Hitler Stalingrad Speech
The Hitler Stalingrad Speech was an address made by Adolf Hitler to senior members of the Nazi Party on November 8, 1942. The speech took place at the Löwenbräukeller in Stiglmaierplatz in Munich during the height of the Battle of Stalingrad. For three-quarters of his oratory, Hitler speaks in a normal tone of voice, at one point making a joke, and only raising his voice at the end of his narrative. The speech is, along with the Mannerheim recording, one of very few recordings in which Hitler is heard speaking completely normally.
Text of speech
The first segment of Hitlers speech berates Soviet military ability, and Hitler cites several examples of Soviet military leaders exaggerating casualty figures.
- If we follow our enemies' propaganda, then I must say that is to be compared
- with "Rejoicing towards Heaven, depressed until Death".
- The slightest success anywhere, and they literally turn somersaults in joy.
- They have already destroyed us, and then the page turns and again they are cast down
- and depressed. I did not want to attack in the center, not only because Stalin
- knew I would. I provide one such example. If you read the Russian telegrams
- every day since June 22nd, they say the following each day: "Fighting of unimportant
- character". Or maybe of important character. "We have shot down three times as many
- German planes. The amount of sunken tonnage is already greater than the entire naval
- tonnage, of all the German tonnage from before." They have so many of us missing that
- this amounts to more divisions than we can ever muster. But, above all, they are always
- fighting in the same place. "Here and there", they say modestly, "after fourteen days we have
- evacuated the city." But, in general, since June 22nd they have been fighting in the same
- place. Always successful, we are constantly being beaten back. And in this continued retreat
- we have slowly come to the Caucasus.
After a brief applause, Hitler resumes his speech and explains his reasoning for attacking Stalingrad. In his narrative, Hitler becomes almost comical, and suggests that the city of Stalingrad could have had another name (from Stalin) and this wasn't why he ordered his Army to attack. The comment drew a round of laughter from the assembled audience.
- I should say that for our enemies, and not for your soldiers, that the speed at which our soldiers
- have now traversed territory is gigantic. And what has transcribed this past year is vast and
- historically unique. Now, I do not always do things just as others want them done. I consider
- what the others probably believe and then do the opposite on principle. So, if I did not want to
- attack in the center, not only because Mr. Stalin probably believed I would, but because I didn't
- care about it at all. But I wanted to come to the Volga, to a specific place and a specific city.
- It happened to have Stalin's name, but that's not why I went there. It could have had another name.
In the final segment of the speech, Hitler provides statistics for the strategic importance of Stalingrad and then proclaims that Germany now holds the city.
- But, now this is a very important point. Because from here comes 30 millions tons of traffic, including
- about nine millions tons of oil shipments. From there the wheat pours in from these enormous territories of
- the Ukraine and from the Kuban region then to be transported north. From here comes magnesium ore.
- A gigantic terminal is there and I wanted to take it. But, as you know, we are modest. That is to say that
- we have it now. Only a few small pockets of resistance are left. Some would say "Why not fight onwards?" Because
- I don't want a second Verdun! I would rather hold this with small combat patrols! Time
- does not matter, no ships are coming up the Volga! That is the important point.
The Hitler Stalingrad Speech is portrayed in the film Stalingrad where a group of embattled Wehrmacht soldiers, entrenched from positions within the city of Stalingrad itself, listen to Hitler while they are in turn surrounded by Soviet forces. This speech is also featured in an episode of the 1988 miniseries "War and Remembrance," when Hitler was addressing party faithful. It occurred on the same day as the Allied invasion of North Africa.
- Zentner, Christian Ed; Bedürftig, Friedemann Ed (1991). The Encyclopedia of the Third Reich (in English). New York: Macmillan. p. 1150. ISBN 0-02-897502-2.
- Special Media Archives Services Division (Translation), National Archives and Records Administration; 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001
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