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

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

of the Prussian State and subscription to the admirable propositions which from time to time President Wilson has laid down.

These superficial changes are of no value whatever if they stand by themselves. Germany can only be a member of the League of Nations when the international system has been reformed by a great and wise and all-embracing peace; and that can never take place until Germany not merely has been obliged to change her profession of faith, but until Germany finds herself in a position when all her dreams of world domination are torn to pieces before her eyes, and when she is left powerful, indeed, as she will be left powerful doubtless, prosperous doubtless, and wealthy, but no longer the tyrant who can use the nations which she is in a position to influence to subserve her own dreams of world empire.


CHANCELLOR MAXIMILIAN'S EXPLANATION OF HIS AIMS IN ASKING FOR PEACE NEGOTIATIONS1
October 5, 1918

In accordance with the Imperial decree of September 30, the German Empire has undergone a basic alteration of its political leadership. As successor to Count George E. von Hertling, whose services in behalf of the Fatherland deserve the highest acknowledgment, I have been summoned by the Emperor to lead the new Government. In accordance with the governmental method now introduced, I submit to the Reichstag, publicly and without delay, the principles upon which I propose to conduct the grave responsibilities of the office.

These principles were firmly established by the agreement of the Federated Governments and the leaders of the majority parties in this honorable House before I decided to assume the duties of Chancellor. They contain, therefore, no only my own confession of political faith, but that of an overwhelming portion of the German people's representatives--that is, of the German nation--which has constituted the Reichstag on the basis of a general, equal, and secret franchise, and according to their will. Only the fact that I know the conviction and will of the majority of the people are back of me has given me strength to take upon myself conduct of the empire's affairs in this hard and earnest time in which we are living.

____________________
1
Current History, November, 1918, p. 242.

-409-

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