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What Germany Thinks - The War as Germans see it
by Thomas F. A. Smith
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One instance will suffice to illustrate the everyday routine of the class-war (Klassenkampf) in which the whole energies of the Social Democrats have been absorbed for a quarter of a century. An acquaintance of the author's, Major Schub, in the 19th Infantry Regiment, stationed in Erlangen, dared some years ago to send his orderly with a she-goat to a peasant in the district who kept the indispensable he-goat. Two days later he was pilloried in a Furth paper for calling upon a private soldier to fulfil such a degrading office. German workmen do not read the Vorwaerts (its circulation is well under 100,000), but they read one or other of the seventy purveyors of filth and class hatred which form the stock-in-trade of the Social Democratic Party.

The author of this work, knew as early as July 25th, that reserve officers had been warned to hold themselves in readiness; on succeeding days he saw tangible evidence that mobilization was proceeding stealthily, and it would be ridiculous for him to claim greater knowledge than the hundred and eleven S.D. members of the Reichstag, and the seventy-seven editors of their party papers—especially when these have an army of millions of spies at their command.

In order to obtain a correct judgment of the motives which actuated German Social Democrats in their complete support of the German Government it is necessary to consult the works published by them during the war. Karl Kautsky writes:[74] "That which under these circumstances, was most immediate and pressing in determining the attitude to war, not only for the masses, but also many of our leaders, was the fear of a hostile invasion, the urgent necessity to keep the enemy out of our territory, no matter what the causes, object or results of the war may be. This fear was never greater and more justified than on this occasion; never have the devastating results of invasion been more terrible. Belgium and East Prussia speak plainly.

[Footnote 74: "Die Internationalitaet und der Krieg." Berlin, 1915; p. 32.]

"The increased size of the armies greatly extends the unavoidable desolation of war, and in addition to this a second strongly-working popular motive decides the attitude of a nation to war, viz., the interest of the entire people in the fate of an army in which every family is represented."

It thus becomes evident that no motives of justice, right or wrong, or politics played any part in the decision arrived at, but merely a great fear which impelled the Social Democrats to consider first and foremost how to save their own skins.

All protest meetings were cancelled on August 1st, and the Press restricted itself to chronicling rumours and events. The sitting of the Reichstag was awaited with impatience as that was expected to bring more light on the crisis. The effect which Bethmann-Hollweg produced upon his hearers was to convince them that Russia alone was to blame. "The question of supporting the war by voting a loan was all the easier for us to decide, because the provocation had come, not from France or England, but from Russia. I admit openly that while I was travelling to Berlin to the Reichstag I had very little time to hunt for precedents in the party's history to determine my vote. For me the force of circumstances alone was decisive; the material interests of the working classes and the entire nation; common sense and the realization of a practical policy."[75]

[Footnote 75: "Die Kriegssitzung des deutschen Reichstags" ("The War Sitting of the Reichstag"), by Karl Hildenbrand, Member for Stuttgart. Published 1915; p. 13.]

"At the time of voting on August 4th, we were not in a position to take England into consideration, because at the moment she had not yet declared war. But by England's intervention our attitude on August 4th has been still more emphatically justified."[76]

[Footnote 76: Ibid., p. 16.]

This statement is a gross distortion of the truth. It is true that England had not yet declared war, but Sir Edward Grey had made England's attitude quite clear on the previous day. His speech had been published in the Berlin papers. Furthermore, the Chancellor informed the Reichstag that England's position was perfectly clear, although he suppressed the fact that Germany had begun preparations for war with this country five days before, by ordering civilians to leave Heligoland, and despatching the Koenigin Luise to lay mines on our coasts.

In any case, the action of the Social Democrats on that occasion is an example of unfaithfulness to principles. Accepting the invasion fear as a ground for voting a loan for a war of defence, there is still no evident reason why they should vote funds for a war of aggression against Belgium. On the surface, there is no explanation for their cheers when Bethmann-Hollweg announced the invasion of two neutral States by Germany's armies.

Had they been tricked into supporting an alleged defensive war, there was still time to protest against German hordes overrunning two weak neighbouring countries. In spite of their terror that they personally might suffer through the horrors of war, their vaunted humanitarianism led to no outcry against those same horrors being wilfully and ruthlessly forced upon their Belgian Genossen.

The only anxiety which the speech of their chosen spokesman, Herr Haase, betrays, is the anxiety to avoid responsibility. "In the name of my party I am empowered to make the following declaration: We are standing in an hour of solemn destiny. The consequences of the imperialistic policy—which brought about an era of armaments and made international difficulties more acute—have now fallen upon Europe like a storm-flood.

"The responsibility for this recoils upon the leaders of that policy; we decline to accept it. Social Democracy has fought against this ominous development with all the forces at its command. Up to the very last hour we have worked for the maintenance of peace through mighty demonstrations in every land, especially in intimate cooperation with our French brothers. (Applause from the Social Democrats.) Our efforts have been in vain.

"Now we are face to face with the stern reality of war. We are threatened by the terrors of a hostile invasion. To-day we have not to decide either for or against war, but only concerning the necessary means for the defence of our country. Now we have to think of the millions of our Genossen who are innocently swept into this fate. They will suffer most through the devastations of war. Our ardent wishes accompany also our brothers who are called to the flag without distinction of party. (Loud applause.)

"We think, too, of the mothers who must give their sons and of the women and children who are robbed of their bread-winners, and to whose fear for their loved ones is added the dread of hunger. Tens of thousands of wounded and mutilated warriors will soon be added to these. We consider it our most compelling duty to help them, to lighten their burdens and relieve their distress.[77] (Loud applause.)

[Footnote 77: There is every reason to believe that the party has worked hard to keep this promise.—Author.]

"In case of a victory for Russian despotism, which is already stained with the blood of Russia's best sons, much—if not everything—is at stake for our people and our free future. It is a question of averting this danger, and of securing the culture and independence of our own country. (Loud applause.)

"Now we will redeem our oft repeated pledge: In the hour of danger we shall not leave our Fatherland in the lurch. (Loud applause.) Thereby, we feel ourselves in unison with the principles of internationalism which have always admitted the right of each single people to national independence and national defence. We condemn, as internationalism does, every war of conquest.

"We demand, that, as soon as the goal of security has been attained and our enemies are inclined to make peace, the war shall end by a peace that will make friendship with neighbouring countries possible. We demand this, not only in the interests of the international solidarity for which we have uniformly fought, but also in the interests of the German nation.

"We hope that the cruel school of war's sufferings will awaken a horror for war in new millions, and win them over to the socialistic ideal and international peace. Guided by these principles we vote in favour of the war loan. (Loud applause.)"[78]

[Footnote 78: Leipziger Volkszeitung, August 5th.]

A short historical comparison will assist in making the Social Democratic action still clearer. In 1870, when Bismarck asked the Reichstag for a war credit to prosecute the campaign against France, the Socialists were few and helpless. Yet Liebknecht and Bebel refused to vote in its favour. "Their moral demonstration was in itself perfectly logical, for Bismarck's and Napoleon III.'s intrigues equally deserved condemnation."[79]

[Footnote 79: Kautsky: "Die Internationalitat und der Krieg," p. 19.]

Apparently it did not occur to the Democrats in 1914, that probably Germany had again been guilty of intrigues. It is noteworthy, however, that the small party in 1870 protested when a national issue was at stake, while the mighty party of 1914 made no protest whatever, although, as they had previously announced and denounced, the issue had been raised by the unjust actions and vile intrigues of Austrian imperialism.

The campaign against Russia conducted by the nationalist Press up till August 1st was taken up by the organs representing Social Democracy, immediately war broke out. Their papers were flooded with appalling pictures of Russian (generally termed Asiatic) barbarism, tyranny and misrule. Passages from the speeches and writings of Bebel, Liebknecht and others were quoted to show the fiendishness of Russian policy, and the justice of every German doing his utmost to smash Czarism and deliver millions of fellow workmen from its thrall. Even a blood-and-thunder story of the Russian police was turned on as a serial story in their daily papers.[80] In short, nothing was omitted which goes to make Stimmung.

[Footnote 80: "Der Polizeimeister, ein russischer Polizeiroman," by Gabryela Zapolska. The story commenced in the Nuremberg party organ on August 11th, and in Kautsky's Leipztger Volkszeitung on August 18th.]

Had they been honestly impartial a still blacker picture of Austria, painted by one of the founders of the workmen's movement, might have been quoted, yet it might have been indiscreet to tell Germans what Lassalle wrote. "Austria? Russia is a mammoth, barbarian Empire which its despotic rulers endeavour to civilize, just so far as suits their despotic interests. In that country barbarism is excusable, because it is a national element. But the case is very different with Austria. There it is the government which represents the barbaric principle and crushes beneath it by artifice and violence, the civilized peoples under its rule."[81]

[Footnote 81: Bernstein's edition of Lassalle's "Reden und Schriften," vol. I., p. 306.]

With the exception of a few Britishers, the Socialists of all countries have unanimously condemned the attitude of the German party. Not the least interesting is the condemnation expressed by the Italian section. Dr. Suedekum, Reichstag member for Nuremberg, was sent to Italy to discuss the situation with Italian Socialists and justify their own action in supporting the war. The following account of the meeting appeared in the Vorwaerts for September 12th: "The meeting lasted from 3.30 p.m. till 7 p.m. Suedekum declared that he had come to inform their Italian comrades of the situation in which the German Socialists found themselves, and in order to learn whether the Italians had taken any steps to keep up communications with Democrats in other lands.

"We hold firmly to the contention that the German Socialists could have done nothing except what they did. My presence here is a proof that we Germans are aware of our duties towards internationalism.[82] We believed that the German Government had given proof of its peaceful tendencies and was forced into war against its will. Therefore, the Social Democratic Party supported it.

[Footnote 82: There is no evidence to show that Suedekum's Italian visit had any other purpose than winning over the sympathies of Italian Socialists and with them, the whole Italian nation for the purposes of German nationalism.—Author.]

"Delia Seta answered that this was no justification for giving their support. The Italian Socialists would not have given their assistance under the same circumstances, just as they had refused to vote in favour of the Libyan war.

"Dr. Suedekum replied that the German Socialists were compelled to defend their Fatherland against Czarism. Further, he repeated Haase's declaration in the Reichstag and continued: 'I am astonished that the Italian Socialists are able to believe, that so strong a party as the German Democrats, had denied their ideals, and been untrue to their task. You must admit that no other way was open to us, except to grant the credit demanded.'

"After this, he asserted the nationalist Press of France and Italy was working against Germany, and it seemed as if the Italian comrades were in agreement with Italian nationalists in endeavouring to maintain the existing condition of affairs[83] in Italy.

[Footnote 83: "The existing condition of affairs" seems to mean Italian neutrality.—Author.]

"Finally Suedekum concluded by pointing out that the German Democrats had neither the intention, nor the right, to influence the attitude of the Italian Socialists, but were merely endeavouring to link up hearty international intercourse again.

"In reply Delia Seta said he found it remarkable that the German Socialists had appealed to their Italian comrades in this solemn hour, all the more remarkable because intentions might easily be ascribed to this intervention. 'This is a serious motive which impels us to state our opinions with unreserved frankness.'

"He continued: 'Your defence does not convince us. You speak of France being allied with us, and of England, Germany's enemy. But we speak of our France, revolutionary France, Jaure's France. The French Socialists opposed the military preparations made by France, you Germans did not do the same in your country, or at least, only up to the point where the imperialistic feelings of the Kaiser and his party might be hurt.

"'The point of view of German Democrats coincides with that of German imperialism. German predominance means for us a far greater danger than Czarism, because Czarism prevents the German army from marching on Paris, and thus protects the banner of France, which in spite of all mistakes and errors, is still the most revolutionary.

"'Germany's motto is: Deutschland ueber alles and you have not opposed it; but you have published in the Vorwaerts an appreciation of the Kaiser alleging that he had worked during twenty-five years for peace.

"'You speak of German civilization being in danger. But in this civilization we can find no trace of culture, when you attack and torture neutral Belgium, and complete the destruction of Louvain. Taken as a whole, German Socialists are just as plausible and use the same excuses as the Ministers of the German Government.[84]

[Footnote 84: Might not this also be said of Messrs. Morel, Macdonald, Bernard Shaw, etc., and the Labour Leader, whose writings on the war have been scattered broadcast throughout Germany during the last six months?]

"'We are enraged at the terrible fact that Germany has violated Belgium's neutrality, and you have not even protested. We tell you quite openly that we honour and weep for devastated Belgium, and tremblingly follow the fate of France.'"

Suedekum had no words with which to answer this terrible indictment, and the Vorwaerts could only add the following comment:

"We consider the judgment of our Italian comrades to be one-sided, but for reasons easy to understand, desist from discussing it in the present situation. Unfortunately we must recognize the fact, however, that the Italian view is widespread among the Socialists of other neutral countries."

Germany's revolutionary party lost no time in hoisting the banner of "no annexations." The Leipziger Folkszeitung, second in importance only to the Vorwaerts nailed down a phrase in the Kaiser's speech from the throne, which stated: "We are inspired by no desire for conquest." In commenting on this phrase, Kautsky's organ said:

"The part of the speech which excites most sympathy in us is the admission that Germany cherishes no lust for conquest. At the proper time we shall refer to that again.

"It is with sincere regret that we see the French Government on the side of the criminal Powers, which have enslaved and robbed the Russian people. If Germany, in a delirium of victory, should raise claims which mean annexation, then we shall—that must be repeated again—recall the speech from the throne of the German Kaiser on August 4th, 1914."[85]

[Footnote 85: Leipziger Volkszeitung, August 4th.]

During the first year of war a split among the Social Democrats has become evident, and it appears certain that it is the annexation question which is causing the cleavage. In December last Liebknecht abstained from voting when the second war loan was granted by the Reichstag. Evidently doubts have arisen in a small section of the party either as to the origin of the war, or in regard to the objects which the German Government hopes to attain.

On August 20th, 1915, Dr. Liebknecht put this question in the Reichstag: "Is the Government prepared to enter into immediate peace negotiations on the basis that Germany renounces all annexation claims and assuming that the other Powers in question are willing to negotiate?" Von Jagow replied: "I believe the great majority of the members will agree with me, when I refuse to answer the question, as being at present beside the purpose."

The reply evoked a hurricane of "bravos."

A parallel may be found in the year 1870. The central committee of German Social Democrats passed a resolution that: "It is absolutely necessary for the party to organize simultaneously in all parts of the country great popular demonstrations against the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, and pass resolutions in favour of an honourable peace with the French republic."

Nothing came of the movement, for on September 9th the committee was placed under arrest and prosecuted. If Germany should be victorious in this war, it is to be assumed that the Socialists would again prove powerless to prevent annexation. What the allies cannot hinder, the Social Democrats would be still more helpless to prevent; especially as the great majority of them are unreservedly on the side of the Kaiser and his Government. When in need, the latter flattered and persuaded the Democrats to vote for an alleged war of defence; but should German arms be victorious the German Government would neither seek, nor accept advice on her national projects, from her quondam internationalists.

There are grounds for suspicion that the party is playing a game desired by the Berlin Government. For some months past they have tried every means possible to arrange personal interviews with the leaders of the corresponding party in France—the French "comrades" have refused to meet them. The Leipziger Volkszeitung for July 16th, 1915, contains more than a column about "We and the French," in which the German party spreads the usual Teutonic lime of sophistry and empty phrases.

One passage betrays the entire intrigue. They wish their "French brothers" to agree to a peace without annexations, which means, in so many words, that the French Socialists are to renounce Alsace-Lorraine for ever. Had they been, or should they be in the future, so foolish as to enter this German mouse-trap, then before the war has reached a decisive conclusion, a large section of the French nation would be pledged to renounce the lost provinces even in case of a German defeat. This is an excellent instance of the manner in which German Social Democracy works in an enemy country to assist its own Government. In like manner, the Independent Labour Party and Union of Democratic Control are forces exceedingly sensitive to German influence, and in a decisive moment can be set in motion by the German "comrades."

The hundred and eleven Social Democrats in the Reichstag have no real power in Germany. If they possess any degree of power, then fear for their own skins, prevents them from risking its exercise. Their real opinion concerning Alsace-Lorraine appeared in the same journal four days later. "According to our opinion it would be a crime, if France made the return of these provinces a condition of peace." In the same article an accusation of one-sidedness is made against the Socialists in France for supporting the French Government. After which, it is not surprising that every time the names of the Genossen Macdonald, Snowden, Hardie and Newbold occur in the Leipziger Volkszeitung, they are mentioned with awe and reverence.

"Besides Ramsay Macdonald and Philip Snowden, our friend J.T. Walton Newbold has got on the nerves of the English patriots."[86] These gentlemen invariably receive polite mention, but French Socialists are evidently in disfavour—presumably because they know too well the German game.

[Footnote 86: Leipziger Volkszeitung, July 23rd, 1915.]

The peace programme of the German Socialists has been published. An official declaration of the party which appeared on August 23rd, 1915, gives the following conditions.

"While caring for the national interests and rights of our own people, and at the same time respecting the vital interests of all nations, German Social Democracy strives for a peace which bears the guarantee of permanence, and will bring the European States closer together in matters of justice, culture, and commerce. In this sense we have drawn up the following scheme:

"I. The security of German independence and the entirety of the German Empire, which implies the rejection of all annexation plans on the part of our opponents. That includes the French plan to re-incorporate Alsace-Lorraine with France, no matter in what form that end may be sought.

"II. In order to secure free economic development for the German nation, we demand:

"(a) The 'open door,' i.e., equal rights for commercial and such-like activities in all colonial territories.

"(b) The inclusion of the most-favoured-nation clause in the articles of peace of all the nations now at war.

"(c) The furthering of an economic entente by abolishing tariffs, etc., as far as possible.

"(d) The equalization and improvement of the social-political institutions according to ideals aimed at by the workmen's international party.

"(e) The freedom of the seas is to be guaranteed by an international treaty. To this end the right of capture at sea must be abolished, and all straits and narrows of importance for world commerce, must be internationalized.

"III. In the interests of Germany's security and the free exercise of commercial and economic efforts in South-Eastern Europe, we reject all the warlike aims of the Quadruple Alliance to weaken or disintegrate Austria-Hungary and Turkey.

"IV.—In consideration of the fact that the annexation of territories inhabited by another race transgresses the rights of nations to govern themselves; furthermore because thereby, the unity and strength of Germany would be weakened and her foreign relations seriously and permanently injured, we oppose the plans in that direction cherished by shortsighted conquest-politicians.[87]

[Footnote 87: There are two and a half lines of dots at this point. Probably the German censor has cut out a sentence.]

"V.—The terrible destruction and sufferings brought upon humanity by this war have won over millions of hearts to the ideal of a world peace, permanently secured by an international court of justice. The attainment of this end must be recognized as the highest moral duty of all those who are appointed to the work of framing a peace. Therefore we demand that an international arbitration court shall be created which shall settle all future difference between the nations."[88]

[Footnote 88: Leipziger Volkszeitung, August 23rd, 1915.]

This imaginary peace-treaty is what Germans would call a Zankapfel (apple of discord). It may represent the serious opinions of Germany's greatest political party, but the German Government will welcome it because it will give Germany's sympathizers in France, England, Italy and Russia an excellent weapon with which they can attack their respective Governments, and hamper them in protecting their national interests. It will doubtless be an inspiration to the members of the I.L.P. and the U.D.C.[89]

[Footnote 89: Above prophecy written end of August; fulfilled in the Labour Leader October 28th.—Author.]

If the German Government seriously formulated such proposals, the author believes that all Britishers worthy of the name would simply answer: "Fight on!" On this assumption the proposals deserve no discussion.

Yet the document is interesting as revealing the mind of Social Democratic Germany. These sublime Pharisees are unconscious of Belgium's wrongs and Germany's crimes. The former deserve no compensation and the latter no penalty. Here we are on the bed-rock of their ideas of justice and humanitarianism. Still we are not altogether surprised, because the Democratic newspaper organs have openly defended and justified the atrocities committed by German soldiers, and whenever any particularly damning evidence has been produced their parole has consistently been: "At any rate, now is not the time to discuss it." According to their comprehension the only time for discussion is when Europe is under the German heel. They are willing to discuss—when discussion can no longer injure the Fatherland, when Germany has gained all she wants.

The most remarkable metamorphosis which the German Democrats have undergone, is shown in their changed attitude to England. This country gave a home to Marx and Engels; the former is buried in Highgate cemetery. For many decades the party professed enthusiastic admiration of British institutions and our ideals of personal freedom. Their admiration for England was not always convenient to the German Government, and was certainly a thorn in the side of the Kaiser.

In 1898 the party published a "Handbook for Social Democratic Voters," which contains lengthy explanations of their entire policy. Therein they justify their opposition to German naval expansion, and while conceding that naval supremacy is vital and indispensable to England, continue: "Boundless plans are veiled beneath the Navy Bill (1897). The hotspurs among the water-patriots dream of a first-class navy which might rival, yes, even surpass the British fleet.

"For the water-patriots the Navy Bill means an instrument to further their unlimited Weltpolitik and schemes of conquest; a weapon with which to realize their mad imaginings of a greater Germany. They desire to employ it as a tool for their absolutist plans and adventurous world enterprises.

"It increases the risk of foreign conflicts. At the same time it brightens the prospects of success of those influential circles which—impelled by an overpowering impulse to deeds, and inspired by a diseased longing for prestige—press on from excitement to excitement, from daring to daring, and from crisis to crisis."

This remarkable prophecy has been verified by history, but with its realization, the party which made it has been converted to the side of their former opponents. To-day the Social Democrats are just as hearty in the desire to see Britain overthrown and British naval supremacy smashed as is the Kaiser's Government.

No impartial thinker dare deny that the British fleet has been the principal factor in preventing Europe's subjugation to German autocracy, and the world to German militarism. Yet the so-called party of freedom prays earnestly that this fleet may be destroyed. This represents the tone of their daily Press, and the change of attitude has been proved to be scientifically correct in various books published by their leaders during the present year. One of these works will be quoted at considerable length, because of its importance in showing what the "pioneers of liberty" wish, may be the end of the "home of liberty." The work bears the title, "German Social Democracy and the World War;"[90] its author is a Socialist member of the Reichstag.

[Footnote 90: "Die deutsche Sozialdemokratie und der Weltkrieg," by Dr. Paul Lensch, published by the Vorwaerts Publishing House. Berlin, 1915.]

In dealing with England he refers to their former admiration for this country and proceeds to prove that it was wrong—wrong in the interests of Germany, and the world. England's fight against Napoleon for European freedom Dr. Lensch disposes of in a sentence: "Consumed by greed, England took the long-yearned-for opportunity and fell upon her rival, France" (p. 16).

He informs his readers that England and Russia are two beasts of prey. England's disarmament proposals were only intended to secure her naval supremacy, because Germany seemed to be escaping from the strangulation cord which. England had drawn tight round her throat. Therefore three problems present themselves to Dr. Lensch, which the war must solve:

(1.) Shall the German people continue to exist as an independent nation?

(2.) Shall the danger of Czarism continue to threaten West European culture?

(3.) Shall Britain's naval supremacy be eternalized or overthrown, seeing that Britain only allows other nations to develop, so far as they are compatible with her national interests? (p. 15).

"England's oft-praised freedom is based upon the enslavement of the world; the peoples now recognize that England's wealth, freedom, and greatness are merely the corollary to their poverty, slavery and wretchedness (p. 20).

"International Socialism has not the slightest interest in helping to bolster up this supremacy (p. 22).

"When this monopoly is broken the English working classes will lose their present privileged position. They will be reduced to the same level as the workmen of other lands. Then Socialism will flourish in England (p. 23).[91]

[Footnote 91: The author had fondly imagined that the British workman stood foremost as the result of his own battles. In any case, it is to be hoped that British Socialists will be grateful for "Genosse" Lensch's prayers for their downfall.]

"No party stands to lose more by a British victory than Social Democracy. The overthrow of England's world-position would clear the way for the continuation of the world's progress on the right historical lines, and its economic development (p. 25).

"In the present world war the interests of the internationalists are bound up in a German victory. Hence a German victory would be a victory for Marx's internationalism, and only then, would the hearts and heads of English workmen be open to the intellectual schooling of the Socialistic idea (p. 27).

"As early as the eighties in the last century, Friedrich Engels proved that the ruin of England's industrial monopoly had begun. What the scientist had foretold, became evident to all eyes two decades later. The social system of the greatest, world-ruling industrial State was shaken to its foundations. International Socialists had every reason to welcome this peaceful downfall of England's world power" (pp. 21-22).

"Marx once wrote that war is like a locomotive in the history of the world. May this war have that effect and under full steam lead to a finish the work which peaceful development had already commenced, i.e., the downfall of English supremacy. If the war hastens and concludes this process, then the sacrifices in blood and treasure will not have been in vain. A great stumbling-block to human progress and especially to the proletarian fight for freedom will have been hurled out of the way" (pp. 27-8).

Having failed during a peaceful fight of over forty years, to hurl German autocracy and militarism out of the world, these hot-headed pioneers of liberty (Kaiserdom?) wish to destroy the very State which was their place of refuge when German "liberty" overwhelmed them with its kindly attentions.

Still we cannot be too grateful to Dr. Lensch for his lucid statement. It is an effective reply to Germany's sympathizers in this country, and if British workmen should ever see these lines, it will interest them to know that German Socialists are anxious to pull them down a little, in the belief that if British workmen are cut short in their luxuries they will become better Socialists and Internationalists.

Dr. Lensch has only one step more to take, and he will certainly gain the highest German order—pour le merite. The famous Communist manifesto of Marx and Engels concludes with the words: "Proletarians of all lands, unite!" It is much to be desired that Dr. Lensch should amend this by adding to Marx's phrase a few words, so that the amended form would run:

"Proletarians of all lands, unite to sing 'Deutschland, Deutschland, ueber alles.'" By this simple means the learned doctor would condense the entire teachings of his book into a single sentence.

"The position to-day is that the interests of freedom and democracy are utterly at variance with a French victory (p. 42).

"Greater Prussia was founded by the war of 1866, while the 1870 struggle established a Little Germany. Through the present war Great Germany will be created" (p. 46).

On another page this Socialist-Chauvinist proclaims that "the freedom of the oppressed must be the work of the oppressed themselves," which is a principle that the I.L.P. and U.D.C., etc., would do well to note. "The peculiarity of our situation is to be found in the fact that extraordinarily advanced ideals have penetrated into our unripe conditions."[92]

[Footnote 92: Louis Bamberger in an essay on German Social Democracy in the Deutsche Rundschau, vol. 14, p. 243.]

It is to these "unripe conditions" that Lensch, Liebknecht, David, Hildenbrand and the remaining leaders of German Social Democracy should give their undivided attention. Last year the Berlin Government published a record of crimes committed in Germany. It is the most awful record of any nation in the world, and the above gentlemen would do well to study Volume 267 of the Vierteljahrshefte. There were hundreds of thousands of brutal crimes committed in Germany by German proletarians during the year 1912.

For half a century Marx, Lassalle, Bebel, Liebknecht and their successors have been busily engaged in intellectualizing Germany's proletarians; now it is advisable for the Socialist party to begin the work of humanizing them. Their efforts to internationalize the world have resulted in a hopeless debacle; let them now begin the task of humanizing Germany. They have all evidently forgotten the German proverb: Kehr vor deiner eignen Tuer! (Sweep first before your own door.)



CHAPTER VII

"NECESSITY KNOWS NO LAW"

On August 2nd, 1914, Belgium announced her neutrality in the European war; France had already declared her intention to respect Belgian neutrality at all costs. On the other hand we have Bethmann-Hollweg's word that he knew French armies were standing ready to strike at Germany through Belgium. This statement he has never supported by any proof, nor even mentioned his authority for the same.[93] In view of the facts that no military preparations had been made on the Franco-Belgian frontier, and that the German armies first came into contact with French forces long after the fall of Liege, we are compelled to declare the German Chancellor's statement to be a pure invention.

[Footnote 93: So-called "evidence" has been given by Richard Grasshoff in his book "Belgien's Schuld" ("Belgium's Guilt"), pp. 14-20. Grasshoff quotes the sworn statements of a German corporal who resided in Boitsfort, near Brussels. The corporal states that he saw two French and one English officer in Brussels on July 26th, and eight French soldiers on July 29th.

The statements of three French soldiers, prisoners of war in Germany, are also cited; these men maintain that they entered Belgium on the 31st of July and the 2nd of August.

With regard to this "evidence," we must note that Grasshoff is a German official, the corporal a German spy, and that the Frenchmen have made these statements in a prisoners' camp, a place where they were exposed to the temptation of German gold and the influence of Teutonic bullying. Lastly, the Berlin General Staff has recorded that the German armies first came in touch with French troops on August 19th, near Namur.]

Moreover Germany's excuse for invading Belgium is given in the title of this chapter. Had Germany possessed any proof that French officers in disguise were organizing preparations in Belgium, or that French airmen had crossed the latter's territories in order to drop bombs by Wesel, etc., then Bethmann-Hollweg would have had no reason to admit in the Reichstag that his country was committing a breach of international law. Under such circumstances Belgian neutrality would no longer have existed; the Chancellor, instead of "necessity," could have pleaded justification and the world could scarcely have withheld its approval.

In the early hours of August 4th the Germans crossed the Belgian frontier, although the Cologne Gazette had published a notice three days before announcing that Germany had no intention whatever of taking the step, and that no German troops were near the frontier.

General von Emmich immediately issued this proclamation in French: "To my great regret German troops have been compelled to enter Belgian territory. They are acting under the compulsion of unavoidable necessity, for French officers in disguise have already violated Belgian neutrality by trying to reach Germany, via Belgium, in motor-cars.[94]

[Footnote 94: One wonders what military purpose these officers had in view. They would have been inevitably arrested at the German frontier. The fable was made public by Wolff's Agency, and has been ridiculed even by the German Press, vide pp. 96-7.]

"Belgians! it is my most ardent desire that it may yet be possible to avoid a struggle between two peoples which up till now, have been friends, formerly even allies. Remember the glorious days of La Belle Alliance, when German arms helped to found the independence and future of your Fatherland.

"Now we must have a free way. The destruction of tunnels, bridges and railways will be considered hostile actions. Belgians! you have to choose. The German army does not intend to fight against you, but seeks a free path against the enemy who wishes to attack us. That is all we desire.

"Herewith I give the Belgian people an official pledge that they will not have to suffer under the terrors of war; that we will pay ready money for all necessaries which we may have to requisition; that our soldiers will show themselves the best friends of a nation for which we have the highest esteem and ardent affection. It depends upon your prudence and your patriotism whether your land shall be spared the horrors of war." (Appeared in the Cologne Gazette, August 6th.)

A Dresden paper of the same date contains an illuminating statement. "We have just received official information that the German General Staff had been informed by an absolutely reliable source that the French intended to march through the valley of the Meuse into Belgium. The execution of this plan had already commenced, therefore France was by no means prepared to respect Belgian neutrality."

"For years past the King of Belgium has conspired with England behind the backs of his ministers, to damage German interests. His telegram to the King of England was a trick planned long ago. These facts will soon be supplemented by a large number of documentary proofs; from this the necessity has arisen to direct Germany's advance through Belgium irrespective of neutrality considerations."[95]

[Footnote 95: Leipziger Neueste Nachrichten, August 9th.]

Here we have the first clumsy attempts to prove that Belgian neutrality did not exist. These after-thoughts have grown during the past year into no inconsiderable literature. Probably the two motives which have inspired Germany—official and unofficial—to print many volumes on Belgian neutrality have been the indignation aroused in neutral countries and the fact that a complete German victory was not obtained in three months of war.

German newspapers again betray the plot against Belgium, and a search through their files reveals in the clearest manner possible how Wolff's Bureau was again the source of a widespread campaign to prove that Germany was right, and simultaneously to lash public opinion into hatred for the Belgian "barbarians and beasts."

In the first few days of August the Press was filled with reports concerning the murder and ill treatment of Germans in Belgium, before any act of war had taken place. No doubt a justified fear for the mighty, brutal neighbour existed in the popular imagination, and fear may be the father of ill-considered deeds. Nevertheless, there is no proof that mob law prevailed in Belgium, as it did in Germany. Moreover, the latter country outlawed herself when she proclaimed the law of necessity. In the light of this consideration the German outcry that the Belgians were breaking both the laws of humanity and international jurisprudence lacks sincerity and remains unconvincing.

A country which announces her intention to ignore existing laws and "hack a way through at all costs," should surely be the last to declaim on the alleged offences against the laws of war by a small, weak, unprepared neighbour. If these considerations are insufficient, there remains the fact that Germany herself began war against unarmed Belgian civilians.

During the night following the unsuccessful coup de main against Liege, a Zeppelin attacked the town and dropped bombs. "On Thursday, August 6th, at 3.30 a.m. Z6 returned from an air-cruise over Belgium. The airship took a conspicuous part in the attack on Liege, and was able to intervene in a markedly successful manner. Our first bomb was dropped from a height of 1,800 feet, but failed to explode. The ship then sank to 900 feet above the city, and a non-commissioned officer dropped twelve more bombs, all of which exploded, setting the city ablaze in several places."[96]

[Footnote 96: German official report in the Berliner Tageblatt, August 10th.]

An Austrian who was in the town afterwards described the attack in the Grazer Tagespost. According to this witness it was already daylight when the airship appeared, and the effect of the bombs was truly awful. In view of the circumstance that it was already light, Germany cannot put forward the defence that the bombs were intended for the twelve forts which surround Liege at a distance of some miles.

This is the earliest official record of an attack upon civilians—and it came from the German side! The crew of Z6 were the recipients of a tremendous ovation on their return, while the news of this dastardly murder was received with jubilation throughout the German Empire. In Luneville fifteen civilians were killed by airship bombs two days earlier; shortly afterwards followed the attack by airship on civilians in Antwerp.

The author has before him about one hundred different newspaper reports, alleging the most awful barbarism on the part of the Belgians. Among the numerous statements that Germans were murdered, only two names are mentioned, and both these men are alive to-day; the one is Herr Weber, proprietor of an hotel in Antwerp.

"We have now received full details of the murder of the German, Weber. He had fled from his pursuers and hidden himself in a cellar. As the raging mob could not find him they burnt sulphur in the house, which caused Weber to break into a violent fit of coughing. This betrayed his hiding-place; he was dragged out and murdered."[97]

[Footnote 97: Hamburger Fremdenblatt, August 12th, and simultaneously in many other journals. On the following day the Vorwaerts announced that Herr Weber had returned to Germany in the company of their own correspondent.]

"The German pork-butcher, Deckel, who had a large business in Brussels, was attacked in his house by a crowd of Belgian beasts because he had refused to hang a Belgian flag before his shop; with axes and hatchets the mob cut off his head and hewed his corpse in pieces."[98]

[Footnote 98: Koelnische Volkszeitung, August 10th.]

A few days later the Berliner Tageblatt informed its readers that Herr Deckel was residing in Rotterdam, and had suffered no harm whatever.

Readers who are acquainted with the official record of brutal crimes committed year by year in Germany and the haughty contempt for civilian rights which the whole German army has consistently shown in the Fatherland, during the orderly times of peace, will require little imagination to conceive that this same army would show still less consideration for civilians in a country which they were wrongfully invading.

The German Press during the last thirty years, as well as many books published in the Fatherland, contains ample proof of German brutality at home, and above all, of the legal brutality of German non-commissioned and commissioned officers. How can Germany expect the world to believe, that these same men, were transformed into decent human beings by the mere act of stepping over the Belgian frontier?

Granted that vulgar elements of the Belgian population did transgress, there still remains incontrovertible evidence that almost unheard-of kindness was shown to the invading army, and that Germans had displayed brutal insolence to Belgians before a state of war had been declared. Nearly every single letter from soldiers, published in German papers, records the fact that in the villages through which they passed they were given water, wine and food, while payment was in many cases refused.

It is part of Germany's policy to blacken Belgium's character in order to justify her own ruthlessness—naturally Wolff's Agency was one of the principal tools to that end.

"Much as we condemn the excesses of the Belgians, still we must not wreak vengeance on the whole nation as a section of our Press demands. Have not harmless and defenceless foreigners been terribly ill-treated in Germany without distinction of sex? Have not shops and restaurants been demolished in hundreds, wherever a French word was to be met? And the rage of the German masses has found an outlet not only against foreigners, but against good German patriots and even German officers."[99]

[Footnote 99: Leipziger Volkszeitung, August 12th. This journal as well as the Fraenkische Tagespost names Wolff's Agency as their authority in more than one issue.]

The same journal on the preceding day deplored that "we ourselves are not free from guilt." It recounts how German reservists, when leaving Antwerp and Brussels, had sung their national songs in a loud, provocative manner, and taunted the bystanders with such remarks as: "In three days we shall be here again!"

According to the same authority German residents had insulted the populace by displaying their national flag; and German employers had been among the first to discharge employees of their own nationality, without salary in lieu of notice, thus increasing the difficulties of German residents in Belgium.

German official pronouncements are much more reticent in their judgment on these allegations of Belgian cruelties. None the less the Berlin Government must be held responsible for them being scattered throughout the land. After Germany's official representative had returned from Brussels to Berlin he made a statement to the Press. Considering that von Below was in the Belgian capital at the time, his views are instructive.

He expressed his great astonishment that such things should have happened, and asserted that up till the very last minute he had been treated with the greatest kindness and politeness. Neither he nor any of his Legation Staff had experienced the slightest unpleasantness. Further, von Below expressed the conviction that only single instances of such excesses had occurred and these were a result of the quarrelsome Walloon character. No village fete passes off among them without such outbreaks, accompanied by bloodshed.[100]

[Footnote 100: This may be true, but von Below could have said the same with absolute truth of German village fairs, Kirmesse, etc.—Author.]

German papers of August 15th reported this official version, and four days later a proclamation was issued by State Secretary Dr. Delbrueck, calling upon all persons who had been ill-treated in Belgium to report themselves, so that the "numerous" newspaper reports could be confirmed or refuted. The result of the inquiry has never been published.

From a number of witnesses who testified whole-heartedly to Belgian kindness, one will suffice. A lady reported her adventures in the Vorwaerts of September 6th, from which the following sentences have been gleaned. "Even if it is true that Germans were subjected to inconsideration and ill-treatment during their flight from Belgium, still there are hundreds of Germans who, like myself, met with generous sympathy and unstinted help.

"A Flemish servant refused her month's wages, saying that her employers would need it on the journey. Many Germans were offered homes in Belgian families till the war was over. My own landlord in Brussels placed an empty flat at my disposal for German refugees. At parting he and his wife were as deeply moved as we, and when I began to make excuses for being unable to pay the rent, she at once prevented me from speaking another word. My husband was provided with a hat which looked less 'German;' they filled our pockets with provisions for the journey, and after his wife had embraced me and my child we left the house in silence.

"German refugees whom I met afterwards, related hundreds of similar acts of kindness. When such severe accusations are raised against the entire Belgian people, justice demands this statement that Belgians in hundreds of cases, uninfluenced by the prevailing bitterness, showed themselves kindly, helpful and humane towards the Germans."

In the second month of the war two representatives of the Social Democratic Party received special permission from the General Staff to visit Belgium and the theatre of war in Northern France. Their report has been issued by the Vorwaerts Publishing House.[101]

[Footnote 101: "Kriegsfahrten durch Belgien und Nordfrankreich" ("Journeys in War Time through Belgium, etc."), by Dr. Adolph Koester and G. Noske.]

"Concerning the events and conditions in Belgium many false reports have been spread abroad. That is especially the case in regard to the terrible persecutions of Germans immediately before the outbreak of war. The civil authorities (German) are now permitting full investigation in those parts of Belgium occupied by our troops, and it is already obvious that many exaggerations were circulated by German newspapers. Without doubt beer-houses and business houses were wrecked, but the Tartar stories which were reported in Germany and Belgium, Herr von Sandt, Chief of the Civil Administration, puts down to hysterics, and the desire of some people to make themselves important."[102]

[Footnote 102: Ibid., pp. 14-15.]

No correct judgment on the apportionment of right and wrong between the Belgian civilians and the German army is possible without taking into consideration the status of militarism in each of these countries before the war. As far as Belgium is concerned, the army was looked upon as a necessary evil. The Social Democratic doctrines imported from Germany had obtained such a hold upon the people that the Belgian Government experienced ever-increasing difficulty in getting supplies voted in the House of Deputies, for defence purposes. Belgian Socialists unfortunately played into the hands of the German Government by doing their utmost to prevent money from being spent for the defence of their country. Consciously or unconsciously, German Socialists have rendered the Kaiser and his army inestimable service. Their propaganda against armaments has borne fruit in Belgium, England and France, but did not prevent a single German battleship from being built, nor a single regiment from being added to the German army.

In Germany militarism is a gospel. All classes and all political parties have been unanimous for years past, that every man should be a soldier. The military ethos has ruled supreme, and whenever civilianism has dared, merely to cherish thoughts contrary to the ideals of the ruling caste, no time was lost in seeking an opportunity to challenge a quarrel which invariably ended in humiliation for the civilian ethos. Characteristically, therefore, the contemptuous phrase has become current both in the German army and navy—"das Civil"—when speaking of the non-military elements of the nation.

Imbued with these traditions and inspired by this contempt for everything civilian, the German armies invaded Belgium, and it may be safely assumed that in a country where the civilian ethos predominated, looks, words, and even deeds, expressed hostility. Such "provocation" would certainly rouse the military ego to a revenge ten thousand-fold greater than that taken at Zabern. German militarism brooks neither contempt, criticism, nor opposition from German civilians, and much less so from the civilians of another nation.

When it is possible to obtain cool and clear accounts of the events in Belgium, the author has no doubt whatever, that proofs of civilian-baiting will be forthcoming in that unhappy country. The policy of frightfulness was not only intended to drive an enemy into abject submission and as a punishment for resistance to Germany's imperious will, but it was the military ethos in strife with the civilian spirit.

In order to hinder the march of the invaders the trees lining the roads were cut down and formed into barriers, but the civilian population was compelled at the bayonet's point to remove all obstacles and thus assist in the conquest of their native country.

"The magnificent tall fir-trees which are so characteristic of Belgian roads, had been felled across the highways. But all the civilian population which could be found, without regard to age, rank, or sex, was forced by our advancing cavalry to clear it all away. One can imagine the joy of the Belgians in performing this task!"[103]

[Footnote 103: "Unser Vormarsch bis zur Marne" ("Our advance to the Marne"), by a Saxon officer, p. 22.]

This writer, too, chronicles many instances of kindness. "I was billeted in a peasant's house at the western exit of the village. Three beautiful children, trembling with fear, watched us come in, for besides me there were twenty-four men. We had received emphatic warnings from headquarters not to allow soldiers to be billeted alone. The woman gave us everything she could find and it was almost necessary to use force to get her to accept payment."[104]

[Footnote 104: Ibid., p. 25.]

"A load of shot struck the ground at the feet of my horse. Before I had calmed the animal a N.C.O. marching at my side had finished off the dirty Belgian scoundrel, who was now hanging dead from a roof window.

"Foaming with rage, my field-greys surrounded the house, in which only a few of the dogs were taken captive, the others were immediately slaughtered. A boy hardly fifteen years old was dragged out of a wet ditch with a gun in his hand. Before being brought to me, this youthful swine had been thrashed from head to foot. Besides the men, two women and a girl were taken.

"Meanwhile a terrible hand-to-hand fight was going on throughout the long, scattered village. Infantry and artillerists smashed the doors and windows; no mercy was shown to anyone, and the houses were set alight. An attempt to storm the church-tower failed because the occupants fired from above. Bundles of straw were brought, paraffin poured on them, and the tower set on fire. Above the roar of the flames we could distinctly hear the shrieks of the murderers shut in there.

"I gave orders to a squad to shoot our prisoners, but a deadly bullet finished the career of the lying, scoundrelly priest as he was trying to escape. Our losses were remarkably small, only two men being killed and a number wounded."[105]

[Footnote 105: Ibid., p. 43-4.]

In all cases where German soldiers asked for water from the inhabitants, the latter had to take a drink first. "Before tasting the water both man and wife had to drink first, and as this scene was repeated on innumerable occasions, it was delightful to observe the comic desperation with which the people took their involuntary 'water cure.'"[106]

[Footnote 106: "Mit der Kluck'schen Armee nach Belgien" ("With von Kluck's Army into Belgium"), by Dr. Jos. Risse, p. 17.]

Dr. Risse's interesting diary contains one or two important passages illustrating the relation between conquerors and conquered. Like many other German writers, he saw no hostile act on the part of the civilian population, but they came to him as rumours. "That night we slept in a barn. Here we heard that a village near Dahlem had been burned down because the inhabitants had cut the throat of a sleeping ambulance attendant.

"On continuing our march we suddenly entered a wide vale. The horizon was blood-red and huge clouds of smoke drifted heavenwards. On all sides the villages were in flames. In the last village before Louvain the sight was terrible in the extreme; houses ablaze; pools of blood in the street; here and there a dead civilian; pieces of Belgian equipment, haversacks, boots and trousers lay around; while the inhabitants stood about with their hands raised above their heads.

"It was said that hostile cavalry had hidden in the village and together with a part of the inhabitants had fired on our troops. We only saw the consequences.

"After a long rest before Louvain we entered the town at 7 p.m. Our artillery had taken up a semi-circular position on the heights around and directed their cannon on to the town."[107]

[Footnote 107: Ibid., pp. 22-3.]

The above events occurred on August 19th, exactly six days before the sack of Louvain. It strikes one as remarkable that the German cannon were even on that day directed against an unfortified city.

Risse was among the first German troops to enter Brussels. "Our route took us through some of the principal streets, and various splendid buildings including the Royal palace. Joy shone in our faces and a feeling of pride swelled our breasts at being the first to enter Belgium's capital. These feelings found expression in our talk and shouts. The man behind me shouted to every bewildered, staring Belgian whom we passed: 'Yes, young fellow, you are astonished, you blockhead!' On we marched with the air of victors.

"The inhabitants were exceedingly kind, so that one had not at all the feeling of being in the capital of an enemy. They brought us water, lemonade, beer, cigars, cigarettes, etc., without asking for any payment."[108]

[Footnote 108: Ibid., pp. 26-7.]

The same writer refers to similar hospitality in various parts of his book. After passing through Brussels he continues his diary: "Sunday, August 23rd. Nothing came of our hopes for a rest-day. Shortly after 5 a.m. we were ready for the march. A fine rain was falling as we passed through village after village. We saw the villagers with frightened faces hurrying to church, carrying prayer-books. Notices from the Belgian Government were placarded on the houses, warning the people to avoid every kind of hostility towards the Germans."[109]

[Footnote 109: Ibid., p. 31.]

From the last sentence it is evident that the Belgian authorities did not incite the civilian population to resistance. Other German war-writers state that the Belgian and French Governments had organized a franc-tireur warfare long before, and this accusation is one of the pillars of Germany's defence for the destruction of Louvain.

"Soon after crossing the frontier we saw the first ruined house. Our route led us down the same road on which a few days before the violent and bitter struggles had taken place between German troops and Belgian soldiers, aided by the inhabitants. The Belgians have supported their troops in a manner which can only be described as bestial and cruel. From the houses they have shot at troops on the march, and of course their homes have been reduced to ashes.

"The road from Aix-la-Chapelle to Liege is one long, sad line of desolation.[110] Otherwise the district is fertile; now, however, sadness and devastation reign supreme. Nearly every second house is a heap of ruins, while the houses which are still standing are empty and deserted.

[Footnote 110: On September 8th, 1914, the Kaiser sent a long telegram to President Wilson, in which he defended the German armies against the charges of ruthless atrocities. He euphemistically stated that "a few villages have been destroyed."]

"On every side signs of destruction; furniture and house utensils lie around; not a pane of glass but what is broken. Still the inhabitants themselves are to blame, for have they not shot at our poor, tired soldiers?"[111]

[Footnote 111: "Mit den Koenigin-Fusilieren durch Belgien" ("With the Queen Fusiliers through Belgium"), by H. Knutz, p. 13.]

That is the utmost sympathy which any German has expressed for Belgium. The German public is fully informed of all that has been done, and considers that they have been brutally, wrongfully treated. Lord Bryce's report as well as the French and Belgian official reports have been dealt with at considerable length in the German Press, but receive no credence whatever; they are lies, all lies invented to blacken the character of poor, noble, generous Germany!

Germans are well aware of the awful number of brutal crimes which their men-folk commit year by year at home. Yet they are absolutely convinced that these same men are immediately transformed into chivalrous knights so soon as they don the Kaiser's uniform. They seem incapable of conceiving that a race which debauches its own women, can hardly be expected to show the crudest forms of respect to the women of an enemy people.

Herr Knutz—an elementary school-teacher in civilian attire, and a non-commissioned officer when in the German army—seems to possess some rays of human feeling. "Just as I was leaving the fort I saw seven or eight Belgian civilians guarded by our men with fixed bayonets. They were charged with firing on German soldiers. I must say that the lamentations of these men—aged from 20 to 50—made a deep impression on me. They had thrown themselves upon their knees, and with raised hands were weeping and beseeching that their lives might be spared.

"The villagers are exceedingly ignorant, and when their land is in danger, believe themselves justified in seizing any old shot-gun or revolver which lies at hand. Probably some of the more prudent are aware that it is a mad enterprise, but the instinct of self-defence is so innate in the simple country people that advice does not help in the least." (Von Bethmann-Hollweg and von Tirpitz justify the use of gas, the sinking of merchant vessels containing women and children, the dropping of bombs on open towns, etc., etc., by the plea of self-defence.—Author.)

"But it is otherwise with regard to the atrocities on our wounded; these are a stain on Belgium's national honour which will not easily be wiped out. A German would never perpetrate such monstrous crimes,[112] and that we can say without any overweening opinion of ourselves."[113]

[Footnote 112: This is hypocrisy or ignorance.—Author.]

[Footnote 113: Ibid., pp. 18-19.]

Herr Knutz offers no proof of the alleged atrocities; he has heard of them, believes and repeats the story. I have some fifty German books describing the war in Belgium, and in all of them similar legends are mentioned, but in no single instance is a case proved and nailed down. No victim is named, and the scene of the alleged atrocity is never given, hence it seems to be the usual German artifice to make Stimmung, i.e., to raise feeling.

One thumb-nail picture from the teacher's diary shows that the Germans created only too well a Stimmung of abject terror among the Belgians.

"This morning, August 19th, we searched a small wood for Belgians, but found none. On leaving the wood a touching picture met our eyes. Several families were fleeing with their children, and the barest necessaries of life, into a neighbouring village. An old woman on crutches was trying in vain to keep up; a young mother with a sucking child was sobbing and pressing the babe to her bosom. The boys were weeping bitterly and holding their hands high to prove that they were harmless. We passed by the ruins of Roosbeck, where civilians had shot on the 20th Artillery Regiment, for which reason it was burnt down."[114]

[Footnote 114: Ibid., p. 27.]

Among the various interesting pictures of the Fatherland sketched by German authors perhaps the following is the most naive: "English, French and Belgians, hand in hand; how nicely it was all thought out; Belgian neutrality—so solemnly pledged by all the Powers—was nothing but a screen behind which they wrought the most devilish plans against Germany. It was a neutrality which had long since been betrayed and sold by the Belgian Government.

"But the German people—a pure fool-like Parsifal, who could not conceive such treachery and knavery because it was incapable of such things itself—toiled and worked day by day, enjoyed the blessings of peace, was happy in its existence and ignorant of the looming clouds gathering on its frontiers. All hail to our chosen leaders who kept watch and ward over a dreaming people, and did not allow themselves to be lulled into watchlessness by the lies of our enemies, who while talking of peace intrigued for our annihilation."[115]

[Footnote 115: "Von Luettich bis Flandern" ("From Liege to Flanders"), by Wilhelm Kotzde. Weimar, 1914; p. 5.]

The same author's opinion of the Belgians coincides with that expressed by many of his fellow countrymen. "What did our troops find by the roadside? On all sides haversacks, straps, cartridges, caps, tunics and rifles. To our soldiers this was a remarkable sign of flight, for they are accustomed to military training of a different sort. In the forts, it is true, they found among the soldiers also civilians wearing patent-leather shoes. Indeed, the whole Belgian campaign has shown how badly the army was prepared and equipped.

"The lack of discipline and order is evident, however, in every department of Belgium's national life, and these virtues they endeavoured to replace by cunning and cruelty—at least among the Walloons."[116]

[Footnote 116: Ibid., pp. 61-2.]

A Knight of the Order of St. John[117] is still more cynical in his condemnation of the conquered enemy: "The greatest misfortune in this land is unemployment; factories are inactive and shops closed. The horrors of famine draw nearer, and we, as well as some neutral countries, are endeavouring to relieve the tortures of want. But charity only encourages the laziness of the inhabitants. Just as the refugees in Holland, the Belgians who have remained in their land would like to put their hands in their pockets and be fed. Of course, that is not permissible, and the German Government does its best to rap these lazy wretches on the fingers."

[Footnote 117: "Kriegsfahrten eines Johanniters," by Fedor von Zobeltitz, pp. 86-7.]

"It was characteristic that the Belgians always placed their hopes on foreign help and never dared to rely on the strength of their own army. This alone is a serious symptom of national weakness. Still, the Belgian army has fought bravely. It is true they had not the discipline and preparation which distinguish the German troops, but everything which a badly equipped and trained army could achieve they have done."[118]

[Footnote 118: Wilhelm Kotzde: "Von Luettich bis Flandern," p. 71.]

It is not necessary for the author of this work to write a song of glorification for Belgium; she has herself composed an epic of valour and self-sacrifice written in immortal deeds. At present her only reward seems to be a desolate land in the hands of the conqueror, and the graves of her fallen sons. Germany's evident intention is the annexation of that part of Belgium where Flemish is spoken. At the moment of writing, Goliath has vanquished David. France and England have a supreme duty to fulfil: they are called to avenge Belgium's wrongs, and thereby establish the principle that even necessity must recognize law.



CHAPTER VIII

ATROCITIES

The question of Belgian atrocities is so important that no apology is required for giving the British public every possible opportunity to sift evidence, and above all, to hear the German side.

In the interests of fair play we will allow a German lawyer[119] to state the case against the Belgians. Herr Grasshoff is armed with two doctorates and is in practice as an advocate in one of the higher courts of law (Kammergericht). Chapter III of his work is entitled: "The Belgian Outrages;" in the foregoing chapter he endeavours to show that the Belgian Press had worked upon public opinion and lashed it into such a state that atrocities and mutilations of Germans by Belgian men, women, boys and girls were the natural consequences.

[Footnote 119: Richard Grasshoff: "Belgien's Schuld" ("Belgium's Guilt").]

"That the goaded rage of the lower classes found expression in nameless horrors is unfortunately a sorry truth. The proofs? We are not in a position to satisfy the desire for sensation with a cabinet of horrors. The equipment of the German army does not include either the jars or the chemical fluids for preserving hacked-off limbs, hence it is impossible to display exhibits as in a museum. Our hospitals do not admit the dead.

"If Germany should be compelled to conduct a second campaign against the cultured peoples of Western Europe, then she will not forget to add the above articles to her equipment in any future war against such opponents. Pitying mother earth covers the murdered victims."

This eloquent lawyer has overlooked the aid which the art of photography affords, and as the German army was well equipped with cameras, some tangible proofs could still have been procured—assuming there were any shred of truth in Germany's accusations. The Berlin Government has circulated photographs of dum-dum bullets, i.e., English and French bullets with the points cut off. It is true no statement is offered regarding the time and place of the points being cut off, which leaves us free to believe that captured ammunition was "doctored" in this manner by the Germans themselves. "Necessity knows no law" is a principle capable of the widest application.

Grasshoff's work was only published a few months ago, so that he had ample time to collect facts and proofs—the result is, six detailed cases with the names of his German informants and their regiments. In each case the "evidence" is of an exceedingly doubtful character; in view of the gravity of the charges, the lack of corroboration (each case is "proved" by one witness alone), and the partisanship of all concerned, we may safely conclude that no court of justice would convict on it.

The same criticism applies to the official White Book, published in June or July of the present year. Every witness had previously sworn an oath to protect the German flag (der Fahneneid) which precludes the probability of all impartiality in the witness and makes bias (Befangenheit) his simple duty. Another important factor to be borne in mind is the hysterical, morbid self-importance of the German nation in general, which causes police and members of the German army to shoot or cut down with the sword their own civilians for the most trivial offences, even in times of peace.

The White Book in question contains a six-page introduction stating the charges against Belgian civilians, and three hundred and seventeen pages of sworn evidence of German officers and soldiers taken for the most part in Belgium and France. A few extracts from the introduction will suffice to make the German side clear.

"Finally, there is not the slightest doubt that Belgian civilians robbed and killed German wounded; in short, mutilated them in a barbarous manner; even women and young girls participated in these atrocities. Hence German wounded have had their eyes gouged out, noses, ears, fingers and genitals cut off and their bodies cut open; in other cases German soldiers have been poisoned, hanged on trees, or had burning liquids poured on them, causing death in a most terrible form.

"This bestial behaviour on the part of the civilian population is a breach of Article I., Convention of Geneva,[120] and the principles of military law, as well as the principles of humanity" (p. 4).

[Footnote 120: Self-proclaimed outlaws cite the law when it suits their purpose!—Author.]

"The guilt for these transgressions of international law lies largely at the door of the Belgian Government. The latter has made an attempt to rid itself of responsibility by ascribing the guilt to the rage for destruction in the German troops, who are accused of proceeding to deeds of violence without any reason or ground.[121]

[Footnote 121: Certainly, just as in Germany in peace time.—Author.]

"An examining commission has been appointed by the Belgian Government to inquire into the alleged cruelties of German soldiers, and the evidence thus obtained has been made the subject of diplomatic complaints. This attempt to pervert the truth has absolutely failed.

"The German army is accustomed to wage war against hostile troops, but not against peaceful citizens.[122] Investigations conducted by any examining commission whatsoever, can never dispose of the irrefutable fact that German troops were forced by Belgium's native population to take defensive measures in the interests of self-preservation.

[Footnote 122: German non-commissioned officers are accustomed to kick and beat German privates, and the behaviour of German soldiers to fellow-subjects is aptly illustrated by Lieutenant Foerster fighting a pitched battle with a lame old cobbler in Zabern.—Author.]

"The refugees' tales collected by the Belgian commission and declared by them to be the result of an impartial investigation bear a stamp which makes them unworthy of belief. According to the nature of things, the commission is not in a position to test the veracity of such rumours or to apprehend the association of events. Hence, their accusations against the German army are nothing other than base slanders which are completely invalidated by the accompanying documents" (pp. 5-6).

It must be assumed that readers are acquainted with the official publications of the Belgian and French Governments accusing the German army with waging war in an atrocious manner, as well as the report of Lord Bryce's commission and Professor Morgan's report in the "Nineteenth Century" for June. In the above extract the Berlin Government rules them one and all out of court, which is the author's justification for making no use of their evidence.

Fortunately the Roman Catholic Church of Germany has published a refutation of Germany's White Book, and surely this authority deserves credence. The work in question bears the title: "Der Luegengeist im Voelkerkrieg," Kriegsmaerchen gesammelt von Bernhard Duhr, S.J. ("The Spirit of Lying in the War of the Nations," War Legends collected by the Rev. Bernhard Duhr, S.J.).[123] The reverend gentleman castigates all the nations at war with the same offence—lying. His work should have permanent value in the literature of war psychology, but he only undertakes to expose German lies, and in his 72-paged booklet he proves to the hilt the charges made in this work.

[Footnote 123: The author hopes to publish a complete translation shortly.]

In his introduction the Rev. Duhr states that the office of the Priests' Society "Pax" in Cologne has taken great pains to expose and refute lies as fast as they have appeared. The original documents are preserved in the above office and may be seen by anyone who cares to apply.

Probably one of the motives actuating the Society "Pax" and the Rev. B. Duhr was the intention to refute the accusations of cruel outrages by Belgian and French Catholic priests. Whatever their motives may have been, one thing is certain, they have produced most convincing proof of German mendacity. It is to be hoped that the "Pax" will give the world the benefit of all the documents in their possession.

Even the Kaiser had the audacity to state in his telegram of September 8th, 1914, to President Wilson that "women and priests have been guilty of atrocities in this guerilla warfare." For reasons easy to understand the reverend gentleman does not introduce the Kaiser's name into his booklet, but in the introduction he remarks: "Finally the refutation of such fairy-tales is a patriotic duty. Nothing is more essential for us Germans, especially in war time, than unity; but this harmony is necessarily endangered by religious bitterness and strife. Of a necessity it must cause deep pain and embitterment to our Catholic population when again and again ENTIRELY UNTRUE ACCUSATIONS are made against the priesthood of their Church."

The Rev. Duhr's exposure of what he calls "erlogener Schauergeschichten" ("lying horror tales") kills most of the "fairy-tales" accusing the Russians, French and Belgians of atrocities on German soldiers. A few illustrations will suffice to show the absence of all foundation for the charges against the Belgians; charges, we must remember, which the German soldiery believed, and which convinced them they were performing a holy task at Louvain, Tirlemont, Dinant, etc.

"On October 1st, 1914, a telegraphic agency (Wolff's?) issued the following notice: 'A high Bavarian officer writing from the front has informed the Muenchen-Augsburger Abendzeitung of this incident. South of Cambrai a column of German motor-cars was attacked by a company of French cyclists. For the most part the guard was killed by rifle fire, while the cars were all burnt. Later a German patrol discovered the remains, and on investigation, found that the dead Germans had all had their eyes gouged out.'"

The reverend Father comments as follows: "On following up this case, it was impossible to prove whether the patrol had seen rightly or whether they had really made the report at all. So much is certain, however, that in the matter of eyes being gouged out, an absolute mania of gruesomeness broke loose. An innumerable swarm of such horrible tales were told, passed on, and finally guaranteed as true—AND YET THEY WERE ALL FAIRY-TALES. A few cases will suffice.

"In September, 1914, the following paragraph appeared in the papers: 'Several ladies engaged in Red Cross work on Cologne Station were informed with every assurance of truth, that a hospital at Aix-la-Chapelle contained a whole ward full of wounded whose eyes had been gouged out on the battlefields of Belgium.'

"On September 26th the editor of the Catholic Koelnische Volkszeitung wrote to Dr. Kaufmann, a high Roman Catholic dignitary in Aix-la-Chapelle, begging him to ascertain whether the report were true. Two days later that gentleman replied: 'As regards the rumour mentioned in your letter, I beg to inform you that I at once put myself in communication with the authorities. I inquired of the doctor in charge of a hospital here (he is, by the way, a famous specialist for the eyes), and he assures me that in all the local hospitals there is no ward for wounded whose eyes have been put out, AND SUCH A CASE HAS NEVER BEEN OBSERVED in the town, although the place is full of wounded.'

"A second report which the same journal exposed dates from October, 1914. Recently Dean A., who is the Superior in a military hospital in the Franciscan Nunnery at S., came to us and reported that a wounded soldier had told him that he had heard[124] that in the monastery Bl. by V., in Holland, there were twenty-two wounded German soldiers whose eyes had been gouged out by Belgians. The Dean begged us to write to the Mother Superior and ask for confirmation of the story. We did write, and the lady answered that there was no hospital at all in the cloister Bl."[125]

[Footnote 124: The words "hear" and "heard" occur very frequently in these legends.—Author.]

[Footnote 125: The Rev. Duhr's book, pp. 11-12.]

The same lie travelled to Bonn, Sigmaringen, Potsdam, Bremen, and was successively nailed down by the Volkszeitung. Inquiries were made in all directions wherever a case of gouged-out eyes was reported, the result being everywhere the same—a fairy-tale.

Yet when the German Imperial Chancellor received a party of American journalists (representatives of the United Press and the Associated Press) on September 2nd, 1914, he communicated this statement: "The English will inform your countrymen that German troops have burnt down Belgian villages and towns, but they will conceal the fact that Belgian girls have gouged out the eyes of our helpless soldiers lying on the battlefields."

"Berlin papers informed the public that 'a large number of Belgian civilians were prisoners in Muenster. They are the same bestial creatures who shot from their houses on our unsuspecting troops, and who, before the arrival of our invading armies in Belgium, had perpetrated all sorts of cruelties on helpless German citizens. Indeed, when they were searched on their arrival at the prisoners' camp fingers with rings on them, which they had hacked off their victims, were found in their pockets. Justice will soon strike down these Belgians, among whom a very large number of priests are to be found. Twenty to thirty have already been condemned to death by a court-martial.'

"The 'Pax' Society of Priests immediately wrote to the commander of the prisoners' camp, and received this reply: 'The ridiculous assertion of a Berlin paper that fingers had been found in the pockets of Belgian civilians in this camp is false. Neither has any priest or layman been condemned to death, but over one hundred Belgian women and children have been sent home again.'"[126]

[Footnote 126: Ibid., p. 19.]

The above extracts will suffice to show how these Roman Catholic gentlemen proceeded. Immediately an atrocity was reported they applied to the authorities, and in every case received an affirmation that the deed had never taken place. Among the monstrous lies exposed by these investigators, are reports that Belgian priests paid eight shillings for every German head brought to them; high treason charges against Catholic priests in Alsace; all kinds of monstrous crimes charged to the priesthood; that a Belgian boy was caught with a bucketful of dead Germans' eyes; espionage by priests etc., etc.

Yet one other case deserves quotation: "On October 5th, 1914, a priest was travelling by rail to Mayence. In the same compartment there were four privates from Infantry Regiment No. 94. One of them named Roessner, related the following story to his comrades, and then, at the priest's request, again repeated it:

"'In the Belgian village of Patsie the cure welcomed a German major and his orderly into his house. Afterwards the priest promised a boy of thirteen that he should go straight to heaven if he would murder the two Germans. The lad perpetrated the murder, after which he and the cure were shot under martial law.'

"When the priest pointed out how incredible the whole story was, the soldier swore to its truth, and became very impolite to his auditor. An inquiry was instituted and this was the result:

"'War Office, No. 1866. The investigations made, in especial the hearing under oath of private Roessner and several officers in his regiment, have resulted in the following particulars being obtained: At the beginning of the campaign as the troops marched into a village—name unknown—they saw by the roadside two or three dead civilians. One was apparently a boy of about thirteen, while the other was an adult with a dark coat. It was not established whether this was the body of a priest. Furthermore, we have not been able to discover by whom, or for what reason, these people were shot.

"'At that time the story quoted by you about a cure and a boy, was told as a "rumour" to all the troops marching through. It is impossible after the lapse of time to test the truth of the narrative.

"'Signed by order,

"'BAUER AND WAGNER.'"[127]

[Footnote 127: Ibid., pp. 54-5.]

The above document may be said, without presumption, to possess historic importance. It is a frank admission by the German War Office that Belgian civilians were actually shot down without rhyme or reason. Apparently German soldiers (!) had a carte blanche to shoot whom they liked, without rendering or being expected to render a report of their doings.

The Rev. Duhr writes: "The incredible speed with which these lying tales of horror spread on all sides must be classed as a morbid phenomenon, a sort of blood-cult. Their consequences could only be to act upon the national soul as a stimulant, inspiring fear and brutality."[128]

[Footnote 128: Ibid., p. 9.]

The author of this work is prepared to go much farther than the Rev. Father, and maintain that the foul, diseased imaginations which could invent such monstrous horrors are also capable of perpetrating them. They did not spring from the imagination of an Edgar Allan Poe, but arose in the minds of Germany's brutal peasantry and bloodthirsty working classes, who together every year commit in times of peace 9,000 acts of brutal, immoral bestiality, and maliciously wound 175,000 of their fellow German citizens.[129]

[Footnote 129: Vide Vol. 267 Vierteljahrshefte, published by the Berlin Government, 1914.]

To-day Germany shouts in ecstasy that she is the chosen power of God; that her Kultur will regenerate the world. Let it first regenerate the "Augean Stable" known to the world as Germany. Without further comment readers are left to form their own opinion of a Press which breeds such filth, and the cultural level of a people which consumes such garbage. But the world owes a debt of gratitude to the Rev. Bernhard Duhr, S.J., and the "Pax" Society in Cologne.

The accusations of plundering on the part of German soldiers is naturally denied in toto by all parties in the Fatherland. Indeed, it has been discovered that the British army was guilty of wilful destruction in Belgium. A certain Major Krusemarck, commanding the 2nd battalion of the 12th Infantry Reserve Regiment, is responsible for the story. "On October 10th I entered Wilryk, near Antwerp, and took up my quarters in the Italian Consulate. All the houses had been deserted by the inhabitants. Immediately after entering the house I perceived that English soldiers had been here and behaved in a barbarous manner. Mirrors, valuable objects of art, etc., had been smashed in a way which betrayed purpose." The major's report continues: "The destruction which I have described had undoubtedly been perpetrated by members of the English army, and as proof of this I may state that in one of the rooms about a dozen visiting-cards were found with the name: Major E.L. Gerrard, Royal Marine Light Infantery (sic).

"During the subsequent pursuit of the Belgian and English armies we heard repeated complaints from the inhabitants that especially the English troops had acted in the most inconsiderate manner, purposely destroying furniture, etc., in civilian houses."[130]

[Footnote 130: Richard Grasshoff: "Belgien's Schuld," p. 84.]

Without doubt the story belongs to the group of legends exposed by the "Pax" Society, for which reason it is quoted here, as a fitting supplement to them. Yet it is psychologically interesting to note how difficult it is for Germans who burn, destroy and violate in their own country to believe that they behave otherwise than as lambs when playing the role of invaders.

One quotation from a large number will illustrate sufficiently the respect which the German troops felt for civilian homes in the territories occupied by them: "We got into the house by a back-door. Orders had been issued that only food and shirts were to be taken. The cellar was full of wine and champagne. A corporal brought us some of the latter. After half an hour the rooms looked very different; all the cupboards had been emptied in order to get at the jams and jellies. Several pots of fruit preserved in wine were divided as honestly as the greed of the individual allowed.

"All the underclothing was seized upon, obviously only the best being taken. Many a dirty Pole put on such a shirt as he had never dreamed of before. Even ladies' chemises were commandeered, and some of the men assured me that a French chemise is quite comfortable—in spite of the short sleeves.

"If there is a sterner sex in France, which is exceedingly doubtful, they do not seem to possess pants; so the men resorted to the corresponding article worn by ladies."[131] (This writer refers in other parts of his book to "mementoes" which he carried home to the Fatherland, after being wounded at the Marne.)

[Footnote 131: H. Knutz: "Mit den Koenigin-Fusilieren durch Belgien," p. 42.]



CHAPTER IX

THE NEUTRALITY OF BELGIUM AND GERMANY'S ANNEXATION PROPAGANDA

"Afterthoughts" is the term which would perhaps designate most concisely the section of German war literature treating of Belgium's violated neutrality. Should that designation appear unfitting, then the author has only one other to suggest—"whitewash."

In order to apprehend clearly the method and aims concealed beneath the "afterthoughts," readers must bear in mind that every attempt to protest against the annexation of Belgium by Germany is prohibited by the German censor. The Social Democratic organs emphasize the fact almost daily that they are not permitted to print anything contrary to the principle of annexation.

On the other hand, numerous writers are allowed to make a most extensive propaganda by suggesting that annexation is necessary in the interests of their racial-brothers the Flemings. By order of the German Government a geographical description of the country has been published,[132] in which every detail of Belgium's wealth in minerals, agriculture, and so on, is described, with no other possible purpose than the desire to whet German Michael's appetite.

[Footnote 132: "Belgien, Land und Leute," Berlin, 1915.]

All at once Germany has become suspiciously interested in Belgian history, in the domestic quarrels between Walloons and Flemings, in the alleged oppression of the latter (Low Germans) by the former, and propose for themselves the part of liberator and saviour for Flemish culture. They have discovered, among other things, that Belgium was merely a paper State, a diplomatic invention, an experiment, and that no "Belgian" people has ever existed, but rather two hostile elements were packed under the same roof against their will by the Conference of London—the said roof bears the name Belgium!

According to a good German-Swiss[133] the Belgians have no national feelings, no patriotism, and have never had a Fatherland. If a serious writer can make such statements after the Belgians have defended their native country so heroically, one naturally wonders whether Herr Blocher is sane, or merely a paid agent of the German authorities. In his work he denies every and any intention to justify or condemn either Germany or Belgium, and then proceeds to blacken the latter's character by quoting every Belgian utterance which may be interpreted as anti-German. These expressions lead him to the remarkable conclusion that Belgians had already violated their own neutrality!

[Footnote 133: "Belgische Neutralitaet," by Eduard Blocher. Zurich, 1915.]

Blocher states that his work is only intended to prove that Switzerland has nothing to fear from Germany's precedent in invading Belgium. But he never mentions Belgium's maritime interests, Antwerp and the extensive seacoast on the North Sea. He is oblivious to the fact that Germany's desire to possess these was the sole motive for precipitating war and invading Belgium. To Germany the coast of Belgium is the door to the world and world domination. Switzerland does not possess such a door, and therefore had nothing to fear from her powerful neighbour; but if the Allies are unable to bar this door to Germany's aggressive schemes, then the time is not far distant when Germany would remember that she has "brothers" within Swiss frontiers and insist upon their entrance into the great Teutonic sheepfold—just as her most earnest desire at present is to drive the "lost" Flemings back to their parent race.

Among the many phrases which Germans have coined to describe Belgium the following occur: bastard, eunuch and hermaphrodite. According to the German conception of a "State," Belgium is an unnatural monstrosity, from which one draws the natural conclusion that Germany intends to remove it from the domain of earthly affairs.

On the whole, German writers admit the existence of Belgian neutrality, and also Germany's pledge to respect it. The three most serious writers on the subject are, Dr. Reinhard Frank,[134] professor of jurisprudence in Munich University; Dr. Karl Hampe,[135] professor in Heidelberg; and Dr. Walter Schoenborn,[136] also a professor in Heidelberg University.

[Footnote 134: Reinhard Frank: "Die belgische Neutralitaet." Tubingen, 1915.]

[Footnote 135: Karl Hampe: "Belgien's Vergangenheit und Gegenwart." Berlin, 1915.]

[Footnote 136: Walther Schoenborn: "Die Neutralitaet Belgien's." This is an appendix to a large work written by twenty university professors, entitled "Deutschland und der Weltkrieg," published by B.G. Teubner, Leipzig and Berlin, 1915.]

The nearer examination of these three works must be premised by two important considerations. Firstly, the three professors ignore the fact that Germany was a menace to Belgium, and make no mention of German aspirations for a coastline on or near the English Channel. Holland and Belgium form a twentieth century "Naboth's vineyard," on which the German Ahab has cast avaricious glances for upwards of forty years.

A casual acquaintance with Pan-German and German naval and military literature during the same period, affords overwhelming proof of this powerful current in German nationalism. If Naboth consulted strong neighbours as to necessary precautions against Ahab's plans for obtaining the vineyard, then Naboth acted as a wise man, and the only regret to-day is that the "strong neighbours" only offered Naboth assurances and words, instead of deeds. In other words Great Britain did nothing because, as Lord Haldane expressed it, the Liberal Cabinet was "afraid" (!) to offend Germany and precipitate a crisis.

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