I hope nobody will get the impression that I think we are a nation of angels under a Government of earthy and primeval creatures. I do not. We are not in a Christian mood, and we don’t want to be in a Christian mood. When last week a foolish schoolmaster took advantage of his august position to advocate Christianity at the end of the war, we frightened the life out of him, and he had to say that he had been “woefully misunderstood.” In spite of this, the nation, being cut off from direct communication with foreign autocracy and reaction, is in my view very likely to be less unwise than the Government at the supreme crisis. And even if it isn’t, even at the worst, it is and should be the master and not the slave of the Government.
By Gertrude Baumer, President of the Bund Deutscher Frauen.
An emphatic refusal of German women to take part in the recent Women’s Peace Conference at The Hague was issued by the Bund Deutscher Frauen (League of German Women) signed by Gertrude Baumer as President, and published by the Frankfurter Zeitung in its issue of April 29, 1915. The manifesto reads:
On April 28 begins the Peace Congress to which women of Holland have invited the women of neutral and belligerent nations. The German woman’s movement has declined to attend the congress, by unanimous resolution of its Executive Committee. If individual German women visit the congress it can be only such as have no responsible position in the organization of the German woman’s movement and for whom the organization is, therefore, not responsible.
This decimation must not be understood to mean that the German women do not feel as keenly as the women of other countries the enormous sacrifices and sorrows which this war has caused, or that they refuse to recognize the good intentions that figure in the institution of this congress. None can yearn more eagerly than we for an end of these sacrifices and sorrows. But we realize that in our consciousness of the weight of these sacrifices we are one with our whole people and Government; we know that the blood of those who fall out there on the field cannot be dearer to us women than to the men who are responsible for the decisions of Germany. Because we know that, we must decline to represent special desires in an international congress. We have no other desires than those of our entire people: a peace consonant with the honor of our State and guaranteeing its safety in the future.
The resolutions that are to be laid before the women’s congress at The Hague are of two kinds. One kind denounces war as such, and recommends peaceful settlement of international quarrels. The other offers suggestions for hastening the concluding of peace.