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The German Naval Office and Public Opinion (September 24, 1900)

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The patriotic associations that are working on behalf of the naval matter (Colonial Society, Pan-German League, Naval League) have so far been supported in every regard. In principle, this should also be continued in the future.

This support will be relatively easy for the Pan-German League and the Colonial Society, more difficult perhaps for the Naval League. In the case of the latter, there is a danger that it will attempt – on the basis of the successes achieved so far, most of which are attributable to the News Office – to go its own way, and will not consult the News Office in its undertakings. Should that happen, then the League could conceivably end up harming naval matters. That danger is all the more real as the League, for a variety of reasons, will hardly become very popular among broader circles of the population, because it got off on the wrong foot from the beginning.

The News Office must attempt to maintain contact with the Naval League for as long as possible, and to prevent its leadership from making errors in judgement.

In this regard, the best results can be expected from the personal influence of the executive of the News Office on the leadership of the League.

Source: Excerpt from the memorandum by the Frigate Captain August von Heeringen regarding the tasks and working methods of the News Office (September 24, 1900). Bundesarchiv/Militärarchiv, RM 3/9551.

Original German text reprinted in Volker Berghahn and Wilhelm Diest, Rüstung im Zeichen der wilhelminischen Weltpolitik: Grundlegende Dokumente 1890-1914 [Armament within the Context of Wilhelmine Global Politics: Key Documents 1890-1914]. Dusseldorf, 1988, pp. 201-11.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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