Essay: Hitler’s Reichstag speech

Adolf Hitler’s speech delivered to the German Reichstag on January 30th, 1939 is a primary source that explicitly discloses the German government’s antisemitic attitude towards European Jewry, as well as the condemnation of countries who voiced solidarity against the forced emigration of Jewry from Germany such as France, England and the US. As an official document of communication delivered to the German parliament, there is very limited ambiguity of Hitler and his Nazi party’s political view towards the European Jewry: “gain[ing] at the cost of the less astute German nation by the most reprehensible manipulation” and must be eliminated from Europe in order to restore settlement. The speech is designated to convince the German public that the Jewry in Europe may, and are capable of besieging Germany into another war crisis and if Germany experiences another outbreak of war, Jewry residing within the nation must be removed. He also contended that the political interference received from other countries have deliberately proven that Jewry becomes nourished at the expense of compromising Germans’ livelihood and therefore cannot remain in territories of Germany. The speech was delivered on the sixth anniversary of Hitler’s appointment of Chancellor and is the first official Jewry annihilation threat made public shortly after the prohibition of Jewry working as nurses, veterinarians, holistic practitioners or dentists.

Although in this speech, Hitler had not made the menace of killing Jewry, many suspect that he had already planned to elicit a war to create favorable conditions for the elimination of the Jewish race in Germany. In his speech, Hitler made clear to the German public that their country is experiencing denunciation from other countries for its actions of limiting the resources provided to Jewry and the forced emigration, which evokes the sense of nationalism amongst German citizens with the impression that their country is receiving hostility for an action of promoting the prosperity of its own people regardless of the fact that the Nazi party had implemented the Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration six days prior to the delivery of the Reichstag speech. Hitler also implicitly suggested that Jewry is strongly interconnected with countries that have defeated Germany in World War One. He proposed that these countries are conscientious of the drawbacks of having Jewry within their nation and therefore refuse to accept Jewish refugees unless they possess enough capital to be considered immigrants, however, they still demonstrate objection towards Germany’s act of marginalization of Jewry, the reason for that may be due to the vicious nature of Jews and their ability to manipulate others to their own benefit. Such speculations of Jewry with profound connotation led the German public, especially Christians to build upon the existing prejudice of Jewry conspiring to overthrow Europe and its ingrained Christianity.

Hitler gradually gained political and social impact since 1933. In order to expand and consolidate the Nazi party, Hitler utilized German public’s hatred and fear of communism by using communists as the scapegoat for the Reichstag Fire on February 27th of the same year , which many suspect that his own party has torched the parliament house. The communist power collapsed in Germany due to Hitler’s excessive persecution of communists and the establishment of communist concentration camp at Dachau with mass support since communists are deemed to be the ultimate enemy of the state . He also restored and revived German economy after the 1929 Wall St crash which provided assurance to the German citizens who are disappointed by the Weimar Republic’s inability to resist and resolve this global financial conjuncture. His portrait as the “last hope” enticed the German public to ritualize the Nazi party, believe his policies and political movements are indeed to stabilize Germany, and his proposal of antisemitic legislations is to retain the superiority of Germany. Hitler’s political achievements prior to the Reichstag speech set basis for his anti-Jewish decrees, initially, these decrees are introduced slowly to the public so that the public is less sensitive to extent of the Nazi party’s antisemitism. In 1933 shortly after Hitler’s appointment as chancellor, the Nazi party arranged SA to stand by Jewish businesses and discourage people from entering, as well as the establishment of the Department of Racial Hygiene.

The “race improving” selective breeding (eugenics) program specified the master Aryan race and propagated the sub-humanity of the Jewish race in the mindset of the German public. In Hitler’s racial ideology, impure races such as Jewry, Roma, homosexual and disabled pose threat to the survival of Aryan race since interbreeding with these less desirable races supposedly decreases the fitness of the younger generation. If these inferior races are not eliminated, the superior Aryans are at the risk of extinction. The racial profiling of the inferiority of Jewry in Hitler’s ideology justified his conduct of genocide of Jewry as a measure to maintain the lineage, wellbeing and self esteem of Germans. Hitler also took advantage of aftermath of the Great Depression to further insinuate the sordid nature of Jewry since no countries vowed to take in the expelled Jewry of Germany, although it is understood that countries like the US have experienced steep industrial production decline due to the crash on Wall Street in 1929 and are unable to take in any immigrants due to economical struggle.

The Nazi party sponsored legislations brought daunting and extremist adversities to the German Jewry. Apart from the forced emigration, earlier oppressing schemes included expelling Jewish students from schools and military services, forbidding marriages between Jewry and non-Jewry, restricting ownership of electrical appliances and the Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) on 9th November, 1938 where Nazi gangs raided and destroyed Jewish businesses, synagogues and houses, as well as the arrest and slaughter of Jewry.

This excerpt of Hitler’s Reichstag speech acknowledges that the Jewry issue is no longer a German issue, but an European issue since eliminating Jewry from Germany is insufficient, as he stated “for Europe cannot settle down until the Jewish question is cleared up”. Although Hitler posed the Jewish problem as an ongoing issue and anticipated the involvement of other European countries, the resolution is self-contained within his speech as he provided a prediction for the Holocaust. Hitler also utilized this speech as a vehicle to raise public hatred towards countries objecting the Nazi’s forced emigration of Jewry, thus gaining public approval for the Jewry elimination regime.

Hitler begins this excerpt of the Reichstag speech by refuting critiques from other countries and highlighting that the population density of Germany is far greater than those who strictures Germany’s exclusion of Jewry, and that Germany has been kind enough to this supposedly parasitic race to host them for hundreds of years. He then applies extensive sarcastic language to his speech such as “hypocritical mien” and “irreplaceable and culturally eminently valuable element” to convey his contempt of Jewry and the pretentious yet non-existent ministration of Jewry from the US, England and France. He concluded this excerpt with certainty of correlation between Jewry and war, and the first public imperil of annihilating Jewry from Europe.

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