Hitler's Address to the Legion Kondor in the Berlin Luftgarden, 6 June 1939
[translation from the German by Allen Knechtmann]
Finally I am able to greet you now in person.
I am so happy to see you here before me, and above all I am so proud of you! And at this
hour the entire German people feels as I do. All those millions who are experiencing at the
loudspeaker and in spirit your entry and reception take you into their hearts, filled with
gratitude and joyfully moved that again you are with us in the homeland.
In the Summer of 1936, Spain appeared to be lost. International forces fanned the fire of
a revolution which was certain to reduce to ruins not only Spain but Europe as well. Even
the Christian Democrats insisted on delivering for this purpose, weapons fuel, and so-called
volunteers. A dreadfully threatening fate raised itself over our continent. The most
ancient cultural lands of Europe appeared to be endangered. From Spain itself tens of
thousands of Germans had to flee. Their worldly goods fell victim to the destruction.
Many were murdered. What the Germans there had built up in a laborious, long, honest
battle for life as the basis of their existence was destroyed and annihilated in just a few
German warships, which I immediately sent to Spain in response to the cries for help from
our racial comrades, attempted to assist, as they -- at least as well as could be -- took
over the defense of life and limb and enabled the removal of our racial comrades to the
homeland. Then arose ever more clearly in this land a man who seemed to be called by the
command of his own conscience to act for his people.
Franco began his struggle for the salvation of Spain. Against him arose a conspiracy fed
from around the world.
In July 1936, I had resolved quickly to respond to the request for help which this man
extended to me and to help him in the same measure and for as long as the rest of the world
would render support to the internal enemies of Spain. With that National Socialist Germany
began to partake actively in the battle for the reestablishment of a national and independent
Spain under the leadership of this man. I ordered this in the knowledge that I could save
not only Europe but also our own fatherland from a similar catastrophe in the
But I also did this from the deep sympathy for the suffering of a land which once had
remained neutrally friendly towards us in the World War, in spite of all oppressive attempts
on the part of England. With that I have extended the thanks of the German
This happened furthermore in full agreement with Italy. Because Mussolini, inspired by the
same idealistic considerations, had likewise made the decision to have Italian assistance
sent to the savior of Spain in his struggle against the internationally organized
annihilation of his land. With that a practical, mutual demonstration of the unified
world-view of our two lands was revealed for the first time.
These idealistic motives were neither able to be grasped nor wanted to be admitted in the
international plutocracies. For years British and French newspapers informed their readers
that Germany and Italy allegedly had the intention of conquering Spain, dividing it up, and
above all of robbing it of its colonies. Trains of thought which in any case seem less
unnatural in the representatives of these lands than with us, since the robbing of foreign
colonies has always belonged indeed to the permitted and tested methods of these
So we recall the infamous assertions which were spread one day that Germany had landed
20,000 men in Morocco in order to occupy it and thus take it away from Spain. With these
libels the politicians and journalists of the democracies have agitated their peoples and
have sought again and again to take from Spain the outcome of that catastrophe which these
politicians of encirclement, war-mongers, and war-profiteers desire most ardently the new
great war between the European peoples.
Now you, my comrades, have returned from Spain. This day of festive reception in the
Reich capital is at the same time the conclusion and the completion of all these
mendacious democratic lies.
Because once I sent you to help an unfortunate land, to support a heroic man, who wanted
as a splendid patriot to rescue his people from annihilation and has indeed gloriously
rescued it. You are now returned as the valiant executors of my task. I would like to
make it known at this moment to the entire German nation how much reason it has to be
thankful to you. For that service to which you were entrusted you have reported as
honorable and dutiful German soldiers, courageous and loyal and above all modest. The
high praise which the Spanish hero of freedom has expressed of you can only make the German
people but especially proud of you.
It was painful for us all to have to be silent about your battle through these long years.
But I conceived at that time the idea of giving you in the homeland after the end of this
war the reception which valiant, victorious soldiers deserve. Today for you and for me my
intent is fulfilled. The entire German people greets you in proud elation and heartfelt
But thanks also are due those who as soldiers have had to sacrifice life, limb, and health
in the service of this mission, and finally thanks are due to the bereaved families, who
mourn their so valiant men and sons today as victims. They are fallen, but their death and
their suffering will spare the lives of countless other Germans in the future.
No one has more understanding of this than National Socialist Germany, which, emerging from
the struggle of the World War, itself had to bear in the German rebuilding many victims to
the same enemy. I thank you soldiers of the Legion as well as the soldiers of the Navy for
your readiness for action, for your sacrificial courage, for your loyalty, your obedience,
for your discipline, and above all for your silent fulfillment of your duty.
Your example, my comrades, will above all but increase the trust of the German people for
you, strengthen the band of camaraderie with our friends, and leave for the world no doubt
that whenever the international war-mongers should ever desire to realize their intention
of attacking Germany, their attempt will experience from the German people and the German
Wehrmacht a repulse of which the propagandists of encirclement seem incapable even
today of imagining. In this sense as well, my comrades, your battle in Spain, as a lesson
for our foes, was a battle for Germany.
That you yourselves are now returned as hardened soldiers has not only sharpened your own
appreciation for the achievements of the German soldiers in the World War, but also made
you fit in an equally high measure to be the examples and instructors of the young soldiers
of our new Wehrmacht. Thus have you helped in strengthening the trust in the new
German Wehrmacht and in our new weapons.
At this moment we also desire to remember on whose side you have fought. We remember the
Italian comrades, who valiantly and loyally gave their blood and life for this battle of
civilization against destruction. And we remember above all the land itself from which you
have just come. Spain has had to endure an appalling fate. You, soldiers of the Legion,
have seen the destruction with your own eyes. You have experienced the cruelty of this
battle. But you have also gotten to know a proud people, which boldly and heroically has
fought with resolution for almost three years for the salvation of its freedom, its
independence, and, with that, its national existence. You had above all the fortune to
stand there under the command of a general who from his own power of resolve, unerringly
believing in victory, became the savior of his people.
We all have in this moment only the sincere and heartfelt desire that the noble Spanish
people now might not be begrudged the completion of a new, proud ascent under the genial
leadership of this man.
Legionaries and soldiers! Long live the German people! Long live the Spanish people and
its leader Franco! Long live the Italian people and its Duce! German people! Long
live our Legion! Hail Victory!
English translation copyright 2001 by James Allen Knechtmann. All rights reserved; no
reproduction in part or in whole is permitted without prior written permission of the