…What is he really? He is the best friend of his comrades. He has an open heart for every sorrow and every need, he has human understanding. He knows each of his associates thoroughly, and nothing happens in their public or private lives of which he is not aware. If misfortune happens, he helps them to bear it and rejoices more than anyone else at their successes…
Deutsch: Unser Hitler
Goebbels’ April 20, 1933, Speech on Hitler’s 44th Birthday
The newspapers today are filled with congratulations for Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler. The nuances vary, depending on the tone, character, and attitude of the newspaper. All, however, agree on one thing, Hitler is a man of stature who has already solved an enormous historical task and knows that an even greater mission is waiting to be completed. He is the kind of statesman found only rarely in Germany. Already during his lifetime he is greatly honored and has the good fortune to not only be respected and loved by the overwhelming majority of the German people, but even more importantly, to be understood by them. All the newspapers agree that he is the only German politician of the post-war era who understood the situation clearly and drew the necessary hard and firm conclusions. It no longer needs to be said that he has taken up Bismarck’s work and intends to complete it. That there is already enough proof of his work before the eyes of those who do not believe, or who think ill of him, does not need to be pointed out. I therefore do not think it is necessary for me to discuss the significance and still unknown historical impact of this man on the eve of the day on which, far from the bustle of the Reich’s capital, Adolf Hitler completes his 44th year.
I feel a much deeper need in this hour to express personally from my heart my esteem for him, and in doing so I believe that I am speaking also from the soul of many hundreds of thousands of National Socialists throughout the country. We shall leave it up to those, who were our enemies only a few months ago, and who then slandered and defamed him in their frenzy and today praise him with embarrassing pathos and false words, to glorify him. We know how little Adolf Hitler cares for such attempts, and how much more the devoted loyalty and the never wavering support of his friends and fellow fighters correspond to his nature and character.
The mysterious magic that he exerts on all who come in contact with him cannot be explained alone by his historic personality. What makes him so dear and esteemed to us is much more: Through all the ups and downs of Adolf Hitler’s career, from the beginning of his political activity to the mighty crowning of his career as he took over leadership, he has always remained the same: a person among people, a friend to his comrades, an eager supporter of every ability and talent. He is a pathfinder for those who devoted themselves to him and his idea, a man who conquered the hearts of his fellow fighters in a storm and never let them slip away.
It seems to me that one thing needs to be said in the midst of the profusion of feelings of others. Only a few know Hitler well. Most of the millions who look to him with faithful trust do so from a distance. He has become to them a symbol of their faith in the future. Normally it is the case that the great men that we admire from a distance lose their magic and effectiveness when we get closer. With Hitler, the opposite is true. The longer one knows him, the more one admires and loves him, and the more one is willing to surrender without prejudice to his cause.
We’ll leave it to the others today to loudly blow the trumpets. We, his friends and comrades gather round him today to shake his hand and thank him for everything that he is to us, and that he has given to us. For once, it must be said: We love this man, and we know that he has earned all of our love and support. Never was a man more unjustly accused by the hate and slander of his envious rivals of other parties. What they made him out to be! A caricature full of contradictions! There is no sin they did not invent and accuse him of, and there is no virtue they stripped off him. When he, nonetheless, overcame the flood of lies, triumphing over his enemies in the end and raising the banner of his national socialistic revolution over Germany, placing its pole firmly in the ground, fate showed the entire world its favor toward him. It raised him from the masses of people and put him in the place he deserves because of the strength of his brilliant gifts and the power of his pure and flawless humanity.
I remember the years when — just released from prison — he began again to rebuild his party. We passed a few wonderful vacation days with him on his beloved Obersalzburg, high above Berchtesgaden. Below lies the quiet cemetery where his unforgettable friend Dietrich Eckart rests. We walked through the mountains, discussed plans for the future, and talked about theories that today have long since become reality. He then sent me to Berlin. He handed me a challenging and honorable task, and I am still thankful to him today that he gave me that particular assignment.
A few months later we sat in a room in a small Berlin hotel.
But it was Hitler who did not lose courage, who immediately began to organize a defense campaign, and who intervened where help and action were needed. Although he was bogged down with his own worries of personal and political nature, he made the time and found the nerve to push through the resistance and strengthen the backbone of his friends in Berlin.
One of his fine and noble traits is that he never gives up on someone who has won his confidence. The more his political opponents attack such a person, the more resilient is Adolf Hitler’s support. He is the type who is not afraid to associate with men of a strong character. The harder and tougher a man is, the more Hitler likes him. And if conflicts in the masses around him explode, his redeeming ways bring everything back into harmony again.
Who would have thought it possible that a mass organization that covers literally every area of civil life could be build up in this nation of individualists? Bringing this to its fruition is Hitler’s accomplishment. A man with firm and unshakable principles, generous and understanding toward human weaknesses, a pitiless enemy of his adversaries, but a good and warm-hearted friend to his comrades, that is Hitler.
We saw him at the party’s two large Nuremberg rallies, surrounded by the masses who hailed in him Germany’s resurrected hope. In the evenings, we sat with him in his hotel room. He was dressed in a simple brown shirt, the same as always, as if nothing had happened. Someone once said that the great is simple, and the simple is great. If that is true, it surely applies to Hitler. His nature and his whole philosophy is a brilliant simplification of the spiritual need and fragmentation that engulfed the German people after the war. He found the lowest common denominator for the need. And this alone is why his idea won: he modeled it, and through him the average man in the street saw its depth and significance.
One has to have seen him in defeat, and not in his victory, to understand what sort of man he is. No blow ever brought him down. He never lost courage or faith. Hundreds came to him seeking new hope, and no one left without receiving renewed strength.
ThOn the day before 13 August 1932, we met in a small farm house outside Potsdam. We talked long into the night, but not about our prospects for the next day, but rather about music, philosophy, and worldview issues. Then came the hours one can only experience with him, the hours when he told of his youth. He spoke of the difficult years in Vienna and Munich, his war experiences, the first years of the party. Few know how hard and bitterly he had to fight for his place. Today he is cheered by praise and thanks. Only fifteen years ago he was a lonely individual among millions. The only difference between him and the millions was his burning faith and his fanatic resolve to transform his faith into action.
Those who believed that Hitler was finished after the party’s defeat in November 1932 failed to assess him correctly. Only someone who misconceived his true nature could fall victim to such fallacy. Hitler is one of those persons who rises from his defeats. Friedrich Nietzsche’s phrase fits him well: “That which does not destroy me only makes me stronger.”
This man, suffering under financial and party stress for years, assailed by the flood of lies from his enemies, wounded in the depth of his heart by the disloyalty of false friends, still found the courage with his eternal faith to lift his party members from desperation and lead them to new victories.
How many thousands of Kilometers have I sat behind him in cars or airplanes on election campaigns. How often did I see the thankful look of a man on the street, or a mother lifting her children up to show them the Fuehrer, and how often have I seen how he evoked joy and happiness when people recognized him.
He keeps his case filled with cigarette packs, and each pack includes a one or two Mark coin. That’s how he starts out on every trip. Every working lad he meets gets a pack. He has a friendly word for every mother and a warm handshake for every child.
It’s no wonder that the German youth clings to him with all their heart. They know that this man is young at heart, and that their cause is in his good hands. Last Easter Monday we sat with him in his small country house on the Obersalzberg. A group of young hikers from Braunau, where he was born, came by for a visit. How astonished these lads were when they got not only a friendly greeting, but all fifteen lads were invited in by the Chancellor of the Reich. They shared a hurriedly prepared lunch with him and had to tell him all about his hometown Braunau.
People have a fine sense for the truly great. Nothing impresses them as deeply as when a person truly belongs to his people. Of whom other but Hitler could this be true: As he returned home from Berchtesgaden to Munich last Monday, people stood and waved in every village. The children shouted Heil greetings and threw bouquets of flowers into the car. The S.A. had closed the road in Traunstein. There was no moving either forward or back. Confidently and matter-of-factly, an S.A. leader walked up to Hitler’s car and announced: “My Führer, an old party member is dying in the hospital, and his last wish is to see his Führer one more time.” Mountains of work were waiting in Munich. But Hitler ordered the car to turn around and sat for half an hour in the hospital at the bedside of his dying party comrade.
The Marxist press claims he is a self-aggrandizing tyrant who dominates his leaders. How is he really? He is the best friend of his comrades. A man who has understanding and an big heart for every sorrow and every need. He knows each of his associates thoroughly, and nothing happens in their public or private lives of which he is not partaking. If misfortune happens to one of them, he helps them to bear it, and rejoices more than anyone else at their happiness.
Never have I seen in any person two worlds living so close together. We had dinner together at home on the night of the Reichstag fire. We talked and music was played. Hitler was a person among people. Twenty minutes later he stood in the flaming and smoldering ruins of the building and gave his orders with a cutting voice that led to the devastating blow at communism. Later that night, he sat in an editorial office and dictated articles.
For those who do not know Hitler, it seems a miracle that millions of people are devoted to him in love and support. For those who know him, this is only natural. The secret of his work lies in the indescribable magic of his personality. Those who are closest to him, love and honor him the most. One who has sworn allegiance to him has given him his body and soul.
I thought it was necessary tonight to say that, and to have it said by someone who really knows him, and to find the courage to break through the barriers of reserve and speak of Hitler the man.
Today he has escaped the bustle of the capital. He left the wreaths and hymns of praise in Berlin. He is somewhere in his beloved Bavaria, far from the noise of the streets, to examine the past and project into the future. Perhaps in a nearby room someone will turn on a loudspeaker. If that should happen, then let me say to him, and to all of Germany: “My Führer! Millions and millions of the best Germans send you in this hour their greetings and on their open hands they hand you their hearts with deep gratitude. And we, your closest associates and friends, are gathered in honor and love. We know how little you care for praise. But we must still say this: You have lifted Germany from its deepest humiliation to honor and dignity. You should know that behind you, and if necessary before you, a strong and determined group of fighters stand who are ready at any time to give their all for you and your idea. We wish that for your sake and ours, fate will preserve you for many decades to the fatherland, and that you may always remain our best friend and comrade. This is the wish of your fellow fighters and friends for your birthday. We offer you our hands and ask that you always remain for us what you are today: Our Hitler!”
Source: Signale der neuen Zeit. 25 ausgewählte Reden von Dr. Joseph Goebbels (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., 1934), pp. 141- 149.
Translated by germanvictims