Because commands are given in German in the armies of the Dual Monarchy all the male population, at least during the term of their military service, have been compelled to learn some German. But this they forget as soon as possible when they return from their period of military service.
Many members of these races go to America and after working there a short time amass enough money to return to Austria-Hungary and purchase a small piece of land,—the ambition of every one born of the soil.
One of the sons of Prince Lichtenstein told me that a friend who was running for the Hungarian Lower House in a district of Hungary largely inhabited by Slavs, spoke in Hungarian and, finding that his audience did not understand him, tried German. Finally, when matters had come to a standstill, some one in the back of the room called out to him, asking if he spoke English. The candidate answered that he did. Whereupon the crowd told him to speak English which nearly all understood, and so the Hungarian, a candidate for parliament in Hungary, was forced, in order to be understood, to address his Hungarian electors in the language which they had learned in America.
Franz Ferdinand, whose murder at Sarajevo was used by the Central Powers as a pretext for a war determined on long before that time, was the heir to the throne of the late Francis Joseph. He was a romantic character. He visited frequently at the house of Archduchess Isabella, where Countess Chotek, of a Bohemian noble family, was a lady in waiting. Franz Ferdinand fell violently in love with the fair Bohemian, and in his desire to marry, enlisted the aid of Koloman Szell, Premier of Hungary. Szell told friends how Franz Ferdinand loved mystery and how, when he wanted to talk to him about marriage plans, instead of meeting somewhere openly in Vienna, would arrange that Szell's train should stop in the open fields. Szell, on alighting and following directions, would find Franz Ferdinand hiding behind a designated haystack.
In a country where one royal family not only rules but owns the land, this attempt of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, then heir to the throne, and mad with love, to marry Countess Sophie Chotek, lady in waiting to Archduchess Isabella, caused a palace revolution. By the aid of Szell he at last succeeded in carrying out the marriage. But this was only after he and his wife had been required to submit to the most humiliating conditions and subscribe to a marriage contract or promise which was not only enacted thereafter as a statute in Hungary, but was formally put on record by the Austrian parliament.
In this declaration, Franz Ferdinand declared it to be "his firm and resolute resolve to marry Countess Sophie Chotek, that he had sought, in accordance with the laws of the house, to obtain consent of the Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty, the Emperor and King, Francis Joseph I, gloriously reigning, that the most serene, supreme head of the Arch house had deigned graciously to grant this permission and that Franz Ferdinand, however (describing himself as 'We'), recognise the house laws and declare them binding on Us particularly with regard to this marriage declaration, that our Marriage with Countess Chotek is not a marriage of equal birth, but a morganatic one and is to be considered as such for all time, and that in consequence neither our wife nor our issue or descendants is entitled to possess or claim those rights, titles, armorial bearings and privileges that belong to wives of equal birth and to children of archdukes or marriages of equal birth." Franz Ferdinand, further, recognised that his children from this marriage would have no right to succeed to the throne in the kingdoms and lands of Austria nor, consequently, to the lands of the Hungarian Crown and that they were excluded from the order of succession.
He further agreed and promised not only for himself but for his wife and children, that none of them would ever attempt to revoke this declaration.
The old Emperor gave the wife of Franz Ferdinand the title of Princess Hohenberg and later raised her to the rank of duchess which, in the Central Empires, is a higher rank than that of princess. She was also created a Serene Highness after the birth of her third child, Prince Ernest, in 1904. The first child, Princess Sophie, was born in 1901, and the second, Prince Maximilian Charles, in 1902.
In spite of the rank thus granted to her, the Duchess of Hohenberg was frequently slighted by Archdukes and Archduchesses of the House of Hapsburg, and when the present Emperor, the Archduke Charles Francis Joseph, married Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma, in 1911, and this marriage was followed by the birth of a son, on November 20, 1912, it was plain to Franz Ferdinand and his wife that the hostility of the old Emperor and the other members of the House of Hapsburg, aided by events, had succeeded in definitely excluding his children by Countess Sophie from the throne.
These slights to his wife, so marked as to cause the publication of articles inspired by himself in a newspaper devoted to his interests, and the birth of the heir to Carl, must have had a profound influence on melancholy Franz Ferdinand.
In all Europe there was one monarch clever enough to take advantage of the situation, to win Franz Ferdinand to him by the honours he paid to the Duchess of Hohenberg,—the German Emperor. Kaiser Wilhelm invited the pair to Potsdam and there both were made to feel that in one court, at least, the honours due to a wife of equal birth were paid to the ex-Countess Sophie. This Potsdam visit was in 1909, and I believe that, thereafter, the German Emperor and Franz Ferdinand met on other occasions.
In the chapter on Emperor Wilhelm, I have stated the belief prevalent, even in Germany, that he intended as his first step towards his openly expressed ambition for world dominion, to make himself, on the death of Francis Joseph, Emperor of a Great Continental Empire in which the German Princes, his sons, should occupy the thrones of Hungary and Bohemia, the heir of the House of Austria to rule as king or grand duke of Austria with possibly another German ruled kingdom touching the sea on the south.
There are some who believe that when the Kaiser, accompanied by von Tirpitz, visited Franz Ferdinand at Konopisht in June, 1914, before the Kiel week, that a great conspiracy was entered into, in which it was arranged that a great Central Empire should be created with one of the sons of the Duchess of Hohenberg on the throne of Bohemia and the other provided for by some newly carved out kingdom made from Bosnia, or a portion of Serbia. And it may have been part of this plot that Eitel Fritz and other sons of the Kaiser should be provided with thrones derived from Balkan territory.
It will be remembered that as Franz Ferdinand and his wife fell under the assassin's bullet at Sarajevo he called out: "Sophie, live for our children!" His devotion to his wife and to their children was extraordinary. He was continually sparing from his income so that on his death his sons would have a large sum of money, saved from the income of estates which they could not inherit.
It is hard to believe that such a crime against the House of Hapsburg and against his own country was contemplated from the inside of royalty. But one event seems a confirmation of this theory. The dead Franz Ferdinand and his wife were buried with such lack of honour, almost with such contempt, as to lead to the belief that the head of the House of Hapsburg, Emperor Francis Joseph himself, without whose directions the Chamberlain, Count Montenuovo, would not have dared to act, discovered his heir in some act against the laws or fortunes of the Imperial House.
For the funeral arrangements were such, that the Austrian and Hungarian aristocracy were moved to protest and as a result a belated order was issued directing that the troops of the Vienna Garrison should take part in the funeral ceremonies. About one hundred and fifty members of the leading families of Hungary and Austria, without invitation, entered the funeral procession and followed the bodies to the railway station. The London Times correspondent called attention to this in cables to his newspaper at the time.
Personally, I do not incline to this view, but I do believe that at Konopisht the war of 1914 was finally agreed on. Too many bits of evidence point to this and from something said to me at Kiel by a very high personage, before the assassinations at Sarajevo, I would have guessed that war was coming, had it not been impossible for me to believe that the world was to be plunged into war simply because the German people were restless under the rule of the autocracy.
When the murders occurred at Sarajevo, all plans had been laid for war and the death of Franz Ferdinand and the Duchess of Hohenberg merely gave another excuse to begin hostilities, after Austria, in the Council of Potsdam, had ratified all the arrangements made by the Emperor Wilhelm and Franz Ferdinand for the European war. Undoubtedly the German Emperor used his influence with Franz Ferdinand and his wife in order to secure the former's aid in dragging Austria into the war,—a war begun to win the dominion of the world.
How many in America have heard the name of Sophie Chotek? Yet the ambitions of this woman have done much to send to war the splendid youths who from all the ends of the earth gather in France to fight the fight of freedom.
The clever German Emperor, playing upon her ambitions, induced the gloomy, hated Franz Ferdinand to consent to the world war, and matters had gone so far that even the death of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand could not change the situation nor turn the war party of Hungary and Austria from their programme of blood. Eighty-four years of age, the old Francis Joseph could only offer a weak defence to the martial insistence of Tisza, Premier of Hungary, and his able understrapper, Forgotsch, who represented him in the Foreign Office at Vienna and who undoubtedly is the man who drafted the forty-eight hour ultimatum to Servia.
Berliners say that although the German Emperor gave the Duchess of Hohenberg all the honours due to the wife of an Austrian Archduke, heir to the throne of the Austrian Empire, he was careful not to bring her claims in direct conflict with any Prussian female Royalty and that on the first visit of Franz Ferdinand and his wife to Potsdam, when the doors of the banquet room were thrown open, it was seen that the Kaiser had skilfully placed all the guests at small tables, sitting at one with the Empress and his two guests. In this way he prevented a conflict of precedence and a possible scene with some Prussian royal princess.
After one of these Potsdam visits, the Austrian government appropriated three hundred millions for new Skoda cannon and a great and unexpected increase of the navy was voted. In Austria itself it was seen that the German influence was dragging Austria-Hungary nearer and nearer to war.
Ferdinand disliked the Hungarians and in turn was hated by them. If he had attained the throne of the Empire, as his children could not inherit, he would have endeavoured first to remove that obstacle, but if he had not succeeded he intended, as I have said, either to restore the kingdom of Bohemia and place his son, child of a Bohemian mother, on the newly created throne, or create, possibly from conquered lands, another kingdom over which his heir could reign.
The Magyars, the real Hungarian ruling race, are most skilful politicians. Their elections often are corrupt and all the tricks of the politician are in use in Hungary.
In many families political talent seems hereditary. Tisza, the Premier of Hungary for the period for some time before the war, was the son of Tisza, who was Premier of Hungary about the year 1875. Kossuth, son of the great Kossuth, has been active in politics. The father of Count Julius Andrassy was Premier about 1866 and favoured Germany, a policy which has been inherited by his son. One of the sons-in-law of Count Andrassy's wife, Marquis Pallavicini, came to America to act as best man when my wife's sister married Count Sigray.
Andrassy came to Berlin during the war where I had several long talks with him. The one desire of Hungarians and Austrians alike is for peace, but surrounded by the armies of their German masters, they have lost their independence of action, a bitter blow to the Magyars, who are not fond of the Germans.
Count Stephen Tisza is an obstinate and able man, so many sided that it is related of him that he fought a duel, rode a steeplechase and made a great speech in Parliament, all in one day.
Duelling is still a custom in Hungary, Austria and Germany. Once when I was in Hungary I took supper with a Count who had been second in a duel that day. One young Magnate was at a restaurant with an actress who wore a wide brimmed hat. Another young Magnate of his acquaintance looked under the hat brim to see who the girl was. Result: a duel with sabres in a riding school. On this occasion, as the insult was not deadly, the use of sharp points was forbidden. The duel was stopped after one young Magnate received a cut on the forehead.
Stephen Tisza, on first taking office, was permitted by the old Emperor to obtain some apparent concessions for Hungary in order to make his premiership popular. It was arranged that Hungarian flags should be carried by Hungarian regiments, and that the officers of those regiments all should be Hungarians, but German was to be used as the military language and language of command even in the Hungarian regiments.
As soon as Tisza became premier for the first time, Count Apponyi left the Liberal party and lately Count Julius Andrassy and his wife's sons-in-law, Count Karoli and Marquis Pallavicini, have been in violent opposition to Tisza, Pallavicini even fighting a duel with the Prime Minister.
In a country where the majority of the inhabitants are Roman Catholics it is rather strange that Tisza and his father, both strong Protestants, should have attained the Premiership. The father of Count Stephen Tisza was even more obstinate than his son and greatly oppressed the Slovaks and Roumanians within the borders of Hungary.
A great responsibility lies at the door of Stephen Tisza. He allowed the Germans to use him in bringing on the world war. Doubtless he believed that Russia and the Powers would not move, that Austria-Hungary could seize or invade Serbia, while Germany terrorised the world as in 1908 when Bosnia and Herzegovina were added to the Imperial dominions. But his failure to read the intentions of Russia and the other Powers is no excuse for the calamity he brought on Hungary and the world, no excuse for the fact that his country is now overwhelmed by Kaiserism, its armies surrounded by the armies of Germany and its very independence threatened by the subtle influence and intrigues of the master intriguer of the world,—the German Kaiser.
The franchise in Austria and in Hungary is like that given grudgingly to the Prussian, a mere ghost of suffrage. Autocracy rules. In Hungary, particularly the Magyars, seeking to keep the political power in their hands, oppose a broadening of the franchise. Tisza has always been against any letting down of the bars, but when the young and brilliant Count Esterhazy was made Premier, many looked for a change—a change which has, however, not yet come.
The new Emperor Carl at first seemed to exhibit Liberal tendencies, but only for a moment.
The events in Russia will have a grave effect in Austria-Hungary. More than a million Russians are prisoners in the Dual Monarchy, nearly a million of whose subjects are in Russia—and of these at least fifty thousand Czechs are fighting the Austrians and Germans in the ranks of the Roumanian army. Many more will refuse to leave Russia, but the coming back of one-half, after having witnessed the winning of liberty by the Russians, will influence their countrymen in no small degree. Just as the French soldiers under Lafayette and Rochambeau, after helping us gain our independence, returned from the free fields of America to a France where the burdens of the plain people were almost unendurable and brought on the great French Revolution, the soldiers and prisoners who return to Prussia and to Austria-Hungary from the strange scenes of the Russian Revolution may, perhaps, leaven the inert slave masses of the Central Empires with a spirit of revolt for liberty.
We should institute a great propaganda from the Italian front. For instance, I have been told by a man who has been on that front, a man who should know, that if a few American troops were sent there and signs erected stating "Come over and surrender to the Americans, you will be taken to America well fed and paid a dollar per day when you volunteer to work," there would be a great rush of Austro-Hungarian troops eager to be taken prisoner.
The losses of Austria and Hungary have been enormous—men up to fifty-five have been drafted for the army, and the troops have often suffered defeat and the horrors of retreat at the hands of Russians, Serbians, and Italians.
And all the time the iron hand of the German Kaiser grasps more and more of the power. Cheerless prospect it is for the once gay Hungarians, the once happy Austrians, if to financial ruin and the killing of the flower of their youth is to be added the iron horror of Prussian domination.
Our citizens of Austrian and especially of Hungarian descent have been loyal to their new flag. And our great President with enlightened wisdom has eased the enemy alien regulations so as to favour those born in the Dual Monarchy. America will never forget the loyalty, ungrudgingly given by those of her people born under the double eagle of the Hapsburgs.
In my many visits to Hungary I grew to like and admire the Hungarians. Natural in manners, hospitable, polite, there is something in them that wins Americans. How different the open hospitality and friendliness in Budapest from the stern, cold formality of the Prussian capital!
And with all friends of Hungary I hope that that country will soon throw off the trance of Prussianism, which has led the Dual Monarchy into a Dance of Death.
GERMAN INFLUENCE ON THE NORTHERN NEUTRALS
Just as I had the opportunity to study conditions in Austria, so also I came in contact with the politics and diplomacy of the nations contiguous to Germany on the north.
My grandfather, Benjamin F. Angel, was American Minister to Sweden and Norway and on leaving received from the King the Order of St. Olaf. I have always taken a deep interest in Scandinavian affairs and it behooves the American people to regard closely what is happening nowadays in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
The outbreak of the European War in 1914 served to bring the three northern nations close together. Their Kings met in conference and a peace monument was erected on the boundary of Norway and Sweden as if to proclaim to the world that in spite of their recent separation, Norway and Sweden were sister countries.
The people of these three countries are of the same blood and their languages are somewhat similar. Norwegian and Danish written are practically the same. But there is quite a difference in pronunciation. Swedish is more like German and the pronunciation is not as difficult to learn as that of Norwegian and Danish. In Norway, there are older dialects, differing from Danish, and there has lately been a great movement in favour of a more national language. Many Norwegians regard the official Danish-Norwegian as a reminder of old subjection to Denmark and not at all fitted for the new independent Norwegian kingdom. The new national language is called "Landsmaal."
Sweden and Norway were both under one king from 1814 to 1905. In that year after a peaceful secession, Prince Charles of Denmark, the son of the King of Denmark, was made the King of Norway, with the title of Haakon VII. Although both have kings, Denmark and Norway may be termed democratic countries.
Copenhagen is lively since the war. The population of Denmark is only 2,500,000 and the whole country is only 14,829 square miles, which means an area about the size of Maryland. The country was once larger but in 1864 Prussia went to war with Denmark and, finally, after the war with Austria in 1866, added to the Crown of Prussia the two Danish duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. As the city and port of Kiel were included in this territory annexed, it is easy to see why the Germans engaged in this enterprise against Denmark.
Denmark possesses the Faro Islands which lie far to north of Scotland, the great island of Iceland and Greenland, relics of the times when the Viking ships brought such terror to the other countries of Europe, that the Litany used to read: "From plague, pestilence and famine, from battle and murder, from sudden death and from the fury of the Northmen, good Lord deliver us."
In Christiania we saw on our trip out two graceful Viking ships dug out of the clay shores of the coast in a state of fair preservation—one of them a Princess's ship on which it was easy to imagine some blonde princess of the North, her long braids of golden hair flying in the wind, urging on her Scandinavian oarsmen.
The Danes are a sturdy race, the women more independent than those of other countries. On the Frederick VIII, when we sailed from Denmark, September 28, 1916, for the United States, were two handsome girls, nineteen and twenty-one years of age, the daughters of the proprietor of the largest department store in Copenhagen. They were going to America to find employment in department stores in the different cities of the country, travelling entirely alone, and expected to return to Denmark after a year's experience in America with many new ideas of management and advertising for their father in Copenhagen. These girls were wonderfully educated, speaking in addition to Danish, French, German and English with hardly a trace of accent. They lived a short distance out of Copenhagen and told me that every morning of the year they jumped into the sea at six-thirty in the morning, something that I should not care to do even in August in that cold northern land.
Danish farmers learned early that in order to be prosperous they must practise intensive farming. I believe that Denmark, which even before the war enjoyed a high degree of prosperity, is the only country in the world where there are pig sties steam-heated and electric lighted while the farmer himself does not have these luxuries.
Our farmers have much to learn from the farmers of Denmark both in agricultural methods and in co-operation for the marketing of products. The reclamation of the Danish moors in Jutland has made surprising progress: it is in Jutland that a park has been preserved in its primeval state—the Danish-American Park, bought with money subscribed by Danish emigrants to America who prospered in their adopted land.
Ever since the conquest of Denmark by Germany, there has been a deep hatred of all things German in Denmark on account of the treatment of those Danes, numbering between one hundred and two hundred thousand, who were living in Schleswig and Holstein and were unfortunate enough to be turned over as property to the King of Prussia.
I found the Danes agreeable people. Of the same race as the Germans, living like them in the dark North, this difference in behaviour is perhaps accounted for by the fact that the Danes are free, while the Germans are oppressed by the weight of an ever present autocracy.
While the Danish people hate the Germans, officially Denmark is careful to conceal this hate and even, apparently, to lean towards the German side, through fear of the German troops, which could easily overrun Denmark in thirty hours.
Denmark, during the war, received oil cake from America, which was fed to cattle later sold to Germany. A great tonnage of fish has also been sent from Denmark to Germany while salt and potash have been imported. There is no question but that supplies of all kinds and in great quantities have found their way across the Danish border.
And the Danes have prospered enormously since the war. Many people have become millionaires through the sale of food and other supplies to the Germans. A great deal of this food supply was sent in the form of canned meat, popularly known as goulash, and so to-day whenever an automobile passes on a Danish road, the small boys call out "goulash Baron," in the belief that the occupant is a new-made millionaire, enriched by trade with Germany.
It is hard for us to realise how far north the Scandinavian countries lie. Christiania, the capital of Norway and in its southern part, is in the same latitude as the south point of Greenland; and is it not difficult to imagine a modern city situated in Greenland?
In Christiania it is not fairly daylight in December until ten in the morning and dark early in the afternoon. The ample water power of Norway and Sweden furnishes electric light, a godsend in the short dreary winter days.
* * * * *
Norway, in many respects, is one of the most advanced countries in the world. Having been ruled by Denmark for four hundred years, it was united to Sweden by the Treaty of Kiel, in 1814, with the approval of all the Powers, but against the inclinations of the Norwegians, who knew that they were given to Sweden to compensate that country for the loss of Finland, annexed to Russia.
The ambitious Bernadotte arranged to govern Norway as king of that country, which was theoretically to retain its independence and be united to Sweden only through the personal rule of the one monarch.
At this time, the Norwegian Constitution provided that no more personal privileges should be granted and since then the progress of Norway towards a real democracy has been rapid. It was the conflict over the right demanded by the Norwegians to establish a separate consular service that led to the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905, Norway voting for separation 368,211 to 184.
There are now no nobles in Norway. Shortly after the union it was decided that those who had titles of nobility could hold them for life, but that their descendants could not inherit.
Legislation for the protection of child workers, women, for insurance, etc., is of an advanced character. For instance, no child under fourteen is permitted to work and no woman for six weeks after her confinement—women receiving full sick benefit pay during this period. Many of the railways are state owned.
Norway is a land of little farms, the shipping and fishing industries occupy many men, but with the exception of the water power driven nitrate plants, on the coast, and the wood-pulp factories, there is little manufacturing.
The mass of the people are with the Allies. Last winter, when it was proposed that a German concert troupe should play and sing in Christiania, the people threatened to burn the theatre if the performance was permitted.
But, as in Sweden, the German propagandists are at work in Norway. Here again, unless we present our case, the people may be turned from the Allies.
King Gustavus V, who occupies to-day the throne of Sweden, has a German wife. All the sympathies of the court, which copies the little courts of Germany, of the aristocracy and of the army are strongly with Germany.
In Sweden, although the king has not much more power than the kings of Denmark and Norway, there is an aristocracy which inclines to imitate the manners of the German aristocracy and to seize, if possible, the privileges enjoyed by that body. The officers in the army in Sweden are devoted to German ideals and, since the war, great bodies of them have been invited to Germany, where there has been much ado over them.
The people, however, do not sympathise with Germany, knowing what the triumph of Germany means for them and how the court and the army and the aristocracy would be thereby encouraged to put the Swedish people in what the Germans would call "their place."
The Swedes fear the domination of Germany and the domination of an aristocracy and army imbued with German ideas. They know that if Germany wins, the king business will take on a new lease of life. The ground was ripe for the Allies but the German propaganda, cleverly managed, spending money without stint, is gradually bringing the people to a point where, if the blockade is tightened, they may consent to Sweden's entering the war as an ally of the Central empires.
In spite of the dislike of the people for the German cause, I think that the aristocracy and the court and the army would have forced Sweden into the war but for one thing. After some months of war, an arrangement was made whereby the so-called "heavily wounded" were exchanged with prisoners between Russia and Germany. The German who was a prisoner of the Russians and had lost an arm or a leg, was sent home. These wounded prisoners on their way to their home countries, were compelled to travel the whole length of Sweden and it was the sight of these poor stumps of humanity, as the trains stopped at the various stations in Sweden, that kept the Swedish people out of war. Many pictures of them printed in the Swedish papers caused profound dismay in Sweden and developed an inexpressible abhorrence of war.
Since hostilities commenced, on the other hand, the Government, army and aristocracy of Sweden not only have been consistently opposed to the Allies, but of the utmost service to Germany.
Swedish iron ore goes into German cannon and makes the best steel for aeroplane engines, and the imports into Sweden from America of foods and fats from America increased one thousand per cent almost immediately. These imports, with great quantities of copper and other supplies, found their way to Germany to the great profit incidentally of Swedish business men. For the plain people of Sweden the cost of living increased without a corresponding increase in salaries and wages, so that the new prosperity was confined to the "goulash barons."
There is no question but that, just as in Argentina, the Swedish diplomatic pouch was in all countries at the service of Germany, and that the orders to the German spies in Russia were sent by this means. In fact, it is believed German prisoners in Russia found their way to Petrograd, there to participate in revolution and counter-revolution under orders sent through the Swedish officials.
Smuggling is winked at and at Lullia on the Swedish coast near the head of the Gulf of Bothnia great quantities of rubber, block tin and oil arrive from Russian Uleaborg across the gulf.
The French wanted to send a consul to Lullia, but their request was refused, doubtless because the Swedish authorities did not care to have any official foreigners see this traffic.
Cleverest of all has been the work of the German financial agents. Warburg, the Hamburg banker, is attached to the German legation in Stockholm. So skilfully has he managed his task, that Swedish firms and Swedish banks have been induced to take German paper money, commercial paper and securities instead of gold, in return for copper, rubber, tin, food, fats, wool and supplies and in this way the Swedish business men, by the touch of self-interest, have been made to favour Germany.
I confess that it is hard to bring about, but as each nation has the right to choose with whom its citizens shall do business, we must mercilessly blacklist those firms which assist Germany by accepting, in lieu of the gold which would thus be drained from Germany, what amounts to the promise of Germany to pay if successful in war.
The Queen of Sweden, herself a German and an admirer of the German Emperor, has great influence over her husband and the Court.
At a time when she was visiting her family in Karlsruhe (for she is a Princess of Baden) a reprisal attack made by Allied aeroplanes narrowly missed the royal palace and, consequently, the Queen. This has added to her prejudice against the Allies. The Crown Princess of Sweden was a Princess of Connaught, the sister of "Princess Pat," but she does not dare take any stand against the anti-ally propaganda.
I am sure that President Wilson appreciates the gravity of the situation and that means are being taken to place our position not only before the Swedish people but those of Swedish birth and descent in the United States whose influence should be brought to bear on their friends and relatives in the old country.
The crew of every Swedish ship that lands here should be given our viewpoint; every Swede who returns to Sweden should go as a missionary—we must not permit Sweden, whose people are bound to us by ties of blood and friendship, by the hospitality which we offered to every Swedish immigrant, to be ranged among our enemies by the German-admiring aristocrats of Sweden who by birth, training and education are opposed to democracy, who hope, if Germany wins, to gain as great an ascendancy in the government as the Prussian Junkers possess in Germany.
* * * * *
The Finns who occupy that part of Russia nearest to Sweden have quite a sympathy for the Swedes, Finland having been at one time a part of Sweden. The races, however, are not the same. The Finns are a Mongolian race and certain similarities of language make it plain that the Finns and the Hungarians came from the same mysterious place of origin somewhere in the great mountains and highlands of Central Asia.
Three languages, three influences, fight for mastery in Finland. The official Russian, the language of the government; Finnish, now receiving a new lease of life; and Swedish, the language of those who once conquered and held Finland, and who so imposed their civilisation on the more ignorant Finns, that to-day Swedish is the language of the more prosperous classes and of most of the business men.
The women of Finland received the suffrage in 1906, all voting who are over twenty-four and who have been for five years citizens of Finland. Many women thereafter were elected to the Finnish parliament.
In two Scandinavian countries the women vote. Norway was the first sovereign state of Europe to give full citizenship rights to women. In 1913, all Norwegian women of twenty-five and citizens for five years were put on a voting equality with men, and the only positions under the national government for which women are not eligible are in the army and navy, the diplomatic and consular service and the Supreme Court.
The Danish women received the full franchise in 1915, but in aristocratic Sweden only the women paying income taxes have rights in the communal councils.
In 1908, in Norway, a law was passed providing that women doing the work of men shall receive equal pay.
Military service in all three northern nations is universal and compulsory.
Possibly on a "tip" from Berlin to a fellow autocrat, there occurred in February, 1914, an extraordinary political event, arranged and "accelerated" by the Government, when thirty thousand farmers, meeting in Stockholm for the purpose, marched in procession to the Royal Castle to address the King and tell him that they were ready to bear any extra taxes imposed for the purpose of providing for national defence.
Russia was the power particularly feared by Sweden who thought she desired to annex a part of Northern Sweden and Norway in order to get an outlet to the sea on the Norwegian coast.
But recent events in Russia have ended this fear and the only question for the Swedes is the same, one with which the whole world is faced—Kaiserism or Democracy.
Sven Hedin, the explorer, who was the leader in this movement for national defence, has appeared as a German propagandist so violent as to have become popular with the Germans. It is hard to understand why so intelligent a man should range himself on the side of autocracy. Now that the Russian danger, if danger there was, is past it is to be hoped that this celebrated man will be found in the ranks of those opposed to the autocracy which ordered the murders of many Swedish seamen.
Norway, although it has often met the submarine of the Kaiser, which, defying all law, has sent to death so many Norwegian sailors and fishermen, suffers also from German propaganda and a certain self interest because of the forty-five million kronen sale of fish this last year to German buyers.
Germany works, too, in Denmark with the Socialists and deliveries of coal are used to obtain food from that country.
The jolly, free, brave Scandinavians are naturally opposed to all that Pan-Germanism and German rule means. It is necessary for us, especially our citizens of Scandinavian descent, not to lose this initial advantage.
SWITZERLAND—ANOTHER KIND OF NEUTRAL
Free Switzerland! You cannot imagine the feeling of relief I experienced as I passed from the lands of the Hohenzollerns and Hapsburgs to a free republic.
It was February 11, 1917. To go into the railroad station restaurant and order an omelette and fried potatoes without a food card and with chocolate on the side seemed in itself a return to liberty.
Our Minister, Mr. Stovall, gave us a dinner and evening reception so that we could meet all the notables and we lunched with the French Ambassador (for France maintains an Embassy in Switzerland) and dined with the British Minister, Sir Horace Rumbold, a very able gentleman who had been Chancellor of the British Embassy in Berlin before the war.
As war had not yet been declared between Germany and the United States the correspondents of German newspapers waylaid me. Some seemed to think that in spite of the insulting blow given us by Germany, we nevertheless, scared to whiteness by the U-boat ultimatum, would lend all our energies to bring about a German peace.
I received a letter from one of the editors of a Swiss newspaper published in Berne, probably inspired by the German Legation there, asking me if President Wilson, in spite of the break in relations, would not continue his work for peace.
We all know that Switzerland is a republic but even those of us who have travelled there, probably because we were on a holiday, gave little thought to the Swiss political system. Indeed before this war we cared little about the government of any country except our own.
The present constitution of Switzerland was adopted in 1848 and in many particulars is modelled after that of the United States.
There are the same three great Federal powers, the Federal Assembly, representing the legislative branch, the Federal Council, representing the executive branch, and the Federal Court, representing the judicial branch.
The lower Chamber is made up of representatives elected directly by the people, and the other Chamber of members elected, as in our Senate, two by each canton or state. The Bundesrat or Federal Council which has all the executive powers, is elected by the Federal Assembly and it is the Chairman of this body who is known as the President of Switzerland. In reality he does not possess the powers of our President, but it is the Bundesrat as a whole which exercises the powers. Each member of this Council is minister or head of some separate department, such as Military, Justice and Police, Foreign Affairs, Posts and Railways, etc. The Swiss Cantons have much power, and there is a distinct jealousy by each canton of states' rights.
It is in Switzerland that we encounter two little friends, sponsored by William Jennings Bryan—the Initiative and Referendum—means by which the Swiss people are given a direct voice in their government. By the Initiative a certain number of voters may propose new legislation and when the requisite number sign a petition the proposed law must then be submitted to popular vote. This rule applies both in the separate cantons and in the Republic as a whole.
The Referendum, more often used, provides that if the requisite number of signers be obtained any law passed by a cantonal legislative body or by the Federal Assembly shall be submitted to the voters. In certain cantons the Referendum is obligatory and every law is thus submitted to the people. In practice the Referendum has acted as a check to advanced legislation.
The Swiss have reason to fear the designs of Prussia. As late as 1856, Prussia and Switzerland were on the edge of war. Prior to 1815 Neuchatel acknowledged the King of Prussia as its overlord; the Congress of Vienna, however, included this territory in the Swiss Confederation as one of the Swiss Cantons. But Prussia, in spite of this formal arrangement, with its usual disregard of treaties, continued to claim Neuchatel.
In 1848 the revolutionary influence resulted in more democratic rule in Neuchatel but the Prussian propagandist of that day was at work and, in 1856, Count Pourtales' plot was discovered and several hundred prisoners seized by the Swiss government. All but a score were released. Frederick William IV of Prussia demanded their instant pardon and release and ordered the mobilisation of his army but, finally, through the intervention of Napoleon III, the affair was settled, the prisoners released by way of France, and the Prussian King renounced all rights over Neuchatel.
The Kulturkampf of Bismarck, his contest against the Roman Catholics, had its echoes in Switzerland and it probably was due also to German influence that until 1866 full freedom was withheld from the Jews.
The Red Cross had its origin in Switzerland and the Geneva Conventions have done much to bring about the adoption of better rules of war. The Geneva Cross is the badge of international charity and help.
Switzerland always has opened her doors to the politically oppressed. Over ten thousand revolutionists from Baden took refuge in Switzerland in 1848. Austria, in 1853, as a reprisal for the alleged actions of Italians in Switzerland in conspiring against Austria, drove thousands of Swiss citizens from that part of Italy occupied by Austria. Also in the Franco-Prussian war the French General Bourbaki and his army of nearly one hundred thousand men sought an asylum in Switzerland.
The army of Switzerland is a true citizen army—an army of universal service—and it is due to the existence of this force that Switzerland remains an independent state in the midst of Europe.
To stand apart in Europe is the very essence of life for Switzerland. It is regrettable therefore that German money and German propaganda and some sympathy for Germany among the officers of the army should have touched the fine flower of Swiss neutrality. A triumphant Prussia and a free Switzerland cannot exist in the same Europe.
In Switzerland, it is in the military that we find the greatest sympathy for Germany. In 1915, Swiss officers were discovered working out the ciphers of other nations for the benefit of the German armies and the punishment given, at the ensuing Court Martial, was not only incommensurate with the offence, but was a plain indication of the early sympathies of the Chiefs of the Swiss Staff.
The food question between the United States and Switzerland requires delicate handling. We like the Swiss and do not wish them to suffer, but the Swiss must understand that our food is our own and that we do not propose it shall go to nourish Germans or that it shall take the place, in Switzerland, of Swiss food sold by the Swiss to our enemies.
The President of Switzerland related to me the difficult position in which Switzerland found herself. Iron and coal, necessary to the industries of Switzerland, to keep the population warm and to cook the food, came, he said, from Germany, while food was shipped to the French Mediterranean port of Cette from America and the Argentine, and transported across part of France to Switzerland, so that since the war Switzerland, as the President explained, has been dancing about; first on one side, then on the other, in the attempt to get food through France and coal and iron through Germany.
Everything in the office of the President was the extreme of republican simplicity. He questioned me about the situation in Germany, especially from the food standpoint. And I learned of the difficulties of the Swiss. It must not be forgotten that in Switzerland about seventy per cent of the people speak German, twenty-three per cent, French, and seven per cent, Italian. Many of the German-speaking Swiss, of course, sympathise with Germany. They are the farmers, dairymen, etc., but in French-Switzerland, in the neighbourhood of Geneva and Lausanne, the industrial population sides with the Allies. Millions of the delicate fuses used on shells have been manufactured in that part of Switzerland for the Entente. In retaliation for this the Germans boycotted Swiss watches.
The usual German-paid propaganda newspapers operate in the principal towns. The army officers are the first to be influenced. It is the same in Switzerland as with the officers of many armies, solely because of the past reputation of the German military machine.
We and the civil authorities of South America must not forget that Japan copied German military methods, that the armies of Argentina and Chili have been trained, for years, by German officers sent there on temporary leave of absence from the German army.
Von Below, a German officer in Berlin who had been in the Argentine, used to make merry over the Argentine soldiers and said that they objected to drilling when it rained. I do not believe this officer, but I should like to have the brave Argentine officers hear his jokes and gibes.
We left, after three or four days in Berne, on the evening train, for the French frontier. In the train corridors, outside the compartments, spies stood staring at us, spies pretending to read newspapers came into each compartment; police spies, betrayed by heavy boots; general staff spies, betrayed by a military stiffness; women spies; spies assorted and special. And these gentry had followed me all over Berne—for in the neutral countries of Europe as well as the belligerents are we constantly reminded of the insidious methods of Kaiserism.
A GLIMPSE OF FRANCE
At Pontarlier, on the French frontier, a special train was waiting for my party and into this train a German-American inserted himself after first mixing his baggage with mine. I went through the train and this enterprising gentleman and another German-American were detained for some days at Pontarlier. One of them, later, on reaching Spain, reported immediately to the head of the German secret service there, thus justifying my suspicions. Fortunately when he subsequently arrived in Spain we had already sailed, so that if he bore any sinister message from Berlin to the German agents in Spain to hinder our voyage, he was too late.
The night trip to Paris was uneventful. At the Gare St. Lazare we were met by our Ambassador, Mr. Sharp, with several of his staff and a representative of the French Foreign Office.
Paris was indeed a changed Paris since I had last seen it in October of 1913. The pavement in the Place Vendome, in front of the Hotel Ritz, where we stopped, was full of holes, but taxicabs, almost as extinct as the dodo in Berlin, rushed merrily through the crowded streets. The boulevards were lively, full of soldiers looking far more cheery, far more snappy, than the heavy footed German soldiers who so painfully tramped down Unter den Linden. Many soldiers were to be seen without an arm or leg, something impossible in Germany where, especially in Berlin, it has been the policy of the Government to conceal those maimed by war from the people at home. Although constantly walking the streets of Berlin I never saw a German soldier without an arm or leg. Once motoring near Berlin I came upon a lonely country house where, through the iron rails of the surrounding park, numbers of maimed soldiers peered out, prisoners of the autocratic government which dared not show its victims to the people.
At night in Paris the taxicabs and autos rushed dangerously through streets darkened to baffle the Zeppelins. In the hotel there was little heat, only wood fires in one's room. In the homes a single electric light bulb was permitted for each room; violation of this rule meant loss of electric light from that apartment for three weeks.
In the Ritz Restaurant there were lights on the table only. And the gloomy dining room, where a few Americans and British officers and their families conversed in whispers, resembled but little the gay resort so often filled, before the war, with American millionaires. Olivier, the head waiter, appeared only at night, absent during the day on war duties. No lights, no music, it is hard to think of Paris without these, Paris which calls itself the "Ville Lumiere"—the City of Light.
On our first Sunday in Paris a grand concert was held in the Trocadero—a great government owned auditorium on the banks of the Seine,—under Canadian auspices. When Ambassador Sharp and I entered the centre box the vast audience rose and cheered—a new sensation for me to be so welcomed after my war-years in Berlin, where I had been harried and growled at, the representative of a hated people, of a people at once envied for their wealth, hated because they had dared to keep their rights and treaties and sell goods to the enemies of Germany, and despised because the Germans believed them too rich and cowardly, too fat and degenerate, to fight in the great war for the mastery of the world.
Lord Esher called on me at the hotel and invited me on behalf of Field Marshal Haig, to visit the British line. I am sorry that I did not have time to accept this invitation, especially as in Germany I had not even heard the distant firing of cannon.
The Great General Headquarters at Charleville-Mezieres where I had visited Emperor William at the end of April, 1916, was only about seventy kilometres from the battle front near Rheims. I was naturally anxious to inspect, if not the front trenches, at least the vicinity of the front, but the army officers attached to the German Foreign Office, who had accompanied me, informed me that the Chancellor had telephoned all the Generals in the vicinity to ask permission for me to visit the lines but that not one of them would permit me to visit his sector. This was a fairly certain indication that sooner or later the hate for America must lead to war or that the U-boat settlement made at the time was only a stop gap until the increased number of submarines would enable Germany to commence ruthless U-boat war once more in defiance of law and humanity, and with a greater hope of military success.
Compared to Berlin, Paris seemed a land of abundance. In the restaurants, however, the customer was limited to two courses, but with the privilege of a second helping.
I called on Lord Bertie, the British Ambassador, to ask him to convey my acknowledgments to the Honourable Arthur James Balfour, from whom I had received a most complimentary communication. I found him in the beautiful home of the British Embassy on the Rue St. Honore, a house so cold for want of coal that I was compelled to make my visit short for fear of pneumonia.
With Mrs. Gerard we lunched with our friends from Berlin, Jules Cambon, a former French Ambassador there, and his family, at the La Rue restaurant, opposite the Madelaine. Cambon seemed as game as ever, but fatigued.
Briand, who was then Premier, invited me to breakfast at the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The other guests included our Ambassador, Mr. Sharp, Cambon and the Ambassadors of Britain, Italy, Russia and Japan and several distinguished Frenchmen.
I did not sit next to Briand as I ranked after the Ambassadors accredited to France, but after lunch I sat alone with him before the fire in one of the large and beautiful salons and there we had a long talk, as, naturally, he wanted to know about the situation in Germany. He impressed me as a strong man, with the vigour of an orator, a man of temperament, a man endowed by nature to become a leader of the French—as the French were before the war.
Lord Esher, at the request of General Lyautey, then at the head of the military force of France, took me to see that General. I had to wait for him some time, as he was appearing before a committee of the Chamber of the Senate. His inability to agree with the Chamber caused his resignation not long afterwards.
I was struck in France by the fact that the leaders, civil, military and naval, seemed older than those in similar positions in other countries.
The present Premier, Clemenceau, is an example of this fondness of the French for government by old men. Clemenceau is seventy-six years old, but is a vigorous fighter.
Mrs. Gerard and I lunched with Gabriel Hanotaux and his attractive wife at their home. Cambon was there, and Ribot, since become Premier of France, a good old man; also the Secretary of the Navy and several learned French philosophers and members of the Academy and one of the heads of the Credit Lyonnais, perhaps the greatest financial institution of France.
War, war—who could talk of anything else? Hanotaux said that in our time we had been unusually fortunate, unusually free from war, that there was underneath France, underneath even the fair city of Paris, under the smiling sunlit fields, another France, a France of caves and catacombs, excavated by the poor people, the plain people who, during the One Hundred Years' War, had sought in marching armies, the far-riding plunderers and the depths of the earth refuge from the harassing, camp followers, the roving bands of "White Companies," the robber barons who, English and French, Gascon and Norman, harried the lands of France.
I said that I had heard the statement made, and there seemed no reason to doubt it, that since the birth of Christ the world has only in one year out of every thirteen enjoyed a rest from war.
Mr. Fabre-Luce, Vice-President of the Credit Lyonnais, told us of an interesting book written by a Russian and published before the war which predicted much that has happened in this war with almost the foresight of a Cassandra. I was so impressed that I secured a copy.
This book, "The Future War," by Ivan Stanislavovich Bloch, counsellor of the Russian Empire, and published in 1892, had so great an effect on the Czar of Russia that it was the reading of it which impelled him to call the Peace Conference at The Hague. In the course of his book the author explains that it is impossible for the Powers to continue longer in the path of armaments and that they ought to look each other in the face and demand where these great armaments and this extension of forces are conducting them. He writes:
"How can one believe it possible to solve international questions by means of the veritable cataclysm which will constitute, with the present means of destruction, war waged between the five great Powers, by ten millions of soldiers?... In this war explosives so powerful will be employed that every grouping of troops on the flat country or even under the protection of fortifications will become almost impossible and that, therefore, the preparations of this character made in expectation of the war will become useless....
"The future war will see the use of a great quantity of new aids to war, bicycles, pigeons, telegraph, telephones, optical instruments and photographic instruments for the purpose of mapping from a great distance the positions occupied by the enemy and means to observe the movements of the enemy such as observing ladders, balloons and so on....
"In the future war every body of troops holding itself on the defensive or found taking the offensive, when it is not the question of sudden assault, will have to fortify itself in a chosen position and the war will be confined principally to the form of a series of combats in which the possession of fortified positions will be disputed, and in which the assailant will have to meet the accessory defensives in the neighbourhood of the fortifications such as barricades, barbed wire, etc., the destruction of these objects costing many victims.... The infantry, when on the defensive, will dig itself in. The conduct of the war will depend, in a large measure, on the artillery."
According to our author, who foresaw "No Man's Land" between the two opposing forces, "there will be formed a certain zone absolutely impassable in consequence of the terrible fire with which it will be inundated from a short distance from each side." Bloch adds: "This war will last a long time and entire nations will be seen in arms or rather the flower of each nation. Germany will begin the war by throwing itself on France and then, using the many German railroads, will turn against Russia. By virtue of its military force Germany will take the initiative of operations and will make the war on the two fronts."
His prophetic eye saw even the submarine war of the future. "It will happen, possibly, that the future war will produce engines of war completely unknown and unexpected up to the present time; in any event one can foresee the advent in a short time of submarines destined to carry below even ironclads, torpedoes powerful enough to wreck the strongest ships."
He quotes the opinions of Jomini, who says that future armies will not be composed of troops recruited voluntarily but of entire nations called by a law to arms and who will not fight for a change of frontier but for their existence. Jomini states "that this state of affairs will bring us back to the third and the fourth centuries, calling to our minds those shocks of immense peoples who disputed among themselves the European continent," and "that if a new legislation and a new international law do not come to put an end to these risings of whole peoples that it is impossible to foresee where the ravages of future war will stop. It will become a scourge more terrible than ever, because the population of civilised nations will be cut down, while in the interior of each nation the normal economic life will be arrested, communications interrupted and if the war is prolonged financial crises will come with a fearful rise in the price of everything and famine with all its consequences."
Bloch, in depicting the future war, says that "in 1870, the struggle was between two Powers, while in the war of the future at least five great nations will take part without speaking of the intervention of Turkey and England.... The comparing of the coming war with any war of the past is impossible because the increase in the effective fighting forces has been of a rapidity so unexampled and this increase brings with it so great an augmentation of expenditures and of victims that the future war will have the character of a struggle for the existence of nations.... It is true that the war of 1870 gave us something of an example of this character. That was a war without mercy, brought on by secular hate, a war of revenge on the part of the Germans because of the ancient victories of the French, a war where volunteers were shot and villages burned and where unheard of exactions were imposed on the conquered whom the conqueror sought to wrong and weaken for a long period of time. A new war in Central Europe will be a second edition of the same struggle but by how much will it not surpass the former wars by its magnitude and by its length and by the means of destruction employed."
Does not Bloch give a better prediction of this war than the often quoted Bernhardi?
The table conversation at Hanotaux's was in French; few Frenchmen and hardly any public men in France speak English.
At this lunch, Ribot, since Premier, said to me, "In men, in fighting, we can hold out, but we must have help on the credit side."
How much more than credit have we sent since to help beloved, beleaguered France!
My interview with President Poincare of France was set for five-thirty in the Elysee Palace. I had to wait some minutes in an ante-room, hung with splendid tapestries, where the secretary in charge introduced me to Deschanel, the Secretaire perpetuel of the Academie Francaise, with whom I had a few minutes' talk.
The President sat in a small, beautifully decorated room in this historical Elysee Palace. A small fire burned in the grate, a bit of grateful warmth in almost coalless Paris. He, too, plied me with questions, but not as closely as others, about the land I had left behind. He spoke of a great gift of money made by James Stillman, a fund to help the families of members of the Legion of Honour.
Poincare is a man of fifty-seven, wears a small beard growing grey, and is a little under medium height (of this country) and has much the manner of an American lawyer. What a contrast those polite, agreeable Frenchmen were to the stiff, formal, overbearing Germans. There are "well born" Germans with charming international manners and the lower classes in Germany have kindly, natural manners, but the manners of the minor members of the merchant class and of the lesser officials is rude to boorishness.
And here I want to say a word about the democracy of my own countrymen. Before the war and during it we entertained countless Americans in the Embassy; all sorts and under a variety of conditions, Jew and Gentile, business men and students, travellers and musicians. They carried themselves with ease, whatever the occasion. I was proud of them always and of our system of education that had given them such pleasant equality.
After my arrival in Berlin a magnificent darkey, named George Washington Bronson, called in search of a job. Over six feet four and well built, I thought he would make an impressive appearance opening carriage doors or taking hats in the hall. So I engaged him. But he did not get on well with the other servants, and his discharge followed. Great consternation was caused shortly afterwards at our Lincoln day reception when Mrs. Gerard and the ladies of the Embassy were receiving the American Colony, by the report that George Washington, dressed up to the nines, accompanied by a coloured friend, presenting the appearance of a new red buggy, was on his way up stairs. I decided that on Lincoln's birthday all were welcome; so George Washington and his friend, resplendent, received the same greeting accorded all Americans and the manners of George Washington excelled those of a Grand Duke. But although one could see his mouth water, he did not approach the table where our local Ruggles presided over the refreshments. There was "that" about Ruggles' eye which told George Washington he would have to "go to the mat" before his former superior officer would serve him with champagne.
The cold in Paris was bitter, biting into the very bones, and all classes of the population suffered intensely from the lack of coal. In the theatres, for instance, there was absolutely no heat. Theatrical performances were permitted in each theatre three times a week. Evening dress was prohibited. I went to the Folies Bergeres, arriving so late that the crowded house had warmed itself and it was possible to stay until the end in spite of the want of ventilation.
At one of the theatres I arrived early, but the cold was so bitter that even sitting in fur overcoat and with my hat on I was so chilled I had to leave after twenty minutes. This play was a revue, the actresses appearing in the scanty costumes peculiar to that form of entertainment, but the cold was of such intensity that they had added their street furs, presenting a curiously comical effect.
I spoke to many of the soldiers in the streets. All were animated by a new spirit in France, an obstinate calm, a determination to see this thing through, to end forever the fear of Prussian invasion which for so many years had impended. If any sign of weakness was apparent it was among the financiers; not among the poor and the men of the trenches.
At the railway station I talked with a blue-clad French soldier, calm, witty, but determined. He said, "My family comes from the East of France, my great grandfather was killed by the Prussians in 1814, my grandfather was shot in his garden by the Prussians in 1870, my father died of grief, in 1916, because my two sisters in Lille fell into Prussian hands and were taken as their slaves with all that that means. I have decided that we must end this horror once and for all, so that my children can cultivate their little fields without this constant haunting fear of the invading Prussian."
We left Paris on the evening train for the Spanish border. Newspaper men taking flashlights and "poilus" in uniform crowded the station platform as the train with our still numerous party pulled out.
How France has disappointed German expectations! France to-day is not the France that calls out, "We are betrayed," and runs away after the failure of its first assault. France to-day is a calm France that seeks out its traitors, and deliberately punishes them, that organises with an efficiency we once thought a Prussian monopoly, a France that bleeds but fights on, a France that, standing with its back to its beloved, sunny fields, with many of her dearest sons dead, facing the Kaiser across No Man's Land, cries boldly, bravely to the world, the war cry of Verdun, "They shall not pass!"
But even while war goes on, even while the French poilus hold fast the long battle line, the French people are beset within by agents of the Kaiser. Face to face they are with the secret agents, the spies, the informers, the buyers of newspapers and of public men, the traffickers in honour who, behind French citizenship or neutral passports, seek to divide France, to make the soldier at the front feel that he is betrayed by traitors at home, to render the French distrustful and suspicious of each other and thus to strike as mortal a blow at the French defence as was attempted at Verdun.
Bolo Pasha and all his tribe slip past trench and barbed wire and do more damage than a German army corps to the cause of Liberty.
MY INTERVIEW WITH THE KING OF SPAIN
Neutrals—how obsolete the word seems!
Yet there are some nations in Europe which will remain neutral no matter how great the hardship. How much this is due to inherent weaknesses of government, fears that the people may acquire too much of the infectious spirit of liberalism that war brings and thereby overthrow royalty, is hard to judge. But I must say that Kaiserism has omitted no word or act to impress upon the royalty of those countries, which might otherwise be inclined to aid the entente, the advantages to them of keeping out of the war unless they become allies of Germany.
You will meet Kaiserism in Spain and the other neutral countries of Europe as much as you will in Austria or Bulgaria or Turkey. I do not mean that Spain, for instance, is by any means an ally of Germany, but I do mean that the German propagandist has had free rein.
I shall never forget the fact that the King of Spain, during my talk with him, remarked: "Remember that while I am King of Spain, I am also an Austrian Archduke."
And not only is the King of Spain by descent and in the right of his father an Archduke of Austria but his mother was an Austrian Princess of the House of Hapsburg. Study, for the moment, the genealogy of the King and Queen of Spain and you will see how royalty is inter-related in this war.
The Queen of Spain was brought up at the court of the late Queen Victoria of England and is a Battenberg princess. In 1823, Alexander, Prince of Hesse and the Rhine, took in morganatic marriage a Countess von Hauke. He made her Countess of Battenberg and in 1858 she was given the title by the ruler of Hesse, of Princess Battenberg, her children and their descendants to take the same title. One of these Battenbergs, descendants of Countess von Hauke, married Beatrice, daughter of Queen Victoria, and the daughter of the marriage is the present Queen of Spain, who just before her marriage to Alfonso was created a Royal Highness by King Edward VII. Queen Victoria Eugenia has become quite Spanish. With a mantilla on her head, she attends bull fights and is very popular.
The father of Alfonso XIII, Alfonso XII, was very intimate with the German Court. In 1883, he visited the old Emperor William I in Germany and accepted the colonelcy of a Uhlan regiment then in garrison in Strassburg, one of the towns taken from France in 1870. On his return journey he stopped in Paris and was the object of a popular demonstration so violent that the President of France and his ministers called in a body to apologise.
Shortly thereafter the Crown Prince (later Emperor) Friedrich paid a visit to Spain and an intimacy was maintained between the two courts.
It is the inclination of those in the king business to keep together and a tradition of Prussia that fellow Kings must be sustained and, if possible, maintained against democracy. That's why the Kaiser finds reciprocal sympathy in Spain.
Our popular Ambassador, Mr. Willard, and his staff, with a representative of the Spanish Foreign Office, met us at the station at Madrid on my arrival from Paris.
Madrid is a handsome city, comparatively modern. From its highest point the great Royal Palace dominates the capital and from the palace the royal park stretches unbroken to the Guadarrama mountains sixty miles away.
In many respects Spain seems a land upside down. We arrived at Madrid just at the close of the Carnival season. Masked balls began at three in the afternoon and many theatres not until ten or even eleven at night. Madrid sleeps late. The rich people get up only in time for lunch. The streets are full of noise and people until four in the morning, the sellers of lottery tickets making special efforts to swell the volume of night sounds.
My visit to the King of Spain was at eleven in the morning. Ambassador Willard went with me. As we entered the palace and waited at the foot of an elevator, the car descended and one of the little Princes of Spain, about eight years old, dressed in a sailor suit, stepped out. Evidently he had been trained in royal urbanity for he immediately came up to us, shook hands and said, "Buenos dias."
And as we strolled down a long corridor where Palace guards in high boots and cocked hats stood guard with halberds in their hands another little Prince, about eleven, also in a sailor suit, came out of a room and walked ahead of us; behind followed two nuns, walking side by side at a respectful distance. As he appeared in the corridor one of the guards stamped his halberd on the floor, calling out in Spanish, "Turn out the guard—the Infant of Spain." And in the guardroom at the end of the corridor the guards, forming in line, clashing their arms, did honour to the baby Prince.
Ambassador Willard and I waited in the great, splendid room of the Palace. Inside, priests and officers, ladies, officials, diplomats, were waiting to present petitions or pay homage to their King. Outside in the court yard, the guard was being changed, infantry, cavalry and artillery all being represented. A tuneful band played during the ceremony of guard mount, which was witnessed by crowds of poor folk who are permitted to enter the Palace precincts as spectators.
While waiting I was presented to the Archbishop of Toledo, head of the Spanish Church, resplendent in his gorgeous ecclesiastical robes. Finally a court official came and said that I was to go into the King alone; that Mr. Willard was to see him later.
I found King Alfonso in a small room about twenty by fourteen feet. He wore a brown business suit, a soft shirt and soft collar fastened by a gold safety pin—quite the style of dress of an American collegian. He is tall and well built.
The King speaks perfect English—without a trace of accent. After we had talked a few moments, I noted the difference between Teuton and Latin, the vast abyss which separates the polite and courteous Spaniard, thinking of others, anxious to be hospitable, and the rough, conceited, aggressive Junker of Germany. How often have I found that we ourselves, although good hearted and easy going, in comparison with our friends in South and Central America, do not measure up to the standards of Castilian courtesy.
Some one knocked at the door and King Alfonso rose and answered. He returned with odd looking implements in his hands which I soon discovered to be an enormous silver cocktail shaker and two goblets. After a dexterous shake, the King poured out two large cocktails, saying, "I understand that you American gentlemen always drink in the morning."
I had not had a cocktail for years and if I had endeavoured to assimilate the drink so royally prepared for me I should have been in no condition to continue the conversation. I think King Alfonso himself was quite relieved when, after a sip, I put my cocktail behind a statue. I noticed that he camouflaged his in a similar manner.
Unfortunately, as Maximilian Harden said, the Germans think of us as a land of dollars, trusts and corruption; and other nations think of us as devotees of the cocktail and of poker. Their school boys dream of fighting Indians in Pittsburg and hunting buffalo in the deserts of the Bronx.
The characteristic of Alfonso which impresses one immediately is that of extreme manliness. He has a sense of humour that will save him from many a mishap in his difficult post. He has a wide knowledge of men and affairs and, above all, as the Spaniards would put it, is muy espanol (very Spanish), not only in appearance but in his way of looking at things, a Spaniard of the best type, a Spaniard possessing industry and ambition and bravery, a Spaniard, in fact, of the days when Spain was supreme in the world. His favourite sport is polo, which he plays very well. Indeed, the game, which requires dash, quickness of thought, nerve and good riding, is particularly suited to the Spanish character. The King showed at the time of the anarchistic outbreaks, that he was a brave man. Yet he must be careful at all times to remember that he is a constitutional king, that in a country like Spain leadership is dangerous, that he should always rather stand aside, let the representatives of the nation decide, thus taking no definite position himself. A king who abandons the council table to shoot pigeons or play polo is often acting with far more wisdom than a constitutional ruler who attempts by the use of his strong personality and lofty position to force upon his councillors a course which the majority of them do not recommend.
The Spaniards are politically an exacting people. But it is to be hoped that they will not turn the heavy artillery of their criticism upon a king who serves them so gracefully and well.
The king has a natural desire to take a prominent part in the negotiations for peace, but here again is dangerous ground for him. He should be given a part, if possible, in the preliminaries of peace, but while I believe that he sympathises with one of the Entente countries, the Allies are forced to recognise the fact of which he himself reminded me, that he is not only King of Spain, but Archduke of one of the Central Empires, the son of an Austrian Archduchess.
The king told me that he was most desirous that American capital should become interested in the development of Spain. He did not tell me the reason for this desire but perhaps he fears that if German capital should take a great part in the development of industrial Spain that the tentacles of the German propaganda and spy system which go hand in hand with her commercial invaders would wrap themselves around the commercial, social and political life of Spain.
Perhaps King Alfonso, when he wishes capital other than German to become interested in Spain, is thinking of the occurrences of 1885, when Spain and Germany so nearly clashed. In that year the crew of a German warship hoisted the flag of the German Empire on the island of Yap, one of the Carolina group, an island long claimed by Spain. The act so stirred the people of Spain that a great meeting was held in Madrid, attended by over one hundred thousand people. Later the mob attacked the German Embassy and Consulate, tore down the shield and flag staff of the Consulate and burned them in the principal square of Madrid. In the end, Spain was compelled to humbly apologise to Germany for the insult to the German Ambassador.
Some years before the war the King sent to this country a special emissary to interest American capital in Spain. Means of transportation are very meagre. Great mineral districts are as yet undeveloped and many other opportunities for foreign capital present themselves.
I asked the Spaniards why Spain was not developed by Spanish capital and they told me that the rich put all their money in government bonds and lived as gaily as possible on the interest.
Our own Government, whether Democratic or Republican, must always be careful to see that taxes are not so high as to prevent the naturally enterprising American from risking part of his capital in new ventures and such protection must be given to American citizens that they will continue to try their luck at business in foreign countries for the immediate benefit, of course, of themselves, but also for the commercial supremacy of the United States.
The American who goes to Mexico and there develops a railroad or a plantation, a commercial business, a bank or a mine, is not only adding to the wealth of Mexico, but any money which he makes after paying his due share of taxes there, is brought back by him to the United States, is subject to taxation, and by just so much not only lightens the tax burden of other Americans, but adds to the power in trade of the whole country.
A business man who is taxed too much on any profits that he makes will, like the Spaniard, invest his capital in Government bonds. He will stop taking up new enterprises because if he loses no one compensates him for his loss, while if he wins most of his profit is taken in taxes by the State.
I do not think that the Spanish harbour any spirit of revenge against us because of the events of the Spanish-American war. There was nothing in that war to arouse particular resentment. No one used poison gas, or enslaved women or cut off the hands of babies. On our side, at least, there was an intense admiration for the splendid, chivalrous bravery of our enemies. Spain was, in reality, benefited by the loss of Cuba and the Philippines; in fact, they were practically lost to her before we entered the war. Thinking Spaniards believe the war with America benefited Spain; and the lower classes rejoice because their sons and husbands are not forced to serve in the Spanish Army in the fever-laden swamps of the tropics.
On the war Spain is hopelessly divided: Conservative, against Conservative; Liberal, against Liberal. The usual German propaganda is furiously at work, all the paraphernalia, bought newspapers—bribes. Roman Catholic prejudice against former French Governments is a great stumbling block in the way of the Allies in Spain, for that country became the refuge of many orders and priests driven from France. Many of the Spanish Catholics still resent the action of previous French Governments towards the Catholic Church.
But whatever may be the faults of the French Government in this particular, whether it or the teaching orders went too far—the Roman Catholics of Spain sooner or later will realise that, after all, the bulk of the French and Italian and Belgian people are their co-religionists, and they will recall the attempts of Bismarck to master the Roman Catholics of Germany and to bind its priests to the will of the Imperial Government, attempts recent enough to keep the Catholics of Germany still organised in the political party which they created in the dark days of Bismarck's "war for Civilisation," as he dared call his contest with the great Roman Catholic Church.
Spanish and other Catholics throughout the world will remember this and will remember, too, that from every valley of the Protestant section of the German Empire the eye can see a "Bismarck Thurm," or Bismarck Memorial Tower, erected on some commanding height by the admirers of the dead Iron Chancellor.
I believe that after the war the Roman Catholic Church in France and Belgium will be on a healthier, sounder basis, that it will have more and more influence with the people, that it will be more popular and respected than before, unless some act on the part of the Pope should lead the French and Belgians to believe that he favours Germany. Priests are not exempt from military service in France and these Abbes, fighting, dying, suffering wounds and privation, working cheek to cheek with the soldiers of France, will do much to bring about the change. I met a number of these priest-warriors in the prison camps of Germany. They are doing a great work and have earned the respect and love of their countrymen—their fellow prisoners.
Several of these soldier Abbes were prisoners in Dyrotz, near Berlin, and I remember how they were looked up to by all the soldiers. What a consolation were these noble warriors who fought a two-fold winning fight—for their country and their faith.
Spain has suffered much from the war. In the northeast part called Catalonia are located the manufacturing industries of Spain, cloth weaving, cotton spinning, etc. In Barcelona, the principal industrial town, are many manufacturing industries. If these plants cannot obtain raw materials or a market for their finished products, then industrial depression ensues and thousands are thrown out of employment.
So in the north, where iron ore is produced, the submarine blockade of England, chief buyer of iron ore and the seller of coal, has made itself felt in every province; and in the south, the land of sun and gypsies, oranges and vines, the want of sea and land transportation, the diminished exports of wine and fruits to other countries have brought many of the inhabitants to the verge of ruin.
In the coast cities sailors and longshoremen are out of employment, and this condition—these hundreds of thousands without work through disturbance of industry,—has ripened the field for the German propagandist and agent who threatens the King with revolution, should he incline to the Allies.
In no country of the world has the German agent been so bold and no neutral government has been more forcibly reminded in its policy and conduct of the fact that it is always face to face with Kaiserism.
GERMAN SPIES AND THEIR METHODS
German spies who looked like "movie" detectives hung about and followed us on the journey from Berlin to Switzerland, France and Spain. There were even suspicious characters among the Americans with German accent who came on our special train from Germany to Switzerland.
Berne is now the champion spy centre of the world. Switzerland, a neutral country, bordering on Germany, France, Italy and Austria, is the happy hunting ground and outfitting point for myriads of spies employed by the nations at war. The Germans, however, use more spies than all the other nations together.
Bismarck said that there are male nations and female nations, and that Germany was a male nation—certainly the German has less of that heaven-sent feminine quality of intuition than other peoples. The autocrat, never mingling with the plain people of all walks of life, finds the spy a necessity.
Spy spies on spy—autocracy produces bureaucracy where men rise and fall not by the votes of their fellow citizens but by back stairs intrigue. The German office-holder fears the spies of his rivals. I often said to Germans holding high office during the war, "This strain is breaking you down,—all day in your office. Take an afternoon off and come shooting with me." The invariable answer was, "I cannot—the others would learn it from their spies and would spread the report that I neglect business!"
While in Spain I met the then Premier, Count Romanones, a man of great talent and impressive personality. He told me of the finding of a quantity of high explosives, marked by a little buoy, in one of the secluded bays of the coast. And that day a German had been arrested who had mysteriously appeared at a Spanish port dressed as a workman. The workman took a first class passage to Madrid, went to the best hotel and bought a complete outfit of fine clothes. Undoubtedly the high explosive as well as the mysterious German had been landed from a German submarine. Whether the explosive was destined as a depot for submarines or was to help overturn the Spanish government was hard to guess, but Count Romanones was worried over the activity of the German agents in Spain.
It has been very easy for German agents in America to communicate with Germany through this submarine post from Spain to Germany, the letters from America being sent to Cuba and thence on Spanish boats to Spain.
At all times since the war the Germans have had a submarine post running direct from Germany to Spain. Shortly after our arrival in Spain Mrs. Gerard received mysteriously a letter written by a friend of hers, a German Baroness, in Berlin. This letter had undoubtedly been sent through the very efficient German spy system.
Sometime in 1915 a German soldier, in uniform, speaking perfect English, called one day at the Embassy. He said that his name was Bode and that he had at one time worked for my father-in-law, the late Marcus Daly. Of course, we had no means of verifying his statements and Mrs. Gerard did not remember any one of that name or recall Bode personally. He said that he was fighting on the East front and that he had a temporary leave of absence. I gave him some money and later we sent him packages of food and tobacco to the front, but never received any acknowledgment.
In Madrid one of my assistants, Frank Hall, while walking through the street, ran across Bode, who was fashionably attired. His calling cards stated that he was a mining engineer from Los Angeles, California. He told Hall a most extraordinary fairy story, saying that he had been captured by the Russians on the East front and sent to Siberia, that from Siberia he had escaped to China and from there he had gradually worked his way back to America and thence to Spain.
Of course, without any definite information on the subject it is impossible to say exactly what he was doing in Spain. But I am sure that it is far more likely he had landed from a German submarine on the coast of Spain and that he was posing as an American mining engineer for a particular purpose.
I told certain people in Spain about Bode and of his intention to visit the mining districts of Spain where numbers of men are employed. Bode must have suspected that I had given information about him, for Hall and I received several postcards of a threatening character, evidently from him.
My cables to and from the State Department passed through our legation at Copenhagen, and, of course, if the Germans knew our cipher these messages were read by them. On special occasions I made use of a super-cipher the key to which I kept in a safe in my bedroom and which only one secretary could use. The files of cipher cables sent and received were kept in a large safe in the Embassy. But before leaving Germany, knowing the Germans as I did, and particularly what they had done in other countries and to other diplomats, knowing how easy it would be for them to burglarise the safe after we left, when the Spaniards and Dutch were out of the building at night, I tossed all these despatches as well as the code books into a big furnace fire. Commander Gherardi and Secretary Hugh Wilson stood by and personally saw that the last scrap was burned. Of course, copies of all the cables are in the State Department.