Sportpalast speech

From Academic Kids

The Sportpalast speech, or Total War speech (German Sportpalastrede), was a prominent speech delivered by Joseph Goebbels on February 18, 1943, as the tide of World War II was turning against Germany. French leader François Darlan had been assassinated two months earlier, and on February 2, the Battle of Stalingrad came to an end with the surrender of General Friedrich Paulus to the Soviets. At the Casablanca Conference, President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill demanded Germany's unconditional surrender, and the Soviets, spurred by their victory, were beginning to retake territory, including Kursk (February 8), Rostov (February 14), and Kharkov (February 16). In North Africa too, General Erwin Rommel was beginning to face setbacks, when German supply ships sailing to Tripoli were sunk by the Allies on January 19.

Adolf Hitler responded by the first measures that would lead to the all-out mobilization of Germany. On February 2, 100,000 restaurants and clubs were closed throughout the country so that the civilian population could contribute more to the war. Therefore, millions of Germans listened to Goebbels on the radio as he delivered this speech about the "misfortune of the past weeks" and an "unvarnished picture of the situation."

The speech was important in that it was an early admission that Germany faced serious dangers, and one in which Goebbels attempted to motivate the German people to continue the struggle. He cited three theses as the basis of this argument:

  1. 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;
  2. The German army, the German people and their allies alone have the strength to save Europe from this threat;
  3. Danger is a motivating force. We must act quickly and decisively, or it will be too late;

Concluding that "Two thousand years of Western history are in danger" and blaming Germany's failures, in typical Nazi fashion, on the Jews. While he refers to Soviet mobilization nationwide as "devilish," he explains that "We cannot overcome the Bolshevist danger unless we use equivalent, though not identical, methods [in a] total war." He then justifies the austerity measures enacted, explaining them as temporary measures.

Historically, the speech is important in that it marks the first admission by the Party leadership that they were facing problems and launched the mobilization campaign that, arguably, prolonged the war for another two and a half years, under the slogan: "Let the storm break loose!"


Goebbels: Ich frage euch: Wollt ihr den totalen Krieg? Wollt ihr ihn, wenn nötig, totaler und radikaler, als wir ihn uns heute überhaupt noch vorstellen können?

"I ask you: Do you want total war? If necessary, do you want a war more total and radical than anything that we can even imagine today?"

Reply: Ja. Sieg heil!

External links



Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools