The English Speeches of Adolf Hiter

This publication of the speeches and proclamations of Adolf Hitler  is the final product of records compiled during the years 1932 to 1945  and supplemented by sources and publications made available after  World War II.

Such in-depth study of materials documenting the very recent past and at such an early date—may first appear unusual for a historian who  had, until then, specialized in the nineteenth century. There are,  however, certain parallels between the two fields. My own avid interest  in English history led me to concentrate my scholarly research on  Napoleon I and Wihelm II. When, in 1932, Adolf Hitler became the  most important political figure in Germany, I became interested in his  public words for, in terms of foreign policy, they reminded me of these  two historical predecessors. There could be no doubt that this man—once  in power—would perforce come into marked conflict with the western  world, above all with Great Britain. Hence I began to collect all of  Hitler’s speeches, interviews, proclamations, letters, and other statements  available, convinced that they would one day be of documentary value,  should this demagogue be allowed to pursue his course.

Much research on the history of the Third Reich has perhaps viewed its subject in too complicated a fashion. The initiator and driving force behind the fatal events was Adolf Hitler. While he did not necessarily reveal his innermost thoughts, he never made any significant distinction between what he poured forth before mass audiences and what he said in more intimate circles. He readily disclosed most of his views to the public eye, albeit not always at the same time he took action. The advantage in studying his public statements lies in their authenticity, for memoirs and even personal records are inherently prone to error. The present study is confined to the years 1932 to 1945—but not only for reasons of length. Inarguably, many of Hitler’s speeches in the years preceding 1932 also present interesting and valuable sources of information, but his activities as a minor party leader and failed putschist are of lesser importance for German and European history. He did not become a major factor until he began gaining influence and exercising power, first as leader of the largest party in Germany, then as head of government, head of state, and supreme commander of the German armed forces. This decisive epoch commenced with Hitler’s dramatic struggle for control of the government in 1932 and ended with the total collapse of his foreign and military policies in 1945.

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