Early Edition, 27.6.1943
Full Text of His Majesty the Kaiser's Address
Delivered to the Reichstag Last Evening
Friends, fellow Karlsländer. I come before you today to break with one of my oldest and most cherished principles. I have long believed, and found in practice to be true, that it is best if I limit the shocks experienced by my people to no more than one per week; but events have overtaken us. In a struggle for national survival, there must inevitably come times when principle must bow to stark necessity.
Therefore, I must beg your indulgence, and trust in your resilience, as I issue the following proclamations.
First, on the subject of witches. Karlsland has depended heavily upon these women for its survival, and its place in the world, from the very beginning; indeed, since well before the beginning of the Reich as a modern, unified nation. The royal courts of Prussia, of Bavaria, of Baden and Württemberg; the Hanseatic League; the medieval Sacred Roman Confederation; even the Karlslandic tribes of antiquity—all looked to witches as both their shield and their sword in times of crisis, with which, as any student of history knows, the long annals of humanity have never been ill-furnished. More recently, within the lifetimes of most adult Karlsländer, there have been two separate occasions upon which, without witches, we would all have perished. One of those occasions is still going on as I speak to you today.
And yet, here in the very crucible of Western civilization—a city raised in large part by witches, its population preserved to inhabit it by them, at the cost of many of their lives—we, who congratulate ourselves on being the most modern and enlightened people on Earth, go blithely on failing, as our ancestors failed, to treat them with the respect they deserve. No longer.
I hereby proclaim that henceforth, within all the territories and domains over which I am by the favor of the ancestors sovereign, witches—past, present, and potential—shall be accorded the same status, the same rights and privileges, as any man of Karlsland.
(Ed. note Pause for furore.)
As an aside, for those of you in the press who are already sharpening your pens to accuse Frau von Preußen of planting this idea in my head, I should note that when she arrives in Gallia and learns of this development, Hannelore's automatic response is almost certain to be "Oh Fritzchen, you fool." (Ed. note Pause for laughter.) And perhaps she is right. She usually is! But this had to be done. It has been left undone far too long.
Second, and pursuant to the above: the matter of the succession. As many of you are no doubt very fretfully aware, I shall not be siring children of my own, and my elder brothers and their sons have all managed to find some way or another of rendering themselves unsuitable, with a diligence that I must say does them credit as sons of Prussia. (Ed. note Pause for laughter.) For that purpose, the matter of who succeeds me has been much on the public mind, and the public tongue, of late; but the new Witch Law provides for a solution.
My niece, Captain Eugenie Prinzessin von Preußen, is a fighting witch of the Reichsmarine: a brave sailor who is even now at the helm of her ship, the battle cruiser that shares her name, steaming back into the war from a recent refit. She is, by any measure, the pride of the House of Hohenzollern. I hereby decree that, with any luck many years hence, when her proud uncle is no more, she shall inherit his throne; and may Kaiserin Eugenie reign over a long and peaceful era of Karlsland's greatness.
(Ed. note Pause for furore.)
The third and final matter I must take up with you today concerns the conduct of the war. Many of you will know that, in all the long history of human conflict with the entities known as the Neuroi, no one has ever made meaningful contact with any individual of that inscrutable race of beings. Few attempts have been made, and all of them have been well-documented failures, not to say débâcles.
My third and final shock for my people today, which I hope will prove a pleasant one, is that this is no longer the case. Operational necessity forbids me to offer specific details, but I can report to you today that Allied combat witches in Europe recently made contact with a Neuroi defector—the first of its kind ever known, so far as I am aware.
(Ed. note Pause for extended furore.)
Communications between ourselves and this defector are as yet far from perfect, so we do not know the precise reasons why, but it is indisputable fact that this individual has joined forces with our witches and taken up arms against the invaders, at considerable risk to itself and to the enemy's considerable cost. Given the well-known superiority of Neuroi weapons to our own, the military utility of such an asset should be readily apparent.
I am all too aware that previous attempts by Allied forces to harness the enemy's technology have ended in disaster, to such a degree that further experimentation along those lines has been very strictly circumscribed by the Alliance Military Council. My General Staff and I have agreed, and continue to agree, with this wise and prudent policy. However, it is my judgment that this development represents an entirely new direction in the Allied Powers' ongoing efforts to better understand, and thus better combat, this hitherto-inscrutable foe. A new direction, and a far greater opportunity.
We have here the first real communication ever achieved between human beings and any representative of our alien enemies; and although that communication is still imperfect, it represents our first and perhaps only chance to achieve any understanding whatsoever with these mysterious beings. In order to best further this opportunity, I have authorized all personnel of whom I am commander-in-chief to welcome our new friend as a comrade-in-arms. His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Fusō has issued concurrent instructions to his own forces, and we have jointly submitted a formal request to the Alliance Military Council that all other forces within the Grand Alliance do likewise.
(Ed. note Pause for extended furore.)
Understand that His Imperial Majesty and I have not taken this decision lightly. We understand the risks; we understand also the deep historical scars that will surely make this act an unpopular one in some circles. But we feel the burden of posterity as well as history, and we believe the potential benefits of such an alliance, however unusual, far outweigh all other considerations. For one of the Neuroi merely to cease attacking humanity is without precedent; to offer humankind a hand in friendship is almost beyond imagining. And yet it has happened.
A lesser nation might spurn that hand, or even strike out against its owner, motivated either by crippling fear of the unknown or spite for all that we have endured at the hands of our new friend's fellows. However, my conviction is unshakable, as is my faith that you, my friends, will agree:
Karlsland is no such nation.
(Ed. note Pause for furore, rapidly giving way to sustained applause.)
As with the treatment of witches—as with the imperial succession—we Karlsländer will seize our moment, rise above the ancient fears and prejudices, and show all the world the way to a better, brighter, fairer future. With the steadfast courage and sincere friendship of all our Allies—human and otherwise!—we shall prevail! Long live the Reich! Long live the Alliance! Long live victory!
(Ed. note Pause for very sustained applause and cheering.)
Thank you, friends; thank you and good day.