Adolf Hitler gave this speech in Berlin in 1938 where he claimed that the only territorial demand of Germany is the Sudeten territories.
I have attacked all seemingly impossible problems with a firm will to solve them peaceably if at all feasible even at the risk of more or less important German sacrifices.
I am a front soldier myself and I know how terrible war is.
I wanted to spare the German nation this experience and therefore I took up problem after problem with a firm resolve to attempt everything to make an amicable solution possible.
The hardest problem I found, my fellow citizens, was Polish-German relations. We faced the danger here of steering ourselves into, let us say, fanatical hysteria. The danger existed that in this case a conception like inherited enmity would gain possession of our peoples as well as the Polish people.
This I wanted to forestall. I know perfectly well that I would not have succeeded alone if at that time there had been a democracy of western construction in Poland.
For these democracies running over with peace phrases are the most bloodthirsty war instigators.
There was no democracy in Poland but there was a man. With him we succeeded in less than a year in arriving at an agreement which for the duration of ten years basically removes the danger of any clash.
We all are determined, and also convinced, that this agreement will bring about lasting and continuous pacification, because problems in eight years are no different from those today.
We do not have to expect anything from each other. We recognize this. We are two peoples. They shall live. One cannot annihilate the other. I recognize this and we must see it: A State of 33,000,000 people will always strive for an outlet to the sea.
Here the road to understanding had to be found, and it was found. And it is being widened and expanded.
Of course, down there realities are often grim. Nationalities and little racial groups often fight with each other.
But the decisive thing is: The two administrations and all sensible and reasonable people in both countries have a firm will and a firm resolve continually to improve relations.
That was a great deed of mine, and a real act of peace which‘ weighs more than all the jabbering in the Geneva League of Nations palace.
Now I have tried during this time also gradually to bring about good and enduring relations with other nations.
We have given guarantees for the States in the West. We have guaranteed to all contiguous neighbors the inviolability of their territory so far as Germany is concerned.
That is not a phrase -- that is our sacred will.
We are not interested in breaking peace. We do not want anything from these peoples. It is a fact that these our offers were meeting with increasing acceptance and also growing understanding.
Slowly, more and more nations are departing from the idiotic delusion of Geneva; I should like to say, departing not from collective peace obligations but from collective war obligations.
They are withdrawing from them and they begin to see problems soberly and are ready for understanding and peace.
I have gone farther.
I extended a hand to England. I renounced voluntarily ever again joining any naval conference so as to give the British Empire a feeling of security, not because I could not build more -- and there should be no illusion about that -- but exclusively for this reason: to safeguard permanent peace between both nations.
To be sure, there is here one pre-condition -- it cannot be admitted that one party should say: I do not want to fight you any more and therefore I offer to cut my armaments down to 35 per cent, and that the other party should say from time to time: We will fight again when it suits us.
That won’t do. Such an agreement is morally justified only when both peoples shake hands on an honest promise never to wage war upon each other again.
Germany has this will. We all hope that among the English people those will prevail who are of the same mind. I have gone further. Immediately after the Saar had been returned to the Reich by plebiscite, I told France there were no more differences between France and us.
I said: Alsace-Lorraine does not exist any more for us.
These people really have not been asked their opinion in the last few decades. We believe that the inhabitants of those parts are happiest when they are not being fought over.
And we all do not want any more war with France. We want nothing of France, absolutely nothing.
And when the Saar territory was returned to the Reich, thanks to -- I will say so right here -- thanks to France’s loyal execution of the treaties, I immediately gave this frank assurance: Now all the territorial differences between France and Germany are settled.
I no longer see any differences at all. There are two nations. They can live best if they work together.
After this renunciation, irrevocable once and forever, I turned to another problem, solvable more easily than others because a mutual philosophic basis served as a prerequisite for an easier mutual understanding: Germany’s relations to Italy.
Certainly the solution of this problem is my work only partially. The other part is due to the rare great man (Premier Mussolini) whom the Italian people is fortunate to possess as its leader.
This relation has long left a sphere of clear economic and political expediency and over treaties and alliances has turned into a real strong union of hearts.
Here an axis was formed represented by two peoples, both of whom in their philosophical and political ideas found themselves in close indissoluble friendship.
Here, too, I cut the cloth finally and definitely, convinced of my responsibility toward my countrymen.
I have relieved the world of a problem that from now on no longer exists for us.
Bitter as it may be for a few, in the last analysis the interest of the German nation stands above all.
This interest, however, is: To be able to work in peace.
This whole activity, my fellow citizens, is not a phrase that cannot be proved, but instead this activity is demonstrated by facts which no political liar can remove.
Two problems remained.
Here I had to make a reservation.
Ten million Germans found themselves outside the Reich’s confines in two large contiguous regions -- Germans who desired to come back into their homeland. This number of 10,000,000 is not a trifle. It is a question of one-fourth of the number of inhabitants France has.
And if France during forty years did not renounce its claim to a few million French in Alsace-Lorraine, certainly we have a right before God and man to keep up our claim to these 10,000,000 Germans.
Somewhere, my fellow countrymen, there is a limit -- a limit where yielding must cease, because it would otherwise become a harmful weakness and I would have no right to maintain a place in German history if I were simply to renounce 10,000,000 without caring about them. I would then have no moral right to be Fuehrer of the German people.
I have taken upon myself sufficient sacrifices in the way of renunciations. Here was a limit beyond which I could not go. How right this was has been proven, first by the plebiscite in Austria; in fact, by the entire history of the reunion of Austria with the Reich. A glowing confession of faith was pronounced at that time -- a confession such as others certainly had not hoped for.
A flaming testimony was given at that time, a declaration such as others surely had not hoped would be given.
It was then we saw that for democracies a plebiscite becomes superfluous or even obnoxious as soon as it does not produce results democracies hoped for.
Nevertheless this problem was solved to the happiness of the great German people, and now we confront the last problem that must and shall be solved.
This is the last territorial demand I have to make in Europe, but it is a demand on which I will not yield.
Its history is as follows: In 1918 Central Europe was torn up and reshaped by some foolish or crazy so-called statesmen under the slogan "self-determination and the right of nations."
Without regard to history, origin of peoples, their national wishes, their economic necessities, they smashed up Europe and arbitrarily set up new States.
To this, Czechoslovakia owed its existence.
This Czech State began with one big lie and its father’s name was Benes.
This Herr Benes at that time turned up at Versailles and told them that there was the Czechoslovak nation.
He had to invent this lie to bolster up an insignificant number of his own nationals so as to make them seem more important.
I said in the Reichstag on Feb. 20, that this (meaning the Czecho-slovak situation) must be changed. Only Herr Benes changed it differently. He started a more radical system of oppression, greater terror, a period of dissolutions, bans, confiscations, etc.
This went on until May 21, and you cannot deny, my friends, that it was truly endless German patience that we practiced.
This May 21 was unbearable enough. I have told the story of this month already at the Reich’s party convention.
There at last were to be elections in Czechoslovakia. They could no longer be postponed.
So Herr Benes thinks out a way to intimidate Germans there -- military occupation of those sections.
He still keeps up this military occupation in the expectation that so long as his hirelings are there nobody will dare raise a hand against him.
It was an impudent lie that Germany had mobilized. That had to be used in order to cloak the Czech mobilization, excuse it and explain it.
What happened then, you know. The infamous international world set at Germany. Germany had: not called upon one man. It never thought of solving this problem militarily.
I still had hopes that the Czechs would recognize at the last minute that this tyrannic regime could not keep up.
But Herr Benes believed Germany was fair game. Of course, he thought he was covered by France and England and nothing could possibly happen to him.
And if everything failed there still was Soviet Russia to fall back on.
Thus the answer of that man was: No, more than ever, shoot down, arrest and incarcerate all those whom he did not like for some reason. Then, finally, my demands came from Nuremberg.
The demands now were quite clear. Now, for the first time, I said, that at last nearly twenty years after Mr. Wilson’s right of self-determination for the 3,500,000 must be enforced and we ‘shall not just look on any longer.
And again Herr Benes replied: New victims, new incarcerations, new arrests. The German element gradually began to flee.
Then came England. I informed Mr. Chamberlain unequivocally of what we regard as the only possibility of solution.
It is the most natural solution possible.
I know that all these nationalities no longer want to remain with this Herr Benes.
In the first place, however, I speak of Germans. For these Germans I have now spoken and now given assurances that I am no longer willing to look on quietly and passively as this lunatic believes he can simply mishandle 3,500,000 human beings.
I left no doubt that German patience at last was exhausted. I left no doubt it was the way of our German mentality to take things long and patiently, that, however, the moment comes once when this must be ended.
And now, in fact, England and France agreed to dispatch the only possible demand to Czechoslovakia, namely to free the German region and cede it to the Reich.
I am thankful to Mr. Chamberlain for all his trouble and I assured him that the German people wants nothing but peace, but I also declared that I cannot go beyond the limits of our patience.
I further assured him and I repeat here that if this problem is solved, there will be no further territorial problems in Europe for Germany.
And I further assured him that at the moment that Czechoslovakia has solved her other problems, that is, when the Czechs have reconciled themselves with their other minorities, the Czech State no longer interests me and that, if you please, I give him the guarantee: We do not want any Czechs.
But equally I want now to declare before the German people that as regards the Sudeten German problem, my patience is now exhausted.
I now head the procession of my people as first soldier and behind me -- may the world know this -- there now matches a people and a different one than that of 1918.
Errant mentors of those times succeeded in infiltrating the poison of democratic phrases into our people, but the German people of today is not the German people of 1918.
In these hours we will take one holy common resolve. It shall be stronger than any pressure, any peril. And when this will is stronger than pressure and peril, it will break the pressure and peril.