Manifesto of the Ninety-Three

Manifesto of the Ninety-Three

The "Manifesto of the Ninety-Three" is the name commonly given to a 1914 proclamation endorsed by 93 prominent German scientists, scholars and artists, declaring their unequivocal support of German military actions in the early period of World War I. These actions were elsewhere called the Rape of Belgium. The Manifesto galvanized support for the war throughout German schools and universities, but many foreign intellectuals were outraged.

A report in 1921 in The New York Times found that of 76 surviving signatories, 60 expressed varying degrees of regret. Some claimed not to have seen what they had signed.[1]



In English translation:[2]

As representatives of German Science and Art, we hereby protest to the civilized world against the lies and calumnies with which our enemies are endeavoring to stain the honor of Germany in her hard struggle for existence—in a struggle that has been forced on her.

The iron mouth of events has proved the untruth of the fictitious German defeats; consequently misrepresentation and calumny are all the more eagerly at work. As heralds of truth we raise our voices against these.

It is not true that Germany is guilty of having caused this war. Neither the people, the Government, nor the "Kaiser" wanted war....

It is not true that we trespassed in neutral Belgium. It has been proved that France and England had resolved on such a trespass, and it has likewise been proved that Belgium had agreed to their doing so. It would have been suicide on our part not to have preempted this.

It is not true that the life and property of even a single Belgian citizen was injured by our soldiers without the bitterest defense having made it necessary....

It is not true that our troops treated Louvain brutally. Furious inhabitants having treacherously fallen upon them in their quarters, our troops with aching hearts were obliged to fire a part of the town, as punishment. The greatest part of Louvain has been preserved....

It is not true that our warfare pays no respects to international laws. It knows no undisciplined cruelty. But in the east, the earth is saturated with the blood of women and children unmercifully butchered by the wild Russian troops, and in the west, dumdum bullets mutilate the breasts of our soldiers....

It is not true that the combat against our so-called militarism is not a combat against our civilization, as our enemies hypocritically pretend it is. Were it not for German militarism, German civilization would long since have been extirpated....

We cannot wrest the poisonous weapon—the lie—out of the hands of our enemies. All we can do is proclaim to all the world, that our enemies are giving false witness against us....

Have faith in us! Believe, that we shall carry on this war to the end as a civilized nation, to whom the legacy of a Goethe, a Beethoven, and a Kant, is just as sacred as its own hearths and homes.


Signers among the 93 included: Nobel Prize laureates, artists, physicians, physicists, chemists, theologians, philosophers, poets, architects and known college teachers.

N.B.: The italicized names indicate links to articles on German or French Wikipedia.

List of Signatories

  1. Adolf von Baeyer
  2. Peter Behrens
  3. Emil Adolf von Behring
  4. Wilhelm von Bode
  5. Aloïs Brandl
  6. Lujo Brentano
  7. Justus Brinkmann
  8. Johannes Conrad
  9. Franz von Defregger
  10. Richard Dehmel
  11. Adolf Deissmann
  12. Wilhelm Dörpfeld
  13. Friedrich von Duhn
  14. Paul Ehrlich
  15. Albert Ehrard
  16. Carl Engler
  17. Gerhart Esser
  18. Rudolf Christoph Eucken
  19. Herbert Eulenberg
  20. Henrich Finke
  21. Hermann Emil Fischer
  22. Wilhelm Foerster
  23. Ludwig Fulda
  24. Eduard Gebhardt
  25. J. J. de Groot
  26. Fritz Haber
  27. Ernst Haeckel
  28. Max Halbe
  29. Adolf von Harnack
  30. Gerhart Hauptmann
  31. Karl Hauptmann
  32. Gustav Hellmann
  33. Wilhelm Herrmann
  34. Andreas Heusler
  35. Adolf von Hildebrand
  36. Ludwig Hoffmann
  37. Engelbert Humperdinck
  38. Leopold Graf von Kalckreuth
  39. Arthur Kampf
  40. Fritz-August von Kaulbach
  41. Theodor Kipp
  42. Felix Klein
  43. Max Klinger
  44. Aloïs Knoepfler
  45. Anton Koch
  46. Paul Laband
  47. Karl Lamprecht
  48. Philipp Lenard
  49. Maximilien Lenz
  50. Max Liebermann
  51. Franz von Liszt
  52. Ludwig Manzel
  53. Joseph Mausbach
  54. Georg von Mayr
  55. Sebastian Merkle
  56. Eduard Meyer
  57. Heinrich Morf
  58. Friedrich Naumann
  59. Albert Neisser
  60. Walther Hermann Nernst
  61. Wilhem Ostwald
  62. Bruno Paul
  63. Max Planck
  64. Albert Plohn
  65. Georg Reicke
  66. Max Reinhardt
  67. Alois Riehl
  68. Karl Robert
  69. Wilhelm Roentgen
  70. Max Rubner
  71. Fritz Schaper
  72. Adolf von Schlatter
  73. August Shmidlin
  74. Gustav von Schmoller
  75. Reinhold Seeberg
  76. Martin Spahn
  77. Franz von Stuck
  78. Hermann Sudermann
  79. Hans Thoma
  80. Wilhelm Trübner
  81. Karl Vollmöller
  82. Richard Voss
  83. Karl Vossler
  84. Siegfried Wagner
  85. Wilhelm Waldeyer
  86. August von Wassermann
  87. Felix Weingartner
  88. Theodor Wiegand
  89. Wilhelm Wien
  90. Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff
  91. Richard Willstätter
  92. Wilhelm Windelband
  93. Wilhelm Wundt


  1. ^ "The Ninety-Three Today" (PDF). The New York Times: p. 7. March 2, 1921. "A German writer, M.H. WEHBERG, has recently published the results of personal inquiries made of the surviving professors, scientists and literary men who in 1914 signed the famous manifesto of the ninety-three Gelehrten. Seventeen of them have since died, but of this number it was known that several had changed their minds, or at least wished that they had not put their names to a document which was a reproach to German learning. Among the living only sixteen were found to stand by their action in 1914 without wavering, and to say that they would sign the manifesto again. This leaves some sixty of the original ninety-three who now express regret — in some cases amounting almost to remorse. Some of them explain that they did not read or know what they had signed. They gave their names by telephone or telegraph to what they supposed to be a truthful utterance of German university opinion. Later they felt 'keen chagrin' when they found that, with their indignant 'it is not true,' they had been denying facts amply proved. More than one of the signers now has strong words in condemnation of the 'unlucky and senseless' declaration, as it is now admitted to have been, to which they were induced to put their names. This is perhaps the nearest to repentance that we have had or may expect from Germany. Herr WEHBERG records many excuses, some semi-apologies, several expressions of sorrow that the thing turned out so badly; but not one form of the straight-out confession that is good for the soul." 
  2. ^ "Manifesto of the Ninety-Three German Intellectuals (English translation)". World War I Document Archive. Brigham Young University. 

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