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Censorship Guidelines II (1914)

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Guiding Principles:

1. A questioning of the national sentiment and determination of any German, any party or any newspaper is highly detrimental, because it impairs the impression of German unity and energy.

2. German victory means liberation for many foreign peoples from Russian despotism and English world-hegemony, and does not signify oppression. It would be injurious to our cause if German papers should express a contrary view.

3. The language used against the enemy countries may be harsh. However, an insulting and belittling tone is no sign of power. The purity and greatness of the movement which has gripped our nation demands a dignified language.

4. The foreign policy of the Chancellor, conducted upon instructions from His Majesty the Kaiser, must in this critical moment not be interfered with or hindered by covert or overt criticism. To doubt its firmness injures the prestige of the Fatherland. Confidence in it must be strengthened, and, like the confidence in the military leaders, it too must not be shaken.

5. Demands for a barbaric conduct of war and the annihilation of foreign peoples are repulsive. The army knows where severity and leniency have to prevail. Our shield must remain clean. Similar clamors on the part of the inciting press of the enemy are no excuse for a similar attitude on our part.

Source: Schreiben des preußischen Kriegsministeriums an die Militärbefehlshaber: Übermittlung und Erläuterung der Ergänzungen des Merkblattes für die Presse [Letter from the Prussian War Ministry to the Military Commanders: Transmission and Explanation of the Supplements to the Memorandum for the Press], November 9, 1914, Bundesarchiv/ Militärarchiv, Freiburg i. Br., MA/RMA, No. 2049, XVII. May 1, 1933, vol. 1, Duplicate.

Reprinted in Wilhelm Deist, Militär und Innenpolitik im Weltkrieg 1914-1918 [Military and Domestic Policy in the World War, 1914-1918]. 2 volumes. Düsseldorf: Droste, 1970, vol. 1, pp. 81-83.

Translation: Jeffrey Verhey and Roger Chickering

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