Bush's Total War Speech
The price of victory and defeat
In 1943, after the defeat at Stalingrad, Joseph Goebbels made a speech which was called Total War.
Compare and contrast:
First, our Coalition will remain on the offense – finding and clearing out the enemy … transferring control of more territory to Iraqi units … and building up the Iraqi Security Forces so they can increasingly lead the fight. At this time last year, there were only a handful of Iraqi army and police battalions ready for combat. Now, there are more than 125 Iraqi combat battalions fighting the enemy … more than 50 are taking the lead … and we have transferred more than a dozen military bases to Iraqi control.
Second, we are helping the Iraqi government establish the institutions of a unified and lasting democracy, in which all of Iraq’s peoples are included and represented. Here also, the news is encouraging. Three days ago, more than 10 million Iraqis went to the polls – including many Sunni Iraqis who had boycotted national elections last January. Iraqis of every background are recognizing that democracy is the future of the country they love – and they want their voices heard. One Iraqi, after dipping his finger in the purple ink as he cast his ballot, stuck his finger in the air and said: “This is a thorn in the eyes of the terrorists.” Another voter was asked, “Are you Sunni or Shia?” He responded, “I am Iraqi.”
Third, after a number of setbacks, our Coalition is moving forward with a reconstruction plan to revive Iraq’s economy and infrastructure – and to give Iraqis confidence that a free life will be a better life. Today in Iraq, seven in 10 Iraqis say their lives are going well – and nearly two-thirds expect things to improve even more in the year ahead. Despite the violence, Iraqis are optimistic – and that optimism is justified.
In all three aspects of our strategy – security, democracy, and reconstruction – we have learned from our experiences, and fixed what has not worked. We will continue to listen to honest criticism, and make every change that will help us complete the mission. Yet there is a difference between honest critics who recognize what is wrong, and defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right.
Defeatism may have its partisan uses, but it is not justified by the facts. For every scene of destruction in Iraq, there are more scenes of rebuilding and hope. For every life lost, there are countless more lives reclaimed. And for every terrorist working to stop freedom in Iraq, there are many more Iraqis and Americans working to defeat them. My fellow citizens: Not only can we win the war in Iraq – we are winning the war in Iraq.
It is also important for every American to understand the consequences of pulling out of Iraq before our work is done. We would abandon our Iraqi friends – and signal to the world that America cannot be trusted to keep its word. We would undermine the morale of our troops – by betraying the cause for which they have sacrificed. We would cause tyrants in the Middle East to laugh at our failed resolve, and tighten their repressive grip. We would hand Iraq over to enemies who have pledged to attack us – and the global terrorist movement would be emboldened and more dangerous than ever before. To retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor … and I will not allow it.
We are approaching a New Year, and there are certain things all Americans can expect to see. We will see more sacrifice – from our military … their families … and the Iraqi people. We will see a concerted effort to improve Iraqi police forces and fight corruption. We will see the Iraqi military gaining strength and confidence, and the democratic process moving forward. As these achievements come, it should require fewer American troops to accomplish our mission. I will make decisions on troop levels based on the progress we see on the ground and the advice of our military leaders – not based on artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington. Our forces in Iraq are on the road to victory – and that is the road that will take them home.
In the months ahead, all Americans will have a part in the success of this war. Members of Congress will need to provide resources for our military. Our men and women in uniform, who have done so much already, will continue their brave and urgent work. And tonight, I ask all of you listening to carefully consider the stakes of this war … to realize how far we have come and the good we are doing … and to have patience in this difficult, noble, and necessary cause.
I also want to speak to those of you who did not support my decision to send troops to Iraq: I have heard your disagreement, and I know how deeply it is felt. Yet now there are only two options before our country – victory or defeat. And the need for victory is larger than any president or political party, because the security of our people is in the balance. I do not expect you to support everything I do, but tonight I have a request: Do not give in to despair, and do not give up on this fight for freedom.
Only three weeks ago I stood in this place to read the Führer's proclamation on the 10th anniversary of the seizure of power, and afterward to speak to you and to the German people. The crisis we now face on the Eastern Front was at its height. In the midst of the hard misfortunes the nation faced in the battle on the Volga, we gathered together in a mass meeting on the 30th of January to display our unity, our unanimity and our strong will to overcome the difficulties we faced in the fourth year of the war.
It was a moving experience for me, and probably also for all of you, to be bound by radio with the last heroic fighters in Stalingrad during our powerful meeting here in the Sport Palace. They radioed to us that they had heard the Führer's proclamation, and perhaps for the last time in their lives joined us in raising their hands to sing the national anthems. What an example German soldiers have set in this great age! And what an obligation it puts on us all, particularly the entire German homeland! Stalingrad was and is fate's great alarm call to the German nation! A nation that has the strength to survive and overcome such a disaster, even to draw from it additional strength, is unbeatable. In my speech to you and the German people, I shall remember the heroes of Stalingrad, who put me and all of us under a deep obligation.
I do not know how many millions of people are listening to me over the radio tonight, at home and at the front. I want to speak to all of you from the depths of my heart to the depths of yours. I believe that the entire German people has a passionate interest in what I have to say tonight. I will therefore speak with holy seriousness and openness, as the hour demands. The German people, raised, educated and disciplined by National Socialism, can bear the whole truth. It knows the gravity of the situation, and its leadership can therefore demand the necessary hard measures, yes even the hardest measures. We Germans are armed against weakness and uncertainty. The blows and misfortunes of the war only give us additional strength, firm resolve, and a spiritual and fighting will to overcome all difficulties and obstacles with revolutionary élan.
Now is not the time to ask how it all happened. That can wait until later, when the German people and the whole world will learn the full truth about the misfortune of the past weeks, and its deep and fateful significance. The heroic sacrifices of heroism of our soldiers in Stalingrad has had vast historical significance for the whole Eastern Front. It was not in vain. The future will make clear why.
When I jump over the past to look ahead, I do it intentionally. The time is short! There is no time for fruitless debates. We must act, immediately, thoroughly, and decisively, as has always been the National Socialist way.
The movement has from its beginning acted in that way to master the many crises it faced and overcame. The National Socialist state also acted decisively when faced by a threat. We are not like the ostrich that sticks its head in the sand so as not to see danger. We are brave enough to look danger in the face, to coolly and ruthlessly take its measure, then act decisively with our heads held high. Both as a movement and as a nation, we have always been at our best when we needed fanatic, determined wills to overcome and eliminate danger, or a strength of character sufficient to overcome every obstacle, or bitter determination to reach our goal, or an iron heart capable of withstanding every internal and external battle. So it will be today. My task is to give you an unvarnished picture of the situation, and to draw the hard conclusions that will guide the actions of the German government, but also of the German people.
We face a serious military challenge in the East. The crisis is at the moment a broad one, similar but not identical in many ways to that of the previous winter. Later we will discuss the causes. Now, we must accept things as they are and discover and apply the ways and means to turn things again in our favor. There is no point in disputing the seriousness of the situation. I do not want to give you a false impression of the situation that could lead to false conclusions, perhaps giving the German people a false sense of security that is altogether inappropriate in the present situation.
The storm raging against our venerable continent from the steppes this winter overshadows all previous human and historical experience. The German army and its allies are the only possible defense. In his proclamation on 30 January, the Führer asked in a grave and compelling way what would have become of Germany and Europe if, on 30 January 1933, a bourgeois or democratic government had taken power instead of the National Socialists! What dangers would have followed, faster than we could then have suspected, and what powers of defense would we have had to meet them? Ten years of National Socialism have been enough to make plain to the German people the seriousness of the danger posed by Bolshevism from the East. Now one can understand why we spoke so often of the fight against Bolshevism at our Nuremberg party rallies. We raised our voices in warning to our German people and the world, hoping to awaken Western humanity from the paralysis of will and spirit into which it had fallen. We tried to open their eyes to the horrible danger from Eastern Bolshevism, which had subjected a nation of nearly 200 million people to the terror of the Jews and was preparing an aggressive war against Europe.
When the Führer ordered the army to attack the East on 22 June 1941, we all knew that this would be the decisive battle of this great struggle. We knew the dangers and difficulties. But we also knew that dangers and difficulties always grow over time, they never diminish. It was two minutes before midnight. Waiting any longer could easily have led to the destruction of the Reich and a total Bolshevization of the European continent.
It is understandable that, as a result of broad concealment and misleading actions by the Bolshevist government, we did not properly evaluate the Soviet Union's war potential. Only now do we see its true scale. That is why the battle our soldiers face in the East exceeds in its hardness, dangers and difficulties all human imagining. It demands our full national strength. This is a threat to the Reich and to the European continent that casts all previous dangers into the shadows. If we fail, we will have failed our historic mission. Everything we have built and done in the past pales in the face of this gigantic task that the German army directly and the German people less directly face.
I speak first to the world, and proclaim three theses regarding our fight against the Bolshevist danger in the East.
This first thesis: Were the German army not in a position to break the danger from the East, the Reich would fall to Bolshevism, and all Europe shortly afterwards.
Second: The German army, the German people and their allies alone have the strength to save Europe from this threat.
Third: Danger faces us. We must act quickly and decisively, or it will be too late.
posted by Steve @ 9:14:00 PM