Major Theme - {title}
War rages as peace fails
A cartoon from the pages of US magazine 'Puck' drawn by C.R. Macauley. The caption read 'Who will adopt it?' The answer, based on the Allies' response, is 'No one'. Photo: Puck Magazine, 30 Dec 1916. University of Michigan.

War rages as peace fails

Rome, 15 January 1917 - A German offer to enter into peace negotiations with the Allies has been roundly rejected.

A conference of the Allies taking place in Rome to assess the war situation saw both the Allied nations and Pope Benedict XV send their rejections of the German peace proposals.

The Pope said that there could be no peace until the perpetrators had atoned for the crimes committed.

The Allies also claim that the recent ‘intensification of destitution’ among the German population due to the blockade was a key factor in the German move for peace.

A lone German soldier walks along the ruins of Péronne in the last days of the Somme in 1916. (Image: Imperial War Museum)

The Kaiser’s response
In response, the Kaiser placed the blame on the Allies for all future sacrifices which the rejection of the offer and the continuation of the war will necessitate. He also made a violent proclamation to the German people saying that the Allies wished to destroy Germany and enslave Europe.

Cartoon originally published in the Westminster Gazette - Kaiser Bill: "I'll take care of you, Miss! Yer can trust me - I wouldn't 'urt yer for the world - I loves yer!" (Image: Irish Life, 5 January 1917. Full collection available from the National Library of Ireland)

The Kaiser said:

‘Our enemies have dropped the mask, after refusing, with scorn and hypocritical words of love for peace and humanity, our honest peace offer. But what they in 30 months of the bloodiest fighting and unscrupulous economic war could not achieve they will also in all the future not accomplish. Our glorious victories and our iron strength of will, with which our fighting people at the front and at home have borne all hardships and distress, guarantee that also in the future our beloved Fatherland has nothing to fear.’

‘Burning indignation and holy wrath will redouble the strength of every German man and woman, whether it is devoted to fighting, work, or suffering. We are ready for all sacrifices.’

The Kaiser concluded that the rejection of the peace offer was ‘an arrogant crime’.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

RTÉ

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.