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The martyrdom of Belgium: official report of massacres of peaceable citizens, women and children by the German army

Preface,   pp. [3] ff. PDF (487.5 KB)


Page [3]


PREFACE.            i      t,   f X
The Official Belgian Commission of Inquiry, whih has been charged with
the task of  mining into the violation of the rules of International Law
and of the Customs of War, is composed of Statesmen and Jurists of the
highest standing. The Reports of the Commission have been published from
time to time. Report XI will be found in the following pages.
These reports are given out by the Commission only after careful exam-
ination of the evidence. Consequently the findings of the Commission com.
mand the same respect as the findings of the highest Law Court.
Names of witnesses have, in certain cases, been withheld from publication.
All the depositions are, however, in the possession of the Commission and
the names, of the witnesses will be given out at the proper time. The publica-
tion of these names at the present moment would, inevitably, cause the German
troops to take revenge upon witnesses, or upon the relatives of witnesses,
remaining within the German lines.
The authenticity of the depositions is guaranteed by the eminent States-
men and Jurists who compose the Commission and who have signed the
Reports.
No commentary can add anything to the tragic eloquence of these simple
and well-authenticated depositions. Who can read the recital of these horrors
without feeling his heart throb with righteous indignation, and without feeling
an infinite sorrow at the thought that these abominations have been committed,
after two thousand years of Christian civilization,. by a nation which, only
yesterday, claimed to be the foremost in modern Progress.
It should be remembered that Belgium had done nothing to bring on the
war nor to involve her in it. She was a neutralized country. Every shot fired
by a German soldier in Belgium is a violation of the solemn treaty whereby
Germany pledged her faith to uphold the neutrality of Belgium.
At the end of this pamphlet (page 20) will be found extracts from the
"Laws of War on Land," published by the German General Staff in
1902, and
other documents, showing that the massacres, arson and pillage committed
by the German army in Belgium are attributable, not to the innate brutality
of the German soldier, but rather to an organized system of terrorism laid
down and ordered by the superior German Military authorities.
The authenticity of the following text of the Report of the Commission of
Inquiry is certified by the Belgian Legation, Washington, D. C.


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