Speech to Naval Recruits
|Speech to Recruits (1895)
|Translated in 1904 by Dr. Louis Elkind, for his book "The German Emperor's Speeches" published by Longman Publishing.|
You have come here to take the oath of allegiance. This is an old custom of our ancestors, who regarded the faithful fulfilment of the oath as a sacred duty. As I, your Emperor and Euler, devote all my efforts and endeavours to the Fatherland, so rests on you the responsibility of placing your life's energies at my disposal. For you have sworn the oath as Christians, and it was as Christians that you were addressed by the two servants of God.
On our flag you see the eagle, the noblest of creatures. Exulting in his strength, he soars in the air in the rays of God's sun; he knows naught of fear or danger. Such should be your ambition and all your aims. You are entering now upon a period in the course of which you will, at times, experience difficulty in carrying out the duties which are imposed on you by the service, and there may be hours in which you will feel that you are unequal to your tasks. At such times remember that you are Christians; think of your parents and of the mother who taught you the Lord's Prayer.
You are expected to be dignified and of good behaviour in representing your Fatherland in foreign parts. Our Navy is, to the outward eye, but small, but what makes us stronger than other navies is discipline and strict obedience to superiors. These principles will help our Navy to prosper and become great in times of peace, so that it may promote the welfare of the country, and, let us pray God, destroy the enemy in war. Take the old Brandenburgers as models !