that a people
never must value anything higher than the dignity and freedom of its existence; that it must defend these with the last
drop of its blood; that it has no duty more sacred and can obey no law that is higher; that the shame of a cowardly submission
can never be wiped out; that the poison of submission in the bloodstream of a people will be transmitted to its children,
and paralyze and undermine the strength of later generations; that honor can be lost only once; that, under most circumstances,
a people is unconquerable if it fights a spirited struggle for its liberty; that a bloody and honorable fight assures the
rebirth of the people even if freedom were lost; and that such a struggle is the seed of life from which a new tree inevitably
We declare and assert to the world and to future generations that
we consider the false wisdom which aims at avoiding danger to be the most pernicious result of fear and anxiety. Danger
must be countered with virile courage joined with calm and firm resolve and clear conscious. Should we be denied the
opportunity of defending our selves in this manner, I hold reckless despair to be a wise course of action. In the dizzy
fear which beclouding our days, we remain mindful of the ominous events of old and recent times, and of the honorable examples
set by famed peoples. The words of mendacious newspapers do not make us forget the lessons of centuries and of world
We assert that we are free of all personal ambitions; that we profess thoughts
and sentiments openly before all citizens; and that we would be happy to find a glorious end in the splendid battle for the
freedom and excellence of our [peoples].
Does our faith and the faith of those who think like us deserve the contempt
and scorn of our citizen? Future generations will decide.
A nation cannot buy freedom from the slavery of alien rule by artifices
and stratagems. It must throw itself recklessly into battle, it must pit a thousand lives against a thousand-fold gain
of life. Only in this manner can the nation arise from the sick bed to which it was fastened by foreign chains.
Boldness, that noble virtue through which the human soul rises above the most
menacing dangers, must be deemed to be a decisive agent in conflict. Indeed, in which sphere of human activity should
boldness come into its own unless it be in struggle?
Boldness is the outstanding military quality, and genuine steel which gives
to arms their luster and sharpness. It must imbue the force from camp follower and private to the commander-in-chief.
In our times, struggle, and, specifically, an audacious conduct of war are practically
the only means to develop a people's spirit of daring. Only courageous leadership can counter the softness of spirit
and the love of comfort which pull down commercial peoples enjoying rising living standards. Only if national character
and habituation to conflict interact constantly upon each other can a [people] hope to hold a firm position in the political
A [people] which does not dare to talk boldly will risk even less to act with
. . . Perhaps there
never again will be times when nations will be obliged to take refuge in the last desperate means of popular uprising against
foreign domination. Yet in our epoch, every war inevitably is a matter of [the people's] interest and must
be conducted in that spirit, with the intensity of effort which the strength of the national character allows and the [community]
In our judgment the most important political rules are: never
relax vigilance; expect nothing from the magnanimity of others; never abandon a purpose until it has become impossible,
beyond doubt, to attain it; hold the honor of [your people] as sacred.
The time is yours; what its fulfillment will be, depends upon you.
. . .
(Qtd. in Edward M. Collins. Karl Von Clausewitz: War, Politics and Power. 1965)
[with some additions from my own.]