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European civilisation, they are involved, will never lead me to soil my spirit with hatred.

Whatever pain, then, your Germany may give me, whatever reasons I may have to stigmatise as criminal German policy and the means it employs, I do not attach responsibility for it to the people which is burdened with it and is used as its blind instrument. It is not that I regard, as you do, war as a fatality. A Frenchman does not believe in fatality. Fatality is the excuse of souls without a will. War springs from the weakness and stupidity of nations. One cannot feel resentment against them for it; one can only pity them. I do not reproach you with our miseries; for yours will be no less. If France is ruined, Germany will be ruined too. I did not even raise my voice when I saw your armies violating the neutrality of noble Belgium. This flagrant breach of honour, which incurs the contempt of every upright conscience, is quite in the political tradition of your Prussian kings; it did not surprise me.

But when I see the fury with which you are treating that magnanimous nation whose only crime has been to defend its independence and the cause of justice to the last, as you Germans yourselves did in 1813 … that is too much!