Peace Note of Germany and Her Allies, December 12, 1916

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WWI Document Archive > 1916 Documents > Official Communications and Speeches Relating to Peace Proposals 1916-1917 > Peace Note of Germany and Her Allies, December 12, 1916

Peace Note of Germany and Her Allies, December 12, 19161

     The most terrific war experienced in history has been raging for the
last two years and a half over a large part of the world — a catastrophe
which thousands of years of common civilization was unable to pre-
vent and which injures the most precious achievements of humanity.
Our aims are not to shatter nor annihilate our adversaries. In spite
of our consciousness of our military and economic strength and our
readiness to continue the war (which has been forced upon us) to
the bitter end, if necessary ; at the same time, prompted by the desire
to avoid further bloodshed and make an end to the atrocities of war,
the four allied powers propose to enter forthwith into peace negotia-
     The propositions which they bring forward for such negotiations,
and which have for their object a guarantee of the existence, of the
honor and liberty of evolution for their nations, are, according to their
firm belief, an appropriate basis for the establishment of a lasting
     The four allied powers have been obliged to take up arms to defend
justice and the liberty of national evolution. The glorious deeds of
our armies have in no way altered their purpose. We always main-
tained the firm belief that our own rights and justified claims in no way
control the rights of these nations.
     The spiritual and material progress which were the pride of Europe
at the beginning of the twentieth century are threatened with ruin.
Germany and her allies, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey, gave
proof of their unconquerable strength in this struggle. They gained
gigantic advantages over adversaries superior in number and war
material. Our lines stand unshaken against ever-repeated attempts
made by armies.
     The last attack in the Balkans has been rapidly and victoriously
overcome. The most recent events have demonstrated that further
continuance of the war will not result in breaking the resistance of
our horses, and the whole situation with regard to our troops justifies
our expectation of further successes.
     If, in spite of this offer of peace and reconciliation, the struggle
should go on, the four allied powers are resolved to continue to a
victorious end, but they solemnly disclaim responsibility for this before
humanity and history. The Imperial Government, through the good
offices of your Excellency, asks the Government of [here is inserted
the name of the neutral power addressed in each instance] to bring
this communication to the knowledge of the Government of [here are
inserted the names of the belligerents].

1The New York Times, December 13, 1916. (2)