Berlin, October 4, 1942
New York Times, October 5, 1942.
National comrades, men and women! Germans on the land! We are at the beginning of the fourth year of the war, and today we celebrate the German harvest thanksgiving. Today we cannot celebrate the nation's festivals in the scope and manner to which we were formerly accustomed.
Today great masses of the German country folk cannot appear before the Fuehrer through their deputations, to bring him a harvest wreath and fruits of the last harvest, because we are in a war, in the most difficult war of the German people, and in this war there is only one thing: Work, work, fighting and work, and again fighting and work.
The last three harvest years, in particular the first two of them, were by no means favorable. Quite unexpectedly, three terribly hard and severe Winters broke upon us and destroyed much of the labor that had previously been put into the ground.
But, nevertheless, it was possible, first of all, to guarantee nourishment of the people absolutely; for at that time, when I spoke in this same hall on taking over the responsibility of carrying out the Four-Year Plan, many a compatriot will still be able to remember how, right at that time, I laid very strong emphasis on the concept and the term "enemy blockade." . . .
When the third harvest had such a bad outlook I did everything to avoid rationing, but there was no alternative. We did not only have to worry about bread. There was also the question of potatoes. The transport system increased our worries, as it had constantly to supply our forces in the East.
These problems have been solved and will never recur. The conquered territories are the most fertile in Europe. Most of the talk about the seriousness of the food situation in occupied countries is just propaganda. I am firmly resolved that while I do not want to see the populations of occupied countries suffer hunger and privation, if through enemy measures privation is unavoidable it will in no circumstances affect Germany.
German workers and German agricultural laborers will be fed better than any others. The German peasant goes out to fight, leaving his work to women. Children are helping as soon as they are able.
There should be no difficulty feeding Germany, but there are over six million foreign workers in Germany and over five million prisoners of war who have to be supplied.
Now that the future is clearer, the meat ration is to be increased by another fifty grammes in the raid-threatened areas.
The German people come before all other peoples for food.
The whole German Army is fed from conquered countries.
By no means let us forget that when it is a question of raw materials for armament, there are two raw materials which are just as fundamental for feeding our people as for their subsistence as a whole. And these raw materials are coal and iron, and both raw materials we ourselves possess in sufficient quantities, and we have also-thank God-won enormous additional quantities by conquest.
Bear in mind, therefore, that since we do not have a sufficient surplus of this valuable material, coal, we should not waste it unnecessarily. And every one who turns on a single light or other electrical appliance unnecessarily, or who leaves it on longer than necessary, is committing a sin. Any one who uses too much gas should remember that this gas comes from coal, and that a worker has to slave for it by the sweat of his brow hundreds of meters underground. Any one who uses too much power, should also consider that fact.
But, my dear German comrades, one thing more I should like to say here quite plainly. When a national community is being created, and when an entire nation, as a totality and a single entity, must win a victory and must secure its freedom, then the individual, too, must be ready to submit to more or less stringent limitations on his personal freedom.
This limitation of personal freedom is necessary even in peacetimes. In democracy, to be sure, there is always one thing only-freedom of the individual. That is what we National Socialists call license. If every one may do as he likes, if no one has to have any consideration for his neighbors or his relatives, and even gets ahead by doing so, then you can imagine how such a community gets along.
And if you tear down the splendid facade of dollar-rich America and look behind it, you will also see what such a country-where, as in "God's own country," democracy is particularly cherished-what such a country and nation really looks like. In front it is splendid facade, with an infinite misery behind it. Even the fool, Mr. Roosevelt, cannot deny that misery is at home in his capital, and that there are only a few who swim around on top, like fat-flecks on top of bouillon, as dollar millionaires. . . .
I should like now to broach a topic that indeed concerns me very especially as the Commander in Chief of the air force and Reich Air Minister. It is about the heavy enemy air attacks on German cities. Here, too, my dear fellow countrymen, there must often be a very great restriction of personal freedom.
I am far from belittling these attacks or anything like that. I know how it is. I am an expert. I know what it means when a hundred or two hundred planes drop their bomb load. I know that many innocent people must die, in this way, absolutely to no purpose.
The Fuehrer told our enemies in his Reichstag speech some time ago that one should at least stop attacking absolutely harmless people where there is no war industry. And today they cannot get out of it by saying that they just accidentally missed, they were aiming at industrial plants, because we are in possession of their original orders.
Mr. British Air General instructed his fliers that war industry was not the important thing to destroy, but residential sections . . . terrorizing the-German population, dropping bombs on children and women. That is the main thing for these gentlemen, even though a few decent fliers have protested against being assigned again and again to this slaughter.
So I know how hard all this is and how terrible and how senseless this destruction of cultural values. If that fool would reflect on the virtues of German culture, and that German culture exists not only for Germans-it has made endless contributions to Europe and the world-that simple respect for it should keep the wretches from destroying German seats of culture.
Our seats of culture are not valuable for the German people only, they are valuable for the whole world, which can derive unending benefits from them. And the German has always been the greatest leaven of cultural progress.
You may be sure-I am now speaking to our fellow-countrymen of those regions that are subject to the threat of air raids-that everything humanly possible is being done in my efforts to alleviate the situation and to prevent such attacks, first of all by active counter-defense.
But in this regard let no one forget that at present I have to fight hardest on the Eastern Front and cannot provide defense on a full scale, which will definitely some day be provided.
Nevertheless, the enemy always loses out very heavily in these raids. And although Mr. Churchill declared a few weeks ago that he would make a little excursion with a thousand airplanes over Germany every night, then I can say, first of all, that he has not as yet made a single such excursion with a thousand planes, and he will never make one either, and in any case these planes-these excursions will have to be paid for so heavily that he has already greatly restricted them.
And, finally, I have only one more thing to say to that gentleman. In the East, too, the enemy will be conquered, and then we'll see each other in England again.
But it is now the all-important thing to fight where the center of gravity is, and they will not prevent us from doing so by these air raids.
Today the German Luftwaffe is fighting day after day on a scale that you cannot imagine, at Stalingrad and where the decisive victories are to be won. Once that is finished there, we will meet again at Philippi!
I shall see to it myself that steadily increasing and additional camps shall be prepared that will take care of the victims of the air raids. I have purchased supplies in all countries to which I had access, on a tremendously large scale.
And, my dear fellow-citizens, everything is in our favor when we consider the situation. Just how are our enemies going to be able to carry out their continued assertions and declarations that they are going to win this war?
They have some hope or other in the astronomical figures of American production. Now, I would be the last person to underestimate American production. In certain fields the Americans have made colossal achievements in technique and in production.
We know they have done a stupendous amount with the auto. They have also won special merit with the radio and the razor blade. In these three fields they have undoubtedly wrought ever colossally, but these things are, nevertheless, something else yet than what one needs for war.
And if I do not by any means underestimate them, nevertheless I know by first-hand acquaintance what enormous difficulties there are in the matter of armament production. And even over there, if Roosevelt constantly makes two times two equal five or six or eight, nevertheless, even in America two times two is and remains four, and he can't change that a bit.
And even in America nothing gets done faster than with us, but slower rather, and even in America raw materials are necessary, workers are necessary. You can't at the same time build up an army of several million, and on the other hand triple the number of workers. That doesn't work in America, either.
You must realize that the gentlemen are very hard to teach; they are democrats. So the hope of internal German decay-in spite of everything that many newspapers are beginning to write, that they will be disappointed, that the nation will not collapse and so forth-is still their hope today.
And they still continue to believe that they could do that primarily through hunger, as they did in 1918 by the blockade, although they are gradually being obliged to understand that the blockade is only working in reverse. What price a blockade when one possesses the whole-as I have already explained previously-vast Ukrainian fertile lands and so on?
War is the last process of selection, and it assesses values; and only there can it be seen how one comes up to the mark, this one remains, the other cannot quite make it, this one is given a less important task; the third understands nothing at all, he is sent home.
Generals shot? And our leader has already said, recently, "None has been shot at all."
But there is one thing about which I wish to leave no doubt. It was not just because one does not shoot a general, for that, too, has changed fundamentally since the World War.
Equal discipline for all, from Reich Marshal to the last recruit, equal obedience and loyalty to the Fuehrer, equal distinctions and also equal punishment.
Today, if a man is a coward and deserts his company, he is shot. If a general abandons his company through cowardice he is shot, too.