Yesterday we were still a powerless Volk, for we were strife-torn, falling out and apart in internal discord, fragmented into hundreds of parties and groups, leagues and associations, Weltanschauungen and confessions-a Reich built upon this fragmented Volk, equally weak and powerless, a mere plaything at the mercy of alien despotism! Small states deride it, small states deprive it of its rights and gag the people of this Volk. The economy was in the throes of death.
Disintegration and ruin at every turn. Every principle had been abandoned.
What had once seemed good became bad; what had been detestable was suddenly venerable. What was once meant to and able to give life more meaning was now passed off and perceived to be merely a burden to mankind. One author summed up the impressions of this age in a book which he entitled, The Decline of the West.
Is this then really the end of our history and hence of our peoples? No! We cannot believe or accept it! It must be called not the ‘Decline of the West,’ but the ‘Resurrection of the Peoples of the Western World’! Only what has become old, rotten and bad dies. And it should die! But new life will generate. The will shall find the faith. This will lies in leadership, and faith lies in the people! But all must believe in one thing. He who would tackle this great work of reorganization must begin with the Volk itself. First a new Volk, and with it the new age! Great tasks have always been accomplished only by strong leaders; but even the strongest leadership must fail if it does not have a faithful, inwardly steadfast and truly strong Volk standing behind it.
It is mankind’s misfortune that its leaders forget all too often that ultimate strength does not lie anchored in divisions and regiments or in cannons and tanks; rather, the greatest strength of any leadership lies in the people themselves, in their unanimity, in their inner unity and in their idealistic faith.
That is the power which, in the end, can move the mountains of resistance! But this requires a philosophy which the Volk understands, a philosophy which it comprehends and which it loves.
When we first set forth in 1919 as preachers of the National Socialist philosophy, we were a tiny little group of idealists or, as they said, dreamers, the object of ridicule. The critics have been proven wrong today. Adolf Hitler – speech at the Tempelhofer Feld – May 1, 1935
Berlin, May 1, 1935 (excerpt)