Translation by H. Yang, Spring 2011
August 5, 1914
Column 3 & 4:
Germany declares war on England. Also at war with France.
The World War is in full swing.
Germany and Austria stand alone against England, France, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro.
Emperor Wilhelm’s Momentous Speech from the Thone
All of Europe is now up in arms. Germany and Great Britain have declared war on one another. Germany formally decided that it considers itself to be at war with France. The declaration of Britain’s decision, for which that had the entire world was waiting, states happened before the termination of the ultimatum England gave Germany.
The declaration of war was the result of Germany’s refusal to acknowledge England’s demand for respecting of Belgian neutrality.
The British ambassador in Berlin has received his passport.
The constellation of powers in the violent European conflict is, at this time, the following: Germany and Austria stand alone against Britain, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro.
Italy has proclaimed its neutrality, but still has mobilized. Belgium, Holland and Switzerland have also mobilized.
Belgium has responded to German’s wishes to allow its troops passage through the country by stating that it will use all power at its disposal to oppose this.
Sweden has not given its answer to Germany’s and Russia’s inquiry about its position.
Japan declared that it might be necessary under certain circumstances to fulfill obligations to England.
Spain is busy drafting a declaration of neutrality.
President Wilson has issued a proclamation declaring the neutrality of the United States in the European conflict.
Emperor Wilhelm holds an extremely important speech from the throne at the opening of the Reichstag. He describes the reasons why Germany decided to enter the war, and he expresses his confidence that Germany will be victorious.
Declaration of War on Britain
London, Aug. 4- According to an official announcement, Germany has officially declared war on Britain.
Britain answers with declaration of war.
London, Aug. 4- At 7 this evening Britain declared war on Germany.
The British Foreign Office issued the following statement:
“Since the German government has summarily rejected Britain’s position that Belgium’s neutrality should be respected, the British ambassador to Berlin had received his passport. The British government declared to the German government, that from 11 PM on August 4th, there exists a state of war between Britain and Germany.”
Germany at War with France
Paris, Aug. 4- The French Minister of War issued the following note today:
“The German ambassador has submitted a request for his passport, and the diplomatic relations between France and Germany have been severed. War is declared. The first act of the German government was, according to information obtained by the Minister of War from a confirmed source, Mr. Samani, the Ex-President of the French War Society, who lives in Metz, was executed and all members of that Society were thrown in prison.
French Ambassador in Berlin demands his passport.
Paris, Aug. 4- Today the French government sent Jules Cambon, the French ambassador to Berlin, his orders to return. He has demanded his passport and will entrust France’s proxy representation to the United States.
The French government delcared that Baron von Schoen, the German ambassador in Paris, has incorporated several incorrect details in his note, among them a French aviator invaded Belgium, supposedly flew over Nuremberg and dropped bombs, and that French troops had allegedly crossed the German border at various points. A precise investigation has determined that all of these allegations were completely unfounded.
Emporer Wilhelm’s Important Speech
Berlin, Aug. 4- Today’s opening of the Reichstag by Emporer Wilhelm turned out to be an uplifting and meaningful event. In his speech from the throne, the Emporer said:
“The world was a witness, as we have tirelessly attempted to protects the nations of Europe from a war between the large powers, to the chaos and unrest of the preceding years. The greatest threats had been created by the events on the Balkan Peninsula. Then came the murder of my friend, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which opened a deep precipice.
My ally, Emperor Franz Joseph, felt obligated to resort to weaponry to protect his realm against the dangerous agitation that was spread in a neighboring country.
While Austria-Hungary wanted to pursue its interests, Russia placed itself in their way.
Our duty as an ally called us to Austria’s side, and simultaneously a tremendous task was imposed on us. Together with the old culture of the two kingdoms, we had to protect our own position against the attacks of hostile forces.
With a heavy heart I gave the order to mobilize my army against our neighbor, with whom we’ve fought side-by-side on many battlefields, and with deep regret I saw the destruction of friendship, to which Germany has kept so loyal.
The imperial-Russian government, led by insatiable Nationalism, is taking aside of one of the states in the war, which has caused the calamity of this war by its criminal acts.
The fact that France has taken the side of our enemy came as no surprise to us. Too often our hopes for engaging in more friendly relations with the French Republic were met by the expression of old hopes and historically rooted hatred.
The current situation is not born out of a temporary conflict of interest or diplomatic combinations, but is the result of growing envy at the years of strength and prosperity of the German Empire.
We are not motivated by a yearning for conquest. We are propelled by the unwavering desire given to us by God to protect ourselves and to preserve our place for posterity.
My government, and in particular, my Chancellor, tried until the last moment to prevent it from progressing to the worst.
We were forced into self-defense, and, with a clear conscience and clean hands we take hold of the sword.
I am making an appeal to the people and race of the German Empire.
Together with our brotherly allies, we can defend what we have created in peaceful collaboration.
Following the example of our fathers, strong and loyal, austere and chivalrous, humbly before our God and prepared for battle in the face of the enemy, let us trust in the Almighty, who gives our defense strength, and it will lead us to a fulfilling end.”
At the end of the speech from the throne, the Emperor turned directly to the delegates and spoke the words:
“Gentlemen, you have read what I recently spoke to the people about on the balcony of my castle. I reiterate that I no longer know the different parties. I only know German. And as evidence to prove that you are determined, with regard for the party affiliation, to stand at my side in danger and death.
I urge the leaders of the different parties in this house to confirm this by shaking hands.”
The Emperor made the opening ceremony at the White Hall of the castle.
The Empress, the Crown Princess and the members of the foreign diplomatic corps, among them the American Ambassador, James W. Bernard, were present.
The Emperor, who was surrounded by a large number of his staff, wore a grey general’s uniform.
Subsequently following the Emperor’s speech, Dr. von Bethmann-Hollweg made the following short speech. He stated:
“We knew that France was ready for an invasion. France could wait, war or no war. However, an attack from the French to our flanks on the Lower Rhein would have been fatal, and that is why were forced to disregard the legitimate protests of the Luxembourg and Belgian governments. We will make amends once we have achieved our military goals.”