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Department of "Huh?!"

Karl Liebknecht in the German Reichstag, 1914, on World War I

Karl Liebknecht (1871-1919):

This war... was not started for the benefit of the German or of any other people.. an Imperialist war... a preventative war provoked by the German and Austrian war parties in the obscurity of semi-absolutism and of secret diplomacy... [an] attempt... to demoralize and destroy the growing Labor movement. The German... slogan 'against Czarism'... has brought forth the most noble instincts... for the purpose of hatred.... Germany... possesses none of the qualities... of a liberator of peoples.... Peace... as possible... humiliate no one.... A simultaneous and continual demand for such peace in all the belligerent countries will be able to stop the bloody massacre before the complete exhaustion of all the peoples....

I have the warmest compassion for our brothers on the field of battle.... But my protest is:

  • against the war,
  • against those responsible for it,
  • against those who are directing it;
  • against the capitalistic ends for which it is being pursued,
  • against the violation of the neutrality of Belgium and Luxemburg,
  • against military dictatorship, and
  • against the government’s and the ruling class’s complete neglect of their social and political duties...

Friedrich Ebert (1871-1925):

No, not [war appropriations] for [the Emperor’s and the nobles’] Germany, but for the Germany of productive labor, the Germany of the social and cultural ascent of the masses. It is a matter of saving that Germany!… We cannot abandon the fatherland in its moment of need. It is a matter of protecting women and children...