Berlin, February 1st, 1933.
MORE than fourteen years have passed since the unhappy day when the German people, blinded by promises from foes at home and abroad, lost touch with honor and freedom, thereby losing all. Since that day of treachery, the Almighty has withheld his blessing from our people. Dissension and hatred descended upon us. With profound distress millions of the best German men and women from all walks of life have seen the unity of the nation vanishing away, dissolving in a confusion of political and personal opinions, economic interests, and ideological differences. Since that day, as so often in the past, Germany has presented a picture of heartbreaking disunity. We never received the equality and fraternity we had been promised, and we lost our liberty to boot. For when our nation lost its political place in the world, it soon lost its unity of spirit and will....
We are firmly convinced that the German nation entered the fight in 1914 without the slightest feeling of guilt on its part and filled only with the desire to defend the Fatherland which had been attacked and to preserve the freedom, nay, the very existence, of the German people. This being so, we can only see in the disastrous fate which has overtaken us since those November days of 1918 the result of our collapse at home. But the rest of the world, too, has suffered no less since then from overwhelming crises. The balance of power which had evolved in the course of history, and which formerly played no small part in bringing about the understanding of the necessity for an internal solidarity of the nations, with all its advantages for trade and commerce, has been set on one side. The insane conception of victors and vanquished destroyed the confidence existing between nations, and, at the same time, the industry of the entire world.
The misery of our people is horrible to behold! Millions of the industrial proletariat are unemployed and starving; the whole of the middle class and the small artisans have been impoverished. When this collapse finally reaches the German peasants, we will be faced with an immeasurable disaster. For then not only shall a nation collapse, but a two-thousand-year-old inheritance, some of the loftiest products of human culture and civilization.
All about us the warning signs of this collapse are apparent. Communism with its method of madness is making a powerful and insidious attack upon our dismayed and shattered nation. It seeks to poison and disrupt in order to hurl us into an epoch of chaos.... This negative, destroying spirit spared nothing of all that is highest and most valuable. Beginning with the family, it has undermined the very foundations of morality and faith and scoffs at culture and business, nation and Fatherland, justice and honor. Fourteen years of Marxism have ruined Germany; one year of bolshevism would destroy her. The richest and fairest territories of the world would be turned into a smoking heap of ruins. Even the sufferings of the last decade and a half could not be compared to the misery of a Europe in the heart of which the red flag of destruction had been hoisted. The thousands of wounded, the hundreds of dead which this inner strife has already cost Germany should be a warning of the storm which would come....
In those hours when our hearts were troubled about the life and the future of the German nation, the aged leader of the World War appealed to us. He called to those of us in nationalist parties and leagues to struggle under him once more, in unity and loyalty, for the salvation of the German nation. This time the front lines are at home. The venerable Reichsprasident has allied himself with us in this noble endeavor. And as leaders of the nation and the national Government we vow to God, to our conscience, and to our people that we will faithfully and resolutely fulfill the task conferred upon us.
The inheritance which has fallen to us is a terrible one. The task with which we are faced is the hardest which has fallen to German statesmen within the memory of man. But we are all filled with unbounded confidence for we believe in our people and their imperishable virtues. Every class and every individual must help us to found the new Reich.
The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and co-operation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life....
Turbulent instincts must be replaced by a national discipline as the guiding principle of our national life. All those institutions which are the strongholds of the energy and vitality of our nation will be taken under the special care of the Government.
The National Government intends to solve the problem of the reorganization of trade and commerce with two four-year plans:
The German farmer must be rescued in order that the nation may be supplied with the necessities of life....
A concerted and all-embracing attack must be made on unemployment in order that the German working class may be saved from ruin....
The November parties have ruined the German peasantry in fourteen years.
In fourteen years they have created an army of millions of unemployed. The National Government will, with iron determination and unshakable steadfastness of purpose, put through the following plan:
Within four years the German peasant must be rescued from the quagmire into which he has fallen.
Within four years unemployment must be finally overcome. At the same time the conditions necessary for a revival in trade and commerce are provided.
The National Government will couple with this tremendous task of reorganizing business life a reorganization of the administrative and fiscal systems of the Reich, of the Federal States, and the Communes.
Only when this has been done can the idea of a continued federal existence of the entire Reich be fully realized....
Compulsory labor-service and the back-to-the-land policy are two of the basic principles of this program.
The securing of the necessities of life will include the performance of social duties to the sick and aged.
In economical administration, the promotion of employment, the preservation of the farmer, as well as in the exploitation of individual initiative, the Government sees the best guarantee for the avoidance of any experiments which would endanger the currency.
As regards its foreign policy the National Government considers its highest mission to be the securing of the right to live and the restoration of freedom to our nation. Its determination to bring to an end the chaotic state of affairs in Germany will assist in restoring to the community of nations a State of equal value and, above all, a State which must have equal rights. It is impressed with the importance of its duty to use this nation of equal rights as an instrument for the securing and maintenance of that peace which the world requires today more than ever before.
May the good will of all others assist in the fulfillment of this our earnest wish for the welfare of Europe and of the whole world.
Great as is our love for our Army as the bearer of our arms and the symbol of our great past, we should be happy if the world, by reducing its armaments, would see to it that we need never increase our own.
If, however, Germany is to experience this political and economic revival and conscientiously fulfill her duties toward the other nations, one decisive step is absolutely necessary first: the overcoming of the destroying menace of communism in Germany. We of this Government feel responsible for the restoration of orderly life in the nation and for the final elimination of class madness and class struggle. We recognize no classes, we see only the German people, millions of peasants, bourgeois, and workers who will either overcome together the difficulties of these times or be overcome by them. We are firmly resolved and we have taken our oath. Since the present Reichstag is incapable of lending support to this work, we ask the German people whom we represent to perform the task themselves.
Reichspräsident von Hindenburg has called upon us to bring about the revival of the German nation. Unity is our tool. Therefore we now appeal to the German people to support this reconciliation. The National Government wishes to work and it will work. It did not ruin the German nation for fourteen years, but now it will lead the nation back to health. It is determined to make well in four years the ills of fourteen years. But the National Government cannot make the work of reconstruction dependent upon the approval of those who wrought destruction. The Marxist parties and their lackeys have had fourteen years to show what they can do. The result is a heap of ruins.
Now, people of Germany, give us four years and then pass judgment upon us. In accordance with Field Marshal von Hindenburg's command we shall begin now. May God Almighty give our work His blessing, strengthen our purpose, and endow us with wisdom and the trust of our people, for we are fighting not for ourselves but for Germany.
Chancellor Adolf Hitler.
Hitler Chancellor, Reichstag Election Announced for March 5.
In a solemn and respectful ceremony held in the office of our President this morning, President Paul von Hindenburg received Herr Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of the German Reich.
Herr Hitler, the leader of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), was sworn in as Reich Chancellor and vowed to bring stability to the German politic following months of chaos and confusion.
As leader of the largest party in the Reichstag, Herr Hitler was the only choice to replace the failing Kurt von Schleicher, who resigned just two days previous. Elections for the Reichstag are to take place on March 5th.
Wilhelm Frick (NSDAP) is appointed Minister of the Interior and will begin drafting new legislation to strengthen and stabilise our nation. Long-time Reichstag member and President of Parliament Hermann Göring (NSDAP) is made Minister Without Portfolio, a trouble-shooter who will assist all of the other Ministers. Herr Hitler demonstrated his commitment to unifying our troubled government by appointing and retaining several others who are not from the Nazi Party.
Former Chancellor, Franz von Papen becomes Vice Chancellor and second in charge in the new Cabinet. Konstantin von Neurath remains Minister of Foreign Affairs. Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk stays in his post of Minister of Finance. Alfred Hugenburg of the German National People's Party (DNVP) becomes Minister for Economy, Agriculture and Food. Franze Seldte of the German People's Party becomes Reichsarbeitsminister, Minister of Labour.
Chancellor Hitler also keeps Franz Gürtner of the DNVP in his role as Minister of Justice. Major-General Werner von Blomberg has been chosen to be Minister of Defense, in overall command of our armed forces. Paul Freiherr von Eltz-Rübenach becomes Minister of Mail and Transport.
In a telegram to the President, Hitler's former friend and ally from the Munich Putsch, General Ludendorff said, "By appointing Hitler Chancellor of the Reich you have handed over our sacred German Fatherland to one of the greatest demagogues of all time. I prophesy to you this evil man will plunge our Reich into the abyss and will inflict immeasurable woe on our nation. Future generations will curse you in your grave for this action."
A torchlit parade is planned through the streets of the capital tonight and the new Chancellor is expected to greet the Berlin public.
Chancellor Hitler will speak to the German nation on February 1st in his inaugural speech.
Our noble Reichsprasident Paul von Hindenburg yesterday signed the Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State, which comes into immediate effect. The people of the German nation must be aware that any perceived restrictions on personal liberties are in the purpose of the common good, and as such personal criticisms and ill-feelings towards these new laws are to be considered anti-German.
Germans should remember that only a few days ago our Parliament building, the Reichstag, was destroyed by Communist plotters. The burning of the Reichstag was intended to be the signal for a bloody uprising and civil war. Large-scale pillaging in Berlin was planned.... It has been determined that ... throughout Germany acts of terrorism were to begin against prominent individuals, against private property, against the lives and safety of the peaceful population, and general civil war was to be unleashed....
The new measures taken for our safety state that:
Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of opinion, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications, and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.
These measures are enshrined in legality based upon Article 48 paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the German Reich.
Further powers are expected to be issued by Minister Herr Göring to the Prussian police to aid them in their pursuit of the Communist menace. Our Chancellor, Herr Hitler himself, stated on witnessing the fire:
"There will be no mercy now. Anyone who stands in our way will be cut down. The German people will not tolerate leniency. Every Communist official will be shot where he is found. The Communist deputies must be hanged this very night. Everybody in league with the Communists must be arrested. There will no longer be any leniency for Social Democrats either."
We must stand shoulder to shoulder with our nation's government in this dark hour. Those who are not with us are against us.
Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich!
Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Nation!
The Reichstag has enacted the following law, which is hereby proclaimed with the assent of the Reichsrat, it having been established that the requirements for a constitutional amendment have been fulfilled:
In addition to the procedure prescribed by the constitution, laws of the Reich may also be enacted by the government of the Reich. This includes the laws referred to by Articles 85 Paragraph 2 and Article 87 of the constitution.
Laws enacted by the government of the Reich may deviate from the constitution as long as they do not affect the institutions of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The rights of the President remain undisturbed.
Laws enacted by the Reich government shall be issued by the Chancellor and announced in the Reich Gazette. They shall take effect on the day following the announcement, unless they prescribe a different date. Articles 68 to 77 of the Constitution do not apply to laws enacted by the Reich government.
Treaties of the Reich with foreign states which affect matters of Reich legislation shall not require the approval of the bodies of the legislature. The government of the Reich shall issue the regulations required for the execution of such treaties.
This law takes effect with the day of its proclamation. It loses force on 1 April 1937 or if the present Reich government is replaced by another.
"The authority of the Führer has now been wholly established. Votes are no longer taken. The Führer decides. All this is going much faster than we had dared to hope."