“I know no parties anymore, I know only Germans!”

“Where my Guards appear, there is no room for democracy.”

Crowds cheer the Kaiser, who is standing on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Berlin.  The German Government had just declared war on Russia and announced the order to mobilise. 1st August 1914.

There is no recording of the original speech, “To the German People!” from Kaiser Wilhelm but there is a recording of the reworked version from three and a half years later, the 10th January 1918, just a few months before the war ended.

Kaiser Wilhelm can be heard in the excerpt below; he was helped with his delivery by his advisor, linguist Wilhelm Doegen.

Excerpt: “Now they want to humiliate us. They demand that we watch with folded arms as our enemies arm themselves for a malicious attack… So the sword must now decide. The enemy attacks us in peacetime. For that reason, to arms! Any wavering, any hesitation would be a betrayal of the fatherland.

This is about the existence or non-existence of our empire, founded anew by our fathers. It is about the existence or non-existence of German might and German culture. We shall defend ourselves to the last breath of man and his steed… Onwards with God, who will be with us as he was with our fathers.” Berlin the 6th August 1914.

  • Proclamation to his People (7 August 1914)
  • “Remember that you are a chosen people! The spirit of the Lord has descended upon me, because I am Emperor of the Germans! I am the instrument of the Most High. I am His sword, His representative. Woe and death to all those who resist my will! Woe and death to those who do not believe in my mission! Woe and death to the cowards! Let them perish — all the enemies of the German people! God demands their destruction — God who, through my mouth, commands you to execute His will.”
    • Proclamation to his Eastern Army (1914),
  • “The population of Belgium …behaved in a diabolical, not to say bestial, manner, not one iota better than the Cossacks . They tortured the wounded, beat them to death, killed doctors and medical orderlies, fired secretly…on men harmlessly standing in the street – in fact by prearranged signal, under leadership…The King of the Belgians has to be notified at once that since his people have placed themselves outside all observance of European customs – from the frontier on, in all the villages, not only in Liege – they will be treated accordingly. Conditions for Belgium will become immensely more difficult.”

This photo shows the balcony of the Royal Palace in Berlin from which the Kaiser gave his speech on the evening of mobilisation on the 1st August 1914.

Within four and half years, the Kaiser was in exile in Holland and an angry mob had wrecked the facade.

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