The people, sunk deep in want and despair, will at last awake and establish socialism. Yesterday thousands and tens of thousands of them in Berlin protested against the war. Their slogan was: “Long live peace, and down with war!”
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Speech of Aug. 4—“We Do Not Desert Our Fatherland.”
We are face to face with a great crisis. The consequences of the imperialistic policy by means of which an era of competitive preparation for war has been inaugurated, and which has served to intensify hostile feeling between nations, have swept down over Europe like a torrent. The responsibility lies with those who have upheld this policy; we refuse it. [Applause from the Socialists.] Social Democracy has fought this disastrous development with all its strength, and even up to the very last hour, by means of prodigious public demonstrations, particularly in close co-operation with its brothers in France, [applause from the Socialists,] it has labored for the maintenance of peace. Its endeavors have been in vain. We now stand before the brazen facts of actual war; the horrors of hostile invasion threaten us. It is not for us today to decide for or against war, but to deliberate on the problem of the available means of national defense. We have now to think of the millions of our fellow-countrymen who, through no fault of theirs, have been drawn into this disaster. [Applause.] They will be the ones to suffer most heavily from the devastation of this war.
Our warmest sympathy, accorded without reference to party, accompanies all our brothers who have been called to the front. [Vigorous applause from all sides of the House.] We are thinking also of the mothers who must give up their sons, of the women and children robbed of their mainstay and support, of those whom, to the anxiety of their loved ones, the pangs of hunger threaten. To these will very soon be added tens of thousands of wounded and crippled soldiers. To stand by them all, to ease their misfortune, to alleviate their immeasurable need—this we consider our compelling duty. [Vigorous applause.]
With a victory of the Russian despotism, which is stained with the blood of the best of its own people, much, if not all, which concerns our people and their future in freedom will be at stake. [Storm of applause.]
It is necessary to ward off the danger in order to render secure the culture and the independence of our own country. [Vigorous applause.]
Thus do we actualize what we have always claimed—in the hour of danger we do not desert our Fatherland! [Vigorous demonstrations of approval.]
In this regard we feel ourselves in perfect accord with the International, which has at all times recognized the right of every people to natural independence and self-defense, just as we agree with it in denouncing every war of conquest.