The martyrdom of Belgium: official report of massacres of peaceable citizens, women and children by the German army
The German military code, pp. -23 ff. PDF (1.8 MB)
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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