There is a fairly famous poster made by John Heartfield in 1932 depicting Adolf Hitler with the quote "Millionen stehen hinter mir.", which is a pun that might be roughly translated as "the millions follow me". Along with the picture it is meant to say that the "millionen" was money provided by the "fat cats" like the one behind him in the picture. Meaning aside, my question is, did Hitler actually say at some time "Millionen stehen hinter mir."? I have to believe that he did actually say this but I have not been able to find confirmation.
On November 13th, 1931, Hitler said in Darmstadt (emphasis mine):
Mit 25 Jahren bin ich ins Feld, mit 31 kam ich zurück, und heute, mit 42 Jahren stehen Millionen hinter mir.
At the age of 25, I joined the war, at the age of 31, I returned, and today, at the age of 42, millions support me.
Obviously Hitler's words were supposed to refer to millions of people, while Heartfield makes it appear as if they refer to millions of Marks, or the owners of millions of Marks (i.e. factory owners etc). This is, of course, a classic technique in political caricature and applied reasonably transparently here.
If you search the full-text version of that source for "hinter mir", you will find several similar phrases, but less ambigous re. who or what these millions are. "Millionen Menschen", "13 Millionen", "eine Millionenbewegung" etc.
Yes, he did say something similar, but in a different context.
As Jan has found in the speech of 13th of November 1931 (page 3870), these statements were made with the goal to differentiate their goals from that of the other main parties.
In the speech quoted below, made shortly before a local state parliament election, he goes into great detail how the other parties have failed in the previous 13 years but also his rejection of Socialism as the second main idea (Nationalism being the first). The final goal is that only one should prevail:
Kein Volk aber kann zwei Ideen zu gleicher Zeit dienen.
But no people can serve two ideas at the same time.
His speeches often then end with the conclusion that their idea is gaining more support after each election. This is the context of the million[s of] people stand behind me statements. Such reoccurring statements can therefore be considered a 'Motto'.
The motto used in John Heartfield montage, published 1932-10-16, ('Millionen stehen hinter mir') does not turn up in the 5172 page collection of Hitler speeches between 1925-01 and 1933-01. The nearest match ('Millionen Menschen hinter mir stehen') is found twice in the 1932-05-25 speech.
Nicht daß 13 Millionen Menschen hinter mir stehen, sondern das ist mein größer Stolz, sagen zu können, daß 13 Millionen Menschen hinter mir stehen, die in einer Idee geeint sind, daß es möglich war, scheinbar unüberwindbare Gegensätze zu überbrücken und Menschen aller Stände, aller Berufe, Lebensalter, Bekenntnisse usw. zusammenzuführen und zu einigen in einem großen Glaubensbekenntnis.
Not that 13 million people are behind me, but it is my great pride to be able to say that 13 million people stand behind me, who are united in one idea, that it was possible to bridge seemingly insurmountable opposites and people of all classes, of all professions, ages, creeds, etc. to bring together and unify into one great creed.
The 13 million comes from the previous presidential election result that took place on the 10th of April 1932.
This is possibly the base from which the (politicaly adapted) 'motto' was based upon.
- Hitler Reden, Schriften, Anordnungen, Februar 1925 Bis Januar 1933 (12 Bände) (PDF)
- page 4468: speech of 1932-05-25
- page 4472 quote
- page 4468: speech of 1932-05-25
- "Millionen stehen hinter mir" – Mythen über die Finanzierung der NSDAP und Hitlers Weg zur Macht • Weiterbildungszentrum • Freie Universität Berlin
- A.I.Z. (Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung)