The Septemberprogramm (German for September program) was a plan drafted by the German leadership in the early weeks of the First World War. It detailed Germany's ambitious gains should it win the war, as it expected. The plan was never officially adopted or put into practice, and was only discovered long after the war by historian Fritz Fischer, who concluded the expansionary goals were Germany's motives for going to war in the first place. That interpretation has been very controversial.
The modern consensus is that it was more of a discussion document and not a formally-adopted government policy.
- France should cede some northern territory such as steel producing Briey and a coastal strip running from Dunkirk to Boulogne-sur-Mer to Belgium or Germany. A war indemnity of 10 billion Reichsmarks for France, with further payments to cover veterans' funds and to pay off all Germany's existing national debt, should prevent French rearmament. The French economy would be dependent on Germany and all trade with the British Empire will cease. France will partially disarm by demolishing its northern forts.
- Belgium should be annexed to Germany or, preferably, become a "vassal state", which should cede eastern parts and possibly Antwerp to Germany and give Germany military and naval bases.
- Luxembourg should become a member state of the German Empire.
- Creation of a Mitteleuropa economic association dominated by Germany but ostensibly egalitarian. Members would include newly created buffer states carved out of the Russian Empire's west such as Poland, which would remain under German sovereignty "for all time".
- Expansion of the German colonial empire with, most importantly, the creation of a contiguous German colony across central Africa at the expense of the French and Belgian colonies. Presumably leaving the option open for future negotiations with Britain, no British colonies were to be taken, but Britain's "intolerable hegemony" in world affairs was to end.
- The Netherlands should be brought into a closer relationship to Germany while avoiding any semblance of force.
Never in effect
The "September plan" was drafted by Kurt Riezler, a staffer in the Chancellor's office. It was a proposal that was under discussion but was strongly opposed by powerful political elements in Germany. It was never adopted and no movement of people was ever ordered. As historian Raffael Scheck concluded, "The government, finally, never committed itself to anything. It had ordered the September Program as an informal hearing in order to learn about the opinion of the economic and military elites."
- Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (1967).
- Tuchman, op cit.[clarification needed], p.315.
- Wayne C. Thompson, In the Eye of the Storm: Kurt Riezler and the Crises of Modern Germany (1980). pp 98-99
- See Raffael Scheck, Germany 1871–1945: A Concise History (2008)