Helmuth von Moltke the Younger
Helmuth Johannes Ludwig Graf von Moltke (25 May 1848 – 18 June 1916), also known as Moltke the Younger, was a German general who served as the Chief of the German General Staff from 1906 to 1914. He was a nephew of Field Marshal Helmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltke who is commonly called "Moltke the Elder" to differentiate the two.
- One should not comment on the actual motivating factor of the whole expedition, for if we were completely honest it is greed [Geldgier] which has encouraged us to cut into the big Chinese cake. We wanted to earn money, build railways, run mines, bring European culture, that means in one word, earn money. In this we are not an ounce better than the English in the Transvaal.
- Letter to his wife (11 July 1900), quoted in Annika Mombauer & Wilhelm Deist, The Kaiser: New Research on Wilhelm II's Role in Imperial Germany, p. 97
- The moment Russia mobilizes, Germany also will mobilize, and will unquestionably mobilize her whole army.
- Remark to the Austrian Chief of Staff Conrad von Hotzndorf (21 January 1909) during the Bosnian crisis, quoted in L. C. F. Turner, 'The Significance of the Schlieffen Plan', in Paul Kennedy (ed.), The War Plans of the Great Powers, 1880-1914 (Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1985), p. 214
- If we again slink out of this affair with our tail between our legs, if we cannot pull ourselves together to present demands which we are prepared to enforce by the sword, then I despair of the future of the German Reich.
- Letter to his wife during the Agadir Crisis (1911), quoted in L. C. F. Turner, 'The Significance of the Schlieffen Plan', in Paul Kennedy (ed.), The War Plans of the Great Powers, 1880-1914 (Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1985), p. 211
- If there is no change in the political situation in Europe, Germany's central position will compel her to form a front on several sides. We shall therefore have to hold one front defensively with comparatively weak forces in order to be able to take the offensive on the other. That front can only be the French. A speedy decision may be hoped for on that side, while an offensive against Russia would be an interminable affair. But if we are to take the offensive against France, it would be necessary to violate the neutrality of Belgium. It is only by an advance across Belgium that we can hope to attack and defeat the French army in the open field.
- Memorandum (December 1912), quoted in Erich Ludendorff, The General Staff and its Problems. Volume I (London: Hutchinson, 1920), pp. 61-62
- [The next war will be between France and Germany and it will be] a question of life or death for us. We shall stop at nothing to gain our end. In the struggle for existence, one does not bother about the means one employs.
- To the Italian military attaché (March 1913), quoted in John Gooch, Army, State and Society in Italy, 1870-1915 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1989), p. 149
- We are ready [for war], and the sooner it comes, the better for us.
- Remark (1 June 1914), quoted in Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1967), p. 50
- Revolution in India and Egypt, and also in the Caucuses...is of the highest importance. The treaty with Turkey will make it possible for the Foreign Office to realise this idea and to awaken the fanaticism of Islam.
- Memorandum (5 August 1914), quoted in Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1967), p. 126
- It is dreadful to be condemned to inactivity in this war which I prepared and initiated.
- Letter to Field Marshal Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz (14 June 1915), quoted in John C. G. Röhl, 'Germany', in Keith Wilson (ed.), Decisions for War 1914 (London: University College London Press, 1995), p. 27