What Germany Thinks - The War as Germans see it
by Thomas F. A. Smith
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

[Footnote 181: Ibid., pp. 107-110.]

Another illuminating page tells of the Crown Prince's anger on hearing that Italy had joined the Allies, and how they went for a motor-ride as an antidote to the royal rage.

German humour is generally unconscious and mostly unintentional. After a policy of bullying towards France for forty-four years, Germany has discovered during the course of the war that France is the cat's-paw of Russia and Great Britain—principally the latter.

One writer,[182] in some fifty pages of venom, endeavours to show that England is France's executioner. Another[183] gives our ally the advice "awake!" After Germany has played the saigner-a-blanc game in Northern France for more than a year, the advice seems rather belated.

[Footnote 182: Walter Unus: "England als Henker Frankreichs." Braunschweig, 1915.]

[Footnote 183: Ernst Heinemann: "Frankreich, erwache!" Berlin, 1915.]

Herr Heinemann writes, p. 33: "France is not fighting for herself, but for England and Russia.

"Poor deceived France! She has given fifteen milliards of francs to Russia so that she may at last draw the sword in defence of Russo-Serbian and British commercial interests. She has placed her money and her beautiful land at the disposal of her so-called friends—for the sake of a mad idea which these friends have cleverly exploited (revanche idee).

"England has declared that she will continue the war for twenty years, twenty years—on French soil. If under these circumstances the French broke with their allies—who have exploited France for the last twenty-five years, and who have plunged her into this war—-in order to arrive at a reasonable understanding with Germany; then they would only show that they do not intend to accept the final consequences of the mistakes committed by the French Government.

"No one is compelled to eat the last drop of a soup prepared by false friends. In this sense, to seduce France to a direct breach of faith with her allies, would in truth, only mean the protection of France's best interests" (pp. 51-2).

One other writer deserves mention—a lecturer in history, Bonn University—because he presents an opinion the exact contrary to the one last quoted. According to Dr. Platzhoff, France herself is the guilty party, who has tricked Russia and Great Britain into the service of revenge for 1870.

"Therefore France found it necessary to extract herself from isolation, and acquire allies against her neighbour (Germany). In several decades of painful effort, French diplomacy has solved the problem in brilliant fashion. Revanche—and alliance policy are inseparable conceptions."[184]

[Footnote 184: Dr. Walter Platzhoff; "Deutschland und Frankreich," p. 18.]

In contrast to most German authors, Platzhoff admits that the Entente Cordiale was called into being by Germany herself. "This development caused great anxiety in Germany. But it seems certain that Germany could have prevented it by one means alone—an open agreement with England. And Berlin, after considering the matter carefully, had declined the latter."[185]

[Footnote 185: Ibid., p. 22.]

"That France would enter the field on Russia's behalf is a logical consequence not only of the Dual Alliance treaty, but also of the policy pursued during recent decades. In vain French ministers have protested their love of peace and their innocence in causing this war. The policy of alliances and revenge was certain to end in a world conflagration.

"Already voices make themselves heard which prophesy a revolution in French policy and a later entente with Germany."[186]

[Footnote 186: Ibid., pp. 26-8.]

Many such passages might be cited to prove that Germany would like to see a split among the allies. But France's honour and welfare are in her own hands, and it appears a futile hope that Germany, after failing to bring France to submission and self-effacement by threats of saigner a blanc, will succeed in her purpose by the reality.



Mention has already been made that a large number of Germany's war books has emanated from the universities. Not the least important of these efforts is "Deutschland und der Weltkrieg" ("Germany and the World War.")[187] Twenty well-known university professors have contributed to the work; the fact being emphasized that special facilities have been accorded to them by the German foreign office. For British readers the chapters by Professors Marcks and Oncken are the most interesting, viz., "England's Policy of Might" by the former, and "Events leading up to the War" and "The Outbreak of War" by the latter. They take up a fifth of the 686 pages of which the entire work consists.

[Footnote 187: "Deutschland und der Weltkrieg," herausgegeben von Otto Hintze, Friedrich Meinecke, Hermann Oncken und Hermann Schumacher. Leipzig und Berlin, 1915.]

The purpose of Professor Marcks' essay is to prove on historical and scientific lines the lessons which have been taught in German schools for nearly half a century, i.e., England is an astute but ruthless robber who respects no right, and no nation which stands in her way.

"England's modern history begins with the Tudors and her world policy with Elizabeth. First of all, England had to liberate herself, economically and politically, from a position of dependence on the other Powers; then she took up her particular attitude to the world. Her separation from the Roman Catholic Church was exceedingly rich in consequences; this step assigned to her a peculiar place in the camp of the nations, and exercised a deep influence upon her intellectual development. It gave her an impetus towards internal and external independence.

"But the determining factor for England's future was her insular position; this has been the case from the time Europe entered the ocean-period. Since the year 1600 England, by her commerce and politics, has influenced Europe from without, while she has maintained for herself a position of independence, and directed her energies across the ocean into the wide world. Successively she seized upon the Baltic, North Sea, and Atlantic Ocean; gradually she became the merchant and shipbuilder for most of the European nations.

"The sea has given her everything—independence, security and prosperity—both in treasure and lands. The sea protected her and spared her the unpleasantness of mighty neighbours. It was the ocean which permitted free development to her internal life, parliament, government and administration, and saved her from the continental form of Government—a strong, armed monarchy.

"The sea has allowed the English to develop, undisturbed, the peculiarities of their race—personal energy, trained by contact with the ocean; personal freedom, favoured but not oppressed by the living organism of the State. The sea afforded them liberty of action in every direction without fear of attack from behind. Freed from the chains which bound Europe, England went out into the wide world.

"Yet she remained constantly associated with the continent, not only because Europe was her field of action. English statesmen have always seized upon every opportunity to influence European policy; at first this was from motives of defence, but afterwards from an ever-increasing spirit of aggression. The balance of power on the continent has always been one of the premises for England's security and existence.

"She is indebted to her insular position for the supreme advantage of being able to exercise her influence in Europe without allowing her forces to be tied to the continent; European countries were bound by their own conflicts and differences, enabling England to exert her influence upon them without active participation. England has become thoroughly accustomed to a state of affairs under which she has no neighbours and never permits any—not even on the sea. She has come to consider this her God-given prerogative.

"The barriers of geographical position which hampered other lands, nature did not impose upon England; the security afforded by her girdle of waves seemed as it were to impel her to strike out into the unbounded, and to look upon every obstacle as a wrong. There is a thread of daring lawlessness running through all England's world-struggles, through all periods of her history, right down to the present day.

"When England speaks of humanity she means herself; her cosmopolitan utterances refer to her own nationality. She forgets too easily that other nations have arisen on the earth who esteem their own distinguishing traits and are inspired by the ardent desire to uphold their own institutions, forms of Government and culture. England believes all too easily that the world's map should be all one colour. But the soul of the modern world demands variety."[188]

[Footnote 188: Ibid., 297 et seq.]

There is no important objection to raise against Professor Marcks' statement of English history and Britain's favoured position on the surface of the globe. Germany did not choose her own geographical situation in the world—it is hers by nature and the right of historical succession. Britain has never envied her or endeavoured to deprive her of the advantages consequent upon her "place in the sun."

Neither did the British select their island home; destiny and history were again the determining factors. But it would be a travesty of the truth to assert that Germany has not envied her that position, together with the advantages arising from it. Yet in the same degree as the inhabitants of these islands have used the "talents" entrusted to them through their favourable position, Germany's jealousy seems to have become more bitterly angry. By right of birth and national necessity Germany demands the domination of the Rhine, but she fails to recognize that right of birth and the demands of national existence compel Britain to claim the domination of the seas.

The remainder of Professor Marcks' essay is devoted to proving that "the freedom of our world requires that it shall not be so in future." Whatever motives actuated Germany in precipitating the war, this much is now evident—it is her supreme desire and the aim of her highest endeavour to destroy Britain's favoured situation and every advantage accruing to her from it.

To-day the issue is clear and simple for Germany—the annihilation of British power and influence in the world. Literally hundreds of German war books echo that cry, and, above all else, it is the hope of attaining this aim which has aroused the bitterest war fury in the entire German nation—man, woman and child. Reduced to first principles, this difference of geographical position and the varying advantages arising therefrom are the prime causes—if not the cause—of the present world-struggle.

It was solely the fear of perpetuating British supremacy[189] which has led Germany consistently to reject the extended hand of friendship. Standing side by side with Great Britain, either in friendship or alliance, Germany would have given her approval to Britain's historical position in the world. When this country departed from the policy of "splendid isolation" repeated attempts were made to establish more intimate relations with Germany (1898-1902).

[Footnote 189: Graf Ernst zu Reventlow: "Der Vampir des Festlandes ("England, the Vampire of the Continent"). Berlin, 1915, p. 117. "England's withdrawal from the policy which sought to establish a mutual plan of procedure in world politics between Germany and Britain dates from the time when Britain recognized that Germany would not allow herself to be employed against Russia. In Germany to-day, voices may be heard proclaiming that von Buelow chose wrongly in refusing England's offer, especially as Russia has repaid our loyalty and friendship with iniquitous ingratitude. The latter represents the truth.

"But in judging the policy of that period two factors must be borne in mind. The acceptance of Great Britain's offer would have placed a tie upon the German Empire which would have been unendurable. Germany would have become the strong but stupid Power, whose duty would have been to fight British battles on the continent. Besides which the choice concerned Germany's world future, above all the development of the German war fleet."]

But as Professor Marcks (p. 315) observes: "Germany refused the hand extended to her." Count Reventlow and a host of other writers have chronicled the fact too, yet on September 2nd, 1914, the German Chancellor dared to say to representative American journalists: "When the archives are opened then the world will learn how often Germany has offered the hand of friendship to England."

It is only one more confirmation that the "law of necessity" is incompatible with the truth. The truth is that Germany preferred to drive Britain into another and hostile camp rather than have her friendship. Germany preferred British hostility rather than relinquish her plans for unlimited naval expansion—which she believed to be the only means of destroying Britain's position, and with that resolution already taken the Kaiser presented his photograph to a distinguished Englishman with this significant remark written on it with his own hand: "I bide my time!"

Although Britain drew the sword to defend Belgium, the supreme issue—and the only one which occupies the German mind to-day—is whether this country shall continue to hold the position allotted to her by destiny and confirmed by history, or whether she is to be supplanted by Germany. That is the one political thought which permeates German intelligence at this moment, and no other considerations must be allowed to darken this issue.

Professor Oncken reviews the events of the period 1900-1914 in considerable detail, and to him the policy of ententes appears to be the main cause leading up to the world war. From this alone it is obvious that, consciously or unconsciously, he is wrong; the ententes in themselves are results, not prime causes. The prime causes leading to these political agreements are to be found in Germany's attitude to the rest of Europe. In a word they were defensive actions taken by the Powers concerned, as a precaution against German aggression.

German aggression consisted in committing herself to unlimited armaments, cherishing the irreconcilable determination to be the strongest European power. According to her doctrine of might, everything can be attained by the mightiest. British advances she answered with battleships, simultaneously provoking France and Russia by increasing her army corps. The balance of power in Europe, Germany declares to be an out-of-date British fad, invented solely in the interests of these islands.

In secret Germany has long been an apostate to the balance-of-power theory; the war has caused her to drop the mask, and it was without doubt her resolve never to submit to the chains of the balance in Europe, which forced three other States to waive their differences and form the Triple Entente. Simply stated this is cause and result. But Professor Oncken maintains—and in doing so he voices German national opinion—that the entire entente policy was a huge scheme to bring about Germany's downfall.

He goes further and proclaims that the Hague Conference (1907) was a British trick to place the guilt of armaments on Germany's shoulders. "England filled the world with disarmament projects so that afterwards, full of unction, she could denounce Germany as the disturber of the peace. At that time the Imperial Chancellor answered justly: 'Pressure cannot be brought to bear on Germany, not even moral pressure!'"[190] And in that sentence German obstinacy and sullen irreconcilability is most admirably expressed.

[Footnote 190: "Deutschland und der Weltkrieg," p. 495.]

Having seen that Professor Oncken has failed to recognize the prime causes which provoked the entente policy, it is not surprising to find him equally in error when discussing the diplomatic clashes between the rival camps. The professor calls them Machtproben ("tests of power"); but how he can dare to state that these diplomatic trials of strength were engineered by Great Britain—remains his own secret.

"King Edward's meeting with the Czar at Reval in June, 1908, was followed by a far-reaching Macedonian reform programme, the commencement of the division of European Turkey. What Britain had failed to induce Germany to help her in executing, was to be attained with the sword's point directed against Germany. And Britain proceeded in cold blood to conjure up an era of might-struggles, which, in the island language, is called preserving the balance of power."[191]

[Footnote 191: Ibid., p. 297.]

The trials of strength recounted by Oncken are the Bosnian crisis, the Morocco question, and the Austro-Serbian quarrel which led to the present war. It seems banal to have to point out that Bosnia was unlawfully annexed by Germany's vassal—Austria; that Germany, herself, brought Europe to the verge of war by sending the Panther to Agadir; and that the final catastrophic Machtprobe was likewise provoked by Germany's eastern vassal.

For good or evil Germany has been convinced for nearly two decades that the balance of power in Europe was an obstacle to her world future. Furthermore, she believed that the balance imposed fetters upon her which only mighty armaments could break. All Germany's energies in the domain of diplomacy have been set in motion to make the balance of power a mere figment of the imagination.

In pursuing this end it has suited her purpose to declare all attempts at maintaining the outward appearances of equality between the Powers of Europe to be Machiavellian schemes against her existence; or to cite the Kaiser's own words, "to deprive Germany of her place in the sun."

Britain's entente policy was the only one calculated to preserve our own existence, and to restrain Germany from establishing a hegemony in Europe. She was completely convinced that the domination of Europe belonged to her by right of mental, moral and military superiority over her neighbours. Not in vain have Germany's educational institutions inculcated the belief in her population that the British Empire is an effete monstrosity with feet of clay; France a rotten, decaying empire, and Russia a barbarian Power with no new Kultur to offer Europe except the knout.

Inspired by such conceptions, together with an astoundingly exaggerated idea of Germany's peerlessness in order, discipline, obedience, morality, genius and other ethical values, as well as an unshaken belief in Germany's invincibility by land and sea—the entire nation, from Kaiser to cobbler, has long since held that by right of these virtues—by right of her absolute superiority over all other nations—Germany could and must claim other rights and powers than those which fell to her under an antiquated balance of European power.

In few words that is the gospel of Deutschland, Deutschland, ueber alles. These are the motives which inspired Germany's naval expansion and forbade her to accept a compromise. The same ideals led to her endeavours to shatter the ententes, and it is alone the general acceptance of this gospel, which explains the remarkable unanimity with which the German nation has stood behind the Kaiser's Government in each trial of strength. They have learned to consider all attempts of the lesser peoples (Britain, France and Russia included) to maintain themselves against the Teutonic onset as impudent attacks on sacred Germany, which also illuminates the fact that Germans call the present struggle—"Germany's holy, sacred war."

German statesmen were quite clear as to the national course at least fifteen years ago. Hence they have persistently pursued a policy of no compromise and no agreements. A compromise recognizes and perpetuates, in part at least, the very thing which stands in the way. An agreement with Britain in regard to naval armaments would have perpetuated British naval supremacy, as well as recognized its necessity. Likewise an agreement, or the shadow of an understanding with France on the question of Alsace-Lorraine would have been a recognition of French claims. Hence on these two questions—which are merely given as examples illustrative of German mentality—every attempt at an agreement has been a failure.

A cardinal point in Germany's programme has been the consistent manner in which she has tried to separate her European neighbours from Britain in order to deal with them separately or alone. That her endeavours ended in failure is due to the instinct of self-preservation which has drawn Germany's opponents closer together, in exact proportion to the increasing force of her efforts. Both in peace and war, Germany desired and endeavoured to switch off Britain's influence in Europe.

The diplomatic battles of 1905, 1908 and 1911 were a few of the efforts to dislodge Great Britain from her ententes, while her repeated attempts to buy this country's neutrality, down to the eve of war, are proof that Germany wanted a free hand in Europe.[192] If she had succeeded in her purpose, it is exceedingly doubtful whether any Power could have prevented her from exercising a free hand in the whole world.

[Footnote 192: Professor Schiemann: "Wie England eine Verstaendigung mit Deutschland verhinderte" ("How England prevented an Understanding with Germany"). Berlin, 1915; pp. 20-21: "From the very commencement Berlin was convinced that the probability of a combined Franco-Russian attack was exceedingly small, if England's entrance to this Germanophobe combination could be prevented. Therefore we endeavoured to secure England's neutrality in case of war (1909), that is, if an Anglo-German alliance could not be achieved—an alliance which would have guaranteed the world's peace." (Schiemann's insinuation that Germany desired an alliance is an instance of suggestio falsi. Germany had decided in 1902 never to conclude an alliance with this country.—Author.)]

Coming down to the last trial of diplomatic power, we are confronted by the immovable fact, that it too was a challenge on the part of the Central Empires. The conditions seemed peculiarly favourable to them, for the British Ambassador declared to the Russian Government on July 24th, 1914, that Britain would never draw the sword on a purely Serbian question. Moreover, in the preceding year, a British minister, says Professor Schiemann, had given what we may style a remarkable semi-official promise that Great Britain would never go to war with Germany.

"On February 18th, 1913, Mr. Charles Trevelyan, M.P., paid me a visit, and assured me with the greatest certainty that England would under no circumstances wage war on Germany. A ministry which made preparations for war, would be immediately overthrown."[193]

[Footnote 193: Ibid., p. 27. In the light of this revelation it would be interesting to know what was the real motive which induced Mr. Trevelyan to resign his office when war broke out. Either he was conscious of having seriously compromised his position as a Minister of the Crown, or he conscientiously believed that Britain was drawing the sword in an unjust cause. Unfortunately a section of the British public accepted the latter interpretation. In any case, Mr. Trevelyan's indiscretion affords overwhelming proof that he had an utterly false conception of Germany.—Author.]

Professor Schiemann affirms that his good impression was strengthened by a visit to London during March and April, 1914, and reports a conversation which he had with Lord Haldane when dining privately with the latter in London. After returning to Berlin, he says he received a letter from Lord Haldane dated April 17th, 1914, but from Schiemann's quotation it is not evident whether the following is an extract or the entire letter:

"It was a great pleasure to see you and to have had the full and unreserved talk we had together. My ambition is like yours, to bring Germany and Great Britain into relations of ever-closer intimacy and friendship. Our two countries have a common work to do for the world as well as for themselves, and each of them can bring to bear on this work special endowments and qualities. May the co-operation which I believe is now beginning become closer and closer.[194]

[Footnote 194: Lord Haldane has stated during the war that his visit to Berlin in 1912 had filled his mind with doubt and suspicion in regard to Germany.—Author.]

"Of this I am sure, the more wide and unselfish the nations and the groups questions make her supreme purposes of their policies, the more will frictions disappear, and the sooner will the relations that are normal and healthy reappear.[195] Something of this good work has now come into existence between our two peoples. We must see to it that the chance of growth is given."[196]

[Footnote 195: A word or phrase appears to have been dropped in this sentence.—Author.]

[Footnote 196: Professor Schiemann's book, pp. 27-8.]

It is not difficult to conceive that such utterances, on the part of two British ministers, would raise hopes in the German mind, for it would be useless to imagine that Professor Schiemann would keep them secret for his own private edification. And it is possible that they led the German Government into a false reckoning as to what this country would do under certain circumstances, and so encouraged Germany into taking up an irreconcilable attitude in the crisis of July, 1914.

Whatever Germany expected must, however, for the present, remain a matter of conjecture. Schiemann's comment on the above letter leaves no doubt that he expected Lord Haldane[197] to resign. "When one remembers that Lord Haldane belonged to the inner circle of the Cabinet, and was therefore privy to all the secret moves of Sir Edward Grey, it is hard to believe in the sincerity of the sentiments expressed in this letter. Besides, he did not resign like three other members of the Cabinet (Lord Morley, Burns and Charles Trevelyan) when Sir Edward's foul play lay open to the world on August 4th."

[Footnote 197: Lord Haldane seems to have injured his reputation both in Great Britain and Germany. Professor Oncken designates him: "the one-time friend of Germany, the decoy-bird of the British cabinet." Vide "Deutschland und der Weltkrieg," p. 561.]

The most regrettable side of the whole incident is that the resignation of the above gentlemen has been proclaimed by innumerable German writers as proof of Sir Edward Grey's double dealing, and proof that Britain is waging an unjust war. Still, it may console these gentlemen to know that the nation which wages war on women and children acclaims them to-day "all honourable men," and doubtless without the Shakespearian intonation.

By reason of the above incidents, and more of a similar nature, Germans accuse the late Liberal Government with perfidy of the basest kind. The author is not in the least inclined to admit the charge, but thinks, rather, that the Government in question—individually and collectively—was astonishingly ignorant of European conditions and problems, especially those prevailing in the Germanic Empires.

To what a degree Germany was obsessed by the idea that Britain was trying to strangle her by an encircling policy, is apparent in a diplomatic document quoted by Professor Oncken. Its author's name is not given, and it was doubtless a secret report sent to the German Foreign Office in 1912; its freedom from bias is also questionable. Moreover, it is probable that it belongs to the same category of documents as those quoted in the French Yellow Book—reports intended to exercise due influence on the mind of the Emperor.

"French diplomacy is succeeding more and more in entangling England in the meshes of her net. The encouragement which England gives, directly or indirectly, to French chauvinism may one day end in a catastrophe in which English and French soldiers must pay with their blood on French battlefields for England's encircling policy. The seeds sown by King Edward are springing up."

Another link in the chain of proof of Britain's guilt, is found in the documents seized by the Germans in Brussels. The enemy seems to attach great importance to them, for they are being employed in much the same way that parliamentary candidates use pamphlets during an election. Yet they do not contain a particle of proof that Britain had hostile intentions against Germany, but only confirm the presence of the German menace.

The documents[198] in question are reports sent by the Belgian Legation Secretaries in London, Paris and Berlin to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Brussels. These gentlemen held opinions identical with those expressed again and again in German newspapers, and even in some British and French organs. Messieurs Comte de Lalaing (London), Greindl (Berlin), Leghait (Paris), evidently believed that the activities of the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente endangered the peace of Europe.

[Footnote 198: Published by the Berlin Government as supplements to the Nord-deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, July 29th and 31st; August 4th, 8th and 12th, 1915.]

Further they believed the latter constellation to be the more aggressive of the two, and formally reported these convictions to the Belgian Government. If read as a modern edition of "Pepys' Diary" they form entertaining literature, but by no stretch of the imagination could they be classed as historical sources. A gentleman who reports to his Government that King Edward took breakfast in company with M. Delcasse and that the Press had neglected to chronicle the incident, can hardly rank as an historian.

Moreover, it is by no means clear why the German Press should laud M. Greindl as a gentleman of German origin. If this be true it would probably explain everything which deserves explanation in the said documents, and would probably account for the intimate, confidential treatment which M. Greindl received at the hands of German officials.

German newspapers are gloating over the fact that the British Government has not deigned to reply to these "revelations." There is really nothing to which it can reply; three observers expressed their opinion on contemporaneous happenings during the years 1905-1911. But a brutal sequence of events in 1914 showed them—if they had not been convinced during the preceding three years—that they had drawn false conclusions from their observations.

To return to the last trial of strength between the two groups of European Powers, it is interesting to note that Professor Oncken denies German participation in formulating the ultimatum to Serbia, or that Germany was aware of its contents. Germany merely left Austria a free hand in the matter. Oncken endeavours to show that Austria's demands were not excessive, and expresses astonishment that the opposing Powers found them exorbitant. He does not mention the fact that a large section of the German nation held the same opinion on July 25th, 1914.

His comment on Sir Edward Grey's efforts for peace is characteristic: "England claims that she did everything possible to preserve the peace. It cannot be denied that Grey made a series of mediation proposals. But mere good-will is not everything. It is much more important to weigh their practical importance, and the goal at which they aimed: Whether they were intended to preserve the world's peace under conditions honourable for all parties, or calculated to obtain for the Entente a one-sided diplomatic victory which would have established its future predominance."[199]

[Footnote 199: "Deutschland und der Weltkrieg," p. 544.]

"Grey considered the moment suitable for a mediation proposal. On the evening of July 26th, after obtaining Russia's consent, he proposed to the Governments of France, Germany and Italy that their London ambassadors should meet in London to confer on a peaceful solution of the conflict.

"The proposal was unacceptable to Austria, because it would have been an indirect recognition on her part of Russia's interest in the conflict.

"Only those who had followed the growing intimacy of the mutual obligations between the Entente Powers, and their organization to a 'London Centre' during the summer of 1914, are able to estimate the role—to say nothing of Italy—which Russia's two comrades would have played in the conference. During its course Russia would have continued her military preparations, while Germany would have had to pledge herself not to mobilize.

"Finally, no unprejudiced observer would dare assert that the man (Sir Edward Grey) who was ready to transform himself at a suitable opportunity into an ally of Russia, would have been an impartial chairman in a conference held under the pressure of a Russian mobilization. The more one thinks about this mediation proposal the more convinced one becomes, that it would at least have worked for a diplomatic victory for the Entente Powers.

"Grey put the whole machinery of the Triple Entente in motion in order to force back Germany and Austria-Hungary along the whole line."[200]

[Footnote 200: Ibid., p. 545 et seq.]

An analysis of Professor Oncken's theses gives the following results: First, Britain's efforts to preserve peace are admitted, but he fails to mention any friendly advances to meet them. Secondly, the fundamental principle underlying the Germanic attitude is again exposed, viz., that Russia had no right to intervene in a question affecting the balance of power in the Balkans and in Europe (vide, p. 63). Thirdly, a diplomatic struggle was in progress along the whole line, between the two groups of Powers.

In weighing the second point it would be wrong to assume that the Central Empires were not fully aware of the presence of a far more vital question behind the Austro-Serbian conflict. They knew it from the very beginning and had already expressed threats in St. Petersburg, hoping to achieve the same effect as in the Bosnian crisis. If Austria had been allowed to destroy Serbia's military power the material forces of Europe would have been seriously disturbed; the ineffectiveness of the Triple Entente finally established, and its dissolution the inevitable consequence.

If these considerations are correct then the statement attributed by M. de L'Escaille (see p. 281) to Sir George Buchanan that Britain would never draw the sword could only have served to strengthen the resolution of the Germanic Powers in enforcing their point Germany above all desired that the balance of power theory should be finally smashed, and it may be safely assumed that an Austro-Serbian conflict seemed to her a most fitting opportunity to realize her purpose.

The third point suggests two questions. Who provoked the diplomatic conflict, and who would have benefited most by a diplomatic victory? A reply to the first question is superfluous, and the answer to the second is obvious from the preceding line of reasoning. Germany would have reached the goal towards which she had striven for more than a decade—the removal of all diplomatic hindrances to the unlimited assertion of her will in Europe. It may even be doubted whether the Dual Alliance would have survived the shock.

Another phase of Professor Oncken's work is the open attack on Sir Edward Grey. Only three years ago this statesman was acclaimed in Germany as a man of peace—the man who had prevented the Balkan War from becoming a European conflagration. To-day he is accused by the same nation of being the originator of the world war.

Oncken[201] goes back to the year 1905 and states that Sir Edward Grey initiated only two members of the Cabinet—Mr. Asquith and Lord Haldane—into the details of the agreement with France, and these three gentlemen he refers to as the "inner circle." King Edward, and afterwards Sir Edward Grey in continuing the late King's policy, succeeded in harnessing the revanche idee and the spirit of Russian aggression to the chariot of British Imperialism. All offers of friendship made by this country were insincere. (The professorial pleader does not say so, but he leaves his readers to infer that sincerity is a German monopoly.) Concerning the British Minister's declaration in Parliament that no secret treaty existed with France, Oncken remarks: "The declaration was just as true formally as it was a lie in essentials."

[Footnote 201: The authorities (?) most frequently cited by Professor Oncken in making out his case are Messrs. Morel, Macdonald, Hardie, G. B. Shaw and the Labour Leader.—Author.]

Following the development of events after the conference proposal had been dropped, Oncken writes: "Meanwhile the Russian Government endeavoured to persuade England's leading statesman that the opinion prevailed in Germany and Austria, that England would remain neutral in every case, in consequence of this delusion the Central Powers were obdurate. England could only dispel the danger of war by destroying this false conception, i.e., openly joining Russia and France.

"It is noteworthy how quickly Grey assimilated this train of thought. Disregarding the suggestions of the British Ambassador in St. Petersburg, he did nothing to exercise a moderating influence upon Russia and thereby further the success of the conversations between Vienna and St. Petersburg. On the other hand, he proceeded to take steps which probably in his opinion, were calculated to damp the supposed desire for war on the part of Germany. Practically, the result of all his actions was to exercise one-sided pressure upon Germany and Austria and simultaneously, through unmistakable declarations concerning England's eventual attitude, to encourage Paris and St. Petersburg to energetic measures.

"But all hopes for peace were destroyed at a single blow by Russia. On the evening of July 30th after the conversations with Austria-Hungary had been resumed, Sasonow increased his demands—and in truth with England's co-operation—to such a degree that their acceptance would have meant the complete submission of the Dual Monarchy.

"And as if this were insufficient, a few hours later, before a reply had been received and while negotiations were proceeding in Vienna, Russia suddenly broke off the communications with a momentous decision (mobilization). The certainty which she had gained from the moves of English diplomacy, that in case of war she was sure of France's support and with it England's, turned the scale—against peace.

"That this calculation was decisive for Russia's change of front is confirmed by a witness whose impartiality even our opponents will admit."[202]

[Footnote 202: "Deutschland und der Weltkrieg," pp. 553-4.]

Professor Oncken then supports his argument with quotations from a letter written by the Belgian Legation Secretary in St. Petersburg to his Government. The letter was doubtless stolen while in transit by the Berlin postal authorities. Monsieur B. de l'Escaille wrote the letter on July 30th, despatched it by courier to Berlin, where it was posted on the following day. The outside envelope was addressed to Madame Costermans, 107 Rue Froissard, Bruxelles; inside was a letter addressed to M. Darignon, Minister for Foreign Affairs. German writers state that no letters were forwarded to foreign countries after martial law was proclaimed on July 31st (a statement which is untrue), thus it fell into their hands.

Overwhelming importance is attached to this document by German war writers. The more important passages of the despatch run as follows: "The last two days have passed in the expectation of events which are bound to follow[203] upon Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia. The most contradictory reports were in circulation, without any possibility of confirming their truth or falsity.

[Footnote 203: Thus the impartial witness whom Germans quote to prove their innocence definitely states that Russia had no other course left open to her by Austria's actions.—Author.]

"One thing is, however, indisputable, viz., that Germany has done everything possible both here and in Vienna[204] to find a means of avoiding a general conflict, but has only been met with the determination of the Vienna cabinet, on the one hand, not to yield a single step, and on the other hand Russian distrust of Vienna's declaration that they merely intend a punitive expedition against Serbia.

[Footnote 204: How could M. de l'Escaille know what had passed in Vienna?—Author.]

"One must really believe that everybody wants war, and is only anxious to postpone the declaration in order to gain time. At first England gave out, that she would not allow herself to be drawn into a conflict. Sir George Buchanan said that definitely. But to-day they are firmly convinced in St. Petersburg, indeed they have received an assurance, that England will stand by France. This support is of extraordinary importance, and has contributed not a little to the war-party gaining the upper hand.

"In the cabinet sitting held yesterday, there were differences of opinion, and the mobilization order was postponed. This morning at four o'clock mobilization was ordered.

"The Russian army feels itself strong, and is full of enthusiasm. The reorganization of the navy is still so incomplete that it would be out of the count in case of war. For that reason England's assurance of help was of the greatest consequence."[205]

[Footnote 205: "Kriegs-Depeschen, 1914" ("German War-Telegrams, 1914"). Berlin, 1914; p. 96 et seq.]

If Professor Oncken is correct in stating that Sir Edward Grey's measures were calculated to exercise a pressure on Germany and Austria, then he merely confirms what this country has hitherto believed—Sir Edward Grey acted rightly. Where else should he have exerted pressure except in the quarter from whence a provocative, insolent challenge had proceeded?

With regard to the assertion that Russia—stiffened by England—took a "momentous decision" on the evening of July 30th, Professor Oncken is guilty of distortion. The decision to mobilize had been taken earlier, and as M. de l'Escaille wrote, was made public at four o'clock on the morning of July 30th.

Whether Russia had increased her demands ("peremptorily sharpened" are Oncken's words) the reader can judge for himself by comparing the two texts.

I II "If Austria, recognizing "If Austria agrees to that the Austro-Serbian stay the advance of her question has troops on Serbian territory, assumed the character and if, recognizing of a European question, that the Austro-Serbian declares herself ready to dispute has assumed the eliminate from her ultimatum character of a question the points which of European interest, she infringe the sovereign admits that the Great rights of Serbia, Russia Powers shall examine engages to stop her the satisfaction which military preparations." Serbia might give to (Russian Orange Book, the Austro—Hungarian No. 60.) Government without affecting her sovereign rights and independence, Russia undertakes to maintain her waiting attitude." (French Yellow Book, No. 113.)

Oncken, in making this comparison, comments: "It is most remarkable that the original formula chosen by Sasonow had been peremptorily sharpened (einschneidend verschaerft) on July 31st at the request of the British Ambassador. This interference by England in the formulation of the proposal must arouse the gravest doubt regarding the peaceful tendencies of England's policy. Sasonow had every reason to thank Grey 'for the firm, amicable tone which he has employed in his pourparlers with Germany and Austria.'"[206]

[Footnote 206: "Deutschland und der Weltkrieg," p. 553. Oncken's quotation in the last lines taken from the Russian Orange Book, No. 69.]

Sir Edward Grey had proposed five days earlier (July 26th) that all military measures should cease pending a settlement. Hence the introduction of this clause is not a new demand. Moreover, in the meantime Russia and Germany—in spite of the latter's denial—had commenced to mobilize; Austria had mobilized and commenced hostilities against Serbia. Thus there were far more urgent reasons to include the cessation of military measures on July 31st than before. Lastly, it was the only acceptable pledge of Austrian sincerity which Russia could accept. Whether the formula would have met with Austria's approval cannot be determined, for Austria was saved from what Oncken terms "complete submission" by Germany's ultimatum to Russia, despatched on the same day, July 31st.

It is impossible to get rid of the suspicion that Germany thought Austria might accept the proposal; in any case, Germany deliberately shattered the last chance of a settlement by her demand that Russia should demobilize.

If Germany outwardly worked for peace in St. Petersburg, as M. de l'Escaille states, it would be quite in harmony with the methods of German diplomacy. But, as the same gentleman testifies: "Austria would not yield a step"—the conclusion must be drawn that Germany had ordered her to stand firm. Austria did not yield a single inch, and so it is a matter of indifference as to the sincerity or otherwise of Germany's peace endeavours.

Oncken further mentions Britain's refusal to remain neutral in return for a promise that French territory should not be annexed, but he omits the question of French colonies. His analysis of the Belgian question deserves quotation: "Grey was seeking an excuse for war, and he found one in the question of Belgian neutrality. It was just such a reason as he required in order to carry away the Cabinet, Parliament and public opinion. And since then that reason has been much discussed, accompanied by appeals to international law and humanity, by England's and the world's Press.

"But there is more than one irrefutable proof at hand, to show that this reason for war, was merely a veil covering the real ones. Anticipating Grey's intentions, before the German Government had finally declared themselves on the subject,[207] Prince Lichnowsky put the question to Sir Edward Grey on August 1st, as to whether England would remain neutral if Germany undertook to respect the neutrality of Belgium.

[Footnote 207: Britain had asked Germany a day or two before, whether she would respect Belgium's neutrality.—Author.]

"Grey, however, refused to give the pledge with which he could—if he was really concerned about Belgium—have spared that unhappy land its terrible fate. But by these means the trump card of Belgian neutrality had been taken from our opponent's hand in advance. Yet Grey actually considered it permissible to conceal this offer from the British Cabinet. Yes, he dared even more.

"After the matter had been mentioned by Ramsay Macdonald in the Labour Leader, Keir Hardie asked a question in the House of Commons on August 27th, as to whether Lichnowsky's proposal had been submitted to the Cabinet, and why the same had not been made the basis of peaceful negotiations with Germany. Grey made a weak attempt to discriminate between official proposals made by a government, and a private question asked by an ambassador.

"When the inconvenient questioner asked for further information, he was cried down. The Oxford theologian Conybeare gained the impression from this Parliamentary incident: 'That all Sir Edward Grey's answers to Mr. Keir Hardie's questions are examples of suppressio veri and suggestio falsi.' His later revocation of this judgment does not alter its value as objective evidence.

"After Grey's refusal, Prince Lichnowsky pressed him to formulate England's conditions for her neutrality. At the same time the Ambassador increased his offer of July 29th by proposing to guarantee the integrity of France and her colonies in return for England's neutrality. Grey suppressed this proposal too before the Cabinet, as any negotiation on this basis would have thwarted his pre-conceived plans. Only an immovable determination for war can explain this behaviour.

"Even before he could assume that Belgian neutrality was in danger, he pledged English policy to the wishes of France. On the afternoon of the same August 1st, he gave the French Ambassador—who was anxiously pressing for a decision—reason to believe that he would be able to give a formal promise on the following day. At the Cabinet meeting on August 2nd—the same in which he suppressed Germany's offer!—he got a motion accepted empowering him to assure Cambon that if Germany attacked the French coast, England would intervene."

It is necessary to return to Germany's proposal in regard to Belgian neutrality. In simple language it means that Germany wanted to sell her pledged word, given in 1839, for British neutrality in 1914. In view of the fact that Professor Oncken looked upon this as a legitimate bargain, one wonders in silence at his standard of morality and honour. Is he not a scoundrel who first gives his word of honour and afterwards tries to strike a bargain with the same? Stripped of all verbiage that is Germany's proposal in its naked immorality, and the author chronicles with pleasure that the House of Commons cried down even its discussion. It recalls to his memory the fact, that the Reichstag—Germany's highest legislative assembly—cheered to the echo Bethmann-Hollweg's announcement that German armies, in violating the dictates of moral and international law, by breaking Germany's word of honour, had occupied Luxembourg and entered Belgium. The two incidents are drastic, concrete illustrations of the gulf which separates British and German conceptions of right and wrong.

Furthermore, there are two questions of a disciplinary nature arising out of this incident which "the man in the street" has a perfect right to raise. Assuming that Sir Edward Grey exercised his discretion and concealed the "infamous proposal" from the Cabinet, which of his colleagues afterwards betrayed the fact and from what source—German or English—did he obtain his information?

Full knowledge on these points would probably be of great assistance in destroying the "trail of the serpent" (i.e., German influence and intrigues) in the political and national life of Great Britain.

Professor Oncken praises German disinterestedness in offering to guarantee the integrity of French continental and colonial territories in case Germany gained a victory in the war. Sir Edward Grey's refusal to guarantee British neutrality in return for this promise, the professor considers supreme and final proof that Britain was bent on war. The nation has rightly approved of this policy and the point need not be argued in this place; but Professor Oncken in the seclusion of his German study would do well to weigh two problems:

If Germany had gained a victory—and in August, 1914, she was absolutely convinced that France and Russia would succumb if they faced her alone—then Germany would have obtained the long sought upper and "free hand" in Europe. What earthly powers could have compelled her in that moment to respect her promise in regard to French territories? Certainly Germany's sense of honour could not be counted upon to do so.

The second problem refers to the bull and the china-shop. Presuming that the bull could talk, would Professor Oncken advise the guardian of the proverbial china-shop to accept the bull's promise to respect the status quo ante of his property, before letting him (the bull) run amock amongst the china?

Lastly, readers are advised when studying the German "case" to remember that Germany never offered to respect the integrity of French territories and, the neutrality of Belgium. Although German writers—with malice aforethought—seek to give that impression. Yet, had this combined offer been made, the author submits that in spite of such a promise, it would still have been ruinous to British interests to stand aside and see Germany gain the upper and "free hand" in Europe. Having obtained that, all else would have followed to the desire of Germany's heart.



"The English are wretched scoundrels."—Frederick the Great.

"It must come to this, that not even a German dog will accept a piece of bread from an Englishman."—Heinrich von Treitschke.

"England, the Vampire of Europe," by Count Reventlow.

"Down with England," by Admiral Valois.

"England, our Enemy in the Past, Present and Future," by Erich von Kabler.

"A German Victory, Ireland's Hope," by Dr. Hans Rost.

"England, the Scourge of Humanity," by Germanicus.

"The Poisonous Press," by Germanicus.

"England against England," by Mathieu Schwann.

"A Woman's War Letters," by L. Niessen-Deiters.

"Albion's Death Struggle," by Eugen Detmolder.[208]

[Footnote 208: Written by Detmolder (a Belgian) during the Boer War.—Author.]

"How John Bull recruits his Hirelings," by Dr. Herbert Hirschberg.

"Advance on England! The Destruction of Britain's World Power," Anonymous.

"In English Captivity," by Heinrich Norden, late missionary.

"British versus German Imperium," by an Irish-American. Introduction by Sir Roger Casement.

"Lousyhead goes on Lying." The latest war news of Messrs. Grandebouche (France), Lousyhead (Russia), and Plumpudding (England), by Karl Ettlinger.

"England and Germany," by Houston Stewart Chamberlain.

"Cable Warfare and the Campaign of Lies," by Dr. Meister, Professor in Muenster University.

"England and Continental Interests," by Captain H. Schubart.

"The Annihilation of England's World Power," Essays by twenty-three different authors, including Professors Haeckel, Eucken and Lamprecht; State Secretary Dr. Dernburg; Dr. Sven Hedin, etc.

"German Misery in London," by Carl Peters.

"The English Face," by six university professors; Frischeisen-Koehler (Berlin); Jastrow (Berlin); von der Goltz (Greifswald); Roloff (Giessen); Valentin (Freiburg); von Liszt (Berlin).

"Starvation, England's Latest Ally," by Friedrich Simon.

"England and the War," by Professor Lujo Brentano.

"Against France and Albion," by A. Fendrich.

"The Land of Unlimited Hypocrisy," by Spiridion Gopevi.[209]

[Footnote 209: Probably the most scurrilous and vulgar work of its type; but the writer of it is not a German.—Author.]

"England"; "England and America," Sueddeutsche Monatshefte (South German Review) for January and May, 1915.

"England's Tyranny and former Supremacy of the Seas," by Admiral Kirchoff.

"England's Blood-Guilt against the White Peoples," by Woldemar Schuetze.

"The Greatest Criminal against Humanity; King Edward VII. of England. A Curse-pamphlet," by Lieut.-Col. R. Wagner.

"England, tremble!" by J. Bermbach.

"England as Sea-Pirate State," by Dr. Ernst Schultze.

"In the Pillory! Our Enemies' Campaign of Lies," by Reinhold Anton.

"London's Lie Factory: Renter's Office," by A. Brand.

"England's Wicked Deeds in the World's History," by A. Kuhn.

"Our Settlement with England," by Professor Hermann Oncken.

"England's Betrayal of Germany," by M. Wildgrube.

"England's Guilt," by Gaston von Mallmann.

"English Character," by Professor Arnold Schroeer.

"England and We," by Dr. J. Riessner, President of the Hanseatic League.

"How England prevented an Understanding with Germany," by Professor Th. Schiemann.

"God Punish England," published by Simplicissimus.

"Perfidious Albion," by Alfred Geiser.

"Our Enemies among Themselves," Caricatures from 1792-1900 collected by Dr. Paul Weiglin.

"Words in Season," Poems, including the "Hymn of Hate," by Ernst Lissauer.

About sixty-five other titles might be added to those given above, but the author has restricted the list to books in his possession. Some of them are scurrilous and obscene, deserving no further attention than a record of their existence. Yet the fundamental idea running through these works is identical, differing only in the mode of expression.

Hate in itself is a confession of weakness, to a certain extent an admission of defeat. The presence of hate in a nation or an individual may be explained as resulting from the desire to remove or destroy an obstacle, which has proved to be immovable and indestructible. A healthy, well-balanced mind admits defeat and endeavours to make a compromise—to adjust itself to the inevitable.

But assuming other conditions—a false sense of honour, a morbid conception of self-importance—then hate seems to be a natural, although unhealthy result. Unfortunately there is evidence that these factors influence modern Germany. One of the roots of tragedy is to be found in the inequality between the will and power to perform. In its helplessness the will recoils upon itself, turning to gall and bitterness, or seeks a solution in self-destruction.

It is noteworthy that some thirteen thousand individuals commit suicide every year in Germany. Unwilling or unable to adjust themselves to the phenomena of life, they choose death in preference to the compromise—life. A leaning towards the tragic characterizes the German of to-day; an inclination not to compromise, not to admit defeat, thereby admitting the "will" to be incapable of transformance into actuality.

Between Germany and Britain fate has placed such a rock of destiny, i.e., this country's position in the world, above all, her naval supremacy. Germany has held that this rock hinders, even endangers, her just and historical development in the world. With wonderful energy, perseverance, self-sacrifice and heroism, Germany has endeavoured to surmount or destroy the obstacle. The united will of the nation was expressed in the momentum of the onslaught—in vain. And as no reconciling influences are at work, no tendency to accept the inevitable—Germany hates.

Outside Germany there is, probably, no one who doubts the invincibility of the British Navy and the unchangeable will of the British (strengthened by the danger of the past year) to maintain its supremacy. Yet even to-day responsible Germans are appealing to their nation to fight till "modern Carthage" is finally destroyed.

"In spite of the publications of our enemies, we in Germany, from the highest to the lowest, will believe unto all eternity that this war was caused by England alone. All Germany replied to England's declaration of war with a cry of indignation. The hate for the hypocritical island kingdom was so bitter that it took the form of demonstrations against the British Embassy, while the representatives of the other enemy countries were able to depart unharmed.[210]

[Footnote 210: Admiral Valois appears to be unaware that both ladies and gentlemen from the Russian Embassy were beaten with sticks, fists and umbrellas before leaving Berlin.—Author.]

"Up till then political England was little known in Germany, but now the bitter hate which reigns throughout the land characterizes her as the incarnation of all that is base and vile. It brings back to our minds the saying of the old Hanseatic towns:

'England, thou land of shame, Why hast thou, Satansland, The name of Angel-land?'

"No sacrifice and no effort will be too great, for us to drag her from her imagined height into the dust. By force of arms, starvation and the power of lies, they hoped to force us back to unimportance, and now the issue is: Whether the categoric imperative of the East Prussian Kant, or the hypocrisy of British cant, shall gain the victory.

"We are unalterably convinced that England is our mortal enemy, and that all endeavours to find a modus vivendi will be in vain. Still our present naval forces are unequal to the task of overthrowing her. This will make it easy for the German Government to obtain even the greatest sums from the Reichstag in order to increase our fleet. Every other aim—no matter what it is—must be laid aside, till this one is attained: Down with England!

"It is to be hoped that this attempt on England's part to get rid of a competitor will be the last. We Germans anticipate the future with an unshakable belief in victory. Possibly sooner or later, England's present allies will see that in reality they are serving English interests. When this unnatural alliance has crumbled to pieces under the might of our blows, then we shall at last stand face to face with England—alone!

"Our life-work will then begin—to settle up with the pioneers of hypocrisy so that they shall never again cross our path! If at any time this high endeavour seems to slacken, then think of East Prussia! Remember that a third of the province was laid waste; that men, women and children were murdered and violated; that the lists of the missing contained the names of nearly fifty thousand fellow-countrymen. And all this had to happen so that every Englishman might become a few pounds richer.

"Think of it as long as you live, and pass it on to your descendants as an inheritance. Give all your strength and your last farthing to increase our fleet and any other necessary means to attain our goal: Down with England!"[211]

[Footnote 211: Admiral Valois: "Nieder mit England!" ("Down with England!") p. 5 et. seq.]

"Truly it is no longer necessary either in this assembly or in all Germany to create popular opinion for the cry 'Nieder mit England!' It re-echoes daily from the lips of every German. But still we must continue to point out its necessity—it is a commandment which must banish every weak inclination to yield, and make us strong to hold out to the bitter end.

"To some it may appear 'one-sided,' but yet it is a moral duty to emphasize and strengthen our hate for England. Not only because we will hate, but because we must. Hatred ennobles when it is directed with full force against the evil and bad. And what is the evil? For an answer consider how the English pedlar-spirit with cunning and lies, has subjugated the world and holds it in bondage.

"Even in the upper classes (English), ignorance reigns supreme. In their famous schools, e.g., Eton College, the young people—besides sports and so-called gentlemanlike behaviour—learn exceedingly little. Except in regard to purely English affairs most Englishmen possess an almost inconceivable ignorance of history and geography. The view held by so many Germans that the majority of the English nation, especially the so-called 'upper ten,' have enjoyed a thorough education—is utterly false. But in spite of this, English conceit and unexampled pride leaves little to be desired."[212]

[Footnote 212: Vice-Admiral Kirchhoff: "England's Willkur" ("England's Tyranny"), p. 1 et seq.]

All German naval writers whine in unison concerning the "protection of private property in naval warfare." The shoe appears to pinch at that point, but the complaints sound hollow when made by a nation which has shown so little respect for private property in land warfare.

"Turkey was compelled to hand over Cyprus; in return she received an assurance of protection from England. What the latter understands by 'protection' we have learned from her recent actions. The behaviour of England's last naval commission in Constantinople speaks volumes. The very men who were in Turkey's pay, destroyed the weapons (ships, i.e., cannon, machinery, etc.) entrusted to their care."[213]

[Footnote 213: Ibid., p. 31.]

Besides Kirchhoff, several other writers charge the British naval officers who were in Turkey's service before the outbreak of war, with acts of sabotage. Another writer (Heinrich Norden, late missionary in Duala, German Cameroons) sinks a little lower and states that English officers were guilty of thieving when Duala was captured.

"Indeed, it is not saying too much when I maintain that the true historical purpose of this war, is only half fulfilled if we do not bring England to her knees—cost what it may in blood and treasure. That much we owe to our children and their children. We will not only be victorious, victory is only half the work; we must annihilate the power of our enemy.

"All our dearly-bought victories in East and West will be of no avail if, at the conclusion of peace, we have not conquered and compelled England to accept our terms. There can never be justice or morality on earth, or keeping of treaties, or recognition of moral international obligations, till the power of the most faithless, hypocritical nation which ever existed, has been finally broken and lies prostrate on the ground. So long ago as 1829 Goethe said to Foerster: 'In no land are there so many hypocrites and sanctimonious dissemblers as in England.'

"We must wait in patience and with confidence in our leaders for the final settlement which the future will bring. The men in our navy are burning to imitate the deeds of their comrades on land. Whenever an opportunity has arisen, they have shown themselves equal to the enemy. Our navy knows, and that is a consolation for the men during inactivity, that the lofty task of breaking England's power will fall to their share. The men know that the final purpose of this world war can only be attained with their help, they know what is before them, and that the enormous stake demands and deserves all they have to give.

"In this time of trial we can best help by waiting in patience. The fleet's turn will come; the fleet created by our Kaiser will fulfil its mission. Everyone of us recognizes that a well-thought-out plan is behind all this; even the enemy has premonitions of it.

"In regard to England's downfall there can, may, and must be only one opinion. It is the very highest mission of German Kultur. Our war, too, is a 'holy war.' For the first time England's despotic power is opposed by an enemy possessing power, intelligence and will."[214]

[Footnote 214: Ibid., p. 37 et seq.]

Another of the fundamental reasons for German hate must be sought in the different conceptions of life and its duties in the two nations. In its chief results this has found expression in two totally different beings. Professor Engel (Berlin) once wrote that from the cradle to the grave, the German is "on the line," or, in other words, the State directs his every action.

Probably it would be more correct to look upon the German State as a Teutonic Nirvana—with this distinction, that it is a negation of personal individuality, but at the same time a huge, collective positive. The individual German fulfils his life's mission by absorption into Nirvana and by having all his activities transformed in the collective whole for the benefit of the State. The will of the State is supreme; individuals exist in, through, and for, the whole. And, above all, the State's motto has been thoroughness and efficiency in every department of its manifold life; knowledge and power its aims.

Britain's development has been along other lines; the widest possible room has been left to the individual, and the ties binding him to the whole have been loose in the extreme. German discipline is replaced by British liberty, with its advantages to the individual and corresponding disadvantages for the State. Liberty implies the right to rise by honest endeavour, but does not exclude the possibility of a wilful surrender to slothful inactivity, e.g., the human flotsam and jetsam of British cities, the casual ward and similar institutions. These and other phenomena of life in our islands have aroused bitter contempt among Germans. Contempt has been succeeded by envy and hatred. Rightly or wrongly the German has argued that the people who prefer sport to knowledge, self-will to a sense of duty to the community, selfishness to sacrifice,[215] wire-pulling and patronage to efficiency—this people is no longer worthy of the first place among the nations. By right of merit, morality and efficient fitness—that place belongs to Germany.

[Footnote 215: An article by the present writer on "Some German Schools" in the Times Educational Supplement, October 5th, 1915, gives some faint idea of the unprecedented sacrifices made by German schools. During the war all classes of the population have voluntarily renounced a part of their earnings for war charities. In the Fraenkischer Kurier for October 13th, 1915, the Burgomaster of Nuremberg announced that the voluntary reduction of salaries agreed to by the municipal officials of that city had resulted in 264,000 marks (L13,000) going to charitable funds. The author could cite dozens of similar instances, but it would interest him most of all to know whether any town in the British Isles can show a better record than Nuremberg, with a population of 350,000.]

Unfortunately the present war has brought many proofs that there is no small amount of truth in this indictment, and most unfortunate of all, neutral countries too accept Germany's version that Britain is unorganized, self-interested, inefficient and effete. And to just the same degree they are convinced that Germany is thorough. They love Britain's humanitarian idea, but admire German efficiency—although they fear the latter's militarism.

Still when they are driven to choose to whom they shall confide their vital interests, i.e., future existence, they prefer to lean on successful German thoroughness, than on Britain's humanitarianism unsupported by the strong arm. At the moment of writing there is wailing and gnashing of teeth throughout the British Empire at the diplomatic failure in Bulgaria and the previous fiasco in Turkey. Sir Edward Grey has dealt with the question in Parliament, but he has not mentioned the true reason.

The true reason is that this country has fallen into the habit of sending diplomatic representatives abroad who have not been keen enough to obtain a mastery of the language, or a full knowledge of the feelings and national aspirations of the peoples to whom they were accredited. Instead of being living ambassadors of the British idea, they have often been concrete examples before foreign eyes of British inefficiency. An example of the language question which came under the author's personal notice, deserves mention.

In the spring of 1914 there seemed to be a danger that a German would be appointed British Consul in Nuremberg, and in order to prevent this the author wrote to a British Minister stationed in Munich. He was greatly surprised to receive a reply—the latter, of course, was in English—addressed on the outside to:

"Dr. T. Smith, "On the top of the University of Erlangen."

That is to say, the German preposition auf was employed instead of an. A mistake which even an elementary knowledge of German should have made impossible. In the British Legation at Munich there was a German-British Consul—a Munich timber-merchant. If readers imagine that Munich was an unimportant city in the diplomatic sense, then they are recommended to study the French Yellow Book, which contains final proof that an efficient French Minister was able to make important discoveries at the Bavarian Court.

British prestige, confidence in British efficiency and power among neutrals has gravitated dangerously in the direction of zero, while admiration for Germany has correspondingly risen. That there is only too much reason for the change, the course of the war has given ample proof, and therein lies the hope of Britain's future. The war will reveal to the British both their strength and weakness, and if the war does not destroy the dry rot in the land, then it is merely the precursor of Britain's final downfall.

There can be no greater mistake than closing one's eyes to the good points in a resolute enemy. As far as this war is concerned they can be summarized under two heads: (1.) The German Board of Education, which has developed and mobilized the last ounce of German brains and directed them into the service of the Fatherland.[216] (2.) The German War Office, which has mobilized Germany's physical and technical forces.

[Footnote 216: Five years ago the present author wrote in the September number, 1910, of Macmillan's School World:—"Educational reforms and plans must come from the schoolmen; they never spring of themselves from out of the people; and this is perhaps the most deplorable admission of all, that modern England has no great educationist or statesman capable of formulating a national system of schools which shall develop the intellectual material of the nation to its highest powers, and direct those powers into the best channels. For several decades school inspectors, etc., have visited continental countries to study their educational systems, and have returned home with innumerable fads—but no system. Everything of the fantastic has been copied, but no foundations have been laid; with the result that England's educational system to-day resembles a piece of patchwork containing a rich variety of colours and a still greater variety of stuff-quality. It were better for us to have done with educationists who preach about 'the rigid uniformity of system which is alien both to the English temperament and to the lines on which English public schools have developed.' The said public schools have hopelessly failed to meet the necessity of a national system of education, or to form the nucleus from which such a system could or can develop itself. That the Falls of Niagara, however, dissipate untold natural forces is just as true as that England wastes immeasurable intellectual force because her forces are allowed to dissipate through not being disciplined and bridled by a fitting educational mechanism. Therefore let England turn to the prosaic work of organising!"]

No other State possesses institutions to compare with them. They are the foundation of Germany's strength, and the present author's only regret is, that the overwhelming forces obtained by bridling the Teutonic Niagara of brains and muscle, have been directed by a false patriotism into the wrong channels. Still that is what Britain is up against, and Britain can only secure an honourable victory by surpassing them. And this much may be admitted even at this stage of the struggle: one part of the "German idea" is certain of complete victory along the whole line—German thoroughness and self-sacrifice.

Because only by adopting that ideal is it possible for Germany's enemies to beat her. Political intrigues, hunger caused by blockade, cant, wire-pulling, hiding the truth, etc., etc., will break down before the German onslaught like waves break upon a rock. Britain has got to hark back to Strafford's watchword "thorough" and season it with the spirit of Cromwell's Ironsides.

To-day Germans are seriously discussing measures by which Britain's financial supremacy—and therewith her naval supremacy—can be overthrown, after the present war. One writer proposes a return to Napoleon's Continental system, and concludes his plea:

"The British Empire can and must be overthrown, so that the Continent of Europe may flourish and develop according to the dictates of Europe's will. According to Herbert Spencer's view, Europe must exercise the highest ethics, viz., 'give the highest possible total of human beings, life, happiness and above all harmony of work.'

"England has never comprehended what 'the harmony of work' means. Her entire heroism consisted in brutally suppressing the weaker, and avaricious exploitation of everything foreign by means of cunning treaties and business tricks. Even an Englishman, Sir J. Seeley, in his book, 'The Growth of British Policy,' has defied this characteristic with objective clearness.

"For sixty years England struggled against Holland—after which the latter lay prostrate before her. Now England's battle against her greatest and mightiest rival has commenced—against Germany. This struggle will last sixty years and longer if Great Britain does not succumb before. Every peace will only mean preparation for new battles, till the final result is attained; English history affords proof of this.

"Shall Germany, the latest rival, be broken too? Or shall it be her mission to awaken Europe to war against greed and avarice, hypocrisy and theft, robbery and violence? Lands which have slept and dreamed for centuries, do not easily awake. And a part of Europe still dreams deeply under the hypnotic influence of English cant and altruism, or at least of her God-ordained hegemony.

"This must be the goal of German statecraft and German diplomacy. The dream must be dispelled, and the mask torn from the hypocrite's face. If Germany desires to exist, then the weak, faltering expediency-policy of the German Empire must be at an end. Our one and only aim must be: Down with England!

"Germany, however, may not strive to enter into England's heritage—that must fall to the Continent. England's heir shall be Europe, which will then be able to progress and develop as history intended."[217]

[Footnote 217: Captain H. Schubart: "England und die Interessen des Kontinents" ("England and Continental Interests"), p. 50.]

German hate has been fed by stories of British atrocities, ill-treatment of German civilians, the alleged use of dum-dum bullets by British soldiers, and the employment of coloured troops from India etc. A book has been published under the style of "The Black Book of Atrocities committed by our Enemies."[218] The charges concerning the use of dum-dum bullets by the British are dealt with on pp. 39-43.

[Footnote 218: "Das Schwarzbuch der Schandtaten unserer Feinde." Berlin, 1915.]

In spite of the fact that von Treitschke advocates the employment of all available troops, irrespective of colour, by a State at war, and in spite of the fact that Germany has herself employed native troops in this war (Cameroons, etc.), their employment by Britain has aroused a wave of bitter hatred in Germany. As a justification for this indignation the Black Book quotes Earl Chatham's speech against the employment of Red Indians in the war with the American colonies.

It is impossible to suppose that some of the charges of ill-treatment of Germans by the British are more than the squeals of the bully on feeling the pinch. Carl Peters' book "Das deutsche Elend in London" ("German Misery in London") must certainly be dismissed as belonging to the squeals. Another booklet[219] may perhaps be quoted, though with all reserve, because it involves the charge of endangering the white man—above all, the honour of white women—in Africa.

[Footnote 219: "In Englischer Gefangenschaft" ("In English Captivity"), by Heinrich Norden, late missionary in Duala, Cameroons.]

"In declaring my willingness to relate our experiences during the defence and surrender of Duala and my experiences in English captivity, my motive was not to add fuel to the fires of hate against England. But it would be an injustice if we were silent concerning English outrages. Thousands of our brother Germans lie in English prisoners' camps; their hands are tied and their mouths closed by the force of circumstances. But with inward wrath they endure in silence. Yet their position demands that we, who have suffered with them and have luckily escaped, should speak for them.

"It is our bounden duty to the Fatherland to reveal the truth about English atrocities, and I am all the more conscious of that duty because some circles betray a certain amount of mistrust concerning the reports of English horrors.

"On Sunday, September 27th, after all the necessary preparations had been made, the white flag was hoisted. In a few hours the town was teeming with black and white English and French landing parties, who were received with indescribable joy by the natives. The latter followed the soldiers about like dogs, and in real dog-manner began to show their teeth (against the Germans).

"Everything remained quiet on Sunday, but on the following day robbery and plundering began in a way which we had never believed possible. Still less were we prepared for the brutal treatment which the English practised on us defenceless Germans. At first they made sure of those who had borne arms; with lies and deceit they were enticed into a trap. They were requested to give in their names, whereupon they would be set at liberty. However, when the English thought that the majority had been collected, the victims were driven on to a steamer which took them to French Dahomey.

"During the months of our imprisonment I had ample opportunity to observe how the Germans have been ill-treated by the blacks. The English incited them like a pack of hounds to worry their own race—and looked on with a laugh. Yet the Germans bore all this degradation with proud calm, and with the consolation that a day will come when all this shame will be wiped out.

"On the way to the harbour I met about twenty Germans; our company increased from hour to hour. Women were weeping who did not know the fate of their husbands, but this had not the faintest effect on the brutal hearts of the English. At last night fell; we were tortured by hunger and burning thirst. We were in anguish as to what would become of us. Why were our enemies so inconceivably bitter?[220] Why did they tell us no word of truth? They declared openly that everything German was to be destroyed, German thrones overthrown and the German devils driven out.

[Footnote 220: Norden has had ample opportunities to learn the story of Belgium, but he and all other Germans writers, in apparently holy innocence, look upon all bitterness against their nation as a cruel injustice.—Author.]

"Albion's heroic sons were only able to capture the Cameroons with the aid of native treachery. The blacks showed them the ways, betrayed the German positions, and murdered Germans in cold blood wherever opportunity occurred. The English even paid a Judas reward of twenty to fifty shillings for every German, living or half-dead, who was brought in by the natives.

"Later I met various prisoners whose evidence corroborated the inhuman tortures which they had endured. Herr Schlechtling related how he was attacked at Sanaga by natives with bush-knives, just as he was aiming at an English patrol. Herr Nickolai was captured by blacks and his clothes torn from his body and numerous knife wounds inflicted on his body. The natives took him to an English steamer whose captain paid them twenty shillings.

"Another German, Herr Student,[221] was compelled to look on while the natives drowned his comrade (Herr Nickstadt) in a river, while he himself was afterwards delivered up to the English. Yet another, Herr Fischer, was surprised while taking a meal, bound hand and foot, beaten and then handed over to the English."[222]

[Footnote 221: Four of these men are still in British captivity. Another Teuton who has sent blood-curdling tales to Germany may be found in the person of Martin Trojans, prisoner on Rottnest Island. It would be good to give these men an opportunity of making statements in London before a commission of neutral diplomatists.—Author.]

[Footnote 222: "In englischer Gefangenschaft," pp. 1-30.]

After all, the picture does not seem so terrible as this good missionary would make out. In any case he has failed to make out a case which will bear comparison with that already proved against the German army in Europe, or even so bad as the treatment dealt out by German civilians to their fellow-countrymen during August, 1914. Furthermore it may be safely assumed that the bitterness of the natives is to be ascribed to German tyranny, which culminated, as Norden relates on p.16 of his book, in the strangling of a number of natives, including chiefs of tribes just before the advent of the British.

Still his book has had due influence on German public opinion. A German lady in a book full of hysterical hate[223] has based a foul charge upon Norden's statements (besides publishing his experiences the missionary has delivered many public lectures), that the English and French left German women to the mercies of the natives!

[Footnote 223: Louise Niessen-Deiters: "Kriegsbriefe einer Frau" ("The War Letters of a Woman"), p. 56.]

"In the hearts of all those Germans who in this great time, are banished from the Fatherland and who do not know how things really stand, there burns a great hate, hate for England and the ardent desire to fight against her—the basest and most hated of all our enemies.

"I have come to the end of my report, which contains only a fraction of the outrages committed by Albion. And this nation talks of German atrocities! If all the lies spread by the English Press were true, even then England would have every reason to be dumb. Only he who has felt the effects of English hate upon his own person can understand the brutal deeds perpetrated recently on Germans in London and Liverpool. There, England's moral depth is revealed only too clearly, and before the world she seeks to drag us down to the same level."[224]

[Footnote 224: Norden's book, p. 43 et seq.]

Considering that the total number of Germans captured in the Cameroons is only equal to the number of civilians murdered or wounded in British towns by Zeppelin bombs, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds to the German Government, one begins to wonder whether Norden and his countrymen possess any sense of proportion. Germans are assiduous students of Shakespeare, but have seemingly overlooked the comedy: Much ado about Nothing.

Ireland is another text for long and windy sermons of German hate, but the conclusion of one of these tirades[225] will suffice to show Germany's real motive.

[Footnote 225: Dr. Hans Rost: "Deutschland's Sieg, Irland's Hoffnung" ("Germany's Victory, Ireland's Hope"), p. 25 et seq.]

"At present the direction of the Irish revolutionary movement is in the hands of Professor Evin MacNeill, Mac O'Rahilly and, above all, Sir Roger Casement. The final acceptance of the 'Constitution of Irish Volunteers' was carried on Sunday, October 25th, 1914, in Dublin. At that congress of Irish volunteers—who to-day number more than 300,000 well-armed men—special stress was laid on the fact that the volunteers are Irish soldiers and not imperialistic hirelings.

"Further the members of the organization have engaged not to submit under any circumstances to the Militia Ballot Act, a kind of national service law which, remarkable to say, is only enforced in Ireland.

"The Irishmen are thronging to join the movement, and pamphlets are being distributed, and appeals made on all sides. Besides which, weapons are being gathered and money collected. The entire episcopacy of Ireland has warned the young men against enlisting in English regiments on the ground that they will be placed in regiments to which no Catholic priest is attached. The warning has been most successful in hindering recruiting. In order to break the opposition of the bishops, England has appointed a special representative to the Vatican.

"When the German Emperor took steps to appoint Catholic priests in the prisoners' camps where Irish soldiers are interned, the English at once appointed forty-five Catholic priests with officer's rank, to the British army in France. Even this measure, as well as the sudden diplomatic activity at the Vatican, is little calculated to extinguish the hate for England in the Irish mind.

"On November 24th (1914) James Larkin began a propaganda in America. He appealed to all Irishmen to send gold, weapons, and ammunition to Ireland, for the day of reckoning with England. 'We will fight,' said Larkin, 'for the destruction of the British Empire and the foundation of an Irish republic; we will fight to deliver Ireland from that foul heap of ruins called England.' The assembly broke into enthusiastic applause.

"At that moment the curtain was raised, and on the stage a company of Irish volunteers and a number of German uhlans were revealed. The officers commanding the companies crossed swords and shook hands while the assembly sang the 'Wacht am Rhein' and 'God save Ireland.'

"Sir Roger Casement has long been a thorn in the side of the English Government, therefore the latter has not shrunk from making a murderous conspiracy against the life of this distinguished Irish leader. In agreement with Sir Edward Grey, the British Minister in Christiania, Mr. Findlay, tried to bribe Casement's companion—named Christensen—to murder Sir Roger. The attempted murder did not succeed, but the original documents are in the possession of the German Foreign Office, so that all doubt is excluded as to the English Government's participation—with their most honourable Grey at the head—in this Machiavellian plan."

This colossal Germanism concerning a plan to murder Sir Roger Casement has been assiduously spread throughout the German Press. The Berlin Government allows the German people to believe that incriminating documents are in their possession, and the vilest statements to blacken Mr. Findlay's character were printed in German newspapers when that gentleman was appointed to the Bulgarian Court in Sofia.

There are so few utterances in German war literature, which display reason or even moderation, that the author feels glad to be in a position to cite two. In the May number of the Sueddeutsche-Monatshefte, Professor Wilhelm Franz (Tuebingen) reviewed one of the hate-books, viz., a work entitled "Pedlars and Heroes" by a German named Sombart. A few passages will suffice to show that Germany is not quite devoid of straight-forward men, who dare to castigate hate.

"Towards the end of his book, Sombart solemnly assures the English that 'they need not fear us as a colonizing power; we (the Germans) have not the least ambition to conquer half-civilized and barbarian peoples in order to fill them with German spirit (Geist). But the English can colonize and fill such peoples with their spirit—for they have none, or at least only a pedlar's.'

"It would never occur to any sane man to refute effusions of this kind, for they cannot be taken seriously. Still I cannot but wish that an angry English journalist with his clever and fiery pen, would fall upon Sombart's book and give its author a sample of English spirit. The work teems with unjust, incorrect opinions; is full of crass ignorance and grotesque exaggerations, which lead the unlearned astray, injure Germany's cause, and annoy those who know better—so far as they do not excite ridicule.

"What is one to think when Sombart asks his readers: 'What single cultural work has emerged from the great shop, England, since Shakespeare—except that political abortion the English State?'

"If I had to answer Sombart I should say, the great shop has given the English State practically everything which makes for internal peace, solidarity and national health. It has enabled the nation to exercise tolerance within, and develop splendour and power without, which in their turn have made Britannia the mistress of the world's waterways, and the British the first colonial nation in the world.

"England's cultural development has brought all these since Shakespeare's time; energy, willpower, united with high endeavour to realize great aims and overcome mighty resistance. And the basis of this splendid progress which compels the admiration of all other States, was what Sombart presumes to call an 'abortion.'"

The other is taken from "Der englische Gedanke in Deutschland" ("The English Idea in Germany,") by Ernst Mueller-Holm, p. 72. "It is not true that all Englishmen are scoundrels. It is not true that there is nothing but pedlar's spirit in England, and because it is not true it should not be said, not even in these times when war passions run high.

"The fatherland of Shakespeare, Byron and Thackeray; the home of Newton, Adam Smith, Darwin and Lyell will ever remain a land of honour to educated Germans. Where would it end if I were to count up the heroes of English intellect whose names are written in letters of gold in humanity's great book?"

It is well to conclude this chapter of hate with two quotations which breathe respect. The author does not believe that German hate will be so long-enduring as the hate-mongers would have us think. Rather, he is convinced that mutual interest will force the two nations together within one or two decades. Preparatory for that day, it is Britain's duty to compel Germany's respect.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse