Delegates! Men of the German Reichstag! In an era when deeds are everything and words are little, it is not my intention to step before you as the selected representatives of the German folk more often than necessary.
For the first time, I turned to you at the beginning of the war at the moment when, thanks to the English-French conspiracy against peace, any attempt of an otherwise surely possible settlement with Poland had failed. The most unscrupulous men of the present time, who - as they admit today - already since the year 1936 had come to the decision to devastate in a new bloody war the Reich becoming too powerful for them and, if possible to annihilate it, had happily managed to finally find in Poland the state that as the first was ready to draw the sword for their interests and goals. All my attempts to come to an agreement, yes, to a permanent and friendly cooperation precisely with England, hence failed due to the wish and will of a small clique, which - be it out of hatred or from material viewpoints - dismissed every Germany proposal for an agreement with the unabashed decision to want war under all circumstances.
The driving man of this both fanatical as well as satanic plan - to get a war, cost what it may - was already back then Mr. Churchill; his helpers the men who at this time form the British government.
The strongest open and concealed promotion was given to these efforts by the so-called “great democracies” this side and that side of the ocean. In a period of the folks’ increasing dissatisfaction with their failing statecraft, the responsible men there believed to be able to soonest master the otherwise no longer solvable problems through a successful war. Behind them stood the great international bank-stock market armaments capital which again, like already once before, scented the possibilities of such great business. And just like earlier, one was ready without scruples to shed the blood of the folks in favor of their gold. So this war took its start.
In a few weeks, the state, which as the first was frivolous enough to let itself be harnessed for the financial and capital interests of these war agitators, was beaten and destroyed.
I believed under these circumstances to owe it to our own German folk and to countless, in themselves likewise decent as well an innocent, human beings of the other world to direct anew an appeal to the insight and the conscience of the other statesmen. On October 6, 1939, I hence stated again that Germany had demanded something neither from England nor from France, nor did it want to demand, that the continuation of the war was insanity, that, above all, the terror of modern weapons of war, such as they would one day become active, had to destroy broad areas. I warned against the war of heavy and far-ranging artillery against civilian towns in the knowledge that from this could come only the mutual destruction of deep stretches of land. I pointed out, above all, that the employment of the airforce with its far-range effect had to lead to the destruction of everything which centuries of laborious work had built and created as cultural assets in Europe.
But just as my appeal of September I, 1939 had already remained futile, so did the new one as well fall to a downright indignant rejection. The British war agitators and their Jewish-capitalist backers had for my appeal to humanitarianism no other explanation than the presumption of the presence of a German weakness. One assured the folks in England and in France that Germany trembled before the conflict in spring 1940 and gladly wanted to conclude peace out of fear of the destruction now facing it. But one declared that such a peace must not come under any circumstances, until the German Reich was crushed and the German human beings were so badly beaten and impoverished that they would finally stand at the field kitchens of their enemies in order to beg there for something to eat.
Already back then, the Norwegian government, blinded by Mr. Churchill’s prophecies presented with brazen face, began to play with the idea of contributing to Germany’s destruction by way of the toleration of the occupation of Norwegian harbors and of the Swedish ore region. So sure did Mr. Churchill and Paul Reynaud finally become of the success of their new attack, that they - be it out of frivolousness or under the influence of alcohol - believed they no longer had to keep their intentions secret. The German government owed back then to the talkativeness of both gentlemen the knowledge of the plans forged against the Reich, but the German folk delivered its perhaps most decisive counterblow in this war. For the British attack against Norway was without doubt for the Reich the most ominous action. A few weeks later, this threat was banished. One of the most daring deeds of arms in the military history of all times thwarted the attack by the English and French armies against the right flank of our European position. This so completely successful German defense led to such a strengthening of our European position that strategically it cannot at all be valued highly enough. Immediately after the failure of these plans, increased pressure from the English war agitators set in on Belgium and Holland. The goal was now - after the attack against ore import had failed through the pulling along of the Belgian-Dutch states, to advance the front to the Rhine and thereby to threaten and neutralize the sites processing the ore.
On May 10th of the past year, the perhaps most memorable struggle in German history at all began. In a few days, the French fronts were broken up and the prerequisite for that operation created, which led to the greatest battles of annihilation in world history. So France collapsed. Belgium and Holland were occupied, the British formations left the European continent beaten up and without weapons.
On July 19, 1940, I thereupon summoned the German Reichstag for the third time for that great settling of accounts, which you all still remember. The session provided me with the opportunity to bestow that expression to the nation’s gratitude to its soldiers that corresponded to the greatness of the events. But I made use of this meeting as well in order to once more admonish the world to peace. I allowed no doubt to arise that my hopes in this direction, on the basis of experience, could only be slight. For the men who had wanted the war did not act, after all, according to any ideal conviction. Behind them stood as driving force Jewish-democratic capitalism, to which they were obligated and into whose hands they had hence fallen. But these billions in capital already laid down, because invested, by these war interested parties screamed for interest and amortization. Hence even the long duration of the war did not terrify them, rather, quite the opposite, it is desired by them. For this capital, in the form of factories and machines, needs time to get running, and especially time to pour out the expected profits.
Hence nothing is more hated from the start by these Jewish-democratic war interested parties than the idea that an appeal to the reason of the folks could perhaps still at the last minute manage to end the war without further bloodshed and thereby limit the profits of their invested billions.
Just as I foresaw and predicted it back then, so did it come. My peace offer was presented as sign of fear and cowardice. The European and American war agitators again managed to fog the reason of the broad masses, who could have no profit from this war, to awaken new hopes through deceitful portrayals and thereby finally, by means of the public opinion directed by their press, to obligate the folks anew for a continuation of the fight. My warnings, as well against the application of the night bombing war against the civilian population promoted by Mr. Churchill, was interpreted only as sign of German impotence. This bloodiest dilettante in the history of all times believed in earnest he could view the German Luftwaffe’s months of restraint only as proof of its inability to be able to fly at night. So this man had the British folk lied to for months through his paid writers that the British airforce alone as sole one is in the position to wage war in such a manner, and that one had hence found the means in order to beat down the Reich through the ruthless war by the English airforce against the civilian population in combination with the hunger blockade. I had again and again warned against precisely this, and indeed for over 3 ½ months. That these warnings remained without influence on Mr. Churchill, does not surprise me. What do the lives of others mean to this man? What does culture mean to him, what do works of construction mean to him? Already at the beginning of the war, after all, he said that we wants his war, even if England’s cities should sink into soot and ash in the process.
He has now gotten this war. My assurance that, from a certain moment on, we would retaliate for every bomb - if necessary - a hundredfold, was not able to move this man to even just reflect about the criminality of his action. He declares that this does not impress him, yes, he even assures us that the British folk as well really looked at him with beaming gaiety after such bomb attacks, so that he has again and again returned to London strengthened anew! It may be that Mr. Churchill was thus strengthened anew in his, in itself firm, decision to continue the war along this path as well. But we are no less determined to strike back for every bomb, in the future as well, if necessary, with a hundred, and indeed for so long until the British folk rids itself of this criminal and his methods.
And if Mr. Churchill from time to time believes he must reinforce the might and penetration of his war through propaganda, then we are ready to finally begin the war along this path as well. The appeal by this fool and his footmen to the German folk on the occasion of precisely May 1st to abandon me, can only be explained either through a paralytic illness or with the delusion of the drunkard. From this abnormal mental state also stems the decision to transform the Balkans into a war theater. Like a lunatic, this man, for soon five years, runs through Europe and seeks something that could burn. Unfortunately, paid elements are again and again found who open their lands’ gates to this international arsonist.
After he had managed, over the course of the winter, to dictate to the British folk, through a cloud of claims and swindles, the opinion that the German Reich was exhausted by the campaign of the previous year, totally at the end of its strength, he now saw himself obligated, in order to prevent the awakening, to start a new conflagration in Europe. In the process, he returned to that project, which hovered before him already in autumn 1939 and spring 1940. You remember, my delegates, men of the Reichstag, the published documents of La Charite, in which the attempt was revealed, already in the winter of 1939/40, to turn the Balkans into a European theater of war. The most primary arrangers of this enterprise were back then Mr. Churchill, Halifax, Daladier, Paul Reynaud, General Weygand and General Gamelin.
As is seen in these files, one reckoned with the possibility, in the event of the success of this assassination attempt against peace in Europe’s southeast, to be able to mobilize about 100 divisions for England’s interests. The abrupt collapse on May and June of the past year initially brought this plan as well to dormancy. Only, already in the autumn of the past year, Mr. Churchill began anew to draw this problem into the realm of his considerations. If this attempt had now become more difficult, then because a change took place in the Balkans itself, in that, due to a change in Romania, this state was definitively eliminated for England. The new Romania under the leadership of General Antonescu began to practice an exclusively Romanian policy, without regard for the hopes of the British war interested parties. In addition, there came the stance of Germany itself.
If I, my delegates, today talk about this problem, then I wish to first provide a brief portrayal of the goals of German Balkan policy, such as I envision it, and how we endeavor to achieve it:
First. The German Reich pursued in the Balkans - since always - no territorial and also no selfish political interests. This means: the German Reich was not interested at all, for whatever egotistical reasons, in the questions of the territorial problems and internal conditions in these states.
Second. The German Reich has, however, endeavored to establish, precisely with these states, close economic relations and to deepen them. But this lies not only in the interest of the Reich, rather also in the interests of these lands themselves. For: if the national economies of two trade partners supplement each other anywhere, then this was and is the case between the Balkan states and Germany. Germany is an industrial state and needs agricultural products and raw materials. The Balkan states are agricultural and raw material regions and need industrial products. From this invariably results the possibility of an extraordinarily fruitful expansion of the reciprocal economic relations. If English or American circles wanted to see in this an unjustifiable penetration of the Balkans by Germany, then this was an equally dumb as impertinent presumptiveness. For each state will build its economic policy according its own folkish interests and not according to the interests of foreign, rootless Jewish-democratic capitalists. Furthermore: both England as well as America could appear in these regions at most as sellers, but never as buyers themselves. But the whole national economic limitation of capitalist democrats is needed in order to imagine that states can exist in the long-run, if they are obligated to buy from somebody, who himself neither wants to buy something nor can buy something from them.
Germany, however, does not only sell to the Balkans, rather it is, above all, also the biggest buyer there. And indeed, a permanent and solid buyer, who pays for the products of the Balkan peasants with the work of the German industrial worker and not with fraudulent currencies and foreign bills, which already for years suffered from a devaluation become chronic.
So it was not surprising, if - as already mentioned - Germany became the biggest trade partner of the Balkan states. This hence also laid not only in the German interest, rather equally so in the interest of the Balkan folks themselves, and only the purely capitalist oriented brains of our Jewish democracies can claim that, if a state delivers machines to another, it thereby dominates the other state. In truth, such a claim could then always be the opposite one. Yes, one can more easily renounce machines than food and raw materials, whereby the partner who receives grain or raw materials for his machines is more bound than the recipient of the industrial products. No! There existed in this business neither victor nor defeated, rather there were only participants, and the German Reich of the National Socialist revolution has put its whole ambition into being a decent participant, this means: to pay with decent solid wares and not with democratic swindle paper.
Third. In view of this, the German Reich, if one wants to speak at all of political interests, has had only one interest, namely to see the trade partner internally healthy and strong. The German Reich has hence done everything, in order, through its influence and through its help, through word and deed, to assist these lands in the securing of their own existence, of their internal order, without regard for their particular forms of government.
The following of these viewpoints also actually led to not only increasing prosperity in these lands, rather also to a gradually developing reciprocal trust.
All the greater was the effort, by the world arsonist Churchill, to interrupt this peaceful development and the unabashed dictate of an, in itself totally worthless, British promise of help, British guarantees etc., to carry into this pacified European region the elements of unrest, of insecurity and, finally, of conflict. In the process, he found support among all those obscure manifestations, who, be it economically, be it ideally, standing under British influence, were ready to put the interests of their own folks behind the wishes of their material and spiritual employers. With these “guarantees”, the Romanian state was first captured and then, above all, the Greek. That behind these guarantees no kind of power at all stood to provide real help, rather that it was only about tempting states to the track of precipitous British interests, may meanwhile probably already be sufficiently proven. Romania had to pay bitterly for its guarantee, which was by intent supposed to alienate it from the Axis powers.
Greece, which needed precisely this guarantee the least, was likewise ready to follow the English call-note, to link its fate to that of the money-giver and employer of its royal master. For I must also say still today - I believe I owe this to the historical truth - to make a distinction between the Greek folk and that thin stratum of a spoiled leadership, which, inspired by a pro-English king, had an eye less on the genuine tasks of Greek state leadership than it instead made the goals of British war policy its own. I uprightly regretted this. It was for me as a German, who already through the education in his youth as well as through his later life profession, possessed the deepest admiration for the culture and the art of a land from which the first light of human beauty and dignity emanated, very difficult and bitter to see this development and not be able to undertake anything against it. We had, through the files of La Chatire, gotten insight into the doings of those forces that sooner or later had to lead the Greek state only into immeasurable misfortune. In the late summer of the past year, Mr. Churchill managed to so embed the Platonic guarantee promise to Greece into the heads of certain circles that a whole series of continuous neutrality violations could be derived from it. Above all, Italy was affected by it. It hence also felt itself motivated, in October 1940, to present proposals to the Greek government and to demand guarantees that seemed suited to put an end to these conditions unbearable for Italy.
Standing under British influence, this request experienced a brusque rejection and hence the Balkan’s peace its end. The approaching disfavor of the weather, snow, storm and rain, in combination with - I must state this for the sake of historical justice - a completely brave resistance by the Greek soldiers, gave the Athens government sufficient time to consider the consequences of its unfortunate decision and to look around for possibilities for a reasonable solution to the situation.
In the faint hope of perhaps still being able to contribute something to a clarification of the issue, Germany, for its part, had not severed relations with Greece. But already back then, I had to dutifully point out before the whole world that we would not passively look on at the return of the old Salonika idea of the World War. Unfortunately, my warning, that if the Englishman would entrench himself anywhere in Europe, we were determined to momentarily drive him back to the sea, was not taken seriously enough. So we could see over the course of this winter how England began to an increasing degree to expand bases for the formation of such a new Salonika army. One began with the construction of air bases, first acquired the necessary ground organizations in the conviction that the occupation of the bases themselves could then happen very quickly. Finally, in constant material transports, came the equipment for the army, which - according to the view and insight of Mr. Churchill - was then itself to be brought to Greece over the course of a few weeks. As already mentioned, my delegates, this did not remain hidden from us. We looked on at the whole odd activity for months, even though with restraint.
The setback that the Italian army suffered in North Africa, as a result of a technical inferiority in tank defense and in the tank arm itself, finally led Mr. Churchill to the conviction that the moment had now come to shift the theater of war from Libya to Greece. He ordered the shipping out of the still available tanks as well as the infantry divisions consisting primarily of Australians and New Zealanders, and was convinced that he could now start that coup that, with one blow, would set the Balkans on fire.
Mr. Churchill has thereby strategically made one of the big-gest mistakes of this war.
Since doubt about England’s intention to establish itself in the Balkans was no longer possible, I initiated the necessary steps in order, on Germany’s part as well, to ready, move by move, those forces that were necessary in order to be able to immediately oppose any possible mischief from this gentleman. I must expressly state here that this was not directed against Greece. II Duce himself never asked me to put even one German division at his disposal for this case. He was of the conviction that, with the arrival of the good season, the fight against Greece would quickly lead to a success one way or another. I myself was of the same opinion. Hence the assembly of the German troops was not about help for Italy against Greece, rather a preventive measure against the British attempt, covered by the noise of the Italian-Greek war, to secretly nest in the Balkans in order to from there, following the example of the Salonika Army of the World War, bring about a decision, but above all, in order to thereby draw more forces into the vortex of the war.
This hope was in the process based, among others things, on two states: on Turkey and on Yugoslavia. Precisely with these two states, however, I have endeavored since the years of the rise to power to bring about a close cooperation based on economic expediencies.
Yugoslavia, insofar as the Serbian core was concerned, had been our opponent in the World War. Yes, the World War had taken its start from Belgrade. Nonetheless, in the German folk, which by nature is not resentful, no kind of hatred against it is present.
Turkey was our ally in the World War. Its unfortunate outcome rests just as heavily on this land as on us ourselves. The great brilliant creator of young Turkey provided as first a wonderful example for the uprising of the ally back then abandoned by good fortune and so horribly struck by fate. While Turkey, thanks to the realistic stance of its state leadership, maintained the independence of its own decision, Yugoslavia fell victim to the British intrigues.
My delegates! Men of the German Reichstag!
Most of you, above all, you, my old party comrades, know how much I have endeavored to establish between Germany and Yugoslavia honest relations of understanding, yes, of friendship. I have worked on it for years. I believed to see myself supported in the process by individual representatives of this land, who, like me, seemed to promise themselves only benefit from a closer cooperation of both our states. When, as a result of the British intrigues, the threat neared the Balkans to sooner or later likewise be pulled into the war, it was really my endeavor to do everything in order to protect Yugoslavia from such a dangerous entanglement. Our Foreign Minister, party comrade Ribbentrop, in this sense again and again, with the patience and brilliant tenacity that is his own, in numerous meetings and conferences pointed out the expediency, yes necessity, to keep at least this part of Europe out of the unholy war. In this sense, he presented proposals to the Yugoslavia government that were so splendid and loyal that finally, in the Yugoslavian state of back then as well, the voices seemed to increase which spoke for such a close cooperation. It is hence totally correct, if Mister Halifax declares that it is not the German intention to bring about a war in the Balkans. Yes, it is correct that, conversely, it was our honest endeavor, along the path of the beginning of a closer cooperation with Yugoslavia, to perhaps even achieve the opportunity for a settlement of the conflict with Greece bearable for the justified Italian wishes. Il Duce had not only consented to the attempt to bring Yugoslavia into a closer community of interest for our peace goals, rather supported it with all means. So it finally became possible to move the Yugoslavian government to join the Axis Pact, which placed no demands at all on Yugoslavia, rather offered this land only advantages. For I must state this today for the sake of the historical truth, that in this pact and through the additional treaty connected with it, Yugoslavia was obligated to no kind of assistance. Yes, quite the opposite! It obtained from the Axis Pact the solemn assurance to not only not be approached for any assistance, rather we were ready to even renounce the cross-transport of war material from the beginning on. Beyond that, however, Yugoslavia had obtained upon its government’s substantiated demand the assurance, in the event of territorial changes in the Balkans, to receive access to the Aegean Sea under Yugoslavian sovereignty, which, among other things, was supposed to also encompass the city of Salonika. So a pact was signed on March 25lh of this year in Vienna, which offered the Yugoslavian state the greatest future and could secure the Balkans peace. You will understand, my delegates, that I left the beautiful Danube city on this day with a genuinely happy feeling, not only, because an almost eight year long foreign policy work seemed to fetch its reward, no, I also believed that thereby perhaps, even at the last minute, German intervention in the Balkans could become totally superfluous.
Two days later, the news shook us of the coup d’etat by a handful of paid rebels, who carried out that deed, which moved the British Prime Minister to the shout of jubilation that he finally had something good to report. You will further understand, my delegates, that I now, however, immediately gave the order for the attack. For it is impossible that one deals with the German Reich in this manner.
One cannot ask for friendship for years, one also can conclude a treaty that benefits only the other, and then experience that this treaty is not only broken overnight, rather that, as reply, the representative of the German Reich is insulted, the military attaché threatened, the aide of this military attaché injured, numerous other Germans are mistreated, that one demolishes offices, schools, exhibit rooms etc., destroys the residences of Reich Germans and once again hunts and kills ethnic Germans like animals without rights. God knows, I wanted peace. But if a Minister Halifax declares with scorn that one knew this very well and precisely because of this forced us to fight, so, as if this were a special triumph of British statecraft, then I can do nothing else against this maliciousness than to take the Reich’s interest under protection with the means that, thank God, stand at our disposal.
I could make this decision at this moment all the more calmly as I knew myself in agreement in the process:
first, with Bulgaria’s thinking and bearing, remaining unchanged, equally loyal to the German Reich, as well as
second, with the now likewise rightfully outraged view of Hungary. Both our old World War allies had to feel this act as a provocation, emanating from a state, which already once had put all of Europe to the torch and as a result had such unspeakably great suffering for Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria on its conscience.
The general operation instructions issued by me still on March 27th through the High Command of the Wehrmacht placed the army and the Luftwaffe before a very difficult task. Literally from out of one’s sleeve, a new, additional large-sale assembly had to be initiated, shifts of already arrived formations take place, the material supply secured, the Luftwaffe, furthermore, move to numerous improvised bases, which, in part, initially still stood under water. Without Hungary’s understanding help as well as Romania’s completely loyal bearing, it would have been very difficult for us to succeed in the envisioned short period to execute the ordered dispositions. As date for the attack, April 6th was determined by me. On this day, the southern group standing in Bulgaria was attack-ready. The action of additional armies was supposed to take place immediately after the creation of their readiness. Envisioned as dates were April 8th, 10th and 11th. The idea of the operations was:
First. To advance with one army from the Bulgarian region against Greek Thrace in the direction of the Aegean Sea. The emphasis laid on the right flank, where, amidst utilization of mountain divisions and a panzer division, the breakthrough to Salonika was supposed to be forced.
Second. To push through with a second army in the direction of Skopje, with the goal of establishing on the quickest path a link with the Italian forces breaking forth from Albania.
Both these operations were supposed to begin on April 6th.
Third. The further operation, beginning on the 8th, envisioned the breakthrough by an army from Bulgaria in the general direction of Nisch with the goal of reaching the area around Belgrade. In coordination with it, a German corps was supposed to occupy the Banat on the 10th and thereby arrive from the north in front of Belgrade.
Fourth. On the 11th, an army marching up from Carinthia-Styria was supposed to assemble for the attack in the general direction of Agram-Serajewo and Belgrade.
In connection with this, free agreements had been made with our allies Italy and Hungary. The Italian armed forces had the intention to advance from their Julian front along the coasts in the general direction of Albania, from Albania via Skutari towards these formations to offer them their hand, likewise to break through the Yugoslavian border positions on the Yugoslavian-Albanian border across from Skopje, in order to gain linkage with the German army advancing there, and, finally, to break through the Greek front in Albania itself and, if possible, to push extensively toward the sea. In connection with this, the Dalmatian and Jonic islands were supposed to be occupied, all other strong points taken. Agreements were also made between both airforces about the cooperation.
The leadership of the German armies employed against Macedonia and Greece laid in the hands of General Field Marshal von List, who had already highly proven himself in the previous campaigns. This time as well, and under the most difficult conditions, he solved the tasks put to him in a genuinely superior manner.
The forces advancing from the Reich’s southwest and from Hungary against Yugoslavia stood under the command of Senior General von Weichs. He as well reached his goals in the shortest time with the formations subordinated to him.
So the armies of the regular army and of the Waffen-SS, under the overall command of General Field Marshal von Brauchitsch and the Chief of the General Staff, Senior General Halder, forced the Greek-Thracian army to capitulation already after five days, established the link with the Italian forces advancing from Albania, brought Salonika firmly into German hands, after 12 days forced Serbia to capitulation and thereby created the prerequisite for the just as hard as glorious breakthrough via Larissa to Athens. This operation found it crowning in the occupation of the Peloponnesus and numerous Greek islands.
The High Commend of the Wehrmacht will undertake an extensive treatment of these genuinely historical achievements, whose chief General Field Marshal Keitel and General Jodi, as always, worked splendidly in these operations as well. The Luftwaffe, employed under the personal overall command of the Reich Marshal and his Chief of the General Staff General Jeschonnek, stood organized in two large groups under the commands of Senior General Löhr and General von Richthofen. Their task was: first, to smash the enemy airforce, destroy its ground organizations,second, to attack the conspirator central Belgrade in all militarily important objects and thereby neutralize it from the start, third, to help the fighting German troops in the most active employment of fliers and anti-aircraft guns everywhere to crush the opponent’s resistance, to hamper his flight, to prevent - if somehow possible - his boarding. To provide additional important assistance to the army’s tasks through the employment of glider troops and paratroopers.
In this campaign, the German Wehrmacht outdid even itself. Already the army’s assembly offered huge difficulties. The attack against, in part, most strongly fortified positions, especially on the Thracian front, belonged to the most difficult tasks to which an army can be put. In this campaign, panzer formations fought in a terrain that as previously considered totally impassable for the tank. Motorized formations produced achievements, which in themselves represent the highest praise, for the man, for his ability, his courage, his endurance, but also for the quality of the material. Infantry, panzer and mountain divisions as well as the formations of the Waffen-SS competed with one another in untiring action in valor and devotion, in endurance and in tenacity, in the taking of the ordered goals. The general staffs work was again truly splendid.
The Luftwaffe, however, has added to its glory, already become historical, a new special one: with a sacrifice and a daring that only the person who knows the difficulties of this terrain can measure, it flew attacks days long under often the worst climatic conditions, which one still a short time ago had considered totally impossible. Anti-aircraft guns, as always, accompanied the infantry and panzer divisions on paths that could hardly be considered pack-horse trails. Hence one can write only one sentence above this campaign: Nothing is impossible for the German soldier!
The drivers of the combat vehicles as well as those of the columns, the driver’s of supply, of the tractors of the artillery and anti-aircraft arm, must be specially mentioned in this theater. In combat against the fortified positions as well as in the construction of bridges and roads, our military engineers earned a special page of glory. The communications troops deserve the highest praise.
Along bottomless paths, across blown up roads, along stone slopes and boulders, along the narrowest cliff paths and through rushing waters, across broken bridges, through towering passes and across barren mountain ridges, this campaign extinguished the war in barely three weeks in two states.
We are aware, in the process, that our allies possess a big share in these successes, that especially Italy’s six month long struggle against Greece, which it endured under the most difficult conditions and the greatest sacrifices, tied up not only the main mass of the Greek formations, rather, above all, weakened them so much that their collapse had in itself already become unavoidable. The Hungarian army as well proved its old military glory again. It occupied the Batschka and marched with motorized formations over the Save.
Historical justice obligates me to state that, among the opponents facing us, especially the Greek soldier likewise fought with the greatest contempt for death. He capitulated only when further resistance was impossible and hence purposeless.
But I am also compelled to now speak of the opponent who is the reason and cause of this struggle. As German and as soldier, I consider it unworthy to ever revile a valiant enemy. But it also seems necessary to me to defend the truth against the shams of a man, who as soldier is a miserable politician and as politician an equally miserable soldier, Mr. Churchill. Mr. Churchill, who started this fight as well, tries, just like in Norway or in Dunkirk, to say something here, too, which sooner or later could perhaps still be twisted around into a success. I find this not honorable, but I find it, with this man, nonetheless understandable. If ever another politician had experienced so many defeats and as soldier so many catastrophes, then he probably would not have remained in office even six months, unless he likewise found himself in possession of that ability that characterizes Mr. Churchill alone, namely the ability to lie with a pious face and to twist the truth for so long until, in the end, even the worst defeats become glorious victories. Mr. Churchill can thereby fog his countrymen, but he cannot eliminate the consequences of his defeats. In Greece, a British army of 60,000 or 70,000 men landed. Before the catastrophe, the same man, by the way, claimed it had been 240,000 men. The goal of this army was to attack Germany from the south, to inflict a defeat on it, and from here to turn the war like in 1918. The helper, once more plunged into misfortune by Churchill - in this case, Yugoslavia - was destroyed barely two weeks after the beginning of the action. The British troops themselves, however, three weeks later in Greece, have either been killed, wounded, captured, drowned or chased away. Those are the facts!
I have hence in this case as well, in my last speech, when I announced that wherever Britons come onto the continent, they would be attacked by us and chased into the sea, predicted more correctly than Mr. Churchill.
He now declares brazen-faced that this war had cost us 75,000 dead, hence more than twice that of the western campaign. Yes, he goes even farther: He has his already rarely intelligent Englishmen informed by one of his paid creatures that the Britons, after they had slain huge masses of Germans, finally turned away out of revulsion against this murder and, so- to-say, withdrew due to this. Therefore: the Australians and New Zealanders would still be in Greece, if the English, in their rare mixture of lion’s courage and child’s softheartedness, had not slain so many Germans that they finally, out of revulsion and horror before their own heroic deeds, withdrew, climbed aboard ships and sailed away. Hence it also came so that we found almost only Australians and New Zealanders as dead or made them prisoners. One can hence say such a thing in a democracy to one’s public.
I will now present to you the results of this campaign in a few short numbers:
Over the course of the operations against Yugoslavia, not counting the soldiers of German ethnicity and the Croats and Macedonians, who were usually immediately released again, in terms of purely Serbian prisoners, there were taken:
6, 298 officers
337,864 enlisted men
Even these numbers are not final ones, rather represent only the result of previous counts.
The number of Greek prisoners with around
210,000 enlisted men,
is not to be valued the same, since they, insofar as it is about the Greek Macedonian and Epirus Army, were encircled and captured only as a result of the joint German-Italian operations.
The Greek soldiers as well were and are being immediately released in consideration of the general brave bearing of these soldiers.
The number captured English, New Zealander and Australian officers and enlisted men amounts to over 9,000. The booty still cannot be even roughly surveyed at this time. The share falling to us the result of the effect of German weapons, according to the now available figures, is already over ½ million rifles, far more than 1,000 guns, many thousands of machineguns, anti-aircraft weapons, mortars, numerous vehicles and large quantities of ammunition and articles of equipment.
I still want to add here the figures for the enemy tonnage sunk by the Luftwaffe.
There was destroyed:
75 ships with around 400,000 tons.
There was damaged:
147 ships with around 700,000 tons.
These results were achieved through the action of the following German forces:
First. For the operations in the southeast were envisioned overall:
31 full and 2 half divisions.
The assembly of these forces was processed in seven days.
Second. Of these, actually in combat were:
11 infantry and mountain divisions,
6 panzer divisions,
3 full and 2 half motorized divisions of the army and of the Waffen-SS.
Third. Of these formations, 11 were in action for more than 6 combat days and 10 less than 6 days.
Fourth. 11 formations did not see action at all.
Fifth. Already before the conclusion of the operations in Greece, 3 formations could be withdrawn,
3 additional formations, because no longer needed, were no longer transported,
2 formations were held back in the loading areas for the same reason.
Sixth. Only five formations stood in combat with the English. Of the listed panzer divisions, however, always only 2 were employed. The third was held back already over the course of the operations and likewise withdrawn as no longer needed.
I hence state here in conclusion that in the fight against Englishmen, New Zealanders and Australians, there were practically only 2 panzer divisions, I mountain division and the Leibstandarte [bodyguard] regiment.
The losses of the German army and of the German Luftwaffe as well as of the Waffen-SS are in this campaign the smallest that we have previously had.
The German Wehrmacht has lost in the fight against Yugoslavia, Greece and Great Britain in Greece:
Army and Waffen-SS:
57 officers and
1,042 non-commissioned officers and enlisted men dead,
181 officers and
3,571 non-commissioned officers and enlisted men wounded,
13 officers and
372 non-commissioned officers and enlisted men missing.
10 officers and
42 non-commissioned officers and enlisted men dead,
36 officers and
104 non-commissioned officers and enlisted men missing.
I can again only say that we feel the weight of the sacrifice for the individually affected families, that the whole German folk thanks them from the bottom of its heart. Seen overall, however, these losses are so small that they probably represent the highest justification: first, for the planning and timing of this campaign, second, for the leadership of the operations and third, for their execution.
It is the beyond any comparison sublime training of our leadership corps, the great ability of our soldiers, the superiority of our equipment, the quality of our munitions, as well as the ice-cold valor of the individual man, which allowed us to win such a historically genuinely decisive success with such small sacrifices, and this at the same time when both allied Axis Powers could likewise in North Africa in a few weeks nullify the so-called success of the British forces there.
For we cannot separate these actions, tied to the name of General Rommel, of the German Afrika Korps and of the Italian combat forces in the fight for Cyrenaika, from the action in the Balkans. One of the most bungling strategists lost two theaters of war here with a single blow. That this man, who in any other folk would come before a military tribunal, experiences in his land new admiration as Prime Minister, is not the sign of the ancient greatness of Roman senators toward their honorably defeated field commanders, rather the proof of that eternal blindness with which the gods strike those whom they want to destroy.
The consequences of this campaign are extraordinary ones. In view of the possibilities proven by the circumstances that in Belgrade a small clique of conspirators could again and again be in the position to ignite a conflagration in the interest of extra-continental interests, it means a relaxation for all of Europe that this threat is now definitively eliminated. The Danube, as important commerce route, is thereby secured for all future against further acts of sabotage. Commerce itself has already again resumed to its full extent.
The German Reich, other than a modest correction of its borders damaged through the World War’s outcome, has no special territorial interests in these regions. Politically, we are only interested in the securing of peace in this region, economically in the establishment of an order that makes it possible, for the benefit of all, to promote the production of goods and to again initiate the exchange of wares
But it lies only in the sense of a higher justice, if, in the process, those interests as well find their consideration, which are based on the ethnographic, historic and also economic conditions.
In this development, however, Germany is only an interested observer. We welcome it that our allies are now able to satisfy their just national and political ambitions. We are happy about the emergence of an independent Croatian state, with which we hope, for all future, to be able to cooperate in friendship and trust. Especially in the economic area, this can only lead to reciprocal benefit. That the Hungarian folk can carry out an additional step in the revision of the unjust peace treaties once forced upon it, fills us with heartfelt empathy. That the injustice once inflicted on Bulgaria can again be make up for, moves us especially in the process, for in that the German folk enabled this revision through its weapons, we believe we have relieved ourselves of a historic debt of gratitude toward our loyal companion in arms from the Great War. But that the Italy allied with us politically and economically obtains the influence in the living space owed solely to it, it has itself more than earned through the very great blood burden that it had to bear since October of the past year for the future of the Axis. We are filled with sincere sympathy for the defeated, unfortunate Greek folk. It is the victim of its king and of a small, blinded leadership stratum. However, it fought so bravely that the respect of its enemies as well cannot be denied it.
But the Serbian folk will perhaps draw the solely correct conclusion from this its catastrophe, that rebellious officers are only a misfortune for this land.
But all the affected will perhaps this time no longer so quickly forget the so totally noble manner in which the state and its leaders, for whom they had the honor to be allowed to sacrifice themselves, wrote them off, according to the beautiful principle, that, when the Moor has done his duty, then he may comfortably leave. The sacrifice of small folks has probably seldom been remembered with greater cynicism than in this case. For to agitate nations as helpers into a war and then to declare that, from the start, one had not believed in success, rather that one only did it in order to force another to fight, who did not want to fight in this theater, is probably the most shameless thing that world history is able to offer. Only an age, in which capitalist money greed and political hypocrisy combine so like this is the case in our democracies today, can feel such behavior so little dishonoring that its responsible makers may even still publicly brag about it.
My delegates! Men of the Reichstag!
When we survey this campaign, then we first become so really aware what significance is owed to the soldier’s best training, but also to their best equipment. So much blood has been spared only because beforehand very much sweat was sacrificed. The ability that was taught to our soldiers in constant laborious training led precisely in this campaign to great benefit. With a minimum of blood, thanks to the training, thanks to the ability of the German soldier and of his leadership, a maximum of effect is achieved. Just the minimum in sacrifice also requires a maximum in weapons, in quality of these weapons, in munitions and in the quality of these munitions. I do no belong to the people who see in war only a material problem, for material is dead, the man alone enlivens it. Only even the best soldier must fail, if a poor or insufficient weapon is put into his hands. The life of many of our sons hence lies in the hands of the homeland. Its sweat as well can spare the blood of our soldiers. It is hence the highest duty of the German folk, in view of our fighting front, to do everything in order to give it the weapons that it needs. For: aside from all the other causes which once led to the loss of the World War, in the end, it was nonetheless also the lack of a new weapon for the attack, already back then become war decisive, and the lack of the weapon suited for the defense. What our soldiers have able to perform, they have proven precisely in this campaign. The homeland can never measure the sum of the exertions individually as well as overall. What they have also contributed in their own work energy to the nation in the struggle of fate, stands in no ratio to what the millions of our men at the fronts have performed, had to perform and will perform. And I do want that another state can ever exceed us in this performance. Yes, not only that, we are all obligated to take care that the head-start that we possess does not get smaller, rather that it constantly becomes bigger. This is not a problem of capital, rather exclusively a problem of work and hence of our will and of our abilities. I believe that, in the process, above all, the German girl and the German women as well can make an additional contribution. For millions of German women in the countryside are on the field and must there replace the men in the hardest work. Millions of German women and girls work in factories, workshops and offices and do their part there as well. It is not unjust, if we demand that many more hundreds of thousands take these millions of working German women as an example. For even though we are today in the position to mobilize half of Europe in terms of work for this struggle, our own folk, however, stands as the most valuable substance in this work process by far at the top. If today the democratic agitators of a land to which the German folk has never done anything, and whose claim that it had the intention to do something to them is a downright absurd lie, threaten to suffocate the National Socialist folk state uncomfortable for them with the might of their capitalist system, of their material production, then there can be only one single reply to this: The German folk will never again experience a year 1918, rather rise to an even higher performance in all areas of national resistance. It will affirm ever more fanatically the principle that I pronounced already in my first Reichstag speech, that neither force of arms nor time will ever be able to bend, let alone break, us. It will hence hold firm to the superiority of its equipment and under no circumstances allow the head-start to diminish. If the German now already possesses the best weapons in the world, then he will get even better ones already in this and in the next year. If now already the material side of the fight, in contrast to the World War, does not burden him, then in the future, this will really not get worse, rather become even more favorable. We are hence obligated to integrate the work energy of the whole nation into this mightiest armaments process in world history. The measures necessary for it will be taken with National Socialist determination and thoroughness. Furthermore, I can only give you, my delegates, men of the Reichstag, the assurance that I look into the future full of calm and highest confidence. The German Reich and its allies represent militarily, economically and, above all, morally, a power that is superior to any thinkable coalition in the world. But the German Wehrmacht will always intervene then and there, when and where it is necessary. The German folk will, in the process, accompany with its trust the path of its soldiers. It knows that the war of this world is only the result of the greed of a few international war agitators and of the hatred of the Jewish democracies standing behind it. These criminals have refused every German readiness for peace, because it contradicts their capitalist interests. But whoever then, for such a satanic beginnings, dares to take the word “God” in his mouth, blasphemies against Providence and can, according to our deepest faith, harvest nothing else than annihilation. So we fight today, beyond that, not only for our own existence, rather for the liberation of the world from a conspiracy, which in unscrupulous manner subordinates the happiness of folks and human beings to its own base egoism. The National Socialist movement once, in the interior in a 15 year struggle, defeated these enemies, the National Socialist state will also be able to defend itself against them eternally. The year 1941 should and will go down into history as the greatest year of our rebellion! The German Wehrmacht, army, navy and Luftwaffe will, in this sense, fulfill their highest duty.
Let me now at this point express my gratitude to the German soldiers, who in the new campaign have again performed such a magnificent thing, but also gratitude to the Germany folk in city and on the land, which through its industriousness has helped to create the prerequisites for these successes, especially thank those folk comrades, who have fallen as victims of this war or are wounded and those who as family members mourn these victims. If in all this we look to the almighty guide of fates, then we want to be especially thankful that he made it possible to achieve these great successes with so little blood. We can only ask him in the future as well not to abandon our folk. Whatever lies in our powers to defend ourselves against our enemies, this should happen. In this land, a spirit has come alive, which the world has previously never yet overcome! A devout feeling of community has embraced our folk! What we have won after such a long false path of internal fighting and what makes us so proud compared to other folks, no power on earth will still tear away from us. In the age of the Jewish-capitalist delusion of gold, of profession and of class, the National Socialist folk state stands like an iron monument of social justice and clear reason. It will outlast not only this war, rather the coming millennium!