(1916) Pan-Germanic Crime

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(1916) NOTA BENE: The war crimes trials in Nuremberg in the mid-1940s were not the first to time Germans were tried, it happened in 1921 too! "Pan-Germanic Crime" by Paul van Houtte.

Transcript of (1916) Pan-Germanic Crime

THE

N-CEfeMANICAlii

CWME VAKJ

THE PAN-GERMANIC CRIME

" No society of civilised States is possible without honesty and regard for international treaties. Belgium has proved this bravely and, despite her devastated cities, her sacrificed offspring and her scattered people, she is still proving it upon the battlefield in Flanders. For this she will be great among the nations for evermore.";

Le Temps,

Paris,

November

17th, 1914.

THE

PAN-GERMANIC GRIMEIMPRESSIONSIN

AND INVESTIGATIONS

BELGIUM DURING THE GERMAN OCCUPATION

BY

PAUL VAN HOUTTE

HO ODER AND STOU&HTONLONDON NEW YORK TORONTOMCMXV

PREFACEobject of this pamphlet is to make a contribution to the history of the crime. Its contents are not personal judgments nor -theories more or

THE

open to question, but precise, authentic documentary evidence. Apart from certain quotations or facts anterior to the month of August, 1914, which are already recorded in history, what I put forward consists of events which I myselfless

saw during the first months of the German occupation, or of which the story has been told to me by sober and trustworthy witnesses, who lived in the midst of what they describe and had before

The their eyes the atrocities narrated by them. reasons which have compelled me, for the present, to suppress my informants' names will easily bebe possible I will of the book, in which bring out a second edition the initials shall be replaced by the actual namesunderstood.asit

As soon

shall

be given about the persons who kindly consented to send me the results ofshall

and particularstheir enquiries

and

researches.

P.

VAN H.

887384

CONTENTSCHAPTEREUROPEIN JULY, 1914

.....II..

I

PAGE

9

CHAPTER

THE PREPARATION FOR THE CRIME

20

CHAPTER

III.

THE PERPETRATION OF THE CRIME

36

CHAPTER

IV. .

THE GERMAN OCCUPATION OF BELGIUM

50

CHAPTER VTHE ATROCITIESIN

BELGIUM

...

66

CONCLUSIONS

.......APPENDIXI.

CHAPTER VI

128

Two GERMAN PROCLAMATIONS7

.

.

152

8

CONTENTSAPPENDIXII

PAGE

THE GERMAN PROFESSORS' DECLARATIONS

.

155

APPENDIXPROFESSORS

III

THE BRITISH SCHOLARS' REPLY TO THE GERMAN161

APPENDIX IVTHE AMERICAN VERDICT. ..

.169

APPENDIX V

A

Swiss JUDGMENT

173

APPENDIX VI

A

BRAZILIAN SENATOR'S OPINION

.

.

.

179

APPENDIX

VII.

THE BELGIAN GOVERNMENT'S DECLARATION

180

APPENDIX**

VIII

THE GERMAN VICTORYMAXIMILIEN HARDEN)

"

(ACCORDING TO..

.

.185

CHAPTER"

I

EUROPE IN JULY,It is difficult for

1914

him whois

the spirit of fairness, which

aspires to predominance to preserve the chief attribute of justice."

CICERO.

IN July, 1914, Europe was at peace. The horrible murder of June 28th at Serajevo, which made away with the Heir Presumptive of Austria-Hungary and his wife, had for an instant stirred it very profoundly but no one believed that a Servian student's crime could bring about an international conflict. The most powerful ruler on the Continent, His Imperial and Royal Majesty William II, had been looked on as a sup;

porter of peace since he celebrated, in June, 1913, the jubilee of a reign of twenty-five years withoutentirely unimportant expedition against the Herreros. He expressed at that time his desire and hope for a second period of

any war, beyond an

There peace for Germany. appeared good foundation for this desire and hope. The German Empire then had sixty-six milliontwenty-fiveyears'

inhabitants,

and

its

population was increasing by

10

EUROPE IN JULY,' ':(

1914

three millions every year, while that of France remained sta'tjiQijary. Thff. period seemed to be

approaching

,

wfreji;

Jfyance .would have but half

the population of the

abandon

all

thoughts of revenge for 1870.

German Empire and must Under

her present Emperor Germany was growing both in might and in wealth. He had only to let time

work, and the French in particular the directors of French policy could only aspire to live and let live, without seeking a quarrel against

do

its

neighbours now both stronger and better organised from the military point of view. A few old soldiersof 1870, like Deroulede and the Comte de Mun, might periodically revive the memory of theterrible ; but their voices were no more than an echo which grew daily weaker. Thus the power of William II waxed, easily and without an effort, greater and securer and more renowned. Possessed of an immense fortune, the head of an illustrious family, the ally of two great Powers, and the idol of the governing classes of his country, he was one of the most eminent men of the Old World. He could choose his role on more than one stage and play it with unquestioned He was indeed the master, the Imperator, right. feared and admired. In the council of nations his mailed fist imposed silence, and often, too, imposed

annee

his will,

upon

others.

EUROPE IN JULY,

1914

11

His many peaceful protestations had caused to be forgotten the theatrically warlike demonstrations of the first years of his reign. Oblivion was wiping out all remembrance of the violent days

of Agadir.

the other hand, Anglo-German commercial and industrial rivalry had ceased to

On

be a cause of quarrel, and, as Mr. Lloyd George has recently said, the two nations were almost

on friendly terms. International Reconciliation Societies were springing up, including among their

members notable people in Germany, England, France, and the United States, and aiming chiefly at securing more cordial relations between the great nations of Europe. These societies wanted to blot out the memory of the war of 1870, which had caused the European Powers to increase theirmilitary expenditure every year until it reached the formidable total of 480,000,000 for European

defence alone.

beginning

to

In certain high spheres it was be realised how absurd was the

system which, on the pretext of preserving peace,

was

really ruining nations in order to prepare some millions of men for mutual slaughter. These societies, in spite of their new name,

actually

had the same object in view as the older peace associations, which, coming into being in the course of the century, swelled in numbers everyyear,

increasing both their rolls of

membership

12

EUROPE IN JULY,their

1914

People even greeted without a smile or a shrug of the shoulders the idea of a federation of the United States of Europe, whereby quarrels between

and

influence

on public opinion.

governments, instead of being settled by the blind and brutal test of war, might be smoothed away by

by international arbitration. Even in Alsace and Lorraine, those sister provinces which had been so brutally torn fromFrance by the Treaty of Frankfort in 1871, the mass of the people was content with administrative

conciliation or decided

autonomy, and the chief aspiration of the majority was for a decrease of Prussian drill-sergeant methods. The possibility of a war in which the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente should pour their millions of troops upon one another seemed to the whole of Europe so terrible a catastrophe, not only for the Continent but for both hemispheres of the world, that no one would believe that any head of the six Great Powers would dare to take oncalculahimself the heavy responsibility for it. tion of the millions of men in battle, of the general stoppage of production, industrial, commercial,

A

and agricultural, and of the probable destruction which would be wrought, suggested such a gigantic picture of ruin and bereavement that the very idea of the war spread terror in every heart. None

EUROPE IN JULY,could credit that a

1914

13

man responsible for the destinies of a great nation, whichever it might be, could deliberately plunge Europe in so criminal and soappalling a struggle. And yet there was such a

man

!

Intoxicated by a military power which no one in Europe disputed, the Emperor William II had

reckoned up with the heads of his army the obstacles to be overcome if he would swiftly andsurely crush resistance to the passion for

Europeanall

hegemony which haunted him.

Like

con-

querors in the past, he disguised this passion for universal rule in a patriotic dress. It was of Great

Germany that he thoughtNapoleonloved so well."

first.

In the same"

way

I only thought of the France

which he

William II had computed the millions of poundsto be spent, the millions of human lives to be risked and lost. He had calculated the time which

for

was necessary, or would probably be necessary, him to strike in succession at the hearts of the He had worked rivals of the German Empire.out the periods of delay essential to these nationsif

they were to

resist

him

effectively,

and had