Primary Documents - Kaiser Wilhelm II on the Third Battle of Champagne, 22 April 1917

Kaiser Wilhelm II Reproduced below is the text of Kaiser Wilhelm II's congratulatory telegram to Crown Prince Wilhelm following the French Army's failure to breakthrough during the Second Battle of the Aisne and Third Battle of Champagne, in April 1917.

The French Army's failure to achieve success during the Aisne/Champagne offensive directly led to the replacement of the Commander-in-Chief Robert Nivelle.  Nivelle, who had promised an end to the war through victory at the Aisne, was replaced by Henri-Philippe Petain.

Click here to read the reaction of the French War Minister, Paul Painleve, to news of the French Army's failure to gain success on the Aisne and at Champagne.  Click here to read Erich Ludendorff's official announcement dated 28 April 1917.

Telegram from Kaiser Wilhelm II to Crown Prince Wilhelm, 22 April 1917

The troops of all the German tribes under your command, with steel-hard determination and strongly led, have brought to failure the great French attempt to break through on the Aisne and in Champagne.

Also there the infantry again had to bear the brunt, and, thanks to the indefatigable assistance of the artillery and other arms, has accomplished great things in death-defying perseverance and irresistible attack.

Convey my thanks and those of the Fatherland to the leaders and men.  The battle on the Aisne and in Champagne is not yet over, but all who fight and bleed there shall know that the whole of Germany will remember their deeds, and is at one with them to carry through the fight for existence to a victorious end.

God grant it.

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. V, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

'Bantam' was a term to describe members of battalions between 5ft 1in and 5ft 4in.

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