“More than fourteen years have passed since that ill-fated day when deluded by promises at home and abroad, the German Volk forgot the most treasured values of our past, the Reich, its honour and its freedom, and thus lost everything.
Since those days of betrayal, the Almighty has withheld his blessing from our Volk. Dissension and hatred broke out among us. Millions of the best German men and women from all walks of life watched in profound distress as the unity of the nation disintegrated and dissolved in a tangle of egotistical political opinions, economic interests and ideological differences.
As so often in our history, the portrait of Germany has been one of heartbreaking disunity since this day of revolution. We did not receive the equality and fraternity promised to us, but we did lose our liberty. For the disintegration of the unity of spirit and will of our Volk internally was followed by the decline of its political standing in the world…
The insane notion of victor and vanquished has destroyed the trust between nations and thereby also the world economy. But the misery of our Volk is dreadful! The misery of millions of unemployed, starving proletarians in industry is being followed by the impoverishment of the entire Mittelstand [middle class] and artisan vocations. If this disintegration also engulfs the German peasants, we will be confronted by a catastrophe of incalculable dimensions. For not only will this mean the end of a Reich, but also of a two-thousand-year-old inheritance of the highest and loftiest values of human culture and civilization.
The signs of disintegration are all around us. With unprecedented will and violence, Communists attempt with insane methods to poison and demoralize the shaken and uprooted Volk… Fourteen years of Marxism have ruined Germany. One year of Bolshevism would destroy Germany. The richest and most beautiful cultural areas of the world would be turned into chaos and a heap of ruins. Even the suffering of the last decade and a half would not compare with the misery of a Europe in whose heart the red flag of destruction had been raised. May the thousands of wounded and countless dead that this internal war has already cost serve as a warning signal against the coming storm…
The situation we have inherited is a terrible one. The task we must fulfil is the most difficult one posed to German statesmen within living memory. But our confidence is unbounded, for we believe in our people and their imperishable values. Peasants, workers, and the middle classes must all join together to provide the building blocks for the new Reich. The national government regards as its first and foremost task to restore the unity of spirit and will of our Volk. It will preserve and defend the foundation upon which the strength of our nation rests. It will extend its firm protection to Christianity as the basis of our moral system, and to the family as the nucleus of our Volk and state.
It will restore to our Volk, beyond the divisions of rank and class, its consciousness of national and political unity and the duties this entails. It will make reverence for our great past and pride in our ancient traditions the foundation for the education of German youth. In this way it will declare a merciless war against spiritual, political, and cultural nihilism. Germany must not and will not sink into anarchistic communism.
In place of turbulent instincts it will again raise national discipline to the guiding principle of our life. In doing so, the government will devote careful attention to those institutions that constitute the true guarantors of the power and strength of our nation…
If Germany is to experience this political and economic revival and conscientiously fulfil its obligations towards other nations, one decisive step is required: overcoming the Communist subversion of Germany. We, the men of this government, feel ourselves responsible to German history for the reconstruction of an orderly body-politic and thus for finally overcoming the insanity of class and class conflict. It is not a single class that we envision, but rather the German Volk, its millions of peasants, bourgeois, and workers, who will either together overcome the problems of these times or succumb to them together. Full of resolve and true to our oath, we are determined – in view of the present Reichstag’s inability to support this work – to entrust this task, to which we are committed, to the German Volk itself.
Reich President Field Marshal von Hindenburg has summoned us with the order to give our nation the opportunity to regain its strength through unity. We therefore now appeal to the German people to take part in this act of reconciliation. The government of the national resurgence wants to work, and it will work. It was not responsible for leading the German nation into ruin for fourteen years, but it wants to lead the nation back to the top. It is determined to make good in four years the damage done in fourteen years. But it cannot make the work of reconstruction dependent upon the approval of those who are to blame for the collapse. The Marxist parties and their fellow travellers have had fourteen years to prove their ability. The result is a heap of rubble.
Now, German people, give us four years, and then pass judgment on us! True to the order of the Field Marshal, let us begin. May almighty God look mercifully upon our work, lead our will on the right path, bless us with insight, and reward us with the trust of our people. For we are not fighting for ourselves, but for Germany!”
Signed, Adolf Hitler, Franz von Papen, Baron von Neurath, Dr. Frick, Count von Krosigk, Dr. Hugenberg, Seldte, Dr. Gürtner, Werner von Blomberg, Eltz von Rübenach, Hermann Goering, Dr. Gereke.
On February 1st 1933, the newly appointed Hitler cabinet made the following proclamation to the German people: