It is not true that our troops have wreaked brutal havoc in Louvain. They were compelled reluctantly to bring a sector of the city under fire, in order to retaliate against raging inhabitants who had treacherously attacked them here. The greatest part of Louvain has been preserved. The famous Town Hall stands completely intact. With great self-sacrifice, our soldiers have saved it from the flames. – Should works of art have been destroyed in this terrible war, or should they be destroyed, every German would regret it. However, as little as anyone can surpass us in our love of art, we refuse just as decisively not to purchase German defeat at the price of preserving a work of art.
It is not true that our waging war disregards international law. It knows no undisciplined cruelty. But in the east, the earth is drinking the blood of women and children who were butchered by wild Russian hordes, and in the west, dumdum bullets mutilate the breasts of our soldiers. Those who have allied themselves with Russians and Serbs, and who present the world with shameful spectacle of inciting Mongolians and Negroes against the white race, have the very least right to portray themselves as the defenders of European civilization.
It is not true that the struggle against our so-called militarism is not a struggle against our culture, as our enemies hypocritically claim it to be. Were it not for German militarism, German culture would long ago have been eradicated. For the protection of German culture, militarism arose in a land that had for centuries been plagued like no other by predation. The German army and the German people are one and the same. Consciousness of this fact today unites 70,000,000 Germans as brothers, without respect to education, class, or party.
We cannot wrest the poisonous weapons of lies from the hands of our enemies. We can only proclaim to all the world that they are giving false witness against us. You who know us, you who together with us have guarded the highest possessions of mankind – to you we also call out: Believe us! Believe that we shall fight this war to the end as a cultured people to whom the legacy of Goethe, Beethoven and Kant are as sacred as hearth and land.