Hitler's 10 Biggest Lies -- in Speeches
On Nov. 9, 1942, Adolf Hitler gave one of his most famous speeches to higher ranking Nazi party officials. Performed at Munich’s Stiglmaierplatz (a public square), the speech was captured on tape and is today a one of the few artifacts to feature Hitler using his “inside voice.” The speech is famous for telling one of Hitler’s 10 biggest lies:
10. Known as the “Stalingrad speech,” Hitler spoke in a normal tone for almost the entire speech, and spent most of the time praising the German military machine. Only at the end did he begin to shout, as he told the gathered Nazi officials about Germany’s success in Stalingrad, and how the city was completely under German control. This was, of course, not true, as the Battle of Stalingrad represented a turning point for the Allies on the eastern front.
9. Weimar: July 4, 1926. The central German city of Weimar hosted the official Congress of the re-founded Nazi Party in early July, and Hitler gave the 6,000-7,000 Nazi voters in attendance exactly what they wanted: a thunderous speech introducing the Schutzstaffel (SS) to the German people. Hitler stressed the necessity of paramilitary force for not only the protection of Nazis from violence, but the entire German nation as well.
8. Berlin: Nov. 16, 1928. The Nazis performed poorly in the May 1928 elections, and the Prussian state government felt confident enough to lift a ban on public speaking that essentially targeted Hitler and the Nazis. That November, Hitler gave a speech in Berlin attended by 12,000 people, in which he disparaged German governments (federal, state, and local) for their lack of commitment to fairness. Hitler promised that the national socialists would give all Germans a voice in German social, economic, and political life.
7. Düsseldorf: Jan. 27, 1932. One of his more famous speeches, given to the Industry Club, Hitler spoke of Nazism and its relationship to democracy. He disparaged his communist enemies and maintained that private property was an integral aspect of economic prosperity. The national socialist economic platform was, of course, closer to communism than it was to a private property rights regime.
6. Berlin: Dec. 10, 1940. Given at the Rheinmetall-Borsig Works, a large, politically-connected industrial area in Germany’s capital city, the Rheinmetall-Borsig Works speech was perhaps Hitler’s most pointed attack on capitalists and the market economy, ever. In it, he lauded the German worker and the German farmer, and spoke of their virtues at the expense of foreign (especially British) and German-Jewish merchants. Hitler promised peace for Germany and pinned the blame for World War II squarely on the British.
5. Nuremberg: Sept. 12, 1936. This famous speech was given to Germany’s Labour Front, a Nazi labor organization that replaced the various, decentralized labor organizations throughout the German realm. The speech was given to placate worries that German workers had about the implications of a centralized labor movement. Among the many gems in the speech was this one: “...you alone are nothing. As part of the organic whole you are everything.”
4. Bürgerbräukeller: Feb. 27, 1925. This speech commemorated the re-founding of the Nazi Party, which had been banned after the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923 (Hitler spent all of 1924 in prison). Attended by 3,000 people, the speech was so popular that the local government of Bavaria banned Hitler from speaking in public (many other German states followed Bavaria’s lead). Among Hitler’s many promises made was a reviving of the German economy under National Socialist principles.
3. Reichstag, Berlin: May 4, 1941. While not the first, nor the last, speech addressed to the German parliament, the May 4 one was easily one of the most thunderous, and most mendacious. Hitler spoke of “Jew-ridden democracies,” of British belligerence regarding the war, of Germany’s military success in the Balkans, of his ongoing commitment to peace in spite of British and Soviet hostility, and of the firm stranglehold that fascists had on governments throughout Axis Europe.
2. Krolopper, Berlin: Dec. 11, 1941. Germany’s declaration of war on the United States came on Dec. 11, 1941, just days after Japan’s surprise attack at Pearl Harbor in the Pacific, and this speech brought Hitler’s audience to its feet in rapture. According to Hitler, FDR and his Jewish overlords feared the successes of the Axis alliance. Hitler’s anti-Semitism was especially virulent in this speech, as Jews were blamed for everything from the Soviet Union’s catastrophic failures to FDR’s aggressive violations of international law. Hitler was right about one thing: FDR was indeed hungry for a war with the Axis; he spent years goading the Axis into picking a fight. The absurdity here is not FDR’s bellicosity, nor Hitler’s anti-Semitism, but rather the latter’s appeal to international law in regards to wartime conduct. Oh, the hypocrisy!
1. Berchtesgaden: Aug. 22, 1939. Known as the Obersalzberg speech, this was actually less of a speech and more of a meeting between Hitler and Germany’s highest-ranking military commanders. Given shortly before the invasion of Poland, the Obersalzberg speech outlined Hitler’s plan for exterminating the Jews in Europe and carving out a living space for Germans in Eastern Europe. It is perhaps best known for its controversial reference to the Ottoman Empire’s ethnic cleansing campaign against its Armenian subjects during World War I. Speaking of the need to brutally and quickly crush Polish resistance, Hitler is said to have remarked: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”
Who, indeed. Have a great weekend!