Adolf Hitler's Speech for the Heroes' Memorial Day (21 March 1943)
For the fourth time, we are celebrating our Volk’s Heroes’ Memorial Day in this hall. The postponement of the date took place because I believed that only now I would be able to leave my places of work with my conscience at ease, having been tied down for many months. Thanks to the sacrifices and the heroism of our soldiers at the eastern front, it has now been finally possible to overcome the crisis into which the German army was plunged by an undeserved fate, to stabilize the front, and to initiate those measures which will secure success and final victory for us in the coming months.
Under the circumstances, it was possible today to rescind the ban on vacations, which has been in force for many months, in order to allow our brave men to rejoin their loved ones in the homeland increasingly in the coming months. That makes it easier for me, in an emotional sense, to be here on this day. Had it truly been necessary to explain to our Volk the seriousness of this gigantic confrontation of life and death on land, at sea, and in the air, then the past winter would have sufficed to eliminate the last lingering doubts. The steppes of the east have once more unleashed their millions on Europe. They were driven onward by that power that has always organized wars in order to profit from them and, especially in our times, thereby places capitalist interests and Bolshevik instincts in the service of the same goal.
To decide how great the danger was that this oldest civilized continent in the world would be overrun this winter will be left to later historical research.
The unfading credit that this danger is over now goes to those soldiers whom we are commemorating today.
Only a glance at Bolshevism’s gigantic preparations for the destruction of our world is sufficient to let us realize with horror what might have become of Germany and the rest of the Continent, had not the National Socialist movement taken power in this state ten years ago, and had it not begun the rebuilding of the German Wehrmacht with the determination that is so peculiar to it, following many fruitless efforts for disarmament. After all, the Germany of Weimar with its Centrist-Marxist-democratic party politics would have been swept away by this Central Asian invasion as a straw would be by a hurricane.
We realize with increasing clarity that the confrontation that has taken place in Europe since the First World War is slowly beginning to look like a struggle which can only be compared with the greatest historic events of the past. Eternal Jewry forced on us a pitiless and merciless war. Should we not be able to stop the elements of destruction at Europe’s borders, then this continent will be transformed into a single field of ruins.
The gravest consequences of this war would then be not only the burned cities and destroyed cultural monuments, but also the bestially murdered multitudes, which would become the victim of this Central Asian flood, just as with the invasions by the Huns and Mongols.
What the German and allied soldiers today protect in the east is not the stony face of this continent or its social and intellectual character, but its eternal human substance, whence all values originated ages and ages ago and which gave expression to all human civilizations today, not only to those in Europe and America.
In addition to this world of barbarity threatening from the east, we are witnessing the satanic destructive frenzy of its ally, the so-called West. We know about our enemies’ war objectives from countless publications, speeches, and open demands. The babble of the Atlantic Charter is worth as much as Wilson’s Fourteen Points in contrast with the implemented actual design of the Diktat of Versailles.
Just as in the English parliamentary democracy the warmonger Churchill pointed the way for later developments with his claim in 1936, when he was not yet the responsible leader of Great Britain, that Germany had to be destroyed again, so the elements behind the present demands for peace in the same democracies today are already planning the state to which they seek to reduce Europe after the war.
And their objectives totally correspond with the manifestations of their Bolshevik allies, which we have not only known about but also witnessed: the extermination of all continental people proudly conscious of their nationality and, at their head, the extermination of our own German people.
It makes no difference whether English or American papers, parliamentarians, stump orators, or men of letters demand the destruction of the Reich, the abduction of the children of our Volk, the sterilization of our male youth, and so on, as the primary war objective, or whether Bolshevism implements the slaughter of whole groups of people, men, women, and children, in practice.
After all, the driving force behind this remains the eternal hatred of that cursed race which, as a true scourge of God, chastised the nations for many thousands of years, until they began to defend themselves against their tormentors in times of reflection.
I am not saying this for the benefit of the German Volk. It does not need encouragement today in its moral attitude. For over a thousand days, the front has proved its silent heroism. At its side today stands the German homeland, with large parts of the Reich having become war zones themselves. Not only does it work to furnish our soldiers with weapons. No, it is forced to wage its own struggle. In tolerating and bearing the enemy’s destructive frenzy, women and even children display a heroism that can often no longer be differentiated from that of the front.
As far as the so-called “neutral world” is concerned, the prerequisites for the arrogant, almost meditative, almost didactic contemplation of events, are so popular that there has been the willingness to sacrifice those who protect it from finding out what harsh reality is like. After all, one thing is certain: at such a time, nations can only exist in the long run if they take a clear stand. We should therefore be grateful to our enemies. With their own hands, they eliminate the spirit of false objectivity in the German Volk and put these natural instincts in its place: a glowing love for the homeland and our Volk, across all barriers of origin and birth, and a burning hatred of the enemy. The fires in our cities and villages will increasingly harden the determination of our Volk, which is no longer clouded by cosmopolitan sentiments, but nurtured by the recognition of a deadly threat and inspired by a grim fanaticism, willing to eliminate this threat once and for all in Europe and in our own Volk. And I will repeat my prophecy of long ago, that, at the end of this war, it will not be Germany and its allied states that will have become the victims of Bolshevism, but instead those countries and nations, which the Jews increasingly have in the hollow of their hands, that will one day collapse and meet their end by the Bolshevik poison to which they are the least immune because of their outdated social orders. It will not be the National Socialist and Fascist regimes that will have been torn to pieces, but an old empire that will have been unraveled into rags. The sin against your own and kindred blood will one day lead to misery and misfortune that will cry to heaven in these countries.
To commemorate the heroes has at all times been the right of him only who need not be ashamed in front of them. Not only has the winter this year failed to produce defeatism in the German Volk, it has led to an even greater mobilization of all its forces. They are constantly being deployed at present.
The production of war materiel constantly increases. Millions of men stream to the front: young soldiers, freed men, and recovered soldiers. In addition, older men and young boys will operate the defensive weapons in the homeland; hundreds of thousands of women and girls will assist them in this. And so the German Wehrmacht is being more and more transformed into a fighting nation. National Socialism which long ago defeated its enemies at home in a bitter struggle-without ever even considering compromise-will today and in the future deal with the enemies of the Reich abroad, as its leading force. The Reich is being supported in this by the allied nations, which from Europe to East Asia are also determined to defend the substance of their blood and the values of their cultures. Above all, it has comrades in arms in those nations which realize that their own future is possible only within the framework of an order which successfully opposes Bolshevism as a devilish instrument of destruction.
The more final this confrontation is and the more uncompromisingly it is waged, the longer will be the ensuing peace, which our continent in particular needs for the healing of its wounds. However, the essence of this new age will not be determined by those men who failed to recognize the worth of the past peace, who agitated for war in their spiritual blindness, who thereby brought ruin to their nations, but by those statesmen who already understood before the war how to secure for their nations a high degree of social and cultural accomplishment, despite their modest earthly possessions. Therefore, the future of the truly civilized nations will not be Jewish-Bolshevik nor Jewishcapitalist.
Instead, it will increasingly strive to realize, in the service of the national interest everywhere, a true Volksgemeinschaft as the highest ideal. All the more so after the war, the German National Socialist state, which pursued this goal from the beginning, will tirelessly work for the realization of a program that will ultimately lead to a complete elimination of class differences and to the creation of a true socialist community.
Thus, the five hundred forty-two thousand dead that this Second World War has up to now claimed will not have fallen in vain. Instead, they will live on eternally in our ranks as the undying heroes and pioneers of a better age.
May the Almighty, who has not denied us His blessings throughout these trials and Who has thereby reinforced our inherent strength, also grant us His assistance in the fulfillment of what we must do for our Volk, what we owe it, until the victory. We again bow reverently before our dead comrades, their family members in mourning, the murdered men, women, and children in the homeland, and all the sacrifices of our allies.