I accuse! (J'accuse!) By a German, with a preface by Frederik van Eeden, 1915

Ik beschuldig! Cover.jpg
Ik beschuldig! Preface.jpg

Description

Dutch translation of the famous German, anti-war manifesto J'accuse by a German, written anonymously but most likely by the German pacifist Richard Grelling. To read the original introduction in Dutch and the English translation, please click on the sources above.

Context

In May 1915, the Dutch writer and internationalist Frederik van Eeden received J'accuse! By a German. In this essay, the anonymous German author (most likely the pacifist Richard Grelling) accused his government of having misled its people. As an overtly anti-German activist, van Eeden considered this essay as a marvellous piece of propaganda against German militarism and authoritarianism. The French embassy coordinated the translation, printing, and distribution of J'accuse throughout the Netherlands. The anti-German, Dutch journalist of De Telegraaf, Holdert, translated the essay and van Eeden wrote a preface for the Dutch edition. Here, van Eeden applauded the distribution of the book, as it showed that the 'German leaders have consciously lied and deceived'. He hoped that it would be a turning point in the war, as German intellectuals were apparently gaining a clear insight into the true nature of their government. He concluded that even a book could provoke a revolution that could eventually bring 'Peace on earth'. In this French propaganda piece, van Eeden - quite remarkably - was allowed to express his internationalist point of view. He claimed, for example, that all governments (including the French) had quite knowingly dragged their people into this war with lies. J'accuse was a real success in terms of propaganda. In the Netherlands, more than 40,000 copies were sold. The book was translated into English by the British writer Alexander Gray from the Propaganda Bureau at Wellington House. It was also translated into French and Spanish.