When I called upon you on June 22 to save our homeland from imminent danger, you were faced with the most formidable military might of all times. However, thanks to your valor my fellow soldiers, in just three short months we have succeeded in destroying one enemy armored brigade after the other, in annihilating numerous divisions, taking countless prisoners, occupying enormous stretches of territory - not wasteland but the areas which feed our enemy and which supply his gigantic war industries with all kinds of raw materials. In a few weeks his three most important industrial regions will be entirely in your hands! Your names, soldiers of the German armed forces, and the names of your brave allies, the names of your divisions, your regiments, your vessels and squadrons of aircraft will for eternity be associated with the greatest victories in the history of the world.
You have taken over 2,400,000 prisoners, destroyed or captured over 17,500 tanks and more than 21,000 artillery pieces; 14,200 aircraft were shot down or destroyed on the ground. The world has never seen anything like this! The territory which the German troops and those of our allies occupy today is more than twice the size of the German Reich in 1933, more than four times the size of the English motherland. Since June 22 you have broken through the most powerful fortified defense systems, crossed mighty rivers, stormed countless towns and villages, blown to pieces or flushed out fortifications and bunkers. From the far north, where our brave Finnish allies have for the second time provided ample evidence of their heroism, to the Crimea, you stand alongside Slovak, Hungarian, Italian and Romanian divisions about 1000 kilometers deep inside enemy territory. Spanish, Croatian and Belgium units are joining you, others will follow. For this battle - perhaps for the first time - will be regarded by all the European nations as a joint campaign to save the most valuable civilized continent.
The work which has been done behind your gigantic front lines has also been immense. Almost 2000 bridges over 12 meters in length were constructed; 405 railway bridges were built; 25,500 kilometers of railway lines were put back into service; over 15,000 kilometers of railway tracks have been converted to the universal European gauge. Work is proceeding on thousands of kilometers of highways. Large areas have already been taken over by the civil administration. Normal life is being restored there as rapidly as possible based on rational laws. Huge stores of food, fuel and munitions are in place! This enormous military outcome was, however, achieved with sacrifices, whose number - hard as it is for each fellow soldier and the relatives to bear - is still less than 5% that of the First World War.
What you, my fellow soldiers, together with our brave allied soldiers have achieved, the bravery and heroism you have displayed, the hardships and great efforts which lie behind you in scarcely three and half months, no one knows better than someone like myself who did his duty as a soldier in the last war. In these three and a half months, my soldiers, the groundwork has been laid for the final devastating blow which will crush our enemy before the onset of winter. All the preparations which are humanly possible have been made. We have planned and prepared this time step by step in order to maneuver our enemy into the situation where we can now deal him a final lethal blow.
Today marks the beginning of the last great decisive battle of this year. It will have a catastrophic effect on this enemy and on the nation responsible for starting the entire war, England. For by crushing this enemy, we are annihilating England's last ally on the Continent. At the same time we shall rid the German Reich and all of Europe of a danger more dreadful than any which has confronted Europe since the time of the Huns and after them the Mongolian hordes. In the coming weeks, therefore, the German People will be with you more than ever before. What you and our allies have achieved has already earned you our deepest gratitude. With bated breath and blessings the entire German homeland will accompany you in the coming difficult days. For with God's help you will give it not only victory but by this victory create the most important prerequisite for peace!