August Bebel September 1908

A Justification of Our Position.

Source: A. Bebel, “Justification of Our Position,” (Letter) Justice, 12 September, 1908, p.6;;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

Mr. J. Ramsay MacDonald, secretary of the Labour Party, has received from our comrade August Bebel, the leader of the German Social. Democratic Party, the following reply regarding the resolution passed by the Labour Party on Anglo-German relations:-

“Dear Friend MacDonald,

“Your letter was sent on to me here.

“We are, of course, at one with the views expressed in your resolution. Our attitude in Parliament, in the papers representative of our party, and in the meetings in which the foreign policy of Germany was discussed, was based on friendliest spirit of goodwill towards England, the English people, and the working class. We have taken up the standpoint that there exists no grounds on which a war between the two highly civilised peoples, Englishmen and Germans, could be justified. We shall continue to act from this standpoint, and should our rulers exhibit any tendency to provoke a war we shall leave nothing undone that may be in our power to prevent such a war.

“In spite of the war clamours of certain elements in Germany and England I cannot admit that the opposition between the ruling classes of the two countries has reached so tense a point as to foreshadow an early outbreak of war. That such a war may break oat in the course of time I hold to be quite possible.

“Preparations for war are carried on with such vehemence, and they claim such an immense part of the resources of the nations, that this state of things cannot last very long. It is provoking the catastrophe which it is meant to prevent. I think, therefore, that we should calmly and carefully follow the development of things, enlightening the people, and especially the working classes, upon the possible consequence.

“In proof of the spirit in which we desire to work, we shall on the occasion of the approaching meeting of our party in Nuremburg, fixed for about the middle of September, demonstrate publicly in what light we stand concerning war, and especially with regard to England and the English people.

“Moreover, there will be a session of the International Bureau in Brussels in October. This may likewise be productive of a similar view.

“The principal thing is that England should be also well represented there.-Your faithful colleague, (Signed)

A. Bebel”