Ever year Hitler come to Munich for the annual Party Rally, in which the Nazis celebrated the anniversary of the ‘Beer Hall Putsch’, when they had first attempted to grab power 1923.
Hitler always addressed the most ardent party members in the Löwenbräukeller. He had narrowly avoided an assassination attempt here in 1939. Every year he made boasts about how the Germans were the master race, about to dominate the world. This time there was not much to boast about.
Nevertheless Hitler was as defiant as ever. He was addressing the Nazi Party faithful, they did not need to be persuaded of anything. They just needed to be reminded that the Fuhrer was still in command and had hopes for the future.
Bizarrely he was to claim, despite all the major setbacks that Germany had suffered in the past year, that Germany was in a better position than at the start of the war.
He made no mention of the major reverses in the past year, at Stalingrad, at Kursk, North Africa, Sicily and now Italy. The devastating Allied bombing campaign, which had unsettled so many Germans since Hamburg, was just a reason why Germans should be seeking vengeance:
We are fighting the fifth year of the greatest war of all time. As it began, the enemy in the east was barely a hundred fifty kilometers away from Berlin. In the west, his fortresses threatened the Rhine; the Saar region was under fire from his artillery.
And now, my party comrades, this National Socialist state has crushed this ring of encirclement in historically unique blows. The heroism of its soldiers pushed the fronts nearly everywhere over a thousand kilometers from the borders of the Reich.
The Americans and the English are right now planning the rebuilding of the world. I am right now planning the rebuilding of Germany! There will, however, be a difference: while the rebuilding of the world through the Americans and the English will not take place, the rebuilding of Germany through National Socialism will be carried out with precision and according to plan!
Our mass organizations, from the Todt organization to the Reich labor service embracing the entire German economy, will be roped in for the job, along with the war criminals. For the first time in their lives, the war criminals will do something useful there. This is the first thing I have to say.
The second thing is this: whether or not the gentlemen believe it, the hour of retribution will come! If we cannot reach America at the moment, one state is within our reach, thank God, and we will hold on to it.
And I would like to add a third item: the opinion of our adversaries that their air terror can decrease the intensity of the German military resolve is based on a fallacy. After all, whoever has already lost all his belongings can only have one desire: that the war will never be lost, since only a victorious war can help him get his things back. And so the hundreds of thousands of the bombedout are the vanguard of revenge.
I have come here for a few hours in order to speak to you, my old followers. I am going back tomorrow and I will take with me the beautiful memory of my old comrades in arms and our time of struggle together.
You shall also leave here with fanatical confidence and the fanatical faith that there can be nothing other than our victory. We fight for this. Many have already fallen for this, and many will still have to make the same sacrifice.
Generations will live because of this, not only now, but also in the future. The blood we spill will one day bring rich rewards for our Volk. Millions of human beings will be granted an existence in new homes.
Thus, we commemorate all our comrades who, as National Socialist fighters, led the way, which can only be a way toward greatness for our fatherland, greatness for our German Volk.
Our National Socialist Party, our German Reich:
This was to prove to be Hitler’s last appearance in the Löwenbräukeller. All rational thought would have suggested that conditions in a years’s time would be a great deal worse for Germany. As it happened they were so bad that he chose not to even come to Munich to celebrate the anniversary in 1944.
Contemporary footage of another event the following day: