Background: This is the last of Goebbels’ annual speeches on Hitler’s
birthday. The Third Reich was in ruins, and even Goebbels had little to
offer to raise hopes of victory. About the best he can do is suggest that
things would be even worse without Hitler, rather small consolation. But
even here, he uses religious imagery. “We feel Hitler in us and around
us,” he says at the end.
The source: This was printed in most remaining German newspapers
on 20 April 1945.
Goebbels’ 1945 Speech on Hitler’s
At the moment of the war when so it seems all forces of
hate and destruction have been gathered once again, perhaps for the final
time, in the west, the east, the southeast, and the south, seeking to break
through our front and give the death blow to the Reich, I once again speak
to the German people on the eve of 20 April about the Führer, just
as I have done every year since 1933. That has happened at good and bad
times in the past. But never before did things stand on such a knife’s
edge, never before did the German people have to defend their very lives
under such enormous danger, never before did the Reich have to draw on
its last strength to protect its threatened self.
Times such as these are rare in history. They are unique and unparalleled
for the fighting generation that must survive them. Historical events
of similar nature and extent fade in our memory under the pain that we
bear, under the sorrows that almost overwhelm us, under tortured questions
about our own future and that of our brave, sorely-tested people...
This is not the time to speak of the Führer’s birthday in the usual
way or to present him with the usual best wishes. More must be said today,
and by one who was won the right both from the Führer and the people.
I have been at the Führer’s side for more than twenty years. I have
seen his rise and that of his movement from the smallest and most improbable
beginnings up to the seizure of power, and gave my best efforts to them
as well. I have shared joy and sorrow with the Führer, from unprecedented
historic victories to the terrible setbacks in the remarkable years from
1939 until now. I stand beside him today as fate challenges him and his
people with its last, most severe test. I am confident that fate will
give him and his people the laurel wreath of victory. The fact that Germany
yet lives, that Europe and the civilized world have not yet fallen into
the dark abyss that looms before us, is thanks to him alone.
He will be the man of this century who was sure of himself despite
terrible pain and suffering who showed the way to victory. He is
the only one who remained true to himself, who did not cheaply sell his
faith and his ideals, who always and without doubt followed his straight
path toward his goal. That goal may today be hidden behind the piles of
rubble that our hate-filled enemies have wrought across our once-proud
continent, but which will once again shine before our burning eyes once
the rubble has been cleared.
Times like those we experience today demand more of a leader than insight,
wisdom, and drive. They demand a toughness and endurance, a steadfastness
of heart and soul, that appear only rarely in history, but that when
they do appear produce the most admirable achievements of human genius.
Burkhardt said in his Observations on World History: “The
fates of people and of states, of entire civilizations, can depend on
whether an extraordinary person can bring forth the proper strength of
soul and action. Normal minds and spirits, no matter how numerous, cannot
replace such a person.”
Who can deny that only the Führer has the right to feel these words
apply to him and his deeds in our and many coming generations? What can
enemy statesmen say in response? They have nothing but superior numbers,
their stupid and insane destructiveness and their diabolical lust for
annihilation, behind which lurk the chaos of the collapse of civilized
humanity. What has come of their loud and emotional theses of happiness,
what of their Atlantic Charter and their Four Freedoms? Only hunger, misery,
pestilence, and mass death. A whole raped part of the earth cries out against
them. Once flourishing cities and villages in every nation of Europe have
been transformed into fields of craters, and hundreds of thousands, even
millions of women and children in the north, east, and southeast of the
continent sigh and weep under the raging scourge of Bolshevism.
The most shining culture the earth has ever seen sinks in ruins and leaves
only memories of the greatness of an age destroyed by satanic powers.
The peoples are shaken by the most severe economic and social crises,
which are but foretastes of the terrible events to come. Our enemies claim
that the Führer’s soldiers marched as conquerors through the lands
of Europe but wherever they came, they brought prosperity and happiness,
peace, order, reliable conditions, a plenitude of work, and therefore
a decent life. Our enemies claim their soldiers came to the same lands
as liberators but wherever they come there is poverty and misery,
chaos, devastation and destruction, unemployment, hunger and mass death.
And what remains of their so-called freedom is a life that no one would
dare call decent even in the darkest corners of Africa.
Here is a clear broad outline of a program of construction that has proved
itself useful, humane and beneficial, positive and forward-looking, in
its own as well as in all the other lands of Europe. It stands against
the fantasies of Jewish-Plutocratic-Bolshevist destruction. Here stands
a man, sure of himself, having a clear and firm will, against the unnatural
coalition of enemy statesmen who are only the lackeys and tools of this
world conspiracy. Europe once had the choice between these two. It chose
concealed anarchy, and must today pay for its mistake with million-fold
agony. It will not have much time any more to choose its fate a second
time. It is a matter of life or death!
A British newspaper wrote a few days ago that the result of the insane
policies of the enemy powers would surely be a revolution of the European
peoples against the Anglo-American plutocracy, and that Hitler was the
man who was hindered by the same plutocracy through an unholy alliance
with Asiatic Bolshevism as he began to bring Europe political and economic
happiness. That is how it is, and nothing can whitewash our plutocratic
enemies of their crimes.
Opposing this apparently all-powerful coalition of destructive satanic
forces brings with it tests and burdens of superhuman nature, but that
is not dishonorable the opposite in fact! To bravely accept a battle
that is unavoidable and inescapable, to wage it in the name of divine
providence, to have confidence in it and its eventual blessing, to stand
before fate with a pure conscience and clean hands, to bear all suffering
and every test, never even thinking of being untrue to one’s historic
mission, never wavering even in the most difficult hours of the final
battle that is not only manly, it is also German in the best sense
of the word! Would our people not accept this task and not fight for it
as if it were the word of god, it would not deserve to live any longer,
and would lose any possibility of further life.
What we experience today is the last act of a powerful drama that began
on 1 August 1914 and which we Germans gave up on on 9 November 1918 just
before the end. That is why we had to begin again on 1 September 1939.
What we hoped to spare ourselves in November 1918 we have paid for two-
or threefold today. There is no escape unless the German people
surrenders any kind of decent human life and is ready to forever live
in a way that would shame even the most primitive African tribes.
If it is manly and German as Führer of a great and brave people
to depend wholly on oneself in this struggle, relying on one’s own own
strength and certainty as well as the help of god in the face of an enemy
who threatens with overwhelming numbers, to fight rather than to capitulate,
then it is just as manly and German for a people to follow such a Führer,
unconditionally and loyally, without excuse or reservation, to shake off
all feelings of weakness and uncertainty, to trust in the good star that
is above him and us all. This is all the more true when that star at times
is covered by a black cloud. Misfortune must not make us cowardly, but
rather resistant, never giving a mocking watching world the appearance
of wavering. Rather than hoisting the white flag of surrender that the
enemy expects, raise the old swastika banner of a fanatic and wild resistance,
renewing the oath that we swore so often in the happy and safe days of
peace, thanking god again and again that he gave us a true leader for
these terrible times, feeling bound in our hearts to his sorrows and trials,
thus showing the enemy world that they can wound but not kill us, that
they can beat us bloody but not force us down, torture us, but not demoralize
Is there a single German who disagrees? After six years of battle, could
our people debase itself so low as to forget honor and duty, surrendering
in the turmoil of the moment its holy and inalienable right to its great
future for a pot of soup? Who would dare suggest that? Who holds
us in such contempt that he believes that now, just as we stand before
the final and decisive round of the war, we would be untrue to all our
sworn ideals, that we would throw all our hopes for the future of our
Reich overboard, giving up in the midst of the confusion of misfortune
that has overcome us on ourselves, our land and people, and the lives of
our children and children’s children?
The world speaks of loyalty as a German virtue. How could our people
have withstood the tests of this war without it, and how could it survive
the war’s coming end without it? For it is ending! The war is nearing
its end. The insanity that the enemy powers of unleashed on humanity has
gone beyond all bounds. The whole world feels only shame and disgust.
The perverse coalition between plutocracy and Bolshevism is collapsing!
Fate has taken the head of the enemy conspiracy [U.S.
President Roosevelt had died the week before]. It is the same
fate that the Führer escaped on 20 July 1944 [the
date of an assassination attempt on Hitler], amidst the dead,
the wounded and the ruins, so that he could finish his work through
pain and trials it is true, but nonetheless as providence ordained.
Once more the armies of the enemy powers storm against our defensive
fronts. Behind them is the slavering force of International Jewry that
wants no peace until it has reached its satanic goal of world destruction.
But its hopes are in vain! As he has done so often before, god will throw
Lucifer back into the abyss even as he stands before the gates of power
over all the peoples. A man of truly timeless greatness, of unique courage,
of a steadfastness that elevates the hearts of some and shakes those of
others, will be his tool. Who will maintain that this man can be found
in the leadership of Bolshevism or plutocracy? No, the German people bore
him. It chose him, it by free election made him Führer. It knows
his works of peace and now wants to bear and fight the war that was forced
upon him until its successful end.
Within a few years after the war, Germany will flourish as never before.
Its ruined landscapes and provinces will be filled with new, more beautiful
cities and villages in which happy people dwell. All of Europe will share
in this prosperity. We will again be friends of all peoples of good will,
and will work together with them to repair the grave wounds that scar
the face of our noble continent. Our daily bread will grow on rich fields
of grain, stilling the hunger of the millions who today suffer and starve.
There will be jobs in plenitude, the deepest source of human happiness,
from which will come blessing and strength for all. Chaos will vanish.
The underworld will not rule this part of the world, but rather order,
peace, and prosperity.
That was always our goal! It is our goal today. If the enemy powers had
their way, humanity would drown in a sea of blood and tears. War would
follow war and revolution would follow revolution, finally destroying
the last remnants of a world that was once beautiful and lovely, and that
will be so again.
But if we achieve our goals, the project of social construction begun
in Germany in 1933 and was rudely interrupted in 1939 will be taken up
again with renewed strength. Other peoples will join in not because
we force them to, but rather of their own free will because there is
no other way out of the world crisis. Who could show the way save the
Führer! His work is the work of order. His enemies have only a devil’s
work of anarchy and devastation to set against his work.
German history is not rich in great statesmen. But where one has appeared
he usually had something to say and give not only to his own people, but
to the world. What would there be European about Europe had not German
kaisers and kings, counts and generals and their armies repeatedly withstood
the onslaughts from the east! Usually only a disunited continent stood
behind them that either did not understood or even fell upon Germany in
the midst of its saving work for Europe. Why should it be any different
today? At the present state of things, which the war is just before, or
perhaps even in the midst of, a peripeteia, it is difficult to understand
this great battle between peoples. One thing, however, can no longer be
disputed: If there had been no Adolf Hitler, if Germany had been led by
a government like those in Finland, Bulgaria, or Rumania, it would long
since have become the prey of Bolshevism. Lenin once said the path to
world revolution leads though Poland and the Reich. Poland is already
in the possession of the Kremlin, despite all the attempts of the Anglo-Americans
to conceal it. If Germany had followed, or would follow, what would become
of the rest of our continent?
To ask the question is to answer it. The Soviets would probably already
be at the Atlantic coast, and England sooner or later would receive its
just reward for its betrayal of Europe that finds its most wretched expression
in its marriage with Bolshevism. In the United States too, one would soon
think differently of the dreadful world phenomenon that a Jewish press
entirely and fully conceals from the American public.
If the world still lives, and not only our world but the rest of it as
well, whom has it to thank other than the Führer? It may defame and
slander him today, persecuting him with its base hatred, but it will have
to revise this standpoint or bitterly regret it! He is the core of resistance
to the collapse of the world. He is Germany’s bravest heart and our people’s
most passionate will. I permit myself to make a judgment that must be
made today: If the nation still breaths, if it still has the chance of
victory, if there is still an escape from the deadly danger it faces
it is thanks to him. He is steadfastness itself. I have never seen him
fail or falter, or weaken or tire. He will go his way to the end, and
there awaits not the end of his people, but rather a new and happy beginning
to an era in which Germandom will flourish as never before.
Listen, Germans! Millions of people look to this man from every land
on the earth, still doubting and questioning whether he knows the way
out of the great misfortune that has befallen the world. He will show
the peoples that way, but we look to him full of hope and with a deep,
unshakable faith. We stand behind him with fortitude and courage: soldier
and civilian, man, woman and child a people determined to do all
to defend its life and honor. He may look his enemies in the eye, for
we promise him that he does not need to look behind him. We will not waver
or weaken. We will never desert him, no matter how desperate and dangerous
the hour. We stand with him, as he stands with us in Germanic loyalty
as we have sworn, as we shall fulfill. We do not need to tell him, for
he knows and must know: Führer command! We will follow! We
feel him in us and around us. God give him strength and health and preserve
him from every danger. We will do the rest.
Our misfortune has made us mature, but not robbed us of our character.
Germany is still the land of loyalty. It will celebrate its greatest triumphs
in the midst of danger. Never will history record that in these days a
people deserted its Führer or a Führer deserted his people.
And that is victory. We have often wished the Führer in happy times
our best on this evening. Today in the midst of suffering and danger,
our greeting is much deeper and more profound. May he remain what he is
to us and always was Our Hitler!
[Page copyright © 2002 by Randall Bytwerk. No unauthorized
reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ
the Goebbels Page.
Go to the 1933-1945
the German Propaganda Archive Home Page.