Hitler’s ‘dark threats’ to Britain (1941)
Making his first speech for many months, Hitler was in boastful mood during this week in 1941, and told his listeners “an operation of gigantic extent has been in progress for the last 48 hours and will help us to reach victory” and he talked about the start of the Battle of Moscow.
He admitted that “a decision in the west with England” would have “contained the whole German Luftwaffe”.
He made this threat: “Churchill wanted this war years ago. Now he has got it. Now the English must realise that it is not a nice war. If they do not yet realise that this war is not a pleasant thing for them I can only say that they will come to know it, as true as I am standing here at this moment.”
Hitler said that a war which would have a decisive effect on world history had been in progress since June 22. That future generations would prove that a new historic era had been initiated by the war.
He added the usual apology: “But even this war was not desired by me.”
He repeated his regret that only one nation - the British nation - was not joined in sympathy with him.
Hitler said that it was not the British people who rendered such a friendship impossible, but only a few men, “supported by international Jewry - the enemies of the world”.
He said: “And so the moment came when the decision had to be taken. If I was unable to gain Britain’s friendship nobody would be able to, and nothing remained but to fight.
“Now we are waging a war between truth and lies. But it is the truth which will prevail. However British propaganda, international Jewry, and their Democratic helpers may lie, they are unable to change historical facts.
“The fact is not that they or any other countries have conquered Germany, but that Germany has defeated one enemy after another.”
Hitler repeated his allegations about the demands which Molotov was said to have put before him during his visit to Berlin, and repeated how difficult it had been for him to keep silent about these demands and threats to other countries.
But he said that he was aware of the danger threatening from the East, and therefore “took all necessary measures so that Germany, rather than Russia, might fire the first shot”.
NO DECISION IN WEST
“I took the decision,” he said, “only when I saw that Russia had reached the hour to advance against us, at a moment when we had only three divisions in East Prussia.
“A decision in the west with England, which would have contained the whole German Luftwaffe, was no longer possible, for in my rear there stood a state which was getting ready to proceed against me at such a moment.”
Turning to the war in the east, Hitler said: “Everything has been carried out according to plan. The number of prisoners has increased to two and a half millions, the number of guns captured or destroyed to over 22,000, the number of tanks captured or destroyed 18,000, the number of aircraft destroyed or shot down 14,500.”
The campaign had been started by three army groups, he said, the first aiming to break through the front in the centre, with the other two attacking on the flanks towards Leningrad and in the Ukraine. These first tasks had virtually been completed, said Hitler
“We have not been wrong in our plans,” he said. “We have, however, been mistaken about one thing. We had no idea how gigantic the preparations of this enemy were against Germany and Europe, and how immeasurably great was the danger. I say this only today because I can say that this enemy is already broken and will never rise again.”
He said that the territory occupied in Russia extended over an area as large as Germany at the time he had taken over power, and was four times as large as Great Britain. Over 25,000 kilometres of destroyed Russian railways had been repaired, and over 16,000 kilometres converted into a smaller gauge used by the German railways.
Hitler ridiculed the “Soviet Paradise” and said that even “those German soldiers who had retained in their hearts an affection for Communist ideology would return home entirely cured”.
He announced that an administration was being built up to restore and reorganise the vast extent of conquered territory, which would be turned to the advantage of Germany and her allies.
In an attempt to show how vast were Germany’s reserves he said that he had ordered a number of munition factories to cease production, because: “I know that the enemy does not exist who is capable of beating us while we possess the ammunition we have in store.”
He concluded by appealing to the Germans to contribute to the winter relief fund and to unite in a single community in preparedness to make sacrifices.
“When the German nation stands united, in that preparedness, then we may hope that Providence will help us again in the future,” Hitler said.
“God does not help lazy and cowardly people. He does not help countries which do not help themselves.”
Goebbels, who spoke before Hitler, disclosed that 1,500,000 children and over 150,000 mothers, with some 65,000 babies, had been evacuated from “particularly endangered areas of the country”
CAPTURED U-BOAT SAFELY BROUGHT INTO BRITISH PORT
With the White Ensign fluttering proudly from the conning tower, a 500 tonne German U-Boat which had surrendered in the mid-Atlantic with hands to a Lockheed Hudson aircraft of Coastal Command had safely docked at a British port, reported the News Letter.
It was expected that naval engineers and other experts would soon start on their task of learning the secrets of “this valuable prize” from the German Atlantic fleet.
The News Letter reported: “Gliding along under her own power, but without her own crew, who are no interned, the vessel nosed her way into the dock. She had no marking.”
Apparently undamaged, she nevertheless bore the marks of machine gun bullets from the Hudson aircraft which held in the Atlantic for four hours.
A Press Association reporter was allowed to go aboard the submarine. Of fairly new design she was 220 feet long and carried a crew of about 40. She had four torpedo tubes.
Lieutenant George Colvin, a 30-year-old bearded officer who brought the submarine in said: “She is slightly superior in some details, and definitely inferior in many others, to the British submarine fleet.”
He added: “There was a certain amount of evidence that the German crew had panicked judging by the way the instruments and other articles had been left. We found a good deal of food, good food, in her. There were Danish hams and supplies of butter in one pound tins. It was disappointing to find only two bottles of cheap Spanish wine and a quantity of lemonade. A number of German slogans, such as ‘The Fuhrer leads, we follow’, were found below.”