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that the Emperor was not the monarch of Germany, but merely the President of the Confederation, and that he was not entitled to declare a war of offence except with the consent of the non-Prussian States. For instance, Professor Laband wrote in his most important standard work, “ Das Staatsrecht des Deutschen Reiches' in four huge volumes, of which the fifth edition appeared shortly before the War :

The foundation of the North German Federation and of the German Empire was effected not by the German people but by the German States. All actions which brought about the creation of the Confederation were actions of these States. By entering into the Confederation they divested themselves of their sovereignty, but not of their individuality, as States. Their individuality continued unbroken and became the foundation of the Federal State. It follows that not the individual citizens are the members of the Empire, nor that the citizens in the aggregate possess the power of the Empire. The members of the Empire are the individual States. The German Empire is not an organisation composed of millions of members who constantly increase in numbers, but is an association of twenty-five members. ...

It must be observed that no new legal institution has been created by re-establishing the Imperial dignity. The idea of the presidency of the Confederation has not been altered by connecting with it the title Emperor. The historical events which led to the resuscitation of the Imperial title, the reasons and motives with which the Constitution was submitted, the discussion accompanying it, and especially Article XI of the Imperial Constitution itself, show with indubitable certainty that the Emperor's position is completely identical with that of the presidency in the North German Federation, and that the Emperor, apart from his title and insignia, has no rights except the right of President. ... The Emperor is not sovereign of the Empire. The sovereign power rests not with him, but with the German allied sovereigns and free towns as a whole. If he acts in the name of the Empire, he acts not in his own name but in the name of the Empire.


The facts given in these pages prove conclusively that, according to the German Constitution, the Emperor was not entitled to declare a war of aggression, that he acted unconstitutionally in attacking Russia and France. The question has now to be considered whether, in case the War should have an unfortunate end for Germany, the Emperor can justify his action by referring to the stipulations of the Austro-German Treaty of Alliance of 1879. It is almost universally believed, even in the best-informed diplomatic quarters, that the celebrated Dual Alliance Treaty is a defensive and offensive Treaty. That is a grave

The Austro-German Treaty was meant to be, and is, a purely defensive instrument. This will be seen from its text and from the official note introducing it. Both the Prefatory Note and the Treaty itself were first published in the Berlin Official Gazette of February 3, 1888, and I herewith give the full text of both. The translation was made by the Foreign Office and it was published in vol. 73 of the British and Foreign State Papers :

The Governments of Germany and of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy have determined upon the publication of the Treaty concluded between them on the 7th of October 1879, in order to put an end to doubts which have been entertained in various quarters of its purely defensive character, and have been turned to account for various ends. The two allied Governments are guided in their policy by the endeavour to maintain peace and to guard, as far as possible, against its disturbance; they are conviuced that by making the contents of their Treaty of Alliance generally known they will exclude all possibility of doubt on this point, and have therefore resolved to publish it.

Treaty of Defensive Alliance between Austria-Hungary and

Germany. Signed at Vienna, October 7, 1879. Inasmuch as their Majesties the German Emperor, King of Prussia, and the Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, must consider it their inalienable duty to provide for the security of their Empires and the peace of their subjects under all circumstances ;

Inasmuch as the two Sovereigns, as was the case under the former existing Treaty, will be enabled by the close union of the two Empires to fulfil this duty more easily and more efficaciously ;

Inasmuch as, finally, an intimate co-operation of Germany and Austria-Hungary can menace no one, but is rather calculated to consolidate the peace of Europe on the terms established by the stipulation of Berlin ;

Their Majesties the German Emperor and the Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, while most solemnly promising never to allow their purely defensive Agreement to develop an aggressive tendency in any direction, have determined to conclude an alliance of peace and mutual defence.

With this object their Majesties have named as their Plenipotentiaries :

His Majesty the German Emperor, His Majesty's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, LieutenantGeneral Prince Henry the Seventh of Reuss, &c.;

His Majesty the Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, His Majesty's Privy Councillor, Minister of the Imperial House and for Foreign Affairs, Lieutenant Field-Marshal Julius Count Andrassy of Csik-Szeut-Király and KrasznaHaka, &c.;

Who have this day at Vienna, after the exchange and mutual verification of one another's full powers, agreed as follows:

Art. 1.-Should, contrary to their hope, and against the loyal desire of the two High Contracting Parties, one of the two Empires be attacked by Russia, the High Contracting Parties are bound to come to the assistance one of the other with the whole war strength of their Empires, and accordingly only to conclude peace together and upon mutual agreement.

II.-Should one of the High Contracting Parties be attacked by another Power, the other High Contracting Party binds itself hereby, not only not to support the aggressor against its high ally, but to observe at least a benevolent neutral attitude towards its fellow Contracting Party.

Should, however, in such a case the attacking Power be supported by Russia, either by an active co-operation or by military measures which constitute a menace to the Party attacked, then the obligation stipulated in Article I of this Treaty, for mutual assistance with the whole fighting force, becomes equally operative, and the conduct of the war by the two High Contracting Parties shall in this case also be in common until the conclusion of a common peace.

III.—This Treaty shall, in conformity with its peaceful character, and to avoid any misinterpretations, be kept secret by the two High Contracting Parties, and only be communicated to a third Power upon a joint understanding between the two Parties, and according to the terms of a special Agreement.

The two High Contracting Parties venture to hope, after the sentiments expressed by the Emperor Alexander at the meeting at Alexandrowo, that the armaments of Russia will not in reality prove to be menacing to them, and have on that account no reason for making a communication ; should, however, this hope, contrary to their expectation, prove to be erroneous, the two High Contracting Parties would consider it their loyal obligation to let the Emperor Alexander know, at least confidentially, that they must consider an attack on either of them as directed against both.

In virtue of which the Plenipotentiaries have signed this Treaty and affixed their seals. Vienna, October 7, 1879.


It will be noticed that indeed the Austro-German Alliance bears a purely pacific and defensive character. The Official Note inserted in the Government Gazette, introducing it, refers to its purely defensive character.' If we read the Treaty itself we find it stated in its preamble that it has been concluded 'to consolidate the peace of Europe,' that it is a ' purely defensive Agreement,' that it is 'an alliance of peace and mutual defence.' The purely defensive character of the Austro-German' Treaty of Alliance cannot be denied, nor can it be explained away. Germany was under no obligation to come to Austria's aid in a war in which that country was the aggressor. It follows that the German Emperor cannot justify his attack upon Russia and France by explaining that he was bound by treaty to come to Austria's aid. The fact that the Austro-German Treaty was a purely defensive one appears not only from the Treaty itself but from Prince Bismarck's commentaries upon the Alliance. Reference to my book, “ The Foundations of Germany,' will furnish numerous most emphatic statements of the Chancellor according to which Germany was under no obligation to help Austria, should the latter be involved in war with Russia in consequence of Austrian aggressive action in the Balkan Peninsula.

On June 15, 1888, the Emperor Frederick died and William the Second ascended the throne. A few days later, on June 25 and 27, he addressed the German Imperial and the Prussian State Parliament in person, reading to these assemblies his speech from the throne. In these addresses, which opened his reign, he solemnly promised to observe the Constitution and, in accordance with the Constitution, not to declare war unless the Empire or its Allies should actually be attacked. The Emperor stated in his speech to the Reichstag on June 25 :

The most important tasks of the German Emperors consist in securing the Empire politically and militarily against attacks from without and in watching the execution of the Imperial laws within. The foremost Imperial law is the German Constitution. It is one of the foremost rights and duties of the Emperor to observe and to protect the Constitution and the rights granted by it to the two legislative bodies of the nation and to every German, and also to the sovereign..

In the domain of foreign policy I am resolved to keep peace with all nations to the best of my endeavour. My love for the German army and my position towards the

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