Official Statements of War Aims and Peace Proposals, December 1916 to November 1918

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

and interior strength, and by our clear conscience. If our enemies decline to end the war, if they wish to take upon themselves the world's heavy burden of all those terrors which hereafter will follow, then even in the least and smallest homes every German heart will burn in sacred wrath against our enemies, who are unwilling to stop human slaughter in order that their plans of conquest and annihilation may continue.

In the fateful hour we took a fateful decision. It has been saturated with the blood of hundreds of thousands of our sons and brothers who gave their lives for the safety of their homes. Human wits and human understanding are unable to reach to the extreme and last questions in this struggle of nations, which has unveiled all the terrors of earthly life, but also the grandeur of human courage and human will in ways never seen before. God will be the judge. We can proceed upon our way.


PROPOSALS FOR PEACE NEGOTIATIONS MADE BY GERMANY1
December 12, 1916

The most formidable war known to history has been ravaging for two and a half years a great part of the world. That catastrophe, that the bonds of a common civilization more than a thousand years old could not stop, strikes mankind in its most precious patrimony; it threatens to bury under its ruins the moral and physical progress on which Europe prided itself at the dawn of the twentieth century. In that strife Germany and her allies--Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey have given proof of their indestructible strength in winning considerable successes at war. Their unshakable lines resist ceaseless attacks of their enemies' arms. The recent diversion in the Balkans was speedily and victoriously thwarted. The latest events have demonstrated that a continuation of the war can not break their resisting power. The general situation much rather justifies their hope of fresh successes. It was for the defense of their existence and freedom of their national development that the four allied Powers were con-

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1
"Diplomatic Correspondence with Belligerent Governments Relating to Neutral Rights and Duties," No. 4, May, 1918, published by the Department of State. p. 305. Cited hereafter as "4 Dip. Corr."

-2-

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