Adolf Hitler's Address to the Wehrmacht (1 January 1942)
As after the campaign in Poland, I decided also in July 1940, in spite of bitter experiences, to extend my hand for peace to the enemies who had declared war on us on September 3, 1939. My hand was rejected, and my offer was interpreted as a sign of weakness.
The men who had already agitated for the First World War before 1914 felt certain that a new coalition would finally defeat the German Volk and its allied states in the year 1941. They would dissolve them and, at the same time, eliminate them. So we had no choice but to fasten on our helmets and to think about the continuation of the struggle.
The reason that these international warmongers decided not to conclude peace under any circumstances was, besides their economic-capitalist interests, the conviction that they would finally be able to destroy the Reich by means of the Soviet Union’s entry into the war against Europe, an entry which had secretly been prepared for the summer of 1941.
Now the year 1941 lies behind us! It was a year of most difficult decisions and extremely bloody battles. However, it will enter history as the year of the greatest victories of all time.
The sons of all German Gaus gloriously fought side by side with the soldiers of our allies in the Balkans, on Crete, in Africa, in the Mediterranean, and in the Atlantic. Since June 22, my Soldiers, you have held your ground in the eastern theater of war, from the regions of the far north to the borders of the Black Sea. You fought battles, the scope and harshness of which taxed you severely, but which, in their successes, are the most glorious military feats in history.
Through you, my Soldiers, the struggle for existence, which has so often been forced on our Volk, has been crowned by victories far surpassing anything known in the past.
Your bravery, your death-defying courage, your willingness to sacrifice, saved not only our German homeland but, beyond this, all of Europe. We shudder at the sight of the fate that it was spared. Women and children and all other working persons in the homeland can never thank you enough for what you have done for them, my Soldiers of the eastern front.
Ever since June 22, you have seen with your own eyes the type of “paradise” into which the joint conspiracy of Jewish capitalists and Jewish Bolsheviks wished to transform our Germany.
My Soldiers! As the Fuhrer, the spokesman for millions of members of our Volk, and the supreme commander of the Wehrmacht, I thank with all my heart all the brave men for the heroism that they so often demonstrated. I greet you, the soldiers of the army and the Waffen SS, especially those on the eastern front, in proud joy of command over that Wehrmacht branch that always and everywhere bears the heaviest burden in battle, and does so here, too.
The entire German homeland looks up to its Wehrmacht with infinite faith. It would like to help every single one of you, as best it can.
All of us, front and Volk together, hold in reverence the comrades who had to seal their love and loyalty for Germany with their deaths. We also think of our fallen allies who fought in our ranks for their countries and for all of Europe.
Soldiers of the Eastern Front! In countless battles in the year 1941, you not only removed from the Finnish, German, Slovak, Hungarian, and Romanian borders the enemy who was ready to launch an attack, but you also drove him back over a thousand kilometers into his own land. In attempting to bring about a turn of events in the winter of 1941–1942 and to move against us once more, he must and will fail! Yes, on the contrary, in the year 1942, after all the preparations that have been made, we will engage this enemy of mankind anew and do battle with him for as long as it takes to break the destructive will of the Jewish-capitalist and Bolshevik world. Germany will not and cannot be dragged into a new war for its existence or nonexistence by the same criminals every twenty-five years! Europe cannot and will not tear itself to pieces forever, just so that a bunch of Anglo-American and Jewish conspirators can find satisfaction for their business machinations in the dissatisfaction of the people.
It is our hope that the blood that is spilled in this war will be the last in Europe for generations. May the Lord help us with this in the coming year!