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This article was published in 1870.
19 articles were published that year.

This article has a primary subject code of "War" (I G).
1542 articles share this primary code.

  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- August 25, 1870
    A Statement to the People of the United States Issued by the Delegates to the Convention of the German Patriotic Aid Association of the Union

    When Louis Napoleon put an end to the French Republic, he considered it necessary that the French people approve of this act of violence. The president became emperor "by the grace of God and the will of the French people." Thus he claimed that God approved of the perjury which he committed, and that the French people wished that the will of the traitor to the French Republic should thereafter be the will of the French people. So the Second Empire was founded on an infamous lie, and legitimitized itself from the outset as the genuine successor to the First Empire; for the whole history of the Napoleons is proof of the fact that the entire Napoleonic system is based upon a gross falsehood. The first Napoleon represented himself as the standard-bearer of the French Republic which always claimed that it was wont to fight only in self defense. Napoleon III said, "Imperial rule is equivalent to peace." However, during the reign of Napoleon I, as well as during the reign of 2Napoleon III, the history of France is a nearly continuous succession of wars of offense. The Napoleons established their rule by military force and maintained it by sword and cannon. Imperial rule is equivalent to war, for the glory of war is the only basis on which the reign of the Napoleons can rest. Only when France can prescribe laws for other nations can she forget the disgrace resulting from the fact that she knows only obedience on her own soil. Napoleon I and Napoleon III both declared publicly that France could dictate laws to the other nations of Europe only if Germany were weak and disunited.

    History has proved the truth of that statement once, and is about to do so again. The world dominion of Napoleon I collapsed when the German people, defying the wish of most German rulers, rebelled; and now all Germany, united under able leaders, is opposing the tottering power of Napoleon III. There can be no doubt about the result. It was Napoleon himself who said, "A great nation that is fighting for a just cause is invincible." However, in France there is much dissension; it is the emperor who is doing the fighting, and his 3cause is criminal, for it is he who is attacking without a reason for doing so, solely for the purpose of cementing his tottering empire together for his son--with German blood. Only on the German side are the people, a united people, fighting for a just cause, for they are defending their honor and their land. The King of Prussia is merely the unanimously recognized leader of the German people. From the moment France declared war, there has been only one Germany, and in this one Germany there is only one party, the German party. Whatever differences individuals or parties have to settle among themselves, or with their rulers, have been put aside until it has been made impossible for the French emperor to force himself upon the German people as absolute judge of all German affairs.

    What a nation needs most is independence, since it can be or become really free only if it is independent; this freedom must be won, it cannot be given, least of all by a foreign despot. Therefore, the sympathy of all Germans, even of the Republicans and of the Martyrs of the Revolution of 1848, are 4with the German National Army which is led by the most powerful German rulers, because the principal right of the German people, their complete independence of the arrogant dictates of the rulers of other nations, can be accomplished only under that leadership. However, although the people need that leadership, yet, as far as Germany is concerned, the war is not dynastic, that is, it is not a war for the promotion of the interests of the present German rulers, but a people's war in the full sense of the word. This fact is realized and acknowledged by both the German rulers and by the German people, and, therefore, both rulers and people are presenting a united front.

    Thus Napoleon III completed what Napoleon I began; his desire for conquest has welded torn Germany together--against his wish or intentions. Germany, once voluntarily united, will always remain united, and a united Germany is the most reliable guaranty for the peace of all Europe, since it would erect a wide rampart against those nations whose greed is the principal cause of fear; a wall that would afford sufficient protection for the weak and innocent 5and, owing to the character of the people who erect it, would be sufficient security that the rights of neighboring states will be respected. German princes, like many other princes of Europe, have followed a policy of conquest; but the German people had only one intention, one object--to live in peace on their soil. However, if Germany is united, then the people must dictate her future policies.

    Only because nature planted the desire for freedom so deeply into the heart of Germans, did they struggle against being amalgamated, just as Americans, during the early history of the Republic, fought against submission to a strong centralized common government; and rulers of Germany were able to put their will above the will of the people only because the latter were divided. The jealousy prevailing among the various tribes was the fire by which the princes forged the chains by which the people were held in bondage. The history of the year 1866 is irrefutable proof of that fact. The first thing the king of Prussia did, after peace had been concluded, was to ask the people's representatives to grant him immunity against the penalty for those of his 6acts which were contrary to the constitution. In Prussia, as it was prior to 1866, the king could have made his will the sole law of the country; but after 1866 the Prussian king was subject to the law as embodied in the constitution. However, if half of Germany was able to obtain this concession from the Victor of Sodowa, no future ruler will have sufficient power and influence to defy entire Germany.

    So no matter from what standpoint we view the Franco Prussian War, our desire must be that Germany win, unless our judgment is impaired by prejudice, selfishness, or jealousy. Even though the French people make the cause of their emperor their own, that will not change matters in the least. France is responsible for the acts of Napoleon, having served as his willing tools for nearly two decades, and having approved his policies and deeds, while qualified to sit in judgment of them. According to justice and right, the French must, therefore, bear the consequences, and the whole civilized world must sympathize, not with France, but with Germany.

    7

    The American nation has many more, and much weightier reasons to do so. The United States was the first nation to lay down the two principles that government is not invested in rulers, but in the governed--the people--and that no nation has a right to interfere with the affairs of another nation. These two principles constitute the foundation of modern constitutional law, and Germany is defending them in this war. Napoleon presumed to prescribe, to the Spanish people, to whom they might offer the crown of Spain, and he has assumed the authority of dictating, to the king of Prussia, whom the latter must forbid to accept the Spanish crown. He has just as much right to do so as he had to tell the Mexicans whom they were to choose as their ruler. The United States objected to, and frustrated, Napoleon's "Mexican plan," because our country could not tolerate a violation of the afore-mentioned principles on the American continent. Can we Americans find a justification for Napoleon's late command, without being inconsistent and untrue to American principles?

    However, the question of succession to the Spanish crown was merely a pretext 8for war; the real causes of the war are to be found in the results of the Battle of Sodowa. France's claim that she was the foremost among the great powers of Europe was questioned, and Napoleon feared that Prussia would become even more powerful. This fear was well founded, for the conduct of Southern Germans proved that they were by no means opposed to the change in Prussia's position in Germany; but is Germany obliged to remain a weak nation, just because the Napoleons can maintain their status as emperors only as long as France is the most powerful country of Europe? Perhaps Napoleon sympathizes with the Rebels (Confederates), because the Republic's rise to such gigantic power obscures the glory of the Empire. And does the chimera called "balance of European power" alter the matter even one whit? Just as nobody would have a right to interfere if the United States should become more powerful than all of the countries of Europe combined, so nobody has cause for just complaint, or a right to interfere, should Germany become the most powerful nation of Europe, as long as she did not increase her power at the expense of other nations. In dynastic interests, the princes of Europe have invented this system of artificial balance, which 9makes it necessary to regulate the scale every day. The peoples of Europe do not need this balance, for their interests are inseparably connected with, and dependent upon, an uninterrupted peace, a peace that is not wrought or maintained by the power of arms. Only the Napoleonic system of armed peace makes it necessary to use might to keep one nation within a certain limit of power, because another nation cannot keep pace with another nation's rate of economic development. It may profit princes to weaken neighboring countries, but the interests of the people of one nation are better served when the people of all other nations progress in every respect. The more the history of princes becomes the history of the people, and the history of the people becomes the history of the world, the more the term "balance of power" will become a meaningless phrase. Anybody who uses the brutal power of the sword to revive the chimera is an enemy of mankind, and anybody who destroys it will do the world a great service. The Napoleons must preserve this balance--as they understand it--at all events, even though they would have to fight a world war every year, for their throne will fall as soon as the "balance" of France is a notch below that of the 10other nations. The United States, on the other hand, has done more to prepare the way for the realization of true cosmopolitanism. Can Americans, then, sympathize with those whose entire political system (according to its innermost nature) demands that the barbarous medieval ideas that are opposed to freedom and all other interests of free people be preserved by the application of violent measures?

    Thus, Germany is fighting for those principles on which the whole history of America hinges. And there is not even one circumstance which could make it difficult for America to live up to her principles, while there are many good reasons why she should act in accordance with her convictions, as far as that is possible, without violating her neutrality laws. Some American news-papers have not been ashamed to conjure up the ghosts of those "Hessians" who fought on the side of England in the Revolutionary War, to prejudice our people against Germany. Do they not know, or do they not want to know, that those unfortunate Hessians were sold like cattle and forced to take up arms, and that not only the prominent men of Germany, like Schubert and Schiller, 11but also the entire German nation, condemned and execrated this crime? Is it right to make the present people of Germany responsible for the abominable acts which some German "noblemen" committed more than a hundred years ago? And then those newspapers contrast Lafayette and Louis XVI of France with those Hessians, to remind Americans of the "gratitude" which they owe France. But they say not a word about the Germans, who had settled in America before the Revolutionary War, and who fought side by side with the Americans during the entire war; they say not a word about von Steuben and DeKalb; not a word about Frederick The Great, the first, the best, and the truest friend of the struggling Republic. They glorify that momentary alliance made by jealous cousins for political reasons, and are silent about the harmony which existed among brothers for more than a hundred years, and which was disturbed for only a short time by unscrupulous, infamous dealers in human flesh. The French aided America only once, because it was to their advantage to do so; but time and again they caused our country great distress, in fact so great was that distress that even Washington and the misguided people felt that the hitherto 12imperturbable mutual confidence was faltering. And why refer to the musty past when the great deeds of yesterday are vivid in our memory? Who was it that wept and laughed with the Republic, while it was fighting for its very existence? And who was it that tried to undermine the very foundation of our country, and did everything possible to bring about the fall of the Union? We Americans of German descent fought with your native Americans from the battle of Bull Run to the battle of Appomattox, we bled with you, we conquered with you. And we do not ask your gratitude, for we know that we did no more than we were obligated to do as citizens of our beloved country. However, we expect you to sympathize with us, just as we felt toward you with every fiber of our being when the preservation of the Union was at stake. And the cause for which war is now being waged abroad concerns us personally. The men who are giving their lives in this cause are blood of our blood, and they are sacrificing themselves so that the graves of our fathers shall not be desecrated, and that our brothers may be independent and free. Do you expect us to be indifferent toward the outcome of this war, because we have become citizens of another country, and 13are safe? Woe unto this country, if that were the case, for anyone who can stifle his feeling for the land of his birth and youth, can have no feeling for his adopted country. And even though we have only done our duty as American citizens, can America forget the nation that gave her moral support when she was in very great danger?

    During the Civil War, Napoleon ordered that no American bonds should be quoted on the stock exchange of Paris; in Germany even tradesmen and laborers used their pitifully small life's savings to buy them,for they were convinced that right and justice and liberty would finally win. If there are some who find the afore-stated facts inadequate to guide them in choosing between the present belligerents, let them be persuaded at least by their own interests, and they cannot fail to make the correct decision. England and France sided with the Rebels; the former because she considered that step to be of advantage to her manufacturers, and the latter, because Napoleon again was dreaming of an empire; Germany at once took sides with the cause of justice and liberty, and her judgment proved to be correct, despite Bull Run and all the other battles 14which the North lost. America will do well to follow this example, no matter how the fortunes of this war change from day to day. However, disregarding the final result, which will undoubtedly be in favor of Germany, America's immediate economic interests make it desirable that Germany be victorious. Heretofore, Germany has sent 100,000 immigrants to America every year. This valuable addition to our population, which was essential to the development of the West from a wilderness into rich rural communities, has come to a standstill during this war. The United States was deprived of an immense source of money and man power, which would still be available, if Napoleon had let matters take their natural course. And this rich fountain of wealth will flow again in wonted streams only if Germany triumphs. 'Tis true, immigration would gradually begin again, even if France should win; but few Germans would come to America. Thousands upon thousands, who would like to settle here, would be prevented from doing so because they would not have the money to pay for transportation; and thousands would be beggars when they landed, and soon would become public charges. But the saddest feature of an eventual French victory would be the fact that 15the Germans, who would come to the United States, would be gloomy and dejected in spirit, and thus would be unable to do effective pioneering. After the War of Independence the United States became a prosperous and thriving nation, not because some oppressive laws were abolished, but because every citizen went about his duties cheerfully. Anybody who has been successful in one undertaking will feel the urge to seek new laurels in other fields of endeavor; but once a person is dejected in spirit, he will find it difficult to regain cheerfulness. If Germany wins the war, every future German immigrant will be worth three from a defeated Germany.

    Thus America is bound to the cause of Germany by national principles, by more than a hundred years of peaceful relations, and by economic interests. We do not expect the United States to enter the war. Peace is the life-sustaining air of a nation. Germany's cause is a just one, because she was forced to take up arms to restore peace, which Napoleon wantonly broke. We would be the first earnestly to advise against participating in the war, and 16have made it a strict rule to observe our American neutrality laws while aiding our former fatherland in caring for needy German soldiers and their widows and orphans. Americans, too, can make effective demonstration of their sympathy without transgressing any of our neutrality laws. The Napoleons have always been, and will always be put to shame, because in all their calculations they ignore the great power of moral sense. Man's innate perception of right and wrong, and not gun, cannon, and sword will decide this war. The more plainly and forcefully the world pronounces its judgment in favor of the Germans, the more firmly the latter will be convinced that, in defending their own country, they are fighting for the cause of the entire world.

    And the moral support of no other country can be of as much value to them as that of America, which was the first nation to take up arms in the cause of justice and liberty. If America's opinion concerning the cause and purpose of this war agrees with German opinion, then history has pronounced its judgment on this conflict in advance. Now, if the cause for which Germany 17is fighting is your cause, as it is ours, then help us in our efforts to assist those who are sacrificing their lives and the happiness of their families in behalf of that cause. Do not close your hands, now, for they have always been open when it was a matter of soothing pain or drying tears. You know from experience how bravely and well a soldier will fight, when he knows that the wounded in hospitals and the widows and orphans of men who have lost their lives in battle are cared for. The knowledge of having helped where help was necessary will be sufficient incentive to join us in our benevolent endeavors. Naturally, the moral and material support which America gives to Germany will be richly rewarded, for this war can end only with the destruction of all Napoleonic ideas, and the creation of a united Germany; and thus peace will be restored in Europe 18for years and even decades.

    Edmund Juessen,

    Doctor von Holst,

    Caspar Butz,

    A. Rosenthal,

    Doctor Wilhelm Taussig.

    Committee on Resolutions.

    Chicago, August 19, 1870.

    German
    I G, I C, I J, III D, III F, III G, III H, IV