German spies are adepts at opening bags, steaming letters—all the old tricks. The easiest way to baffle them is to write nothing that cannot be published to the world.
For a long time after the beginning of war I was too busy to write the weekly report of official gossip usually sent home by diplomats. I suppose the Germans searched our courier bags for such a report vainly. Anyway, its absence finally got on the nerves of Zimmermann so much that one day he blurted out, "Don't you ever write reports to your Government?"
Sealed letters are opened by spies as follows:
by inserting a pencil or small round object in the envelope, steamed a little, if necessary; the envelope is opened at the end flap and the contents pulled out without disturbing the seal, the contents are then read, put in their place again, the end flap re-inserted, a little gum used and the envelope is as intact as before.
The only safe way to seal an envelope is thus:
Even then a clever spy can open the letter, read the contents and seal it again. This is done by cutting through the seals with a hot razor—the divided seals are then united by pressing the hot razor against each side of the cut and then pressing the two parts of the cut seal together. This is, however, a very delicate operation and doesn't always work.
From the outbreak of war we sent and received our official mail through England, and couriers carried it between Berlin and London through Holland via Flushing and Tilbury.
On account of the great volume of correspondence between Ambassador Page and myself on the affairs of German prisoners in England and English prisoners in Germany, there were many pouches every week. These were leather mail bags opened only by duplicate keys kept in London and Berlin and, for the American mail, in Berlin and Washington. Our couriers did their best to keep the numerous bags in their sight during the long journey but on many occasions our couriers were separated, I am sure with malicious purpose, from their bags by the German railway authorities and on some occasions the bags not recovered for days.
Undoubtedly at this time the Germans opened and looked over the contents of the bags. Later in the war our courier while on a Dutch mail boat, running between Flushing and England, was twice captured with the boat by a German warship and taken into Zeebrugge. Undoubtedly here, too, the bags were secretly opened and our uncoded despatches and letters read.
German spies were most annoying in Havana and one of them, a large dark man, followed me about at a distance of only six feet, with his eyes glued on the small bag which I carried from a thick strap hanging around my shoulder. I brought it from Germany in that way. I never let it out of my hands or sight.
What was in that bag? Among other things were the original telegrams written by the Kaiser in his own handwriting, facsimiles of which appear in my earlier book, "My Four Years in Germany," and the treaty which the Germans tried to get me to sign while they held me as a prisoner. Under the terms they proposed the German ships interned in America were to have the right in case of war, to sail for Germany under a safe conduct to be obtained from the Allies by the United States. Somewhat of a treaty! And quite a new, bright and original thought by some one in the Foreign Office or German Admiralty. There were also in this mysterious bag many other matters of interest that may some day see the light.
* * * * *
Poisonous propaganda and spying are the twin offspring of Kaiserism.
There is in Mexico, for instance, one force that never sleeps,—the German propaganda. It is the same method as that used by the Teutons in every country, the purchase or rental of newspaper properties, bribing public men and officers of the army and the insidious use of Germans who are engaged in commerce. This propaganda is backed by enormous sums of money appropriated by the German government which directs how all its officers and agents, high and low, shall participate in the campaign.
In the long run a paid propaganda always fails. It is like paying money to blackmailers. The blackmailer who has once received money becomes so insatiable that even the Bank of England will not satisfy him in the end. Sometimes the newspapers which are not bought, but are equally corrupt, become vehement in their denunciation of the country making the propaganda in the hope of being bought and in the hope that their bribe money will be in proportion to their hostility. Corrupted public men who are not bribed often become sternly virtuous and denunciatory with a similar hope. Those who have received the wages of shame, on the other hand, become more insistent in their demands, crying, "Give! Give!" like the daughter of the horse-leech.
The blows of war must be struck quickly. Delays are dangerous and the temporary paralysis of one country by propaganda may mean the loss of the war. The United States has been at a great disadvantage because our officials have not had the authority, the means or the money to fight the German propaganda with effective educational campaigns, both offensive and defensive.
Bernstorff in this country disposed of enormous sums for the purpose of moulding American public opinion. I, in Berlin, was without one cent with which to place America's side before the German people. It is a conflict of two systems. In Berlin I did not even have money to pay private detectives and on the rare occasions when I used them as, for instance to find out who was connected with the so-called American organisation, the League of Truth, which was engaged in a violent propaganda against America inside Germany, I was obliged to bear the expense personally.
South of the Rio Grande the Germans are working against us, doing their best to prejudice the Mexicans against the United States, playing upon old hatreds and creating new ones and, in the meantime, by their purchase of properties and of mines creating a situation that will constitute for us in the future a most difficult and dangerous problem.
The Germans cannot understand why we do not take advantage of conditions in Mexico in order to conquer and hold that unfortunate country. They could not believe that we were actuated by a spirit of idealism and that we were patiently suffering much in order really to help Mexico. They could not believe that we were waiting in order to convince not only Mexico but the other States of Central America and the great friendly republics of South America, that it was not our policy to use the dissensions and weakness of our neighbours to gain territory.
On one occasion before the war I and several other Ambassadors were dining with the Kaiser and after dinner the conversation turned to the strange sights to be seen in America. One of the Ambassadors, I think it was Cambon, said that he had seen in America whole houses being moved along the roads, something of a novelty to European eyes where the houses, constructed of brick and stone, cannot be transported from place to place like our wooden frame house. The Emperor jokingly remarked: "Yes, I am sure that the Americans are moving their houses. They are moving them down towards the Mexican border."
EN ROUTE HOME—KAISERISM IN AMERICA
Our party was so numerous that we were compelled to charter a special train to take us from Madrid to La Coruna, the port in the extreme northwestern corner of Spain from which the Infanta Isabela was to sail.
Just before the train started, a Spanish gentleman from the Foreign Office, who had courteously come to see us off, said to me, "Do you know you have a Duke as engineer?" "The Duke of Saragossa is going to take out your train." So we ran forward to the engine and I shook hands with the Duke who was in blue overalls.
This Duke of Saragossa, Grandee of Spain, often drives the engine of the King's train. Why he engineered our train I do not know, unless it was because of the rumours that German agents would try to stop my journey home.
At any rate the Duke proved a most competent engineer, guiding us with velvet touch through the steep inclines and sharp turns of the Guadarrama mountains. At Venta de Banos his turn at the engine ended and on my invitation he came to dine with us in the dining car. He proved a most charming gentleman, speaking English well. He said that his great ambition was to visit America and see the big locomotives and the pretty girls. At dinner he was, of course, dressed in his overalls and carried out the professional touch by using clean cotton waste instead of a pocket handkerchief.
Arrived at La Coruna in the morning, carriages sent by the Spanish government met us and the Mayor and the other officials were most polite. The Mayor accompanied us on board ship next day, giving to Mrs. Gerard a beautiful basket of flowers entwined with ribbons of the colours of the City of La Coruna.
We found the Infanta Isabela a clean splendid ship—her Captain competent and kind. I cheerfully recommend her to any who wish a safe voyage across the Atlantic during the war.
My stay in Havana was brief and I was soon en route northward from Key West.
As our train came north through Florida there were crowds and bands at the stations and at St. Augustine my eyes were delighted by the sight of Frank Munsey and Ex-Senator Chauncey Depew.
At the station in Washington Secretary McAdoo met me. What a splendid record of achievement is his since the war, and now with the burden of all the railways in the country added to that of finance I suppose in no country at war has one man so successfully undertaken such gigantic tasks.
President Wilson was ill in bed but next day got up on purpose to hear my report. I was with him for over an hour.
The following day I arrived in New York, being met in Jersey City by a committee headed by the celebrated lawyer, John B. Stanchfield; Clarence Mackay, Herbert Swope (whose splendid articles in the New York World were the first warnings to America and other countries respecting the ruthless submarine warfare), United States Marshal Thomas D. McCarthy, State Senator Foley, James J. Hoey,—a faithful trio of good friends who saw me off for Denmark only a few months before. I was escorted to the City Hall where I was welcomed by the Mayor. In a speech on the steps of the City Hall I said:
"We are standing to-day very near the brink of war, but I want to assure you that if we should be drawn into the conflict it will be only after our President has exhausted every means consistent with upholding the honour and dignity of the United States to keep us from war. I left Berlin with a clear conscience, because I felt that during all my stay there I had omitted nothing to make for friendly relations and peace between the two nations.
"I am very glad to-day to see on the list of this Reception Committee the names of people of German descent. It is but natural that citizens of German descent in the beginning of the war should have had a sentimental feeling toward Germany, that they should have looked back through rose-coloured glasses on that land which, however, they left because they did not have equality of opportunity. We read to-day in the newspapers for the first time that there is a prospect that after the war the Germans will be given an equal share in their own government. I believe that in our hour of trial we can rely upon the loyalty of our citizens of German descent, and if they would follow me I would not be afraid to go out with a regiment of them and without any fear of being shot from behind.
* * * * *
"The nation that stands opposite to us to-day has probably no less than 12,000,000 men under arms. I have seen the Germans take more prisoners in one afternoon than there are men in the entire United States Army.
"Does it not seem to you ridiculous that the two States of New York and New Jersey should have more chauffeurs in them than there are soldiers in our army? My companions from the Twelfth Regiment that have honoured me by coming here to-day, and more men like them throughout the country, have done what they can. But they can't do it all. There must be a public sentiment if we are to maintain ourselves as a nation. If we had a million men under arms to-day we should not be near the edge of war.
"Gentlemen, I have tried in Berlin to be, as the Mayor has told you, an American Ambassador, and I thank you because you, an audience of patriotic Americans, by your presence here set your seal of approval upon my conduct during the last two and a half years."
I have never been able to understand why so many people did not sooner realise what Kaiserism meant for us. But now, at last, the nation understands that we must fight on until this menace of military autocracy has vanished and that not until then will the world enjoy a lasting peace.
Almost as soon as I was settled in New York I was drafted. Drafted by a public curiosity which insisted on knowing something about Germany and the war.
And so for me began a new life—that of a public speaker—I spoke first in New York at a lunch at the Chamber of Commerce—war had not then been declared and I was compelled to be careful—for even then there seemed a fear of Germany, a foolish desire to surrender all manhood to a fat neutrality.
On April 2nd came President Wilson's message demanding war. I was in the opera house that night. Between the acts extras appeared. I telephoned Swope of the World who confirmed the news. While I was receiving this information one of the directors of the Metropolitan Opera Company came in the room. I told him what had happened and asked if he was not going to do something—order the news read from the stage—for example, and the "Star Spangled Banner" played. He said, "No, the opera company is neutral."
I returned to the box where I was sitting and stepping to the front called on the house to cheer President Wilson. There was, for a moment, surprise at such unconventional action, but the whole house soon broke into cheers.
Conventionalism was gone.
The opera was DeKoven's "Canterbury Pilgrims" and a few minutes after the curtain rose on the last act Frau Ober, a German singer, who was taking one of the principal parts, keeled over in a faint,—rage, perhaps, that the Yankees were at last daring to cheer, to assert themselves against the Kaiser!
As I spoke in Albany, Buffalo, Harrisburg, Trenton and Boston, in Philadelphia, Providence and many times in New York and other places, I noted always an eagerness to learn about Germany, the war and foreign affairs. We Americans had travelled, but not with our eyes open—"seeing, we saw not."
The first great, great question we faced was that of universal service for the war—or the selective draft—again how farsighted our President then proved himself. What would be our situation now if we had tried to go to war under the volunteer system? This question once solved, our President led us with a breadth of vision, an efficiency, and on a scale commensurate with the size of the undertaking in which we at last had become partners.
Perhaps we are a little over indulgent, however, in the treatment of the German enemy alien within our gates. No American singer or musician could travel about Germany at will, unwatched by the police, collecting money from Americans to be used in propaganda, or things much worse, against America. Americans in Germany are compelled to report twice daily to the police and cannot leave their homes at night. November 17, 1917—seven months after we went to war with Germany—I met Hugo Schmidt, a director of the Deutsche Bank, riding in Central Park. He lived at the German Club, saw whom he liked and only reported to the police when he changed his residence. In January 1918, he was finally interned.
Long before our break with Germany, American consuls and officials were insulted in the street and in opera houses because they made use of their own language, not at all because they were taken for British for every one knew that all British had been interned.
The wife of our naval attache attended a reception presided over by a German admiral's wife. She was presented to this high personage by the wife of a German naval officer, who, in making the presentation, spoke in English. The admiral's wife rebuked both the wife of our attache and the officer's wife for daring to talk English. I am thankful to say that Mrs. Gherardi immediately left the house to receive later the officially ordered apologies of the admiral's wife.
And while Americans did not dare use their own language in Berlin in time of peace between the two countries yet after the outbreak of war, newspapers in the United States, printed in German, owned by Germans and German sympathisers, dared to attack America and her President.
The autocracy always hope to divide us, to make of us a Russia, torn by Maximalists and Minimalists, by Militarists and Bolsheviki and, consequently, impotent for war.
In travelling through the United States in August and September of 1917, although I was on private business, I made speeches in many cities, such as Minneapolis, and Helena, Billings, Butte and Missoula in Montana, Spokane, Seattle and Tacoma in Washington, Portland, Oregon, San Francisco and surrounding country, Los Angeles, San Diego and Pasadena and then Milwaukee, Chicago and Cleveland. In all this territory I found great enthusiasm, great patriotism and a sincere desire to learn about Germany and the war. But I found everywhere also the trail of Germany's poisonous propaganda.
The great majority of our citizens of German-American descent have been splendidly loyal to their country in this crisis of its history. But the fact must be faced that there are those who, for some unknown reason, still sympathise with the German Kaiser in his war of aggression.
More unfortunately there are politicians in America who seek the votes of those disaffected, and approach treason in doing so. In all the history of sordid politics, there is nothing more nauseating than the effort of these cheap politicians thus to gratify their personal ambitions.
Their shameful identity is known to all. A generation from now their own descendants will be applying to the courts for a change of name.
If, when the test comes, it is found that the votes of these disaffected citizens count for something in our elections, we must find some means to disenfranchise them rather than have our low politicians outbidding each other within the law in order to get these votes.
Have we not had examples enough from Russia of what the slimy bribe and the snaky propaganda can do?
In Chicago, where one Thompson is Mayor, there is a censorship of moving picture films. The chief censor is Major Funkhouser. When I was in Los Angeles, at the end of September, like all strangers there, I visited movie-land to see the pictures made.
At the house of my college chum, Dr. Walter J. Barlow, I met the beautiful and celebrated Mary Pickford.
In conversation she told me about Major Funkhouser, and how he had refused an exhibition permit for one of her films called "The Little American." Curious to see the film rejected by Chicago officialdom, I asked Miss Pickford if she would have it run off for my benefit. I could see nothing in the film that could hurt the susceptibilities of any except the Germans with whom we are now engaged in war!
Later the Fox Film Company informed me that their film called "The Spy" and which deals with the adventures of an American who is supposed to go to Germany to get a list of German spies and agents in America, was refused the right of exhibition in Chicago by this same Major Funkhouser. In this case the Fox Company appealed in the courts and obtained from Judge Alschuler an injunction preventing any one from interfering with the exhibition of this film. The decision of Judge Alschuler was affirmed on appeal.
And yet the mass of the people in Chicago are splendidly patriotic as the record of Chicago for enlistment and Red Cross and Liberty Loan shows.
When I spoke in the great Medinah Temple under the auspices of the Hamilton Club, on October twenty-second, I was able to show to the audience two German text-books used in the Chicago public schools, stamped with the royal arms of Prussia. The books had been approved by Ella Flagg Young, Superintendent of Schools, in 1914.
These books were furnished me by my friend, Anthony Czarnecki of the Chicago Daily News whom I first met in Berlin where he came to do most excellent work for his paper. In one of these books is printed the German patriotic song, The Watch on the Rhine ("Die Wacht am Rhein"). What a howl there would have been if some public school superintendent had selected for the schools under her jurisdiction a text-book of English literature with the royal arms of England stamped on the cover and "Rule Britannia" prominently displayed inside!
These text-books were cleverly compiled to impress children at a youthful age with a favourable idea of kings and emperors. In one of these was an anecdote about Frederick the Great and a miller, and in another, one about the Emperor Charlemagne and the scholar, of course, making Frederick and Charlemagne appear as good kindly people, and giving the impression that all kings and emperors are beneficent beings. But no word is there in these books quoting the present German Emperor's statement in which he puts Frederick in the same class as the four other bloody conquerors of history, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Theodoric and Napoleon, and says that where they failed in their dreams of world conquest, his mailed fist will succeed. Why was not Frederick the Great's statement printed in these books, his admission that he engaged upon the Seven Years' War "in order to be talked about"?
These books contained quotations from Goethe. Why did they not contain Goethe's statement, "Amerika, du hast es besser."? (America, you are better off). Or his prophecy about the Prussians, "The Prussian was born a brute, and civilisation will make him ferocious."
The only foreign language taught in the grammar schools of Chicago is German. Parents are compelled to sign a statement in which they answer the question as to whether they wish their children to be taught German or not.
See how subtle this is! Doubtless if a Teuton parent answers that he does not desire to have his children taught German the paid agents of the German propaganda stir up feeling against these Germans who have dared to refuse to have their children taught the language of the fatherland.
And when a parent has once elected that his children shall be taught German, not the principal of the school, not the district superintendent, but only the head of all the Chicago school system, on the application of the parent, can excuse the child, during his or her school course, from further study of German.
Worst of all, however, is the Chicago official school speller, a book printed under the direction and compiled by the school authorities of Chicago. In this speller there is just one piece of reading matter and that a fulsome eulogy of the present German Emperor.
This is an account of an alleged incident of the Kaiser's school days and the author concludes that the facts set forth (probably untrue) show that the Kaiser as a boy had the "root of a fine character in him," possessed "that chivalrous sense of fair play which is the nearest thing to a religion" in boys of that age and hated "meanness and favouritism." The Chicago Board of Education end the eulogy by stating, "There is in him a fundamental bent toward what is clean, manly and aboveboard."
"Chivalrous sense of fair play and hates meanness!" "Fundamental bent toward what is clean, manly and aboveboard!" How about the enslavement of women and girls in France, the use of poison gas, the deportations of the Belgians, the sinking of the Lusitania and the killing of women and babies by Zeppelins and submarines.—Sickening!
A number of the books used in the public schools of New York have so much in them favourable to kings and emperors, have so much of German patriotism and fatherland, that the hand of the propagandist must have had something to do with the adoption of these books.
Of course, it is only in the books of the advanced courses that propaganda appears. It is not possible, however clever the author, to incorporate much propaganda in simple exercises, or in such sentences as "Have you seen the sister of my cousin's wife?" or "The bird is waiting in the blacksmith shop on account of the rain."
But the following extracts from books used in the public schools of New York should not be without interest to those who know that the impressions given to persons under the age of sixteen or seventeen are the impressions that often persist through life.
For instance in the "Deutscher Lehrgang, First Year," by E. Prokosch of the University of Texas, "Die Wacht am Rhein" is printed with music.
I should be very much surprised to hear that the "Star Spangled Banner," with music, had ever been printed in any school book in Germany.
On page 109, of this book, there is an article in German entitled, "The German Constitution." It begins with the sentence, "The German Empire is a union State like the United States of America." How far the German Empire is from the United States of America in political liberty can be answered by any German immigrant or Jewish merchant who has voted under the circle system or been denied access to court because of his religion!
The second paragraph commences with the sentence, "The German Kaiser is not monarch of the Empire. He only is President of the Union." I am quite sure that if the Kaiser ever saw this sentence he would very soon convince the author that he was something more than the President. The article continues:
"He is the over-commander of the army. Through him is war declared and peace made, but he can declare war only with the consent of the Bundesrath."
The Bundesrath had nothing to say about the commencement of this war. They never voted on the question. The German Constitution, as a matter of fact, gives the Kaiser the right to declare war himself, providing that the war is a defensive war. In 1914, the Kaiser first announced, without presenting any evidence, that Germany had been attacked, and then declared war on the strength of this statement, never since substantiated.
The text book writer adds: "The people are represented in the Reichstag as the American people are represented in Congress." If the American people were represented in Congress under the same unfair representation from which the German people suffer, there would soon be a revolution in this country. The districts which elect members to the Reichstag have not been changed since 1872, so that millions of Germans are not represented at all in the Reichstag.
"Professor" Prokosch remarks: "The Bundesrath is like the Senate of the United States. It is composed of representatives of the particular States."
Of course, the only difference is that our Senators are elected by the people and the members of the Bundesrath are appointed by the ruling kings and princes of the German states and vote exactly as they are told by these rulers.
This is only to show how carelessly, if not maliciously, Professor E. Prokosch of the University of Texas and his helper, C. M. Purin of the State Normal School at Milwaukee, have handled the German Constitution, doubtless to give the impression to school children in America that the German empire instead of being a despotic autocracy, is ruled in very much the same manner as our own republic.
Frederick the Great, who admitted that he went to war "in order to be talked about," who boasted that he had only one cook and a hundred spies, who was one of the most tyrannical kings of all history, has a whole book dedicated to him for use in the Public Schools of New York. Frederick Betz, head of the Department of Modern Languages in the East High School of Rochester, New York, is the author of a book called, "About a Great King and Others." The author in the preface states that the anecdotes which he prints do not narrate the story of the lives of these famous Germans, but, nevertheless, give glimpses of what they did and may help to show why the Germans held them in such high esteem. The book contains four anecdotes about King Frederick William I, the father of Frederick the Great, a villainous king who was prevented from executing his own son only by the protests of the other kings of Europe.
Then follow forty-nine anecdotes about Frederick the Great, all of them, of course, revealing him as a good king and a popular character; eight anecdotes about Beethoven, Mozart, Schiller, and Lessing, and the remainder of the book is made up of one anecdote about Queen Louise, one about Field Marshal Bluecher, eighteen anecdotes about Bismarck, three about the Emperor William I, and three about the present Emperor.
The booklet entitled "German Poems for Memorizing," with music to some of the poems, edited by Oscar Burkhard, Assistant Professor of German in the University of Minnesota, contains a number of German patriotic poems and prints the "Wacht am Rhein" twice, once in the text and once with music. "Deutschland ueber Alles" is printed twice in the same way.
I should like to be present at the trial in the secret court in Germany of a schoolmaster who dared to teach his pupils to sing the "Star Spangled Banner" or the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Prokosch and Purin seem to be popular with the Board of Education, for they are represented by another book called "Conversation and Reading Book," which is full of stories and patriotic anecdotes. Charlemagne, Barbarossa and Frederick the Great are all exhibited as great men to be emulated. There is a picture of the coronation of Charlemagne which represents the Pope about to place the iron crown on Charlemagne's head while the Deity, attended by seraphim and cherubim, floating on clouds overhead, lends his presence to the ceremony; only another example of how the Prussians believe that God is the tribal Deity of their nation who takes a personal interest in all their ceremonies and wars.
A long article appears in these books entitled, "The Germans in the United States." It implies that William Penn had no success until he called in Dr. Daniel Pastorius of Frankfort. Among the bits of history set forth the author alleges that, in 1760, there were more than a hundred thousand Germans in Pennsylvania, and that on account of their importance in this State it was proposed to make German the official language, the proposition being beaten by only one vote! The article says further: "The only reason why the contentious Puritans succeeded in making English the language of the country and in impressing their character on its politics was because the German immigrants were poor, downtrodden people."
But it is when we come to the description of the War of the Revolution and other wars that the authors really turn loose. We learn that Washington's bodyguard was composed of Germans and that Baron von Steuben apparently reorganised the American army, so that Washington moved Congress to name General von Steuben, Inspector General, and to make his position almost independent. The writers say that the siege of Yorktown and surrender of the English army was in a great part the work of Steuben.
I think that other historians might have something to say on this subject. The authors fail to tell that Baron von Steuben, a soldier of fortune, who sold his services to the highest bidder, was hired to join the American army by a Frenchman, Beaumarchais, who sympathised with the United States.
Attention is also called to the fact that 190,000 Germans fought against the South and the authors observe in conclusion:
"If to-day the United States of America is a power of world political importance, if its industry, agriculture and commerce betoken a powerful danger commercially over the old Europe, so have they to thank the political power and the methodical perseverance of the Anglo-Saxon immigrants from England as well as the industry, the bravery and the cheerfulness of the Germans who have placed themselves politically in the service of the Anglo Saxons."
It is noteworthy that of the four books I have set forth as examples, three apparently have been produced since the commencement of the World War.
Does not all this show the hand of the German propaganda—the same hand which sends from Berlin every year a large sum of money to the German colonists in the southern states of Brazil in order that the German schools may be maintained there, German ideas inculcated and the population prevented from losing its German identity?
From the time of the visit of Prince Henry to this country the German system of propaganda has been at work smoothing out traditional differences and feuds between Germans and doing its best to make Germans from Bavaria, Saxony and Hanover and Wuerttemberg, and Hesse forget that their countries were conquered by the Prussians in 1866.
When Prince Henry was here on his trip through the country he spent very little time with Americans. He was chiefly occupied with German-Americans and German-American Societies.
Prince Henry's visit to the United States in 1902 was primarily to attend the christening of the racing yacht of the Emperor which was being built in this country. One of the members of his suite was von Tirpitz, then secretary of state of the German Navy. After having been officially received by President Roosevelt he visited Annapolis, Brooklyn Navy Yard and West Point and then toured the middle west stopping at twenty cities between New York and St. Louis. During the entire trip he continually asked questions of all the delegates sent with him by the U. S. Government, such as for instance facts about the shops at Altoona, the coal mines, farms, factories and handsome women!
At every station he was met by the Mayor of the city and the German Societies, and greeted with German music. The Deutscher Kriege Verein, a German Society consisting of military veterans, always had a place of honour in the celebrations. In many cities the German-American citizens gave the Prince albums or souvenirs in which were engraved pretty pledges of devotion to the Fatherland. For instance in Chicago, the German Roman Catholic Society presented the following address: "The German Roman Catholic Staats-Verband of Illinois begs your Royal Highness to permit it to express its great joy for your visit to the United States and to assure your Royal Highness of its respect and regard."
"We extend to your Royal Highness our heartiest greeting as the illustrious guest of this country and the envoy of the wise and noble ruler of our Fatherland, whom the world recognises and respects as prince of peace and as the representative of a great and mighty nation that by its own power has united its people and achieved its present prominent position among nations of the earth.
"May the Almighty grant that the visit of your Royal Highness bear a rich fruit, that rulers and their people may join together and thereby promote peace, harmony and good-will throughout the world! May God grant this prayer!"
Everywhere the Prince went he was surrounded by German-American and German influences. In St. Louis, where the Prince spent about three and a half hours, the German-Americans gave him a great reception in the Grand Hall and lunch at the St. Louis Club which was attended by many Germans. In Chicago, a reception was given after the Mayor's banquet, in the First Regiment Armory, and attended by ten thousand Germans. The following day in Chicago he went to a large luncheon at the Germania Club. In Milwaukee the officers of the Deutscher Kriegebund gave a reception at the Exposition where ten thousand German-Americans cheered the Prince, and also a luncheon at the Hotel Pfister where many German-American officials were invited.
The speeches throughout had the same tone, those of the German-Americans expressing their respect for the Fatherland and those of the Prince spurring on loyalty in the hearts of the German-Americans. The Prince's speech in the Armory in Chicago is quite typical. In reply to a speech made by a German-American, the Prince said:
"You have left your Fatherland, but if you still have some love for the Fatherland then I ask you to give three cheers for the one who has sent me here as the representative of Prussia to bring this greeting—the German Emperor and King of Prussia."
In another speech which the Prince began with "Mr. Chairman and Fellow-Germans," he said: "I would like to say that the Germans in this country have done a great deal for the literature and science of this country and I hope they will continue in this good work." The whole attitude of the Prince seemed to be one of benevolence to his "Fellow-Germans" and personal interest in them. Wherever the Prince discovered a German wearing the Iron Cross in the crowd, he would ask an aide to bring the man up to him so that he could shake hands and converse with him.
Talking with Prince Henry one day before the war he told me he regretted that on his trip to America he had seen so little of the Americans. He said: "You know the Ambassador kept me always with the Germans and German Societies." I suppose the poor Prince did not himself know what was the real object of his visit. But undoubtedly his shrewd trip manager and the clever propagandists who accompanied him knew only too well.
It is hard to understand why any German-Americans should take sides with German autocracy. There are many merchants of Frankfort and Hamburg and Bremen and the great industrial towns of Germany who do not approve of the cruelties practised in this war and many of these will leave Germany as soon as peace is concluded.
Any one had a right to sympathise, to side with Germany, before our entrance into the war. But now what the lawyers call "the time of repentance" has gone by, there is no middle course and every citizen must declare himself American or be thought a traitor.
It is hard to understand what the pro-Germans in our country want. They left Germany because of a lack of opportunity there, because of their dislike for military service under Prussian conditions, because of the caste system which kept them under the heel of autocracy and because here every avenue of business, and social and political advancement is thrown wide open for them and their children. And I am quite sure that if one of these prosperous Germans were deprived of the money that he has won here, given back the rags and wooden shoes in which he landed and told that he was on his way to Germany, no wild animal in all the mountains and swamps of the United States would scratch and bite and kick and squawk more vigorously than he would. These German-Americans do not want to be sent back to their Kaiser and their fatherland!
Certainly we Americans will not stop the war nor surrender our rights nor invite the invasion of our shores because of their stubborn devotion to a country which they were so glad to abandon. We must appeal to their sons and their daughters—to those who have become part and parcel of our nation, to see that these obstinate old codgers do not persist in an attitude which may end in creating a prejudice against those of German descent in America.
Those of us who are of Scotch or Irish or English descent can urge this with greater insistence because our ancestors were much nearer, in 1766, to the English fatherland, than German-Americans are to the German Empire and these ancestors did not hesitate in that year to turn against Great Britain on a mere question of commerce—did not hesitate again, in 1812, to face Great Britain in arms on a question of sea rights; and on account of this we expect all those of German-American descent to stand unreservedly by their adopted country,—forced into war by an autocracy that not only murdered our women and children in defiance of international law and common humanity but which threatens, if successful in this war, to invade our shores.
Do these stubborn German-Americans think that if a German force should occupy America their position would be any better than that of the other citizens of this country, that they would be put to rule over the rest of us and allowed to save their goods and houses from the indemnities that would be put upon this nation in case of our defeat?
Let me tell them one thing and that is, if by any remote possibility the Germans did gain a foothold in this country through the aid of those of German descent here, before we, of other descent in this country submitted to German rule we would attend to every traitor!
We did not lure any citizens of foreign nations to our shores. They came here to escape serfdom and starvation and forced military service in an army where they could never be officers. We sent them no excursion tickets when they came here as half-starved peasants. We opened to them the doors of hospitality and of opportunity, and we do not propose that they shall pay us like the frozen snake in AEsop's fables.
Some of our finest citizens came from Germany in 1848 after the failure of the revolution against autocracy. Where do you think that General Siegel and Carl Schurz would stand if they were alive to-day?
The daughter of General Siegel has answered in giving her son, on whom she was dependent, to the army of the United States, saying, "His grandfather fought under Lincoln for liberty and he must take his place to-day in the great fight for freedom."
We are too good-natured, too soft, too easy in this country. Our great ex-President, that splendid American and patriot, Theodore Roosevelt, said not long ago of one of our United States Senators, if that Senator were a German and acted in Germany the way he acted in America as an American he would be put at digging a trench. I do not like to differ with Theodore Roosevelt, but from my knowledge of German conditions during this war, I know that if this Senator acted as a German in Germany as he has been acting as an American in America, he would not be put by the Germans at digging a trench but that with the ten bullets of a firing squad in his chest he would be filling one!
Are these Germans in America imbued with the belief that the German Kaiser has been sent by heaven to rule the German Empire and bend the world under German "Kultur"? President Wilson, in one of his notes in 1916, referred to the German government as "the mouthpiece of the people." A German conservative newspaper, I think the Tages Zeitung, commenting upon this said that "the German Emperor is not our 'mouthpiece' but our truly beloved Emperor sent to us by God."
Does the German-American ever stop to consider how the Hohenzollerns obtained possession of the Mark of Brandenburg, the basis of modern Prussia? Five hundred years ago the Hohenzollerns were Counts of Nuremberg, then as now a rich trading city. Sigismund III wanted ready money and this was advanced by the Hohenzollerns, Counts of Nuremberg, on the security of the mark of Brandenburg pledged as collateral to the loan which totalled only $100,000. Later the Counts of Nuremberg foreclosed their mortgage and took possession of the Mark of Brandenburg and have held it ever since.
Does a German-American in this country who has placed a mortgage on his house think when he fails to pay the interest or principal of the mortgage that the man who has sold him out was sent by God?
This calls to mind one of the great failures of the war—the failure of religion in the German Empire. I attended a great service, in the Protestant cathedral of Berlin, held to celebrate the five hundredth anniversary of the occasion when the first Hohenzollern, having foreclosed his mortgage, entered into possession of Brandenburg. The Emperor sat in an elevated gallery and across the great cathedral Dr. Dryander, the Court preacher, mounted the pulpit to deliver an eulogy on the Hohenzollern rule and the Hohenzollerns.
What an opportunity then if Dr. Dryander, lifting an accusing finger, had spoken of the rivers of innocent blood sacrificed to the Prussian Moloch of conquest, if he had demanded in the name of Christianity that the barbarities of Prussian rule should cease, that the Belgian workingmen, dragged from their homes to manufacture shells to be used against their own brothers, sons and fathers in Prussian factories, should be sent back; if he had demanded that the twenty thousand women and girls driven into worse than slavery from Lille and Tourcoing and Roubaix in the North of France should be given their freedom once more; if he had spoken of the whole nation of the Armenians, of the Syrians, of the Jews, massacred by the Turks while the German Generals in command of the Turkish armies stood by; if he had denounced the invasion of Belgium, the breaking of treaties, the starvation of Poland, the horrors of poisoned gas and the cruelties exercised upon those of the opposing armies unfortunate enough to become prisoners of the Germans.
But no, Dr. Dryander droned on. No pastor in Germany has dared to risk his state-paid salary to stand up for Christianity and the right.
The Prussians cannot get away from the belief that they have a sort of personal God who takes a direct and kindly interest in their destinies, especially in the ordering of their bloody battles. Countless sermons were preached through Germany during the war, but the most ridiculous was that of a Protestant pastor in Berlin early in the war. He announced the title of his sermon as, "Is God neutral?", and in his fourteenthly proved to his own satisfaction, that the Deity, abandoning neutrality, had declared Himself unequivocally for the success of German arms!
THAT INTERVIEW WITH THE KAISER
After the appearance, in August, 1917, in the Philadelphia Public Ledger and other newspapers in America and the Telegraph in England of the message of the Kaiser to President Wilson, the official North German Gazette, evidently unaware of the fact that the original message of the Kaiser in his own hand was in my possession, published the following:
"The London Daily Telegraph publishes from the memoirs of former Ambassador Gerard a telegram that His Majesty the Kaiser is alleged to have sent to President Wilson on August 10, 1914, and in which the events before the participation of England in the present war are set forth.
"We are, in these circumstances, in the position TO GIVE THE ASSURANCE THAT A TELEGRAM OF THE KAISER OF THIS NATURE DOES NOT EXIST.
"It is correct that an audience was granted to Ambassador Gerard on August 10, 1914, in order to give the opportunity to spread before His Majesty the peace mediation offer of President Wilson.
"The personal message of President Wilson to the Kaiser runs as follows: 'As official head of one of the Powers which signed the Hague Convention, I feel according to Article III of this Convention it is my right and my duty to declare to you in the spirit of the truest friendship that I would welcome every opportunity to act in the interest of the peace of Europe whether now or at another more fitting time....'
"This proposition came at a time when the opposing armies had already crossed the frontiers and when it seemed out of the question to halt the march of events.
"His Majesty could, therefore, only transmit to the President his thanks for the mediation offered and to add thereto that it was too early for the mediation of a neutral Power, but that later the friendly proposition of President Wilson could be taken up again.
"His Majesty, the Emperor, then talked for some time with the American Ambassador and set forth to him separately the events which led to the outbreak of the war. Particularly did the Kaiser call attention to the equivocal and unloyal position of England which had destroyed the hope of a peaceful issue.
"The setting forth by Ambassador Gerard in his memoirs seems to be a contradiction of this conversation.
"If the press of enemy countries sees revelations in this that only shows that they are not acquainted with the German White Book which sets forth these events.
"Possibly, during the interviews, the Emperor wrote down notes for the Ambassador, in order that the latter should not send anything incorrect to Washington. In this case we have to do only with certain notes to aid the memory of the Ambassador, not with a communication of the Emperor to President Wilson."
The Tageblatt reprinted this lame and silly explanation in its issue of August 13, 1917, and complained that, although its correspondent at the Hague sent, on August 7, 1917, this part of my first book in a telegram, only on August 11, did the Government permit the delivery to the Tageblatt of this story from the correspondent. Then the newspaper despatch had to be submitted to the Censorship officials who only released it for publication at midnight. The Tageblatt says, "The form of the explanation which has now appeared in the North German Gazette can hardly be called very happy. What does this mean—'possibly during the interview the Kaiser wrote down notes for the Ambassador in order that the latter should not send anything incorrect to Washington'? Now, after a week the occurrence must have been fathomed and it was not necessary to make use of a 'possibly.' Could Mr. Gerard consider these 'notes' in the handwriting of the Emperor as a draft for a telegram? And do these notes read, as a telegram of the Emperor to Wilson—as Mr. Gerard repeats them?"
Does not the Tageblatt article give a glimpse not only of how the newspapers of Germany are hampered and censored, but of the positively glorious incompetency of the Government officials who denied the existence of an original document in the Kaiser's own hand which the most elementary inquiries in their own circle would have disclosed not only was in existence but in my possession?
The redoubtable Reventlow writing in the Conservative Tages Zeitung commented as follows:
"Kaiser William had possibly for his answer written down notes and given them to Gerard, but these were only helps for Gerard's memory and it was not a question of a direct communication of the German Kaiser to the President. In accordance with the Gerard reports it now seems that nevertheless the Ambassador telegraphed the Imperial notes immediately and literally to Washington. Mr. Gerard has, therefore, again in this respect lied, which is not surprising."
Reventlow, of course, had not then seen the facsimile of the Kaiser's telegram which is headed in his own hand "To the President, personally."
Later the other German newspapers took the Foreign Office to task for making such a weak denial of an incontrovertible fact. And note the charming parliamentary language of dear old Reventlow!
The article, which appeared in the Tages Zeitung of August 14th last, is interesting because Reventlow is without doubt the oracle and mouthpiece of the Prussian Conservatives. He continues to attack me in this article but much of the attack is in reality praise, and, as we say in expressive slang, "every knock is a boost." The article continues:
"It is very desirable to know if the former Chancellor was present at the audience; it is regrettably not inconceivable, but is a new proof of the incompetence of the Chancellor, that he did not, according to his duty, inform his Imperial Lord of the political personality and character of a man like Gerard.
"In the U-boat crisis Mr. Gerard had been able to play a quite decisive part. He was like Mr. von Bethmann-Hollweg entirely of the view that the German Empire must give in to the demands of the United States and constantly showed himself wonderfully informed about what step each inner circle would for the moment take.
"The influence of Mr. Gerard is all the more a shameful and heavy reproach for the official leadership of Mr. von Bethmann-Hollweg, since this American Ambassador, while an intriguer, was not a personality.
"But when Gerard said anything, wished anything or threatened anything, that imported always a fear-exciting event, and he was finally sly enough to seize and use this halo to the limit. That a man like Gerard has been able through all these years to win and keep such a position and such an influence over German affairs is without example."
But I must really put aside the halo which Reventlow so graciously hands me. While I was informed of what was going on, I certainly did my best to persuade Bethmann-Hollweg and von Jagow and Zimmermann as well as the Emperor and numberless others from defying America. If von Bethmann-Hollweg and any of the others were against ruthless submarine war, seeing that to adopt any other policy would bring America into this war, then they took this position because it seemed to them best for their country and history will prove them right.
Reventlow says further:
"In the winter of 1916-17 one dreamed already of loans and imports from the United States during the peace negotiations. Mr. Gerard came back from America with alms for the wounded and the result of his sublime patience and of the sublime patience of Mr. von Bethmann-Hollweg was pictured by the Gerard celebration in Berlin.
"Then came the decision for ruthless submarine war. The first time in his ambassadorial service was Mr. Gerard surprised and the men who entertained him were also surprised for they dreamed of and wished for quite other things. It is incorrect, if it has been stated, that at the time of the Gerard celebration ruthless submarine war had already been agreed on. That came later."
But I did know that ruthless submarine war was coming, knew of the orders given, and this is proved not only by my reports which are still secret, but by what I told not only many people in America but several editors who with my full approval published articles showing this belief.
I am obliged to Reventlow for what he says of me. I admire him as a powerful writer for whose ability I have a deep respect and perhaps if I were a Prussian Junker I would follow him as blindly and confidently as do the army and navy officers, the nobles, great and small, and the land-holding squires of Prussia, to whom his writings are as seductive as the pipings of the Pied Piper to the townsfolk of Hamlin.
Reventlow's charge of lying was made in the line of his duty as a Prussian Junker, according to the best traditions of Prussian government and diplomacy but it is so thoroughly disproved and the authenticity of the Kaiser's telegram so universally admitted in Germany, even in official circles there, that I feel only sorrow for a Prussian nobleman and Junker and editor compelled by the exigencies of his position to make so ridiculous a statement.
I think that the Germans just now are beginning to realise that I always told them the truth and treated them fairly, a procedure, I admit, far more disconcerting and disturbing to them than the most subtle wiles and moves of the old diplomacy.
Von Bethmann denied that the peace terms as set forth in my book were his (he did not deny that they are the terms of the Junkers) and criticised me for "unethically" publishing an account of my experiences in Germany. This is what he said:
"In his published report of this particular conversation Mr. Gerard attributed utterances to me which may have been made in other quarters in Germany and to which he frequently referred in the progress of our conversation but which were not my own. This applies especially to those references to Germany's alleged intentions to seize Liege and Namur, and of Germany's plans to take possession of the Belgian ports, the railways and to establish military and commercial dominion over that country.
"I never unfolded such German war aims to Mr. Gerard. In the course of my several conversations with him as also in our discussion last January I invariably referred to my Reichstag speeches in which I stated that Germany would exact positive guarantees that Belgian territory and politics would not in the future be exploited as a menacing factor against us. I did not make any statement as to the nature of these guarantees.
"In the progress of our conversation Mr. Gerard suggested that the realisation of far-reaching aspirations in Belgium would give King Albert merely a sham authority and asked whether it would not be better for Germany to forego such plans and instead of them endeavour to acquire Liege which Mr. Gerard thought possible of achievement.
"Perhaps this suggestion was a bait intended to provoke a reply from me. If so, the attempt failed. In all my discussions with the Ambassador on this subject I referred to my public utterances in which I emphasised that I was endeavouring to procure a peace that would permit us to live in cordial and neighbourly relations with Belgium.
"Mr. Gerard's memory would seem also to have served him faultily when he wrote down what was said about Russia. He dealt but superficially with Germany's eastern war aims, observing that the United States' interest in this direction was very limited and that Germany undoubtedly would have a free hand there. For Roumania and Serbia he also revealed very slender sympathy. Mr. Gerard did not obtain out of my mouth any of the statements concerning these countries which he attributes to me.
"When diplomats undertake to exploit their official career for journalistic purposes they are very apt to be misled into putting into mouths of foreign statesmen utterances which either are the creation of an ample imagination or are based on faulty memory. Discussion of political opinions is bound to be transitory and fleeting.
"You Americans are impetuous people. You do not seem to permit even your retiring diplomats to observe the traditional silences nor have you the patience to abide the post mortem publication of their memoirs. Sir Edward Goschen (former British Ambassador to Germany and Austria) or Jules Cambon (former French Ambassador to Germany, the United States and Spain) probably could excel Mr. Gerard in revelations of entertaining diplomatic history and gossip. Count von Bernstorff, former Ambassador to the United States, too, I imagine might startle us with a diary of his Washington experiences.
"In Europe, however, it was seen that publication of such matters was best postponed by common consent to a later period when judgments are both calm and more mature. Mr. Gerard, however, may hold the special license conferred by shirtsleeve diplomacy, as you call it, and I shall not dispute his prerogatives. But he must not give his imagination the free rein."
And this was my answer: published in the New York Times for September 2, 1917:
"Dr. Hollweg apparently did not have the exact copy of my articles for if he had read them he would have seen clearly that I said the peace terms described were the German peace terms and not the opinions of the Chancellor. Dr. Hollweg said he himself was subject to the rule of the military party of Germany and could not follow his own desires.
"In the second place, Dr. Hollweg admits that the German government intended to exact guarantees from Belgium and makes the admission himself after the interview in which he so sharply criticises me.
"Thirdly, I ask if those terms as cited are not the German peace terms, then what are the German peace terms?
"Dr. Hollweg gives nothing different from these and so it might be assumed they are the German terms after all. I consider it a matter of great regret that the German government put Dr. Hollweg out of office and I feel that personally he is bitterly opposed to the ruthless submarine warfare of the German government and that he only refrained from resigning his office out of deference to the wishes of Emperor Wilhelm.
"I presume he was put out because his ideals were too liberal for the German authorities to endure. This liberality is shown in the interview. I am sorry to take issue with Dr. Hollweg on this subject because I have a great admiration for him and I think he is a fine old fellow.
"The old-time diplomacy, which Dr. Hollweg advocated, has succeeded in plunging almost the whole world into the bloodiest war of history. When the people of a nation know what is going on in the seats of government such wars cannot happen.
"I do not believe in backstairs diplomacy any more than Dr. Hollweg. I believe the people of a nation are entitled to know what is going on. This German diplomacy may be all right in a monarchy of the most limited type but it will not go at all in a modern democracy.
"As to the ethics of publishing my memoirs now, I pass over the obvious repartee that to hear a German speak of ethics borders on the ludicrous and especially the man who openly in the Reichstag announced that necessity knows no law and that the German troops were at that moment deliberately violating the neutrality of Belgium.
"But I believe that the old style diplomacy in the dark caused this war. Of course, it is hard for a German ex-official to conceive that the people have a right to be enlightened about this awful calamity. But I hope one of the results of this war will be the end of backstairs diplomacy. When the Germans with the Chancellor's approval violated the usage of all nations and times and kept me as a hostage after I had demanded my passports, I think to talk of ethics comes with a bad grace from the German side."
Understand that Bethmann-Hollweg is not a bad man, but for one who openly announced that necessity knows no law and defended the invasion of Belgium, failed to stop the cruelties of the prison camps and gave official, if not private, consent to the murder of women and babies not only on the high seas but in undefended towns, to talk of ethics because I dared to tell the world what was happening in Germany is more than ridiculous. It verges on the ludicrous—but why attack poor Bethmann? Opportunity knocked at his door, but the want of a backbone prevented his becoming a great figure.
History will laud him for opposing ruthless submarine war so long, but will blame him for weakly yielding in the end. As for the "ethics," I have been careful to give only official conversations with the Emperor, interesting as the others are, and never shall disclose my private conversations with Bethmann, von Jagow, Zimmermann and others, including my talks with Bethmann and Zimmermann on the day I left Germany, because it was understood that these conversations should never be disclosed whatever happened.
And as time goes on more and more do I believe that history will vindicate von Jagow and teach the Emperor and the people of Germany that a faithful and skilful servant should never be sacrificed to the intrigues of a few gossiping politicians. It is part of the strength of President Wilson that he backs up his officials and refuses to listen even to widespread popular clamour for their heads. It was the business of von Jagow to conduct the Foreign policy of Germany, but the intriguers demanded his removal because he was too occupied to waste time talking to amateur politicians, and because his voice did not charm the Reichstag.
THE FUTURE KAISER—THE CROWN PRINCE AND HIS BROTHERS
In a country where the supreme power swings between the Emperor and the impersonal General Staff, all are interested, since even an Emperor is mortal, in learning something about the heir who succeeds in case of death. And we who face with the rest of the world the forces of Kaiserism desire to know about this heir.
The Crown Prince is about five feet nine, blond and slim. In fact, one of his weaknesses is his pride in an undeniably small waist which he pinches and his characteristic pose is with one foot thrown forward and one hand at the waist, elbow out and waist pressed in. He is well built, his face much better looking than his photographs show, nose rather long and eyes very keen and observing. Possessed of a great youthfulness of manner and a boyish liveliness and interest in life, his traits are somewhat American rather than German. He is a good sportsman and excels at many sports, is proud of his trophies but not afraid to meet other men in contest for them.
His manners are open and engaging and because of this he is very popular in Germany. Unlike his father on whom a pretty woman makes no impression whatever, he is a great admirer of female beauty, so much so that when he is playing tennis, for example, if there is a good looking girl watching he can hardly keep his eye on the game. This weakness for the feminine has been the foundation for countless stories linking his name with that of various women, in all countries and of all classes of life, but personally, I think these rumours are untrue and that he is fond of his lovely wife, who is not in the least disturbed by his frank and open admiration of other members of the fair sex. A brood of strong, good-looking children have been born to the Crown Prince and Crown Princess.
A Prince so fond of a good time, one who loves dancing and racing, hunting and shooting, with a shrewd eye and cool head, might make an ideal king, but the one dark shadow in the background is the Crown Prince's real love for war. From his seat in the Royal Box in the Reichstag, he has applauded violently and ostentatiously utterances looking toward war: he had made himself the head of the war party, and the Militarists look to him as their chief. The great danger is that if this war ends in the defeat of Germany without the democratisation of Germany then the Crown Prince will lead the party of revenge, of preparation for war, and if the war ends in what the Germans can call a success or ends in a draw (which means German success) then the Crown Prince and the Militarists, crying that the military system has been justified, will seek new excuses to enter once more on a war of conquest. All paths or speculations turn to one gate; if the German people continue slavishly to leave the power to drive them into war in the hands of the Crown Prince, or the Emperor, or the General Staff, there will be no prospect of such a world peace as can justify a universal disarmament. Absolute monarchs and Emperors and Crown Princes and their attendant nobles, all spell war. They are the products of war and they can only continue to rule if the desire for war animates their people.
While the Crown Prince has not set himself in direct opposition to his father or at any rate taken a part in public affairs with the view either to force his father's hand or take a dominant political part, nevertheless he has allowed no occasion to pass when he could encourage the army and war party even if this brought him into conflict with the policy of the Emperor, and so there have been periods of coolness between the Emperor and the Crown Prince son.
Thus after one scene in the Reichstag when the Crown Prince applauded those in favour of aggression it was reported that he was banished to Dantzig. At any rate during the winter of 1913-14 the Crown Prince and his family were at Dantzig, the headquarters of the regiment he commands, the famous "Death's Head Hussars."
Some say that it is a tradition in the Hohenzollern family for the Crown Prince to appear to oppose the King. Then, when the King dies, the Crown Prince enjoys a certain popularity in the first years of his rule from those who have been against the Government, and by the time this popularity has waned the new ruler is firmly seated on the throne.
The Crown Prince, born in 1882, will be thirty-five in May next. His military education began long before he was ten years old. In accordance with Hohenzollern custom, on his tenth birthday, he became an officer of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards and on this birthday was introduced to the other officers and took part in a regimental dinner. Before this great event he had learned enough of military drill and usages to carry himself as an officer.
In 1895, he and his brother Eitel entered as cadets at Ploen in Schwerin, where they were subjected to very strict discipline. After leaving Ploen the Crown Prince entered Bonn University, and there became a member of the "Borussia" student corps.
I never heard that he took part in the corps duels. His face is not scarred, so I imagine as heir to the throne he was excused from a custom in which other corps members are compelled by public sentiment to take part. From photographs I have seen and from what I have heard I believe that the Crown Prince entered cheerfully into the student life of the place and lived on terms of college equality with his brothers of the "Borussia" corps. These corps members, however, hold themselves aloof from other students.
The Crown Prince attended the Technical High School of Charlottenburg, that large building just across the canal which separates Berlin from Charlottenburg. Here he gained some knowledge of machinery, chemistry, etc. In 1909, he went to work in the Ministry of the Interior, where he learned something of government administration, how to manage the constabulary and their activities,—something quite necessary for an absolute ruler in a country where every citizen's acts is noted in the copy books of the police.
Meantime, his military activities continued. He was gradually promoted and finally, in 1911, became Colonel in command of the Dantzig Black Hussars. This regiment owes its black uniform and white death's heads to the thrift of Friedrich II who utilised the black funeral hangings at the elaborate funeral of his father to make uniforms for this regiment. It has been in existence about 175 years. The white death's heads and bones which appeared in the funeral trappings were used to make ornaments for the front of the regimental headgear.
While stationed at Dantzig the Prince was taught agriculture so as to understand the needs of the Prussian Junkers. He even studied the methods of brewing beer in the Dantzig brewery. His education has been strenuous. He has not been coddled or spoiled and is far better fitted for the battle of life than most graduates of our colleges.
The father of the Crown Princess was a Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and her mother a Russian Grand Duchess. In appearance the Crown Princess is very attractive, her face rather Russian, with an expression of good nature and cleverness. Although the Crown Prince is tall (about five feet ten), the Crown Princess overtops him, and on occasions when they appear together she wears shoes with very low heels and keeps her head bowed.
The marriage took place in 1905 and was undoubtedly a love match, the young couple having met in 1904 and become devotedly attached to each other.
There is only one defect in the character of the Crown Prince and that is his fondness for war, his regard for war not as a horror, but as a necessity, an honourable and desirable state.
I have long been apprehensive that when he came to the throne the world might again be hurried into a universal conflict and that vast military preparations would burden every State.
The Crown Prince and I often talked over shooting in various parts of the world. He wishes to see America and especially to kill game in Alaska where the heavily horned heads and enormous bears make such magnificent trophies. When I told him once how my friend, Paul Rainey, had killed seventy-four lions in Africa he could talk of nothing else at that interview.
The Crown Prince has been pictured as a libertine and a pillager. His face has been caricatured so often that people have the cartooned impression of him and believe him to be a sort of monstrous idiot.
On the contrary, he is a good sport, a clever man, a charming companion, but the shadow of military ambition hangs over all and I doubt if the effect of his infernal military education, commencing when he was a child, can be entirely removed.
If some day he learns the idiocy of war, if he recognises that the world has progressed, and allows the people some share in their own government, he will make a splendid constitutional ruler of Prussia and the German Empire.
Should the German people fail to take unto themselves the war-making power, they will, before long, be decimated again for the amusement of the Crown Prince, or as he once put it, "for his fun."
The favourite son of the Kaiser is presumed to be Prince Eitel Friedrich. A large, fat, healthy, good natured young man, married to the daughter of the Grand Duke of Oldenburg, a rather pretty but discontented looking Princess. It is said of him that he has shown not only great bravery in this war but real military capacity. Ridiculous scandals have been circulated about him in Berlin, but this is only the usual gossip circulated about persons in prominent positions.
Adalbert, the sailor Prince, is now married to a German Princess. He is the best looking of the Kaiser's sons, possessing all the charm, and vivacity of manners of the Crown Prince, but is without that Prince's absurd ideas about the necessity of war. Any one of those three sons of the Kaiser can give yards to any other young Royalty in Germany and win easily in capacity for administration and the King business.
Certainly if the German people insist on being ruled by some one and on being occasionally dragged out to be shot or maimed in an unnecessary war, they could not find more capable rulers than the Hohenzollerns.
Prince August Wilhelm is of a milder character. He, of course, wears the uniform of an officer, but has entered the civil service of the government. He is now a landrat or government official, and some day will be given charge of one of the provinces of Prussia such as Silesia or Posen. He is married to his first cousin, a niece of the Empress, the Princess Alexandria Victoria, daughter of H. H. Frederick Ferdinand, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gluecksburg. They have one son, a fine healthy specimen. The August Wilhelms live very simply in a palace in the Wilhelmstrasse, very plainly furnished. They are fond of amusements, riding, theatres and dancing. August Wilhelm has none of that desire of war so characteristic of the Crown Prince.
Of Princes Oscar and Joachim, little is known. Oscar, during the war, married Countess Bassewitz, who has been a Maid of Honour in the Palace. The marriage was of course morganatic, and on marrying the young Countess was given the title of Countess Ruppin. Her children will be Count and Countess Ruppin and cannot inherit in any contingency, the Kingdom of Prussia.
Adalbert had no resting place in Berlin, but perhaps now that he is married a palace may be assigned to him. Eitel Fritz and his wife occupy the Bellevue Chateau between the Tiergarten and the River Spree. His wife is childless.
The Kaiser, the Crown Prince or some of the numerous Princes of Prussia are always rushing about the streets in motors, each one heralded by a blast on the cornet. Beside the chauffeur on each royal motor sits a horn player who plays the particular few notes of music assigned to that Prince. The Kaiser's call goes well to the words fitted to it by the Berliners, "celeri salade" (celery salad) and has quite a cheerful sound.
On days of an outdoor function the streets ring with these calls as the royal automobiles whizz back and forth. It is forbidden by law for any one other than royalty to announce his coming by more than one note on a Gabriel horn, or other device. I do not know whether out of town or suburban royalties from Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Strelitz, Lippe, etc., are allowed this privilege when in Berlin; I think not, and that is perhaps one reason why they so consistently shun the capital of Prussia.
When the Kaiser motors to Potsdam he usually sits in one of three motors which travel very fast, one behind the other. I do not know whether this is by design or not, but of course, it makes an attempt on his life more difficult.
I used one of the Kaiser's motors in occupied France—a large Mercedes, run by a skilful driver at a great rate of speed.
The Crown Prince is especially fond of horses and if he succeeds to the throne will undoubtedly keep up the Royal stable or Marstall. This is situated on the bank of the Spree across the square from the Royal Schloss in Berlin. There are kept the carriages of state, those sent to bring Ambassadors to the Palace when they first present their letters, two hundred splendid saddle and driving horses, with modern carriages, four-in-hand coaches, dog carts, etc. Most of the Foreign Ambassadors use state carriages for great occasions, with bewigged coachmen and standing footmen. I think Ambassador White was the last American who indulged in the luxury of a state carriage. As a plain dress suit did not exactly fit with a Cinderella coach, I went to functions, such as the Emperor's birthday reception, in a large automobile, retaining only of the former state the necessary body huntsman who acted as footman on these occasions and who wore a livery of hunting green, a cocked hat, with red, white and blue plumes and a long hunting dagger in his belt.
Out of consideration for the feelings of others I retained the porter in his old finery, a Berlin institution. At state dinners the porter of a Royalty or Ambassador stands at the house entrance, clad in a long coat, wearing a silver belt diagonally across his chest, and crowned by an enormous cocked hat worn sideways. The porter carries also a great silver headed staff, like a drum major's baton, and when guests of particular importance arrive he pounds this stick three times on the pavement.
It used to amuse the Berlin crowd lining Unter den Linden to see the Ambassadors and Ministers leave the Palace or Cathedral on the Kaiser's birthday, New Year's day, etc., to see the state carriages of the other Ambassadors overtaken by the modern automobile from America.
The Berlin lower classes are renowned for their dry wit and they find much to amuse them in the tasteless statues and monuments of Berlin.
In the square outside our house was a statue of one of Friedrich the Great's generals which seemed to afford the boys great fun. The General is shown in the act of reflectively feeling his chin and by chance is gazing uncertainly at the barber shop of the neighbouring hotel Kaiserhof.
Nobody knows, of course, whether the present Crown Prince will succeed Emperor William—nobody knows the fortunes of war or the fate that this war has in store for the Hohenzollerns but while I personally like the Crown Prince, admire his skill in sports, his amiable ways, his smiles to the crowd, I know also of his crazy belief in war. And so long as a ruler persists in this, he is as dangerous to the peace of the world as a man with a plague to the health of a small community.
WHEN GERMANY WILL BREAK DOWN
I remember a picture exhibited in the Academy at London, some years ago, representing a custom of the wars of the Middle Ages.
A great fortress besieged, frowns down on the plain under the cold moonlight. From its towering walls the useless mouths are thrust forth—if refused food by the enemy, to die—the children, the maimed, the old, the halt, the blind, all those who cannot help in the defence, who consume food needed to strengthen the weakened garrison.
Every country of the world to-day is in a state of siege, is conserving food and materials, but not yet has Germany sent forth her useless mouths, to Holland, to Scandinavia and to Switzerland, a sign that not yet is the pinch of hunger in the Empire imperative.
Since I arrived in America in March, 1917, I have been like Cassandra, the prophetess fated to be right, but never believed. I said then Germany would never break because of starvation, or fail because of revolution, and that her man-power was great.
We have not made sacrifices enough in this war, there are too many useless mouths. I believe that there are in the States of New York and Pennsylvania alone 175,000 professional chauffeurs, a great number of them employed on automobiles not used for business or trucking. And then think of the thousands of skilled mechanics employed in garages and factories repairing and making mere pleasure vehicles. If all these chauffeurs (nearly all with some knowledge of machinery) and mechanics were put at work building ships or making rifles there would be no loss to the country, but certain overfed women and their poodles would have to walk, greatly to the advantage of their health and figures.
Private automobiles disappeared very quickly in Germany. At first a man who could not reach his business in any other way was allowed to use his own automobile but even these soon went out of commission and then bicycles were forbidden except for rides to and from business, work or school. A few ramshackle taxicabs still survive in Berlin at the railway stations, driven by benzol instead of gasoline and shod with spring tires. No one can keep a taxi waiting, it is subject when waiting to be commandeered by the first comer.
Gradually as we realise the gravity of the conflict our lives will become more earnest and luxuries will be given up to meet the changed condition. There must be a committee who will tide over the workers in luxury industries and help them to learn new war trades. This was done in Germany by the great organisation of the Woman's Service. Already Fifth Avenue dressmakers have dismissed many of their workers, who, being without resources, should receive assistance and advice until they have learned other trades.
Our farmers are entitled to cheaper labour. Why should not enemy aliens work our farms? We do not propose to make the Austrian and German and Hungarian women agricultural slaves as the Germans made the Russian women caught by the war within the borders of Germany, nor have we the right, I believe, to force civilian prisoners to work. But we can give these civilian men instead of meat twice a day, now given them, the same food which the Germans give their prisoners, until the enemy aliens volunteer to work in our fields. They should, of course, work as in Germany under guard. They should be used also in mines, factories, etc. The sooner we use every ounce of war energy, the sooner we shall beat Germany and obtain a lasting peace.
Eventually forced by the hopelessness of the economic situation, the nerve of Germany will break. There is a suicide point in the German character. The German has been sustained since the war by victories somewhere. No defeats were brought home to the German people. Viewed from inside the German Empire what are the loss of a few villages on the West front or even of distant colonies compared to the conquest of Belgium, of the richest part of France, of thousands of square miles of Russia, of Roumania, Montenegro and Serbia? With the exception of a very small bit of Alsace the war is being fought far from German territory. The German can swagger down the streets of the capitals of his enemies, in Brussels, Belgrade, Bucharest, Warsaw and Cettinje and Prussian greed exacts tribute from rich cities from Lille on the West to Wilna far within the frontiers of Russia.
Our President has never faltered. He will convince the Germans at last that we are unfaltering, in the war, that nothing can swerve us from our goal,—the destruction of the autocracy which looks on war as good and seeks the dominion of the earth. When the Germans grasp that, then will come the suicide point.
There is nothing in the war for the German who is not a noble or a junker, an officer or an official. German victory will only bend the collar of caste and servitude, low wages and militarism tighter on the German neck. Sooner or later the deceived German will discover this; revolution will not come during the war, but after it, unless it closes with a German peace, or unless in anticipation of revolt, rights are granted to the people.
We cannot stop, we cannot bear the burden of the debts of this war and at the same time burden ourselves with future military preparation to meet a confident conquering Germany ready to carry the sword into South America. Whatever the sacrifice, we must go on.
And for each country and for the Allies as a whole there is one word, Unity.
When all had signed our Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin said, "And now we must all hang together or we all shall hang separately."
Russia has, for the moment, failed and unless she recovers herself she will pay the penalty by submission to German rule.
Is there a defect in the Russian character? Is persistency lacking? In 1760, the Russian troops had taken Berlin. If Russia had gone on strongly with the war, the power of Frederick the Great might have been broken. But apparently the Russian troops simply turned around and went back to Russia. In 1854, in the Crimean War, after a long siege and bitter losses, the French, Turks, English and Sardinians succeeded in taking one Russian city, Sebastopol, in the extreme southern part of Russia. With this exception, Russian territory was intact and yet the Czar Alexander II, shortly after the death of Nicholas, begged for peace. As a result the Black Sea was made for a time neutral and no state could have warships or arsenals on it with the exception of small gunboats for police purposes.
In 1878, after the Russo-Turkish war, when the Russian troops were in sight of the minarets of Constantinople, the Russians allowed themselves to be bluffed by the diplomats of Europe from obtaining the fruits of victory.
Secretly or openly, Germany will propose to the world to take her pay from the skin of the Bear, from the conquered territories of Russia which remain in her possession. The inhabitants of those territories would have to become the slaves of Prussia as did the inhabitants of Belgium and Northern France. Prussians of Russia paid the agitators to talk about peace without indemnities. Germany, since the first days of the war, has been taking indemnities not only in money, but in property and in labour from the conquered countries. Belgium alone has been compelled to pay a tribute of forty-million francs a month (lately sixty million) to her conquerors and vast sums have been exacted from Lille and other conquered cities. Property, including machinery, has been seized and transported to Germany in the effort, not only to obtain a temporary advantage, but to destroy forever factories that compete with German manufacturers.
Especially do the German autocrats hope to obtain the so-called Baltic provinces as a spoil of war. Of Courland, Livonia and Esthonia now largely occupied by the German invaders, Courland and Livonia were originally possessions of the Teutonic Knights, then became a part of Poland and finally passed to Russia. The three provinces were governed semi-independently, until 1876, when they became in all respects an integral part of the Russian Empire. The land in the provinces is held by great landowners, mostly of German blood—and the mass of the population belongs to the Lutheran Church. The peasants have been kept down by the lords of the soil, whose sympathies turn to Germany.