Stalin: “Who are the National Socialists?”

From:  Speech at Celebration Meeting of the Moscow Soviet of Working People’s Deputies and Moscow Party and Public Organizations (November 6, 1941)

In our country the German invaders, i.e., the Hitlerites, are usually called fascists. The Hitlerites, it appears, consider this wrong and obstinately continue to call themselves “National Socialists.” Hence the Germans want to assure us that the Hitlerite party, the party of the German invaders, which is plundering Europe and has organized the villainous attack on our socialist State, is a socialist party. Is this possible? What can there be in common between socialism and the bestial Hitlerite invaders who are plundering and oppressing the nations of Europe?

Can the Hitlerites be regarded as nationalists? No, they cannot. Actually, the Hitlerites are now not nationalists but imperialists. As long as the Hitlerites were engaged in assembling the German lands and reuniting the Rhine district, Austria, etc., it was possible with a certain amount of foundation to call them nationalists. But after they seized foreign territories and enslaved European nations-the Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Norwegians, Danes, Dutch, Belgians, French, Serbs, Greeks, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, the inhabitants of the Baltic countries, etc.— and began to reach out for world domination, the Hitlerite party ceased to be a nationalist party, because from that moment it became an imperialist party, a party of annexation and oppression.

The Hitlerite party is a party of imperialists, and the most rapacious and predatory imperialists among all the imperialists of the world.

Can the Hitlerites be regarded as socialists? No, they cannot. Actually, the Hitlerites are the sworn enemies of socialism, arrant reactionaries and BlackHundreds who have robbed the working class and the peoples of Europe of the most elementary democratic liberties. In order to cover up their reactionary, Black-Hundred essence, the Hitlerites denounce the internal regimes of Britain and America as plutocratic regimes. But in Britain and the United States there are elementary democratic liberties, there exist trade unions of workers and employees, there exist workers’ parties, there exist parliaments; whereas in Germany, under the Hitler regime, all these institutions have been destroyed. One only needs to compare these two sets of facts to perceive the reactionary nature of the Hitler regime and the utter hypocrisy of the German-fascist pratings about a plutocratic regime in Britain and in America. In point of fact the Hitler regime is a copy of that reactionary regime which existed in Russia under tsardom. It is well known that the Hitlerites suppress the rights of the workers, the rights of the intellectuals and the rights of nations as readily as the tsarist regime suppressed them, and that they organize mediæval Jewish pogroms as readily as the tsarist regime organized them.

The Hitlerite party is a party of enemies of democratic liberties, a party of mediæval reaction and Black-Hundred pogroms.

And if these brazen imperialists and arrant reactionaries still continue to masquerade in the togas of “nationalists” and “socialists,” they do this in order to deceive the people, to fool the simpletons and to hide under the flag of “nationalism” and “socialism” their piratical and imperialist nature.

Crows decked in peacocks’ feathers. . . . But no matter how much crows may deck themselves in peacocks’ feathers they will not cease to be crows.

“We must at all costs,” says Hitler, “strive to achieve the German conquest of the world. If we want to create our great German empire we must first of all oust and exterminate the Slav peoples—the Russians, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians. There are no reasons why this should not be done.”

“Man,” says Hitler, “is sinful from birth and can be ruled only with the help of force. In dealing with him all methods are permissible. When policy demands it one must lie, betray and even kill.”

“Kill everyone who is against us,” says Göring. “Kill, kill!—It is not you who will be held responsible, but I. Therefore, kill!”

“I emancipate man,” says Hitler, “from the humiliating chimera which is called conscience. Conscience, like education, mutilates man. I have the advantage of not being restrained by any considerations of a theoretical or moral nature.”

In one of the orders of the German command, dated September 25, to the 489th infantry regiment, and found on a killed German noncommissioned officer, it is stated:

“I order you to open fire on every Russian as soon as he appears at a distance of 600 metres. The Russian must learn that he is faced by a resolute foe from whom he cannot expect any mercy.”

In one of the declarations of the German command to the soldiers, found on the dead body of Lieutenant Gustav Ziegel, a native of Frankfort-on-Main, it is stated:

“You have no heart or nerves; they are not needed in war. Eradicate every trace of pity and sympathy from your heart-kill every Russian, every Soviet person. Do not stop even if before you stands an old man or a woman, girl or boy, kill! By this you will save yourselves from destruction, ensure the future of your family and win eternal glory.”

There you have the programme and instructions of the leaders of the Hitlerite party and of the Hitlerite command, the programme and instructions of men who have lost all semblance of human beings and have sunk to the level of wild beasts.

And these men, bereft of conscience and honour, these men with the morals of beasts, have the insolence to call for the extermination of the great Russian nation, the nation of Plekhanov and Lenin, Belinsky and Chernyshevsky, Pushkin and Tolstoy, Glinka and Chaikovsky, Gorky and Chekhov, Sechenov and Pavlov, Repin and Surikov, Suvorov and Kutuzov!

The German invaders want a war of extermination with the peoples of the U.S.S.R. Well, if the Germans want to have a war of extermination, they will get it. (Loud and prolonged applause.)

From now on our task, the task of the peoples of the U.S.S.R., the task of the fighters, commanders and the political workers of our Army and our Navy will be to exterminate every single German who has set his invading foot on the territory of our Fatherland. (Loud applause. “Hear, hear!” Cheers.) No mercy for the German invaders! Death to the German invaders! (Loud applause.)

Joseph Stalin