Background: Goebbels evidently thought this one of the best of his pre-1933 speeches, since it was one of the few early speeches he reprinted after 1933. It was a campaign speech delivered in Berlin on 9 July 1932 as a lead -up to the 31 July 1932 Reichstag elections, in which the Nazis achieved their highest vote totals before the takeover of 30 January 1933. In his published diaries, Goebbels had this to say about the speech:
“One hundred thousand people in the Lustgarten.... Count Helldorf is the first speaker. He at once comes to the point with a vengeance. Sharply attacks Von Gayl. I then harp on the same string and get a thrust at the whole Cabinet. The proclamation of war is seized upon by the crowd with unparalleled enthusiasm. This huge demonstration of the masses has knocked off our fetters. Now that we have shaken free of milk-and-water politics, we can take our own line again.”
The source: “Der Sturm bricht los” Signale der neuen Zeit. 25 ausgewählte Reden von Dr. Joseph Goebbels (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., 1934), pp. 82-90.
I am speaking as the representative of the greatest movement of millions ever seen on German soil. I am here not to beg for your vote, your favor or your forgiveness. I only want you to be just. Give your verdict on the past 14 years, on its shame, its disgrace, its collapse, and our growing national political humiliation. You must decide if the men and parties that are responsible for these past 14 years should have the right to continue to hold power in the government.
Comrades, this new system was born 14 years ago. One never judges systems or governments by what they want or what they promise, but rather always by what they can do, and what they accomplish. The men of November  took power by lying to the people, by telling them they had won. They promised you, workers, citizens and creative Germans, a Reich of freedom and beauty and dignity. They promised you socialism, they promised a people’s state, they promised the broad masses the fulfillment of their dreams — peace, work and prosperity.
We have lived this lie for 14 years. For 14 years we have worshpped this government; we have lived in want, suffered, sacrificed, starved, sometimes wept. And now we see the worst results of these 14 years: the German economy is in ruins, there are huge budget deficits, the nation’s fortune is squandered, people are robbed of their inheritance, people are desperate and without hope, the streets of our big cities are filled with an army of millions of unemployed, the middle class is vanishing, the farmers driven from their land. To our shame and disgrace large areas of German territory have been lost. Our territory is divided by the bleeding wound of the Polish corridor, and Germany is drained by a stupid and unnatural tribute payments.
More than that, the red battalions preach civil war and bloody class conflict that are tearing our nation apart, giving the German people no peace. In such a situation, the leaders and parties of the old system are making the hopeless attempt to free Germany from its foreign chains. We go from one conference on reparations to another. We signed Versailles, Dawes, and Young. Each meant more hunger, more torture, more terror, more horror for the suffering German people.
It is not hard to determine who is guilty, who bears the responsibility, to the people, to history and to God for these conditions. It is those men and the parties who have misled the German people for 14 years, promising them lives of beauty and dignity, of heaven on earth, but who in the end gave us empty words and stones instead of bread. They stand now before the court of the nation to give an account of the unparalleled disaster they have brought about in the last 14 years. Five weeks ago the last cabinet of this system fell. New men came on the political stage and declared that they had the goal of replacing the November System and setting Germany on a fundamentally new political course. You men and women know that we viewed this attempt with suspicion from the beginning. We see the resurrection of our people as coming not from a small clique that has no strong connection to the people; only a movement of millions has the active strength and the ability to change Germany.
What has the new cabinet done in these past five weeks?
It wanted to bring the budget in balance. That was necessary, since the coffers were empty as it took power. But balancing the budget will not solve our problems. The real cause of our need is unemployment. Asking the people to sacrifice makes sense only if that sacrifice is the first step to recovery. What did this so-called cabinet of national concentration do? It relied on the Brüning Emergency Decree, and intensified it. This cabinet cut the meager unemployment compensation, reduced the pensions of war victims, adopted the salt tax, the most unsocial measure. This cabinet should not think that we National Socialists will support its harmful policies.
I ask you, men and women, how can the Social Democratic Party find the gall to accuse us of intolerance, when that is exactly how they have behaved during the last two years under Brüning? The Social Democratic Party would be ready to swallow the Emergency Decree if it were assured that the new cabinet would fight our movement as hard as Brüning’s government did.
What has changed?
Nothing at all, except that the ruling men have different faces. The economy is running on empty, the government has failed to begin a new job creation program. The misery of the broad masses is continues to increase, and the starving do not know how they can survive from one day to the next. The middle class is collapsing under heavy taxes and the farmer is leaving his farm because he can no longer pay the interest, mortgages and debts. All the cabinet can say is this: “We cannot fix in five weeks what went wrong in fourteen years!” Well, OK! But one should at least be able to see that a start is being made. We agree that not much can be done with Article 48. But at least we should be able to expect that the government would be making attempts to resolve the political problems we face. But what do we see?
Red murder rages through the streets. Barricades are built in Moabit [a working class district of Berlin]. Every evening 50, 60, or 70 of our members are seriously wounded, and every day we bury one or two or three comrades. The lying Red press is more active than ever, and in the south and west of Germany the Center Party and its ecclesiastically related Bavarian People’s Party threatens a splintering of the Reich.
What is the Reich interior minister doing about it?
He sits with his hands in his lap. He wants to treat the right and the left impartially, but thereby treats us unjustly. You, my comrades, stand here in your worn-out brown uniforms. The government has allowed you to be slandered, and your uniforms are paid for by the contributions of the poor. The government has not fallen wholly into the arms of the Reds. It claims to be national, but we are convinced that were it not for us National Socialists, this weak government would long have used up the capital that national Germany has built up over a twelve-year struggle for rebirth.
A new Germany has arisen! It is a Germany that has fought for twelve years against Marxist betrayal and bourgeois weakness.
You, men, women and comrades, are the bearers, witnesses, builders and finishers of this unique people’s uprising. Our policies have not been popular. We have served the truth, and only the truth. For twelve years, they have insulted and outlawed and slandered and persecuted us. Now that we are standing at the doorway to power, Marxist lies have joined with bourgeois weakness to fight us. Were we only a party like all the rest, we would collapse under the offensive of our opponents. But we are a people’s movement. That is our good fortune. Here and everywhere else in the land, the red shining Swastika flag flies over people of all camps, parties, classes, occupations, and religious confessions. Our opponents laughed at us in the past, but they laugh no longer.
You men and women standing before me, a hundred or two hundred thousand in number, with heads high, upright, proud and brave, the carriers of Germany’s future, in your eyes it is written:
We think no longer in terms of class. We are not workers or middle class. We are not first of all Protestants or Catholics. We do not ask about ancestry or class. Together we share the words of the poet:
“People, rise up, and storm, break loose!”
Comrades, men and women, fate has given us a last chance. We have one more opportunity to speak to the people. Our campaign spreads to all of Germany, and once again the ears hear, the eyes see, the heart beats faster and the senses clear:
“The day of freedom and prosperity is coming!”
So our dead comrade Horst Wessel wrote, and we are fulfilling his prophesy. The others may lie, slander, and pour their scorn on us — their political days are numbered.
Adolf Hitler is knocking at the gates of power, and in his fist are joined the fists of millions of workers and farmers. The time of shame and disgrace is nearly over.
You are the witnesses, the builders, the will-bearers of our idea and our worldview.
The party hacks of the Socialist Party are suddenly remembering the people. For a decade, the illustrated magazines pictured them only in frock coats and cylinder hats at tables filled with oysters and champagne bottles. Now they wear workers’ caps and fill their newspapers with urgings like “People, wake up!”
Well, we the people have awakened! We have risen against oppression, 15 million people have joined in an army of revenge. They who accepted their nice suits from the Sklareks [Jewish brothers involved in a major Berlin financial scandal] can hardly imagine that an honest German worker will spend his starvation wages for a decent brown shirt. They who have grown fat on caviar, who are paid seventy or eighty or a hundred thousands marks a year, who have spread the stink of unprecedented corruption over all of Germany, they want to pretend they are an opposition. “To the barricades!”, they cry.
Our answer: “The good old days of party bigwigs are over. A new Germany is coming, a Germany raised on the Spartan laws of Prussian duty. It is a Germany not grown fat, but one that is starving! It is a Germany with strength, with will, with idealism! It is a Germany that is done with Marxist betrayal and bourgeois white gloves.”
And you are the witnesses of this Germany. You, people, have affirmed this Germany. And we, people, speak in your name. We the leaders of this exciting movement of the millions, we come from you, the people. We too, comrades, were once unknown men marching with the gray masses. People, we have shared in our hearts your torture, your misery, your tribulations, your desperation. We are a piece of the people. When the bourgeois know-it-alls ask what we have accomplished, you, men and women, must save us from the necessity of giving answer. When they ask what we have done, you 15 million must answer: “They have given us faith once more, they have given us hope. They have awakened a sleeping Germany. They have organized and mobilized millions and set them to march. These millions are in motion, following the laws of history. Just as this small sect grew from seven unknown men to a movement of 15 million, so, too, I swear to you, will this movement of 15 million grow to encompass a people of 65 million.
The parties must go! The political hacks must be thrown out of their chairs. We will give no pardon. We will not allow Germany to sink into disgrace. We will give back to Germany a reason for its existence, a meaning to life. That is why you men and women are here, an army of two hundred thousand. Never has the Reich capital seen a popular movement of such force. You have come here from everywhere. The middle class has come from the west, the workers from the east and north. You have come from dark and joyless apartment houses. My S. A. comrades are before me, heads high, as if they were the kings of Germany. I know, comrades, that there are some among you who do not know where tomorrow’s meal will come from. We have shown these materialist party hacks that idealism is alive in Germany. We have shown them that even in the midst of hunger, sacrifice, and need, the people can be shown the way to betterment. We pledge loyalty to this people. We solemnly raise our hands and pledge:
As long as we breathe, we are obligated to the German people. We came from the people, and return ever to it. The people is the center of all things to us. We sacrifice for this people, and if necessary are ready to die for it.
Loyalty to the people, loyalty to the idea, loyalty to the movement, and loyalty to the Führer! That is our pledge as we shout:
Our Führer and our party — Hail victory!
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