File No. 763.72119/1180

The Minister in the Netherlands ( Garrett ) to the Secretary of State


1942. Wolff’s Bureau reports German press comment on Hertling’s speech.

Kölnische Zeitung: We do not believe Wilson is honest with his peace program. We consider it a trap with which he will mislead his own peace friends and destroy unity in the Quadruple Alliance, but why not put him to the test? We can place our peace program against his and if he is in earnest with the negotiations, he and his allies, he can simply come to the table at which negotiations are going on; our war aims remain the same with this understanding, that they reasonably combine with the map of the world as it is after three and a half years of the most terrible struggle. Our existence as a people can be guaranteed in 1918. Our just vital interests, as from that hour until now had been the only purpose of our struggle, cannot be defended on the terms of map of 1914 simply. Count Czernin has expressed simultaneously in a well thought out and clever speech1 the needs which arise for Austria from the new situation in the world, for her defense as a great power, and, as is clear with countries so closely allied, they can be fully endorsed by Germany.

Norddeutsche: Wilson’s fourteen questions got their fourteen answers. Germany’s war aims after Hertling’s new speech lie open and clear. It had again to be explained to the Allies and the German people after what had taken place recently, that he had not lost his character which had allowed it to come to a struggle of the people and that had caused the great successes. The requirement to make the negotiations and the results of these public must not be addressed to the Central Powers but to the Entente who are only drawn together by dark plans. For Hertling the policy of the Centrals is not the means for achievement of a purpose, but the kernel of our present policy. What was said at commencement of the first year of war, viz.: that we were not imbued with any desire of conquest, that is still of effect; that inviolability of territory is of value for us in the first place, who there yonder have been robbed of colonies, and where in stupid wilfulness it is desired to cut out a piece of our Empire, the people decline this plan with indignation and disgust. Hertling gave a clear explanation of his ideal for the building of a temple of peace. He drafted a sketch of this, just as that approved [Page 45] by the Majority of the Reichstag and the German people, by a united Government, and by all who are working for peace. People, Government and Army were never more unanimous, they never have had to rely upon each other in greater measure than in this time of final decision. The Government is helping the people to a peace which they have fought for themselves and which must be won with power by the universal franchise, putting our future out of danger.

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  1. Post, p. 54.