Outrage at the Boxer Rebellion
Kaiser Wilhelm II
The torch of war has been flung into the midst of deepest peace, though not unexpected by me. A crime unparalleled in its insolence, hateful in its cruelty, has been perpetrated upon my tried and trusted representative, and has hurried him to his grave. The ministers of other powers tremble in hourly danger of their lives, and with them the comrades sent out for their protection; perhaps by now they have fought their last.
The German flag has been outraged, and the German Empire has been insulted. That demands exemplary reparation and vengeance.
The situation has been changed with awful rapidity, and is now most critical and serious. Since I called you to arms it has become worse. I was at first in hopes to be able to repair things with the aid of my marine infantry. That is now impossible. The task has assumed greater proportions, and to grapple successfully with it organized bodies of troops of all the civilized countries must be used. Today the commander of my squadron of cruisers has asked me to send a whole division.
You will face an enemy who defies death no less than you do. Trained by European officers, the Chinese have learned how to fight with European weapons. God be praised for the fact that your comrades of the marine infantry and my navy have maintained the old German reputation for valor wherever they have met the enemy. They have defended themselves with glory, achieving victory.
Thus I send you out there to avenge wrong and enforce reparation. I will not rest until the German flag flies victorious from the walls of Peking, flies above the Chinese, and dictates the terms of peace to the Chinese.
During thirty years of peace our army has been drilled and perfected in accordance with the precepts of my grandfather. You, too, have received your education as soldiers in conformity with these principles, and you are now about to be tested before the enemy -- whether you have profited by it. Your comrades of the navy have already furnished proof that the principles governing military training are sound ones, and I am proud of the praise which has been accorded them by foreign officers and commanders out there. It is for you to show that you can do as well. Yours is a great task. You are to exact reparation for the unprecedented wrong, the gross affront, done us. The Chinese have disregarded the law of nations. They have shown scorn for the sacredness of an envoy, for the duties of hospitality, in a manner unparalleled in the world's history. And this is the more reprehensible because these crimes have been committed by a nation which boasts of its ancient culture
You are to fight against a cunning, courageous, well-armed, and cruel foe. When you are upon him, know this: spare nobody, make no prisoners. Use your weapons in a manner to make every Chinaman for a thousand years to come forgo the wish to as much as look askance at a German
You are going on a grave and portentous mission, the end of which is not yet clear. It may be the beginning of a great war between Occident and Orient. The whole Occident is united. For the common end even such nations have joined who have all along confronted one another as inveterate foes. Every nation has there given proof of matchless bravery, and it is for you, gentlemen, to bring additional glory to the German name, which fortunate wars have placed high in the roster of warlike nations. Show them that we have all this time worked hard, and that our toil in times of peace has not been in vain. Prove yourselves good comrades to all the troops assembled there, no matter what the color of their skin
By nature the Chinaman is a cowardly cur, but he is tricky and double-faced. Small, detached troops must be particularly cautious. The Chinaman likes to fall upon an enemy from an ambush, or during the night time, or with vast superiority in numbers. Recently the enemy has fought bravely, a fact which has not yet been sufficiently explained. Perhaps these were his best troops, those drilled by German and other officers.
Above all, gentlemen, prove to the Chinese that there is at least one power which, irrespective of remoter consideration