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Hitler’s Confidential Memo on Autarky (August 1936)

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Germany's defensive capacity.

Germany's defensive capacity is based upon several factors. I would give pride of place to the intrinsic value of the German people per se. A German people with an impeccable political leadership, a firm ideology and a thorough military organization certainly constitutes the most valuable factor of resistance which the world of today can possess. Political leadership is ensured by the National Socialist Party; ideological solidarity has, since the victory of National Socialism, been introduced to a degree that had never previously been attained. It must be constantly deepened and hardened on the basis of this one concept. This is the aim of the National Socialist education of our people.

Military development [Auswertung] is to be effected through the new Army. The extent and pace of the military development of our resources cannot be made too large or too rapid! It is a capital error to think that there can be any argument on these points or any comparison with other vital necessities. However much the general pattern of life of a people ought to be a balanced one, it is nonetheless imperative that at particular times certain disturbances of the balance, to the detriment of other, less vital, tasks, must be adopted. If we do not succeed in developing the German Wehrmacht within the shortest possible time into the first Army in the world, in training, in the raising of units, in armaments, and, above all, in spiritual education as well, Germany will be lost! The principle applies here that the omissions of peace-time months cannot be made good in centuries.

All other desires must therefore be unconditionally subordinated to this task. For this task is life and the preservation of life, and all other desires – however understandable they may be in other periods – are, by comparison, of no account or are even mortally dangerous and therefore to be rejected. Nor will posterity ever ask us by what methods or by what concepts, views, etc., which are valid today, we achieved the salvation of the nations, but only whether we achieved it. Nor would it one day be an excuse for our downfall were we to point to the measures, be they never so well tried, which had nevertheless unfortunately caused that downfall.

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