When I took over the leadership five years ago, Germany was the least respected state in the world-but today every German can travel abroad with his head held high in pride; he no longer has to be ashamed of being a German!
Today Germany is no longer isolated! We all share the pleasant confidence that the isolation which surrounded us for more than fifteen years is now over.
And not by virtue of some irrelevant participation in meaningless international committees, but by virtue of the significance which Germany has once more gained for itself.
For us, this significance gives rise to new relations which one might not view as compatible with the ideology of the League of Nations. In any case, they are compatible with us and with our interests! And they are compatible with the interests of the other peoples who have entered into these relations with us! The most dependable guarantor of the permanence of such relations lies not in some kind of slogans, but in the sober and clear knowledge of expediency. It was because of this expediency that three states have come together today. First a European axis, and now a great international political triangle! I am of the conviction that the attempts of our old adversary to spread unrest throughout the world will be hampered to the very same extent to which this triangle becomes stabilized. For it is comprised not of three powerless structures, but of three states which are prepared and resolved to exercise their rights and look after their vital interests with determination.
The great extent to which the German Volk has granted its approval to this policy-in an inner sense as well-is something we experienced but a few weeks ago in Germany, when the great representative of a nation we call our friend paid a visit to Germany for the first time. There we witnessed that the peoples can indeed grant their warm approval when genuine interests are being supported. And just as we in Germany were enthusiastic and happy about this visit, the Italian people, too, was happy and enthusiastic about its course and its outcome.
That the attempt failed after all back then was perhaps the greatest good fortune in my life and the greatest good fortune for the German nation! What happened then had to happen! In any case, the fragmentation of Germany had been prevented. For in order to come to terms with us, one needed the help of Northern Germany. This prevented the break. And they were not able to silence us then, and instead our ideas were hurled all over Germany as in an explosion. My decision was thus justified!