Hitler's Speech at the Municipal Hall Square in
Wilhelmshaven, 1 April 1939 
[translation from the German by Allen Knechtmann]
"And all that America did not receive 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 the introduction of Jewish or Negroid blood." --
Adolf Hitler, 11 December 1941
Germans! Racial comrades!
Whoever desires to appreciate the collapse and rise of Germany, he must see the development
of a city such as Wilhelmshaven. Only a short time ago it was a ghost town, almost without
a justification for existence, without prospect for a future -- today filled again with the
droning of work and creation. It is good if one recalls again to mind this past.
When this city experienced its first upturn, this occurred together with the rise of the
German Reich after its battles for unification. This Germany was a Germany of peace.
In the same era in which the so-called peace-loving, virtuous nations conducted quite a
number of wars, Germany recognized but one goal: to keep the peace, to work in peace, to
increase the prosperity of its inhabitants, and, with that, to contribute to human culture
and civilized behavior. This Germany of the peacetime sought with unending industry, with
geniality, and with steadfastness to develop its internal life and to secure outwardly a
proper place in the sun through the participation in the peaceful competition of the
Nevertheless, this Germany was for decades the securest guarantor of peace and dedicated
itself only to its peaceful business, but other peoples and especially their statesmen were
unable to refrain from pursuing this rise with envy and hate and finally answering it with
a war. We know today from historical documents how the encirclement policy of that time was
conducted according to plan by England. We know from numerous remarks and publications
that in this land the view was supported that it was necessary to overcome Germany militarily,
because its annihilation would secure to every British citizen a higher measure of
It is true that Germany committed mistakes then. Its worst mistake was seeing this
encirclement and not warding it off in good time. A single guilt of which we can accuse the
regime of that time is that it had full awareness of the devilish plan of an attack on the
Reich and still did not utilize the decisive force necessary to deflect in good time
this attack, but rather let this encirclement ripen until the beginning of the catastrophe.
The result was the World War. In this war the German people -- even though it in no way
was equipped as best as could be -- then fought heroically. No people can claim for itself
the glory of having conquered us, the least of which being those whose statesmen today are
speaking the greatest words.
Undefeated and unvanquished Germany remained on land, on sea, and in the air. And
nonetheless we lost the war. We know the might which vanquished Germany then. It was the
power of the lie, the poison of a propaganda which recoiled from no distortion and from no
untruth, and opposite it stood the former German Reich completely defenseless, because it
When Wilsonís Fourteen Points were promulgated, many German racial comrades, above all the
"leading" men of that time, saw in these Fourteen Points not only the possibility of ending
the World War, but also of pacifying finally all the peoples of this world. . . . There was
supposed to come a peace of reconciliation and understanding, a peace which was supposed to
recognize neither victor nor vanquished, a peace without war reparations, a peace of equal
rights for all, a peace of equal distribution of colonial regions and equal consideration
of colonial desires. A peace which was supposed to find its final crowning in a League of
Nations of all free nations, which league was supposed to be a guarantor for equal rights
and which was able therefore to be perceived as superfluous, that in the future the nations
might still bear the armaments which previously, as was maintained, had so oppressed them.
Therefore disarmament, and indeed disarmament of all nations! Germany was supposed to go
ahead with the good example, and all were supposed to be obligated to follow its
disarmament. And even the age of secret diplomacy was supposed to come to an end. All
the problems were supposed to be discussed and dealt with openly and freely. But above all
the right of self-determination of the peoples was finally supposed to be stabilized and
raised to the most important factor of the human history of the future.
Germany believed these assurances! It laid down its weapons trusting this declaration.
And then began a breach of faith as had never before been seen in world history. Just as
our people had laid down its weapons there began a time of extortion and oppression, of
plundering and enslavement. No more words of "Peace without Vanquished and Victor,"
rather a sentence of condemnation for the vanquished lasting forever! No more words about
equal rights, rather rights on the one side and injustice and lack of rights on the other.
Robbery upon robbery, extortion upon extortion were the results.
No man in this democratic world has looked after the suffering of our people. Hundreds of
thousands in the war fell not through hostile weapons, but rather through this hunger
blockade which continued month after month in order to extort our people even more. Even
the German prisoners of war had to remain for a long time in captivity. The German
colonies were robbed from us, the German foreign assets simply confiscated, our merchant
ships taken away. It came to a financial plundering such as the world had never before
witnessed. Sums of reparations were loaded onto the German people which were humanly
impossible, which reached into astronomical numbers and of which an English statesman said
that they could only be fulfilled if the entire German people were to reduce its standard
of living to the bare minimum and work fourteen hours every day. What German spirit,
German industry, German industriousness . . . had created and saved up over decades, was
now lost in a few years. Millions of Germans were either torn away from the Reich or
otherwise prevented from returning to the Reich.
The League of Nations did not become the instrument of a rightful policy of understanding,
but rather the guarantor of the nastiest dictate which men had yet devised.
So was a great people violated and reduced to poverty, which you all know . . . A great
people was deprived of its rights through a breach of faith and its existence made
practically impossible. A French statesman called a spade a spade when he declared:
"There are 20 million Germans too many in the world!". . .
There were Germans who ended their lives in despair, there were others who lethargically
accepted an unalterable fate, and still others were of the opinion that everything would
have to be smashed . . . Still more gnashed their teeth and balled their fists in impotent
rage, others yet believed the past would have to be restored, restored just as it was.
Everyone had taken some position or another.
And even I at that time, as an obscure soldier of the World War, took my position! It was
a very short and simple program; it was: elimination of the internal enemies of the
nation, ending the fragmentation of Germany, concentration of the entire national force of
our people in a new community, and the shattering of the so-called peace treaty! Because
so long as this Dictate of Versailles burdened the German people, it was actually condemned
Whenever other statesmen speak that right must rule on this earth, then it may be said of
them that their crime is no right, that their dictate is neither right nor law, rather that
the eternal right to live of the nations stands above their dictate and above their
expediencies. The German nation was not created by Providence in order to follow
obediently a law suited for Englishmen or Frenchmen, but rather to justify its right to
life. Thus we are here! I was resolved to take up this struggle for the justification of
the German right to live. I took up this fight for the time being within the
nation. . . . In the place of a multiplicity of manifestations there is now one community,
the German national community! To make it a reality and to deepen it is the task of all of
us . . . I have had to endure some pain during this time. But I believe the happiness with
which the entire nation is today blessed must amply compensate everyone for that which he
had to give up dearly to have it. All of you have sacrificed your parties, associations,
organizations, but in return you have received a great, strong Reich. And this Reich is
today, thank God, strong enough to protect your rights. We are no longer dependent on the
favor or the disfavor of the other states or their statesmen . . .
When I came to power over six years ago, I assumed a pitiful inheritance. . . . The
Reich seemed to possess no possibility of existence for its citizens. I then
commenced working with the only capital I possessed. It was the capital of the power of
your labor! Your power of labor, my racial comrades, I now began to employ. I had no
foreign exchange . . . and no gold reserves, I had but one thing: My faith and your
labor! We now have founded a new economic system, a system which means: Capital equals
the power of labor, money equals production. The backing of money lies in our continuing
production. . . . We have established a system which is based on the noblest principle
that there is, namely: Life itself forms you! Your existence works for you! To you
nothing is given! Help yourself and then God will also help you! Thus we began a gigantic
work of construction. . . . Borne by trust in the nation, filled with faith and
confidence in its eternal worth, we have in just a few years torn Germany from this
despair. And the world has not helped us in so doing!
When today an English statesman opines that all problems must be discussed, that one must
resolve them through open discussion and negotiation, then I would like merely to say to
this statesman: There was opportunity for fifteen long years before our era for
that! . . .
When the world says today that the peoples must be divided into virtuous nations and into
such which are not virtuous -- and to the virtuous nations belong, in the first rank, the
English and the French, and to the unvirtuous belong the Germans and the Italians --, then
we can only say: the judgment of whether or not a people is virtuous, which can hardly be
expressed by a mortal, must be left to dear God!
Perhaps this same British statesman will counter me: "God has already pronounced judgment;
because he has given to the virtuous nations a quarter of the entire world and from the
unvirtuous he has taken everything!" It is merely a question of what means by which the
virtuous nations have acquired this quarter of the world, and therefore I must say: Those
have not been virtuous methods! For three hundred years England has acted only as an
immoral nation in order now to lecture on morality. Thus it could happen that in this
British, unvirtuous era 46 million Englishmen have subjugated almost a quarter of the
world, while 80 million Germans, as a result of their virtuosity, must live 140 persons
to the square kilometer. Yes, only twenty years before, the question of virtue for the
British statesmen was still not completely clarified, insofar as it dealt with concepts
of property. Then virtue was still unanimously regarded as simply taking away, because
one had the power, from another people its colonies, which it had acquired purely through
treaties or purchase. That power which now, in any case, is considered as somewhat
loathsome and detestable. I have but one thing to say to these men: Whether they believe
this or not, we do not know. We assume, however, that they do not believe this. Because
if we wanted to assume that they actually do believe this, then we would lose all respect
in their eyes.
For fifteen years Germany has patiently borne its lot and its fate. Also I have from the
beginning sought to resolve every problem through discussion. With every problem I have
made offers, and every time they have been declined! There is now no doubt that every
people possesses interests which are holy, because they are identical to its life and its
right to live.
When today a British statesman demands that every problem which lies within the German life
interests must first be discussed with England, then I can just as well require that every
British problem be discussed first with us. Of course, these Englishmen might give me the
answer: "In Palestine the Germans have nothing to seek!" -- We want to seek nothing at all
in Palestine. But, just as we Germans have so little cause to seek something in Palestine,
so has England just as little cause to seek something in our German living space!
And when one now declares that here it is concerned with general issues of rights and law,
so can I accept this opinion if one wishes to regard it as a general standard. It is said
we should have no right to do this or that. I would like to raise the question in reply:
What right does England have -- just to mention an example -- to shoot down Arabs in
Palestine because they act for their homeland? Who gives it the right? We, in any case,
have not slaughtered thousands in Central Europe, rather we have settled our problems in
calm and in order!
However, I would like to say here: The German people of today, the German Reich of now,
they are not willing to give up interests of life, they are also not willing to face
escalating dangers passively! If the Allies once without regard for advisability, for
right, for tradition, or for rationality altered the map of Europe, we did not have the
power to prevent it. If they expect of Germany today that it should patiently not stop
satellite states whose sole purpose is to be used against Germany until the day on which
this action should take place, then the Germany of today has been confused for the Germany
of the prewar period! Whoever declares himself already prepared to pull the the chestnuts
of these great powers from the fire must be prepared for the possibility that his fingers
will get burned in so doing.
We really have no hatred against the Czech people; we have lived together for centuries.
This the English statesmen do not know. They have no idea that the Hradschin was built
not by Englishmen but rather by Germans, and that the St. Veit Cathedral likewise was built
not by Englishmen but rather by Germans.
Also, Frenchmen were not active there. They do not know that in a time when England was
still small, homage was being rendered to a German Kaiser on this mountain, that a thousand
years before me the first German king stood there and received the homage of this people.
That the English do not know, that they also cannot know, and, indeed, they do not need to
know. It suffices that we know it and that it is so that for a millennium this area has
lain in the living space of the German people.
We would, in any case, have had nothing against an independent Czech state if it 1) had not
oppressed Germans, and if 2) it had not been the instrument of a coming attack against
Germany. But when a previous French minister of air travel writes in a newspaper that
the task of this Czech Republic is, on the basis of its superb location, to strike at the
heart of Germany's industry through air attack in wartime,
then it will be understood that this is not without interest to us and that we then draw
certain consequences from it. It would have been contingent upon England and France to
defend this air base. To us it was contingent, in any case, to prevent such an attack from
I have believed this could be achieved on a natural and simple path. I was deceived. Only
when I saw that every attempt in this manner was certain to fail and that the German-hating
elements would again gain the upper hand, and only when I further saw that this state had
long since lost its internal ability to live, yes, that it had already collapsed,
 have I now carried through again the old German right, and
I have again united what through history and geographical location and in accordance with
all rules of rationality had to be united. Not in order to oppress the Czech people! It
will have more freedom than the repressed peoples of the virtuous nations!
I have, . . . I believe, thus shown a great service to the cause of peace; because I have
made worthless in good time an instrument which was determined to bring war against
Germany. If it is now said that this was the signal that Germany now wants to attack the
entire world, I really do not know if this is meant seriously; only the worst conscience
by far could accept that. I do not believe it. Perhaps it is the wrath over the failure
of an ambitious plan, perhaps it is believed that through it tactical prerequisites can be
established for a new policy of encirclement? Be that as it may: I am of the conviction
that I have shown a great service to the cause of peace. And from this conviction I have
resolved for three weeks to designate the coming Party Convention as the "Party Convention
of Peace." Because Germany does not think of attacking other peoples. What we do not
want to do without is the building of our economic relations. We have a right to that, and
I am accepting the instructions of no European or non-European statesman!
The German Reich is not only a great producer, but also an immense consumer. As
we, as a consumer, become an irreplaceable trade partner, so are we, as a producer,
suitable for paying honorably and soundly for that which we consume. We do not think of
waging war on other peoples, though under the condition that they also leave us in peace.
The German Reich is, in any case, not prepared to accept in the long term a policy of
intimidation, even only of encirclement.
I once concluded an agreement with England, the Naval Agreement. It is based on the warm
desire we all have of never having to go to war with England again. But this wish has to
be mutual. If in England this desire no longer exists, then the practical prerequisite for
this agreement is eliminated. Germany will accept that with composure. We are so
self-confident, because we are strong, and we are strong, because we are united and
because we are far-sighted as well!
And in this city I can only direct to you, my racial comrades, one request: Look at the
world and all the events around us with open eyes. Do not deceive yourselves regarding the
most important prerequisite which is given in life, namely regarding your own power.
Whoever does not possess this actually loses the right to live! We experienced that for
fifteen years. Therefore, I made Germany strong again, I have established a Wehrmacht
on land, on the water, and in the air. And therefore we never again desire to become
exhausted! If in other countries it is said that there will be arming and ever more
arming, then I can say one thing to these statesmen: you will not exhaust me! I am
resolved to continue down this path, and I am of the conviction that we will move more
quickly along it that the others. No power in the world will ever coax our weapons from
us through any empty phrases. But should someone desire to measure with force his power
against ours, then the German people is in the position at any time to do that, and also
ready and resolved! . . .
 This speech, given in connection with the launching of the battleship
Tirpitz, was an immediate response to the declaration in the British House of Commons
by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on 31 March 1939 featuring the guarantee for
 The French Minister-President Georges Clemenceau was supposed to have
made this utterance to a French interviewer during the Versailles peace conference.
 The Palestinian struggle against colonial occupation, of course, continues
today against the Zionist state.
 Pierre Cot in the English newspaper News Chronicle, 14 July
 On 15 March 1939, the President of Czechoslovakia, Dr. E. Hacha, and the
Czechoslovakian Foreign Minister, Dr. Chvalkovsky, travelled to Berlin to request
German intervention in the ethnic violence which had been tearing apart Bohemia and
Moravia since the start of 1939. Hitler and the German Foreign Minister, Joachim von
Ribbentropp, concluded with the two Czech statesmen an agreement which provided for
the establishment of a German protectorate over Bohemia and Moravia and a political
separation of Slovakia from Prague. The establishment of this protectorate was carried
out in complete calm and order, as mentioned already by Hitler in the speech at hand.
It ought to be pointed out that the political separation of Slovakia from the Czech lands,
and thus the elimination of the Czechoslovakian state, was an idea whose time had come as
a result of the inherent lack of viability of this prominent example of a political
creation of the Versailles Treaty. Proof of the inherently artificial nature of the
Czechoslovakian state was provided anew for anyone still needing to be convinced by the
second political division of Czechoslovakia after the collapse of communism in Eastern
Europe in 1989/90.
 It was supposed to have taken place from 2 to 11 September 1939, but was
cancelled on 26 August on account of the intensifying foreign situation.
English translation copyright 2001 by James Allen Knechtmann. All rights reserved; no
reproduction in part or in whole is permitted without prior written permission of the