Proclamation by the Government to the German Nation. †
Berlin, 1 February 1933*
[Emphasis is as in the original.]
More than fourteen years have gone by since that unhappy day on which the German nation, deceived by promises from without and from within, forgot the glories of its past, forgot its honour and its freedom, and thereby lost everything. Since that day of betrayal the Almighty has turned his countenance away from us. Strife and hatred have been the order of the day. Millions of the finest German men and women in all stations of life have had to behold with heavy hearts the unity of the nation breaking up and disappearing in a welter of egoistic political theories, selfish business interests and conflicting social doctrines.
Since that day of revolution, Germany has presented, as so often before in our history, a heartbreaking picture of disunity. We have not received the promised equality and fraternity, and we have lost our liberty. The collapse of the spiritual unity at home was followed by the loss to our people of their political standing in the world.
The insane Conception of Victors and Vanquished destroyed the confidence existing between nations, and, at the same time, the industry of the entire world. The misery of our people is appalling! Millions of our proletariat are without work and without means of existence, and the entire middle class is rapidly becoming impoverished. If the German peasantry is to go under too, we shall be faced by a catastrophe beyond all conception, for this will not only mean the collapse of a single nation but of a cultural inheritance of the highest importance which has stood for two thousand years.
The inheritance which has fallen to us is terrible one. The task with which we are faced is the hardest which has fallen to German statesmen within the memory of man. But we are all filled with unbounded confidence, for we believe in our people and their imperishable virtues. Every class and every individual must help us to found the new Reich.
The national government will regard it as their first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. They will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built up. They regard Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life. They are determined, without regard for class and social status, to restore the nation to a consciousness of its political and national unity and of the duties consequent upon this realization.
The National Government intends to solve the problem of the reorganisation of trade and commerce with two four-year plans:
The German farmer must be rescued in order that the nation may be supplied with the necessities of life.
A concerted and all-embracing attack must be made on unemployment in order that the German working class may be saved from ruin.
The November parties have ruined the German peasantry in fourteen years.
In fourteen years they have created an army of millions of unemployed.
The National Government will, with iron determination and unshakeable steadfastness of purpose, put through the following plan:
Within four years the German peasant must be rescued from the quagmire into which he has fallen.
Within four years unemployment must be finally overcome.
At the same time the conditions necessary for a revival in trade and commerce are provided.
The National Government will couple with this tremendous task of reorganising business life a reorganisation of the administrative and fiscal systems of the Reich, of the Federal States and the Communes.
Only when this has been done can the idea of a continued federal existence of the entire Reich be fully realised.
Compulsory labour service and the “back-to-the-land” policy are two of the basic principles of this programme.
The securing of the necessities of life will include the performance of social duties to the sick and the aged.
In economical administration, the promotion of employment, the preservation of the farmer as well as in the exploitation of individual initiative the Government see the best guarantee for the avoidance of any experiments which would endanger the currency.
We of this new government feel ourselves responsible to posterity for the reorganisation of an ordered national State, and, at the same time, for the overcoming of class mania and class warfare. We are not concerned with only a part of the nation but with the entire German people, with the millions of peasants, working men and members of all classes who will either vanquish together the difficulties of this time or together succumb to them.
With our minds made up and true to our oath, we wish, in the face of the inability of the former Reichstag to support this work, to set the German nation itself the task which lies before us.
The President, Field Marshall von Hindenburg, has summoned us with the command to give to the nation by our united front the possibility of a recovery.
We now therefore call upon the German people to set its signature to this act of reconciliation.
The Government of the national renaissance wishes to work and will work.
It was not this government which in the course of fourteen years brought the German nation to ruin. What this government intends to do is to restore the nation to its former eminence
They are determined to make good in four years the evil done in fourteen.
They cannot, however, subject the work of restoration to the approval of those who are responsible for the collapse.
The parties of Marxism and their followers have had fourteen years to show what they can do.
The result is a heap of ruins.
We now appeal to the German nation to give us four years’ time and then to pass judgment.
Obedient to the command of the Field-Marshall, we are ready to begin. May God Almighty give our work His blessing, strengthen our purpose and endow us with wisdom and trust of our people, for we are fighting not for ourselves but for Germany.
The Government of the Reich.
Adolf Hitler, von Papen, Freiherr von Neurath, Dr. Frick, Graf Schwerin von Krosigk, Dr. Hugenberg, Seldte, Dr. Gürtner, von Blomberg, Eltz von Rübenach, Göring.
*Authorized translation of the official text.
†Hitler, Adolf (1941) The New Germany Desires Work And Peace. Speeches By Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler The Leader Of The New Germany. With An Introduction By Dr. Joseph Goebbels. Berlin: Liebheit & Thieson, pp. 5-9.