As representatives of German Science and Art, we hereby protest to the civilized world against the lies and calumnies with which our enemies are endeavoring to stain the honor of Germany in her hard struggle for existence – in a struggle that has been forced on her.
The iron mouth of events has proved the untruth of the fictitious German defeats; consequently misrepresentation and calumny are all the more eagerly at work. As heralds of truth we raise our voices against these.
It is not true that Germany is guilty of having caused this war. Neither the people, the Government, nor the „Kaiser“ wanted war….
It is not true that we trespassed in neutral Belgium. It has been proved that France and England had resolved on such a trespass, and it has likewise been proved that Belgium had agreed to their doing so. It would have been suicide on our part not to have been beforehand.
It is not true that the life and property of a single Belgian citizen was injured by our soldiers without the bitterest defense having made it necessary….
It is not true that our troops treated Louvain brutally. Furious inhabitants having treacherously fallen upon them in their quarters, our troops with aching hearts were obliged to fire a part of the town, as punishment. The greatest part of Louvain has been preserved….
It is not true that our warfare pays no respects to international laws. It knows no undisciplined cruelty. But in the east, the earth is saturated with the blood of women and children unmercifully butchered by the wild Russian troops, and in the west, dumdum bullets mutilate the breasts of our soldiers….
It is not true that the combat against our so-called militarism is not a combat against our civilization, as our enemies hypocritically pretend it is. Were it not for German militarism, German civilization would long since have been extirpated….
We cannot wrest the poisonous weapon – the lie – out of the hands of our enemies. All we can do is proclaim to all the world, that our enemies are giving false witness against us….
Have faith in us! Believe, that we shall carry on this war to the end as a civilized nation, to whom the legacy of a Goethe, a Beethoven, and a Kant, is just as sacred as its own hearths and homes.
EMIL VON BEHRING, Professor of Medicine, Marburg
Prof. PAUL EHRLICH, Frankfort on the Main
FRITZ HABR, Professor of Chemistry, Berlin
ERNST HAECKL, Professor of Zoology, Jena
Prof. ADOLF VON HARNACK, General Director of the Royal Library, Berlin
KARL LAMPRECHT, Professor of History, Leipzig
MAX LIBERMANN, Berlin
MAX PLANCK, Professor of Physics, Berlin
Prof. MAX REINHARDT, Director of the German Theatre, Berlin
WILHELM ROENTGEN, Professor of Physics, Munich
GUSTAV VON SCHMOLLER, Professor of National Economy, Berlin