The Reichstag speech of December 11, 1941:
Hitler's declaration of war against the United States
It has often been said that Hitler's greatest mistakes were his decisions to go to war against the Soviet Union and the United States. Whatever the truth may be, it's worth noting his own detailed justifications for these grave decisions. On Thursday afternoon, 11 December 1941, four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hitler spoke to the Reichstag in Berlin. The 88-minute address, which he had written himself, was broadcast to the nation. In it the German leader recounted the reasons for the outbreak of war in September 1939, explained why he decided to strike against the Soviet Union in June 1941, reviewed the dramatic course of the war thus far, and dealt at length with President Franklin Roosevelt's hostile policies toward Germany. Hitler detailed the increasingly belligerent actions of Roosevelt's government and then dramatically announced that Germany was now joining Japan in war against the United States. The day after it was`delivered, a very inaccurate and misleading translation of portions of the address appeared in the New York Times. But although it should be of particular interest to Americans, a complete text of this important historical document has apparently never before been made available to the English-speaking world.
This translation is my own, as are the brief clarifications given in brackets.
Following the speech, I have included Germany's formal note to the U.S. government declaring war and a short list of items for suggested further reading.
- Mark Weber
Deputies! Men of the German Reichstag!
A year of world-historical events is coming to an end. A year of great decisions is approaching. In this grave period I speak to you, deputies of the Reichstag, as the representatives of the German nation. In addition, the entire German nation should also review what has happened and take note of the decisions required by the present and the future.
After the repeated rejection of my peace proposal in 1940 by the British Prime Minister [Churchill] and the clique that supports and controls him, it was clear by the fall of that year that this war would have to be fought through to the end, contrary to all logic and necessity. You, my old Party comrades, know that I have always detested half-hearted or weak decisions. If Providence has deemed that the German people are not to be spared this struggle, then I am thankful that She has entrusted me with the leadership in a historic conflict that will be decisive in determining the next five hundred or one thousand years, not only of our German history, but also of the history of Europe and even of the entire world.
The German people and its soldiers work and fight today not only for themselves and their own age, but also for many generations to come. A historical task of unique dimensions has been entrusted to us by the Creator which we are now obliged to carry out.
The western armistice which was possible shortly after the conclusion of the conflict in Norway [in June 1940] compelled the German leadership, first of all, to militarily secure the most important political, strategic and economic areas that had been won. Consequently, the defense capabilities of the lands which were conquered at that time have changed.
From Kirkenes [in northern Norway] to the Spanish frontier stretches the most extensive belt of great defense installations and fortresses. Countless air fields have been built, including some in the far north which were blasted out of granite. The number and strength of the protected submarine shelters that defend naval bases are such that they are practically impregnable from both the sea and the air. They are defended by more than one and a half thousand gun battery emplacements, which had to be surveyed, planned and built. A network of roads and rail lines has been laid out so that the lines of communication between the Spanish frontier and Petsamo [in the far North] can be defended independently from the sea. The installations built by the Pioneer and construction battalions of the navy, army and air force in cooperation with the Todt Organization are not at all inferior to those of the Westwall [along the German frontier with France]. The work to further strengthen all this continues without pause. I am determined to make this European front impregnable against any enemy attack.
This defensive work which continued during the past winter, was complemented by military offensives insofar as seasonal conditions permitted. German naval forces above and below the waves continued their steady war of annihilation against the navy and merchant marine of the British and their subservient allies. Through reconnaissance flights and air attacks, the German air force helps to destroy enemy shipping and in countless retaliation air attacks to give the British a better idea of the reality of the so-called "exciting war" which is the creation, above all, of the current British Prime Minister [Churchill].
Germany was supported in this struggle during the past summer above all by its Italian ally. For many months our ally Italy bore on its shoulders the main weight of a large part of British might. Only because of the enormous superiority in heavy tanks were the British able to bring about a temporary crisis in North Africa, but by 24 March of this past year a small combined force of German and Italian units under the command of General [Erwin] Rommel began a counterattack. Agedabia fell on 2 April. Benghazi was reached on the 4th. Our combined forces entered Derna on the 8th, Tobruk was encircled on the 11th, and Bardia was occupied on 12 April. The achievement of the German Afrika Korps is all the more outstanding because this field of battle is completely alien and unfamiliar to the Germans, climatically and otherwise. As once in Spain [1936-1939], so now in North Africa, Germans and Italians stand together against the same enemy. While these daring actions were again securing the North African front with the blood of German and Italian soldiers, the threatening clouds of terrible danger were gathering over Europe. Compelled by bitter necessity, I decided in the fall of 1939 to at least try to create the prerequisite conditions for a general peace by eliminating the acute tension between Germany and Soviet Russia [with the German-Soviet non-aggression pact of 23 August 1939]. This was psychologically difficult because of the basic attitude towards Bolshevism of the German people and, above all, of the [National Socialist] Party. Objectively, though, this was a simple matter because in all the countries that Britain said were threatened by us and which were offered military alliances, Germany actually had only economic interests.
I may remind you, deputies and men of the German Reichstag, that throughout the spring and summer of 1939 Britain offered military alliances to a number of countries, claiming that Germany intended to invade them and rob them of their freedom. However, the German Reich and its government could assure them with a clear conscience that these insinuations did not correspond to the truth in any way. Moreover, there was the sober military realization that in case of a war which might be forced upon the German nation by British diplomacy, the struggle could be fought on two fronts only with very great sacrifices. And after the Baltic states, Rumania and so forth were inclined to accept the British offers of military alliance and thereby made clear that they also believed themselves to be threatened [by Germany], it was not only the right but also the duty of the German Reich government to delineate the [geographical] limits of German interests [between Germany and the USSR].
All the same, the countries involved realized very quickly - which was unfortunate for the German Reich as well - that the best and strongest guarantee against the [Soviet] threat from the East was Germany. Thus, when these countries, on their own initiative, cut their ties with the German Reich and instead put their trust in promises of aid from a power [Britain] which, in its proverbial egotism, has for centuries never given help but has always demanded it, they were lost All the same, the fate of these countries aroused the strongest sympathy of the German people. The winter war of the Finns [against the USSR, 1939-1940] aroused in us a feeling of admiration mixed with bitterness: admiration because, as a soldierly nation, we have a sympathetic heart for heroism and sacrifice, and bitterness because our concern for the enemy threat in the West and the danger in the East meant that we were not in a position to help. When it became clear to us that Soviet Russia concluded that the [German-Soviet] delineation of political spheres of influence [in August 1939] gave it the right to practically exterminate foreign nations, the [German-Soviet] relationship was maintained only for utilitarian reasons, contrary to reason and sentiment.
Already in 1940 it became increasingly clear from month to month that the plans of the men in the Kremlin were aimed at the domination, and thus the destruction, of all of Europe. I have already told the nation of the build-up of Soviet Russian military power in the East during a period when Germany had only a few divisions in the provinces bordering Soviet Russia. Only a blind person could fail to see that a military build-up of unique world-historical dimensions was being carried out. And this was not in order to protect something that was being threatened, but rather only to attack that which seemed incapable of defense.
The quick conclusion of the campaign in the West [May-June 1940] meant that those in power in Moscow were not able to count on the immediate exhaustion of the German Reich. However, they did not change their plans at all, but only postponed the timing of their attack. The summer of 1941 seemed like the ideal moment to strike. A new Mongol invasion was ready to pour across Europe. Mr. Churchill also promised that there would be a change in the British war against Germany at this same time. In a cowardly way, he now tries to deny that during a secret meeting in the British House of Commons in 1940 he said that an important factor for the successful continuation and conclusion of this war would be the Soviet entry into the war, which would come during 1941 at the latest, and which would also make it possible for Britain to take the offensive. Conscious of our duty, we observed the military build-up of a world power this last spring which seemed to have inexhaustible reserves of human and material resources. Dark clouds began to gather over Europe.
What is Europe, my deputies? There is no geographical definition of our continent, but only a racial [vollcliche] and cultural one. The frontier of this continent is not the Ural mountains, but rather the line that divides the Western outlook on life from that of the East.
At one time, Europe was confined to the Greek isles, which had been reached by Nordic tribes, and where the flame first burned which slowly but steadily enlightened humanity. And when these Greeks fought against the invasion of the Persian conquerors, they did not just defend their own small homeland, which was Greece, but [also] that concept which is now Europe. And then [the spirit of Europe shifted from Hellas to Rome. Roman thought and Roman statecraft combined with Greek spirit and Greek culture. An empire was created, the importance and creative power of which has never been matched, much less surpassed, even to this day. And when the Roman legions defended Italy in three terrible wars against the attack of Carthage from Africa, and finally battled to victory, in this case as well Rome fought not just for herself, but [also] for the Greco- Roman world which then encompassed Europe.
The next invasion against the home soil of this new culture of humanity came from the wide expanses of the East. A horrific storm of cultureless hordes sprang from the center of Asia deep into the heart of the European continent, burning, ravaging and murdering as a true scourge of God. Roman and Germanic men fought together for the first time on the Catalaunian battle fields in a decisive conflict [451 A.D.] of tremendous importance for a culture which had begun with the Greeks, passed on to the Romans, and then encompassed the Germanic peoples.
Europe had matured. The Occident arose from Hellas and Rome, and for many centuries its defense was the task not only of the Romans, but above all of the Germanic peoples. What we call Europe is the geographic territory of the Occident, enlightened by Greek culture, inspired by the powerful heritage of the Roman empire, its territory enlarged by Germanic colonization. Whether it was the German emperors fighting back invasions from the East by the Unstrut or on the Lechfeld [near Augsburg, in 955], or others pushing back Africa from Spain over a period of many years, it was always a struggle of a developing Europe against a profoundly alien outside world.
Just as Rome once made her immortal contribution to the building and defense of the continent, so now have the Germanic peoples taken up the defense and protection of a family of nations which, although they may differ and diverge in their political structure and goals, nevertheless together constitute a racially and culturally unified and complementary whole.
And from this Europe there have not only been settlements in other parts of the world, but intellectual [geistig] and cultural fertilization as well, a fact which anyone realizes who is willing to acknowledge the truth rather than deny it. Thus, it was not England which cultivated the continent, but rather Anglo-Saxon and Norman branches of the Germanic nation from our continent which moved to the [British] island and made possible her development, which is certainly unique in history. In the same way, it was not America that discovered Europe, but the other way around. And all that which America did not get from Europe may seem worthy of admiration to a Jewified mixed race, but Europe regards that merely as symptomatic of decay in artistic and cultural life, the product of Jewish or Negroid blood mixture.
My Deputies! Men of the German Reichstag!
I have to make these remarks because this struggle, which became obviously unavoidable in the early months of this year, and which the German Reich, above all, is called upon this time to lead, also greatly transcends the interests of our own people and nation. When the Greeks once stood against the Persians, they defended more than just Greece. When the Romans stood against the Carthaginians, they defended more than just Rome. When the Roman and Germanic peoples stood together against the Huns, they defended more than just the West. When German emperors stood against the Mongols they defended more than just Germany. And when Spanish heroes stood against Africa, they defended not just Spain, but all of Europe as well. In the same way, Germany does not fight today just for itself, but for our entire continent.
And it is an auspicious sign that this realization is today so deeply rooted in the subconscious of most European nations that they participate in this struggle, either with open expressions of support or with streams of volunteers.
When the German and Italian armies took the offensive against Yugoslavia and Greece on the 6th of April of this year, that was the prelude to the great struggle in which we now find ourselves. That is because the revolt in Belgrade [on 26 March 1941] which led to the overthrow of the former prince regent and his government determined the further development of events in that part of Europe. Although Britain played a major role in that coup, Soviet Russia played the main role. What I had refused to Mr. Molotov [the Soviet Foreign Minister] during his visit to Berlin [in November 1940], Stalin believed he could obtain indirectly against our will by revolutionary activity. Without regard for the treaties they had signed, the Bolshevik rulers expanded their ambitions. The [Soviet] treaty of friendship with the new revolutionary regime [in Belgrade] showed very quickly just how threatening the danger had become.
The achievements of the German armed forces in this campaign were honored in the German Reichstag on 4 May 1941. At that time, though, I was not able to reveal that we were very quickly approaching a confrontation with a state [Soviet Russia] which did not attack at the time of the campaign in the Balkans only because its military build-up was not yet complete and because it was not able to use its air fields as a result of the mud from melting snow at this time of year which made it impossible to use the runways.
My Deputies! Men of the Reichstag!
When I became aware of the possibility of a threat to the east of the Reich in 1940 through [secret] reports from the British House of Commons and by observations of Soviet Russian troop movements on our frontiers, I immediately ordered the formation of many new armored, motorized and infantry divisions. The human and material resources for them were abundantly available. [In this regard] I can make only one promise to you, my deputies, and to the entire German nation: while people in democratic countries understandably talk a lot about armaments, in National Socialist Germany all the more will actually be produced. It has been that way in the past, and it is not any different now. Whenever decisive action has to be taken, we will have more and, above all, better quality weapons with each passing year.
We realized very clearly that under no circumstances could we allow the enemy the opportunity to strike first into our heart. Nevertheless, the decision in this case [to attack the USSR] was a very difficult one. When the writers for the democratic newspapers now declare that I would have thought twice before attacking if I had known the strength of the Bolshevik adversaries, they show that they do not understand either the situation or me.
I have not sought war. To the contrary, I have done everything to avoid conflict. But I would forget my duty and my conscience if I were to do nothing in spite of the realization that a conflict had become unavoidable. Because I regarded Soviet Russia as a danger not only for the German Reich but for all of Europe, I decided, if possible, to give the order myself to attack a few days before the outbreak of this conflict.
A truly impressive amount of authentic material is now available which confirms that a Soviet Russian attack was intended. We are also sure about when this attack was to take place. In view of this danger, the extent of which we are perhaps only now truly aware, I can only thank the Lord God that He enlightened me in time and has given me the strength to do what must be done. Millions of German soldiers may thank Him for their lives, and all of Europe for its existence.
I may say this today: If this wave of more than 20,000 tanks, hundreds of divisions, tens of thousands of artillery pieces, along with more than 10,000 airplanes, had not been kept from being set into motion against the Reich, Europe would have been lost.
Several nations have been destined to prevent or parry this blow through the sacrifice of their blood. If Finland [for example] had not immediately decided, for the second time, to take up weapons, then the comfortable bourgeois life of the other Nordic countries would have been quickly ended.
If the German Reich, with its soldiers and weapons, had not stood against this opponent, a storm would have burned over Europe which would have eliminated once and for all time the laughable British idea of the European balance of power in all its intellectual paucity and traditional stupidity.
If the Slovaks, Hungarians and Rumanians had not also acted to defend this European world, then the Bolshevik hordes would have poured over the Danube countries as did once the swarms of Attila's Huns, and [Soviet] Tatars and Mongols would [then] force a revision of the Treaty of Montreux [of July 1936] on the open country by the Ionian Sea.
If Italy, Spain and Croatia had not sent their divisions, then a European defense front would not have arisen which proclaims the concept of a new Europe and thereby effectively inspires all other nations as well. Because of this awareness of danger, volunteers have come from northern and western Europe: Norwegians, Danes, Dutch, Flemish, Belgians and even French. They have all given the struggle of the allied forces of the Axis the character of a European crusade, in the truest sense of the word.
This is not yet the right time to speak of the planning and direction of this campaign. However, in a few sentences I would like to say something about what has been achieved [so far] in this greatest conflict in history. Because of the enormous area involved as well as the number and size of the events, individual impressions may be lost and forgotten.
The attack began at dawn on 22 June . With dauntless daring, the frontier fortifications which were meant to protect the Soviet Russian build-up against us from surprise attack were broken through. Grodno fell by 23 June. On 24 June, following the capture of Brest-Litovsk, the fortress [there] was taken in combat, and Vilnius and Kaunas [in Lithuania] were also taken. Daugavpils [in Latvia] fell on 26 June.
The first two great encirclement battles near Bialystok and Minsk were completed on 10 July. We captured 324,000 prisoners of war, 3,332 tanks and 1,809 artillery pieces. By 13 July the Stalin Line had been broken through at almost every decisive place. Smolensk fell on 16 July after heavy fighting, and German and Rumanian units were able to force their way across the Dniester [River] on 19 July. The Battle of Smolensk ended on 6 August after many encircling operations. As a result, another 310,000 Russians were taken as prisoners. Moreover, 3,205 tanks and 3,120 artillery pieces were counted - either destroyed or captured. Just three days later the fate of another Soviet Russian army group was sealed. On 9 August in the battle of Uman, another 103,000 Soviet Russian prisoners of war were taken, and 317 tanks and 1,100 artillery pieces were either destroyed or captured.
Nikolayev [in the Ukraine] fell on 13 August, and Kherson was taken on the 21st. On the same day the battle near Gomel ended, resulting in 84,000 prisoners as well as 144 tanks and 848 artillery pieces either captured or destroyed. The Soviet Russian positions between the Ilmen and Peipus [Lakes] were broken through on 21 August, while the bridgehead around Dnepropetrovsk fell into our hands on 26 August. On the 28th of that month German troops entered Tallinn and Paldiski [Estonia] after heavy fighting, while the Finns took Vyborg on the 20th. With the capture of Petrokrepost on 8 September, Leningrad was finally cut off from the south. By 16 September bridgeheads across the Dnieper were formed, and on 18 September Poltava fell into the hands of our soldiers. German units stormed the fortress of Kiev on 19 September, and on 22 September the conquest of [the Baltic island of] Saaremaa was crowned by the capture of its capital.
The battle near.Kiev was completed on 27 September. Endless columns of 665,000 prisoners of war marched to the west. In the encircled area, 884 tanks and 3,178 artillery pieces were captured. The battle to break through the central area of the Eastern front began on 2 October, while the battle of the Azov Sea was successfully completed on 11 October. Another 107,000 prisoners, 212 tanks and 672 artillery pieces were counted. After heavy fighting, German and Rumanian units were able to enter Odessa on 16 October. The battle to break through the center of the Eastern front that had begun on 2 October ended on 18 October with a success that is unique in world history. The result was 663,000 prisoners, as well as 1,242 tanks and 5,452 artillery pieces that were either destroyed or captured. The capture of Dagoe was completed on 21 October. The industrial center of Kharkov was taken on 24 October. After very heavy fighting, the Crimea was finally reached, and on 2 November the capital of Simferopol was stormed. On 16 November the Crimea was overrun as far as Kerch.
As of 1 December, the total number of captured Soviet Russian prisoners was 3,806,865. The number of destroyed or captured tanks was 21,391, of artillery pieces 32,541, and of airplanes 17,322.
During this same period of time, 2,191 British airplanes were shot down. The navy sank 4,170,611 gross registered tons of shipping, and the air force sank 2,346,180 tons. Altogether, 6,516,791 gross registered tons were destroyed.
My Deputies! My German people!
These are sober facts and, perhaps, dry figures. But may they never be forgotten by history or vanish from the memory of our own German nation! For behind these figures are the achievements, sacrifices and sufferings, the heroism and readiness to die of millions of the best men of our own people and of the countries allied with us. Everything had to be fought for at the cost of health and life, and through struggle such as those back in the homeland can hardly imagine.
They have marched endless distances, tortured by heat and thirst, often bogged down with despair in the mud of bottomless dirt roads, exposed to the hardships of a climate that varies between the White and Black Seas from the intense heat of July and August days to the winter storms of November and December, tormented by insects, suffering from dirt and pests, freezing in snow and ice, they fought - the Germans and the Finns, the Italians, Slovaks, Hungarians, Rumanians and Croatians, the volunteers from the northern and western European countries - in short, the soldiers of the Eastern front!
Today I will not single out specific branches of the armed forces or praise specific leaders - they have all done their best. And yet, truth and justice requires that something be mentioned again: As in the past, so also today, of all of our German fighting men in uniform, the greatest burden of battle is born by our ever-present infantry soldiers.
From 22 June to 1 December , the German army has lost in this heroic struggle: 158,773 dead, 563,082 wounded and 31,191 missing. The air force has lost: 3,231 dead, 8,453 wounded and 2,028 missing. The navy: 310 dead, 232 wounded and 115 missing. For the German armed forces altogether: 162,314 dead, 571,767 wounded and 33,334 missing.
That is, the number of dead and wounded is somewhat more than double the number of those lost in the [four month long] battle of the Somme of the [First] World War [in 1916], but somewhat less than half the number of missing in that battle - all the same, fathers and sons of our German people.
And now let me speak about another world which is represented by a man [President Franklin Roosevelt] who likes to chat nicely at the fireside while nations and their soldiers fight in snow and ice: above all, the man who is primarily responsible for this war.
When the nationality problem in the former Polish state was growing ever more intolerable in 1939, I attempted to eliminate the unendurable conditions by means of a just agreement. For a certain time it seemed as if the Polish government was seriously considering giving its approval to a reasonable solution. I may also add here that in all of these German proposals, nothing was demanded which had not previously belonged to Germany. In fact, we were willing to give up much which had belonged to Germany before the [First] World War.
You will recall the dramatic events of that period - the steadily increasing numbers of victims among the ethnic Germans [in Poland]. You, my deputies, are best qualified to compare this loss of life with that of the present war. The military campaign in the East has so far cost the entire German armed forces about 160,000 deaths, whereas during just a few months of peace [in 1939] more than 62,000 ethnic Germans were killed, including some who were horribly tortured. There is no question that the German Reich had the right to protest against this situation on its border and to press for its elimination, if for no other reason than for its own security, particularly since we live in an age in which [some] other countries [notably, the USA and Britain] regard their security at stake even in foreign continents. In geographical terms, the problems to be resolved were not very important. Essentially they involved Danzig [Gdansk] and a connecting link between the torn-away province of East Prussia and the rest of the Reich. Of much greater concern were the brutal persecutions of the Germans in Poland. In addition, the other minority population groups [notably the Ukrainians] were subject to a fate that was no less severe.
During those days in August , when the Polish attitude steadily hardened, thanks to Britain's blank check of unlimited backing, the German Reich was moved to make one final proposal. We were prepared to enter into negotiations with Poland on the basis of this proposal, and we verbally informed the British ambassador of the proposal text. Today I would like to recall that proposal and review it with you.
[Text of the German proposal of 29 August 1939:]
Proposal for a settlement of the Danzig-Corridor problem and the German-Polish minority question:
The situation between the German Reich and Poland is now such that one more incident could lead to action by the military forces which have taken position on both sides of the frontier. Any peaceful solution must be such that the basic causes of this situation are eliminated so that it does not simply repeat itself, which would mean that not only eastern Europe but other areas as well would be subject to the same tensions. The causes of this situation are rooted in, first, the intolerable border that was specified by the dictated peace of Versailles [of 1919], and, second, the intolerable treatment of the minority populations in the lost territories.
In making this proposal, the German Reich government is motivated by the desire to achieve a permanent solution which will insure that both sides have vitally important connecting roads, and which will solve the minority problem, insofar as that is possible, and if not, will at least insure a tolerable life for the minority populations with secure guarantees of their rights. The German Reich government is convinced that it is absolutely necessary to acknowledge the economic and physical destruction that has occurred since 1918 and to completely compensate for it Of course, it regards this obligation as binding on both sides.
On the basis of these considerations, we make the following practical proposals:
1. The Free City of Danzig returns immediately to the German Reich on the basis of its purely German character and the unanimous desire of its population.
2. The territory of the so-called [Polish] Corridor will decide for itself whether it wishes to belong to Germany or to Poland. This territory consists of the area between the Baltic Sea [in the north] to a line marked [in the south] by the towns of Marienwerder, Graudenz, Kuhn and Bromberg - including these towns - and then westwards to Schoenlanke.
3. For this purpose a plebiscite will be conducted in this territory. All Germans who lived in this territory on 1 January 1918 or were born there before that date are entitled to vote in the plebiscite. Similarly, all Poles, Cashubians, and so forth, who lived in this territory on that date or were born there before that date are also entitled to vote. Those Germans who were expelled from this territory will return to vote in the plebiscite.
To insure an objective plebiscite and to make sure that all necessary preliminary preparation work is completely carried out, this territory will come under the authority of an international commission, similar to the one organized in the Saar territory. This commission is to be organized immediately by the four great powers of Italy, the Soviet Union, France and Britain. This commission will have all sovereign authority in the territory. Accordingly, Polish soldiers, Polish police and Polish authorities are to clear out of this territory as soon as possible, by a date to be agreed upon.
4. This territory does not include the Polish harbor of Gdynia, which is regarded as fundamentally sovereign Polish territory, to the extent of [ethnic] Polish settlement The specific border of this Polish harbor city will be negotiated by Germany and Poland and, if necessary, determined by an international court of arbitration.
5. In order to insure sufficient time for the preparations necessary in order to conduct a just plebiscite, the plebiscite will not take place until after at least 12 months have passed.
6. In order to guarantee unhindered traffic between Germany and East Prussia, and between Poland and the [Baltic] Sea during this period [before the plebiscite], roads and rail lines may be built to insure free transit. The only tolls that may be imposed are those necessary for the maintenance of the transit routes or for transport itself.
7. A simple majority of the votes cast will decide whether the territory will go to Germany or to Poland.
8. After the plebiscite has been conducted, and regardless of the result, free transit will be guaranteed between Germany and its province of Danzig-East Prussia, as well as between Poland and the [Baltic] Sea. If the plebiscite determines that the territory belongs to Poland, Germany will obtain an extraterritorial transit zone, consisting of an auto super-highway [Reichsautobahn] and a four- track rail line, approximately along the line of Buetow-Danzig and Dirschau. The highway and the rail line will be built in such a way that the Polish transit lines are not disturbed, which means that they will pass either above or underneath. This zone will be one kilometer wide and will be sovereign German territory. In case the plebiscite is in Germany's favor, Poland will have free and unrestricted transit to its harbor of Gdynia with the same right to an extraterritorial road and rail line that Germany would have.
9. In case the Corridor returns to Germany, the German Reich declares that it is ready too carry out an exchange of population with Poland to the extent that this would be suitable for the Corridor.
10. The special rights desired by Poland in the harbor of Danzig will also be given to Germany in the harbor of Gdynia on the basis of parity.
11. In order to eliminate all fear of threat from either side, Danzig and Gdynia will be purely commercial centers, that is, with no military installations or military fortifications.
12. The peninsula of Hela, which will go to either Poland or Germany on the basis of the plebiscite, will also be demilitarized in any case.
13. The German Reich government has protested in the strongest terms against the Polish treatment of its minority populations. For its part, the Polish government also believes itself called upon to register protests against Germany. Accordingly, both sides agree to submit these complaints to an international investigation commission which will be responsible for investigating all complaints of economic and physical damage as well as other acts of terror.
Germany and Poland pledge to compensate for all economic and other harm inflicted on minority populations on both sides since 1918, or to annul all expropriations and provide for complete reparation for the victims of these and other economic measures.
14. In order to eliminate the feeling of deprivation of international rights of the Germans who will remain in Poland, as well as of the Poles who will remain in Germany, and above all, to insure that they are not forced to act contrary to their ethnic-national feelings, Germany and Poland agree to guarantee the rights of the minority populations on both sides through comprehensive and binding agreements. These will insure the right of these minority groups to maintain, freely develop and carry on their national-cultural life. In particular, they will be allowed to maintain organizations for these purposes. Both sides agree that members of their minority populations will not be drafted for military service.
15. If agreement is reached on the basis of these proposals, Germany and Poland declare that they will immediately order and carry out the demobilization of their armed forces.
16. Germany and Poland will agree to whatever measures are necessary to implement the above points as quickly as possible.
[End of the text of the German proposal]
The former Polish government refused to respond to these proposals in any way. In this regard, the question presents itself: How is it possible that such an unimportant state could dare to simply disregard such proposals and, in addition, carry out further cruelties against the Germans, the people who have given this land its entire culture, and even order the general mobilization of its armed forces?
A look at the documents from the [Polish] Foreign Ministry in Warsaw later provided the surprising explanation. They told of the role of a man [Roosevelt] who, with diabolical lack of principle, used all of his influence to strengthen Poland's resistance and to prevent any possibility of understanding. These reports were sent by the former Polish ambassador in Washington, Count [Jerzy] Potocki, to his government in Warsaw. These documents clearly and shockingly reveal the extent to which one man and the powers behind him are responsible for the Second World War. Another question arises: Why had this man [Roosevelt] developed such a fanatic hostility against a country which, in its entire history, had never harmed either America or him?
With regard to Germany's relationship with America, the following should be said:
1. Germany is perhaps the only great power which has never had a colony in either North or South America. Nor has it been otherwise politically active there, apart from the emigration of many millions of Germans with their skills, from which the American continent, and particularly the United States, has only benefited.
2. In the entire history of the development and existence of the United States, the German Reich has never been hostile or even politically unfriendly towards the United States. To the contrary, many Germans have given their lives to defend the USA.
3. The German Reich has never participated in wars against the United States, except when the United States went to war against us in 1917. It did so for reasons which were completely explained by a commission which President Roosevelt himself established [or rather, endorsed] to investigate this issue. [This was the special U.S. Senate investigating committee, 1934-1935, chaired by Sen. Gerald Nye.] This commission to investigate the reasons for America's entry into the [First World] war clearly established that the United States entered the war in 1917 solely for the capitalist interests of a small group, and that Germany itself had no desire or intention to come into conflict with America.
Furthermore, there are no territorial or political conflicts between the American and German nations which could possibly involve the existence or even the [vital] interests of the United States. The forms of government have always been different. But this cannot be a reason for hostility between different nations, as long as one form of government does not try to interfere with another, outside of its naturally ordained sphere.
America is a republic led by a president with wide-ranging powers of authority. Germany was once ruled by a monarchy with limited authority, and then by a democracy which lacked authority. Today it is a republic of wide-ranging authority. Between these two countries is an ocean. If anything, the differences between capitalist America and Bolshevik Russia, if these terms have any meaning at all, must be more significant than those between an America led by a President and a Germany led by a Fuehrer.
It is a fact that the two historical conflicts between Germany and the United States were stimulated by two Americans, that is, by Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, although each was inspired by the same forces. History has given its verdict about Wilson. His name will always be associated with the most base betrayal of a pledge [Wilson's "14 points"] in history. The result was the disruption of national life, not only in the so-called vanquished countries, but among the victors as well. Because of this broken pledge, which alone made the imposed Treaty of Versailles  possible, countries were torn apart, cultures were destroyed and the economic life of all was ruined. Today we know that a group of self- serving financiers stood behind Wilson. They used this paralytic professor in order to lead America into a war from which they hoped to profit. The German nation once believed this man, and had to pay for this faith with political and economic ruin.
After such a bitter experience, why is there now another American president who is determined to incite wars and, above all, to stir up hostility against Germany to the point of war? National Socialism came to power in Germany in the same year that Roosevelt came to power in the United States . At this point it is important to examine the factors behind the current developments. First of all, the personal side of things: I understand very well that there is a world of difference between my own outlook on life and attitude, and that of President Roosevelt. Roosevelt came from an extremely wealthy family. By birth and origin he belonged to that class of people which is privileged in a democracy and assured of advancement. I myself was only the child of a small and poor family, and I had to struggle through life by work and effort in spite of immense hardships. As a member of the privileged class, Roosevelt experienced the [First] World War in a position under Wilson's shadow [as assistant secretary of the Navy]. As a result, he only knew the agreeable consequences of a conflict between nations from which some profited while others lost their lives. During this same period, I lived very differently. I was not one of those who made history or profits, but rather one of those who carried out orders. As an ordinary soldier during those four years, I tried to do my duty in the face of the enemy. Of course, I returned from the war just as poor as when I entered in the fall of 1914. I thus shared my fate with millions of others, while Mr. Roosevelt shared his with the so-called upper ten thousand.
After the war, while Mr. Roosevelt tested his skills in financial speculation in order to profit personally from the inflation, that is, from the misfortune of others, I still lay in a military hospital along with many hundreds of thousands of others. Experienced in business, financially secure and enjoying the patronage of his class, Roosevelt then finally chose a career in politics. During this same period, I struggled as a nameless and unknown man for the rebirth of my nation, which was the victim of the greatest injustice in its entire history.
Two different paths in life! Franklin Roosevelt took power in the United States as the candidate of a thoroughly capitalistic party, which helps those who serve it. When I became the Chancellor of the German Reich, I was the leader of a popular national movement, which I had created myself. The powers which supported Mr. Roosevelt were the same powers that I fought against out of deepest inner conviction and because of the fate of my people. The "brain trust" which served the new American president was made up of members of the same national group which we fought against in Germany as a parasitical expression of humanity, and which we began to remove from public life.
And yet, we also had something in common: Franklin Roosevelt took control of a country with an economy which had been ruined as a result of democratic influences, and I assumed the leadership of a Reich which was also on the edge of complete ruin, thanks to democracy. There were 13 million unemployed in the United States, while Germany had seven million unemployed and another seven million part-time workers. In both countries, public finances were in chaos, and it seemed that the spreading economic depression could not be stopped.
From then on, things developed in the United States and in the German Reich in such a way that future generations will have no difficulty in making a definitive evaluation of the two different socio-political theories. Whereas the German Reich experienced an enormous improvement in social, economic, cultural and artistic life in just a few years under National Socialist leadership, President Roosevelt was not able to bring about even limited improvements in his own country. This task should have been much easier in the United States, with barely 15 people per square kilometer, as compared to 140 in Germany. If economic prosperity is not possible in that country, it must be the result of either a lack of will by the ruling leadership or the complete incompetence of the men in charge. In just five years, the economic problems were solved in Germany and unemployment was eliminated. During this same period, President Roose`velt enormously increased his country's national debt, devalued the dollar, further disrupted the economy and maintained the same number of unemployed.
But this is hardly remarkable when one realizes that the intellects appointed by this man, or more accurately, who appointed him, are members of that same group who, as Jews, are interested only in disruption and never in order. While we in National Socialist Germany took measures against financial speculation, it flourished tremendously under Roosevelt. The New Deal legislation of this man was spurious, and consequently the greatest error ever experienced by anyone. If his economic policies had continued indefinitely during peace time, there is no doubt that sooner or later they would have brought down this president, in spite of all his dialectical cleverness. In a European country his career would certainly have ended in front of a national court for recklessly squandering the nation's wealth. And he would hardly have avoided a prison sentence by a civil court for criminally incompetent business management.
Many respected Americans also shared this view. A threatening opposition was growing all around this man, which led him to think that he could save himself only by diverting public attention from his domestic policies to foreign affairs. In this regard it is interesting to study the reports of Polish Ambassador Potocki from Washington, which repeatedly point out that Roosevelt was fully aware of the danger that his entire economic house of cards could collapse and that therefore he absolutely had to divert attention to foreign policy.
The circle of Jews around Roosevelt encouraged him in this. With Old Testament vindictiveness they regarded the United States as the instrument which they and he could use to prepare a second Purim [slaughter of enemies] against the nations of Europe, which were increasingly anti-Jewish. So it was that the Jews, in all of their satanic baseness, gathered around this man, and he relied on them.
The American president increasingly used his influence to create conflicts, intensify existing conflicts, and, above all, to keep conflicts from being resolved peacefully. For years this man looked for a dispute anywhere in the world, but preferably in Europe, that he could use to create political entanglements with American economic obligations to one of the contending sides, which would then steadily involve America in the conflict and thus divert attention from his own confused domestic economic policies.
His actions against the German Reich in this regard have been particularly blunt. Starting in 1937, he began a series of speeches, including a particularly contemptible one on 5 October 1937 in Chicago, with which this man systematically incited the American public against Germany. He threatened to establish a kind of quarantine against the so-called authoritarian countries. As part of this steady and growing campaign of hate and incitement, President Roosevelt made another insulting statement [on 15 Nov. 1938] and then called the American ambassador in Berlin back to Washington for consultations. Since then the two countries have been represented only by charges d'affaires.
Starting in November 1938, he began to systematically and consciously sabotage every possibility of a European peace policy. In public he hypocritically claimed to be interested in peace while at the same time he threatened every country that was ready to pursue a policy of peaceful understanding by blocking credits, economic reprisals, calling in loans, and so forth. In this regard, the reports of the Polish ambassadors in Washington, London, Paris and Brussels provide a shocking insight.
This man increased his campaign of incitement in January 1939. In a message to the U.S. Congress [of 4 Jan. 1939] he threatened to take every measure short of war against the authoritarian countries.
He repeatedly claimed that other countries were trying to interfere in American affairs and he talked a lot about upholding the Monroe Doctrine. Starting in March 1939 he began lecturing about internal European affairs which were no concern of the President of the United States. In the first place, he doesn't understand these problems, and secondly, even if he did understand them and appreciated the historical circumstances, he has no more right to concern himself with central European affairs than the German head of state has to take positions on or make judgments about conditions in the United States.
Mr. Roosevelt went even beyond that. Contrary to the rules of international law, he refused to recognize governments he didn't like, would not accept new ones, refused to dismiss ambassadors of non-existent countries, and even recognized them as legal governments. He went so far as to conclude treaties with these ambassadors, which then gave him the right to simply occupy foreign territories [Greenland and Iceland].
On 15 April 1939 Roosevelt made his famous appeal to me and the Duce [Mussolini], which was a mixture of geographical and political ignorance combined with the arrogance of a member of the millionaire class. We were called upon to make declarations and to conclude non-aggression pacts with a number of countries many of which were not even independent because they had either been annexed or turned into subordinate protectorates by countries allied with Mr. Roosevelt [Britain and France]. You will recall, my Deputies, that I then gave a polite but straightforward answer to this obtrusive gentleman [on 28 April 1939], which succeeded in stopping, at least for a few months, the storm of chatter from this staunch warmonger.
But now the honorable wife [Eleanor Roosevelt] took his place. She and her sons [she said] refused to live in a world such as ours. That is at least understandable, for ours is world of work and not one of deceit and racketeering. After a short rest, though, he was back at it. On 4 November 1939 the Neutrality Act was revised and the arms embargo was repealed in favor of a one-sided supply [of weapons] to Germany's adversaries. In the same way in eastern Asia, he pushed for economic entanglements with China which would eventually lead to effective common interests. That same month he recognized a small group of Polish emigrants as a so-called government in exile, the only political basis of which was a few million Polish gold pieces which were taken away from Warsaw.
On 9 April  he froze all Norwegian and Danish assets [in the United States] on the lying pretext of wanting to keep them from falling into German hands, even though he knew full well, for example, that Germany has not interfered with, much less taken control of, the Danish government's administration of it’s financial affairs. Along with the other governments in exile, Roosevelt now recognized one for Norway. On 15 May 1940, Dutch and Belgian governments in exile were also recognized, and at the same time Dutch and Belgian assets [in the USA] were frozen.
This man revealed his true attitude in a telegram of 15 June  to French Premier [Paul] Reynaud. Roosevelt told him that the American government would double its aid to France, on the condition that France continue the war against Germany. In order to give special emphasis to his desire that the war continue, he declared that the American government would not recognize acquisitions brought about by conquest, which included, for example, the retaking of territories which had been stolen from Germany. I do not need to emphasize that now and in the future, the German government will not be concerned about whether or not the President of the United States recognizes a border in Europe. I mention this case because it is characteristic of the systematic incitement of this man, who hypocritically talks about peace while at the same time he incites to war.
And now he feared that if peace were to come about in Europe, the billions he had squandered on military spending would soon be recognized as an obvious case of fraud, because no one would attack America unless America itself provoked the attack. On 17 June 1940 the President of the United States froze French assets [in the USA] in order, so he said, to keep them from being seized by Germany, but in reality to get hold of the gold that was being brought from Casablanca on an American cruiser.
In July 1940 Roosevelt began to take many new measures towards war, such as permitting the service of American citizens in the British air force and the training of British air force personnel in the United States. In August 1940 a joint military policy for the United States and Canada was established. In order to make the establishment of a joint American-Canadian defense committee plausible to at least the stupidest people, Roosevelt periodically invented crises and acted as if America was threatened by immediate attack. He would suddenly cancel trips and quickly return to Washington and do similar things in order to emphasize the seriousness of the situation to his followers, who really deserve pity.
He moved still closer to war in September 1940 when he transferred fifty American naval destroyers to the British fleet, and in return took control of military bases on British possessions in North and Central America. Future generations will determine the extent to which, along with all this hatred against socialist Germany, the desire to easily and safely take control of the British empire in its hour of disintegration may have also played a role.
After Britain was no longer able to pay cash for American deliveries he imposed the Lend-Lease Act on the American people [in March 1941]. As President, he thereby obtained the authority to furnish lend-lease military aid to countries which he, Roosevelt, decided it was in America's vital interests to defend. After it became clear that Germany would not respond under any circumstances to his continued boorish behavior, this man took another step forward in March 1941.
As early as 19 December 1939, an American cruiser within the safety zone [the Tuscaloosa] maneuvered the [German] passenger liner Columbus into the hands of British warships. As a result, it had to be scuttled. On the same day, US military forces helped in an effort to capture the German merchant ship Arauca. Again contrary to international law, on 27 January 1940 the US cruiser Trenton reported the movements of the German merchant ships Arauca, La Plata and Wangoni to enemy naval forces.
On 27 June 1940 he announced a limitation on the free movement of foreign merchant ships in US harbors, completely contrary to international law. In November 1940 he permitted US warships to pursue the German merchant ships Phrygia, Idarwald and Rhein until they finally had to scuttle themselves to keep from falling into enemy hands. On 13 April 1941 American ships were permitted to pass freely through the Red Sea in order to supply British armies in the Middle East.
In the meantime, all German ships were confiscated by the American authorities in March . In the process, German Reich citizens were treated in the most degrading way, ordered to certain locations in violation of international law, put under travel restrictions, and so forth. Two German officers who had escaped [to the United States] from Canadian captivity were shackled and returned to the Canadian authorities, likewise completely contrary to international law.
On 27 March  the same president who is [supposedly] against all aggression announced support for [General Dusan] Simovic and his clique of usurpers, who had come to power in Belgrade [Yugoslavia] after the overthrow of the legal government. Several months earlier, President Roosevelt had sent [OSS chief] Colonel Donovan, a very inferior character, to the Balkans with orders to help organize an uprising against Germany and Italy in Sofia [Bulgaria] and Belgrade. In April he [Roosevelt] promised lend-lease aid to Yugoslavia and Greece. At the end of April he recognized Yugoslav and Greek emigrants as governments in exile. And once again, in violation of international law, he froze Yugoslav and Greek assets.
Starting in mid-April  US naval patrols began expanded operations in the western Atlantic, reporting their observations to the British. On 26 April, Roosevelt delivered twenty P.T. boats to Britain. At the same time, British naval ships were routinely being repaired in US harbors. On 12 May, Norwegian ships operating for Britain were armed and repaired [in the USA], contrary to international law. On 4 June, American troop transports arrived in Greenland to build air fields. And on 9 June came the first British report that a US war ship, acting on orders from President Roosevelt, had attacked a German submarine near Greenland with depth charges.
On 14 June, German assets in the United States were frozen, again in violation of international law. On 17 June, on the basis of a lying pretext, President Roosevelt demanded the recall of the German consuls and the closing of the German consulates. He also demanded the closing down of the German "Transocean" press agency, the German Library of Information [in New York] and- the German Reichsbahn [national railway] office.
On 6 and 7 July , American armed forces acting on orders from Roosevelt occupied Iceland, which was in the area of German military operations. He hoped that this action would certainly, first, finally force Germany into war [against the USA] and, second, also neutralize the effectiveness of the German submarines, much as in 1915-1916. At the same time, he promised military aid to the Soviet Union. On 10 July, Navy Secretary [Frank] Knox suddenly announced the existence of an American order to fire against Axis warships. On 4 September the US destroyer Greer, acting on orders, operated together with British airplanes against German submarines in the Atlantic. Five days later, a German submarine identified US destroyers as escort vessels with a British convoy.
In a speech delivered on 11 September , Roosevelt at last personally confirmed that he had given the order to fire against all Axis ships, and he repeated the order. On 29 September, US patrols attacked a German submarine east of Greenland with depth charges. On 17 October the US destroyer Kearny, operating as an escort for the British, attacked a German submarine with depth charges, and on 6 November US armed forces seized the German ship Odenwald in violation of international law, took it to an American harbor, and imprisoned its crew.
I will overlook as meaningless the insulting attacks and rude statements by this so-called President against me personally. That he calls me a gangster is particularly meaningless, since this term did not originate in Europe, where such characters are uncommon, but in America. And aside from that, I simply cannot feel insulted by Mr. Roosevelt because I regard him, like his predecessor Woodrow Wilson, as mentally unsound [geisteskrank].
We know that this man, with his Jewish supporters, has operated against Japan in the same way. I don't need to go into that here. The same methods were used in this case as well. This man first incites to war, and then he lies about its causes and makes baseless allegations. In an offensive way, he wraps himself in a cloak of Christian hypocrisy, while at the same time slowly but very steadily leading humanity into war. And finally, as an old Freemason, he calls upon God as his witness that his actions are honorable.
His shameless misrepresentations of truth and violations of law are unparalleled in history. I am sure that all of you have regarded it as an act of deliverance that a country Uapan] has finally acted to protest against all this in the very way that this man had actually hoped for, and which should not surprise him now [the Pearl Harbor attack of 7 December 1941]. After years of negotiating with this deceiver, the Japanese government finally had its fill of being treated in such a humiliating way. All of us, the German people and, I believe, all other decent people around the world as well, regard this with deep appreciation.
We know the power behind Roosevelt. It is the same eternal Jew that believes that his hour has come to impose the same fate on us that we have all seen and experienced with horror in Soviet Russia. We have gotten to know the Jewish paradise on earth first hand. Millions of German soldiers have personally seen the land where this international Jewry has destroyed and annihilated people and property. Perhaps the President of the United States does not understand this. If so, that only speaks for his intellectual narrow-mindedness.
But we know that their entire effort is aimed at this goal: Even if we were not allied with Japan, we would still realize that the Jews and their Franklin Roosevelt intend to destroy one country after another. The German Reich of today has nothing in common with the Germany of the past. For our part, we will now do what this provocateur has been trying to achieve for years. And not just because we are allied with Japan, but rather because Germany and Italy with their present leaderships have the insight and strength to realize that in this historic period the existence or non-existence of nations is being determined, perhaps for all time. What this other world has in store for us is clear. They were able to bring the democratic Germany of the past [1918-1933] to starvation, and they seek to destroy the National Socialist Germany of today.
When Mr. Churchill and Mr. Roosevelt declare that they want to build a new social order later on, that's about the same as a barber with a bald head recommending a tonic guaranteed to make hair grow. These gentlemen, who live in the most socially backward countries, should worry about their own unemployed people rather than incite war. They have enough misery and poverty in their own countries to keep themselves busy insuring a just distribution of food there. As far as the German nation is concerned, it doesn't need charity from either Mr. Churchill, Mr. Roosevelt or [British foreign secretary] Mr. Eden, but it does demand its rights. And it will do what it must to insure its right to life, even if a thousand Churchills and Roosevelts conspire together to prevent it.
Our nation has a history of almost 2,000 years. Never in this long period has it been so united and determined as it is today, and thanks to the National Socialist movement it will always be that way. At the same time, Germany has perhaps never been as clear-sighted and seldom as conscious of honor. Accordingly, today I had the passports returned to the American charge d'affaires, and he was informed of the following:
President Roosevelt's steadily expanding policy has been aimed at an unlimited world dictatorship. In pursuing this goal, the United States and Britain have used every means to deny the German, Italian and Japanese nations the prerequisites for their vital natural existence. For this reason, the governments of Britain and the United States of America have opposed every effort to create a new and better order in the world, for both the present and the future.
Since the beginning of the war [in September 1939], the American President Roosevelt has steadily committed ever more serious crimes against international law. Along with illegal attacks against ships and other property of German and Italian citizens, there have been threats and even arbitrary deprivations of personal freedom by internment and such. The increasingly hostile attacks by the American President Roosevelt have reached the point that he has ordered the American navy to immediately attack, fire upon and sink all German and Italian ships, in complete violation of international law. American officials have even boasted about destroying German submarines in this criminal manner. American cruisers have attacked and captured German and Italian merchant ships, and their peaceful crews were taken away to imprisonment In addition, President Roosevelt's plan to attack Germany and Italy with military forces in Europe by 1943 at the latest was made public in the United States [by the Chicago Tribune and several other papers on 4 Dec. 1941], and the American government made no effort to deny it.
Despite the years of intolerable provocations by President Roosevelt, Germany and Italy sincerely and very patiently tried to prevent the expansion of this war and to maintain relations with the United States. But as a result of his campaign, these efforts have failed.
Faithful to the provisions of the Tripartite Pact of 27 September 1940, German and Italy have consequently now finally been forced to join together on the side of Japan in the struggle for the defense and preservation of the freedom and independence of our nations and empires against the United States of America and Britain.
The three powers have accordingly concluded the following agreement which was signed today in Berlin:
With an unshakable determination not to lay down arms until the common war against the United States of America and Britain has been fought to a successful conclusion, the German, Italian and Japanese governments have agreed to the following:
Article 1. Germany, Italy and Japan will together conduct the war which has been forced upon them by the United States of America and Britain with all the means at their command to a victorious conclusion.
Article 2. Germany, Italy and Japan pledge not to conclude an armistice or make peace with either the United States of America or Britain unless by complete mutual agreement.
Article 3. Germany, Italy and Japan will also work very closely together after a victorious conclusion of the war for the purpose of bringing about a just new order in accord with the Tripartite Pact concluded by them on 27 September 1940.
Article 4. This agreement is effective immediately upon signing and is valid for the same period as the Tripartite Pact of 27 September 1940. The high contracting parties shall inform each other in due time before the expiration of this term of validity of their plans for cooperation as laid out in Article 3 of this agreement.
[End of Agreement text]
Deputies! Men of the German Reichstag!
Ever since my peace proposal of July 1940 was rejected, we have clearly realized that this struggle must be fought through to the end. We National Socialists are not at all surprised that the Anglo-American, Jewish and capitalist world is united together with Bolshevism. In our country we have always found them in the same community. Alone we successfully fought against them here in Germany, and after 14 years of struggle for power we were finally able to annihilate our enemies.
When I decided 23 years ago to enter political life in order to lead the nation up from ruin, I was a nameless, unknown soldier. Many of you here know just how difficult those first years of that struggle really were. The way from a small movement of seven men to the taking of power on 30 January 1933 as the responsible government is so miraculous that only the blessing of Providence could have made it possible. Today I stand at the head of the mightiest army in the world, the most powerful air force and a proud navy. Behind and around me is a sacred community - the [National Socialist] Party, with which I have become great and which has become great through me.
Our opponents today are the same familiar enemies of more than 20 years. But the path before us cannot be compared with the road we have already taken. Today the German people fully realizes that this is a decisive hour for our existence. Millions of soldiers are faithfully doing their duty under the most difficult conditions. Millions of German farmers and workers, and German women and girls, are in the factories and offices, in the fields and farm lands, working hard to feed our homeland and supply weapons to the front. Allied with us are strong nations which have suffered the same misery and face the same enemies.
The American President and his plutocratic clique have called us the "have not" nations. That is correct! But the "have nots" also want to live, and they will certainly make sure that what little they have to live on is not stolen from them by the "haves." You, my Party comrades, know of my relentless determination to carry out to a successful conclusion any struggle which has already begun. You know of my determination in such a struggle to do everything necessary to break all resistance that must be broken. In my first speech [of this war] on 1 September 1939, I pledged that neither force of arms nor time would defeat Germany. I want to assure my opponents that while neither force of arms nor time will defeat us, in addition no internal uncertainty will weaken us in the fulfillment of our duty.
When we think of the sacrifice and effort of our soldiers, then every sacrifice of [those here in] the homeland is completely insignificant and unimportant. And when we consider the number of all those in past generations who gave their lives for the survival and greatness of the German nation, then we are really conscious of the magnitude of the duty which is ours.
But whoever tries to shirk this duty has no right to be regarded as a fellow German. Just as we were pitilessly hard in the struggle for power, so also will we be just as ruthless in the struggle for the survival of our nation. During a time in which thousands of our best men, the fathers and sons of our people, have given their lives, anyone in the homeland who betrays the sacrifice on the front will forfeit his life. Regardless of the pretext with which an attempt is made to disrupt the German front, undermine the will to resist of our people, weaken the authority of the regime, or sabotage the achievements of the homeland, the guilty person will die. But with this difference: The soldier at the front who makes this sacrifice will be held in the greatest honor, whereas the person who debases this sacrifice of honor will die in disgrace.
Our opponents should not deceive themselves. In the 2,000 years of recorded German history, our people have never been more determined and united than today. The Lord of the universe has been so generous to us in recent years that we bow in gratitude
before a Providence which has permitted us to be members of such a great nation. We thank Him, that along with those in earlier and coming generations of the German nation, our deeds of honor may also be recorded in the eternal book of German history!
Germany’s Formal Declaration of War Against the United States
About two hours before Hitler began his speech to the Reichstag, Germany formally declared war against the United States when Reich Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop delivered a diplomatic note to the American Charge d'Affaires in Berlin, Leland B. Morris.
At almost the same time, the German Charge d'Affaires in Washington, Hans Thomsen, presented a copy of this note to the Chief of the European Division of the Department of State, Ray Atherton. Here is the text of the note:
The government of the United States of America, having violated in the most flagrant manner and in ever increasing measure all rules of neutrality in favor of the adversaries of Germany and having continually been guilty of the most severe provocations toward Germany ever since the outbreak of the European war, brought on by the British declaration of war against Germany on 3 September 1939, has finally resorted to open military acts of aggression.
On 11 September 1941, the President of the United States of America publicly declared that he had ordered the American Navy and Air Force to shoot on sight any German war vessel. In his speech of 27 October 1941, he once more expressly affirmed that this order was in force. :
Acting under this order, American war vessels have systematically attacked German naval forces since early September 1941. Thus, American destroyers, as for instance, the Greer, the Kearny and the Reuben James, have opened fire on German submarines according to plan. The American Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Knox, himself confirmed that the American destroyers attacked German submarines.
Furthermore, the naval forces of the United States of America, under order of their government and contrary to international law, have treated and seized German merchant ships on the high seas as enemy ships.
The German government therefore establishes the following facts: Although Germany on her part has strictly adhered to the rules of international law in her relations with the United States of America during every period of the present war, the government of the United States of America from initial violations of neutralitv has finally proceeded to open acts of war against Germany. It has thereby virtually created a state of war.
The government of the Reich consequently breaks off diplomatic relations with the United States of America and declares that in these circumstances brought about by President Roosevelt, Germany too, as from today, considers herself as being in a state of war with the IJnited States of America.
Suggested further reading:
Source: Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 389-416.
Published with permission of and courtesy to the Institute for Historical Review (IHR).
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