24th April 1942, at dinner
Marriage and the child problem—German soldiers marrying women of the occupied countries—The educative rôle of the Schools of the Reich—The wives of our leaders.
This conversation took place during a journey from Fuehrerhauptquartier to Berlin. The subject under discussion was marriage and children. The Fuehrer said:
The history of the German Princes proves, generally speaking, that the most successful marriages are not those which are founded solely on reasons of expediency. In all human activities only that which is true has any chance of survival, and it is therefore only natural that a marriage inspired by sincere mutual love should be the union with the best chance of happy success. Such a marriage constitutes a guarantee for the manner in which the children will be brought up, and this is a guarantee of inestimable value for the future of the German people.
I do not think, therefore, that we should sanction, except in isolated cases, marriage between our soldiers and foreign women. The request may often be based on sound reasons, but all the same it should be refused. Most of these cases, obviously, result from a sexual experience which the applicant desires to continue—and the number of requests submitted to me is enormous.
It suffices, however, to glance at the photographs of most of the candidates to realise that in the majority of cases the union is not desirable. Most of the women concerned are either malformed or ugly, and from the racial point of view the results could not be satisfactory. I am sure, too, that such marriages would not stand the test of time. A really happy marriage can only be attained by people deeply attracted to each other.
Where marriage itself is concerned it is, of course, essential that both parties should be absolutely healthy and racially beyond reproach. How decisive the influence of real attachment between the parents is on the children of a marriage is brought home to me when I think of the number of men of outstanding ability who originate from the Orphans’ Homes during that period of history when people really in love were so often precluded from marrying for reasons of social expediency.
These Orphans’ Homes, I think, were most valuable institutions. As far as we are concerned, our schools are in a position to deal adequately with the problem. In the National Socialist centres of education, combined with the boarding-schools, all necessary arrangements have been made for the reception of racially healthy illegitimate children and the giving to them of an education appropriate to their talents. These Schools of the Reich are also an ideal refuge for the children of marriages which have gone wrong; it is far better that they should be removed from the atmosphere of a disrupted home, which leaves its mark on a man for the rest of his life.
I grant you, it is a most laudable thing that parents who no longer love each other try to maintain the semblance of a happy marriage for the sake of their children; but it is an effort that very seldom succeeds. I have seen so many cases among members of our Party, whose wives have not been able to keep pace with their husbands’ rise in life.
Grasping their opportunities, these latter have seen their talents blossom and expand in the execution of the tasks I have confided to them; burdened with wives who have ceased to be worthy of them, and exposed to unending petty domestic squabbles, they gradually come to accept as inevitable the idea of separation. To my mind, it is obvious that a man should seek in his wife qualities which are complementary to his own as the path towards a full and ideal life. But one cannot make hard and fast rules, and there are many exceptions. I have now been enumerating cases in which one’s sympathies lie with the man, but there are many cases in which it would be unjust in the extreme to demand of a woman that she should systematically sacrifice herself on the altar of matrimony.
I have no sympathy whatever for the man who maltreats his wife, and who subjects her either to moral torture or material burdens.