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Title: Before the War
Author: Haldane, R. B. Haldane (Richard Burdon Haldane), Viscount, 1856-1928
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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      | Transcriber's Note:                                          |
      |                                                              |
      | While the author of this work uses unusual spelling, a       |
      | number of obvious typographical errors have been corrected.  |
      | A complete list will be found at the end of the book.        |
      |                                                              |




Secretary of State for War from December, 1905 to June, 1912;
Lord High Chancellor from June, 1912 to May, 1915.]

[Illustration: _London Stereoscopic Co_.

Funk & Wagnalls Company
New York and London
Copyright, 1920, by Funk & Wagnalls Company
[Printed in the United States of America]
Published in February, 1920
Copyright under the Articles of the Copyright Convention of the
Pan-American Republics of the United States, August 11, 1910


The chapters of which this little volume consists were constructed with
a definite purpose. It was to render clear the line of thought and
action followed by the Government of this country before the war,
between January, 1906, and August, 1914. The endeavor made was directed
in the first place to averting war, and in the second place to preparing
for it as well as was practicable if it should come. In reviewing what
happened I have made use of the substance of various papers recently
contributed to the _Westminster Gazette_, the _Atlantic Monthly_, _Land
and Water_, and the _Sunday Times_. The gist of these, which were
written with their inclusion in this book in view, has been incorporated
in the text together with other material. I have to thank the Editors of
these journals for their courtesy in agreeing that the substance of what
they published should be made use of here as part of a connected


INTRODUCTION                                                   13

DIPLOMACY BEFORE THE WAR                                       35

THE GERMAN ATTITUDE BEFORE THE WAR                            101

THE MILITARY PREPARATIONS                                     177

EPILOG                                                        207

INDEX                                                         227


VISCOUNT HALDANE                                   _Frontispiece_

COUNT METTERNICH                                   Facing page 57

M. PAUL CAMBON                                                 78

VISCOUNT GREY (SIR EDWARD GREY)                                87

CHANCELLOR VON BETHMANN-HOLLWEG                               101

ADMIRAL VON TIRPITZ                                           137

COUNT BERCHTOLD                                               153

COUNT OTTOKAR CZERNIN                                         170




The purpose of the pages which follow is, as I have said in the
Prefatory Note, to explain the policy pursued toward Germany by Great
Britain through the eight years which immediately preceded the great war
of 1914. It was a policy which had two branches, as inseparable as they
were distinct. The preservation of peace, by removing difficulties and
getting rid of misinterpretations, was the object of the first branch.
The second branch was concerned with what might happen if we failed in
our effort to avert war. Against any outbreak by which such failure
might be followed we had to insure. The form of the insurance had to be
one which, in our circumstances, was practicable, and care had to be
taken that it was not of a character that would frustrate the main
purpose by provoking, and possibly accelerating, the very calamity
against which it was designed to provide.

The situation was delicate and difficult. The public most properly
expected of British Ministers that they should spare no effort for peace
and for security. It was too sensible to ask for every detail of the
steps taken for the attainment of this end. There are matters on which
it is mischievous to encourage discussion, even in Parliament. Members
of Parliament know this well, and are sensible about it. The wisest
among them do not press for open statements which if made to the world
would imperil the very object which Parliament and the public have
directed those responsible to them to seek to attain. What is objected
to in secret diplomacy hardly includes that which from its very nature
must be negotiated in the first instance between individuals.

The policy actually followed was in principle satisfactory to the great
majority of our people. To them it was familiar in its general outlines.
But for the minority, which included both our pacifists and our
chauvinists, it was either too much or too little. For, on the one hand,
its foundation was the theory that, amid the circumstances of Europe in
which it had to be built up, human nature could not be safely relied on
unswervingly to resist warlike impulses. On the other hand, this peril
notwithstanding, it was the considered view of those responsible that
war neither ought to be regarded as being inevitable, nor was so in
fact. It was quite true that the development of military preparations
had been so great as to make Europe resemble an armed camp; but, if
actual conflict could be averted, the burden this state of things
implied ought finally to render its continuance no longer tolerable.
What was really required was that unbroken peace should be preserved,
and the hand of time left to operate.

In the course of history it has rarely been the case that any war that
has broken out was really inevitable, and there does not appear to be
any sufficient reason for thinking that the war of 1914 was an exception
to the general rule. It seems clear that, if Germany had resolved to do
so, she could quite safely have abstained from entering upon it and from
encouraging Austria in a mad adventure. The reason why the war came
appears to have been that at some period in the year 1913 the German
Government finally laid the reins on the necks of men whom up to then it
had held in restraint. The decision appears to have been allowed at this
point to pass from civilians to soldiers. I do not believe that even
then the German Government as a whole intended deliberately to invoke
the frightful consequences of actual war, even if it seemed likely to be
victorious. But I do believe that it elected to take the risk of what
it thought improbable, a general resistance by the Entente Powers if
Germany were to threaten to use her great strength. In thus departing in
1913 from the appearance of self-restraint which in the main they had
displayed up to then, the Emperor and his Ministers misjudged the
situation. They did not foresee the crisis to which their policy was
conducting, and when that crisis arrived they lost their heads and
blundered in trying to deal with it. They did not perceive the whirlpool
toward which they were heading. They thought that they could safely
expose what was precarious to a strain, and secure the substance of a
real victory without having to overcome actual resistance. Had they put
an extreme ambition for their country aside, and been careful in their
language to others, they might have attained a considerable success
without a shot being fired. But they were over ambitious and in their
language they were far from careful. A few unlucky words made all the
difference in the concluding days of July, 1914:

  "Ten lines, a statesman's life in each."

We here had done the best we could, according to our lights, to keep
Germany from misjudging us. It was not always easy to do this. The
genius of our people was not well adapted for the particular task. If
the only question to-day were whether we always rendered ourselves
intelligible to her, she might say with some show of reason that we did
not. She might have grumbled, as Bismarck used to do, over our apparent
indefiniteness. But that indefiniteness in policy was only apparent. Its
form was due to the habit of mind which was, what it always has been and
probably always will be, the habit of mind of the people of these
islands. It was the defect of her qualities that prevented Germany from
understanding what this habit of mind truly imported, and we have never
fully taken in at any period of our history how little she has ever
understood it. Let anyone who doubts this read the German memoirs which
have appeared since the war. But it remains not the less true and
obvious that the purpose of the British Government which fashioned the
policy in question was to leave no stone unturned in the endeavor to
find a way of keeping the peace between Germany and the Entente Powers.
Now success in that endeavor was not a certainty, and it was necessary
to insure against the risk of failure. The second branch of British
policy related to the provision for defense rendered imperative by the
element of uncertainty which was unavoidable. The duty of the
Government of this country was to make sure that, if their endeavor to
preserve peace failed, the country should be prepared, in the best way
of those that were practicable, to face the situation that might emerge.

Impetuous persons ask why, if there was even a chance of a great
European war in which we might be involved, we did not appreciate the
magnitude of what was at stake, and, laying everything else aside,
concentrate our efforts on the immediate fashioning of such vast
military forces as we possessed toward the end of the war? The answer
will be found in the fourth chapter. We were aware of the risk, and we
took what we thought the best means to meet it. Had we tried to do what
we are reproached for not having done, we must have become weaker before
we could have become stronger. For this statement I have given the
military reasons. In a time of peace, even if the country had assented
to the attempt being made, it is certain that we could not have
accomplished such a purpose without long delay. It is probable that the
result would have been failure, and it is almost certain that we should
have provoked a "preventive war" on the part of Germany, a war not only
with a very fair prospect, as things then stood, of a German success,
but with something else that would have looked like the justification of
a German effort to prevent that country from being encircled. Such a war
would, with equal likelihood, have been the outcome even of the
proclamation at such a time of a military alliance between the Entente

Other critics, belonging to a wholly different school of political
thought, ask why we moved at all, and why we did not adhere to the good
old policy of holding aloof from interference in Continental affairs.
The answer is simple. The days when "splendid isolation" was possible
were gone. Our sea power, even as an instrument of self-defense, was in
danger of becoming inadequate in the absence of friendships which should
insure that other navies would remain neutral if they did not actively
co-operate with ours. It was only through the medium of such friendships
that ultimate naval preponderance could be secured. The consciousness of
that fact pervaded the Entente. With those responsible for the conduct
of tremendous affairs probability has to be the guide of life. The
question is always not what ought to happen but what is most likely to

On the details of the diplomatic aspect of our endeavor, and on the
spirit in which it was sought to carry it out, the second and third
chapters of the book may serve to throw some light. The fourth chapter
relates to the strategical plan, worked out after much consideration,
for the possible event of failure. The plan was throughout based on the
maintenance of superior sea power as the paramount instrument. As is
indicated, the conservation of sufficient sea power implied as essential
close and friendly relations with France, and also with Russia. Had
there been no initial reason for the Entente policy, to be found in the
desire to get rid of all causes of friction with these two great
nations, the preservation of the prospect of continuing able to command
the sea in war would in itself have necessitated the Entente. This
conclusion was the result of the stocktaking of their assets for
self-defense which the Entente Powers had to make when confronted with
the growing organization for war of the Central Powers.

To set up the balancing of Powers as a principle was what we in this
country would have been glad to have avoided had it been practicable to
do so. We should have preferred the freedom of our old position of
"splendid isolation." But the growing preparations of the Central Powers
compelled Great Britain, France, and Russia to think of safety for each
of them severally as to be secured only by treating such safety as a
common interest. In the face of a new and growing danger we dared not
leave ourselves to the risk of being dealt with in detail. The first
thing to be done was, if possible, to convince the Central Powers that
it would be to their own advantage to come to a complete agreement with
us, an agreement of a business character, analogous to that which Lord
Lansdowne had so satisfactorily concluded with France, and accompanied
by cessation of the reasons which had led them to pile up armaments.
There were highly influential persons in Germany who were far from
averse to the suggested business arrangement. The armament question
presented greater difficulty in that country, largely because of its
tradition. But its solution was vital, for there were also those in
Germany whose aim was to dispute with Great Britain the possession of
the trident. Now for us, who constituted the island center of a
scattered Empire, and who depended for food and raw materials on freedom
to sail our ships, the question of sea power adequate for security was
one of life or death. We could not sit still and allow Germany so to
increase her navy in comparison with ours that she could make other
Powers believe that their safest course was to throw in their lot and
join their fleets with hers. We were bound to seek to make and maintain
friendships, and to this end not only to preserve our margin of strength
at sea, but to make ourselves able, if it became essential, to help our
friends in case of aggression, thereby securing ourselves. That was the
new situation which in the final result the old military spirit in
Germany had created.

The balance of power is a dangerous principle; a general friendship
between all Great Powers, or, better still, a League of the Nations, is
by far preferable. But that consideration does not touch the actual
point, which is that we did not seek to set up the principle of
balancing that has given rise to so many questions. It was forced on us
and was a sheer necessity of the situation. We did all we could to avoid
it by negotiations with Germany, which, had they succeeded in the end,
would have relieved France and Russia as much as ourselves and would
have prevented the war.

Our efforts to preserve the peace ended in failure. The cause of that
failure was nothing that we failed to do or that France did. It was
proximately Austrian recklessness and indirectly, but just as strongly,
German ambition. A real desire in July, 1914, on the part of the Central
Powers to avoid war would have averted it. That Serbia may have been a
provocative neighbor is no answer to the reproaches made to-day against
the old Governments in Vienna and Berlin. They failed to take the steps
requisite if peace were to be preserved.

People ask why the British Government between 1906 and 1914 did not
discuss in public a situation which it understood well, and appeal to
the nation. The answer is that to have done so would have been greatly
to increase the difficulty of averting war. Up to the middle of 1913 the
indications were that it was far from unlikely that war might in the
result be averted. That was the view of some, both here and on the
Continent, who were most competent to judge, men who had real
opportunities for close observation from day to day. It is a view which
is not in material conflict with anything we have since learned. The
question whether war is inevitable has always been, as Bismarck more
than once insisted, one for the statesmen of the countries concerned,
and not for the soldiers and sailors who have a restricted field to work
in, and for whom it is in consequence difficult to see things as a
whole. Nor does great importance attach to-day to the triumphant
declarations of those who, having chanced to guess aright, take pride in
the cheap title to wisdom which has become theirs after the event.
Still less does respect attach to the small but noisy minority in each
of the countries concerned who in the years before 1914 were
continuously contributing to bringing war on our heads by expressions of
dislike to neighboring nations, and by prophecies that war with them
must come. In the main Germany was worse in this feature than ourselves.
But there were those here whose language made them useful propagandists
for the German military party, to whom they were of much service.

Few wars are really inevitable. If we knew better how we should be
careful to comport ourselves it may be that none are so. But extremists,
whether chauvinist or pacifist, are not helpful in avoiding wars. That
is because human nature is what it is.

Those who had to make the effort to keep the peace failed. But that
neither shows that they ought not to have tried with all the strength
they possessed in the way they did, nor that they would have done better
had they discussed delicate details in public. There are topics and
conjunctures in the almost daily changing relations between Governments
as to which silence is golden. For however proper it may be in point of
broad principle that the people should be fully informed of what
concerns them vitally, the most important thing is those to whom they
have confided their concerns should be given the best chance of success
in averting danger to their interests. To have said more in Parliament
and on the platform in the years in question, or to have said it
otherwise, would have been to run grave risks of more than one sort. It
is my strong impression that Lord Grey of Fallodon took the only course
that was practicable, and that, had the danger of the catastrophe to be
faced again and for the first time, the course he took would, even in
the light of all we know to-day, again afford the best chance of
avoiding it. He succeeded in improving greatly for the time the
relations between this country and Germany, and but for the outbreak in
the Near East he would probably have succeeded in navigating the
dangerous waters successfully. The chance was far from being a hopeless
one, and subsequent study of the facts has strengthened my impression
that down to at least about the middle of the year 1913 the chances were
substantially in his favor. A sufficiency at least of the leaders in
other countries were co-operating with him, not all the leaders, but
those who were in reality most important. The war when it came was due,
not only to the failure of certain of the prominent men in the capitals
of the Central Powers to adhere to principles to which for a long time
they had held fast, but to the accident of untoward circumstances and
the contingency that is inseparable from human affairs.

Such are some of the reasons which have led me to say what I have tried
to express in the pages which follow. I have never been able to bring
myself to believe that there are vast differences between the ways of
thinking and habits of mind of the great and most highly civilized
peoples of Europe. I have seen something of the Germans, and what I have
learned of them and of their history has led me to the conclusion that,
certain traditions of theirs notwithstanding, they resemble us more than
they differ from us. If this be so, the sooner we take advantage of our
present victory by seeking to turn our eyes from the past as far as can
be, and to look steadily toward a future in which the misery and sin
which that past saw shall be dwelt on to the least extent that is
practicable, the better it will be for ourselves as well as for the rest
of the world.

That world has been reminded of a great truth which had been partly
forgotten by those whose faith lay in militarism. It is that to set up
might as the foundation of right may in the end be to inspire those
around with a passionate desire to hold such might in check and to
overcome it. Democracy is not a system that lends itself easily to
scientific preparation for war, but when democratic nations are really
aroused their staying power, just because it rests on a true General
Will, is without rival. The latent force in humanity which has its
foundation in ethical idealism is the greatest of all forces for the
vindication of right. German militarism managed to fail to understand
this. Let us take pains to show our late enemies that if they make it
clear that they have extinguished such militarism in a lasting fashion,
the quarrel with them is at an end.

I am far from thinking that we here are perfect in our habits as a
nation. We are apt not to keep in view how what we do is likely to look
to others. We are somewhat deficient in the faculty of self-examination
and self-criticism. Want of clarity of ground-principle in higher ideals
is apt to prove a hindrance to more than the individual only. It
generally brings with it want of clarity in the sense of social
obligation. And this sometimes extends even to our relations to other

It leads to our being misinterpreted as a nation. We have suffered a
good deal in the past from having attributed to us motives which were
not ours. The reason was the assumption that the apparent absence of
definiteness in national purpose must have been designed as a cover for
hidden and selfish ends. It is not true. We are indeed very insular, and
what has been called the international mind is not common among the
people of these islands. But we are kindly at heart, and when we have
seemed self-regarding it has been simply because we were not conscious
of our own limitations and had not much appreciation of the modes of
thought of other people. We have paid the penalty for this defect at
periods in our history. At one time France suspected us, I think in the
main unjustly. Later on Germany suspected us, I think of a certainty
unjustly. Now these things arise in part at least from our reputation
for a particular kind of disposition, our supposed habitual and
deliberately adopted desire to wait until the particular international
situation of the moment should show how we could profit, before we gave
any assurance as to the way in which we should act. What has given rise
to this misunderstanding of our attitude in our relations to other
countries is simply an exemplification of what has prevented us from
fully understanding ourselves. It is our gift to be able to apply
ourselves in emergencies, at home and abroad, with immense energy, and
our success in promptly pulling ourselves together and coping with the
unexpected has often suggested to outsiders that we had long ago looked
ahead. This has been said of us on the Continent. It is not so. We do
not study the art of fishing in troubled waters. The waiting habit in
our transactions, domestic as well as foreign, arises from our
inveterate preference for thinking in images rather than in concepts. We
put off decisions until the whole of the facts can be visualized. This
carries with it that we often do not act until it is very late. Our
gifts enable us to move with energy, if not always with precision. To
predict what we will do in a given case is not easy for a foreigner. It
is not easy even for ourselves. We have few abstract principles, and
reliable induction from our past is not easy. We are often guided by
what Mr. Justice Wendell Holmes has called "the intuition more subtle
than any particular major premise." Nor is help to be derived from any
study of our general outlook on life, for that outlook is hard to
formulate even to ourselves.

Now all this, our peculiar gift, if kept under control, may well have
its practical advantage, but, as the case stands, it is apt to bring in
its train a good deal of disadvantage. In periods when nations are
trying to render firm the basis of peace by remolding and giving
precision to their aims, so that these can be made common aims, lack of
definiteness in national ideals is a sure source of embarrassment. At a
time when democracy is more and more claiming in terms to occupy the
whole field it becomes increasingly desirable that the higher purposes
of democracy should become clear to the people themselves. For the
practise of a country can never be wholly divorced from its theory of
life. The tendencies of the national will are bound up with the nation's
science, with its literature, with its art, and with its religion. These
tendencies are affected by the capacity of the nation to understand and
express its own soul. Beyond science, literature, art and religion there
lies something that may be called the national philosophy, a disposition
rather than a definite creed. This sort of philosophy is different in
France from what it is in Germany, and in Germany from what it is in the
English-speaking countries. The philosophy of a people takes shape in
the attitude its leaders adopt in their estimation of values and of the
order in which they should be placed. And this turns on the conceptions
and ideas which are current in the various departments of mental
activity. It is thus that a philosophy of life has to be given some
sort of place in his professions even by the statesman who has to
address Parliament and the public. He is driven to make speeches in
which a good many conceptions and ideas have to be brought together. And
it gives rise to a great difference of quality in such utterances if the
general outlook of the speaker be a large one. But this requires that he
should know himself and be aware of the conceptions and ideas which
dominate his mind, and should have examined their scope before employing

How some of those who were deeply responsible for the conduct of affairs
tried to think in the anxious years before the war, and how they
endeavored to apply their conclusions, is what I have endeavored to
state in the course of what follows. They doubtless made mistakes and
fell short of accomplishment in what they were aiming at. It is human so
to do. But they tried what seemed to them the wisest course, and I have
yet to learn that it was practicable to have followed any different
course without a failure worse than any that occurred. After all, in the
end the British Empire won, however hard it had to fight.



If in this chapter I speak frequently in the first person and of my own
part in the negotiations which it records, it is not from any desire to
make prominent either my own personality or the part it fell to me to
play. The reason is that I have endeavored to write of what I myself
heard and saw, and that in consequence most of what follows is, for the
sake of accuracy, largely transcribed from my personal diaries and
records made at the time when the events to which they related took
place. So frequent an employment of the personal pronoun as has been
made in these pages would ordinarily be a blemish in taste, if not in
style also, but in this case it seemed safer not to try to avoid it.

Many things that happened in the years just before 1914, as well as the
events of the great war itself, are still too close to permit of our
studying them in their full context. But before much time has passed
the historians will have accumulated material that will overflow their
libraries, and their hands will remain occupied for generations to come.
At this moment all that safely can be attempted is that actual observers
should set down what they have themselves observed. For there has rarely
been a time when the juridical maxim that "hearsay is not evidence"
ought to be more sternly insisted on.

If I now venture to set down what follows in these pages, it is because
I had certain opportunities for forming a judgment at first hand for
myself. I am not referring to the circumstance that for a brief period I
once, long ago, lived the life of a student at a German University, or
that I was frequently in Germany in the years that followed. Nor do I
mean that I have tried to explore German habits of reflection, as they
may be studied in the literature of Germany. Other people have done all
these things more thoroughly and more extensively than I have. What I do
mean is that from the end of 1905 to the summer of 1912 I had special
chances for direct observation of quite another kind. During that period
I was Secretary of State for War in Great Britain, and from the latter
year to April, 1915, I was the holder of another office and a member of
the British Cabinet.

During the first of the above periods it fell to me to work out the
military organization that would be required to insure, as far as was
practicable, against risk, should those strenuous efforts fail into
which Sir Edward Grey, as he then was, had thrown his strength. He was
endeavoring with all his might to guard the peace of Europe from danger.
As he and I had for many years been on terms of close intimacy, it was
not unnatural that he should ask me to do what I could by helping in
some of the diplomatic work which was his, as well as by engaging in my
own special task. Indeed, the two phases of activity could hardly be

I was not in Germany after May, 1912, for the duties of Lord Chancellor,
on which office I then entered, made it unconstitutional for me to leave
the United Kingdom, save under such exceptional conditions as were
conceded by the King and the Cabinet when, in the autumn of 1913, I made
a brief yet memorable visit to the United States and Canada. But in
1906, while War Minister, I paid, on the invitation of the German
Emperor, a visit to him at Berlin, to which city I went on after
previously staying with King Edward at Marienbad, where he and the then
Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, were resting.

While at Berlin I saw much of the Emperor, and I also saw certain of his
Ministers, notably Prince von Bülow, Herr von Tschirsky and General von
Einem, the first being at that time Chancellor, and the last two being
respectively the Foreign and War Ministers. I was invited to examine for
myself the organization of the German War Office, which I wished to
study for purposes of reform at home; and this I did in some detail, in
company with an expert adviser from my personal staff, Colonel Ellison,
my military private secretary, who accompanied me on this journey.[1]
There the authorities explained to us the general nature of the
organization for rapid mobilization which had been developed under the
great von Moltke, and subsequently carried farther. The character of
this organization was, in its general features, no secret in Germany,
altho it was somewhat unfamiliar in Anglo-Saxon countries; and it
interested my adviser and myself intensely.

At that time there was an active militarist party in Germany, which, of
course, was not wholly pleased at the friendly reception with which we
met from the Emperor and from crowds in the streets of Berlin. We were
well aware of the activity of this party. But it stood then unmistakably
for a minority, and I formed the opinion that those who wanted Germany
to remain at peace, quite as much as to be strong, had at least an
excellent chance of keeping their feet. I realized, and had done so for
years past, that it was not merely because of the _beaux yeux_ of
foreign peoples that Germany desired to maintain good relations all
round. She had become fully conscious of a growing superiority in the
application to industry of scientific knowledge and in power to organize
her resources founded on it; and her rulers hoped, and not without good
ground, to succeed by these means in the peaceful penetration of the

I had personally for some time been busy in pressing the then somewhat
coldly received claims for a better system of education, higher and
technical as well as elementary, among my own countrymen, and had met
with some success in asking for the establishment of teaching
universities and of technical colleges, such as the new Imperial
College of Science and Technology at South Kensington. Of these we had
very substantially increased the number during the eight years which
preceded my visit to Berlin; but I had learned from visits of inspection
to Germany that much more remained to be done before we could secure our
commercial and industrial position against the unhasting but unresting
efforts of our formidable competitor.

As to the German people outside official circles and the universities, I
thought of them then what I think of them now. They were very much like
our own people, except in one thing. This was that they were trained
simply to obey, and to carry out whatever they were told by their
rulers. I used, during numerous unofficial tours in Germany, to wander
about incognito, and to smoke and drink beer with the peasants and the
people whenever I could get the chance. What impressed me was the little
part they had in directing their own government, and the little they
knew about what it was doing. There was a general disposition to accept,
as a definition of duty which must not be questioned, whatever they were
told to do by the _Vorstand_. It is this habit of mind, dating back to
the days of Frederick the Great, with only occasional and brief
interruptions, which has led many people to think that the German
people at large have in them "a double dose of original sin." Even when
their soldiers have been exceptionally brutal in methods of warfare, I
do not think that this is so. The habit of mind which prevails is that
of always looking to the rulers for orders, and the brutality has been
that enjoined--in accordance with its own military policy of shortening
war by making it terrible to the enemy--by the General Staff of Germany,
a body before whose injunctions even the Emperor, so far as my
observation goes, always has bowed.

But I must now return to my formal visit to Berlin in the autumn of
1906. I was, as I have already said, everywhere cordially welcomed, and
at the end the heads of the German Army entertained me at a dinner in
the War Office, at which the War Minister presided, and there was
present, among others, the Chief of the German General Staff. They were
all friendly. I do not think that my impression was wrong that even the
responsible heads of the Army were then looking almost entirely to
"peaceful penetration," with only moral assistance from the prestige
attaching to the possession of great armed forces in reserve. Our
business in the United Kingdom was therefore to see that we were
prepared for perils that might unexpectedly arise out of this policy,
and not less, by developing our educational and industrial organization,
to make ourselves fit to meet the greater likelihood of a coming keen
competition in the peaceful arts.

One thing that seemed to me essential for the preservation of good
relations was that cordial and frequent intercourse between the people
of the two countries should be encouraged and developed. I set myself in
my speeches to avoid all expressions which might be construed as
suggesting a critical attitude on our part, or a failure to recognize
the existence of peaceful ideas among what was then, as I still think, a
large majority of the people of Germany. The attitude of some newspapers
in England, and still more that of the chauvinist minority in Germany
itself, did not render this quite an easy task. But there were good
people in these days in Germany as well as in England, and the United
States might be counted on as likely to co-operate in discouraging

Meanwhile there was the chance that the course of this policy might be
interrupted by some event which we could not control. A conversation
with the then Chief of the German General Staff, General von Moltke, the
nephew of the great man of that name, satisfied me that he did not
really look with any pleasurable military expectation to the results of
a war with the United Kingdom alone. It would, he observed to me, be in
his opinion a long and possibly indecisive war, and must result in much
of the overseas trade of both countries passing to a _tertius gaudens_,
by which he meant the United States.

I had little doubt that what he said to me on this occasion represented
his real opinion. But I had in my mind the apprehension of an emergency
of a different nature. Germany was more likely to attack France than
ourselves. The German Emperor had told me that, altho he was trying to
develop good relations with France, he was finding it difficult. This
seemed to me ominous. The paradox presented itself that a war with
Germany in which we were alone would be easier to meet than a war in
which France was attacked along with us; for if Germany succeeded in
over-running France she might establish naval bases on the northern
Channel ports of that country, quite close to our shores, and so, with
the possible aid of the submarines, long-range guns and air-machines of
the future, interfere materially with our naval position in the Channel
and our fleet defenses against invasion.

I knew, too, that the French Government was apprehensive. In the
historical speech which Sir Edward Grey made on August 3, 1914, the day
before the British Government directed Sir Edward Goschen, our
Ambassador in Berlin, to ask for his passports, he informed the House of
Commons that so early as January, 1906, the French Government, after the
Morocco difficulty, had drawn his attention to the international
situation. It had informed him that it considered the danger of an
attack on France by Germany to be a real one, and had inquired whether,
in the event of an unprovoked attack, Great Britain would think that she
had so much at stake as to make her willing to join in resisting it. If
this were to be even a possible attitude for Great Britain, the French
Government had intimated to him that it was in its opinion desirable
that conversation should take place between the General Staff of France
and the newly created General Staff of Great Britain, as to the form
which military co-operation in resisting invasion of the northern
portions of France might best assume. We had a great Navy, and the
French had a great Army. But our Navy could not operate on land, and the
French Army, altho large, was not so large as that which Germany, with
her superior resources in population, commanded. Could we, then,
reconsider our military organization, so that we might be able rapidly
to dispatch, if we ever thought it necessary in our own interests, say,
100,000 men in a well-formed army, not to invade Belgium, which no one
thought of doing, but to guard the French frontier of Belgium in case
the German Army should seek to enter France in that way. If the German
attack were made farther south, where the French chain of modern
fortresses had rendered their defensive positions strong, the French
Army would then be able, set free from the difficulty of mustering in
full strength opposite the Belgian boundary, to guard the southern

Sir Edward Grey consulted the Prime Minister, Sir Henry
Campbell-Bannerman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Asquith, and
myself as War Minister, and I was instructed, in January, 1906, a month
after assuming office, to take the examination of the question in hand.
This occurred in the middle of the General Election which was then in
progress. I went at once to London and summoned the heads of the British
General Staff and saw the French military attaché, Colonel Huguet, a man
of sense and ability. I became aware at once that there was a new army
problem. It was, how to mobilize and concentrate at a place of assembly
to be opposite the Belgian frontier, a force calculated as adequate
(with the assistance of Russian pressure in the East) to make up for the
inadequacy of the French armies for their great task of defending the
entire French frontier from Dunkirk down to Belfort, or even farther
south, if Italy should join the Triple Alliance in an attack.

But an investigation of a searching character presently revealed great
deficiencies in the British military organization of these days. We had
never contemplated the preparation of armies for warfare of the
Continental type. The older generals had not been trained for this
problem. We had, it was true, excellent troops in India and elsewhere.
These were required as outposts for Imperial defense. As they had to
serve for long periods and to be thoroughly disciplined, they had to be
professional soldiers, engaged to serve in most cases for seven years
with the colors and afterwards for five in the reserve. They were highly
trained men, and there was a good reserve of them at home. But that
reserve was not organized in the great self-contained divisions which
would be required for fighting against armies organized for rapid action
on modern Continental principles. Its formations in peace time were not
those which would be required in such a war. There was in addition a
serious defect in the artillery organization which would have prevented
more than a comparatively small number of batteries (about forty-two
only in point of fact) from being quickly placed on a war footing. The
transport and supply and the medical services were as deficient as the

In short, the close investigation made at that time disclosed that it
was not possible, under the then existing circumstances, to put in the
field more than about 80,000 men, and even these only after an interval
of over two months, which would be required for conversion of our
isolated units into the new war formations of an army fit to take the
field against the German first line of active corps. The French
naturally thought that a machine so slow moving would be of little use
to them. They might have been destroyed before it could begin to operate
effectively. Both they and the Germans had organized on the basis that
modern Continental warfare had become a high science. Hitherto we had
not, and it was only our younger generals who had even studied this

There was, therefore, nothing for it but to attempt a complete
revolution in the organization of the British Army at home. The nascent
General Staff was finally organized in September, 1906, and its
organization was shortly afterwards developed so as to extend to the
entire Empire, as soon as a conference had taken place with the
Ministers of the Dominions early in the following year. The outcome was
a complete recasting, which, after three years' work, made it
practicable rapidly to mobilize, not only 100,000, but 160,000 men; to
transport them, with the aid of the Navy, to a place of concentration
which had been settled between the staffs of France and Britain; and to
have them at their appointed place within twelve days, an interval based
on what the German Army required on its side for a corresponding

All the arrangements for this were worked out by the end of 1910. Both
Sir John French and Sir Douglas Haig took an active part in the work.
Behind the first-line army so organized, a second-line army of larger
size, tho far less trained, and so designed that it could be expanded,
was organized. This was the citizen or "Territorial" army, consisting in
time of peace of fourteen divisions of infantry and artillery and
fourteen brigades of cavalry, with the appropriate medical, sanitary,
transport and other auxiliary services. Those serving in this
second-line army were civilians, and, of course, much less disciplined
than the officers and men of the first line. Its primary function was
home defense, but its members were encouraged to undertake for service
abroad, if necessary; and a large part of this army, in point of fact,
fought in France, Flanders and in the East soon after the beginning of
the war, in great measure making up by intelligence for shortness of

To say, therefore, that we were caught unprepared is not accurate.
Compulsory service in a period of peace was out of the question for us.
Moreover, it would have taken at least two generations to organize, and
meanwhile we should have been weaker than without it. We had studied the
situation and had done the only thing we thought we could do, after full
deliberation. Our main strength was in our Navy and its tradition. Our
secondary contribution was a small army fashioned to fulfil a
scientifically measured function. It was, of course, a very small army,
but it had a scientific organization on the basis of which a great
expansion was possible. After all, what we set ourselves to accomplish
we did accomplish. If the margin by which a just sufficient success was
attained in the early days of the war seems to-day narrow, the reason of
the narrow margin lay largely in the unprepared condition of the armies
of Russia, on which we and France had reckoned for rapid co-operation.
Anyhow, we fulfilled our contract, for at eleven o'clock on Monday
morning, August 3, 1914, we mobilized without a hitch the whole of the
Expeditionary Force, amounting to six divisions and nearly two cavalry
divisions, and began its transport over the Channel when war was
declared thirty-six hours later. We also at the same time successfully
mobilized the Territorial Force and other units, the whole amounting to
over half a million men. The Navy was already in its war stations, and
there was no delay at all in putting what we had prepared into

I speak of this with direct knowledge, for as the Prime Minister, who
was holding temporarily the seals of the War Secretary, was overwhelmed
with business, he asked me, tho I had then become Lord Chancellor, to go
to the War Office and give directions for the mobilization of the
machinery with which I was so familiar, and I did this on the morning of
Monday, August 3, and a day later handed it over, in working order, to
Lord Kitchener.

I now return to what was the main object of British foreign policy
between 1905 and 1914, the prevention of the danger of any outbreak
with Germany. Sir Edward Grey worked strenuously with this well-defined
object. If France were overrun, our island security would be at least
diminished, and he had, therefore, in addition to his anxiety to avert a
general war, a direct national interest to strive for, in the
preservation of peace between Germany and France. Ever since the
mutilation which the latter country had suffered, as the outcome of the
War of 1870, she had felt sore, and her relations with Germany were not
easy. But she did not seek a war of revenge. It would have been too full
of risk even if she had not desired peace, the Franco-Russian Dual
Alliance notwithstanding. The notion of an encirclement of Germany,
excepting in defense against aggression by Germany herself, existed only
in the minds of nervous Germans. Still, there was suspicion, and the
question was, how to get rid of it.

I have already referred to the visit I paid to the Emperor at Berlin in
the autumn of 1906. He invited me to a review which he held of his
troops there, and in the course of it rode up to the carriage in which I
was seated and said, "A splendid machine I have in this army, Mr.
Haldane; now isn't it so? And what could I do without it, situated as I
am between the Russians and the French? But the French are your
allies--are they not? So I beg pardon."

I shook my head and smiled deprecatingly, and replied that, were I in
his Majesty's place, I should in any case feel safe from attack with the
possession of this machine, and that for my own part I enjoyed being
behind it much more than if I had to be in front of it.

Next day, when at the Schloss, he talked to me fully and cordially. What
follows I extract from the record I made after the conversation in my
diaries, which were kept by desire of King Edward, and which were
printed by the Government on my return to London.

He spoke of the Anglo-French Entente. He said that it would be wrong to
infer that he had any critical thought about our entente with France. On
the contrary he believed that it might even facilitate good relations
between France and Germany. He wished for these good relations, and was
taking steps through gentlemen of high position in France to obtain
them. Not one inch more of French territory would he ever covet. Alsace
and Lorraine originally had been German, and now even the least German
of the two, Lorraine, because it preferred a monarchy to a republic, was
welcoming him enthusiastically whenever he went there. That he should
have gone to Tangier, where both English and French welcomed him, was
quite natural. He desired no quarrel, and the whole fault was
Delcassé's, who had wanted to pick a quarrel and bring England into it.

I told the Emperor that, if he would allow me to speak my mind freely, I
would do so. He assented, and I said to him that his attitude had caused
great uneasiness in England, and that this, and not any notion of
forming a tripartite alliance of France, Russia, and England against
him, was the reason of the feeling there had been. We were bound by no
military alliance. As for our entente, some time since we had
difficulties with France over Newfoundland and Egypt, and we had made a
good business arrangement (_gutes Geschäft_) about these complicated
matters of detail, and had simply carried out our word to France.

He said that he had no criticism to make on this, except that if we had
told him so early there would have been no misunderstanding. Things were
better now, but we had not always been pleasant to him and ready to meet
him. His army was for defense, not for offense. As to Russia, he had no
Himalayas between him and Russia, more was the pity. Now what about our
Two-Power standard. All this was said with earnestness, but in a
friendly way, the Emperor laying his finger on my shoulder as he spoke.
Sometimes the conversation was in German, but often in English.

I said that our fleet was like his Majesty's army. It was of the _Wesen_
of the nation, and the Two-Power standard, while it might be rigid and
so awkward, was a way of maintaining a deep-seated national tradition,
and a Liberal Government must hold to it as firmly as a Conservative.
Both countries were increasing in wealth--ours, like Germany, very
rapidly--and if Germany built we must build. But, I added, there was an
excellent opportunity for co-operation in other things. I instanced
international free trade developments which would smooth other

The Emperor agreed. He was convinced that free trade was the true policy
for Germany also, but Germany could not go so quickly here as England
had gone.

I referred to Friedrich List's great book as illustrating how military
and geographical considerations had affected matters for Germany in this

The Emperor then spoke of Chamberlain's policy of Tariff Reform, and
said that it had caused him anxiety.

I replied that with care we might avoid any real bad feeling over trade.
The undeveloped markets of the world were enormous, and we wanted no
more of the surface of the globe than we had got.

The Emperor's reply was that what he sought after was not territory but
trade expansion. He quoted Goethe to the effect that if a nation wanted
anything it must concentrate and act from within the sphere of its

We then spoke of the fifty millions sterling per annum of chemical trade
which Germany had got away from us. I said that this was thoroughly
justified as the result of the practical application of high German

"That," said he, "I delight to think, because it is legitimate and to
the credit of my people."

I agreed, and said that similarly we had got the best of the world's
shipbuilding. Each nation had something to learn.

The Emperor then passed to the topic of The Hague Conference, trusting
that disarmament would not be proposed. If so, he could not go in.

I observed that the word "disarmament" was perhaps unfortunately chosen.

"The best testimony," said the Emperor, "to my earnest desire for peace
is that I have had no war, tho I should have had war if I had not
earnestly striven to avoid it."

Throughout the conversation, which was as animated as it was long, the
Emperor was cordial and agreeable. He expressed the wish that more
English Ministers would visit Berlin, and that he might see more of our
Royal Family. I left the Palace at 3.30 P.M., having gone there at 1.0.

On another day during this visit Prince von Bülow, who was then
Chancellor, called on me. I was out, but found him later at the Schloss,
and had a conversation with him. He said to me that both the Emperor and
himself were thoroughly aware of the desire of King Edward and his
Government to maintain the new relations with France in their integrity,
and that, in the best German opinion, this was no obstacle to building
up close relations with Germany also.

I said that this was the view held on our side too, and that the only
danger lay in trying to force everything at once. Too great haste was to
be deprecated.

He said that he entirely agreed, and quoted Prince Bismarck, who had
laid it down that you can not make a flower grow any sooner by putting
fire to heat it.



I said that, none the less, frequent and cordial interchanges of view
were very important, and that not even the smallest matters should be

He alluded with satisfaction to my personal relations with the German
Ambassador in London, Count Metternich.

I begged him, if there were any small matters which were too minute to
take up officially, but which seemed unsatisfactory, to let me know of
them in a private capacity through Count Metternich. This I did because
I had discovered some soreness at restrictions which had been placed on
the attendance of German military officers at maneuvers in England, and
I had found that there had been some reprisals. I did not refer to
these, but said that I had the authority of the sovereign to give
assistance to German officers who were sent over to the maneuvers to
study them. I added that while our army was small, compared with theirs,
it had had great experience in the conduct of small expeditions, and
that there were in consequence some things worth seeing.

He then spoke of the navy. It was natural that with the increase of
German commerce Germany should wish to increase her fleet--from a
sea-police point of view--but that they had neither the wish, nor,
having regard to the strain their great army put on their resources,
the power to build against Great Britain.

I said that the best opinion in England fully understood this attitude,
and that we did not in the least misinterpret their recent progress, nor
would he misinterpret our resolve to maintain, for purely defensive
purposes, our navy at a Two-Power standard. Some day, I said, there
might be rivalry, but I thought we might assume that, if it ever
happened, it would not be for many years, and that our policy for the
present was strongly for Free Trade, so that the more Germany exported
to Great Britain and British possessions, the more we should export in
exchange to them.

He expressed himself pleased that I should say this, and added that he
was confident that a couple of years' interchange of friendly
communications in this spirit would produce a great development, and
perhaps lead for both of us to pleasant relations with other Powers

There were during this visit in 1906 other conversations of which a
record was preserved, but I have referred to the most important, and I
will only mention, in concluding my account of these days in Berlin in
September, 1906, the talk I had with the Foreign Minister, Herr von
Tschirsky, afterward the German Ambassador at Vienna before the war,
and reported as having been a fomenter of the Austrian outbreak against
Serbia. He may have been anti-Slav and anti-Russian, but I did not find
him, in the long conversation we had in 1906, otherwise than sensible as
regards France.

I explained that my business in Berlin was merely with War Office
matters, and, even as regards these, quite unofficial.

He said that there had been much tendency to misinterpret in both
countries, but that things were now better. I might take it that our
precision about the Entente with France, and our desire to rest firmly
on the arrangement we had made, were understood in Germany, and that it
was realized that we were not likely to be able to build up anything
with his own country which did not rest on this basis. But he thought,
and the Emperor agreed, that the Entente was no hindrance to all that
was necessary between Germany and England, which was not an alliance but
a thoroughly good business understanding. Some day we might come into
conflict, if care were not taken; but if care was taken, there was no
need of apprehension.

I said that I believed this to be Sir Edward Grey's view also, and that
he was anxious to communicate with the German Government beforehand
whenever there was a chance of German interests being touched.

He went on to speak of the approaching Hague Conference, and of the
difficulty Germany would have if asked to alter the proportion of her
army to her population--a proportion which rested on a fundamental law.
For Germany alone to object to disarmament would be to put herself in a
hole, and it would be a friendly act if we could devise some way out of
a definite vote on reduction. Germany might well enter a conference to
record and emphasize the improvement all round in international
relations, the desirability of further developing this improvement, and
the hope that with it the growth of armaments would cease. But he was
afraid of the kind of initiative which might come from America. The
United States had no sympathy with European military and naval

I said that I thought that we, as a Government, were pledged to try to
bring about something more definite than what he suggested as a limit,
but that I would report what he had told me.

He then passed to general topics. He was emphatic in his assurance that
what Germany wanted was increase of commercial development. Let the
nations avoid inflicting pin-pricks, and leave each other free to
breathe the air. He said that he thought we might have opportunities of
helping them to get the French into an easier mood. They were difficult
and suspicious, he observed, and it was hard to transact business with
them, for they made trouble over small points.

On my return to London I sent to Herr von Tschirsky some English
newspapers containing articles with a friendly tone, so far as the
preservation of good relations was concerned. He replied in a letter
from which I translate the material portion:

"I see with pleasure from the articles which your Excellency has sent me
for his Majesty, and from other expressions of public opinion in English
newspapers, that in the leading Liberal papers of England a more
friendly tone toward Germany is making itself apparent. You would have
been able to derive the same impression from reading our newspapers,
with the exception of a few Pan-German prints. Alas! papers like _The
Times_, _Morning Post_ and _Standard_ can not bring themselves to
refrain from their attitude of dislike, and are always rejoicing in
being suspicious of every action of the Imperial Government. They
contribute in this fashion appreciably to render weak the new tone of
diminishing misunderstanding which has arisen between the two countries.
If I fear that under these circumstances it will be a long time before
mutual understanding has grown up to the point at which it stood more
than a century ago, and as you and I desire it in the well-understood
interests of England and Germany, still I hope and am persuaded that the
relations of the two Governments will remain good."

A year after the visit I had paid to Berlin the Emperor came over to
stay with King Edward at Windsor. This was in November, 1907. The visit
lasted several days, and I was present most of the time. The Emperor was
accompanied by Baron von Schoen, who had become Foreign Minister of
Prussia, after having been Ambassador to the Court of Russia, and by
General von Einem, the War Minister, whose inclusion in the invitation I
had ventured to suggest to the King, as an acknowledgment of his
civility to myself as War Minister when in Berlin. There were also at
Windsor Count Metternich and several high military officers of the
Emperor's personal staff and military cabinet. To these officers and to
the War Minister I showed all the hospitality I could in London, and I
received them officially at the War Office.

But the really interesting incident of this visit, so far as I was
concerned, took place at Windsor. The first evening of my visit there,
just after his arrival in November, the Emperor took me aside and said
he was sorry that there was a good deal of friction over the Bagdad
Railway, and that he did not know what we wanted as a basis for

I said that I could not answer for the Foreign Office, but that,
speaking as War Minister, one thing I knew we wanted was a "gate" to
protect India from troops coming down the new railway. He asked me what
I meant by a "gate," and I said that meant the control of the section
which would come near to the Persian Gulf. "I will give you the 'gate,'"
replied the Emperor.

I had no opportunity at the moment, which was just before dinner, for
pursuing the conversation further, but I thought the answer too
important not to be followed up. There were private theatricals after
dinner, which lasted till nearly one o'clock in the morning. I was
seated in the theater of the Castle just behind the Emperor, and, as the
company broke up, I went forward and asked him whether he really meant
seriously that he was willing to give us the "gate," because, if he did
mean it, I would go to London early and see Sir Edward Grey at the
Foreign Office.

Next morning, about 7.30 o'clock, a helmeted guardsman, one of those
whom the Emperor had brought over with him from Berlin, knocked loudly
at the door and came into my bedroom, and said that he had a message
from the Emperor. It was that he did mean what he had said the night
before. I at once got up and caught a train for London. There I saw the
Foreign Secretary, who, after taking time to think things over, gave me
a memorandum he had drawn up. The substance of it was that the British
Government would be very glad to discuss the Emperor's suggestion, but
that it would be necessary, before making a settlement, to bring into
the discussion France and Russia, whose interests also were involved. I
was requested to sound the Emperor further.

After telling King Edward of what was happening, I had another
conversation in Windsor Castle with the Emperor, who said that he feared
that the bringing in of Russia particularly, not to speak of France,
would cause difficulty; but he asked me to come that night, after a
performance that was to take place in the Castle theater had ended, to
his apartments, to a meeting to which he would summon the Ministers he
had brought with him. He took the memorandum which I had brought from
London, a copy of which I had made for him in my own handwriting, so as
to present it as the informal document it was intended to be. Just
before dinner Baron von Schoen spoke to me, and told me that he had
heard from the Emperor what had happened, and that the Emperor was wrong
in thinking that the attempt to bring in Russia would lead to
difficulty, because he, Baron von Schoen, when he was Ambassador to
Russia, had already discussed the general question with its Government,
and had virtually come to an understanding. At the meeting that night we
could therefore go on to negotiate.

I attended the Emperor in his state rooms at the Castle at one o'clock
in the morning, and sat smoking with him and his Ministers for over two
hours. His Foreign Minister and Count Metternich and the War Minister,
von Einem, were present. I said that I felt myself an intruder, because
it was very much like being present at a sitting of his Cabinet. He
replied, "Be a member of my Cabinet for the evening." I said that I was
quite agreeable.

They then engaged in a very animated conversation, some of them
challenging the proposal of the Emperor to accept the British
suggestions, with an outspokenness which would have astonished the
outside world, with its notions of Teutonic autocracy. Count Metternich
did not like what I suggested, that there should be a conference in
Berlin on the subject of the Bagdad Railway between England, France,
Russia, and Germany.

In the end, but not until after much keen argument, the idea was
accepted, and the Emperor directed von Schoen to go next morning to
London and make an official proposal to Sir Edward Grey, This was
carried out, and the preliminary details were discussed between von
Schoen and Sir Edward at the Foreign Office.

Some weeks afterward difficulties were raised from Berlin. Germany said
that she was ready to discuss with the British Government the question
of the terminal portion of the railway, but she did not desire to bring
the other two Powers into that discussion, because the conference would
probably fail and accentuate the differences between her and the other

The matter thus came to an end. It was, I think, a great pity, because I
have reason to believe that the French view was that, if the Bagdad
Railway question could have been settled, one great obstacle in the way
of reconciling German with French and English interests would have
disappeared. I came to the conclusion afterward that it was probably
owing to the views of Prince von Bülow that the proposal had come to an
untimely end. Whether he did not wish for an expanded entente; whether
the feeling was strong in Germany that the Bagdad Railway had become a
specially German concern and should not be shared; or what other reason
he may have had, I do not know; but it was from Berlin, after the
Emperor's return there at the end of November, 1907, that the
negotiations were finally blocked.

Altho these negotiations had no definite result, they assisted in
promoting increasing frankness between the two Foreign Offices, and
other things went with more smoothness. Sir Edward Grey kept France and
Russia informed of all we did, and he was also very open with the
Germans. Until well on in 1911 all went satisfactorily. In the early
part of that year the Emperor came to London to visit the present King,
who had by that time succeeded to the throne. I had ventured to propose
to the King that during the Emperor's visit I should, as War Minister,
give a luncheon to the generals who were on his staff. But when the
Emperor heard of this he sent a message that he would like to come and
lunch with me himself, and to meet people whom otherwise he might not

I acted on my own discretion, and when he came to luncheon at my house
in Queen Anne's Gate there was a somewhat widely selected party of about
a dozen to meet him. For it included not only Lord Morley, Lord
Kitchener, and Lord Curzon, whom he was sure to meet elsewhere, but Mr.
Ramsay MacDonald, who was then leading the Labor Party, Admiral Sir
Arthur Wilson, our great naval commander, Lord Moulton, Mr. Edmund
Gosse, Mr. Sargent, Mr. Spender, the editor of the _Westminster
Gazette_, and others representing various types of British opinion. The
Emperor engaged in conversation with everyone, and all went with

He had a great reception in London. But enthusiasm about him was
somewhat damped when, in July, 1911, not long after his return to
Germany, he sent the afterwards famous warship _Panther_ to Agadir. The
French were naturally alarmed, and the situation which had become so
promising was overcast. Our naval arrangements and our new military
organization were ready, and our mobilization plans were fairly
complete, as the German General Staff knew from their military attaché.
But the point was, how to avoid an outbreak, and to get rid of the
feeling and friction to which the Agadir crisis was giving rise. Our
growing good relations were temporarily clouded.

The sending of the _Panther_ to Agadir was not a prudent act. It
imported either too much or too little. It is said to have been the plan
of Herr von Kiderlen-Waechter, at that time the Foreign Secretary and
generally a sensible statesman, and to have been done in spite of
misgivings expressed by the Emperor about its danger. The circumstances
of the moment were such that one can not but feel a certain sympathy
with the German perturbation at the time. The march of the French Army
to Fez had come on them suddenly, and it at least suggested a
development of French claims going beyond what Germany had agreed to at
the Algeciras Conference nearly six years previously. Those who wish to
inform themselves about the commotion the expedition of the French
stirred up in Germany, and of the efforts the Emperor and Bethmann
Hollweg had to make to restrain it, will do well to read the latter's
account of what happened there in the second chapter of his recent book.
But to think that the sending of a German warship could make things
better was to repeat the error of judgment which had characterized "the
ally in shining armor" speech of the German Emperor to Austria when she
formally annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina three years before. Instead of
using diplomatic methods something that looked like a threat was allowed
to appear, and the answer was Mr. Lloyd George's well-known declaration
of July 21, 1911, in the City of London. The sending of the _Panther_,
if intelligible, was certainly unfortunate.

In the winter, after the actual crisis had been got over, there was
evidence of continuing ill-feeling in Germany, and the suspicion in
London did not diminish. In January, 1912, an informal message was given
by the Emperor to Sir Ernest Cassel for transmission through one of my
colleagues to the Foreign Office.[2] I knew nothing of this at the time,
but learned shortly afterward that it was to the effect that the Emperor
was concerned at the state of feeling that had arisen in both countries,
and thought that the most hopeful method of improving matters would be
that the Cabinet of St. James's should exchange views directly with the
Cabinet of Berlin. For this course there was a good deal to be said. The
peace had indeed been preserved, but, as Herr von Bethmann Hollweg told
me later on, not without effort. The attitude of Germany toward France
had seemed ominous. The British Government had done all it could to
avert a breach, but its sympathy was opposed to language used in
Germany, the spirit of which seemed to us to have in it an aggressive
element. We did not hesitate to say what we thought about this.

Even after the Agadir incident was quite closed, the tension between
Germany and England had not passed away. The military party in the
former country began to talk of a "preventive" war pretty loudly. Even
so moderate an organ in Berlin as the _Post_ wrote of German opinion
that "we all know that blood is assuredly about to be shed, and the
longer we wait the more there will be. Few, however, have the courage to
imitate Frederick the Great, and not one dares the deed."

The Emperor therefore sent his message in the beginning of 1912, to the
effect that feeling had become so much excited that it was not enough to
rely on the ordinary diplomatic intercourse for softening it, and that
he was anxious for an exchange of views between the Cabinets of Berlin
and London, of a personal and direct kind. As the result of this
intimation, the British Cabinet decided to send one of its members to
Berlin to hold "conversations," with a view to exploring and, if
practicable, softening the causes of tension, and I was requested by the
Prime Minister and Sir Edward Grey and my other colleagues to go to
Berlin and undertake the task. Our Ambassador there came over to London
specially to discuss arrangements, and he returned to Berlin to make
them before I started.

I arrived in the German capital on February 8, 1912, and spent some days
in interviews with the Emperor, the Imperial Chancellor, the Naval
Minister (Admiral von Tirpitz), and others of the Emperor's Ministry.
The narrative of my conversations I have extracted from the records I
made after each interview, for the preservation so far as possible of
the actual expressions used during it.

My first interview was one with Herr von Bethmann Hollweg, the Imperial
Chancellor. We met in the British Embassy, and the conversation, which
was quite informal, was a full and agreeable one. My impression, and I
still retain it, was that Bethmann Hollweg was then as sincerely
desirous of avoiding war as I was myself. I told him of certain dangers
quite frankly, and he listened and replied with what seemed to me to be
a full understanding of our position. I said that the increasing action
of Germany in piling up magnificent armaments was, of course, within the
unfettered rights of the German people. But the policy had an inevitable
consequence in the drawing together of other nations in the interests of
their own security. This was what was happening. I told him frankly that
we had made naval and military preparations, but only such as defense
required, and as would be considered in Germany matter of routine. I
went on to observe that our faces were set against aggression by any
nation, and I told him, what seemed to relieve his mind, that we had no
secret military treaties. But, I added, if France were attacked and an
attempt made to occupy her territory, our neutrality must not be
reckoned on by Germany. For one thing, it was obvious that our position
as an island protected by the sea would be affected seriously if Germany
had possession of the Channel ports on the northern shores of France.
Again, we were under treaty obligation to come to the aid of Belgium in
case of invasion, just as we were bound to defend Portugal and Japan in
certain eventualities. In the third place, owing to our dependence on
freedom of sea-communications for food and raw materials, we could not
sit still if Germany elected to develop her fleet to such an extent as
to imperil our naval protection. She might build more ships, but we
should in that case lay down two keels for each one she laid down.

The Chancellor said that he did not take my observations at all in bad
part, but I must understand that his admirals and generals were pretty

I replied that the difficulty would be felt at least as much with the
admirals and generals in my own country.

The Chancellor, in the course of our talk, proposed a formula of
neutrality to which I will refer later on.

I left the Chancellor with the sense that I had been talking with an
honest man struggling somewhat with adversity. However, next day I was
summoned to luncheon with the Emperor and Empress at the Schloss, and
afterward had a long interview, which lasted nearly three hours, with
the Emperor and Admiral von Tirpitz in the Emperor's cabinet room. The
conversation was mainly in German, and was confined to naval questions.
My reception by the Emperor was very agreeable; that by Tirpitz seemed
to me a little strained. The question was, whether Germany must not
continue her program for expanding her fleet. What that program really
amounted to we had not known in London, except that it included an
increase in battleships; but the Emperor handed me at this meeting a
confidential copy of the draft of the proposed new Fleet Law, with an
intimation that he had no objection to my communicating it privately to
my colleagues. I was careful to abstain even from looking at it then,
for I saw that, from its complexity and bulk, it would require careful
study. So I simply put it in my pocket. But I repeated what I had said
to the Chancellor, that the necessity for secure sea-communications
rendered it vital for us to be able to protect ourselves on the seas.
Germany was quite free to do as she pleased, but so were we, and we
should probably lay down two keels for every one which she added to her
program. The initiative in slackening competition was really not with
us, but with Germany. Any agreement for settling our differences and
introducing a new spirit into the relations of the two nations would be
bones without flesh if Germany began by fresh shipbuilding, and so
forced us to do twice as much. Indeed, the world would laugh at such an
agreement, and our people would think that we had been fooled. I did not
myself take that view, because I thought that the mere fact of an
agreement was valuable. But the Emperor would see that the public would
attach very little importance to his action unless the agreement largely
modified what it believed to be his shipbuilding program.

We then discussed the proposal of the German Admiralty for the new
program. Admiral von Tirpitz struggled for it. I insisted that
fundamental modification was essential if better relations were to
ensue. The tone was friendly, but I felt that I was up against the
crucial part of my task. The admiral wanted us to enter into some
understanding about our own shipbuilding. He thought the Two-Power
standard a hard one for Germany, and, indeed, Germany could not make any
admission about it.

I said it was not matter for admission. They were free and so were we,
and we must for the sake of our safety remain so. The idea then occurred
to us that, as we should never agree about it, we should avoid trying to
define a standard proportion in any general agreement that we might come
to, and, indeed, say nothing in it about shipbuilding; but that the
Emperor should announce to the German public that the agreement on
general questions, if we should have concluded one, had entirely
modified his wish for the new Fleet Law, as originally conceived, and
that it should be delayed, and future shipbuilding should at least be
spread over a longer period.

The Emperor thought such an agreement would certainly make a great
difference, and he informed me that his Chancellor would propose to me a
formula as a basis for it. I said that I would see the Chancellor and
discuss a possible formula, as well as territorial and other questions
with him, and would then return to London and report to the King (from
whom I had brought him a special and friendly message) and to my
colleagues the good disposition I had found, and leave the difficulties
about shipbuilding and indeed all other matters to their judgment. For I
had come to Berlin, not to make an actual agreement, but only to explore
the ground for one with the Emperor and his ministers. I had been struck
with the friendly disposition in Berlin, and a not less friendly
disposition would be found in London.

The evening after my interview with the Emperor I dined with the
Chancellor. I met there and talked with several prominent politicians,
soldiers, and men of letters, including Kiderlen-Waechter (the then
Foreign Secretary), the afterward famous General von Hindenburg,
Zimmermann of the Foreign Office, and Professor Harnack.

Later on, after dinner, I went off to meet the French Ambassador, M.
Jules Cambon, at the British Embassy, for I wished to keep him informed
of our object, which was simply to improve the state of feeling between
London and Berlin, but on the basis, and only on the basis, of complete
loyalty to our Entente with France. It was, to use a phrase which he
himself suggested in our conversation, a _détente_ rather than an
_entente_ that I had in view, with possible developments to follow it
which might assume a form which would be advantageous to France and
Russia, as well as to ourselves and Germany. He showed me next day the
report of our talk which he had prepared in order to telegraph it to

I had other interviews the next day, but the only one which is important
for the purposes of the present narrative is that at my final meeting
with the German Chancellor on the Saturday (February 10). I pressed on
him how important it was for public opinion and the peace of the world
that Germany should not force us into a shipbuilding competition with
her, a competition in which it was certain that we should have to spare
no effort to preserve our margin of safety by greater increases.

[Illustration: M. PAUL CAMBON


He did not controvert my suggestion. I could see that personally he
was of the same mind. But he said that the forces he had to contend with
were almost insuperable. The question of a retardation of building under
the proposed Fleet Law was not susceptible of being treated apart from
that of the formula of which he and the Emperor had both spoken. He
suggested that we might agree on the following formula:

  1. The High Contracting Powers assure each other mutually of their
  desire for peace and friendship.

  2. They will not, either of them, make any combination, or join in
  any combination, which is directed against the other. They
  expressly declare that they are not bound by any such combination.

  3. If either of the High Contracting Parties become entangled in a
  war with one or more other powers, the other of the High
  Contracting Parties will at least observe toward the power so
  entangled a benevolent neutrality, and use its utmost endeavor for
  the localization of the conflict.

  4. The duty of neutrality which arises from the preceding article
  has no application in so far as it may not be reconcilable with
  existing agreements which the High Contracting Parties have
  already made. The making of new agreements which make it
  impossible for either of the Contracting Parties to observe
  neutrality toward the other beyond what is provided by the
  preceding limitations is excluded in conformity with the
  provisions contained in Article 2.

Anxious as I was to agree with the Chancellor, who seemed as keen as I
was to meet me with expressions which I might take back to England for
friendly consideration, I was unable to hold out to him the least
prospect that we could accept the draft formula which he had just
proposed. Under Article 2, for example, we should find ourselves, were
it accepted, precluded from coming to the assistance of France should
Germany attack her and aim at getting possession of such ports as
Dunkirk, Calais, and Boulogne, a friendly occupation of which was so
important for our island security. Difficulties might also arise which
would hamper us in the discharge of our existing treaty obligations to
Belgium, Portugal, and Japan. The most hopeful way out was to revise the
draft fundamentally by confining its terms to an undertaking by each
Power not to make any unprovoked attack upon the other, or join in any
combination or design against the other for purposes of aggression, or
become party to any plan or naval or military combination, alone or in
conjunction with any other Power, directed to such an end.

He and I then sat down and redrafted what he had prepared, on this
basis, but without his committing himself to the view that it would be
sufficient. We also had a satisfactory conversation about the Bagdad
Railway and other things in Turkey connected with the Persian Gulf, and
we discussed possibilities of the rearrangement of certain interests of
both Powers in Africa. He said to me that he was not there to make any
immediate bargain, but that we should look at the African question on
both sides from a high point of view, and that if we had any
difficulties we should tell him, and he would see whether he could get
round them for us.

I replied that I also was not there to make a bargain, but only to
explore the ground, and that I much appreciated the tone of his
conversation with me, and the good feeling he had shown. I should go
back to London and without delay report to my colleagues all that had

I entertain no doubt that the German Chancellor was sincerely in earnest
in what he said to me on these occasions, and in his desire to improve
relations with us and keep the peace. So I think was the Emperor; but he
was pulled at by his naval and military advisers, and by the powerful,
if then small, chauvinist party in Germany. In 1912, when the
conversations recorded took place, this party was less potent, I think a
good deal less, than it appears to have become a year and a half later,
when Germany had increased her army still further. But I formed the
opinion even then that the power of the Emperor in Germany was a good
deal misinterpreted and overestimated. My impression was that the really
decisive influence was that of the Minister who had managed to secure
the strongest following throughout Germany; and it was obvious to me
that Admiral von Tirpitz had a powerful and growing following from many
directions, due to the backing of the naval party.

Moreover, sensible as a large number of Germans were, there was a
certain tendency to swelled-headedness in the nation. It had had an
extraordinarily rapid development, based on principles of organization
in every sphere of activity--principles derived from the lesson of the
necessity of thinking before acting enjoined by the great teachers of
the beginning of the nineteenth century. The period down to about 1832
seems to me to correspond, in the intellectual prodigies it produced, to
our Elizabethan period. It came no doubt to an end in its old and
distinctive aspect. But its spirit assumed, later on, a new form, that
of organization for material ends based on careful reflection and
calculation. In industry, in commerce, in the army, and in the navy, the
work of mind was everywhere apparent. "_Aus einem Lernvolk wollen wir
ein Thatvolk werden_" was the new watchword.

No doubt there was much that was defective. When it came to actual war
in 1914, it turned out that Germany had not adequately thought out her
military problems. If she had done so, she would have used her fleet at
the very outset, and particularly her destroyers and submarines, to try
to hinder the transport of the British Expeditionary Force to France,
and, having secured the absence of this force, she would have sought to
seize the northern ports of France. Small as the Expeditionary Force
was, it was enough, when added to the French armies, to make them so
formidable as to render the success of von Kluck uncertain if the troops
could be concentrated to resist him swiftly enough. Again, Germany never
really grasped the implications of our command of the sea. Had she done
so, I do not think she would have adventured war. She may have counted
on England not coming in, owing to entanglements in Irish difficulties.
If so, this was just another instance of her bad judgment about the
internal affairs of other nations.

In fine, Germany had not adequately thought out or prepared for the
perils which she undertook when she assumed the risks of the war of
1914. No doubt she knew more about the shortcomings of the Russian army
than did the French or the British. On these, pretty exact knowledge of
the Russian shortages enabled her to reckon. There we miscalculated more
than she did. But she was not strong enough to make sure work of a brief
but conclusive campaign in the West, which was all she could afford
while Russia was organizing. Then, later on, she ought to have seen
that, if the submarine campaign which she undertook should bring the
United States into the war, her ultimate fate would be sealed by
blockade. In the end she no doubt fought magnificently. But she made
these mistakes, which were mainly due to that swelled-headedness which
deflected her reasoning and prevented her from calculating consequences

There was a good deal of this apparent even in 1912. It had led to the
Agadir business in the previous summer, and the absence of wise
prevision was still apparent. I believed that this phase of militarism
would pass when Imperial Germany became a more mature nation. Indeed, it
was passing under the growing influence of Social Democracy, which was
greatly increased by the elections which took place while I was in
Berlin in 1912.[3] But still there was the possibility of an explosion;
and when I returned to London, altho I was full of hope that relations
between the two countries were going to be improved, and told my
colleagues so, I also reported that there were three matters about which
I was uneasy.

The first was my strong impression that the new Fleet Law would be
insisted on.

The second was the possibility that Tirpitz might be made Chancellor of
the Empire in place of Bethmann Hollweg. This was being talked of as
possible when I was in Berlin.

The third was the want of continuity in the supreme direction of German
policy. Foreign policy especially was under divided control. Von
Tschirsky observed to me in 1906 that what he had been saying about a
question we were discussing represented his view as Foreign Minister of
Prussia, but that next door was the Chancellor, who might express quite
a different view to me if I asked him; and that if, later on, I went to
the end of the Wilhelmstrasse and turned down Unter den Linden I would
come to the Schloss, where I might derive from the Emperor's lips an
impression quite different from that given by either himself or the
Chancellor. This made me feel that, desirous as Bethmann Hollweg had
shown himself to establish and preserve good relations, we could not
count on his influence being maintained or prevailing. As an eminent
foreign diplomatist observed, "In this highly organized nation, when you
have ascended to the very top story you find not only confusion but

However, after I had reported fully on all the details and the Foreign
Office had received my written report, matters were taken in hand by Sir
Edward Grey, and by him I was kept informed. Presently it became
apparent that there were those in Berlin who were interfering with the
Chancellor in his efforts for good relations. A dispatch came which was
inconsistent with the line he had pursued with me, and it became evident
that the German Government was likely to insist on proceeding with the
new Fleet Law. When we looked closely into the copy of the draft which
the Emperor had given to me, we found very large increases
contemplated, of which we had no notion earlier, not only in the
battleships, about which we did know before, but in small craft and
submarines and personnel. As these increases were to proceed further,
discussion about the terms of a formula became rather futile, and we had
only one course left open to us--to respond by quietly increasing our
navy and concentrating its strength in northern seas. This was done with
great energy by Mr. Churchill, the result being that, as the outcome of
the successive administrations of the fleet by Mr. McKenna and himself,
the estimates were raised by over twenty millions sterling to fifty-one

[Illustration: _International_



In the summer of 1912 I became Lord Chancellor, and the engrossing
duties, judicial as well as administrative, of that office cut me off
from any direct participation in the carrying on of our efforts for
better relations with Germany. But these relations continued to be
extended in the various ways practicable and left open to Sir Edward
Grey and the German Chancellor. The discussions which had been begun
when I was in Berlin, about Africa and the Bagdad Railway, were
continued between them through the Ambassadors; and just before the war
the draft of an extensive treaty had been agreed on.

Then, after an interval of two years, came a time of extreme anxiety. No
one had better opportunities than I of watching Sir Edward's
concentration of effort to avoid the calamity which threatened. For he
was living with me in my house in Queen Anne's Gate through the whole of
these weeks, and he was devoting himself, with passionate earnestness of
purpose, to inducing the German Government to use its influence with
Austria for a peaceful settlement. But it presently became evident that
the Emperor and his Ministers had made up their minds that they were
going to make use of an opportunity that appeared to have come. As I
have already said, I think their calculations were framed on a wholly
erroneous basis. It is clear that their military advisers had failed to
take account, in their estimates of probabilities, of the tremendous
moral forces that might be brought into action against them. The
ultimate result we all know. May the lesson taught to the world by the
determined entry of the United States into the conflict between right
and wrong never be forgotten by the world!

Why Germany acted as she did then is a matter that still requires
careful investigation. My own feeling is that she has demonstrated the
extreme risk of confiding great political decisions to military
advisers. It is not their business to have the last word in deciding
between peace and war. The problem is too far-reaching for their
training. Bismarck knew this well, and often said it, as students of his
life and reflections are aware. Had he been at the helm I do not believe
that he would have allowed his country to drift into a disastrous
course. He was far from perfect in his ethical standards, but he had
something of that quality which Mommsen, in his history, attributes to
Julius Cæsar. Him the historian describes as one of those "mighty ones
who has preserved to the end of his career the statesman's tact of
discriminating between the possible and the impossible, and has not
broken down in the task which for greatly gifted natures is the most
difficult of all--the task of recognizing, when on the pinnacle of
success, its natural limits. What was possible he performed, and never
left the possible good undone for the sake of the impossible better;
never disdained at least to mitigate by palliatives evils that were
incurable. But where he recognized that fate had spoken, he always
obeyed. Alexander on the Hypanis, Napoleon at Moscow, turned back
because they were compelled to do so, and were indignant at destiny for
bestowing even on its favorites merely limited successes. Cæsar turned
back voluntarily on the Thames and on the Rhine, and thought of
carrying into effect even at the Danube and the Euphrates, not unbounded
plans of world-conquest, but merely well-considered frontier

If only Germany, whose great historian thus explained these things, had
remembered them, how different might have been her position to-day. But
it may be that she had carried her policy too far to be left free. With
her certainly rests the main responsibility for what has happened; for
apart from her, Austria would not have acted as she did, nor would
Turkey, nor Bulgaria. The fascinating glitter of her armies, and the
assurances given by her General Staff, were too much for the minor
nations whom she had induced to accept her guidance, and too much I
think also for her own people. No doubt the ignorance of these about the
ways of their own Government counted for a great deal. There has never
been such a justification of the principle of democratic control as this
war affords. But a nation must be held responsible for the action of its
own rulers, however much it has simply submitted itself to them. I have
the impression that even to-day in its misery the German public does not
fully understand, and still believes that Germany was the victim of a
plot to entrap and encircle her, and that with this in view Russia
mobilized on a great scale for war. It is difficult for us to understand
how real the Slav peril appeared to Germany and to Austria, and there is
little doubt that to the latter Serbia was an unquiet neighbor. But
these considerations must be taken in their context--a context of which
the German public ought to have made itself fully aware. The leaders of
its opinion were bent on domination to the Near East. No wonder that the
Slavs in the Balkan Peninsula became progressively alarmed, and looked
to Russia more and more for protection. For it had become plain that
moral considerations would not be allowed by the authorities at Berlin
to weigh in the balance against material advantages to be gained by
power of domination.

If there is room for reproach to us Anglo-Saxons, it is reproach of a
very different kind. Germany was quite intelligent enough to listen to
reason, and, besides, she had the prospect of becoming the dominating
industrial and commercial power in the world by dint merely of peaceful
penetration. It is possible that, if her relations with her Western
neighbors, including Great Britain, had been more intimate than they
actually were, she might have been saved from a great blunder, and might
have come to understand that the English-speaking races were not really
so inferior to herself as she took them to be. Her _hubris_ was in part,
at all events, the result of ignorance. Speaking for my own countrymen,
I think that neither did we know enough about the Germans nor did the
Germans know enough about us. They were ignorant of the innate capacity
for fighting, in industrial and military conflicts alike, which our
history shows we have always hitherto brought to light in great
emergencies. And they little realized how tremendously moral issues
could stir and unite democracies. We, on the other hand, knew little of
their tradition, their literature, or their philosophy. Our statesmen
did not read their newspapers, and rarely visited their country. We were
deficient in that quality which President Murray Butler has spoken of as
the "international mind."

I do not know whether, had it been otherwise, we could have brought
about the better state of things in Europe for which I tried to express
the hope, altho not without misgiving, in the address on "Higher
Nationality" which I was privileged to deliver before distinguished
representatives of the United States and of Canada at Montreal on
September 1, 1913. I spoke then of the possibility of a larger entente,
an entente which might become a real concert of the Great Powers of the
world; and I quoted the great prayer with which Grotius concludes his
book on "War and Peace." There was at least the chance, if we strove
hard enough, that we might find a response from the best in other
countries, and in the end attain to a new and real _Sittlichkeit_ which
should provide a firmer basis for International Law and reverence for
international obligations. But for the realization of this dream a
sustained and strenuous search after fuller mutual knowledge was

After this address had been published, I received a letter from the
German Chancellor, Bethmann Hollweg, in which--writing in German and so
late as September 26, 1913--he expressed himself to me as follows:

  "If I had the happiness of finding myself in one mind with you in
  these thoughts in February, 1912, it has been to me a still
  greater satisfaction that our two countries have since then had a
  number of opportunities of working together in this spirit. Like
  you, I hold the optimistic view that the great nations will be
  able to progress further on this path, and will do so. Anyhow, I
  shall, in so far as it is within my power, devote my energies to
  this cause, and I am happy in the certainty of finding in you an
  openly declared fellow-worker."

But events swept him from a course which, so far as I know, he at least
individually desired to follow. The great increase of armaments took
place that year in Germany, and, when events were too strong for him, he
elected, not to resign, but to throw in his lot with his country. His
position was one of great difficulty. He took a course for which many
would applaud him. But inherently a wrong course, surely. What he said
when Belgium was invaded in breach of solemn treaty shows that he felt
this. He let himself be swept into devoting his energies to bolstering
up his country's cause, instead of resigning. His career only proves
that, given the political conditions that obtained in Germany shortly
before the war, it was almost impossible for a German statesman to keep
his feet or to avoid being untrue to himself. And yet there were many
others there in the same frame of mind, and one asks oneself whether,
had they had more material to work with, they might not have been able
to present a more attractive alternative than the notion of military
domination which in the end took possession of all, from the Emperor

It is, however, useless to speculate at present on these things. We know
too little of the facts. The historians of another generation will know
more. But of one thing I feel sure. The Germans think that Great Britain
declared war of pre-conceived purpose and her own initiative. There is a
sense in which she did. The opinion of Mr. Asquith, Sir Edward Grey, and
of those of us who were by their side, was unhesitating. She could not
have taken any other course than she did without the prospect of ruin
and failure to enter on the only path of honor. For honor and safety
alike necessitated that she should take, without the delay which would
have been fatal, the step she did take without delay and unswervingly.
The responsibility for her entry comes back wholly to Germany herself,
who would not have brought it about had she not plunged into war. And
to-day Germany lies prostrate.

But she is not dead. I do not think that for generations to come she
will dream of building again on military foundations. Her people have
had a lesson in the overwhelming forces which are inevitably called into
action where there is brutal indifference to the moral rights of others.
What remains to her is that which she has inherited and preserved of the
results of the great advancement in knowledge which began under the
inspiration of Lessing and Kant, and culminated in the teaching of
Goethe and Schiller and of the thinkers who were their contemporaries.
That movement only came to a partial end in 1832. No doubt its character
changed after that. The idealists in poetry, music, and philosophy gave
place to great men of science, to figures such as those of Ludwig and
Liebig, of Gauss, Riemann, and Helmholtz. There came also historians
like Ranke and Mommsen, musicians like Wagner, philosophers like
Schopenhauer and Lotze, a statesman like Bismarck. To-day there are few
men of great stature in Germany; there are, indeed, few men of genius
anywhere in the world. But Germany still has a high general level in
science, and of recent years she has produced great captains of
industry. The gift for organization founded on principle, and for
applying science to practical uses, was there before the war, and it is
very unsafe to assume that it is not there in a latent form to-day. If
it is, Germany will be heard of again with a field of activity that
probably will not include devotion to military affairs in the old way.
Against her competition of this other kind, formidable as soon as she
has recovered from her misery, we must prepare ourselves in the only way
that can succeed in the long run. We, too, must study and organize on
the basis of widely diffused exact knowledge, and not less of high
ethical standards. I think, if I read the signs of the times aright,
that people are coming to realize this, both in the United States and
throughout the British Empire.

[Illustration: _Press Illustrating Service_


AFFAIRS FROM 1909 TO 1917.]

       *       *       *       *       *


[Footnote 1: Of course I neither tried to obtain nor did obtain from the
authorities in Germany any information that was not available to the
general public there. I went simply to see the system of administration
and how it was worked. Not even Count Reventlow, in his highly critical
accounts of my visits in the book "Deutschlands Auswartige Politik,"
imagines that I had access to information which I was not free to use.
The German Government had ascertained for itself that a new organization
of the British Army was on foot, but it neither told its own secrets nor
asked for ours.]

[Footnote 2: This message was the response to a memorandum which Sir
Ernest Cassel had brought to Berlin from some influential members of the
Cabinet in London, and it contained suggestions for the improvement of
the relations between the two countries. An account of Sir Ernest
Cassel's visit, and of what passed when he delivered his message from
London, is given in Herr von Bethmann Hollweg's recent book.]

[Footnote 3: An anecdote illustrating the change that was coming over
political opinion in Germany in 1912, may be worth relating. I was
present at a supper party, given by one of the professors in a
well-known German University town, in May of that year. I asked him
whether the old Conservative member who had for long represented the
town had been again returned. "Returned! no," he replied. "It was
impossible to return a man of moderate opinions. We only escaped a
Social Democrat by a few votes. We managed to get enough of the popular
vote to return a fairly sensible railway servant for this University
town." I inquired what party he belonged to. "No old party," was his
answer, and it will interest you to know that his program was an English
one: "_Lloyd Georgianismus_." I then inquired what was his text book.
"_Die Reden von Lloyd George_," was the answer. Did it contain anything
about a place called Limehouse? "_Limhaus, ach ja; das war eine
vortreffliche Rede!_"]



We now have before us the considered opinions of Herr von Bethmann
Hollweg, the late Imperial Chancellor, and of Admiral von Tirpitz, the
Minister who did much to develop the naval power of Germany, about the
origin and significance of the war. Both have written books on the
subject.[4] It is to be desired that in the case of each of these
authors his book should be studied in English-speaking countries as well
as on the Continent. For it is important that the Anglo-Saxon world
should understand the divergences in policy which the two books
disclose, not less than the points of agreement. That world has suffered
in the past from failure to understand Germany, while the German world
has displayed a total inability to interpret aright the Anglo-Saxon
disposition. When I speak of two worlds I mean the governing classes of
these worlds. The nations themselves, taken as aggregates of individual
citizens, by a probable majority in each case, desired the continuance
of peace and of the prosperity of which it is the condition. So, of
course, did the rulers, those in Germany as much as those in London. But
the German rulers had a theory of how to secure peace which was the
outcome of the abstract mind that was their inheritance. It was the
theory that was wrong, a theory of which Anglo-Saxondom knew little, and
which it would have rejected decisively had it realized its tendency.
This theory is described in Admiral Tirpitz's book, with an account of
the efforts made to indoctrinate with it the people of Germany.

The two volumes are profoundly interesting. For in that of Admiral
Tirpitz we have the doctrine set forth that in the end led to the war.
In that written by the late Imperial Chancellor we have quite another
principle laid down as the one which he was endeavoring to apply in his
direction of German policy. But in this endeavor he failed. The school
of Tirpitz in the main prevailed, and this was the more easy, inasmuch
as it was simply continuing the policy which had been advocated by a
noisy section of Germans, nearly without a break, since the days of
Frederick the Great. It was a policy which had in reality outlived the
days in which it was practicable. The world had become too crowded and
too small to permit of any one Power asserting its right to jostle its
way where it pleased without regard to its neighbors. An affair of
police on a colossal scale had begun to look as if it would ensue, and
ensue it ultimately did. No doubt had we all been cleverer we might have
been able to explain to Germany whither she was heading. But we did not
understand her, least of all our chauvinists, nor did she understand us.
In the main what she really wanted was to develop herself by the
application of her talent for commerce and industry. To her success in
attaining this end we had no objection, provided her procedure was
decent and in order. But she chose a means to her end which was becoming
progressively more and more inadmissible. Tirpitz describes the
illegitimate _means_. Bethmann Hollweg describes the legitimate _end_.
Tirpitz thinks Bethmann Hollweg was a weakling because he would not back
up the means. Bethmann Hollweg, firm in his faith that the end was
legitimate and thinking of this alone, dwells on it with little
reference to what his colleague was about. His accusation against the
Entente Powers is that, at the instigation of Russia primarily, and in a
less degree of France, they set themselves to ring round and crush
Germany. It was really, he believes, a war of aggression, and England
was ultimately responsible for it. Without her co-operation it was
impossible, and altho she did not enter into any formal military
alliance for the purpose, she began in the time of Edward VII. a policy
of close friendship which enabled Russia and France in the end to reckon
on her as morally bound to help. It was easy for these Powers to
represent as a defensive war what was really a war of aggression. Such
was truly its nature, and England decided to join in it, actually
because she was jealous of Germany's growing success in the world, and
was desirous of setting a check to it.

Such is Herr von Bethmann Hollweg's explanation. He is, I have no doubt,
sincerely convinced of its truth, and he explains the grounds of his
conviction in detail and with much ability. But there is a fallacy in
his reasoning which becomes transparent when one reads along with his
book that of his colleague. If we put out of sight the deep feeling
awakened here by the brutality of the invasion of Belgium, to which
violation of Treaty obligations the former declares that Germany was
compelled by military considerations that were unanswerable, and look at
the history of Anglo-German relations before the war, the inference is
irresistible that it was not the object of developing in a peaceful
atmosphere German commerce and industry that England objected to. Such a
development might have been formidable for us. It would have compelled
great efforts on our part to improve the education of our people and our
organization for peaceful enterprises. But it would have been
legitimate. The objection of this country was directed against quite
other things that were being done by Germany in order to attain her
purpose. The essence of these was the attempt to get her way by creating
armaments which should in effect place her neighbors at her mercy. We
who live on islands, and are dependent for our food and our raw
materials on our being able to protect their transport and with it
ourselves from invasion, could not permit the sea-protection which had
been recognized from generation to generation as a necessity for our
preservation to be threatened by the creation of naval forces intended
to make it precarious. As the navies of Europe were growing, not only
those of France and Russia, but the navy of Italy also, we had to look,
in the interests of our security, to friendly relations with these
countries. We aimed at establishing such friendly relations, and our
method was to get rid of all causes of friction, in Newfoundland, in
Egypt, in the East, and in the Mediterranean. That was the policy which
was implied in our Ententes. We were not willing to enter into military
alliances and we did not do so. Our policy was purely a business policy,
and everything else was consequential on this, including the growing
sense of common interests and of the desire for the maintenance of
peace. I do not think that Admiral Tirpitz wanted actual war. But he did
want power to enforce submission to the expansion of Germany at her
will. And this power was his means to the end which was what less
Prussianized minds in Germany contemplated as attainable in less
objectionable ways. Such a means he could not fashion in the form of
strength in sea power which would have placed us at his mercy, without
arousing our instinct for self-preservation.

All this the late Imperial Chancellor in substance ignores. The fact is
that he can only defend his theory on the hypothesis that no such policy
as that of his colleague was on foot, and that the truth was that
France, Russia, and England had come to a decision to take the
initiative in a policy embracing, for France revenge for the loss of
Alsace and Lorraine, for Russia the acquisition of Constantinople with
domination over the Balkans and the Bosporus, and for England the
destruction of German commerce. If this hypothesis be not true, and the
real explanation of the alarm of the Entente Powers was the policy
exemplified by Tirpitz and the other exponents of German militarism,
then the whole of the reasoning in Herr von Bethmann Hollweg's book
falls to the ground.

It may be asked how it was possible that two members of the Imperial
Government should have been pursuing in the same period two policies
wholly inconsistent with each other. The answer is not difficult. The
direction of affairs in Germany was admirably organized for some
purposes and very badly for others. Her autocratic system lent itself to
efficiency in the preparation of armaments. But it was not really a
system under which her Emperor was left free to guide policy. There is
no greater mistake made than that under which it is popularly supposed
that the Emperor was absolute master. The development in recent years of
the influence of the General and Admiral Staffs, which was a necessity
from the point of view of modern organization for war but required
keeping in careful check from other points of view, had produced forces
which the Emperor was powerless to hold in. Even in Bismarck's time
readers of his "Reflections and Recollections" will remember how he felt
the embarrassment of his foreign policy caused by the growing and
deflecting influences of Moltke, and even of his friend Roon. And there
was no Bismarck to hold the Staffs in check for reasons of expediency in
the years before 1914. The military mind when it is highly developed is
dangerous. It sees only its own bit, but this it sees with great
clearness, and in consequence becomes very powerful. There is only one
way of holding it to its legitimate function, and that is by the
supremacy of public opinion in a Parliament as its final exponent.
Parliaments may be clumsy and at times ignorant. But they do express, it
may be vaguely, but yet sufficiently, the sense of the people at large.
Now, notwithstanding all that had been done to educate them up to it, I
do not think that the people at large in Germany had ever endorsed the
implications of the policy of German militarism. The Social Democrats
certainly had not. They ought, I think, to be judged even now by what
they said before the war, and not by what some, tho not all of them,
said when it was pressed on them in 1914 that Germany had to fight for
her life. Had she possessed a true Parliamentary system for a generation
before the war there would probably have been no war. What has happened
to her is a vindication of Democracy as the best political system
despite certain drawbacks which attach to it.

The great defect of the German Imperial system was that, unless the
Emperor was strong enough to impose his will on his advisers, he was
largely at their mercy. Had they been chosen by the people, the people
and not the Emperor would have borne the responsibility, if the views of
these advisers diverged from their own. But they were chosen by the
Emperor, and chosen in varying moods as to policy. The result was that,
excellent as were the departments at their special work in most cases,
on general policy there was no guarantee for unity of mind. The Emperor
lived amid a sea of conflicting opinions. The Chancellor might have one
idea, the Foreign Secretary, a Prussian and not Imperial Minister, a
different one, the Chief of the General Staff a third, the War Minister
a fourth, and the Head of the Admiralty a fifth. Thus the Kaiser was
constantly being pulled at from different sides, and whichever Minister
had the most powerful combination at his back generally got the best of
the argument. Were the Kaiser in an impulsive mood he might side now
with one and again with another, and the result would necessarily be
confusion. Moreover, he had constantly to fix one eye on public opinion
in Germany, and another on public opinion abroad. It is therefore not
surprising that Germany seemed to foreigners a strange and
unintelligible country, and that sudden manifestations of policy were
made which shocked us here, accustomed as we were to something quite
different. Neither our pacifists nor our chauvinists really succeeded in
diagnosing Germany. On the other hand, we ourselves were a standing
puzzle to the Germans. They could not understand how Government could be
conducted in the absence of abstract principles exactly laid down. And
because our democratic system was one of choosing our rulers and
trusting them with a large discretion within limits, the Germans always
suspected that this system, with which they were unfamiliar, covered a
device for concealing hidden policies. I wrote in some detail about this
in an address delivered at Oxford in the autumn of 1911, and afterward
published in a little volume called "Universities and National Life."

The war has not altered the views to which I had then come.

But it was not really so on either side, and it is deplorable that the
two nations knew so little of each other. For I believe that the German
system, wholly unadapted as it was to the modern spirit, was bound to
become modified before long, and had we shown more skill and more zeal
in explaining ourselves, we should probably have accelerated the process
of German acceptance of the true tendencies of the age. But our
statesmen took little trouble to get first-hand knowledge of the genesis
of what appeared to them to be the German double dose of original sin,
and, on the other hand, our chauvinists were studied in Germany out of
all proportion to their small number and influence. Thus the Berlin
politicians got the wrong notions to which their tradition predisposed
them. I believe that Herr von Bethmann Hollweg was himself really more
enlightened, but he could not control the admirals and generals, or the
economists or historians or professors whom the admirals and generals
were always trying to enlist on the side of the doctrine of _Weltmacht
oder Niedergang_. Under these circumstances all that seemed possible was
to try to influence German opinion, and at the same time to insure
against the real risk of failure to accomplish this before it was too

In order to make this view of German conditions intelligible, it will be
convenient in the first place to give some account of Herr von Bethmann
Hollweg's opinions as expressed in his book, and afterward to contrast
them with the views of his powerful colleague, Admiral von Tirpitz.

The ex-Imperial Chancellor commences his "_Betrachtungen zum
Weltkriege_" by going back to the day when he assumed office. When
Prince Bülow handed over the reins to him in July, 1909, the Prince gave
him his views on what, in the attitude of England, had been causing the
former much concern. We are not told what he actually said, but we can
guess it, for Bethmann Hollweg goes on to indicate the origin of the
cause of anxiety. It was King Edward's "encirclement" policy. It might
well be that the late King had no desire for war. But the result of the
policy for which he and the Ministers behind him stood was, so he
believes, that, in all differences of opinion as to external policy,
Germany found England, France, and Russia solidly against her, and was
conscious of a continuous attempt to lead Italy away from the Triple
Alliance. "People may call this '_Einkreisung_,' or policy of the
balance of power, or whatever they like. The object and the achievement
resulted in the founding of a group of nations of great power, whose
purpose was to hinder Germany at least by diplomatic means in the free
development of her growing strength." Sir Edward Grey, when taking over
the conduct of foreign policy in 1905, had declared that he would
continue the policy of the late Government. He hoped for improved
relations with Russia, and even for more satisfactory relations with
Germany, provided always that in the latter case these did not interfere
with the friendship between England and France. This, says Bethmann
Hollweg, had been the theme of English policy since the end of the days
of "splendid isolation," and it remained so until the war broke out. He
says nothing of the rapid advances which were proceeding from stage to
stage in the organization of German battle-fleets to be added to her
formidable army, or of the risk these advances made for England if she
were to find herself without any friends outside.

As regards Russia, Isvolsky, who had never forgiven the Austrian Foreign
Minister, Count d'Aerenthal, for his diplomatic victory in getting the
annexation to Austria of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908, was very
hostile to Austria, and consequently to her Ally. In the case of France,
again, it was indeed true that M. Jules Cambon had repeatedly emphasized
to the ex-Chancellor the desire for more intimate relations between
France and Germany. But the French had never forgiven the driving of
Delcassé out of office, and the result of the Algeciras conference had
not healed the wound. Besides this, there was the undying question of

The outcome of the precarious situation, says the ex-Chancellor, was
that England, following her traditional policy of balancing the Powers
of Europe, was taking a firm position on the side of France and Russia,
while Germany was increasing her naval power and giving a very definite
direction to her policy in the East. The commercial rivalry between
England and Germany was being rendered acute politically by the growth
of the German fleet. In this state of things Bethmann Hollweg formed the
opinion that there was only one thing that could be done, to aim at
withdrawing from the Dual Alliance the backing of England for its
anti-German policy. The Emperor entirely agreed with him, and it was
resolved to attempt to attain this purpose by coming to an understanding
with England.

Reading between the lines, it is pretty obvious that the ex-Chancellor
was at times embarrassed by the public utterances of his imperial
Master. Him he defends throughout the book with conspicuous loyalty, and
is emphatic about his desire to keep the peace, a desire founded in
religious conviction. But the Emperor's way was to see only one thing
at the moment. I translate[5] a passage from his Chancellor's book:

  "If from time to time he indulged in passionate expressions about
  the strong position in the world of Germany, his desire was that
  the nation, whose development beyond all expectation was filling
  him with conscious pride, should be spurred on to a fresh
  heightening of its energies. He sought to give it a continuous
  impulse with the energy of his enthusiastic nature. He wished his
  people to be strong and powerful in capacity to arm for their
  defense, but the German mission, which was for him a consuming
  faith, was yet to be a mission of work and of peace. That this
  work and this peace should not be destroyed by the dangers that
  surrounded us, was his increasing anxiety. Again and again has the
  Kaiser told me that his journey to Tangier in 1904, as to which he
  was quite unaware that it would lead to dangerous complications,
  was undertaken much against his own will, and only under pressure
  from his political advisers. Moreover, his personal influence was
  strongly exerted for a settlement of the Morocco crisis of 1905.
  And the same sense of the need of peace gave rise to his attitude
  during the Boer War and also during the Russo-Japanese War. To a
  ruler who really wanted war, opportunities for military
  intervention in the affairs of the world were truly not lacking.

  "Critics in Germany had in that period frequently pressed the
  point that a too frequent insistence in public on our readiness
  for peace was less likely to further it than, on the contrary, to
  strengthen the Entente in its policy of altering the _status quo_.
  In a period of Imperialism in which the talk about material power
  was loud, and in which the preservation of the peace of the world
  was considered only accidentally, like the ten years before the
  war, considerations such as these are undoubtedly full of
  significance, and perhaps the same sort of thing explains a good
  deal of strong language on the part of the Kaiser about Germany's
  capacity in case of war. It is certain that such utterances did
  not lessen the feeling of nervousness that filled the
  international atmosphere. But the true ground of such nervousness
  was the policy of the balance of power, which had split Europe
  into two armed camps full of distrust of each other. The
  Ambassadors of the Great Powers knew the Kaiser intimately enough
  to realize what his intentions, in spite of everything, were, and
  it required an untruthfulness only explicable by the psychological
  effect of war to permit the suggestion of a hateful and distorted
  picture of him as a tyrant seeking for the domination of the world
  and for war and bloodshed."

I have translated this passage from the book because I think it is
instructive in its disclosure of uneasy self-consciousness on the part
of the author. Obviously, the Emperor made his quiet-loving Minister at
times uncomfortable. I do not doubt that the Emperor really desired
peace, just as Herr von Bethmann Hollweg tells us. Yet he not only
indulged himself in warlike talk, but was surrounded by a group of
military and naval advisers who were preaching openly that war was
inevitable, and were instructing many of the prominent intellectual
leaders in their doctrine. The Emperor may well have been in a difficult
situation. But he was playing with fire when he made such speeches to
the world as he frequently did. I believe him to have most genuinely
desired to keep the peace. But I doubt whether he was willing to pay the
price for entry on the only path along which it could have been made
secure. He was a man of many sides, with a genius for speaking winged
words as part of his equipment. He was a dangerous leader for Germany
under conditions which had already caused even a Bismarck concern. The
result was that the world took him to be the ally, not of Bethmann
Hollweg, but of Tirpitz, and what that meant we shall see when we come
to the latter's book. I can not say that I think the judgment of the
world was other than, to put the matter at its lowest, the natural and
probable result of his language, and I find nothing in the
ex-Chancellor's volume to lead me to a different conclusion.

The argument of that volume is that England should never have entered
the Entente, for that by doing so she strengthened France and Russia so
as to enable them to indulge the will for war. He assumes that there was
this will as beyond doubt. But suppose England had not entered the
Entente, what then? On Herr von Bethmann Hollweg's own showing France
and Russia would have remained too weak to entertain the hope of success
in a conflict with the Triple Alliance. Germany could, under these
circumstances, have herself compelled these Powers to an entente or even
an alliance. England would have been in such a case left in isolation in
days in which isolation had ceased to be "splendid." For great as was
her navy, it could not have been relied upon as sufficient to protect
her adequately against the combined navies of Germany, France, Russia,
and Austria, with that of Italy possibly added. It was the apprehension
occasioned by Germany's warlike policy that made it an unavoidable act
of prudence to enter into the Entente. It was our only means of making
our sea power secure and able to protect us against threats of invasions
by great Continental armies. The Emperor and his Chancellor should
therefore have thought of some other way of securing the peace than that
of trying to detach us from the Entente.

The alternative was obvious. Germany should have offered to cease to
pile up armaments, if our desire for friendly relations all round could
be so extended as to bring all the Powers belonging to both groups into
them, along with England. But the German policy of relying on superior
strength in armaments as the true guarantee of peace did not admit of
this. I am no admirer of the principle of the balance of power. I should
like to say good-bye to it. I prefer the principle of a League of
Nations, if that be practicable, or, at the very least, of an Entente
comprising all the Powers. But if neither of these alternatives be
possible there remains, for the people who desire to be secure, only the
method of the balance of power. Now Germany drove us to this by her
indisposition to change her traditional policy and to be content to
rely on the settlement of specific differences for the good feeling that
always tends to result. She had, it is true, the misfortune for so
strong a nation to have been born a hundred years too late. She had got
less in Africa than she might have had. We were ready to help her to a
place in the sun there and elsewhere in the world, and to give up
something for this end, if only we could secure peace and contentment on
her part. But she would not have it so, and she chose to follow the
principle of relying on the "Mailed Fist." Of this policy, when pursued
recklessly, Bismarck well understood the danger. "Prestige politics," as
he called them, he hated. In February, 1888, he laid down in a
well-known speech what he held to be the true principle. "Every Great
Power which seeks to exert pressure on the politics of other countries,
and to direct affairs outside the sphere of interest which God has
assigned to it, carries on politics of power, and not of interest; it
works for prestige." But that principle was not consistently followed by
William the Second. Into the detailed story of his departure from it I
have not space to enter. But those who wish to follow this will do well
to read the narrative contained in an admirable and open-minded book by
Mr. Harbutt Dawson, "The German Empire from 1867 to 1914," in the
second volume of which the story is told in detail.

Instead of trying to alter the traditional attitude of Germany to her
neighbors, Herr von Bethmann Hollweg let it continue. That he did not
want it to continue I am pretty sure. At page 130 of his book he appeals
to me, personally, to recall the words he used in a conversation we had
one evening in February, 1912, words in which he sought to show me that
"a proper understanding between our two nations would guarantee the
peace of the world, and would lead the Powers by degrees from the
phantom of armed Imperialism to the opposite pole of peaceful work
together in the world." I remember his words, and with them I would
remind him that I wholly agreed. I had myself used similar language in
anticipation, and had begged him not to insist on our accepting an
obligation of absolute neutrality under all conditions which might prove
inconsistent with our duty of loyalty to France, now a friendly
neighbor, a duty which rested on no military obligation, but on kindly
feeling and regard. It was such friendship and mutual regard that I was
striving, with the assent of the British Cabinet, to bring about with
Germany also, and by the same means through which it had been
accomplished in the case of France. Not by any secret military
convention, for we had entered into no communications which bound us to
do more than study conceivable possibilities in a fashion which the
German General Staff would look on as mere matter of routine for a
country the shores of which lay so near to those of France, but by
removing all material causes of friction. And when Herr von Bethmann
Hollweg adds of my reply that "even he preferred the power of English
Dreadnoughts and the friendship of France," I must remind him of the
words sanctioned beforehand when submitted by me to Sir Edward Grey,
with which I began our conversation. I reproduce them from the record I
made immediately after the conversation to which I have already referred
in the preceding chapter, on which I again draw for further minor
details. And I wish to say, in passing, that both Herr von Bethmann
Hollweg and Admiral von Tirpitz have given in their books accounts of
what passed in my conversations with them which tally substantially, so
far as the words used are concerned, with my own notes and
recollections. It is mainly as to the inferences they now draw from my
then attitude that I have any controversy with them, and, in the case of
Admiral von Tirpitz, to some slight inaccuracies which have arisen from

The ex-Imperial Chancellor asked the question whether I was to talk to
him officially, the difficulty being that he could not divest himself of
his official position, and that it would be awkward to speak with me in
a purely private capacity. I said I had come officially, so far as the
approval of the King and the Cabinet was concerned, but merely to talk
over the ground, and not to commit either himself or my own Government
at this stage to definite propositions. At the first interview, which
took place in the British Embassy, on Thursday, February 8, 1912, and
lasted for more than an hour and a half, I began by giving him a message
of good wishes for the Conversations and for the future of Anglo-German
relations, with which the King had entrusted me at the audience I had
before leaving London. I proceeded to ask whether he wished to make the
first observations himself, or desired that I should begin. He wished me
to begin, and I went on at once to speak to him in the sense arranged in
the discussions I had with Sir Edward Grey before leaving London.

I told him that I felt there had been a great deal of drifting away
between Germany and England, and that it was important to ask what was
the cause. To ascertain this, events of recent history had to be taken
into account. Germany had built up, and was building up, magnificent
armaments, and, with the aid of the Triple Alliance, she had become the
center of a tremendous group. The natural consequence was that other
Powers had tended to approximate. I was not questioning for a moment
Germany's right to her policy, but this was the natural and inevitable
consequence in the interests of security. We used to have much the same
situation with France, when she was very powerful on the seas, that we
had with Germany now. While the fact to which I had referred created a
difficulty, the difficulty was not insuperable; for two groups of Powers
might be on very friendly relations if there was only an increasing
sense of mutual understanding and confidence. The present seemed to me
to be a favorable moment for a new departure. The Morocco question was
now out of the way, and we had no agreements with France or Russia
except those that were in writing and published to the world.

The Chancellor here interrupted me, and asked me whether this was really
so. I said it was so, and that, in the situation which now existed, I
saw no reason why it should not be possible for us to enter into a new
and cordial friendship carrying the two old ones into it, perhaps to the
profit of Russia and France, as well as of Germany herself. He replied
that he had no reason to differ from this view.

He and I both referred to the war scare of the autumn of 1911, and he
observed that we had made military preparations. I was aware that the
German Military Attaché in London had reported at that time to Berlin
that we had so reorganized our army as to be in a position, if we
desired to do so, to send six of our new infantry divisions and at least
one cavalry division swiftly to France. The Chancellor obviously had
this in his mind, and I told him that the preparations made were only
those required to bring the capacity of our small British Army, in point
of mobilization for eventualities which must be clear to him, to
something approaching the standard of that celerity in its operations
which Moltke had long ago accomplished for Germany and which was with
her now a matter of routine. For this purpose we had studied our
deficiencies and modes of operation. This, however, concerned our own
direct interests, and was a purely departmental matter concerning the
War Office, and the Minister who had the most to do with it was the one
who was now talking to him and who was not wanting in friendly feeling
toward Germany. We could not run the risk of being caught unprepared.

As both Herr von Bethmann Hollweg and Admiral von Tirpitz have devoted a
good deal of attention to these and other conversations in their books,
I have felt at liberty here and in the last chapter to state what, I am
bound to observe, had better not, as it seems to me personally, have
been held back for so long--the exact nature of that which actually
passed when I was sent to Berlin in February, 1912. Accordingly, it is
only necessary that I should add here a few words more about what indeed
appears in most of its detail from the versions given by the two German
Ministers concerned themselves.

I refused, not only because I had been instructed to do so, but because
in my own opinion it was vital that I should refuse, to negotiate
excepting on the basis of absolute loyalty to the Entente with France
and Russia. The German Government asked for a covenant of absolute
neutrality. This I could not look at. I had the same feeling about such
an agreement for unconditional neutrality as Caprivi had when he was
asked to renew the Reinsurance Treaty which Bismarck made with Russia at
Skiernevice in 1884, and under which, notwithstanding that Germany might
come to owe a duty to Austria to support her as her military Ally, he
bound Germany to observe neutrality in case Russia were attacked by
her. So far as appeared this Reinsurance Treaty probably had suggested
the wording of the analogous formula which the Chancellor was proposing
to myself. But altho we were not under the obligation to France which
Germany was under to Austria in 1884, I felt, to use the words of
Caprivi himself, when he succeeded Bismarck, and was asked to renew the
engagement with Russia, that the arrangement was "too complicated" for
my comprehension. It would have been not only wrong to expose a friendly
France to the risk of being dismembered by an unjustifiable invasion,
while her friend England merely stood looking on, but it would also have
been prejudicial to our safety. For to have allowed Germany to take
possession of the northern ports of France would have been to imperil
our island security. The Chancellor was entitled to make the request he
did, but I was bound to refuse it. I also, at the same time, told him
that if Germany went on increasing her Navy, any agreement with us meant
to lead to better relations would be little more than "bones without
flesh." Germany might, indeed, as he had said, need a third training
squadron, in addition to the two she had already in the North Sea. This
we could easily meet by moving more of our ships to northern waters,
without having to increase the number we were building independently.
But if she had the idea of adding to her fleet on a considerable scale
we should be bound to lay down two keels to every one of her new ships,
and the inevitable result would be, no proportionate increase in her
strength relatively to ours, but of a certainty a good deal of bad

I may observe that at the date of this conversation the new German Fleet
Bill had not been made public, and we knew nothing of its contents in
London, excepting that a third squadron for training was to be added to
the two which were already there. For this purpose it had been said that
a few ships and a moderate increase in personnel would be all that was
required. Before I left Berlin the Emperor, as I mentioned in the
preceding chapter, handed to me, with friendly frankness and with
permission to show it to my colleagues, an advance copy of the new Bill.
It looked to me as if, when scrutinized, its proposals might prove more
formidable than we had anticipated. But I asked his permission to
abstain from trying to form any judgment on this question without the
aid of the British Admiralty, and I put it in my pocket and handed it to
the First Lord of the Admiralty at a Cabinet held on Monday, February
12, in the afternoon of the day on which I returned to London. I was not
very sure as to what might prove to be contained in this Bill, and my
misgivings were confirmed by our Admiralty experts, who found in it a
program of destroyers, submarines, and personnel far in excess of
anything indicated in the only rumors that had reached us. After we had
to abandon the idea of getting Germany to accept the carefully guarded
formula of neutrality which was all that we could entertain, the Cabinet
sanctioned without delay the additions to our navy which were required
to counter these increases. Our policy was to avoid conflagration by
every effort possible, and at the same time to insure the house in case
of failure.

I felt throughout these conversations that the Chancellor was sincerely
desirous of meeting me in the effort to establish good relations between
the two countries. But he was hampered by the difficulty of changing the
existing policy of building up armaments which was imposed on him. In
only one way could he manage this, and that was by getting me to agree
to a formula of absolute neutrality under all circumstances. The other,
the better, and the only way that was admissible for us, the way in
which we had surmounted all difficulties with France and Russia, he was
not free to enter on, tho I believe that he really wished to. Hence the
attempt at a complete agreement failed. But, as he says himself, much
good came of these initial conversations, and still more of the
subsequent conversations which followed on them in London between Sir
Edward Grey and the German Ambassador. Candor became the order of the
day, minor difficulties were smoothed over, and a treaty for territorial
rearrangements, of the general character discussed in Berlin, was
finally agreed on, and was likely to have been signed had the war not

As to the rest of the narrative in the ex-Chancellor's book, this is not
the place to deal with it. His view that Germany was doing her best to
moderate the rash action in Vienna which resulted in the declaration of
war on Serbia, while England was doing much less to restrain the course
of events at St. Petersburg, is not one which it is easy to bring into
harmony with the documents published. This is a part of the history of
events before the war which has already been exhaustively dealt with by
others, and it is no part of the purpose of these pages to write of
matters about which I have no first-hand knowledge. For I had little
opportunity of taking any direct part in our affairs with Germany after
my final visit to that country, which was in 1912. My duties as Lord
Chancellor were too engrossing.

There are, however, in this connection just two topics toward the end of
the book which are of such interest that I will refer to them before
passing away from it. The first is the story that there was a Crown
Council at Potsdam on July 5, 1914, at which the Emperor determined on
war. This Herr von Bethmann Hollweg denies. He explains that in the
morning of that day the Austrian Ambassador lunched with the Emperor,
presumably at Potsdam, and took the opportunity of handing to him a
letter written by the Emperor of Austria personally, together with a
memorandum on policy drawn up in Vienna. This memorandum contained a
detailed plan for opposing Russian enterprise in the Balkan peninsula by
energetic diplomatic pressure. Against a hostile Serbia and an
unreliable Roumania resort was to be had to Bulgaria and Turkey, with a
view to the establishment of a Balkan League, excluding Serbia, to be
formed under the ægis of the Central Powers. The Serajevo murder was
declared to have demonstrated the aggressive and irreconcilable
character of Serbian policy. The Austrian Emperor's letter endorsed the
views contained in the memorandum, and added that, if the agitation in
Belgrade continued, the pacific views of the Powers were in danger. The
German Emperor said that he must consult his Chancellor before
answering, and sent for Bethmann Hollweg and the Under-Secretary,
Zimmermann. He saw them in the afternoon in the park of the Neues Palais
at Potsdam. The Chancellor thinks that no one else was present. It was
agreed that the situation was very serious. The ex-Chancellor says that
he had already learned the tenor of these Austrian documents, altho he
did not see the text of the subsequent ultimatum to Serbia until July
22. It was determined that it was no part of the duty of Germany to give
advice to her Ally as to how she should deal with the Serajevo murder.
But every effort was to be made to prevent the controversy between
Austria and Serbia from developing into an international conflict. It
was useful to try to bring in Bulgaria, but Roumania had better be left
out of account. These conclusions were in accordance with the
Chancellor's own opinion, and when he returned to Berlin he communicated
them to the Austrian Ambassador. Germany would do what she could to make
Roumania friendly, and Austria was told that in any case she might rely
on her Ally, Germany, to stand firmly by her side.

The next day the Emperor set off in his yacht for the northern seas. The
Chancellor says he advised him to do this because the expedition was one
which the Emperor had been in the habit of making every year at that
season, and it would cause talk if this usual journey were to be

The other point relates to the date on which the German Chancellor saw
the text of the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia. He tells us that it was
brought to him for the first time on the evening of July 22 by Herr von
Jagow, the Foreign Secretary, who had just received it from the Austrian
Ambassador. The Chancellor says that von Jagow thought the ultimatum too
strongly worded, and wished for some delay. But when he told the
Ambassador this the answer was that the document had already been
dispatched, and it was published in the Vienna _Telegraph_ the next

The conclusion of the Chancellor is that the stories of the Crown
Council at Potsdam on July 5, and of the co-operation of the German
Government in preparing the ultimatum, are mere legends. The question of
substance as regards the first may be left for interpretation by
posterity. As to the controversy about the second, it would be
interesting to know whether Herr von Tschirsky, the German Ambassador
at Vienna, knew of the ultimatum before it assumed the form in which it
reached Berlin on July 22. I shall have more to say about these
incidents later on when I come to Admiral von Tirpitz's account of them.

My criticism of Herr von Bethmann Hollweg is in no case founded on any
doubt at all as to his veracity. I formed, in the course of my dealings
with him, a high opinion of his integrity. But in his reasoning he is
apt to let circumstances escape his notice which are in a large degree
material for forming a judgment. This does not seem to me to arise from
any deliberate intention to be otherwise than candid. I am sure that he
believes that he is telling the full truth at all times. But he became a
convinced partizan, quite intelligibly. This fact, however creditable to
his patriotism, seems to me not only to explain why he thought it right
to continue in office and stand by his country as long as he could
through the war, but also to detract somewhat from the weight that would
otherwise attach to the opinions of an honorable and well-meaning man.

I pass to the examination of the concurrent policy against which he
could not prevail, and the existence of which takes the edge off his
reasoning. That policy is expounded fully and clearly by Admiral von
Tirpitz, a German of the traditional Military School, a man of great
ability, and one who rarely if ever allowed himself to be deflected from
pursuing a concentrated purpose to the utmost of his power.

Of the general character of this purpose his colleague, Bethmann
Hollweg, was conscious, as appears from passages in the book just
discussed, of which I have selected one for translation.

"The fleet was the favorite child of Germany, for in it the
onward-pressing energies of the nation seemed to be most vividly
illustrated. The application of the most modern technical skill, and the
organization that had been worked out with so much care, were admired,
and rightly so. To the doubts of those versed in affairs whether we were
pursuing our true path by building great battleships, there was opposed
a fanatical public opinion which was not disciplined in the interest of
those responsible for the direction of affairs. Reflections about the
difficult international troubles to which our naval policy was giving
rise were held in check by a robust agitation. In the navy itself the
consciousness was by no means everywhere present that the navy must be
only an instrument of policy and not its determining factor. The conduct
of naval policy had for many years rested in the hands of a man who
claimed to exercise _political_ authority over his department, and who
influenced unbrokenly the political opinion of wider circles. Where
differences arose between the Admiralty and the civilian leadership,
public opinion was almost without exception on the side of the
Admiralty. Any attempt to take into consideration relative proportions
in the strength of other nations was treated as being the outcome of a
weak-minded apprehension of the foreigner."

When I was in Berlin in 1912, the last year in which, as I have already
said, I visited Germany, there were those who thought that Bethmann
Hollweg would shortly be superseded as Chancellor by his powerful rival,
Admiral von Tirpitz. But in these days the peace party in that country
was pretty strong, and the then Chancellor was regarded as a cautious
and safe man. It was later on, in 1913, when the new Military Law, with
£50,000,000 of fresh expenditure, was passed, that the situation became
much more doubtful. But the hesitation that existed in Government
circles in Berlin earlier was never shared by the author of the
"_Erinnerungen_," to which I now pass. One has only to look at the
portrait at the beginning of that volume to see what sort of a man the
author is. A strong man certainly, a descendant of the class which
clustered round the great Moltke, and gave much anxiety at times to
Bismarck himself.



The Admiral possesses a "General Staff" mind of a high order. A mind of
this type has never been given a chance of systematic development in the
English Navy, where the distinction between strategy and tactics, on the
one hand, and administration on the other, has never been so sharply
laid down as it has been, following the great Moltke, in Germany. Even
Moltke himself was not satisfied with what had been accomplished in
Germany in this direction by the Army. He is said to have complained
that the General Staff building, which was put in the Thiergarten, while
the War Office was in Berlin itself, near the corner of the
Wilhelmstrasse, was only one mile distant from the War Office, when it
should have been two. For he held that the exactness of demarcation of
function, which was only to be attained if strategy and tactics were
studied continuously by a specially chosen body of experts, could not be
made complete if the War Office could get too easily at the General
Staff. But what he accomplished at least gave rise to a school of exact
military thought far in advance of any that had preceded it. The fruits
of this were reaped in the war with Austria in 1866, and still more in
that with France in 1870. And when the navy was first organized this
principle was introduced into its organization, first by Stosch and then
by Caprivi. Both of these had been trained in the great Moltke's ideas,
and it was because of this that, altho soldiers, they were chosen to
model the organization of the German Navy. It is true that we have
beaten the German Navy. That was because, as Tirpitz himself admits, we
possessed, not only superior numbers, but a tradition of long standing
and a spirit in our fleet which Germany had not built up. But we shall
do well not to overlook what he has to say about the procedure of basing
strategy and tactics on exact knowledge, and careful study, especially
when such ideas as that of landing small expeditionary forces on enemy
territory by means of a naval expedition, are being considered, nor what
he says of his efforts to make this procedure real. Numbers are not
always sufficient. They are not likely to be large for a long time to
come, and the study of all possibilities and of modern conditions is
therefore more important than ever. The British Army knows this. It is
not so clear that the British Navy is equally informed about the
necessity of bearing the principle in mind.

Tirpitz never served in the army, but he was brought up under the
influence of these great soldiers. His first experience was indeed
mainly in technical matters of construction. But he never let go the
true principle of an Admiral or War Staff, and the result was that he
considered, and not wholly without reason, that he was leading the
German Navy on lines which were in the end likely to make it, when fully
developed, a more powerful instrument than the British Navy. Instead of
studying merely the lessons of the past, as we here seek them in, for
instance, the history of the Seven Years' War of more than a century and
a half ago, or in the operations of Nelson carried out a hundred years
since, he insisted that the German Navy should study systematically
modern problems, and in particular combined naval and military
operations. In England we had no War Staff for the Navy until 1911, and
our Senior Admirals disliked the idea. Consequently such staff study of
military problems has never been properly developed, the wishes of our
junior naval officers notwithstanding. In Germany the idea was regarded
as a vital one throughout by Tirpitz.

The first chapter of Tirpitz's book describes the beginnings of the
German Navy. The second deals with the Stosch period. The third is
devoted to the administration of Caprivi during the time when he was
head of the Admiralty, and extends to the period when he became
Chancellor. The fourth is devoted to construction. The fifth describes
the disastrous breaking up of the Naval Administration into Boards, to
which the author says the Emperor William II. allowed himself to be
persuaded. The sixth chapter is directed to tactical developments, a
subject in which Admiral Tirpitz himself did much. The seventh deals
with naval plans. The eighth contains a very interesting description of
how he was sent to find a naval base in Chinese waters, and how he
selected and developed, with German thoroughness, Tsingtau (Kiaochow).
The ninth chapter begins the story of the difficulties he experienced
when refused sufficient money and freedom while he was Minister of
Marine. The tenth gives a vividly written account of his visits to
Bismarck. The next five chapters are devoted to the development of the
German Navy and its relation to foreign policy. The sixteenth,
seventeenth, and eighteenth chapters are concerned with the author's
views of the reasons for the outbreak of the war of 1914, and its
history. The nineteenth is a chapter devoted to the submarine war, and
to a farewell apostrophe to a Germany lost by bad leading and vagueness
in objectives. There is also a supplement, containing letters written
by him from time to time during the war, and his observations on what
ought to have been the consistent policy of Germany in construction of
battleships and submarines.

The great thesis of the book is that the only way to preserve the peace
was to make Europe fear German strength, and that this imported such
battle-fleets as would attract allies to Germany for protection, and
would thus in the end weaken the Entente. England was the real enemy,
and England could not be dislodged from her powerful position in the
world so long as she was allowed to continue in command of the ocean.
For Bethmann Hollweg's alternative policy of a peaceful _rapprochement_
with England he has no words but those of contempt. He, too, he says,
had ideas as to how to keep the peace, but they were diametrically
different from those of his colleague the Chancellor. On him he pours
scorn for his attempts at departure from the policy of Frederick the
Great and Bismarck.

Tirpitz had been deeply impressed by the writings of Admiral Mahan. He
himself drew from them the lesson that in ultimate analysis world-power
for Germany depended on the sea-power which she had not got, and he set
himself to build it up. He endeavored to educate on this subject, not
only the Reichstag, where he says he had much opposition, but the
public. Under Prince Bülow this was less difficult than he subsequently
found it. His account of how the Minister of Education and the
University professors helped him, and of how he contrived to enlist the
Press, is as interesting as it is significant. But his great difficulty
was obviously with William the Second. The Emperor had done much for
fleet construction, and was so interested in it that he meddled at every
turn in technical and strategical matters alike. The Ministry of Marine
was not allowed to carry out the Admiral's own plans and conceptions.
And when Bethmann came on the scene the situation became, according to
the former, even worse. He moans over the apparent limitlessness of the
money and authority with which the English Admiralty was provided by
Parliament and the nation. At last he carried with his colleagues and in
the Reichstag the policy of Fleet Laws, under which the Reichstag passed
measures which took construction, in part at least, from off the annual
navy vote, and he got through the succession of Acts that laid down
programs extending over several years. Richter and other distinguished
public men fought Tirpitz over these, but, in part at least, he got his
way, and secured the nearest approach to continuity that his
ever-supervising Sovereign would permit to him.

What Tirpitz says he asked for above everything was a definite policy
for war, and this he could not get the leave of Bethmann to lay down,
nor could he get the volatile Emperor to stick to definite conceptions
of it. For coast defense he had a supreme contempt. The great German
Army would take care of this, so far as invasion was concerned, and an
adequate battle-fleet would do the rest. It is noticeable that
apparently he never even dreamed of trying to invade England with her
fleet protection. It was in quite another way that he intended, if
necessary, to harass this country. He wanted to threaten our commerce
and to be able to break any blockade of Germany. German sea-power was to
be made strong enough to attract allies by its ability to rally all free
nations without any curatorship by the Anglo-Saxons.

This is what he says his war objectives were. He bitterly complains of
the opposition to them and to himself which he met with from such papers
as the _Frankfurter Zeitung_, and from the influence of certain of his
colleagues. Constitutionalism he appears to have hated. The democracy
of Germany was not suited to such leading as Lloyd George, during the
war, gave to England, and Clemenceau to France. In Germany, he declares,
a strong hand is always required, and a revolution is inevitable in case
the hand is weak, and defeat follows. For Germany needed "the
Prussian-German State." The tradition of Frederick the Great and
Bismarck was its protecting spirit.

Can we wonder, if the narrative of this capable man is accurate, that
Bethmann struggled for his rival policy of conciliation in the face of
almost insuperable difficulties? Tirpitz had a strong party at his back,
both in Prussia and elsewhere. What made it strong was largely that its
members shared his view of England and of the situation. "They looked to
us," he says, "it was the last chance of international freedom." I
thought in 1912 that Bethmann might in the end win, for in the main at
that time the Emperor was with him, and so were Ballin and many others
of great influence. The Social Democrats, too, were gaining influence
rapidly. But the presence of a powerful school of thought at the back of
Tirpitz, a school which, had it succeeded, would have secured the place
it desired by reducing to a precarious state the life of my own country,
made me feel that, while we must do all we could to extend our
friendships so as to convert and bring in Germany, the chances of
success did not preponderate sufficiently to justify relaxation of
either vigilance in preparation or resolution in policy. My feeling
remained what I had tried to express in the address delivered at Oxford
in August of 1911. "I wish," I said then, "all our politicians who
concern themselves with Anglo-German relations, those who are pro-German
as well as those who are not, could go to Berlin and learn something,
not only of the language and intellectual history of Prussia, but of the
standpoint of her people--and of the disadvantages as well as the
advantages of an excessive lucidity of conception. Nowhere else in
Germany that I know of is this to be studied so advantageously and so
easily as in Berlin, the seat of Government, the headquarters of
_Real-politik_, and it seems to me most apparent among the highly
educated classes there."

Bismarck does not appear to have known much while in office about
Tirpitz, and when the latter desired later on to enlist his outside
support he did not find it at first easy. But, having with some
difficulty got the assent of the Emperor to a new ship being named after
Bismarck, he in the end got from the latter permission to visit him at
Friedrichsruh in 1897. There Tirpitz arrived at noon. The family were
at luncheon. He tells us how the Prince sat at the head of the table,
and how he rose, cool but polite, and remained standing till Tirpitz was
seated. The Prince assumed the air of one suffering from sharp neuralgic
pain, and he kept pressing the side of his head with a small indiarubber
hot-water bottle. It was only with an appearance of difficulty that he
uttered, and his food was minced meat. However, when he had drunk a
bottle and a half of German champagne (_Sect_) he became animated. After
the dishes were removed, Countess Wilhelm Bismarck lit his great pipe
for him, and with the other ladies quitted the room. The atmosphere was
one of gloomy silence. But the great man suddenly broke it by raising
his formidable eyebrows, and directing a grim look at Tirpitz, whom he
appears next to have asked whether he himself was a tomcat that needed
only to be stroked in order to procure sparks to be emitted. Tirpitz
then timidly unfolded his plans and his policy of building big
battleships. Bismarck was critical, and turned his criticism to other
matters also. He denounced as disastrous the abrogation by Caprivi and
William the Second of the treaty he (Bismarck) had made with Russia for
Reinsurance. Bismarck declared that, in case of an Anglo-Russian war,
our policy was contained in the simple words: neutrality as regards
Russia. The modest Tirpitz ventured to suggest that only a fleet strong
enough to be respected could make Germany worthy of an alliance in the
eyes of Russia and other powers. Bismarck rejected this almost angrily.
The English he thought little of. If they tried to invade Germany the
Landwehr would knock them down with the butt-ends of their rifles. That
a close blockade might knock Germany down never seemed to occur to him.
However, in the end Tirpitz says that the Prince became mollified and
expressed agreement with the view that an increased fleet was necessary.

Bismarck then invited the Admiral to go with him for a drive in the
forest. Despite the neuralgia, this drive, which took place amid showers
of rain, lasted for two hours. The carriage, moreover, was open. There
were two bottles of beer, one on the right and the other on the left of
the Prince, which they drank on the way, and he smoked his pipe
continuously. "It was not easy to keep pace with his giant

For the details of the conversation, which was conducted in English so
that the coachman might not understand it, I must refer the reader to
the chapter in which it is described. The old warrior spoke with
affection of the Emperor Frederick, but as regarded his son William, he
appears to have let himself go. Tirpitz was to tell the latter that he,
Bismarck, only wanted to be let alone, and die in peace. His task was
ended. He had "no future and no hopes."

Tirpitz saw Bismarck twice subsequently. The last time was on the
occasion of a surprize visit to him by the Emperor. This visit was not
wholly a success. The conversation got on to unfortunate lines. Bismarck
began to speak of politics, and the Emperor ignored what he said and did
not reply. The younger Moltke, who was present, whispered to Tirpitz,
"It is terrible," alluding to the Emperor's want of reverence. When the
Emperor left, his Minister, von Lucanus, who was with him, held out his
hand to the old Prince. But Lucanus had formerly intrigued against him.
Consequently he "sat like a statue, not a muscle moved. He gazed into
the air, and before him Lucanus made gestures in vain."

All this notwithstanding, Tirpitz seems to have made a good impression.
For after these visits the Bismarck press began to speak favorably of

But I must not linger over side issues. The book is so full of
interesting material that in writing about it one has to resolve not to
be led away from the vital points by its digressions. One of these
points is that to which I have already made reference in giving the
Chancellor's views about it, the responsibility for what happened in
July, 1914, and in particular for the decision taken on the 5th of that
month at Potsdam.

It is interesting to compare Tirpitz's account of the meeting that took
place then, on the invitation of the Emperor, with that of Bethmann,
altho the former was not present, and bases his judgment only on what
was reported to him as Minister. He gives an account of what happened
which makes the meeting seem a more important one than the ex-Chancellor
takes it to have been. The Admiral's view is that at this date what was
urgently wanted was "prompt and frank" action. Austria should not have
been allowed to rush upon Serbia, however just her causes for anger. On
the other hand the German Emperor should have at once and directly
appealed to the Czar to co-operate with him in endeavoring to secure
such a response to reason and expression of contrition on the part of
Serbia as would have eased off the situation, which was full of danger.
For, with an unfriendly Entente interesting itself, no war which broke
out was likely to be capable of being kept localized.

Tirpitz was not in Berlin on July 5, but he received reports from there
of what was happening. Neither he nor von Moltke, the Chief of the
General Staff, was consulted, but Tirpitz declares that the Emperor saw
at Potsdam the Minister of War, von Falkenhayn, and also the Minister of
the Military Cabinet, von Lyncker. If so, whether or not the conference
was technically a Crown Council, the meeting was a very important one.

Tirpitz confirms Bethmann in saying that, prompted by chivalrous
feeling, the German Emperor responded to the Emperor of Austria by
promising support and fidelity. He declares that the Emperor William did
not consider the intervention of Russia to protect Serbia as probable,
because he thought that the Czar would never support regicides, and
that, besides, Russia was not prepared for war, either in a military or
financial sense. Moreover, the Emperor somewhat optimistically presumed
that France would hold Russia back on account of her own disadvantageous
state of finance and her lack of heavy artillery. The Emperor did not
refer to England; complications with that country were not thought of.
The Emperor's view thus was that a further extension of dangerous
complications was unlikely. His hope was that Serbia would give in, but
he considered it desirable that Germany should be prepared in case of a
different issue of the Austro-Serbian dispute. It was for that reason
that he had on the 5th commanded the Chancellor, Bethmann Hollweg; the
Minister of War, von Falkenhayn; the Under-Secretary of State for
Foreign Affairs, Zimmermann; and the Minister of the War Cabinet, von
Lyncker, to Potsdam. It was then decided that all steps should be
avoided which would attract political attention or involve much expense.
After this decision the Emperor, on the advice of the Chancellor,
started on his journey to the North Cape, for which arrangements had
already been made. The duty of the Chancellor under the circumstances
was to consider any promise to be given to Austria from the standpoint
of German interests, and to keep watch on the method of its fulfilment.
The Chancellor, says his critic, did not hesitate to accept the decision
of the Emperor, apparently imagining that Austria's position as a Great
Power was already shaken and would collapse unless she could insist on
being compensated at the expense of the greedy Serbians. He probably had
in his mind the success obtained in the earlier Balkan crisis over
Bosnia and Herzegovina. He goes on to tell us that he was not informed
as to what the Emperor was thinking of during his tour in northern
waters, but that he had reason to believe that he did not anticipate
serious danger to the peace of the world. And he observes, as a
characteristic of the Emperor, that when he was not apprehensive of
danger he would express himself without restraint about the traditions
of his illustrious predecessors, but the moment matters began to look
critical his became a hesitating mood. The Admiral thinks that if the
Emperor had not left Berlin, and if the full Government machinery had
been at work, means might have been found by the Emperor and the
Ministry of averting the danger of war. As, however, the Chief of the
General Staff, the Head of the Admiralty Staff, and Tirpitz himself were
kept away from Berlin during the following weeks, the matter was handled
solely by the Chancellor, who, being in truth not sufficiently
experienced in great European affairs, was not able to estimate the
reliability of those who were advising him in the Foreign Office.



Von Tirpitz goes on to say that by July 11 the Berlin Foreign Office had
heard that the Entente had advised yielding at Belgrade. The Chancellor,
he declares, could now have brought about a peaceful solution, but,
convinced as he was that the Entente did not mean war, he drew the
shortsighted conclusion that Austria, without considering the Entente,
might force a march into Serbia and yet not endanger the world's peace.
His optimism was disastrous. On July 13 he (the Chancellor) was,
according to Tirpitz, informed of the essential points in the proposed
Austrian ultimatum. Bethmann, as already stated, says that he did not
see the ultimatum itself until the 22nd, when it had already been
dispatched. But he does not say that he had been given no forecast of
its contents from the German Ambassador at Vienna. Tirpitz quotes, but
without giving its exact date, a memorandum sent to him at Tarasp
apparently just after the 13th. It was forwarded from the Admiralty, and
was in these terms: "Our Ambassador in Vienna, Herr von Tschirsky, has
ascertained privately, as well as from Count Berchtold, that the
ultimatum to be sent by Austria to Serbia will contain the following
demands: I. A proclamation of King Peter to his people in which he will
command them to abstain from greater Serbian agitation. II.
Participation of a higher Austrian official in the investigation of the
assassination. III. Dismissal and punishment of all officers and
officials proved to be accomplices."

Tirpitz says that his first impression, when he received this document
in Tarasp, was that Serbia could not possibly accept the terms of such
an ultimatum. And he adds that he believed neither in the possibility of
localizing the war nor in the neutrality of England. In his view the
greatest care was required to reassure the Russian Government,
especially as England would wish "to let war break out in order to
establish the balance of power on the Continent as she understood it."
But the Chancellor expressed the wish that he should not return to
Berlin, for his doing so might give rise to remarks. If this be so, it
seems to have been a very unfortunate step. The Emperor and his most
important Ministers should all have been in Berlin at such a time.
Bethmann's advice appears intelligible only if he thought, as is quite
possible, that he could himself handle the negotiations best if the
Emperor and Tirpitz were both out of the way. If so, he was not
successful. He did not in the end respond to Sir Edward Grey's wish for
a conference, and earlier he had failed to bridle the impulsive ally who
was dashing wildly about. It looks as tho, however good his intentions
may have been, he was taking terrible risks.

Now this was the crucial period. Grey was doing his very utmost to avert
war, and was even pressing Serbia to accept the bulk of what was in the
ultimatum. As to his real intentions, I may, without presumption, claim
to be better informed than Admiral von Tirpitz. Sir Edward Grey and I
had been intimate friends for over a quarter of a century before the
period in which the Admiral, who, so far as I know, never saw him,
diagnoses the state of his intentions. During the eight years previous
to July, 1914, we had been closely associated and were working as
colleagues in the Cabinets of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and Mr.
Asquith. And in that July, throughout the weeks in question, Sir Edward
was staying with me in my house in London, and considering with me the
telegrams and incidents, great or small.

It is a pure myth that he had, at the back of his mind, any such
intentions as the Admiral imagines. He was working with every fiber put
in action for the keeping of the peace. He was pressing for that in St.
Petersburg, in Paris, in Berlin, in Vienna, and in Belgrade. He was not
in the least influenced either by jealousy of Germany's growth or by
fear of a naval engagement with her, as Tirpitz infers. All he wanted
was to fulfil what, for him, was the sacred trust that had been
committed to him, the duty of throwing the whole weight of England's
influence on the side of peace. And that was not less the view of Mr.
Asquith, whom I knew equally intimately, and it was the view of all my
colleagues in the Cabinet.

Germany was going ahead with giant strides in commerce and industry, but
we had not the slightest title to be jealous or to complain when she was
only reaping the fruits of her own science and concentration on peaceful
arts. I had said this myself emphatically to the Emperor at Berlin in
1906 in a conversation the record of which has already been given. There
was no responsible person in this country who dreamt, either in 1914 or
in the years before then, of interfering with Germany's Fleet
development merely because it could protect her growing commerce. What
responsible people did object to was the method of those who belonged to
the Tirpitz school. The peace was to be preserved; I give that school
full credit for this desire; but preserved on what terms? On the terms
that the German was to be so strong by land and sea that he could
swagger down the High Street of the world, making his will prevail at
every turn.

But this was not the worst, so far as England was concerned. The school
of von Tirpitz would not be content unless they could control England's
sea power. They would have accepted a two-to-three keel standard
because it would have been enough to enable them to secure allies and to
break up the Entente. Now it was vital to us that Germany should not
succeed in attaining this end. For if she did succeed in attaining it,
not only our security from invasion, but our transport of food and raw
materials, would be endangered. With a really friendly Germany or with a
League of Nations the situation would have mattered much less. It was
the policy of the school to which Tirpitz and the Emperor himself
belonged which made the situation one of growing danger and the Entente
a necessity, for these were days when other nations near us were
beginning to organize great battle-fleets. If Bethmann Hollweg's policy
had prevailed there would have been no necessity for any such Entente as
was the only way of safety for us. But he could not carry his policy
through, earnestly tho he desired to do so, and thus provide the true
way to permanent peaceful relations. I think he believed that the only
use Britain ever contemplated making of her Navy, should peace continue,
was that of a policeman who co-operates with others in watching lest
anyone should jostle his neighbor on the maritime highway. He believed
in the _Sittlichkeit_, which we here mean when we speak of "good form."
But that was not the faith of his critics in Berlin. They wanted to have
Russia, and if possible France also, along with their navies, on the
side of Germany. Peace, yes, but peace compelled by fear--a very
unwholesome and unstable kind of peace, and deadly for the interests of
an island nation. Hence the Entente!

What we had to do was to prevent, if we could, the Tirpitz school from
getting its way, and we tried this not without some measure of success.
Even to-day our pacifists now join with chauvinist critics of a policy
which was pursued steadily for many years, and was that of
Campbell-Bannerman as well as of Asquith. They reproach us for having
entered on our path without having adequately increased our naval and
military resources. The reproach is not a just one. It is founded on a
complete misconception of the true military situation. It is only
necessary to read carefully through Admiral von Tirpitz's very
instructive volume to see that he took precisely the same view as we
did, and as was held to unswervingly by our Committee of Imperial
Defense. England's might lay in final analysis in her sea power. She
needed also a small but very perfect army, capable of high rapidity in
concentration by the side of the great French Army, in order to prevent
the coasts of France close to our own from being occupied by an enemy
invading French territory.

In his book the Admiral refers to a letter I wrote to _The Times_ on
December 16, 1918, pointing this out and the grounds on which the
strategical conception was based. The Admiral expresses his agreement,
and says that it was a fatal blunder of the German Highest Command not
to use their submarine power at the very outbreak of the war to prevent
our Expeditionary Force from crossing the Channel and co-operating in
resisting the German advance towards Calais. From there Germany could
have commanded the Channel and bombarded London.

So he says, and we were quite aware all along that he might well think
so. The other thing that he makes plain by implication is that the
direct invasion of England was never contemplated by Germany in the face
of our command of the sea. I had long ago satisfied myself that this was
the German view, by a study of their military textbooks and from
conversations with high German officers. But, what was more important
than what I personally thought, the Committee of Imperial Defense, on
which I sat regularly during eight years, was clear about it, and this
after close study, and after hearing what the most eminent exponents in
this country of a different view had to urge before them.

Consequently our military policy was not doubtful. No doubt it would
have been a nice thing could we have possessed in 1914 a great army
fashioned and trained, not for firing rifles on the seashore, but for a
struggle on French and Belgian soil. But such an army would have taken
two generations at least to raise and train in peace time, and if we had
laid out our money on it after 1870 instead of on ships, we should not
have had the sea power which Tirpitz says gave us "bulldog" strength. In
strategy and in military organization you can not successfully bestride
two horses at once. He who would accomplish anything has to limit
himself. Possibly it was because this was not clearly kept in view even
in Germany that the volume before us is an exposition of a thesis which
is novel in these islands, that it was not England that was unprepared,
but Germany herself. For the confusion of objectives that led to this
Tirpitz blames Bethmann's peace policy, the parsimony of the Reichstag,
and the Emperor's failure to attain to clear notions about war aims.

He criticizes me for saying that there was in Germany before 1914 a war
party alongside of a peace party. It was really only the Bethmann
group, he declares, that believed in peace being built on anything else
than preponderance in armed power. The tradition of the German nation
and the view of all sensible statesmen in Germany, _e.g._, Prince Bülow
and the Emperor himself as a rule, was that the foundation of a lasting
peace could only be laid with armaments. Now if this is so it is plain
how the war came about. The "shining armor" oration in Austria, some
years before war broke out, was simply one among many illustrations
which so alarmed civilized nations that they huddled together for
protection against this school of statesmen. Bethmann's was the true
policy had he been allowed to carry it out. It is possible that he
thought he had a better chance of carrying it out than could have been
the case were they to be present, when he got the Emperor and Tirpitz to
keep away from Berlin after the meeting at Potsdam on July 5.
Unfortunately he underestimated the tendencies of Berchtold, Conrad von
Hoetzendorf, Forgasch, and others in Vienna, who, with no misgivings
such as those of Tirpitz as to the outcome, had determined on
"_losgehen_." The proximate cause of the war was Austrian policy. A
secondary cause was the absence of any effective attempt at control from
Berlin. The third and principal cause was the Tirpitz theory of how to
keep the peace, the theory that had come down from Frederick the Great
and his father, and was barely a safe one in the hands of even a

The only circumstances that could have justified Germany in her tacit
encouragement to Austria to take a highly dangerous step--a step which
was almost certain to bring Russia, France, and England into sharp
conflict with the Central Powers--would have been clear proof that the
three Entente nations were preparing to seize a chance and to encircle
and attack Germany or Austria or both.

Now for this there is no foundation whatever. Russia, whatever Isvolsky
and other Russian statesmen may have said in moments of irritation over
the affair of Bosnia and Herzegovina, did not want to plunge into war;
France did not desire anything of the kind; and, as for England, nothing
was more remote from her wishes. It was only in order to preserve the
general peace that we had entered the Entente, and the method of the
Entente policy, the getting rid of all specific causes of difference,
was one which had nothing objectionable in it. We urged Germany also to
enter upon this path with us. We offered to help her in her progress
toward the attainment of a "place in the sun." The negotiations which
took place with Sir Edward Grey in London after my return from Berlin
in 1912 are evidence of our sincerity in this, for they culminated in
agreement on the terms of a detailed Treaty, under which a vast number
of territorial questions were settled to mutual satisfaction. We did not
either in 1912, as Admiral von Tirpitz appears to imagine, in the
conversation at the Schloss, or later on, offer territory that was not
our own but belonged to Portugal, or Belgium, or France. The contrary is
evident from the fact that the British government pressed Germany to
consent to the immediate publication of the draft Treaty, agreed early
in 1914, when signed. All we did on both occasions was to propose
exchanges with Germany of territory that was ours for territory that was
hers, to undertake not to compete for the purchase of certain other
territory that might come into the market, in consideration of a
corresponding undertaking on her part, and to agree about zones within
which each nation should distribute its industrial energies and give
financial assistance to undertakings.

The gallant Admiral gives an account of the meeting which took place on
February 9, 1912, in the Emperor's Cabinet room in the Schloss between
himself, the Emperor and myself. He represents me as making a "generous
offer of colonial territories which the English neither possessed nor of
which they had the least right of disposal, in order to flatter the
Kaiser's desires." Now in this impression the Admiral was wholly wrong.
What I spoke of was what I have just referred to, exchanges of parts of
our own territory for parts belonging to Germany, and undertakings such
as I have just referred to. These things I had considered the previous
day with the Chancellor, and I do not think the Emperor was in the least
under the impression which von Tirpitz entertained. The matter was
indeed not one with which the Department of the Minister of Marine was
likely to be familiar. My suggestions were made in accordance with my
instructions, and were, of course, _bona fide_ in all respects. What I
was pressing for was the means for making possible a slackening in naval
construction on both sides, and for acceptance of the Entente and of our
position in it. What I desired was to extend its friendly relations so
as to bring Germany and Austria and Italy within them and get rid of
anxiety about the balance of power and the growth of armaments. I think
the Emperor throughout understood this, and certainly the Chancellor
did. Tirpitz appears to have suspected, in an attitude in which I was
only aiming at being friendly and even cordial, concealment of an
encircling and aggressive purpose. After studying his book I do not
wonder! When one rises from reading it one understands the fixity of an
idea, which amounted to an obsession, and compelled him to believe in
the necessity for what would have amounted to the overthrow of Britain
as a Great Power.

From the Emperor, on this as on other occasions, I met with nothing but
the kindliest of receptions. Admiral von Tirpitz describes the luncheon
party which preceded the conference in the Cabinet Room. He speaks of a
certain "_spanning_" or tension which prevailed during the luncheon
which the Emperor and Empress gave to the Berlin Cabinet and myself, and
of restraint in the conversation. I can not say that I perceived any of
these things, but then, of course, I was a foreigner. What I do remember
was the general kindly feeling and the evident satisfaction produced by
the production of the famous red champagne and great cigars with which
the Emperor regaled his guests. For myself, special distinction was
reserved. For, before proceeding to business, the Emperor read to me
Goethe's poem, _Ilmenau_, of which he thought I might like to be
reminded before we sat down to our task. He then observed that, out of
consideration for Tirpitz, we must confer in German, while on the other
hand this would be the harder on me because the naval matters with which
we had to deal were not in my department, as they were in that of the
Admiral. This was, of course, true. And then, in compensation for
disadvantages which, as he said, would otherwise be unfair, he smilingly
remarked that he had a plan for adjusting the balance of power on this
occasion. He insisted on my occupying the Imperial chair, which stood at
the head of the narrow Cabinet table, while His Majesty himself should
sit on an ordinary chair on my left hand and the Admiral on another on
my right. I thought that these arrangements suggested the possibility of
a tough controversy, and as far as the Admiral was concerned it proved
to be so. For the discussion lasted for two and three-quarter hours, and
was fairly close. I said throughout that, while I came here to explore
the ground with the authority of my Sovereign and his Cabinet, I had
come, not to make a treaty at that stage, but on a preliminary voyage of
discovery with a view to taking back materials with which the Cabinet of
St. James's might be able to construct one, and that I had been
delighted with the graciousness of my reception. I mention this because
the Admiral appears not to have quite understood my position. I have no
doubt that the Emperor understood it.

At the end of the conversation I felt for once a little tired, and was
glad when the Emperor asked von Tirpitz to drive me back to the Hotel
Bristol. I thought the manner of the latter during the journey highly
polite and correct, but not wholly sympathetic. I can only say that on
my part I had endeavored to put every card I had upon the table.

I have now touched on what seem to me the salient points in both of the
volumes by these two famous statesmen. I have, I hope, brought out
sufficiently the fact that on their own showing they were pursuing
contradictory policies, and that it was the consequent failure to follow
a policy that was consistent and continuous that in the end led Germany
to the slippery slope down which she glided into war. The circumstances
of the world before and in 1914 were so difficult, the piling up of
armaments had been so great, that nothing but the utmost caution could
secure a safe path. I believe the Emperor and Bethmann to have desired
wholeheartedly the preservation of the peace. But to that end they took
inadequate means, and the result was a disastrous failure to accomplish

The disturbing presence of the policy of relying on a preponderance in
power over England, to be gained by a great navy, to the side of which
the smaller navies would be attracted, imposed on England the necessity
of guarding against what was menacing the national life. As the outcome
of this situation she was compelled, so long as Germany insisted on
developing her naval policy, to sit down and take thought. The result of
her deliberations may be summed up in eight propositions:

  1. It was necessary, if the safety of England by sea was not to be
  put in jeopardy that she should enter into real and close
  friendships with other nations.

  2. The great attraction to these other nations would lie in the
  maintenance of British sea power.

  3. While the power of the British Navy was of the first importance
  to France, she might also, through no fault of her own, be placed
  in such peril as made it desirable that we should be able to
  render her help by land also.

  4. But the military forces of France and her ally, Russia, were
  great enough to make it reasonable to estimate that a small army
  from England would be a sufficient addition to enable France to
  break the shock of an aggressive attack on her.

  5. Even on purely military grounds it was impossible for Great
  Britain to raise in time of peace a great army for use on the
  Continent. The necessity of recruiting and educating the necessary
  corps of professional officers required to train and command such
  an army would have occupied at least two generations if the task
  were to be taken in hand in peace time. But it was possible to
  organize and prepare a small but highly trained Expeditionary
  Force, provided we discarded some of our old military traditions,
  and studied modern requirements and objectives in consultation
  with those who were best able to throw light on them.

  6. Altho more than modern and scientific military organization on
  a comparatively small scale was not in our power, we could in
  carrying out even this much lay foundations which would enable
  expansion in time of war to take place.

  7. In the result, as was believed here, and as Admiral von Tirpitz
  himself seems to have anticipated, sea power and capacity for
  blockade would decide the issue of the war. In this respect
  Germany seemed less well prepared than Great Britain.

  8. The last thing wished for was war, and if we had to enter upon
  it we should do so only in defense of our own vital interests, as
  well as those of the other Entente Powers. Our entry, if it was to
  come, must be immediate and unhesitating. For if we delayed
  Germany might succeed in occupying the northern coast of France,
  and in impairing our security by sea.

I will conclude this chapter by appending an estimate of the Emperor
William II, which is worth comparing with that of his German Ministers
already referred to.



In the chapter on William II in Count Czernin's book on "The World War"
there is a passage which may, I think, turn out to be pretty near the
truth about the late Emperor's mood: "Altho the Emperor was always very
powerful in speech and gesture, still, during the war he was much less
independent in his actions than is usually assumed, and, in my opinion,
this is one of the principal reasons that gave rise to a mistaken
understanding of all the Emperor's administrative activities. Far more
than the public imagine, he was a driven rather than a driving factor,
and if the Entente to-day claims the right of being prosecutor and judge
in one person in order to bring the Emperor to his trial, it is unjust
and an error, as, both preceding and during the war, the Emperor William
never played the part attributed to him by the Entente:

"The unfortunate man has gone through much, and more is, perhaps, in
store for him.

"He has been carried too high, and can not escape a terrible fall. Fate
seems to have chosen him to expiate a sin which, if it exists at all, is
not so much his as that of his country and his times. The Byzantine
atmosphere in Germany was the ruin of Emperor William; it enveloped
him and clung to him like a creeper to a tree; a vast crowd of
flatterers and fortune-seekers who deserted him in the hour of trial.
The Emperor William was merely a particularly distinctive representative
of his class. All modern monarchs suffer from the disease; but it was
more highly developed in the Emperor William, and therefore more obvious
than in others. Accustomed from his youth to the subtle poison of
flattery, at the head of one of the greatest and mightiest States in the
world, possessing almost unlimited power, he succumbed to the fatal lot
that awaits men who feel the earth recede from under their feet, and who
begin to believe in their Divine semblance.

"He is expiating a crime which was not of his making. He can take with
him in his solitude the consolation that his only desire was for the

"It has already been mentioned that all the warlike speeches flung into
the world by the Emperor were due to a mistaken understanding of their
effect. I allow that the Emperor wished to create a sensation, even to
terrify people, but he also wished to act on the principle of _si vis
pacem, para bellum_, and by emphasizing the military power of Germany
he endeavored to prevent the many envious enemies of his Empire from
declaring war on him.

"It can not be denied that this attitude was often both unfortunate and
mistaken, and that it contributed to the outbreak of war; but it is
asserted that the Emperor was devoid of the _dolus_ of making war, that
he said and did things by which he unintentionally stirred up war.

"Had there been men in Germany ready to point out to the Emperor the
injurious effects of his behavior and to make him feel the growing
mistrust of him throughout the world, had there been not one or two but
dozens of such men, it would assuredly have made an impression on the
Emperor. It is equally true that of all the inhabitants of the earth the
German is the one least capable of adapting himself to the mentality of
other people, and, as a matter of fact, there were perhaps but few in
the immediate entourage of the Emperor who recognized the growing
anxiety of the world. Perhaps many of them who so continuously extolled
the Emperor were really honestly of opinion that his behavior was quite
correct. It is, nevertheless, impossible not to believe that among the
many clever politicians of the last decade there were some who had a
clear grasp of the situation, and the fact remains that in order to
spare the Emperor and themselves they had not the courage to be harsh
with him and tell him the truth to his face. These are not reproaches,
but reminiscences which should not be superfluous at a time when the
Emperor is to be made the scapegoat of the whole world."


[Footnote 4: "Betrachtungen zum Weltkriege," Th. von Bethmann Hollweg.
"Erinnerungen," Alfred von Tirpitz. Both translated into English under
the Titles: "Reflections on the World War," and "My Memoirs."]

[Footnote 5: In both cases I am writing with the books before me in the



When more time has passed and heads have become cooler the critics will
have to decide whether Great Britain was as fully prepared as she ought
to have been for the possibility of the great struggle into which she
had to enter in August, 1914. Hundreds of speeches have been made, and
still more articles have been written, to demonstrate that she was
caught wholly unready. On the other hand authoritative writers in
Germany have made the counter-assertion that she had prepared copiously,
not merely to defend herself, but to join in encircling and crushing

I shall venture to submit some reasons for saying that neither of these
views is the true one. During the whole of the period between the
commencement of 1906 and the autumn of 1914 I sat on the Committee of
Imperial Defense and took an active part in its deliberations. For over
six of these eight years I was Minister for War, and I was in continuous
co-operation with the colleagues who were, like myself, engaged in
carrying into execution the methods which we had gradually worked out.
Such as the plans were, the preparations which they required were
completed before the war. As to the bulk of these preparations I speak
from direct knowledge.

The Expeditionary Force, the Territorial Force, and the Special Reserve
had been organized under my own eye, by soldiers who had studied modern
war upon what was in this country a wholly new principle. Before they
took matters in hand not only was there no divisional organization, but
hardly a brigade could have been sent to the Continent without being
recast. For there used to be a peace organization that was different
from the organization that was required for war, and to convert the
former into the latter meant a delay that would have been deadly. Swift
mobilization, like that of the Germans even in 1870, was in these older
days impracticable.

All this had been changed for the Regular Army at home by the end of
1908, and it was after that year easy to mobilize. Other changes, also
of a sweeping character, had been made to complete the new structure. On
August 4, 1914, Lord Kitchener took delivery of an army in being, small,
but not inferior in quality to the best that the enemy possessed. With
the creation of the new armies, for which the Expeditionary Force was
the pattern--and, indeed, with the general management of the war--I had
very little to do. But I saw a good deal of Lord Kitchener, enough to
impress me from the day when he became War Minister with his
extraordinary individuality and his remarkable courage and energy, and
to make me feel what an invaluable asset his personality was for putting
heart into the British nation.

I have referred to my own and earlier part in the matter only to make
plain that I do not speak about it from mere hearsay. And to say this
has been necessary, because I shall have to submit some observations
which, if true, do not harmonize with assertions made by some of the
critics of the successive Governments which were at work on the business
of preparation for possible contingencies between 1906 and 1914. I will,
however, begin by making these critics a present of a definite
admission. We never intended to create an army capable of invading or
encircling Germany, and we should, in our own view, have found ourselves
unable to do so even had we desired any such thing.

Our purpose was quite a different one. It was purely defensive. We knew
how high a level of military organization had been attained in France.
She had a large army, an army not so large as that of Germany, but
comparable with it in quality. Her ally, Russia, also had a large army
on the other side of Germany, altho one not so perfectly organized as
that of France. By adding to the French military defensive forces a
comparatively small British Expeditionary Force of very high quality,
organized as far as possible on the principle about which von der Goltz,
in the introduction to his famous book, "The Nation in Arms," had
written, we could provide what that eminent writer had suggested would
be formidable, could it be properly organized, even against the German
masses of troops. In the introduction to his "Nation in Arms" he had
declared that, "Looking forward into the future we seem to feel the
coming of a time when the armed millions of the present will have played
out their part. A new Alexander will arise who, with a small body of
well-equipped and skilled warriors, will drive the impotent hordes
before him, when, in their eagerness to multiply, they shall have
overstepped all proper bounds, have lost internal cohesion, and, like
the green-banner army of China, have become transformed into a
numberless but effete host of Philistines."

This, of course, did not mean that the little Expeditionary Force could
by itself cope with the admirably organized and enormous German Army,
but it did point to the growing importance in these times of high morale
and quality, and to the value that even a small force, if sufficiently
long and closely trained, might prove to have, if placed in a proper
position alongside the excellent soldiers of France. A careful study had
made us think that the addition of even a small force of such quality to
those of France and Russia would provide the combined armies with a good
chance of defeating any German attempt at the invasion and dismemberment
of France.

But in addition to and apart from all this, the British Navy had been
raised before 1914 to a strength unexampled in its history, and Mr.
Churchill had for the first time introduced in the autumn of 1911 the
valuable principle of a war staff, fashioned with a view to the
systematic study of modern naval war in co-operation with the forces on

These naval reforms had helped to confer the fresh power which took
shape in the blockade which was in the end to prove decisive in the
struggle. The heads of the newly organized Military General Staff met
the representatives of the Admiralty War Staff at systematically held
meetings of the Committee of Imperial Defense, under the presidency of
the successive Prime Ministers--first of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
and then of Mr. Asquith. Not only were the Ministers at the head of the
Admiralty and the War Office present to listen to what their experts had
to say and to assist in arriving at conclusions on the questions
discussed at these meetings, but other Ministers (including Lord Crewe,
Sir Edward Grey, Lord Morley, Mr. Lloyd George, and Lord Harcourt)
attended regularly. The function of this committee was to consider
strategical difficulties with which the nation might conceivably find
itself confronted, and to work out the solutions. It was a committee the
members of which were selected and summoned by the Prime Minister, to
whom it was advisory. He determined the subjects to be investigated.
Secrecy was of course essential, excepting so far as the Cabinet was
concerned. The presence of the non-military Ministers to whom I have
referred was a proper guarantee that from the Cabinet there was no
desire to withhold information. Possible operations on the Continent of
our army occupied much of the time of the committee. About the propriety
of the conversations which took place between members of the General
Staffs of France and England questions have been raised. But these
conversations were concerned with purely technical matters, and doubts
as to their justification will hardly arise in the minds of people who
are aware what modern war implies in the way of preliminary inquiries as
to its conditions.

We were not engaging in any secret undertaking. We were merely providing
what modern military requirements had rendered essential. Without study
beforehand by a General Staff military operations in these days are
bound to fail. If at any time we had, by any chance whatever, to operate
in France it was essential that our generals should possess long in
advance the knowledge that was requisite, and this could only be
obtained with the assistance of the General Staff of France itself. We
committed ourselves to no undertaking of any kind, and it was from the
first put in writing that we could not do so. The conversations were
just the natural and informal outcome of our close friendship with

The French had said that if it was to be regarded as even possible that
we should come to their assistance in resisting an attack, which might,
moreover, result if successful in great prejudice to our own security in
the Channel, we should find this study vital. Our General Staff took the
same view, and at the request of Sir Edward Grey, who had written to
him, I saw Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman at his house in London in
January, 1906. He was a very cautious man, but he was also an old War
Minister. He at once saw the point, and he gave me authority for
directing the Staff at the War Office to take the necessary steps. He
naturally laid down that the study proposed was to be carefully guarded,
so far as any possible claim of commitment was concerned, that it was
not to go beyond the limits of purely General Staff work, and further
that it should not be talked about. The inquiry into conditions thus set
on foot was conducted by the three successive generals who occupied the
position of Director of Military Operations--the late General Grierson,
General Ewart, and General Wilson. Each of these distinguished soldiers
from time to time explained the progress made in working out conceivable
plans for using the Expeditionary Force in France and in more distant
regions, to the full Committee of Imperial Defense, and obtained its
provisional approval.

I should like to say how much the Committee of Imperial Defense, which
was originally a very valuable contribution made by Mr. Balfour, when
Prime Minister, to the organization of our preparedness for war, owed
to its secretaries. To such men as Admiral Sir Charles Ottley and, after
his time, to Colonel Sir Maurice Hankey, the nation is under a great
debt, and it was the least that could be done to include the latter in
the thanks of Parliament to the sailors and soldiers to whom our actual
success was due. It was he who, assisted by a brilliant staff on which
the late Colonel Grant Duff was prominent, planned and prepared that
remarkable War Book, which was completed in excellent time before the
outbreak of hostilities, and which contained full instructions for every
department of Government which could be called on to assist if war broke
out. Not only the drafts of the necessary orders, but those of the
necessary telegrams, were written out in advance under Sir Maurice
Hankey's instructions. He and Sir Charles Ottley, themselves sailors,
formed real links between the navy and the army, and did an enormous
amount of work in co-ordinating war objectives.

Of the Navy I need say nothing, for its preparations are well
understood. Nor need I say much of the details in the reorganization of
the army. The general principle of this was to complete the Cardwell
system by shaping the home battalions into six great divisions, and so
providing them with transport, munitions, stores, and medical and other
equipment, as to make them instantly ready for war. The characteristic
of the old British Army, as it was up to 1907, was, as I have already
observed, that it lived in peace formations only, in small and detached
units which would have to be refashioned into quite different formations
before they could be ready to be sent to fight.

This state of things involved much delay in mobilization. A careful
inquiry made in 1906 disclosed that in order to put even 80,000 men on
the Continent, a period which might be well over two months was the
minimum required. Besides this great difficulty, the other items to
which I have referred as required for the six divisions were not there
in any shape even approaching sufficiency. The artillery too was

There is no more amusing myth than the one according to which the horse
and field artillery were reduced. The batteries which could be made
instantly effective for war were, in fact, raised from forty-two to
eighty-one. The personnel of this artillery was increased by a third for
mobilization. For the first time the horse and field artillery was given
the modern organization which Cardwell had not been able to give it. The
establishments had been merely peace establishments. There were
ninety-nine batteries which could parade about on ceremonial occasions,
but if war had broken out they would have had to be rolled up, and the
personnel of fifty-seven of them taken to produce the mobilized
forty-two which were all that could be put into the field. The
difficulty was got over by the organization of eighteen of the
ninety-nine into training brigades, and the additional men needed for
the mobilization of eighty-one fighting batteries were thus obtained. No
doubt some of the artillery officers did not like being set to training
work, and complained that they were being reduced. But it was a
reduction from unreal work of parade in order to double fighting
efficiency. Not a man or a gun of the regular horse and field artillery
was ever reduced in any shape or form, and not only were the effective
batteries largely increased, but over 150 serviceable batteries were
created and made part of the Second Line, or Territorial, Army. This was
a force which could be used either for home defense or for expansion of
an expeditionary force of Regulars. The Militia, which was not under
obligation to serve abroad, was abolished, and its substance was
converted into third regular battalions, organized for the purpose of
training and providing drafts to meet the wastage of war in the first
and second regular battalions of their regiments. Some of those third
battalions are said to have trained and sent out as many as twelve
thousand men apiece in the course of the war.

All these things were done under the direction of such young and
modern soldiers as Sir Douglas Haig on the General Staff side, and as
Sir John Cowans on the administrative side. Both of these officers
were brought home from India for the purpose. Sir Herbert Miles, as
Quartermaster-General, and Sir Stanley von Donop, as Master-General of
the Ordnance also rendered much help. The newly organized General Staff
thought the plans out under the direction, first of Sir Neville
Lyttelton, and then of Sir William Nicholson, its successive chiefs. The
latter and Sir Douglas Haig in addition worked out, in consultation with
the representatives of the Dominions, the organization of their troops
in units and with staffs and weapons corresponding as nearly as was
practicable to our own. Systematic conferences between the British and
Dominion War and other Ministers prepared the ground for this. Sir
Wilfrid Laurier and General Botha and others of the Dominion Ministers
came to London and co-operated.

It is sometimes said that all these things were very well, but that we
should have at once raised a much larger army, as in the course of the
war we ultimately had to do. The answer is that in a time of peace we
could not possibly have raised a large army on the Continental scale. If
we had tried to we should have made a miserable and possibly disastrous
failure. The utmost we could do toward it was to provide the
organization in which the comparatively small force which was all we
could create might be expanded after a war broke out.

How this nucleus organization, on the basis of which the later
expansions took place, was fashioned so as to afford a general pattern,
anyone may see who chooses to expend a shilling on the purchase of the
little volume called "Field Service Regulations, Part II." This piece of
work took nearly three years to prepare. With the organization of which
I have spoken, which was made in accordance with its principles, the
whole of the task of recasting the British Army was performed by 1911.

What we had by that time attained was the power to send an army of, not
100,000 men, which was all that had originally been suggested, but of
160,000, to a place of concentration opposite the Belgian frontier, and
to have it concentrated there within a time which was fifteen days in
1911, but was a little later reduced to twelve. No German army could
mobilize and concentrate at such a distance more rapidly. So far as I
know none of the necessary details were overlooked, and the timetables
and arrangements for the concentration worked out, when the moment for
their use came, without a hitch. What had been done was to take the
old-fashioned British Army and to rid it of superfluous fat, to develop
muscle in place of mere flesh, and to put the whole force into proper
training. If the warrior looked slender he was at least as well prepared
for the ring as science could make him.

It is said that this army ought to have been provided from the first
with more heavy artillery. But the reason why its artillery, and that of
the French armies also, were of a comparatively light pattern was not
due to any notion of economy or to civilian interference. We had enough
money, even in those difficult days, for every necessary purpose.

The real reason was that the General Staffs of both the French and the
British Armies had advised that the campaign would probably be one in
which swiftness in moving troops would prove the determining factor.
Heavy artillery, and even any large number of the ponderous machine-guns
of that period (the Lewis gun had not yet appeared), would have been a
serious impediment to such mobility. What was anticipated was a series
of great battles. "It was supposed by certain soldiers," says a
well-informed military critic (Colonel A'Court Repington, at page 276 of
his "Vestigia"), "that the war against Germany would be decided by the
fighting of some seven great battles _en rase campagne_, where heavies
would be a positive encumbrance."

So far the staffs proved to be right, for in the early period of the war
mobility did count for a very great deal, and it was not until later
that trench warfare became the dominant factor, a stage for which even
the Germans themselves, as we now know, from the memoirs of Admiral
Tirpitz and other books, were not adequately prepared in point of guns,
or of shells and powder, either.

It is said that we in Great Britain ought, before entering on the
Entente, to have provided an army, not of 160,000, but of 2,000,000 men.
And it is remarked that this is what we had to do in the end. This
suggestion does not, however, bear scrutiny. No doubt it would have been
a great advantage if, in addition to our tremendous navy, we could have
produced, at the outbreak of the war, 2,000,000 men, so trained as to
be the equals in this respect of German troops, and properly fashioned
into the great divisions that were necessary, with full equipment and
auxiliary services. But to train the recruits, and to command such an
army when fashioned, would have required a very great corps of
professional officers of high military education, many times as large as
we had actually raised. How were these to have been got?

I sometimes read speeches, made even by officers who have served with
distinction at the head of their men in the field, which express regret
that the British nation was so shortsighted as not to have provided such
an army before the war. They point to the effort it made later on with
such success during the war. But to raise armies under the stress of
war, when the people submit cheerfully to compulsion, and when highly
intelligent civilian men of business readily quit their occupations to
be trained as rapidly as possible for the work of every kind of officer,
is one thing. To do it in peace time is quite another. I doubt whether
more was possible in this direction than, in the days prior to the war,
to organize the Officers' Training Corps, which contained over twenty
thousand partially prepared young men, and began at once to expand to
yet larger dimensions from the day when war broke out. For the corps of
matured officers, required to train recruits and to command them in war
when organized in their units, would have had to consist of soldiers,
themselves highly trained in military organization, who had devoted
their lives to this work as a profession. It takes many years in peace
time to train such officers. Because they must be professional, they can
only be recruited under a voluntary system.

Now, before the war it was difficult enough to recruit even so many as
the number we then had got, a number totally inadequate for any army
larger than the small one we actually put into shape at home. Every
source had been tried in my time by the able administrative generals who
were working under me at the War Office. I say "administrative
generals," for here comes in the source of the confusion which at times
leads not a few--including some whose military training has been
exclusively in the leading of troops and in strategy and tactics--to
miss the point.

Under the modern military principle, which is the secret of rapidity and
efficiency in mobilization, duties are carefully defined and divided.
The General Staff does not administer, and is not trained in the
business of administration. This kind of military business is entrusted
to the administrative side of the army, the officers of which receive a
different kind of training. The General Staff says what is necessary.
The administrative side provides it as far as it can. And among the
exclusive functions of the administrative side of the War Office is the
recruiting of personnel by the Adjutant-General and the Military
Secretary. It is true that the Director of Military Training, who
supervises the training of the young officer when obtained, belongs to
the General Staff. That is because his work is educational. With
obtaining the young officer it is only accidentally that he is at all

When, therefore, even distinguished commanders in the field express
regret at the want of foresight of the British nation in not having
prepared a much larger army before 1914, I would respectfully ask them
how they imagine it could have been done.

To raise a great corps of officers who have voluntarily selected the
career of an officer as an exclusive and absorbing profession has been
possible in Germany and in France. But it has only become possible there
after generations of effort and under pressure of a long-standing
tradition, extending from decade to decade, under which a nation, armed
for the defense of its land frontiers, has expended its money and its
spirit in creating such an officer caste.

Now, the British nation has put its money and its fighting spirit
primarily into its Navy and its oversea forces. Why? Because, just as
the Continental tradition had its genesis in the necessity for instant
readiness to defend land frontiers, so our tradition has had its genesis
in the vital necessity of always commanding the sea.

Possibly if, just after the war of 1870, we had endeavored to enter on a
new tradition, and to develop a great army, we might have succeeded in
doing so. With forty years' time devoted to the task and a very large
expenditure we might conceivably have succeeded. But I think that had we
done so we should have been very foolish. Our navy would inevitably have
been diminished and deteriorated. You can not ride two horses at once,
and no more can you possess in their integrity two great conflicting
military traditions.

But what I am saying does not rest on my own conclusions alone. In the
year 1912 the then Chief of the General Staff told me that he and the
General Staff would like to investigate, as a purely military problem,
the question whether we could or could not raise a great army. I thought
this a reasonable inquiry and sanctioned and found money for it, only
stipulating that they should consult with the Administrative Staffs when
assembling the materials for the investigation. The outcome was embodied
in a report made to me by Lord Nicholson, himself a soldier who had a
strong desire for compulsory service and a large army. He reported, as
the result of a prolonged and careful investigation, that, alike as
regarded officers and as regarded buildings and equipment, the
conclusion of the General Staff was that it would be in a high degree
unwise to try, during a period of unrest on the Continent, to commence a
new military system. It could not be built up excepting after much
unavoidable delay. We might at once experience a falling off in
voluntary recruiting, and so become seriously weaker before we had a
chance of becoming stronger. And the temptation to a foreign General
Staff to make an early end of what it might insist on interpreting as
preparation for aggression on our part would be too strong to be risked.
What we should get might prove to be a mob in place of an army. I quite
agreed, and not the less because it was highly improbable that the
country would have looked at anything of the sort.

What we actually could produce in the form of an army had to be
estimated, not as if we were standing alone, but as being an adjunct to
what was possessed by France and Russia. They had large armies and small
navies. We had a large navy and a small army. When these were considered
in conjunction, I do not think that the hope of some of our best
military authorities, that an aggressive attempt by the Central Powers
could be made abortive, was an over-sanguine one.

Much of what we did owe for the excellence of the Expeditionary Force,
such as it was in point of size, and much of what we have since owed for
the excellence of the great armies that we subsequently raised, was due
to the unbroken work of the fine Administrative Staff, developed in
those days, to which I have already referred. I often regret that when
the nation gave its thanks through Parliament to the army, the splendid
contribution made by those who prepared the administrative services was
not adequately recognized. But this arose from the old British tradition
under which fighting and administration were not distinguished as being
quite separate and yet equally essential for fighting. The public had
not got into its head the reality of the process of defining the two
different functions with precision, and of confiding them to different
sets of officers differently trained.

The principle was a novel one in the army itself, and why one set of
officers should be trained at the Staff College and another at the
London School of Economics was not a question the answer to which was
quite familiar, even to all soldiers.

It is, I think, certain that for purely military reasons, even if, in
view of political (including diplomatic) difficulties any party in the
State had felt itself able to undertake the task of raising a great army
under compulsory service, and to set itself to accomplish it, say,
within the ten years before the war, the fulfilment of the undertaking
could not have been accomplished, and failure in it would have made us
much weaker than we were when the war broke out. The only course really
open was to make use of the existing voluntary system, and bring its
organization for war up to the modern requirements, of which they were
in 1906 far short. It is true that the voluntary system could not give
us a substantially larger army, or more than a better one in point of
quality. The stream of voluntary recruits was limited. When the 156
battalions of the line which existed on paper in 1906 were in that year
nominally reduced to 148, there was no real reduction, altho some money
was saved which was required for some other essential military purposes.
For the remaining battalions were short of their proper strength, and
it took all the recruits set free by the so-called reductions to bring
the 148--some of which were badly short of officers and men alike--to
the proper establishment required for the six new divisions of the
Expeditionary Force.

I remember well the then Adjutant-General, Sir Charles Douglas, one of
the ablest men of business who ever filled that position in this
country, informing me at that time that he could not raise a single
further division to be added to the six at home.

But if the voluntary system had disadvantages, it also presented us with
advantages. The professional and therefore voluntary nature of our army,
which, because it was professional, was always ready for sending
overseas on expeditions, was in reality made necessary by our position
as the island center of a great and scattered Empire. We had increased
that Empire enormously by the possession of a voluntarily serving army.
Whether this vast increase of the Empire has been always defensible I am
not discussing. What I am saying is that we owe the actual increases
largely to this, that we were the only Power in the world that was ready
to step in at short notice and occupy vacant territory. We always had a
much larger Expeditionary Force available for this special purpose than
Germany or any other country. That has been our tradition, as contrasted
with the tradition of other nations who have been limited in this kind
of capacity by the necessity of putting their military forces on a
compulsory basis and keeping them at home for the protection of their
land frontiers. Ours was the method in which we had been schooled by

It is for such reasons as I have now submitted that I am wholly unable
to assent to the suggestion that we did not look ahead, or considered
within the years just before the war whether we were preparing to make
the sort of contribution that our own interests and our friendships
alike required. Sea power was for us then, as always before in our
history, the dominant element in military policy. I have little doubt
that we made mistakes over details. That is inherent in human and
therefore finite effort. But I believe that we did in the main the best
we could for the fulfilment of our only purpose, which was to preserve
the peace of the world and avoid contributing to its disturbance, and
also to prepare to defend ourselves and our friends against aggression.
Talk to the public we could not, for it would have hindered and not
helped us to do so. A "preventive war," which the Entente Powers would
not have been so ready to meet as they became later on, might well have
been the result. Rhetorical declarations on platforms would have been
wholly out of place. But we could think, and to the best of such
abilities as we and our expert advisers possessed, we did try to think.

A curious legend which had its origin in Berlin, in October, 1914, has
obtained such currency that it is worth while to make an end of it. The
legend is that the British Military Attaché at Brussels, the late
General Barnardiston, had informed the Chief of the Belgian General
Staff of secret plans, prepared at the War Office in London, to invade
Belgium, and if necessary to violate her neutrality, in order to make an
expedition, the purpose of which was to attack Germany through that
country. The story appears to have emanated from Baron Greindl, who was
the Belgian Minister at Berlin in 1911. He had been completely
misinformed, no doubt in that capital, and there is no truth whatever in
what he had been told about what he called the "perfidious and naïf
revelations" of the British Military Attaché at Brussels. Him the story
represents as having said that his Minister (by whom I presume myself,
as the then Secretary of State for War, to have been intended) and the
British General Staff were the only persons in the secret. I have to
observe, in the first place, that I never during my tenure of office,
either suggested any such plan, or heard of anyone else suggesting it.
When the story was brought to my knowledge, which was not until
November, 1914, I inquired at once of General Barnardiston and of his
successor, Colonel Bridges, whether there was any foundation for it. The
reply from each of these distinguished officers was that there was none.

We were among the guarantors of Belgian neutrality, and it was of course
conceivable that, if she called on us to do so, we might have had to
defend her. It would be part of the duty of our Military Attaché to
remember this, and, if opportunity offered, to ascertain in informal
conversation the view of the Belgian General Staff as to what form of
help they would be likely to ask us for. This he doubtless did, and
indeed it appears from what the Chief of the Belgian General Staff wrote
to the Belgian War Minister that the former had discussed the
contingency of Belgium desiring our help with General Barnardiston, and
had done so gladly. But even so the conversation must have been very
informal, for in the account of it by the Chief of the Belgian General
Staff there are errors about the composition of the possible British
Force which indicate that either he took no notes, or else that Colonel
Barnardiston had not thought it an occasion which required him to obtain
details from London. At all events, such talk as there was appears to
have had relation only to what we ought to do, if requested by Belgium
to help, in case of her being invaded by another Power.

The documents will be found in the volume of Collected Diplomatic
Documents relating to the outbreak of the war, presented to Parliament
in May, 1915 (Cd. 7860). This volume includes a vigorous denial by Sir
Edward Grey of the insinuation.



The great war is over, and the Powers of the West have conquered. In the
earlier pages I have given my own view of why they won in the tremendous
struggle that now belongs to history. They had on their side moral
forces which were lacking to their adversaries.

Germany went into the war with a conviction that had been carefully
instilled into her people. It was that she was being ringed round with
the intention that she should be crushed, and that presently it would be
too late for her to deliver herself. The lesson so taught to her was not
a true one. She might easily have obtained guarantees of peace which
ought to have satisfied her, without undertaking a risk which in the end
was to prove disastrous. No one here wanted to ruin her, no one who
counted seriously in this country. And if we did not want to, no more in
reality did France or Russia. She brought her fate on her head by the
unwisdom of her methods. But her people hardly desired the dangers of
unnecessary war, and her rulers dared not have ventured these dangers
had they not first of all preached a wrong doctrine to those over whom
they ruled. They had their way in the end, and disaster to sixty-eight
millions of Germans was the consequence. The calculations of their
chiefs were bad from the beginning. It is almost certain that the best
and most eminent among even these really desired peace. They blundered
in method. It was not by continually flashing the saber that peace was
to be secured.

It is scarcely likely that the conditions under which this war became
possible will recur. It is more than unlikely that they will recur in
our time. But it is none the less worth while to consider how the
unlikelihood can be made to approach most nearly to a certainty.

Not, I think, by causing the millions of German-speaking people to feel
that they are in chains without possibility of freedom. More certainly,
surely, by leading them to the faith that if they will play a part in
the great world effort for permanent peace and for reconstruction they
will be welcomed to the brotherhood of nations. The individual German
citizen is more like the individual Anglo-Saxon than he is different
from him. The same hopes and the same fears animate him, and he is
sober and industrious quite as much as we are. He has similar problems
and similar interests.

Time must pass before the angry feeling that a great struggle produces
can die down. But there are already indications that this feeling is not
as intense with us as it was even a short time ago. Germany made a
colossal and unjustifiable blunder. She is responsible for the action of
her late Government. We think so, and we are not likely to change our
opinion on this point. The grief of our people over their dead, over the
lives that were laid down for the nation from the highest kind of
inspiration, will keep the public mind fixed on this conclusion. And so
will the waste and misery to the whole world which an unnecessary war
has brought in its train. But presently we shall ask ourselves, in
moments of reflection, whether this ought to be our final word, and
also, perhaps, whether some want of care on our own part, and certain
deficiencies of which we are now more conscious than we used to be, may
not have had something to do with the failure of other people to divine
our real mood and intentions. I am not sure that in days that are to
come we shall give ourselves the whole benefit of the doubt. However
this may be, we are in no case a vindictive people.

But in any view something serious is at stake. It will be a bad thing
for us, and it will be a bad thing for the world, if the people of the
vanquished nations are left to feel that they have no hope of being
restored to decent conditions of existence. At present despair is
threatening them. Their estimate is that the crushing burden of the
terms of peace, if carried out to their full possibilities, bars them
from the prospect of a better future. Their only way of deliverance may
well come to seem to them to lie in the grouping of the discontented
nationalities, and the faith that by this means, at some time which may
come hereafter, a new balance of power may begin to be set up.

Now this is not a good prospect, and the sooner we succeed in softening
the sense of real hardship out of which it arises the better. Germany
and Austria must pay the penalty they have incurred before the tribunal
of international justice. But that penalty ought to be tempered by
something that depends on even more than mercy. It is intended to be
inflicted for the good of the world, and if it assumes a form which
threatens the future safety of the world it is not wise to press it to
its extreme consequences. We have to work toward a better state of
things than that which is promised to-day. We have never hitherto kept
up old animosities unduly long, and that has been one of the secrets of
our strength in the world. The lessons of history point to the
expediency of trying to heal instead of to keep open the wound which
exists. Those who know the growth in the past of literature, of music,
of science, of philosophy, of industry and of commerce, do not wish the
German people to die out. It is only the ignorant that can desire this,
and, hitherto in the course of our history, the ignorant have neither
proved to be safe guides nor have they prevailed. To-day, as before, we
must think of generations other than our own if we would preserve our

I hope that a time is near in which we shall no longer proclaim old
grievances, but instead cease to dwell on the past in this case, just as
we have ceased in the cases of the French, the Spanish, the Russians,
and the Boers. It is best in every way that it should come to be so.

It is not with any hope that these pages will satisfy the extremists of
to-day that they have been written. They are intended for those who try
to be dispassionate, and for them only, as a contribution to a vast heap
of material that is being gathered together for consideration. It is
well that those who were in any way directly connected with the story
to which they relate should place on record what they saw. But the whole
story in its fulness is beyond the knowledge of anyone of our time. The
history of the world is, as has been said, the judgment of the world. It
is therefore only after an interval that it can be sufficiently written.
The ultimate and real origin of this war, the greatest humanity has ever
had to endure, was a set of colossal suspicions of each other by the
nations concerned. I do not mean that none of them were in the right or
that some of them were not deeply in the wrong. What I do mean is that
if there had been insight sufficient all round the nations concerned
would not have misinterpreted each other.

To us it looks as tho Germany had been inspired throughout by a bad
tradition, a spirit older than even the days of Frederick the Great. Had
she been wise we think that she would have changed her national policy
after Bismarck had brought it to unexampled success in things material.
There are not wanting indications that he himself had the sense of the
necessity of great caution in pursuing this policy farther, and felt
that it could not be safely continued without modification. It was no
policy that was safe for any but the strongest and sanest of minds, and
even for those it had ceased to be safe. The potential resistance to it
was becoming too serious.

But we do not need to doubt that there were many in Germany itself who
saw this and did not desire to rely merely on blood and iron. The men
and women in every country resemble those in other countries more than
they differ from them. Germany was no exception to the rule. It is a
great mistake to judge her as she was merely from a few newspapers and
by the reports from Berlin of their special correspondents. Sixty-eight
millions of people could not be estimated in their opinions by the
attitude of a handful, however eminent and prominent, in the home of
"_Real politik_." It is, of course, true that the Germans were taught to
believe that they were a very great nation which had not got its full
share of the good things of this world, a share of which they were more
worthy and for which they were better organized than any other. But it
is also true that we here thought that we ourselves were entitled to a
great deal to which other people did not admit our moral title. It was
not only Germany that was lacking in imagination. No doubt many Germans
had the idea that we wished to hem them in and that we did not like
them. Our failure to make ourselves understood left them not without
reason for this belief. But dislike of Germany was not the attitude of
the great mass of sober and God-fearing Englishmen, and I do not believe
that the counter-attitude was that of the bulk of sober and God-fearing
Germans. They and we alike mutually misjudged each other from what was
written in newspapers and said in speeches by people who were not
responsible exponents of opinion, and neither nation took sufficient
trouble to make clear that what was thus written and said was not
sufficient material on which to judge it. It is very difficult to
diagnose general opinion in a foreign nation, and one of the reasons of
the difficulty is that people at home do not pay sufficient attention to
the fact that their unfriendly utterances about their neighbors are
likely to receive more publicity and attention than the utterances that
are friendly. It makes little difference that the latter may greatly
preponderate in number. They are read in the main only in the country in
which they are made.

Neither Germans nor Englishmen were careful before the war always to be
pleasant to each other, and the same used to be true of Frenchmen and
Englishmen. But just as we are coming to understand why and how France
and England misinterpreted each other systematically a century and a
half ago, so we may yet learn how we came to present, more than a
hundred years later, difficulties to the Germans not wholly unlike those
which they presented to us. No mere record of the dry facts will be
enough to render this intelligible in its full significance. The
historian who is to carry conviction must do more than present
photographs. He must create a picture inspired by his own study and from
the depth of his own mind, and presented in its real proportions with
its proper lights and shadows, as a true artist alone can present it.
Browning has told us something worth remembering. It is at the end of
"The Ring and the Book":

                            Art may tell a truth
    Obliquely, do the thing shall breed the thought,
    Nor wrong the thought, missing the mediate word.
    So may you paint your picture, twice show truth,
    Beyond mere imagery on the wall,--
    So, note by note, bring music from your mind,
    Deeper than ever e'en Beethoven dived,--
    So write a book shall mean beyond the facts,
    Suffice the eye and save the soul beside.

The truth in its fulness and completeness can not be compassed in any
single narrative of events. It is, of course, the case that history
depends for its value on scientific accuracy, but that is not the only
kind of truth on which it depends. No man, even the most careful and
exacting, can rely on having the whole of the materials before his eye,
and if he had them there they would not only be presented in tints
depending on his outlook, but would be too vast to admit of his using
more than isolated fragments to work into his picture of the whole.
Selection is a necessity, and when to the fact that there must be
selection there is added the other fact that every historian has his
personal equation, the notion of a history constructed by a single man
on the methods of the physicist is a delusion. The best that the great
historian can do is to present the details in the light of the spirit of
the period of which he is writing, and in order that he may present his
narrative aright, as his mind has reconstructed it, he must estimate his
details in the order in importance that was actually theirs. Now for
this the balance and the measuring rod do not suffice. Quality counts as
much as does quantity in determining importance. What is merely inert
and mechanical is the subject neither of the artist nor the historian.
It is, of course, necessary that by close and exact research the
materials should first of all be collected and assembled. But that is
only the first step, and it always has to be followed by a process of
grouping and fashioning. The result may have to be the leaving out (or
the leaving over for presentation by other artists) of aspects which
are not dealt with. We see this when we compare even the best portraits.
They do not wholly agree; it is enough if they correspond. For portraits
may vary in expression, and yet each may be true. The characteristic of
what is alive and is intelligent and spiritual is that it may have many
expressions, every one of which really harmonizes with every other. It
is because they can bring out expression in this fashion that we
continue to set high store on the work of a Gibbon or a Mommsen.

The moral of this is twofold. We must, to begin with, be content for the
present to remain in the stage at which all that can be done is to
collect and assemble facts and personal impressions with as great care
as we can. The whole truth we can not bring out or estimate until the
later period, altho we may be sure enough of what we have before us to
make us feel capable of doing justice of a rough kind, so far as
necessary action is concerned.

And there is yet another deduction to be drawn. It is at all events
possible that the wider view of a generation later than this may be one
in which Germany will be judged more gently than the Allies can judge
her to-day. We do not now look on the French Revolution as our
forefathers looked on it. We see, because recent historians have
impressed it on us, that it was a violent uprising against, not Louis
XVI., but a Louis XIV. What France really made her great Revolution to
bring about was the establishment of a Constitution. Horrible deeds were
perpetrated in the name of Liberty, but it was not due to any horrible
national spirit that they were perpetrated. France was responsible no
doubt for the deeds of the men who acted in her name. But she could
hardly have controlled them even had she passionately desired to do so.
And she did not passionately desire to do so because, however little the
mass of the people outside Paris may have wished to massacre the
adherents of the old regime, the people as a whole welcomed deliverance
from calamity, even at the price of violent action.

We judge the French nation wholly differently to-day from the way we
judged it then, and it judges us differently. Yet it would have been
well had we not in the end of the eighteenth century taken an
exaggerated view of the French state of mind. We now realize that even
so great a man as Burke mistook a fragment for the whole. Much blood and
treasure might have been spared, and Napoleon might never have come into
existence, had we and others been less hasty.

It is therefore a good thing to keep before us that it is at least
possible that the verdict of mankind will be hereafter that when the
victory was theirs the Allies judged the people of Germany in a hurry
and reflected this judgment in the spirit in which certain of the terms
of peace were declared. The war had its proximate origin in the Near
East. It arose out of a supposed menace to Teuton by Slav. The Slavs
were not easy people to deal with, and the Teutons were not easy people
either. It was easy to drift into war. It may well prove true that no
one really desired this, and that it was miscalculation about the
likelihood of securing peace by a determined attitude that led to
disaster. It is certain that the German Government was deeply
responsible for the consequences. In the face of its traditional policy
and of utterances that came from Berlin the members of that Government
can not plead a mere blunder. None the less, a great deal may have been
due to sheer ineptitude in estimating human nature. How much this was
so, or how much an immoral tradition had its natural results, we can not
as yet fully tell, for we have not the whole of the records before us.
No one disputes that we were bound to impose heavy terms on the Central
Powers. The Allies have won the war and they were entitled to
reparation. This the Germans do not appear to controvert. They are a
people with whom logic is held in high esteem. But we have to do
something more than define the mere consequences of victory. We have
also to make plain on what footing we shall be willing to live with the
German nation in days that lie ahead. And here some enlargement of the
spirit seems to be desirable in our own interests. We do not want to
fall again into the mistake that Burke made.

The spirit is at least as important as the letter in the doctrine of a
League of Nations. Such a League has for its main purpose the
supersession of the old principle of balancing the Powers. In the
absence of a League of Nations, or--what is the same thing in a less
organized form--of an entente or concert of Powers so general that none
are left shut out from it, the principle of balancing may have to be
relied on. I believe this to have been unavoidable when the Entente
between France, Russia and Great Britain was found to be required for
safety if the tendency to dominate of the Triple Alliance was to be held
in check. But in that case, and probably in every other case, reliance
on the principle could only be admissible for self-protection and never
for the mere exhibition of the power of the sword. If the principle is
resorted to with the latter object the group that is suspected of
aggressive intentions will by degrees find itself confronted with
another group of nations that have huddled together for self-protection
and may become very strong just because they have a moral justification
for their action. It was this that happened before the war which broke
out in 1914, and it was the state of tension which ensued that led up to
that war. Had there been no counter-grouping to that of the Central
Powers there would probably have been war all the same, but with this
difference, that defeat and not victory would have been the lot of the
Entente Powers.

Now the German-speaking peoples in the world amount to an enormous
number, at least to a hundred millions if those outside Germany and
Austria, and in the New World, as well as the Old, are taken into
account. It may be difficult for them to organize themselves for war,
but it will be less difficult for them to develop a common spirit which
may penetrate all over the world. It is just this development that
statesmen ought to watch carefully, for, given an interval long enough,
it is impossible to predict what influence these hundred millions of
people may not acquire and come to exercise. We do not want to have a
prolonged period of growing anxiety and unrest, such as obtained in our
relations with the French, notwithstanding the peace established by the
Treaty of Vienna. Of the anxiety and unrest which were ours for more
than one generation, the history of the Channel fortifications, of the
Volunteer force and of several other great and often costly
institutions, bears witness. Let us therefore take thought while there
is time to do so. We do not wish to see repeated anything analogous to
our former experience. The one thing that can avert it is the spirit in
which a League of Nations has been brought to birth. That spirit alone
can preclude the gradual nascence of desire to call into existence a new
balance of power. It is not enough to tell Germany and Austria that if
they behave well they will be admitted to the League of Nations. What
really matters is the feeling and manner in which the invitation is
given, and an obvious sincerity in the desire that they should work with
us as equals in a common endeavor to make the best of a world which
contains us both. One is quite conscious of the difficulties that must
attend the attempt to approach the question in the frame of mind that is
requisite. We may have to discipline ourselves considerably. But the
people of this country are capable of reflection, and so are the people
of the American Continent. The problem to be solved is one that presses
on our great Allies in the United States, where the German-speaking
population is very large, quite as much as it does on us. France and
Belgium have more to forgive, and France has a hard past from which to
avert her eyes. But she is a country of great intelligence, and it is
for the sake of everybody, and not merely in the interest of our recent
enemies, that enlargement of the spirit is requisite.

How the present situation is to be softened, how the people of the
Central Powers are to be brought to feel that they are not to remain
divided from us by an impassable gulf, this is not the occasion to
suggest. It is enough to repeat that the question is not one simply of
the letter of a treaty but is one of the spirit in which it is made.
Conditions change in this world with a rapidity that is often startling.
The fashion of the day passes before we know that what is novel and was
unexpected has come upon us. The foundations of a peace that is to be
enduring must therefore be sought in what is highest and most abiding in
human nature.


Agadir incident, the, 68

Algeciras Conference, the, 69, 114

Alsace-Lorraine, question of, 114
  the Kaiser on, 52, 53

America, Tschirsky on, 60

Anglo-French Entente, Bülow on, 56
  Tschirsky, 59
  views of German Emperor on, 52

Armaments, difficulty of question of, 21
  Germany's, 94, 161

Army, British, advantages of voluntary system in, 199
  question of compulsory service, 198

Asquith, Mr., consulted by Sir Edward Grey, 45
  Premier and War Secretary, 50
  presides at Imperial Defense Committee, 182

Austria annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina, 70, 113
  ultimatum to Serbia, 133

Bagdad Railway, the, William II. and, 63 _et seq._

Balance of power, and the League of Nations, 222
  principle of, 20, 22, 119

Balfour, A.J., and Imperial Defense, 184

Ballin, Herr, and Tirpitz, 144

Barnardiston, General, an unfounded charge against, 201

Berchtold, Count, and the ultimatum to Serbia, 153

Berlin, a curious legend originating in, 201
  and the Bagdad Railway question, 66
  author's visit to, 37

Bethmann-Hollweg, and the Agadir crisis, 69, 71
  at Potsdam conference, 151
  author's interview with, and the formula of neutrality, 71, 73, 78,
    79, 124
  desires preservation of peace, 161
  his accusation against Entente Powers, 103
  informed of Austrian ultimatum, 153
  letter to author after the Montreal address, 93
  loyalty to the Kaiser, 114
  succeeds Prince Bülow as Chancellor, 112

Bismarck, Countess Wilhelm, 146

Bismarck, Prince, a dictum of, 56
  and Britain's indefinite policy, 17
  and the inevitability of war, 23
  and the military party in Germany, 89
  and Tirpitz, 145-48
  denounces abrogation of Reinsurance Treaty, 146
  his affection for Emperor Frederick, 148
  his hatred of "prestige politics," 120
  Reinsurance Treaty with Russia, 126

Boer War, the, attitude of the Kaiser during, 115

Bosnia, annexation of, 70, 113

Botha, General, co-operates in military preparations, 188

Bridges, Colonel, British Military Attaché at Brussels, 202

Britain's command of the sea, 195

British Army, the reorganization of, 47

British Expeditionary Force, the, mobilization of, 50
  organization of, 178
  unrecognized work of, 197

British Government, the, paramount duty of, 18

British Navy, a War Staff introduced into, 139, 181
  (_See_ also Navy, British)

Bülow, Prince von, author's meeting with, 38
  on the Anglo-French Entente, 56
  opposes Bagdad Railway proposal, 67
  succeeded by Bethmann-Hollweg as Chancellor, 112

Cambon, M. Jules, and relations between France and Germany, 113
  informed of Berlin "conversations," 78

Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry, and Imperial Defense, 182, 184
  at Marienbad, 38

Caprivi and the organization of German Navy, 138
  and the Reinsurance Treaty, 126, 127

Cassel, Sir Ernest, visits Berlin, 70 (and note)

Central Powers, the, preparations for war, 20
  their responsibility for the world war, 22

Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J., Tariff Reform policy of, 54

Churchill, Winston, naval policy of, 87, 181

Committee of Imperial Defense, the, and its functions, 158, 159, 177, 182

Compulsory service, author's views on, 198

Cowans, Sir John, and the military preparations, 188

Crewe, Lord, attends meetings of Committee of Imperial Defense, 182

Curzon, Lord, meets German Emperor, 68

Czernin, Count, on William II., 170

D'Aerenthal, Count, diplomatic victory of, 113

Dawson, Harbutt, "German Empire" of, 120

Democracy and war, 27
  vindicated by the war, 108
  (_See_ also Social Democracy)

Diplomacy before the war, 35 _et seq._

Disarmament, German objections to, 55, 60

Donop, Sir Stanley von, Master General of the Ordnance, 188

Douglas, Sir Charles, and the voluntary system, 199

Education, author's activities for, 39

Edward VII., King, at Marienbad, 38
  "encirclement" policy of: Bethmann-Hollweg on, 112
  entertains the German Emperor, 62

Einem, General von, at Windsor, 62
  author's interview with, 38

Ellison, Colonel, at Berlin, 38

England, a War Staff for the Navy in, 139, 181
  commercial rivalry with Germany, 114
  conservation of sea power and what it implied, 20, 21
  efforts to preserve peace end in failure, 22
  her alleged plans to violate Belgian neutrality, 201
  propagandists for German military party in, 24
  reorganization of army in, 185
  voluntary military system of, and its advantages, 199
  (_See_ also Great Britain)

England's precautions against Germany's war designs, 168-69

Englishmen, defects and failings of, 28
  psychology of, 17

Entente, the, England's entry into--and the alternative, 118, 119, 162
  policy of, 106

Ewart, General, and the Committee of Imperial Defense, 184

Expeditionary Force (_see_ British Expeditionary Force)

Falkenhayn, von, commanded to Potsdam, 150, 151

France, apprehensive of Germany's intentions, 44
  army of, 180

_Frankfurter Zeitung_ opposes Tirpitz's war objectives, 143

Free Trade, Prince von Bülow's views on, 58
  William II. on, 54

French Revolution, the, 217

French, Sir John, and reorganization of British Army, 48

George V., King, entertains German Emperor, 67

George, Lloyd, and the Agadir crisis, 70
  at meetings of Committee of Imperial Defense, 182

German desire of commercial development, 55, 58, 60
  foreign policy: divided control of, 85

Germans, psychology of, 40

Germany, and the Agadir incident, 68
  and the Hague Conference, 60
  attitude of, before the war, 101 _et seq._
  cause of her downfall, 167
  Chauvinist party in, 81
  commercial rivalry with England, 114
  decides upon war, 88
  defect of Imperial system in, 109
  desire for commercial expansion, 103
  Fleet Laws passed in the Reichstag, 142
  her responsibility for the world war, 90
  increases her armaments, 21, 94, 161
  influence of General Staff, 41, 107
  militarist party of, 39, 89, 108
  miscalculations at outbreak of war, 83, 159
  naval program of, 142, 156
  new Military Law passed, 136
  organization of her Navy, 138
  over-ambition of, 16
  peaceful penetration policy of, 39, 41
  politics in: an anecdote of, 85 (note)
  result of military spirit in, 15, 22
  scaremongers in, 24
  shipbuilding program of, 74
  the new Fleet Law, 75, 79, 87, 128
  the Press and Tirpitz, 143
  two inconsistent policies in, 107
  why she entered the war, 207

Goltz, von der, his "Nation in Arms," 180

Goschen, Sir Edward, demands his passports, 44

Gosse, Edmund, meets the Emperor, 68

Grant Duff, Colonel, 185

Great Britain and Belgian neutrality, 202
  ante-war policy of, 13, 17
  deficiencies in military organization of, 46
  enters the war, 95
  her sea power before the war, 19
  indefinite policy of, 17, 28, 30
  question of her preparedness for war, 18, 177
  the educational problem in, 39

Great War, the, and Germany's responsibility, 15
  causes of, 161

Greindl, Baron, and a curious legend, 201

Grey, Sir Edward (Lord Grey of Fallodon), an historical speech by, 44
  and the Bagdad Railway question, 64
  at meetings of Imperial Defense Committee, 182
  Bethmann-Hollweg on, 113
  denies an insinuation originating in Berlin, 203
  his efforts for peace, 88, 154, 155
  negotiates with Germany, 163
  presses Serbia to accept ultimatum, 155
  proposes a conference, 154

Grierson, General, and the Committee of Imperial Defense, 184

Hague Conference, the, 55
  Germany's difficulty, 60

Haig, Sir Douglas, and military preparations for war, 188
  and the reorganization of British Army, 48

Haldane, Lord, a luncheon to the German Emperor, 67
  a visit to the United States and Canada, 37
  addresses at Montreal and Oxford, 92, 145
  advocates improved system of education, 39
  and Expeditionary and Territorial Forces, 48, 50, 178
  and the Bagdad Railway question, 63 _et seq._
  becomes Lord Chancellor, 37, 87
  "conversations" at Berlin, 72, 124
  criticizes Bethmann-Hollweg's book, 101 _et seq._
  dines with the Chancellor, 77
  entertained by General Staff, 41
  examines organization of German War Office, 38
  frank conversation with William II., 52 _et seq._
  lunches with Emperor and Empress, 74
  on military preparations, 177 _et seq._
  post-war problems and how they should be met, 208 _et seq._
  rebuts a statement by Tirpitz, 164
  Secretary of State for War, 36
  studies in Germany, 36
  visits German Emperor, 37
  witnesses review of German troops, 51

Hankey, Sir Maurice, his work recognized by Parliament, 185

Harcourt, Lord, at Imperial Defense Committee meetings, 182

Harnack, Professor, author's meeting with, 77

Herzegovina, annexation of, 70, 113

Hindenburg, General von, author's meeting with, 77

Huguet, Colonel, interviewed by author, 45

Imperial Defense Committee, the, 158, 159, 177, 182

Isvolsky, M., 113, 162

Jagow, Herr von, and the ultimatum to Serbia, 133

Kiaochow (_see_ Tsingtau)

Kiderlen-Waechter, Herr von,
  a talk with, 77
  and the Agadir incident, 69

Kitchener, Lord,
  meets the Emperor, 68
  personality of, 179

Kitchener's Army, 50, 178

Lansdowne, Lord, and the agreement with France, 21

Laurier, Sir Wilfrid, co-operates in military preparations, 188

League of Nations, the, 220, 222

Lucanus, von, snubbed by Bismarck, 148

Lyncker, von, commanded to Potsdam, 150, 151

Lyttelton, Sir Neville, 188

MacDonald, Ramsay, lunches with German Emperor, 68

Mahan, Admiral, his works studied by Tirpitz, 141

McKenna, Mr., and the Navy, 87

Metternich, Count, and Bagdad Railway question, 66
  at Windsor, 62
  author's relations with, 57

Miles, Sir Herbert, assists in military preparations, 188

Military preparations, the, 177 _et seq._

Moltke, Count von, his scheme for rapid mobilization, 38

Moltke, General von, a chat with, 42
  present at meeting of Bismarck and Kaiser, 148

Morley, Lord, at luncheon to the Emperor, 68
  attends meetings of Committee of Imperial Defense, 182

Morocco difficulty, the, 115
  France's request to England, 44

Moulton, Lord, meets German Emperor, 68

National philosophy, German, 30

Navy, British, mobilization of, 50
  sea power the dominant element in military policy, 200
  why strengthened and increased, 87, 129, 181

Navy, German, Bülow on, 57
  William II. and, 54

Nicholson, Lord, and a new military system, 196
  chief of General Staff, 188

Officers' Training Corps, organization of, 192

Ottley, Admiral Sir Charles, secretary of Committee of Imperial
    Defense, 185

_Panther_ sent to Agadir, 68

Peace terms, the, burden of, 210

Post-war problems, and how they should be met, 208

Potsdam, a reported Crown Council at, and Tirpitz's version of, 131, 149

Reinsurance Treaty of 1884, 126, 146

Repington, Col. A'Court, 191

Reventlow, Count, 38 (note)

Richter opposes Tirpitz on the naval program, 142

Russia, army of, 180
  her hostility to Austria, 113
  not wishful for war, 162

Russo-Japanese War, William II. and, 116

Sargent, J.S., lunches with the Emperor, 68

Schoen, Baron von, accompanies William II. to England, 62
  and the Bagdad Railway question, 65

Serbia as "provocative neighbor," 23
  ultimatum to, 133

Skiernevice (_see_ Reinsurance Treaty)

Social Democracy, and militarism, 108
  in Germany, 84, 144

Special Reserve, the, organization of, 178

Spender, J.A., meets the Emperor, 68

Stosch, and the German Navy, 138

Tangier, William II. at, 53, 115

Tariff Reform, the Kaiser on, 55

Teaching universities, author and, 39

Technical colleges in England, 40

Territorial Force, the, its part in the world war, 49
  mobilization of, 50
  organization of, 48, 178

Tirpitz, Admiral von, an admission by, 138
  an interview with, 74
  and Bethmann-Hollweg's policy, 141
  criticizes author, 160
  demands a definite policy for war, 143
  his "Erinnerungen" discussed, 137 _et seq._
  his influence in Germany, 82
  informed of Austria's demands to Serbia, 153
  mentality of, 137
  outstanding thesis of his book, 141
  tribute to British sea power, 161
  visits Bismarck, 145, 148

Trench warfare, unpreparedness for, 191

Tschirsky, Herr von, and the ultimatum to Serbia, 153
  author's interview with, 38
  on Anglo-French Entente, 59
  on the English Press, 61

Tsingtau as German naval base, 140

Two-Power standard, discussed with German Emperor and Prince Bülow, 54, 57
  Tirpitz and, 76

United States (_see_ America)

Voluntary system, the, advantages of, 199

William II., Emperor, an ominous admission by, 43
  and the Agadir crisis, 69, 70
  and the Anglo-French Entente, 52
  Bismarck's message to, 148
  consults Bethmann-Hollweg and Zimmermann, 132
  Count Czernin on, 170
  desires exchange of views between Berlin and London, 70, 71
  Emperor of Austria's letter to, and memorandum on policy, 131
  frank speech with author, 52 _et seq_.
  his proposal on Bagdad Railway question, 66
  his reception in London, 68
  incautious speeches of, 69, 117, 161
  pays surprise visit to Bismarck, 148
  promises support to Austria, 150
  reads a poem to author, 165
  reviews his troops, 51
  Tirpitz and, 142
  visits King Edward and King George, 62, 67

Wilson, Admiral Sir Arthur, meets the Emperor, 68

Wilson, General, and the Committee of Imperial Defense, 184

Windsor, the German Emperor's visit to, 62

Zimmermann, Herr, at Potsdam conference, 151
  meets author, 77

       *       *       *       *       *

| Typographical errors corrected in text:                      |
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| Page 231: Landsdowne replaced by Lansdowne                   |
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| Unusual spellings left in the text:                          |
|                                                              |
|   maneuvers                                                  |
|   altho                                                      |
|   tho                                                        |
|   Bethmann Hollweg versus Bethmann-Hollweg                   |

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to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.