Every one who has lived in Germany since the outbreak of the war has been able to witness the great moral uprising of all Germans who, pressed hard on all sides, cheerfully take the field for the defense of their rights and their existence; every one knows that this people is not capable of any unnecessary cruelty or of any brutality. We will win, thanks to the great moral strength which our just cause gives to our troops, and in the end the greatest falsehoods will be able to obscure our victories as little as they do our rights.
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Speech Delivered in the Reichstag, March 30, 1911.
I have asked to speak in order to make a few brief remarks on the question of disarmament and arbitration. The Social Democratic motion proposes that I should take steps to bring about a general limitation of armaments. As a matter of fact, the idea of disarmament is being constantly discussed by pacifists in Parliaments and in Congresses far and wide. Even the first peace conference at The Hague had to confine itself to expressing the wish that the Governments should devote themselves to the continued study of the question.
Germany has responded to this desire, but has been able to find no suitable formula, and I am not aware that other Governments have been more successful. The time when wars were made by Cabinets is past. The feelings which here in Europe may lead to war lie elsewhere.
They have their roots in antagonisms which must be found in popular sentiment. Everybody knows how easily this sentiment is influenced and how, unfortunately, in many cases, it abandons itself helplessly to irresponsible press agitations. A counterpoise to all such and similar influences can but be desired. I shall be the first to welcome it whenever international efforts succeed in creating such a counterpoise.
But if I am to take practical steps and am to propose mutual disarmament to the other powers, then general pacific assurances and adjurations are not enough. With Germany there is no need for such assurances or adjurations, in view of her constant policy throughout forty years, which shows that we seek no quarrels in the world. I should have to submit a fixed, definite programme. Then I should have to consider in all sobriety whether such a programme could be drawn up and carried out. Any one who makes uncertain and vague proposals can easily become a disturber of the peace rather than a peacemaker.
I shall have to decline
to draw up such a formula and submit it to
an international congress.
England’s Naval Police.