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

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

blinded rulers of Prussia have roused forces they knew little of-- forces which, once roused, can never be crushed to earth again; for they have at their heart an inspiration and a purpose which are deathless and of the very stuff of triumph!


STATEMENT OF GERMAN PEACE POLICY BY CHANCELLOR VON HERTLING ESPECIALLY AS REGARDS THE TREATY OF BREST-LITOVSK1
July 11, 1918

I maintain the standpoint of the Imperial reply to the peace note of the Pope. The pacific spirit which inspires this reply also inspired me. However, I added at the time that this spirit must not give our enemies a free hand for the interminable continuation of the war. What have we lived to see, however? Whilst for years there can have been no doubt whatever of our willingness to hold out our hand toward an honorable peace, we have heard until these last few days inciting speeches delivered by the enemy statesmen. Mr. Wilson wants war until we are destroyed, and what Mr. Balfour has said must really drive the flush of anger to the cheeks of every German. We feel for the honor of our fatherland, and we can not allow ourselves to be constantly and openly insulted in this manner. And behind these insults is the desire for our destruction. As long as this desire for our destruction exists we must endure together with our faithful nation. I am also convinced--I know it--that in the widest circles of our nation the same serious feeling exists everywhere. As long as the desire for our destruction exists we must hold out, and we will hold out with confidence in our troops, our army administration, our magnificent people, which bear so well these difficult times, with their great privations and continuous sacrifices.

Because, gentlemen, I must also say this immediately: If in spite of these hostile attempts by these statesmen any serious efforts were to show themselves for a paving of the way to peace, then quite certainly we would not adopt a negative attitude from the very beginning. But we would examine these seriously meant--I say expressly seriously meant--efforts immediately with scrupulous care.

____________________
1
Text in The Times, London, July 13, 1918, p. 6.

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