WORLD WAR I: THE ARMISTICE, SECRET TRANSMISSIONS TO PRESIDENT WOODROW WILSON.  [Chancellor Maximilian, Prince of Baden.] Official copies of the translations of the first two German radiograms received by the American Government, from the German Chancellor. Berlin; October 8th and 12th, 1918, transmitted by radio From Nauen Transmitter Station, near Brandenberg, Germany to Otter Cliffs, New Jersey.

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Lot 12
WORLD WAR I: THE ARMISTICE, SECRET TRANSMISSIONS TO PRESIDENT WOODROW WILSON.
[Chancellor Maximilian, Prince of Baden.]
Official copies of the translations of the first two German radiograms received by the American Government, from the German Chancellor. Berlin; October 8th and 12th, 1918, transmitted by radio From Nauen Transmitter Station, near Brandenberg, Germany to Otter Cliffs, New Jersey.

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WORLD WAR I: THE ARMISTICE, SECRET TRANSMISSIONS TO PRESIDENT WOODROW WILSON.
[Chancellor Maximilian, Prince of Baden.] Official copies of the translations of the first two German radiograms received by the American Government, from the German Chancellor. Berlin; October 8th and 12th, 1918, transmitted by radio From Nauen Transmitter Station, near Brandenberg, Germany to Otter Cliffs, New Jersey.

Two 8vo sheets, in two hands, penciled translations of the first two radio transmissions sent from Nauen to Otter Cliffs receiving station in New Jersey, the first stamped "NAUEN ORIGINAL" headed "PR-37-W- 127-128 Transocean Press NR-2045" initialed by HWK, dated Transocean Berlin Oct. 6th 1918 9 pm, comprising the first message from Maximillian, Prince of Baden, to Woodrow Wilson via "the agency of the Swiss Government" (a fabrication), asking Wilson to assist Germany to reach a negotiated peace settlement with the "belligerent states" (France and Britain), and use as a basis Wilsons own program as laid down in his speeches to Congress on January 8th and September 27th 1918. The second headed "NOW NEW PRESS -PR-87-W-337- TRANSOCEAN PRESS-NR-2087" initialed by HWK, signed off as Transocean Berlin 3.42pm, comprising a translation of a second note from Maximillian to Wilson sent on October 12th 1918 (in response to Wilsons reply of the 10th) stating that Germany agrees to the terms as set out in President Wilsons address of January 8th, and agrees to evacuate from the territory of America's allies, and to a special commission to be arranged to make the necessary arrangements. Slight browning to margins. The two sheets mounted side by side in a contemporary black oak frame, with engraved brass plaques below each page, " Original copy of the first (second) German Peace Note, as received by radio at Otter cliffs from Nauen."
Provenance: The verso of back board is inscribed "Personal property of Charles Crasland" (Presumed to be one of the radio operators at Otter Cliffs)

The rare survival of two historic documents showing how Germany, under its new appointed Chancellor Maximillian, Prince of Baden, embarked on what Germany hoped would be a sympathetic peace treaty with the allied powers, as World War I slowly ground to a close. Maximillian, afraid of what both France and Britain would exact of Germany if he negotiated directly with them, decided to first approach President Wilson, to broker a deal. It was Wilson, back in December 1916, who, as a neutral country, had tried to bring the first World War to a negotiated end. This first approach by Germany to the USA, done by radio messages unfortunately did not work out as planned. Despite Germany's acceptance of the Wilson 14 points, and their change of government to a more democratic form, after the cease fire on November 2nd 1918, events did not work out to their advantage. When the 5 powers met in Paris in 1919, to broker a deal, Wilson could not attend the early negotiation sesions, due to an illness. When he arrived later, Clemenceau for France backed by Britain had hammered through a series of draconian measures to be exacted from Germany, including a widespread reduction of its army, the forfeit of all occupied territory and other lands to the victorious powers, and was required to pay large reparations to France and Britain for the damage they had caused on life and property. These clauses brought about the bankruptcy of the German state, and created the rise of the Third Reich.

Curiously an analysis of the text of these two telexes shows minor differences with the translation done by Verhey and Chickering of the German text taken from A.C Umbreit Peace Notes: The Armistice: The Surrender. Marquette Law review Issue 1 Vol 1., 1918. This translation is definitely taken from the original form as it includes such terms as 'stop', 'quote', 'colon', used in radio messages. Whether these pencil copies were retained by one of the two radio operator who received them, we will never know, but its framed presentation has fortunately saved these historic radio messages for posterity.
See illustration.
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WORLD WAR I: THE ARMISTICE, SECRET TRANSMISSIONS TO PRESIDENT WOODROW WILSON.  [Chancellor Maximilian, Prince of Baden.] Official copies of the translations of the first two German radiograms received by the American Government, from the German Chancellor. Berlin; October 8th and 12th, 1918, transmitted by radio From Nauen Transmitter Station, near Brandenberg, Germany to Otter Cliffs, New Jersey.
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