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The Third Supreme Army Command and German War Aims (May 11, 1918)

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General Ludendorff explains further that the term “military alliance” means nothing yet. The individual agreement on which this alliance is to be based still has to be determined. The General then reads a memorandum drafted by General von Cramon, in which the demands to be addressed in a military alliance are summarized in seven points. Ludendorff notes that these points need to be negotiated; otherwise the concept of a military alliance is too flexible.

General von Cramon is of the opinion that Kaiser Karl and General von Arz must explain how they envisage the separation of the [Austro-Hungarian] armies. He has the impression that the Austro-Hungarian leadership is not disposed to go very far with this separation.

General Ludendorff emphasizes once again that Germany has to know with whom it is concluding this alliance. In any case, Germany is the party that is making the commitments.

General von Cramon believes that merely introducing Hungarian as a language of command will make things more difficult.

State Secretary von Kühlmann informs the meeting that Graf Czernin thinks that German will no longer be the language of command. The Minister does not, however, think that this is of great importance, because, as the language of command, German is already limited to about sixty words and has played no major role. Graf Czernin also believes that the separation of the Austrian and Hungarian contingents is probable. However, he emphasizes that a common General Staff will be retained.

General Ludendorff is of the opinion that the military alliance, should it be concluded with two parties, will be significantly weaker. Should it come to a separation of the officer corps, which until now has represented a unified national element, the break between the two halves of the monarchy will be much deeper than it has been until now.

Field Marshall von Hindenburg notes that it will suffice in any case if the upcoming meeting of the monarchs discusses General von Cramon’s seven points.

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