Today we are facing hard facts. Germany has to fight for her existence. She will fight knowing that the great powers beyond the ocean will do her justice as soon as they know the truth.
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England, France, and Russia, unthreatened by Germany, go to war for political reasons—Germany defends her independence and fights for her very existence, for her future as a great power—How a peaceful people were imbued with the spirit of war.
The last days of the month of July were days of anxiety and distress for the German people. They hoped that they would be permitted to preserve an honorable peace. A few months earlier, in 1913, when the centennial of the war for independence from French oppression and the twenty-fifth anniversary of Emperor William’s ascent of the throne had been celebrated, they had willingly taken upon their shoulders the great sacrifice of the so-called “Wehrvorlage,” which increased the peace strength of the standing army enormously and cost 1,000,000,000 marks. They considered it simply as an increase of their peace insurance premium. Our diplomats worked hard for the maintenance of peace, for the localization of the Austro-Servian war. So sure were the leading men of the empire of the preservation of general peace that at the beginning of the week which was to bring general mobilization they said to each other joyfully: Next week our vacation time begins. But they were fearfully disappointed. Russia’s unexpected, treacherous mobilization compelled Germany to draw the sword also. On the evening of the first day of August the one word, Mobilization! was flashed by the electric spark all over the country. There was no more anxiety and uncertainty. Cool, firm resolution at once permeated the entire German folk. The Reichstag was called together for an extra session.
Three days later, on the anniversary of the battles of Weissenburg and Spichern, the representatives of the German people met. This session, which lasted only a few hours, proved worthy of the great historical moment marking the beginning of such a conflagration as the world had never seen before. The railroad lines were under military control and used almost exclusively for purposes of mobilization. In spite of all such difficulties, more than 300 of the 397 Deputies managed to get to Berlin in time. The rest sent word that they were unable to come. On the evening of Aug. 3 the Imperial Chancellor called the leaders of all parties, including the Socialists, to his house and explained to them in a concise and impressive statement how frivolously Germany had been driven to war. At the time of this meeting the unanimous acceptance of all war measures by the Reichstag was already assured. In numerous conferences the heads of the several departments explained the content and meaning of the bills to be submitted to the Reichstag. The participants of the conferences showed already what spirit would characterize the next day. The session of the Reichstag filled the entire German nation with pride and enthusiasm; the Reichstag maintained the dignity of the German Empire and the German people.