Karl Liebknecht
The Future Belongs to the People

Liebknecht's Remarks on the German War Loan

(Reichstag Meeting, April 8, 1916)

DR. LIEBKNECHT: "Gentlemen, the principal work of the Secretary of the Treasury, whose salary we are asked to vote for, was his activity for the war loan during the last year. I intend to examine critically those activities (great merriment). The new loan has brought 1,400,000,000 marks less than the preceding one, but still a grand total of 10,000,000,000 marks. We should investigate carefully from what funds the money invested in the war loan comes. Does this money invested in the war loan come from private or public funds. (Cries of protest from all sides of the House. Many Deputies rise from their seats in excitement. Continued cries: "This is the limit! Shall we allow him to go so far?" Cries of "Treason." "The fellow belongs in an insane asylum.")

Dr. K. Liebknecht clenches his fists and shouts a few words which cannot be understood. Great uproar again. Shouts of "Finish! Finish!" A few members of the Reichstag call out loudly: "Mr. President, you must preserve our rights!" "Down," from the platform! The Secretary of the Treasury tries to calm a few members of the House

PRESIDENT DR. KAEMPF: According to the order of business the floor cannot be taken from a member of the House until he is called to order three times.

MEMBER DR. MÜLLER MEININGEN (Progressive Party): "Then he will betray us three times." (Stormy applause in the House in which the galleries join.)

DR. K. LIEBKNECHT: In regard to our loans, it has been said that our system of inbreeding – that the practice of obtaining loans on a former loan in order to invest the capital thus obtained in another new war loan is a sort of "perpetuum mobile." In a certain sense the loans may be compared to a merry-go-round. To a large extent it means simply the centralization of public wealth in the Treasury. (Great uproar and cries of "Finish" and "Treason.") I have the right to criticise. The truth must be spoken and you shall not hinder me. (Great uproar. Member Hubrich goes to Dr. Liebknecht and snatches Liebknecht's notes from his hands, and throws them on the floor. Stormy applause in the House in which the galleries join. Liebknecht raises his clenched fists and shouts. He then addresses him self to the President in an agitated tone. He is twice called to order by the President. Around the speakers' tribune are small and excited groups gesticulating. Member Dr. Müller Meiningen goes to the tribune and in a violent tone hurls indignant reproaches at Liebknecht. The minority Social-Democrats of the Reichstag – Henke, Dittmann and Zubeil – rush to the tribune and put themselves in front of Liebknecht, other members of the House try to calm down the excited ones. The majority Social-Democrat Keil shouts: "Put the fellow out and then all will be finished." The whole House is in great excitement and uproar, notwithstanding the continual clang of the presidential bell. Finally the President is able to restore order, and declares that the chair finds that there is no quorum. The meeting is adjourned.)

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