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OH Fatherland, my Fatherland,

Whom canst thou now call friend?

From Russian Steppe and Norman plain,

From Balkan height and English main

Their battled hordes like hellish rain

In cloud and fire descend.

Oh Fatherland, my Fatherland,

Who stands thee now beside?

From West and South, from East they flare,

O’er sea they come, by land, through air

Thee limb from limb to rend and tear—

Oh God! who’ll stem the tide?

Oh Fatherland, great Fatherland,

Now gird thee in thy might!

A world in arms comes sweeping on

Through storm-swept night and blood-drenched dawn.

And thou, my Country, standst alone,

For God and Life, now fight!

No sun for thee may longer shine,

No fires on thy hearthstone burn

No help, no joy, no respite thine,

Now darkly die—or fight!

Oh Fatherland, my Fatherland,

Thy sons are true and tried,

Are swift to strike, or glad to die

And strong of arm and sure of eye;

Now hurl them forth to do or die,

And God be at thy side!

Oh Fatherland, my Fatherland,

Be never thou afraid!

For he who watches o’er the night,

Who speeds the fearful lightning flight,

Who never yet has failed the right

Now lends thee mighty aid.

Oh Fatherland, great Fatherland,

Dark days have come and gone

When thou hast fought, when thou hast bled,

When thou hast sadly tolled thy dead,

But never hast thou bowed thy head,

Or put the soul in pawn.

And now when ’gainst thee wars a world,

Its armies ’gainst thy bulwarks hurled,

With all thy glorious might unfurled

Stand, Fight—and battle on!

Hummel, George Frederick. “Oh Fatherland, My Fatherland.” The Fatherland 1, no. 10 (October 14, 1914): 10.

Hummel, George Frederick. “Oh Fatherland, My Fatherland.” The Fatherland 1, no. 10 (October 14, 1914): 10.


Russian Steppe

This stanza enumerates different theaters of war. The steppe region of grassland plains in Central Eurasia signifies the Eastern Front. The Normans, descendants of Vikings, settled in northwestern France in the 9th and 10th centuries, a reference to the Western Front. “Balkan,” from the Turkish for “forested mountains,” refers to the Balkan region in South Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, the Ottoman Empire, Romania, and Serbia). The “English main” refers to the high seas; the naval war was fought primarily between the German and British navies.

Hall, Richard C. “War in the Balkans.” In 1914–1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, edited by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson. Freie Universität Berlin, 2014–. Article published April 4, 2018. https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/war_in_the_balkans.

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