Several words drowned in applause.)
Then they forced us down by a lie; a trick, but the British soldiers did not defeat us. Neither did it seem during the Western campaign that any change has taken place.
I, myself, and in fact, all of us, made up our minds that voluntary negotiation at Geneva would not yield any result. The only thing to do, therefore, was to leave Geneva.
Never in my life have I pushed myself. Those who do not want to talk to me need not do so. Now here are 85,000,000 Germans looking into the future with pride and confidence. They are heirs of a great history. We had a world empire when England was nothing but a small island, and for a longer time than for 300 years. Indeed, they forced us to take the road which we took. The League of Nations only ridiculed and derided us. We left it. At the Disarmament Conference, the same happened, and we left it. We started on the road which we were forced to choose, but all the time we strove for understanding and conciliation. In this connection I may point out that our striving in one case, in that of France, almost succeeded. When the Saar Plebescite took place and the Saar territory was returned to the Reich, I made up my mind, with difficulty, and declared on behalf of the German nation that I would waive any further revision in the West. The French accepted this as a matter of course, but I told the French Ambassador of the day: Look here, this is by no means a matter of course as you seem to imagine. What we are doing is making a sacrifice in the interest of peace. We make this sacrifice, but we, at least, want to have peace in exchange for it.
But the ruthlessness of the capitalist plutocrats in these countries always broke through in a short time, fostered by emigrants who presented a picture of the German situation which was naturally quite mad, but was believed because it seemed agreeable and then, of course, it was propagated by Jewish hatred. This collection of capitalist interests on the one hand, Jewish instincts of hatred and the emigrants’ lust for revenge, succeeded in increasingly beclouding the world, enveloping it in phrases, and in inciting it against the present German Reich, just as against the Reich which preceded us. At that time they opposed the Germany of the Kaiser, this time they opposed National-Socialist Germany. In fact, they opposed any Germany which might be in existence. But my decision was firm: in no circumstances to abandon one’s rights, for in doing so it would not be theories which were given up, but the lives of millions of the future. I do not sacrifice some point or other in a party programme, for in such a case one sacrifices the future, a race, and nobody is entitled to do that unless he stands before the people and says: “I can no longer represent your interests; someone else must take over.”
But we did not come to power having on our programme: “We are ready to abandon the interests of the German nation.” I came with the oath: “I abandon no interests.” For, my country, it was not as if the abandoning of interests would bring quiet for all time. We saw that from the old German Reich, which began with abandoning the Western Provinces of the Reich, and went on and on, and every decade demanded further sacrifices, until finally Germany was broken in pieces-then the century-long powerlessness came over the people. As against that, I am determined not to give way one step. Therefore when I saw that the old warmongers of the Great War were resuming their criminal activities in England, when Messrs. Churchill, Eden, Duff Cooper and Hore-Belisha and so on, and Vansittart, our great old friend, and then Chamberlain and Halifax-when these old men again began their warmongering then it was clear to me that these people were not concerned with reaching a just understanding with Germany, but that they believed they could again break Germany down, cheaply, and the quicker the easier.
You know what happened then, my countrymen. In those years, beginning in 1934, I armed. When in the Reichstag in September 1939, I outlined the extent of German armament, the rest of the world did not believe; for those who live by bluff think that others are only bluffing. But we have already experienced that internally. Here, too, my opponents never believed me. When it is said that the prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, I should like to extend it, and say that his prophecies are not esteemed. So it always was with me. And now it goes beyond our own country: we are having exactly the same experience as my National Socialist co-fighters had at home. Every one of our prophecies was laughed at, every statement was represented as ridiculous, every picture of the future described as a fantastic chimera. We were greeted only with mockery and laughter. Now I can only say to this world: “But I have armed and very much so.” The German people know it today. But it does not know nearly all.
But it is not at all necessary that everything should be told. What is decisive is that everything has been done.
We have demanded nothing from the others. When France entered this war, she had absolutely no reason. It was merely the desire to fight against Germany again. They said, “We want the Rhineland; naturally we now want to split up Germany; we want to tear away the Ostmark, we want to disintegrate Germany.” They actually wallowed in fantasies of the destruction of our Reich, which were completely unreal in the 20th Century, the century of the conception of nationality. It was simply childish.
And England? I held out my hand, again and again. It was actually my programme to reach an understanding with the English people. We had really no point of difference, absolutely none. There was a solitary point, the return of the German colonies, and on that I said, “We will negotiate that some time,-I do not fix any time.” For England those colonies are useless. They cover 40,000,000 square metres. What do they do with them? Absolutely nothing. That is only the avarice of old usurers, who possess something and will not give it up; perverted beings who see their neighbour has nothing to eat, while they themselves cannot use what they possess. The mere thought of giving away something makes them ill. Moreover, I have demanded nothing which belonged to the English, I have demanded only what they robbed and stole in the years 1918 and 19l9. In fact, robbed and stole against the solemn assurance of the American President. We have not asked them for anything, not demanded anything, again and again I offered my hand for negotiations.
Evermore clearly it became apparent that it is German unification itself, this very State, which they hate-irrespective of its aspect, no matter whether Imperial or National Socialist, whether Democratic or Authoritarian. Most of all they hate the social progress of the Reich, and here, clearly, external hatred has combined with the meanest internal egotism. For they say: “Never shall we be reconciled with this world-it is the world of awakening social conscience . . . (end of sentence drowned in applause). As far as this goes, I can only tell the gentlemen on both shores of the Atlantic: “In the present war that side will achieve victory in the end where the social conscience . . . (several inaudible words). They can wage wars for their capitalist interests, but in the end these wars will open the way for social risings within the nations; for in the long run it is impossible that hundreds of millions of human beings should be aligned according to the interests of a few individuals. In the long run the greater interest of mankind is bound to prevail over the interests of these little plutocratic profiteers.
Proof that in other countries, too, a crisis is already beginning to develop in this sphere, is that English Labour Leaders now suddenly come out with new social conceptions, so worn out and antiquated that I can only say: “Put them back into the chest. We have already divested ourselves of this sort of material, it is out of date. If you want to know how these things are being done, then you must not take up programmes which in our country would have been modern in the 80’s or 90’s. You must come to us and study here, then you will learn something, gentlemen.” But the mere fact that anything like that is suddenly put forward as an aim-for what then are these gentlemen actually waging war? First, they said it was to fight against National Socialism that the nations of the world had to be bled white, and now, suddenly they detect in their bottom drawers, points that were in the programmes of our predecessors. Why all this? They could have had all this cheaper. But this fact furnishes proof that there, too, the nations are showing signs of action, or if for instance a storm breaks out in England, because somebody-a colonel or a general, I believe-declares that in the England of such an advanced social standard, they cannot use officers taken from the lower section of the population, but only officers from the upper classes-the others are unfit-then I can only say, do you get exasperated because he has said this? You should not get exasperated because this is not the case, but not for the reason that somebody has at long last expressed it. It is interesting that no one gets exasperated over the fact that the reality is like this, that is to say, that in point of fact only representatives of the upper classes can attain a position there. This is what should exasperate you, and not the fact that by mere chance someone was, while this war is on, unwise enough to make that statement. In our country if you are interested to hear it, this was remedied long ago. Only a short time ago you pointed out to us that our officers and generals were incapable, because they are all too young and infested with National Socialist ideas. Meanwhile developments have shown which side has the better generals. If the war continues this will prove a great misfortune for England, and you will have ample opportunity to gain further experience. The English will make up their minds to send a commission which is to take over our soldiers. It is this social Germany which is hated most by this clique, a conglomeration of Jews, their financiers and profiteers. Our foreign policy, our policy in the interior and our economic policy have been clearly defined. We have set ourselves only one aim: the people. All paths upon which we set our feet will lead to this purpose. Furthermore, we recognize that unless one wants to destroy everything, one must start and proceed on this path with many compromises and many leniencies. But the movement is not the temporary appearance of one man. Many years ago, in Mein Kampf I said that National Socialism will put its stamp on the next thousand years of Germany history. You cannot conceive it without National Socialism. It will only then disappear when its programme has become a matter of course. But not before that time.
But even in war, the possibility of an understanding still existed. At once, after the war with Poland, I held out my hand. I did not ask anything from either France or England. It was in vain. After the collapse in the west, I again held out my hand to England. I was received with derision. They practically spat at me. They were indignant. All right. Everything is in vain. The financial interests of this Democracy are victorious over the true National interests. Once more, the nations’ blood must be at the service of the money of this small group of interested people. Thus the war started and thus it will go on. But, looking back, I may point out one thing: the year behind us and the last part of the previous year have practically decided this war. The opponent which they first mobilized against us in the East was overthrown in a few weeks. The attempt to cut us off from Norway and the iron ore bases, and to gain a base for attack against Northeast Germany was dealt with in the same way, within a few weeks. The attempt to reach the border of the Ruhr and the Ruhr zones via Holland and Belgium collapsed after a few days. France went the same way. England was chased from the Continent.
I sometimes read now of a British intention to begin a great offensive somewhere. I have only one wish: that they should inform me of it in advance; then I would have this European territory cleared beforehand. I should like to save them the difficulties of landing and we should then introduce ourselves and discuss matters once more. And in the language which is the only one they understand they now have hopes. For they must have hopes. What are they expecting now?
We are now standing on this Continent and from where we stand nobody will be able to remove us again. We have created certain bases, and when the time comes we shall deal the decisive blows, and that we have made good use of our time will be historically impressed on the gentlemen during this year.
What are they waiting for? For the help of others? I can only say one thing: we have from the beginning allowed for any eventuality. That the German nation has no quarrel with the Americans is evident to everybody who does not consciously wish to falsify truth. At no time has Germany had interests on the American Continent except perhaps that she helped that Continent in its struggle for liberty. If States on this continent now attempt to interfere in the European conflict, then the aim will only be changed more quickly. Europe will then defend herself. And do not let people deceive themselves. Those who believe they can help England must take note of one thing: every ship, whether with or without convoy which appears before our torpedo tubes is going to be torpedoed.
We are involved in a war which we did not want. Otherwise one could not stretch out one’s hand to the other side. However, if those financial hyenas want war, if they want to exterminate Germany, they will get the surprise of their lives. This time they are not up against a weakened Germany, as they were during the World War. This time, they have joined battle with a Germany which is mobilized to the limit of her power, able and resolved to fight. However, should the other side entertain hopes to the contrary, then I can only say, “I cannot understand you.”
They speak of Italy’s coming defection. Let those gentlemen not invent revolution in Milan, let them rather see that unrest does not break out in their own countries.
Those countries view the relationship between Germany and Italy as they do their own. If in democracies one gives aid to the other, he asks a quid pro quo-bases or something of the sort. These he then owns. When, therefore, the Italians sent aircraft formations to the Atlantic coast the English newspapers wrote that the Italians were putting their oar in the conduct of the war, and that they would in future demand an Atlantic base by way of compensation. On the other hand, now that German aircraft formations are in Sicily, they say that presumably Germany will confiscate that island. These gentlemen can be quite certain that no German or Italian is moved by such fine stories. Such tales show only the pathetic lack of spirit of those people who in England retail such anecdotes.
We can deduce from those writings that the people over there have not yet understood the meaning of the present war, but we have understood it very well. Wherever we can meet England we will meet her. However, if they regard the present setbacks of our partner as evidence of their victory, then I really cannot understand Englishmen. Whenever they have setbacks of their own they regard them as big victories. The gentlemen over there may be convinced our calculation is quite accurate, and the reckoning will be made after the war, foot by foot, square kilometre by square kilometre. Another thing these people must understand, the Duce and myself are not Jews nor out for bargains. If we shake hands, that is the handshake of men of honour. I hope that in the course of the year the gentlemen will acquire a more accurate understanding of this.
Perhaps they pin their hopes on the Balkans. If I were they, I would not give much for that. One thing is certain. Whenever England puts in an appearance we shall attack her, and we are sufficiently strong to do so.
Perhaps they pin their hopes on other countries which they can involve in this war. I don’t know. But my Party comrades, men and women, you have known me for so many years as a careful man with foresight; I can assure you that every possible contingency has been weighed and calculated. We shall win final victory.
Perhaps, though probably not to the same extent, they expect famine. We have organized our lives. We know at the beginning that there would not be too much of anything in war time. However, the German nation will never starve, never, rather will the English nation, those gentlemen can be sure of that.
Raw material shortage! That too, we have foreseen, and have for that reason made our Four Year’s Plan. Maybe this has already dawned on some Englishmen.
There might be one other point. Perhaps they really believe that once again they will be able to dope the German nation with their lies, their propaganda and their empty words. To this I can only say that they should not have slept for so long. It would be better for them to look into the development of the German nation somewhat more carefully. In the same way, they were idiotic enough to try to estrange the Italian nation and the Duce. One British lord rises and appeals to the Italian nation no longer to follow the Duce, but his lordship. That is too idiotic. Such an ass (next words drowned). Then another lord rises and admonishes the German nation to follow his lordship, and to turn away from me. I can only tell these people: “Others in Germany have tried that game.” Those people have no conception of the German nation, of the National-Socialist State, of our community, the army of our marching masses, of our people. Those people have no conception of our propaganda. Perhaps, because they themselves were not quite convinced of the effectiveness of their ideas, which they borrowed from some people in Germany. However, these people are those who so miserably failed here, the emigrants who had to leave. Such are their advisors, and we can see it by the pamphlets. We know for certain that this one was written by this fellow, that one by that fellow. Just as idiotic as (following drowned) in the time of the “system.” Only at that time this stuff was labelled Vossische Zeitung and is now labelled Times or something, and those people imagine that these old, old stories, which were a failure in the Vossische Zeitung will now be successful because they are published by The Times or the Daily Telegraph.
A real softening of the brain has broken out in these Democracies. They can rest assured, the German people will do everything necessary for its interest. It will follow its leadership. It knows that its leadership has no other goal. It knows that today the man at the head of the Reich is not one with a packet of shares in his pocket and with ulterior motives. This German people, I know it and I am proud of it, is pledged to me and will go with me through thick and thin. An ancient spirit has come to life again in this people-a spirit which was with us once before, a fanatic readiness to accept any burden. We will repay every blow with compound interest. The blow will only harden us, and whatever they mobilize against us, and if the world were full of devils, we will succeed all the same (quote from Luther’s hymn, “A mighty fortress is our God”). But when they end up by saying: “But think of all the mistakes they made!” God, who doesn’t make mistakes! This morning I read that an Englishman, I don’t know how, has calculated that I made seven mistakes last year. The man is mistaken. I have checked it. I did not make seven mistakes but 724. But I continued to calculate and found that my opponents had made 4,385,000. That is right. I have checked it carefully. We will manage to get on in spite of our mistakes. We will make as many mistakes this year as last year, and if I make as many mistakes as in 1940, then I must thank God on my knees at the end of the year for letting me make only seven mistakes. And if the enemies do as many clever things as last year, I shall be satisfied.
We go into the new year with a fighting force armed as never before in our German history. The number of our divisions on land has been enormously increased. Pay has been increased, the gigantic unique experience of war among the leaders and the file has been put to use. The equipment has been improved-our enemies will see how it has been improved (applause and commotion). In the spring our U-boat war will begin at sea, and they will notice that we have not been sleeping (shouts and cheers). And the Air Force will play its part and the entire armed forces will force the decision by hook or by crook. Our production has increased enormously in all spheres. What others are planning we have achieved. The German people follows its leadership with determination, confident in its armed forces and ready to bear what fate demands. The year 1941 will be, I am convinced, the historical year of a great European New Order. The programme could not be anything else than the opening up of the world for all, the breaking down of individual privileges, the breaking of the tyranny of certain peoples, and better still, of their financial autocrats.
Finally this year will help to assure the basis for understanding between the peoples, and thereby, for their reconciliation. I do not want to miss pointing out what I pointed out on 3rd of September  in the German Reichstag, that if Jewry were to plunge the world into war, the role of Jewry would be finished in Europe. They may laugh about it today, as they laughed before about my prophecies. The coming months and years will prove that I prophesied rightly in this case too. But we can see already how our racial peoples which are today still hostile to us will one day recognise the greater inner enemy, and that they too will then enter with us into a great common front. The front of Aryan mankind against Jewish-International exploitation and destruction of nations.
The year which lies behind us has been a year of great successes, but also, it is true, one of many sacrifices. Even if the total number of dead and wounded is small in comparison with former wars the sacrifices for each individual family concerned weigh heavy. Our whole sympathy, our love and care belongs to those who had to make these sacrifices. They have suffered what generations before us also had to suffer. Each individual German had to make other sacrifices. The nation worked in all spheres. German women worked to replace men. It is a wonderful idea of community which dominates our people. That this ideal, that our whole strength should be preserved in the coming year-this should be our wish today. That we will work for this community-let that be our vow. That we conquer in devotion to this community-that is our faith, one in which we are confident, and that the Lord should not abandon us in this struggle of the coming year-let that be our prayer. Deutschland! Sieg Heil!Share on Facebook
The German special prosecutors’ office that pursues Nazi-era crimes said Wednesday it was recommending charges be filed against an 87-year-old man on allegations he served as an SS guard at the Auschwitz death camp complex.
The man is accused of involvement in the killing of 344,000 Jews at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in occupied Poland from April 1944 until shortly before it was liberated by the Soviet army in January 1945, head prosecutor Kurt Schrimm told The Associated Press.
The suspect, whose name wasn’t released, is a non-German living outside Germany, but Schrimmwould give no other details.
Schrimm said charges of accessory to murder can be filed under the same legal theory that Munich prosecutors used to try former Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk, who died in a Bavarian nursing home in March while appealing his 2011 conviction on charges he served as a Sobibor death campguard.
Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk was the first person convicted in Germany solely on the basis of serving as a camp guard, with no evidence of involvement in a specific killing. Under the new legal theory, anyone who was involved in the operation of a death camp was an accessory to murder. Demjanjuk steadfastly maintained that he had been mistaken for someone else and never served as a camp guard.
Even though the Demjanjuk verdict is not considered legally binding because he died before appeals were exhausted, Schrimm said the same legal principle can be applied in the case of the alleged Auschwitz guard.
About 1.5 million people, primarily Jews, were killed at the Auschwitz camp complex between 1940 and 1945.
“I can’t say when he was where in the camp, but all of these guards were stationed at times on the ramps, at times at the gas chambers and at times in the towers,” Schrimm said.
Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said he welcomed the news of the investigation but cautioned that even if the suspect is charged, bringing him to Germany for trial could present challenges.
He noted, for example, that the Australian high court last week ruled that 90-year-old Charles Zentai could not be extradited to Hungary to face accusations he tortured and killed a Jewish teenager during World War II.
“A lot will depend on whether or not his country of residence has the political will to extradite him to Germany,” Zuroff said in a telephone interview from Israel.
Schrimm’s office has turned the case over to prosecutors in Weiden, in Bavaria, to determine whether to file charges. Weiden has jurisdiction over the area where the suspect last lived in Germany.
Weiden prosecutors’ spokesman Norbert Dietl said the files were received on Monday, and that it would probably take at least a month to make a decision on the case.Share on Facebook
The administrative court in Schwerin, the capital of Mecklenburg West Pomerania state, ruled that Pastörs was not protected by freedom of speech nor privilege for parliamentarians when he denied Nazi Germany’s murder of six million Jews in what it called his “diatribe” on January 28, 2010 when parliament remembers the victims of Nazi tyranny.
The court ordered him to pay his fine to Schwerin’s city library for children’s books and slapped him with an eight-month suspended jail term.
In the state’s regional assembly in Schwerin, 59-year-old Pastörs leads a minority parliamentary group of the anti-immigrant National Democratic Party (NPD). The party also has a few seats in another eastern German state, Saxony, but no seats at the federal level.
The presiding judge in Schwerin said Pastörs’ use of prepared notes in parliament showed a premeditated use of significant “criminal energy” that could only be interpreted as Holocaust denial. In his speech, Pastörs had described parliament’s ceremony as a “cult of guilt.”
Pastörs already has a conviction for inciting hatred against Jews and Turks in 2010 during a NPD party gathering in the western German state of Saarland. For that, he was fined 6,000 euros and handed a ten-month suspended jail term.
German mainstream considering NPD ban
Groups with explicit neo-Nazi ideology are banned in Germany. Federal and regional state authorities are considering submitting a fresh application to ban the NPD to Germany’s constitutional court in Karlsruhe.
A similar bid failed in 2003 because the top court said the presence of high-place informers had tainted evidence. But public pressure to outlaw the NPD has mounted further since a neo-Nazi cell, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), was exposed in November. The cell is alleged to have killed eight ethnic Turkish shopkeepers, a Greek man and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007.
Latest figures indicate that the NPD has about 6,600 members.Share on Facebook
The strict ban on German military operations within the country was adopted following World War II, in reaction to the Nazi regime having used the army and paramilitary forces for its domestic agenda.
The deployment of troops in Germany was only acceptable in “states of emergency of catastrophic proportions,” the judges ruled, but never “in reaction to the threat posed by demonstrating crowds”.
The use of combat weapons was only acceptable “as a last resort” and must be approved by the federal government, not simply delegated to the defence minister.
Shooting down a hijacked passenger plane with civilians on board remained illegal after the ruling – but fighter jets could attempt to force such an aircraft to land with warning shots.
The ruling marked a reversal of a decision by the same court in 2006 and was a response to complaints from two of Germany’s 16 federal states.
But it ran into resistance from the court, which cited strict restrictions on the deployment of the military in Germany set down in the post-war constitution.Share on Facebook
If in the midst of these great days and their occurrences I have come into your district, then it was done in the conviction that nobody can evince greater appreciation of these last weeks and days than yourself.
You may, men and women of Saarland, you have experienced for yourselves what it means to be separated from the Reich and you yourselves have gone through the joy of being reunited. You, too, suffered all this woe for two decades, and you, too, were supremely happy when the hour of reunion struck and you could return to the common Reich. Exactly that same thing was experienced and participated in by millions of Germans. The same joy seized them that once stirred you. At the beginning of this year, the twentieth after our collapse, I made a decision to lead back into the Reich 10,000,000 Germans who still stood outside.
It was perfectly clear to me that this return could be compelled only by our own strength. The rest of the world, for the largest part, had no understanding. It neither saw nor wanted to see that here, 10,000,000 humans, in violation of the so-called right of self-determination of peoples, had been separated from the German people and the Reich and had been maltreated. But it has not understood that these human beings had but one great yearning, namely, to return to the Reich. These international world citizens have compassion indeed, for every scoundrel who is called to account in Germany, but they are deaf to the sufferings of millions. That world is still filled with the spirit of Versailles. It did not free itself from it. No, Germany has liberated herself from it.
Even today it still is a mixture of terrible inconsiderateness and appalling ignorance for these countries to overlook justice and give lasting effect to injustice. And so these world democracies remained deaf for twenty years to all the sufferings and demands of 10,000,000 Germans. Accordingly, a hard decision had to be made. Among us, too, there were weak characters who did not understand this. It is self-evident, however, that statesmen conscious of their responsibility made it a point of honor to take responsibility.
The following were the preconditions for bringing about and carrying through solutions:
First, internal unity of the nation. I am convinced I am Leader of a manly people. I know what probably many in the rest of the world and even isolated ones in Germany do not seem as yet to know – namely, that the people of the year 1938 are not the people of 1918. Only those who were blind concerning National Socialism could overlook the tremendous work of education that the good philosophy of life has accomplished. There has been created today a community of spirit throughout our people of power and strength such as Germany never before has known. This was the first precondition for the undertaking, and for the success of this task.
Second was national rearmament, which I sponsored fanatically for six years. I am of the opinion that it is cheaper to prepare one’s self before events than to lie prostrate unprepared for events and then pay the foreign country.
The third thing was rendering secure the Reich, and here you yourselves are witnesses to the tremendous work that is being accomplished in your very neighborhood. I need tell you no details about it. I will give expression, however, to but one conviction: NO POWER IN THE WORLD WILL BE ABLE TO PUSH THROUGH THIS WALL.
Fourth, we have gained foreign friends. That axis that people in other countries so often think they can ridicule has, during the last two and a half years, not only proved durable but has proved that even in the worst hours it con- tinues to function. Nevertheless, we are especially happy that this task of the year 1938 of again joining 10,000,000 Germans and about 110,000 square kilometers [42,470 square miles] to the Reich could be accomplished in peace.
We are all so happy no blood was shed over this despite the hopes of so many international agitators and profiteers. If I mention the help of the rest of the world in bringing about this peaceful solution, I must again and again place at the head of it our only real friend whom we possess today – Benito Mussolini.
I know, and I know that you know what we owe this man. I should like also to mention two other statesmen who tried hard to find a way to peace and who, together with the great Italian and us have concluded an agreement that secured justice for 10,000,000 Germans and peace for the world. I am happy these millions of Germans are free, that they belong to us and that peace has been secured.
Nevertheless, the experiences, especially of the last eight months, must strengthen our resolve to be careful and never to leave anything undone that must be done for the protection of the Reich. Opposite us are statesmen who – that, we must believe of them – also want peace. HOWEVER, THEY GOVERN IN COUNTRIES WHOSE INTERNAL CONSTRUCTION MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR THEM AT ANY TIME TO BE SUPPLANTED BY OTHERS WHO DO NOT AIM AT PEACE. THESE OTHERS ARE THERE. IN ENGLAND, IT MERELY IS NECESSARY THAT INSTEAD OF CHAMBERLAIN, A DUFF COOPER OR AN EDEN OR A CHURCHILL COME INTO POWER. WE KNOW THAT THE AIM OF THESE MEN WOULD BE TO START WAR. They do not attempt to hide it. That obligates us to be on the watch to think of the protection of the Reich.
We know further that now, as before, there is lurking threateningly that Jewish-international world enemy who has found a living expression in bolshevism. We also know the power of the international press that lives solely on lies and calumniation. In view of this peculiarity of the world about us and of these forces we must be careful about the future. We must at all times have a will for peace but be ready for defense.
I have, therefore, decided to continue construction of our fortifications in the west with increased energy as already indicated in my Nuremberg speech. Also, I shall include large districts that hitherto lay before our fortifications namely the Aachen region and Saarbruecken region, in this belt of fortifications. That will be done for the protection of the Reich.
As for the rest, I am happy now to be able within the next few days to rescind those measures that we have projected or been compelled to introduce during critical months and weeks. I am happy hundreds of thousands of men can go home and reservists can be discharged. I am happy to be able to thank them for doing their duty. I am particularly happy to be able to thank the German people for having conducted itself in so wonderfully manly a manner. Especially do I thank a hundred thousand German workers, engineers and others of whom 10,000 are standing in your midst – men who helped build fortifications. You have helped, my comrades, to secure peace for Germany, and so, as a strong State, we are ready at all times to embark upon a policy of understanding with the world about us. We can do that. We want nothing from others. We have no wishes or demands. We want peace.
There is only one thing – THIS REFERS TO OUR RELATIONS TO ENGLAND: IT WOULD BE GOOD IF IN ENGLAND CERTAIN MANNERISMS HELD OVER FROM THE VERSAILLES PERIOD WERE DISCARDED. WE JUST CANNOT STAND FOR A GOVERNESS-LIKE GUARDIANSHIP OF GERMANY.
Inquiries by British statesmen or Parliamentarians concerning the fate of the Reich’s subjects inside Germany are out of order. We do not bother about similar things in England. The rest of the world would sometimes have had reason enough to bother about international happenings – happenings in Palestine. We leave this to those who feel themselves pre-ordained by God to solve these problems. And we observe with amazement how they do solve them. We must, however, give these gentlemen advice to attend even more to the solution of their own problems and to leave us in peace.
It also is part of the task of securing world peace that responsible statesmen and politicians look after their own affairs and refrain from constantly meddling talk with the problems of other countries and peoples. By such mutual considerateness, preconditions are really created for durable peace, of which no one is more earnestly desirous than the German people.
We have great tasks facing us, great cultural tasks. Economic problems must be solved. No people can make better use of peace than we. However, no people knows better than we what it means to be weak and be at the mercy of others for better or for worse.Share on Facebook
WHEN six years ago I took over the leadership of the Reich one of our so-called ‘statesmen’ of that day said: ‘Now this man has taken the decisive step. Up to now he has been popular, because he has been in opposition. Now he must govern and we shall see in six or eight weeks how his popularity will look’! Six years – not six weeks only – have passed and I believe that they have been the most decisive years for German history. The most characteristic feature of this period is the close unity of the German people. What I have achieved in these six years was possible only because I had standing behind me the whole German people. The problems which faced us no single man could solve unaided: only when he could speak and, if necessary, also act in the name of the whole German people could he master these questions….
During the last few months and weeks I have had in my foreign policy a great helper and previously, in my last speech in this hall [the Sportpalast], I expressed my thanks to the man who took his stand in support of Germany as a true, great friend, Benito Mussolini. He has thrown into the scale of a just solution the entire force not only of his own genius but of the power which stands behind him. I must also thank the two other great statesmen who at the last minute recognized the historical hour, declared themselves ready to give their support to the solution of one of Europe‘s most burning problems and who thereby made it possible for me, too, to offer the hand towards an understanding. But above all my thanks fly to the German people which in these long months has never deserted me. . . .. I am proud of my German people! I hope that in a few days the problem of the Sudeten Germans will be finally solved. By October 10 we shall have occupied all the areas which belong to us. Thus one of Europe’s most serious crises will be ended, and all of us, not only in Germany but those far beyond our frontiers, will then in this year for the first time really rejoice at the Christmas festival. It should for us all be a true Festival of Peace….
Above us all stands the motto: ‘no one in the world will help us if we do not help ourselves.’ This programme of self-help is a proud and manly programme. It is a different programme from that of my predecessors who continually ran round through the world, going a-begging now in Versailles, then in Geneva, now in Lausanne or at some conference or other elsewhere. It is a prouder thing that to-day we Germans are determined to solve our own problems and to help ourselves. . . .
We have been witnesses of a great turning-point in history. At this moment we must bethink ourselves, too, of those who through twenty years in an apparently hopeless state still nursed a fanatical faith in Germany and never surrendered their *Deutschtum*-their life as Germans. It is so easy here in the heart of the Empire to profess one’s belief in Germany. But it is inexpressibly difficult, in the face of an unceasing persecution, not to allow oneself to be drawn away from this faith – to remain fanatically true to it, as though redemption were coming the next day. But now the hour of redemption has come. I have just had my first sight of these areas and what moved me so profoundly was two impressions. First: I have often known the jubilation and the enthusiasm of joy, but here for the first time I have seen hundreds of thousands shedding tears of joy. And secondly I saw appalling distress. When in England a Duff Cooper or a Mr. Eden say that injustice has been done to the Czechs, then these men should just for once see what in reality has happened there. How can one so pervert the truth! I have seen here whole villages undernourished, whole towns reduced to ruin. My fellow-countrymen, you have a great debt of honor to pay! . . . I expect of you that the Winter Help Contribution of 1938-39 shall correspond with the historical greatness of this year.
In the history of our people the year 1938 will be a great, incomparable, proud year…. Later historians will show that the German nation found its way back again to the position of an honourable great nation – that our history has once more become a worthy historyShare on Facebook
Finally, my tenth birthday was near. Two events were about to occur; I could join the Hitler Youth organization and start high school.
With the arrival of my tenth birthday, I became eligible to join the Hitler Youth, or better, I should say, join the Young Folks’ (Jungvolk) movement. The Young Folks were a junior extension of the Hitler Youth for boys aged 10 to 14. After I had my parent’s permission to join, nothing could stop me from fulfilling my dreams of joining. I became a proud member of the Hitler Youth Young Folks.
Now, not only did I need a full uniform with all its paraphernalia, but I also needed camping accessories. My wish list included a backpack with a blanket, a pup tent canvas, a mess kit, a compass and more importantly a knife in a sheath with a Young Folks’ symbol.
During our weekly Young Folks’ meetings, older Hitler Youth members organized and conducted our get-together. There was no question that they impressed on us the importance of the Third Reich�s future, highlighting the need for purity and social improvements of an upcoming generation. The indoctrination emphasized love of one’s country, respect of spiritual and ethical values and unquestioning loyalty to our Führer.
Most of our meetings started with the singing of our national anthem which began, “Germany above all�” followed by a National Socialist Party song, “Raise high the flag�” One of us youngsters would stand at attention next to the lectern holding on to a pole displaying the swastika flag. We had to learn at least one new marching song every time we got together. Group singing was highly enjoyable, and once we started marching it never failed for the group leader to call for a song. Besides singing, we received lectures about good sanitation and cleanliness of body and mind. We were enlightened to the fact that our Führer depended on us to strengthen and perpetuate the Third Reich.
In addition to the more or less boring subjects, we planned outdoor adventures like camping trips, playing hide and seek between red and blue teams and finding your way after being lost in the wilderness. We played games and the comradeship was evident and enjoyable.
The words of the songs we learned would not have won today’s Pulitzer Prize, but the message came through loud and clear. Sacrifice yourself, if necessary, for the good of the country and hold honor and courage in high esteem. Every so often, we would go on overnight outings in the countryside. We learned to pitch tents and how to build campfires. Some very subtle political indoctrination was unavoidable, and especially the message concerning Adolf Hitler was clear. Our leader, the supreme commander�s words and actions, were irrefutable.
In recent years, I heard controversy about a particular song we had learned. That song had words stating that only Germany hears us now, but tomorrow the whole world will. The German words of that part in the song were as follows: Denn heute da hört uns Deutschland und morgen die ganze Welt. Not gehört which means belonging. That was the way I learned the song. Some scholars have suggested that we sang: “tomorrow the whole world will belong to Germany” instead of the world will hear us. I am sure that we, the youth, did not communicate suggestions through this song that Germany would own the world.
My sister also belonged to a youth movement, called the Bund Deutscher Mädchen (Organization of German Girls). I heard only scant words from my sister, but it appeared that honor and love for the country appeared to be their central message also. The Führer expected the girls, so they said, to remain pure, pledge in marriage only to Aryan boys, and create many babies for the Fatherland.
Early in 1938, with my primary schooling completed, I looked forward to attending high school. My parents made it perfectly clear that I had to quit fooling around and get down to studying. School homework, customarily handed out for most subjects, now received preferential treatment over any other activity.
Our class size normally consisted of 24 to 30 boys. Within an assigned classroom, we had the freedom to select our seat location. I preferred a seat about in the middle, not liking to sit right in front of the teacher, but close enough to read the blackboard clearly. Most of the time our school started at 8 o�clock and most classes lasted 90 minutes. We had 4 classes per day, 5 days a week, and 3 classes on Saturday. The teachers would come to our room instead of the students going to a teacher’s room. Almost all teachers would hand out homework, and I had no problems keeping up with the assignments except for a couple of subjects.
Luckily, during the first two years, we had no language classes but I had history classes taught by a disagreeable teacher, Mr. Lustig. I found out that I had problems memorizing historical dates, especially Mr. Lustig�s. Looking back, I am sure that his presentation also lacked some continuity or whatever.
Anyway, it appeared boring to me, and soon my history grades sank. Had I not excelled in mathematics and physics, I would have been in significant trouble. I strongly disliked Herr Lustig, my history teacher. He had a half-inch diameter, three foot-long bamboo cane. Standing in front of me, he would ask me what happened in Germany on April 24, 1547. Sure, ask another question. I had not the faintest idea. He would then whack that cane merciless on my upper arm while bombarding me with other dates and events. Even if I had known any of the answers, I surely would have been unable to handle any answers under those circumstances. This teacher’s behavior haunted me for many years, especially when I had to take a test.
Political propagandizing from our teachers was not on the curriculum. Even during my first year in the Hitler Youth movement, political indoctrination was relatively benign, with some mentioning of how the Jews were destroying our country.
All that changed on the night of November 9/10, 1938. I was now 11 years old and had one year of lectures from the Hitler Youth movement behind me. I was convinced of my leader’s wisdom, and believed in the goodness of the Nazi doctrine.Share on Facebook
At the beginning of the discussion Chief of the Security Police and of the SD, SS-Obergruppenführer Heydrich, reported that the Reich Marshal had appointed him delegate for the preparations for the final solution of the Jewish question in Europe and pointed out that this discussion had been called for the purpose of clarifying fundamental questions. The wish of the Reich Marshal to have a draft sent to him concerning organizational, factual and material interests in relation to the final solution of the Jewish question in Europe makes necessary an initial common action of all central offices immediately concerned with these questions in order to bring their general activities into line.
The Reichsführer-SS and the Chief of the German Police (Chief of the Security Police and the SD) was entrusted with the official central handling of the final solution of the Jewish question without regard to geographic borders.
The Chief of the Security Police and the SD then gave a short report of the struggle which has been carried on thus far against this enemy, the essential points being the following:
- a) the expulsion of the Jews from every sphere of life of the German people,
- b) the expulsion of the Jews from the living space of the German people.
In carrying out these efforts, an increased and planned acceleration of the emigration of the Jews from Reich territory was started, as the only possible present solution.
By order of the Reich Marshal, a Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration was set up in January 1939 and the Chief of the Security Police and SD was entrusted with the management. Its most important tasks were
- a) to make all necessary arrangements for the preparation for an increased emigration of the Jews,
- b) to direct the flow of emigration,
- c) to speed the procedure of emigration in each individual case.
The aim of all this was to cleanse German living space of Jews in a legal manner.
All the offices realized the drawbacks of such enforced accelerated emigration. For the time being they had, however, tolerated it on account of the lack of other possible solutions of the problem.
The work concerned with emigration was, later on, not only a German problem, but also a problem with which the authorities of the countries to which the flow of emigrants was being directed would have to deal. Financial difficulties, such as the demand by various foreign governments for increasing sums of money to be presented at the time of the landing, the lack of shipping space, increasing restriction of entry permits, or the cancelling of such, increased extraordinarily the difficulties of emigration. In spite of these difficulties, 537,000 Jews were sent out of the country between the takeover of power and the deadline of 31 October 1941. Of these
- approximately 360,000 were in Germany proper on 30 January 1933
- approximately 147,000 were in Austria (Ostmark) on 15 March 1939
- approximately 30,000 were in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia on 15 March 1939.
The Jews themselves, or their Jewish political organizations, financed the emigration. In order to avoid impoverished Jews’ remaining behind, the principle was followed that wealthy Jews have to finance the emigration of poor Jews; this was arranged by imposing a suitable tax, i.e., an emigration tax, which was used for financial arrangements in connection with the emigration of poor Jews and was imposed according to income.
Apart from the necessary Reichsmark exchange, foreign currency had to presented at the time of landing. In order to save foreign exchange held by Germany, the foreign Jewish financial organizations were – with the help of Jewish organizations in Germany – made responsible for arranging an adequate amount of foreign currency. Up to 30 October 1941, these foreign Jews donated a total of around 9,500,000 dollars.
In the meantime the Reichsführer-SS and Chief of the German Police had prohibited emigration of Jews due to the dangers of an emigration in wartime and due to the possibilities of the East.Share on Facebook
On November 5, 1937, Adolf Hitler held a secret conference in the Reich Chancellery during which he revealed his plans for the acquisition of Lebensraum, or living space, for the German people at the expense of other nations in Europe.
Present at this conference were; German War Minister, Werner von Blomberg, Commander in Chief of the Army, Werner von Fritsch, Commander in Chief of the Navy, Erich Raeder, Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Göring, Foreign Minister, Constantin von Neurath, and Colonel Friedrich Hossbach who took the minutes of the conference. The meeting has thus come to be known as the Hossbach Conference or Hossbach Memorandum.
Hitler began by swearing the men to secrecy, then told them that in the event of his death the following exposition should be regarded as his last will and testament.
He proceeded to explain that Germany had “a tightly packed racial core” and was entitled to acquire “greater living space than in the case of other peoples…”
“The history of all ages – the Roman Empire and the British Empire – had proved that expansion could only be carried out by breaking down resistance and taking risks…there had never been spaces without a master…the attacker always comes up against a possessor,” Hitler said. “The question for Germany ran: where could she achieve the greatest gain at the lowest cost?”
He pointed out two big problems, “…two hate inspired antagonists, Britain and France, to whom a German colossus in the center of Europe was a thorn in the flesh…”
“Germany’s problem could only be solved by means of force,” but “there remain still to be answered the questions ‘when’ and ‘how’…”
Hitler said military action was to be taken by 1943-1945 at the latest, to guard against military obsolescence, the aging of the Nazi movement, and “it was while the rest of the world was still preparing its defenses that we were obliged to take the offensive.”
The primary objective would be to seize Czechoslovakia and Austria to protect Germany’s eastern and southern flanks. Hitler went through three different strategies (shown below as cases 1-3) designed to capitalize on the present and future military and political problems of France and England.
Hitler’s casual acceptance of the immense risks of starting a war in Europe shocked his colleagues, especially Blomberg and Fritsch who “repeatedly emphasized the necessity that Britain and France must not appear in the roles of our enemies.”
Following the conference, an overwhelmed Neurath suffered several heart attacks and asked to be relieved from his post.
Some historians have suggested Hitler’s blunt talk was simply intended to prod Blomberg and Fritsch into accelerating re-armament. However, their continuing opposition to Hitler’s war plans resulted in their removals via trumped up scandals within three months. With the removal of the top echelon of the Army, Hitler himself assumed supreme command, with Wilhelm Keitel as chief of the high command.
Following the war, the Hossbach Memorandum was used in the Nuremberg war crimes trials as evidence of conspiracy to wage war, specifically targeting Göring. The memorandum also served to expose the ruthless cynicism of Hitler who repeatedly proclaimed a desire for peace in public, all the while laying out plans for war in Europe.Share on Facebook
By the summer of 1934, the elderly German President, Paul von Hindenburg, lay close to death at his country estate in East Prussia. He had been in failing health for several months, thus giving Adolf Hitler and the Nazis ample opportunity to make plans to capitalize on his demise.
Reich Chancellor Hitler planned to use President Hindenburg’s death as an opportunity to seize total power in Germany by elevating himself to the position of Führer, or absolute leader, of the German nation and its people.
On August 2, 1934, at 9 a.m., the long awaited death of 87 year old Hindenburg finally occurred. Within hours, Hitler and the Nazis announced the following law, dated as of August 1…
“The Reich Government has enacted the following law which is hereby promulgated.
Section 1. The office of Reich President will be combined with that of Reich Chancellor. The existing authority of the Reich President will consequently be transferred to the Führer and Reich Chancellor, Adolf Hitler. He will select his deputy.
Section 2. This law is effective as of the time of the death of Reich President von Hindenburg.”
Following the announcement of this (technically illegal) law, the German Officers’ Corps and every individual in the German Army swore a personal oath of allegiance to Hitler.
A nationwide vote (plebiscite) was then scheduled to give the German people a chance to express their approval of Hitler’s unprecedented new powers.
Meanwhile, Hindenburg’s last will and testament surfaced. Contrary to Hitler’s intentions, Hindenburg’s last wishes included a desire for a return to a constitutional (Hohenzollern) monarchy. These last wishes were contained in the form of a personal letter from Hindenburg to Hitler.
Hitler simply ignored this and likely destroyed the letter, as it was not published and has never been found.
However, the Nazis did publish Hindenburg’s alleged political testament giving an account of his years of service with complimentary references to Hitler. Although it was likely a forgery, it was used as part of the Nazi campaign to get a large “Yes” vote for Hitler in the coming plebiscite.
On August 19, about 95 percent of registered voters in Germany went to the polls and gave Hitler 38 million votes of approval (90 percent of the vote). Thus Adolf Hitler could claim he was Führer of the German nation by direct will of the people. Hitler now wielded absolute power in Germany, beyond that of any previous traditional head of state. He had become, in effect, the law unto himself.
The next day, August 20, mandatory loyalty oaths were introduced throughout the Reich…
“Article 1. The public officials and the soldiers of the armed forces must take an oath of loyalty on entering service.
1. The oath of loyalty of public officials will be:
‘I swear: I shall be loyal and obedient to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German Reich and people, respect the laws, and fulfill my official duties conscientiously, so help me God.’
2. The oath of loyalty of the soldiers of the armed forces will be:
‘I swear by God this sacred oath: I will render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German Reich and people, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and will be ready as a brave soldier to risk my life at any time for this oath.’
Article 3. Officials already in service must swear this oath without delay according to Article 2 number 1.”
These oaths were pledged to Hitler personally, not the German state or constitution. And they were taken very seriously by members of the German Officers’ Corps with their traditional minded codes of honor, which now elevated obedience to Hitler as a sacred duty and effectively placed the German armed forces in the position of being the personal instrument of Hitler.
In September, 1934, at the annual Nuremberg Nazi Party rallies, a euphoric Hitler proclaimed, “The German form of life is definitely determined for the next thousand years. The Age of Nerves of the nineteenth century has found its close with us. There will be no revolution in Germany for the next thousand years.”Share on Facebook
The quest for Lebensraum in the East was a carefully contemplated, step-by-step, process. First, the land was forcibly seized by Hitler’s armies from its rightful inhabitants. Secondly, Heinrich Himmler‘s SS, with the knowledge and cooperation of the Wehrmacht, moved in to conduct special actions in accordance with the racial policies of the Führer. After this, Nazi political authorities moved in to administer and exploit the conquered lands in cooperation with the SS and Wehrmacht.
Poland was the first such conquest. Hitler loathed the neighboring country which had been set up by the victorious Allies at the end of the First World War. He ordered every facet of Polish culture and national identity obliterated and the people reduced to slave laborers.
Upon its conquest in September 1939, Himmler and his second-in-command, Reinhard Heydrich, quickly set up SS execution squads known as Einsatzgruppen to rid the population of all educated and prominent Poles. Trailing behind the Wehrmacht, the SS squads combed through cities and villages, shooting whomever they pleased, including Polish political leaders, land-owners, gentry, ex-army officers, business owners, professors, artists and intellectuals. Simply wearing eyeglasses was enough to get one shot, since it implied a person was educated.
Next, all higher education was abolished so the Poles would degenerate into a population of ignorant, obedient laborers. A memorandum Himmler wrote in May 1940 provided the details: “The non-German population of the eastern territories must not receive any education higher than that of an elementary school with four grades. The objective of this elementary school must simply be to teach simple arithmetic up to 500 at the most, how to write one’s name, and to teach that it is God’s commandment to be obedient to the Germans and to be honest, hard working, and well-behaved. I consider it unnecessary to teach reading.”
The model for Lebensraum, as outlined by Hitler, included large-scale resettlement of conquered territories by pure-blooded Germans at the expense of the people already living there. Over a million Poles were therefore forced out of their homes and farms which were confiscated along with shops, businesses, gold, artwork, raw materials, food and anything else of value – including children.
SS men were instructed by Himmler to keep an eye out for any blond-haired, blue-eyed children. When spotted, such children were kidnapped on the spot by the SS and sent off to Germany to be raised as Nazis. Parts of Poland had been settled by Germans in the past, and so Himmler wanted all 6 to 10-year-old Poles physically examined by Nazi racial specialists “to sort out those with valuable blood and those with worthless blood.” Those considered worthless were condemned to a life of slave labor under their German masters, or worse, if they happened to be Jewish.
Poland was also home to about three million Jews, the largest population of any country in Europe. Following its conquest, Hitler appointed an old comrade, Hans Frank, his longtime Nazi lawyer, to oversee the large southeastern portion of occupied Poland that was not annexed into the Reich. Much to the annoyance of Frank, Himmler used this area, known as the General Government, as the dumping ground for all of the unwanted Jews and Poles. As the number of Jews in the General Government continued to swell, Frank repeatedly expressed his dismay to Hitler and began advocating for some kind of alternative.
At this point, both Hitler and Himmler were still pondering a future “solution of the Jewish problem.” In the meantime, as a temporary measure, Heydrich proposed rounding all up the Polish Jews in the General Government and placing them in SS-run ghettos at places such as Lodz, Cracow and Warsaw. Inside these walled-in ghettos, Heydrich explained, the Jews would be cut off from the outside world and squeezed into overcrowded areas where malnutrition and disease would naturally diminish their numbers.
Millions more Jews came under Nazi control as Hitler’s armies swept across Russia beginning in June 1941. For Hitler and Himmler, the existence of so many of these unwanted people in the vast tracts of newly acquired Lebensraum was a pressing dilemma, requiring some thought.
Meanwhile, in compliance with Hitler’s Commissar Order to liquidate all Russian political officials, Himmler unleashed his SS in Russia, creating four new Einsatz groups, totaling 3,000 men, which followed behind the German Army. At first, they only targeted Russian political officials, shooting them on sight. But SS field commanders soon enlarged the definition of a political official to include all Jewish men, in accordance with Hitler’s belief that the Russian political system was the embodiment of Jewish-Bolshevism and therefore all Jews were implicated. The next step occurred in August 1941, when Himmler further expanded the task of the Einsatz units to include the shooting of Jewish families as well. This marked the beginning of a systematic, coordinated effort by the Nazis to murder all of the Jews in the East.
For the SS in Russia, the task ahead was huge. Throughout the vast countryside, there were hundreds of isolated little villages called shtetlspopulated exclusively by Jews. Into each village, truckloads of SS troops would arrive unannounced. The commanding SS officer would promptly summon the town’s leading citizens and inform them the entire population was to be immediately resettled. With no time to think, the men from the village were rushed into the trucks and taken off to a secluded site, followed a short time later by the women and children.
Otto Ohlendorf, an Einsatz group commander, explained what happened at the execution site: “They were ordered to hand over their valuables to the leader of the unit, and shortly before their execution to surrender their outer clothing. The men, women and children were led to a place of execution which in most cases was located next to a deeply excavated anti-tank ditch. Then they were shot, kneeling or standing, and the corpses thrown into the ditch.”
Einsatz leaders such as Ohlendorf kept a precise tally of executed Jews so the number could be reported back to Himmler. Soon a competition arose among the four Einsatz groups to see who could report the highest tally, and so they dashed from place to place in search of ever-more Jews.
As Hitler’s armies plunged deeper into Russia, the massacres grew in size, culminating in late September 1941, when 33,771 Jews in the Ukraine were rounded up and killed over two days in the Babi Yar ravine outside Kiev.
One of the few survivors, Dina Pronicheva, recalled: “It was dark already…They lined us up on a ledge which was so small that we couldn’t get much of a footing on it. They began shooting us. I shut my eyes, clenched my fists, tensed all my muscles and took a plunge down before the bullets hit me. It seemed I was flying forever. But I landed safely on the bodies. After a while, when the shooting stopped, I heard the Germans climbing into the ravine. They started finishing off all those who were not dead yet, those who were moaning, hiccupping, tossing, writhing in agony…They started covering the corpses over with earth. They must have put quite a lot over me because I felt I was beginning to suffocate…Then I decided it was better to be shot than buried alive. Using my left arm I managed to move a little way up. Then I took a deep breath, summoned up my waning strength and crawled out from under the cover of earth. It was dark…I was lucky enough to crawl up one of the high walls of the ravine, and straining every nerve and muscle, got out of it.”
Curious about the whole process, Himmler ventured into Russia and watched an Einsatz squad execute a hundred Jews at Minsk. As the squad fired upon the first set of lined-up people, Himmler appeared on the verge of fainting. When a second set of Jews went before the same firing squad, the shots failed to kill two women, greatly upsetting Himmler, who cried out for the women to be put out of their misery. After this emotional experience, Himmler settled on the idea of trying gas as an alternative to firing squads, believing it would spare his SS men the ordeal of shooting women and children.
Newly developed gas trucks were then introduced for experimental usage. Each of these mobile vans contained an airtight rear compartment into which the engine’s exhaust fumes were fed to asphyxiate the 15 to 25 people inside while it was driven toward a mass grave. The vans, however, presented their own problems. The amount of time it took for people to perish from the carbon monoxide in the fumes varied widely causing some to arrive at the grave site still alive. Removal of the bodies from the rear of the van also became a gruesome sight for the SS men involved.
Although the vans were troublesome, the idea of gassing took hold. SS officials began experiments using air-tight chambers in concentration camps with exhaust fumes piped in from a diesel engine mounted just outside the chamber. Additional experiments involved the usage of a commercial pesticide called Zyklon-B, which gave off deadly cyanide fumes when exposed to air. While the gassing experiments were underway, mass shootings of Jews continued all over occupied Russia with a tally that soon surpassed 630,000 persons.
By November 1941, Hitler’s armies had conquered most of western Russia and stood on the outskirts of Moscow. By this time, Soviet leader Josef Stalin had issued a decree for all-out guerrilla warfare behind the lines. Hitler reacted to this new development with glee, privately telling his Nazi overseers for the East: “The Russians have now given out the order for a partisan war behind our Front. This partisan war again has its advantage: it gives us the possibility of exterminating anything that opposes us.”
Thus began a spiral of death in occupied Russia in which all semblances of civilized behavior and traditional military protocol vanished and human life itself had no value. For Germans behind the lines, revenge became the order of the day. Wherever anti-Nazi partisans attacked, the Wehrmacht and SS responded with astounding brutality, killing a hundred hostages for every dead German – sometimes picking a village at random and killing all of the inhabitants.
But over time, this only deepened the resolve and hatred of the entire population. In Russia, everywhere the Germans went they made instant enemies. All opportunities to win people over were squandered, despite the fact that some ethnic regions, such as the Ukraine longed for independence from Stalin and his oppressive Soviet regime. Although the German invaders were initially welcomed upon their arrival in the Ukraine and other independence-minded communities, they treated everyone in Russia as Slavic sub-humans. Erich Koch, Nazi administrator for the Ukraine, summed it up: “We are a master race, which must remember that the lowliest German worker is racially and biologically a thousand times more valuable than the population here.”
Koch and fellow overseers in Russia also viewed the population as a limitless pool of slave labor. Regular roundups soon began in which civilians of all ages were packed into railroad box cars and shipped off to Germany to toil in mines, fields and factories.
Those left behind focused their wrath on all things German, requiring whole divisions to be pulled from the Eastern Front to restore order behind the lines at a time when every available soldier was needed elsewhere. Too late, an observant Nazi official in the East would note: “The Russian fights today with exceptional bravery and self-sacrifice for nothing more or less than recognition of his human dignity.”
Nazi contempt for Russian civilians also applied to the millions of now-helpless prisoners of war. Although the Eastern Front had become static by the end of 1941, till then each day saw thousands more Russians added to the tally of prisoners. On the long marches to the rear, they were denied all food and water and were subsequently penned up in giant outdoor stockades, left to starve or perish from the winter weather. Ultimately, half of all Russian POWs, some three million men, would die in German captivity.
On the surface, Hitler remained confident about the war in Russia, anticipating victory sometime in 1942. But his failure to achieve victory by the autumn of 1941, as originally planned, had unforeseen consequences. A quick victory over the Russians would have allowed Hitler to confront the lonely British with a fate-accomplished in Europe, forcing them to humbly negotiate for peace, or so he had believed.
But by now, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had squarely allied himself with Stalin and the Russians. Additionally, both the Russians and British were bolstered by their alliance with Hitler’s newest enemy, the United States of America.Share on Facebook
In calling off Operation Sea Lion, Adolf Hitler, the Supreme Commander of the world’s most powerful armed forces, had suffered his first major setback. Nazi Germany had stumbled in the skies over Britain but Hitler was not discouraged. In the past, he had repeatedly overcome setbacks of one sort or another through drastic action elsewhere to both triumph over the failure and to move toward his ultimate goal. Now it was time to do it again.
All of Hitler’s actions in Western Europe thus far, including the subjugation of France and the now-failed attack on Britain, were simply a prelude to achieving his principal goal as Führer, the acquisition of Lebensraum (Living Space) in the East. He had moved against the French, British and others in the West only as a necessary measure to secure Germany’s western border, thereby freeing him to attack in the East with full force.
For Hitler, the war itself was first and foremost a racial struggle and he viewed all aspects of the conflict in racial terms. He considered the peoples of Western Europe and the British Isles to be racial comrades, ranked among the higher order of humans. The supreme form of human, according to Hitler, was the Germanic person, characterized by his or her fair skin, blond hair and blue eyes. The lowest form, Hitler believed, were the Jews and the Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe, including the Russians.
All of this had been outlined in his book, Mein Kampf, first published in 1925. In it, Hitler stated his fundamental belief that Germany’s survival depended on its ability to acquire vast tracts of land in the East to provide room for the expanding German population at the expense of the inferior peoples already living there, justified purely on racial grounds. Hitler explained that Nazi racial philosophy “by no means believes in an equality of races…and feels itself obligated to promote the victory of the better and stronger, and demand the subordination of the inferior and weaker.”
Therefore, in stark contrast to the battles so far in the West, Hitler intended the quest for Lebensraum in the East to be a “war of annihilation” utilizing the might of the German Army and Air Force against soldiers and civilians alike.
In March of 1941, he assembled his top generals and told them how their troops should behave: “This struggle is one of [political] ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. All officers will have to rid themselves of obsolete [moral] ideologies…I insist absolutely that my orders be executed without contradiction.” Hitler then ordered the killing of all Russian political authorities. “The [Russian] commissars are the bearers of ideologies directly opposed to National Socialism. Therefore the commissars will be liquidated. German soldiers guilty of breaking international law…will be excused.” His generals listened in silence to this command, known later as the Commissar Order.
For his most senior generals, the utterances of their Supreme Commander posed a dilemma. They were mostly men of the old-school, born and raised in Imperial Germany, long before Hitler, amid traditional morals of bygone days. Now, they felt duty-bound to follow Hitler’s orders, no matter how drastic, since they had all sworn an oath of obedience to the Führer. But to comply, they would have to abandon time-honored codes of military conduct, considered obsolete by Hitler, which prohibited senseless murder of civilians.
At the same time, they each owed a debt of gratitude to Hitler for restoring the Germany Army to greatness and for the slew of promotions bestowed upon them by the Führer in the wake of its continued success. Rank and privilege, and the immense prestige of holding the title of Colonel-General or Field Marshal in Hitler’s Wehrmacht, had tremendous appeal for these men, Therefore, in the end, despite their misgivings, not one of them dared to speak up or refuse Hitler in regard to his war plans for Russia. Instead, they dutifully planned the invasion of Russia, knowing the attack would unleash an unprecedented wave of murder.
The invasion plan for Russia was named Operation Barbarossa (Red Beard) by Hitler in honor of German ruler Frederick I, nicknamed Red Beard, who had orchestrated a ruthless attack on the Slavic peoples of the East some eight centuries earlier.
Barbarossa would be Blitzkrieg again but on a continental scale this time, as Hitler boasted to his generals, “When Barbarossa commences the world will hold its breath and make no comment!” Set to begin on May 15, 1941, three million soldiers totaling 160 divisions would plunge deep into Russia in three massive army groups, reaching the Volga River, east of Moscow, by the end of summer, thus achieving victory.
Facing them would be Stalin’s Red Army, estimated by the Germans at 200 divisions. Although somewhat outnumbered by the Russians, Hitler believed they did not pose a serious threat and would fall apart just like their fellow Slavs, the Poles, did in 1939. Against an army of battle-hardened, racially superior Germans, the Russians would be finished in a matter of weeks, Hitler claimed.
Most of his generals concurred, supported by recent evidence. They had watched with keen interest as Soviet Russia confidently invaded Finland in November 1939, only to see the Red Army disintegrate into a disorganized jumble amid embarrassing defeats at the hands of a much smaller blond-haired Finnish fighting force.
Buoyed by Hitler and awash in their own arrogance, the generals confidently finalized the details of Operation Barbarossa as the bulk of the German troops and armor slowly moved into position in the weeks leading up to May 15. But as the invasion date neared, complications arose that upset the whole timetable.
Hitler’s old friend and chief ally, Benito Mussolini, leader of Fascist Italy, had foolishly tried to imitate the Führer and achieve battlefield glory for himself by launching a surprise invasion of Greece. British troops stationed in the Mediterranean then moved in to help the Greeks fend off the Italians. For Hitler, the very idea of British troops in Southern Europe was enough to keep him awake at night. Their presence was a threat to Germany’s vulnerable southern flank, the region of Europe known as the Balkans, which also supplied most of Germany’s oil. It would therefore be necessary to secure the Balkans before launching Barbarossa.
To quickly achieve this, Hitler slipped back into a familiar role – the political master manipulator – forging overnight alliances with two Balkan countries, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.
But in Yugoslavia, things unexpectedly spiraled out of control when the government, upon its alliance with Hitler, was immediately overthrown by its own citizens. Hitler was enraged by the news, perceiving it as a blow to his prestige. In a tirade, he ordered his generals to crush the country “as speedily as possible” and also ordered Göring’s Air Force to obliterate the capital city, Belgrade, as “punishment.” For the Luftwaffe, Belgrade was an easy target and they quickly turned it to rubble while killing 17,000 defenseless civilians.
Meanwhile, beginning on Sunday, April 6, 1941, the Wehrmacht poured 29 divisions into the region, taking Yugoslavia by storm, then took Greece for good measure, forcing British troops there to make a hasty exit. Thus the Balkans were secured. However, these actions took nearly five weeks and caused a lot of wear and tear on tanks and other armored equipment needed for the Russian campaign.
The new launch date for Barbarossa was Sunday, June 22, 1941. On that day, beginning at 3:15 am, 3.2 million Germans plunged headlong into Russia across an 1800-mile front, taking their foes by surprise. Russian field commanders made frantic calls to headquarters asking for orders, but were told there were no orders. Sleepy-eyed infantrymen scrambled out of their tents to find themselves already surrounded by Germans, with no option but to surrender. Bridges were captured intact while hundreds of Russian planes were destroyed sitting on the ground.
At 7 am that morning, over the radio, a proclamation from the Führer to the German people announced, “At this moment a march is taking place that, for its extent, compares with the greatest the world has ever seen. I have decided again today to place the fate and future of the Reich and our people in the hands of our soldiers. May God aid us, especially in this fight.”
In attacking Russia, Hitler had indeed stunned the world. But he also made a lot of Germans very nervous. Maria Mauth, a 17-year-old German schoolgirl at the time, recalled her father’s reaction: “I will never forget my father saying: ‘Right, now we have lost the war!’ ” But then reports arrived highlighting the easy successes. “In the weekly newsreels we would see glorious pictures of the German Army with all the soldiers singing and waving and cheering. And that was infectious of course…We simply thought it would be similar to what it was like in France or in Poland – everybody was convinced of that, considering the fabulous army we had.”
Indeed, it was true. Whole armies of hapless Russians were now surrendering as the relentless three-pronged Blitzkrieg blasted its way forward. Soviet Russia had been caught unprepared due to the astounding negligence of the country’s dictator, Josef Stalin, who had stubbornly disregarded a flurry of intelligence reports warning that a Nazi invasion was imminent.
The result was chaos. Georgy Semenyak, a 20-year-old Russian soldier at the time, remembered: “It was a dismal picture. During the day airplanes continuously dropped bombs on the retreating soldiers…When the order was given for the retreat, there were huge numbers of people heading in every direction…The lieutenants, captains, second-lieutenants took rides on passing vehicles…mostly trucks traveling eastwards…And without commanders, our ability to defend ourselves was so severely weakened that there was really nothing we could do.”
Hitler and the Army High Command were now poised to achieve the greatest military victory of all time by trouncing the Russians. At present, three gigantic army groups were proceeding like clockwork toward their objectives. Army Group North, with 20 infantry divisions and six armored divisions, headed for Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) by the Baltic Sea. Army Group Center, the largest, with 33 infantry and 15 armored divisions, continued on its 700-mile-long journey toward Russia’s capital, Moscow. Army Group South, with 33 infantry and eight armored divisions, headed for Kiev, capital of the Ukraine, the breadbasket of Europe with its fertile wheat fields. Along the way, German field commanders employed their already-perfected Blitzkrieg techniques time and time again to pierce Russian defensive lines and surround bewildered Red Army soldiers.
By mid-July 1941, all that remained was for the Russians to give up and accept their fate under Hitler, just like Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, France, Yugoslavia, and Greece.
But the Russians kept fighting.
Despite staggering losses of men and equipment, pockets of fanatical resistance now emerged, unlike anything the Germans had encountered thus far in the war. And there were more surprises for the Germans. They had grossly underestimated the total fighting strength of the Red Army. Instead of 200 divisions, the Russians could field 400 divisions when fully mobilized. This meant there were three million additional Russians available to fight.
Another emerging factor was the vastness of Russia itself. It was one thing to ponder a map, something else to traverse the boundless countryside, as Field Marshal Manstein remembered: “Everyone was captivated at one time or other by the endlessness of the landscape, through which it was possible to drive for hours on end – often guided by the compass – without encountering the least rise in the ground or setting eyes on a single human being or habitation. The distant horizon seemed like some mountain ridge behind which a paradise might beckon, but it only stretched on and on.”
The vastness created logistical problems including worn out foot soldiers and dangerously overstretched supply lines. It also taxed the ability of the Luftwaffe to provide close cover for advancing ground troops, a vital ingredient in the Blitzkrieg formula.
On top of this, Russian resistance began to stiffen all over as the soldiers and people rallied behind Stalin in the defense of their Motherland. Stalin, at first overwhelmed by the magnitude of Barbarossa, had regained his bearings and publicly appealed for a “Great Patriotic War” against the Nazi invaders. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, he enacted ruthless measures, executing his top commander in the west and various field commanders who had been too eager to retreat.
Under Stalin’s tight-fisted grip, the chaos and panic that had initially enveloped the Russian officer corps gradually subsided. Red Army commanders took heed from Stalin, instilling his ‘fight to the death’ mentality in their frontline soldiers. They set up new defensive positions, not to be yielded until every last soldier was killed. They also began their first-ever counter-attacks against the advancing Germans.
As a result, with each passing day the Germans began to lose momentum. They could no longer easily blow through the Russian defenses and had to be wary of counter-strikes. All the while, German foot soldiers were becoming increasingly fatigued. By August of 1941, it had become apparent to the Army High Command there would be no speedy victory. “The whole situation makes it increasingly plain that we have underestimated the Russian colossus,” General Franz Halder, Chief of the General Staff, had to admit.
Therefore the question now arose – what to do – follow the original battle plan for Barbarossa or make changes to adapt?
Army Group Center was presently about 200 miles from Moscow, poised for a massive assault. However, the original plan called for Army Groups North and South to stage the main attacks in Russia, with Army Group Center playing a supporting role until their tasks were completed, after which Moscow would be taken.
A majority of Hitler’s senior generals now implored him to scrap Barbarossa in favor of an all-out attack on Moscow. If the Russian capital fell, they argued, it would devastate Russian morale and knock out the country’s chief transportation hub. Russia’s days would surely be numbered.
The decision rested solely with the Supreme Commander.
In what was perhaps his single biggest decision of World War II, Hitler passed up the chance to attack Moscow during the summer of 1941.Instead, he clung to the original plan to crush Leningrad in the north and simultaneously seize the Ukraine in the south. This, Hitler lectured his generals, would be far more devastating to the Russians than the fall of Moscow. A successful attack in the north would wreck the city named after one of the founders of Soviet Russia, Vladimir Lenin. Attacking the south would destroy the Russian armies protecting the region and place vital agricultural and industrial areas in German hands.
Though they remained unconvinced, the generals dutifully halted the advance on Moscow and repositioned troops and tanks away from Army Group Center to aid Army Groups North and South. By late September, bolstered by the additional Panzer tanks, Army Group South successfully captured the city of Kiev in the Ukraine, taking 650,000 Russian prisoners. As Army Group North approached Leningrad, a beautiful old city with palaces that once belonged to the Czars, Hitler ordered the place flattened via massive aerial and artillery bombardments. Concerning the five million trapped inhabitants, he told his generals, “The problem of the survival of the population and of supplying it with food is one which cannot and should not be solved by us.”
Now, with Leningrad surrounded and the Ukraine almost taken, the generals implored Hitler to let them take Moscow before the onset of winter. This time Hitler consented, but only partly. He would allow an attack on Moscow, provided that Army Group North also completed the capture of Leningrad, while Army Group South advanced deeper into southern Russia toward Stalingrad, the city on the Volga River named after the Soviet dictator.
This meant German forces in Russia would be attacking simultaneously on three major fronts over two thousand miles long, stretching their manpower and resources to the absolute limit. Realizing the danger, the generals pleaded once more for permission to focus on Moscow alone and strike the city with overwhelming force. But Hitler said no.
In the meantime, German troops still holding outside Moscow had remained idle for nearly two months, waiting for orders to advance. When the push finally began on October 2, 1941, a noticeable chill already hung in the morning air, and in a few places, snowflakes wafted from the sky. The notorious Russian winter was just around the corner.
At first it appeared Moscow might be another easy success. Two Russian army groups defending the main approach were quickly encircled and broken up by motorized Germans who took 660,000 prisoners.
Confident the war in Russia was just about won, Hitler took a leap by announcing victory to the German people: “I declare today, and I declare it without any reservation, that the enemy in the East has been struck down and will never rise again…Behind our troops already lies a territory twice the size of the German Reich when I came to power in 1933.”
By mid-October, forward German units had advanced to within 40 miles of Moscow. Only 90,000 Russian soldiers stood between the German armies and the Soviet capital. The entire government, including Stalin himself, prepared to evacuate.
But then the weather turned.
It began with weeks of unending autumn rain, creating battlefields of deep, sticky mud that immobilized anything on wheels and robbed German armored units of their tactical advantage. The non-stop rain drenched foot soldiers, soaking them to the bone in mud up to their knees. And things only got worse. In November, autumn rains abruptly gave way to snow squalls with frigid winds and sub-zero temperatures, causing frostbite and other cold-related sickness.
The German Army had counted on a quick summertime victory in Russia and had therefore neglected to prepare for the brutal winter warfare it now faced. German medical officer Heinrich Haape recalled: “The cold relentlessly crept into our bodies, our blood, our brains. Even the sun seemed to radiate a steely cold and at night the blood red skies above the burning villages merely hinted a mockery of warmth.”
Heavy boots, overcoats, blankets and thick socks were desperately needed but were unavailable. As a result, thousands of frostbitten soldiers dropped out of their frontline units. Some divisions fell to fifty-percent of their fighting strength. Food supplies also ran low and the troops became malnourished. Mechanical failures worsened as tank and truck engines cracked from the cold while iced-up artillery and machine-guns jammed.
The once-mighty German military machine had now ground to a halt in Russia.
Frontline Russians noticed the change. A Soviet commander in the 19th Rifle Brigade recalled: “I remember very well the Germans in July 1941. They were confident, strong tall guys. They marched ahead with their sleeves rolled up and carrying their machine-guns. But later on they became miserable, crooked, snotty guys wrapped in woolen kerchiefs stolen from old women in villages…Of course, they were still firing and defending themselves, but they weren’t the Germans we knew earlier in 1941.”
Ignoring the plight of his frontline soldiers, Hitler insisted that Moscow could still be taken and ordered all available troops in the region to make one final thrust for victory. Beginning on December 1, 1941, German tank formations attacked from the north and south of the city while infantrymen moved in from the east. But the Russians were ready and waiting. The weather delays had given them time to bring in massive reinforcements, including 30 Siberian divisions specially trained for winter warfare. Wherever the Germans struck they encountered fierce resistance and faltered. They were also stricken by temperatures that plunged to 40 degrees below zero at night.
Hitler had pushed his troops beyond human endurance and now they paid a terrible price. On Saturday, December 6th, a hundred Russian divisions under the command of the Red Army’s new leader, General Georgi Zhukov, counter-attacked the Germans all along the 200-mile front around Moscow. For the first time in the war, the Germans experienced Blitzkrieg in reverse, as overwhelming numbers of Russian tanks, planes and artillery tore them apart. The impact was devastating. By mid-December, German forces around Moscow, battered, cold and tremendously fatigued, were in full retreat and facing the possibility of being routed by the Russians.
Just six months earlier, the Germans had been poised to achieve the greatest victory of all time and change world history. Instead, they had succumbed to the greatest-ever comeback by their Russian foes. By now a quarter of all German troops in Russia, some 750,000 men, were either dead, wounded, missing or ill.
Reacting to the catastrophe he had caused, Hitler blamed the Wehrmacht’s leadership, dismissing dozens of field commanders and senior generals, including Walther von Brauchitsch, Commander-in-Chief of the Army. Hitler then took that rank for himself, assuming personal day-to-day operational command of the Army, and promptly ordered all surviving troops in Russia to halt in their tracks and retreat not one step further, which they did. As a result, the Eastern Front gradually stabilized.
In the bloodied fields of snow around Moscow, Adolf Hitler had suffered a breathtaking defeat. The German Army would never be the same. The illusion of invincibility that had caused the world to shudder in the face of Nazi Germany had vanished forever – replaced now by a sliver of hope.
But for the populations of Eastern Europe and occupied Russia, there was much suffering yet to be endured. In cities and villages behind the front lines, Hitler’s war of annihilation was fully underway, comprising the most savage episode in human history.Share on Facebook
After the elections of March 5, 1933, the Nazis began a systematic takeover of the state governments throughout Germany, ending a centuries-old tradition of local political independence. Armed SA and SS thugs barged into local government offices using the state of emergency decree as a pretext to throw out legitimate office holders and replace them with Nazi Reich commissioners.
Political enemies were arrested by the thousands and put in hastily constructed holding pens. Old army barracks and abandoned factories were used as prisons. Once inside, prisoners were subjected to military style drills and harsh discipline. They were often beaten and sometimes even tortured to death. This was the very beginning of the Nazi concentration camp system.
At this time, these early concentration camps were loosely organized under the control of the SA and the rival SS. Many were little more than barbed-wire stockades know as ‘wild’ concentration camps, set up by local Gauleiters and SA leaders.
For Adolf Hitler, the goal of a legally established dictatorship was now within reach. On March 15, 1933, a cabinet meeting was held during which Hitler and Göring discussed how to obstruct what was left of the democratic process to get an Enabling Act passed by the Reichstag. This law would hand over the constitutional functions of the Reichstag to Hitler, including the power to make laws, control the budget and approve treaties with foreign governments.
The emergency decree signed by Hindenburg on February 28th, after the Reichstag fire, made it easy for them to interfere with non-Nazi elected representatives of the people by simply arresting them.
As Hitler plotted to bring democracy to an end in Germany, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels put together a brilliant public relations display at the official opening of the newly elected Reichstag.
On March 21st, in the Garrison Church at Potsdam, the burial place of Frederick the Great, an elaborate ceremony took place designed to ease public concern over Hitler and his gangster-like new regime.
It was attended by President Hindenburg, foreign diplomats, the General Staff and all the old guard going back to the days of the Kaiser. Dressed in their handsome uniforms sprinkled with medals, they watched a most reverent Adolf Hitler give a speech paying respect to Hindenburg and celebrating the union of old Prussian military traditions and the new Nazi Reich. As a symbol of this, the old Imperial flags would soon add swastikas.
Finishing his speech, Hitler walked over to Hindenburg and respectfully bowed before him while taking hold of the old man’s hand. The scene was recorded on film and by press photographers from around the world. This was precisely the impression Hitler and Goebbels wanted to give to the world, all the while plotting to toss aside Hindenburg and the elected Reichstag.
Later that same day, Hindenburg signed two decrees put before him by Hitler. The first offered full pardons to all Nazis currently in prison. The prison doors sprang open and out came an assortment of Nazi thugs and murderers.
The second decree signed by the befuddled old man allowed for the arrest of anyone suspected of maliciously criticizing the government and the Nazi Party.
A third decree signed only by Hitler and Papen allowed for the establishment of special courts to try political offenders. These courts were conducted in the military style of a court-martial without a jury and usually with no counsel for the defense.
On March 23rd, the newly elected Reichstag met in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider passing Hitler’s Enabling Act. It was officially called the “Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich.” If passed, it would in effect vote democracy out of existence in Germany and establish the legal dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.
Brown-shirted Nazi storm troopers swarmed over the fancy old building in a show of force and as a visible threat. They stood outside, in the hallways and even lined the aisles inside, glaring ominously at anyone who might oppose Hitler’s will.
Before the vote, Hitler made a speech in which he pledged to use restraint.
“The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures…The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one,” Hitler told the Reichstag.
He also promised an end to unemployment and pledged to promote peace with France, Great Britain and Soviet Russia. But in order to do all this, Hitler said, he first needed the Enabling Act. A two-thirds majority was needed, since the law would actually alter the constitution. Hitler needed 31 non-Nazi votes to pass it. He got those votes from the Catholic Center Party after making a false promise to restore some basic rights already taken away by decree.
Meanwhile, Nazi storm troopers chanted outside: “Full powers – or else! We want the bill – or fire and murder!!”
But one man arose amid the overwhelming might. Otto Wells, leader of the Social Democrats stood up and spoke quietly to Hitler.
“We German Social Democrats pledge ourselves solemnly in this historic hour to the principles of humanity and justice, of freedom and socialism. No enabling act can give you power to destroy ideas which are eternal and indestructible.”
Hitler was enraged and jumped up to respond.
“You are no longer needed! The star of Germany will rise and yours will sink! Your death knell has sounded!”
The vote was taken – 441 for, and only 84, the Social Democrats, against. The Nazis leapt to their feet clapping, stamping and shouting, then broke into the Nazi anthem, the Hörst Wessel song.
Democracy was ended. They had brought down the German Democratic Republic legally. From this day onward, the Reichstag would be just a sounding board, a cheering section for Hitler’s pronouncements.
Interestingly, the Nazi Party was now flooded with applications for membership. These latecomers were cynically labeled by old time Nazis as ‘March Violets.’ In May, the Nazi Party froze membership. Many of those kept out applied to the SA and the SS which were still accepting. However, in early 1934, Heinrich Himmler would throw out 50,000 of those ‘March Violets’ from the SS.
The Nazi Gleichschaltung now began, a massive coordination of all aspects of life under the swastika and the absolute leadership of Adolf Hitler.
Under Hitler, the State, not the individual, was supreme.
From the moment of birth one existed to serve the State and obey the dictates of the Führer. Those who disagreed were disposed of.
Many agreed. Bureaucrats, industrialists, even intellectual and literary figures, including Gerhart Hauptmann, world renowned dramatist, were coming out in open support of Hitler.
Many disagreed and left the country. A flood of the finest minds, including over two thousand writers, scientists, and people in the arts poured out of Germany and enriched other lands, mostly the United States. Among them – writer Thomas Mann, director Fritz Lang, actress Marlene Dietrich, architect Walter Gropius, musicians Otto Klemperer, Kurt Weill, Richard Tauber, psychologist Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein, who was visiting California when Hitler came to power and never returned to Germany.
In Germany, there were now constant Nazi rallies, parades, marches and meetings amid the relentless propaganda of Goebbels and the omnipresent swastika. For those who remained there was an odd mixture of fear and optimism in the air.
Now, for the first time as dictator, Adolf Hitler turned his attention to the driving force which had propelled him into politics in the first place, his hatred of the Jews. It began with a simple boycott on April 1st, 1933, and would end years later in the greatest tragedy in all of human history.Share on Facebook
Adolf Hitler, the new Chancellor of Germany, had no intention of abiding by the rules of democracy. He intended only to use those rules to legally establish himself as dictator as quickly as possible then begin the Nazi revolution.
Even before he was sworn in, he was at work to accomplish that goal by demanding new elections. While Hindenburg waited impatiently in another room, Hitler argued with conservative leader Hugenberg, who vehemently opposed the idea. Hitler’s plan was to establish a majority of elected Nazis in the Reichstag which would become a rubber stamp, passing whatever laws he desired while making it all perfectly legal.
On his first day as chancellor, Hitler manipulated Hindenburg into dissolving the Reichstag and calling for the new elections he had wanted – to be held on March 5th, 1933.
That evening, Hitler attended a dinner with the German General Staff and told them Germany would re-arm as a first step toward regaining its former position in the world. He also gave them a strong hint of things to come by telling them there would be conquest of the lands to the east and ruthless Germanization of conquered territories.
Hitler also reassured the generals there would be no attempt to replace the regular army with an army of SA storm troopers. For years this had been a big concern of the generals who wanted to preserve their own positions of power and keep the traditional military intact.
Hitler’s storm troopers were about to reach new heights of power of their own and begin a reign of terror that would last as long as the Third Reich.
President Hindenburg had fallen under Hitler’s spell and was signing just about anything put in front of him. He signed an emergency decree that put the German state of Prussia into the hands of Hitler confidant, Vice Chancellor Papen. Göring as Minister of the Interior for Prussia took control of the police. Prussia was Germany’s biggest and most important state and included the capital of Berlin.
Göring immediately replaced hundreds of police officials loyal to the republic with Nazi officials loyal to Hitler. He also ordered the police not to interfere with the SA and SS under any circumstances. This meant that anybody being harassed, beaten, or even murdered by Nazis, had nobody to turn to for help.
Göring then ordered the police to show no mercy to those deemed hostile to the State, meaning those hostile to Hitler, especially Communists.
“Police officers who use weapons in carrying out their duties will be covered by me. Whoever misguidedly fails in this duty can expect disciplinary action,” stated the order of Hermann Göring to the Prussian Police.
On February 22nd, Göring set up an auxiliary police force of 50,000 men, composed mostly of members of the SA and SS. The vulgar, brawling, murderous Nazi storm troopers now had the power of police.
Two days later, they raided Communist headquarters in Berlin. Göring falsely claimed he had uncovered plans for a Communist uprising in the raid. But he actually uncovered the membership list of the Communist Party and intended to arrest every one of the four thousand members.
Göring and Goebbels, with Hitler’s approval, then hatched a plan to cause panic by burning the Reichstag building and blaming the Communists. The Reichstag was the building in Berlin where the elected members of the republic met to conduct the daily business of government.
By a weird coincidence, there was also in Berlin a deranged Communist conducting a one-man uprising. An arsonist named Marinus van der Lubbe, 24, from Holland, had been wandering around Berlin for a week attempting to burn government buildings to protest capitalism and start a revolt. On February 27, he decided to burn the Reichstag building.
Carrying incendiary devices, he spent all day lurking around the building, before breaking in around 9 p.m. He took off his shirt, lit it on fire, then went to work using it as his torch.
The exact sequence of events will never be known, but Nazi storm troopers under the direction of Göring were also involved in torching the place. They had befriended the arsonist and may have known or even encouraged him to burn the Reichstag that night. The storm troopers, led by SA leader Karl Ernst, used the underground tunnel that connected Göring’s residence with the cellar in the Reichstag. They entered the building, scattered gasoline and incendiaries, then hurried back through the tunnel.
The deep red glow of the burning Reichstag caught the eye of President Hindenburg and Vice-Chancellor Papen who were dining at a club facing the building. Papen put the elderly Hindenburg in his own car and took him to the scene.
Hitler was at Goebbels’ apartment having dinner. They rushed to the scene where they met Göring who was already screaming false charges and making threats against the Communists.
At first glance, Hitler described the fire as a beacon from heaven.
“You are now witnessing the beginning of a great epoch in German history…This fire is the beginning,” Hitler told a news reporter at the scene.
After viewing the damage, an emergency meeting of government leaders was held. When told of the arrest of the Communist arsonist, Van der Lubbe, Hitler became deliberately enraged.
“The German people have been soft too long. Every Communist official must be shot. All Communist deputies must be hanged this very night. All friends of the Communists must be locked up. And that goes for the Social Democrats and the Reichsbanner as well!”
Hitler left the fire scene and went straight to the offices of his newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, to oversee its coverage of the fire. He stayed up all night with Goebbels putting together a paper full of tales of a Communist plot to violently seize power in Berlin.
At a cabinet meeting held later in the morning, February 28th, Chancellor Hitler demanded an emergency decree to overcome the crisis. He met little resistance from his largely non-Nazi cabinet. That evening, Hitler and Papen went to Hindenburg and the befuddled old man signed the decree “for the Protection of the people and the State.”
The Emergency Decree stated: “Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.”
Immediately, there followed the first big Nazi roundup as truckloads of SA and SS roared through the streets bursting in on known Communist hangouts and barging into private homes. Thousands of Communists as well as Social Democrats and liberals were taken away into ‘protective custody’ to SA barracks where they were beaten and tortured.
“I don’t have to worry about justice; my mission is only to destroy and exterminate, nothing more!” Hermann Göring declared on March 3rd, 1933.
Fifty-one anti-Nazis were murdered. The Nazis suppressed all political activity, meetings and publications of non-Nazi parties. The very act of campaigning against the Nazis was in effect made illegal.
“Every bullet which leaves the barrel of a police pistol now is my bullet. If one calls this murder, then I have murdered. I ordered this. I back it up. I assume the responsibility, and I am not afraid to do so,” declared Hermann Göring.
Nazi newspapers continued to print false evidence of Communist conspiracies, claiming that only Hitler and the Nazis could prevent a Communist takeover. Joseph Goebbels now had control of the State-run radio and broadcast Nazi propaganda and Hitler’s speeches all across the nation.
The Nazis now turned their attention to election day, March 5th.
All of the resources of the government necessary for a big win were placed at the disposal of Joseph Goebbels. The big industrialists who had helped Hitler into power gladly coughed up three million marks. Representatives from Krupp munitions and I. G. Farben were among those reaching into their pockets at Göring’s insistence.
“The sacrifice we ask is easier to bear if you realize that the elections will certainly be the last for the next ten years, probably for the next hundred years,” Göring told them.
With no money problems and the power of the State behind them, the Nazis campaigned furiously to get Hitler the majority he wanted.
On March 5th, the last free elections were held. But the people denied Hitler his majority, giving the Nazis only 44 percent of the total vote, 17, 277,180. Despite massive propaganda and the brutal crackdown, the other parties held their own. The Center Party got over four million and the Social Democrats over seven million. The Communists lost votes but still got over four million.
The goal of a legally established dictatorship was now within reach. But the lack of the necessary two-thirds majority in the Reichstag was an obstacle. For Hitler and his ruthless inner circle, it was obstacle that was soon to be overcome.
As for Van der Lubbe, the Communist arsonist, he was tried and convicted, then beheaded.Share on Facebook
Nikitin was in a heavy metal band as a young man, and got the swastika tattoo then, said festival spokesman Gunther Philipowski.
“That is a problem in Bayreuth,” Philipowski said. “Bayreuth has a bad history with the Nazis. It’s clear that Bayreuth has to be careful about this terrible part of history and has to take a position against it.”
Hitler attended the Bayreuth Festival regularly, according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia, which describes Wagner as “an artist long associated with anti-Semitism” and the racist-nationalist volkisch tradition “from which the Nazis drew much of their ideology.”
Nikitin, 38, a bass-baritone, has “painted over” his Nazi tattoo, and it would not have been visible during his performance in “The Flying Dutchman,” Philipowski said.
But there are videos of him online where the tattoo is visible, he said.
“I had the tattoos made when I was young. It was a big mistake in my life and I wish I had never done it,” Nikitin said in a statement released by the festival.
Nikitin canceled his appearance after discussions with Bayreuth management, the spokesman said.
He had already been in Germany rehearsing for his premiere on Wednesday, Philipowski said.
Nikitin’s agent did not immediately respond to CNN questions about the cancellation.
His website still lists him as appearing in “The Flying Dutchman” at the festival this summer. The festival website does not list him in the cast.Share on Facebook
“Regrettably, Indigo Films’ review confirmed that certain inaccuracies were presented in this episode,” the production company said in a written statement, after the Tampa Bay Timesand its coverage partner, Bay News 9, reported last weekend on errors in the show.
In the episode, which aired in June on the Investigation Discovery cable channel, Ditullio confessed to crimes he’s never been charged with — crimes that authorities doubt ever happened. Among other things, Ditullio boasted of murdering a transient and cutting off the pinky finger of a man who disrespected the American Nazi Party, along with threatening and battering what appears to be a legion of others, in the name of biker gangs, Nazi loyalty and just because violence pleases him.
“I’ve rendered a lot of people ineffective for life,” Ditullio said in his televised interview from prison, where he’s serving a life sentence for stabbing a teenager to death.
Members of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office were infuriated by the episode. The show said the agency launched an investigation after the homeless man’s body was found, when in fact there was no body, no investigation, no indication such an attack ever happened. Quotes from an interview with Capt. John Corbin were edited to make it sound like he was speaking about the alleged murder, when in fact he’d never been asked about it.
The agency said it would never work again with the TV company.
This week the Sheriff’s Office was contacted by executives with Indigo Films and Investigation Discovery. “They apologized,” said sheriff’s spokesman Doug Tobin.
They said they were pulling the episode from online rentals and DVD sales so they can revise it, Tobin said. The changed episode might include new interviews with Corbin and other Sheriff’s Office members.
“They are going above and beyond to make this right and we do appreciate that as an agency,” Tobin said. “We will work with them, if there is anything we can do to assist them.”
In a statement released Thursday, Indigo Films said it is working with the Sheriff’s Office to revise the script, specifically on Ditullio’s confession of murdering the homeless man.
“Indigo Films acknowledges errors were made regarding the alleged murder being reported to police and the ensuing investigation, as well as Captain Corbin’s commentary being taken out of context in regards to this unsubstantiated claim by Ditullio,” the statement reads.
Indigo Films, which says it has produced five seasons of I (Almost) Got Away With It, said it has taken steps within its research department to ensure these errors won’t happen again.
“Investigation Discovery and Indigo Films hold their relationships with the police across this country as paramount in presenting accurate programming and showcasing the commendable efforts of the authorities to keep our cities safe and bring offenders to justice,” the release states.
Though Ditullio confessed to the alleged transient killing, he denied the murder he’s sitting in prison for committing. In 2006, Ditullio lived with a neo-Nazi group in a mobile home on Teak Street. Prosecutors said Ditullio wore a gas mask and broke into the neighboring home and stabbed Kristofer King, 17, who died, and Patricia Wells, then 45, who was injured but survived. Authorities said the neo-Nazi group hated Wells because she had a black friend and her son was gay. On the night of the attack, King, a friend of Wells’ son, was at the house, but her son was not there. Prosecutors believed the attacker thought King was Wells’ son.
Ditullio is appealing his conviction.
Pasco Sheriff’s Lt. Eric Seltzer, who investigated the stabbings, said he appreciated that the production company pulled the show. But, he said, the damage is done. He said the show was “disrespectful” to Ditullio’s victims.
“They should be embarrassed they allowed him to manipulate them and run the show,” Seltzer said.Share on Facebook
Each war over the long term brings signs of weariness. We all know that, and can accept it after two years of war. That is no sign of weakness, but rather a recognition of clear facts that we do not need to deceive ourselves about. It was never easy — and certainly that is true today — to do everything that has to be done during the day. There are new difficulties every day in shopping, one’s job, housework, yard and farm work, getting to one’s job, traveling. New tasks at work, labor shortages (especially household and agricultural workers) require adjustments. There are countless other tasks that often require extra work: duty at railroad stations, mass dinners, camp work, quartering our troops. Air attacks and bomb damage bring other challenges. And last but not least, most women worry about their loved ones serving in the field.
In this second year of war, an army of women has appeared alongside the army of soldiers to do what has to be done in the homeland and replace the men and workers who are in the field where that is needed. Most of these women have taken on a double burden, taking on a new job alongside their household duties and their children. It is easy to understand why under this daily pile of tasks and duties, personal wishes must sometimes be set aside.
There are burdens and difficulties everywhere. Naturally, they are not everywhere as difficult or great. In war, some areas suffer more than others, for example the western and northern German Gaue that face continual air raid warnings and bomb damage. Only those who have themselves experienced what it means to display the greatest personal bravery and discipline night after night because of air raid warnings, then face the resulting damage and destruction, can understand it.
It is easy to understand why women from these areas, particularly those with children, have a need to “recover” for longer or shorter periods of time in less bombing-threatened areas such as Southern Germany or the Ostmark. The southern German population may complain about the increased workload, but it is only a certain sharing of the burden. There can naturally be problems. For example, young women with children an exploit hospitality during a long stay, declining to do anything at all to help with housework or even care for their children. Their hosts already have their hands full. That shows a lack of good behavior and human understanding on the part of the young woman, just as when one refuses to allow an older woman to sleep in late during her four weeks of vacation , which she has certainly deserved. This is a matter of good behavior, understanding, and consideration that is necessary if we are not to make life difficult for each other.
All members of staff of the NSF-DFW have the duty to ensure that the behavior of German women is worthy of the difficulty and greatness of this war. That cannot be done by playing down the needs and difficulties or by preaching heroic behavior with fine words. It happens only by putting things in the right context so that they do not seem greater than they in fact are. One can also find intelligent ways to balance out difficulties and problems. That requires much personal discipline and unshakable, decent political and human conduct. Leading women requires both care and responsibility, and the best personal example. All of us who are politically active in the organization have to understand that the war is just beginning to become really challenging. Tensions are increasing, nerves fail more easily, people can no longer withstand every challenge. Exhaustion leads to a lack of courage and to sorrow during which one’s whole life seems difficult. Even one’s own courageous behavior is not always enough as burdens grown greater and heavier. The hour of trial has come. Now we will see if we are able to hold up under the strain and do everything that has to be done.
That is no reason to hang one’s head. No one should ignore the difficulties. Every office will work to help out and make things better. We women are at work helping to solve difficult economic problems. It is important that all women, whether they are members of the organization or not, work bravely together. By the way, every member of our staff has the opportunity to turn to her superiors in difficult cases to ask for advice and assistance.
It is often a big help just to talk about the difficulties. The problems in people complain about with regards to the supply of goods are easily understandable when one considers the great distances our transportation system has to deal with at the moment, the general challenges in the economy and the number of people who have to be supplied, clothed, and fed. However, the problems that sometimes occur under the pressure of particular circumstances or needs — sometimes caused by poor behavior — can always be overcome if people have patience and good will.
Recognizing difficulties should not lure us into discouragement and self-pity. That undermines our determination. It is much more important to keep in mind the significance and purpose of this war. That is the standard. Despite its difficulties, the age in which we live is so great and powerful that we sometimes have to hold our breath. We know that only a great and strong Germany can guarantee the security and prosperity of the individual. We all have, therefore, personal responsibility. This is not a game, but rather something that requires unending effort, patience, and strength — even in the necessary details of everyday life.
Our soldiers are always the model. We read, hear, or see about the achievements of our military. We realize the courage and bravery our soldiers have, their absolute, unthinking, confidence in victory despite all the difficulties. They do their duty sacrificially, to the utmost, as a matter of course.
As we strive in these months to beat down Bolshevism, enormous strength is necessary. This battle depends on each one of us, on we women at home just as on the soldiers at the front. We are on the way to the biggest victory we have ever had. Do we want to weaken or lose courage because the difficulties of everyday life sometimes seem to gain the upper hand? Do we not all feel carried along and borne up by a river of common effort that will overcome the shortages of the war and the resulting challenges? We have unshakable faith in a future that we ourselves are shaping. Each of us knows exactly what is at stake in this war. We know that we must be victors, and remain victors. —Dr. E. H.Share on Facebook
The head of Germany‘s domestic intelligence service resigned on Monday after admitting that his agency had shredded files on a neo-Nazi cell whose killing spree targeting immigrants rocked the country late last year.
Heinz Fromm‘s resignation is the latest in a series of embarrassing setbacks for Germany’s security services over their handling of the “National Socialist Underground” (NSU), which went undetected for more than a decade despite its murder of 10 people, mostly ethnic Turkish immigrants.
An interior ministry spokesman confirmed that Fromm would quit his post, which he has held since 2000, at the end of July.
German lawmakers said there was no suggestion that Fromm had ordered the destruction of the files but that he was taking responsibility for others’ failures.
“Fromm was no firebrand but a solid custodian in the defense of the constitution.. He was no James Bond,” Wolfgang Bosbach, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s ruling Christian Democrats, told Die Welt newspaper.
He and other lawmakers called for a swift and thorough investigation into the matter.
German media have said an official working in the intelligence agency is suspected of having destroyed files on an operation to recruit far-right informants just one day after the involvement of the NSU in the murders became public.
Fromm told the Spiegel weekly that the shredding of files in the case had done “grave damage to the reputation” of his agency, known in Germany as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
Despite his resignation, Fromm is expected to appear as a witness in the NSU case before a parliamentary committee later this week, lawmaker Sebastian Edathy said.
Germans, burdened by their Nazi past, were mortified by last year’s news that three neo-Nazis had been behind the killings of eight ethnic Turks, an ethnic Greek and a police officer in a period running from 2000 to 2007.
The NSU cell’s culpability only came to light after two of the neo-Nazis committed suicide following a botched bank robbery last autumn. A third member was later arrested.
Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly apologized to the families of the murder victims for the catalogue of neglect and errors that allowed the NSU cell to operate with impunity for so long.Share on Facebook
The European game’s governing body has now reprimanded the DFB, having found the country’s fans guilty of “improper conduct”.
“The German Football Association (DFB) has been fined €25,000 by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body,” a statement released on Monday read. “The charges relate to the improper conduct of their supporters at the UEFA EURO 2012 Group B match against Denmark in Lviv on Sunday 17 June.
“An appeal can be lodged against this decision within 24 hours of the dispatch of the reasoned decision.”
Russia and Croatia have previously been fined by UEFA over the actions of their supporters in Poland and Ukraine.Share on Facebook
The NPD party MPs refused to remove T-shirts and shirts from the Thor Steinar company in an “openly provocative act,” Saxony state parliament spokesman Ivo Klatte said.Share on Facebook
hitler color (speech)Share on Facebook
Nazi war criminal Klaas Faber, who escaped to Germany in 1952 after being sentenced to death in the Netherlands for his role in the murder of 22 people, has died at the age of 90 in Ingolstadt in Bavaria, AFP quoted a hospital source as saying on Saturday.
Faber had been living in Inglostadt for decades, according to the source, and he had evaded numerous Dutch attempts to have him extradited to serve his sentence, which had been commuted to life in prison.
Klaas Faber was a former member of the Nazi SS Silver Fir unit. He was sentenced to death in the Netherlands in 1947, escaping to Germany while awaiting execution. Faber was number two on the Simon Wiesenthal‘s most wanted Nazi war criminals list.
A German court dismissed the charges against Faber in 1957, citing a lack of evidence. Bavarian authorities resisted all efforts by Dutch authorities to have Faber rearrested and extradited.
Faber was a Dutch national, but was given German citizenship automatically as a member of the SS.
He worked at the Westerbork transit camp in the Netherlands. His unit killed “anti-German” Dutch citizens during the German occupation of the Netherlands.Share on Facebook
The war has come within reach of Berlin. It is just two hours by car from Alexanderplatz to the front line. The city with its millions is in the shadow of the front, within range of the battle with the East. It is in the rear echelon of the front lines. It was at the front of the air war, and now is at the front of the land war as well. The largest city on the continent is in readiness.
As danger neared, Berlin took its own security in hand. After a moment of fear, the city acted in a disciplined and calm manner, without losing nerve or succumbing to panic. It was hardened in the oven of the bombing war, which trained it to improvise as needed and to develop rapid initiative, which always enabled it to find ways to overcome the war’s damage. The stream of refugees from the east did not handicap it, but rather spurred it on to do all that was humanly possible. As enemy accounts, supposedly based on eyewitnesses, spoke of so-called hysteria and chaos, of the growing thunder of cannons from the East, of “Berliners fleeing from Berlin,” the great city went into action. It did not organize an “exodus,” rather resistance, and not with its head, but with shovels in the sands of Mark Brandenburg. A defensive wall of barricades, barriers, and ditches developed.
A look at the map shows the great extent of these preparations, its strengths and weaknesses. The military divided the city and its surroundings into defensive districts under the command of experienced veterans of the Eastern Front. The defensive fortifications were built by a staff of experienced engineering officers familiar with the battlefields of both wars, using the latest techniques.
The districts have comprehensive defensive fortifications, using natural barriers like lakes, hills, rivers, canals, and swamps. In more open areas, there are anti-tank barriers and ditches, along with strong points, resistance positions, artillery positions, and foxholes. The rail and road network can be destroyed at critical points. A tank warning system similar to the air raid alert system has been established to provide prompt news of enemy reconnaissance efforts or movements. The system is deep, and is designed for surprise attacks, frontal attacks by large forces, flank attacks or concentrated assaults, as well as paratroop landings. An attack will not find Berlin a large area to be surrounded, but rather a huge hedgehog with its spines pointing in every direction. The military command thus has the basis for a long and determined defense.
The network of defensive measures from the hinterlands to the city’s borders is continually being strengthened, steadily increasing in its defensive capabilities. There are defensive rings of various strengths. The outer ring alone is several hundred kilometers long. Another ring is a similar to a front line with no gaps. Following the principle of attrition, the enemy will have to throw increasing forces to gain every meter, destroying its force and bleeding blood and matériel. Its armored columns will be directed into pathways in which they can be destroyed by group and individual anti-tank commandos. The network of public transportation allows the rapid shifting of forces, and as enemy forces move from the edge of the city with its open battlefields to street-by-street and building-by-building battles, its forces will be devoured. Here the defender has all the advantages of his own ground, whereas the enemy is lost in a labyrinth of an unfamiliar sea of buildings. And the air war has prepared Berlin for close combat.
All of these factors make the defender the equal of the enemy, even with his superiority in men and matériel. The defensive forces will come from troops in Berlin, from the great reservoir of the Volkssturm[military units consisting of those too young or too old for regular military service], and from the shortening of the front.
The enormous number of positions in Berlin is being daily added to by its citizens, according to the old military truism: “It’s better to sweat than to bleed.” Behind its ramparts. Berlin is a military training ground. Its citizens are learning to use the Panzerfaust [an anti-tank weapon rather like a bazooka] and the machine gun. Berlin and its citizens are like a large army in an encampment facing a strong enemy.
The process of defending Berlin deeply affects daily life, which nonetheless remains basically intact. From the ruins of their homes, destroyed by carpet bombing, the Berliners find the material to build their defenses.
Reich Minister Dr. Goebbels, the Gauleiter of Berlin, is the soul of the defense. His seal is on the strength of heart, spirit, and hands. The “Conqueror of Berlin” won the capital for the new Reich through stubborn and unceasing struggle for every building and every street. Now he is in perpetual motion to build its defense.
His closest aides are Assistant Gauleiter Gerhard Schach, Dr. Petzke, the president of Berlin, and Mayor Steeg. Every day they consider food supplies and transportation, first aid to deal with air terror, distributing contributions from the populace, spreading out the population of the city, caring for women and children — and if necessary, self sufficiency in food and armaments.
The military side of the defense of the Reich capital is in the hands of Lieutenant General Ritter von Hauenschild, commander of the Berlin district, directly subordinate to the Führer and possessed of all the duties and rights of the commander of a fortress. He has experience in defending fixed positions. He was involved in the attacks on the Moscow defensive ring, and he was the 129th soldier to receive the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves after being heavily wounded in the defense of Stalingrad. The general is an expert in tank warfare. Their best use is in bold attacks. The best defense against that is not to lose one’s nerve, but to stand firm. From his own experience as a tank commander, he knows both the strengths and weaknesses of armored warfare. His robustness at 48, despite being wounded eight times in two wars, shows itself in the energy with which he attacks “useless busy work and senseless orders,” and in the way he liquidated bureaucracy.
He embodies the synthesis between the political man and the soldier. He knows that the military tasks he has today can only be solved through political leadership, with which he works comfortably. He is one of “Hitler’s young generals,” whom the enemy is glad to underestimate, but who often teach him the error of his ways.
There is every reason to believe that the steadfastness of the front will keep the “Battle of Berlin” outside its gates. But if it must reach Berlin, it will be fought to the last man, to the last bullet, to the last bayonet thrust, as its general has ordered. This will be the spirit of the defense, which will be executed with fanaticism and creativity, with every method of warfare, on, above, and below the earth.Share on Facebook