THE NEW YORK TIMES
A MONTHLY MAGAZINE
THE EUROPEAN WAR
From the Beginning to March, 1915 With Index
NEW YORK THE NEW YORK TIMES COMPANY 1915
Copyright 1914, 1915, By The New York Times Company
WHAT MEN OF LETTERS SAY Page
COMMON SENSE ABOUT THE WAR 11 By George Bernard Shaw
SHAW'S NONSENSE ABOUT BELGIUM 60 By Arnold Bennett
BENNETT STATES THE GERMAN CASE 63 By George Bernard Shaw
FLAWS IN SHAW'S LOGIC 65 By Cunninghame Graham
EDITORIAL COMMENT ON SHAW 66
SHAW EMPTY OF GOOD SENSE 68 By Christabel Pankhurst
COMMENT BY READING OF SHAW 73
OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT WILSON 76 By George Bernard Shaw
A GERMAN LETTER TO G. BERNARD SHAW 80 By Herbert Eulenberg
BRITISH AUTHORS DEFEND ENGLAND'S WAR 82 With Facsimile Signatures
THE FOURTH OF AUGUST—EUROPE AT WAR 87 By H.G. Wells
IF THE GERMANS RAID ENGLAND 89 By H.G. Wells
SIR OLIVER LODGE'S COMMENT 92
WHAT THE GERMAN CONSCRIPT THINKS 93 By Arnold Bennett
FELIX ADLER'S COMMENT 95
WHEN PEACE IS SERIOUSLY DESIRED 97 By Arnold Bennett
BARRIE AT BAY: WHICH WAS BROWN? 100 An Interview on the War
A CREDO FOR KEEPING FAITH 102 By John Galsworthy
HARD BLOWS, NOT HARD WORDS 103 By Jerome K. Jerome
"AS THEY TESTED OUR FATHERS" 106 By Rudyard Kipling
KIPLING AND "THE TRUCE OF THE BEAR" 107
ON THE IMPENDING CRISIS 107 By Norman Angell
WHY ENGLAND CAME TO BE IN IT 108 By Gilbert K. Chesterton
SOUTH AFRICA'S BOERS AND BRITONS 125 By H. Rider Haggard
CAPT. MARK HAGGARD'S DEATH IN BATTLE 128 By H. Rider Haggard
AN ANTI-CHRISTIAN WAR 129 By Robert Bridges
ENGLISH ARTISTS' PROTEST 130
TO ARMS! 132 By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
CONAN DOYLE ON BRITISH MILITARISM 140
THE NEED OF BEING MERCILESS 144 By Maurice Maeterlinck
LETTERS TO DR. NICHOLAS MURRAY BUTLER 146 By Baron d'Estournelles de Constant
THE VITAL ENERGIES OF FRANCE 153 By Henri Bergson
FRANCE THROUGH ENGLISH EYES 153 With Rene Bazin's Appreciation
THE SOLDIER OF 1914 156 By Rene Doumic
GERMANY'S CIVILIZED BARBARISM 160 By Emile Boutroux
THE GERMAN RELIGION OF DUTY 170 By Gabriele Reuter
A LETTER TO GERHART HAUPTMANN 174 By Romain Rolland
A REPLY TO ROLLAND 175 By Gerhart Hauptmann
ANOTHER REPLY TO ROLLAND 176 By Karl Wolfskehl
ARE WE BARBARIANS? 178 By Gerhart Hauptmann
TO AMERICANS FROM A GERMAN FRIEND 180 By Ludwig Fulda
APPEAL TO THE CIVILIZED WORLD 185 By Professors of Germany
APPEAL OF THE GERMAN UNIVERSITIES 187
REPLY TO THE GERMAN PROFESSORS 188 By British Scholars
CONCERNING THE GERMAN PROFESSORS 192 By Frederic Harrison
THE REPLY FROM FRANCE 194 By M. Yves Guyot and Prof Bellet
TO AMERICANS IN GERMANY 198 By Prof. Adolf von Harnack
A REPLY TO PROF. HARNACK 201 By Some British Theologians
PROF. HARNACK IN REBUTTAL 203
THE CAUSES OF THE WAR 206 By Theodore Niemeyer
COMMENT BY DR. MAX WALTER 208
WHO BEGAN THE WAR AND WHY?
SPEECHES BY KAISER WILHELM II. 210
THE MIGHTY FATE OF EUROPE 219 As Interpreted by Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, German Imperial Chancellor.
AUSTRIA-HUNGARY'S VERSION OF THE WAR 226 By Kaiser Frawz Josef and Count Berchtold
A GERMAN REVIEW OF THE EVIDENCE 228 Certified by Dr. Bernhard Dernburg, German ex-Colonial Secretary
"TRUTH ABOUT GERMANY" 244 Attested by Thirty-four German Dignitaries
SPECULATIONS ABOUT PEACE, SEPTEMBER, 1914 273 Report by James W. Gerard, American Ambassador at Berlin, to President Wilson.
FIRST WARNINGS OF EUROPE'S PERIL 277 Speeches by British Ministers
GREAT BRITAIN'S MOBILIZATION 294 Measures Taken Throughout the Empire Upon the Outbreak of War
SUMMONS OF THE NATION TO ARMS 308 British People Roused by Their Leaders
TEACHINGS OF GEN. VON BERNHARDI 343 By Viscount Bryce
ENTRANCE OF FRANCE INTO THE WAR 350 By President Poincare and Premier Viviani
RUSSIA TO HER ENEMY 358
"THE FACTS ABOUT BELGIUM" 365 Statement Issued by the Belgian Legation at Washington
BELGO-BRITISH PLOT ALLEGED BY GERMANY 369 Statement Issued by German Embassy at Washington, Oct. 13.
ATROCITIES OF THE WAR 374
BOMBARDMENT OF RHEIMS CATHEDRAL 392 Protest Issued to Neutral Powers from French Foreign Office, Bordeaux, Sept. 21.
THE SOCIALISTS' PART 397
WHAT AMERICANS SAY TO EUROPE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CIVILIZATION 413 Argued by James M. Beck
CRITICS DISPUTE MR. BECK 431
DEFENSE OF THE DUAL ALLIANCE—REPLY 438 By Dr. Edmund von Mach
WHAT GLADSTONE SAID ABOUT BELGIUM 448 By George Louis Beer
FIGHT TO THE BITTER END 451 An Interview with Andrew Carnegie
WOMAN AND WAR—"Shot, Tell His Mother" (Poem) 458 By W.E.P. French, Captain, U.S. Army
THE WAY TO PEACE 459 An Interview with Jacob H. Schiff
PROF. MATHER ON MR. SCHIFF 464
THE ELIOT-SCHIFF LETTERS 465 By Jacob H. Schiff and Charles W. Eliot
LA CATHEDRALE (Poem Translated by Frances C. Fay) 472 By Edmond Rostand
PROBABLE CAUSES AND OUTCOME OF THE WAR 473 Series of Five Letters by Charles W. Eliot, with Related Correspondence
THE LORD OF HOSTS (Poem) 501 By Joseph B. Gilder
A WAR OF DISHONOR 502 By David Starr Jordan
MIGHT OR RIGHT 503 By John Grier Hibben
JEANNE D'ARC—1914 (Poem) 506 By Alma Durant Nicholson
THE KAISER AND BELGIUM (With controversial letters) 507 By John W. Burgess
AMERICA'S PERIL IN JUDGING GERMANY 515 By William M. Sloane
POSSIBLE PROFITS FROM WAR 526 Interview with Franklin H. Giddings
"TO AMERICANS LEAVING GERMANY" 533 A German Circular
GERMAN DECLARATIONS 534 By Rudolf Eucken and Ernst Haeckel
THE EUCKEN AND HAECKEL CHARGES 537 By John Warbeke
CONCERNING GERMAN CULTURE 541 By Brander Matthews
CULTURE VS. KULTUR 543 By Frank Jewett Mather, Jr.
THE TRESPASS IN BELGIUM 545 By John Grier Hibben
APPORTIONING THE BLAME 548 By Arthur v. Briesen
PARTING (Poem) 553 By Louise von Wetter
FRENCH HATE AND ENGLISH JEALOUSY 554 By Kuno Francke
IN DEFENSE OF AUSTRIA 559 By Baron L. Hengelmuller
RUSSIAN ATROCITIES 563 By George Haven Putnam
"THE UNITED STATES OF EUROPE" 565 Interview with Nicholas Murray Butler
A NEW WORLD MAP 571 By Wilhelm Ostwald
THE VERDICT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE 573 By Newell Dwight Hillis
TIPPERARY (Poem) 581 By John B. Kennedy
AS AMERICA SEES THE WAR 582 By Harold Begbie
TO MELOS, POMEGRANATE ISLE (Poem) 587 By Grace Harriet Macurdy
WHAT AMERICA CAN DO 588 By Lord Channing of Wellingborough
TO A COUSIN GERMAN (Poem) 593 By Adeline Adams
WHAT THE ECONOMIC EFFECTS MAY BE 594 By Irving Fisher
EFFECTS OF WAR ON AMERICA 600 By Roland G. Usher
GERMANY OF THE FUTURE 605 Interview with M. de Lapredelle
GERMANY THE AGGRESSOR 609 By Albert Sauveur
MILITARISM AND CHRISTIANITY 610 By Lyman Abbott
VIGIL (Poem) 612 By Hortense Flexner
NIETZSCHE AND GERMAN CULTURE 613 By Abraham Solomon
BELGIUM'S BITTER NEED 614 By Sir Gilbert Parker
THE WAR AT CLOSE QUARTERS
SIR JOHN FRENCH'S OWN STORY 619 Famous Dispatches of the British Commander in Chief to Lord Kitchener
STORY OF THE "EYE WITNESS" 650 By Col. E.D. Swinton of the Intelligence Department of the British General Staff
THE DAWN OF A NEW DAY (Poem) 678 By Edward Neville Vose
THE GERMAN ENTRY INTO BRUSSELS (With Map) 679 By John Boon
THE FALL OF ANTWERP 682 By a Correspondent of The London Daily Chronicle
AS THE FRENCH FELL BACK ON PARIS 689 By G.H. Perris
THE RETREAT TO PARIS 691 By Philip Gibbs
A ZOUAVE'S STORY 704 By Philip Gibbs
WHEN WAR BURST ON ARRAS 707 By a Special Correspondent
THE BATTLES IN BELGIUM (With Map) 711 By The Associated Press
SEEKING WOUNDED ON BATTLE FRONT 714 By Philip Gibbs
AT THE KAISER'S HEADQUARTERS 718 By Cyril Brown of The New York Times
HOW THE BELGIANS FIGHT 725 By a Correspondent of The London Daily News
A VISIT TO THE FIRING LINE IN FRANCE 727 By a Correspondent of The New York Times
UNBURIED DEAD STREW LORRAINE (With Map) 729 By Philip Gibbs
ALONG THE GERMAN LINES NEAR METZ 731 By The Associated Press
THE SLAUGHTER IN ALSACE 736 By John H. Cox
RENNENKAMPF ON THE RUSSIAN BORDER 738 By a Correspondent of The London Daily Chronicle
THE FIRST FIGHT AT LODZ (With Map) 740 By Perceval Gibbon
THE FIRST INVASION OF SERBIA (With Map) 742 By a Correspondent of The London Standard
THE ATTACK ON TSING-TAU 745 By Jefferson Jones
THE GERMAN ATTACK ON TAHITI 748 As Told by Miss Geni La France, an Eyewitness
THE BLOODLESS CAPTURE OF GERMAN SAMOA 749 By Malcolm Ross, F.R.G.S.
HOW THE CRESSY SANK 752 By Edgar Rowan
GERMAN STORY OF THE HELIGOLAND FIGHT 754 By a Special Correspondent of The New York Times
THE SINKING OF THE CRESSY AND THE HOGUE 755 By the Senior Surviving Officers, Commander Bertram W.L. Nicholson and Commander Reginald A. Norton
THE SINKING OF THE HAWKE 757 By a Correspondent of The London Daily Chronicle
THE EMDEN'S LAST FIGHT 758 By the Cable Operator at Cocos Islands
CROWDS SEE THE NIGER SINK 760 By a Correspondent of The London Daily Chronicle
LIEUTENANT WEDDIGEN'S OWN STORY 762 By Herbert B. Swope and Capt. Lieut. Otto Weddigen
THE SOLILOQUY OF AN OLD SOLDIER (Poem) 764 By O.C.A. Child
THE EFFECTS OF WAR IN FOUR COUNTRIES 765 By Irvin S. Cobb
HOW PARIS DROPPED GAYETY 767 By Anne Rittenhouse
PARIS IN OCTOBER 770 From The London Times
FRANCE AND ENGLAND AS SEEN IN WAR TIME 772 Interview with F. Hopkinson Smith
THE HELPLESS VICTIMS 776 By Mrs. Nina Larrey Duryee
A NEW RUSSIA MEETS GERMANY 777 By Perceval Gibbon
BELGIAN CITIES GERMANIZED 780 By Cyril Brown of The New York Times
THE BELGIAN RUIN 786 By J.H. Whitehouse, M.P.
THE WOUNDED SERB 788 From The London Times
SPY ORGANIZATION IN ENGLAND 790 British Home Office Communication
CHRONOLOGY OF THE WAR 793
THE MEN OF THE EMDEN (Poem) 816 By Thomas R. Ybarra
THE NEW RUSSIA SPEAKS
AN APPEAL BY RUSSIAN AUTHORS, ARTISTS AND ACTORS 817 With Their Signatures
RUSSIA IN LITERATURE 819 By British Men of Letters
RUSSIA AND EUROPE'S WAR 821 By Paul Vinogradoff
RUSSIAN APPEAL FOR THE POLES 825 By A. Konovalov of the Russian Duma
I AM FOR PEACE (Poem) 826 By Lurana Sheldon
UNITED RUSSIA 827 By Peter Struve
PRINCE TRUBETSKOI'S APPEAL TO RUSSIANS 830 To Help the Polish Victims of War
HOW PROHIBITION CAME TO RUSSIA 831 An Interview with the Reformer Tchelisheff
INFLUENCE OF THE WAR UPON RUSSIAN INDUSTRY 834 By the Russian Ministry of Commerce
DECLARATION OF THE RUSSIAN INDUSTRIAL INTERESTS 835
A RUSSIAN FINANCIAL AUTHORITY ON THE WAR 836 By Prof. Migoulin
PROPOSED INTERNAL LOANS OF RUSSIA 837 (Prof. Migoulin's Plan)
HOW RUSSIAN MANUFACTURERS FEEL 838 Digested from Russkia Vedomosti
NEW SOURCES OF REVENUE NEEDED 839 By A. Sokolov
OUR RUSSIAN ALLY 840 By Sir Donald Mackenzie Wallace
CONFISCATION OF GERMAN PATENTS 849 By the Russian Ministry of Commerce
A RUSSIAN INCOME TAX 850 Proposed by the Ministry of Finance
TOOLS OF THE RUSSIAN JUGGERNAUT 851 By M.J. Bonn
FATE OF THE JEWS IN POLAND 854 By Georg Brandes
COMMERCIAL TREATIES AFTER THE WAR 863 By P. Maslov
PHOTOGRAPHIC REVIEW OF THE WAR 865 48 War Pictures Printed in Rotogravure
PATRIOTISM AND ENDURANCE 913 The Pastoral Letter of Cardinal D.J. Mercier, Archbishop of Malines
APPEAL TO AMERICA FOR BELGIUM (Poem) 924 By Thomas Hardy
WITH THE GERMAN ARMY 925 By Cyril Brown
STORY OF THE MAN WHO FIRED ON RHEIMS CATHEDRAL 928
RICHARD HARDING DAVIS'S COMMENT 931
THE GERMAN AIRMEN 932
GERMAN GENERALS TALK OF THE WAR 934
SWIFT REVERSAL TO BARBARISM 939 By Vance Thompson
CIVIL LIFE IN BERLIN 943 From The London Times
BELGIAN BOY TELLS STORY OF AERSCHOT 945 From The New York Times
THE NEUTRALS (Poem) 948 By Beatrice Barry
FIFTEEN MINUTES ON THE YSER 949 From The New York Times
SEEING NIEUPORT UNDER SHELL FIRE 951 From The New York Times
RAID ON SCARBOROUGH SEEN FROM A WINDOW 954 By Ruth Kauffmann
HOW THE BARONESS HID HER HUSBAND ON A VESSEL 956 From The New York Times
WARSAW SWAMPED WITH REFUGEES 957 By H.W. Bodkinson
AFTER THE RUSSIAN ADVANCE IN GALICIA 958 From The London Times
OFFICER IN BATTLE HAD LITTLE FEELING 959 By The Associated Press
THE BATTLE OF NEW YEAR'S DAY 961 By Perceval Gibbon
BASS'S STORY 963 From The New York Times
THE WASTE OF GERMAN LIVES 964 By Perceval Gibbon
THE FLIGHT INTO SWITZERLAND 966 By Ethel Therese Hugh
ONCE FAIR BELGRADE IS A SKELETON CITY 969 From The New York Times
LETTERS AND DIARIES 971 A Group of Soldiers' Letters
"CHANT OF HATE AGAINST ENGLAND" 984 How Ernst Lissauer's Lines were "Sung to Pieces" in Germany
ANSWERING THE "CHANT OF HATE" 988 By Beatrice M. Barry
ENGLAND CAUSED THE WAR 989 By T. von Bethmann-Hollweg, German Imperial Chancellor
A SONG OF THE SIEGE GUN (Poem) 992 By Katharine Drayton Mayrant Simons, Jr.
WHY ENGLAND FIGHTS GERMANY 993 By Hilaire Belloc
AT THE VILLA ACHILLEION, CORFU (Poem) 999 By H.T. Sudduth
GERMANY'S STRATEGIC RAILWAYS (With Map) 1000 By Walter Littlefield
GLORY OF WAR (Poem) 1004 By Adeline Adams
CHRONOLOGY OF THE WAR 1007
THE CALDRON OF THE BALKANS
HOW TURKEY WENT TO WAR 1025
SERBIA AND HER NEIGHBORS 1036
LITTLE MONTENEGRO SPEAKS 1043
BULGARIA'S ATTITUDE 1044
GREECE'S WATCHFUL WAITING 1050
WHERE RUMANIA STANDS IN THE CRISIS 1054
EXIT ALBANIA? 1062
THE WAR IN THE BALKANS 1068 By A.T. Polyzoides
THE EUROPEAN WAR AS SEEN BY CARTOONISTS 1073
GERMANY VS. BELGIUM 1101 Case of the Secret Military Documents Presented by Both Sides
THE BIG AND THE GREAT (Poem) 1114 By William Archer
"FROM THE BODY OF THIS DEATH" (Poem) 1119 By Sidney Low
"A SCRAP OF PAPER" 1120 By Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg and Sir Edward Grey
THE KAISER AT DONCHERY 1125 By The Associated Press
HAIL! A HYMN TO BELGIUM (Music by F.H. Cowen) 1126 By John Galsworthy
HOLLAND'S FUTURE (With Map) 1128 By H.G. Wells
FRENCH OFFICIAL REPORT ON GERMAN ATROCITIES 1133
A FRENCH MAYOR'S PUNISHMENT 1163 By The Associated Press
WE WILL FIGHT TO THE END 1164 By Premier Viviani of France
NUITS BLANCHES 1166 By H.S. Haskins
UNCONQUERED FRANCE 1167 From the Bulletin Francais
FOUR MONTHS OF WAR (With Map) 1169 From the Bulletin des Armees
LONG LIVE THE ALLIES! 1174 By Claude Monet
UNITED STATES FAIR TO ALL 1175 By William J. Bryan, American Secretary of State
THE HOUSE WITH SEALED DOORS (Poem) 1183 By Edith M. Thomas
SEIZURES OF AMERICAN CARGOES 1184 By William J. Bryan, American Secretary of State
GERMAN CROWN PRINCE TO AMERICA 1187 By The Associated Press
THE OFFICIAL BRITISH EXPLANATION 1188 By Sir Edward Grey
ITALY AND THE WAR (With Map) 1192 By William Roscoe Thayer
HE HEARD THE BUGLES CALLING (Poem) 1198 By Carey C.D. Briggs
GERMAN SOLDIERS WRITE HOME 1199
WAR CORRESPONDENCE 1207
THE BROKEN ROSE (TO KING ALBERT) 1210 By Annie Vivanti Chartres
THE HEROIC LANGUAGE (Poem) 1216 By Alice Meynell
CHRONOLOGY OF THE WAR 1224
TO HIS MAJESTY KING ALBERT (Poem) 1228 By William Watson
"Common Sense About the War"
By George Bernard Shaw.
"Let a European war break out—the war, perhaps, between the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente, which so many journalists and politicians in England and Germany contemplate with criminal levity. If the combatants prove to be equally balanced, it may, after the first battles, smoulder on for thirty years. What will be the population of London, or Manchester, or Chemnitz, or Bremen, or Milan, at the end of it?" ("The Great Society," by Graham Wallas. June, 1914.)
(Copyright, 1914, By The New York Times Company.)
The time has now come to pluck up courage and begin to talk and write soberly about the war. At first the mere horror of it stunned the more thoughtful of us; and even now only those who are not in actual contact with or bereaved relation to its heartbreaking wreckage can think sanely about it, or endure to hear others discuss it coolly. As to the thoughtless, well, not for a moment dare I suggest that for the first few weeks they were all scared out of their wits; for I know too well that the British civilian does not allow his perfect courage to be questioned; only experienced soldiers and foreigners are allowed the infirmity of fear. But they certainly were—shall I say a little upset? They felt in that solemn hour that England was lost if only one single traitor in their midst let slip the truth about anything in the universe. It was a perilous time for me. I do not hold my tongue easily; and my inborn dramatic faculty and professional habit as a playwright prevent me from taking a one-sided view even when the most probable result of taking a many-sided one is prompt lynching. Besides, until Home Rule emerges from its present suspended animation, I shall retain my Irish capacity for criticising England with something of the detachment of a foreigner, and perhaps with a certain slightly malicious taste for taking the conceit out of her. Lord Kitchener made a mistake the other day in rebuking the Irish volunteers for not rallying faster to the defense of "their country." They do not regard it as their country yet. He should have asked them to come forward as usual and help poor old England through a stiff fight. Then it would have been all right.
Having thus frankly confessed my bias, which you can allow for as a rifleman allows for the wind, I give my views for what they are worth. They will be of some use; because, however blinded I may be by prejudice or perversity, my prejudices in this matter are not those which blind the British patriot, and therefore I am fairly sure to see some things that have not yet struck him.
And first, I do not see this war as one which has welded Governments and peoples into complete and sympathetic solidarity as against the common enemy. I see the people of England united in a fierce detestation and defiance of the views and acts of Prussian Junkerism. And I see the German people stirred to the depths by a similar antipathy to English Junkerism, and anger at the apparent treachery and duplicity of the attack made on them by us in their extremest peril from France and Russia. I see both nations duped, but alas! not quite unwillingly duped, by their Junkers and Militarists into wreaking on one another the wrath they should have spent in destroying Junkerism and Militarism in their own country. And I see the Junkers and Militarists of England and Germany jumping at the chance they have longed for in vain for many years of smashing one another and establishing their own oligarchy as the dominant military power in the world. No doubt the heroic remedy for this tragic misunderstanding is that both armies should shoot their officers and go home to gather in their harvests in the villages and make a revolution in the towns; and though this is not at present a practicable solution, it must be frankly mentioned, because it or something like it is always a possibility in a defeated conscript army if its commanders push it beyond human endurance when its eyes are opening to the fact that in murdering its neighbours it is biting off its nose to vex its face, besides riveting the intolerable yoke of Militarism and Junkerism more tightly than ever on its own neck. But there is no chance—or, as our Junkers would put it, no danger—of our soldiers yielding to such an ecstasy of common sense. They have enlisted voluntarily; they are not defeated nor likely to be; their communications are intact and their meals reasonably punctual; they are as pugnacious as their officers; and in fighting Prussia they are fighting a more deliberate, conscious, tyrannical, personally insolent, and dangerous Militarism than their own. Still, even for a voluntary professional army, that possibility exists, just as for the civilian there is a limit beyond which taxation, bankruptcy, privation, terror, and inconvenience cannot be pushed without revolution or a social dissolution more ruinous than submission to conquest. I mention all this, not to make myself wantonly disagreeable, but because military persons, thinking naturally that there is nothing like leather, are now talking of this war as likely to become a permanent institution like the Chamber of Horrors at Madame Tussaud's, forgetting, I think, that the rate of consumption maintained by modern military operations is much greater relatively to the highest possible rate of production maintainable under the restrictions of war time than it has ever been before.
*The Day of Judgment.*
The European settlement at the end of the war will be effected, let us hope, not by a regimental mess of fire-eaters sitting around an up-ended drum in a vanquished Berlin or Vienna, but by some sort of Congress in which all the Powers (including, very importantly, the United States of America) will be represented. Now I foresee a certain danger of our being taken by surprise at that Congress, and making ourselves unnecessarily difficult and unreasonable, by presenting ourselves to it in the character of Injured Innocence. We shall not be accepted in that character. Such a Congress will most certainly regard us as being, next to the Prussians (if it makes even that exception), the most quarrelsome people in the universe. I am quite conscious of the surprise and scandal this anticipation may cause among my more highminded (hochnaesig, the Germans call it) readers. Let me therefore break it gently by expatiating for a while on the subject of Junkerism and Militarism generally, and on the history of the literary propaganda of war between England and Potsdam which has been going on openly for the last forty years on both sides. I beg the patience of my readers during this painful operation. If it becomes unbearable, they can always put the paper down and relieve themselves by calling the Kaiser Attila and Mr. Keir Hardie a traitor twenty times or so. Then they will feel, I hope, refreshed enough to resume. For, after all, abusing the Kaiser or Keir Hardie or me will not hurt the Germans, whereas a clearer view of the political situation will certainly help us. Besides, I do not believe that the trueborn Englishman in his secret soul relishes the pose of Injured Innocence any more than I do myself. He puts it on only because he is told that it is respectable.
What is a Junker? Is it a German officer of twenty-three, with offensive manners, and a habit of cutting down innocent civilians with his sabre? Sometimes; but not at all exclusively that or anything like that. Let us resort to the dictionary. I turn to the Encyclopaedisches Woerterbuch of Muret Sanders. Excuse its quaint German-English.
*Junker* = Young nobleman, younker, lording, country squire, country gentleman, squirearch. *Junkerberrschaft* = squirearchy, landocracy. *Junkerleben* = life of a country gentleman, (figuratively) a jolly life. *Junkerpartei* = country party. *Junkerwirtschaft* = doings of the country party.
Thus we see that the Junker is by no means peculiar to Prussia. We may claim to produce the article in a perfection that may well make Germany despair of ever surpassing us in that line. Sir Edward Grey is a Junker from his topmost hair to the tips of his toes; and Sir Edward is a charming man, incapable of cutting down even an Opposition front bencher, or of telling a German he intends to have him shot. Lord Cromer is a Junker. Mr. Winston Churchill is an odd and not disagreeable compound of Junker and Yankee: his frank anti-German pugnacity is enormously more popular than the moral babble (Milton's phrase) of his sanctimonious colleagues. He is a bumptious and jolly Junker, just as Lord Curzon is an uppish Junker. I need not string out the list. In these islands the Junker is literally all over the shop.
It is very difficult for anyone who is not either a Junker or a successful barrister to get into an English Cabinet, no matter which party is in power, or to avoid resigning when we strike up the drum. The Foreign Office is a Junker Club. Our governing classes are overwhelmingly Junker: all who are not Junkers are riff-raff whose only claim to their position is the possession of ability of some sort: mostly ability to make money. And, of course, the Kaiser is a Junker, though less true-blue than the Crown Prince, and much less autocratic than Sir Edward Grey, who, without consulting us, sends us to war by a word to an ambassador and pledges all our wealth to his foreign allies by a stroke of his pen.
*What Is a Militarist?*
Now that we know what a Junker is, let us have a look at the Militarists. A Militarist is a person who believes that all real power is the power to kill, and that Providence is on the side of the big battalions. The most famous Militarist at present, thanks to the zeal with which we have bought and quoted his book, is General Friedrich von Bernhardi. But we cannot allow the General to take precedence of our own writers as a Militarist propagandist. I am old enough to remember the beginning of the anti-German phase of that very ancient propaganda in England. The Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871 left Europe very much taken aback. Up to that date nobody was afraid of Prussia, though everybody was a little afraid of France; and we were keeping "buffer States" between ourselves and Russia in the east. Germany had indeed beaten Denmark; but then Denmark was a little State, and was abandoned in her hour of need by those who should have helped her, to the great indignation of Ibsen. Germany had also beaten Austria; but somehow everybody seems able to beat Austria, though nobody seems able to draw the moral that defeats do not matter as much as the Militarists think, Austria being as important as ever. Suddenly Germany beat France right down into the dust, by the exercise of an organized efficiency in war of which nobody up to then had any conception. There was not a State in Europe that did not say to itself: "Good Heavens! what would happen if she attacked us?" We in England thought of our old-fashioned army and our old-fashioned commander George Ranger (of Cambridge), and our War Office with its Crimean tradition of imbecility; and we shook in our shoes. But we were not such fools as to leave it at that. We soon produced the first page of the Bernhardian literature: an anonymous booklet entitled The Battle of Dorking. It was not the first page of English Militarist literature: you have only to turn back to the burst of glorification of war which heralded the silly Crimean campaign (Tennyson's Maud is a surviving sample) to find paeans to Mars which would have made Treitschke blush (perhaps they did); but it was the first page in which it was assumed as a matter of course that Germany and not France or Russia was England's natural enemy. The Battle of Dorking had an enormous sale; and the wildest guesses were current as to its authorship. And its moral was "To arms; or the Germans will besiege London as they besieged Paris." From that time until the present, the British propaganda of war with Germany has never ceased. The lead given by The Battle of Dorking was taken up by articles in the daily press and the magazines. Later on came the Jingo fever (anti-Russian, by the way; but let us not mention that just now), Stead's Truth About the Navy, Mr. Spenser Wilkinson, the suppression of the Channel Tunnel, Mr. Robert Blatchford, Mr. Garvin, Admiral Maxse, Mr. Newbolt, Mr. Rudyard Kipling, The National Review, Lord Roberts, the Navy League, the imposition of an Imperialist Foreign Secretary on the Liberal Cabinet, Mr. Wells's War in the Air (well worth re-reading just now), and the Dreadnoughts. Throughout all these agitations the enemy, the villain of the piece, the White Peril, was Prussia and her millions of German conscripts. At first, in The Battle of Dorking phase, the note was mainly defensive. But from the moment when the Kaiser began to copy our Armada policy by building a big fleet, the anti-German agitation became openly aggressive; and the cry that the German fleet or ours must sink, and that a war between England and Germany was bound to come some day, speedily ceased to be merely a cry with our Militarists and became an axiom with them. And what our Militarists said our Junkers echoed; and our Junker diplomatists played for. The story of how they manoeuvred to hem Germany and Austria in with an Anglo-Franco-Russian combination will be found told with soldierly directness and with the proud candor of a man who can see things from his own side only in the article by Lord Roberts in the current number of The Hibbert Journal (October, 1914). There you shall see also, after the usual nonsense about Nietzsche, the vision of "British administrators bearing the White Man's Burden," of "young men, fresh from the public schools of Britain, coming eagerly forward to carry on the high traditions of Imperial Britain in each new dependency which comes under our care," of "our fitness as an Imperial race," of "a great task committed to us by Providence," of "the will to conquer that has never failed us," of our task of "assuming control of one-fifth of the earth's surface and the care of one in five of all the inhabitants of the world." Not a suggestion that the inhabitants of the world are perhaps able to take care of themselves. Not even a passing recollection when that White Man's Burden is in question that the men outside the British Empire, and even inside the German Empire, are by no means exclusively black. Only the sancta simplicitas that glories in "the proud position of England," the "sympathy, tolerance, prudence and benevolence of our rule" in the east (as shown, the Kaiser is no doubt sarcastically remarking, in the Delhi sedition trial), the chivalrous feeling that it is our highest duty to save the world from the horrible misfortune of being governed by anybody but those young men fresh from the public schools of Britain. Change the words Britain and British to Germany and German, and the Kaiser will sign the article with enthusiasm. His opinion, his attitude (subject to that merely verbal change) word for word.
*Six of One: Half-a-Dozen of The Other.*
Now, please observe that I do not say that the agitation was unreasonable. I myself steadily advocated the formation of a formidable armament, and ridiculed the notion that, we, who are wasting hundreds of millions annually on idlers and wasters, could not easily afford double, treble, quadruple our military and naval expenditure. I advocated the compulsion of every man to serve his country, both in war and peace. The idlers and wasters perceiving dimly that I meant the cost to come out of their pockets and meant to use the admission that riches should not exempt a man from military service as an illustration of how absurd it is to allow them to exempt him from civil service, did not embrace my advocacy with enthusiasm; so I must reaffirm it now lest it should be supposed that I am condemning those whose proceedings I am describing. Though often horribly wrong in principle, they were quite right in practice as far as they went. But they must stand to their guns now that the guns are going off. They must not pretend that they were harmless Radical lovers of peace, and that the propaganda of Militarism and of inevitable war between England and Germany is a Prussian infamy for which the Kaiser must be severely punished. That is not fair, not true, not gentlemanly. We began it; and if they met us half-way, as they certainly did, it is not for us to reproach them. When the German fire-eaters drank to The Day (of Armageddon) they were drinking to the day of which our Navy League fire-eaters had first said "It's bound to come." Therefore, let us have no more nonsense about the Prussian Wolf and the British Lamb, the Prussian Machiavelli and the English Evangelist. We cannot shout for years that we are boys of the bulldog breed, and then suddenly pose as gazelles. No. When Europe and America come to settle the treaty that will end this business (for America is concerned in it as much as we are), they will not deal with us as the lovable and innocent victims of a treacherous tyrant and a savage soldiery. They will have to consider how these two incorrigibly pugnacious and inveterately snobbish peoples, who have snarled at one another for forty years with bristling hair and grinning fangs, and are now rolling over with their teeth in one another's throats, are to be tamed into trusty watch-dogs of the peace of the world. I am sorry to spoil the saintly image with a halo which the British Jingo journalist sees just now when he looks in the glass; but it must be done if we are to behave reasonably in the imminent day of reckoning.
And now back to Friedrich von Bernhardi.
*General Von Bernhardi.*
Like many soldier-authors, Friedrich is very readable; and he maintains the good and formidable part of the Bismarck tradition: that is, he is not a humbug. He looks facts in the face; he deceives neither himself nor his readers; and if he were to tell lies—as he would no doubt do as stoutly as any British, French, or Russian officer if his country's safety were at stake—he would know that he was telling them. Which last we think very bad taste on his part, if not downright wickedness.
It is true that he cites Frederick the Great as an exemplary master of war and of Weltpolitik. But his chief praise in this department is reserved for England. It is from our foreign policy, he says, that he has learnt what our journalists denounce as "the doctrine of the bully, of the materialist, of the man with gross ideals: a doctrine of diabolical evil." He frankly accepts that doctrine from us (as if our poor, honest muddle-heads had ever formulated anything so intellectual as a doctrine), and blames us for nothing but for allowing the United States to achieve their solidarity and become formidable to us when we might have divided them by backing up the South in the Civil War. He shows in the clearest way that if Germany does not smash England, England will smash Germany by springing at her the moment she can catch her at a disadvantage. In a word he prophesies that we, his great masters in Realpolitik, will do precisely what our Junkers have just made us do, It is we who have carried out the Bernhardi programme: it is Germany who has neglected it. He warned Germany to make an alliance with Italy, Austria, Turkey, and America, before undertaking the subjugation, first of France, then of England. But a prophet is not without honour save in his own country; and Germany has allowed herself to be caught with no ally but Austria between France and Russia, and thereby given the English Junkers their opportunity. They have seized it with a punctuality that must flatter Von Bernhardi, even though the compliment be at the expense of his own country. The Kaiser did not give them credit for being keener Junkers than his own. It was an unpleasant, indeed an infuriating surprise. All that a Kaiser could do without unbearable ignominy to induce them to keep their bulldogs off and give him fair play with his two redoubtable foes, he did. But they laughed Frederick the Great's laugh and hurled all our forces at him, as he might have done to us, on Bernhardian principles, if he had caught us at the same disadvantage. Officially, the war is Junker-cut-Junker, militarist-cut-Militarist; and we must fight it out, not Heuchler-cut-Hypocrite, but hammer and tongs.
Unofficially, it is quite another matter. Democracy, even Social-Democracy, though as hostile to British Junkers as to German ones, and under no illusion as to the obsolescence and colossal stupidity of modern war, need not lack enthusiasm for the combat, which may serve their own ends better than those of their political opponents. For Bernhardi the Brilliant and our own very dull Militarists are alike mad: the war will not do any of the things for which they rushed into it. It is much more likely to do the things they most dread and deprecate: in fact, it has already swept them into the very kind of organization they founded an Anti-Socialist League to suppress. To shew how mad they are, let us suppose the war carries out their western program to the last item. Suppose France rises from the war victorious, happy and glorious, with Alsace and Lorraine regained, Rheims cathedral repaired in the best modern trade style, and a prodigious indemnity in her pocket! Suppose we tow the German fleet into Portsmouth, and leave Hohenzollern metaphorically under the heel of Romanoff and actually in a comfortable villa in Chislehurst, the hero of all its tea parties and the judge of all its gymkhanas! Well, cry the Militarists, suppose it by all means: could we desire anything better? Now I happen to have a somewhat active imagination; and it flatly refuses to stop at this convenient point. I must go on supposing. Suppose France, with its military prestige raised once more to the Napoleonic point, spends its indemnity in building an invincible Armada, stronger and nearer to us than the German one we are now out to destroy! Suppose Sir Edward Grey remonstrates, and Monsieur Delcasse replies, "Russia and France have humbled one Imperial Bully, and are prepared to humble another. I have not forgotten Fashoda. Stop us if you can; or turn, if you like, for help to the Germany we have smashed and disarmed!" Of what use will all this bloodshed be then, with the old situation reproduced in an aggravated form, the enemy closer to our shores, a raid far more feasible, the tradition of "natural enmity" to steel the foe, and Waterloo to be wiped out like Sedan? A child in arms should be able to see that this idiotic notion of relaxing the military pressure on us by smashing this or that particular Power is like trying to alter the pressure of the ocean by dipping up a bucket of water from the North Sea and pouring it into the Bay of Biscay.
I purposely omit more easterly supposings as to what victorious Russia might do. But a noble emancipation of Poland and Finland at her own expense, and of Bosnia and Harzegovina at Austria's, might easily suggest to our nervous Militarists that a passion for the freedom of Egypt and India might seize her, and remind her that we were Japan's ally in the day of Russia's humiliation in Manchuria. So there at once is your Balance of Power problem in Asia enormously aggravated by throwing Germany out of the anti-Russian scale and grinding her to powder. Even in North Africa—but enough is enough. You can durchhauen your way out of the frying pan, but only into the fire. Better take Nietzsche's brave advice, and make it your point of honour to "live dangerously." History shews that it is often the way to live long.
*Learning Nothing: Forgetting Everything.*
But let me test the Militarist theory, not by a hypothetical future, but by the accomplished and irrevocable past. Is it true that nations must conquer or go under, and that military conquest means prosperity and power for the victor and annihilation for the vanquished? I have already alluded in passing to the fact that Austria has been beaten repeatedly: by France, by Italy, by Germany, almost by everybody who has thought it worth while to have a whack at her; and yet she is one of the Great Powers; and her alliance has been sought by invincible Germany. France was beaten by Germany in 1870 with a completeness that seemed impossible; yet France has since enlarged her territory whilst Germany is still pleading in vain for a place in the sun. Russia was beaten by the Japanese in Manchuria on a scale that made an end forever of the old notion that the West is the natural military superior of the East; yet it is the terror of Russia that has driven Germany into her present desperate onslaught on France; and it is the Russian alliance on which France and England are depending for their assurance of ultimate success. We ourselves confess that the military efficiency with which we have so astonished the Germans is the effect, not of Waterloo and Inkerman, but of the drubbing we got from the Boers, who we aid probably have beaten us if we had been anything like their own size. Greece has lately distinguished herself in war within a few years by a most disgraceful beating of the Turks. It would be easy to multiply instances from remoter history: for example, the effect on England's position of the repeated defeats of our troops by the French under Luxembourg in the Balance of Power War at the end of the seventeenth century differed surprisingly little, if at all, from the effect of our subsequent victories under Marlborough. And the inference from the Militarist theory that the States which at present count for nothing as military Powers necessarily count for nothing at all is absurd on the face of it. Monaco seems to be, on the whole, the most prosperous and comfortable State in Europe.
In short, Militarism must be classed as one of the most inconsiderately foolish of the bogus "sciences" which the last half century has produced in such profusion, and which have the common characteristic of revolting all sane souls, and being stared out of countenance by the broad facts of human experience. The only rule of thumb that can be hazarded on the strength of actual practice is that wars to maintain or upset the Balance of Power between States, called by inaccurate people Balance of Power wars, and by accurate people Jealousy of Power wars, never establish the desired peaceful and secure equilibrium. They may exercise pugnacity, gratify spite, assuage a wound to national pride, or enhance or dim a military reputation; but that is all. And the reason is, as I shall shew very conclusively later on, that there is only one way in which one nation can really disable another, and that is a way which no civilized nation dare even discuss.
*Are We Hypocrites?*
And now I proceed from general considerations to the diplomatic history of the present case, as I must in order to make our moral position clear. But first, lest I should lose all credit by the startling incompatibility between the familiar personal character of our statesmen and the proceedings for which they are officially responsible, I must say a word about the peculiar psychology of English statesmanship, not only for the benefit of my English readers (who do not know that it is peculiar just as they do not know that water has any taste because it is always in their mouths), but as a plea for a more charitable construction from the wider world.
We know by report, however unjust it may seem to us, that there is an opinion abroad, even in the quarters most friendly to us, that our excellent qualities are marred by an incorrigible hypocrisy. To France we have always been Perfidious Albion. In Germany, at this moment, that epithet would be scorned as far too flattering to us. Victor Hugo explained the relative unpopularity of Measure for Measure among Shakespeare's plays on the ground that the character of the hypocrite Angelo was a too faithful dramatization of our national character. Pecksniff is not considered so exceptional an English gentleman in America as he is in England.
Now we have not acquired this reputation for nothing. The world has no greater interest in branding England with this particular vice of hypocrisy than in branding France with it; yet the world does not cite Tartuffe as a typical Frenchman as it cites Angelo and Pecksniff as typical Englishmen. We may protest against it as indignantly as the Prussian soldiers protest against their equally universal reputation for ferocity in plunder and pillage, sack and rapine; but there is something in it. If you judge an English statesman, by his conscious intentions, his professions, and his personal charm, you will often find him an amiable, upright, humane, anxiously truthful man. If you judge him, as a foreigner must, solely on the official acts for which he is responsible, and which he has to defend in the House of Commons for the sake of his party, you will often be driven to conclude that this estimable gentleman is, in point of being an unscrupulous superprig and fool, worse than Caesar Borgia and General Von Bernhardi rolled into one, and in foreign affairs a Bismarck in everything except commanding ability, blunt common sense, and freedom from illusion as to the nature and object of his own diplomacy. And the permanent officials in whose hands he is will probably deserve all that and something to spare. Thus you will get that amazing contrast that confronts us now between the Machiavellian Sir Edward Grey of the Berlin newspapers and the amiable and popular Sir Edward Grey we know in England. In England we are all prepared to face any World Congress and say, "We know that Sir Edward Grey is an honest English gentleman, who meant well as a true patriot and friend of peace; we are quite sure that what he did was fair and right; and we will not listen to any nonsense to the contrary." The Congress will reply, "We know nothing about Sir Edward Grey except what he did; and as there is no secret and no question as to what he did, the whole story being recorded by himself, we must hold England responsible for his conduct, whilst taking your word for the fact, which has no importance for us, that his conduct has nothing to do with his character."
*Our Intellectual Laziness.*
The general truth of the situation is, as I have spent so much of my life in trying to make the English understand, that we are cursed with a fatal intellectual laziness, an evil inheritance from the time when our monopoly of coal and iron made it possible for us to become rich and powerful without thinking or knowing how; a laziness which is becoming highly dangerous to us now that our monopoly is gone or superseded by new sources of mechanical energy. We got rich by pursuing our own immediate advantage instinctively; that is, with a natural childish selfishness; and when any question of our justification arose, we found it easy to silence it with any sort of plausible twaddle (provided it flattered us, and did not imply any trouble or sacrifice) provided by our curates at L70 a year, or our journalists at a penny a line, or commercial moralists with axes to grind. In the end we became fatheaded, and not only lost all intellectual consciousness of what we were doing, and with it all power of objective self-criticism, but stacked up a lumber of pious praises for ourselves which not only satisfied our corrupted and half atrophied consciences, but gave us a sense that there is something extraordinarily ungentlemanly and politically dangerous in bringing these pious phrases to the test of conduct. We carried Luther's doctrine of Justification by Faith to the insane point of believing that as long as a man says what we have agreed to accept as the right thing it does not matter in the least what he actually does. In fact, we do not clearly see why a man need introduce the subject of morals at all, unless there is something questionable to be whitewashed. The unprejudiced foreigner calls this hypocrisy: that is why we call him prejudiced. But I, who have been a poor man in a poor country, understand the foreigner better.
Now from the general to the particular. In describing the course of the diplomatic negotiations by which our Foreign Office achieved its design of at last settling accounts with Germany at the most favourable moment from the Militarist point of view, I shall have to exhibit our Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs as behaving almost exactly as we have accused the Kaiser of behaving. Yet I see him throughout as an honest gentleman, "perplexed in the extreme," meaning well, revolted at the last moment by the horror of war, clinging to the hope that in some vague way he could persuade everybody to be reasonable if they would only come and talk to him as they did when the big Powers were kept out of the Balkan war, but hopelessly destitute of a positive policy of any kind, and therefore unable to resist those who had positive business in hand. And do not for a moment imagine that I think that the conscious Sir Edward Grey was Othello, and the subconscious, Iago. I do think that the Foreign Office, of which Sir Edward is merely the figure head, was as deliberately and consciously bent on a long deferred Militarist war with Germany as the Admiralty was; and that is saying a good deal. If Sir Edward Grey did not know what he wanted, Mr. Winston Churchill was in no such perplexity. He was not an "ist" of any sort, but a straightforward holder of the popular opinion that if you are threatened you should hit out, unless you are afraid to. Had he had the conduct of the affair he might quite possibly have averted the war (and thereby greatly disappointed himself and the British public) by simply frightening the Kaiser. As it was, he had arranged for the co-operation of the French and British fleets; was spoiling for the fight; and must have restrained himself with great difficulty from taking off his coat in public whilst Mr. Asquith and Sir Edward Grey were giving the country the assurances which were misunderstood to mean that we were not bound to go to war, and not more likely to do so than usual. But though Sir Edward did not clear up the misunderstanding, I think he went to war with the heavy heart of a Junker Liberal (such centaurs exist) and not with the exultation of a Junker Jingo.
I may now, without more than the irreducible minimum of injustice to Sir Edward Grey, proceed to tell the story of the diplomatic negotiations as they will appear to the Congress which, I am assuming, will settle the terms on which Europe is to live more or less happily ever after.
*Diplomatic History of the War.*
The evidence of how the Junker diplomatists of our Foreign Office let us in for the war is in the White Paper, Miscellaneous No. 6 (1914), containing correspondence respecting the European crisis, and since reissued, with a later White Paper and some extra matter, as a penny bluebook in miniature. In these much-cited and little-read documents we see the Junkers of all the nations, the men who have been saying for years "It's bound to come," and clamouring in England for compulsory military service and expeditionary forces, momentarily staggered and not a little frightened by the sudden realization that it has come at last. They rush round from foreign office to embassy, and from embassy to palace, twittering "This is awful. Can't you stop it? Won't you be reasonable? Think of the consequences," etc., etc. One man among them keeps his head and looks the facts in the face. That man is Sazonoff, the Russian Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He keeps steadily trying to make Sir Edward Grey face the inevitable. He says and reiterates, in effect, "You know very well that you cannot keep out of a European war. You know you are pledged to fight Germany if Germany attacks France. You know that your arrangments for the fight are actually made; that already the British army is commanded by a Franco-British Council of War; that there is no possible honourable retreat for you. You know that this old man in Austria, who would have been superannuated years ago if he had been an exciseman, is resolved to make war on Servia, and sent that silly forty-eight hours ultimatum when we were all out of town so that he could begin fighting before we could get back to sit on his head. You know that he has the Jingo mob of Vienna behind him. You know that if he makes war, Russia must mobilize. You know that France is bound to come in with us as you are with France. You know that the moment we mobilize, Germany, the old man's ally, will have only one desperate chance of victory, and that is to overwhelm our ally, France, with one superb rush of her millions, and then sweep back and meet us on the Vistula. You know that nothing can stop this except Germany remonstrating with Austria, and insisting on the Servian case being dealt with by an international tribunal and not by war. You know that Germany dares not do this, because her alliance with Austria is her defence against the Franco-Russian alliance, and that she does not want to do it in any case, because the Kaiser naturally has a strong class prejudice against the blowing up of Royal personages by irresponsible revolutionists, and thinks nothing too bad for Servia after the assassination of the Archduke. There is just one chance of avoiding Armageddon: a slender one, but worth trying. You averted war in the Algeciras crisis, and again in the Agadir crisis, by saying you would fight. Try it again. The Kaiser is stiffnecked because he does not believe you are going to fight this time. Well, convince him that you are. The odds against him will then be so terrible that he may not dare to support the Austrian ultimatum to Servia at such a price. And if Austria is thus forced to proceed judicially against Servia, we Russians will be satisfied; and there will be no war."
Sir Edward could not see it. He is a member of a Liberal Government, in a country where there is no political career for the man who does not put his party's tenure of office before every other consideration. What would The Daily News and The Manchester Guardian have said had he, Bismarck-like, said bluntly: "If war once breaks out, the old score between England and Prussia will be settled, not by ambassadors' tea parties and Areopaguses, but by blood and iron?" In vain did Sazonoff repeat, "But if you are going to fight, as you know you are, why not say so?" Sir Edward, being Sir Edward and not Winston Churchill or Lloyd George, could not admit that he was going to fight. He might have forestalled the dying Pope and his noble Christian "I bless peace" by a noble, if heathen, "I fight war." Instead, he persuaded us all that he was under no obligation whatever to fight. He persuaded Germany that he had not the slightest serious intention of fighting. Sir Owen Seaman wrote in Punch an amusing and witty No-Intervention poem. Sporting Liberals offered any odds that there would be no war for England. And Germany, confident that with Austria's help she could break France with one hand and Russia with the other if England held aloof, let Austria throw the match into the magazine.
*The Battery Unmasked.*
Then the Foreign Office, always acting through its amiable and popular but confused instrument Sir Edward, unmasked the Junker-Militarist battery. He suddenly announced that England must take a hand in the war, though he did not yet tell the English people so, it being against the diplomatic tradition to tell them anything until it is too late for them to object. But he told the German Ambassador, Prince Lichnowsky, caught in a death trap, pleaded desperately for peace with Great Britain. Would we promise to spare Germany if Belgium were left untouched? No. Would we say on what conditions we would spare Germany? No. Not if the Germans promised not to annex French territory? No. Not even if they promised not to touch the French colonies? No. Was there no way out? Sir Edward Grey was frank. He admitted there was just one chance; that Liberal opinion might not stand the war if the neutrality of Belgium were not violated. And he provided against that chance by committing England to the war the day before he let the cat out of the bag in Parliament.
All this is recorded in the language of diplomacy in the White Paper on or between the lines. That language is not so straightforward as my language; but at the crucial points it is clear enough. Sazonoff's tone is politely diplomatic in No. 6; but in No. 17 he lets himself go. "I do not believe that Germany really wants war; but her attitude is decided by yours. If you take your stand firmly with France and Russia there will be no war. If you fail them now, rivers of blood will flow, and you will in the end be dragged into war." He was precisely right; but he did not realize that war was exactly what our Junkers wanted. They did not dare to tell themselves so; and naturally they did not dare to tell him so. And perhaps his own interest in war was too strong to make him regret the rejection of his honest advice. To break up the Austrian Empire and achieve for Russia the Slav Caliphate of South-East Europe whilst defeating Prussia with the help of France and of Russia's old enemy and Prussia's old ally England, was a temptation so enormous that Sazonoff, in resisting it so far as to shew Sir Edward Grey frankly the only chance of preventing it, proved himself the most genuine humanitarian in the diplomatic world.
The decisive communication between Sir Edward Grey and Prince Lichnowsky is recorded in the famous No. 123. With the rather childish subsequent attempt to minimize No. 123 on the ground that the Prince was merely an amiable nincompoop who did not really represent his fiendish sovereign, neither I nor any other serious person need be concerned. What is beyond all controversy is that after that conversation Prince Lichnowsky could do nothing but tell the Kaiser that the Entente, having at last got his imperial head in chancery, was not going to let him off on any terms, and that it was now a fight to a finish between the British and German empires. Then the Kaiser said: "We are Germans. God help us!" When a crowd of foolish students came cheering for the war under his windows, he bade them go to the churches and pray. His telegrams to the Tsar (the omission of which from the penny bluebook is, to say the least, not chivalrous) were dignified and pathetic. And when the Germans, taking a line from the poet they call "unser Shakespeare," said: "Come the four quarters of the world in arms and we shall shock them," it was, from the romantic militarist point of view, fine. What Junker-led men could do they have since done to make that thrasonical brag good. But there is no getting over the fact that, in Tommy Atkins's phrase, they had asked for it. Their Junkers, like ours, had drunk to The Day; and they should not have let us choose it after riling us for so many years. And that is why Sir Edward had a great surprise when he at last owned up in Parliament.
*How the Nation Took It.*
The moment he said that we could not "stand aside with our arms folded" and see our friend and neighbour France "bombarded and battered," the whole nation rose to applaud him. All the Foreign Office distrust of public opinion, the concealment of the Anglo-French plan of campaign, the disguise of the Entente in a quaker's hat, the duping of the British public and the Kaiser with one and the same prevarication, had been totally unnecessary and unpopular, like most of these ingenuities which diplomatists think subtle and Machiavellian. The British Public had all along been behind Mr. Winston Churchill. It had wanted Sir Edward to do just what Sazonoff wanted him to do, and what I, in the columns of The Daily News proposed he should do nine months ago (I must really be allowed to claim that I am not merely wise after the event), which was to arm to the teeth regardless of an expense which to us would have been a mere fleabite, and tell Germany that if she, laid a finger on France we would unite with France to defeat her, offering her at the same time as consolation for that threat, the assurance that we would do as much to France if she wantonly broke the peace in the like fashion by attacking Germany. No unofficial Englishman worth his salt wanted to snivel hypocritically about our love of peace and our respect for treaties and our solemn acceptance of a painful duty, and all the rest of the nauseous mixture of school-master's twaddle, parish magazine cant, and cinematograph melodrama with which we were deluged. We were perfectly ready to knock the Kaiser's head off just to teach him that if he thought he was going to ride roughshod over Europe, including our new friends the French, and the plucky little Belgians, he was reckoning without old England. And in this pugnacious but perfectly straightforward and human attitude the nation needed no excuses because the nation honestly did not know that we were taking the Kaiser at a disadvantage, or that the Franco-Russian alliance had been just as much a menace to peace as the Austro-German one. But the Foreign Office knew that very well, and therefore began to manufacture superfluous, disingenuous, and rather sickening excuses at a great rate. The nation had a clean conscience, and was really innocent of any aggressive strategy: the Foreign Office was redhanded, and did not want to be found out. Hence its sermons.
*Mr. H.G. Wells Hoists the Country's Flag.*
It was Mr. H.G. Wells who at the critical moment spoke with the nation's voice. When he uttered his electric outburst of wrath against "this drilling, trampling foolery in the heart of Europe" he gave expression to the pent-up exasperation of years of smouldering revolt against swank and domineer, guff and bugaboo, calling itself blood and iron, and mailed fist, and God and conscience and anything else that sounded superb. Like Nietzsche, we were "fed up" with the Kaiser's imprisonments of democratic journalists for Majestaetsbeleidigung (monarch disparagement), with his ancestors, and his mission, and his gospel of submission and obedience for poor men, and of authority, tempered by duelling, for rich men. The world had become sore-headed, and desired intensely that they who clatter the sword shall perish by the sword. Nobody cared twopence about treaties: indeed, it was not for us, who had seen the treaty of Berlin torn up by the brazen seizure of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria in 1909, and taken that lying down, as Russia did, to talk about the sacredness of treaties, even if the wastepaper baskets of the Foreign Offices were not full of torn up "scraps of paper," and a very good thing too; for General von Bernhardi's assumption that circumstances alter treaties is not a page from Machiavelli: it is a platitude from the law books. The man in the street understood little or nothing about Servia or Russia or any of the cards with which the diplomatists were playing their perpetual game of Beggar my Neighbour. We were rasped beyond endurance by Prussian Militarism and its contempt for us and for human happiness and common sense; and we just rose at it and went for it. We have set out to smash the Kaiser exactly as we set out to smash the Mahdi. Mr. Wells never mentioned a treaty. He said, in effect: "There stands the monster all freedom-loving men hate; and at last we are going to fight it." And the public, bored by the diplomatists, said: "Now you're talking!" We did not stop to ask our consciences whether the Prussian assumption that the dominion of the civilized earth belongs to German culture is really any more bumptious than the English assumption that the dominion of the sea belongs to British commerce. And in our island security we were as little able as ever to realize the terrible military danger of Germany's geographical position between France and England on her west flank and Russia on her east: all three leagued for her destruction; and how unreasonable it was to ask Germany to lose the fraction of a second (much less Sir Maurice de Runsen's naive "a few days' delay") in dashing at her Western foe when she could obtain no pledge as to Western intentions. "We are now in a state of necessity; and Necessity knows no law," said the Imperial Chancellor in the Reichstag. "It is a matter of life and death to us," said the German Minister for Foreign Affairs to our Ambassador in Berlin, who had suddenly developed an extraordinary sense of the sacredness of the Treaty of London, dated 1839, and still, as it happened, inviolate among the torn fragments of many subsequent and similar "scraps of paper." Our Ambassador seems to have been of Sir Maurice's opinion that there could be no such tearing hurry. The Germans could enter France through the line of forts between Verdun and Toul if they were really too flustered to wait a few days on the chance of Sir Edward Grey's persuasive conversation and charming character softening Russia and bringing Austria to conviction of sin. Thereupon the Imperial Chancellor, not being quite an angel, asked whether we had counted the cost of crossing the path of an Empire fighting for its life (for these Militarist statesmen do really believe that nations can be killed by cannon shot). That was a threat; and as we cared nothing about Germany's peril, and wouldn't stand being threatened any more by a Power of which we now had the inside grip, the fat remained in the fire, blazing more fiercely than ever. There was only one end possible to such a clash of high tempers, national egotisms, and reciprocal ignorances.
*Delicate Position of Mr. Asquith.*
It seemed a splendid chance for the Government to place itself at the head of the nation. But no British Government within my recollection has ever understood the nation. Mr. Asquith, true to the Gladstonian tradition (hardly just to Gladstone, by the way) that a Liberal Prime Minister should know nothing concerning foreign politics and care less, and calmly insensible to the real nature of the popular explosion, fell back on 1839, picking up the obvious barrister's point about the violation of the neutrality of Belgium, and tried the equally obvious barrister's claptrap about "an infamous proposal" on the jury. He assured us that nobody could have done more for peace than Sir Edward Grey, though the rush to smash the Kaiser was the most popular thing Sir Edward had ever done.
Besides, there was another difficulty. Mr. Asquith himself, though serenely persuaded that he is a Liberal statesman, is, in effect, very much what the Kaiser would have been if he had been a Yorkshireman and a lawyer, instead of being only half English and the other half Hohenzollern, and an anointed emperor to boot. As far as popular liberties are concerned, history will make no distinction between Mr. Asquith and Metternich. He is forced to keep on the safe academic ground of Belgium by the very obvious consideration that if he began to talk of the Kaiser's imprisonments of editors and democratic agitators and so forth, a Homeric laughter, punctuated with cries of, "How about Denshawai?" "What price Tom Mann?" "Votes for women!" "Been in India lately?" "Make McKenna Kaiser," "Or dear old Herbert Gladstone," etc., etc., would promptly spoil that pose. The plain fact is that, Militarism apart, Germany is in many ways more democratic in practice than England; indeed the Kaiser has been openly reviled as a coward by his Junkers because he falls short of Mr. Asquith in calm indifference to Liberal principles and blank ignorance of working-class sympathies, opinions, and interests.
Mr. Asquith had also to distract public attention from the fact that three official members of his Government, all men of unquestioned and conspicuous patriotism and intellectual honesty, walked straight out into private life on the declaration of war. One of them, Mr. John Burns, did so at an enormous personal sacrifice, and has since maintained a grim silence far more eloquent than the famous speech Germany invented for him. It is not generally believed that these three statesmen were actuated by a passion for the violation of Belgian neutrality.
On the whole, it was impossible for the Government to seize its grand chance and put itself at the head of the popular movement that responded to Sir Edward Grey's declaration: the very simple reason being that the Government does not represent the nation, and is in its sympathies just as much a Junker government as the Kaiser's. And so, what the Government cannot do has to be done by unofficial persons with clean and brilliant anti-Junker records like Mr. Wells, Mr. Arnold Bennett, Mr. Neil Lyons, and Mr. Jerome K. Jerome. Neither Mr. Asquith nor Sir Edward Grey can grasp, as these real spokesmen of their time do, the fact that we just simply want to put an end to Potsdamnation, both at home and abroad. Both of them probably think Potsdam a very fine and enviable institution, and want England to out-Potsdam Potsdam and to monopolize the command of the seas; a monstrous aspiration. We, I take it, want to guarantee that command of the sea which is the common heritage of mankind to the tiniest State and the humblest fisherman that depends on the sea for a livelihood. We want the North Sea to be as safe for everybody, English or German, as Portland Place.
*The Need for Recrimination.*
And now somebody who would rather I had not said all this (having probably talked dreadful nonsense about Belgium and so forth for a month past) is sure to ask: "Why all this recrimination? What is done is done. Is it not now the duty of every Englishman to sink all differences in the face of the common peril?" etc., etc. To all such prayers to be shielded from that terrible thing, the truth, I must reply that history consists mainly of recrimination, and that I am writing history because an accurate knowledge of what has occurred is not only indispensable to any sort of reasonable behaviour on our part in the face of Europe when the inevitable day of settlement comes, but because it has a practical bearing on the most perilously urgent and immediate business before us: the business of the appeal to the nation for recruits and for enormous sums of money. It has to decide the question whether that appeal shall be addressed frankly to our love of freedom, and our tradition (none the less noble and moving because it is so hard to reconcile with the diplomatic facts) that England is a guardian of the world's liberty, and not to bad law about an obsolete treaty, and cant about the diabolical personal disposition of the Kaiser, and the wounded propriety of a peace-loving England, and all the rest of the slosh and tosh that has been making John Bull sick for months past. No doubt at first, when we were all clasping one another's hands very hard and begging one another not to be afraid, almost anything was excusable. Even the war notes of Mr. Garvin, which stood out as the notes of a gentleman amid a welter of scurrilous rubbish and a rather blackguardly Punch cartoon mocking the agony of Berlin (Punch having turned its non-interventionist coat very promptly), had sometimes to run: "We know absolutely nothing of what is happening at the front, except that the heroism of the British troops will thrill the ages to the last syllable of recorded time," or words to that effect. But now it is time to pull ourselves together; to feel our muscle; to realize the value of our strength and pluck; and to tell the truth unashamed like men of courage and character, not to shirk it like the official apologists of a Foreign Office plot.
*What Germany Should Have Done.*
And first, as I despise critics who put people in the wrong without being able to set them right, I shall, before I go any further with my criticism of our official position, do the Government and the Foreign Office the service of finding a correct official position for them; for I admit that the popular position, though sound as far as it goes, is too crude for official use. This correct official position can be found only by considering what Germany should have done, and might have done had she not been, like our own Junkers, so fascinated by the Militarist craze, and obsessed by the chronic Militarist panic, that she was "in too great hurry to bid the devil good morning." The matter is simple enough: she should have entrusted the security of her western frontier to the public opinion of the west of Europe and to America, and fought Russia, if attacked, with her rear not otherwise defended. The Militarist theory is that we, France and England, would have immediately sprung at her from behind; but that is just how the Militarist theory gets its votaries into trouble by assuming that Europe is a chess board. Europe is not a chess board; but a populous continent in which only a very few people are engaged in military chess; and even those few have many other things to consider besides capturing their adversary's king. Not only would it have been impossible for England to have attacked Germany under such circumstances; but if France had done so England could not have assisted her, and might even have been compelled by public opinion to intervene by way of a joint protest from England and America, or even by arms, on her behalf if she were murderously pressed on both flanks. Even our Militarists and diplomatists would have had reasons for such an intervention. An aggressive Franco-Russian hegemony, if it crushed Germany, would be quite as disagreeable to us as a German one. Thus Germany would at worst have been fighting Russia and France with the sympathy of all the other Powers, and a chance of active assistance from some of them, especially those who share her hostility to the Russian Government. Had France not attacked her—and though I am as ignorant of the terms of the Franco-Russian alliance as Sir Edward Grey is strangely content to be, I cannot see how the French Government could have justified to its own people a fearfully dangerous attack on Germany had Russia been the aggressor—Germany would have secured fair play for her fight with Russia. But even the fight with Russia was not inevitable. The ultimatum to Servia was the escapade of a dotard: a worse crime than the assassination that provoked it. There is no reason to doubt the conclusion in Sir Maurice de Bunsen's despatch (No. 161) that it could have been got over, and that Russia and Austria would have thought better of fighting and come to terms. Peace was really on the cards; and the sane game was to play for it.
*The Achilles Heel of Militarism.*
Instead, Germany flew at France's throat, and by incidentally invading Belgium gave us the excuse our Militarists wanted to attack her with the full sympathy of the nation. Why did she do this stupid thing? Not because of the counsels of General von Bernhardi. On the contrary, he had warned her expressly against allowing herself to be caught between Russia and a Franco-British combination until she had formed a counterbalancing alliance with America, Italy, and Turkey. And he had most certainly not encouraged her to depend on England sparing her: on the contrary, he could not sufficiently admire the wily ruthlessness with which England watches her opportunity and springs at her foe when the foe is down. (He little knew, poor man, how much he was flattering our capacity for Realpolitik!) But he had reckoned without his creed's fatal and fundamental weakness, which is, that as Junker-Militarism promotes only stupid people and snobs, and suppresses genuine realists as if they were snakes, it always turns out when a crisis arrives that "the silly people don't know their own silly business." The Kaiser and his ministers made an appalling mess of their job. They were inflamed by Bernhardi; but they did not understand him. They swallowed his flattery, but did not take in his strategy or his warnings. They knew that when the moment came to face the Franco-Russian alliance, they were to make a magnificient dash at France and sweep her pieces off the great chess board before the Russians had time to mobilize; and then return and crush Russia, leaving the conquest of England for another day. This was honestly as much as their heads could hold at one time; and they were helplessly unable to consider whether the other conditions postulated by Bernhardi were present, or indeed, in the excitement of their schoolboyish imaginations, to remember whether he had postulated any at all. And so they made their dash and put themselves in the wrong at every point morally, besides making victory humanly impossible for themselves militarily. That is the nemesis of Militarism: the Militarist is thrown into a big game which he is too stupid to be able to play successfully. Philip of Spain tried it 300 years ago; and the ruin he brought on his empire has lasted to this day. He was so stupid that though he believed himself to be the chosen instrument of God (as sure a sign of a hopeless fool in a man who cannot see that every other man is equally an instrument of that Power as it is a guarantee of wisdom and goodwill in the man who respects his neighbor as himself) he attempted to fight Drake on the assumption that a cannon was a weapon that no real gentleman and good Catholic would condescend to handle. Louis XIV. tried again two centuries ago, and, being a more frivolous fool, got beaten by Marlborough and sent his great-grandson from the throne to the guillotine. Napoleon tried it 100 years ago. He was more dangerous, because he had prodigious personal ability and technical military skill; and he started with the magnificent credential of the French Revolution. All that carried him farther than the Spanish bigot or the French fop; but he, too, accreted fools and knaves, and ended defeated in St. Helena after pandering for twenty years to the appetite of idiots for glory and bloodshed; waging war as "a great game"; and finding in a field strewn with corpses "un beau spectacle." In short, as strong a magnet to fools as the others, though so much abler.
*Our Own True Position*.
Now comes the question, in what position did this result of a mad theory and a hopelessly incompetent application of it on the part of Potsdam place our own Government? It left us quite clearly in the position of the responsible policeman of the west. There was nobody else in Europe strong enough to chain "the mad dog." Belgium and Holland, Norway and Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland could hardly have been expected to take that duty on themselves, even if Norway and Sweden had not good reason to be anti-Russian, and the Dutch capitalists were not half convinced that their commercial prosperity would be greater under German than under native rule. It will not be contended that Spain could have done anything; and as to Italy, it was doubtful whether she did not consider herself still a member of the Triple Alliance. It was evidently England or nobody. For England to have refrained, from hurling herself into the fray, horse, foot, and artillery, was impossible from every point of view. From the democratic point of view it would have meant an acceptance of the pretension of which Potsdam, by attacking the French Republic, had made itself the champion: that is, the pretension of the Junker class to dispose of the world on Militarist lines at the expense of the lives and limbs of the masses. From the international Socialist point of view, it would have been the acceptance of the extreme nationalist view that the people of other countries are foreigners, and that it does not concern us if they choose to cut one another's throats. Our Militarist Junkers cried "If we let Germany conquer France it will be our turn next." Our romantic Junkers added "and serve us right too: what man will pity us when the hour strikes for us, if we skulk now?" Even the wise, who loathe war, and regard it as such a dishonour and disgrace in itself that all its laurels cannot hide its brand of Cain, had to admit that police duty is necessary and that war must be made on such war as the Germans had made by attacking France in an avowed attempt to substitute a hegemony of cannon for the comity of nations. There was no alternative. Had the Foreign Office been the International Socialist Bureau, had Sir Edward Grey been Jaures, had Mr. Ramsay MacDonald been Prime Minister, had Russia been Germany's ally instead of ours, the result would still have been the same: we must have drawn the sword to save France and smash Potsdam as we smashed and always must smash Philip, Louis, Napoleon, et hoc genus omne.
The case for our action is thus as complete as any casus belli is ever likely to be. In fact its double character as both a democratic and military (if not Militarist) case makes it too complete; for it enables our Junkers to claim it entirely for themselves, and to fake it with pseudo-legal justifications which destroy nine-tenths of our credit, the military and legal cases being hardly a tenth of the whole: indeed, they would not by themselves justify the slaughter of a single Pomeranian grenadier. For instance, take the Militarist view that we must fight Potsdam because if the Kaiser is victorious, it will be our turn next! Well: are we not prepared to fight always when our turn comes? Why should not we also depend on our navy, on the extreme improbability of Germany, however triumphant, making two such terrible calls on her people in the same generation as a war involves, on the sympathy of the defeated, and on the support of American and European public opinion when our turn comes, if there is nothing at stake now but the difference between defeat and victory in an otherwise indifferent military campaign? If the welfare of the world does not suffer any more by an English than by a German defeat who cares whether we are defeated or not? As mere competitors in a race of armaments and an Olympic game conducted with ball cartridge, or as plaintiffs in a technical case of international law (already decided against us in 1870, by the way, when Gladstone had to resort to a new treaty made ad hoc and lapsing at the end of the war) we might as well be beaten as not, for all the harm that will ensue to anyone but ourselves, or even to ourselves apart from our national vanity. It is as the special constables of European life that we are important, and can send our men to the trenches with the assurance that they are fighting in a worthy cause. In short, the Junker case is not worth twopence: the Democratic case, the Socialist case, the International case is worth all it threatens to cost.
*The German Defence to Our Indictment.*
What is the German reply to this case? Or rather, how would the Germans reply to it if their official Militarist and Kaiserist panjandrums had the wit to find the effective reply? Undoubtedly they would say that our Social-Democratic professions are all very fine, but that our conversion to them is suspiciously sudden and recent. They would remark that it is a little difficult for a nation in deadly peril to trust its existence to a foreign public opinion which has not only never been expressed by the people who really control England's foreign policy, but is flatly opposed to all their known views and prejudices. They would ask why, instead of making an Entente with France and Russia and refusing to give Germany any assurance concerning its object except that we would not pledge ourselves to remain neutral if the Franco-Russian Entente fell on Germany, we did not say straight out in 1912 (when they put the question flatly to us), and again last July when Sazonoff urged us so strongly to shew our hand, that if Germany attacked France we should fight her, Russia or no Russia (a far less irritating and provocative attitude), although we knew full well that an attack on France through Belgium would be part of the German program if the Russian peril became acute. They would point out that if our own Secretary for Foreign Affairs openly disclaimed any knowledge of the terms of the Franco-Russian alliance, it was hard for a German to believe that they were wholly fit for publication. In short, they would say "If you were so jolly wise and well intentioned before the event, why did not your Foreign Minister and your ambassadors in Berlin and Vienna and St. Petersburg—we beg pardon, Petrograd—invite us to keep the peace and rely on western public opinion instead of refusing us every pledge except the hostile one to co-operate with France against us in the North Sea, and making it only too plain to us that your policy was a Junker policy as much as ours, and that we had nothing to hope from your goodwill? What evidence had we that you were playing any other game than this Militarist chess of our own, which you now so piously renounce, but which none of you except a handful of Socialists whom you despise and Syndicalists whom you imprison on Militarist pretexts has opposed for years past, though it has been all over your Militarist anti-German platforms and papers and magazines? Are your Social-Democratic principles sincere, or are they only a dagger you keep up your sleeve to stab us in the back when our two most formidable foes are trying to garotte us? If so, where does your moral superiority come in, hypocrites that you are? If not, why, we repeat, did you not make them known to all the world, instead of making an ambush for us by your senseless silence?"
I see no reply to that except a frank confession that we did not know our own minds; that we came to a knowledge of them only when Germany's attack on France forced us to make them up at last; that though doubtless a chronic state of perfect lucidity and long prevision on our part would have been highly convenient, yet there is a good deal to be said for the policy of not fording a stream until you come to it; and that in any case we must entirely decline to admit that we are more likely than other people to do the wrong thing when circumstances at last oblige us to think and act. Also that the discussion is idle on the shewing of the German case itself; for whether the Germans assumed us to be unscrupulous Militarists or conscientious Democrats they were bound to come to the same conclusion: namely, that we should attack them if they attacked France; consequently their assumption that we would not interfere must have been based on the belief that we are simply "contemptible," which is the sort of mistake people have to pay for in this wicked world.
On the whole, we can hector our way in the Prussian manner out of that discussion well enough, provided we hold our own in the field. But the Prussian manner hardly satisfies the conscience. True, the fact that our diplomatists were not able to discover the right course for Germany does not excuse Germany for being unable to find it for herself. Not that it was more her business than ours: it was a European question, and should have been solved by the united counsels of all the ambassadors and Foreign Offices and chanceries. Indeed it could not have been stably solved without certain assurances from them. But it was, to say the least, as much Germany's business as anyone else's, and terribly urgent for her: "a matter of life and death," the Imperial Chancellor thought. Still, it is not for us to claim moral superiority to Germany. It was for us a matter of the life and death of many Englishmen; and these Englishmen are dead because our diplomatists were as blind as the Prussians. The war is a failure for secret Junker diplomacy, ours no less than the enemy's. Those of us who have still to die must be inspired, not by devotion to the diplomatists, but, like the Socialist hero of old on the barricade, by the vision of "human solidarity." And if he purchases victory for that holy cause with his blood, I submit that we cannot decently allow the Foreign Office to hang up his martyr's palm over the War Office Mantelpiece.
*The First Penalty of Disingenuousness.*
The Foreign Office, however, can at lease shift its ground, and declare for the good cause instead of belittling it with quibbling excuses. For see what the first effect of the nonsense about Belgium has been! It carried with it the inevitable conclusion that when the last German was cleared off Belgian soil, peace-loving England, her reluctant work in this shocking war done, would calmly retire from the conflict, and leave her Allies to finish the deal with Potsdam. Accordingly, after Mr. Asquith's oration at the Mansion House, the Allies very properly insisted on our signing a solemn treaty between the parties that they must all stand together to the very end. A pitifully thin attempt has been made to represent that the mistrusted party was France, and that the Kaiser was trying to buy her off. All one can say to that is that the people who believe that any French Government dare face the French people now with anything less than Alsace and Lorraine as the price of peace, or that an undefeated and indeed masterfully advancing German Kaiser (as he seemed then) dare offer France such a price, would believe anything. Of course we had to sign; but if the Prime Minister had not been prevented by his own past from taking the popular line, we should not have been suspected of a possible backing-out when the demands of our sanctimoniousness were satisfied. He would have known that we are not vindicating a treaty which by accident remains among the fragments of treaties of Paris, of Prague, of Berlin, of all sorts of places and dates, as the only European treaty that has hitherto escaped flat violation: we are supporting the war as a war on war, on military coercion, on domineering, on bullying, on brute force, on military law, on caste insolence, on what Mrs. Fawcett called insensable deviltry (only to find the papers explaining apologetically that she, as a lady, had of course been alluding to war made by foreigners, not by England). Some of us, remembering the things we have ourselves said and done, may doubt whether Satan can cast out Satan; but as the job is not exactly one for an unfallen angel, we may as well let him have a try.