Spoils of War: 22 June 1941: Hitler Declares 'A Crusade Against Bolshevism'

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In honour of the anniversary of a fateful World War II event, we bring you a little translation from the Führer's announcement.

22 June 1941: Hitler Declares 'A Crusade Against Bolshevism'

Map of Eastern Europe in 1941.

For comparison, FDR's speech about declaring war on Japan: 520 words.

Hitler's speech about declaring war on the USSR: around 3100 words. We are far to lazy to translate all that, but here are some of the titbits.

German People! National Socialists!

Oppressed by heavy concerns, condemned to months-long silence1, at last the hour has come in which I may speak to you openly2.

When the German Reich received the English declaration of war on 3 September 1939, it repeated anew the British attempt to dissipate any beginning of a consolidation and therewith a rise of Europe by means of the fight against the strongest power on the continent at that time3.

So England once destroyed Spain in many wars4.

So it carried out its wars against Holland5.

So it battled against France later, with the help of all of Europe6.

And so began, around the turn of the century, the encirclement of the German Empire of that time, and in 1914, the world war7.

The narrative goes on in this vein for quite a while, mostly blaming the Brits for everything except Global Warming, which hadn't happened yet. Which is odd, because this is a declaration of war against…wait, I've got it…oh, yeah. The Soviet Union. After several more paragraphs about why we should all hate the English, he gets around to complaining about Moscow.

You have probably all sensed, that this step has been a bitter and difficult one for me8. Never have the German people had hostile feelings against the peoples of Russia9. It is only that for the last two decades, the Jewish-Bolshevik power structure of Moscow10 has striven to set not only Germany, but all of Europe on fire11. It was not Germany that tried to foist its National Socialist world view on Russia, but the Jewish-Bolshevik overlords in Moscow have continually tried to shove their leadership down the throats of everybody in Europe, and that not only in terms of ideas, but above all in a military-power sense12.

Okay, it doesn't get any better after that. The style never settles down and gets to the point. Hitler just rambles on for another couple of thousand words, and his syntax is giving this translator a headache. Aren't declarations of war supposed to be short? Whatever happened to 'We're going to come over there and clean your clock'? He finally concludes:

Today I have decided, therefore, once again to put the destiny and future of the German Reich and our people into the hands of our soldiers.

May the Lord God aid us in this struggle!

(signed) Adolf Hitler

Sigh. It's sad. Sad that this lousy declaration of war preceded so many millions of death. So much suffering. Sadder still that it wasn't even the last declaration of war ever made. So on 22 June, let's stop for a couple of minutes and reflect about this kind of reasoning, and the rhetoric engenders, and just how much suffering it can cause.

And let's echo those people who say, 'Never again.'

Spoils of War Archive

Dmitri Gheorgheni

22.06.15 Front Page

Back Issue Page

1Months-long silence would probably have nearly killed him.2Sorry, he really talked like that.3Even Hitler recognised that Britain was not part of Europe. It's all your fault, you know, you anti-Europeans.4Spanish Armada. Yep.5Forgotten about that one? They haven't in New Amsterdam.6See what happens if you help perfidious Albion, you wretched Europeans? You lose Napoleon.7Okay, even paranoid people have enemies sometimes.8The idea of empathy in politics probably reached its zenith during World War II.9Say what?10Say double what?11Wait a minute. Exactly who bombed Rotterdam?12This is particularly galling, because frankly, that's our job.

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