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The German Fatherland Party (September 1917)

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We know, and the enemy knows, too, how much Germany owes to its military education by the Kings of Prussia from the House of Hohenzollern. The enemy sees the chief obstacle to defeating Germany in its institution of imperial monarchy. By all their means of cunning and lies, they want to persuade Germany’s sons to abandon their imperial chief. They know not the meaning of German loyalty or how the German federal princes and tribes, who have been forged together by blood and iron, stand to their last breath by the Emperor and the Empire. They have no idea of how military discipline represents not a sacrifice, but the most unrestrained source of pride to us Germans.

We will have no peace of starvation! In order to attain a speedy peace we must follow Hindenburg’s command and keep our nerve. If we willingly bear shortage and deprivation, the German people will gain a Hindenburg peace, which will bring home the prize of victory for our immense sacrifices and exertions. Any other kind of peace represents a devastating blow to our future development. The wilting of our position in the world and intolerable burdens would destroy our economic situation and eradicate all the prospects for our working class. Instead of exporting valuable goods, Germany would again see her sons emigrate in droves.

The Founders of the German Fatherland Party have asked His Highness, the Archduke Johann Albrecht of Mecklenburg, and the Grand Admiral von Tirpitz to assume leadership of the party.

To all who subscribe to these views, we direct the appeal to join the German Fatherland Party. Anyone who wishes to help is welcome. The goals of the party must be realized at once. Not a moment is to be lost.

Germany’s salvation, honor, and future are at stake.

Königsberg in Prussia, in the Yorck Hall of the Land Bank for East Prussia, on Sedan Day, 1917.

Source: "Aufruf zur Gründung der Deutschen Vaterlands-Partei vom 2. September 1917” ["Appeal to Found the German Fatherland Party, September 2, 1917"], Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, September 12, 1917.

Reprinted in Herbert Michaelis and Ernst Schraepler, eds., Ursachen und Folgen: vom deutschen Zusammenbruch 1918 und 1945 bis zur staatlichen Neuordnung Deutschlands in der Gegenwart; eine Urkunden- und Dokumentensammlung zur Zeitgeschichte [Causes and Consequences: from the German Collapse in 1918 and 1945 to the New State Organization of Germany in the Present: A Collection of Sources and Documents on Contemporary History]. 29 vols. Berlin: Dokumenten-Verlag, 1959-1979, vol. 2, pp. 48-50.

Translation: Jeffrey Verhey and Roger Chickering

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