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

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

MANIFESTO OF THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT1
November 5, 1918

The burden of the present time is weighing heavily on the world and the German nation. We must overcome these hard days and their consequences. We must begin working for the happier times to which the German nation has a right.

The new Government is engaged on this important work. Equal suffrage is assured in Prussia. The new Government is made up of representatives of the majority parties in the Reichstag. The military administration has been placed under the responsibility of the Imperial Chancellor, a far-reaching amnesty has been granted, and freedom of the press and the right of assembly have been guaranteed. There still remains, however, much to do.

The transformation of Germany into a People's State second to no other country in respect of political freedom and care for the welfare of the masses will be continued resolutely. The reorganization can only exercise its beneficial effects if it encounters among administrative and military authorities a spirit which recognizes and promotes its aims. We expect from our countrymen who serve the Commonwealth in official positions willing cooperation.

In all parts of the State and Empire we need the maintenance of public safety by the nation itself. We have confidence in the German people. It has proved its brilliant qualities during four terrible years of war and will not allow itself to be driven senselessly and uselessly into new misery by visionaries. Self-discipline and order are needed. All lack of discipline will most seriously endanger the conclusion of a speedy peace.

The Government and the commanders of the army and fleet want peace. They want it honestly and they want it soon. Until that time we must protect our frontiers against invasion by the enemy. The troops who for weeks have been engaged in severe fighting must be relieved and rested. It is for this reason, and no other, that more men have recently been called up.

Men of the army and fleet: Our especial thanks are due to you, as well as to your leaders. By your defiance of death and your discipline you have saved the Fatherland.

One of our most important tasks is economic reconstruction so that soldiers and sailors returning home from the front may find the possibility of assuring existence for themselves and their families. All

____________________
1
The New York Times, November 7, 1918, p. 2.

-458-

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