Background: Goebbels gave a speech every year on the eve of Hitler’s birthday. This is the speech for Hitler’s 47th birthday in 1936. This one got second billing to Alfred Rosenberg’s encomium on Hitler in the party press.
The source: Joseph Goebbels, “Unser Führer. Rundfunkansprache Dr. Goebbels zum Geburtstag Adolf Hitlers,” Völkischer Beobachter, April 1936, p. 2.
My German comrades!
Tomorrow, Monday, the Führer celebrates his 47th birthday.
As in previous years since the takeover of power, I take the opportunity on this festive occasion to speak to the whole German nation. On this day, our people thinks with rare unanimity and unique determination about the man who has become the personification of Germany’s resurrection for all Germans, whether in the Reich or throughout the world, and who is the symbol of a strong and revitalized Reich.
Tomorrow morning, this whole people wishes to proclaim its love and honor to the Führer, but also its thankfulness for his impact on humanity and on history. Among them are those countless millions who cast their votes for him on 29 March of this year, and thus ceremonially affirmed that they saw him as the embodiment of faith in our national future, and of the security and honor of the Reich. Never before in history has one man so embodied the confidence and feeling of togetherness of a whole people. I am happy that tonight I am the interpreter of all these feelings.
We are still in the midst of the Führer’s constructive work. Each of us has enough troubles and challenges to face, and there are countless tasks that confront us. And, of course, Adolf Hitler has not resolved all the tensions and differences, all the misunderstandings and frictions within the German people. But on this we can all agree: that Germany’s leadership is in the best, most loyal and most dependable hands of Adolf Hitler, and that in him, in his person, and in his human and political impact, there is the assurance that these remaining problems will in good time find an appropriate organic solution. Like a rock in the ocean, he stands firm against all the troubles and difficulties of everyday life, the peaceful place in the flood of events.
The impact of his historic acts are already so deeply driven into the heart and soul of the whole German people that it seems entirely unnecessary to waste even a word about them. And that is not the reason that I wish to speak this evening about his birthday tomorrow. I want to speak personally about him. The whole world knows him as a statesman and Führer: Few have the privilege of seeing him close up as a person and to sense daily his personal force.
Millions of Germans were deeply moved by the gripping words of his speech on the election of 29 March of this year. They heard him say that he had given the German people strength for three years, and that now the German people must give him strength. He had often strengthened the nation’s faith; now the nation had to strengthen his faith.
Over the past three years, those of us who are close to him have often seen how necessary strength and faith are to his work. No day or night, no hour, passed that did not bring for him a mass of work and challenges. It is often the case that a people comes to take the successes of its policies in a matter-of-fact way, that it gradually gets used to them.
It has no idea of the effort, of the courage, of the responsibility that are necessary to make those successes possible. Most people only become aware of that when dangers surface alongside the successes, the dangers that a far-sighted statesman has always seen and taken into account, which he has struggled with alone during long, sleepless nights. As great as the miracle of Germany’s rebirth seems to us, greater still is the miracle of how one man, in a time when complete hopelessness had seized the widest circles of his people, found the courage and the strong and unshakeable heart that were needed. It is not easy to lift a people up from the ground; it takes not only intelligence, but also daring.
But even more, what does it mean when a man takes on the burdens of Atlas upon himself and earns not only the confidence and love of his own people, but becomes a factor in the morale of the entire world!
Over these three years, the Führer has had the courage to face a Europe that was in danger of collapse because of its senile dishonesty, giving it the truth that was at first bitter and painful, but which in the end restored its honor. He gave a sterile system new movement. He became in foreign policy what he had long been in domestic policy: a great simplifier who took the most complicated and intricate problems that Europe was incapable of solving and found natural and understandable approaches.
The peace plan that he recently presented to the world is a masterpiece of constructive and simplifying work. It is European in the broadest and most modern sense. Future historians will undoubtedly see it as a deep and liberating breath on the part of the world that was trapped in its contradictions, and had become lifeless.
All of this assures the Führer of the confidence and blind allegiance of the broad masses of our people. The love that they bring him is directed above all to his person, to his deep and powerful humanity, that comes to expression in all of his words and deeds. On the afternoon of 29 March the first surprising election results came over the wires, reaching the whole world through the ether and giving powerful expression to the German miracle. There was hardly a politically aware person not only in Germany, but throughout the world, who did not think of the man who was the creator and builder of this miracle. He was at his home in Berlin with a group of young girls from the BDM [the Nazi organization for girls] who had come from every corner of the Reich to the Wilhelmplatz [the seat of Hitler’s government] to express their love and support with modest bouquets of flowers. They had coffee with him, and he let them talk of their joys and sorrows. He gave their every word and gesture his full attention, not leaving them for even a second. That is the miracle of a man who will transform the small and apparently insignificant into a new world, and who gathers from the small and apparently insignificant the strength to do great things that move the world.
Before him, the German people was really never a world people in the real sense of the word. He gave them the will for that. The calm dignity he shows in representing the Reich is a model for the entire nation. The simplicity of his character is bound to the monumentality of his historic impact, displaying generosity in matters and things that deserve it, paired with determination toward things and people that require it. He is not only called the Führer, he is the Führer.
His relationship to children never ceases to move and amaze us. They approach him with complete trust, and he meets them with the same trust. Children must have the natural ability to know that he belongs to them with heart and soul. Perhaps they realize dimly that he alone is to be thanked for the fact that for German children, a German life has once again become worth living.
When the Führer made his last appeal to the German people from Cologne on 28 March, the eve of the great day of German affirmation, the whole nation was deeply moved. One had the sense that all of Germany, every class, occupation and religious confession, had become one great, all-encompassing house of God, a place where their advocate approached the throne of the Almighty to bear witness of their will and deeds, and to ask his grace and protection for a future that was still uncertain and unclear to us. It was a call to fate, one never heard before in the German language with such monumentality. In Cologne, we saw hard and strong men who had faced many a danger break out in tears at the Führer’s final words. It seemed to us that heaven could not fail to hear the cry of a people for freedom and peace.
That was religion in the deepest and most mysterious sense. A nation affirmed God through its advocate, and put its fate and its life confidently in his hands.
Afterwards, we took a short, deserted route to the railway station and sat in a dark compartment of the almost silent train, watching silently as we passed the cities and villages of this productive German province. In the distance we could see the chimneys and furnaces of the Ruhr. Thousands and thousand of lights glittered across the fields. Beneath us, hammers thundered, machines sang, drills rattled and sirens wailed. It was the song of labor that even now did not slumber. Masses of people were gathered at the stations where we made brief stops. They were probably following a mysterious, silent inner force, waving and cheering once again to the man whose voice had called them. But he sat silently at the window of his compartment and traveled through his land, through his people, and probably had the happy feeling of resting deeply and comfortably in the heart of his nation.
And the next day, this heart broke forth. People went to the voting booths with firm and confident step, to the north and south, the east and west, young and old, high and low, and helped him to build the unshakable foundation he needed to speak to the world in the name of this whole people in defense of its national right to life. Where else on this broad planet is there a statesman as firm and confident as he?
Respected in the whole world, but loved by his own people! That is the highest that a person can achieve in this earthly life.
Tomorrow, from wherever Germans dwell, their best wishes will rise to him. May a gracious fate keep him healthy and strong and grant him a blessed hand. And may he be with us for a long, long time, for if he is with us, all is well.
He is for us what he was for us, and he will remain for us what he is for us:
[Page copyright © 2004 by Randall Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]
Go to the 1933-1945 Page.
Go to the German Propaganda Archive Home Page.