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

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

drunk with boastfulness as a betrayal of the great trust with which my colleagues and I have been charged.

Much of the progress we are making may not be visible except to those whose business it is to search out the facts. The victories of Germany are all blazoned forth to the world. Her troubles appear in no press communiqués or wireless messages, but we know something of these. The deadly grip of the British Navy is having its effect, and the valor of our troops is making an impression which in the end will tell. We are laying, surely, the foundation of the bridge which, when it is complete, will carry us into the new world. The river is, for the moment, in spate, and some of the scaffolding has been carried away, and much of the progress we have made seems submerged and hidden, and there are men who say, "Let us abandon the enterprise altogether, it is too costly. It is impracticable of achievement. Let us rather built a pontoon bridge of new treaties, league of nations, understandings." It might last you some time. It would always be shaky and uncertain. It would not bear much strain. It would not carry heavy traffic, and the first flood would sweep it away. Let us get along with the piledriving, and make a real, solid, permanent structure.


REPLY OF CHANCELLOR VON HERTLING TO MR. LLOYD-GEORGES SPEECH1
December 17, 1917

In his last speech Mr. Lloyd-George calls us criminals and bandits. As has already once been declared in the Reichstag, we do not intend to join in this renewal of the customs of the Homeric heroes. Modern wars are not won by invective, but are rather, perhaps, prolonged, because after this abuse by the English Prime Minister it is clear that it is out of the question for us to negotiate with men of such temper.

You know that it is only recently that I have become the head of the Imperial Government. My previous position, however, gave me the opportunity of following the foreign policy of my predecessors and that of Allied statesmen from a particularly good observation

____________________
1
Text in The Times, London, December 18, 1917, p. 6.

-215-

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