Kaiser Wilhelm II addresses new recruits in Potsdam (1891)




A German newspaper, Breslauer Lokalanzeiger, reports the remarks of Kaiser Wilhelm II at a military swearing-in in Potsdam, November 1891:

Recruits of my Guards Regiment!

You are assembled here from all quarters of my realm in order to meet your military obligation and have in this holy place sworn loyalty to your Kaiser, even unto your last breath. You are still too young to understand all of this, but little by little it will be made known to you. Do not bother yourselves too greatly about all this but trust in God, now and again say an “Our Father,” which has many a time renewed a warrior’s courage.

Children of my Guards, from this day you are incorporated into my army. Now you stand under my command and have been permitted the privilege of wearing my uniform. Wear it with honour. Think on our fatherland’s glorious history. Think also that the German army must be armed against the inner foe as well as the foreign.

More than ever unbelief and discontent raise their head in the fatherland, and it may come about that you will have to shoot or bayonet your own relatives and brothers. Then seal your loyalty with the offering up of your heart’s blood. Now, go home and fulfil your duty.

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