Lot 111: WILHELM II; EMPEROR OF GERMANY. Two Autograph Letters Signed, "Wilhelm / I.R.," as Emperor, to General Director of the Hamburg America
November 1, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: "I HAVE ALWAYS CONSIDERED ENGLAND A FOE" WILHELM II; EMPEROR OF GERMANY. Two Autograph Letters Signed, "Wilhelm / I.R.," as Emperor, to General Director of the Hamburg America Line Albert Ballin, in German, in pencil. The first, reporting on terms of the naval agreement being negotiated [with Great Britain: the Haldane Mission]. 2 pages, oblong 8vo, written on the recto and verso of a card, stationery embossed with the imperial eagle, pale blue paper. The second, complaining that the British politicians refuse to conform to the February agreement, explaining that the British declared an alliance with France, and had begun a program of building Dreadnaughts. 5 pages, small 4to, written on two folded sheets, stationery embossed with the imperial eagle, pale blue paper. Each with the original envelope. "Berlin Palace" [Berlin], 9 February; "New Palace" [Potsdam], 15 December 1912
15 December: ". . . Then . . . after it became known that Serbia's insolence was based on its hope for help and support from the great Slavic matriarch, we realized that we would have to help Vienna, for the Slavic subjects in Austria . . . could be kept in check only through energetic action of the entire monarchy against Serbia. Austria stood at a turning point, and it had become a life-and-death matter whether it could remain German and under German rule . . . or be inundated in Slavdom and thus unable to form alliances. If we were forced to take up arms, then in order to help Austria we would have to fend off not just Russia but the Slavs in general, and to remain German. That is, the Germans faced a racial conflict with the Slavs, who had become cocky. A racial conflict that we will not be spared, for it concerns the future of the Habsburg monarchy and the survival of our fatherland. . . .
"Then on December 6, Haldane came to Lichnowsky . . . and declared to the astonished ambassador in dry words: If Germany gets embroiled in a war with Russia and France, England will not remain neutral but spring at once to France's side. . . . Now you can well imagine what effect this news had on the entire Wilhelmstrasse! It didn't surprise me--as you know, I have always considered England a foe . . . .
"Politically, Haldane's communiqué is a great blunder by the English government. . . . [W]ith this declaration, England is announcing a state of alliance with France that ties it directly to the side of our arch enemy. Thus, in the battle for survival that the Germans will be forced to fight in Europe against the French-backed Slavs, the Germanic Anglo-Saxons . . . stand on the side of our racial foes, the Slavs!!!
"The British naval behavior is just as illicit and deceptive as its politics. Haldane had officially informed us that the English building program for 1912 . . . will be Dreadnaughts . . . .
". . . This is how Britain's famous friendship with Germany really stands! . . ."