Nazi Germany quotations

This collection of Nazi Germany quotations has been selected and compiled by Alpha History authors. It contains quotes from Nazi leaders, contemporaries or historians who specialise in the history of Nazi Germany. If you would like to suggest a quote for inclusion here, please contact Alpha History.

“If today I stand here as a revolutionary, it is as a revolutionary against the Revolution.”
Adolf Hitler, Nazi fuhrer

“I joined the party because I was a revolutionary, not because of any ideological nonsense.”
Hermann Goering, NSDAP leader

“In many ways Nazism was antithetical to what the great mass of Germans said they admired – and certainly to what they paid homage. It was noisy, undisciplined, vainglorious; its leader was a half-educated posturing foreigner. For a decade the National Socialists were regarded as hoodlums, as part of the breakdown of what had been, if anything, an excessively ordered society before.”
Eugene Davidson, historian

“The Nazi Party was, in the early 1920s, but one among many nationalist and volkisch radical political groups. It was catapulted to prominence with the onset of economic recession in the late 1920s… The Nazis owed their spectacular to a combination of two discrete sets of factors: first, their distinctive organisation and strategy; and secondly, the wider socio-economic conditions which created climates of opinion and sets of grievances on which the Nazis could prey.”
Mary Fulbrook, historian

“The NSDAP, as it was renamed on February 24th 1920, at first represented a modest nucleus of war veterans, the unemployed and the lower working classes… the party built its political fortune to the point of attracting wide-ranging support and taking power on the basis of this popular support.”
Enzo Collotti and Valerio Lintner, historians

“Since the inception of the Nazi Party, social scientists have attempted to define its nature in terms of its membership. Scholars have described the party variously as a class movement, a regional movement, an anti-urban revolt against modernity, a generational revolt, even as a collection of losers, cut-throats and criminals.”
Paul Madden, historian

“The repeated claim before the ‘seizure of power’ – that the NSDAP, as a national social-revolutionary movement, and not simply another political party… would create new bonds of unity through its elimination and transcending of the party system, was highly attractive and conveyed much of Nazism’s dynamic appeal.”
Ian Kershaw, historian

“Support for the NSDAP extended far beyond the lower middle class to elements of the socially established Grossburgertum (upper middle class) as well as to sizeable segments of the blue-collar working class. At the height of its electoral popularity in 1932, the NSDAP had managed to transcend the basic cleavages of German political culture, mobilising a mass following that was without precedent in its extraordinary social diversity.”
Theodore Abel, historian

“Nazism seemed to many just an extreme version of what [most Germans] had always believed in or taken for granted. It was nationalistic, respectful of the armed forces, socially conservative, disdainful of laziness, hostile to eccentric or incomprehensive ideas that came from cities, disapproving of homosexuals and other unconventional human types, and avid to achieve ‘greatness’ for Germany. They welcomed parts of the Nazi political and social smorgasbord and told themselves that the rest was less important or was not meant seriously.”
Walter Rinderle and Bernard Norling, historians

“Before total war, Nazism was a pot-pourri. Racialism… and nationalism… jostled shoulders with the socialistic revolutionary conservatism of many members of the Mittelstand (middle class). Romantic ideas came from right-wing youth groups. Hitler could utter the gospel of anti-capitalism to workers and the gospel of profits to businessmen. [It was] a rag-bag of inconsistent and incoherent ideas.”
Walter A. P. Phillips, historian

“What we must fight for is to safeguard the existence and reproduction of our race and our people, the sustenance of our children and the purity of our blood, the freedom and independence of the fatherland, so that our people may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted it by the creator of the universe.”
Adolf Hitler

“It is thus necessary that the individual should finally come to realize that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of the nation, that the position of the individual is conditioned solely by the interests of the nation as a whole.”
Adolf Hitler

“Many of the ‘ideas’ enthusiastically propagated and ruthlessly put into practice by the Nazis predate Hitler’s ‘seizure of power’ and even the founding of the NSDAP … The view of Nazism as an aberration, a society inexplicably gone mad, or taken over by a ‘criminal clique’ against its will, has not been corroborated by the historical evidence.”
David F. Crew, historian

“A ‘Hitler myth’ was cultivated which built on people’s desire for strong leadership, and presented Hitler as an almost God-like figure. Hitler’s image was laboured over in a manner not dissimilar to that of pop stars today. What he wore, what he said, what postures he adopted during speeches were all worked out carefully… Many people began to separate Hitler from the Nazi Party, enabling Hitler’s popularity to remain high whilst the popularity of the Nazi Party fell.”
Alison Kitson, historian

“For their concept of the heroic leader, the Nazis turned once again to volkisch thought and the notion of Fuhrerprinzip, of a mystical figure embodying and guiding the nation’s destiny… The roots and antecedents of such a concept are more complex and derive from many sources: the messianic principle of Christianity, the kings of the Middle Ages, the Nietzschean ‘superman’ of volkisch mythology.”
David Welch, historian

“The people can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders. All you have to do is tell them that they are in danger of being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.”
Hermann Goering

“The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don’t ask for their love; only for their fear.”
Heinrich Himmler

“All of us, who are members of the Germanic peoples, can be happy and thankful that once in thousands of years fate has given us, from among the Germanic peoples, such a genius, a leader, our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler, and you should be happy to be allowed to work with us.”
Heinrich Himmler

“Hitler’s theatricality was linked to his oratorical force. He was persuasive with small groups, but he electrified large audiences.”
Sherree Owens Zalampas, historian

“Hitler’s oratory moved people and appealed to their hopes and dreams. But his speeches malevolently twisted hope into some gnarled ghastly entities, and appealed to the latent, darkest prejudices of Germans.”
Richard M. Perloff, historian

“Within the Nazi Party, the beginnings of a personality cult around Hitler go back to the year before the [Munich] putsch… Outside these small groups of fanatical Bavarian Nazis, Hitler’s image and reputation at this time – so far as the wider German public took any notice of him at all – was little more than that of a vulgar demagogue, capable of drumming up passionate opposition to the government among the Munich mob, but of little else.”
Ian Kershaw (historian)

“Hitler, who founded the Third Reich, who ruled it ruthlessly and often with uncommon shrewdness, who led it to such dizzy heights and such a sorry end, was a person of undoubted, if evil genius. It is true that in the German people, as a mysterious Providence and centuries of experience had moulded them up to that time, he found a natural instrument which he was able to shape to his own sinister ends. But without Adolf Hitler, who was possessed of a demonic personality, a granite will, uncanny instincts, a cold ruthlessness, a remarkable intellect, a soaring imagination and – until the end, when, drunk with power and success, he overreached himself – an amazing capacity to size up people and situations, there almost certainly would never have been a Third Reich.”
William Shirer (historian)

“All Germany was in turmoil. Revolutionaries seized power in the cities of Munich, Hanover and Cologne. One regional German government after another was toppled by workers’ and soldiers’ councils. Adolf Hitler, recuperating in a military hospital, reacted violently to this news. “It became impossible for me to sit still one minute more,” he wrote in Mein Kampf.”
James Giblin

“The idea of a ‘doomed republic’ is difficult to shake off… [but] the fact is, in 1918 the republic’s future was open, its history yet to be determined. Hitler was neither its pre-destined nor its obvious conclusion.”
Anthony McElligott (historian)

“Some commentators have drawn such a stark and gloomy picture of the [Weimar Republic’s] early difficulties that the Republic seems foredoomed to failure from the outset… The conditions in which Weimar democracy were born were certainly not such as to help it flourish; and as it unfolded, it was clearly saddled with a burden of problems, in a range of areas.”
Mary Fulbrook (historian)

“Without the changed conditions, the product of a lost war, a revolution and a pervasive sense of national humiliation, Hitler would have remained a nobody. His main ability by far, as he came to realise during the course of 1919, was that in the prevailing circumstances he could inspire an audience which shared his basic political feelings, by the way he spoke, by the force of his rhetoric, by the very power of his prejudice, by the conviction he conveyed that there was a way out of Germany’s plight.”
Ian Kershaw (historian)

“If there had been a strong democratic sentiment in Germany, Hitler would never have come to power . [Germans] deserved what they got when they went round crying for a hero.”
AJP Taylor (historian)

“A state does not simply fall apart as a result of depression… [Weimar Germany] was not destroyed by economic depression or widespread unemployment, though these naturally contributed to the atmosphere of doom, but because the Weimar Right was resolved to abolish the parliamentary state in favour of a vaguely conceived authoritarian state.”
Sebastian Haffner (historian)

“Hitler was no inexorable product of a German ‘special path’, no logical culmination of long-term trends in specifically German culture and ideology. Nor was he a mere ‘accident’ in the course of German history.”
Ian Kershaw (historian)

“Whoever can conquer the street will one day conquer the state, for every form of power politics and any dictatorship-run state, has its roots in the street.”
Joseph Goebbels

“The SA is, and remains Germany’s destiny.”
Ernst Rohm

“If the enemies of the SA are hoping that the SA will not return from leave, we are ready to let them enjoy the hope for a short time.”
Ernst Rohm

“The fuhrer of the Third Reich has freed the German man from his external humiliation and from the inner weakness caused by Marxism – and has returned him to the ancestral Germanic values of honor, loyalty and courage.”
Conrad Grober (Catholic archbishop)

“Certainly I shall use the police, and most ruthlessly, whenever the German people are hurt. But I refuse the notion that the police are protective troops for Jewish stores. No, the police protect whoever comes into Germany legitimately, but it does not exist for the purpose of protecting Jewish money-lenders.”
Hermann Goering

“Every bullet fired from the barrel of a police pistol was my bullet. If you call that murder, then I am the murderer.”
Hermann Goering

“Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death.”
Adolf Hitler

“We have captured all the positions
And on the heights we have planted the banners of our revolution.
You had imagined that that was all that we wanted
We want more – we want all.
Your hearts are our goal, it is your souls that we want.”
Anonymous NSDAP poet

“Unless a man has talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden. Of what avail is freedom to choose if the self be ineffectual? We join a mass movement to escape individual responsibility, or, in the words of the ardent young Nazi, “to be free from freedom.”
Eric Hoffer (writer)

“Universal education is the most corroding and disintegrating poison that liberalism has ever invented for its own destruction.”
Adolf Hitler

“Education is dangerous – Every educated person is a future enemy.”
Hermann Goering

“The goal of female education must invariably be the future mother.”
Adolf Hitler

“The National Socialist Party will prevent in the future, by force if necessary, all meetings and lectures which are likely to exercise a depressing influence on the German state.”
Adolf Hitler

“When I hear anyone talk of culture, I reach for my revolver.”
Hermann Goering

“In relation to the political decontamination of our public life, the government will embark upon a systematic campaign to restore the nation’s moral and material health. The whole educational system, theatre, film, literature, the press and broadcasting – all these will be used as a means to this end.”
Adolf Hitler

“All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.”
Adolf Hitler

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Joseph Goebbels

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”
Joseph Goebbels

“Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise.”
Adolf Hitler

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”
Joseph Goebbels

“The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.”
Adolf Hitler

“Parallel to the training of the body a struggle against the poisoning of the soul must begin. Our whole public life today is like a hothouse for sexual ideas and simulations. Just look at the bill of fare served up in our movies, vaudeville and theatres, and you will hardly be able to deny that this is not the right kind of food, particularly for the youth. Theater, art, literature, cinema, press, posters, and window displays must be cleansed of all manifestations of our rotting world and placed in the service of a moral, political and cultural idea.”
Adolf Hitler

“Eugenics was central to the entire Nazi enterprise, joined with romantic nativist and racist myths of the pure-bred Nordic. The emphasis on ‘blood’ called for a purifying of the nation’s gene pool, so that Germans could regain the nobility and greatness of their genetically pure forebears.”
Alison Thompson (historian)

“We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.”
Adolf Hitler

“We have no butter… but I ask you, would you rather have butter or guns? Preparedness makes us powerful. Butter merely makes us fat.”
Hermann Goering

“Before Hitler took power, sometime after the middle of 1932, the depression bottomed out in Germany and the economy began a natural conjunctural upswing … The conditions believed to be necessary for successful economic stimulation through public work creation programs were beginning to appear prior to Hitler’s appointment to the chancellorship.”
Dan Silverman (historian)

“It is sometimes suggested that the [Nazi economic] recovery was a product of a specific fascist economic strategy, which distinguished it from the recovery efforts of other capitalist states. While few would disagree that the Nazi regime had a number of clear ideological preferences when it came to the economy, the policies pursued in 1933 had much in common with those adopted in other countries, and with the policies of the pre-Hitler governments.”
R. J. Overy (historian)

“Industrialisation was a fact of life and the foundation of Germany’s power. For this reason, industry received top priority in Hitler’s calculations… Under Nazi rule, corporate giants such as I.G. Farben, Krupp and Siemens not only grew, but accumulated more economic power and wealth, to the detriment of labour and smaller businesses.”
Joseph Bendersky (historian)

“The development of Nazi economic policy occurred in phases. From 1933 to 1936 the major priority was to overcome the adverse effects of the depression and to restore the economic stability that was crucial to the projection of national power… Autarky was the main goal of the second phase of Nazi economic policies, which began with the official introduction of the Four-Year Plan in September 1936… the goals of the plan were to make the German army and the economy ready for war within four years.”
Roderick Stackelberg (historian)

“The Reichswirtschaftsministerium (‘Reich Ministry of Economic Affairs’) tells the shop managers what and how to produce, at what prices and from whom to buy, at what prices and to whom to sell. It assigns every worker to his job and fixes his wages. It decrees to whom and on what terms the capitalists must entrust their funds. Market exchange is merely a sham.”
Ludwig von Mises (historian / economist)

“Who are the moneylenders? They are those who were driven out of the Temple by Christ Himself 2000 years ago. They are those who never work but live on fraud.”
Julius Streicher

“The Jew always lives from the blood of other peoples, he needs such murders and such sacrifices. The victory will be only entirely and finally achieved when the whole world is free of Jews.”
Julius Streicher

“As socialists, we are opponents of the Jews, because we see in the Hebrews the incarnation of capitalism, of the misuse of the nation’s goods.”
Joseph Goebbels

“With satanic joy in his face, the black-haired Jewish youth lurks in wait for the unsuspecting girl whom he defiles with his blood, thus stealing her from her people.”
Adolf Hitler

“We have only one task, to stand firm and carry on the racial struggle without mercy.”
Heinrich Himmler

“In the election campaign of 1930, Hitler seldom spoke explicitly of Jews. The crude tirades of the early 1920s were missing altogether. ‘Living-space’ figured more prominently, posed against the alternative international competition for markets … The key theme now was the collapse of Germany under parliamentary democracy and party government into a divided people with separate and conflicting interests, which only the NSDAP could overcome by creating a new unity of the nation, transcending class, estate and profession.”
Ian Kershaw (historian)

“Though anti-Semitism had been only one of several sources of Nazi voting strength, after 1933 Hitler placed anti-Semitic ideologues, the most important of whom were Joseph Goebbels, Otto Dietrich and Alfred Rosenberg, at the top of the key opinion-shaping institutions. In a dictatorship resting on the ‘leadership principle’, Hitler’s anti-Semitic convictions defined policy.”
Jeffrey Herf (historian)

“Any alliance whose purpose is not the intention to wage war is senseless and useless.”
Adolf Hitler

“Chamberlain’s stubborn, fanatical insistence on giving Hitler what he wanted, his trips to Berchtesgaden and Godesberg and finally the fateful journey to Munich rescued Hitler from his limb and strengthened his position in Europe, in Germany, in the Army, beyond anything that could have been imagined a few weeks before. It also added immeasurably to the power of the Third Reich.”
William Shirer (historian)

“If the day should ever come when we [the Nazis] must go, if someday we are compelled to leave the scene of history, we will slam the door so hard that the universe will shake and mankind will stand back in stupefaction.”
Joseph Goebbels

Information and resources on this page are © Alpha History 2018-23. Content on this page may not be copied, republished or redistributed without the express permission of Alpha History. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use.