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"We Germans Fear God and Nothing Else in the World!": Bismarck Addresses the Reichstag (February 6, 1888)

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People should not do this. It would then be easier for us to be more obliging to our two neighbors. Every country after all is sooner or later responsible for the windows which its press has smashed. The bill will be rendered some day, and will consist of the ill-feeling of the other country. We are easily influenced – perhaps too easily – by love and kindness, but quite surely never by threats!


We Germans fear God, and nothing else in the world!

(Resounding Bravo)

It is this fear of God which makes us love and cherish peace. If in spite of this anybody breaks the peace, he will discover that the ardent patriotism of 1813, which called to the standards the entire population of Prussia – weak, small, and drained to the marrow as it then was – has today become the common property of the whole German nation. Attack the German nation anywhere, and you will find it armed to a man, and every man with the firm belief in his heart: God will be with us.

(Resounding, continuous applause)

Source of English translation: Theodore S. Hamerow, ed., The Age of Bismarck: Documents and Interpretations. New York: Harper & Row, 1973, pp. 290-93. Please note: the interjections ("Bravo!", etc.) do not appear in Hamerow's translation. They have been translated by the GHDI staff and inserted into Hamerow's translation at the appropriate points.

Source of original German text: Stenographische Berichte über die Verhandlungen des Reichstags [Stenographic Reports on the Proceedings of the Reichstag], 7th legislative period, 2nd Session 1887/88, vol. 2. Berlin: Verlag der Norddeutschen Buchdruckerei und Verlags-Anstalt, 1888, pp. 723-33, 30th Meeting, February 6, 1888, reprinted in Peter Wende in cooperation with Inge Schlotzhauer, eds, Politische Reden II. 1869-1914 [Political Speeches II. 1869-1914], Bibliothek der Geschichte und Politik, vol. 25. Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1990, pp. 315-52, here pp. 329-31, 346-48, 351-52.

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