adolf hitler quote

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March 23rd 1933: Enabling Act passed

On this day in 1933, the German Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, which essentially secured Adolf Hitler’s position as dictator of Germany. The law gave Chancellor Hitler legal powers to establish his dictatorship as it gave the Cabinet the power to enact laws independently of the legislature - the Reichstag. Its formal name was ‘Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich’. Hitler had been appointed Chancellor on January 30th and just before the scheduled election, the Reichstag fire occurred. The Nazis used the incident to suggest a Communist revolution was imminent and passed the Reichstag Fire Decree which suspended civil liberties and habeas corpus. The Nazis failed to gain an absolute majority in the Reichstag, so Hitler drafted the Enabling Act to secure his position. The Nazis pressured and threatened representatives of the Reichstag to pass the bill, positioning SA men and Nazi swastikas in and around the building. With the bill’s passing, Hitler’s dictatorship was assured, and thus began a brutal regime which would last until 1945.

“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”
- Joseph Goebbels after the passage of the Act

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February 2nd 1943: Battle of Stalingrad ends

On this day in 19423 during the Second World War, German troops surrendered to the Soviet Red Army in Stalingrad, thus ending five months of fighting. The battle began in August 1942 during the Nazi invasion of Russia - codenamed Operation Barbarossa - and Adolf Hitler ordered an attack on the major city of Stalingrad. Stalingrad became a major playing field of the war, as Soviet leader Stalin was determined to save the city which bore his name. Under the leadership of General Paulus, German bombing destroyed much of the city and troops captured areas through hand-to-hand urban warfare. In November, Marshal Zhukov assembled six Russian armies to surround Stalingrad and trap the Germans in the city, barring provisions and troops from reaching them. Many German soldiers died of starvation and frostbite following the onset of the harsh Russian winter, with temperatures down to -30°C, but Hitler insisted they fight until the last man. After five months, the Russian Red Army claimed victory when the remaining German troops surrendered in February 1943. 91,000 Germans were taken prisoner, including twenty-two generals; this was all that remained of the 330,000 strong German force who arrived at Stalingrad. The Battle of Stalingrad is among the bloodiest battles of the Second World War, causing nearly two million casualties. The disaster depleted the German army’s supply of men and equipment, allowing the Allies to gain the advantage, which enabled them to invade Germany and win the war.

“The God of war has gone over to the other side”
- Adolf Hitler upon hearing of the German surrender at Stalingrad

If Hitler is obliged to resort to strategic defense, fascism is over and done with; indeed, a state like the Third Reich has from its inception founded its military and political life on the offensive. To put a stop to the offensive, and its existence ends.
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September 30th 1938: Munich Agreement signed

On this day in 1938, in the early hours of the morning, the Munich Agreement was signed by the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy. Adolf Hitler’s Nazi government planned to expand Germany’s borders, which began with the annexation of Austria in 1938. In Spring of that year, Hitler set his sights on the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia, largely populated by German speakers. The European powers, vividly recalling the horrors of the First World War, wanted to avoid war at any cost. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain thus traveled to Germany to negotiate with Hitler, who demanded the cession of the Sudetenland. Czechoslovakia, outraged at Germany’s aggression, began mobilising troops. However, war was averted when Chamberlain and a reluctant French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier went to Munich and signed the agreement accepting Hitler’s demands. The Sudetenland was abandoned, and Czechoslovakia felt betrayed by its exclusion from the Munich talks. Told it could fight Germany alone or relent, Czechoslovakia allowed Germany to annex the Sudetenland. Chamberlain returned to a Britain revelling in ‘peace for our time’, as he termed it, and content with Hitler’s promise to never again go to war with Britain. However, this promise was revealed to be hollow, and the Munich Agreement just a delay of what some consider an inevitable war. For in March 1939, Hitler violated the agreement and annexed the entirety of Czechoslovakia, shortly followed by the invasion of Poland which forced Britain to declare war on Germany, thus beginning the Second World War. While the Munich Agreement was initially welcomed as a peaceful resolution, it has since been condemned for its naïveté in its appeasement of the aggressive actions of Hitler’s totalitarian state.

“The settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace.”
- Neville Chamberlain