Chancellor Gerhard Schröder
Statement to the German Bundestag
September 12, 2001
Ladies and gentlemen,
Yesterday, the 11th of September 2001, will go down in history as a black day.
Today we are still horror-struck by an unprecedented terrorist attack on the
principles that hold our world together.
We still don't know what was behind this declaration of war on the civilized
nations of the world. We still don't even know how many thousand innocent persons
fell victim to these cowardly attacks.
What we do know and feel is that what is needed now is to show our solidarity
and our condolences. Solidarity with the people of the United States and solidarity
with all those who support peace and freedom, in Germany, in Europe, and everywhere
in the world.
Some 2000 people came together spontaneously last night for a church service
and expression of condolences at the Berlin Cathedral.
Right after this session of the Bundestag there will be an ecumenical commemorative
church service at St. Hedwig's Cathedral.
The German Trade Union Federation and the Confederation of German Employers'
Associations have called for five minutes of commemorative silence in the workplace
on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The government will heed this call.
I have expressed to the American President the deeply felt condolences of the
entire German people and ensured him of Germany's full solidarity. Our thoughts
are with the victims and their families.
I would like to state here once again, in the presence of the new American Ambassador,
Dan Coats, that the people of Germany stand firmly at the side of the United
States of America in this difficult hour.
It goes without saying that we will offer the citizens and government authorities
of the United States every desired assistance - also in connection with investigating
and tracking down the perpetrators and planners of these insidious attacks.
At my meeting with party and parliamentary group leaders last night there was
absolute unanimity that this extraordinary situation requires all democrats
to stand together.
Yesterday's attacks in New York and in Washington are a declaration of war against
the entire civilized world.
This kind of terrorist violence - the arbitrary annihilation of the lives of
innocent human beings - calls into question the fundamental rules of any civilization.
It poses an immediate threat to the principles of human coexistence in freedom
and security that have developed over generations. We will not allow these values
to be destroyed, be this in America, in Europe, or anywhere else in the world.
In reality we are already one world. For this reason the attacks in New York,
the seat of the United Nations, and in Washington were directed against us all.
Yesterday's terrorist attack demonstrated once again that security in our world
is not divisible. It can only be achieved by standing together more closely
for our values and by working together to implement them.
We now need to act rapidly to take more effective measures to eliminate the
breeding grounds of terrorism. Those who help or harbor terrorists violate all
the fundamental values on which international coexistence is based.
Last night I spoke with President Chirac and Premier Jopin of France, with Prime
Minister Blair of Great Britain, and with President Putin of Russia. We are
all agreed in our assessment that these terrorist attacks constitute a declaration
of war against the free world.
The foreign ministers of the European Union will hold a special meeting today.
After that the European Union will need to express its solidarity at the highest
level. I have asked the current President of the Council of the European Union,
Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt, to undertake a corresponding initiative.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Many people will be asking themselves what these attacks mean for us in Germany.
Last night I called an emergency meeting of our national security council. We
analyzed the situation in detail on the basis of the information available to
At the present time there are no indications of any security threat in our country.
However, we have taken additional measures to ensure that the people of our
country will be protected. This has to do in particular with the security of
our air space and air traffic as well as the protection of American and other
In addition, we will have to work together in considering what long-term consequences
need to be drawn from these horrifying attacks.
Our national security council will meet again this morning. It goes without
saying that we will keep the parliamentary groups, the political parties, and
the general public informed with regard to further developments. The next briefing
of party and parliamentary group leaders will take place this afternoon in the
Chancellery as agreed.
I am convinced that by standing together we will be able to deal with this criminal
challenge. Freedom and democracy, the values of peaceful coexistence among people
and nations will pass this test.