On top of that, I had a clear recognition of the probable course of historical events, and the firm will to make brutal decisions. The first decision was in 1919 when I, after long internal conflict, became a politician and took up the struggle against my enemies. That was the hardest of all decisions. I had, however, the firm belief that I would arrive at my goal. First of all, I desired a new system of selection. I wanted to educate a minority which would take over the leadership. After 15 years, I arrived at my goal, after strenuous struggles and many setbacks.
When I came to power in 1933, a period of the most difficult struggle lay behind me. Everything existing before that had collapsed. I had to reorganize everything beginning with the mass of the people and extending it to the armed forces. First reorganization of the interior, abolition of the appearances of decay and defeatist ideas, education to heroism. while reorganizing the interior, I undertook the second task: to release Germany from its international chains. Two particular accomplishments are to be pointed out: secession from the League of Nations and denunciation of the disarmament conference. it was a hard decision. The number of prophets who predicted that it would lead to the occupation of the Rhineland was large, the number of believers was very small. I was supported by the nation, which stood firmly behind me, when I carried out my intentions. After that the order for rearmament. Here again there were numerous prophets who predicted misfortunes, and only a few believers. In 1935 the introduction of compulsory armed service. After that, militarization of the Rhineland, again a process believed to be impossible at that time. The number of people who put trust in me was very small. Then the beginning of the fortifications for the whole country, especially in the West.
One year later, Austria came, this step also was considered doubtful. It brought about a considerable reinforcement for the Reich. The next step was Bohemia, Moravia and Poland. This step also was not possible to accomplish in one campaign. First of all, the Western fortifications had to be finished. It was not possible to reach the goal in one effort. It was clear to me from the first moment that I could not be satisfied with the Sudeten-German territory. That was only a partial solution. The decision to march into Bohemia was made. Then followed the erection of the Protectorate and with that, the basis for action against Poland was laid, but I wasn't quite clear at that time whether I would start first against the East and then in the West, or vice versa. Moltke (Prussian Chief of Staff in 1870) often made the same calculations in his time.
Under pressure the decision came to fight Poland first. One might accuse me of wanting to fight and fight again. In struggle I see the fate of all beings. Nobody can avoid a struggle if he does not want to lose out. The increasing number of our people requires a larger living space. My goal was to create a logical relationship between the number of people and the space for them to live in. The struggle must start here. No people can get away from the solution of this task or else it must yield and gradually die out. This is taught by history.
Struggles are different today than those of 100 years ago. Today we can speak of a racial fight. Today we fight for oil fields, rubber, treasures of the earth, etc. After the peace of Westphalia, Germany disintegrated. Disintegration, impotence of the German Reich was determined by that decree. This German impotence was removed by the creation of the Second Reich, when Prussia fulfilled her destiny. Then the opposition between us and France and England began. Since 1870 England has been against us. Bismarck and Moltke were certain that there would have to be one more military action. The danger at that time was of a two-front war. Moltke was at times in favor of a preventive war. To take advantage of the slow progress of the Russian mobilization. German armed might was not fully employed. Insufficient sternness of the leading personalities. The basic thought of Moltke was the offensive. He never thought of the defensive.
Many opportunities were missed after Moltke's death. The solution was only possible by attacking a country at a favorable moment. Political and military leadership always declared that the moment had not yet come. In 1914 there came the war on several fronts. It did not bring the solution of these problems. Today the second act of this drama is being written. For the first time in 67 years must be made clear we do not have a two-front war to wage. That which has been desired since 1870, and considered as impossible to achieve, has come to pass. For the first time in our history, we have to fight on only one front, the other front is at present free. But no one can know how long that will remain so. I have doubted for a long time whether I should strike in the East and then in the West. Basically I did not organize the armed forces in order not to strike. The decision to strike was always in me. Earlier or later I wanted to solve the problem. Under pressure it was decided that the East was to be attacked first.
If the Polish war was won so quickly, it was due to the superiority of our armed forces. The most glorious appearance in history. Unexpectedly small expenditures of men and material. Now the Eastern Front is held by only a few divisions. It is a situation which we previously viewed as unachievable. Now the situation is as follows: the opponent in the West lies behind his fortifications. There is no possibility of coming to grips with him there. The decisive question is: how long can we endure this situation? Russia is at present not dangerous. It is weakened by many incidents today. Moreover, we have a Pact with Russia. Pacts, however, are only held as long as they serve their purpose. Russia will hold herself to it only so long as Russia considers it to be to her benefit. Even Bismarck thought so. Let us consider the Russian Pact as only protecting our rear. For Russia has far-reaching goals, above all the strengthening of her position in the Baltic. And we can oppose Russia there only when we are free in the West. Further Russia is striving to increase he influence on the Balkans and is pushing toward the Persian Gulf. That is also the goal of our foreign policy. Russia will certainly do only that which she considers might benefit her. At the present moment she has retired from a policy of internationalism. In case she renounces this, she will proceed to one of Pan-Slavism. It is difficult to see into the future. It is a fact that at the present time the Russian army is of little worth. For the next one or two years, the present situation may continue....
Five million Germans have been called to the colors. Of what importance if a few of them collapse. Daring in the army, navy and air force. I cannot bear it when one says the army is not in good shape. Everything lies in the hands of the military leaders. I can do anything with the German soldier, if he is well led. we have succeeded with our small navy in clearing the North Sea of the British. Recognition of the small navy, especially the High Command of the navy. We have an air force which has succeeded in protecting the entire living space of the Germans. and the army achieved outstanding things in Poland. Even in the West it was shown that the German soldier is not inferior to the French.
Revolution from within is impossible. We are superior to the enemy numerically in the West. Behind our army stands the strongest armament industry in the world. I am disturbed only by the stronger and stronger appearance of the English. The English are a tough enemy. Above all on the defense.... There is no doubt that England will be very much represented in France at the latest within six to eight months.
We have an Achilles heel: the Ruhr. The progress of the war depends on our possession of the Ruhr. If England and France push through Belgium and Holland into the Ruhr, we shall be in the greatest danger. That could lead to the paralyzing of the German power of resistance. Every hope of compromise is childish: Victory or Defeat! The question is not the fate of a National Socialist Germany, but who is to dominate Europe in the future. The question is worthy of the greatest efforts. Certainly England and France will assume the offensive against Germany when they are fully armed. England and France have the means of pressure to bring Belgium and Holland to request English and French help. In Belgium and Holland the sympathies are all for France and England.
If the French army marches into Belgium in order to attack us, it will be too late for us. We must anticipate them. One more thing, U-boats, mines, and the air force (also with mines) can strike England effectively, if we have a better starting point. Now a flight to England demands so much fuel that sufficient bomb loads cannot be carried. The invention of a new type mine is of the greatest importance for the navy. Aircraft will be the chief mine layers now. We shall sow the English coast with mines which cannot be cleared. But this mine warfare of the air force demands a different starting point. England cannot live without its imports. We can feed ourselves. The permanent sowing of mines on the English coast will bring England to her knees. However, this can only occur if we have occupied Belgium and Holland. It is a difficult decision for me. None has ever achieved what I have achieved. My life is of no importance in all this, however, I have led the German people to a great height, even if the world does hate us now.
I am risking all this on a gamble. But I have to choose between victory or destruction. I choose victory. Greatest historical choice of all time, to be compared with the decision of Frederick the Great before the first Silesian War. Prussia owes its rise to the heroism of this one man. Even there, his closest advisors were disposed to capitulation. Everything depended on Frederick the Great. Even the decisions of Bismarck in 1866 and 1870 were no less great. My decision now is unchangeable. I shall attack France and England at the most favorable and quickest moment. Breach of the neutrality of Belgium and Holland is a meaningless issue. No one will question it when we have won. But we shall not bring about the violation of neutrality as idiotically as it was done in 1914. If we do not break their neutrality, then England and France will.
Without attack this war is not to be ended victoriously. I consider it as possible to end the war only by means of an attack. The question as to whether the attack will be successful, no one can answer. Everything depends upon the favorable instant. Military conditions are favorable. A prerequisite, however, is that the leadership must give an example of fanatical unity from above. There would not be any failures, if the leaders always had the courage found in individual riflemen....
The spirit of the great men of our history must hearten us all. Fate demands from us no more than from the great men of Germany's past. As long as I live I shall think only of the victory of my people. I shall shrink from nothing and shall destroy everyone who is opposed to me. I have decided to live my life so that I can stand unashamed if I have to die. I want to destroy the enemy. Behind me stands the German people, whose morale can only grow worse. Only he who struggles with destiny can have a good sense of intuition. In the last years I have experienced many examples of intuition. Even in the present murky developments, I see clearly like a prophet.
If we come through this struggle victoriously and we shall come through victoriously our time will enter into the historical consciousness of our people. I shall stand or fall in this struggle. I shall never survive the defeat of my people. No capitulation to the outside forces, no revolution from forces at home!