German Field Marshal's address in the State Opera House in Berlin on Commemoration Day 1936
Almost a year since Commemoration Day in 1935, the 17th March, and the previous day - the historic day on which Hitler announced German rearmament and the founding of the Wehrmacht, thus restoring to the German people its freedom, honour and self-determination. This was the beginning of a new age in German history - an age of strength and power, in which the one goal would be German and world peace. Reoccupation of the Rhine - Hitler has explained his reasons and made certain political offers which will ensure peace, if European statesmen act reasonably and accept them. General mention of all those to be remembered: those who died in the Great War and earlier wars; the martyrs of the National Socialist movement and the men of the various Freikorps. German soldiers who have recently given their lives must not be forgotten, especially those of the newest branch, the Luftwaffe. Brief mention of dead of Germany's allies and enemies. Expression of hope that their deaths will lead to a peace based on mutual respect and justice. Duty of veterans to pass on true picture of the war so that it is not romanticised by youth. Horror of the Great War. General dutiful conduct of the ordinary German soldier during the war. Aim of National Socialist education - to bring out in the German citizen those qualities which distinguish both the good soldier and the good citizen. Need for peace so that the National Socialist revolution can be consolidated. Gratitude to veterans of Great War; inability of state to pay pensions, but its willingness to lend moral support. Gratitude for work done by Volksbund Deutscher Kriegsgra_uberfu_urs orge in looking after war cemetries. Role of Great War in the establishment of a new Germany - value of comradeship in creating unity. Significance of Hitler's having been an unknown soldier. Wehrmacht thanks Hitler in its own name and in name of Reichswehr for the honnourable task he has given it - the reconstruction of the armed services. Links with the NSDAP; combined effort to be made by Wehrmacht and NSDAP to create the new Germany. Thanks offered to Hitler for the trust he has bestowed on the Wehrmacht; Wehrmacht's devotion to Hitler. The new army is a National Socialist one. Comparisons with Reichswehr - the new army is much more integrated in the community due to conscription; its technical superiority; its role as educator of German youth. Wehrmacht demands discipline, toughness and self-discipline, but offers justice, praise and rewards. It demands a great deal, but historically more has always been demanded of the German soldier than of others. Present day German soldiers are fortunate in not only being able to make history but to do so with Hitler as their model. Expression of gratitude to Hitler for his efforts and for fact that Germany's first year of freedom has also been a year of peace. A strong Germany is a sure guarantee of peace, freedom and honour. Germany's single aim is peaceful construction of the new Reich. Desire for world peace. Germany's new found strength does not lay in numbers, but in her strength of will and unity. Final remembrance of the fallen.