I am reminded of words used by one of my Swiss friends: "As soon as soldiers must get their fighting force from suggestions of puerile besmirching of the enemy, then war indeed becomes intolerably base."
Annette Kolb, daughter of a German father and a French mother, had the courage to proclaim openly in a public lecture at Dresden that she was faithful to both sides, and to express her regret that Germany should fail to understand France. After all, German intolerance must have its limits for such a bold speech to be possible.
Wilhelm Herzog in the Munich Forum has attacked the intellectual fire-eaters, the patriots who insult other peoples and the Chauvinists generally. He defends France, the French army and French civilisation, against the brilliant novelist, Thomas Mann. Above all does he condemn the intellectual babble: "The wrong that these privy councillors and professors have done us with their 'Aufklaerungsarbeit' can hardly be measured. They have isolated themselves from humanity by their inability to realise the feelings of others."
Mr. Lowes Dickinson has called attention in the Hibbert of October, 1915, to a pamphlet by Dr. Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster, entitled "Deutschlands Jugend und der Weltkrieg." The same pamphlet is quoted in The Ethical Movement of the same date. Here are some extracts:
"Hate disorganises, love disciplines. Fill yourselves with deepest sympathy for all who suffer in war, whose hearts are crushed, whose bodies are broken, whose homes are burned ... and win a peace which shall make the recurrence of such things for ever impossible. Such a purification from the passion of hate is often easier on the field than at home. Those who remain behind have an abstract enemy in view. The soldier sees living men who suffer and die like himself." It will startle the English reader to find Dr. Foerster pleading earnestly that the English soldier is not responsible for the ways of his government or of his leaders. The Germans are to remain true to themselves whatever the others may do. Each side, observe, accuses the other of barbarous methods, and impartiality is impossible. The most that one can expect of the ardent partisan is perhaps that he should, like Dr. Foerster, urge those on his side to remain true to their ideals, whatever the enemy may do. "England has given us also the Salvation Army, and invaluable higher points of view for the treatment of Labour questions and social work. She has taught our revolutionary spirits and moderated our party passions. Let us always remember this, and in that remembrance grasp again in the future the proffered hand." For Dr. Foerster it is for this better England that Germany now fights, just as for many an Englishman it is for the better Germany that England is fighting. "And it is better for us to fight for that better England than to rage and spit upon ... Grey and his followers. In sleepless nights kindle the eternal light of Christ in your souls and try to love your enemies. Think of that great William Booth and of all the English greatness and goodness embodied in him; of Florence Nightingale, the heroine and saint, whose pioneer work is still binding up to-day unnumbered wounds; and think of Carlyle, Ruskin, and Toynbee and of those mighty forces of conscience which spoke in their words and gave to us Germans, and will give us yet, so much that is great."
"Christ stands against war and above war. He who loses sight of this truth slays that deep conscience of civilisation which is meant to goad us unceasingly on to allay this fury of war. We know well that if we were Christians there would be no war." Foerster denounces the bawling haters "who must open their mouths 42 centimetres wide," and think that he who does not do it is no patriot.
"To conquer and silence them must be your first task, young men of the new Germany; you who have been purified by sacrifice and suffering. For what would it profit our people if it gained the whole world and lost its own soul?" May we not, mutatis mutandis, take this appeal to heart ourselves?
"The essence and foundation of the State is precisely the opposite of power, viz., law, treaty, fellowship between opposed interests, and the whole outer strength of a State rests upon the depth and firmness of these, its inner conditions and links. Therefore the first commandment of life for the State is not to create for itself might but to care for the ethical unity of its members, for the supremacy of the conscience and the sense of law above rude self-interest."—(Quoted in the Ethical Movement, October, 1915.)
Granted that voices such as those of Herzog, Foerster, Schuecking, Schwantje are a minority, it is yet plain that they represent more than themselves. The existence of such reviews and utterances implies the existence of at least many thousands who have not been deluded by their governors. Of those who have been deluded into enmity, but who have never dreamed of world dominance, there are, I am convinced, many millions. Bernhardi was introduced to Germany by England. There were four million Social Democrats. They have defended their country, but they have never dreamed of aggression. The time will come to claim the help of these men and the many others of the wiser Germany. That wiser Germany will yet live to be, not an army of destruction, but an army of progress.
Henrietta Thomas, of Baltimore, Maryland, went early in 1915 with a message of fellowship from English people to German people. There was some surprise, some tendency to view the message as Utopian, but always a cordial acknowledgment and a real goodwill. Dr. Siegmund Schulze was most heartily in sympathy. "He feels that the ultimate hope of peace lies in the increasing use of arbitration." "One very sweet-spirited elderly gentleman in Berlin said that when he prayed things looked different—he seemed to see things through God's eyes—but as a man he had to fight." "At Stuttgart and Frankfurt I found the peace people more thoroughgoing in their sentiments." The secretary of the Stuttgart Peace Society said: "The armed peace of Europe is an exploded idea. As long as we have armies we shall use them. We must educate the people to realise this, and to work for disarmament."
Lichtstrahlen was originally founded as an independent monthly periodical by a Socialist, Julian Borchardt. The periodical was unofficial and had a difficult struggle for existence. This was before the war. When the war broke out the editor took as strong a line against it as the censor allowed. The circulation rose so much that Borchardt was able to convert the monthly into a weekly. Rosa Luxembourg and Frank Mehring, greatly daring, started the Internationale with the object of rebuilding the International Labour and Socialist movement during the war. The review was instantly suppressed, but was reprinted afterwards at Berne. Among the contributors is the well-known Clara Zetkin. She refers enthusiastically to the Christmas message sent by British women to the women of Germany and other belligerent countries. (Labour Leader, June 17, 1915.) Marie Engelmann, of Dresden, has protested with equal strength.
FROM AN AMERICAN LADY.
The following is an extract from a valuable letter by Madeline G. Doty, an American, which appeared in the Nation of June 12, 1915:
My most revolutionary talk was with a gray-haired mother of grown children, in a secluded corner of a quiet restaurant. A burning flame this woman. Her face stamped with world suffering, her eyes the tragic eyes of a Jane Addams. In a whisper she uttered the great heresy: 'German salvation lies in Germany's defeat. If Germany wins when so many of her progressive young men have been slain, the people will be utterly crushed in the grip of the mailed fist.'
With this companion I discussed the collapse of the Social Democrats in the hour of crisis, the triumph of nationalism over internationalism. She attributes it to military training. During the period of service a man becomes a thing. Automatically, he acquires habits of obedience, is reduced to an unquestioning machine. Mechanically, when the call came, the Social Democrats, with the others, fell into line. But with time has come thought. Also knowledge—knowledge that, in the first instance, Germany's war was not one of self-defence. But it is too late to rebel. Most of the Social Democrats are at the front. From month to month they have put off protest as unwise. Only Liebknecht has made himself heard. Now he has been caught up in the iron hand, and sent to battle. But women are not bound by the spell of militarism. While the Government rejoiced at the submission of its Socialist men, the women grew active. Organising a party of their own, they fought bravely. Last fall Rosa Luxembourg dashed into the street and addressed a regiment of soldiers. 'Don't go to war, don't shoot your brothers,' she cried. For this offence she was sent to prison for a year. To-day she lies in solitary confinement. But her suffering only inspires the others. In March 750 women walked to the Reichstag. At the entrance they halted. As the members entered they shouted, 'We will have no more war; we will have peace.' Quickly the police dispersed them, and the order went forth that no newspaper should print one word of the protest. Still the women work on. On April 8, an International Socialist Woman's Congress was held at Berne, Switzerland. Ten nations were represented, including all the belligerents.
The task of peace propaganda in Germany is gigantic. Neither by letter nor by Press can news be spread. Both are censored. The work must be carried on by spoken word passed from mouth to mouth. The courage of the little band of women I had met was stupendous. Through them I learned to love Germany. So my life in Berlin became a double one. I ate and slept, and was unregenerate in one part of the town, and only really lived when I escaped from respectability and, strange contradiction of terms, became a criminal fighting for peace.
But wherever I was, one fact grew omnipresent. Germany was magnificently organised. Here lay the country's power and her weakness. Her power because it made Germany a unit. There were no weak links in the chain. Her weakness, because it robbed her people of individuality, made them cogs in a machine.
"Germany no longer cares whom she hurts," runs another passage in this letter; "like an unloved child at bay she means, to smash and kill. The pity of it! Never was there a more generous, soft-hearted, kindly people. Germany, the land of the Christmas tree and folk songs, and hearthsides and gay childish laughter, turned into a relentless fighting machine! But each individual is a cog firmly fixed in the machine, which will go ever on as long as the ruling power turns the crank."
TWO SOLDIERS' LETTERS.
"If I were not firmly convinced that even this war will help to establish the Kingdom of God I could hardly endure it. But I believe that after passing through this hell humanity will come to itself and learn to believe in the reign of human brotherhood.... I cannot tell you the moral suffering I go through. These butcheries are utter madness. I cannot forget for a moment that our enemies are men, and consequently our brothers." So wrote a young German soldier student quoted by Mr. Jerome K. Jerome.
The following letter is from the Vossische Zeitung. A soldier's young sister had written asking him to "kill a lot of Russians" and "to gain a new victory in order to cheer us up." "'Kill a lot of Russians.' You have not seen them lying about—those poor dead, with their singularly solemn faces.... You have not seen the battle which preceded, and the bad wounds which so many of my friends got in trying to kill a lot of them. You do not think of the fact that those dead men had parents, brothers, and sisters whom they loved. And you have not seen the harrowing destruction of the villages and towns—how the poor, hunted-down population is running away, leaving everything they had behind them to be consumed by the flames.... And then, remember, we are not fighting in order to cheer you up—we are not lying about in the open-air day and night, starved and suffering from wounds and homesickness, in order that you at home may be cheerful at the tea or beer table. We are fighting and bearing this terrible wretchedness in order that you may he spared the horrors of war, and that Germany's future may be bright." That is, I believe, what the enormous majority of Germany's soldiers are fighting for. Soldiers on both sides have similar and quite reconcilable aims; but government is too complex to express the simple will of the people. In every country, it seems to me, anti-militarist opinion only needs its chance. I was struck by the frequency with which such an opinion cropped up when I was travelling a few weeks in Germany not long before the war. On the top of the Belchen I encountered it in talking to a native of Wuertemberg. Again in a walk with a young German to the Feldberg; again in a book-shop at Freiburg; again in chance railway talk with a very well-educated German on my way to Berlin. In Berlin itself a giant Westphalian accosted me, as he wanted to make the acquaintance of "one of these terrible fellows who mean to smash up Germany." His political ideal consisted in the belief that England and Germany, understanding each other, could keep the peace of the world.
Dr. Albert Klein, of Giessen, who was killed in the Champagne in February, felt compelled to side with his Government, as so many do in times of crisis. To that extent his was a biased judgment. It is a bias that one has seen possessing almost everywhere the noblest souls. But Klein could write thus:
When I read all this inflated stuff in the papers—written by men guiltily conscious of being very safe in their offices at home—to the effect that every soldier is a hero, I feel positively disgusted. Heroism is far too rare to form a basis for a national army. What is needed to make and keep that a coherent whole is that men must respect their leaders and fear them more than the enemy, and that leaders must be conscientious, true to their duty, well informed, resourceful and self-controlled. Thank God, there is plenty of the good old discipline yet. But these fine fellows come along, concoct a mess of New Year reflections and Centenary speeches and boldly declaim about the German spirit that is to heal mankind. They pick up all the filth of the foreign Press and fling it back with threefold interest. It is just because I am so passionately devoted to all that the noblest Germans have done for the civilisation of the world that I do not desire to see us burdened with a task we cannot accomplish.
If Germany's contribution to the world's civilisation is the highest we can strive for, we must seek afresh to live in peace and concord with the other nations. Then we shall cease calling every Englishman a hypocrite and every Frenchman empty-headed, quite apart from the daily proofs we get of their military ability. Oh, my dear friends, believe me, the man on the spot who sees and experiences all this, does not talk so complacently of death and sacrifice and victory, as those who, far from the front, ring the bells, make fine speeches and write the papers. He resigns himself to the bitter necessity of suffering and death when the hour comes, and he knows and sees how many, too many sacrifices have already been made, knows it is time, high time that all this devastation ceased, not only on our side, but on the other side, too.
It is just in seeing all this suffering that we feel a new bond of sympathy (and you, my dear ones, would feel just the same, yes, I know, you feel it already) uniting us with the enemy.
If, as I hardly dare to hope, I return from this murderous war, it will be one of my most welcome duties to steep my mind in the culture of those that now oppose us. I mean to build up on a broader basis the aim and purpose of my life, namely, historical and philosophical meditation on culture in its highest form.
Last night I was strangely moved, having an opportunity of seeing a convoy of prisoners and speaking to one of them, a colleague, a classical philologist from Vigeac. Such a frank, intelligent man, with an excellent military training, as indeed were all the company with him! He told me how terrible it had been to endure the firing of our machine-guns (demoralisant, he called it)—and showed me clearly the utter senselessness of war. How we should like to be friends with people so like us in education, habits of life, thought and interest.
We soon got into conversation about a book on Rousseau and began a regular argument, like two old philologists. He saw the ribbon in my button-hole and when he heard it was the Iron Cross he said: "Felicitations!" His sparkling interest in the striped ribbon seemed to me so characteristic of a Southern Frenchman and very touching.
How alike we are in worth and merit! How untrue all these tales told by our papers of the French being broken and spent! Just as untrue as all that the Temps writes about us. And all he said, this French colleague of mine, betrayed so much independent thought and respect for German mind and character. Why should we, fated to be friends, always be divided? I was deeply troubled, and sat there for a long time lost in thought, but all my brooding brought me no solution.
And the end not in sight yet, the end of this war, that for six months has been gorging itself with human life and prosperity and happiness! The same feeling amongst us and amongst them! Always the same picture! We are so much alike, we achieve the same, we suffer the same, just because we happen to be such bitter enemies.—(From the International Review.)
The following is another extract given by M. Romain Rolland. It is taken from the letter of a German soldier to a Swiss professor:
The longing for peace is intense with us. At least with all those who are at the front, forced to kill and to be killed. The newspapers say that it is not possible to stem the war-like passion of the soldiers. They lie, knowingly or unknowingly. Our pastors deny that this passion is abating. You cannot think how indignant we are at such nonsense. Let them hold their tongues and not speak of things they do not understand. Or, rather, let them come here, not as chaplains in the rear, but in the line of fire, with arms in their hands. Perhaps then they will perceive the inner change which is going on in thousands of us. In the eyes of these parsons a man who has no passion for war is unworthy of his age. But it seems to me that we who are faithfully doing our duty without enthusiasm for the war, and hating it from the bottom of our souls, are finer heroes than the others. They speak of a Holy War. I know of no Holy War. I only know one war, and that is the sum of everything that is inhuman, impious, and beastly in man, a visitation of God and a call to repentance to the people who rushed into it, or allowed themselves to be drawn into it. God has plunged men into this Hell in order to teach them to love Heaven. As for the German people, the war seems to be a chastisement and a call to contrition—addressed first of all to our German Church.
GERMANY IN PEACE TIME.
Enough has been cited to give a glimpse of the better Germany in the time of this war. Let us remember, too, what she has been in peace. "After all, in our saner moments we all of us know that the Germans are a great people, with a great part in the world to play. Their boasts about their 'culture' are not idle boasts, and, when one comes to think of it, it is rather important to have in our midst a people that cares to boast about its culture. The Englishman is more given to complaining than boasting, and when he does boast it is certainly not about culture. As it seems to me, the Germans excel in two things—simple tenderness of sentiment and the work of patient observation. I am aware that it has for a considerable time been the mode in England to slight German literature. Personally, I consider this one of those temporary poses to which superior persons are liable. Leave out all the great names if you will—Goethe, Schiller, Heine, and the rest—and we still have the folk-songs. A nation that can produce those folk-songs has got unusual gifts for the world. And, of course, we envy the Germans their music. Of all the contemptible utterances that this war has produced (and it has produced a good many) none has been worse than the silly blathering against German music just because it is German. What have Beethoven, Bach, Schubert, Schumann, Wagner got to do with the politics of the present war? Leaving the arts aside, it is quite certain that in any region where careful observation and painstaking thought are required, no one can afford to neglect Germany. Recently I was looking through May's 'Guide to the Roman Pottery in the York Museum.' Among the names of those dealing with the subject of Roman pottery I suppose the best known are those of Dechelette and Dragendorff—the one French, the other German. Among the other references I found fourteen to German publications and four to English, one of the latter being merely a museum catalogue. No one can study philosophy without continual reference to German thought. Even in a subject so English as the study of Shakespeare the work of Gervinus is fundamental, and from the time of Lessing to that of Ten Brink there has been a succession of German commentators. Those of us who have worked at all at science know only too well what we owe to Germany there. It has, indeed, been at times painful to compare the mass of the German output with the comparatively thin stream of English work. Of course, there has been splendid English research, but as a people we are not lovers of knowledge, and we are specially loath to apply it. Again and again our scientific papers have been filled with diatribes against our English neglect of science, and the diatribes were needed. I remember asking a British firm of repute to construct for me a resistance 'bridge' of a simple kind. I explained the whole purpose of the apparatus, but when it came back to me the resistance wire was soldered down in two places to broad bands of brass. This, of course, altered the resistance and rendered the apparatus useless. A rudimentary knowledge of electricity would have made such a mistake impossible. Contrast this with the following: When I was a student a lecturer wished to prepare a rather rare compound for some work of his. We both tried for long to prepare a specimen, but failed, probably because the temperature of our furnace was not high enough. We then sent to a German firm of manufacturing chemists, and they prepared it for us at once. I remarked recently to an English scientific chemist, 'No English firm would have done that.' 'Well, if you had pressed them,' he replied, 'they would have sent over to —— (a German firm) and then put their own label on the bottle.' A 'chemist' in too many of our works has too often been a lad who has picked up some routine knowledge, but who has no more scientific equipment than a farm labourer. Contrast this with the state of things at the Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik, where as many as sixty trained chemists are employed.
"I have often thought of these things when I have heard manufacturers bewailing German competition. The war has produced many strange intellectual somersaults, and it is curious to notice how many Free Traders are now eager for the destruction, not temporarily, but permanently, of German trade. A few months ago they would have preached in season and out on the advantage to England of receiving cheap goods, they would have extolled German scientific methods, and they would (with every right) have pointed out that a customer who buys forty million pounds' worth of our goods is scarcely one whom we should wish to destroy. All these facts remain absolutely unaltered by the war. All that has happened is that a half-ashamed jealousy is no longer ashamed, and is masquerading as patriotism so successful as to have misled the majority of our countrymen—for a time. The day of reckoning will come, and we shall not then find it any better than previously to buy dear goods to please the manufacturers. Moreover, our men of business will not have learned scientific methods by the end of the war. A publisher's circular that I recently received appealed, on patriotic grounds, for the purchase of a book on applied science. I am not very cynical, but I confess that I distrust these trade appeals to patriotism. The true patriot does not advertise his patriotism in order to make money. In this case the work was well known and important, but it was interesting to observe that almost every one of the contributors was German, and that the rest were German-Swiss. Surely, in spite of its horror, there are many things in this contest to make the gods laugh."
It is pleasant to find recognition of Germany's commercial deserts among British commercial men. The annual conference of the United Kingdom Commercial Travellers' Association was opened at the Town Hall, Manchester, on May 24, 1915. Sir William Mather, who was unanimously elected president, referred to Germany as follows:
The position of Germany in the world of commerce had been attained as the result of years of patient and persistent organisation, of close application to business, of exhaustive and careful research work, and full appreciation of the requirements and necessities of the markets for which she was catering, and a determination to meet those requirements in strict accordance with the wishes and needs of her potential customers. Behind all the efforts had been lavish financial support by the German Government, and the pledging of national credit for individual and private enterprise.
The position secured by Germany as a result of her persistent application of these methods was not to be seriously challenged, nor would she be deprived of her hold upon it by anything other than the use by Englishmen of the same skill, the same elasticity, the same persistence, and the same efficiency in every branch of commerce.
Commercial travellers, as one of the most important parts of the mechanism, must, if the desired result be obtained, make themselves fully efficient for their part in the work. They had been perhaps, as vocal as any section of the community as to the necessity and possibility of extending English trade, but it was much to be regretted that when opportunities were given and facilities provided, more particularly for the younger men to equip themselves for the work which had to be done in extending British commerce abroad, the response was extremely inadequate.—(Daily Telegraph, May 25, 1915.)
As regards chemical research there also fortunately remain those who still ungrudgingly admit our enormous indebtedness to Germany. In March, 1915, Professor Percy Frankland, F.R.S., addressed the Birmingham Section of the Society of Chemical Industry on "The Chemical Industries of Germany." With true and chivalrous courtesy, Professor Frankland, in a footnote to his printed address, writes: "The author has much pleasure in acknowledging the assistance he has received from the valuable compilation by Professor Lepsius of Berlin, 'Deutschlands Chem. Industrie, 1888-1913,' and from that by Dr. Duisberg, of Elberfeld, 'Wissenschaft und Technik,' 1911." I believe such courtesy is more characteristically British than the lack of it sometimes shown by others. The following quotations from Professor Frankland's address are of interest:
INDUSTRIES DEPENDENT ON SYNTHETIC ORGANIC CHEMISTRY.
... During the major part of the [past] 60 years the great bulk of the discoveries in this domain have been made in Germany. Organic chemistry is, perhaps, the branch of science which more perfectly suits the German mind and temperament. It involves the possession of those qualities in which Germans are so pre-eminent—the capacity for taking an infinitude of pains, the capacity to anticipate difficulties and organise means to circumvent them.... It is in the possession of such schools of research, both in the universities and in the chemical factories, that Germany has by two generations the lead of all other countries in the world.... The chemical manufacturers in this country have, with some notable exceptions, failed to establish anything worthy of the name of research laboratories in connection with their works.... Whereas the artificial colour industry started in England, that of artificial drugs is entirely of German origin, and may be said to begin with the discovery by Liebig of chloroform in 1831, and of chloral hydrate in 1832.... The composition of the personnel who carry on these German colour works is at the bottom of their success. Take the works of Messrs. Meister, Lucius, und Bruening as an example. In 1913, the composition was as follows: Workmen, 7,680; managers, 374; expert chemists, 307; technologists, 74; commercial staff, 611. Contrast with the above the fact that the six English factories now producing dyestuffs employ altogether only 35 chemists, whilst evidence of their relative activities is again furnished by the circumstance that between 1886 and 1900 the English firms took out only 86 patents, whereas the six principal German firms were responsible for 948 during the same period. Having shown that these German coal-tar colour manufacturers are without rivals from the commercial point of view, I feel it to be my duty to point out also that their industry is carried on under conditions of labour which are highly creditable to the management.
Professor Frankland goes on to urge that we should at least pay heed to "the warnings repeated ad nauseam by the chemical profession during a whole generation." Those warnings told us of the stupidity and peril of neglecting science. It is not mere commercialism but science that is needed. The help of science, it may be added, will never be gained unless devotion is paid to it for its own sake, and not simply as a means to money. That reward is too far off for mere commercialism. Adolf Baeyer synthesised indigo in 1880, but it cost 17 years of laborious investigation and the investment of nearly L1,000,000 of capital before that synthesis could be made a commercial success. So long a chase is not carried out by those who are thinking only of the prize. The hunt itself must interest them. That, I personally fear, is where we in Britain (and especially in England) are somewhat lacking.
Two other points in Professor Frankland's address I would draw attention to. In emphasising the need of scientific men on the directorates he asks: "What does not the firm of Messrs. Brunner, Mond and Co., for example, owe to the late Dr. Ludwig Mond, F.R.S.?" Just so. Dr. Ludwig Mond was a German. He came to this country and brought with him his energy, enterprise, and his very exceptional scientific endowments. With Mr. J. J. Brunner he was thus able to found what became the largest alkali works in the kingdom, and undoubtedly one of the most scientific and enterprising works we have. Incidentally it is worth mentioning that the firm of Brunner, Mond and Co. was one of the first to introduce the eight hours day. There are people about (a few of whom ought to know better) asking for the exclusion of the German in the future. I would venture to suggest that we might well exchange very many English people of such limited brain capacity for one Ludwig Mond. To shut the door to men is to shut the doors to talent, and talent produces its best by cross-fertilisation.
I may at this point insert an illustration communicated to me privately. My informant said: "When I was a very young man I determined to try to save a business which was falling in ruin. My project was strongly opposed by my friends, but I determined to carry it out. The works which I took over were then employing 150 men. There was a great lack of scientific training, and this I saw was the chief cause of disaster. So I began sending my men to Germany to be trained. The Germans have always, at their State-supported universities, welcomed the foreigner and given him their best knowledge. My men brought that knowledge back to England. The result was that by the time I withdrew from active work we were employing about three thousand men. The Germans had thus given work to nearly three thousand Englishmen. People should remember facts of this kind when they talk of Germans coming here and 'taking the bread out of our mouths.'"
The wife of an interned man struggled to keep his business. She was, however, ruined. "Serve you right," she was told, "coming here and taking the bread out of our people's mouths." What a strange idea of humanity! What are "our people"? If a Scotsman settles in London is he "taking the bread out of our people's mouths'"? We forget that the foreigner is very often an enormous accession to a State. The Norman conquerors who organised us, the Flemings who improved our weaving, the Huguenots who gave new ideas to our commerce, the Germans who brought us scientific method have all been amongst the makers of England. Exclusiveness is a constricting cord that strangles progress. Exchange of commodities is, we know, the life of trade, and exchange of men and ideas is the life of more than trade.
The last quotation I shall make from Professor Frankland's address has, I venture to think, very considerable bearing on the possibilities of future friendship:
Notwithstanding the absence of material inducements, I venture to say without fear of contradiction that there is more original investigation being prosecuted in this country by chemists than by any other body of British men of science, and this I attribute to the fact that such a large proportion of our number have either been at German universities or are the pupils of those who have been at these centres of research. Nor are any of us, I am sure, even during this unfortunate crisis, unmindful of the hospitality and inspiration which we have received in the schools of the enemy.
One has met with so much pettiness and folly masquerading as patriotism that it is delightful to welcome such a truly noble utterance.
The allusion to the conditions of labour in Professor Frankland's address is also important. Most of us regard the German labourer as far too controlled and regulated, but everyone knows that Germany was to the fore in care for the health and well-being of the workman: "As to the factory legislation in general, not only do they afford to children and juveniles a greater measure of protection in regard to hours and other conditions of work than is enforced by the English Factory Acts, but many of their provisions for ensuring the health, comfort, and safety of all workers go beyond the limits which are thought sufficient in this country." (W. H. Dawson, "The Evolution of Modern Germany," p. 332.)
Insurance against sickness and old age were measures that we learned from Germany. They were intended to increase British efficiency and well-being, and our statesmen received every courtesy and help in studying German methods. It will be said by many that we shall not study those methods again. Perhaps not. They may prefer an English method as propounded by Lord Headley when speaking at a luncheon in connection with the Bakery and Confectionery Trades Exhibition held at Islington. The report is from the Glasgow Herald as reproduced in the Labour Leader (October 21, 1915):
In regard to many industries, the plain fact was that the foreigner lived much more cheaply than the British workman and charged far less for his labour. Where labour, and not machinery, formed a small part of the cost of production we should be able to compete with the foreigner, and that should be the case in high class confectionery more than in anything else. If we were to defeat the foreigner in other industries after the war, it seemed to him that the British workman would have to consent to work for lower wages than hitherto. At any rate, he hoped so, in order that the country might supply itself with necessities without having to go abroad for them.
It seems to me that in this way we should "defeat" not only the foreigner, but the Englishman as well—except the privileged few who could get workmen at low wages without lowering their profits. I remember saying to a Colonial lady that we had gained much from the science of German settlers in this country. "Damn German science," was her reply. A certain type of employer desires two protections—protection against the knowledge of the foreigner, and protection against the aspirations of the worker. Both the knowledge and the aspirations of others are a disturbance of repose.
At a Nottingham meeting of the Society of Chemical Industry the unscientific character of British methods was again emphasised. So, too, at the Edinburgh meeting in December, 1914.
Principal A. P. Laurie, speaking of paints and colours, said: "There were very few cases among those he had inquired into of a chemical, a colour product, or a pigment which was being made both in Germany and in England in which the German product was not better than that made in this country.... Again, it was admitted that German barytes was better ground than English. Yet an extensive literature on barytes and barytes mining had been published by the Germans, showing exactly how German barytes was ground. They had not found a barytes miner in England who owned a microscope.... The English manufacturer did not believe in or use the man of science.
"Mr. Tatlock, speaking from the laboratory glass apparatus makers' point of view, said that British manufacturers were finding it exceedingly difficult to replace German and Austrian products.... Professor Henderson had referred to the possibility of people buying more readily goods of British manufacture. They did not find that to be the case. The goods had to be cheaper or better; they would certainly never be bought purely because they were British, and he did not altogether think that they should be bought for that reason."
It is surely clear that the only wise world policy is one in which each nation brings its own particular contribution to the common stock and in no way tries to shut others out.
THE POLICY OF BOYCOTTING THOUGHT.
We find it impossible to shut out German music. "Germany, it must be said to its credit," I read in the daily Press, "is not boycotting foreign art." In the autumn of 1915 the Royal Theatres of Berlin announced Shakespeare's "Macbeth," and "Antony and Cleopatra," and Scribe's "Glass of Water." "Shakespeare, one hears," writes a reviewer in the Daily News, of December 4, 1915, "is still being played in the German theatres. If you go to a theatre in London you are more likely to see a performance with a title like 'I don't Think!' or 'Pass the Mustard, Please!' Shakespeare, to tell the truth, is in England left largely to professors and schoolboys."
A silly crusade was started in this country against German thought in general, a crusade so petty that it made some of us wince for shame. The upholders of creeds joined in hastily, for German investigators had given our beliefs many uncomfortable shocks. We remember how it came about that the President of the Training College in Mark Rutherford's Autobiography could with such satisfaction to himself destroy the "infidel." "The President's task was all the easier because he knew nothing of German literature; and, indeed, the word 'German' was a term of reproach signifying something very awful, although nobody knew exactly what it was." The obscurantist and opponent of free thought has shown signs of hope that the German's reputation for awfulness may turn us from his evil companionship into the restful paths of British piety. The Englishman (especially, I believe, the Saxon element) has too often been prone to make a stronghold of ignorance. This stronghold has certainly in industry proved to be a house of cards, and I think it has proved to be equally a house of cards in religion. It would, indeed, be a disastrous outcome of the war if it led us still more to emphasise our insularity. Unless we are readier after the war to learn from everyone, we shall, as a nation, be mentally moribund. It matters not in the least whether the thought be German, French, Austrian, Swiss, Russian, or any other. Miss Petre, in her "Reflections of a Non-Combatant," has finely stated the wider view:
Thought and learning, art and music, may bear certain characteristics of the country in which they are begotten; but they are also the products of humanity itself, or they would make no appeal to the world at large. The monuments of the German mind are no more robbed of their intellectual value by the national crime of this war than German mountains are robbed of their natural grandeur, German forests of their solemnity, or German rivers of their width and volume.
Any other attitude is extremely likely to degenerate into a petty jealousy that is bred of fear. This is how Mr. H. G. Wells wrote of our attitude towards Germany years ago:
We in Great Britain are now intensely jealous of Germany. We are intensely jealous of Germany, not only because the Germans outnumber us, and have a much larger and more diversified country than ours, and lie in the very heart and body of Europe, but because in the last hundred years, while we have fed on platitudes and vanity, they have had the energy and humility to develop a splendid system of national education, to toil at science and art and literature, to develop social organisation, to master and better our methods of business and industry, and to clamber above us in the scale of civilisation. This has humiliated and irritated rather than chastened us.
Such jealousy is a strangely short-sighted mistake. No valuable or lasting peace will come till jealousy is exorcised. There are ominous signs of the possible triumph of a deadly Saxon insularity, but there are other signs that give us hope. When so ardent a combatant as Mr. Lloyd George can speak well of the services of Germany to the world, all is not lost. It is pleasant to be able to quote these passages from an interview reported in the Daily News of January 25, 1916:
"Mr. Lloyd George is not among those who imagine they are doing their country a service by decrying everything German. 'I think,' he said, 'that America and all of us should realise that there were two Germanies before the war. On the one hand, there was the industrial, the commercial, and the intellectual Germany, and in a most remarkable way she had blended the three elements. That Germany was rendering a great service to civilisation. It was conquering the world by the success of its methods and of its example, and that conquest would have proved a very genuine blessing. It would have been the means of saving some of the terrible waste from which most of the social evils of humanity spring. As an ardent social reformer, I freely confess that I myself was learning a good deal from that side of Germany, particularly in the direction of municipal and national organisation.'" Mr. Lloyd George goes on to say that the other Germany, the military Germany, had overthrown the Germany from which he had drawn inspiration. Our task then surely is to help to reduce military dominance everywhere and to help to set free that Germany whose peaceful conquest of the world "would have proved a very genuine blessing."
That Germany was, and still is, a Germany of simple hearts, of men and women who can love well. I have talked to many British-born wives of interned men. Over and over again I have heard the same story. "I could not have had a better husband, and the children could not have had a better father." That is why many English wives have already gone to Germany to their husband's families.
It is time we got rid of grotesque caricatures of the German people. Such caricatures always represent the outlook of war-time, but they do not make for a lasting peace. There is a great German people, and that people and ours should find each other's hearts. I am not so much concerned as to the Germany of brilliant science and industrious commerce. That is good, but there is something better: It is the Germany of loving husbands and true comrades, of true wives and devoted mothers. It is the heart that rules the world, and we need the true hearts in Germany, England, France, and over all the world to recognise each other. The one prayer for us all in every land in these days surely is, "Lord, that our eyes may be opened!" When we can pray that prayer, we shall begin to see the war to a peace of the heart—the only peace that will not be a "patched-up peace."
[Footnote 40: Lieut. Dr. Kutscher writes with obvious pleasure of the grande loterie de Noel shared out by the officers to the children of C. in France. The children's parties went on, too, in the New Year. (Int. Review, 10th Aug., 1915).]
[Footnote 41: Cf. p. 161. These are simply examples of the wild passions war engenders, and there is not always the sergeant at hand who says "Drop that or I shoot you." One side may be decidedly worse than the other (as seems, e.g., to have been the case in the American Civil War), but this does not alter the character of what war does for human nature.]
[Footnote 42: See p. 36.]
[Footnote 43: "An English Girl's Adventures in Hostile Germany," pp. 58 and 124. For other incidents see p. 212.]
[Footnote 44: See above, p. 55. For further examples of civilian kindness see pp. 212 ff.]
[Footnote 45: It is disconcerting to one's pride to learn that while the sale of German newspapers in England was entirely "verboten" in 1916, English newspapers may still be readily obtained in Germany in the autumn of 1918. Why are we so afraid of the other side being known?]
[Footnote 46: Cf. p. 169.]
[Footnote 47: The war has greatly increased that number.]
[Footnote 48: My aim is not political, and I do not, therefore, touch upon the many later utterances. The protests, for example, against the unfairness of the Brest-Litovsk Peace have in Reichstag and Press been numerous and emphatic. For such facts the reader should consult the "Cambridge Magazine."]
[Footnote 49: We were allowed to suppose that the Lusitania carried no munitions, the Germans were encouraged to believe that she carried mounted guns. Both views were incorrect. The New York Evening Post (quoted by the Labour Leader) published the "manifest" of the number of cases of ammunition carried.]
[Footnote 50: Ernest Poole in "Cassell's Magazine," No. 42.]
[Footnote 51: This seems unavoidable. "At last things quieted down a bit, but many wounded had to be brought in between the firing lines—dangerous work, as both sides are liable to fire if they are seen."—An R.A.M.C. Officer in the Times.]
[Footnote 52: From "The Pageant of War," by Lady Margaret Sackville.]
[Footnote 53: Cf. too p. 108.]
[Footnote 54: "There is no reason to suppose that he had seen Germany." wrote Mr. George Long in Sir William Smith's "Dictionary of Greek Biography and Mythology."]
[Footnote 55: Further, we must remember that "The Red Cross on a white field is not a magic mantle that can ward off shells fired by an artillerist at a target which he cannot see, nor against flyers dropping bombs from thousands of feet in the air. 'Bomb-dropping flyers are the terror of the doctors and wounded behind the lines,' remarked a doctor to me."—Karl von Wiegand, in the New York World, August 17, 1916. ("Cambridge Magazine," Oct. 7, 1916.)]
[Footnote 56: "Church towers in a flat country are the only observation points, and so they are used, and so they are shelled."—Ernest Poole, in "Cassell's Magazine," No. 42, p. 27.]
[Footnote 57: From "Is It To Be Hate?" (Allen and Unwin), a pamphlet which I wrote in 1915. On many points there dealt with my second thoughts are different, as are those of many others. We have learned much since then.]
[Footnote 58: The public is extraordinarily innocent as regards this kind of information. It would form an interesting subject for post-war analysis.]
[Footnote 59: Cf. p. 157.]
[Footnote 60: From "Is It To Be Hate?" by the Author.]
[Footnote 61: La guerre devant Le Palais. Par Gabriel Mourey. Paris. Ollendorff 2f.—Times Literary Supplement, Aug. 19, 1915.]
[Footnote 62: Cf. M. Mourey on the Uhlans at Compiegne, p. 206.]
[Footnote 63: See also p. 104.]
[Footnote 64: p. 90.]
[Footnote 65: "England," "Germany," "France," etc., in these connections actually stand for a very small group of diplomats controlling foreign policy. The association of the names unfortunately makes us think of the countries as a whole, a word fallacy that leads to illimitable disaster.]
[Footnote 66: p. 91.]
[Footnote 67: The variability of war stories may be observed also in the columns of the Times during the Crimean War. The truth is, no doubt, that great local differences of treatment occur, and that stories to the discredit of an enemy are more welcomed than stories in his favour.]
[Footnote 68: In the International Review of August 10, 1915, an Austrian lady, Charlotte Frankl, gives an account of the warm-hearted help she received in France, and the even greater kindness she and others received in England: "Not one of us had had unhappy experiences in England."]
[Footnote 69: War was declared upon Austria May 23, 1915, and though formal declaration of war against Germany was delayed for more than a year, the obvious fact was that Italy had taken sides with the enemy.]
[Footnote 70: Cf. p. 199.]
[Footnote 71: The British Chemical Society expelled its honorary German and Austrian Fellows, men who had worked for the whole of humanity. The German Chemical Society was asked by some of its members to expel an English Honorary Fellow who had attacked German men of science with exceptional virulence. The Society adopted the dignified course of taking no action amidst the passions of war.]
[Footnote 72: "Whatever Mr. Ernest Lissauer and his fellows may have set before themselves in their Tyrtaean poems of hate, in any case it can be said of them that they knew not what they did.... They did not know, though they should have known ... that the solidarity of the nations ... has to-day already become such that no great nation can aim at the very conditions of existence of another without damaging itself at the same time."—Ed. Bernstein in Das Forum Jan., 1915.]
[Footnote 73: This is one view. Others who have seen German life during the war report a real solidarity of the people, a solidarity which later developments and revelations of Entente proposals has certainly not diminished.]
[Footnote 74: From "Is It To Be Hate?" by Harold Picton (Allen and Unwin). See footnote p. 203.]
Mme. F. L. Cyon had some rather important experiences at Lille at the time of the German attack and during the German occupation. She is a woman of singularly cool mentality, and her evidence may be compared with that of Dr. Ella Scarlett-Synge in a widely distant war area.
Mme. Cyon has very kindly placed her notes of her experiences at my disposal. As the notes record also a point of view as to war in general, it has seemed more fitting to print them as an appendix. No statement of this kind is unbiased, for the pacifist has his own bias. Yet I am quite certain that everything set down by Mme. Cyon has been set down in complete sincerity and with unusual absence of mental distortion. The record is that made by a quiet worker amidst circumstances where few people remained sane.
THE MENTAL HAVOC WROUGHT BY THE WAR.
BY FRANCOISE LAFITTE CYON.
During the months of September, October, November, and December, 1914, I undertook a journey in Northern France; going first to Lille, thence to Maubeuge, and returning to England via Brussels, Malines, Antwerp, and Holland.
I was at Lille on October 13, 1914, when the Germans took the town. During the first three months of my stay in France I was engaged in nursing work at the military hospital 105 at Lille. In the early part of December I travelled as well as I could, sometimes tramping and sometimes making use of peasants' carts and local tramways, until I eventually reached Holland.
It is not, however, my intention to speak much of my adventures or of the war itself, but rather to depict, to the best of my ability, the effect which the dreadful events of our doings have had on the minds of the men and women I have met with over there; be they French, Belgian, or German. This article will be an attempt to give a series of short studies in psychology, rather than a dramatic account of a perilous journey.
I wish my readers to bear in mind at the outset that after October 13 I was in German territory, where, from that date onwards, I met with two kinds of people. On the one hand, the oppressors or Germans; on the other hand, the oppressed, namely, the French, Belgian, and a few English.
For a psychological study to be of value, such a distinction is useful to begin with, for one seldom finds the same frame of mind in the victor and the vanquished, in the oppressor and the oppressed.
Whilst endeavouring to give facts, I must distinguish between three types of people whom I met during my journey. First, civilians, French and Belgian; secondly, the hospital staff, doctors and nurses, mostly French, with the exception of two German doctors; thirdly, the military, officers and men, French and German, with a few British. I am obliged to make this division in order to make myself clear, as the events of the war do not seem to affect the people of these three divisions in the same way.
In what follows I shall for the most part depict types.
I met first with the civilian population. When I reached Lille, I found life there much as usual, excepting that all appeared very quiet. But a few days after my arrival Lille began to show an extraordinary and sad animation. The town, which had already given shelter to many refugees from Valenciennes and villages thereabouts, was suddenly crowded by the exodus of the inhabitants of Orchies; the latter town, it was reported, had been completely burnt to the ground by the Germans, only thirty houses having been left standing.
Life in Lille became horrible. In the streets one met long processions of miserable creatures, looking haggard and exhausted. Here was a woman with three tiny children, two of them in a dilapidated perambulator, the other she carried in her arms. She looked grey with the dust of the road: I followed her. She was going to the office of some local paper, whence these poor refugees were directed where to go to find food and shelter. Waiting at the door of the office were such numbers of these worn-out human beings that many of them, too tired to stand any longer, were sitting on the pavement whilst the children were eating pieces of bread.
One morning I followed the crowd going to get bread at the town hall. I saw a little boy of four standing at his mother's side while she talked with another woman. The mother's basket had been put down on the pavement and a round loaf of bread was partly coming out of it. The little mite kneeled down on the ground and, going at it with all his might, he began to eat off the loaf in a way which told a long, sad tale.
But what one met with amongst one's friends was often more horrible than the sights in the streets. The tale of the destruction of Orchies had been believed almost everywhere before any explanation had been forthcoming, and in these days hatred began to rear its head when people talked of the Germans.
"If they had burned Orchies," said one of my acquaintances, "it is because we are too tolerant with them. To brutes we must speak only the language of brutes. We treat their prisoners like guests; let us put them all against the wall and shoot them and their wounded, too."
When I replied that we should have little right to complain of German atrocities if we did what they are reported to do, I was looked at as too soft and as if I were a woman without patriotic feeling. My friend told me this as politely as his temper allowed.
I left him and went into the street to try to find some distraction from his hatred. I chanced to meet a woman of Orchies and inquired what had happened there. I give her tale as told to me, though I have not been able to verify it.
"The Germans," said she, "behaved quite well the first time they came into our town. They were kind to the children and even gave them sweets and toys, but on their second visit they found that some of their wounded had had their ears cut off and they ordered that Orchies should be set on fire."
"It was monstrous," she added, "but I know that an African soldier was found with a necklace of sixty ears, which he had certainly taken somewhere. This, too, was monstrous. I do not excuse the Germans for their crime—I have lost everything myself—but if we allow their wounded to be mutilated at such times, what can we expect? Who can say which side is the more barbarous? I must tell you that the officer ordered to set fire to Orchies was also told to arrest the mayor and some other men and to have them shot. However, he gave them timely warning to evacuate Orchies and to make good their escape, so no one was hurt."
How far this story was true I never knew, but the effect of it on my fellow creatures I had seen too well, and I went away bearing on my heart the words of the woman of Orchies: "Who can say which side is the more barbarous?"
On October 7 we heard that the Germans were outside the city and in many quarters fear was added to the anguish already overburdening the hearts of so many. Yet one woman, hearing the Germans were near, exclaimed, "Say what you like, these men are just like our French men. War is war; you cannot expect it to be anything but cruel and barbarous. The Germans are no enemies of mine."
Her words made a bad impression on the listeners, and it was well that the kind-hearted soul had three brothers in the French Army or she would have been regarded with much suspicion.
An old lady of my acquaintance almost lost her head with fright. "How dare they," she said, speaking of the French, "let the Germans take Lille?"
"What then," said I, "of Rheims?"
"Yes, Rheims, I know it was horrible! But Lille, the most beautiful town of the North, it is a crime to make it suffer."
Whilst discussing with me the doings of the French Army the old lady had often argued that Rheims and Arras had had to suffer because this was necessary to the success of the French operations. Recalling her own words, I asked: "But what could you say if for the good of the common cause Lille must suffer as did Rheims and Arras?"
But in her terror, forgetful of what she had said previously, she only exclaimed: "Lille! It is a crime. What shall we do? How shall we live?"
And I could see fear in her eyes, fear for her belongings as well as for her life, fear which made her forget for a moment the "good cause of this war" as she had often put it to me, fear which made her heart give out a note of real selfishness.
So far as I can remember it was on October 8 that all the gates of the city were closed, and that there was fighting on the Grand Boulevard, the great wide thoroughfare which connects Lille with its sister-cities of Roubaix and Tourcoing. There was also fighting near one of the gates.
On the following day, on returning from my work in Hospital 105, the people with whom I was living told me of the terrible spectacle they had witnessed when they had gone to get news of some relations living near the gate where the fight had taken place. One woman said:
"The fight was on the bridge, which was covered in the evening with the dead bodies of Germans, amongst them two wounded men whom the Germans had left behind. By the bridge there is an inn, and we have been told that five men, civilians, who were there, killed the two 'Boches' by strangling them. This makes two less of them!"
I looked at her in horror, thinking that fright had turned her brain. I could find no words to reply. I turned to go to my own room, when she added:
"In any case, the 'Boches' won't know of it for the bodies are buried under a heap of stones."
I left her with the words of the woman of Orchies echoing through my brain: "Who can tell which side is the more barbarous?"
Some of these people I had known before the war to be peaceful, quiet citizens; they now appeared to me to have suddenly turned into devils. Fear and danger had made them crazy with hatred. Everywhere one went it was the same. If I tried to escape it, and took refuge in the street, I seemed to feel hatred rising from the very ground.
Amongst the fugitives one saw, many had run away before even seeing a German helmet, but all were full of atrocious tales, all were mad with hatred and revenge.
Not until the actual shelling of the town began did I fully realise the havoc that fear and hatred can work! To feel helpless while shells go whirling over one's head at the rate of sixty a minute, while houses are burning on either side of one, is a horrible experience. To have to bear all these horrors without being able to put a stop to them, is maddening. At such moments one feels like a mouse caught in a trap. One would have to be more than human not to feel terror.
We all felt this at Lille, the great majority were so panic-stricken that they made for the gates, quite oblivious of the fact that the gates were closed and that fighting was going on there.
It is usually in these moments of supreme fear that the lurking hatred in the soul takes full possession of it, distorting the imagination, bringing back the most atavistic moral ideas, giving birth to falsehoods of every description, and widening the gulf of misunderstanding which seems to part the nations.
I have always known that hatred is the offspring of war. I am well aware that ever since the beginning of the present crisis the newspapers and the warmongers have been daily adding fuel to the fire of hatred for fear that if the fire died out the war would do the same. But over there, at Lille, I felt that hatred had fallen on the hearts of many people like a fatal malediction with which they are to be cursed all their life long and which they will transmit to their descendants.
These people whom fear has driven, like cattle, from their burning houses, who have suddenly been left without a roof over their heads or food to eat, are not likely easily to give up their hatred when this passion of war is a thing of the past. Deep in their hearts will be written the word "revenge" even though France does not lose a second Alsace-Lorraine.
This same overpowering feeling of hatred I found amongst most of the staff of the hospital where I was working, and I was able to note at first hand the effect it had in the dealings of the nursing staff with the German wounded.
After October 13, 1914, the Germans took control of all the hospitals at Lille, and soon they were crowded with German wounded, while, little by little, as soon as they were able to travel, the French and British were evacuated and taken to Germany as prisoners of war.
At Hospital 105 the French staff were asked if they would agree to remain under the German authorities, and most of the doctors and nurses elected to remain at their post. The hospital was controlled by the "Societe des femmes de France," who financed it and managed the entire establishment. Many of these women were society ladies and, with the exception of two or three, most incompetent. Before the German occupation their activities had mostly been of a showy character. They were all dainty, smart, and useless, and so they remained under German rule—those, at least, who did not run away. They avoided nursing Germans with great skill, and overcrowded the French and English wards. They were very diplomatic in their dealings with the enemy, as silly and pitiful in their hatred of the German and their cautious dealings with him as they were in their other activities. Their hatred was of the emptyheaded kind, but all the more dangerous for being based on frivolity of heart and crass ignorance.
Side by side with them were a few intellectual women, professors and teachers. Most of them followed in the wake of their sisters and behaved in a similar manner. One of them, a woman I had known before, had spent many years of her life in Germany and had taught the German language for nearly twenty years. Before the war she had often told me how lovable she had found the German people, what good friends she had in Germany and how she always enjoyed a holiday there, so that when some of my German patients asked me for books, I thought she would be the very person to whom to apply for some.
To my astonishment she flew into a passion when she heard my request.
"Want books, do they? They will soon ask for chickens and lobsters."
Walking into my ward, she exclaimed haughtily: "So you are asking for books! As you set fire to everything, there are no books left for you!"
Very little of the nursing was done by these women, however, who, instead of being a real help for the most part, put spokes in the wheels of the more useful helpers. The hardships of overwork, of long hours, of day and night duties in succession, fell all the more heavily on the shoulders of a few willing women, the other part of the female element proving so unreliable.
These women, whose devotion never flagged, comprised three trained nurses and nine or ten women clerks or teachers, of quite another type to those mentioned above. It is true they were not all free from hatred, but, if I may so express it, theirs was almost a hopeful hatred compared with the blind stupidity of those others.
Amongst the three professional nurses I remember a tall, handsome girl of 22 or thereabouts. Hers was an ardent soul, one of those souls which keep young in spite of advancing years. Whatever task this girl sets herself to do she will carry it through with skill and earnestness. Whichever cause she champions she will do so in no light spirit, and it was thus that she hated the Germans with the strongest hatred and yet nursed them with utter devotion, for she was as earnest a nurse as she was keen a patriot. There was almost a kind of healthiness about her hatred, based as it was on deep-rooted feelings, knowing no caution and no fear. One might hope more for her who, fearless of consequences, could wave the French flag and shout "Vive la France" when French prisoners were led away, than for all the fine ladies whose little souls were filled with great fear and ignorant hatred.
I remember also a small, fair nurse, silent for the most part, but up at all times of the night as well as working hard all day. She sometimes opened her heart to me and I found there, as deep-rooted as her colleague's hatred, a great and sincere love for all men and women, an unflinching hope that in the long run "brotherhood" will be the watchword of all humanity.
Amongst these hard-working women many were of this silent type, going about with sealed lips, but with treasures of unconscious kindliness and love hidden in their hearts, known only to God.
My daily intercourse with the men on our hospital staff was on the whole never sufficiently intimate to allow me to speak here of their mental attitude towards "the enemy." The French doctors I never saw except when I was on duty, and I had little or no opportunity of speaking with them, being only an assistant nurse, but I recollect one little incident connected with Professor L——, a man of acknowledged skill in France. At the time of which I speak, I had been transferred to a German ward, and one day, finding myself short of boiled water for the men to drink, I went to the chemist to ask for some. There I met Professor L——, who said:
"So you want boiled water for your friends the Germans? What would you say if I were to put in it a few microbes of cholera morbus?"
"I would hardly believe it of you!"
"Of course, you would not, for I am told that you are surprisingly good to these Germans. But believe me, if it were not for the fear of spreading the disease far and wide, this would be the best thing to do."
I have, however, no means of ascertaining that this incident is typical of the attitude of the average Frenchman on the male staff towards the Germans. As a matter of fact, they had very little to do with the German wounded, as these were left entirely in the hands of the German doctors, aided by the French nurses.
After my transfer to the German wards, where we were very short of nurses, I soon found myself in sole charge of from 16 to 26 wounded, a burden which I felt rather too heavy for me, as I had had but little experience in nursing previous to the war. But it was during this time, when my duties involved greater responsibility, that I came into closer contact with doctors, but they were German doctors, of course.
I remember one of them, a small man, somewhat round, whom we had nicknamed "pupuce" (little flea). Pupuce always appeared to me to be kindness itself: intent on his work, good to his men and fair to his helpers. His position as head of a hospital where most of the men were French, was not an easy one. He was disliked by the majority of the nurses, mostly those who had not been willing to work under him; yet I never saw him manifest anything but the greatest tolerance and courtesy towards all.
But where one felt the smallest amount of hatred existing on either side was amongst the men who had fought and been wounded.
Being left so much alone with my German patients I got to know them well. I never had to complain of my "Boches." They were so much like our own men; yes, so much like them! They were grateful for what was done for them just in the same way. They showed me photographs of their dear ones and told me stories of them which made my heart beat ever so quickly.
But some of them were very funny. They ate, ate, so that one marvelled. They showed me plainly that I was to heap potatoes and other food on their plates. It was never too thick or too much for them. These men were of the peasant type, heavy in features and in general appearance. I found but few like them amongst our French men. They seemed to feel kindly towards me. Some of them used to pat me on the back heavily and call me: "Goode Petite Madam." But their kindness was cow-like, so to speak, and reminded me of the animals when they have been well fed.
But, of course, all were not like that. I remember many handsome and intelligent faces of men who seemed to have been born for better things than butchery. Here was a young man, a student of science, as gentle as a woman. He seemed to be the soul of all his comrades, so great was his influence for good over them. Day and night he was ready to help and to go to the assistance of his fellows, so far as his own wounds would allow him to do so.
There were many of this type, and many others who seemed like children, and who could hardly be expected to realise how they got into such a scrape. One, a young mechanic, a lad with a bright rosy face, discovered that I was a Socialist, and, with finger on lip, he told me that he also was one. He whispered the great names of Jaures, Keir Hardie, and Liebknecht; I could read in his eyes the hope these names roused in him, but I could also see that he was scarcely old enough to know his own mind, and that he might be brutally killed ere he had lived long enough to strengthen his hopes and to see his goal clearly through the maze of his youthful dreams.
There were types on the French side corresponding more or less closely to these.
It is true that the French peasant drinks wine in the place of beer, eats less than the German, is lighter in build and in wits, but apart from these superficial differences there is much similarity. Under an outside show of brains, both are often of dull and shallow intelligence. The German cracks heavy jokes and the French cynical ones: it is difficult to choose between them as both show little culture and an inherent commonplaceness of mind.
Men of greater sensibility, of refined culture, I have found on either side, and be they French or German, I have nearly always found their behaviour correspond to that which I have here tried to delineate.
Most of these men had seen many ghastly things, the horrors of which often remained impressed in their eyes for days and days after their arrival in hospital. It is often said that the trade of war, the heavy slaughter in which they have participated, is bound to brutalise them. I readily believe this to be so in the case of the most vulgar types on either side, though, even on these, the brutalising and demoralising effect of the war seems less to be feared than amongst their corresponding types among the civilians.
It is amongst the soldiers and officers of the fighting ranks that I have found the greater readiness to fraternise with the enemy, to acknowledge the good points of the other side.
The men in my ward one day having sent coffee to their French comrades, the latter replied by sending cigarettes, and soon both sides were conversing together. The men who have stood face to face in the fight, who have seen their enemies falling as bravely as they themselves have done, have little hatred left in their hearts; but those who have suffered all the horrors of war and who have not found either in work, or even in participation in the war itself, a means to cool their overheated feelings, are those who constitute the real danger for the future work of the pacifists, as, after all, the brutalising effect of war is not due so much to the use of physical force as to the hatred which such physical force, bent on destruction, brings in its wake.
What I say here of the men does not, however, apply to the professional officers. Amongst the Germans these are mostly of the aristocracy. Their haughty, scarred faces were always repellent to me. Luckily I was not told off to nurse them. They had a special room of their own.
Once only, at lunch time, when their usual nurse was away at her lunch, one of them beckoned to me as I was passing their door. Thinking that he wanted something, I went up to him, but he received me by putting out his tongue and taking a "sight" at me, to the amusement of all his friends. This young scamp was no other than Lieutenant von W——, the son of General von W——. We all knew that he was a cad and Pupuce himself seemed to find him rather a handful.
I met very few French officers during my stay at Lille, but my knowledge of the professional military man in time of peace, leads me to believe that the type I have described, is far from uncommon in France. He is the embodiment of militarism anywhere, and neither in Germany nor elsewhere will these men's brutal instincts be checked through war, or even through defeat.
After leaving Lille, and during my subsequent journey through Northern France and Belgium, I had the opportunity to note the dealings of the Germans with the population of these invaded lands.
After the numerous accounts of monstrous atrocities which were perpetrated over there, I hardly dare to mention here that personally I did not meet with any of these. I do not mean to imply by this that atrocities have not happened, but simply that it has been my good fortune not to come across any.
At Lille itself, the Germans behaved decently when once in occupation. Posters were put on the walls of the town inviting the population to keep quiet. It is true that a few days later fresh bills appeared, worded in very peremptory fashion, warning the inhabitants to keep away from the bridges, railways, and so forth, under penalty of death for disobedience. However, to my knowledge, no disturbances occurred. There, as elsewhere, the Germans tried to reorganise ordinary life as quickly as possible; they helped to put out fires and to restore quiet and order amongst the civilians.
At Maubeuge I met with a similar state of affairs, though I came to this town to find that my father, one of the citizens, had only the day before come out of prison, where the Germans had kept him for 28 days; on a false charge of trying to incite the inhabitants of Maubeuge against the Germans, he and two other men had been arrested. According to their own account the three of them were given a very fair trial and were acquitted. My father did not in any way complain of the treatment he had met with.
I must admit, however, that the three prisoners did not all speak of their adventure in the same spirit. My father, always quiet and cool-headed by nature, resolved to make the best of a bad job, and having obtained paper and ink, wrote about half of a book whilst in prison. He found the food wholesome, though not always plentiful, and asked my mother after his release, to make him a pea soup like that he had had in his cell. The other two, however, one a mere lad, the other an old-maidish man of 50, complained bitterly of the food and other things. While narrating his part of the story the middle-aged man turned to me exclaiming: "Why, your father, no one would believe that he is a good bit over 60. He took it all so quietly, just as if he were still a young man!"
I could not but infer from this that in times of such great crisis and passion a man over there in the invaded parts is often treated by "the enemy" according to the way in which he himself behaves towards the so-called "enemy." Coolness of head and courtesy on the one side more often than not met with the same qualities on the other side.
I suspect it was this, that, after the trial of the three, caused the President of the Court to apologise to my father, who had proved himself a man, but not to think of doing so to the two other prisoners, who had been more sheepish than human.
On the average, the relations between the Germans and the inhabitants, from stories I have heard and facts I have witnessed, might roughly be summed up in the following statement:
Arrogance, temper, haughtiness on the one side, provoke arrogance, temper and haughtiness on the other; while quietness and coolness of one party inspire the other with the same quietness and moderation. Provided we bear in mind that it takes less to provoke the victor than to provoke the vanquished, that it is more easy for the former to indulge in his temper without fear of consequences. I do not think that the atrocities perpetrated by the Germans in Belgium, the true ones as they came to my knowledge, and not the false ones which have been spread by the Press, have proved in any way that the Germans have passed the bounds of all that has been known in previous wars, and have deserved to be banned and thrust outside the pale of humanity.
In this article I have endeavoured to give a fair account of my journey and to relate facts I have witnessed as they have impressed themselves upon my mind. I have done so not to pass judgment upon some of my fellow-creatures at such times of overheated passions, but merely in order to present to Socialists and Pacifists the enormity of their task after the war, such as I have felt it over there.
It is in the hearts of the people that we shall have to work, to bring to them seeds of love and fraternal goodwill in the place of the weeds of hatred and ignorance which years of war and horrors will have left in the souls of many. Everywhere, but mostly in the countries which have been devastated by the war, be it in France, Belgium, Serbia, Poland or East Prussia and Galicia, it is in the hearts of the majority of the civilian population that we shall meet with the hardest task, but we must work so that our faith be so great as really to move mountains.
Where there are several references and one is of chief importance, that one is printed in heavy figures.
Accusation, Ease of, 204-5
Aktion, Die, 231
Alexandra Palace, Internment at, 103
American Civil War, Prisoners in, 123-4
Anderson, Chandler, 79
Annexation —Delbrueck-Dernburg-Wolff Memorial Against, 176 —German Socialist Party Manifesto Against, 175
Assistance Agency, German, for Prisoners, 12, 133-142
Assistance to British Subjects in Germany, 212-21
Atrocities —and Credulity, 31, 38 —German, 264, 265 —Unfounded Story of, 156
Auskunfts- und Hilfsstelle fuer Deutsche im Ausland und Auslaender in Deutschland, 133-4
Austin, L. J., 33, 37
Austria, a Prisoner in, 26
Bad Blenhorst, 48, 57
Baden, Prisoners in, 60, 61
Basler Nachrichten, 66
Bathing Facilities —in British Camps, 65 —in German Camps, 11, 13, 15, 48, 50
Bath-Chair Woman and English Lady, 213
Belgian Relief Commission, Germany's Attitude to, 177-8
Belgium, German Protests Against Annexation of, 173-177
Bell, Mr. E. P., on the Censorship, 199
Beresford, Lord, 29
Berliner Tageblatt, 177, 179
Bernstein, Ed., 231
Berry, Dr. F. M. Dickinson, 72
Bibby, Private A., 193
Birt, Capt. W. B., 146
Bischofswerda, 45-6, 49
Bishop of Winchester, 12, 132-3
Bjoernson, Bjoern, 171
Blankenburg, 19, 52
Blue Book on Prisoners in Germany, 24
Boer War —Concentration Camps, 126-31 —Prisoners in, 125
Bogen, Col., 11
Borchardt, Julian, 235
Boxing in Prison Camps, 51
British Subjects in Germany, Kindness to, 212-21
Brunner, Mond & Co., 246
Bryan, Mr., 6
Buchan, John, 157
Bulgaria, British Prisoners in, 73
Bury, Bishop, 28, 102-3, 107-8
Butler, Lt.-Gen. Sir W., quoted, 200, 201
Cambridge Magazine, 30, 73, 124, 228
Carpenter, Edward, 183
Catering, Self-management in, 22
Censor Fined by Prisoner, 35
Censorship, E. P. Bell on the, 199
Cetinje, Starvation in, 160
Chemical Society, —British, 229 —German, 229
Chemistry, Germany and, 245ff
Child in No-Man's-Land, 159
Children in Russia, 159
Children Taken Home from Occupied Territory, 135, 158
Christliche Welt, 173
Christmas Truces, 180-2, 183-6
Cimino, Dr., 84, 104
Civilian Hate, 163-4
Civilians, Resident Enemy, Treatment of, 75
Clacton Graphic, 165
Clothes, British Prisoners and, 23
Cohen, Israel, 79, 104
Colenso, Miss, 4
Cologne —Hospitals at, 12 —Military Prison at, 54
Commandants, Good German, 56
Common Cause, 66
Common Sense, 111, 193
Compiegne, Palais de, 205-7
Complaints by Prisoners, 73
Concentration Camps, Boer War, 126-31
Contracts, Germany and, 177-8
Corey, Mr. Herbert, and the Times, 198
Correspondence, Complaints about, 6-8
Coulston, Capt., 52
Credulity and Atrocities, 31, 38
Crefeld, 2, 13, 55, 65
Cyon, Madame F. L., 153-7, 255ff
Daily Chronicle, 83, 163, 168, 188, 189, 198, 202
Daily Citizen, 183
Daily Mail, 6, 196
Daily News, 4, 7, 26, 28, 45, 59, 60, 61, 68, 71, 107, 119, 120, 159, 160, 161, 162, 164, 168, 169, 177, 178, 179, 185, 187, 190, 191, 199, 224, 225, 226, 251, 252
Daily Telegraph, 96, 105, 122, 223, 224, 244
Damm, Mr., 8
Dartford Prisoners of War Hospital, 64
Dawson, W. H., 248
Delbrueck-Dernburg-Wolff Memorial, 176
Dernburg, Dr., 176-7
Desmond, G. G., 61
Deussen, Prof., Against Hate, 228-9
Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 73
Deutsche Tageszeitung, 168
Dickinson, Lowes, 232
Doeberitz, 5, 9, 25, 30, 135
Dobson, Austin, quoted, 196-7
Dogs in German Prison Camps, 33, 39
Donington Hall and Luxury, 64
Dorchester Camp, 9, 64
Doty, Madeline, 235
Dresel, Mr., 33, 110
Drill, Dr., 167
Duelmen, 61, 62
Dyffry Camp, 9
Dyffryn Aled Camp, 64
East Africa, German Women Prisoners from, 69
Emden, 202, 205
England, Military Prisoners in, 63ff
English Girl's Adventures in Hostile Germany, 212-14
Englishman, Kamerad, 8
Escape, Attempts to, 48
Ethical Movement, 232, 234
Ethics of War, 161-2
Eugster, Nat. Councillor A., 40-2, 45, 67
Evolution of Modern Germany, 248
Ey-Steinecke, Gen. von, 56
Families of Germans in England, 143-4
Far Out, 201
Farm Work —Prisoners in Germany and, 21 —German Prisoners and, 68, 69
Food —at Ruhleben, 90, 91, 101-2, 104 —During Transport of Prisoners, 46 —German Prisoners and, 30, 69-70 —In Boer War Concentration Camps, 131 —In English Camps, 9, 27, 117 —In French Camps, 43, 44 —In German Camps, 3, 5, 10, 14, 15, 18, 20, 23, 27-31, 34, 40, 50, 51 —Problem in Germany, 99
Foerster, Prof. W., 134
Foerster, Dr. F. W., 232
Fort Friedrichshafen, 50
Forum, Das, 231, 232
Franco-German War, Prisoners in, 124
Frankfort, Freedom of English in, 83
Frankfurt-am-Oder, 137, 218
Frankfurter Zeitung, 166, 169, 170, 177, 178
Frankland, Prof., 245
Frentz, Gen. Raitz von, 56
Friedberg, 23, 48, 65
Friend, The, 132, 138
Friends' Emergency Committee, 87, 132, 137-144, 158
"Frightfulness" Condemned by German Newspapers, 178
Funeral of an English Officer in Germany, 146-8
Gardens, Prisoners', 23, 49
Gardiner, A. G., 226
Gerard, Mr., 23, 25, 45, 47, 50, 53, 81, 82, 93, 97-8, 100, 102, 104
German —Feeling Towards England, 165 —Heroism at the Front, 161-2 —Newspaper Comments, 166ff —Officers, Professional, 263-4 —Officers and Privates, Familiarity Between, 38 —Soldier, British Opinions of the, 201-3 —Soldiers, French Women and, 208 —School-books and the War, 171-3 —Tribute to Pegoud, 224 —Troops in Occupation, 205ff
Germany —and Commerce, 244 —Conditions of Labour in, 248 —In Peace Time, 241ff
Germersheim Hospitals, 55
George, Lieut., 36
Gibbs, Philip, 163, 182, 183, 188, 189, 197, 202, 208
Giessen, 48, 53, 150
Gilliland, Lieut., 73
Glasgow Herald, 249
Glass Apparatus, Germany and, 250
Gmelin, Prof., 53
"God Punish England," 166, 169, 171
Gomperz, Prof. H., 227
"Gott Strafe England," 166, 169, 171
Goettingen, 11, 27, 53, 67, 144
Graaf, Excellenz de, and English Civilians, 82
Grey, Sir Edward, 8, 24, 50, 77, 78, 80, 92, 97
Guestrow i/Mecklenburg, 16, 52, 53, 57
Haase, Herr, on Belgian Neutrality, 174
Hale, Chandler, 25
Hall: International Law, 76
Halle a/d Saale, 10
Hamilton, Sir Ian, 7
Harnack, Prof., 177
Harris, H. W., 82
Harte, A. C., 11
Harvey, Lieut.-Observer J. E. P., 3
Hate —Civilian, 163-4 —Hymn of, 231 —Prof. Deussen Condemns, 228 —Prof. Gomperz Condemns, 227
Hauptmann, Gerhart, 229
Hay, the Hon. Ivan, 36
Headley, Lord, 249
Healing of Nations, 183
Hedin, Sven, 171
Heroism of German Prisoners, 119
Herzog, Wilhelm, 232
Hesse, Hermann, 230
Hibbert Journal, 180, 232
Hilfe, Die, 222
Hobhouse, Miss Emily, 127-31