Background: Hugo Jury was Gauleiter of Niederdonau (Lower Danube), a region of Austria, from 1939-1945. The article appeared in December 1943, the end of a bad year for the Nazis. Jury tries to persuade his readers that Germany has survived a hard year, and that that very survival guarantees that the coming year will be better.
The source: “Jahr des Kampfes, Jahr des Sieges!” Badener Zeitung, 25 December 1943, p. 1. This is taken from a newspaper article available on ANNO, an Austrian project to digitize a wide range of newspapers.
Year of Battle, Year of Victory!
by Hugo Jury
We stand the doorway to a new year. Not with tender knuckles, as our forefathers and we ourselves once said, but rather with a ready fist. We enter the 1944 with a firm step, just as we did 1943 and earlier years.
The course of a war follows other laws than those of the calendar. Still, it is customary at the end of a year to look back, drawing if possible conclusions for coming tasks. Such contemplation makes sense only when we can draw conclusions as to what we should and should not do to make the new year happy and successful.
The year now ending has given our people some major tests. For the first time since this decisive battle began, we had some setbacks and disappointments. From the wider view, however, they were tests that we overcame and which will be more a blessing than a disaster. If we had needed proof that the German spirit of battle, the German desire for victory, and the German willingness to sacrifice are unbreakable, this was provided by the way that front and homeland mastered all difficulties. As the year 1943 began, there may have been some who distinguished between the front, the area behind the lines, and the homeland. At the end of this year, there is probably no longer anyone who does not know that we are in the most total of all total wars. The front and homeland have become one, even if the nature of their battles varies. One uses weapons, the other uses its machinery to protect our fatherland.
With real pain, but with calm and strong hearts we think as we move from the old year to the new of all the fine people who gave their lives for Germany. We think of those who fell in the field, but also of the men, women, and children who fell victim to enemy treachery in the homeland. The blessing of their blood has made us hard, and will find us strong and brave in coming days. Danger and need have forged our people together more each day into a community that could have developed under less pressing circumstances only in the course of centuries. Since no price can be too high to pay for the realization of our people’s community, even now before victory each sacrifice is worth the price.
When the history of this war is written, all the heroic songs of the past will have to fade. Only he who has had countless occasions to see farmers and workers, men and women, old and young, can appreciate the many examples of duly and readiness in the past year. Increasing numbers of women in the workforce was a major element in 1943. I, therefore, thank of all working women on the farm or in the factory. I further consider it my duty to thank all the labor veterans in agriculture, crafts, and industry who continued their work, and indeed all those whose work with their hands or minds contributed to victory, and who continue to do so.
All these thousands and thousands prove the unbroken German will to battle and production, and justify our proudest expectations. Whether 1944 will bring our people a great change in fate, whether it brings victory and the beginning of a glorious age, will only become clear in the future. Even today, however, it is clear that the enemy’s plans have been frustrated. Whatever will happen, whatever the new year brings in burdens and trials, will be mastered, for the slogan for 1944 is: Fight until victory, and the lord of this year is loyalty.
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