Aufruf an die Kulturwelt
Aufruf an die Kulturwelt! (Appeal to the Cultural World, also known as the Manifesto of the 93 or Fulda Manifesto), was the title of a declaration undersigned by ninety-three German writers, artists, poets, and scholars published on 4 October 1914, two months after the outbreak of World War I. The appeal was printed in many German and foreign newspapers
Throwing the weight of their considerable international reputations behind full-hearted propaganda for the German cause, the distinguished signatories staked "our names and our honor" to the claim that anti-German propaganda during the first two months of the war was entirely false. The 93 attacked any attempt to separate a positive view on the German culture from a negative view on Germany's militarism, declaring that militarism was needed for the protection of the German culture, which would long since have been erased from the face of the earth without the army's protection. As argued in reference this insistence on an absolute unity between German militarism and German culture ultimately backfired on Germany's reputation abroad.
The manifest denied explicitly the following accusations:
- That Germany caused this war
- That Germany trespassed in neutral Belgium
- That life and property of a Belgian citizens were injured by German soldiers
- That German troops treated Louvain brutally
- That the German army does not respect international laws.
The text of the Aufruf was originally written by the playwright Ludwig Fulda, was reworked by his colleague Hermann Sudermann, and finalized by Fulda, Sudermann, and the Berlin politician Georg Reicke. One of the prime instigators of the document was the navy captain Heinrich Lohlein, head of the intelligence office of the German navy. What was perceived abroad as a spontaneous outburst of outraged German intellectuals, had in fact been the brainchild of a government propaganda office.
In 1921 the New York Times published an article quoting the German writer M. H. Wehberg who claimed that only sixteen of the signatories still stood behind their signature, and that some sixty regretted signing it. At the time of signing they believed that the text of the appeal was true, but in the meantime they had discovered that the German army had committed several of the atrocities that were denied so fiercely in 1914. In addition, some of the signatories declared that they had not seen the text before signing it.
- See also: Aufruf an die Kulturwelt/Catalogs for the names of the 93 signatories
- Jürgen von Ungern-Sternberg and Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg, Der Aufruf An die Kulturwelt! Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart (1996).
- New York Times (pdf) 1921