Speeches at commemoration ceremony in Berlin's Sportpalast held by German veterans' association Kyffhauser, on 62nd anniversary of unification of Germany 1/1933
Rudolf von Horn (leader of Kyffhaeuser): summary of German/Prussian history. Events of 1871 were the culmination of centuries of struggle by the whole German people. Importance of Frederick the Great. Creation of a "powerful and free" German state finally due to the united German Army and to Bismarck's statesmanship. The establishment of the new Reich meant the complete reorganisation of the old power structure. Bismarck and his successors could not prevent internal and external crises, so that the then German government and Kaiser Wilhelm II must bear responsibility for the Great War, which the Germans, with nothing to win and a great deal to lose, did not want. In the end the will of the enemy to return Germany to a state of political impotence proved stronger than the German will for peace. Despite the unparalleled heroism shown by many Germans, there was not a strong enough feeling of nationalism and unity. The ultimate shame in the dictates of the Versailles Treaty lay not in the military defeat, but in Germany's collapse, in the way she bore her own downfall - partly in dumb indifference and partly in pointless self-blame. The present commemoration ceremony should serve to remind everyone that it is time to recognise past mistakes and at last to become a united people. Reichschancellor von Schleicher: to cheers and applause he extends to the Kyffhaeuser the greetings of the young German Army. The German Reich established 62 years ago owed a good deal to the German Army, which may not have existed as a formal organisation, but which was certainly unified in spirit and courage. Under the protection of the Army Germany lived through many peaceful years and during the four terrible years of the Great War the Army kept the enemy away from German borders. For this reason the enemy decree that the Army should be disarmed was so humiliating. The right to bear weapons is the sign of a free man. The German nation struggled against the decree until the sign of Germany's sovereignity was restored to her. Schleicher repeats the words of the foreign minister: Germany will not sign any disarmament treaty. Great applause. Schleicher stresses his belief in the importance of introducing conscription. Applause. Military tradition does not lie in numbers or outward appearances, but in the old military virtues of obedience and comradeship, which live on in the new Army. Applause and cheering. There exists too a new kind of comradeship: one between the Army and the German people. Schleicher hopes that tight bonds of comradeship will exist between the veterans and the new Army. Mention of Hindenburg as a shining example for the Army to take as a model. Repeat of Hindenburg's words of 1925, spoken as he took command of the Army, "Your roots lie in the old notions of duty and sacrifice, but we must also deal with the present and the future, and with service to the people and the state". Applause.