File No. 763.72/10293

The Chargé in Denmark ( Grant-Smith) to the Secretary of State


2377. Discussion of Soissons-Rheims offensive continues to be comparatively unenthusiastic. The tendency of military comment is plainly evident from quotations in the Legation’s 2376, 8th.1 Similar ones appear in practically every paper of whatever color. Comments on political significance of offensive have nearly all been in connection with demand of Kreuz Zeitung for a “peace offensive” consisting in publication of German war aims. Socialist and Liberal papers were quick to emphasize that this was exactly what they had always demanded, but added that the aim of the Kreuz Zeitung was to bind the Government to annexationist aims at a moment when the military situation was favorable; nevertheless they supported the demand as before. The remainder of the annexationist press looked [askance] at the suggestion of the Kreuz Zeitung, probably recognizing that the Pan-German demands would not bear discussion in the public forum, even in Germany, and that nothing would sooner undermine the “defensive war” theory, which is still the [foundation] of Germany’s military strength. Evidently acting upon the reception its demand received, the Kreuz Zeitung recanted to a large extent, stating that the article in question was only the personal view of one of its staff, did not represent the policy of the paper, and that the suggested “peace offensive” in no way resembled the Reichstag’s “renunciation resolution.”

That the columns of the leading Prussian Conservative newspaper should contain a suggestion of the advisability of the use of the political weapon before the soldiers have concluded their work is an admission that in theory at least the Liberal press has been warranted in its demands that an attempt be made to impress upon the enemy the possibility of negotiating on the basis of Germany’s terms; it also seems to indicate that even in the Pan-German camp there are those who begin to doubt the ultimate and final efficacy of weapons in bringing a decision.

American Legation
  1. Not printed.