Primary Documents - Prince von Bulow on German Declaration of Naval Blockade of Britain, 4 February 1915

Prince von Bulow Reproduced below is former German Chancellor Prince Bernhard von Bulow's view of the decision by Hugo von Pohl to announce, on 4 February 1915, a German naval blockade of shipping to and around Britain.

Unlike Naval Minister Alfred von Tirpitz (who viewed the decision as premature) von Bulow came out in full support of the decision to announce the naval blockade.

In the event the declaration was effectively rescinded by the German Foreign Office shortly afterwards in the face of opposition from the U.S. government.

Prince von Bulow on the German Naval Blockade of Britain, 4 February 1915

The history of England, who has always dealt most harshly with her vanquished foe in the few European wars in which she has taken part in modern times, gives us Germans an idea of the fate in store for us if defeated.

Once embarked upon a war, England has always ruthlessly devoted all means at her disposal to its prosecution. English policy was always guided by what Gambetta called "la souverainete du but."

England can only be got at by employing like decision and determination.  The English character being what it is, since in the course of the world's history we are now for the first time at war with England, our future depends upon our employing all our means and all our forces with equal ruthlessness, so as to secure the victory and obtain a clear road.

Since the German people, with unparalleled heroism, but also at the cost of fearful sacrifices, has waged war against half the world, it is our right and our duty to obtain safety and independence for ourselves at sea.

We must also win really sufficient and, above all, practical, guarantees for the freedom of the seas and for the further fulfilment of our economic and political tasks throughout the world.  The result of the great struggle in this particular respect will be decisive for the total result of the war and also for the judgment that will be passed upon it.

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

In WW1 an "ace" was a pilot who scored five confirmed "kills".

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