Hitler addresses Reichswehr officers (1933)

Two days after becoming chancellor, Adolf Hitler dined with officers of the Reichswehr general staff. Afterwards, he delivered a 150-minute speech. The following notes on Hitler’s speech were taken by one of the officers present:

“The sole aim of general policy: the regaining of political power. The whole State administration must be geared to this end (all departments!).

1. Domestic policy… Complete reversal of the present domestic political situation in Germany. Refusal to tolerate any attitude contrary to this aim. Those who will not be converted must be broken. Extermination of Marxism, root and branch. Adjustment of youth and of the whole people to the idea that only a struggle can save us; everything else must be subordinated to this idea. (Realized in the millions of the Nazi movement. It will grow.) Training of youth and strengthening of the will to fight with all means. Death penalty for high treason. The tightest authoritarian State leadership. The removal of the cancer of democracy!

2. Foreign policy… Battle against Versailles. Equality of rights in Geneva but useless if people do not have the will to fight. Concern for our allies.

3. Economics… The farmer must be saved! Settlement policy! Further increase of exports useless. The capacity of the world is limited and production is forced up everywhere. The only possibility of re-employing part of the army of unemployed lies in settlement. But time is needed and radical improvement not to be expected since living space too small for German people.

4. Building up of the armed forces… Most important prerequisite for achieving the goal of regaining political power. National Service must be reintroduced. But beforehand the State leadership must ensure that the men subject to military service are not, even before their entry, poisoned by pacifism, Marxism, Bolshevism or do not fall victim to this poison after their service.

How should political power be used when it has been gained? That is impossible to say yet. Perhaps fighting for new export possibilities, perhaps the conquest of new living space in the east and its ruthless Germanization. Certain that only through political power and struggle can the present economic circumstances be changed…

Armed forces are the most important and most socialist institution of the State. They must stay unpolitical and impartial. The internal struggle is not their affair but that of the Nazi organizations. Unlike in Italy, no fusion of the Army and SA is intended.”