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Bernhard von Bülow on Germany's "Place in the Sun" (1897)

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We must demand that German missionaries, merchants, goods, as well as the German flag and German vessels be treated with the same respect in China that other powers enjoy.

(Loud applause)

We are happy to respect the interests of other powers in China, secure in the knowledge that our own interests will also receive the recognition they deserve.


In short, we do not want to put anyone in our shadow, but we also demand our place in the sun.


True to the tradition of German policy, we will make every effort to protect our rights and interests in East Asia and West India – without unnecessary harshness, but without weakness either.

(Lively applause)

Source: Stenographische Berichte über die Verhandlungen des Reichstags [Stenographic Reports of Reichstag Proceedings]. IX LP, 5th Session, Vol. 1, Berlin, 1898, p. 60.

Original German text also reprinted in Rüdiger vom Bruch and Björn Hofmeister, eds., Kaiserreich und Erster Weltkrieg 1871-1918 [Wilhlemine Germany and the First World War 1871-1918]. Deutsche Geschichte in Quellen und Darstellung, edited by Rainer A. Müller, vol. 8. Stuttgart: P. Reclam, 2000, pp. 268-70.

Translation: Adam Blauhut

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