The Führer to the German People: 22 June 1941
Weighted down with heavy cares, condemned to months-long silence, the hour has now come when at last I can speak frankly.
When on Sept. 3, 1939, the German Reich received the English declaration of war there was repeated anew a British attempt to render impossible every beginning of a consolidation and thereby of Europe’s rise, by fighting whatever power on the Continent was strongest at any given time.
That is how of yore England ruined Spain in many wars. That is how she conducted her wars against Holland. That is how later she fought France with the aid of all Europe and that is how at the turn of the century she began the encirclement of the then German Reich and in 1914 the World War. Only on account of its internal dissension was Germany defeated in 1918. The consequences were terrible.
After hypocritical declarations that the fight was solely against the Kaiser and his regime, the annihilation of the German Reich began according to plan after the German Army had laid down its arms.
While the prophecies of the French statement, that there were 20,000,000 Germans too many-in other words, that this number would have to be exterminated by hunger, disease or emigration-were apparently being fulfilled to the letter, the National Socialist movement began its work of unifying the German people and thereby initiating resurgence of the Reich. This rise of our people from distress, misery and shameful disregard bore all the signs of a purely internal renaissance. Britain especially was not in any way affected or threatened thereby.
Nevertheless, a new policy of encirclement against Germany, born as it was of hatred, recommenced immediately. Internally and externally there resulted that plot familiar to us all between Jews and democrats, Bolshevists and reactionaries, with the sole aim of inhibiting the establishment of the new German people’s State, and of plunging the Reich anew into impotence and misery.
Apart from us the hatred of this international world conspiracy was directed against those people which like ourselves were neglected by fortune and were obliged to earn their daily bread in the hardest struggle for existence.
Above all the right of Italy and Japan to share in the goods of this world was contested just as much as that of Germany and in fact was formally denied.
The coalition of these nations was, therefore, only an act of self-protection in the face of the egoistic world combination of wealth and power threatening them.
As early as 1936 Prime Minister Churchill, according to statements by the American General Wood before a committee of the American House of Representatives, declared Germany was once again becoming too powerful and must therefore be destroyed.
In the Summer of 1939 the time seemed to have come for England to begin to realize its intended annihilation by repetition of a comprehensive policy of encirclement of Germany.
The plan of the campaign of lies staged for this purpose consisted in declaring that other people were threatened, in tricking them with British promises of guarantees and assistance, and of making them march against Germany just as it did preceding the great war.
Thus Britain from May to August, 1939, succeeded in broadcasting to the world that Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Bessarabia as well as the Ukraine were being directly threatened by Germany.
A number of these States allowed themselves to be misled into accepting the promise of guarantee proffered with these assertions, thus joining the new encirclement front against Germany. Under these circumstances I consider myself entitled to assume responsibility before my own conscience and before the history of the German people not only of assuring these countries or their governments of the falseness of British assertions, but also of setting the strongest power in the east, by especially solemn declarations, at rest concerning the limits of our interests.
National Socialists! At that time you probably all felt that this step was bitter and difficult for me. Never did the German people harbor hostile feeling against the peoples of Russia. However, for over ten years Jewish Bolshevist rulers had been endeavoring from Moscow to set not only Germany but all Europe aflame. At no time ever did Germany attempt to carry her National Socialist Weltanschauung into Russia, but on the contrary Jewish Bolshevist rulers in Moscow unswervingly endeavored to foist their domination upon us and other European peoples, not only by ideological means but above all with military force.
The consequences of the activity of this regime were nothing but chaos, misery and starvation in all countries. I, on the other hand, have been striving for twenty years with a minimum of intervention and without destroying our production, to arrive at a new Socialist order in Germany which not only eliminates unemployment but also permits the worker to receive an ever greater share of the fruits of his labor.
The success of this policy of economic and social reconstruction of our people, which by systematically eliminating differences of rank and class, has a true peoples’ community as the final aim of the world.
It was therefore only with extreme difficulty that I brought myself in August, 1939, to send my Foreign Minister to Moscow in an endeavor there to oppose the British encirclement policy against Germany.
I did this only from a sense of all responsibility toward the German people, but above all in the hope after all of achieving permanent relief of tension and of being able to reduce sacrifices which might otherwise have been demanded of us.
While Germany solemnly affirmed in Moscow that the territories and countries enumerated-with the exception of Lithuania-lay outside all German political interests, a special agreement was concluded in case Britain were to succeed in inciting Poland actually into war with Germany.
In this case, too, German claims were subject to limitations entirely out of proportion to the achievement of German forces.
National Socialists! The consequences of this treaty which I myself desired and which was concluded in the interests of the German nation were very severe, particularly for Germans living in the countries concerned.
Far more than 500,000 German men and women, all small farmers, artisans and workmen, were forced to leave their former homeland practically overnight in order to escape from a new regime which at first threatened them with boundless misery and sooner or later with complete extermination.
Nevertheless, thousands of Germans disappeared. It was impossible ever to determine their fate, let alone their whereabouts.
Among them were no fewer than 160 men of German citizenship. To all this I remained silent because I had to. For, after all, it was my one desire to achieve final relief of tension and, if possible, a permanent settlement with this State.
However, already during our advance in Poland, Soviet rulers suddenly, contrary to the treaty, also claimed Lithuania.
The German Reich never had any intention of occupying Lithuania and not only failed to present any such demand to the Lithuanian Government, but on the contrary refused the request of the then Lithuania to send German troops to Lithuania for that purpose as inconsistent with the aims of German policy
Related reading: Treaty of Nonaggression Between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – https://historicalresources.wordpress.com/2008/07/16/treaty-of-nonaggression-between-germany-and-the-union-of-soviet-socialist-republics/
STATEMENT BY JOACHIM VON RIBBENTROP, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, ON THE DECLARATION OF WAR ON THE SOVIET UNION – https://historicalresources.wordpress.com/2008/08/09/statement-by-joachim-von-ribbentrop-german-foreign-minister-on-the-declaration-of-war-on-the-soviet-union/
Anti-Comintern Pact, November 25, 1936 – https://historicalresources.wordpress.com/2008/07/23/anti-comintern-pact-november-25-1936/