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

The German military code,   pp. [20]-23 ff. PDF (1.8 MB)


Page 21


ITHE GERMAN MlLiT ARY CODE.
21
These injunctions of the German Code of 1902 have been fully
carried out in Belgium, and have converted the German army into
"a horde of barbarians and a band of incendiaries."
The "ethics" of the German Military Code have also been sup-
ported by German jurists inoculated with the germ of the same
Meurer, in his book on the Hague Peace Conference, says that
there is no violation of international law "when an act of war is
necessary to support the troops or to defend them against a danger
which cannot be avoided by any other means, or when the act is
necessary in order to realize or assure the success of a military
operation which is not in itself prohibited."
("Die Haager Friedenskonferenz, II Band, page 14)
In other words "Necessity Knows No Law."  I i the same
doctrine proclaimed by the Imperial German Chancellor, Dr. von
Bethmann-Hollweg, and upheld by other German jurists such as
Dr. Karl Strupp, who says:
"A body of troops may be obliged to let their pris-
oners starve, if the commander thinks this is the only
means of carrying out an order which he has received,
for example, an order to reach, at a certain time, a
place indispensable for the proper conduct of the op-
erations.
"The stipulations of the Laws of War may be dis-
regarded whenever the violation of them seems to be
the only means of carrying out a military operation
or of assuring its success, or, indeed, of supporting
the armed forces, even though it be only one soldier."
("Das Internationale Landkriegsrecht," 1914,
pages 7 and 8)
In short, according to the German idea, the recognized Laws of
War, as understood by civilized nations, are to be practised by
Germany only when found convenient. The alleged killing of one
German soldier in Aerschot led to the destruction of the whole town
and the massacre of many innocent citizens. It was contrary to
Law, but it was in accordance with the spirit of the German Mili-
tary Code of 1902.
The German Army invaded Belgium with the full intention, in
case of resistance, of carrying on a war of terror by means of mas-
sacre,robbery and destruction-a war to "destroy the material and
moral resources of the enemy." Moreover, the German officers
were provided with forms drawn up in the French language
to facilitate them, especially in their work of robbery and arson.


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