Adolf Hitler's Speech on the 20th Anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch
My Party Comrades! German Volksgenossen!
Almost one-third of a human being’s lifetime has passed since the day that we commemorate today and in celebration of which I have returned for a few hours to your midst. And still, hardly an epoch in the history of mankind covers twenty years of such mighty, world-shaking, and decisive events fashioning the destinies of nations.
It is appropriate to review the past events in broad outlines.
The prognosis Clemenceau made on Germany having twenty million men too many was just as candidly brutal as the present undisguised threat by English politicians that there are one hundred or two hundred million men too many moving about in India.
If historiography in coming centuries will one day critically review the years of the National Socialist rebirth, uninfluenced by the pros and cons of an era of warfare, then it will not be able to avoid the conclusion that it was a question of the most wonderful victory of faith over the supposed elements of the materially possible.
The second thought which takes hold of us today can be only this one: What would have become of Germany and Europe had there not been a November 8 and 9, 1923, and had the National Socialist world of thought not conquered Germany? After all, the seizure of power in the year 1933 is indivisibly bound up with November 8, 1923. On this day, the young movement underwent its first process of selection; the weak were removed, and those who remained were filled with an even greater fanaticism. Then a period followed in which National Socialist thought took hold of people far more easily than before. The party became the germ cell for the realization of our world of thought. Long before 1933, the National Socialist state possessed millions of followers in the Volksgemeinschaft of our party. Alas, what would have become of Europe and, above all, our German Reich and our beloved homeland, had there not been the faith and the willingness of the individual to risk everything for the movement? Germany would still be what it was at the time: the democratic and impotent state of Weimarian origin. To ask this question makes every thinking man today shudder. After all, it makes no difference what Germany would have ended up looking like; the Eastern European, Central Asian, Bolshevik colossus would have completed his armament program and would never have let his goal of destroying Europe out of sight. The German Volk, however, with its completely insufficient Reichswehr of a hundred thousand men and its lack of internal political strength and material weapons, would have faced this world power with the power of only a few weeks of military resistance.
There is no need to substantiate today just how decrepit the idea was to have Europe defended by the Poles against Bolshevik Russia. Just as foolish was the widespread belief that it might have been possible to appease the Bolshevik colossus by renouncing all ideas of power; or that its plans of world conquest could have been eliminated by a peaceful Europe which increasingly disarmed.
My party comrades! This appears to me as though chicken and geese will one day make a solemn declaration to the foxes that they no longer intend to attack them, in the hope that the foxes will then become vegetarians. The Bolshevik- Asian colossus will assail Europe until it is finally broken and defeated.
Or does anybody want to claim that Finland threatened world peace? It was nonetheless attacked, however. Without Germany’s intervention, its existence would already have been exposed to a terrible new trial in the year 1941. We need not say a word about the outcome of this new Bolshevik action.
Nobody will seriously believe that the Estonians, Latvians, or Lithuanians really wished to conquer the Ural Mountains. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union decided to chase these people out of their countries and cart them off to Siberia.
And Romania surely didn’t intend to take the Caucasus or the oil wells of Baku.
But Russia obstinately pursued the goal of occupying not only the mouth of the Danube, but also the Romanian oil fields, and, beyond that, the entire Balkans, in order to use them as a steppingstone for further expansion. There is only one state capable of successfully opposing this attack which has threatened Europe time and again from the east for the last two thousand years, and that is Germany.
Even if this struggle is also an infinitely difficult one for our Volk, this just proves that no state is capable of withstanding this misery without Germany - and certainly not against it. It proves that the hope of the European people to obtain leniency from the Moscovites through good behavior or mental caresses is at best childish stupidity or pitiful cowardice. Above all, the idea that some other power, perhaps from outside Europe, could take over the defense of the continent, is not only harebrained, but also reveals an actual moral weakness.
It is due above all to bourgeois politicians not having the foggiest idea about things, when in so many countries people act as though they believed that the Jewish-plutocratic west would defeat the Jewish-Bolshevik east. On the contrary, the Jewish-Bolshevik east will one day relieve Jewry in the west of the necessity of continuing to be hypocritical. With complete candor, it can then announce its actual objectives. The Jewish democracy of the west will sooner or later lead to Bolshevism. The same naive men who today believe that they have found in Stalin the genius who will pull their chestnuts out of the fire for them, will live to see, perhaps sooner than they anticipate, how the spirits summoned from the underworld will strangle them, and that in their own countries.
One thing is certain, my party comrades: without a November 9, 1923, the National Socialist movement would not have become what it became. Without the National Socialist movement, there would not be a strong German Reich today. Without this German Reich, which is undoubtedly the militarily most effective state in Europe, there would not be a future for Europe now.
The fact that England was again the driving force in this war, that it is was responsible together with the Jews, for the cause, outbreak, and waging of this war, is only a repetition of the events in the First World War. That such mighty historic events cannot lead to the same results twice must be assumed, whenever the forces of the past cannot be compared with those of the present. Nobody can fail to notice that the present Germany is a different state than the Germany of 1914–1918, just as November 8, 1943, is not the same as November 9, 1918.
The struggle in which we have been involved since 1939 is too mighty and too unique to measure against small differences of opinion between states. We are fighting the fifth year of the greatest war of all time. As it began, the enemy in the east was barely a hundred fifty kilometers away from Berlin. In the west, his fortresses threatened the Rhine; the Saar region was under fire from his artillery. At the Belgian-Dutch border, the treaty bound satellites of England and France lay in wait, barely a hundred kilometers from our greatest industrial areas, while the democratic government of Norway confirmed those agreements which would one day lead it into our enemies’ camp. In the Balkans, there was the latent danger of the most terrible surprise to come. Italy was forced into nonbelligerent status by its king and his clique. Thus, Germany was completely on its own.
And now, my party comrades, this National Socialist state has crushed this ring of encirclement in historically unique blows. The heroism of its soldiers pushed the fronts nearly everywhere over a thousand kilometers from the borders of the Reich. Our enemies have become modest. What they call victories today, they once portrayed as completely insignificant operations. But through these insignificant operations, they created the mighty battlefield on which the present struggle of nations is taking place. After our great allies in East Asia, the European nations have also recognized the greatness of the historic task and made their sacrifices accordingly. If the sacrifices of the greatest European state allied with us have in the end been more or less in vain, then this must be attributed to the planned sabotage of a pitiful clique which, after years of wavering, finally pulled itself together for one single action.
However, their deed can surely claim the glory of having been unique in history in its shamelessness.
I am happy that we were able to rescue from the hands of the most miserable figures of an otherwise great age the man who did everything not only to make his nation great, strong, and happy, but also to let it participate in the historic conflict which will in the end determine the fate and the culture of this continent. It is self-evident that the consequences of the Italian collapse will affect the war in general. But the hopes of our enemies will be in vain here, too. What they hoped for from the beginning has not happened. What they expected from the future will likewise not come about. They had hoped to cut off and destroy the German divisions in Italy with one blow. They thought that the Germans would give up the occupation of the islands, that the Balkans would drop into their lap like ripe fruit, and that they could bring the war to the German borders with one blow.
The assault on the Brenner Pass became an offensive at a snail’s pace far south of Rome. It will now demand its toll in blood, and this not according to the estimates of our enemies, but, on the whole, according to our plans.
Every new landing will force them to provide more and more space in their ships. This will dissipate the forces of our enemies and open up new venues for the deployment of our arms. Wherever such a landing takes place, we will be prepared. Then, they will experience, as Churchill put it, that “it is one thing to land against Italy on Sicily and another to land against the Germans on the Channel coast, in France, Denmark, or Norway.” It will then become apparent whether our restraint in some areas was due to weakness or cool reason.
The struggle in the east is the most difficult that the German Volk has ever had to fight. What our men bear here cannot be compared with what our enemies achieve. Not only will it not be possible to reach the final objective, namely, to bring about the collapse of the German front, but also, as always in world history, the final battle alone will bring about the decision. That nation that will resolve this battle in its favor is the one that has the greatest intrinsic value and seizes the decisive hour with the greatest perseverance and the greatest fanaticism. What I demand of the German soldier is therefore tremendous. It is the task of the front to make the apparently impossible possible in the end; it is the task of the homeland to support and reinforce the front in its struggle against the apparently impossible or what is apparently impossible to bear. It must recognize with complete clarity that the fate of our entire Volk, our women and children, our entire future depends on forcing the decision in our favor by a supreme effort. Every sacrifice which we make today stands in no relation to the sacrifices that will be demanded of us if we do not win this war. Therefore, there can be no thought other than that of mercilessly fighting with the unshakable goal of gaining the victory, no matter what the situation may be and no matter where we may have to fight.
When the betrayal by the king of Italy, the crown prince, and his military clique became more and more apparent, our position was not good and, in the eyes of some people, it was even desperate. The two dictators in the democracies already hoped that they would be able to celebrate together the destruction of the German armies and the extradition of my friend as a delightful spectacle in Washington. However, what appeared nearly impossible was made possible within a few weeks. A nearly unavoidable catastrophe was transformed practically overnight into a series of glorious actions, which completely restored our position, and in some respects even improved it. Once this war is over, the greatest credit will therefore go to our faith and our persistence rather than to the unique initiatives and the individual actions.
Besides, every German should appreciate that, even if this battle had taken place on German soil from the beginning, we do not doubt for one second that it would have also been waged with the greatest fanaticism. Someone as decorated with so many laurels as the German Wehrmacht will sometimes be tired and stop to rest. But when the bell tolls, then every front-line fighter, every man and woman at home, must face the battle anew in order to defend what Providence has given them in terms of what makes life worth living.
In view of this, our enemies’ propaganda must and will fail. Just as in the First World War, they are counting not so much on a victory of arms, but on the effect of their slogans, threats, and bluffs. First, they believed in the threats regarding time, hunger, winter, and so on. Then, they thought their bomb terror would suffice to wear down the German Volk at home.
While in the First World War the German Volk went to pieces at home almost without enemy action, it will not lose the power of its resistance even under the most difficult circumstances today. In this respect, it is the task of the National Socialist Party to set examples through its leaders, Unterfuhrers, and members.
The burden of the fight in the homeland, as at the front, must be borne in an exemplary fashion primarily by the party comrades, and they will then, no matter whether man or woman, constitute elements of an unbending resistance.
They must help the weak and support the dejected, but instill reason in the unworthy and-if necessary-destroy them. There must be no doubt about one thing: this war is merciless. The objectives of our adversaries are correspondingly satanic. When a British paper writes that the German Volk will be turned over to the Russian Bolsheviks for so and so many years so that they can carry out their plans regarding it, or when English bishops pray that the Bolsheviks may one day succeed in devastating and completely annihilating the German Volk, then there is only one response possible: a no less great fanaticism which forces the individual to fulfill his duties. Too many sacrifices have already been made. Nobody has the right to exclude himself from these sacrifices in the future.
Every one of our brave soldiers who fought somewhere in Russia and did not return to the homeland has a right to demand that others be as brave as he was. For he did not die so that others would give up what he fought for.
Instead, he fell so that his sacrifice and the sacrifice of his comrades and all Volksgenossen at the front and in the homeland would save the future of the homeland and the future of our Volk.
I have already mentioned that our adversaries today believe themselves to be able to wear down the German Volk primarily through bluff and propaganda, by acting as though they had already gained the victory. If this were not so serious, you would have to laugh about this tactic at times. At the same time when they chase from one conference to the other in order to reconcile their disagreements and find the possibility of some type of joint approach, they act as though they were already the victors. They establish commissions for the “design of the world after the victory.” It would be more useful if they concerned themselves with the design of their own world. They establish commissions that have the task of seeing to it that the world is provided with foodstuffs after the war. It would be better if they provided foodstuffs to their nations right now, where millions are threatened by a famine at this time.
It is truly British-Jewish impudence and impertinence when they now act as though they were in a position to solve the problems of the world. They have not even been able to work out their own problems. They needed a war in order to avoid rendering account for their domestic failures, which otherwise their own nations would have forced them to do.
A country like America, for example, has thirteen million unemployed.
The leaders of this country, who failed to cope with this problem, act as though they could resolve the employment problems of the entire world. Of course, they could organize their capitalist exploitation. It is an entirely different matter that this same exploitation has ruined their own people. This interests them only little, of course.
Their propaganda measures are in line with those we encountered in the World War. First, in a flood of papers they try to create the impression among the German Volk and even more so among the people of our allies that they have not only already won the war and the future is essentially determined, but also that the majority of the people desire such a development. I would like to reply to this at this point.
I do not know whether there are people in the German Volk who truly have anything to hope for in an Allied victory. They could only be people who think exclusively of themselves: criminals who would be willing to be the hangmen of their own people. Any person who is tied to his people knows exactly what a victory of our adversaries would mean. Therefore, there are no social classes in Germany hoping for victory. At the most, there might be some criminals who perhaps believe that their own fate would be improved in this case. However, let nobody doubt this or delude himself: we will deal with these criminals! What happened in the year 1918 will not repeat itself in Germany a second time. At a time which demands so many difficult sacrifices from hundreds of thousands of the bravest soldiers, at such a time, we will not shrink from bringing such people as are unwilling to make these sacrifices back to reason. If tens of thousands of our best men, our dearest Volksgenossen, fall at the front, then we will not shrink from killing a few hundred criminals at home without much ado.
In the World War, however, things were different. In the World War, the sacrifice of the soldiers was regarded as only natural. But equally as natural were the profiteering racketeer, the war profiteer, deserter, or finally the man who demoralized the entire nation and received money for this from abroad. These elements were untouchable. They were spared at the time, while the soldier had to give his life. However, things are different today.
My old fighters, you will remember how we were outraged by this situation in the World War, how we said at the time: It is a crying shame that it is even possible for brave men to fall at the front while rascals do their foul work at home.
These rascals existed, and exist even today in a few instances. But they have only one chance, namely, not to betray themselves, because if we catch one, he will lose his head. Rest assured, it is much more difficult for me to order a small operation at the front in the realization that perhaps hundreds or thousands of men will fall, than to sign a sentence that will result in the execution of a few dozen rascals, criminals, or gangsters. These hopes will therefore be in vain.
Moreover, the present state is so organized that these elements cannot work at all. The conditions for their work do not exist.
The second instrument on which they count is the bomb warfare. What the German homeland has to endure here, we all are aware of. What I personally feel in this respect, you can imagine. When this war began, the American president hypocritically approached me with the request not to wage bomb warfare. We did not do this. However, this request only served as a means to give our enemies time to prepare the war and to get it underway at the appropriate time.
I would like to say two things here: what pains me exclusively are the sacrifices of the homeland, especially the sacrifices of the women and children.
What hurts me is that these people lose all their possessions. By contrast, the damage done to our industry is largely insignificant. It does not in the least prevent the constant increases in our armament production. Moreover, one thing should be realized: we will rebuild our German cities to be more beautiful than ever before, and this within the shortest time.
If a nation is capable of waging a fight against the rest of the world, if a nation is capable of turning six, eight, or ten million cubic meters of concrete into fortresses in one year, if a nation is capable of producing thousands of armament factories out of nothing, then such a nation will also be capable of building two to three million apartments. In about two to three years after the war, these apartments will be completely there again, even if they destroy as many as they like.
The Americans and the English are right now planning the rebuilding of the world. I am right now planning the rebuilding of Germany! There will, however, be a difference: while the rebuilding of the world through the Americans and the English will not take place, the rebuilding of Germany through National Socialism will be carried out with precision and according to plan! Our mass organizations, from the Todt organization to the Reich labor service embracing the entire German economy, will be roped in for the job, along with the war criminals. For the first time in their lives, the war criminals will do something useful there. This is the first thing I have to say. The second thing is this: whether or not the gentlemen believe it, the hour of retribution will come! If we cannot reach America at the moment, one state is within our reach, thank God, and we will hold on to it.
And I would like to add a third item: the opinion of our adversaries that their air terror can decrease the intensity of the German military resolve is based on a fallacy. After all, whoever has already lost all his belongings can only have one desire: that the war will never be lost, since only a victorious war can help him get his things back. And so the hundreds of thousands of the bombed-out are the vanguard of revenge.
And there is something else with which our adversaries still operate, even though less forcefully than before. It is the slogan that time is on their side.
When the war started, in response to an announcement by Chamberlain that the war would have to last at least three years-an announcement which was understandable because of the capitalist view of the English that you need at least this long in order to amortize a capital investment - I immediately had us set up a program for five years. I have had this program extended since then.
Just as we worked with extended periods before, we did this here, too.
Certainly, we do not enjoy waging war. We have, of course, programs of peace, in contrast to our adversaries, who did not even know what to do in peacetime.
I am very sorry that I was not able to continue my work of peace and create more useful things in this period. However, since this has not been possible, we will never give up the fight too early, but rather regard time as our ally.
Let the war last as long as it wants to, Germany will never capitulate. Never will we repeat the mistake of 1918, namely, to lay down our arms at a quarter to twelve. You can rest assured of this: the very last party to lay down its arms will be Germany, and this at five minutes after twelve.
They may hope to wear us out by heavy blood sacrifice. This time, however, the blood sacrifice will consist of two, three, or four enemy sacrifices for every German one. No matter how hard it is for us to bear these sacrifices, they simply oblige us to go further. Never again will it come to pass-as in the World War, when we lost two million and this loss was pointless in the end- that we will today pointlessly sacrifice even a single human being. When he emerges from the rage of a battle of materiel and regains consciousness following the greatest exertions the soldier at the front will understand that our sacrifices must not be in vain, our Volk must benefit from them, and not only our Volk, but also, in the end, all of Europe.
And in conclusion, one more thing: every week I read at least three or four times that I have either suffered a nervous breakdown, or I have dismissed my friend Goring and Goring has left for Sweden, or again Goring has dismissed me, or the Wehrmacht has dismissed the party, or the party has by contrast dismissed the Wehrmacht-in this case, they suddenly say Reichswehr [Reich defense] instead of Wehrmacht [defense force]-and then again, the generals have revolted against me, and then again, I have arrested the generals and have had them locked up. You can rest assured: everything is possible, but that I lose my nerve is completely out of the question!
My party comrades! Twenty years ago, we were face-to-face with ruin. For four years, I worked with a burning heart and had only one thought: the success of our movement for the sake of the fatherland’s salvation! At one blow, everything was destroyed. For three to four weeks, it seemed as though I really would lose my nerve. Yes, a vile creature even agreed to accuse me of having broken my word. When my adversaries believed they could drag me in front of a drumhead court-martial in order to break me by sentencing me to confinement in a fortress, I did not lose heart or despair; instead, I wrote Mein Kampf during those months. I had studied history too thoroughly not to realize that great victories have never been gained without the most severe setbacks.
The greatest heroes in world history have always had to remain steadfast even under the greatest strains.
Anybody can bear sunshine. But when the weather is bad and a storm is raging, then it will show who is a strong character and who is a weakling. When things get difficult, then you can tell who is truly a man, who does not lose his nerve in such hours, but instead remains determined and steadfast, and never thinks of capitulation.
Finally, I would like to say something to those people who keep talking to me about religion: I am also religious, profoundly religious on the inside, and I believe that Providence weighs human beings. Those who do not pass the trials imposed by Providence, who are broken by them, are not destined by Providence for greater things. It is a natural necessity that only the strong remain after this selection. Thank God, the German Volk, as I have come to know it in its mass of different individuals, is strong and thoroughly healthy.
Believe me, had I been a member of the Democratic Party in 1918, I would also have despaired of Germany. But I was a member of the German Wehrmacht, a front-line soldier among millions of others, and that gave me my faith. My dogged struggle in the movement for the soul of the German Volk and the masses, the millions of workers and farmers-this struggle made me all the stronger. Because it introduced me to the most precious thing there is, the unspoiled power of the masses, the millions of Volksgenossen. From this finally developed the idea of the National Socialist state. We have received countless blessings from Providence-the successes it imparted to us, the magnificent victories it allowed us to gain! How completely did we change, within a few years, the nearly desperate situation of our country and our Reich! How Providence led our armies far beyond the borders of the Reich! How it helped us to overcome nearly hopeless positions, such as the Italian collapse! And then should we be so wretched as to lose heart and despair of this Providence?! I bow in gratitude before the Almighty. I thank Him that He blessed us so, and that He has not sent us a more difficult trial, namely, a fight on German soil; but instead, against a world of superior numbers, He permitted us to take this fight successfully far beyond the borders of the Reich.
I am proud to be the Fuhrer of this nation, not only in happy days, but all the more in difficult ones. I am happy that I can give the nation strength and confidence during such days and that I can say to them: German Volk, be completely calm; come what may, we will overcome it. In the end, there will be victory! When the World War was over, and I spoke to you for the first time, my comrades, I said something like the following: “We must not quarrel with our fate. For many years, fortune was on our side, as it is only on the side of God’s chosen ones. We gained victories in the west, east, south, everywhere in Europe! And then our Volk became ungrateful. In spite of these victories, it lost its morale and its faith, and it became weak. Therefore, it no longer deserved the Lord’s blessings.” And I often said-you surely remember this-that Providence struck us down and that it struck us down rightly. It only dealt us what we deserved.
Today, we shall make a vow: this will never be repeated. We shall never again become arrogant in days of great happiness, and we shall never despair when Providence sends us trials. After all, what is it other than a trial, if the necessities of war force us to give up a hundred kilometers somewhere, while we are still in a position to defend the homeland at such a great distance from it. It is the mission of the party and of the National Socialist leaders to be the bearers of the faith for the nation. It is your mission, my party comrades, and above all yours, my ladies.
Not long ago, an American magazine wrote that what was worst about National Socialism was its women. They said that National Socialism did more for women than any other nation. It improved their social position. It began to bring them together in tremendous organizations. It sent the women of the educated classes into the factories so that female workers could go on vacation, and so on. The paper concluded that the democracies could not imitate this.
And because they could not imitate this, they would have to exterminate National Socialist women in the future, since they were fanatical and incorrigible.
That is correct! I know that, throughout the years, my most fanatical followers were the Volk’s women. This must remain so all the more in the future! Together with the men, the women must give support to the movement even in difficult times.
If there are bomb attacks, it is primarily the party which sees to the maintenance of order, that everything is done that possibly can be done. Can you imagine, my party comrades and ladies, that we would have been able to bear in the World War for only one month what we now have borne for years? Can you imagine that? The credit for this goes to the manly education of our Volk; the credit goes to the National Socialist faith.
As long as this force remains with us, we need not despair. On the contrary, we can look to the future with proud confidence.
I have come here for a few hours in order to speak to you, my old followers. I am going back tomorrow and I will take with me the beautiful memory of my old comrades in arms and our time of struggle together.
You shall also leave here with fanatical confidence and the fanatical faith that there can be nothing other than our victory. We fight for this. Many have already fallen for this, and many will still have to make the same sacrifice.
Generations will live because of this, not only now, but also in the future. The blood we spill will one day bring rich rewards for our Volk. Millions of human beings will be granted an existence in new homes.
Thus, we commemorate all our comrades who, as National Socialist fighters, led the way, which can only be a way toward greatness for our fatherland, greatness for our German Volk.
Our National Socialist Party, our German Reich: