Posen Speeches - Overview


The Posen speeches of October 1943 are two of 132 speeches obtained in various forms, which Himmler conducted before officials of the Nazi party. The first speech was given before 92 SS officers, the second before Reichsleiters and Gauleiters, as well as other government representatives. They constitute some of the most important of Himmler's speeches during the war, as they demonstrate Himmler's role as "Architect of the Final Solution" and a visionary of an elite race to be henceforth supported by the SS state.

Although the genocide of the Jews was not the central topic in either of them, both carry historical significance in reference to it. Himmler did away with the usual camouflage terms and spoke explicitly of the extermination of the Jews via mass murder, which he depicted as a historical mission of the Nazis. This connection became clear in five further speeches made between December 1943 and June 1944 to commanders of the Wehrmacht.

In the literature, only the first speech was known as the "Posen Speech" until 1970. The second speech, uncovered at that time, is often mistaken as the first or equated with it.

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