This Week: "A Grave Hour Has Befallen Germany Today" - Ettlingen Reports The Outbreak Of War

Ettlingen's newspaper, the Mittelbadischer Courier, reports on the outbreak of the Great War on July 31, 1914.

State of War Declared

Ettlingen, July 31, 1914: Ettlingen's Mittelbadischer Courier announces:
State of War Declared for Germany
As Russia has not issued a declaration of neutrality to Austria, the latter is commencing complete mobilization. As a result, the mobilization of Germany has become necessary.

The Kaiser's Speech

The Courier reports on the events in Berlin. We can see from the Kaiser's speech that he is not happy to be addressing the people with news of possible war.

Berlin, July 31. A vast crowd of people had gathered [on] Unter den Linden [the name of the street] near the Palace and the Crown Prince’s Palace, and continually broke forth in enthusiastic cheers for the Kaiser and the Crown Prince. Patriotic songs were also sung. Finally, the Crown Prince appeared with his lady consort on the balcony of the Crown Prince’s Palace and thanked the crowd for its lively homage. Shortly after this, the Kaiser and the Kaiserin appeared, together with the imperial princes, on the balcony of the Palace and thanked the people for their lively homage. The crowd broke out in tumultuous cheers.
The speech that the Kaiser held to the jubilant crowd from the balcony of the Palace this afternoon was as follows:

"A grave hour has befallen Germany today. Envy everywhere leads us to defend ourselves, and justifiably so. The sword is being pressed into our hands. If my efforts at the last hour to preserve the peace and to chasten our adversaries are not successful, I hope that we will, with God’s help, wield our sword such that we can place it with honor in our sheath. War would demand enormous sacrifice of possessions and life from us. But our adversaries would discover what it means to antagonize Germany. And now I advise you to pray to God. Go now to church, kneel before God and beg Him to help our brave army."

Germany and Peace

Berlin, July 29. The "Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung" noted in today’s evening issue that the official Russian notification submitted yesterday, July 28, has caused lively reverberations here. The imperial government shares the desire to preserve peaceful relations. It hopes that the German people will support it from afar by the moderate and calm manner of its actions.

The Kaiser Calls to Arms

Baden's Grand Duke Friedrich II addresses the people of Baden (the state in which Ettlingen is situated) through an announcement in the Mittelbadischer Courier (and other local newspapers) on August 2, 1914:

My beloved people of Baden!
Our Kaiser calls to arms.
In the difficult battle that Germany is preparing to wage, the honor and existence of our Fatherland, as well as our highest and most sacred values, are at stake.
I know that my dear people will perform the difficult duties with which we will be confronted with absolute devotion and loyalty, especially our sons and brothers who will go to battle, and of whom I am certain and expect that they will – mindful of the military exploits of their fathers – bravely and selflessly risk their lives for the Fatherland. However, the other members of our community will also – of this I am certain – be prepared to make the most difficult sacrifices that must be called for, with true conviction.
God protect and preserve Germany!
Karlsruhe, August 2, 1914

The German Ultimatum to Russia

The Courier reports on more events in Berlin on July 31, the day of the outbreak of war. The Kaiser has sent an ultimatum to Russia to stop mobilization.

Berlin, July 31. The "Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung" officially reports: After the mediation activities performed by the Russian government upon the request of the Tsar himself were interrupted by the general mobilization of the Russian army and navy, the government of His Majesty the Kaiser today allowed it to be known in St. Petersburg that German mobilization is to be expected if Russia does not discontinue its preparations for war within 12 hours and issues a confirmation to this effect.
At the same time, an inquiry has been sent to the French government regarding its stance in the event of a German-Russian war.

The speediness and safety of our deployment requires the consistent and systematic leadership of the entire executive power

Freiherr von Hoiningen, a Prussian officer and the Commanding General of Karlsruhe's XIV Army Corps, addresses the population of the Karlsruhe district through the Mittelbadischer Courier on July 31, 1914:

To the population of the district of the XIV Army Corps
[this included Ettlingen]
His Majesty the Kaiser has declared a state of war in the German Empire. As regards national measures, this merely means that mobilization must be executed rapidly and smoothly, and not that the population need be concerned about the lack of national support. The speediness and safety of our deployment requires the consistent and systematic leadership of the entire executive power. If laws are tightened as a result of the declaration of war, then no one who observes the law and complies with the instructions issued by the authorities will be restricted in their actions as a result. I trust that the entire population will support all military and civil authorities joyfully and wholeheartedly and thus make it easier for us to fulfill our noble patriotic duties. The long-standing military glory of our army will thus be upheld and will persist in honor in the eyes of the Kaiser and the eyes of the nation.
Karlsruhe, July 31, 1914
The Commanding General
Freiherr von Hoiningen gen. Huene

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