Hitler’s trial speech (1924)


Hitler’s trial speech, given in Munich in February 1924 during his trial for high treason:


“It may seem strange that a man who, as a soldier, was for six years accustomed to blind obedience, should suddenly come into conflict with the State and its Constitution. The reasons for this stem from the days of my youth. When I was seventeen I came to Vienna, and there I learned to study and observe three important problems: the social question, the race problem, and, finally, the Marxist movement. I left Vienna a confirmed anti-Semite, a deadly foe of the whole Marxist world outlook, and pan-German in my political principles. And since I knew that the German destiny of German-Austria would not be fought out in the Austrian Army alone, but in the German and Austrian Army, I enlisted in the German Army….

When in November 1918 it was announced that the revolution had broken out in Munich, I at first could not believe it. At that time there arose in me the determination to devote myself to politics. I went through the period of the Soviets, and as a result of my opposition to them I came in contact with the National Socialist German Workers Movement, which at that time numbered six members. I was the seventh.

I attached myself to this party, and not to one of the great political parties where my prospects would have been better, because none of the other parties understood or even recognized the decisive and fundamental problem. For us it was a filthy crime against the German people, a stab in the back of the German nation. The middle class could not take up arms against it because the middle class did not understand the whole revolution. It was necessary to start a new struggle and to incite against the Marxist despoilers of the people who did not even belong to the German race – which is where the Marxist problem is linked with the race problem, forming one of the most difficult and profound questions of our time…

In 1923 came the great and bitter scandal. As early as 1922 we had seen that the Ruhr was about to be lost. France’s aim was not merely to weaken Germany, to keep her from obtaining supremacy, but to break her up into small states so that she [France] would be able to hold the Rhine frontier. After all the government’s reiterations of our weakness, we knew that on top of the Saar and Upper Silesia we would lose our third coal region, the Ruhr; each loss brought on the next one…

Only burning, ruthless, brutal fanaticism could have saved the situation. The Reich Government should have let the hundreds of thousands of young men who were pouring out of the Ruhr into the Reich under the old colors of black, white and red, flow together in a mighty national wave. Instead, these young people were sent back home. The resistance that was organised was for wages rather than honour; the national resistance was degraded to a paid general strike.

Our youth has but one thought: that the day may come when we shall again be free. I would rather that Germany go Bolshevist and I be hanged than that she should be destroyed by the French rule of the sword…”