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

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

GERMAN COMMENT UPON ENTENTE REPLY TO PRESIDENT WILSON1
January 12, 1917

Through the medium of the Government of the United States, the Royal Government of Spain, and the Swiss Federal Government, the Imperial and Royal Government has received its adversaries' reply to the note of December 12 in which Germany, in accord with its allies, proposed an early opening of peace negotiations. The adversaries reject the proposal under pretense that it is insincere and meaningless. The form in which they put their refusal excludes any idea of a reply.

The Imperial Government nevertheless wishes to make known to the Governments of the neutral Powers its view of the situation. The Central Powers have no occasion to revert to the discussions as to the origin of the world war. It is for history to pass judgment on the monstrous responsibility for the conflict. Its verdict will not any more leave out of consideration the encircling policy of Great Britain, the revengeful policy of France, the yearning of Russia for Constantinople than the provocation from Serbia, the Serajevo assassination, and the general Russian mobilization which meant war with Germany.

Germany and its allies having been compelled to take up arms in the defense of their freedom and existence consider they have accomplished that end of their efforts. On the other hand, the enemy Powers have drifted farther and farther away from the achievement of their plans, which, according to the statements of their responsible statesmen, aimed, among other things, at the conquest of Alsace-Lorraine and of several Prussian provinces, the humiliation and curtailment of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the partition of Turkey, and the mutilation of Bulgaria. Such demands give at least a strange sound to the pretension of sanction, repatriation, and guaranty in the mouths of our adversaries.

Our adversaries call the peace proposal of the four allied Powers a war maneuver. Germany and its allies must enter the most emphatic protest against so false an interpretation of the motives for their step which they have openly disclosed. They were convinced that a just peace, acceptable to all the belligerents, is feasible; that it can be attained through an immediate oral exchange of views and that therefore further bloodshed is indefensible. The fact that they have unre

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1
4 Dip. Corr., 314.

-40-

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