In today's session of the Reichstag the Social-Democratic "Fraktion" voted the war credits demanded by the Government. At the same time it outlined its position as follows:
We are face to face with destiny. The result of the imperialistic policy which introduced an era of competitive preparation for war and roused the antagonistic elements in the different nations is breaking over Europe like a tidal wave. The responsibility for this disaster rests upon the supporters of the imperialistic policy which we reject. Social-Democracy has always done all in its power to fight this disastrous development, and up to the last moment has worked for the maintenance of peace by strong demonstrations in all countries, especially in close co-operation with our French comrades. Its efforts have been in vain.
Now we face the inexorable fact of war. We are threatened by the horror of hostile invasion. Today it is not for us to decide for or against war but to consider the means necessary for the defense of our country.
We must now think of the millions of fellow-countrymen who are drawn into this disaster without any fault of their own. It is they who suffer most from the horrors of war. Our warmest wishes go with all those, irrespective of party, who have been called to arms.
But we are thinking also of the mothers who must give up their sons, of the women and children who are deprived of the husband and father who supported them. For them the fear for their loved ones is mingled with the dread of need and of actual hunger. And this army of women and children will soon be joined by tens of thousands of wounded and crippled soldiers.
To help all of them, to lighten their lot, to ease their suffering, this we consider our urgent duty.
Everything is at stake for our nation and its development toward liberty in the future if Russian despotism stained with the best blood of its own people should be victorious.
It is our duty to ward off this danger, to protect the civilization (Kultur) and independence of our own country. Thus we carry out what we have always emphasized: In the hour of danger we shall not desert the Fatherland. In saying this we feel ourselves in accord with the International which has always recognized the right of every nation to national independence and self-defense, just as we agree with it in condemning any war of aggression or conquest.
We hope that the cruel experience of suffering in this war will awaken in many millions of people the abhorrence of war and will win them for the ideals of socialism and world peace.
We demand that as soon as the aim of security has been achieved and our opponents are disposed to make peace this war shall be brought to an end by a treaty of peace which makes friendship possible with our neighbors. We ask this not only in the interest of national solidarity for which we have always contended but also in the interest of the German people.
With these principles in mind we vote the desired war credits.