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Title: England and Germany
Author: Dillon, Emile Joseph, 1855-1933
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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ENGLAND AND GERMANY

BY

DR. E. J. DILLON


WITH AN INTRODUCTION

BY

THE HON. W. M. HUGHES, M.P. PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA

BRENTANO'S NEW YORK

CHAPMAN & HALL LTD. LONDON

1917

PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED, BRUNSWICK
ST., STAMFORD ST., S.E. 1, AND BUNGAY SUFFOLK

TO

H.S.H. ALICE
PRINCESS OF MONACO

THIS PARTIAL PRESENTMENT OF THE
BEGINNINGS OF A WORLD
CATACLYSM



INTRODUCTION


Behind any human institution there stand a few men--perhaps only one
man--who direct its movement, protect its interests, or serve as its
mouthpiece. This applies to nations. If we wish to know for what a
nation stands and what are its ideals and by what means it seeks to
realise them, we shall do well to know something of the men who lead
its people or express their feelings.

It is of vital importance that we should understand the attitude of
every one of the nations--both friends and enemies--involved in this
war. For in this way only can we know what is necessary to be done to
achieve victory.

And the remarkable man who has written this book knows those who lead
the warring nations in this titanic conflict very much better than
ordinary men know their own townsmen.

Dr. Dillon has moved through the chancelleries of Europe. He has seen
and heard what has been denied to all but very few. In the Balkans,
that cauldron of racial passions which, overflowing, gave our enemies
an ostensible cause for this war, he moved as though an invisible and
yet keenly observant figure. He could claim the friendship of
Venizelos and other Balkan statesmen. He has travelled as a monk
throughout the mountain fastnesses, he has slept in the caves of
Albania. He understands the people of all the Balkans, speaks their
tongues as a native, and knows and assesses at their true value their
leaders.

At the time of the murder of the Archduke Ferdinand and the
Archduchess, Dr. Dillon was in Austria, and he remained there through
those long negotiations in which Germany tenaciously clung to her
design of war.

How well he knows Germany let his book speak. His knowledge of Russia
is profound. A master of many languages, he occupied a chair at the
Moscow University for many years, and his insight into Russian
politics is deep.

In this book he speaks out of the depth of his knowledge, and tells
the people of Britain what this war means to them, and what needs to
be done before we can hope for victory. He speaks plainly because he
feels strongly.

It may be that we cannot agree with him in everything that he says.
But no one, after reading Dr. Dillon's remarkable book, will any
longer regard the war as but a passing episode. It is a timely
antidote to that fatal delusion.

For this war is a veritable cataclysm, and the future of the world
hangs upon the result. We must change our lives. Insidiously, while we
have called all foreigners brothers and sought foes amongst ourselves,
the great force of barbarism, in a new guise and with enormous power
of penetration and annexation, has worked for our undoing. This force
now stands bared, in the hideous bestiality of Germany's doctrine of
Might, and it can be defeated only by an adaptation of its methods
that will leave nothing as it was before.

Dr. Dillon's unfolding of the story of German preparation is, it will
be admitted, one of fascinating interest. Of its value as a
contribution to political and diplomatic history it is not for me to
speak. But to its purpose in keying all men to the pitch; all to a
sense of the great events in which we are taking part, I bear my
testimony. "Germany is wholly alive, physically, intellectually, and
psychically. And she lives in the present and future" (p. 311). And
the living force of Germany requires us to rise to the very fulness of
our powers; for as the champions of truth and right we must prove
ourselves physically and morally stronger than the champions of
soulless might.

Germany is wholly alive; but she is alive for evil. We whose purpose
is good, whose cause is justice and whose triumph is indispensable if
honest industry and human right are not to disappear from mankind, are
as yet not fully alive to the immensity and necessity of our task. We
must awaken, or be awakened, ere it be too late.

Germany is living in the present and in the future. It is a present of
determined effort, of unlimited sacrifice, of colossal hope. The
future for which she strives and suffers is a future incompatible
with those ideals which our race cherishes and reveres. Either our
philosophy, our religion and code prevail, or they fade into decay,
and Germany's aims remain. The choice is definite.

There can be no parley, no compromise with the evil thing for which
Germany fights. There is not room for both. One must go down.

We must win outright. And we can and shall win--if we bend every
thought, our whole will, our every energy, our utmost intensity of
determination to the great work. Failing this, we shall secure only a
victory equivalent to defeat. We chose the part of free men, and, when
purified by complete self-sacrifice, shall emerge from the ordeal a
great and regenerated people.

W. M. HUGHES.



CONTENTS


CHAP. PAGE

INTRODUCTION BY THE HON. W. M. HUGHES                             vii

I THE CHARACTER OF GERMANY                                          1

II THE GERMAN SYSTEM OF PREPARATION                                 7

III GERMANY AND ITALIAN FINANCE                                    27

IV THE ANNEXATION MANIA                                            37

V GERMANY AND RUSSIA                                               53

VI THE STATESMANSHIP OF THE ENTENTE                                81

VII TEUTON POLITICS                                                88

VIII A MACHIAVELLIAN TRICK BY WHICH RUSSIA'S
HAND WAS FORCED                                                    99

IX GERMAN PROPAGANDA IN SCANDINAVIA                               108

X GERMANY AND THE BALKANS                                         116

XI THE RIVAL POLICIES                                             136

XII PROBLEMS OF LEADERSHIP                                        146

XIII PROBLEMS OF FINANCE                                          161

XIV READJUSTMENTS                                                 175

XV THE POSITION OF ITALY                                          192

XVI ROUMANIA AND GREECE                                           214

XVII GERMANY'S RESOURCEFULNESS                                    227

XVIII THE PERILS OF PARTY POLITICS                                236

XIX PAST AND PRESENT                                              246

XX PROBLEMS OF THE FUTURE                                         272

XXI THE FINAL ISSUE                                               296



OURSELVES AND GERMANY



CHAPTER I

THE CHARACTER OF GERMANY


During the memorable space of time that separates us from the outbreak
of the catastrophic struggle, out of which a new Europe will shortly
emerge, events have shed a partial but helpful light on much that at
the outset was blurred or mysterious. They have belied or confirmed
various forecasts, fulfilled some few hopes, blasted many others, and
obliged the allied peoples to carry forward most of their cherished
anticipations to another year's account. Meanwhile the balance as it
stands offers ample food for sobering reflection, but will doubtless
evoke dignified resignation and grim resolve on the part of those who
confidently looked for better things.

The items of which that balance is made up are worth careful scrutiny
for the sake of the hints which they offer for future guidance. The
essence of their teaching is that we Allies are engaged not in a war
of the by-past type in which only our armies and navies are contending
with those of the adversary according to accepted rules, but in a
tremendous struggle wherein our enemies are deploying all their
resources without reserve or scruple for the purpose of destroying or
crippling our peoples. Unless, therefore, we have the will and the
means to mobilize our admittedly vaster facilities and materials and
make these subservient to our aim, we are at a disadvantage which will
profoundly influence the final result. It will be a source of comfort
to optimists to think that, looking back on the vicissitudes of the
first twenty months' campaign, they can discern evidences that there
is somewhere a statesman's hand methodically moulding events to our
advantage, or attempering their most sinister effects. Those who fail
to perceive any such traces must look for solace to future
developments. For there are many who fancy that the economy of our
energies has been carried to needless lengths, that the adjustment of
means to ends lacks thoroughness and precision, and that our leaders
have kept over rigorously within the narrow range of partial aims,
instead of surveying the problem in its totality and enlarging the
permanent efficacy of their precautions against unprecedented dangers.

The twenty months that have just lapsed into history have done much to
loosen the hold of some of the baleful insular prejudices which
heretofore held sway over the minds of nearly all sections of the
British nation. It may well be, therefore, that we are now better able
to grasp the significance of the principal events of the war, and to
seek it not in their immediate effects on the course of the struggle,
but in the roots--still far from lifeless--whence they sprang. For it
is not so much the upshot of the first phases of the campaign as the
deep-lying causes which rendered them a foregone conclusion that force
themselves on our consideration. Those causes are still operative,
and unless they be speedily uprooted will continue to work havoc with
our hopes.

It is now fairly evident that the present war is but a violent phase
in the unfolding of a grandiose ground idea--the subjugation of Europe
by the Teuton--which was being steadily realized ever since the close
of the Franco-German campaign of 1870. It is likewise clear that,
despite her "swelled head," Germany's estimate of her ability to try
issues with all continental Europe was less erroneous than the faith
of her destined victims in their superior powers of resistance. The
original plan, having been limited to the continental states, was
upset by Great Britain's co-operation with France and Russia. But,
despite this additional drag, Germany has achieved the remarkable
results recorded in recent history. And with some show of reason she
looks forward to successes more decisive still. For in her mode of
conceiving the problem and her methods of solving it lie the secret of
her progress. But there, too, is to be found the counter-spell by
which that progress may be effectually checked; and it is only by
mastering that secret and applying it to the future conduct of the
struggle that we can hope to ward off the dangers that encompass us.

Germany is like no other State known to human history. She exercises
the authority of an infallible and intolerant Church while disposing
of the flawless mechanism of an absolute State. She is armed with the
most deadly engines of destruction that advanced science can forge,
and in order to use them ruthlessly she mixes the subtlest poisons to
corrupt the wells of truth and debase the standards of right and
wrong. And this she can do without the least qualms of conscience, in
virtue of her firm belief in the amorality of political conduct. Her
members at home and abroad, whose number is not fewer than a hundred
and twenty millions, form a political community of whose compactness,
social sense and single-mindedness the annals of the human race offer
no other example. All are fired by the same zeal, all obey the same
lead, all work for the same object. She sent and is still sending
forth missionaries of her political faith, preachers of the gospel of
the mailed fist, to every country in which their services may prove
helpful. Diplomatists, journalists, bankers, contrabandists, social
agitators, spies, incendiaries, assassins and courtesans, willing to
offer up their energies and their lives in order to circumvent,
despoil or slay the supposed enemies of their race, address themselves
each one to his own allotted task and discharge it conscientiously.

Those German colonists abroad are the eyes and arms and tongues of the
monster organism of which the brain-centre is Berlin. They endeavoured
to stir up dissension between class and class in Russia, France,
Britain, Belgium, to plant suspicion in the breast of Bulgaria and
Roumania, to create a prussophile atmosphere in Greece, Switzerland
and Sweden, and to bring pressure to bear on the Government of the
United States in the hope of fomenting discord between the American
and British peoples. They have occupied posts of influence in the
Vatican, are devoted to the Moslem Caliph, cultivate friendship with
the Senussi and the ex-Khedive of Egypt, are intriguing with the Negus
of Abyssinia, and spreading lying rumours, false news and vile
calumnies throughout the world. During the years that passed between
the war of 1870 and the outbreak of the present European struggle,
that stupendous organism contrived by those and kindred means to
possess itself of the principal strongholds of international opinion
and influence, the centres of the chief religions, the press, the
exchanges, the world's "key industries," the great marts of commerce
and the banks. It has friends at every Court, in every Cabinet, in
every European Parliament, and its agents are alert and active in
every branch of the administration of foreign lands. And while
suppleness marked their dealings with others, they were inflexible
only in their fidelity to the Teuton cause. Thus in Russia they were
conservative and autocratic in their intercourse with the ruling
spheres, and revolutionary in their relations with the Socialists and
working classes; in France and Britain they were democrats and
pacifists; in Italy they were rabid nationalists or neutralists
according to the political sentiments of their environment; in Turkey,
Morocco, Egypt and Persia staunch friends of Islam. They intrigued
against dynasties, conspired against cabinets, reviled influential
publicists, fostered strikes and tumults, set political parties and
entire states by the ears, dispelled grounded suspicions and armed
various bands of incendiaries and assassins.

But in spite of cogged dice and poisoned weapons, the comprehensive
way in which the enterprise was conceived, the consummate skill with
which it was wrought out towards a satisfactory issue, the
whole-heartedness of the nation which, although animated by a fiery
patriotism that fuses all parties and classes into one, is yet
governed with military discipline, offer a wide field for imitation
and emulation. For the changes brought about by the first phases of
the war are but fruits of seed sown years ago and tended ever since
with unfailing care, and unless suitable implements, willing hands and
combined energies are employed in digging them up and casting them to
the winds, the second crop may prove even more bitter than the first.



CHAPTER II

THE GERMAN SYSTEM OF PREPARATION


On the historic third of August when war was formally declared, its
nature was as little understood by the Allies as had been its
imminence. The statesmen who had to full-front its manifestations were
those who had persistently refused to believe in its possibility, and
who had no inkling of its nature and momentousness. Most of them,
judging other peoples by their own, had formed a high opinion of the
character of the German nation and of the pacific intentions of its
Government, and continued to ground their policy in war time on this
generous estimate, which even when upset by subsequent experience
still seems to linger on in a subconscious but not inoperative state.
At first their preparations to meet the emergency hardly went beyond
the expedients to which they would have resorted for any ordinary
campaign. In this they resembled a sea-captain who should make ready
to encounter a gale when his ship was threatened by a typhoon. Hence
their unco-ordinated efforts, their chivalrous treatment of a
dastardly foe, their high-minded refusal to credit the circumstantial
stories of sickening savagery emanating first from Belgium and then
from France, their gentle remonstrances with the enemy, their
carefully worded arguments, their generous understatement of their
country's case, and their suppression of any emotion among their own
folk akin to hatred or passion. In an insular people for whom peace
was an ideal, neighbourliness a sacred duty, and the psychology of
foreign nations a sealed book, this way of reading the bearings of the
new situation and adjusting them to the nation's requirements was
natural and fateful.

To the few private individuals who had the advantage of experience and
were gifted with political vision the crisis presented itself under a
different aspect. Some of them had foreseen and foretold the war,
basing their forecast on the obvious policy of the German Government
and on the overt strivings of the German nation. They had depicted
that nation as intellectual and enterprising, abundantly equipped with
all the requisites for an exhausting contest, fired with enthusiasm
for a single idea--the subjugation of the world--and devoid of ethical
scruple. And in the clarion's blast which suddenly resounded on the
pacific air they recognized the trump of doom for Teuton Kultur or
European civilization, and proclaimed the utter inadequacy of ordinary
methods to put down this titanic rebellion against the human race.
That has been the gist of every opinion and suggestion on the subject
put forward by the writer of these lines since the outbreak of the
war.

But even without these repeated warnings it should have been clear
that a carefully calculating people like the Germans, in whom the gift
of organizing is inborn and solicitude for detail is a passion, would
not embark on a preventive war without having first established a just
proportion between their own equipment for the struggle and the
magnitude of the issues dependent on its outcome. It was, further,
reasonable to assume that this was no mere onset of army against army
and navy against navy according to the old rules of the game, but a
mobilization by the two military empires of all their resources--military,
naval, financial, economic, industrial, scientific and journalistic--to
be utilized to the fullest for the destruction of the Entente group.
It was also easy to discern that, whichever side was worsted, the
Europe which had witnessed the beginning of the conflict would be
transfigured at its close, and that Germany would, therefore, not
allow her freedom of action in conducting the war to be cramped by
sentimental respect for the checks and restraints of a political
system that was already dead. Lastly, it might readily be inferred
that the huge resources hoarded up by the enemy during forty years of
preparation would be centupled in value by the favourable conditions
which rendered them capable of being co-ordinated and directed by a
single will to the attainment of a single end. All these previsions,
warranted then by unmistakable tokens, have since been justified by
historic events, and it is to be hoped that the practical conclusions
to which they point may sink into the minds of the allied nations as
well as of their Governments, now that nearly two years have gone by
since they were first expressed.

The earliest impression which German mobilization left upon the Allies
was that of the preventive character of this war. For it could have
had no other mainspring than a resolve to paralyse the arm of the
Entente, which, if allowed to wax stronger, might smite in lieu of
being smitten. For the moment, however, Germany was neither attacked
nor menaced. Far from that, her rivals were vying with each other in
their strivings to maintain peace. Her condition was prosperous, her
industries thriving, her colonial possessions had recently been
greatly increased, her influence on the affairs of the world was
unquestioned, her citizens were materially well-to-do, her workmen
were highly paid, her capitalists, seconding her statesmen and
diplomatists, had, with gold extracted from France, Britain and
Belgium, woven a vast net in the fine meshes of which most of the
nations of Europe, Asia and America were being insensibly trammelled.
Already her bankers handled the finances, regulated the industries and
influenced the politics of those tributary peoples. And by these
tactics a relationship was established between Germany and most states
of the globe which cut deep into the destinies of these and is become
an abiding factor of the present contest. For that reason, and also
because of the paramount influence of the economic factor on the
results of the struggle, they are well worth studying.

To her superior breadth of outlook, marvellous organizing powers, the
hearty co-operation between rulers and people, and the ease with
which, unhampered by parliamentary opposition, her Government was
enabled to place a single aim at the head and front of its national
policy, Germany is perhaps more deeply indebted for her successes
during the first phases of the campaign than to the strategy of
Hindenburg or the furious onslaughts of Mackensen. German diplomacy
has been ridiculed for its glaring blunders, and German statesmanship
discredited for its cynical contempt of others' rights and its own
moral obligations. And gauged by our ethical standards the blame
incurred was richly deserved. But we are apt to forget that German
diplomacy has two distinct aspects--the professional and the
economic--and that where the one failed the other triumphed. And if
success be nine-tenths of justification, as the Prussian doctrine
teaches, the statesmen who preside over the destinies of the Teutonic
peoples have little to fear in the way of strictures from their
domestic critics. For they left nothing to chance that could be
ensured by effort. Trade, commerce, finances, journalism, science,
religion, the advantages to be had by royal marriages, by the
elevation of German princes to the thrones of the lesser states, had
all been calculated with as much care and precision as the choice of
sites in foreign countries for the erection of concrete emplacements
for their monster guns. No detail seemed too trivial for the bestowal
of conscientious labour, if it promised a possible return. When in
doubt whether it was worth while to make an effort for some object of
no immediate interest to the Fatherland the German invariably decided
that the thing should be done. "You never can tell," he argued, "when
or how it may prove useful." For years one firm of motor-car makers
turned out vehicles with holes, the object of which no one could guess
until the needs of the war revealed them as receptacles for light
machine-guns.

Nearly two years of an unparalleled struggle between certain isolated
forces of the Allies and all the combined resources of the Teutons
ought to banish the notion that the results achieved are the fruits
only of Germany's military and naval efficiency. In truth, the
adequacy of her military and naval forces constitutes but an integral
part of a much vaster system. It has hitherto been the fashion among
British and French writers to dwell exclusively on the comprehensiveness
of the measures adopted by the Germans to fashion their land and sea
defences into destructive implements of enormous striking power and
scientific precision. But the German conception of the enterprise was
immeasurably more grandiose. It included every means of offence and
defence actually available or yet to be devised, and testifies to a
grasp of the nature of the problem which, so far as one can judge, has
not even yet been attained outside the Fatherland. As the present
situation and its coming developments present themselves as practical
corollaries of causes which the leaders of Germany rendered operative,
it may not be amiss to describe these briefly.

The objective being the subjugation of Europe to Teutonic sway, the
execution of the plan was attempted by two different sets of measures,
each of which supplemented the other: military and naval efficiency on
the one hand and pacific interpenetration on the other. The former has
been often and adequately described; the latter has not yet attracted
the degree of attention it merits. For one thing, it was
unostentatious and invariably tinged with the colour of legitimate
trade and industry. Practically every country in Europe, and many
lands beyond the seas, were covered with networks of economic
relations which, without being always emanations of the governmental
brain, were never devoid of a definite political purpose. While Great
Britain, and in a lesser degree France, distracted by parliamentary
strife or intent on domestic reforms, left trade and commerce to
private initiative and the law of supply and demand, the German
Government watched over all big commercial transactions, interwove
them with political interests, and regarded every mark invested in a
foreign country not merely as capital bringing in interest in the
ordinary way, but also as political seed bearing fruit to be
ingathered when _Der Tag_ should dawn. Thus France and Britain
advanced loans to various countries--to Greece, for instance--at lower
rates of interest than the credit of those states warranted, but they
bargained for no political gain in return. Germany, on the contrary,
insisted on every such transaction being paid in political or economic
advantages as well as pecuniary returns. And by these means she tied
the hands of most European nations with bonds twisted of strands which
they themselves were foolish enough to supply. Italy, Russia, Turkey,
Roumania, Bulgaria, Greece, Belgium and the Scandinavian States are
all instructive instances of this plan. Bankers and their staffs,
directors of works and factories, agents of shipping companies,
commercial travellers, German colonies in various foreign cities,
military instructors to foreign armies, schools and schoolmasters
abroad, heads of commercial houses in the different capitals, were all
so many agencies toiling ceaselessly for the same purpose. The effect
of their manoeuvres was to extract from all those countries the
wealth needed for their subjugation. One of the most astounding
instances of the success of these hardy manipulations is afforded by
the Banca Commerciale of Italy, which was a thoroughly German concern,
holding in its hands most of the financial establishments, trades and
industries of Italy. This all-powerful institution possessed in 1914 a
capital of £6,240,000 of which 63 per cent. was subscribed by Italian
shareholders, 20 per cent. by Swiss, 14 per cent. by French, and only
2-1/2 per cent. by Germans and Austrians combined! And the astounding
exertions put forward by the Germans during the first twelvemonth of
the war are largely the product of the economic energies which this
line of action enabled them to store up during the years of peace and
preparation.

The execution of those grandiose schemes was facilitated by the easy
access which Germany had to the principal markets of the globe. One of
the main objects of her diplomacy had been to break down the tariff
barriers which would have reserved to the great trading empires the
main fruits of their own labour and enterprise. By the Treaty of
Frankfort the French had been compelled to confer on Germany the
most-favoured-nation clause, thus entitling her to enjoy all the
tariff reductions which the Republic might accord to those countries
with which it was on the most amicable terms. British free trade
opened wide the portals of the world's greatest empire to a deluge of
Teuton wares and to a kind of competition which contrasted with fair
play in a degree similar to that which now obtains between German
methods of warfare and our own. Russia, at first insensible to suasion
and rebellious to threats, endeavoured to bar the way to the economic
flood on her western frontiers, but during the stress of the Japanese
war she chose the lesser of two evils and yielded. The concessions
then made by my friend, the late Count Witte, to the German
Chancellor, drained the Tsardom of enormous sums of money and rendered
it a tributary to the Teuton. But it did much more. It supplied
Germany with a satisfactory type of commercial treaty which she easily
imposed upon other nations. Germany's road through Italy was traced by
the mistaken policy of the French Government which, by a systematic
endeavour to depreciate Italian consols and other securities, drove
Crispi to Berlin, where his suit for help was heard, the Banca
Commerciale conceived, and commercial arrangements concluded which
opened the door to the influx of German wares, men and political
ideals.

A few years sufficed for the fruits of this generous hospitality to
reveal themselves. The influx of wealth and the increased population
helped to render the German army a match for the combined land forces
of her rivals, a formidable navy was created, which ranked immediately
after that of Great Britain, and a large part of Europe was so closely
associated with, and dependent on, Germany that an extension of the
Zollverein was talked of in the Fatherland, and a league of European
brotherhood advocated by the day-dreamers of France and Britain. The
French, however, never ceased to chafe at the commercial chain forged
by the Treaty of Frankfort, but were powerless to break it, while the
British lavished tributes of praise and admiration on Germany's
enterprise, and construed it as a pledge of peace. Russia, alive to
the danger, at last summoned up courage to remove it, and had already
decided to refuse to extend the term of the ruinous commercial treaty,
even though the alternative were war. That was the danger which
stimulated the final efforts of the Kaiser's Government.

Thus the entire political history of Entente diplomacy during this war
may be summarized as a series of attempts on the part of the Allies to
undo some of the effects of the masterstrokes executed by Germany
during the years of abundance which she owed to the favoured-nation
clause, British free trade and kindred economic concessions.
Interpenetration is the term by which the process has been known ever
since Count Witte essayed it in Manchuria and China.

The German procedure was simple, yet effective withal. Funds were
borrowed mainly in France, Britain, Belgium, where investors are often
timid and bankers are unenterprising. And then operations were begun.
The first aim pursued and attained was to acquire control of the
foreign trade of the country experimented on. With this object in view
banks of credit were established which lavished on German traders
every help, information and encouragement. Men of Teuton nationality
settled in the land as heads of firms, as clerks without salary,
private secretaries, foremen, correspondents, and rapidly contrived to
get command of the main arteries of the economic organism. German
manufactures soon flooded the country, because those who undertook to
import them could count on extensive credit from the institutions
founded with the money of the very nations whose trade they were
engaged in killing. In this way the competition, not only of all
Entente peoples but also of the natives of the country experimented
on, was systematically choked. And the customers of these banks,
natives as well as Teutons, became apostles of German influence.

Insensibly the great industrial concerns of the place passed into the
possession of German banks, behind which stood the German empire. A
nucleus of influential business people, having been thus equipped for
action, incessantly propagated the German political faith. German
schools were established and subsidized by the _Deutscher
Schulverein_, clubs opened, musical societies formed, and newspapers
supported or founded, to consolidate the achievements of the
financiers. On political circles, especially in constitutional lands,
the influence of this Teutonic phalanx was profound and lasting.

In all these commercial and industrial enterprises undertaken abroad
for economic gain and political influence, the German State, its
organs and the individual firms, went hand in hand, supplementing each
other's endeavours. The maxim they adopted was that of their military
commanders: to advance separately but to attack in combination. Not
only the Consul, but the Ambassador, the Minister, the Scholar, the
Statesman, nay the Kaiser[1] himself, were the inspirers, the
partners, the backers of the German merchant. Marschall von
Bieberstein once told me in Constantinople that his functions were
those of a super-commercial traveller rather than ambassadorial. And
he discharged them with efficiency. Laws and railway tariffs at home,
diplomatic facilities and valuable information abroad smoothed the way
of the Teuton trader. Berlin rightly gauged the worth of this pacific
interpenetration at a time when Britons were laughing it to scorn as a
ludicrous freak of grandmotherly government. To-day its results stand
out in relief as barriers to the progress of the Allies in the conduct
of the war.

    [1] The Kaiser is one of the largest shareholders in the
    great mercury mines of Italy.

Of this ingenious way of enslaving foreign nations unknown to
themselves, Italy's experience offers us an instructive illustration.
The headquarters of the German commercial army in that realm were the
offices of the Banca Commerciale in Milan. This institution was
founded under the auspices of the Berlin Foreign Office, with the
co-operation of Herr Schwabach, head of the bank of Bleichröder.
Employing the absurdly small capital of two hundred thousand pounds,
not all of which was German, it worked its way at the cost of the
Italian people into the vitals of the nation, and finally succeeded in
obtaining the supreme direction of their foreign trade, national
industries and finances, and in usurping a degree of political
influence so durable that even the war is supposed to have only numbed
it for a time.

Between the years 1895 and 1915 the capital of this institution had
augmented to the sum of £6,240,000, of which Germany and Austria
together held but 2-1/2 per cent., while controlling all the
operations of the Bank itself and of the trades and industries linked
with it.

The Germans, as a Frenchman wittily remarked, are born with the mania
of annexation. It runs in their blood. And it is not merely territory,
or political influence, or the world's markets that they seek to
appropriate. Their appetite extends to everything in the present and
future, nay, even in the past which they deem worth having. It is thus
that they claim as their own most of Italy's great men, such as Dante,
Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Galileo, and it is now asserted
by a number of Teuton writers that Christ Himself came of a Teutonic
stock.

German organisms, as well as German statesmen, display the same mania
of annexation, and the Banks in especial give it free scope. German
banks differ from French, British and Italian in the nature, extent
and audacity of their operations. It was not always thus. Down to the
war of 1870 their methods were old-fashioned, cautious and slow. From
the year 1872 onward, however, they struck out a new and bold course
of their own from which British and French experts boded speedy
disaster. Private enterprises were turned into joint stock companies,
the capital of prosperous undertakings was increased and gigantic
operations were inaugurated. Between the years 1885 and 1889 the
industrial values issued each year reached an average of 1,770 million
francs; between 1890 and 1895 the average rose to 1,880 millions, and
from 1896 to 1900 it was computed at 2,384 millions.[2]

    [2] Cf. _L'Invasione tedesca in Italia_. Ezio M. Gray.
    Firenze.

Of all German financial institutions the most influential and
prosperous is the Deutsche Bank. It has been aptly termed an empire
within the empire. Its capital, 250 million francs, exceeds that of
the Reichsbank by thirty millions. It is the first of the six great
German banks, of which four are known as the "D" group, because the
first letter of their respective names is D: Deutsche Bank, Dresdner
Bank, Disconto-Gesellschaft and Darmstädter Bank. The other two are
the Schaffhausenscher Bankverein and the Berliner Handelsgesellschaft.
The total capital of these six concerns amounts to 1,100 million
francs.[3]

    [3] _Op. cit._, p. 113.

None of these houses is hampered by those rules, traditions or
scruples which limit the activity of British joint stock banks. They
are free to launch into speculations which, to the sober judgment of
our own financiers, must seem wild and precarious, but to which
success has affixed the hall-mark of approval. Each of the six banks
is a centre of German home industries and also of the foreign
transformations of these. To mention an industry is almost always to
connote some one of the six. Before the war broke out one had but to
gaze steadily at the beautiful facade of this or that Russian bank to
discern the Lamia-like monster from the banks of the Spree. The famous
firm of Krupps, for instance, had its affairs closely interwoven with
those of the Berliner Disconto Gesellschaft, and was more than once
rescued from bankruptcy by its timely assistance. Similar help was
afforded to the celebrated firm of Bauer which is known throughout the
world for its synthetical medicines. There were critical moments in
its existence when it was confronted with ruin. The Bank extricated
the firm from its difficulties, and the present dividend of 33 per
cent. has justified its enterprise.

In this way the latter-day German banks upset all financial
traditions, opened large credits to industries, smoothed the way for
the spread of German commerce, killed foreign competition and
seconded the national policy of their Government. As an instance of
the push and audacity of these modernized institutions, a master
stroke of the Bank of Behrens and Sons of Hamburg may be mentioned: it
bought up the entire coffee crop of Guatemala one year to the
amazement of its rivals and netted a very large profit by the
transaction.

Now as commerce is international and industry depends for its greatest
successes upon exportation, it was inevitable that the up-to-date
German banks should seek fields of activity abroad and aim at playing
a commanding part in the world's commerce. And they tried and
succeeded. For they alone instinctively divined the new spirit of the
age, which may be termed co-operative and agglutinative. It was in
virtue of this new idea that groups of States were leagued together by
Germany in view of her projected war, and it is the same principle
that impels her, before the conflict has yet been decided, to weld to
herself as many tributary peoples as she may to assist her in the
economic struggle which will be ushered in by peace. Germans first
semiconsciously felt and now deliberately hold that in all departments
of modern life, social, economic and political, our conception of
quantities must undergo a radical change. The scale must be greatly
enlarged. The unit of former times must give place to a group of
units, to syndicates and trusts in commerce and industry, to trade
unions in the labour world, to Customs-federations in international
life. That this shifting of quantities is a correlate of the progress
achieved in technical science and in means of communication, and also
of the vastness of armies and navies and of the aims of the world's
foremost peoples, is since then become a truism, realized not only by
the Germans but by all their allies.

For individual enterprise, as well as for national isolation, there is
no room in the modern world. Isolation spells weakness and
helplessness there. The lesser neutral States must of necessity become
the clients of the Great Powers and pay a high price for the
protection afforded them. Hence the maintenance of small nations on
their present basis, with enormous colonies to exploit but without
efficient means of defending them, forms no part of Germany's future
programme. And the altruistic professions of the Entente which claims
to be fighting for the rights of little States, whose idyllic
existence it would fain perpetuate, is scoffed at by the Teutons as
chimerical or hypocritical. When this war is over, whatever its
upshot, Central Europe with or without the non-German elements will
have become a single unit, against whose combined industrial,
commercial and military strivings no one European Power can
successfully compete. And the difficulties which geographical
situation has raised against effective co-operation among the Allies
in war time will make themselves felt with increased force during the
economic struggle which will then begin.

No mere tariff arrangement, but only a genuine league between all the
west European Powers and the British Empire, supplemented by a customs
union between them and the other Allies of the Entente, will then
avail to ward off the new danger and establish some rough approach to
the equilibrium which the present conflict has overthrown. The future
destinies of Europe, as far as one may conjecture from the data
available to-day, will depend largely on the insight of the Entente
nations and their readiness to subordinate national aims and interests
to those of the larger unit which will be the inevitable product of
the new order of things.

The ideal type of the industrial bank having been thus wrought out,
the Germans, whom a thoroughly commercial education had qualified for
the work, carried on vast operations with a degree of boldness which
was matched only by the thoroughness of their precautions. They
advanced money with a readiness and an open-handedness which the West
European financier set down as sheer folly, but which was the outcome
of close study and careful deliberation. They began by acquainting
themselves with the solvency of their clients, with the nature of the
transactions which these were carrying on, with their business methods
and individual abilities, and to the results of this preliminary
examination they adjusted the extent of their financial assistance.
They had secret inquiry offices to keep them constantly informed of
the condition of the various firms and individuals, and when in doubt
they demanded an insight into the books of the company which was
seldom denied them. The Spanish Inquisition was but a clumsy agency in
comparison with the perfect system evolved by these German banks,
which could at any given moment sum up the prospects as well as the
actual situation of each of their customers. It was this comprehensive
survey which warranted some of the large advances they made to
seemingly insolvent firms which afterwards grew to be the most
prosperous in the Fatherland.

The methods thus practised at home were adhered to in all those
foreign countries which the German financier, manufacturer or trader
selected for his field of operations. A bank would be opened in the
foreign capital with money advanced mainly by one of the six great
financial institutions. It would be called by some high-sounding name,
suggestive of the country experimented upon, and little by little the
German capital would be diminished to a minimum and local capital
substituted, but the supreme control kept zealously in the hands of
the Teuton directors. Industries would then be financed and finally
bought up. Others would also be financed but deliberately ruined.
Competition would in this way be effectively killed, and little by
little the life-juices of the country would be canalized to suit the
requirements of German trade, industry and politics.

If an industry in the invaded country was judged capable of becoming
subsidiary to some German industry, the Bank would maintain it for the
purpose of amalgamating the two later on, or else having the foreign
concern absorbed by the Teutonic. This was a labour of patriotism and
profit. But if the business was recognized as a formidable rival to
some German enterprise, it was doomed. The procedure in this case was
simple. The Bank advanced money readily, tied the firm financially,
rendering it wholly tributary; and then when the hour of destiny
struck, the credit was suddenly withdrawn and the curtain rung up in
the Bankruptcy Court. When this consummation became public, the
unsuspecting foreigner would ask with naïve astonishment: "How can it
be bankrupt? I understood that Germans were financing it." They were,
and it was precisely for that reason, and because it was on the way to
prosperity as a rival to some German firm, that it was suffocated.[4]

    [4] Cf. _L'Invasione tedesca in Italia_, pp. 118, 119.

This ingenious system proved exceptionally effective in Brazil. It has
been said that that republic is become a dependency of Germany. What
cannot be gainsaid is that about one-third of Brazil's national
debt[5] is owing to German bankers, and the whole financial and
industrial movement of the country is swayed by the Society of
Colonization which is German, by the German Society for Mutual
Protection, by the German-Brazilian Society and by the three
Navigation Companies whose steamers ply between Brazil and the
Fatherland.[6] It is because of the far-reaching power and influence
which has accrued to Germany from this successful invasion that
Professor Schmoller of the Berlin University could write: "It behoves
us to desire at any and every cost that, by the next century, a German
land of twenty or thirty million inhabitants shall arise in Southern
Brazil. It is immaterial whether it remains part of Brazil or
constitutes an independent State or enters into close relations with
the German Empire. But without a connection guaranteed by battleships,
without the possibility of Germany's armed intervention in Brazil, its
future would be jeopardized."

    [5] 1050 million francs.

    [6] _Op. cit._, p. 120.

It is the Monroe doctrine that is commonly credited with thwarting
these designs on South America. But as a matter of plain fact, it is
to the British Navy and to nothing else that the credit is due. Were
it not for the known resolve of the British nation to co-operate in
case of need with the American people in their exertions to uphold
that doctrine against Germany, the Berlin Cabinet would long ago have
formally established a firm footing in Southern Brazil and the United
States Government would have been powerless to prevent it.[7]

    [7] An instructive article on the subject by Mr. Moreton
    Frewen appeared in the _Nineteenth Century_ of February,
    1916.



CHAPTER III

GERMANY AND ITALIAN FINANCE


It was in congruity with those principles and methods that the Banca
Commerciale, which had its headquarters in Milan, set itself to
discharge the complex functions of a financial, industrial, commercial
and political agency of German interpenetration in Italy.

To German customers and those Italians who imported German goods, the
Banca Commerciale allowed long credits and easy means of payment. To
all who were in need of implements, machinery, or materials for a new
enterprise, the bank "recommended" German houses, and those who were
wise construed the "recommendation" as an ultimatum. For if it was
ignored, their names were inscribed on the black books of the bank,
and by means of an efficacious system of secret dossiers, handled by a
confidential information bureau,[8] they found themselves thrust into
a "credit vacuum," boycotted by finance and condemned to bankruptcy.
All banks shunned them. Their bonds became mere scraps of paper.
Every enterprise to which they set their hands was blighted, and
nothing remained for them but to abandon their avocations or surrender
at discretion.

    [8] This secret information bureau is everywhere a potent
    engine of attack in German hands. It renders deliberate
    libellers and defamers immune against the action of the law.
    The victims feel the effects but cannot point to the cause.
    The _fiches_, as the certificates are called, are couched in
    conventional terms and bear no signature. In the case of
    persons whom the bank desires to ruin, these documents are
    sentences of commercial death.

But besides this executive of destruction there was another and still
more important board, whose work was wholly constructive. It was
commonly known as the "service of information." Its functions were to
collect at first hand all useful data about Italian commerce and
industry, to draw up tabulated reports for the use of Germans at home
engaged in trade and industry. These lists indicated current prices,
the qualities of the goods in demand, the favourite ways of packing
and consigning these, samples of manufactures, statistics of
production, the addresses of all firms dealing with Italians--in a
word, every kind of data calculated to enable German trade and
industry to compete successfully with their rivals. The manner in
which this body of information was drawn up, sifted, classified, and
made accessible, deserves unstinted admiration. To say that commercial
espionage was practised largely in the working of this comprehensive
system is but another way of stating that it was German.

The Banca Commerciale, which was the head and centre of this
organization, was, as a matter of course, called Italian. For every
similar institution, commercial, journalistic or other, which has for
its object the realization of the Teutonic plan of internationalization,
invariably wears the mask of the nationality of the country in which
it operates. And in this case the mask was supplied by Italians, on
whom the bank bestowed all the highest _honorary_ posts, while
reserving the influential ones for Germans and Austrians. Thus the
moving spirits of this vast organization were Herrn Joel, Weil and
Toeplitz, men of uncommon business capacity, who devoted all their
time and energies to the attainment of the end in view. And their
zeal, industry and ingenuity were rewarded by substantial results,
which have left an abiding mark on Italian politics and entered for a
great deal into the attitude of the nation towards the two groups of
belligerents. In a relatively short span of time foreign competition
in Italian markets was checked, German products ousted those of their
rivals, and at last the very sources of Italy's economic life were in
the hands of the Teuton, whose continued goodwill became almost a
vital necessity to the struggling nation.

Already in the year 1912 Germany stood first among Italy's customers,
whether we consider the list of her exports or that of imports. Italy
bought from that empire goods valued at 626,300,000 francs, and sold
it produce worth 328,200,000 francs; whereas Great Britain, who
supplies Italy with the bulk of her coal, exported only 577,100,000
francs worth, while her imports were valued at 264,400,000 francs. For
France the figures were 289,600,000 and 222,600,000 francs
respectively.

The method by which Italian industries were assailed, shaken, and then
purchased and controlled by this redoubtable organization, bore, as we
saw, all the marks of German commercial ethics. Sharp practice which
recognizes as its only limitation the strong arm of the penal law, is
a fair description of the plan of campaign. Against this insidious
process none of the native enterprises had the strength to offer
effective resistance. One by one they were drawn into the vast net
woven by the three German Fates--Joel, Weil and Toeplitz. The various
iron, mechanical and shipbuilding works, which represented the germs
from which native industries were to grow, were sucked into the Teuton
maelstrom. The larger and the smaller steamship navigation companies
likewise fell under the direction of the Banca Commerciale, which
permitted some of them to exist and even to thrive up to a certain
point, beyond which their usefulness to the general plan would have
turned to harm. In this way Italy's entire mercantile marine became
one of the numerous levers in the hands of the interpenetrating
German. And the importance of this lever for political purposes can
neither be gainsaid nor easily overstated.

In every little town and village which sends a quota of emigrants to
the transatlantic liners, agents of the various steamship companies
are always about and active. Being intelligent and enterprising, their
influence on local politics is irresistible, and it was uniformly
employed in those interests which it was the object of the Banca
Commerciale to further. "This institution," writes an Italian expert,
who has studied the subject with unusual care, "being the mistress of
the dominant economic organisms of the nation, makes use of them to
carry out a germanophile policy. It employs them for the purpose of
exercising a directive action in all elections, commercial, provincial
and general. Every servant of a steamship navigation company, every
purveyor of emigrants is at the same time and by the very force of
things an electoral agent. The position of arbitress and mistress of
the steamship companies carries with it possession of the keys of the
national wealth, and is consequently a formidable weapon of aggressive
competition against all industries, Italian and foreign, which are not
affiliated to those of Germany. The Banca Commerciale, having obtained
that supremacy, forced the Italian companies to lead a languishing
existence in straitened circumstances, whereas they might easily have
grown rich and flourishing. It permits our steamship companies to
subsist and even to earn somewhat, but only just enough to suffice for
the declaration of a modest dividend. That is why Italian navigation
companies levy such excessive rates of freight, why their service is
not organized in accordance with rational and latter day standards,
why they take no thought of winning foreign markets or of national
expansion.[9] They have no means of consigning merchandise at the
domicile, so that the consignees are put to enormous expense for
collection and delivery. And to make matters still worse, Italian
navigation companies are bound with those of Germany by special secret
conventions, which oblige them to abandon to their rivals certain
kinds of merchandise of the Near and the Far East."

    [9] Cf. Preziosi, _La Germania a la Conquista dell' Italia_,
    p. 57 fol.

If we examine the peculiarly Teuton ways of trade competition in their
everyday guise, and without the glamour of political ideals to
distract our attention, we are confronted with phenomena of a
repulsive character. For the German's keen practical sense, his
sustained concentration of effort on the furtherance of material
interests, and his scorn of ethical restraints render him a formidable
competitor in pacific pursuits and a dangerous enemy in war. His
moral sense is not so much dulled by experience as warped by
education. It may be likened to a clock which has not stopped but
shows the wrong hour. He has been taught that there are times and
circumstances when religious and ethical standards may or must be set
aside, and he arrogates to himself the right of determining them.
Without examining into stories of preternatural meanness and perfidy
which have come into vogue since the outbreak of the war, it is fair
to say that dirty tricks, destructive of all social intercourse,
formed part of the German commercial procedure in France, Britain and
Russia, the only proviso being that they were not penalized by the
criminal law of the country.

An amusing but nowise edifying instance turns upon Paris fashions.
That Berlin, like Vienna, should seek to vie with Paris in setting the
fashion of feminine finery to the world is conceivable and legitimate.
But that Germans should compete with Paris in Paris fashions connotes
a psychological frame of mind which is better understood by the
inmates of a prison than by a mercantile community. American ladies
visiting the French capital to order their gowns are astonished to
note that no fashions really new have been shown to them in the great
Paris houses. They had just seen them all in the German capital. And
the Paris models destined to be placed on the market next season turn
out to be identical with those which the fair visitors had already
inspected in Berlin and could have purchased there at a much lower
price. How this could be is explained simply. A German merchant in
continuous relations with the staffs of the Paris firms clandestinely
obtains from some of the members for a high price the models which are
still being kept secret, has them copied in large numbers in Berlin
and sold at a cheap price. True, the German workmanship lacks the
dainty finish of the Paris article, but the difference is such as
appeals only to the eye of a connoisseur.

In Italy similar phenomena were observed frequently. A firm in
Florence celebrated for special types of wooden utensils which were
never successfully imitated elsewhere was ruined by commercial
espionage. One day the proprietor engaged the services of two foreign
workmen who laboured hard and steadily for some time and then
departed, to his great regret. Six months later Germany dumped on the
Italian markets the very same articles in vast quantities, and at a
price so low that the Italian firm could not hope to compete with
them. At first, indeed, the Florence house made a valiant stand
against the invasion, but had finally to give up the fight as
hopeless. Later on the proprietor learned that the two honest-looking
workmen were first-class German engineers, whose only objects in
entering his service were to acquaint themselves with his methods,
copy his models and then strangle his trade. And these objects they
achieved to their satisfaction.[10]

    [10] _L'Invasione tedesca_, p. 147.

Thus, in order to strangle concerns that compete with them
successfully, the average German merchant sticks at nothing. His maxim
is, that in trade as in all forms of the struggle for existence,
necessity knows no law. And he is himself the judge of necessity. The
history of German industry in Italy is full of instructive examples
of this disdain of moral checks, but one will suffice as a type. It
turns upon the struggle which the Teuton invaders carried on against
the Italian iron industry, which for a while held its own against all
fair competition. In their own country, the German manufacturers sold
girders at £6 10_s._ the ton. The profits made at this price enabled
them to offer the same articles in Switzerland for £6, in Great
Britain for £5 3_s._ and in Italy for £3 15_s._ Now, as the cost of
production in Germany fluctuated between £4 5_s._ and £4 15_s._ per
ton, it is evident that the dead loss incurred by the German
manufacturers on Italian sales varied between 10_s._ and £1 per ton.
But this sacrifice was offered up cheerfully because its object was
the destruction of the growing iron industry of Northern Italy and the
clearing of the ground for a German monopoly.[11] The spirit that
animates the Teuton producer, in his capacity as rival, was clearly
embodied by one of the principal manufacturers of aniline dyes in
Frankfort, who remarked to an Italian business man: "I am ready to
sell at a dead loss for ten years running rather than lose the Italian
market, and if it were necessary I would give up for the purpose all
the profits I have made during the past ten years."[12] To contend
with any hope of success against men of this stamp, one should be
imbued with qualities resembling their own. And of such a commercial
equipment the business community of Great Britain have as yet shown no
tokens.

    [11] _L'Invasione tedesca in Italia_, p. 149.

    [12] _Op. cit._, p. 150.

In Italy the Banca Commerciale was wont to send to every firm, whether
it had or had not dealings with it, a tabulated list of questions to
be answered in writing. The ostensible object was to obtain
trustworthy materials to serve for the Annual Review of the economic
movement in the country published every year by the Bank. In reality
the ends achieved were far more important, as we may infer from the
use to which all such information in France was put. There the
well-known agency of Schimmelpfeng, which was in receipt of a
subvention from the German Chamber of Commerce, was a centre of secret
information respecting the solvency, the prospects, the debts and
assets of every firm in France, and its tabulated information about
French commerce and industry, together with all the knowledge that had
been secretly gleaned, was duly sent to Berlin.

Russians complain somewhat tardily of the prevalence of the same
system among themselves. "Every day," writes the _Novoye Vremya_,
"fresh details are leaking out respecting a certain German firm, ideal
in its resourcefulness, which succeeded in spreading a vast net over
all Russia. It has been satisfactorily established that Germans
occupied many responsible posts in the organization, and that
these[13] officials were subjects of the German Empire. At the head of
the entire business in Russia down to a recent date was also a German
subject." The kind of information gathered by the agents of the
company, "for business purposes," is clear from a circular issued by
the firm just a fortnight before the outbreak of the war.

    [13] It is an American Company for the sale of certain
    machines. The Russian organ mentions all the names. For my
    purpose this is unnecessary. The curious may find them in the
    _Novoye Vremya_ of 5/18 August, 1915.


THE FIRM OF XYZ

"Tula,

"5/18 July, 1914.

"_District Card for the Collectors of the Circuit._

"_Form N 246._

"We have forwarded you to-day a number of cards of the printed form N
246, which you are requested to have filled in at once and placed at
the head of form 490 of the corresponding district. We draw your
attention herewith to the necessity of enumerating on the first table
of form N 246 all the villages and other places of the circuit of each
district collector, whether or no they contain debtors of ours, and of
stating in the second table the number of inhabitants. The
registration is to be done by the official charged with that part of
the work: each circuit is to be entered separately and the villages
and places it contains to be given in alphabetical order. These lists
are to be verified every six months and fresh information set out
respecting the growing number of our debtors. We request you to take
this work in hand at once and without delay.

"THE CONTROL DEPARTMENT, TULA."

When this circular was published in Moscow the general director of the
firm wrote to certain provincial newspapers pointing out that the
company is American, not German. "It is curious," a Russian journal
remarks, "that an American firm should need a map containing all the
villages and hamlets of the districts, with the number of their
inhabitants, irrespective of the presence there of the company's
debtors."[14]

    [14] _Novoye Vremya_, 5/18 July, 1916.



CHAPTER IV

THE ANNEXATION MANIA


Another instructive example of the Annexation mania, as it displays
itself in German commercial undertakings, comes to us from Russia.

It is only one of many, a typical instance of a recognized method. The
Franco-Russian joint-stock company Provodnik is known throughout
Europe. It manufactures tyres and other rubber wares. The capital,
which amounted to only 700,000 roubles at the date of its foundation,
in the year 1888, had increased to 22,000,000 by the time when war was
declared. It is closely connected with another company named the
Buffalo, which has its headquarters in Riga and was promoted by the
President of the Provodnik, M. Wittenberg, together with several
Austrian capitalists. M. Wittenberg is President of both companies,
and the Provodnik has assisted the Buffalo on various occasions, even
during the war, notwithstanding the fact that the shareholders of the
Buffalo are mostly German subjects. On January 2, 1914, another
company was created, this time in Berlin, and called the "German
Provodnik." Now, according to the instructions laying down the rights
of the Board (Par. 24), wares may not be delivered on credit to any
firm or institution for the value of more than 50,000 roubles, and
not even to this amount unless the solvency of the recipient is beyond
question.

In spite of this clearly marked limitation the Board of the
Franco-Russian Provodnik, which exerted itself with unwonted zest to
supply the German Provodnik with motor-tyres shortly before the war,
opened a credit of 498,000 roubles in favour of this firm. The manager
of the warehouses of the Riga products in New York is a German subject
named Lindner. The managers in Zurich and Copenhagen are also German
subjects.[15]

    [15] Their names are Johann Assman and Rudolf Meyer. Cf.
    _Novoye Vremya_, 11/24 August, 1915.

It is not to be wondered at that countries like Italy and Russia, poor
in capital and industry, fell an easy prey to the ruthless German
invader, who, with the help of British, French, and even Italian and
Russian savings, suffocated the nascent industries of the respective
nations, killed foreign competition, earned large profits, obtained
control of the country's resources and an intimate knowledge of the
political secrets of their respective Governments. "Many Germans,"
wrote an Italian Review,[16] "serving in Italian establishments are in
possession of lists of the fortresses, measurements, distances,
positions of the roads and footpaths, they have found the points of
triangulation and acquired all requisite data and information about
them. And to-morrow, should war break out, they will accompany and
guide the German or Austrian invaders."

    [16] _Rassegna Contemporanea._

How keen they are to make themselves conversant with matters of
political moment in the guise of honest workmen is becoming fairly
well known to day, although it may be taken for granted that if peace
were concluded to-morrow these same commercial spies would find
hospitality among some of the easy-going merchants of Great Britain,
who still refuse to believe in the obvious danger or to act upon their
belief. In November 1912 the Italian Minister of the Marine called for
tenders for the supply of silver dinner-plate for the warships. At the
critical moment, when the decision was about to be taken, the German
firm of Hermann, which has its headquarters in Vienna, reduced its
offer first by 18 per cent., then by 20, and finally by 20·13 per
cent. in order to get the order. For the order carried with it, for
the representative of the firm, Herr Forster, _the permanent right of
access_ to all naval arsenals of Italy.[17]

    [17] _L'Invasione tedesca in Italia_, p. 171.

The _naïveté_ of Italy in matters of this delicate nature stands out
in jarring contrast to the habitual caution of that diplomatic nation,
and has not yet been satisfactorily explained from the psychological
point of view. One is puzzled to understand how, months after the
present war had begun, the press of Genoa could announce that the
supply of electric motors for the Italian marine and of ventilators
for Italy's fortified places on her eastern frontier had been
adjudicated to two German firms, on the ground that their tenders were
the lowest.[18]

    [18] _Op. cit._, p. 171.

One of the largest automobile and motor works in the German Empire is
the Benz and Rheinische Automobil und Motoren Fabrik Actien
Gesellschaft of Mannheim. It supplies the Kaiser with his cars and has
branches everywhere. In Italy, too, it exists and flourishes. But
there the great German firm is modestly disguised under the name of
the Societá Italiana Benz. And it is so modest that in spite of its
gorgeous warehouse in the Via Floria (Rome), of its luxurious
head-office in the Via Finanze, of its well-equipped workshop for
repairing and fitting and its little army of agents actively pushing
the business all over Italy, its capital, all told, amounts only to
30,000 lire, or £1,000! The firm is managed by a German engineer whose
kith and kin are fighting in the Kaiser's army. And this German
engineer, Herr Matt, has free access to the Italian War Minister, even
now,[19] when it is question of manufacturing projectiles; and he has
continuous relations with the Italian Airmen's Brigade.

    [19] Cf. _L'Idea Nazionale_. The words "even now" refer to
    November 22, 1915, and may be equally true to-day.

Electricity in Italy, together with all its auxiliary trades and
industries, was, like every other lucrative enterprise, in the hands
of Germans and German Swiss. The names of the various company
directors had the usual familiar Teuton sound. When the European
conflict broke out it seemed for a moment as if all these German
concerns must come to a sudden and dire end. But just as the German
engineer Herr Matt, whose relatives are officers in the Kaiser's army,
has free access to the Italian War Minister and carries on his
business in Italy as usual, so the electrical concerns had merely to
change one or two adjectives in their trading names and were forthwith
shielded from harm. A case in point which is valuable because typical
occurred recently. The Italian Electro-technical Association published
a list of the manufacturers of electric machines and requisites in
Italy, and by way of introduction set down the following patriotic
remarks: "This list is addressed to those who at the present moment
feel it to be their duty to uphold and encourage the production and
development of materials for electricity. Importation from abroad,
which we favoured when Italian industry was still in an embryonic
stage, _degenerated especially in consequence of the action of the
Germans_, into a veritable conquest of the markets; and no weapon,
licit or illicit, was spurned to destroy our sources of production,
and suffocate our nascent initiative."

These are pathetic words. They are calculated to appeal with force to
the Italian who loves his country. But when one looks more closely
into the list of Italian producers one is disappointed to find the
same familiar names as before:[20] Allgemeine Electricitäts
Gesellschaft, Thomson Houston, the Mannesmann Tubes Co., the Italian
Brown Boveri Co., etc. The nationalist Italian press organ which first
directed public attention to these German subtleties asks pertinently:
"Were not and are not the real producers named in this list the same
who were the prime movers in the deplorable foreign conquest of the
Italian market?"[21]

    [20] Felix Deutsch, Karl Zander, Otto Joel, Karl von Siemens,
    Walter Boveri, Karl Kapp, etc.

    [21] _L'Idea Nazionale_, September 8, 1915.

The Banca Commerciale, which was admittedly an all-powerful German
institution, and has the control, direct or indirect, of most of the
industries, the silk manufacture, metallurgical and mechanical works
of the country and of thirty-four electrical companies in Italy: which
possess a capital of 434,000,000 francs and produce energy equal to
940,000 h.p.: found itself in an unpleasant predicament as soon as the
King of Italy declared war against Austria-Hungary. But Teuton
resourcefulness solved the problem with ease and seeming thoroughness
by inducing certain German officials on the board to resign and
appointing as Italian director a gentleman known for his
philo-Germanism. But the three creators of the bank were left: Herrn
Joel, Toeplitz and Weil, and although it was affirmed solemnly that
Joel was no longer the director but M. Fenoglio, it has been publicly
proved that after the resignation of the former, the latter, before
sending a _consignment of gold to Berlin_,[22] had to ask for and
actually received the authorization of Herr Joel.[23]

    [22] On May 21, 1915.

    [23] _L'Idea Nazionale_, November 8, 1915.

The following brief summary of the companies and enterprises in which
the Banca Commerciale is interested may enable the British reader to
form an idea of its decisive influence on the economic and political
life of the Italian nation: they include eighteen of the largest
companies of textile industries; sixteen of the most important
companies of chemical, electrical and kindred industries; six of the
chief companies of alimentation; twenty-six transport companies;
twenty-seven of the principal companies of mechanical industries and
naval construction; six building companies; five of the chief mining
companies; twenty-eight of the largest electrical companies; and
twenty-two miscellaneous.[24]

    [24] _Giornale d'Italia_, November 17, 1915.

Thus every artery and vein of the economic organism of Italy is
swathed and pressed and choked by this German isolator, which nobody
dares to pull away. For if we turn from the economic to the political
aspect of this curious phenomenon, we shall find that the companies
enumerated give work to scores of thousands of operators and
employees, through whose willing instrumentality they become vast
electoral agencies. "It is obvious," we are authoritatively assured,
"that the influence of such companies in administrative and political
elections is put forth in congruity with the interests at stake, a
circumstance which explains how it comes that many Italian politicians
and representatives are, directly or otherwise, chained to the chariot
of the Banca Commerciale and indirectly to that of Germany's
policy."[25] In Italy the deputies are, with few exceptions, the
humble servants of their constituents, and are powerless to shake
themselves free from local influences. "It is easy to infer from this
what efforts have to be made and what compromises must be acquiesced
in by those deputies whose election depends on such institutions
which, aware that money is more than ever the nerve of political
contests, subscribe to the election expenses, and assure in this way
the respectful gratitude of the parliamentary recipients of their
benefactions. And all this is executed with order and discipline.
Examples could be quoted and names mentioned."[26]

    [25] Cf. Preziosi, _La Germania a la Conquista dell' Italia_,
    p. 66.

    [26] _Ibid._, p. 67.

The unsuspected ways in which this remarkable organization destroys,
constructs and draws its sustenance from its victims are a revelation.
Imagine a few British bankers possessed of two hundred thousand pounds
and conceiving the plan of wresting the economic markets of Italy
from Britain's rivals, building up an all-powerful organization with
Italian money, throttling Italian industries and commerce with the
help of Italian agents paid for the purpose out of the hard-earned
savings of the Italian people, and then yoking the national policy to
the interests of Great Britain. One would laugh to scorn such a mad
scheme, and set down its authors as wild visionaries. Yet that was the
programme of the little band of audacious Germans who conceived the
design of teutonizing Italy. And they had almost realized it when the
war broke out. Even the halfpence scraped together by poor emigrants
and half-starved Sicilian working-men were diverted from the savings
banks into banks of German origin, two of which held four hundred
million francs of the nation's economies a few months ago.

It was not to be expected that the domain of foreign politics should
long escape the notice or be spared the experiments of this
all-absorbing organization. What excites our wonder are the
superiority of its method and the completeness of its success. To the
thinking of Germany's leaders international politics and foreign trade
are correlates. In the Near East, where so many of Italy's interests
are now concentrated, the Societa Commerciale d'Oriente of
Constantinople, being one of the agencies of the Banca Commerciale,
was also one of the canals through which this influence passed. Under
the Italian flag and with the co-operation of Italian diplomacy, that
"little business" of Germany was conscientiously transacted which
consisted in the adaptation and employment of Italian expansion as an
instrument for Teutonic interpenetration. Whithersoever we turn our
gaze we discern, lurking under the comely vesture of Italy, the clumsy
form of the Teuton. It is amusing to reflect that the recent railway
concessions in Asia Minor, for which Italian statesmen laboured so
hard and so long, went in reality to the Banca Commerciale, which is
but a roundabout way of saying to Germany. And in order to win their
suit and have those advantages conferred on "Italy," King Victor's
Government agreed to renounce their claims for the reimbursement of
the expenses incurred during the administration of the occupied
Turkish islands. This sacrifice meant tens of millions of francs, kept
from the pockets of Italian taxpayers and handed over to the German
bankers, who spent them in promoting anti-Italian projects. The Bank
of Albania was also conceived originally as an organ of German
propaganda, and was pushed forward by the same set of agents who
induced the Italian Government to employ them as its own.

In those ways the seemingly modest little bank scheme which Friedrich
Weil with Crispi's help initiated in 1890, grew until it acquired the
influence of a State within the State. And then it began to discharge
functions unique in the history of the banking world. Its employees
became diplomatists and statesmen at a moment's notice, ended wars,
and drafted treaties. The Banca Commerciale put a stop to the campaign
against Turkey which was a thorn in the side of Teutonism and settled
the terms of peace in accordance with its own judgment. It was not an
ambassador or a minister who opened the pourparlers in Stamboul and
continued them at Ouchy, but an agent of the Banca Commerciale. It
was that same agent who immediately afterwards, in concert with
colleagues of his bank, negotiated the treaty, reporting by telegraph
to the headquarters of the bank in Milan every important conversation
he had with the Turkish delegates.[27] At a later date important
conversations between the British Foreign Office and the Consulta were
entered into in the name and for the alleged interests of Italy, but
the principal part in the drawing up of the terms of the settlement
arrived at was taken by Signor Nogara of the Societa Commerciale
d'Oriente,--the company which the concessions demanded were destined
to benefit. In fine, the parasite had thus become almost equal in
power to the body on which it battened.

    [27] Signor Preziosi gives the names of those agents as MM.
    Volpi, Bertolini and Nogara (_op. cit._, p. 71).

A well-known politician and member of the Italian Legislature, Di
Cesaró, narrated the following curious incident in a public speech
delivered on March 17, 1915: "An Italian Admiral, having had the
audacity to request the immediate delivery of an order for arms
manufactured by the works which are under the control of the Banca
Commerciale, was relieved of his functions within twenty-four hours,
and his place was taken by another Admiral, who by chance happened to
be the brother of one of the negotiators of the Italo-Turkish Peace of
Ouchy." And as we saw, the negotiators of that peace were officials of
the Banca Commerciale. An authority on the subject[28] wrote: "For
many years the Banca Commerciale has contrived, directly or
indirectly, according to circumstances, to take a hand in the
formation of various ministries.... As a matter of fact, on its
governing board there are seven senators, many deputies, and a
numerous host of political notabilities. It has its tentacles
everywhere, high up and low down, in Italy and abroad, in peace time
and in war time, when our native land is elated with good fortune and
when it is cast down with bad. Its hand lies heavy upon everything and
everybody. It is the arbitress in the choice of good and evil and is
under no obligation to render an account of its doings to any one....
In war time we are certain to feel greatly hampered by the meshes of
such a firmly woven net."[29] This anticipation has since come true.

    [28] Professor Bondi, ex-Questor of Milan.

    [29] Rivelazioni postume alle Memorie di un questore, 1913.
    Cf. Preziosi, _La Germania a la Conquista dell' Italia_, p.
    75 ff.

Like the vampire that soothes its victim while drawing its life-blood,
the parasitic German organism cast a spell over influential Italians
of the community and imparted to them a feeling that things were going
well with themselves and their country. Money passed from hand to
hand. Labour found remunerative employment. Towns in decay were
galvanized into new life. And all Italy was grateful. Milan, the
"moral capital" of the kingdom, where a couple of decades before the
name of Germany was execrated, became itself very largely Teutonic and
was dominated by a rich and flourishing German colony. Venice, Genoa,
Rome, Florence, Naples, Palermo and Torino, leavened in the same
plentiful degree with pushing subjects of the Kaiser, turned towards
Berlin as the sunflower towards the orb of day.

Against Austria, Italians might write and talk to their hearts'
content, but towards Germany feelings of respect verging on awe and of
gratitude bordering on genuine friendship were cherished by every
institution and leading individual in the kingdom. And when the hour
struck to wrench Italy from that monster vampire, the task was so
arduous and fraught with such danger that no Cabinet without the
insistent encouragement of the whole nation would have attempted it.
The policy of every Foreign Secretary was and still is dominated by
this unnatural relationship to the Teuton, and it came at last to be
acknowledged as a political dogma that Germany must in no case be
confounded with Austria. Indeed, it is fair to assert that the
governing circles of both countries held and hold that nothing should
be allowed to mar these friendly feelings, not even the circumstance
that Germany as Austria's ally is bound to stand by her during the
war. Hence when the friction between Italy and Austria was growing
dangerous, Germany was ready with two expedients for keeping her
friendly intercourse with the former country intact. She first assumed
the rôle of umpire between them, endeavouring to beat down the demands
of the one while spurring on the other to a higher degree of
liberality, and when her well-laid and skilfully executed plan
unexpectedly failed, in consequence of the interposition of a _deus ex
machina_, she produced a draft treaty, complete in all details, which
was to rob war between Italy and herself, if circumstances should
render it unavoidable, of all its frightfulness and savagery. The two
nations virtually said to one another: "Whatever else we may do, we
shall steer clear of mutual hostilities to the best of our ability.
But as the action and reaction of alliances may thwart our efforts and
force us into war against each other, we hereby undertake that that
war shall be but a simulacrum of the struggle that we are at present
waging against all our other adversaries. We shall respect each
other's property religiously, for we shall both stand in need of each
other when the exhausting struggle is ended and the wounds it
inflicted have to be dressed and healed. We Germans have invested
thousands of millions of francs in Italy, the one foreign country for
which we feel genuine affection. You Italians have thriven on our
commercial and industrial enterprise. Spare our property now and you
shall not rue your self-containment. After the war the Entente people
will shun us as lepers, and our only hope of finding outlets for our
commerce is through the neutral States. Now, of all the European Great
Powers, Italy is the only one qualified to render us great services of
this nature. And she will be glad of a partner whose help is free from
the alloy of jealousy or hostility. For our interests do not clash,
whereas those of Italy and the Entente Powers never can run parallel.
In the Adriatic she will find the Slavs pitted against her, in Asia
Minor the Russians, French, British, Greeks, and in the Eastern
Mediterranean the three last-named States. But at no point does
Germany cross her path. Our common hope in the future is based on our
experience of the past. It is knowledge rather than trust. We Germans
succeeded in laying the foundations of your economic strength. And now
that Austria's rivalry has ceased, we will contribute to your
political growth. With the help of our organizing talent you will
become the France of the future. Your population is already well-nigh
equal to that of the Republic. In ten years it will be more numerous,
and will still go on increasing. Tunis has been built up by Italian
toil. Nature has assigned the Mediterranean to Italy as her natural
domain. The overlordship of the Midland Sea is yours by right, and in
co-partnership with us you shall assert and enforce this right. Mind
your steps, therefore, in performing the difficult egg dance which the
European War may impose on us both. You are not, cannot be, friends of
France, closely though you are related by blood. Neither can the
French become our friends. Therefore you and we are natural allies, as
your far-sighted politicians like Crispi perceived. Even Sonnino sees
that and acknowledges it. The one political idea of his life was to
solder Italy firmly to Germany. And that is still the desire of your
aristocracy. Fight with Austria, if you must, but Italy and Germany
must not become armed enemies."

Nearly two milliards of francs of German money are invested in
commercial and industrial enterprises and immovable property in Italy,
besides the value of ships detained at Italian ports, some of which
have cargoes valued at several million francs. The Kaiser is himself
the largest shareholder in the Italian mercury mines of Monte Amiata,
his Foreign Secretary, von Jagow, is another. And they are resolved
not to relinquish their hold. That Prince von Buelow should move every
lever to save this precious pledge was natural, and that Italian
statesmen with their germanophile leanings should readily fall in with
his scheme is not to be wondered at. The Kaiser's ambassador proposed
that in the case of war each contracting party should respect the
property of the other. This formula sounds decorous. Its meaning is
profound. A treaty embodying these stipulations was agreed to and
secretly signed by Prince von Buelow and Baron Sidney Sonnino, whose
admiration for Germany embodied itself in all the more important acts
of his political career. This transaction, which the Italian
Government wisely refrained from publishing, was announced by the
Germans for reasons of their own. The impression produced by this
display of eclectic affinities so pronounced that even the world's
most ruthless war could not impair them was considerable. And it would
have been heightened if the alleged and credible fact had also been
divulged that the diplomatic instrument was ratified when Italy had
already decided upon war with Austria-Hungary. Between Italy and
Germany stands a bridge which both peoples are resolved to keep intact
at all costs. Against the facts it is useless to argue.

The struggle between Germany and Italy, therefore, should it ever
break out, would differ not merely in degree, but also, one may take
it, in kind, from the lawless and ruthless savagery which
characterizes the warfare of the Teutons against the Entente Powers. A
civilizing mute would deaden the resonance of bestial passion; and
even private property--in especial that of Germany--would be safe from
confiscation and wanton destruction, and when peace is restored the
rich mercury mines of Italy will again belong to the Kaiser and his
advisers. Last summer[30] a series of private meetings was held for
three days running in Switzerland, at which Germans of high standing
took part, for the purpose of dealing with German capital in Italy and
safeguarding it during the war. At one of the sittings it was computed
that about two milliards of francs belonging to German subjects are
buried in Italian undertakings or in house or landed property.

    [30] 1915.

In November 1915 the Italian Government publicly applied one of the
provisions of the secret treaty in favour of Germany. At that moment
it was deemed necessary to commandeer German ships in Italian ports
for the service of the navy and the mercantile marine. Had it been a
question of Austrian vessels they would have been seized and utilized
without any such precautions. In virtue of §4 of the Treaty the
Italian authorities undertook to pay a monthly sum to the German
owners for the use of their steamers. That clause lays it down that
the two contracting states shall respect the enactment made by the
concluding section of Article VI of the Hague Convention concerning
the treatment of enemy merchant vessels.

This treaty, then, is no mere scrap of paper. It is a strong bridge
spanning the chasm between Italo-German friendship in the past and
Italo-German friendship after the war. To take due note of this and of
like symptoms of the coming readjustment of political and economic
forces is one of the primary duties of Entente statesmanship which one
piously hopes are being efficiently discharged.



CHAPTER V

GERMANY AND RUSSIA


Turning to our other ally, Russia, we find that she underwent a course
of treatment similar to that which well-nigh prussianized Italy. In
the Tsardom the task was especially easy owing largely to the
advantages offered to Teutonic immigrants from the days of yore, to
the German-speaking inhabitants of the Baltic provinces, to the
proselytizing German schools which flourish in Petrograd, Moscow,
Odessa, Kieff, Saratoff, Simbirsk, Tiflis, Warsaw and other centres,
to German colonies scattered over Russia and to religious sects.
During the Manchurian campaign the Commercial Treaty drafted in
Berlin, and at first denounced by Count Witte as ruinous to his
country, was agreed to and signed.[31] It was Hobson's choice. After
that the empire, which had already been a favourite and fruitful field
for Germany's experiments, became one of the most copious sources of
her national prosperity. Commercial push and political espionage were
so thoroughly fused that no line of demarcation remained visible.

    [31] In June 1904.

Russia's losses were proportionate and at the time were computed at
35,000,000 marks a year. In the Tsardom the imposition of this tribute
was resented. By the Teutons their economic victory was followed by
political influence. Their agents and spies abounded everywhere. Time
passed, and as relations between the two empires grew tenser, the
danger defined itself in sharper outline to the eyes of Russian
statesmen, who resolved, however, to postpone remedial measures until
the day should come for the discussion of the renewal of the
Commercial Treaty. The knowledge that Russia would refuse either to
prolong that one-sided arrangement or to make another like it, and
that the consequences of this refusal would be disastrous to Germany's
economic and financial position, stimulated German statesmen to bring
matters to a head before Russia could back her recalcitrance with a
reorganized army, and was one of the contributory causes of the
European struggle.

Since then the war has flashed a brilliant light on the dark places of
German intrigue, and some of the sights revealed are hardly credible.
Whithersoever one turns one is confronted with the same striking
phenomenon; the preponderant influence wielded in almost every walk of
life, private and public, by institutions and individuals who in some
open or clandestine way are under German tutelage. In the sphere of
economics this is particularly noticeable. Three-fourths of Russia's
foreign trade was in German hands. Dealings between Russians and
foreigners were transacted chiefly through Germany. Imports and
exports passed principally through German offices, established
throughout the length and breadth of the Tsardom, and commercial
dealings were conducted by merchants in Berlin, Hamburg, Königsberg,
Leipzig, and other centres of the Fatherland. Merchandise was carried
in and out of the country by German railway lines, or to German ports
in German bottoms. Even American cotton and Australian wool and tallow
were disposed of in Russia by German middlemen who had them conveyed
in German steamers. On the other hand, Russian corn, sugar, spirits,
were taken to Europe by German transport firms. Intending Russian
emigrants were sought out by agents of German steamship companies,
sent to German ports and accommodated on German steamers. In brief,
whenever the Tsar's subjects had anything to sell to the foreigner or
to buy from him, their first step was to go in search of a German,
through whom the sale or purchase might be effected.

In domestic economics the same phenomenon was everywhere noticeable.
To a Russian's success in almost any commercial or industrial venture,
the co-operation of the German was an indispensable condition.
Individual enterprise might sow and governmental legislation might
water, but it was German goodwill that vouchsafed the fruit. Wherever
Russian industry showed its head, Germans flocked thither to take the
concern in hand, regulate its growth, and co-ordinate its effects with
those of other industries which were under the patronage of German
banks. It was in vain that Witte and his fellow workers threw up
barriers that seemed impassable to German enterprise. They were turned
with ease and rapidity. Thus in order to protect the textile
industries of Moscow, prohibitive tariffs were levied on textile
fabrics of German origin. But the irrepressible Teuton crossed the
frontier, established his factories in Poland, founded the
German-Jewish town of Lodz, and snapped his fingers at the Government
of the Tsar. And forthwith Lodz assumed all the characteristics of a
German city. German schools flourished there, German agents abounded,
German became the recognized language, and permission was at one time
given to German reserves there, to undergo their periodic term of
military drill for the Kaiser's army!

Of the three Entente Powers challenged by Germany in 1914, Russia was
therefore by far the worst equipped for the unwonted effort which the
European War demanded of each. For her liberty of action, and, in some
cases, even her liberty of choice, was hampered by the financial,
economic, and political network which Germany had slowly and almost
imperceptibly woven over the entire population. In the fine meshes of
this net several organs of national life were caught, immobilized and
connected with the Fatherland. And it was not until they strove to
move and discharge their functions on behalf of the Russian nation
that they became fully conscious of their plight. German intrigue and
subterranean scheming, under the mask of sympathy--now for the
autocracy, now for socialism--had effected far-reaching changes in the
Empire, which few even among observant politicians appear to have
realized. These innovations were embodied in the thraldom of Russian
banks to German financial institutions; in the splendid organization
which kept old German colonies that were scattered over the Empire in
touch with each other, and co-ordinated their action; in the eloquent
Russian advocates and influential dignitaries who contributed to the
furtherance of German ideas and interests and swayed the policy of
the State; and in the dependence of the great Russian Empire on its
enemy for munitions, and almost every other technical necessary of
war.

From the days of the great Peter this Teuton influence had been
creeping imperceptibly over the Slav race like some cancerous
soul-growth. It infused a subtle poison in the State organism, the
most appalling effects of which are only now assuming visible shape.
Two palace revolutions were brought about by a national reaction
against the predominance of this foreign influence, which was resented
by the people not merely because it was alien, but largely also
because of its unscrupulous and ruthless character. Some of the most
atrocious cruelties which students of Russian history associate with
court and political life in the Tsardom, during the best part of two
centuries, had their sources in the sheer malignity of Teuton
Ministers who spoke and acted in the name of the autocrat of the
moment. It is characteristic that the Minister Münnich, in the school
for officers which he founded in Petersburg, had Russian history
eliminated from the programme as superfluous, German history being
allowed to remain; and that out of 255 students, only eighteen studied
the Russian language, whereas 237 applied themselves to German. The
first Sovereign to rebel against this Teuton supremacy in his Empire
was the late Alexander III., who made no secret of his profound
dislike for German ways. But as the Russian proverb has it, "one man
in the field, is not a soldier." Hercules, to cleanse the Augean
stables, had need of the water of a river, and the anti-German Tsar
could not hope to make headway without the co-operation of his army of
officials, who themselves were permeated with the Teutonic spirit. And
as passive resistance was their attitude, his purging scheme was
abortive. As a matter of cool calculation, the only hope of freeing
Russia from the meshes of the German net was a war between the two
peoples. And all radical legislation had therefore to be postponed.

In the meanwhile the Germans, having organized and primed their
agents, have been teutonizing Russia cunningly and effectively. With
the precious assistance of their own kith and kin settled in the
Baltic provinces and elsewhere, they employed the never-failing
expedient of taking an active and, when possible, a leading part in
domestic Russian politics, and invariably on both sides. At the Court
they have always been well represented, and in the ranks of the
inarticulate and Parliamentary Opposition they have also been playing
a noteworthy part. In factories and other industrial and commercial
institutions they arranged strikes, called indignation meetings and
hatched conspiracies at critical junctures when it was to Germany's
interest that Russia's attention should be riveted upon home affairs.
No Parliamentary Bill could be privately drafted, no railway scheme
could be secretly discussed, no Ministerial measure could be
canvassed; nay, seldom could a confidential report be drawn up to the
Emperor himself without the knowledge of the Berlin authorities and
the occasional intervention of their agents in Petrograd. It is
interesting to note that in 1914 a secret memorandum of a highly
confidential character, from a statesman to the Tsar, found its way
to Berlin soon after it had been presented to the monarch and had a
certain influence on the decisions which led to the war.

The work of economic interpenetration carried on under the ægis of
such powerful patrons and resourceful coadjutors was greatly
facilitated by the German colonies scattered over Russia for
generations. Many of these foreigners had been invited by Catherine
II., receiving large grants of land and various privileges which
enabled them to flourish at the expense of the native population, on
which they looked down with open contempt.

At that time the extent of free land was considerable in Bessarabia,
Volhynia, and the provinces of Kherson, Ekaterinoslav, Saratoff and
Samara, where down to the year 1915 entire cantons were inhabited by
Germans. In the Novouzensky canton, for example, they constituted 40
per cent. of the population, in that of Berdyansk 17 per cent. and in
the Akkerman canton 14 per cent. The inducements which had been held
out to them to settle in these fertile districts were irresistible.
Each colonist received fifty dessiatines of land,[32] extensive
pastures for cattle, grants for the journey and the cost of stocking
his farm, absolute immunity from all taxes, rates and military
service, and complete local autonomy apart from that of the Russian
community.

    [32] About 107 acres.

The Germans whom these boons attracted were of two categories:
sectarians (Menonites), who eschewed military service on religious
grounds; and ne'er-do-wells, who objected to the restraints of law and
justice in the Fatherland; besides a considerable percentage of
tramps. Most of the men of the second category fared as badly in their
adopted country as they had in their native land. They gave themselves
up to intemperance and kindred vices, and their descendants still lead
a hand-to-mouth existence in the Tsardom which their privileges alone
could not better. The sectarians, on the other hand, formed a compact
co-operative body, and by dint of persevering industry and shrewdness,
made the most of their favoured position and prospered. With their
common savings they purchased such vast tracts of land from the
neighbouring gentry that in time the Russian population was
constrained to emigrate to Siberia and other distant parts of the
Empire. And when the present conflict was unchained they were in
possession of an area of fertile land bigger than Pomerania, which is
one of the largest provinces of Prussia. In the Volga country alone
they owned 879,420 dessiatines, or, say, 1,884,471 acres! In the south
of Russia there are 519 German settlements, and the area they occupy
is estimated at more than 31,252 square versts.[33] And the land of
the country gentry in the neighbouring districts was fast passing into
their hands.[34] They have their own local government, their banks
which help them to acquire Russian land, their insurance companies and
their schools. In short, they were a compact little State within the
Tsardom.

    [33] One square verst is equal to 0·44 square mile.

    [34] Cf. _Novoye Vremya_, October 5, 1914.

The sectarians still hold aloof from the native population. Indeed,
almost the only relations in which they stand to Russians are those
of masters and agricultural labourers. They hire Russian peasants to
till their land and they compel them to work hard for small wages.
Many of these colonies have the appearance of little German towns.
They have added industrial pursuits to agricultural, possess flour
mills, timber mills, and plough their farms with German implements.
They are aggressively German in sentiment, language, character and
Kultur.

That in brief is the history of one type of German colonization in the
Tsardom. There is another at which it may not be amiss to cast a
glance. It is of recent date and consists of German elements already
resident in the Tsardom. It is a monument of Teuton audacity and Slav
forbearance. One might ransack the history of European nations without
finding another such instance of downright effrontery and disloyalty
on the part of a privileged section of the community, and of
easy-going toleration on the part of the State. The German elements of
the provinces of Kurland and Livland, subjects of the Tsar though they
are, resolved after the abortive revolution of 1906 to raise a living
wall against the rising tide of Russian influence. And as is the wont
of the Teuton throughout the world, they employed Russia's men and
Russia's money to achieve their anti-Russian object. This object was
to attract some twenty thousand Germans to the province, provide them
with farms on easy terms, and look to time, the industry of the men,
the fecundity of the women and the teachings of the schools to create
a new German State in that part of the Russian Empire. It was part of
the functions of these colonists, we are frankly told by their
historiographer,[35] "to serve, even as armed defenders" against the
Russians! In no other country on the globe is such a scheme
conceivable.

    [35] His name is Dr. Fritz Wertheimer. His writings are to be
    found in various periodicals. The essay from which these data
    are taken was published in the _Frankfurter Zeitung_, January
    8, 1916.

The undertaking was organized and carried out by two brothers,
Brödrich by name, in one of whom the Tsar's Government placed implicit
confidence and evinced it by appointing him to be chief of the police
in the canton of Goldingen. In this post of trust the German leader
was able to further the anti-Russian cause materially. And he utilized
his opportunities to the utmost for the purpose during the five years
of his tenure of office. He himself travelled in search of suitable
German colonists and had numerous agents on the look-out for such. He
finally got about 13,000 to settle in Kurland and 7000 in Livland. The
Kurlandische Kreditverein advanced the necessary capital as mortgagee
of the land, and within five or six years many of the colonists had
already paid off their debts, sold their farms to other Germans and
bought untilled land in the neighbourhood for themselves. The school
was responsible for the required standard of German patriotism. The
success of the experiment exceeded the highest expectations, and
to-day the man of confidence of the Tsar's Government, Karl Robert
Brödrich, is become chief of the local administration under Wilhelm
II., and deservedly enjoys the confidence of the Kaiser's Ministers.

This type of German invasion in Russia, especially in recent years,
was carried out with a supreme disdain of the laws of the Empire
which is equally characteristic of those who display and those who
tolerate it. In virtue of a law inscribed in the Statute Book on 14/26
March 1887, foreigners are not permitted to purchase or own land
outside the cities in the provinces of Kurland and Livland, whereas in
Esthland there is no such prohibition. Yet in Esthland only 6396
dessiatines belong to Germans, whereas in the two provinces whence
they are absolutely excluded Germans possess 36,852 dessiatines and
6396 dessiatines respectively! In the territory of the Don Cossacks no
foreigner may possess land under any circumstance, yet the Germans own
there 3700 dessiatines. Again, in the provinces of Podolia and
Volhynia, where, for State reasons, the ownership of land is allowed
only to Russians, Germans purchased and own 63,831 dessiatines in the
latter province and 12,475 in the former. Altogether the amount of
Russian territory which passed into the hands of the Teutons is
enormous. In July 1915, when the inventory was not yet completed, the
area inscribed had reached the total of 2,450,000 dessiatines or about
5,250,000 acres.[36] "This figure--" we are assured--"is still far
from complete, inasmuch as a large number of data from various
provinces have not been included in it, and there are no entries at
all for the three provinces of the kingdom of Poland where military
operations are going on and where unhappily the presence of German
colonists has been utilized by the German General Staff."[37]

    [36] _Novoye Vremya_, July 2, 1915.

    [37] By a law sanctioned by the Tsar, in February 1915, the
    German Colonists of Southern and Western Russia were obliged
    to sell their land to Russian subjects, and they received ten
    months' grace for the purpose.

In Poland there were well over 500,000 German colonists, besides a
large number of new-comers, whose unwritten "privileges" included, as
we saw, occasional permission to their young men liable to serve a few
weeks annually in the ranks of the German army to discharge that duty
under German officers in Russian Poland! In the Ukraine and the most
fertile districts of the Volga basin hundreds of thousands of Germans
lived, throve, and upheld the traditions as well as the language of
the Fatherland, under the eyes of tolerant local authorities.

Hard by old Novgorod, the once famous Russian republic and cradle of
the Russian State, a number of German colonists settled some 150 years
ago. The population of two of these settlements numbers several
thousand souls, descendants of the original settlers, in the fourth
and fifth generation. They had had time enough, one would think,
during that century-and-a-half to assimilate Russian ways and to
acquire a thorough knowledge of the Russian tongue. Well, these
colonists do not speak the language of the country in which they and
their forbears have been living for over 150 years! They still
consider themselves German, and if you ask them who their sovereign is
they answer unhesitatingly--Kaiser Wilhelm! During Russia's recent
military reverses, which threatened for a time to culminate in the
capture of Riga, and possibly of Petrograd as well, these parasites in
the body politic of Russia displayed their joy in various unseemly
ways, which aroused the indignation of their Slav neighbours. In one
of their schools the Russian visiting authorities were received with
demonstrations of hostility. It is usual for the portrait of the
Russian Tsar to be set up in every school in the Empire. In one of
these educational establishments it was discovered in the lavatory
with the eyes gouged out.

Long before this war Berlin had become alive to the importance of
these colonies as factors in the work of pacific interpenetration and
political propaganda. Wandering teachers from the Fatherland were
accordingly sent among them to link them up with their brethren at
home, and fan the embers of patriotism which long residence in the
Tsardom had not quenched. Little by little, the political fruits of
these apostolic labours began to show themselves: the colonists, whose
main preoccupation had been to occupy the most fertile soil in the
district, began to take over the approaches to Russia's strategic
plans, and to display an absorbing interest in Russian politics.
Several Zemstvos fell into their hands, and were practically
controlled by them, and they contrived to gain considerable influence
in the elections to the Duma.

The chance of a useful part for these German colonies to perform
having thus unexpectedly arisen on the horizon, they seized it with
promptitude and utilized it with the thoroughness that characterizes
their race. The numbers prosperity, and influence of the colonies grew
rapidly. Land that had belonged to the Russian peasantry was taken
over by the foreign parasites, and while the Tsar's Minister, were
toiling and moiling to transport hundreds of thousands of Russian
husbandmen and their families in search of land beyond the Ural
Mountains to the virgin forests of Eastern Siberia, there in the very
heart of European Russia were hundreds of thousands of intruders,
who, with the help of their German Colonial banks, were acquiring
additional tracts of land from which their native owners had been
ousted.

I pointed out this anomaly over and over again, and long before the
war I described it in review articles. The well-known German
Professor, Hans Delbrück, replied shortly afterwards, in the
_Contemporary Review_,[38] denying point-blank the truth of my
statements, which were drawn from official sources, and confirmed by
the evidence of my senses. For I had visited several of the colonies
in question. Besides these German settlements, there had also been a
number of German industrial and commercial establishments in the
Empire which, at first nowise harmful, were afterwards taken in hand
by emissaries from Berlin, linked up together, affiliated to one or
other of the great financial houses of Germany, and transformed into
redoubtable instruments of Teuton domination. Capital was subscribed,
syndicates were formed, railway-building and electro-technical
industries were organized, Russia's railways policy modified, and
metallurgical works were monopolized by the Germans. Here again
financial institutions discharged the functions of motive power. At
the beginning, about thirty million roubles were subscribed for the
creation of banks, and by dint of push, importunity, secret influence
and intrigue, these institutions received on deposit the savings of
the Russian peasant, merchant, landowner, and official, which finally
mounted up to several hundreds of millions. With this money they were
enabled to control the markets and constrain Russian institutions and
individuals to bow to their will.

    [38] Cf. _Contemporary Review_, February 1911.

Contracts in Russia were appropriately drafted in the German language,
being directed to the promotion of German interests. Incipient and
even long-established Russian firms were either killed by unfair
competition or compelled to enter the syndicates and forego their
national character. Inventions and new appliances were tested,
plagiarized, and employed in the service of the Fatherland. And while
preparing for the war which was to set Germany above the
nations--_Deutschland über Alles_--these syndicates followed the
policy dictated from Berlin, sowed discord between Russian firms and
various State departments, organized strikes and paid the strikers in
competing establishments, and thus deprived the Russian State of
industrial organs on which it would necessarily have to rely in
war-time. To give but one example of this cleverly devised attack, the
cotton industry of the Tsardom was in the hands of the Germans when
war was declared. Another of the most important groups of Russian
industries is that of naphtha. When this precious liquid is dear, many
of the lesser works have to close; when it is cheap, even small
industrial enterprises are able to go on working. By way of obtaining
complete control of this vital element of Russia's industrial life,
the Deutsche Bank went to work to form a syndicate, had a number of
private wells bought up, united them in one, acquired numerous shares
in Russian oil companies, and had the manager of another German
bank--the well-known Disconto Gesellschaft--made a member of the Board
of the Russian Nobel Company.

One of the results of this ingenious deal was a sharp rise in the
prices of all the products and some of the by-products of naphtha. The
increase continued at an alarming rate, filling the pockets of the
German shareholders, whose syndicates received the oil at cost price
for their own consumption, while Russian firms were forced to acquire
it at the market value or to shut down their works. Amongst the worst
sufferers from these anti-Russian tactics were the steam-navigation
companies of the Volga, which had jealously warded off all attempts to
germanize them.

In conditions as restrictive as these, it is well-nigh impossible for
Russian industry to hold its own, much less prosper and grow. And only
the most vigorous and best-organized enterprises in the Empire, like
that of the Morozoffs in Moscow, managed to pursue their way
unscathed. In Russian Poland, where textile industries flourished, and
the total annual production was valued at 294,000,000 roubles, over
one-third of these industries belonged to the Germans, whose yearly
output amounted to more than one-half of the grand total, _i.e._, to
150,000,000 roubles.[39] In all these industrial and commercial
campaigns the German prime movers had carried out their operations
more or less openly. But where interests affecting the defences of the
Empire were concerned, caution was the first condition of success,
and, as usual, the Teutons proved supple and adaptable. By way of
levying an attack against the shipbuilding industry, they pushed shaky
Russian concerns into the foreground, while studiously keeping
themselves out of view. Thus in one case new Russian banks were
founded, and old ones in a state of decay were revived by means of
German capital and encouraged to form a syndicate with the
Nikolayeffsky shipbuilding works and certain foreign banks. An
official inquiry, presided over by Senator Neidhardt, lately revealed
the significant fact that each firm of this syndicate had bound itself
to demand identical prices for the construction of Russian ships, and
under no circumstances to abate an iota of the demand. And it was
further agreed that these prices _should be so calculated as to yield
to the members of the syndicate one hundred per cent. profit_.

    [39] Cf. Duma debates of August 1914.

This allegation is not a mere inference, nor a rumour. It is an
established fact. Neither is the proof circumstantial; it consists of
the original agreement in writing signed by the authorized
representatives of the institutions concerned. The data were laid
before the members of the Russian Duma by A. N. Khvostoff.[40] Thus
the Russian peasant is taxed for the creation of a fleet, and the Duma
votes an initial credit of, say, 500,000,000 roubles for the purpose.
And if the shipbuilding companies and their financial bankers were
honest the aim could be achieved. But in the circumstances what it
comes to is that the nation must pay 500,000,000 more, in order to get
what it wants. And this tax of a hundred per cent. is levied by German
parasites on the Russian people. One might scrutinize the history of
corruption in every country of Europe without finding anything to beat
this Teutonic device, which at the same time gratified the cupidity of
the money-makers and dealt a stunning blow at the Russian State. Half
of the shares of the celebrated Putiloff munitions factory are said to
have belonged to the Austrian Skoda Works.

    [40] Cf. _Novoye Vremya_, August 17, 1915.

At the outset of the present war, when Russia's needs were growing
greater and more pressing, the works controlled by Germans and
Germany's agents diminished their output steadily. In lieu of turning
out, say, 30,000 poods of iron they would produce only 5,000, and
offer instead of the remainder verbal explanations to the effect that
lack of fuel or damage to the machinery had caused the diminution.
Again, one of these ubiquitous banks buys a large amount of corn or
sugar, but instead of having it conveyed to the districts suffering
from a dearth of that commodity, deposits it in a safe place and
waits. In the meantime prices go up until they reach the prohibition
level. Then the bank sells its stores in small quantities. The people
suffer, murmur, and blame the Government. Nor is it only the average
man who thus complains. In the Duma the authorities have been severely
blamed for leaving the population to the mercy of those money-grubbers
whom German capital and Russian tribute are making rich. "Averse to go
to the root of the matter," one Deputy complained, "the Government
punishes a woman who, on the market sells a herring five copecks
dearer than the current price, yet at the same time it permits the
Governors to promulgate their own arbitrary laws regulating imports
and exports from their own provinces. In this way Russia is split up
into sixty different regions, each one of which pursues its own policy
unchecked."

The importance of the rôle played by the banks financed by German
capital in Russia can hardly be overstated. They advance money on the
crops and take railway and steamship invoices as guarantees--they are
centres of information respecting everybody who resides and everything
that goes on in the district and the province. I write with personal
knowledge of their working, for I watched it at close quarters in the
Volga district and the Caucasus with the assistance of an experienced
bank manager. Their political influence can be far-reaching, and the
services which they are enabled to render to the Fatherland are
appreciable. And they rendered them willingly. As extenders of
Germany's economic power in the Empire they merited uncommonly well of
their own kindred. Thus of Russia's total imports in the year 1910,
which were valued at 953,000,000 roubles, Germany alone contributed
goods computed at 440,000,000. These consisted mainly of raw cotton,
machinery, prepared skins, chemical products, and wool.

How steadily our rivals kept ousting the British out of Russian
markets by those means may be gathered from the following comparative
tables. The percentage of Russia's requirements supplied by the two
competing nations varied, during the fifteen years between 1898 and
1913, as follows--

_Year._     _Germany supplied._  _Britain supplied._

1898-1902             34·6 per cent. 18·6 per cent.
1903-1907             37·2     "     14·8     "
1908-1910             41·6     "     13·4     "
1911                  45·4     "     12·2     "
1912                  47·5     "     12·6     "
1913                  49·6     "     13·3     "

In the year 1901 Germany supplied 31 per cent. of the total value of
Russia's imports; in 1905 her contribution was 42 per cent.; and the
increase went steadily forward, reaching over 50 per cent. in the year
1913. If we add to this the net profits of German industrial and
commercial undertakings in the Russian Empire, we may form a notion of
the appropriateness of the comparison which likened the Tsardom to a
vast German colony. The entire economic system of the country was
rapidly approaching the colonial type. And to these economic results
one should add the political.

It is fair to assume that at the outset the main motive of this
industrial invasion was the quest of commercial profit. Subconsciously
political objects may have been vaguely present to the minds of these
pioneers, as indeed they have ever been to the various categories of
German emigrants in every land, European and other. But in the first
instance the creation of German industries in Russia was part of a
deliberate plan to elude the heavy tariffs on manufactured goods. It
has been aptly described by an Italian publicist[41] as legal
contraband, and it supplies us with a striking example of German
enterprise and tenacity. It attained its object fully. About
three-fourths of the textile and metallurgical production in the
Tsardom, the entire chemical industry, the breweries, 85 per cent. of
the electrical works and 70 per cent. of gas production were German.
And of the capital invested in private railways no less than
628,000,000 roubles belongs to Germans. Even Russian municipalities
were wont to apply to Germany for their loans, and of the first issues
of thirty-five Russian municipal loans no less than twenty-two were
raised in the Fatherland.

    [41] Virginio Gayda.

The necessity of waging war against this potent enemy within the gates
intensified Russia's initial difficulties to an extent that can hardly
be realized abroad, and was a constant source of unexpected and
disconcerting obstacles. Some time before the opening of the war, a
feeling of restiveness, an impulse to throw off the German yoke, had
been gradually displaying itself in the Press, in commercial circles,
and in the Duma. These aspirations and strivings were focussed in the
firm resolve of the Russian Government, under M. Kokofftseff, to
refuse to renew the Treaty of Commerce which was enabling Germany to
flood the Empire with her manufactures and to extort a ruinous tribute
from the Russian nation. Two years more and the negotiations on this
burning topic would have been inaugurated, and there is little doubt
in my mind--there was none in the mind of the late Count Witte--that
the upshot of these conversations would have been a Russo-German war.
For there was no other less drastic way of freeing the people from the
domination of German technical industries and capital, and the
consequent absorption of native enterprise.

When diplomatic relations were broken off, and war was finally
declared, Germany was already the unavowed protectress of Russia. And
when people point, as they frequently do, to the war as the greatest
blunder ever committed by the Wilhelmstrasse since the Fatherland
became one and indivisible, I feel unable to see with them eye to eye.
Seemingly it was indeed an egregious mistake, but so obvious were the
probable consequences which made it appear so that even a German of
the Jingo type would have gladly avoided it had there not been another
and less obvious side to the problem. We are not to forget that in
Berlin it was perfectly well known that Russia was determined to
withdraw from her Teutonic neighbour the series of one-sided
privileges accorded to her by the then existing Treaty of Commerce,
and that this determination would have been persisted in, even at the
risk of war. And for war the year 1914 appeared to be far more
auspicious to the German than any subsequent date.

Handicapped by these foreign parasites who were systematically
deadening the force of its arm, the Russian nation stood its ground
and Germany drew the sword.

Improvisation--the worst possible form of energy in a war crisis--was
now the only resource left to the Tsar's Ministers. And the financial
problems had first of all to be faced. In this, as in other spheres,
the country was bound by and to Germany, so that the task may fairly
be characterized as one of the most arduous that was ever tackled by
the Finance Minister of any country--even if we include the
resourceful Calonne. And M. Bark, who had recently come into office,
was new not only to the work, but also to the politics of finance in
general. Happily, his predecessor, who, whatever his critics may
advance to the contrary, was one of the most careful stewards the
Empire has ever possessed, had accumulated in the Imperial Bank a gold
reserve of over 1,603,000,000 roubles, besides a deposit abroad of
140,720,000 roubles. Incidentally it may be noted that no other bank
in the world has ever disposed of such a vast gold reserve.

Although one of the richest countries in Europe, Russia's wealth is
still under the earth, and therefore merely potential. Her burden of
debt was heavy. For at the outbreak of the war the disturbing effects
of the Manchurian campaign and its domestic sequel, which had cost the
country 3,016,000,000 roubles, had not yet been wholly shaken off.
And, unlike her enemy, Russia had no special war fund to draw upon. As
the national industries were unable to furnish the necessary supplies
to the army, large orders had to be placed abroad and paid for in
gold. At the same moment Russia's export trade practically ceased, and
together with it the one means of appreciably easing the strain. The
issue of paper money in various forms was increased, loans were
raised, private capital was withdrawn from the country, various less
abundant sources of public revenue vanished, and the favourable
balance of trade dropped from 442,000,000 roubles to 85,500,000.
Germany, on the other hand, possessed her war fund, in addition to
which she had levied a property tax of a milliard marks a year before
the outbreak of hostilities; she further drew in enormous sums in gold
from circulation, and generally mobilized her finances systematically.

But Russia was compelled to improvise, to make bricks without straw.
Her war on a front of two thousand versts long had to be waged with
whatever materials happened to be available. Japan--who, I have little
doubt, will be found at the close of the great struggle to have
benefited largely by her pains--exerted herself to provide munitions
for her new friend and ally. The United States, Great Britain and
France also contributed their quota. For many of these orders placed
abroad gold had to be exported, and as Russia has no other natural way
of importing gold but by selling corn, which there were no means of
transporting, a sensible depreciation of the rouble resulted. Great
Britain and France have also had to make heavy purchases abroad for
their military needs, but these two countries can still export wares
extensively and keep the payments in gold within certain limits. Even
Italy receives a noteworthy part of her annual revenue in the shape of
emigrants' remittances from abroad. But once Russia's gates were
closed and her corn had to remain in the granaries, elevators, or at
railway stations, the shortage in her revenue became absolute. During
the first three months of the year 1915 the value of Russian exports
over the Finnish frontier and the Caucasian coast of the Black Sea was
only 23,000,000 roubles, showing a falling off of about 93 per cent.,
as compared with the worth of the produce exported during the
corresponding three months of the preceding year.

It is a curious fact that part of this reduced trade continued to be
carried on with Germany for months after the war had begun. A Russian
publicist has remarked that at the opening of the campaign the voice
of the nation was heard saying: "Corn we have in plenty, and
vegetables and salt. It is we who feed Europe. Germany will therefore
starve without our corn. Our armies may retreat, but our corn will go
with them; and the more the Germans advance into Russia, the further
they are away from their bread." And in this the average Russian saw a
pledge of victory. But before six months had lapsed, the everyday man
grew indignant. For he learned that his corn was being conveyed
through Finland and Sweden into Germany, and in such vast quantities
as had never before been heard of. Here is a street scene illustrative
of this traffic and the feelings it aroused. A long string of carts
laden with flour blocks in one of the Petrograd streets leading to a
bridge over the Neva; a General walking with his wife stops one of the
drivers and asks: "Wherever are you taking the flour to?" "Where do
you suppose? Sure we're taking it to the Germans. We have to feed the
creatures. They are a bit faint." "There you see!" exclaimed the
General to his wife; "didn't I tell you? And every morning without
fail the same long line of carts blocks the streets while our corn is
being taken to the Germans!"[42] It is to be feared that this commerce
has not yet wholly ceased. For the Russians, like ourselves, are
considerate of the Germans.

    [42] Cf. _Novoye Vremya_, February 24, 1915.

That that story of trading with the enemy is no idle anecdote is
evident from the circumstance, based on official Russian statistics,
that during ten months from August to May, while the war was being
waged relentlessly between the two empires, Russia bought from Germany
no less than 36,000,000 roubles' worth of manufactures. How much the
Central Empires purchased from Russia, I am unable to say. That
commerce is one of the almost inevitable consequences of improvisation
and one of the most sinister. Some months after the outbreak of the
war the Imperial Government levied a duty of a hundred per cent. on
all commodities coming from Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey. That
was assumed to be a prohibitive tariff. But it failed to keep out
imports from the Fatherland. In the one month of April 1915, Germany
sent 3,000,000 roubles' worth of manufactured goods into Russia, and
in May 2,500,000 roubles' worth. And the Allied Press was then
descanting on the stagnation in German trade and the starvation of the
German people. The explanation of this anomaly lies in the unforeseen
and enormous scarcity and rise of prices in the home markets. Some
metal wares--for instance, various kinds of instruments and of wire
appliances, etc.--are not to be had in Russia for love or money,
consequently a hundred per cent. duty is but a heavy tax paid by the
consumer, not an effective prohibition.[43] Since then, I am assured,
the Government has adopted stringent measures which some people
believe to have put an end to that form of trading with the enemy.

    [43] Cf. _Utro Rossiyi_, August 28, 1915.

It is hard for foreigners to realize the plight to which Russia has
been reduced by the closing of her gates. As the Nile waters were the
source of Egypt's prosperity, so the abundant Russian harvests
constitute the life-giving ichor which flows in the veins of the
Russian nation. Without superfluous corn for exportation, the State
would be unable to meet its obligations, maintain its solvency, or
provide the motive power of progress. The exportation of agricultural
produce was the fountain head not only of Russia's material
well-being, but of her moral and cultural evolution: everything, in a
word, was dependent upon plentiful harvests and extensive sales of
cereals abroad. And, suddenly, the gates were closed, the corn was
stored, and the nation left without its revenue. Nobody but a Russian,
or one who has lived long in the country, can realize fully all that
this tremendous blow connotes. Parenthetically, it may be remarked
that it adds a motive, and one of the most potent, to those which
inspire the heroic sacrifices of the people, quickening the flame of
devotion to their Allied cause. Russia is now literally fighting for
her own liberty, for escape from the iron circle that shuts her off
from the sea, and isolates her from the western world in which it is
her ambition and her mission to play a helpful part.

One needs no further explanation why the Russian Government put
pressure upon M. Delcassé and Sir Edward Grey to open the Dardanelles
route for the Russian corn. Neither is it to be wondered at that while
the Allied Forces in Gallipoli were still grappling with the Turks,
the Tsar's Ministers should have thrust into the foreground the
question of Constantinople and the Straits, and insisted upon an
immediate pragmatic settlement. True, that was not statesmanship; it
was anything but political wisdom; but at any rate it was human on the
part of all concerned. If this Titanic struggle, in which Russia is
perhaps the greatest sufferer, is to bring her any palpable and
enduring advantage, this, it was urged, can take but one form--freedom
from the preposterous restraints that bar her way to the sea, and
through the sea to the outside world. This and other pleas were
powerful; but for this very reason and for the purpose of realizing
her natural striving I personally would have temporarily negatived the
Russian proposal and left nothing undone to ensure its withdrawal. For
if I were asked to point to the efficient cause of the Allies' present
lamentable plight in the Near East, I should single out this premature
arrangement and its necessary consequences. For Roumania and Bulgaria
were at the moment as bitterly opposed to Russia's overlordship in the
Dardanelles and her possession of Constantinople as were France and
Great Britain in the days of yore. And they embodied their opposition
in acts.



CHAPTER VI

THE STATESMANSHIP OF THE ENTENTE


One of the most amazing phenomena of Entente statesmanship during the
present European struggle, is the offhand readiness with which the
Governments of France and Great Britain, yielding to abstract
reasoning founded upon gratuitous assumptions, not only reversed the
policy of centuries but committed themselves to a wholly new departure
which was certain to raise up enemies to the Entente, to render its
task immeasurably more arduous, and to lessen its means of achieving
success. However well Russia deserved of her allies, however
unquestionable her claim to the city of Constantine, no less suitable
a moment could have been selected to press that claim than the spring
of 1915. The only evidence we possess that the British statesmen
primarily responsible for this capital blunder were conscious of the
fateful character of this commitment, is the extreme care they took to
have their responsibility shared by the members of the Opposition,
which at that time was not represented in the Cabinet. But even with
this indication before us, we cannot believe that even now this
premature solution of a secular problem on lines suggested by
transient episodes of a military campaign, has struck the responsible
statesmen in proportion to its specific weight, the depth of its
importance, and the nature of its consequences. To take but one of
these, we find that towards the end of the second year of the
campaign, Turkey is one of the two key-positions of the international
situation. To conclude a separate peace with that Power is become a
pressing, and would also be a feasible, task were it not that this
earmarking of Constantinople for Russia constitutes an impassable
barrier. No Turkish Cabinet would or could conclude a separate peace
and strike up friendship with the nations that are making ready to
deprive the Caliph of his capital. It would be a mistake, however, to
assume that this premature allotment of Constantinople to Russia is
the only obstacle to the conclusion of a separate peace with Turkey.
There are also hindrances of a military nature which would have to be
displaced before any decisive move in this direction could be expected
of the young Turks.

But it cannot be gainsaid that the most formidable obstacle is that.
Neither can it be questioned that that premature arrangement will, if
the Allies emerge victorious from the ordeal, thrust into the
foreground of practical politics a whole group of problems the most
delicate and dangerous that were ever yet tackled by the inadequately
equipped diplomacy of the Allied Governments. It is then that the
Entente Powers will fully realize the deluge to which they made such
haste to open the sluice-gates in the spring of 1915. And the only way
practicable out of this blind alley would be the spontaneous
abandonment by the Russian Government of the right it possesses, which
however the Allies will certainly never call in question. Whether the
Tsar's Government believes such a sacrifice necessary, and whether,
if they did, they could summon up the courage requisite to make it,
are questions which Russia's loyal allies have neither the right nor
the wish to raise. We will carry out our obligations in the letter and
the spirit. If the Russian people, in the person of their responsible
organ, should renounce for the moment the claims which we have
formally recognized and undertaken to enforce, this decision will have
been come to spontaneously and without pressure or advice from their
allies.

The extent to which the Teuton had his own way among the easy-going
Russian people is hardly to be realized. It would be certainly
inexplicable in an empire governed on national lines and conscious of
its mission. For unlimited pliancy was the quality which German
importunity evoked on the part of the highest authorities. One of many
examples is worth recording. Among all industrial enterprises the
Russian Government is most sensitive about that of high explosives.
The manufacture of these they had always rigorously reserved for their
own people, on obvious grounds. Well, the moment the Germans resolved
to break down this barrier, they found the means to do it despite the
objection raised by the Russian Press that it would be dangerous to
confide the production of high explosives to foreigners and
superlatively dangerous to confide it to prospective enemies. The
prospective enemy carried the point, and the manufacture of high
explosives was handed over to a German company, which built works for
the purpose near the Russian capital, and had its headquarters and
board of directors in Berlin![44]

    [44] _Novoye Vremya_, June 24, 1915.

As in Italy, so in the Tsardom, one of the principal levers of Teuton
interpenetration was the regulation of the national trade and
industry. That is to say, these were allowed to subsist and thrive up
to, but not beyond, the point at which they were useful as adjuncts of
German enterprise. And the regulators were principally two: the Treaty
of Commerce extorted from the Tsar's Government during the
embarrassments caused by the Manchurian campaign, and the German
banks, which in the empire paraded as Russian, just as in Italy they
were decked as Italian. Many of those financial institutions were but
branches of German houses, and their methods were identical with those
of the Banca Commerciale: long credits and easy modes of repayment
offered to all those who agreed to deal with German firms, while
discredit, ostracism, and ruin threatened the recalcitrant. And as
Italian money and Italian institutions were employed as instruments of
German interpenetration in foreign countries,[45] so Russian funds and
banks were used as helps to German interpenetration in Belgium and
other lands.

    [45] For example, the Banca Franco-Italiana in Brazil.

A noteworthy instance of the ingenuity with which this intricate
mechanism was worked came to light shortly before the outbreak of the
war. In Brussels there was a branch of the Petrograd International
Bank which purported to be a purely Russian concern. But once the
Kaiser had sent his ultimatum to the Tsar's Government, the Russian
mask was doffed by the Brussels agency, which forthwith appeared in
its true colours as a potent instrument of germanization in Belgium.
There was found to be almost nothing Russian about the bank but the
name. The staff, the language spoken, the methods of business, the
political sympathies, the aims of the operations were all German. Out
of the forty-three permanent members of the staff, thirty were German
subjects, six Austrians, two German-Swiss, two Belgians, one was a
Dutchman, one Turk, and there was a solitary Russian. The moment Count
Berchtold presented his ultimatum to Serbia this "Russian" bank
refused to change any Russian banknotes on any terms and let it be
understood that they were valueless. A panic on the Belgian market was
the immediate consequence. Russian travellers had to deposit their
jewellery in pawn and pay exorbitant rates of interest on loans. The
bank itself practised a kind of usury, and advanced only sixty per
cent. of the face value of notes issued by the Imperial Bank of
Russia. When the Belgian Government, after the declaration of war,
began to tackle German espionage, this "Russian" bank was found to be
one of the strongholds of the military spies. Certain of the employees
were permanent agents of the German Military Attaché, and were at the
same time inscribed as members of the staff of the Deutsche Bank of
Berlin.

All those well-thought-out and successfully executed schemes may bear
in upon the British people some notion of what is meant by German
organization and co-ordination, and may also help them to gauge the
chances of success, military, diplomatic and economic, on which the
Allies, with their easy-going ways, their hope of somehow "blundering
through," and their lack of combination and of plan--can rely when
pitted against a mighty organism, disposing of the most redoubtable
forces ever created by human science and skill, directed by a single
mind, and served with ascetic self-abnegation and religious ardour by
over a hundred million people. The courage and faith of the Allies in
gazing for years upon this portentous engine of destruction without
making suitable provision for the day when it would be turned against
themselves, will fill future generations with amazement.

No bare enumeration of details can convey an adequate idea of the
vastness, compactness and potency of the German organization which
kept the Russian Colossus partially paralysed at home, while the
Kaiser's armies were dealing it stunning blows on the battlefield. It
is a revelation which will be followed by a new birth of the whole
political world. The German colonists, the wandering German commercial
travellers who acted as political spies, the various banks,
joint-stock companies, religious sects, journals, reviews, schools,
clubs, Lutheran pastors, and other Teuton agents, were but so many
wheels and springs of the mighty machine which was set in motion and
kept working by the political leaders in Berlin. For all these firms
and enterprises and individuals from the Fatherland scattered over the
length and breadth of the Tsardom were welded together in one vast
organism by far-seeing politicians who canalized every important
current of the nation's life and imparted to it the direction which
German interests required. No enterprise was too vast, no detail too
trivial, for the attention of these moulders of Germany's destinies.

All those activities, commercial, financial, industrial,
journalistic, religious, political, the German mind combined into a
single idea, the co-ordinate parts of which were studied and
regulated, not by party chiefs, but by qualified experts, who,
although specialists, subjected them to organic treatment. In this
respect the German may be likened to a massive sombre figure who,
surrounded by a crowd of sprightly shadowy nobodies, discoursing with
easy frivolity on grave subjects, is engrossed with the task of
destroying a great part of the frame-work of the world in order to
rebuild it after his own plan. Unfortunately the extraordinary
enlargement of interest which marks the latter-day political
conceptions, and inspires the fateful action of Germany's acknowledged
leaders, breeds in the allied peoples not so much a stern resolve to
tame that revolutionary nation at all costs, as a sentimental longing
for the return of the idyllic past, and an illusive hope that by dint
of mild Christian charity it may yet be brought back.



CHAPTER VII

TEUTON POLITICS


It is this Teutonic power of looking far ahead, this profundity of
vision, this mingled comprehensiveness and concentration, and the
marked success with which these qualities have hitherto been exercised
to the lasting detriment of the Entente nations which looked on and
naïvely applauded, that fill the thoughtful student with misgivings
about the future. True, it may not be too late for effective counter
measures. But two conditions are manifestly essential to the
successful application of any remedy: first, that its necessity should
be felt and realized; and, second, that the scrupulosity which at
present hesitates to apply drastic measures should yield to higher
considerations than those of individual delicacy of sentiment and
over-refined humanitarianism. When an individual abuses laws and
restraints which bind his fellow-men, in order to inflict a deadly
injury on them, it is meet that they should free themselves from those
checks in their dealings with him. For example, it may be
theoretically wrong, after the conclusion of the present struggle, for
our people to bear such a grudge against the individual German as
would exclude him from communion and intercourse with the nations of
the Entente. And this principle would seem to apply with greater force
to those Germans who might be willing to abandon their nationality
and identify their aims, interests and strivings with those of the
nation in which they would fain become incorporated. But when we
reflect that almost every German, whatever his calling, how profound
soever his debt of gratitude to a foreign people, considers himself
first and always a member of his own country, works for its interests
to the detriment of all others, and does not scruple to violate moral
laws and social traditions in order to betray his new friends, we may
well ask in virtue of what precept we should abstain from ostracizing
him from the British Empire. His second nationality is so often a mere
mask to enable him to perpetrate black treason, and it is so openly
thus regarded by his own Government, which upholds and solemnly
sanctions the principle, that it would be inexplicable folly on the
part of the British nation to aid and abet its enemies by admitting
them to the freedom of the community without taking effective
precautions against treason.

And yet there is a large body of men in this country, as in France and
Italy, who condemn the demand for these precautions as un-Christian
and impolitic. Such laxness is the soil in which thrives the upas tree
whose shade has so long darkened the organs of our empire and now
threatens to blight the whole organism.

An all-important feature in the controversy which has arisen over the
naturalization of German subjects is the utterly amoral view of it
which underlies the attitude of the Kaiser's Government. According to
these authorities, whose utterances and acts are decisive and final, a
German, unlike every other subject, may swear allegiance to two
states, of which one is his Fatherland, without being bound by his
oath to the other. Various reasons, including material interests, may,
it is argued, make it desirable that he should acquire citizenship in
a foreign land; and the Kaiser's Government, for the good of the
empire, recognizes this necessity and facilitates the process by a
law. This law, which was enacted in July 1913, authorizes the born
German subject, having first made known his intention and motive, to
swear allegiance to a foreign state without forfeiting, or intending
to forfeit, the rights or escaping from the duties which flow from his
German citizenship. Now this is a privilege which not even the Pope
has ever claimed the faculty of according.

From the point of view of international law this double naturalization
is inadmissible. Every individual in the community of nations is the
subject of a certain state, and only of one, and whenever the
interests of that state run counter to those of any other, he is bound
legally as well as morally to promote the former to the best of his
ability and means. The Teuton doctrine and practice are that Germans
may insinuate themselves into a country, and in the guise of loyal
citizens become conversant with its secrets, and then use them to its
hurt. In the light of this law, which was a custom long before it
became a statute, the number of Germans naturalized in various
countries grew amazingly during the past fifteen years. In France, for
example, where there were only 38,000 foreigners naturalized in the
year 1896 and 65,000 in 1901, the figure reached 90,000 in 1906 and
120,000 five years later. And of these, four-fifths were Germans and
Austrians. Many Germans first became Swiss or British subjects in
order the more easily to acquire the rights of Frenchmen. One in
particular, named Wilhelm Hellpern, first became a Belgian, then as
Willy Hellpern a British subject, and finally, with a view to
obtaining a place on the Board of the Société Française de l'Industrie
Chimique, applied for and received naturalization in France. This
"Willy" Hellpern was a representative of the Central Gesellschaft für
chemische Industrie.[46]

    [46] Cf. _Hors du Joug allemand_, par Léon Daudet.

When war was declared in 1914 hundreds of Germans applied for papers
of naturalization in Switzerland, and obtained them from various
little Swiss communes which were in sore want of funds. Spies eager to
place their machinations under the protection of Swiss citizenship
found smooth ways to the desired goal. In the single canton of Zurich
demands for naturalization rose from 260 during the nine months ending
in October 1913,[47] to 732 in the corresponding nine months of 1915.
Several cases of fraud were discovered during this rapid process of
transforming foreign into Swiss citizens: one of the most salient
being that of Friedrich Wilhelm Frank, a German who had taken out his
naturalization papers in England and then decided to shake off his
acquired British citizenship for that of the Helvetian Republic. As
Frank had not been resident in Switzerland during the two years
required by the law of that country he applied and paid for a false
certificate of residence, and in this way achieved his object. But the
trick was finally discovered and the naturalization cancelled.

    [47] The number for the entire year was 350.

We may protest as vigorously as we will against this infamous
troth-mongering which is destructive of international relations, and
indirectly of social intercourse, but no responsible government can
afford to ignore the necessity of guarding against its consequences.
For it is no ephemeral manifestation of temperament, nor the passing
whim of a political party or a class. The law of double citizenship,
coupled with a plenary indulgence for treason and perjury in the cause
of the Fatherland, is but the solemn consecration of a principle which
was long practised and is warmly approved by the entire German people.
The Berlin Government publicly invoked it during the latter half of
the year 1915, under circumstances which remove doubts on this score.
On one and the same day in August that year all German official and
non-official journals published a notice, which ran as follows: "It is
alleged that in neutral countries, and particularly in the United
States of America, men of German _extraction_" (the word _citizenship_
is not used, but _extraction_), "are employed as workmen, engineers or
in other capacities in the production of war munitions for our
enemies. All those who thus reinforce the military strength of our
foes, thereby make the prosecution of the war more difficult for
Germany, and not only burden themselves with a heavy load of moral
turpitude, but also expose themselves--and many of them are seemingly
unaware of this--to the operation of the German laws which punish high
treason."

In other words, subjects of, say the American Republic, who were born
there of German parents or grandparents and never acknowledged any
other government nor possessed the citizenship of any other country,
become guilty of high treason if they dare to avail themselves of the
plenitude of the rights which that citizenship confers. They may not
work for firms which supply the Allies because their fathers, or it
may be only their grandfathers, happened to be Germans. The moral
duties of German subjects still lie heavy on them, and they must
execute the Kaiser's will to-day on pain of being dealt with as
traitors to the Fatherland.

Monstrous principles and revolting procedure of this kind are
calculated to kindle a blaze of indignation in people who realize
their effects and set value on the boons of civilization or
Christianity. They are among the many new ideas which Kultur has
contributed to the stock of weapons destructive of modern society. One
might term them the asphyxiating gases of German international
politics. In keeping with these teachings and practices were the theft
of foreign passports by the German Government which handed them over
to spies, as in the case of Lody, who was executed in London in the
early part of the war. Thus the binding force of moral and of human
law is dissolved whenever it clashes with German national, military,
or commercial interests. This dogma lies at the roots of Kultur.

By the time war was declared, Germany had stretched forth her
tentacles into various lands and was draining the life-juices of many
peoples. Her footing in Italy, Russia, Belgium and France was firm.
Observant students of international politics fancied they could
determine the approximate date when, if the then rate of progress were
maintained, Germany's overlordship over Europe would be definitely
established and all armed conflicts on the Continent become
thenceforth meaningless. They were all the more puzzled at what they
set down as the egregious folly of jeopardizing the precious fruits of
forty years' well-sustained labours by precipitating a tremendous
conflict of doubtful issue. But besides the sudden temptation to
utilize a conjuncture of exceptionally favourable promise, the leaders
of the Teutonic nations felt moved to appeal to arms by certain slow,
but steady, currents which threatened to change the situation to
Germany's detriment in the space of another few years.

With the remoter causes of the Kaiser's fatal resolve, we are not now
concerned. It may suffice to know that they were numerous and that the
trend of their operation had been for a few months unmistakable. Time,
which was working wonders for the Teuton in one direction, was raising
up redoubtable enemies against him in another. For one thing Russia
was becoming transfigured. The dry bones of the nation which the
Germans often declared was good only as ethnic manure had had life and
a soul breathed into them by the great agrarian reform of which the
credit belongs to Witte and Stolypin. The latter statesman in a series
of conversations had in 1906 opened his mind to me on the subject, and
frankly avowed that the Government, having gone astray in its estimate
of the Russian peasants who turned out to be revolutionary and
anarchistic, was resolved to render them conservative by giving them
land and an interest in the maintenance of law and order. That, he
informed me, was the aim and origin of the agrarian law, and I
expounded the theory, its working and its anticipated consequences,
in a series of articles published at the time.[48]

    [48] In the _Daily Telegraph_.

Down to the year 1861 the Russian serfs had been mostly bound to the
soil. They were emancipated by Alexander II., who ordered each
landowner to make over to the serfs as much of his landed property as
was being actually cultivated by these. Wherever this amount seemed
too extensive for the support of a family it was whittled down and the
residue left with the landlord. Each of the various lots thus
expropriated was given not to an individual, nor to a family, but to
the village community. Each field was cut into as many strips as there
were farms, and each farm had the use of one. Every year the peasants
had to pay a certain sum to the landlord until the land was wholly
redeemed, and liability for these payments, like the possession of the
land, was common. Hence the drunkards and the lazy paid little or
nothing. It was the community which decided when the sowing and when
the reaping should take place. The results of this system were
baneful. And little by little the more enterprising peasants who had
no motive to improve the value of the land which they were allowed for
a time to cultivate, migrated to the towns and joined the growing army
of working men.

How long this state of things would have continued, if these immediate
consequences had formed the only objection to it, is uncertain. But
the Revolution of 1905-6 rendered it wholly untenable. The peasantry,
on whom the Tsar and the Government counted for support, readily
followed the lead of every anarchist and revolutionary who dangled the
promise of free land before their eyes, and gutted or burned the
manors of the landlords. With no conception of the sacredness, nor,
indeed, of the nature of property, they seized what they could by
force, and were gravely disappointed when it was re-taken from them by
law. Stolypin's scheme, as he himself propounded it to me, was to
enable the peasant to acquire the land he tilled, and not merely the
scattered strips, but a compact farm capable of supporting himself and
his family. And the system of collective liability for payments to the
State was abolished, together with that of collective land-ownership.

This was in truth a genial reform, and the business-like way in which
it was carried out did credit to the late Minister and the people.
Even now it is far from completed, but already there are about six
million peasant farms cut out and allotted. In European Russia
approximately as many more remain to be apportioned. The effects of
this innovation were rapid and encouraging. The value of the land rose
enormously in consequence of the intenser culture and the increased
yield. Under the old arrangement Russia's harvest of cereals was
barely enough to feed the population inadequately, to supply seed and
to enable a limited amount of produce to be exported. And as this
limited amount was in practice often exceeded, the food supply of the
peasantry was cut down in proportion. At present all this has changed
for the better and changed to a greater extent than the outside world
realizes. One of the consequences of this betterment, coupled with the
decrease of drunkenness, is the greater purchasing power of the
peasant and the growth of his requirements. So beneficial and evident
were the effects of this reform, that some patriotic Russians gladly
saw their Government go to the very extreme of pliancy towards Germany
rather than run the risk of a war and the danger of a break in this
remarkable career of national regeneration. The process was noted and
gauged by the Germans, who awakened to the fact that, in a few years
more, the legend of Ilya Murometz would be exemplified in latter-day
Russia, and a Colossus arise among the nations, which would hinder the
tide of Teutondom from inundating Europe for all time.

Other considerations of a more pressing character weighed with the
statesmen of the Wilhelmstrasse, whose survey of the international
situation was, at any rate, comprehensive. Renascent Russia, for
example, was, as we saw, resolved to withdraw from the German Empire
the one-sided advantages accorded by the Commercial Treaty. And as
this question would in any case become acute within two years, that
date was one of the time-limits of the European war, and I ventured to
designate it as such to two of the most prominent statesmen of the
Entente in the month of March 1914. They both went so far as to say
that my anticipation was extremely probable.[49]

    [49] Count Witte went farther and fixed the end of 1915 as
    the date.

However this may be, Germany, who works out her destinies by
preventive wars, and therefore never leaves the initiative to her
enemies or rivals, precipitated a conflict which would, she believed,
break out in any case within a couple of years, and for which no more
auspicious moment could be chosen than the end of July 1914, after the
Kiel Canal had been made navigable for her largest battleships and
the harvest ingathered.

The year and month of the historic event had been fixed by her leaders
a considerable time in advance, as we now know from incontrovertible
evidence. So, too, had the choice of method, which was in harmony with
the usual formula, that Germany is never the apparent aggressor, and
that it is her enemies who must be made to appear the partisans of
preventive war.

The principle was thus laid down by Bismarck when he altered King
Wilhelm's historic telegram from Ems: "Success essentially depends
upon the impression which the genesis of the war makes on ourselves
and others. It is important that we should be the party attacked."[50]

    [50] _Bismarck: His Reflections and Reminiscences._

Finally, the very day was determined--and almost on the very eve it
was changed to the following day.

In connection with the date and the method I have a curious tale to
unfold which has never yet been recounted in western Europe. The
incident in some respects bears an unmistakable resemblance to the
story of Bismarck's forgery of the Ems telegram and is well worth
relating[51] and remembering. The main features are as follows.

    [51] My authority for the story is the principal observer,
    who was also an actor in a part of this subsidiary little
    drama: A. I. Markoff, who at that time represented the
    semi-official Russian Telegraph Agency, as its head
    correspondent in Berlin. He himself told me the story in
    Stockholm and authorized me to make it known.



CHAPTER VIII

A MACHIAVELLIAN TRICK BY WHICH RUSSIA'S HAND WAS FORCED


The world is now aware, although it can hardly be said to realize, how
closely journalism approaches to being a recognized organ of the
Imperial German Government. One of the most influential of the Berlin
journals during the past ten years has been the _Lokal-Anzeiger_. This
paper was founded by Herr Scherl, one of those clever enterprising
business men who have been so numerous, active and successful in the
Fatherland during the past quarter of a century. His journal was a
purely business concern, carried on congruously with the law of supply
and demand and keeping pace with the shifting requirements of the
public and the strongest currents in the Government. It had long
enjoyed the reputation of being a semi-official organ, and it was Herr
Scherl's ambition that it should be formally promoted to that rank. In
February 1914 he sold the paper to a group of four persons, two of
whom were Herr Schorlmeyer and Count T. Winckler, and all four were
members of the political party which looked for light and leading to
the Crown Prince and his military environment. Thus the
_Lokal-Anzeiger_ became the organ of the progressive military party,
which was exerting itself to the utmost to force the pace of the
Government towards the one consummation from which the realization of
Germany's dream of world-power was confidently expected. Among the
privileges accorded to the _Lokal-Anzeiger_ from the date of its
purchase for the behoof of the Crown Prince onward, was that of
publishing official military news before all other papers, and not
later even than the _Militär-Wochenblatt_. Consequently, it thus
became the most trustworthy source of military news in the Empire.
This fact is worth bearing in mind, for the sake of the light which it
diffuses on what follows.

War being foreseen and arranged for, much careful thought was bestowed
on the staging of the last act of the diplomatic drama in such a way
as to create abroad an impression favourable to Germany. The scheme
finally hit upon was simple. Russia was to be confronted with a
dilemma which would force her into an attitude that would stir
misgivings even in her friends and drive a wedge between her and her
ally or else would involve her complete withdrawal from the Balkans.
The latter alternative would have contented Germany for the moment,
who would then have dispensed with a breach of the peace. For it would
have enabled the two Central Empires to weld together the Balkan
States and Turkey in a powerful federation under their joint
protectorate, and would not only have simplified Germany's remaining
task, but have supplied her with adequate means of accomplishing it
against Russia and France combined. Great Britain's neutrality was
postulated as a matter of course.

Congruously with this plan, Russia was from the very outset declared
to be the Power on which alone depended the outcome of the crisis.
Upon her decision hung peace and war. On July 24, telegraphing from
Vienna, I announced this on the highest authority,[52] with a degree
of force and clearness which left no room for doubt as to the aims,
intentions and preliminary accords of the two Central Empires. I
stated that if in the course of the Austro-Serbian quarrel Russia were
to mobilize, Germany would at once answer by general mobilization and
war. For there will, then, I added, be no demobilization but an armed
conflict. Before making that grave announcement, I had had convincing
assurances and proofs that I was setting forth an absolute and
irrevocable decision arrived at by the Central Empires on grounds
wholly alien to the interests and issues which were then engaging the
Austrian and Serbian Governments, and that a bellicose mood had gained
a firm hold on the minds of the statesmen of Berlin and Vienna. Had
that deliberate statement been subjected to adequate instead of the
ordinary partial tests, the full significance of the crisis would have
been realized by the Governments of the Entente.

    [52] On 24th July I received this official information. It
    was published on Monday, 27th.

In the course of the negotiations which were then hastily improvised,
Germany, who strove hard to gain credit for the rôle of disinterested
peacemaker, gradually revealed herself as the chief protagonist,
whereas Austria was little more than a pawn in the game. Disguising
her eagerness to provoke one of the two desired solutions, Russia's
abandonment of Serbia or her declaration of war, Germany succeeded in
misleading the Governments of France and Britain as to her real
intentions.

While M. Poincaré was in the Russian capital proposing toasts and
drawing roseate forecasts of the future, the German Ambassador in
Paris, von Schön, was constantly in attendance at the Quai d'Orsay,
endeavouring to impress on the minds of the Acting Minister and the
permanent officials there, the sincerity of the Kaiser's eagerness for
peace and the growing danger of Russia's aggressiveness. "You and we,"
he kept saying, "are the only Continental Governments which are aware
of the magnitude of the issues and the imminence of the danger. You
and we perceive the utter folly, the sheer criminality, of plunging
Europe in the horrors of a sanguinary war for the sake of a petty
state governed by regicides and assassins. What interests have you or
we to risk the welfare of our respective nations for the behoof of the
Serbian military party whose dreams of greatness border on mania? No,
it behoves us both to do all that lies in us to calm Russia's passion
and induce her to listen to the promptings of reason and
self-interest. You, with the powerful influence which your friendship
and alliance impart to your counsels, and we by dint of example, ought
to succeed in averting this awful peril." In this tone, Herr von Schön
delivered his daily exhortations and found some willing listeners. His
specious pleading made a deep and favourable impression, and would
perhaps have led to representations by the French Government
calculated to wound the susceptibilities and perhaps estrange the
sympathies of France's ally at the most critical hour of the alliance,
had it not been for the presence at the Foreign Office of a man whose
eye was sure and whose measurement of forces, political and personal,
was accurate. That man was M. Berthelot. Gauging aright this
insidious appeal to the centrifugal forces of the political mind, he
turned a deaf ear to von Schön's suasive efforts and kept the ship of
state on its course, without swerving. In this way what seemed to the
Berlin politicians the line of least resistance was adequately
reinforced and a formidable, because crafty, attack repulsed.

But besides attack, the Germans had also a problem of defence to
engage their attention. And, curiously enough, it appears to have been
particularly knotty in Austria. At that moment Count Berchtold was
Minister of Foreign Affairs in name, but Count Tisza, the Hungarian
Premier, was the man who thought, planned and acted for the Habsburg
Monarchy. He it was who had drawn up the ultimatum to Serbia and made
all requisite arrangements for co-operation with Germany. He was
backed by the Chief of the General Staff, Konrad von Hoetzendorff,
whose eagerness to provide an opportunity for displaying the martial
qualities of the army was proverbial. But there were others in high
places there who had no wish to see the Dual Monarchy drawn into a
European war, and who would gladly have come to an agreement with
Russia on the basis of such a compromise as Serbia's reply to the
ultimatum promised to afford. Whether, as seems very probable, this
current bade fair to gain the upper hand, it is still too soon to
determine with finality. There are certainly many indications that
this was one of the dangers apprehended in Berlin. Russia's moderation
was another. And the interplay of the two might, had Germany held
aloof, have led to a compromise. For this reason Germany did not stand
aloof.

The date fixed for the German mobilization was July 31. The evidence
for this is to be found in the date printed on the official order
which was posted up in the streets of Berlin, but was crossed out and
replaced by the words "1st of August," in writing, as there was no
time to reprint the text. It had been expected in Berlin that Russia
would have taken a decision by July 30, either mobilizing or knuckling
down. Neither course, however, had been adopted. Thereupon Germany
became nervous and went to work in the following way.

On Thursday, July 30, at 2.25 p.m. a number of newspaper boys appeared
in the streets of Berlin adjoining the Unter den Linden and called out
lustily: "_Lokal-Anzeiger_ Supplement. Grave News. Mobilization
ordered throughout the Empire." Windows were thrown wide open and
stentorian voices called for the Supplement. The boys were surrounded
by eager groups, who bought up the stock of papers and then eagerly
discussed the event that was about to change and probably to end the
lives of many of the readers. It does not appear that the Supplement
was sold anywhere outside that circumscribed district. Now in that
part of the town was situated Wolff's Press Bureau, where the official
representatives of Havas and the Russian Telegraphic Agency sat and
worked.

The correspondent of the latter agency, having read the announcement
of the _Lokal-Anzeiger_, which was definitive and admitted of no
doubt, at once telephoned the news to his Ambassador, M. Zverbeieff.
During the conversation that ensued the correspondent was requested by
the officials of the telephone to speak in German, not in Russian.
This was an unusual procedure. The Ambassador could hardly credit the
tidings, so utterly were they at variance with the information which
he possessed. He requested the correspondent to repeat the contents of
the announcement, and then inquired: "Can I, in your opinion,
telegraph it to the Foreign Office?" The answer being an emphatic
affirmative, the Ambassador despatched a message in cypher to this
effect to the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs. For there could be
no doubt about the accuracy of information thus deliberately given to
the public by the journal which possessed a monopoly of military news
and was the organ of the Crown Prince. The Russian correspondent also
forwarded a telegram to the Telegraphic Agency in Petrograd
communicating the fateful tidings.

Within half an hour the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs telephoned
to Wolff's Bureau to the effect that the report about the mobilization
order was not in harmony with fact, and it also summoned the
_Lokal-Anzeiger_ to issue a contradiction of the news on its own
account. This was duly done, and so rapidly that the second Supplement
was issued at about 3 p.m. The explanation given by the newspaper
staff was that they were expecting an order for general mobilization
and had prepared a special Supplement announcing it. This Supplement
was unfortunately left where the vendors saw it, and thinking that it
was meant for circulation seized on all the copies they could find,
rushed into the streets and sold them. On many grounds, however, this
account is unsatisfactory. Copies of a newspaper supplement containing
such momentous news are not usually left where they can be found,
removed and sold by mere street vendors. Moreover, the date, July 30,
was printed on the supplement, so that it was evidently meant to be
issued, as a matter of fact it was circulated only in a very limited
number of copies and in the streets around Wolff's Bureau, where it
was certain to produce the desired effect.

Half an hour later the correspondent of the Russian Agency received a
request to call at the General Telegraph Office at once. On his
arrival he was asked to withdraw his two telegrams which the Censor
refused to transmit. To his plea that so far as he knew there was no
censorship in Germany he received the reply that it had just been
instituted and now declined to pass his telegrams. "In that case," he
said, "my consent is of no importance, seeing that the matter is
already decided." Finally, he asked to have his messages returned to
him, but they would consent only to his reading, not to his retaining,
them.

The Russian Ambassador also despatched an urgent _message en clair_ to
his Government embodying the contradiction communicated by the
Wilhelmstrasse.

Now, the significant circumstance is that the Ambassador's first
telegram stating that general mobilization had been officially ordered
throughout the German Empire was forwarded with speed and accuracy and
reached the Russian Foreign Minister without delay. And this news was
communicated to the Tsar, who by way of counter-measure issued the
order to mobilize the forces of the Russian Empire. But the
Ambassador's second telegram was held back several hours and did not
reach its destination until the mischief was irremediable. That
curious incident is of a piece with the Bismarck's Ems telegram.

It is by such devices that the German Government is wont to launch
into war. The mentality whence they spring cannot be discarded in a
year or a generation, nor will any Peace Treaty, however ingeniously
worded, prevent recourse being had to them in the future. For this,
among other reasons, more trustworthy guarantees than scraps of paper
must be sought and found.



CHAPTER IX

GERMAN PROPAGANDA IN SCANDINAVIA


The same breadth of vision and efficacy of treatment were similarly
rewarded in the Scandinavian countries, where German propaganda, ever
resourceful and many-sided, was facilitated by kinship of race,
language, folklore and literature. Of the three kingdoms Sweden, the
strongest, was also the most impressible owing to the further bond of
fellowship supplied by a common object of distrust--the Russian
empire. Suspicion and dislike of the Tsardom had been long and
successfully inculcated by the German Press, from which Sweden
received her supply of daily news, and also, as is usual in such
cases, by prominent natives who, in obedience to motives to which
history is indifferent, employed their influence to spread suspicion.
Sven Hedin rendered invaluable services in this way to the Kaiser and
the Fatherland, throwing the glamour of his name over a movement of
which the ultimate tendency was national suicide. Under the auspices
of a prussophile minority of Swedish politicians, a few of whom were
supposed to favour the establishment of an absolute monarchy like that
of Prussia, a clever campaign against the Tsardom was inaugurated.
Falsehoods were concocted, imaginary dangers conjured up and described
as real, and sinister Russian designs against the independence of
Sweden and Norway were invoked as motives for energetic action. In
vain the Tsar's Government protested its friendship for Sweden and
disproved the poisonous calumnies circulated by the Germans.

In the discovery and arrest of a number of Russian military spies, who
were as active in Sweden as in other lands, and whose relations with
the Tsar's Military Attaché in Stockholm were said to be proven, these
agitators found the few solid facts that served them as the groundwork
of their fabric of suspicion and calumny.

The results of this propaganda answered the expectations of its German
and Swedish organizers. Despite the quieting assurances given by the
ex-Premier, the late Karl Staaff and M. Branting, Sweden's two
foremost statesmen, the present population was thoroughly alarmed.
They spontaneously taxed themselves for new warships, insisted that a
non-recurring war-tax identical with that of Germany should be imposed
by the State, and many called for the immediate adhesion of Sweden to
the Triple Alliance.

One of the fixed points of Russia's policy, the Swedish agitators told
their fellow-countrymen, is the acquisition of an ice-free port which
can be utilized in winter. The Baltic ports do not answer this
requirement, not only because they freeze in the cold season, but
also, and especially, because the narrow Sound can be easily blocked
by a hostile Power and Russia's ships bottled up in the Baltic. Hence
the persevering efforts she made at first to get possession of the
Dardanelles and obtain free access to the Mediterranean in war-time.
More than once she was on the very point of achieving success there,
but lack of enterprise on the part of her statesmen or a sudden
adverse change in the political conjuncture foiled this scheme, the
realization of which was put off indefinitely. The Persian Gulf was
the next object of her designs, but there, too, she encountered a
diplomatic defeat. The third goal lay in the Far East, where a new
Russian empire governed by a Viceroy and possessed of a promising
capital, was founded with every prospect of good fortune. But here,
again, defective statesmanship was followed by failure, and the
campaign against Japan closed the Far Eastern chapter for a long
while. Whither, it was asked, can Russia turn now? Recent events, M.
Sven Hedin assured his countrymen, have already answered the query.
Northwards. The great Slav Empire covets an ice-free harbour in
Norway, and until this war broke out was busily engaged in compassing
its end. At any future moment it may again start off on this
enterprise. It is the duty of patriotic Swedes to thwart this
nefarious project.

A Norwegian port, it is freely admitted, would not fulfil all Russia's
requirements. It would, for instance, leave much to be desired from an
economic point of view. The resources of the hinterland would be too
scanty. The cost of transport would be too heavy. But strategically it
would answer the purpose admirably. Now this conquest would not be
achieved without invading and annexing a portion of North Sweden as
well. For it would be impossible to keep and utilize such an
acquisition without a hinterland containing factories, workshops,
wharves, docks, stores and a fairly numerous population which, in
turn, would require corn, cattle, timber, etc. Is it credible, asked
M. Sven Hedin, that the southern boundary of this back-land could be
drawn further northwards than to the north of Ångermanland, Jämtland
and Drontheim? At bottom, then, it is the annexation of a vast slice
of Sweden proper that Russia has in view. Perhaps the first route of
the Russian army would lie on the eastern bank of the rivers Torne-älf
and Muonio-älf and lead to the Lyngen Fjord. How long would it stop
there? Step by step it would move along the coast southwards to
Drontheim. Then Norrland would be surrounded on three sides by
Russians. "Later on they would tighten the noose and strangle our
country. Are we to remain inactive during the course of events?... The
Swede in general is aware of the existence of this danger and _knows_
that it may come upon him at any moment as a reality."

In verity, no normal individual, acquainted with the political
condition of Europe, can be said to know that the peril of a Russian
invasion of Sweden exists or existed of late years. As a matter of
fact, he knows that the contradictory proposition is true.

The symptoms of Russia's alleged designs on Norway and Sweden are as
fantastic as the sweeping statements by which they are heralded. One
of them was the order issued by the Russian Government to build a
railway bridge over the Neva in Petrograd in order to link the Finnish
railway with all the other stations which are situated on the opposite
bank of that river, as though the Russian capital should be the only
one in Europe without a girdle railway and Finland the sole section
of the empire cut off from all the rest! Another of these "infallible
tokens" of Russia's machinations were the measures adopted to render
the Finnish railways, and, in particular, the Oesterbotten line,
capable of transporting Russian military trains, by enlarging the
stations, strengthening the bridges and rails, and other kindred
expedients. Further, a number of new lines were considered necessary
from a strategic point of view, one connecting Petersburg with Wasa
via Hiitola, Nyslott and Iyväskylä. Barracks were built or ordered in
Fredrikshamn, Kouvala, Lahtis and other Finnish towns, or railway
centres. All these precautions, however, are not only explicable
without the theory that Sweden and Norway are to be invaded, but they
ought to have been adopted long ago, say unprejudiced military
authorities, in the interests of Russia's home defence. Yet M. Sven
Hedin concluded his argument with the words: "When it has been further
established that the transport of Russian troops to Finland has
greatly increased--and it is affirmed that there are already about
85,000 soldiers there--and when we also bear in mind that for many
years past Sweden and likewise Norway have been visited by so-called
knife-grinders[53] from Russia, _no doubt can remain. Russia is making
ready for an onslaught on the Northern kingdoms._"

    [53] Several Russian "knife-grinders" are alleged to have
    been discovered in various parts of Sweden, moving from place
    to place, with maps of various districts and a good deal of
    money in their pockets. The Swedes declare that they are
    Russian spies.

But long before Sven Hedin and his friends had begun their campaign,
the ground had been prepared from Berlin, the work of interpenetration
had made great headway, and Germany was regarded by Sweden as an elder
sister. For the economic invasion preceded the political. Statistics
of foreign trade reveal the Teuton as the exporter to that country of
over forty per cent. of the entire quantity of merchandise entering
from abroad.[54]

    [54] The value of wares she sold to Sweden in 1911 is
    computed at 275,423,000 krons as against 170,999,000 krons'
    worth purchased from Great Britain.

Switzerland, whose position as a neutral oasis encircled by
belligerents is fraught with difficulty, has long been treated as
hardly more than an adjunct of the German empire, and many of the best
Swiss writers, far from resenting this affront, welcome it as a
compliment. Just as Americans occasionally write about "_the_ King"
when alluding to the British Sovereign, so the Swiss often fall into
the way of describing the operations of "our army," "our cause," when
alluding to the Kaiser's troops and German designs.

Several times during the progress of the war the conduct of Swiss
organizations and individuals towards the two groups of belligerents
aroused grounded misgivings in the minds of the French, British and
Italians who asked only for the observance of strict neutrality. One
remarkable instance of the pro-German leanings complained of was the
absolute and persistent refusal of the Swiss to submit to reasonable
restrictions respecting the sale to Germany and Austria of goods
exported to Switzerland by the allied countries. This refusal was all
the more significant that it came after the secret acquiescence in the
more stringent limitations which had been imposed on them by the
Germans. Thus two wholly different sets of weights and measures would
appear to have been employed by the spokesmen of the little Republic
in their dealings with the two groups of warring Powers. And it was
always Germany who obtained preferential treatment.

This bias springs from causes which are stable and deep-rooted. The
bulk of the Swiss people are frankly pro-German in their sympathies
and their military chiefs side with the Teuton on most of those
questions of principle which form the line of cleavage between him and
the allied peoples. That the end justifies the means, is one of those
axioms which the authorities of the Swiss Republic appear to have
endorsed without hesitation. In the month of March 1916 two Swiss
Colonels, Egli and de Wattenwyl, were tried on two charges which, if
proved, would, it was somewhat hastily assumed, bring down severe
retribution on their heads. It was alleged that they had communicated
to the German military authorities important telegraphic messages
intercepted on their way from the Allies. But the evidence adduced was
deemed insufficient to bear out this indictment. The other charge was
that they had regularly handed on the confidential bulletin of the
Swiss General Staff to the military _attachés_ of the Central Empires
in Berne and only to them. And the count was proven to the
satisfaction of the tribunal. Now this act admittedly constituted a
breach of neutrality. Yet the Chief of the Swiss General Staff,
Colonel Sprecher, defended the accused men on the singular ground that
their action--that is to say, a grave breach of neutrality to the
detriment of the allied nations--was excusable because of the end in
view, which was to gain in exchange useful information for the
Intelligence Department of the War Office. This plea is based on the
German military principle that the means are hallowed by the end.

It is some satisfaction, however, to note that in the Romande cantons
of the Republic a series of protests have been made against the spirit
of Prussian military amorality which, as the pleadings and the
acquittal of the two officers showed, permeates the military circles
of that little State whose very existence depends on its neutrality.

Kultur is widely diffused throughout the German-speaking cantons of
Switzerland. The German Universities of the Republic are regarded and
treated as Universities of the Fatherland and their professors
interchanged. And when we further reflect that Germany exports to
Switzerland goods to the value of 680,870,000 francs as against
347,985,000 exported by France, who stands second on the list, that
German Universities and those of German Switzerland elect their
professors indiscriminately from among candidates of both countries,
and that German is spoken in Switzerland by more than 2,500,000
inhabitants as against 796,244 who use French--one cannot affect
surprise at much that called for comment before the war and provoked
mild deprecation throughout its first phase.



CHAPTER X

GERMANY AND THE BALKANS


For two decades the Balkan States and Turkey had been objects of
Germany's especial solicitude. And with reason. For the part allotted
to them in the plan for teutonizing Europe was of the utmost moment.
The high road from Berlin to the Near East passed through Budapest and
the Balkans. And Austria, as the pioneer of German Kultur there, kept
her gaze fixed and her efforts concentrated on Salonica. Bulgaria's
goodwill had been acquired through Ferdinand of Coburg, himself an
Austro-Hungarian officer, and was maintained by Austria's energetic
championship of Bulgaria's claims against Serbia. Counts Aehrenthal
and Berchtold destined Bulgaria and Roumania to coalesce and form the
nucleus of a permanent Balkan confederation to be patronized and
protected by the Habsburgs.

But circumstance thwarted the design. And after the Balkan League had
done its work and Turkey's grasp on Europe had relaxed, Bulgaria, in
the person of Ferdinand, was brought to undo what without her lead
could not then have been achieved, to fall foul of her allies and
smash the coalition.

This incitement was unwelcome to many of Bulgaria's trusty leaders,
who, much though they might grudge Serbia's successes and rapid
growth, were of opinion that Bulgaria would be ill-advised to break
her connection with the Slav cause. But the leaders unexpectedly found
that they were being led, and led away from the natural friends of
Bulgaria by the German prince who had caused the death of Bulgaria's
greatest statesman and made no secret of his contempt for the
Bulgarian people generally. Ferdinand, assuming autocratic power,
rendered this inestimable service to the Teutons and fastened the
Bulgarian State to the Central Empires.

At some time before the outbreak of the war Ferdinand had struck up a
compact with the Central Empires which bound Bulgaria to follow their
lead. This he did at his own risk and on his own responsibility. I had
grounds for believing in the existence of some such covenant a
considerable time before the storm burst, but I had no tangible proof
of it. In July 1914, however, I knew it for certain, but without
having ascertained the particulars. When and by whom it had been
signed, and what were the main stipulations agreed upon, still
remained in the domain of speculation. I discovered, however, that
Bulgaria's hands were tied; that her mourning for lost Macedonia would
not last long; that the aims she pursued were the policy of the outlet
on four seas, and the territorial separation of Greece and Serbia;
that her rôle in the Peninsula was to be predominant; that she had
been chosen to supplant Serbia as the leading Balkan State, and would
pay tribute to the Central Empires in the shape of docility to and
ready co-operation with them; and that Roumania would, if she
continued to find favour in the eyes of the statesmen of Vienna and
Berlin, be associated with Bulgaria, but without attaining her rank or
acquiring her power.

It has since been positively asserted by M. Filipescu, an ex-Cabinet
Minister of Roumania, that "towards the mid-August 1914, when the
treaty was concluded which bound Bulgaria to Germany, the Roumanian
Minister in Berlin, M. Beldiman, had cognizance of this treaty and
apprised the Roumanian Government of the fact."[55] M. Take Jonescu,
the illustrious Roumanian statesman, has assigned a different date to
the conclusion of the agreement, but confirmed the fact of its
existence in the course of a conversation which has also been made
public.[2] He stated that the King of Bulgaria, "who is swayed more by
personal rancour than by the interests of his people, imposed his
policy on them. He allied himself with the Germans as long ago as
Spring 1914. The treaty was taken from Sofia to Berlin by an official
of the Deutsche Bank."[56]

    [55] See _Le Temps_, October 31, 1915.

    [56] Mr. M. Civinini of the _Corriere della Sera_. See
    _Corriere della Sera_, October 11, 1915.

Whatever doubts may prevail respecting the exact date, the main fact
is established--Ferdinand bound Bulgaria to the Central Empires.

Personal interest as well as State reasons determined him to place
himself under Austro-German protection. It was at Austria's
instigation that he had spurned the advice of his official advisers,
treacherously attacked his allies and brought down defeat upon his
armies and discredit upon himself. But the Habsburg Government had
undertaken to see him through the ordeal to which he was then
subjected by his own people. The Treaty of Bucharest, which deprived
Bulgaria of Kavalla and Salonica, left the wound to fester and
Austro-Bulgarian friendship to harden into a definite alliance. None
the less Bulgaria's friendship with the Central Empires was not openly
manifested until the financial transaction was concluded between them
which made Bulgaria the creditor of Austria-Hungary shortly before the
outbreak of the war.

Economically, Bulgaria, like her neighbours, had long been a tributary
of the Central Empires. German and Austrian interests were cunningly
intertwined with Bulgarian in almost every branch of national life.
The banks, financial houses, export firms, are all under Austrian or
German control. In the army, too, despite its Russian training and
traditions, there was a party of officers whose admiration for the
war-lord ran away with their discretion. And the celebrated loan of
half a milliard francs, which Austrian financiers undertook to advance
to Bulgaria--on outrageously oppressive conditions--set the crown to
the work of many years. This transaction was not intended by either
party to be purely financial. Its political bearings were evidenced by
the circumstances in which it was negotiated and the terms on which it
was concluded. But the economic concessions insisted upon by Austria
and conceded by Bulgaria constituted of themselves a convincing proof
of the design to reduce the latter country to the position of one of
the dependents of the Central Empires.

Of all the recognized agencies for penetrating international opinion,
swaying international sentiment, and influencing international action,
one of the most abiding and decisive is that of royal courts. Yet its
value was not merely underrated by Britain, France and Russia, but was
completely ignored. And Germany, whose diplomacy, in spite of its
clumsiness and brutality, was far-sighted and assiduous in watching
for and utilizing every opportunity of smoothing the way for the
execution of the grandiose plan, purveyed almost every court and
throne in Europe with kings, queens and princesses of its own. And
those who were neither Germans by birth nor connected with Germans by
marriage were influenced by education, by military training, or at
least by a system of atmosphering which, with certain striking
examples before one, could be reduced to a few clear rules.

Roumania at the opening of the war was governed by a Hohenzollern
prince who had linked the destinies of his country with those of
Austria-Hungary as far back as the year 1880, and, having renewed the
secret convention in 1913, which for him was no mere scrap of paper,
convoked a crown council in August 1914 and proposed that Roumania
should redeem his pledge and take the field against the enemies of the
Central Empires. But King Carol's military ardour was not merely
damped but choked by a recalcitrant cabinet.

That monarch's influence as a pioneer of Teuton Kultur in Roumania can
hardly be exaggerated. An upright ruler, who discharged his duties
conscientiously, the King reckoned among these the dissipation of
native gloom by means of German light. And during his long reign he
succeeded in spreading a network of German economic interests
throughout his realm which, while raising the material level of the
nation, has reduced it to the position of a German tributary. It would
be unjust to make this a subject of reproach to the monarch who acted
up to his lights, but it would be a mistake to belittle the vast
services thus rendered by a single individual to the Teuton race, or
to overlook the degree of responsibility that attaches to the nations
now banded together, and in especial to Russia, for the sequence of
untoward phenomena which, now that they are not only seen, but felt,
and felt painfully, we naïvely deplore.

King Carol's successor is also a Hohenzollern prince whose attachment
to his Prussian fatherland is noted, whose relations with his kinsman,
the Kaiser, are cordial, but whose devotion to his subjects is
paramount. More than once since the opening of the campaign Roumania
was believed to be on the point of exchanging neutrality for
belligerency, but, on grounds which it would be unfruitful to discuss,
she abandoned the intention, if she ever harboured it. As matters now
are, the Allies are congratulating themselves on the circumstance that
she is still neutral.

The Queen of Sweden is a daughter of the most imperialistic of German
princes, the late Grand Duke of Baden and a cousin of the Kaiser, to
whom she is attached by bonds of sympathy and admiration. And her
consort the King, fascinated by the methods, the strivings, the
achievements of the Hohenzollerns, has made more than one attempt to
imitate them, but, owing partly to the opposition of the late Herr
Staaff, and largely to his own mental and moral equipment, which
point in a different direction, he felt obliged to desist.

The accomplished Queen of the Belgians and the Tsaritsa of Russia are
also both German princesses, but they form exceptions to the rule that
whichever of any two spouses is German exercises an overmastering
influence on the other. The Prince Consort of Holland, the Duke of
Mecklenburg, is a German of the Germans, but through constitutional
channels he can wield no political influence, and the attitude of the
Dutch Government towards the Allies has been clear enough to need no
elaborate exegesis.

The King of Bulgaria is an ex-officer of the Austro-Hungarian army,
whose pro-German work and its far-resonant results will probably never
be wholly forgotten by his own German people. For, as we saw, it has
rendered them services that cannot be repaid. Not, indeed, that he had
any coherent plan in his mind's eye, or was guided by any deep-seated
moral principles. Politics were for him the art of the possible
enlarged by the negation of the ethical. Ferdinand may, therefore, be
described as an opportunist, who in current politics contented himself
with following his nose. Of treaties and conventions he had signed a
goodly number and broken some. Thus with Russia he had a secret
agreement of a military nature, and also with Russia's rival,
Austria-Hungary. With Serbia he had one set of stipulations, with
Turkey another, but, shifty customer that he is, he had set himself
above them all and was ever ready to follow the lead of personal
interest. What the historian will accentuate is the deftness with
which German diplomacy, for all its alleged clumsiness, contrived to
use his defects and his qualities alike for the furtherance of its own
designs.

Love of country, like religious faith, is a respectable mainspring of
action. But Ferdinand has been credited with neither. Whithersoever he
moves one looks in vain for the guiding light of large ideas. Deeper
than conscious volition lies the stored-up instinct of barren
pettifogging egotism to which a fine moral atmosphere is deadly.
Insincerity is second nature to him. He once boasted in my presence
that he was a born actor, and it is fair to say that he played his
rôles--repellent for the most part--as behoves a mummer. The
astonishing thing is that he should have got influential politicians
to take him seriously. While assuring the French deputy, M. Joseph
Reinach, of his attachment to France and signing himself the European,
he was writing to Professor Walter of Budapest offering "all the
sympathies of the Bulgarian nation" to Hungary.[57] I have read
ecstatic communications of his penned in hours of exaltation, when
visions of Constantine's city, the mosque of Aya Sofia towering aloft,
warmed his fancy and the sheen of Byzantine brocades and the quaint
paraphernalia of bygone days inspired his apocalyptic words. His
language in those telegrams and letters was highfaluting and
bombastic. And I read other communications of his--mostly abject
appeals for help--devoid of dignity and manliness, when the gloom of
dissipated illusions was made unbearable by fear of dethronement and
death. And the figure cut by the Tsarlet, who addressed those humble
prayers--mostly to influential ladies--was despicable.

    [57] In September 1914. See _Morning Post_, September 4,
    1914.

Ferdinand was swayed by ingrained hatred of Russia which was almost as
potent as his contempt for the Bulgars. And he never made a secret of
either. For the Turkish pasha who was responsible for the Bulgarian
atrocities, which aroused Gladstone's indignation, Ferdinand's
professed admiration took the form of a subscription.[58] But high
above all motives that turned upon his feelings towards others were
those that centred entirely in himself.

    [58] The Batak massacre of Bulgarians by order of Abdul Kerim
    Pasha had called forth Gladstone's pamphlet: _Bulgarian
    Atrocities_, and aroused the horror of civilized men. But the
    Hungarian aristocracy sympathized with the mass murderer, and
    presented him with a golden hilted sabre. The list of
    subscribers for this mark of aversion to the Bulgarian people
    can still be viewed in the Museum at Budapest. The third name
    on that list--Princess Clementine--is followed immediately by
    that of her son Prince Ferdinand of Coburg, who gave one
    hundred florins as a token of his admiration for the
    exterminator of his future subjects! It need hardly be added
    that he was not yet Prince of Bulgaria.

And he had cogent personal motives for cultivating cordial relations
with the country of his birth. From the Austrian Government he
expected to be saved from the necessity of abdicating and expiating
his unwisdom. It was his inordinate ambition and vanity which had
brought the Bulgarian nation to the very brink of ruin. He it was who
had insisted on breaking off negotiations with Turkey during the
London Conference and recommencing hostilities. In vain the Chief of
the General Staff, Fitcheff,[59] besought him to conclude peace. The
importunate military adviser was suddenly relieved of his duties and
the second phase of the Balkan war begun. It was Ferdinand, too, who
thwarted Russia's peace-making efforts, refused to send delegates to
the tribunal of arbitration in Petrograd, and ordered the treacherous
attack on the Serbs and the Greeks which culminated in Bulgaria's
forfeiting some of the principal fruits of her heroic military
exertions.

    [59] General Fitcheff has since become Minister of War.

For this series of baleful blunders--to the Bulgars they were nothing
more--Ferdinand was known to be alone responsible. He had assumed the
sole responsibility, and he had hoped to gather in the lion's share of
the spoils. And as soon as responsibility seemed likely to involve
punishment, his Ministers withdrew and exposed his person to the
nation. When, after the end of the second Balkan war, General Savoff
repaired to Constantinople to better the relations between Bulgaria
and Turkey, he invited a number of French and British journalists who
happened to be just then in the capital, and he addressed them as
follows: "It has come to my ears that in Sofia I am accused of being
the person who issued the order to our army to attack our Allies and
that I am to be tried for it. They will never dare to prosecute me.
For I have here--" and he thumped his side pocket as he spoke--"the
order issued by the real author of the war and in his own handwriting.
He commanded me orally to do this, but I replied that I must have a
written order from the Government. Thereupon he shouted: 'I am the
supreme chief of the army and am about to give you the order in
writing,' indited the behest and handed it to me. That is why he
cannot prosecute me. I will show him up. Already now I tell you, so
that all may hear, _C'est un coquin, un misérable!_"[60]

    [60] This narrative was published by M. Wesselitsky in the
    _Novoye Vremya_, November 6, 1915.

That was General Savoff's summing-up of his august sovereign. And his
forecast proved correct. Ferdinand did not attempt to lay the blame on
him, still less to have an indictment filed against him. On the
contrary, he kissed Savoff on his return to Sofia and later on made
him his adjutant-general. Ferdinand's responsibility being
established, his abdication was clamoured for by public opinion. His
own estimate of his plight was impregnated with despair. He despatched
the abject telegrams mentioned above to his influential friends. It
was then that he received a letter signed by the three chiefs of the
Liberal groups of the old Stambulovist Party--Radoslavoff, Ghennadieff
and Tontcheff--and written, it has been alleged, after consultation
between all four parties, exhorting him to reverse the national policy
and link Bulgaria's fate with that of Austria. The Coburg prince
publicly welcomed them, dismissed the Daneff Cabinet, handed the reins
of power to the three self-constituted saviours of the dynasty and
country, and the Treaty of Bucharest was signed in an offhand manner.
The keynote of the policy of the new Cabinet was hatred of Russia, who
was held up to public opprobrium by the press of Sofia as the
mischief-maker who had betrayed Bulgaria; and as the nation thirsted
for a culprit on whom to vent its rage, the legend obtained a certain
vogue. At the same time emphatic assurances were given by Count
Berchtold that Austria would upset the Treaty of Bucharest, break
down the Serbian and Greek barriers that stood between Bulgaria and
her natural boundaries, and establish Ferdinand and his dynasty more
firmly on the throne. This prospect heartened the King and stimulated
his fellow-workers.

But perhaps the most decisive factor in Bulgaria's attitude towards
the Central Powers has been that of Russia towards Bulgaria. The
Tsardom cherishes tender feelings towards the political entity which
it called into being. Bulgaria is the creature of the great Slav
people which shed its blood and spent its treasure in giving it life
and viability, and has ever since felt bound to watch over its
destinies, forgive its foolish freaks, and contribute to its political
and material well-being. Congruously with this frame of mind, Russia
has not the heart to deal with Bulgaria as she would deal under
similar provocation with Roumania or Greece. Like the baby cripple, or
the profligate son, this wayward little nation ever remains the
spoiled child. Hence, do what harm she may to Russia, she is not
merely immune from the natural consequences of her unfriendly acts,
but certain to reap fruits ripened by the sacrifices of those whose
policy she strove to baulk. Conscious of this immense privilege, she
takes the fullest advantage of it. Under such conditions no stable
coalition of the Balkan States was possible.

The remarkable ascendancy thus won by Germany over Bulgaria is but one
of the salient results of her foresight, organization and
single-mindedness which the Allies are now beginning to appreciate.
Their ideal policy in the Balkans was to have none. Great Britain in
particular was proud of her complete disinterestedness.

Between the Teutons and the Greeks there were no such close ties as
those that linked Bulgaria to the Central Empires. The Hellenic
kingdom is a democracy marked by a constant tendency to anarchy. Down
to the beginning of the reign of the present monarch its ruler was
never more than the merest figure-head, nor its people anything but an
amalgam of individuals deficient in the social sense and devoid of
political cohesiveness. The late King George, for instance, remained,
to the end of his life, an amused spectator of the childish game of
politics carried on by his Ministers; and so insecure did he consider
his tenure of the kingship, that his frequent threat to "take his hat"
and quit the country for good had become one of the commonplaces of
Greek politics. Only a few years ago his reign appeared to be drawing
to an ignominious end. His functions were usurped by a military league
and his sons removed from the army. Anarchy was spreading, at that
time I expressed the opinion that the only person capable of saving
Greece--if Greece could yet be saved--was the Cretan insurgent, M.
Venizelos. This suggestion appealed to the Chief of the Military
League and was adopted. Venizelos was invited to Athens with the
results known to all the world. At first reluctantly tolerated, he was
subsequently highly appreciated by King George and was afterwards
handicapped by King Constantine, whose impolitic instructions during
the Bucharest Conference resulted in sowing seeds of discord between
Greece and Bulgaria.

To small countries and petty personal ambitions, a war among the Great
Powers brings halcyon days of flattery, bribery and seductive
prospects in an imaginary future. In Greece all these and other
attractions were dangled before the eyes of men of power and
influence. The Sovereign, whose admiration for the Kaiser verges on
idolatry, soon extended this platonic sentiment to the Kaiser's army.
And when fortune seemed definitively to espouse the cause of the
Central Empires, his admiration was reinforced by fear and the
pro-German leanings, which were at first merely platonic, bade fair to
harden into active co-operation. It was not until then that the
Entente Powers, discerning the fateful character of their errors and
the trend of events, resolved after much hesitation and discussion to
put forth an effort to retrieve the situation. Of his philo-German
tendencies King Constantine gave several public proofs long before the
war, and on the psychological soil from which they sprang, German
diplomacy raised its typical structure of intrigue and adulation. As
the irresistible captain who had shattered the armies of Turkey and
Bulgaria, winning undying fame for himself and his country, the King
was encouraged to believe that on him devolved the mission of uniting
all Hellenes under his sceptre, building up a larger Greece,
consolidating the monarchy within, and ruling as well as reigning. And
so well laid was this plan that when the European armies took the
field and the Entente Powers counted Greece, then apparently governed
by Venizelos, among its cordial friends, the Teutons, sure of their
ground, but still working assiduously for their object, put their
trust in the Kaiser's royal henchman and their own permanent display
of force, and were not disappointed.

Long before the war-cloud burst, the history makers of Berlin
recognized the fact that the key to the Dardanelles lay in Sofia, and
not only to the Dardanelles, but also the key to the Near East. The
statesmen of Austria and Germany discerned that the Bulgars under
their guidance could be got to do for Turkey what Japan hoped, and
still hopes, to effect for China. It is a work of complete
transformation, a sort of political transubstantiation whereby the
Bulgars would infuse ichor into the limp veins of the Ottoman organism
and recreate a strong political entity which would be an instrument in
the hands of the Central Empires. The Bulgar knows the Turk, to whom
he is more akin by race habits and temperament than to any of the Slav
peoples, understands his psychic state, his mode of feeling and
thinking, and is therefore qualified to serve as link between the
Oriental and the Western. It was in view of this eventuality that the
slow, plodding work of grafting Kultur on the Bulgar people was
undertaken. Two German schools, one in Sofia and the other in
Philippopolis, were the centres whence it was radiated to the ends of
the land. In Bulgaria there are many preparatory grammar schools in
which tuition for both sexes is free. All scholars who have passed
through one of the German schools are admitted without any examination
into the Grammar School, or Gymnasium, a privilege which works as a
powerful attraction. Since Turkey retroceded Karagatch[61] to Bulgaria
there are three such centres of Teutonic propaganda in Bulgaria, and I
am informed that a fourth will shortly be established in Rustschuk.

    [61] One of the suburbs of Adrianople ceded in July 1915.

The record of the economic invasion of Roumania by the Teuton,[62]
supplemented as it was by various complex auxiliary movements of a
political character, supplies us with a fresh variation of the trite
text that Germany conceived her plan on a vast scale and executed it
by co-operation between the State and the individuals, leaving nothing
to chance which could be settled by forethought. The ruler of the
country was a Hohenzollern, and as he wielded absolute power in
matters connected with foreign policy, he had a free hand and kept it
efficaciously employed. For over thirty years King Carol transacted
the international business of the realm--economic as well as
political--with assiduity, conscientiousness and a fair meed of
success. He encouraged industry and commerce, and welcomed German and
Austrian capital and enterprise. The upshot of his exertions was that
in the fullness of time his kingdom, like those of Italy, Bulgaria and
Turkey, became to most intents a nascent Teutonic colony. In Roumania,
as in Bulgaria, the commercial methods and business ways are German.
The heads of banking establishments and great industries are either
Teutons or friends of Teutons. Nearly every big enterprise, commercial
and industrial, was launched and kept afloat by capital from the
Fatherland. The Discount Bank in Berlin has a vast cellar filled with
Roumanian bonds, shares and other securities. So close are the ties
that connect the little state with the great empire that even the
Roumanian railways have a special convention with those of Prussia.
Here, then, as everywhere else, we are in presence of intelligence
wedded to politico-economic enterprise. Individual German firms and
the Government worked hand in hand; diplomacy, trade and commerce
moved steadily towards the same goal, and attained it.

    [62] Roumania's annual imports from Austria-Hungary,
    according to the latest available statistics, were valued at
    136,906,000 francs; from Germany at 183,713,000; and from
    Great Britain at only 85,470,000 francs. France exported
    thither goods valued at no more than 35,273,000 francs.

Owing to Roumania's grievances against Russia--whose seizure of
Bessarabia nearly forty years ago left a wound which festered for
years and has only recently been cicatrized--King Carol concluded a
military convention with the Austro-Hungarian empire, the stipulations
of which have never been authoritatively disclosed. There is reason to
believe that one clause obliged the Roumanian Government to come to
the support of the Habsburg Monarchy with all its military resources
in case that empire should be wantonly attacked by another Power.
Whether this instrument, which was never laid before the Roumanian
legislature for ratification, is deemed to have been vitiated by the
lack of this indispensable sanction, or is assumed to have terminated
with the decease of the king who concluded it, is a matter of no real
moment. The relevant circumstance is the unwillingness of
Austria-Hungary to invoke the terms of the convention and the resolve
of the Bucharest Cabinet to ignore them.

Thus Roumania, like all other neutral states, was well within the
sphere of attraction of the Central Empires long before the present
conflict was unchained. And the clever tactics by which siege was laid
to the sympathies of a nation which at bottom has hardly any traits in
common with the besieger, would have entailed a complete revision and
remodelling of the polity of Russia, France and Britain, had these
Powers had any coherent programme or distant aims. But their motto
was: Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

True, none of those States ever designed a political revolution of the
Old Continent, such as Napoleon had imagined or Germany is now
striving to realize. But neither did they read aright nor even give
serious thought to the symptoms of the great conspiracy which was
being hatched by others for that purpose. Busied with their party
squabbles and social reforms, they took it for granted that
international tranquillity which was a condition of the stability of
all internal affairs was assured. Such occasional misunderstandings as
might crop up among the Powers could, they imagined, always be
smoothed over by manifestations of goodwill and timely concessions.
Fitfulness and hesitancy marked every attempt made by Germany's rivals
to push their trade or extend their political relations beyond their
own borders.

This lack of enterprise was especially accentuated in their dealings
with Turkey. No Powers had done so much to uphold Ottoman sway in
Europe as France and Britain, and for a long while their exertions
found their natural outcome in a degree of influence at the Sublime
Porte which was unparalleled in Turkish history. But once Germany
inaugurated her economico-political campaign in the Near East, the
principle of neighbourliness was invoked in favour of allowing her to
possess herself of a share of the good things going, whereupon Great
Britain, and in a lesser degree France, curbed their natural impulse
and left most of the field to the pushing new-comer. For years the
writer of these lines pointed out the danger of this self-abnegation,
but his insistent appeals for a more active line of conduct were met
by the statement that Near Eastern affairs had long ceased to tempt
the enterprise or affect the international policy of Great Britain. As
though Great Britain were not a member of the European community or
her geographical insularity implied political isolation; or as if her
policy of equilibrium were capable of being achieved without the
employment of adequate means! When I raised my voice against our
participation in the Baghdad railway scheme and bared to the light the
political designs underlying it, Cabinet Ministers assured the country
that its scope was exclusively economic and cultural and had no
connection with politics! This naïve belief and the _laissez-faire_
attitude which it engendered enabled the Teutons to reduce Turkey to
economic and political thraldom and to earmark Asia Minor,
thenceforward hedged in with the Baghdad and Anatolian railways, as a
future German colony.

The closeness and constancy of the relations between economics and
politics which easily took root in German consciousness, had for
another of its corollaries the dispatch of General Liman von Sanders
and his band of officers to reorganize the Ottoman army. This measure
struck some observers as the beginning of the end of European peace.
It was thus that the Russian Premier, Kokofftseff, and his colleague,
Sazonoff, construed it, and that was the interpretation which I also
put upon it. But none of the other interested Governments expressed
similar misgivings, nor, so far as one can judge, entertained any. Yet
when war was finally declared, Germany's plan of campaign allotted an
important rôle to Turkey not in a possible emergency, but at a date to
be determined by the completion of her military and naval equipment.

In this ingenious and comprehensive way, operating at a multitude of
points, but never dissociating economics from politics, never
abandoning the work of commercial expansion to the unaided resources
of individuals, the Teutonic empires contrived to spread a huge net in
whose meshes almost every civilized nation was to some extent
entangled. And the subsequent political conduct of many of these was
determined in advance by the plight to which they had been thus
reduced. Russia was reasonably believed to be incapable of taking the
field; Italy was accounted wholly unfitted to bear the weight of the
financial burden which a conflict with Germany would lay upon her
shoulders; Roumania, it was calculated, would decline to exchange
material gains for political returns purchased at a heavy cost;
Bulgaria could not afford to estrange Austria's sympathies and need
never fear that she might forfeit those of Russia; Sweden, saturated
with German Kultur, was one of the foreposts of Teutonism in the north
of Europe and might in time be induced to imitate Bulgaria and play
for the hegemony of the Scandinavian States with the Kaiser's help;
Switzerland was virtually German in everything but political
organization; Holland would believe in Prussianism and tremble;
Belgium was economically a pawn in German hands and Antwerp a German
port; and in the United States millions of hyphenated Germans would
plead the Teuton cause and do the rough work of advancing it by means
of their political organization and influence.



CHAPTER XI

THE RIVAL POLICIES


In face of this Teutonic control of the world's trade, politics and
news supply, the Great Powers whose outlook, political and economic,
was most nearly affected, exhibited a degree of supineness which can
only be adequately explained by such assumptions as one would gladly
eliminate. Anyhow the lessons conveyed by eloquent facts fell upon
deaf ears. Yet it was manifest, in view of Germany's ingenious
combination of economics and politics, and the irresistible
co-operation of the State and individuals in applying it, that the
slipshod methods of Britain and France could no longer be persisted in
without grave danger to these states. To deal with trade and industry
as though they were matters that concerned only the particular
business firms engaged in them was no longer an economical error, it
was also a political blunder. To Government meddling in trade and
industry the British people have ever been averse. And their dislike
is intelligible although no longer warranted. A glance at Germany's
economic campaign and its results ought to have borne out the thesis
that individual self-reliance and push are unavailing to cope with a
potent organism equipped scientifically, provided with large capital
and backed by the resources of diplomacy. New epochs call for fresh
methods, and the era of commercial and industrial individualism was
closed years ago by the German people. Co-ordination of effort, the
combination of politics with economics, and unity of direction were
among Germany's methods in the contest, and she adopted them in the
grounded belief that commerce and industry lie at the nethermost roots
of the vast political movements of the new era.

This is a century of co-operation, of joint efforts for common
interests, of union in trade, industry, labour, politics and war. To
stand aloof is to be isolated, and isolation means helplessness
against danger. Germany was the first Power to grasp these facts, to
understand the new phase of life and to adapt herself to it. For this
work of readjustment her people were specially endowed by Nature, and
in their equipment for the task they saw a mark of election set upon
them by their "old God." For the correlate of co-operation is talent
for organization, and with this the Teutons are plentifully gifted.
They feel impelled as it were by instinct to push forward much further
on the road already traversed by all nations from isolation to
individualism through gregariousness. They opened the new era of
amalgamation by co-ordinating, on a vast scale, individual
achievements, resources and labour, and directing them to a common
end. The allied peoples were meanwhile content to muddle through in
the old way. This difference explains much that seems puzzling in the
outcome of the struggle.

It has been affirmed somewhat off-handedly that the Latin and British
peoples, incapable of united and organized effort, have halted at the
individualist stage. They are supposed to lack the bump of
organization. According to this theory among the Germans, who had
passed through all the intermediate phases and carried individualism
to sinister extremes in the past, a reaction set in which called forth
the latent powers of organization which they possess. And these have
been wielded with brilliant results ever since the unity of the German
Empire was first established. Applying the new principle to politics,
the statesmen of Berlin grasped the fact that all future conflicts in
Europe would be waged by coalitions. Neither Austria-Hungary alone nor
the German Empire alone could undertake a world war. That was the
genesis of the scheme of welding the two central empires in one
politico-military entity and then attracting as many other States as
possible into their orbit. And the enterprise was conducted so
ingeniously that when war was declared, Roumania, Bulgaria and Turkey
were tied to the Triple Alliance. And henceforward, whatever the
outcome of the war may be, the permanent fusion of Germany and Austria
is a foregone conclusion.

By the means described a state of things, actual and potential, was
established which rendered Germany's military attack on Europe much
less hazardous and doubtful a venture than was at first supposed. For
there was not a country on the globe which she or her ally had not
subjected to the process of interpenetration, nor was there one which
had remained wholly irresponsive. Even Brazil, Chili, Peru, China,
Morocco, Persia, Abyssinia, had all experienced its effects. And when
at last the harvest-time was come and its fruits were to be
ingathered Germany felt that she could count to varying extents on the
active sympathy and support of governments, parliaments and nations;
on the Turks, the Swiss, the Swedes, the Bulgarians, the Roumanians;
on the autocratic ruler of the Greeks and on millions of
American-Germans. Every independent religious centre was permeated
with an atmosphere composed in Germany. The Caliph and the
Sheikh-ul-Islam of the Moslems, the evangelical preachers of the
Russian Baltic provinces, Brahmins in India, subjects of the Negus of
Abyssinia, the Jews of western Russia and Poland, as well as those of
the Netherlands, the Catholics of Switzerland, Holland and Italy, nay,
the Vatican itself, raised their voices in the chorus of the millions
who sang hosannah to the Highest.[63]

    [63] The Highest of All is the official designation of the
    Kaiser: der Allerhöchste.

Dismay was the feeling aroused among the Allies by the quick dramatic
moves which precipitated the war. The trump of doom seemed to have
sounded at a moment when mankind was on the point of discovering the
secret of immortality. The utter unpreparedness of the Allies was the
dominant note of the new situation, and its manifestations were
countless and disastrous. There was no adequate British expeditionary
army to send on foreign service, and there existed no machinery by
which such a force could quickly be got together and trained.
Voluntary enlistment was a slowly moving mechanism, and even if it
could be made to work more rapidly, there was no way of employing the
new soldiers, for whom there were neither barracks nor uniforms nor
rifles in sufficiency. And if all these requirements could have been
improvised, there were no generals accustomed to handle armies of
millions. And even if all those wants had been supplied to hand there
was no Government enterprising enough to put them to the best
advantage of the nation. Moreover, colonial expeditions were the most
extensive military operations which the country had carried on within
the memory of the present generation, and it was beyond the power of
the authorities not only to organize the imperial defences on an
adequate scale but even to realize the necessity of attempting the
feat. In a word, the prospect could hardly have been more dismal.

In France it was a degree less cheerless, but still decidedly bleak.
Mobilization there went forward, it is claimed, more smoothly than had
been anticipated, but not rapidly enough to enable adequate forces to
be dispatched in time against the German military flood. The
organization of the railway system was most inefficient. And had it
not been for heroic Belgium, who, confronted with the alternatives of
ruin with honour and safety with ignominy, unhesitatingly chose the
better part, the inrush of the Teutons would, it is asserted by
military experts, have swept away every obstacle that lay between them
and the French capital, which was their first objective. Belgium's
magnificent resistance thus saved Paris, gave breathing space to the
French, and enabled the Allies to swing their sword before smiting.

Russia, too, did better than had been augured of her, but not nearly
as well as if her resources had been organized by competent experts,
alive to the dangers that threatened the empire. On the eve of the war
a process of fermentation among the working men of her two capitals
was coming to a head, and a revolt, if not a revolution, was being
industriously organized. The movement had certainly been fostered, and
probably originated, by wealthy German employers in Petrograd, Moscow
and other industrial centres. They had hoped to frustrate the
mobilization order, retard Russia's entry into the field, and possibly
bring about civil strife. And they were within an ace of succeeding.
On the very eve of hostilities reports reached Berlin and Vienna that
the revolution was already beginning. But the declaration of war
against Germany purified the air, absorbed the redundant energies of
the people, and fused all classes and parties into a whole-hearted,
single-minded nation, giving Russia a degree of union which she had
not enjoyed since Napoleon's invasion. But, separated from her allies,
she went her own way without much reference to theirs. Her plans had
been drafted by her military leaders, and might be modified by local
conditions or subsequent vicissitudes, but were neither co-ordinated
nor even synchronized with those of France and Britain. Thus the first
and most important lesson had still to be mastered.

Liège and Namur having fallen, the danger to Paris struck terror to
the hearts of the French, and the public mind was being gradually
prepared by the Press to receive the depressing tidings of its capture
with dignified calm. The occupation of the capital, it was argued,
would not essentially weaken the military strength of the Republic.
For the army would still be intact, and that was the essential point.
Here, for the first time, one notes the almost invincible force of the
antiquated opinions to which the Allies still tenaciously clung about
warfare as modified by Germany. No misgivings were harboured that the
enemy might threaten to burn the capital city if the army refused to
capitulate, or that he was capable of carrying out such a threat. War
in its old guise, hedged round with traditions of chivalry, with
humanitarian restrictions, with international laws, was how the French
and their allies conceived it. And it was in that spirit that they
made their forecasts and regulated their own behaviour towards the
enemy.

The rise of Generals Joffre, Castelnau and Foch and the retreat of the
German invaders raised the Allies from the depths of despair to a
degree of confidence bordering on presumption. After the departure of
the Belgian Government to Antwerp,[64] the occupation of Brussels,[65]
the defeat of the Austrian army by the Serbs and the rout of three
German army corps by the Russians,[66] the Western Allies conceived
high hopes of the military prowess of the Slavs, and looked to them
for the decisive action which would speedily bring the Teutons to
their knees. And for a time Russia's continued progress seemed to
justify these hopes. Her troops entered Insterburg[67] and pushed on
to Königsberg, which they invested and threatened,[68] and in the
south they scored a series of remarkable successes in Galicia. But in
the west of Europe the Allies could at most but retard without
arresting the advance of the Germans, whose aim was to defeat the
French and then concentrate all their efforts on the invasion of the
Tsardom. Despite assurances of an optimistic tenor there appeared to
be no serious hope of defending Paris, nor were effective local
measures adopted for the purpose; and on September 3 the French
Government, against the insistent advice of three experienced Cabinet
Ministers, suddenly moved to Bordeaux, and earned for itself the
nickname of _tournedos à la bordelaise_. On the same historic day the
Tsar's troops triumphantly entered Lemberg, restored to that city its
ancient name of Lvoff, and proceeded to introduce the Russian system
of administration there with all its traditional characteristics. But
in lieu of conferring full powers on the Governor of the conquered
province, a man of broad views and conciliatory methods, the
Government dispatched a narrow-minded official, devoid of natural
ability, of administrative training, and of the sobering consciousness
of his own defects, and listened to his recommendations. For Russia,
like France and Britain, still contemplated the situation and its
potentialities through the distorting medium of the old order of
things. Their orientation had undergone no change.

    [64] August 17, 1914.

    [65] August 20, 1914.

    [66] August 22, 1914.

    [67] August 23, 1914.

    [68] August 29, 1914.

One of the immediate consequences of Russian rule in Galicia was to
confirm the Vatican in its belief that Austria offered Catholicism far
more trustworthy guarantees for its unhindered growth than could ever
be expected from the Tsardom.

The famous battle of the Marne[69] infused new energies into the
Allies, whose Press organs forthwith took to discussing the terms on
which peace might be vouchsafed to the Teutons, and in these
stipulations a spirit of magnanimity was displayed towards the enemy
which at any rate served to show how little his temper was understood
and how enormously his resources were underrated. Soon, however, the
mist of ignorance began to lift, and saner notions of the stern
interplay of the tidal forces at work were borne in upon the leaders
of the allied peoples. One of the first discoveries to be made was the
enormous consumption of ammunition required by latter-day warfare and
the ease with which the Germans were able to meet this increased
demand. That this enormous advantage was the result of scientific
organization was patent to all. Nor could it be ignored that an
essential element of that organization was the militarization of all
workmen whose services were needed by the State. But from the lesson
thus inculcated to its application in practice there was an abyss. And
as yet that abyss has not been bridged. The most formidable obstacle
in the way is offered by the shackles of party politics, which still
hamper the leaders of the Entente Powers, and in particular of Great
Britain. Industrial compulsion has not yet been moved into the field
of practical politics.

    [69] September 12, 1914.

One of Germany's calculations was that, however superior to her own
resources those of her adversaries might be, they were not likely to
be mobilized, concentrated and brought to bear upon the front.
Consequently they would not tell upon the result. Military discipline
had not impregnated any of the allied nations, whose ideas of
personal liberty and dignity would oppose an insurmountable obstacle
to that severe discipline which was essential to military success.
Great Britain, they believed, would cling to her ingrained notions of
the indefeasible right of the British workman to strike and of the
British citizen to hold back from military service. And the telegrams
announcing that in the United Kingdom the cries of "business as
usual," "sport as usual," "strikes as usual," "voluntary enlistment as
usual," indicated the survival of the antiquated spirit of
individualism into a new order of things which peremptorily called for
co-operation and iron discipline, were received in Berlin and Vienna
with undisguised joy. The persistence of this spirit has been the
curse of the Allies ever since.



CHAPTER XII

PROBLEMS OF LEADERSHIP


It is worth noting in this connection how heavily the lack of genial
leaders at this critical conjuncture in European history told upon the
allied peoples and affected their chances of success. The statesmen in
power were mostly straightforward, conscientious servants of their
respective Governments, whose ideal had been the prevention of
hostilities, and whose exertions in war time were directed to the
restoration of peace on a stable basis. By none of them was the stir,
the spirit, the governing instincts of the new era or the actual
crisis perceived. They all failed of audacity. Hence they were
solicitous to leave as far as possible intact all the rights,
privileges and institutions of the past which would be serviceable in
the re-established peace régime of the future. In Great Britain the
voluntary system of recruiting the army and navy was to be respected,
the right of workmen to strike was recognized, and the maintenance of
party government was looked upon as a matter of course. The writer of
these pages made several ineffectual attempts to propagate the view
that a War Cabinet presided over by a real chief was a corollary of
the situation, military and industrial compulsion for all was
indispensable, that a discriminating tariff on our imports and a
restriction of certain exports would materially contribute to our
progress, and that a special department for the manufacture of
munitions ought to be organized without delay.[70] One measure
indicative, people said, of undisputed wisdom which was resorted to
was the appointment of Lord Kitchener as Secretary for War.[71] If
this step deserved the fervent approval it met with, its efficacy was
considerably impaired by imposing on the new Secretary the task of
purveying munitions and other supplies, in addition to the
multifarious duties of his office. And with this solitary exception
everything was allowed to go on "as usual," with consequences which
every one has since had an opportunity of meditating. Internal
whole-hearted co-operation between the Government and all the social
layers of the population was neither known nor systematically
attempted, and still less were the respective forces of the Allies
co-ordinated and hurled against the enemy. The struggle was confined
to the army and the navy, and these instruments of national defence
were inadequately provided with the first necessaries for action.

    [70] Cf. _Contemporary Review_, November 1914. I was
    requested to suppress an article on the subject of "Coalition
    Government" and another on the subject of "Tariff Reform
    during and after the War."

    [71] August 5, 1914.

Each of the Allies was isolated, cooped within its own narrow circle
of ideas, buoyed up by its own hopes, bent on the attainment of its
own special aims. The first step towards amalgamation was negative in
character, but superlatively politic. It took the form of a covenant
by which it was stipulated that none of the Allies should conclude a
separate peace with the enemy. But beyond that nothing was done, nor
was anything more considered necessary.

In Britain the consciousness that the country was at war spread very
slowly, while the conviction that this was a life-and-death struggle
which would seriously affect the lives and rights and habits of every
individual made no headway. Only a few grasped the fact that a
tremendous upheaval was going forward which marked the rise of a new
era and a complete break with the old. By the bulk of the population
it was treated as a game calling for no extraordinary efforts, no
special methods, no new departures. It was construed as a hateful
parenthesis in a cheerful history of human progress, and the object of
the nation was to have it swiftly and decently closed. Hence the
machinery of the old system was not discarded. Voluntary enlistment
was belauded and agitation against joining the army magnanimously
tolerated. Attacks on the Government were permitted. The manufacture
of munitions was confided to private firms and to the whims of
dissatisfied workmen, and co-operation among the various sections of
the population was left to private initiative.

Most of us are prone to consider this war as a fortuitous event, which
might, indeed, have been staved off, but which, having disturbed for a
time the easy movement of our insular life, will die away and leave us
free to continue our progress on the same lines as before. But this
faith is hardly more than the confluence of hopes and strivings,
habits, traditions, and aspirations untempered by accurate knowledge
of the facts. And the facts, were we cognizant of them, would show us
that the agencies which brought about this tremendous shock of peoples
without blasting our hopes or exploding our pet theories, will not
spend their force in this generation or the next, and that already the
entire fabric--social, political, and economical--of our national life
is undergoing disruption.

The shifting of landmarks, political and social, is going steadily if
stealthily forward; and the nation waking up one day will note with
amazement the vast distance it has imperceptibly traversed. If only we
could realize at present how rapidly and irrevocably we are drifting
away from our old-world moorings, we should feel in a more congenial
mood for adjusting ourselves to the new and unpopular requirements of
the era now dawning. Already we are becoming a militarist and a
protective State, but we do not yet know it. We have broken with the
traditions of our own peculiar and insular form of civilization, of
which poets like Tennyson were the high priests, yet we hesitate to
bid them farewell. We still base our forecasts of the future political
life on the past and calculate the outcome of the next elections, the
fate of Disestablishment and Home Rule, the relative positions of the
chief Parliamentary parties on the old bases, and draw up our plans
accordingly. In short, we still bear about with us the fragrant
atmosphere of our previous existence which will never be renewed. And
it is owing to the effects of that disturbing medium that our
observations have been so defective and our mistakes so sinister. We
still fail to perceive that decay has overtaken the organs of our
Party Government and the groundwork of our State fabric is rotten.
Yet everything about and around us is in flux. We are in the midst of
a new environment.

When this war is over we shall search in vain for what was peculiarly
British in our cherished civilization. Of that civilization which
reached its acme during the reign of the late King Edward, we have
seen the last, little though most of us realize its passing. It was an
age of sturdy good sense, healthy animalism, and dignity withal, and
not devoid of a strong flavour of humanity and home-reared virtue. But
in every branch of politics and some departments of science it was an
age of amateurism. Respect for right, for liberty, for law and
tradition, for relative truth and gradual progress, was widely
diffused. Well-controlled energy, responsiveness to calls on one's
fellow-feeling, and the everyday honesty that tapers into policy were
among its familiar features. But if one were asked to sum it all up in
a single word it would be hard to utter one more comprehensive or
characteristic than the essentially English term, comfort. Comfort was
the apex of the pyramid which is now crumbling away. And it is that
Laodicean civilization, and not the fierce spirit of the new time,
which is incarnate in the present official leaders of the British
nation.

The French, too, approached the general problem from their own
particular standpoint. Provided with a serviceable military
organization, the same unconsciousness of the need of mobilizing all
the other national resources pierced through their policy. Parties and
factions subsisted as before, and half-way men who would have been
satisfied with driving the enemy out of France and Belgium lifted up
their voices against those who insisted on prosecuting the war until
Prussianism was worsted. The French Socialists met in London[72] and
passed resolutions in which the usual claptrap of the war of classes,
the boons of pacifism and the wickedness of the Tsardom occupied a
prominent place. And the Congress was honoured by the presence of two
Cabinet Ministers, MM. Guesde and Sembat.

    [72] February 1915.

Russia, true to her old self, carried the narrow spirit of the
bureaucracy into the fiercest struggle recorded by history, seemingly
satisfied that the clash of armies and navies would leave antiquated
theories and moulding traditions intact. When the revolutionist
Burtzeff published his patriotic letter to the French papers approving
Russia's energetic defence of civilization, he was applauded by all
Europe. "Even we," he wrote, "adherents of the parties of the Extreme
Left and hitherto ardent anti-militarists and pacifists, even we
believe in the necessity of _this_ war. The German peril, the curse
which has hung over the world for so many decades, will be crushed."
Yet when he returned to his country resolved to support the Tsar's
Government and lend a hand in the good work, he was sent to Siberia,
in commemoration of the old order of things.

Germany alone took her stand on the new plane and accommodated herself
to the new conditions. Thoroughness was her watchword because victory
was her aim, its alternative being coma or death. With her gaze fixed
on the end, she rejected nothing that could serve as means.

In congruity with these divergent views and sentiments was the reading
of the war's vicissitudes in the various belligerent countries. The
allied Press was over-hopeful, right being certain to triumph over
might wedded to wrong. Publicists pitied the Teutons in anticipation
of the fate that was fast overtaking them. Pæans of victory resounded,
allaying the apprehensions and numbing the energies of the leagued
nations. The German, it was asseverated, had shot his bolt and was at
bay. Russia had laid siege to Cracow, and would shortly occupy that
city as she had occupied Lemberg. The Tsar's troops might then be
expected to push on to Berlin, and to reach it in a few months. And,
painfully aware of the certainty of this consummation, Austria was
dejected and Hungary secretly making ready to secede from the Habsburg
Monarchy. To this soothing gossip even serious statesmen lent a
willing ear. The writer of these remarks was several times asked by
leading personages of the allied Governments whether internal
upheavals were not impending in Germany and Austria, and his assurance
that no such diversion could be looked for then or in the near future
was traversed on the ground that all trustworthy accounts from Berlin,
Vienna and Budapest pointed to a process of fermentation which would
shortly interpose an impassable barrier to the further military
advance of the Central empires. But he continued to express himself in
the same strain of warning, which subsequent events have unhappily
justified.

In October 1914, for instance, he wrote--

     "Germany has already shot her bolt, people tell us.
     Already? The people who for forty years have been preparing
     to establish their rule from Ostend to the Persian Gulf have
     expended their energies after three months of warfare? And
     the concrete foundations built at such pains and expense in
     the German factory that dominates Edinburgh? Was the Teuton
     simple-minded enough to fancy that he would be in a position
     to utilize this and the other emplacements for his giant
     guns within three months after the outbreak of hostilities?
     Let us be fair to our enemy and just to ourselves. The
     German has not shot his bolt. If time is on our side, it
     will also remain on his up to a point which we have not yet
     reached. Those who urge that the German must make haste
     imply that his resources are gradually drying up, and that
     neither his food supplies, nor his chemicals, nor his metals
     can be imported so long as we hold command of the seas. His
     armies will therefore die of inanition, or their operations
     will be thwarted for lack of munitions. This would indeed be
     joyful tidings were it true. If false, it is a mischievous
     delusion.

     "We are told that the German time-table has been upset.
     Unquestionably it has. But is the time-table identical with
     the programme for which it was drawn up? If it is, then the
     march on Paris has been definitely abandoned. Now is this
     conclusion borne out by what we behold? What, then, is the
     meaning of the plan to capture Belfort and Calais? What is
     the object of the vast reinforcements now on their way from
     the east to Von Kluck's army? Personally, I have not a doubt
     that Paris is the objective, or that the Germans are still
     striving to carry out their programme in its entirety,
     which is the extension of their empire over Europe and Asia
     Minor. The immediate object of the Allies is to foil this
     design, and only after we have accomplished that can we
     think of assuming the offensive and crushing Prussian
     militarism. We have not compassed that end; the battlefields
     are still in the Allies' countries, and the initiative rests
     with the enemy. Now to whatever causes we may attribute this
     undesirable state of things--and it certainly cannot be
     ascribed to lack of energy on the part of the British
     Government or our military authorities--it is right that
     those who are acting for the nation should ask themselves
     whether those causes are still operative. If they are--and
     on this score there is hardly room for doubt--it behoves the
     Allies, and the British people in particular, to rise to a
     just sense of the _unparalleled sacrifices_ they must be
     prepared to make during the ordeal which they are about to
     undergo."

The German way of looking at the relative strength and positions of
the belligerents as modified by the vicissitudes of the campaign was
realistic and statesmanlike. Starting from the principle that a people
of about a hundred millions, animated by a lively faith in its own
vitality and mental equipment, can neither be destroyed nor
permanently crippled, they argued that the worst that Fate could have
in store for them would be a draw. But before that end could be
achieved the Teutonic armies must have been pulverized and Germany and
Austria occupied by the allied troops. And of this there were no
signs. "We never fancied," they said, "that what happened in 1870
would be repeated in 1914. How could we make such a stupid mistake?
Then we had only France against us. To-day we encounter the combined
forces of Russia, France, Belgium and England. This difference had to
have its counterpart in the campaign. Thus we have not yet captured
Paris. But then to-day we are wrestling with the greatest empires in
the world, and we hold them in our grip. We are fighting not for a few
milliard francs and a disaffected province, but for priceless spoils
and European hegemony. Moreover, Belgium, which we possess and mean to
keep, is a greater prize than the temporary occupation of Paris.
Besides, postponement is not abandonment. Whether we take the French
capital one month or another is but a detail.

"And, over and above all this, we have reached the sea and are within
a few miles of England's shores. Furthermore, Russia's army, which we
lured into East Prussia until it fancied it was about to invest
Königsberg, has been driven back beyond Wirballen far into Tsardom,
with appalling losses of men and material. Her other forces, which
several weeks ago boasted that they were about to capture Cracow, will
soon be driven out of Przemysl and Lemberg. Libau will fall into our
hands. Riga is sure to be ours, and Warsaw itself will finally admit
our victorious troops. Does this look like defeat at the hands of our
enemies? And German soil is still as immune from invasion as though it
were girded by the sea."

In all our forecasts one important element of calculation was
invariably left out of account: the consequences of our blunders,
past, present and future. And these have added enormously to our
difficulties and dangers. Not the least made was the mistake in
allowing the two German warships _Goeben_ and _Breslau_ to enter the
Dardanelles. To have pursued them into Ottoman waters would, it was
pleaded in justification, have constituted a violation of Turkish
neutrality. Undoubtedly it would, but the infringement would not have
been more serious than many flagrant breaches of neutrality which the
Sublime Porte had committed a short time before and was known to be
about to perpetrate again.[73] But a scrupulous regard for the rights
of neutrals has been, and still is, the groundstone of the Allies'
policy, irrespective of its effects on the outcome of the war. The
rules of the game, it is contended, must be observed by us, however
much they may be disregarded by the enemy. This considerateness and
scrupulosity may be chivalrous, but they form an irksome drag on a
nation at war with Teutons. The two ships were at once transferred by
Germany to the Turks.[74] Some two months later, deeming their war
preparations completed, the latter suddenly bombarded the open Russian
town of Theodosia in the Black Sea, and sank several small craft, thus
realizing Germany's hopes and justifying her politico-economic policy.
It was now too late to lament the chivalrous attitude which had
permitted the _Goeben_ and the _Breslau_ to steam into the
Dardanelles, or to regret the indifference we had persistently
displayed to Near Eastern affairs for well-nigh twenty years. The best
that could be done at that late hour was to face the consequences of
those errors with dignity and to strive to repair them with alacrity.
But all the efforts made were partial and successive. There was no
attempt at co-ordination.

    [73] Turkey had already violated her neutrality to our
    detriment many times. For instance, on September 25 she had
    erected military works against us on the Sinai frontier; as
    far back as August 25 Turkish officers had seized Egyptian
    camels laden with foodstuffs. Moslem fidahis in Ottoman
    service endeavoured to incite the Egyptian Mohammedans
    against the British Government during the first half of
    October.

    [74] August 13, 1914.

Turkey's defection was a serious blow to the allied cause, not only in
view of the positive, but also of the negative, advantages it was
calculated to confer upon Germany. The Ottoman army, consisting of
first-class raw materials, had had its latent qualities unfolded and
matured by German organization, discipline and training. Its supplies
were replenished. Ammunition factories were established. Barracks were
built and fortifications equipped in congruity with latter-day needs.
Three million pounds of German bar gold reached Constantinople, and
were deposited in the branch offices of the Deutsche Bank there for
the requirements of the army. In all this the Kaiser's Government ran
no risks. The return was guaranteed by the politico-economic measures
which had been continuously applied during the years of our
"disinterestedness."

Enver had meanwhile risen to the zenith of his career. He was now War
Minister and had surrounded himself with officers who would follow him
whithersoever he might lead them. A low-sized, wiry man, seemingly of
no account, Enver is pale of complexion, shuffling in gait. His eyes
are piercing, and his gaze furtive. A soul-monger who should buy him
at his specific value and sell him at his own estimate would earn
untold millions. For, to use a picturesque Russian phrase, the ocean
is only up to his knees. He is physically dauntless and buoyant. In
the war against Italy he had fought well and organized the Arab and
other native troops under conditions of great difficulty, winning
laurels which have not yet withered. A Pole by extraction, Enver Pasha
is a Prussian by training and sympathies, and a Turk by language and
religion and by his marriage with a daughter of the Sultan. Political
sense he has none. His one ideal was to earn the appreciation of the
Prussian military authorities, to whom he looks up as a fervid
disciple to peerless masters. German military praise melts his manhood
and turns his brain. He possesses a dictatorial temper with none of
the essential qualities of a dictator, and in the field he is
distinguished, I am told, by splendid valour without an inkling of
scientific strategy.

It was that Polish Turk and his German masters who formally made war
upon Russia, France and Britain.[75] And the Turkish nation had no
opportunity to sanction or veto their resolve. Nay, even the majority
of the Cabinet, including the Grand Vizier, had had no say on the
issue, were not even informed of what was being done until overt acts
of hostility had actually clinched the matter. Indeed, there was a
majority of Cabinet Ministers in favour of neutrality, but it was
ignored. In this way Turkey threw in her lot with the Teutons,[76] to
the astonishment of the Allies, who had hoped that a policy of
forbearance and meekness would elicit a friendly response and
frustrate the effect of the master strokes by which Germany, during a
long series of years, had consolidated her ascendancy over Turkey and
obtained the command of the Ottoman army. The childish notion that a
sudden exhibition of pacific intentions and goodwill is enough to foil
the carefully laid schemes of a clever enemy which have been maturing
for decades, is the refrain that runs through the history of our
foreign policy for the last thirty or forty years. And not only
through the history of our foreign policy. Faith in the sacramental
efficacy of an improvisation is a trait common to all the Allies, but
in the British nation it is the faith that is expected to move
mountains.

    [75] November 3, 1914.

    [76] On October 25, 1908, after having studied the origins of
    the Turkish Revolution and the antecedents of its authors,
    and while all Europe was still warmly congratulating the
    Young Turks on their bloodless victory and moderation, I
    dispatched the following telegraphic message to the _Daily
    Telegraph_--

    "Most unwillingly do I give utterance to facts and
    impressions calculated to introduce a jarring note into the
    harmonious optimism of Western peoples, who confidently augur
    great things of the young Ottoman nation, and discern no
    difficulties likely to become formidable dangers to the
    new-born State. But a knowledge of all the essential data is
    indispensable to correct the diagnosis without which the
    malady cannot be successfully treated. Emancipation, then,
    has produced a beneficent enthusiasm for the political ideals
    of Europe in minds hitherto impermeable to Western notions,
    but has neither transformed the national character nor
    supplied the revolutionary movement with the requisite
    constructive forces. _Neither can it break the fateful
    continuity of Turkish history nor avert the defects of the
    destructive causes that have been operative here for
    generations._"

The negative aspect of Turkey's belligerency proved to be quite as
irksome as the positive. For it involved the closing of the
Dardanelles to Russia's corn export and the disappearance of the
principal route for communications between the Tsardom and its Western
allies. Archangel is blocked in winter and inadequately connected by
rail with the two capitals in summer. This additional embarrassment
and its financial sequel compelled the attention of the Allies to the
need of some kind of co-operation--just to satisfy actual needs. For
neither then nor at any subsequent period was there any pretence of
laying open the whole ground and building a complete structure upon
that. A temporary expedient is all that was contemplated, and nothing
more lasting was evoked. None the less, the Conference of the three
Finance Ministers in Paris[77] marked a step in advance, and was
subsequently followed up by a closer and more continuous contact.

    [77] February 6, 1915, and the following three days.



CHAPTER XIII

PROBLEMS OF FINANCE


Finances are the nerve of warfare, and in a contest which can be
decided only by the exhaustion of one of the belligerents they are, so
to say, the central nerve system. The Germans being astute financiers,
and aware that the war to which their policy was leading would soon
break out, had made due preparations, with a surprising grasp of
detail. Nothing was forgotten and nothing neglected. And success
rewarded their efforts. The result was that they mobilized their
finances long before they had begun to mobilize their troops.

France, on the contrary, persuaded that peace would not be disturbed,
took no thought of the morrow. Yet her budgetary estimates showed an
ugly deficit. This gap, however, would have been filled up in the
ordinary course of things by a big loan which was about to be floated.
But M. Caillaux, probably the most clever financier in France, who, if
he applied his knowledge and resourcefulness to the furtherance of his
country's interests, could achieve great things, used them--and
together with them his parliamentary influence--to upset the Cabinet
and thwart the loan scheme. Then, taking over the portfolio of the
Finance Minister in the new Cabinet, he arranged for borrowing a small
instead of a large amount, thereby exposing his country to risks more
serious than the public realized. For it was a heavy disadvantage on
the eve of the most exhausting struggle ever entered upon by the
French people, whose strongest position was weakened as no enemy could
have weakened it.

Russia was in a different, but nowise better, position when suddenly
called upon to meet the onerous demands of the world-contest. She,
too, having pinned her faith to the maintenance of peace, had made no
preparations for war, financial or military. Moreover, a considerable
sum of her money was at the time deposited in various foreign
countries, and especially in France, for the service of her loans and
the payment of State orders placed with various firms. This money, on
the outbreak of hostilities, was automatically immobilized by the
moratorium, although the delicate question whether a moratorium can be
legally applied to sums thus deposited by a foreign Government has not
yet been decided with finality. As a matter of fact, Russia's deposits
remained where they were, and could not be utilized. The consequences
of this embargo were irksome, and for a time threatened to become
dangerous. Little by little, however, these restrictions were removed,
partly by the French Government and partly by the spontaneous efforts
of the banks.

France, too, suffered in a like way from the paralysing effect of the
moratorium. For the French had no less than half a milliard francs
lent out at interest for short terms in Russia. This sum could, as it
chanced, have been refunded at once without inconvenience, seeing that
it was liquid in the banks of Petrograd, Moscow, Warsaw, and other
cities of the Tsardom. But as the money was in Russian roubles, and
all international exchange had ceased, it too was incapable of being
converted into francs. Thus the two allies, although really flush of
money, were undergoing some of the hardships of impecuniosity, and to
extricate them from this tangle was a task that called for the
exercise of uncommon ingenuity. This happily was forthcoming.

But that was only one aspect of a larger and more momentous business
which the financiers of the Entente Powers had to set themselves to
tackle. Another of its bearings was the effect of the war upon the
rate of exchange of the rouble, which is of moment to all the Allies.
Indeed, so long as the conflict lasts the smooth working of the
financial machines of the three States is of as much moment to each
and all as is the winning of battles and the raising of fresh armies.
In this struggle and at least until the curtain has fallen upon the
final scene, the maintenance of financial credit and the purveyance of
ready cash, together with all the subsidiary issues to which these
operations may give rise, should be discussed and settled in common.

During the present world combat, which has not its like in history,
whether we consider the issues at stake, the number of troops engaged,
or the destructive forces let loose, the ordinary narrow conceptions
of mutual assistance, financial and other, with their jealous care of
flaccid interests, cannot be persisted in. The basic principle on
which it behoves the allied Powers to sustain each other's vitality
can only be the community of resources within the limits traced by
national needs. For our cause is one and indivisible, and a success of
one of the Allies is a success of all. Hence, although we move from
different starting-points and by unconnected roads, we are one
community in motive, tendencies and sacrifices. The sense of Fate,
whose deepening shadow now lies across the civilized nations of the
Old Continent, has evoked the sympathies of the partner peoples for
each other, and temporarily obliterated many of the points of
artificial distinction which owed their existence to national egotism.

Russia's resources, then, were immobilized at the outset of the war.
The minister who had spent thirty-five years in the financial
department of State had resigned shortly before. His successor, a man
of considerable capacity and good intentions, was bereft of the help
of the best permanent officials of the Ministry, who had followed the
outgoing minister into retirement. And no minister ever needed help
more sorely than M. Bark. For the sudden cessation of all
international exchange and the consequent immobilization of Russia's
financial reserve, made it temporarily impossible for her to satisfy
demands which could easily have been met under circumstances less
disconcerting. Here her British ally came to the rescue. In the first
place, the British Government gave its guarantee to the Bank of
England for the acceptances which this bank had discounted. These were
of two kinds: all acceptances whatever discounted before hostilities
had broken out, and all commercial acceptances discounted since the
declaration of war. The measure which brought this welcome assistance
was general in its form, but it included Russian bills accepted in
London. And this discount by the Bank of England will continue until
one year after the close of the campaign. In plain English, that
means that the greater part of Russia's cash payments in London will
be put off until then.

In Russia's dealings with France a like trouble made itself felt, but
the same remedy was not applied. The Government there did not offer a
State guarantee for acceptances by the Banque de France. The reasons
for this difference of method are immaterial. The main point is that
some other expedient had to be devised whereby Russia could discharge
her short-term debts to her French creditors. In the Tsardom money was
available for the purpose, but it was in roubles, which would first
have to be exchanged into francs, and, as there was no rate of
exchange, this operation could be effected, if at all, only at a
considerable and unnecessary loss.

After several weeks' negotiations, and a thorough study of the
question, an agreement was struck up between the Imperial Russian Bank
and the Banque de France, by which the latter institution placed at
the disposal of the former the requisite sum in francs which was
specially earmarked for the payment of Russia's private debts in
Paris.

The fall in the rouble was partly caused by the diminution of Russian
exports, in consequence of the closing of the Baltic, the
Mediterranean, and the land routes _via_ Germany and Austria. The
whole harvest of 1914 lay garnered up in the Tsar's dominions, where
prices fell to a low level, while the rouble lost one-fourth of its
value. Russia's interest on her foreign debt was thus increased by
twenty-five per cent. The Western allies, on the other hand, were
paying huge sums for corn to neutrals. As in the long run all Entente
Powers will have to bear their share of eventual losses, it behoved
them to prevent or moderate them. And this they accomplished to a
limited extent. It might have been well to go further into the matter
and consider the advisability of entering into closer partnership than
was established by their concerted efforts in Paris. An economic
league with privileges for importation and exportation accorded to all
its members--and only to these--not merely during the war but for a
series of years after the conclusion of peace, might perhaps have
tended to solve that and kindred problems. But the Allied Governments
were constitutionally averse to taking long views or adopting
comprehensive measures.

But the reopening of the Dardanelles and the liberation of Russia's
corn supplies called for immediate attention and a concrete plan of
campaign. The idea of rigging out a naval and military expedition had
been mooted in London before the Financial Conference in Paris, but on
grounds which do not yet constitute materials for public history it
was dropped. At the Conference the scheme was again taken up, and the
previous objections to its execution having been successfully met it
was unanimously accepted. It is worth observing that the original
plan, so far as the present writer was cognizant of it, was coherent,
adequate and feasible, and involved co-ordination on the part of all
three Allies. It did not contemplate a purely naval expedition to the
Dardanelles, but provided for a mixed force of land and sea troops, of
which the number was considerable and under the conditions then
prevalent might also have been ample for the purpose. Although the
Allies had thus made what they believed to be adequate provision for
the success of their project, they took measures to render assurance
doubly sure. They entered into pourparlers with Greece, from whose
co-operation they anticipated advantages which would tell with
decisive force not only on the outcome of the expedition but also on
the upshot of the war.

Venizelos was approached and sounded on the subject. His authority in
his country, like that of Bismarck on the eve of his fall, was held to
be supreme. For he had saved Greece from anarchy and the dynasty from
banishment; he had reorganized the army, strengthened the navy,
established good government at home, extended the boundaries of the
realm and laid the foundations of a regenerate State which might in
time reunite under the royal sceptre most of the scattered elements of
Hellenism. His personal relations with King Constantine were, however,
understood to be wanting in cordiality, but the monarch was credited
with sufficient acumen to perceive where the interests of his dynasty
and country lay, and with common sense enough to allow them to be
safeguarded and furthered. It was on these unsifted assumptions that
the Governments of the allied Powers went to work.

One redoubtable obstacle to be dislodged before any headway could be
made was Bulgaria's opposition. In order to displace it, it would be
necessary to acquiesce in her demands for territory possessed by her
neighbours. And in view of the intimate relations, political and
economical, which the military empires had established with Bulgaria
and their firm hold over Ferdinand, even this retrocession might prove
inadequate for the purpose. According to a binding arrangement
between Serbia and Greece, no territorial concession running counter
to the settlement of the Bucharest Treaty might be accorded to
Bulgaria by either of the two contracting States, without the consent
of the other. And now Venizelos was asked to signify his assent to the
abandonment by Serbia of a part of the Macedonian province recently
annexed. This point gained, he was further solicited to cede Kavalla
and some 2000 square kilometres of territory incorporated with Greece,
to Bulgaria, in return for the future possession of 140,000 square
kilometres in western Asia Minor. It was stipulated by him and hastily
taken for granted by the Governments of the Allied States that these
concessions, together with those which Serbia and Roumania were
expected to make, would move Bulgaria to follow Russia's lead and
enter the arena by the side of the Allies. But before Venizelos's
readiness to compromise could be utilized as a practical element of
the negotiations, the Bulgarian Cabinet had applied for and received
an advance of 150 million francs from the two Central empires on
conditions which, in the judgment of the Greek Premier, rendered
further dealings with that State nugatory.

At the same time King Constantine, yielding to German importunity and
to personal emotions, adopted a series of measures of which the effect
would have been to discredit in the eyes of the nation Venizelos's
patriotism as a minister and his veracity as an individual. The upshot
of these machinations was the voluntary retirement of the Premier from
public life, the dissolution of the Greek Parliament, the accession
to power of a Germanophile Cabinet, and the frustration of that part
of the Allies' plan which had for its object the immediate
co-operation of Greece and the subsequent enlistment of the
neighbouring Balkan States. As yet, however, Greece was not wholly
lost to the Entente. Another opportunity presented itself which, had
it been seized by the Governments of Great Britain and France, might
yet have altered the course of Balkan history. But the acceptable
offer in which it was embodied by the Hellenic Government elicited no
response whatever in London or Paris. This was the last hope.
Thenceforward the Allies were constrained to rely upon their own
unaided exertions.

How they approached the problem thus modified, and to what degree and
in consequence of what technical occurrences the achievement fell
short of reasonable expectations, are matters which do not come within
the scope of this summary narrative of historic events. It may suffice
to contrast the belief, which in March 1915 was widespread--that the
Dardanelles would be forced and Constantinople captured in the space
of four or five weeks--with the circumstance that since then the
British troops alone had nearly a hundred thousand casualties and that
in the month of January 1916 it became evident that nothing could be
gained by further prolonging this painful effort, and the enterprise
was abandoned.

In spite of Turkey's hostility, the tone of the Allied Press lost
little of its buoyancy. Japan, who had declared war on Germany in
August,[78] had since captured Kiao Chau[79] and that achievement
coupled with the results of four months' warfare in Europe were held
to be promising. For Germany's original plan of campaign had been
foiled, her army driven back from Paris, and Austria had been defeated
in Galicia. If on the debit side of the balance nearly all Belgium and
nine departments of France had fallen into the enemy's hands, it was
some solace to learn that the military authorities of the Allies had
reckoned with all that from the outset. Every reverse sustained by
their arms turned out to have been foreseen and discounted by their
sagacious leaders. Then, again, it was argued that time was on our
side, enabling us to develop our resources, which are much vaster than
those of the enemy. To this way of looking at the situation the writer
of these lines opposed another. "There is," he wrote, "a small section
of the nation, men conversant with the aims, modes of thought, and
military, financial, and economic resources of the enemy, whose gloomy
forecasts in the past have been unhappily fulfilled in the present,
and who would gladly see more conclusive evidence than has yet been
offered that everything which can be done at a given moment to turn
the scale more decisively in our favour is being expeditiously
undertaken by the responsible authorities.

    [78] August 23, 1914.

    [79] November 6, 1914.

"They are afraid that the gravity of the issues for which we are
fighting, the telling initial advantages secured by the wily enemy,
the formidable nature of the difficulties in the way of decisive
victory, and the tremendous sacrifices which we shall all be called
upon to make before we come in sight of the goal, have not yet
filtered down into the consciousness of any considerable section of
the people." Many months later[80] Mr. Lloyd George re-echoed that
judgment when dealing with the Welsh miners' strike.

    [80] July 1915.

But optimism continued to prevail among the allied peoples, who
through the Press proclaimed their conviction that ultimate and
complete success was a foregone conclusion. At the same time, however,
an eager desire to hasten this consummation found vent among a
considerable section of politicians, more particularly in France. And
one of the means by which they hoped to attain their goal was by
inviting Japan to co-operate with the Allies in Europe. As
"invitation" was the term employed, the peculiar manner in which the
idea was conceived hardly needs definition. To the Japanese themselves
the inference was patent and distasteful. Theretofore it had been a
dogma that France, Britain and Russia, being quite capable of crushing
Germany and Austria, neither attempted nor wished to draw any neutral
or Asiatic nation into the sanguinary maelstrom of war. And even now
it was held to be undignified to swerve from that doctrine. Help
therefore, it was contended, was not indispensable to victory, it was
merely desirable from the humanitarian standpoint of putting an early
end to the campaign and sparing the lives of millions.

French statesmen of the calibre of MM. Pichon and Clémenceau pushed
into the foreground of international politics this question of Japan's
military intervention in Europe. An organized Press campaign was
carried on in several of the most prominent daily papers and reviews
of Paris.[81] Striking arguments were put forward in support of the
thesis that Japan's co-operation in Europe is desirable, and the
inference which many readers were encouraged to draw was that if the
aim had not yet been attained, failure should be ascribed to the
statesmanship of the Allies, which was deficient in sagacity, or to
their diplomacy, which was wanting in resourcefulness. M. Pichon, in a
masterly article in the _Revue_, wrote: "I am one of those who hold
that (Japan) could bring to us here on the European continent an
incomparable force, and I remain convinced that the Japanese
Government would like nothing better than to respond to the appeal of
the Triple Entente Powers if these requested its collaboration for
future combats."[82]

    [81] In the _Petit Journal_, the _Homme Enchaîné_,
    _l'Illustration_, the _Revue Hebdomadaire_, and the _Revue_.

    [82] Fevrier, _Revue_, 1915, p. 195.

The idea was that Japanese troops should come to southern Europe,
combine with the Serbs and create a new front there. This diversion,
it was contended, would transform the slow and costly siege war and
give the Allies access to Germany. And these decisive results could be
achieved by an expedition of less than half a million Japanese
warriors.

When it was asked what motives could be held out to Nippon potent
enough to determine her to embark on such an enterprise, the reply was
that she had a positive interest to undertake the task. For by
contributing to the defeat of Germany in Europe she would free herself
from Teutonic machinations in the Far East. The Allies would, of
course, have to promise her territorial compensation commensurate with
her sacrifices. And after the conclusion of peace Japan would extract
from Germany not only a sum big enough to cover all the expenses of
the expedition, but also a heavy war indemnity. Over and above this,
France and Britain would enable her to float on easy terms a loan of
some three hundred millions sterling, as a moderate return for the
three or four months curtailment of the war which costs the Allies
nearly a hundred and twenty millions a month. Lastly, Japan's horn
would be vastly exalted and her prestige increased by her
participation in the most tremendous conflict recorded in history.

Considered on its merits the enterprise impressed one more by its
arduousness than by the tangible advantages it offered to either of
the interested parties. The technical difficulties were many and
well-nigh insurmountable: the lack of transports, the distance at
which the Mikado's troops in Europe would be from their base of
supplies, and the length of time that must elapse before they could
replenish their stores of ammunition, whether these were drawn from
Tokyo or manufactured in Europe. And half a million fighting men,
however well trained, would represent but a drop in the ocean when
flung against the millions to whom they would be opposed.

Still more decisive was the question of motive. Why should the
Japanese sacrifice their brave soldiers? For the sake of territory
which they do not yet covet, or of prestige which they enjoy in a
superlative degree already? Although chivalrous and highly impressible
to everything that can appeal to a high-minded people, they are also
practical and far-sighted and are not to be lured by a will-o'-the-wisp.
They had already assisted the Allies in the Far East and performed
their part admirably.

The Japanese army is made up of patriots whose lives belong to their
country. To their spirit of self-sacrifice there are no bounds. And
that this splendid organism should be implicitly set down as a band of
mercenaries capable of being bought and sold is more than its leaders
can brook. The idea that mere money or money's worth could purchase
Japanese blood is resented by our Far Eastern Ally. Between Europe and
Asia Japan is the connecting link. Her people are endowed with some of
the highest qualities of the European and the Asiatic. Their
civilization is ancient and refined, and they understand and
appreciate that of Europe. The chivalry of the Samurai is recognized
universally. Their respect for their plighted word is scrupulous. And
their tact and moderation have been demonstrated time and again during
their relations first with Russia and then with the United States.
Japan's immediate task lies in the Far East, and to that region she is
minded to confine her activity, as was shown by the pressure which she
soon afterwards put upon China. None the less, it is symptomatic of
feelings which are still inarticulate and of currents which flow
beneath the surface, that more than once of late the Russian Press has
called for a defensive and offensive alliance between the Tsardom and
Japan.[83] That it will come and exert a noteworthy influence on the
politics of the world, is the firm conviction of the present writer,
who has had the good fortune to contribute more than once to bring the
two Powers closer together.[84]

    [83] Cf. _Novoye Vremya_, June 26, 1915.

    [84] See Hayashi's _Secret Memoirs_.



CHAPTER XIV

READJUSTMENTS


Deprived of the help for which they had looked to Japan, the
publicists and politicians of the allied countries now centred their
hopes on the neutrals and on Kitchener's great army, which was to
appear on the scene in spring, put an end to the warfare of the
trenches, and free Belgium from the Teuton yoke. The impending
belligerency of certain of the neutrals would, it was reasonably
believed, turn the scales in favour of Britain, France and Russia.
Indeed, Bulgaria alone, owing to her commanding geographical position,
might have achieved the feat more than once during the campaign. With
the death of King Carol of Roumania[85] the probability of this
consummation seemed to verge on certitude. It aroused high hopes among
the Allies.

    [85] October 10, 1914.

The propitious moment seemed to have come for the union of all
Roumanians under the sceptre of the new king. Over three million
members of that race under Hungarian sway had long been waging a
losing contest for their nationality, language and religion. And they
entertained no hope of better prospects in the future. For in view of
her military inferiority Roumania, with her little army of half a
million men, could not indulge in energetic protests against the
treatment meted out to her kindred by Hungary. She had no choice but
to resign herself to the inevitable. Diplomatically, too, she was
bound to Austria by a secret convention, concluded by the Hohenzollern
prince who had presided over her destinies for a generation.
Economically she was, as we saw, tied hand and foot to Germany.
Moreover, it was a matter of common knowledge that King Carol would
never tolerate any radical change in the political orientation of the
kingdom. To the writer of these lines he said so in plain words
shortly before he died, and he also charged him with a message of the
same tenor to the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs. But,
loyal and conscientious, as was his wont, King Carol added that if
circumstances should ever necessitate a radical change in Roumania's
attitude, a younger ruler might usher it in, for whom he would not
hesitate to make room.

This eventuality arose in September[86] when the Russians defeated the
Austrians, occupied Lemberg, threatened Cracow, took up strong
positions on the Carpathians, and bade fair to overrun Hungary. Fate,
it seemed, had at last overtaken the Habsburg Monarchy, which,
contrary to general expectation, had not succumbed to internal strife
on the outbreak of the war. And it now lay with Roumania and her
neighbours to play the part of Fate's executors. As a matter of fact,
Roumania suddenly found a sonorous voice in which to utter her
grievances against the Teutons. Senators, deputies, ex-ministers
executed a _chassez croisez_ movement through France, Italy and
Britain, delivering diatribes against Austria-Hungary, arousing
sympathy for Roumania, and proclaiming their country's resolve to
strike a blow for justice, liberty and civilization. The names of
Senator Istrati, M. Diamandy, and Dr. Constantinescu were associated
with feasts of patriotic sentiment and flow of soul. Military
delegates in Paris made extensive purchases of various necessaries for
the commissariat and sanitary departments of the War Ministry, and the
date on which the gallant Roumanian nation would unsheathe its sword
in the cause of humanity was unofficially announced.

    [86] September 8, 1914.

At that moment the country was governed, as it still is, by a Premier
who might appropriately be termed its Dictator, so little influence on
his policy and methods is wielded by his colleagues in the Cabinet.
John Bratiano is the sole trustee of the nation at the most critical
period of its history. The son of an eminent and deservedly respected
statesman, this politician entered public life encircled by the halo
of his father's prestige. Gifted with considerable powers, he owes
more to birth than to hard work and self-discipline. Entering early
upon his valuable political heritage he found all paths smoothed, all
doors open to him. The leadership of the most influential
parliamentary party fell to him at an age when other politicians are
painfully struggling with the preliminary difficulties in the way of
success, and John Bratiano became the ruler of Roumania without an
effort. Descended from an illustrious stock, he is penetrated with an
overmastering sense of his own personal responsibility, from which the
principal relief to be obtained lies in the indefinite prolongation of
his liberty of choice. Finality in matters of momentous decision
appears painful to him, and the standard of success which would
fairly be applied to the policy of the ordinary statesman seems too
lax for the man whose shoulders are pressed down with the weight of
the kingdom as it is and the kingdom yet to come. Hence his anxiety to
drive a brilliant bargain with the Allies and to leave no hold for
hostile criticism at home. Like most patriots placed in responsible
positions, he is bent on furthering what he considers the interests of
his country in his own way, and honestly convinced that the right way
is his own, he has hitherto declined to share responsibility with the
Opposition--which disapproves his Fabian policy--even though it
numbers among its members a real statesman of the calibre and repute
of Take Jonescu.

At first M. Bratiano swam with the stream. He assured foreign
diplomatists, eminent Italians and others, that Roumania had decided
to throw in her lot with the Allies. And his declarations were
re-echoed by his colleagues. These statements were duly transmitted to
the various Cabinets interested, and the entry of Roumania into the
struggle was reckoned with by all the Allied Powers. On the strength
of these good intentions one of the Allies was asked to advance a
certain sum of money for military preparations, and the request was
complied with. Italy was approached and treated as a trusty confidant,
and a tacit arrangement was come to with her by which each of the two
Latin States was expected to communicate with the other as soon as it
should decide to take the field. In fine, it was understood that
Roumania would join in at the same time as Italy.

Cognizant of those intentions and preparations the Allies rejoiced
exceedingly. The prospect that opened out before them appeared
cheerful. Kitchener's great army was to take the offensive in spring,
Roumania's co-operation was due some months or weeks previously, and
the forcing of the Dardanelles might be counted upon as a corollary,
to say nothing of the adherence of Greece and Bulgaria to the allied
cause. But Germany and Austria lost nothing of their self-confidence.
Clumsy though their professional diplomacy might be, their
economico-diplomatic campaign had left little to be desired. Its
fruits were ripe. They had firmly knitted the material interests of
the little Latin State with their own, and could rely on the backing
of nearly every supporter of Bratiano's Cabinet in the country. But
leaving nothing to chance, they now put forth the most ingenious,
persistent and costly efforts to maintain the ground they had won.
Influential newspapers were bought or subsidized, new ones were
founded, public servants were corrupted, calumnies were launched
against the Allies and their supporters, and a nucleus of military men
ranged themselves among the opponents of intervention.

M. Bratiano suddenly turned wary and circumspect. His talk was now of
the necessity of time for preparations, of the divergence of views
between his Cabinet and that of the Tsar, and of the inadequacy of the
motives held out to his country for belligerency. Thereupon
negotiations began between Russia and Roumania, which dragged on
endlessly. What the Roumanian Premier said to the Russian Minister was
practically this: "The choice between belligerency and neutrality must
be determined by the balance of territorial advantages offered by
each. And the terms must be adequate and guaranteed." The conditions
which, according to him, answered to this description consisted of the
cession of all Transylvania, part of the Banat of Temesvar, the
Roumanian districts of Bukovina, and of the province of Crishana and
Marmaros.

About Transylvania there was no dissentient voice: it was admitted
that it ought by right to form part of the Roumanian kingdom. The
dispute between Bucharest and Petrograd hinged on a zone of the Banat
and a strip of Bukovina. The Tsar's Government admitted that Bukovina
might be annexed by Roumania as far as the river Seret, but not
farther north; whereas the Roumanian Premier insisted on obtaining the
promise of a zone the northern boundary of which would be formed by
the river Pruth, and would therefore include the important city of
Czernowitz, which is the capital of the province. The divergence of
opinion arising out of this demand for the district of Pancsova in the
Banat of Temesvar raised a formidable obstacle to an understanding,
for the claim runs counter to the principle of nationality somewhat
pedantically laid down by the Allied Powers. Parenthetically, it is
worth remembering that hard-and-fast principles which lead insensibly
to dogmatism cannot be too sedulously avoided by a Government.
Politics must assuredly have its ideals, but compromise is the method
by which alone it can approach them. The Allies have already been
constrained by tyrannous circumstance to entertain important
exceptions to their principle of nationality which was invoked against
Italy's claim to Dalmatia, and in their own best interests they might
have compromised on the subject of Bulgaria's claims to Macedonia,
and of Roumania's pretensions to annex certain of the disputed
territories inhabited by Serbs and Ruthenians.

In truth, Roumania's attitude, of which at various times conflicting
accounts have been given, appears to be what one might reasonably
expect, considering the sympathies of the nation, the interests of the
State, and the requirements of the conjuncture. Looking at it from the
view-point of the outsider, it would perhaps have been to her interest
to join the Allies when the Russians, driving the Magyars and the
Austrians before them, could have played the part of right wing to her
armies. It was generally believed later on that she would unsheathe
the sword at the same time as Italy. Informal announcements to that
effect are known to have been made to certain official representatives
of that country. And her failure to stand by these spontaneous
declarations was the cause of profound disappointment to the Entente
and of a considerable loss of credit to herself. These facts and
conclusions appeal with irresistible force to the uninitiated, and in
especial to those among them who are citizens of the belligerent
States.

But there is another aspect of the matter which, whatever effect its
disclosure may have on the general verdict, is at any rate well worth
considering. According to this version, which is based on what
actually passed between Bucharest and the capitals of the Entente
Powers, the central idea of Roumania's strivings was to achieve
national unity together with defensible military frontiers as far as
appeared feasible, and to obtain in advance implicit assurances that
the Entente Powers, if victorious, would allow her claims without
demur or delay. The territories occupied by the Roumanians of
Transylvania, the Bukovina, and the Banat were to be united under the
sceptre of the King, including the strip which is contiguous to
Belgrade. To this the Slavs demurred because Belgrade could then no
longer remain the Serbian capital. But of these demands M. Bratiano
would make no abatement, nor in the promise of the Entente to fulfil
them would he admit of any ambiguity. Roumania's experience in 1877,
under M. Bratiano's father, when, after having helped Russia to defeat
the Turks, she was deprived of Bessarabia and obliged to content
herself with the Dobrudja, was the main motive for this striving after
definite conditions, while her readiness to look upon that loss of
Bessarabia as final moved her to demand every rood of Austro-Hungarian
territory which was inhabited by her kinsmen or had belonged to them
in bygone days. These motives were inconsistent with the mooting of
the Bessarabian question, and the statement so often made in the Press
that Roumania demanded, and still demands, that lost province from
Russia are absolutely groundless. The subject was never once broached.

It has been argued that although these claims to recompense may have
been reasonable enough in themselves, to have made them conditions of
Roumania's participation in the war on the side of the Allies smacked
more of the pettifogger than of the statesman. In a tremendous
struggle like the present for lofty ideals this bargaining for
territorial advantages showed, it was urged, the country and the
Government in a sinister light. To this criticism the friends of M.
Bratiano reply that most of the belligerents set the example, with far
less reason than Roumania could plead. Italy, for instance, had made
her military co-operation conditional on the promise of a large part
of Dalmatia, as well as the _terra irredenta_, and Russia insisted
upon having her claim to Constantinople allowed. Why, it is asked,
should Roumania be blamed for acting similarly and on more solid
grounds?

During the first phase of the conversations which were carried on
between Roumania and the Entente there would appear to have been no
serious hitch. They culminated in a loan of £5,000,000 advanced in
January 1915. In the following month they ceased and were not resumed
until April, when M. Bratiano was informed that it would facilitate
matters if he would discuss terms with the Tsar's Government. By means
of an exchange of notes an arrangement had been come to by which
Roumania was to have "the country inhabited by the Roumanians of
Austria-Hungary" in return for her neutrality and on the express
condition that she should occupy them _par les armes_ before the close
of the war. I announced this agreement in the summer of 1915 and,
commenting on the controversy to which it gave rise, pointed out that
it amounted only to a promise made by Russia and an option given to
Roumania, which the latter state was at liberty to take up or forgo as
it might think fit. It bound her to nothing. Consequently, to accuse
her of having broken faith with Italy or the Entente is to betray a
complete lack of acquaintance with the facts.

It was only when Roumania's military participation was solicited that
difficulties began to make themselves felt. And they proved
insurmountable. So long as the Russian armies were victorious
Roumania's demands were rejected. When the Tsar's troops, for lack of
ammunition, were obliged to retreat, concessions were made very
gradually, slight concessions at first, which became larger as the
withdrawal proceeded, until finally--the Russian troops being driven
out--everything was conceded, when it was too late. For with the
departure of the Russian armies Roumania was so exposed to attack from
various sides, and so isolated from her protectors, that her military
experts deemed intervention to be dangerous for herself and useless to
the Allies.

In Italy, it has been said with truth, the conviction prevailed that
Roumania would descend into the arena as soon as the Salandra Cabinet
had declared war against Austria, and a good deal of disappointment
was caused by M. Bratiano's failure to come up to this expectation.
But the expectation was gratuitous and the disappointment imaginary.
In an article written at the time I pointed out that one of the
mistakes made by the Entente Powers consisted in the circuitous and
clumsy way in which they negotiated with Roumania. The spokesman and
guardian of Italy during the decisive conversations with the Entente
was the Foreign Minister, Baron Sonnino, the silent member of the
Cabinet. Now, this turned out to be a very unfortunate kind of
guardianship, which his ward subsequently repudiated with reason. For
one effect of his taciturnity--the Roumanians ascribed it to his
policy--was to keep Roumania in the dark about matters of vital moment
to her of which she ought to have had cognizance. Another was to
treat with the Entente Governments as though Roumania had sold her
will and private judgment to the Salandra Cabinet. This, however, is a
curious story of war diplomacy which had best be left to the historian
to recount. One day it will throw a new light upon matters of great
interest which are misunderstood at present. Roumania's co-operation
then, as now, would have been of much greater help to the Allies than
certain other results which were secured by sacrificing it. And
sacrificed it was quite wantonly. We are wont to sneer at Germany's
diplomacy as ridiculously clumsy, and to plume ourselves on our own as
tactful and dignified. Well, if one were charged with the defence of
this thesis, the last source to which one would turn for evidence in
support of it is our diplomatic negotiations with M. Bratiano's
Cabinet.

In the light of this _exposé_ the severe judgments that have been
passed on the policy of the Roumanian Cabinet may have to be revised.

The crux of the situation was the attitude of Bulgaria. Bulgaria, a
petty country with a population inferior to that of London,
impregnated with Teutonism and ruled by an Austro-Hungarian officer
who loathes the Slavs, had throughout this sanguinary clash of peoples
rendered invaluable services to the Teutons and indirectly inflicted
incalculable losses on the civilized nations of the globe. This
tremendous power for evil springs from her unique strategic position
in Eastern Europe. At any moment during the conflict her active
assistance would have won Constantinople and Turkey for the Allies,
and if proffered during one of several particularly favourable
conjunctures might have speedily ended the war. But so tight was
Germany's grip on her that she not only withheld her own aid, but
actually threatened to fall foul of any of the Balkan States that
should tender theirs. It is, therefore, no exaggeration to affirm that
the duration of this war and some of the most doleful events
chronicled during the first year of its prosecution, are due to the
insidious behaviour of Ferdinand of Coburg and his Bulgarian
coadjutors. One may add that this behaviour constitutes a brilliant
and lasting testimony to the foresight and resourcefulness of German
diplomacy. It is one of the products of German organization as
distinguished from French and British individualism.

While Bulgaria was thus holding the menace of her army over Roumania's
head, and M. Bratiano stood irresolute between belligerency and
neutrality, the German and Austrian armies were effectively
co-operating with German and Austrian diplomatists. They compelled the
Russians to withdraw from Eastern Prussia,[87] and from a part of
Galicia,[88] later on from Lodz, from the Masurian Lakes and
Bukovina.[89] Gradually Roumania saw herself bereft of what would have
been her right wing and cover, and her military men, the most
influential of whom had been against intervention from the first, now
declared the moment inauspicious on strategical grounds. Thereupon the
oratorical representatives of the Roumanian people consoled themselves
with the formula that Roumanian blood would be shed only for Roumanian
interests, and that when a fresh turn of Fortune's wheel should bring
the Russian troops back to Bukovina and Galicia, the gallant
Roumanians would strike a blow for their country and civilization.

    [87] October 13, 1914.

    [88] December 6, 1914.

    [89] February 15, 1915.

It would be unfruitful to enter into a detailed examination of the
efforts of the Allies to detach the neutrals, and in especial the
Balkan States, from the Military Empires with which their interests
had been elaborately bound up. But in passing, one may fairly question
the wisdom of their general plan, which established facts--still
fragmentary in character--enable us to reconstruct. The resuscitation
of the Balkan League and the mobilization of its forces against Turkey
was an enterprise from which the greatest statesmen of the nineteenth
century, were they living, would have recoiled. For it presupposes an
ascetic frame of mind among the little States, which in truth hate
each other more intensely than they ever hated the Turks. The first
condition of success, were success conceivable, would have been the
abrogation of the Treaty of Bucharest and the redistribution of the
territories, which its authors had divided with so little regard for
abstract justice and the stability of peace. And to this procedure,
which Bulgaria ostentatiously demanded, Serbia entered a firm demurrer
in which she was joined by Greece. For Serbs and Bulgars have always
been hypnotized by Macedonia. Their gaze is fixed on that land as by
some magic fascination, which interest and reason are powerless to
break. They think of the future development, nay of the very existence
of their respective nations, as indissolubly intertwined with it. To
lose Macedonia, therefore, is to forfeit the life-secret of nation.
Hence Bulgaria obstinately refused to abate one jot of her demands,
while Serbia was firmly resolved to reject them. It mattered nothing
that the fate of all Europe and of these two States was dependent on
compromise. The little nations took no account of the interests at
stake. Each, like Sir Boyle Roche, was ready to sacrifice the whole
for a part, and felt proud of its wisdom and will-power.

Under these circumstances the scheme of a resuscitated Balkan League
should have been accounted a political chimera, whereas politics is
the art of the possible. What might perhaps have been envisaged with
utility was the selection of the less mischievous and more helpful of
the unwelcome alternatives with which the allied diplomacy was
confronted. If, for instance, it could have been conclusively shown
that Bulgaria's help was indispensable, adequate and purchasable, the
plain course would have been to pay handsomely for that. However high
the price, it would have been more than compensated by the positive
and negative gains. If, on the other hand, Bulgaria were recalcitrant
and inexorable, the Tsardom which protected her might to some good
purpose have become equally so, and displayed firmness and severity.
It has been said that Russia cannot find it in her heart either to
coerce Serbia or to punish Bulgaria. If this be a correct presentation
of her temper--and in the past it corresponded to the reality--then
the Allies are up against an insurmountable obstacle which must be
looked upon as one of the instruments of Fate.

Our Press is never tired of repeating that the neutrals have a right
to think only of their own interest and to frame their policy in
strict accordance with that, whether it draws them towards the Allies
or the Teuton camp. To this principle exception may be taken. If it be
true that the European community, its civilization and all that that
connotes are in grave danger, then every member of that community is
liable to be called on for help, and is bound to tender it. In such a
crisis it is a case of every one being against us who is not actively
with us. Otherwise the contention that this is no ordinary war but a
criminal revolt against civilization, is a mere piece of claptrap and
is properly treated as such by the neutrals. But there is another
important side of the matter which has not yet been seriously
considered. If the neutrals are warranted in ignoring the common
interest and restricting themselves to the furtherance of their own,
it is surely meet that the Allies, too, should enjoy the full benefits
of this principle and frame their entire policy--economic, financial,
political and military--with a view to promoting their common weal,
and with no more tender regard for that of the non-belligerent States
than is conducive to the success of their cause and in strict
accordance with international law. The application of this doctrine
would find its natural expression in the creation of an economic
league of the Allied States with privileges restricted to its members.
It may not be irrelevant to state that during one phase of the war
combined action of the kind alluded to would have given the Allies the
active help of one or two neutral countries. Nay, if the exportation
of British coal alone had been restricted to the belligerents, the
hesitation of those countries between neutrality and belligerency
would have been overcome in a month.

Italy and Bulgaria, being the two nations whose attitude would in the
judgment of German statesmen have the furthest reaching consequences
on the war, were also the object of their unwearied attentions. And
every motive which could appeal to the interest or sway the sentiment
of those peoples was set before them in the light most conducive to
the aims of the tempter. Those painstaking efforts were duly rewarded.
Bulgaria, before abandoning her neutrality, had contributed more
effectively even than Turkey to retard the Allies' progress and to
facilitate that of their adversaries.

For Italy's restiveness Germany was prepared, but it was reasonably
hoped that with a mixture of firmness, forbearance and generosity that
nation would be prevailed upon to maintain a neutrality which the
various agents at work in the peninsula could render permanently
benevolent. And from the fateful August 3, 1914, down to the following
May, the course of events attested the accuracy of this forecast. At
first all Italy was opposed to belligerency. Deliberate reason,
irrational prejudice, religious sentiment, political calculation,
economic interests and military considerations all tended to confirm
the population in its resolve to keep out of the sanguinary struggle.
The Vatican, its organs and agents, brought all their resources to
bear upon devout Catholics, whose name is legion and whose immediate
aim was the maintenance of peace with the Central empires. The
commercial and industrial community was tied to Germany by threads as
fine, numerous and binding as those that rendered Gulliver helpless in
the hands of the Lilliputians. The common people, heavily taxed and
poorly paid, yearned for peace and an opportunity to better their
material lot. The Parliament was at the beck and call of a dictator
who was moved by party interests to co-operate with the Teutons, while
the Senate, which favoured neutrality on independent grounds, had made
it a rule to second every resolution of the Chamber. In a word,
although Italy might wax querulous and importunate, her complaints and
her demands would, it was assumed, play a part only in the scheme of
diplomatic tactics, but would never harden into pretexts for war.

For it was a matter of common knowledge that departure from the
attitude of neutrality, whatever its ultimate effects--and these would
certainly be fateful--must first lead to a long train of privations,
hardships and economic shocks, which would subject the limited staying
powers of the nation--accustomed to peace, and only now beginning to
thrive--to a searching, painful and dangerous test. From a Government
impressed by this perspective, and conscious of its responsibility,
careful deliberation, rather than high-pitched views, were reasonably
expected.

And the attitude of the Cabinet since August 1914 had been marked by
the utmost caution and self-containment. Contemplated from a distance
by certain of the Allies whose attention was absorbed by the political
aspect of the matter, this method of cool calculation seemed to smack
of hollow make-believe. Why, it was asked, should Italy hold back or
weigh the certain losses against the probable gains, seeing that she
would have as allies the two most puissant States of Europe, and the
enormous advantage of sea power on her side?



CHAPTER XV

THE POSITION OF ITALY


But intervention in the war was not one of those ordinary enterprises
on which Italy might reasonably embark, after having carefully counted
up the cost in men and money and allowed a reasonable margin for
unforeseen demands on both. In this venture the liabilities were
unlimited, whereas the resources of the nation were bounded, the
limits being much narrower than in the case of any other Great Power.
And this was a truly hampering circumstance. Serious though it was,
however, it would hardly avail to deter a nation from accepting the
risks and offering up the sacrifices requisite, if the motive were at
once adequate, peremptory and pressing.

But Italy, unlike the Allies, had had no strong provocation to draw
the sword. Grievances she undoubtedly possessed in plenty. She had
been badly dealt with by her allies, but forbearance was her rule of
living. For nearly a generation she had been a partner of the two
militarist States, yet she shrank from severing her connection with
them, even when they deliberately broke their part of the compact.
This breach of covenant not only dispensed her from taking arms on
their side, but would also, owing to the consequences it involved,
have sufficed to warrant her adhesion to the Entente Powers. But for
conclusive reasons--lack of preparedness among others--she condoned
all affronts and drew the line at neutrality.

The country was absolutely unequipped for the contest. The Lybian
campaign had disorganized Italy's national defences and depleted her
treasury. Arms, ammunition, uniforms, primary necessaries--in a word,
the means of equipping an army--were lacking. The expenditure of
£80,000,000 sterling during the conflict with Turkey rendered the
strictest economy imperative, and so intent was the Cabinet on
observing it that the first candidate for the post of War Minister
declined the honour, because of the disproportion between the sum
offered to him for reorganization and the pressing needs of the
national defences.

The outbreak of the present conflict, therefore, took Italy unawares
and found her in a condition of military unpreparedness which, if her
participation in the war had been a necessity, might have had
mischievous consequences for the nation. Availing herself of this
condition of affairs and of the pacific temper of the Italian people,
Germany reinforced those motives by the prospect of Corsica, Nice,
Savoy, Tunis and Morocco in return for active co-operation. But the
active co-operation of Italy with Austria and Germany was wholly
excluded. The people would have vetoed it as suicidal. The utmost that
could be attempted was the preservation of her neutrality, and that
this object would be attained seemed a foregone conclusion.

And it is fair to state that this belief was well grounded. When war
was declared and Italy was summoned to march with her allies against
France, Britain and Russia, she repudiated her obligation on the
ground that the clause in their treaty provided for common action in
defence only, not for co-operation in a war of aggression, such as was
then about to be waged. And that plea could not be rebutted. This
preliminary dissonance to which the Central empires resigned
themselves was followed by disputes which turned upon the
interpretation of the compensation clause of the Treaty, upon Italy's
territorial demands and Austria's demurrers. Thus from first to last
the issues raised were of a diplomatic order, and if German statesmen
had received carte blanche to settle them, it is not improbable that a
compromise would have been effected which would have left the Italian
Government no choice but to persevere in its neutrality.

And German statesmen strove hard to wrest the matter from their ally
and take it into their own hands, but were only partially successful.
Both they and the Austrians selected their most supple and wily
diplomatists to conduct the difficult negotiations. Prince Bülow was
appointed German Ambassador to King Victor's Government, Baron Macchio
supplanted Merey in Rome, but the most sensational change effected was
the substitution of Baron Burian for Count Berchtold in the Austrian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[90] This latter event was construed by
the European public as the foretoken of a new and far-resonant
departure in Austria's treatment of international relations. In
reality it was hardly more than the withdrawal from public business of
a tired statesman _malgré lui_ who had persistently sought to be
relieved of his charge ever since his first appointment. Count
Berchtold's name is inseparably associated with events of the first
magnitude for his country and for Europe, but on the creation or
moulding of which he had little appreciable part. It is hardly too
much to say that if, during the period while he held office, the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been without a head, the mechanism
would have worked with no serious hitch, and with pretty much the same
results which we now behold. For he was but the intermediary between
the mechanism and the real minister, who invariably appeared as a
_deus ex machina_ in all the great crises of recent years, and who was
none other than the Emperor Francis Joseph himself.

    [90] January 15, 1915.

Count Berchtold was a continuator. He endeavoured under adverse
circumstances to carry out the feasible schemes of his predecessor,
but the obstacles in his way proved insurmountable. He is a
straightforward, truthful man, and in the best sense of the word a
gentleman. The greatest achievement to which he can point during his
tenure of power is the disruption of the Balkan League. Having had an
opportunity of seeing the working of the scheme at close quarters, I
may say that it was ingenious. Pacific by temperament and conviction,
he co-operated successfully with the Emperor to ward off a European
conflict more than once. But from the day when Count Tisza won over
Franz Josef to the ideas of Kaiser Wilhelm, Count Berchtold's
occupation was gone.

His successor, Baron Burian, entered upon his office with an
established reputation and a political programme. But so immersed were
the Allies in the absurd illusions which ascribed disorganization to
Germany and discord to the two imperial Governments, that Burian's
appointment was read by many as an omen that Austria-Hungary was
already scheming for a separate peace. Events soon showed that the
disorganization was not in Germany nor the discord on the side of the
Central Empires.

Meanwhile the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Di San Giuliano,
had succumbed to a painful illness, which, however, did not prevent
him from writing and reading dispatches down to the very eve of his
death.[91] His successor was Sydney Sonnino, perhaps the most upright,
rigid and taciturn man who has ever had to receive foreign
diplomatists and discourse sweet nothings in their ears. Devoid of
eloquence, of personal magnetism and of most of the arts deemed
essential to the professional diplomatist, he is a man of culture,
eminent talents, fervid zeal for the public welfare, steady moral
courage, and rare personal integrity. Pitted against the supple and
versatile Bülow, his influence might be likened to that of the austere
philosopher gazing at the incarnate Lamia.

    [91] Di San Giuliano died on October 18, 1914. He was working
    for a short time on the 17th.

Between these two statesmen conversations began[92] under favourable
auspices. One of the conditions to which each of them subscribed was
the maintenance of rigorous secrecy until the end of their labours.
And it was observed religiously until Germany's "necessity" seemed to
call for the violation of the pledge, whereupon it was profitably
violated. Baron Sonnino told the German plenipotentiary that "the
majority of the population was in favour of perpetuating neutrality,
and gave its support to the Government for this purpose, provided
always that by means of neutrality certain national aspirations could
be realized."[93] Bülow at once scored an important point by taking
sides with Italy against Austria on the disputed question whether
Clause VII of the Triple Alliance entitled the former country to
demand compensation for the upsetting of the Balkan equilibrium caused
by Austria's war on Serbia. That view and its practical corollaries
set the machinery going. The Austrian Government abandoned its _non
possumus_, and discussed the nature and extent of the compensation
alleged to be due. But it never traversed the distances between words
and acts.

    [92] On December 20, 1914.

    [93] Italian Green Book, Despatch N. 8.

One of the many wily devices by which the German Ambassador sought to
inveigle the Consulta into forgoing its right to resort to war was
employed within three weeks of the beginning of negotiations. Bülow
confidentially informed Sonnino that Germany was sending Count von
Wedel to Vienna to persuade the Cabinet there to cede the Trentino to
Italy, and asked him whether, if Austria acquiesced, it would not be
possible to announce to the Chamber that the Italian Government had
already in hand enough to warrant it in assuming that the main
aspirations of the nation would be realized.[94] "Absolutely
impossible," was Sonnino's reply. But the Dictator Giolitti, whom
Prince Bülow took into partnership, was more confident and pliable.
This parliamentary leader, whose will was law in his own country and
whose life-work consisted in eliminating ethical principles from
politics, made known his belief--nay, his positive knowledge--that by
diplomatic negotiations the nation could obtain concessions which
would dispense it from embarking on the war. This pronouncement had a
widespread effect on public opinion, confirming the prevalent belief
that Austria would satisfy Italy's claims.

    [94] Italian Green Book, January 14, 1915, Despatch N. 11.

There was no means of verifying those announcements, for the Rome
Government scrupulously observed its part of the compact, and allowed
no news of the progress of the conversations to leak out. In fact, it
went much farther and deprived the Italian people systematically of
all information on the subject of the crisis. Consequently the
poisoners of the wells of truth had a facile task.

It was no secret, however, that the cession of the Trentino would not
suffice to square accounts. Italy's land and sea frontiers were
strategically so exposed that it was sheer impossible to provide
adequately for their defence. And this essential defect rendered the
nation semi-dependent on its neighbour and adversary and powerless to
pursue a policy of its own. For half a century this dangerous flaw in
the national edifice and its pernicious effects on Italy's
international relations had been patiently borne with, but Baron
Sonnino considered that the time for repairing it and strengthening
the groundwork of peace had come. And as he had not the faintest doubt
that technically as well as essentially he had right on his side, he
pressed the matter vigorously. Austrian diplomacy, dense and dilatory
as ever, argued, protested, temporized. In these tactics it was
encouraged by the knowledge that Italy was unequipped for war, and by
the delusion that the remedial measures of reorganization then going
forward were only make-believe. The Italian Government, on the other
hand, convinced that nothing worth having could be secured by
diplomacy until diplomacy was backed by force, was labouring might and
main to raise the army and navy to a position as worthy as possible of
a Great Power and commensurate with the momentous issues at stake.

But the position of the Cabinet was seriously weakened by the domestic
and insidious enemy. Giolitti's pronouncement had provided the
Austrians with a trump card. For if the Dictator accounted the
proffered concession as a settlement in full, it was obvious that the
Cabinet, which was composed of his own nominees whom he could remove
at will, would not press successfully for more extensive compensation.
Giolitti was the champion and spokesman of the nation, and his
estimate of its aspirations alone carried weight. And now once more
the Dictator, acting through his parliamentary lieutenants, organized
another anti-governmental demonstration which humiliated the Cabinet
and impaired its authority as a negotiator. Of this favourable
diversion the Austrians availed themselves to the full. But gradually
it dawned upon them that behind the Italian Foreign Minister a
reorganized Italian army, well equipped and partially mobilized, was
being arrayed for the eventuality of a failure of the negotiations. By
way of recognizing this fact the Ballplatz increased its offer, but
only very slightly, while it grew more and more lavish of arguments.
But the "principal aspirations of the Italian people" had not yet been
taken into serious consideration by Baron Burian. Down to April 21
this statesman had not braced himself up to offer anything more than
the Trentino, which Prince Bülow had virtually promised in January,
and this despite the intimation given by the Italian Foreign
Secretary, that after the long spell of word-weaving and
hair-splitting he must insist on a serious and immediate effort being
put forth to meet Italy's demands.

Thus during five months of tedious negotiations Austria had contrived
to exchange views and notes with the Consulta without offering any
more solid basis for an agreement than the cession of a part of the
Trentino. It is fair to add that even this appeared a generous gift to
Franz Josef's ministers, who failed to see why the Habsburg Monarchy
should offer any compensation to an ally from whom help, not claims,
had been expected. To a possible abandonment of territory on the
Isonzo or elsewhere the Vienna Cabinet made no allusion. On April 8
Sonnino presented counter proposals, which he unfolded in nine
clauses. They comprehended the cession of the Trentino, including the
frontiers established for the kingdom of Italy by the Treaty of Paris
of 1810; a rectification of Italy's eastern boundaries, taking in the
cities of Gradisca and Gorizia; the transformation of Trieste and its
territory into an autonomous State, internationally independent; the
transfer to the kingdom of Italy of the Curzolari group of islands;
all these territories to be delivered up on the ratification of the
Treaty. Further, Italy's full sovereignty over Valona was to be
recognized by Austria, who should forswear all further designs on
Albania and concede a full pardon to all persons of those lands
undergoing punishment for political or military offences. On her side
Italy would consent to pay 200,000,000 francs as her share of the
public debt and of other financial obligations of the provinces in
question, to remain absolutely neutral during the present war, and to
renounce all further claims to compensation arising out of Clause VII
of the Treaty.[95]

    [95] Italian Green Book, Dispatch N. 64.

Those terms were rejected by the Austrian Foreign Minister on grounds
which have no longer any practical interest. Noteworthy is his remark
that even in peace time the immediate consignment of such territory as
Austria might be willing to abandon would be impossible, and during
the prosecution of a tremendous war it was inconceivable.[96] From
this position he had never once swerved during the five months'
conversations, and he was backed by Germany, who on March 19 had
offered to guarantee the fulfilment of the promise after the war. But
a fortnight later he suddenly changed his ground without really
yielding the point, by suggesting the creation of a mixed commission
which should make recommendations about the ways and means of
transferring the strips of territory in question. But as the labours
of this commission were not to be restricted in time, and as the
amount to be ceded fell far short of what was demanded, Baron Sonnino
negatived the suggestion.

    [96] Italian Green Book, Dispatch N. 71, April 16, 1915.

Then and only then did the Italian Government withdraw their
proposals, denounce the Triple Alliance, and proclaim Italy's liberty
of action.[97]

    [97] May 3, 1915. Cf. Italian Green Book, Dispatch N. 76.

Of this sensational turn of affairs the European public had no
inkling. For the Italian Government was bound to reticence by its
plighted word and the Germans and Austrians by their interest, which
was to foster the belief that the conversations were proceeding
successfully and that Austria's proposals were welcomed by the
Consulta. But Italy, thus absolved from the ties that had so long
linked her with Germany and Austria, entered into a conditional
compact with the Powers of the Entente. In Paris the secret quickly
leaked out and was at once communicated to Berlin, whose organized
espionage continued to flourish in the French capital. Thereupon Herr
Jagow urged Bülow to bestir himself without delay. But the Prince was
hard set. On the Italian Cabinet he had lost his hold. It had already
crossed the Rubicon and passed over to the Entente. True, the Cabinet
was not Italy, was not even the Government of Italy. It was hardly
more than a group of mere place-warmers for Giolitti and his
partisans. At any moment it could be upset and the damage inflicted by
Austria's stupidity made good. And to effect this was the task to
which the German Ambassador now addressed himself.

He was admirably qualified to discharge it. All Italy, with the
exception of a small band of nationalists and republicans, was his
ally. The Pope was _ex officio_ an apostle of peace. A large body of
the clergy submissively followed the Pope. The Vatican and its
hangers-on were sitting _en permanence_ directing a movement which had
for its object the prevention of war. The parliamentary majority was
aggressively neutralist. The economic interests of the nation were
ranged on the same side. Almost the entire aristocracy was enlisted
under the flag of the German Ambassador, at whose hospitable board the
scions of the men whose names had been honourably associated with the
Risorgimento met and deliberated. As yet, therefore, nothing was lost
to the Central Empires; only a difficulty had been created which would
serve as a welcome foil to impart sharper relief to Prince Bülow's
certain victory. The man whose co-operation would win this victory was
the Dictator Giolitti, and him the Ambassador summoned to Rome.

Now Giolitti was acquainted with everything that had been done by the
Cabinet, including his country's covenant with the Allies, and he
disapproved of it. He was also initiated by Bülow into the scheme by
which that covenant was to be set aside and Italy made to break her
faith, and he signified his approbation of it. Nay, this patriot went
further; he undertook to aid and abet Bülow in his well-thought-out
plot. It had been resolved by the German Ambassador, as soon as he
learned that Italy had taken an irrevocable decision and denounced the
Treaty of Alliance, that he would amend the proposals which he
himself, in Austria's name, had put forward as the utmost limit to
which she was prepared to go; and he was anxious, before offering them
officially, to ascertain whether Italy's Dictator would accept them
and guarantee their acceptance by his parliamentary majority.

That was the object for which Giolliti's presence was needed in Rome.
The amended proposals were typewritten and distributed by Erzberger,
the leader of the German Catholic parliamentary party, who was an
over-zealous agent of the Wilhelmstrasse and a _persona grata_ at the
Vatican. He, a German, had gone to Rome to bestir the neutralists and
lead the movement against the Italian Government. His leaflets
containing the belated concessions were given to Giolitti and his
lieutenants. I received a copy myself, and sent it to the _Daily
Telegraph_. The concessions were actually published in that journal
and communicated to the British public before King Victor's
Government, to whom Prince Bülow was accredited, had any cognizance of
their existence. That this procedure involved a gross breach of the
covenant between the Ambassador and Sonnino stipulating the
maintenance of absolute secrecy was deemed an irrelevant
consideration.

Seldom in modern times have such underhand methods been resorted to by
the Government of a Great Power. Neither would it be easy to find an
example of a responsible statesman behaving as Giolitti behaved and
working in collusion with the Government of a State which at the time
was virtually his country's enemy. This statesman, however, duly
played the part assigned to him in this intrigue against his
Government and country, and the success of his scheme would have left
the Italian nation covered with infamy and bereft of friends. For if
he had been able to conclude the compact with Austria as he had
undertaken to do, his country would have been left to the mercy of his
Austro-German masters, who despise Italy, and probably, if victorious,
would have refused to redeem their promises, while the Entente States
would have boycotted her as faithless and false-hearted. As a dilemma
for Italy the position in which she was placed must have delighted
the wily Bülow. How it can have satisfied an Italian statesman is a
psychological riddle.

Meanwhile the German Ambassador presented officially Austria's final
proposals, as though the conversations on this subject had not been
broken off. Baron Sonnino refused to discuss them. But the Dictator
intended that his word should be heard and his will should be done. To
the King and the Premier, Giolitti announced that, despite all that
had been accomplished by the Government, he still clung to the belief
that Austria's new concessions offered a basis for further
negotiations, which, if cleverly conducted, would lead to the
acquisition of some other strips of territory, and would certainly
culminate in a satisfactory settlement.

But, not satisfied with this confidential expression of opinion,
Giolitti let it be known to the whole nation that he, the chief and
spokesman of the parliamentary majority, was convinced of the
feasibility of an accord with Austria on the basis of her last offer,
which he deemed acceptable in principle; that he saw no motives for
plunging Italy into a hideous war, which would involve the nation in
disaster; and that he would adjust his acts to these convictions.

This deliberate pronouncement, coming from the most prominent man in
the country, had a powerful effect upon his followers and also upon
the public at large. No nation desires war for war's sake, and the
interpretation put upon Giolitti's words by the extreme neutralists
and, in particular, by the insincere organs of the Vatican, was that
he had seen enough to convince him that the Cabinet had decided to
wage war against Germany and Austria at all costs and irrespective of
the nation's interests. Giolitti's parliamentary friends
demonstratively called upon him at his private residence, leaving
their cards, and announcing the conformity of their views to those of
their leader; and as their number, which was carefully communicated to
the Press, formed the majority of the Chamber, the Cabinet felt
impelled to take the hint and act upon it. This was the only course
open to it. For, as the ministers were obliged to meet Parliament on
May 20--the day fixed for its reopening--they were sure to be
out-voted on a division, whereupon a crisis, not merely ministerial
but national and international, would be precipitated. The
consequences of such a conflict might be disastrous. Rather than wait
for this eventuality the Cabinet tendered its resignation. Thus Bülow
had seemingly triumphed. The Government was turned out by Giolitti,
who had accepted in advance the Austro-German terms of a settlement,
and Italy was seemingly won over to the Teutons.

So far as one could judge, the fate of the nation was now decided. Its
course was marked out for it, and was henceforward unalterable. For,
so far as one could see, by no section of the constitutional machinery
was the strategy of Bülow and Giolitti to be thwarted. In a
parliamentary land the legislatures are paramount, and here both
Chamber and Senate were arrayed against the Cabinet for Giolitti and
Germany.

The ferment consequent upon this turn of affairs was tremendous. All
Europe was astir with excitement. The Press of Berlin and Vienna was
jubilant. Panegyrics of Giolitti and of Bülow filled the columns of
their daily Press.

But a _deus ex machina_ suddenly descended upon the scene in the
unwonted form of an indignant nation. The Italian people, which had at
first been either indifferent or actively in favour of cultivating
neighbourly relations with Germany, had of late been following the
course of the struggle with the liveliest interest. Germany's dealings
with Belgium had impressed them deeply. Her methods of warfare had
estranged their sympathies. Her doctrine of the supremacy of force and
falsehood had given an adverse poise to their ideas and leanings. Deep
into their hearts had sunk the tidings of the destruction of the
_Lusitania_, awakening feelings of loathing and abomination for its
authors, to which free expression was now being given everywhere. The
spirit that actuated this revolting enormity was brand-marked as that
of demoniacal fury loosed from moral control and from the ties that
bind nations and individuals to all humanity.

The effect upon public sentiment and opinion in Italy, where emotions
are tensely strung, and sympathy with suffering is more flexible and
diffusive than it is even among the other Latin races, was
instantaneous. One statesman, who was a partisan of neutrality,
remarked to me that German "Kultur," as revealed during the present
war, is dissociated from every sense of duty, obligation, chivalry,
honour, and is become a potent poison which the remainder of humanity
must endeavour by all efficacious methods to banish from the
international system.

"This," he went on, "is no longer war; it is organized slaughter,
perpetrated by a race suffering from dog-madness. I tremble at the
thought that our own civilized and chivalrous people may at any moment
be confronted with this lava flood of savagery and destructiveness.
Now, if ever, the opportune moment has come for all civilized nations
to join in protest, stiffened with a unanimous threat, against the
continuance of such crimes against the human race. Europe ought surely
to have the line drawn at the poisoning of wells, the persecution of
prisoners, and the massacre of women and children. If a proposal to
this effect were made, I myself would second it with ardour."[98]

    [98] Cf. _Daily Telegraph_, May 10, 1915.

These pent-up feelings now found vent in a series of meetings and
demonstrations against Germany as well as Austria and their Italian
allies. Italy's spiritual heritage from the old Romans asserted itself
in impressive forms and unwonted ways, and the conscience of the
nation loudly affirmed its claim to be the main directing force in a
crisis where the honour and the future of the country were at stake.
And within four days of this purgative process a marked change was
noticeable. Giolitti's partisans--hissed, jostled, mauled, frightened
out of their lives--lay low. Many of them publicly recanted and
proclaimed their conversion to intervention. The chief of the German
Catholic party and friend of the Vatican, Erzberger, was driven from
his hotel to the German Embassy as a foreign mischief-maker,
contrabandist and spy. Some of the Press organs, subsidized or created
by the Teutons, were obliged to disappear. The honest neutralist
journals, yielding to the nation, veered round to the fallen Cabinet.
In a word, the political atmosphere, theretofore foul and mephitic,
became suddenly charged with purer, healthier elements--Bülow's plot
was thwarted and Giolitti's rôle played out. The Salandra-Sonnino
Cabinet was borne back to office on the crest of this national wave,
and Italy declared war against Austria. But only against Austria. For
the Cabinet, restored to power, became a cautious steward, and took to
imitating him of the Gospel who hid his talents instead of augmenting
them.

This restriction of military operations to the Habsburg Monarchy
struck many observers as singular. In truth the motives that inspired
the Government have never been authoritatively divulged. That every
Italian Cabinet since Crispi's days had made a marked distinction
between Germany and Austria was notorious. That Di San Giuliano felt
as strongly attracted towards Berlin as he was repelled by Vienna may
be gathered from the official but still unpublished dispatches that
exist on the subject. But that in a war not of two individual nations,
but of groups of States, one--and only one--of these should be singled
out as the object of aggression aroused something more than mere
curiosity. And this feeling was intensified when it became known that
on the eve of the diplomatic rupture Bülow, ever on the alert for the
interests of his country, had induced the Italian Government to
conclude a convention with Germany for the protection of private
property in case of active hostilities. For Germany possesses in Italy
property valued at several milliards of francs, whereas Italy claims
as her own almost nothing in the German empire. Who can read the
riddle?

The adhesion of Italy to the Allies may be noted as perhaps the most
important political event of the year, while the circumstances in
which it was decided on dispel all doubt that the Italian people were
actuated by lofty motives and rose to the highest ideas involved in
the European conflict, and that the Cabinet's ideals were nowise
identical with those of the nation. It is alleged by certain personal
friends of Baron Sonnino, who had exceptionally good opportunities for
knowing what took place--and I have grounds for acquiescing in their
view--that this statesman was for declaring war against Germany as
well as Austria, but that Professor Salandra negatived this logical
and straightforward move.

That the Salandra Cabinet damaged the cause of Italy by thus
endeavouring to blow hot and cold, is a fact which its warmest
supporters no longer call in question. They now merely plead for
extenuating circumstances on the ground that the damage was done
unwittingly. "It would be unjust," the Nationalist Federzoni said in a
speech delivered before the Chamber on March 16,[99] "to accuse the
Italian Government of disloyalty or insincerity, but none the less the
treaty it concluded with Germany has proved superlatively baleful to
the country." Like the other allied peoples, the Italian nation has
been served by a Cabinet which defeated many of the objects it was
striving after.

    [99] March 16, 1916.

Studying Italian politics since the war broke out is like threading
the Cretan Labyrinth in a dense fog. The fog, curiously enough, which
now seldom lifts, would seem to form an integral part of the politics.
For one of the maxims of the present chief of the Consulta, Baron
Sonnino, is that secrecy is the soul of efficacy. And as thoroughness
marks his action whenever it is quite free, the mystery that enwraps
the schemes and designs of King Victor's Government is become
impenetrable. One may form a faint notion of the stringency with which
this un-Italian occultism is observed by the eminent Jewish statesman,
from the circumstance that during the crisis that preceded the war,
only one of his colleagues was kept informed of the progress of the
conversations with Austria, and that was his own chief, Professor
Salandra. As for the nation at large, it was so out of touch with the
Government, and so led astray concerning the trend of events, that for
months it confidently anticipated an accord with the Central Empires.
Again, down to the day on which Baron Sonnino read out his last
declaration in the Chamber (Dec. 1), officials of the Ministry had
rigorous instructions not to give any one even a hint as to whether
Italy would or would not sign the London Convention, renouncing the
right to conclude a separate peace.

For a long time previously Italy's aloofness had preoccupied the
Entente, and to the accord between the two there continued to be
something lacking. The Italian Government, dissatisfied with the
degree of help received from Great Britain, was not slow to indicate
it in official conversations with our Ambassador. Happily, the silence
of our Foreign Office and the secrecy of Baron Sonnino concealed the
rifts of the lute until most of them were said to be repaired. In the
meantime Italy persisted in concentrating on the Isonzo and the Carso
all her efforts to help the Allies against the Turks and the Bulgars.
The expeditions to the Dardanelles, Salonika and Serbia evoked her
moral sympathy, but could not secure her military co-operation. The
generosity of the Entente, and of Britain in particular, towards
Greece was an additional stumbling-block, and the offer of Cyprus to
King Constantine an abomination in her eyes.

That Italy's impolitic aloofness could not last, without impairing the
worth of her sacrifices, was obvious. And the extent to which
co-operation could be stipulated and the compensations to which that
would entitle her, formed the subjects of long and delicate
conversations between the interested Governments. For, naturally
enough, Baron Sonnino, whose domestic critics are many and ruthless,
was desirous of getting all he could in the Eastern Mediterranean and
Asia Minor, while measuring out with patriotic closeness the military
and naval help to be given in return--Italy's position, economic,
financial and strategic, differing considerably from that of the other
Great Powers. It was not until the end of November 1915 that these
negotiations were worked out to an issue; and on the 30th King
Victor's Government signed the Convention of London, undertaking not
to conclude a separate peace.

The gist of this supplementary accord, in so far as it imposes fresh
obligations upon Italy, was communicated to the Chamber by Baron
Sonnino. It provided for the organization of relief for the Serbian
troops in Albania, and for other auxiliary expeditions to places on
the Adriatic coast. But it leaves intact the essential and standing
limitations to Italy's military and naval co-operation which had to
be reckoned with theretofore. And these may be summarized as follows:
King Victor's Government, while examining every proposal coming from
the Allies on its political merits, must be guided by the military and
naval experts of the nation whenever it is a question of despatching
troops or warships to take part in a common enterprise. Italy's first
care is to hinder an invasion of her territory. The next object of her
solicitude is to husband her naval and other resources and cultivate
caution. Lastly, the extent of her contribution to an expedition must
be adjusted to her resources, which are much more slender than those
of any other Great Power, and are best known to her own rulers. And
her financial means are to be reinforced by contributions from Great
Britain.

Those, in brief, are some of the lines on which the latest agreement
has been concluded.



CHAPTER XVI

ROUMANIA AND GREECE


That Roumania would now take the field was a proposition which, after
the many and emphatic assurances volunteered by her own official
chiefs, was accepted almost universally. She had received considerable
help from the Allies towards her military preparations. Her senators
and deputies had fraternized with Italians and Frenchmen and her
diplomatists had been in frequent and friendly communication with
those of France, Britain and Russia. Even statesmen had allowed
themselves to be persuaded by words and gestures which it now appears
were meant only to be conditional assurances or social lubricants. The
Serbian Premier, for instance, whose shrewdness is proverbial,
exclaimed to an Italian journalist, in the second half of June:
"Roumania cannot but follow the example set her by Italy. Indeed, you
may telegraph to your journal that Roumania's entry into the arena is
a question of days and it may be only of hours. Of this many
foretokens have come to our knowledge."[100] But the optimists who had
drawn practical conclusions from Roumanian promises and friendships
lost sight of the difference between their own mentality and that of
the Balkan peoples. They also failed to make due allowance for the
influence of German interpenetration, the power of German gold, and
the deterrent effect of German victories. And above all, they left out
of consideration the really decisive question of military prospects as
conditioned by strategical position and supplies of munitions.

    [100] _Giornale d'Italia_, June 19, 1915. _Corriere della
    Sera_, June 20, 1915.

The party of intervention, however, was still active and full of
ardour. Its chief, Take Jonescu, is not merely Roumania's only
statesman, but has established a claim to rank as one of the prominent
public men of the present generation. Unluckily he has long been out
of office, and his party is condemned to the Cassandra rôle of
uttering true prophecies which find no credence among those who wield
the power of putting them to good account. M. Bratiano's appropriate
attitude may be described as statuesque. Occasionally his Press organs
commented upon the manifestations of the interventionists in words
barbed with bitter sarcasm and utilitarian maxims. "Roumania's blood
and money," the _Independence Roumaine_ explained, "must be spent only
in the furtherance of Roumania's interest." Her cause must be
dissociated from that of the belligerents. To this Take Jonescu
replied[101] that it is precisely for the good of Roumania that her
interest should not be separated from that of the Entente Powers in
the conflict. For on the issue of this conflict depends the
state-system of Europe and also the future of Roumania. If the Germans
are triumphant, he added, force and falsehood will triumph with them,
the State will acquire omnipotence, the individual sink into serfdom.
Neutrality during a war with such issues is, therefore, the height of
political unwisdom.

    [101] _La Roumanie_, July 26, 1915.

Greece, after Venizelos's retirement, returned to the narrow creed and
foolish pranks of her unregenerate days, sinking deeper into anarchy.
More than once in her history she had been saved from her enemies and
once from her friends, but from her own self there is no saviour.

As soon as the Kaiser's paladin, King Constantine, had dismissed his
pilot and taken supreme command of the Ship of State, the portals of
the realm were thrown open to German machinations. The weaver in chief
of these was Wilhelm's confidential agent, Baron Schenk. According to
his own published biography, this gentleman had in youth been the
friend of the two sisters of Princess Battenberg, the Grand Duchess
Serge and of the Russian Tsaritza. He had served in the German army,
become the representative of the firm of Krupps, and been received at
the German court. While Venizelos was in office, Baron Schenk
flourished in the shade, but as soon as the Germanophile Gounaris took
over the reins of power, the secret agent went boldly forward into the
limelight and became the public chief of a party, received openly his
helpmates and partisans, distributed rôles and money and set frankly
to work to "smash Venizelos."

King Constantine's protracted and strange malady hindered the Queen,
who is the Kaiser's sister, from receiving visits. Even the wives of
ministers were denied access to her Majesty. But the baron was an
exception. He called on her almost every day. Cabinet Ministers
consulted him. Journalists received directions, articles and bribes
from him. And when the elections were coming on every venal man of
influence who could damage Venizelos or help his antagonists was
bought with hard cash. In order to defeat some Venizelist candidates
whose return would have been particularly distressing, the Baron is
said to have spent six hundred thousand francs.[102] And it is held
that the results obtained by these means were well worth the money
spent. For the parliamentary opposition was strong and aggressive, and
some of its more active members had imbibed Hellenic patriotism from
the German Schenk. They have since been toiling and moiling to
disqualify Venizelos permanently from office on the ground that he is
a republican, and that the destinies of monarchy would not be safe in
his hands. By these means German organization, which finds work and
room for kings and for poisoners, for theologians and assassins, has
transformed Greece into a Prussian satrapy which avails itself of the
freedom of the seas, established by the Allies, to carry on contraband
to their detriment and give help and encouragement to Austrians,
Bulgars and Turks. And the Turks were meanwhile extirpating the Greeks
of the coast of Asia Minor.

    [102] _Gazette de Lausanne_, July 6, 1915, and _Corriere
    della Sera_, July 8, 1915.

Bulgaria's attitude underwent no momentous change during the interval
that elapsed between the outbreak of the war and the close of the
first year. Symptoms of a new orientation had, it is true, often been
signalled and commented, but Ferdinand of Coburg and his lieutenants
remained steadfastly faithful to the policy of quiescence which had
conferred more substantial benefits on Germany and Austria than could
have been bestowed by the active co-operation of the whole Bulgarian
army. This tremendous effect could never have been obtained if
Bulgaria had entirely broken with the Powers of the Entente. It seemed
as essential to its success that these should never wholly give up the
hope of winning her over, as it was that her important movements
should be conducive to the interests of their enemies. Hence every
secret arrangement with Berlin and Vienna was emphatically denied, and
every overt accord declared to be devoid of political significance.

It was thus that Europe was directed to construe the negotiations
between the Sofia Cabinet and the Austro-German financial syndicate
respecting the payment of an instalment of the £20,000,000 loan
contracted shortly before the war. That Germany, whose financial
ventures are invariably combined with political designs, would not
part with her money to Bulgaria at a moment when gold is scarce,
unless she were sure of an adequate political return, could not be
gainsaid. And that the retention by Bulgaria of her freedom of action
would be incompatible with the interests of Austria and Germany is
also manifest. However this may be, the twenty millions sterling
demanded by Sofia were accorded, and the legend was launched that the
transaction was purely financial.

Towards the end of July[103] King Ferdinand's ministers made another
momentous move, the consequences of which cut deep into the political
situation. A convention was signed in Stamboul between the Turkish and
Bulgarian Governments by which the former ceded to Bulgaria the
Turkish section of the Dedeagatch railway--that is to say, the whole
line that runs on Turkish territory, together with the stations of
Dimotika, Kulela-Burgas, and Karagatch. The new boundary ran
thenceforward parallel to the river Maritza, all the territory
eastward of that becoming Bulgarian.

    [103] July 22, 1915.

And this concession, King Ferdinand's ministers would have Europe
believe, was devoid of political bearings. It was merely a case of
something being given for nothing. And the Allies allowed themselves
to be persuaded that this was the real significance of the deal. The
German Press was more frank. It announced that the relations between
Bulgaria and Turkey had entered upon a decisive phase and that all
fear of Bulgaria's taking part in the war on the side of the Allies
had been definitely dispelled.

The Bulgarian problem throughout all that wearisome crisis, which
ended by Ferdinand throwing off the mask, was in reality simple, and
the known or verifiable facts ought to have been sufficient to bring
the judgment of the Entente statesmen to conclusions which would have
enabled them to steer clear of the costly blunders that characterized
their policy. The line of action followed from first to last by
Ferdinand was supremely inelastic: only its manifestations, of which
the object was to deceive, were varied and conflicting. It was bound
up with Austria's undertaking to restore Macedonia to Bulgaria and to
maintain Ferdinand on the throne. This twofold promise was the bait by
which the king was caught and kept in Austria's toils, while the
Bulgarian people was moved by patriotism to identify its cause with
that of Ferdinand. And the arrangement was to my knowledge completed
before the opening of the European war. Evidence of its existence was
forthcoming, but the statesmen of the Entente, who allowed
preconceived notions to overrule the testimony of their senses,
declined to accept it. Since then the Bulgarian Cabinet, in the person
of the Premier, has publicly admitted the truth of my reiterated
statement. In a public speech, delivered in March 1916, "M.
Radoslavoff confessed that Bulgaria had entered the war by reason of
certain obligations which she had assumed."[104]

    [104] Cf. _Daily Telegraph_, March 14, 1916, in telegram from
    Athens.

But there was another safe test which the Entente Governments could
have applied with profit to the situation. Interest was obviously the
mainspring of the Bulgarian nation by whomsoever it might chance to be
represented. It would be inconsistent with the conception of
international politics to assume any other. Now that interest, it was
obvious, could be so fully and rapidly furthered by the Central
Empires, and in the judgment of the Bulgars with such finality and at
the cost of so few sacrifices, that it was sheer impossible for the
Entente Governments to attempt to compete with those. Bulgaria
demanded immediate possession of Central Macedonia and the permanent
weakening of the Serbian State. And this the Central Empires promised
to effect within a few weeks from Bulgaria's entry into the war.
Moreover, while asking that she should take part in a struggle against
that group of belligerents which she deemed by far the weaker, they
undertook to give her the full support of the two greatest military
Powers in the world.

Consider the difference between that arrangement and the attractions
provided by the Entente. Russia, France and Britain could deal only in
counters, not in hard cash like their adversaries. The utmost they
were able to offer was an undertaking to use their good offices with
Serbia and Greece to obtain the promise of a part of Bulgaria's
demands. And the fulfilment of this promise would of necessity be
conditional on the victory of the Allies. As for the weakening of
Serbia, it could not be entertained. On the contrary, that State,
according to the Entente scheme, would be greatly enlarged, would, in
fact, become by far the greatest of the Balkan nations. And for this
shadowy lure, Bulgaria was expected to meet in deadly encounter the
greatest military empires the world has ever seen, and to meet them
without the help of any of the Great Powers of the Entente.

One has but to compare these two alternatives in order to realize
that, even if Ferdinand had entered into no binding compact with
Austria and Germany, he would not hesitate a moment between them.
Personally and politically he was held tight by the Teuton tentacles.

The currency of the notion that with these competing offers before
him, a crafty statesman like Ferdinand who felt over and above that
Russia's vengeance was hanging over his head, would take what he
believed was the losing side, shows a degree of _naïveté_ which cannot
be qualified without epithets which it had better be understood than
expressed.

Looking back upon the results of the first twenty months of the war
and upon the more obvious causes to which they may fairly be
ascribed, one is struck less forcibly by the military and economic
unpreparedness of the Allies for the inevitable conflict than by their
inaccessibility to the ground ideas on which Germany set her hopes of
success. The two groups of belligerents stood intellectually on
different planes. The Teuton's faith was implicit in the law of
causality, in the necessity of contemplating the vast problem as a
whole, of adjusting means to ends, of co-operation at home and
co-ordination of means abroad. The methods of the Allies were drawn
from a limited range of experience which was no longer applicable to
the new conditions, and their hopes rested on a series of isolated
exertions put forth temporarily under stress of exceptional pressure.

They made noble sacrifices for the cause of liberty and justice.
Pacific by temperament and conviction, they resignedly accepted
military discipline as a temporary expedient, a purgatorial ordeal,
and went about the while with a sense of displacement, the longing of
exiles to get back. Spurred by stress of circumstance, they achieved
more than foresight and insight had led them to design but far less
than their optimism had encouraged them to anticipate. Step by step
they were driven by hard reality to widen their angle of vision, to
extend their schemes, and to concert certain measures in common. The
meeting of the three Finance Ministers in Paris was followed by the
Councils of the allied generals, by the combined expedition to the
Dardanelles, and by the nationalization of the manufacture of
munitions in each of the allied countries. And all these innovations
were moves in the right direction. But they were made as temporary
expedients under pressure of outward events, and it is still to the
future that one looks for tokens of statesmanlike intuition which from
a comprehensive survey of the problem in its entirety will draw the
materials wherewith to weave a coherent scheme of general action and
permanent co-operation.

Events travelled fast in the month of July 1915, and their effect on
the Allies was depressing. In Russia the Austro-Germans were advancing
steadily against Riga and Warsaw, where a battle which experts
accounted the most sanguinary and momentous in the war was approaching
a decision. A fatal bar being placed by Russia's reverses and other
untoward occurrences to the realization of the hopes that had been
raised by Kitchener's army, the French, headed by M. Pichon and backed
by the Russian Press, once more mooted the vexed question of Japanese
intervention. In the Turkish dominions the Greeks were subjected to
relentless persecution, especially on the coast of Asia Minor. The
massacre of Armenians on an unprecedented scale was reported from
Bitlis, Moosh, Diarbekir and Zeitun. In the first-named region 9,000
bodies, mostly women and children, were, it is alleged, cast into the
river Tigris.[105] The Swedish Premier, by an enigmatic speech in
which the doctrine of neutrality at all costs was ostentatiously
repudiated, aroused suspicion of an intention on the part of his
Government to join the Teutons in order to weaken the Slav neighbour,
and to this apprehension colour was imparted by the tardy announcement
that since the outbreak of the war Sweden had increased her army from
360,000 to 500,000 men. In the United States mysterious "accidents"
and mishaps occurred on board warships and in munitions and arms
manufactories, and strikes were organized by Germans and Austrians on
a scale which attracted the serious attention of the Washington
Government.

    [105] _Novoye Vremya_, July 22, 1915.

But the last month of that fateful year was further darkened by the
most dangerous and ominous event recorded in the United Kingdom since
the war began. Over 200,000 coal miners of South Wales deliberately,
obstinately and criminally withheld their labour from their own
nation, whose existence at that moment was dependent on its bestowal.
The coal pits of South Wales remained idle for over a week. The miners
crossed their arms and turned deaf ears to the voice of reason and
interest calling on them not to sacrifice the lives of their kith and
kin who were fighting for them. This act of black treason to the
country had been foreseen and foretold months before, but out of
consideration for the rights of individuals was allowed to take place.
The Germans and Austrians were exultant, for another couple of weeks'
strike would have given them the victory. Already the collapse of our
defence was become a definite eventuality. The tact and statesmanship
of Mr. Lloyd George exorcised the redoubtable spectre, but the spirit
which that piece of treason revealed filled the most sanguine with
dread and set those of little faith asking themselves whether this
lamentable phenomenon was not one of certain ill-boding symptoms which
seemed to reveal the smoothly moving current that bears doomed nations
onward to their fate.

Certainly nothing could put in a clearer light than that strike has
done the peremptory necessity of national discipline, at any rate in
war-time. The State that is unable to command the service of all its
citizens when beset by ruthless foreign enemies has lost its lease of
life and its right to live. It must be recognized that patriotism is
still an unknown sentiment among millions of those who are citizens of
the United Kingdom and Ireland. Patriotism has never been
systematically inculcated among us as in Germany, France and Russia.
Parochial or at most party interests still mark the loftiest heights
to which certain sections of the population can soar above the dead
level of individual egotism. In Germany and Austria strikes during war
are unthinkable. Every railway official, every tram-conductor, every
artisan there is a soldier subject to military discipline and is
expected to give the fullest measure of his productive powers to the
nation. And it is fair to add that they all regard this duty as a
signal honour and a source of pleasure. For to them patriotism is a
religion and their country a divinity.

The depth and fervour of this self-denying spirit among them as
contrasted with the "healthy individual egotism" of the Allies
constitutes one of the most disquieting phenomena of the struggle.
Austria has been scoffed at for her abject submissiveness to Germany.
But there is another way of looking at her attitude. She has
courageously effaced her individuality more completely even than
Turkey for the sake of the common cause. And she has lost nothing by
the painful effort. Her various peoples who were expected to be
tearing each other to pieces have given us a splendid example of
discipline and self-abnegation. In the Skoda works at Pilsen, where
machine guns are made, fifteen thousand workmen are cheerfully toiling
and moiling every day of the week, Sundays and holidays not excepted.
Since the war began Germany has accomplished as great things at home
as on foreign battlefields. She built and launched a Dreadnought of
25,600 tons, a line-of-battle ship of 26,200 tons. And while the
latter vessel was on the stocks, the reports published in the British
press of the splendid results obtained by the 15-inch guns of the
_Queen Elizabeth_ moved the German Admiralty to substitute these for
the 12-inch guns already adopted. Two swift cruisers, 12 small
submarines and 24 larger ones of 1200 tons displacement, with a speed
of 16 knots under water, 20 on the surface and a radius of action of
3000 miles--were among the results of a single year's activity.



CHAPTER XVII

GERMANY'S RESOURCEFULNESS


And our enemies' resourcefulness and power of adaptation is of a piece
with their capacity for work. When war was declared and foreign trade
arrested, numerous German factories underwent a quick transformation.
Silk-works began to turn out bandages and lint; velvet works produced
materials for tents; umbrella makers took to manufacturing rain-proof
cloth; the output of sewing-machine factories was changed to shrapnel;
piano manufacturers became makers of cartridges. Paper producers
supplied the War Office with paper-made blankets. For copper, when the
supply began to grow short, nickelled iron was quickly substituted.
Sugar was employed to obtain the spirit which had to take the place of
benzine. And the upshot of these transformations is that the orders
received for military needs exceed those which would in normal
conditions of exportation have been placed by foreign customers with
German industry. The goods traffic on German railways, which had
fallen to 41 per cent. during the first month of the war, has since
gone up to 96 per cent. Those achievements are not merely noteworthy
in themselves, they are ominously symptomatic.

A German professor, writing to a friend imprisoned in France,
commented in passing upon these qualifications of his countrymen in a
letter which M. Joseph Reinach soon afterwards gave to the public. One
passage in that document is worth quoting. The professor holds that
even if the worst comes to the worst, Germany can always conclude a
"white peace" which will leave her the formidable glory of having held
the whole world in check, will consolidate her prestige in Europe and
enable her, twenty years hence, when she has made good her losses, to
establish permanently her dominion. "My confidence is based on German
patriotism, on German sense of discipline, on German genius for
organization. But it is founded above all else on our enemies'
incapacity for organization. Ah, if our adversaries could enhance the
worth of their resources by acquiring our gifts of initiative and
method, we should be lost! I am thrilled by the picture of what we
could accomplish if we were in the places of the English and the
French and by the thought of the danger that would confront us if they
but knew how to utilize the force of their allies as we have availed
ourselves of those of Austria and Turkey."

Those reflections find their fairest comment in the events of the
twenty months that have passed since the opening of the campaign.

Our enemies' reading of those events is instructive. The Austrian
Press hails them as satisfactory. Even the Socialist organ[106]
declares that, in the qualities that go to the attainment of success,
"Austria holds the first place." The Austrian General Staff wrote
eight months ago: "Our troops have now been fighting for a
twelvemonth.... A whole world of enemies rose up against the Central
Empires, and more than once our army had to bear the brunt of their
formidable onslaught. To-day, they hold but small tracts of territory
in western Galicia and Alsatia, whereas Germany's hand is closed in a
tight grasp on Belgium and the richest provinces of France, and in the
north-east the allied forces of Austria and Germany have penetrated
well into Russian Poland. The cannons' muzzles are turned against the
most powerful fortresses of the Tsar, and in the Dardanelles our third
ally keeps watch and ward imperturbably."

    [106] _Arbeiter Zeitung._

The War Lord himself has recorded his estimate of the results of the
first year's campaign. "Germany," he stated in a speech delivered at
Lemberg, "is an impregnable fortress. In her forward march she is
irresistible. She will prove to the world that she can overcome all
her enemies and will dictate to them the peace terms that please
herself." And in a discourse pronounced at Beuthen he recorded his
view of the Allies' outlook in these words: "Our enemies are
floundering in confusion. Among themselves they are not united. They
are disorganized by the struggle, disheartened by the knowledge that
they are powerless to conquer Germany. German valour, German
organization, German science have emerged with honour from this
ordeal, the most terrible that a nation has ever undergone. Germany is
greater and mightier than ever before."

It behoves us to learn from our enemies, and, abstraction made from
the monstrosities which are indelibly associated with the German name,
there is much which the Teutons can still teach us. That the secret of
success lies in a comprehensive system of organization is
self-evident. But that organization must utilize all the resources of
the Allies and include permanent arrangements, economic and other, for
a future which shall not be a continuation of the past. Many of the
advantages which the old ordering of things assured us are gone beyond
recall. Conscription is become inevitable. Free trade is an
institution of the past. The control of armies in the field by
delegates of a democratic parliament such as is now demanded by the
French Chamber is a dangerous craving for the fleshpots of Egypt.
Whether Germany wins or loses, her rebellion against European
civilization will effect substantial and durable changes in the
methods of that civilization from which even the United States will
not be exempted.

Thus between the old order of things and the new yawns an abyss which
has to be crossed before we can worst our enemies even in the military
campaign which is but one phase of the world-struggle. Our resources
for the purpose of bridging it are ample, but our first difficulty is
the circumstance that we are chained to the old system and are still
unwilling to burst the bonds that hold us. And until efficacious means
of effecting this are adopted the end must remain unattainable.
Victory will not descend on our camp like a manna from on high. The
Allied Armies do not resemble the mulberry tree which, having long
lagged behind its rivals, suddenly bursts into fruit as well as
flower.

During the past twenty months the Allies in general, and the British
in particular, have achieved feats of which they have reason to be
proud--feats which two years ago seemed beyond the compass of human
effort. But, much as we have done, we have not reached, nor indeed
attempted to reach, the limits of our capacities, and the story of
these memorable twenty months of struggle is dimmed by the shadow of
the vaster exploits from which we have unaccountably shrunk.

The old-world social conceptions still prevalent in Great Britain
afford no standard by which to gauge the significance of the crisis
through which Europe is passing, nor do they provide efficacious means
of satisfying the pressing needs which it has created. Yet the
nation's guides perceive nothing to change in those conceptions; on
the contrary, they uphold them zealously. No event has occurred in
modern times of greater concern to Europe than the unleashing of
disruptive forces which threaten when the war is over to break up the
politico-social fabric. Now, the mere prospect of this tremendous
upheaval and of its sequel is, one would fancy, calculated to arouse
the spirited interest of all the nations affected. Yet in Great
Britain, whose very existence it menaces, it was at first received
with such unmeaning comments as "business as usual." The alertness of
the people's sensations--always inconsiderable--for volcanic outbursts
which have their centre abroad, has never been quite so blunted as
to-day.

Germany cultivates force not for its own sake but because it happens
to suit her particular purpose. For this reason she preaches the
doctrines that right and might are identical, that the end hallows the
means, that military and political necessity overrule treaties and
laws. For as violence and cunning may still gain triumphs, under the
conditions that once rendered them the only weapons of man, Germany's
first step is to bring about such conditions and to spread faith in
the teachings of the new gospel. What the success of these efforts
would involve is evident. All the ground slowly and painfully
reclaimed from the primitive state of nature, transmuted into social
order, and moralized by the altruistic accord of progressive humanity,
would be submerged by the tidal wave of Teutonism.

The first clash of the two forces which took place a generation ago
was hardly noticed. Germany stretched out her feelers tenderly, and
even when she was draining nation after nation of its life juices, she
took care to lull the patient while sucking his blood. Accordingly her
attack provoked no counter-attack, nay, there was no serious attempt
at defence. Those who directed the forces of the civilized communities
were unconscious of the counter-force that was steadily undermining
these--so unconscious that in lieu of isolating and paralysing it, the
tendency of their endeavours was to further and to strengthen it. For
they hastily assumed that it, too, was a great moral force in an
uncouth guise and should also be tended and cultivated. Their duty,
had they hearkened to its promptings, would have been to employ
towards the criminal plotters against Europe's civilized communities
coercion of the same drastic description that once enabled mankind to
substitute for the barbarous usages of savage tribes the habits of
social relationship and moral self-surrender to the weal of all. Among
the mainstays of Germany's type of society and the instruments by
which it was built up are heavy artillery, mighty armies, the gallows,
bribery and guile. With some of those arms she had opened the
campaign of conquest a quarter of a century ago, and of that campaign
the present war, unexampled though it be, is but an acute and
transient episode. This would appear to be the only true reading of
contemporary events.

Few careful students of European politics will now deny that the
struggle between the forces for which Teutonism stands and those on
which the social ordering of the rest of Europe is based was
inaugurated long ago, that the ground was then cleared for the new
politico-social structure, or that the dissolution of our "effete,
drowsy States, saturated with wealth and honeycombed with
hypocrisies," was carefully planned and taken in hand with scientific
precision. It is equally clear, to those who have eyes to see, that
the present clash of nations, despite its appalling effects on
civilization, is but an acuter phase of that campaign, a series of
incidents in a mighty struggle which neither began in July 1914 nor
will end with the close of hostilities, but will rage on for years to
come in less sanguinary but more decisive forms. For the future
peace--whatever its terms--which will silence the cannon's boom, will
but transfer the war theatre without ending the war. The methods will
be changed from military to economic. But only the weapons will be
different; the military discipline, the callous indifference to the
dictates of human and divine law, the utter absence of scruple will
continue to characterize the tactics of our enemy, who will then have
a wider scope for his activities than the battlefield can offer. The
German has no match among the allied nations in the regions of the new
diplomacy, trade, industry, applied science, insidious journalism and
vast organization. He is incomparably better equipped than they, and
owing to his amorality has none of those obstacles to contend with
which so often confront them with scruples and check their advance.

And during the progress of the present war the Teutons are making
ready for that economico-political duel which will, they hope, give
them the decisive superiority for which they had vainly hoped from the
war. That hope, if their experience of the past thirty years be a fair
indication, is by no means groundless.

Not to realize these facts to-day is to play into the hands of our
enemies, as we have been steadfastly doing during the past thirty
years. The British and their allies are being overcome less by German
skill and cleverness than by their own sluggishness, narrowness of
outlook and love of ease. As the German professor, whose utterances I
have already quoted, tersely put it: "My confidence is founded above
all else on our enemies' incapacity for organization." In truth, it is
not inborn incapacity to which we owe our unquestioned inferiority,
but to the atrophy of will-power which is one of the consequences of
years of egotism, overweening confidence, self-indulgence and the loss
of an inspiring social faith.

Now, there is every reason to assume that these master facts are not
yet recognized by our rulers, who seem perfectly contented that the
nation should go on living as before from hand to mouth, with no
far-reaching views for the future. This insular narrow-mindedness is
natural. For the Ministers in power are the same who obstinately
refused to credit the evidence of their senses, which went to prove
that Germany was bending all her energies to the successful
prosecution of a formidable campaign against us and our presumptive
allies for a whole generation. The frank recognition of this state of
masked hostility would have imposed on the Government the correlate
duty of taking up the challenge, readjusting our public life to the
altered conditions, urging the nation to make heavy sacrifices and
dissatisfying radical constituencies, whose one ideal is to devote
themselves exclusively to parochial policy and domestic legislation.
And the chiefs of the party in power lacked the mental and moral
strength to throw off their deep-rooted apprehension of the
consequences to party prospects, of increased taxation and other
burdens of citizenship. They never grasped the situation as a whole,
but restricted their survey to each fragmentary question as it was
thrust into the foreground of actualities and eliminated every other.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE PERILS OF PARTY POLITICS


No bold, broad, stable policy, therefore, was ever conceived by those
party politicians. The vast organization which was destined to destroy
the old order of things in Europe, and whose manifestations were an
open book to all observers who brought acuteness and patience to the
study, was not merely ignored by them--its very existence was denied,
and those who refused to join the ranks of the deniers were
brand-marked as mischief-makers. The nation's responsible trustees, by
way of justifying this singular attitude, accepted implicitly our
enemy's account of his unfriendly acts and enterprises. Thus it was
the chief of His Majesty's Government who, from his place in the House
of Commons, emphatically asserted that it behoved the British nation
to welcome the Baghdad railway enterprise as a precious cultural
undertaking devoid of political objects and, therefore, well worthy of
our support. In vain the writer of these lines laid bare the real
designs of the German Government, and adduced cogent proofs that the
seemingly cultural scheme was but an integral part of a vast campaign,
of which one object was the ousting of Britons from the Near and
Middle East and the substitution of German overlordship there. They
shut their eyes and stopped their ears, and bade us rejoice that
Britain is not as other countries and can afford to welcome and even
further Germany's "cultural" projects.

It was our party politicians who, when the ground-swell of
international anger and the premonitory rumble of volcanic forces
became audible, diverted public attention from the symptoms and
solemnly assured their countrymen that Germany had no intention of
going to war. To the author of these pages, who was at the pains of
unfolding in private his information and conclusions on this subject
to one of those leaders, the answer given ran thus: "Your intentions
are patriotic and your accuracy of observation is probably scientific.
But your conclusions are wholly erroneous. You must admit that you are
a pessimist. Nor can you deny that we members of the Cabinet dispose
of fuller and more decisive data for a judgment than you, with all
your opportunities, can muster. After all, we do know something of the
temper of the German Government. And we have cogent grounds for
holding that neither the Kaiser nor his Ministers want war. Bethmann
Hollweg is the most pacific chancellor Germany has ever had. And the
German people, bellicose though you think them, are to the full as
peace-loving as our own. Their one desire is to be allowed to vie with
us in commercial and industrial pursuits. So true is this, that if we
suppose the improbable, that the Kaiser's Government should feel
disposed to bring about a European war, that design would be thwarted
by the Reichstag backed by the bulk of the population."

Thus the men who presided over the destinies of the British Empire
either had no eye for the triumphant progress of the German campaign
that had been going forward for years unchecked, or, if they discerned
any of its episodes, saw them only through the softening and
distorting medium of deceptive assurances and explanations emanating
from Berlin. And on the strength of these illusive phrases they kept
the country in a state of unpreparedness for the military form of the
struggle for which our enemy was making ready, and if they had had
their way our navy--which was our anchor of salvation--would also
perhaps have been shorn of its strength.

When at last the war broke out, it was our party politicians, the men
to whom we still look up for light and guidance, who misinterpreted
its nature and underestimated the urgent needs of the Empire. It was
they who conceived the campaign as though it were one of our
occasional colonial expeditions, and would fain base the strength of
our land army abroad on the small number of troops which the
Government had conditionally undertaken to provide. And throughout the
first sixteen months of the war, it was they who went on doling out
contingents with Troy weights and measures like Mrs. Partington
beating back the tidal waves with a mop. It was they, too, who were at
extraordinary pains and risked their prestige, to throw away the
splendid privileged position which, at the outset of the struggle, we
chanced to occupy in South-Eastern Europe. Every blunder into which
petty municipal minds could fall when confronted with a wild
revolutionary welter, marked the hesitant policy of the British
Government. This aimless chaos of soul was the main cause of the
woeful waste of our political advantages and enormous resources in
the accomplishment of secondary ends which generally led nowhere. It
was thus that they forfeited the active support of Turkey, Bulgaria
and Greece, foolishly stood by applauding every step those nations
took towards the camp of our enemies, and then felt constrained to
turn to their own people whom they had unwittingly misled and call
upon it for the sacrifice of the flower of its manhood.

It was they who sacrificed, through sheer administrative incapacity,
the decided superiority over the Teutons which we enjoyed in the air
at the outset of the war. It is now admitted that our mastery in that
region was then complete. All that the country demanded of them was
that they should hold it. But what with divided control, restricted
views, and the policy of insufficient means--_petits paquets_--as the
French term it, they allowed our enemies to outstrip us. And to-day in
the air as on land it is the Germans who have the initiative and the
Allies who are condemned to the defensive. Yet experts had pointed out
over and over again what should be done and what avoided. Their advice
was obviously sound and their criticism obviously irrefutable. But the
men in power fumbled and floundered on until we had forfeited our
mastery in the air to our enemies. And ever since then the nation has
been paying the penalty. Yet it is to the men responsible for these
costly blunders that the nation still looks for salvation!

It was the same men who conceived or sanctioned the plan of an
expedition to Mesopotamia. Whether this was a wise or a foolish
project, when once decided upon it should have been carried out with
might and main. All the means requisite to success should have been
taken; all the resources possessed by the Empire should have been
drawn upon and nothing needlessly left to chance. Above all things
else, the views of the man charged with the execution of the plan
should have been elicited and carefully weighed. As a matter of fact,
General Townshend's judgment was decidedly adverse to the expedition
under the conditions in which it was planned. For the forces assigned
to him, amounting to far less than a division, were absurdly
inadequate, and their inadequacy was easily demonstrable. He ought to
have had at least two divisions more. But once again the game of
divided control and diluted responsibility was played, with
consequences which would in any other country suffice to wreck the
Government chargeable with the blunder.

Yet it is to the men who committed that and all the other blunders
that the nation still looks confidently for salvation!

If the British people finally obtain it under those leaders they may
fairly claim to have abrogated the law of cause and effect.

These same men are still the mentors and the spokesmen of a free
nation which can choose its leaders. It is they to whom the people has
entrusted the conduct of the most critical phase of the whole campaign
in which the recurrence of similar errors may foredoom the Empire to
disruption. And it is, humanly speaking, inconceivable that
miscalculations of that kind should be eliminated, in view of the
crucial fact that the Ministers at present in power, if we may judge
by their utterances and their acts, entertain a fundamentally false
conception of the relations between the Teutons and the allied
nations. Among the elements of that conception there would seem to be
no room for the historic past. The present stands by itself with a
history that goes no further back than the month of July 1914, and
will convulsively come to an end with the truce that ushers in the
future treaty of peace. For that diplomatic instrument will put an end
to the struggle and inaugurate an era of international tranquillity.
Such is the theory on which their entire policy is based.

We must fight on now to a _finish_, but the upshot is sure to be a
finish. Their anticipations of an unclouded dawn, when the present
night has worn itself into the streaky greyness of morning, are
certain to come to pass. The ordeal which we are undergoing is
tremendous, but at any rate the nation and its allies will emerge from
it rejuvenated under the spell of the present magicians, as the old
ram emerged lamb-like and frisky from Medea's cauldron. That, in
brief, would seem to be the picture in the mind's eye of the British
Government, and to that conception all their plans are being
accommodated.

As a matter of ascertainable fact, neither we nor our Allies have
anything of the kind to hope for. In the near future the present
campaign will have come to a close, but not the struggle between
ourselves and our Teuton aggressors. For this war, far from ending the
tragic duel between the two types of community life in Europe, is but
one of its transient episodes. The trial of strength began many years
ago and will not be decided for many years to come, how satisfactory
so ever the terms of the future peace may be to ourselves and our
Allies. This is a fundamental truth which has not yet penetrated the
consciousness of either rulers or people. And for that reason the
problem awaiting them is mis-stated, belittled. According to the
received version it is to beat back German aggression and render it
impossible in the future. Now, however successfully the first part of
the task may be discharged--and it is still very uphill work--the
second is a sheer impossibility, and to lay our plans as though it
were feasible and soon to be realized, is to embark on the body of a
sleeping whale in the belief that it is an island in the sea. And to
negotiate peace abroad and give an impulse to politics at home, with
that comforting prospect in mind, is to lead the nation into a
Serbonian bog whence no escape is possible. The leaders of Great
Britain are so permeated with the duties, the rights, the hopes and
the strivings of parliamentary parties, that they involuntarily think
in terms of home politics and have no chord in their being responsive
to the emotions that sway the German soul and nerve the German arm.

To the average mind it is clear that the terms on which peace might be
negotiated, if the end of the war were also to be the end of the
struggle, might differ considerably from those on which a statesman
would properly insist, were he convinced that the sheathing of the
sword marked but the opening of a new phase of the duel. And it is
this alternative which it behoves us to lay at the foundation of our
peace treaty, if it should rest with the Allies to impose their terms.
The problem, therefore, which a Government that governs has to tackle,
is twofold: the conclusion of such a peace as will confer on the
Entente States, individually and collectively, all possible
advantages, not for contemplating such a tranquil state of things as
the ministerial conception postulates, but for the prosecution of the
struggle with the greatest chances of success, and for the
reconstruction of the social fabric at home with a view to harmonizing
it with the new requirements, and, in particular, with the needs
created by the constant state of economic, financial, diplomatic and
journalistic warfare in which we shall be engaged. The social ordering
of Great Britain must be not merely modified but remodelled and
rebuilt from the groundwork to the coping-stone. One of the first
needs of the nation is the education, physical and spiritual, of the
new generation. Patriotic sentiment must be engrafted on the receptive
soul of the child, and its range of sympathy widened and deepened. The
duty of self-abnegation for the welfare of the community must be
inculcated, together with new conceptions of personal dignity and
worth. To the domestic sentiment in those cramped and distorted forms
in which it still survives in Britain, where we cling tenaciously to
so many institutions devoid of life and utility, a less commanding
part must be assigned in the future than heretofore. Above all, it
behoves us to encourage the scientific spirit with its correlates,
patient thought and study, as opposed to the arrogant amateurism
which, without rudimentary qualifications, claims to have a voice in
the solution of every problem under the sun. It is largely to this
dilettante temperament of the nation and its rulers that we owe the
disasters we have sustained and the dangers with which we are
threatened.

Looking back, then, dispassionately upon the movement, deliberately
organized over thirty years ago by the restless German mind and pushed
steadily forward ever since over diplomatic barriers, financial
hindrances, economic obstacles and international laws, one is struck
less by the unparalleled magnitude of the enterprise than by the
blindness and sluggishness of its destined victims. And it is largely
in these and kindred negative qualities that we have to seek for the
clue to the astonishing sequence of successes scored by our enemies in
their military and naval, as well as their politico-economic,
campaigns. Moreover, these same defects, deep-rooted and widespread
among the allied peoples, constitute their main source of weakness
during the economic and decisive tug-of-war which will be ushered in
by the treaty of peace. For the temperament, traditions and strivings
of each of these nations are so many obstacles to the gathering of
their scattered moral energies and wasted spiritual forces in one
fertilizing stream. They are bent on joining incompatible elements in
a political synthesis. In the name of national independence and by way
of a telling protest against the vassalage which binds Austria to
Germany, the Entente nations spurn the notion of any common accord
which requires the practice of self-surrender as a base, and are
resolved under the strain of circumstance to present such a
loosely-joined front to the enemy as will not involve their foregoing
one iota of their freedom or one tittle of their national claims. How,
in these conditions, they expect ever to rise to that height of moral
fervour without which the quasi-ascetic effort demanded of them is
inconceivable, has not yet been explained. As usual, they count upon
effects without causes, upon an ingathering of the harvest with no
preceding seedtime. Now, interdependence and compromise are the
indispensable conditions of that cohesion which alone can engender the
force required. A condition approaching organic coherency must be
attained before a smooth working system can be created among the
Allies. But as each of them is still rooted to the past, permeated by
its own interests and aspirations, and jealous not only of the
substance of its liberty but also of the shadow, the distance yet to
be traversed before the goal can be reached is enormous, and the road
rugged and beset with pitfalls.

A glance at the past and present may enable us to gauge aright the
nature of some of the difficulties that have to be surmounted in the
future.



CHAPTER XIX

PAST AND PRESENT


Let us begin with the present, in view of the circumstance that the
war has brought the allied peoples into a much nearer approach to
union and has more fully systematized their efforts than can ever be
the case in peace time. We find, then, two groups of belligerents
pitted against each other, whose resources in men, money and economic
supplies are strikingly unequal. The Teutons are by far the weaker
side, and even in spite of their long preparations ought to have been
thoroughly beaten long ago. So evident and encouraging was the
comparison that the Entente nations themselves boldly grounded their
calculations on it, and anticipated a brief spell of warfare and a
decisive victory. And this forecast seemed reasonable enough when the
material elements were weighed and contrasted. The Entente communities
occupy 68,031,000 square kilometres of territory, which are inhabited
by a population of 770,060,000, or say 46 per cent. of the entire land
on the globe and 47 per cent. of the entire human race. The Central
Empires, on the other hand, possess no more than 5,921,000 square
kilometres with 150,199,000 inhabitants, which amounts to only 4 per
cent. of dry land on the globe and 9.1 per cent. of mankind. Add to
that the circumstance that in the air our superiority over our
enemies was undisputed, and that the odds in favour of our enlisting
the active support of the Balkan States were overwhelming. The chances
in favour of the Allies, therefore, were and are enormous. That being
so, why, it may well be asked, has the course of the military, naval
and air campaign so uniformly favoured the weaker side? It is no
answer to point out that Germany and Austria had been organizing the
war for over thirty years, or had contrived to mobilize all their
resources when the first shot was fired. That explanation would
account for their progress during the first few months, but not for
the victories they scored down to the beginning of April 1916. It was
loudly proclaimed by British journalists that the Berlin General Staff
had based its plan on the assumption that the struggle would be
decided in a few months and certainly by the end of 1914. And the
inference was drawn that as this time-table was upset, Germany was so
bewildered that she could hardly draw up another plan and adjust her
forces to that. She had shot her bolt, we were assured, had missed the
target, and it was beyond her power to put forth another effort. But
events refuted these false prophets, without, however, greatly
impairing their credit with the multitude. They still continue to
describe Germany's dire straits and foretell her speedy collapse. And
they are listened to with eagerness and trust.

In truth the root of the matter lies deeper. One of the most telling
factors, in every armed conflict between peoples, consists of the sum
total of imponderabilia which elude analysis. Intellectual and moral
equipment, as I ventured to write when the war began, sometimes
counts for more than battalions. And I instanced the Russo-Japanese
campaign as a case in point. One belligerent may regard the campaign
as a temporary calamity to be endured until it can be conveniently got
rid of, while another may gird his loins and go forth to battle
exultant like the fanaticized warriors of Cromwell. The former will
contemplate the struggle and regulate the conduct of it in the light
of immediate expediency, while the latter will treat the war as a
life-task and boldly throw the weight of everything he has, and is,
and hopes for into the blows he deals his adversary. Now in this
struggle the Teuton is the fanaticized warrior. He is fighting for an
ideal, which, whether or no he understands it, he caresses and deems
his very own. The hopes and dreams of the leaders of the nation have
been communicated to the individual citizen, who, having lived for
them, is ready to die for them. Our people, on the other hand, have
never enjoyed that education in patriotism which is bestowed on every
Teuton, and they are wanting in the strength of imagination, the
spirit of cohesion and the energizing social faith which might have
made up for the deficiency.

Then, again, over against the Allies' inexhaustible resources we must
put the marvellous capacity for organization which intensifies those
of our enemy. The nearest known approach to it is found in the
Japanese, who, there is little doubt, if pressed by circumstance,
would match the Teuton in resourcefulness and even outdo him in the
spirit of self-sacrifice. To this precious asset in Germany's leaders
corresponds a superlative degree of docility and self-surrender in her
people which offer a striking contrast to the strongly marked
individualist tendencies of the British, French and Russian races.
Nay, one may go farther and assert that the central streams of
national life in each of these countries flows in channels of party
politics, which no influential leader has ever attempted to deepen or
widen. The German, on the contrary, as we saw, associates his every
work and undertaking with ideas of almost cosmic breadth and is
actuated by interests to which all the larger problems of humanity are
akin. And he took timely possession of every lever that might
contribute to the success of his revolt against Europeanism, when his
far-reaching scheme was yet in the early phases of execution.

Everything that human foresight could think of was carefully studied,
everything that human ingenuity could provide for was thoroughly
effected and systematized. Royal dynasties were founded abroad by
German princes. German colonies settled in Russia, Poland, Palestine
and Brazil. German schools were opened in Roumania, Spain, Asia Minor,
the Ottoman Empire, the Tsardom. Foreign newspapers were bought or
subsidized. Protestant sects with pro-German tendencies were
encouraged. Banks were founded with Entente capital and employed to
ruin the trade of the nations that subscribed it. Colonies of
mechanics, clerks, middlemen were settled in every European country
and colony and obtained control of the nation's industries and trade.
Special legislation was enacted in Berlin to enable the German to
become a foreign subject in externals while bound by all the duties of
a citizen of his own country.

As the hour for the military and naval struggle was drawing near
intestine strife was industriously stirred up in all those countries
whose rivalry the Germans had reason to apprehend. Emissaries were
despatched to Egypt who made common cause with the disaffected and
restless elements of the population, cultivated friendship with the
Senussi and smuggled in arms to would-be African rebels. In India
German "scientific explorers" hobnobbed with the natives, criticized
the state of "serfage" to which British rule had reduced one of the
most highly civilized races of mankind, and made overtures to the
Afghans. To Abyssinia another "scientific expedition" was despatched,
which consisted of a number of German officers and one explorer. After
a circuitous and difficult journey it arrived at Massaua in March
1915, and requested the authorization of the Italian Governor of
Erithea, the Marquess Salvago-Raggi, to push on to Adis Abeba, in
order to re-establish communications between the German Legation there
and the Berlin Foreign Office. The real object of the expedition, as
the Italian Government well knew, was to incite the young Negus to
attack the British in the Sudan and the French in Djibuti. But Italy,
although still neutral, understood too well how difficult it would
have been for her to limit Abyssinia's warlike operations to the
French and British possessions and ward them off from her own
colonies. Baron Sonnino accordingly declined to accord the permission
asked for, and consented only to allow a large consignment of
"correspondence" to be sent on.[107]

    [107] Cf. _L'Idea Nazionale_, March 7, 1915; _Tribuna_, April
    1, 1915.

Later on Turkish officers were sent to Libya to egg on the Arabs to
harass the Italians there. The Kaiser himself despatched a letter in
Arabic to the Senussi which was intercepted on a Greek sailing vessel
near Tripoli. It is said to have been enclosed in an embossed casket,
and was found on board together with £4000 in gold and a number of
oriental gifts. The letter, if genuine, is worth recording. Wilhelm
II., the Supreme Head of the Protestant Church in Germany, gives
himself therein, among other high sounding titles, those of Allah's
Envoy and Islam's Protector, and states explicitly that it is his will
that the Senussi's doughty warriors should drive the "infidels" from
the land which is the heritage of the true believers and their chief.
This, from the "supreme Bishop" of one of the Christian Churches, is
characteristic.

In Asia Minor Germany's machinations were carried on with a much
greater measure of success. Her former opponents had withdrawn their
opposition and undertaken to lend her positive assistance to attain
ends which were directed against themselves. This chapter of Entente
diplomacy is marked by broad streaks of farcical comedy calculated to
bewilder the serious student. France was converted to political
orthodoxy on the subject of the Baghdad Railway and its cultural
significance. Some of her publicists frankly repented that she had so
long looked upon it with disfavour, and threw the blame on Russia, for
whose sake they had kept aloof. At Potsdam the Tsar's Minister
abandoned his objections to the Baghdad enterprise and undertook to
build a railway line from Persia, which would allow another stretch of
country to be tapped by the German Railway Company. Great Britain,
acknowledging the error of her ways, agreed that Koweit should not be
the terminus and made valuable concessions to the Teuton, the
realization of which was hindered by the outbreak of the war. Turkey,
through Enver, who had imported from the Fatherland a band of military
"instructors" under Liman von Sanders, became the _âme damnée_ of
Germany. In Persia every warlike and predatory tribe was courted by
the Teuton intruder, and the German mission at Teheran, as well as the
Consulates in the chief towns of the Shahdom, became centres of
agitation against Britain and Russia and branches of the German
General Staff.

In the Tsar's dominions German agents organized a series of strikes in
the various works belonging to their countrymen, paid the strikers and
fostered a subversive political movement which bade fair to culminate
in a real revolution. In Belgium the Flemings, who had for years been
protesting against the refusal of their Government to give them a
Flemish University in Ghent, were incited against the Walloons, whose
dialect is of French origin and whose sympathizers were the entire
French people. And one of the joint acts of the German administration
in Brussels has been to appoint a commission to submit a scheme for
the creation of a Flemish high school in Ghent and accentuate the
differences between the two elements of the population.[108]

    [108] A spirited protest against this poisonous endeavour was
    published by a number of Belgians, including Camille
    Huysmans, who refused to accept any favours from the Germans.

Meanwhile, in Germany the work of organization went steadily forward.
While British Ministers were on the look-out for reasons or pretexts
for diminishing expenditure on shipbuilding, Germany, under von
Tirpitz, was stealing a march on us and increasing hers. And over and
above this, she was arranging a surprise in the shape of submarines
and aircraft which, had the war been deferred for another couple of
years, might have not only removed the odds in our favour but given
her a decided superiority over us. And, by way of intensifying the
value of her fleet, she set to work to deepen the Kiel Canal and thus
to confer a sort of ubiquity on her battleships, which can now
concentrate in the North Sea or the Baltic without let or hindrance
from the enemy. When the epoch of the Dreadnoughts was opened German
armoured ships had a displacement of no more than 13,000 tons. The
larger type of battleship, which was afterwards constructed, could not
pass through the Canal, which had to be deepened. The necessary work
was so thoughtfully and opportunely taken in hand that it was
terminated in July 1914, just when the harvest for that year was also
ingathered. Asphyxiating gas had been manufactured in the year 1911,
as the Russians have discovered on certain of the machines. Thus when
the fatal hour struck, everything was ready.

In the financial sphere, too, we find the same comprehensive survey,
the same eye for detail, the same forethought and combination. When
hostilities broke out British banks held about £1,100,000,000 of their
depositors' money. A large percentage of this had been employed to
discount foreign, and in especial German bills, so that the paper
remained in Great Britain and the gold was transferred to Germany,
where it plays its part against us. But those marvellous efforts put
forth with such effect by our enemies made no appeal to our rulers.
Nowhere in the British Empire was there any man of mark thinking and
acting for the community. The political pilots who had charge of the
state-ship possessed neither chart nor compass nor rudder. Neither did
they feel the need of these things. The Government disbelieved in war
and was minded, if a struggle should be precipitated, to keep out of
it. Nobody envisaged the needs and interests of the Empire as aspects
of a single problem. Nobody had any clear-cut plan for the working out
of the destinies of the British people. The interests of party, the
expediency of local reforms, the squabbles between this faction and
that, constituted the burning topics of the hour, and there were none
other. And it was while we were thus wrangling with and threatening
each other that the blast of the clarion ushered in the day of doom.

The secrets of nature, revealed by science to a nation which
acknowledges no restraints, then became weapons of wholesale
destruction to be used to subjugate all civilization. Now, there are
some reasons for assuming that civilization will escape the thraldom,
but there are unhappily equally cogent grounds for apprehending that
some of its most precious achievements will be irrecoverably lost and
others greatly impaired. Had there been a master mind at the helm of
the British state-ship before the war or at its opening, we might have
been spared the necessity of signing one day a temporary peace amid
the ruins of European culture.

But no puissant genius in any of the allied countries towered above
the dead level of mediocrity. Great Frenchmen, Britons and Russians
were said to be available, but there was no great man in evidence. And
this want proved disastrous. In Germany, on the other hand, it was
hardly felt. For it was compensated by the existence of a vast human
machine, adaptable to every change of circumstance, capable of
assuming countless Protean forms simultaneously, ready with a solution
for the most unexpected problems, provided with organs suited to the
discharge of every conceivable function, all directed to the same end.
It was the same organism that had worked with such brilliant success
for over thirty years, growing and perfecting itself steadily until it
became the concrete manifestation of a whole system of thought,
sentiment and co-ordinated action. Germany had developed into a
powerful national State in which the spirit of self-surrender for the
good of the community animates all sections alike, all of which
co-operate effectively, through the organizations which they
spontaneously created, for the realization of their common objects.
And therein lay her force.

On the outbreak of war Germany was faced with a group of the most
arduous and intricate problems any Government has ever yet had to
tackle. For most of them she had had the time and the forethought to
prepare. But others arose which had been neither provided for nor
foreseen, in consequence of her mistaken assumption that Great Britain
would hold aloof from the war. The total value of her exports and
imports in the year 1913 was computed at 1,000,000,000 sterling, and
an infinity of fine threads bound her industrial activity with
foreign countries. By Great Britain's declaration of war, for which
Germany was unprepared until the last days of July, nearly all these
threads were snapped asunder, and the industrial and economic life of
the Empire had to be swiftly readjusted to the new conditions. And
here it was that the nation rose as one man to the unparalleled
occasion, faced the tremendous ordeal, and, contrary to the
expectations of its adversaries--ever prone to judge others by
themselves--has continued not merely to exist, but to extend its
conquests ever since.

It was in the financial sphere that the first strain was felt. But
perilous though it actually was, it would have been intolerable but
for the precautionary measures adopted in July and the ingenious
devices applied by the Reichsbank immediately after. The first step
taken was to substitute short-terms credit for long. The gold in the
Reichsbank increased steadily, and from 1,009,000,000 marks on July 7,
1913, it rose to 1,356,000,000 by July 7, 1914. The war treasure
hoarded in the Julius-Tower was doubled, so as to enable the Imperial
Bank to issue 720,000,000 marks on the strength of it, whereby its
gold cover was augmented from 1,253,000,000 to 1,447,000,000. A
further considerable reserve of silver was laid by, which proved
extremely useful later on. One result of this policy was that on the
fatal 31st July, no less than 4,500,000,000 marks in banknotes could
be issued without exceeding the limits prescribed by the law.[109] A
network of Loan Banks was also created throughout the country in which
every one, possessed of property of any description, could obtain
credit to any amount, provided the pledges warranted the advance.

    [109] One-third gold cover is the amount fixed. Cf. Professor
    J. Plenge, _Der Krieg und die Volkswirtschaft_.

Nor were the large groups of business men neglected who had no pledges
to offer yet sorely needed credit. For their behoof War Credit Banks
were instituted, which transacted business on curious lines. A city or
town subscribed a third or even more of the shares of the borrowing
company, and the Imperial Bank conferred the right of rediscounting
bills of exchange up to an amount equal to three times the value of
the capital, and sometimes even more. Institutions were opened for
advancing money on house property, and for assisting special branches
of industry. The Hansa-Bund, for instance, founded a War Credit Bank
for "the Middle Classes" which, with the authorization of the
Reichsbank, rediscounts bills of exchange drawn by individuals for
whom the Commune vouches. Associations were constituted in the country
and in towns, and the nature of their work is evidenced by the 18,000
rural Savings and Credit Banks and 16,000 urban and trade
associations.[110] For farmers and struggling landowners, a Central
Board, for the purchase of machines, was created, which also
superintended the equitable distribution of orders among industrial
firms.

    [110] These figures are drawn from statistics published in
    July 1914. Cf. Dr. Karl Hildebrand, _Ein starkes Volk_.

The suddenness of the declaration of war had for its effect, and
perhaps also for one of its objects, the stemming of the flow of gold
from the Reichsbank before it had exceeded the total of 100,000,000
marks and also the prevention of its disappearance from the country.
Soon afterwards gold was brought in astonishing quantities to the bank
by all classes of citizens who had hoarded it jealously in peace-time,
but now recognized the criminality of applying the principles of
individual ownership to what of right belongs to the jeopardized
community. For the nation realized the fact that the condition of
public danger entitled the Government to wield an unlimited degree of
power over the lives and property of the people for the welfare of the
community.

If we compare this intelligent appreciation of the position by rulers
and ruled, and their readiness to accommodate their respective actions
to it and play their parts as organs for the discharge of special
functions, with the haziness of conception, the misinterpretation of
events, and the utter lack of co-operation displayed by the
corresponding sections of the allied communities, we shall grasp the
secret of the superiority of the seemingly weaker group of
belligerents and the paltry results hitherto achieved by the stronger.

German industry, too, the source of the nation's prosperity, was
shaken to its foundations. It had worked largely for the foreign
market. And all at once its exports were cut down by 60 per cent.,
because of the stoppage of the supplies of raw materials. Imports also
fell by 75 per cent. One immediate consequence of this partial
stagnation was the enormous increase of the army of the unemployed.
Although 4,000,000 men were taken from the various industries and
despatched against the Belgians, French and Russians, there were at
the end of August no less than 3,400,000 men thrown out of
employment.[111] Thus the total number of unemployed was 7,400,000,
and as there were 17,000,000 hands employed before the war, it may be
inferred that German industry was reduced by 43-1/2 per cent. It was
in these conditions that the Teuton capacity for organization was
manifested.

    [111] Cf. _Messenger of Europe_, April 1915, M. Lurié.

Two great industrial organizations flourished in Germany before the
war,[112] and although occasionally disagreeing on various points,
sensibly furthered the interests of their countrymen at home and
abroad. No sooner was war declared than they dropped their differences
and constituted a War Committee for German Industry. Among the varied
functions of this new body were the distribution of information
respecting orders given by the State, new legislation, etc.;
co-operation with firms for the fulfilment of contracts despite the
outbreak of hostilities; the selection of operatives, clerks, etc.,
for firms needing these; the obtainment of places for the unemployed
and the organization of the credit system.

    [112] _Der Zentral-Verband Deutscher Industrieller_ and _Der
    Bund der Industriellen_.

This Committee also applied for and received permission to have all
those skilled artisans recalled from the front whose services were
deemed indispensable for war industries. It likewise watched over the
distribution of State orders, and saw that each of the various firms
received its due share.

The organization of German industry during the war was taken in hand
by a group of experts and officials possessed of the insight,
knowledge and power necessary for the discharge of the arduous task.
Among the members of the Board we find the names of representatives
of finances, industries and the Government; the Minister of the
Interior, all the members of the Federal Council, M.M. Gwinner,
Bleichröder, Siemens, etc. Special bureaux were opened for various
kinds of supplies, a Central Office for the War Supply of Tobacco,
another for that of chocolate, a third for leather, a fourth for
linen, etc.[113] Another group of organizations dealing with the
acquisition and distribution of raw stuffs possessed in certain cases
the right of expropriation, and is not allowed to make more than a
certain limited profit on its transactions. Among them are an
association for the supply of metals, another for chemicals, and a
third for woollen stuffs.

    [113] It is affirmed by contrabandists in Scandinavia who are
    acting on Germany's behalf, that many of the commissions for
    the acquisition of raw stuffs for Germany are composed almost
    exclusively of non-Russian subjects of the Tsar.

In consequence of the shortage of raw materials, economy and the
employment of substitutes were everywhere resorted to spontaneously
before the Government had time to intervene. From every household came
old copper vessels, copper wire, worn-out clothing from which the
manufacturers removed the wool, leather straps, shoes, bags, etc. From
Belgium and France everything that could be utilized as raw material
was hurriedly transferred to the Fatherland. At first the supply of
aluminium for castings and Zeppelins was insufficient, but a
composition of spelter and tin was invented, which answered the main
purposes equally well. Nickel being also scarce, coins of 10 pfennige
were withdrawn from circulation and utilized, while considerable
quantities were imported from Scandinavian countries. The place of
jute was taken by paper, and from paper under-garments were made.
Roasted acorns, theretofore employed in lieu of coffee only by the
poorer classes, thenceforward became the daily beverage of the middle
classes as well. A substitute for olive oil was extracted from cherry
stones, tainted meat was rendered harmless by chemical methods,
nitrates were extracted from the air by a Norwegian process which the
Germans had perfected and applied.

Now, these achievements and the marvellous adaptability, energy and
resourcefulness which they connote, are no mean elements in Germany's
equipment for the coming economic struggle. They proclaim that the
mind of the Teuton man of business is too firmly riveted on the goal
to be fascinated by any special route leading towards it, and that it
is sufficiently free and disengaged to turn with eager interest to any
problem, however novel, with which it may be suddenly confronted. Use
and want are not its masters, sluggish contentment cannot numb its
activity. The customers' requirements, nay, their whims and fancies,
are ever sure to receive close attention and prompt satisfaction. The
contrast between this unflagging alertness and the drowsy apathy of
the British manufacturer and tradesman is an old story, which has
evoked comments sharp enough, it would seem, to arouse the commercial
community to a lively sense of its danger and duty. And yet there are,
unhappily, cogent grounds for believing that the malady of
listlessness is as malignant to-day as before the war.

Now, these organizing and inventive talents of the Teuton, as
compared with the subordinate aims, fitful energies and honest but
mischievous conservatism of our own leaders and people, bear witness
to the same twofold talent of the German for looking far ahead and
contriving expedients on the spur of the moment. Great Britain's
participation in the struggle cut off Germany from the sea and gave
the two Central Empires the aspect of a beleaguered city. Hopes were
entertained by the Allies that famine might reinforce the work of
their armies and navies in compelling the enemy to sue for peace.
About 9 per cent. of the corn used in Germany usually came from
abroad, and now the interruption of the communications rendered this
source of supply precarious. The soldiers, too, had to be fed on a
scale of greater abundance than usual, and the prisoners of war,
however poorly nourished, would consume a certain amount of corn. The
first measure promulgated to meet the new conditions was a prohibition
of exportation. Potato flour was employed in bread-baking. War bread
was standardized for the whole Empire. The principal cities purchased
vast quantities of cereals, and Prussia founded a War Corn Association
for the acquisition of cereals to be stored until the ensuing spring.
Expropriation was legalized. In these ways £40,000,000 worth of
cereals were got together for consumption. The War Corn Association
operated with a capital of £2,500,000, to which the States subscribed
over one million, and the big cities one million, and the great
industrial firms £450,000.[114] This corn was paid for at the highest
market rates, the owners being compelled by law to declare how much
they possessed. With each of these proprietors--in the first phase
with 5,000,000 landowners--separate arrangements were concluded. The
Association employed for the purpose nearly three thousand
commissioners and five hundred other officials, and the Credit Banks
made advances on the quantities sold.

    [114] Cf. Karl Hildebrand, _Ein starkes Volk_, p. 122.

Simultaneously with this home organization the other multifarious
tasks of devising new weapons for the war, improving the various types
of aircraft, building larger submarines and guns of greater calibre
went forward with unimpaired speed. Nothing was too vast or too
complicated to be undertaken, no detail was too trivial to be studied.
Politics, economics, military strategy and national psychology were
all cunningly interwoven in the various schemes laid for the
destruction of the Allies. Russia was inveigled into continuing her
trade with Germany, which, as we saw, was during the first year a
nowise negligible quantity.

A piquant detail in this connection is worthy of mention.[115] It is
affirmed that the Customs House authorities on the Russo-Swedish
frontiers discovered to their dismay that for well over a year Germany
had been receiving from Russia a large proportion of the raw materials
necessary for the fabrication of asphyxiating gas. It appears that
Sweden, which in peace time was wont to import from the Tsardom a
certain quantity of those products, trebled its demands during the
first year of the war.

    [115] It is noticed by the Italian and French press; cf., for
    instance, _Roma_, October 31, 1915.

Contingents of contrabandists were despatched to Greece, Spain,
Morocco, Holland, Italy, Switzerland and the United States. Secret
stations were established for supplying submarines with the
wherewithal to carry on their war against inoffensive passenger
steamers. Agents were kept in the neutral countries to corrupt the
local press and poison the wells of information in order to allure the
neutrals into belligerency. A highly organized news-distributing
bureau was equipped in Berlin with all the requisites for falsifying
facts and distorting military tidings. Its branches are spread over
the globe. Passports were forged at first and later on genuine ones
abstracted from the Berlin Foreign Office and handed over to spies.
Strikes and outrages were engineered in the United States, Italy, and
Russia. The Putiloff works, which before the war were nearly falling
into German hands and have since been supplying munitions for the
Tsar's army, were stricken with creeping paralysis, against which
exhortations and threats were vain, and finally they had to be
sequestrated by the State. Millions of dollars were expended in the
United States in efforts to prevent the manufacture or the transport
of munitions to the Allies. In Greece vast sums were cheerfully
disbursed by Baron Schenk to work the elections and defeat Venizelos.
Roumania was overrun by bands of Germans whose functions were to
calumniate, vilify, corrupt and threaten. Spain has been wrought upon
in like manner by a small army of Teutons abundantly supplied with the
same weapons. Persia was scoured by German agitators who deployed all
their talents and acquirements, their knowledge of the language and
acquaintance with the native religion, to rouse the natives against
Russia and Great Britain. Abyssinia, although deprived by Italy of
the presence of the German "scientific expedition," was induced by the
German Minister at Adis Abeba to behave in such a way that in the
month of March 1916 King Victor's Government found it advisable to
issue a decree ordering _urgent_ fortifications to be constructed in
Erythea.[116] Sweden has been provided with war news and political
information free of charge by the generous Press Bureau of Berlin. In
Belgium persevering exertions have been put forth to sow discord
between Flemings and Walloons. In China, where a British adviser is
employed by the Chief of the State, Yuan Shih Kai has turned a willing
ear to the mentors from the Fatherland, with results which bear the
hall-mark of Germany. In Mexico Villa's murderous raids on American
territory, instigated, it is asserted, by German emissaries, compelled
United States troops to pursue him over the frontiers, and raised an
issue which may be decided only by a regular campaign. Thus Teuton
diplomacy, at whose failures we are so prone to rail, contrived on the
one hand to pass off the assassinations of Americans on board the
_Lusitania_ as a justifiable act, and on the other to present the New
Mexico murder, which was the work of a mere savage, as such an outrage
on the law of nations as warrants the employment of military
force.[117]

    [116] On March 16, 1916.

    [117] The _New York World_, in a leading article published
    March 18, writes: "No pacifist proclaims the doctrine that,
    although Americans had a legal right to live near the border,
    they should have taken themselves out of the danger zone in
    the interest of peace. No German-American Alliance holds
    meetings to proclaim the dead at Columbus as 'Guardian
    angels.' No German language newspaper has spoken of the New
    Mexico massacre as undertaken in a holy cause, or referred to
    the President as incapable of understanding either German
    militarism or German Kultur. Yet the Americans who were
    assassinated on the _Lusitania_ and the _Arabic_ had as much
    right to be where they were as the Americans who were dragged
    from their beds at Columbus and slaughtered. The _Lusitania_
    murder was deliberately planned and ordered by the Government
    in Berlin, which has assumed full responsibility therefore,
    and presented but one excuse, that its victims were
    unexpectedly numerous. The New Mexico murder was planned and
    executed by a savage, with no pretence that there is a
    Government behind him, the guilt of the outlaw of the border
    being not one whit less than that of the outlaw of the sea."

That same diplomacy, seconded by the press organization which
invented facts and moulded opinion, scored successes in Bulgaria,
Greece, Roumania, Switzerland, and contrived not only to keep Italy
from declaring war against Germany, but to negotiate a treaty for the
protection of German property there. Despite its clumsiness and
arrogance and brutality, German diplomacy is unmatched as an agency
for rousing popular forces in civilized and uncivilized countries into
subversive excitement. It surrounded the Pope of Rome with
philo-German dignitaries, gave him an Austrian as adviser, and
permeated the Vatican with an atmosphere of Kultur which even pious
Catholics of non-Teuton countries avoid as mephitic. It caught the
Sultan and his Young Turks, Anglophile and Francophile, in its toils,
and gave its warm approbation to the massacre of the Armenians. It won
over the young Shah of Persia, who, with great difficulty and only
after strenuous exertions, was kept from going over bodily to the
Turkish camp. It bought the services of the Senussi. It is making
headway with the Negus of Abyssinia. It offered a bribe to Italian
socialists and found work for Italian anarchists, whose
representatives were received in the palace of the Kaiser's Ambassador
in Rome. And--most difficult task of all--it reconciled, at least for
a time, the interests of Bulgaria with those of Greece and Roumania.

German diplomacy has often misread foreign political situations,
mistaken the trend of national opinion and sentiment and failed to
achieve ends which might by dint of mere patience and quiescence have
been readily accomplished. For it has no psychological standard by
which to measure the nobler qualities of a foreign people, however
closely it may have studied their politics, their history and their
vices. Its tests are for the lower grades of human character, and with
these it has indeed achieved extraordinary things.

Thus, with infinite labour the Teuton mind has grappled with the
chaotic welter produced by the European war. But, besides the skilful
handling of great financial and kindred problems, its assiduity in
watching for and readiness to seize opportunities for dealing with the
issues of lesser moment is worth noting, were it only for its value as
a stimulus. One instance occurred in the very first sitting of the
Reichstag after hostilities had begun. The legislature agreed to
introduce a slight reform of the law, dealing with the rights of
children born out of wedlock, of whom there are in Germany 185,000 a
year. The Government assented to the change, which was embodied in a
bill affirming the right of the illegitimate children of soldiers
fallen in battle to the same pension as if their parents had been
legally married. And the Reichstag passed the bill unanimously.

This solicitude about little things is most saliently in evidence in
the military domain. Here nothing is neglected that can contribute to
the fighting value of the units. Hence the care shown for the
nourishment and comfort of the soldiers. Ruthlessly though they are
sacrificed in battle, they are well looked after in the trenches, and
their career is followed with interest and recorded with accuracy by
their superiors. I was struck with the completeness of the information
which the German War Office possesses and can produce at a moment's
notice about any individual soldier. It was brought home to me in this
way. The Chief of the Berlin police had a grandson in the war who had
been missed for several weeks. Desirous of obtaining particulars about
his capture or death, he asked a neutral friend to obtain information
from the Russians. And by way of furnishing a description he sent a
printed card, which I read. It contained the name and age of the
soldier, the regiment to which he belonged, the hamlet in which he was
last seen, the distances that separated that hamlet from the next town
and the next large city, the day, the hour and _the minute_ when the
man together with his comrades were attacked, and the number of
Russians who attacked them. And all these printed particulars refer to
a private soldier! Is there anything comparable to this to be found in
any of the allied countries?

The scene of another characteristic fact that struck me was Brussels.
Princess L. requested permission from the German authorities to repair
to France to visit her mother, who, she explained, was ill. At the
Kommandantur her request was met with the cutting remark that many
persons had been applying for permits to visit their mothers, sisters
and other relations abroad, who all appeared to be victims of some
mysterious epidemic. Still, the official added, he would not
definitively refuse the request, but would accord it as soon as he had
proof that the lady's mother was really ill. "We shall have inquiries
made." "But you cannot have inquiries made in France during the war,"
she objected. "Just as quickly as in peace time," he retorted.
Sceptical and sad the petitioner returned home. But in a day or two
she was summoned to the Kommandantur and informed that her statement
had been verified, her mother lay ill--the malady was mentioned--and
she was permitted to go. The Germans have eyes and ears in all the
countries of their adversaries.

One can readily imagine the painful kind of questions that will arise
in the mind of an intelligent ally who realizes for the first time how
great are the inventive and organizing talents of the Teuton, how
unswerving his resolve, how tenacious he is of purpose, and how
unconscious most of us still are of the need of bestirring ourselves
to compete with him on terms of equality. The German's striving is
one, but all-embracing. His means are countless, for they are
restricted by no limitations. In his search for tools and agents he
enters into human nature, but not in its entire compass; only into the
baser parts, so that his estimate is often erroneous and his
expectations are unfulfilled. But even when ample deduction has been
made for these failures, the odds remaining in his favour are
formidable, and will continue undiminished unless and until we realize
our plight, shuffle off the cramping coils of conservatism,
insularity and self-complacency and brace ourselves to the most
strenuous, the most painful effort we have ever yet put forth. On our
capacity to effect this inward change, rather than upon any diplomatic
arrangements, depends the issue of the struggle which will begin when
military and naval hostilities have come to an end.



CHAPTER XX

PROBLEMS OF THE FUTURE


Plain though these facts are, the Entente nations, and in particular
the British people, either ignore them wholly or misinterpret their
purport. Hence we continue absorbed in the pursuit of interests,
parochial and parliamentary, which though quite human, are utterly off
the line of racial and imperial progress. We obstinately shut our eyes
to the magnitude of the Sphinx question that confronts us, and we
address ourselves to one--and that the least important--of its many
facets, and content ourselves with tackling that. We descant upon the
turpitude of the Teuton who from the regions of idealism in which
Goethe, Herder and their contemporaries dwelt has sunk into shift,
treason and murder, and we proclaim our faith in the ultimate triumph
of right, justice and of the democracy in which alone they flourish.
But this frame of mind, which moves us to identify ourselves with all
that is best in humanity, if cultivated will prove fatal. It accustoms
us to dangerous hallucinations. We assume that we are the chosen
people, and we neglect the virtues which alone would justify our
election. For generations we have been reaping and wasting, instead of
ploughing and sowing. We have been living on our capital, nay, on our
credit, and have long since overdrawn our account. Our successes in
the past, sometimes the result of fortuitous circumstances, more often
of the blunders of our rivals, inspire a presumptuous confidence in
successes for the future and a conviction that come what may we are
destined to muddle through. A special providence is watching over
us--a cousin German to the Kaiser's "good old God." In truth we are
tempting Fate, postulating an exception to the law of cause and
effect, and looking for Hebrew miracles in the twentieth century after
Christ.

Were it otherwise, the nation would not have continued to entrust its
destinies to the men who misguided it consistently and perseveringly
for so many years, to the watchmen who saw nothing of the rocks and
sandbanks ahead which it was their function to discern and their duty
to avoid, and who are now unwittingly but effectually deluding the
people into believing that the present campaign, which is but a single
episode in a long-spun-out contest, is an independent event which
began in August 1914 and may end this year or the next. These same
leaders are busily inculcating the delusive notion that the diplomatic
instrument which will one day close hostilities will be a treaty of
peace. And they are seemingly prepared to negotiate its terms on that
assumption.

In truth, we are engaged in a duel which began thirty years ago, gave
the Germans such booty as Heligoland, their world-trade, their wealth,
their formidable navy, their Baghdad Railway, their various overseas
colonies, their European Allies, and the enormous resources with which
when this acute phase of the contest is over they will re-transfer the
venue to the economic and political domains and carry on the struggle
with greater vigour than before. And peace terms concluded on any
other supposition cannot be conducive to the national welfare. We are
locked in a deadly embrace with a compact people of 120,000,000, of
indomitable spirit, boundless resources, unquenchable faith and a
single aim. Yet we are already looking forward to the time in the near
future when our intercourse, however circumscribed, with this nation
will be essentially pacific, and when we can revert to our cherished
narrow interests and our easy-going dilettantism. We feed upon the
hope that in a few brief years the British nation will have got safely
back to its old beaten grooves, and not only business and sport but
everything else will go on as usual. Yet all the salient facts which
force themselves on our attention to-day, all the decisive events of
the past thirty years are cogent proofs of the unbroken sequence of a
trial of strength which the future historian and the present
statesman, if there be one, must characterize as a life-and-death
struggle between the champions of the new Teuton politico-social
ordering and the partisans of the old. But after the lapse of a
generation and with the record of all our losses before us, we have
not yet formed a right conception of the situation, and its issues, or
of the historic forces at work. In these circumstances, no degree of
sagacity can help us to devise the only policy in which salvation
resides. The prevailing mistaken conception must be rectified before
any headway can be made against the currents that are fast bearing us
down. And the time at our disposal is brief.

It needs few words to characterize the effects which the dreamy
optimism of the Entente nations had on their method of mobilizing
their resources to carry on the war. Taken unawares they had nothing
ready. Misapprehending the nature of the issues and the redoubtable
character of the contest, they pursued subordinate aims with
insufficient means. The most daring strategical moves of the enemy, in
war as in diplomacy, they ridiculed as either bluff or madness. The
journalistic campaign in neutral countries they scoffed at as vain,
and put their faith in the final triumph of truth. Their financial
measures, oscillating from one extreme to another, denoted the absence
of any settled plan, of any clear-cut picture of the needs of the
moment. The odds in their favour, which circumstance had given and
circumstance might take away again, they looked upon as inalienable,
until they ended by forfeiting them all. Viewing the campaign as a
transient event, the British Government prosecuted it by means of
make-shifts, instead of radical measures. Obligatory service was
scouted at as un-English. Discriminating customs tariffs were
condemned as heretical. It was not until the enemy had occupied
Poland, overrun Serbia, driven the Allied troops from the Dardanelles,
bent Montenegro to the yoke, threatened Egypt, Riga and Petrograd,
that some rays of light penetrated the atmosphere of ignorance and
prejudice through which the Allies surveyed the European welter. They
had begun by counting upon the breaking up of the Habsburg Monarchy.
They felt sure that the Tsar's armies would capture Budapest and
advance on Berlin. They planned the defeat of Germany by famine. They
built another fabric of hopes on "Kitchener's Great Army" in the
spring of 1915. But one after another these anticipations were belied
by events. And now the nation blithely accepts the further forecasts
of the men who are chargeable with this long sequence of avoidable
errors.

Respect for individual liberty was carried to such a point in Great
Britain that organizations against recruiting were tolerated in
England and Ireland, and strikes, which not only inflicted heavy
pecuniary losses on the nation but actually stopped its supplies of
munitions and brought it within sight of discomfiture, were treated
with soft words and immediate concessions. One cannot read even Mr.
Lloyd George's summary narrative of the preposterous doings of British
slackers without wondering whether salvation is still possible. These
men not only refused to work their best for the community, but forbade
their comrades to work well. At Enfield, we are told, a man was
obliged by trade union regulations so to regulate his work that he did
not earn more than 1_s._ an hour, though he could easily have earned
2_s._ 6_d._[118] Another man was doing two and a half days' work in
two days, and when he refused to carry out the behest of the
Ironfounders' Board to waste the other half day he was fined £1.[119]
A consequence of this anti-national attitude was that "we had to wait
for weeks in Birmingham with machinery lying idle, with our men
without rifles, with our men with a most inadequate supply of machine
guns to attack the enemy and defend themselves."[120] Every one will
re-echo the Minister's comment on the outlook, if this attitude is
persisted in--"we are making straight for disaster."

    [118] Mr. Lloyd George's speech at Bristol. Cf. _Daily
    Telegraph_, September 10, 1915.

    [119] _Ibid._

    [120] _Ibid._

Compare this state of things with that which rules in Germany. It is a
British Minister who describes it: "If you want to realize what
organized labour in this war means, read the story of the last twelve
months. By the end of September the German armies were checked. They
sustained an overwhelming defeat in France, Russia was advancing
against them towards the Carpathians, and I believe in East Prussia.
That is not the case to-day. Why? The German workmen came in;
organized labour in Germany prepared to take the field. They worked
and worked quietly, persistently, continuously, without stint or
strife, without restriction for months and months, through the autumn,
through the winter, through the spring. Then came that avalanche of
shot and shell which broke the great Russian armies and drove them
back. That was the victory of the German workmen."[121]

    [121] Mr. Lloyd George's speech at Bristol. Cf. _Daily
    Telegraph_, September 10, 1915.

Great Britain is the classic land of strikes. Strikers are sacred
among us. Industrial compulsion is rank heresy.

That is one of our difficulties, and by no means the least formidable.
The nation, despite the superb example of patriotic heroism given by
all classes, parties, provinces and colonies of the Empire, is still
deficient in cohesiveness. No fire of enthusiasm has yet burned
fiercely enough among all sections of the Empire and all members of
the race to fuse them in such a compact unified organism as we behold
in the Teuton's Fatherland. Read the characteristic given of us by the
ex-German Minister Dernburg, and say whether it is over-coloured.
Discoursing on the difficulties which Britain has to cope with in
carrying on the war, he says: "They are intensified ... by the
narrow-minded customs of the English trade unions, which contrast with
the patriotic behaviour of the German associations of the like nature
as night contrasts with day."[122] This is melancholy reading for
those whose hopes are fervent for a bright future of the British race,
and it prepares them to listen in anxious silence to the general
conclusion at which the Prussian ex-Minister arrives: "It is in the
highest degree improbable," he says, "that after the winding up of
this contest England will be able to keep or wield any form of
economic superiority whatever over Germany."

    [122] _Berliner Tageblatt_, March 9, 1916.

In our Allies we find a strong touch of resemblance to ourselves.
Their state of unpreparedness is amazing, if less desperate than ours.
Russia, it is true, did much better at the outset than friend or foe
anticipated, and she might have done quite well if only she had been
supplied with munitions. But she had not nearly enough, and her armies
were slaughtered like sheep in consequence. Then there were no boots
for the soldiers, who were forced to wear thin canvas leggings with
leather soles. And scores of waggon-loads of incapacitated men were
taken to Petrograd and other cities whose feet had been frozen for
lack of shoe-leather. One of the urgent wants of the Tsardom are
railways, which the late Count Witte was so eager to construct. When
hostilities opened, the insufficiency of communications became one of
the decisive factors in Russia's disasters. And it was heightened by
the conduct of, shall we say, the prussianized officials,[123] who are
reported to have disposed of waggons for large sums to greedy
merchants, who used to raise the prices of the merchandise and batten
on the misery of their fellows.

    [123] It is but fair to say that venality is not one of the
    characteristics of the German bureaucracy. Their sense of
    duty towards the State is the nearest approach to morality of
    which they now seem capable.

Trains, needed to supply the fighting men at the front with food and
the wounded at the rear with medicaments, were kept back to suit the
schemes of these greedy cormorants. Gratuities, it is openly affirmed,
had to be paid by Red Cross and other officers to those subordinate
railway servants who had it in their power to send on a train or shunt
it off for days on a side-track. Bribery is working havoc in the
Tsardom. In January 1916 the Moscow municipality discussed the
advisability of voting a certain sum of money and putting it at the
disposal of the chief officer of the city, to be discreetly employed
in transactions with complacent railway officials, in order to further
the work of reducing prices on necessaries of life. The motive adduced
for this homoeopathic way of treating a social distemper were the
conditions of life in Russia and the necessity of complying with them.
But as the Statute Book does not recognize these conditions and
condemns bribery absolutely, a vote on the subject was not taken.[124]

    [124] The German press gave great prominence to this item of
    news. Cf. _Frankfurter Zeitung_, January 8, 1916.

Acting on instructions issued by the Finance Minister, a Member of the
Council of the Finance Ministry, D. I. Zassiadko, visited the
Kharkoff circuit for the purpose of studying the bribery problem on
the spot. M. Zassiadko acquired the conviction "on the spot" that the
railway officials do really take bribes, "and even of considerable
amounts." But, that ascertained, the representative of the Ministry
decided to delve deeper to the root of the matter. And he reached the
conclusion that railway servants belong to the class of the tempted.
The evil, he reported, resides not in the circumstance that they take
bribes, but that bribes are offered whereby these weak little souls
are seduced. The representative of the Ministry discovered an entire
category of bribes which do not bear the signs of extortion, but only
of "gratitude." To us this conclusion sounds somewhat naïve. The most
widely circulated journal of Petrograd prefaces an article on the
subject as follows.[125]

    [125] _The Bourse Gazette_, February 21.

"The misdeeds of the officials and bribery on the railway system cry
out to heaven," writes the organ of the Constitutional Democrats.
"Compared with the reverses on the Carpathians and in Poland, the
defeats we are sustaining in our own house and behind the enemy's back
are much greater...." On the important line Petrograd-Moscow-Perm
scandalous cases of corruption took place in which, according to
Russian journals, officials of a class who might reasonably be
regarded as unbribable were implicated. They are alleged to have let
out to firms of speculators for large sums of money, goods waggons
which were already destined to carry consignments to the front.[126]
Russia's purchases abroad have made a profound impression on the
peoples in whose midst they were effected. The principles on which
these transactions were carried on provoked lively comments. It is not
that they revealed a superlative degree of disorganization. That touch
would have merely marked the kinship of the men concerned with their
allies. By the discovery that the Russian Government's purchasing
Commissioners, the representatives of one of its embassies, the agents
of the British Government and the equally zealous agents of the French
Government were all secretly bidding against each other for the same
rifles to be delivered to the Tsar's Ministers, only a smile of
recognition was elicited. It may have seemed at once amusing and
consolatory to find that all were tarred with the same brush. But when
it was discovered that the offer of certain army necessaries was put
off for weeks and weeks, although they were to be had under cost
price, and was then accepted at a much higher price, profound sympathy
was felt for the Tsar's armies.

    [126] Cf. _Reitch_ (about February 17, 1916), March 5, 1916.

Chaos, waste and a variety of abuses that pressed heavily on the
poorer classes marked the efforts made by the Russian Government to
cope with the scarcity of fuel, corn and other necessaries which began
to be felt soon after the war. The rolling stock, it was complained,
was utterly insufficient, yet it was found possible to transport
1,000,000 poods[127] weight of mineral water of doubtful quality. When
trains arrived bringing supplies to the suffering population, it
turned out that there were no hands to unload the waggons. And when
labour was requisitioned, vehicles were not to be had. In October 1915
on the rails of Moscow station five thousand waggons, laden with
life's necessaries, stood waiting and waiting in vain for the
unskilled labour which ought to have been abundant, considering the
number of the population and of the refugees. At the same time 2000
waggons were on the rails of the Petrograd station, their contents
lying unutilized.[128] It is only by the lack of order and
organization that one can explain the facts that in Petrograd the
inhabitants have no butter, while in the places where butter is made
it is being sold cheaper than before, at 12 in lieu of 16 to 18
roubles a pood. In the province of Ekaterinograd, mines which own
800,000 poods of coal cannot get more than a few waggon loads of it
every month.

    [127] A pood is equal to 36.11 lbs.

    [128] Cf. _Novoye Vremya_, October 9, 1915.

Russia has incomparably more than enough fuel, without importing any,
to satisfy all the needs of her 180,000,000 inhabitants. But owing to
the insufficiency of communications, and still more to the lack of
forethought and enterprise, the population of many cities and towns
underwent serious hardships in consequence of the impossibility of
acquiring coal or wood. In September 1915 the Petrograd region could
obtain no more than 65 per cent. of the necessary quantity, and a
month later only 49 per cent. In Moscow the plight of the inhabitants
was worse. In September they could get but 26 per cent. of their needs
and in October 40 per cent. According to the Minister of Commerce, who
volunteered these data, the condition of the towns of Rostoff,
Novotcherkassk, Nakhitchevan, Taganrog, Ekaterinodar and others was
not a whit better. The city of Vyatka was, according to the _Novoye
Vremya_,[129] in January 1916 without fuel, while the mercury
registered 30 degrees Reaumur below freezing-point. The unfortunate
citizens heated their homes with fragments of hoardings, tables, desks
and stools. And yet there is abundant fuel in the superb forests with
which Vyatka is surrounded, and, what is more to the point, the city
authorities had received during the preceding spring 60,000 roubles
for the purpose of purchasing a supply of wood for the winter. But
they did nothing, organization not being one of their strong points.

    [129] The German press welcomes items of information like
    this. Cf. _Frankfurter Zeitung_, January 13, 1916.

Live stock in Russia has diminished during the war to a much larger
extent than was anticipated. The peasantry, owing to the prohibition
of alcohol, now consume from 150 to 200 per cent. more meat than
before, and what with the refugees from Poland, the prisoners of war
and the increased needs of the army, no less than 20 per cent. of the
cattle of the entire Empire was used during the first eighteen
months[130] and 30 per cent. of the stock of all European Russia. In
consequence of the shortage and of the irregularity of the transport,
three days of abstinence from meat were ordained. Yet in January 1916
a discovery was casually made in the Kieff forests between Byelitch
and Pushtsha Voditzka, which caused considerable lifting of the
eyebrows. About 8000 head of cattle and several thousand sheep were
found with no cowherds, shepherds or owners, wandering about from
place to place. Scores of them were succumbing to hunger and cold
every day. The paths in the woods were covered with the dead bodies of
kine, calves and sheep. The journal which records this fact affirms
that these herds belong to the Union of Zemstvos, which had purchased
them from the peasants who had to flee from the occupied provinces.
The President of the Union of Zemstvos is said to have confirmed this
odd story with the qualification that the forlorn horned cattle and
sheep are the property not of the Union of Zemstvos, but of the
Ministry of Agriculture, which is alone answerable.[131]

    [130] Over a hundred million head.

    [131] Cf. the Russian journal, _Kieff_, also the _Frankfurter
    Zeitung_, January 29, 1916.

The card system of distributing provisions that are scarce found its
way first into Germany and then into Austria and Russia. But in the
last-named empire it was much less successful than in the two first
mentioned. According to the Petrograd journals in Pskoff, where it was
tried, many individuals got no cards, and therefore no provisions.
Many who possessed the cards found nothing to buy. And some of those
who obtained the articles they wanted paid dearer for them than if
they had bought them without cards. And as with cards one has to lay
in a stock to last a fortnight, the poorer families were unable to
utilize them.[132]

    [132] _Novoye Vremya_, January 1916. _Frankfurter Zeitung_,
    January 21, 1916.

In France, as well as in Russia, the professional organizers,
especially the civilians, were very much adrift. In the army all the
sterling qualities of the French nation at its best, and many that
were deemed extinct, but are now seen to have been only dormant, shone
forth resplendent. Valour, fortitude, staying power, self-abnegation
for the common good, became household virtues. Friends and foes were
equally surprised. But the civil administration remained
well-meaning, patriotic and unregenerate to the last. The old Adam
lived and acted up to his reputation.

Before the war the French railway administration had been criticized
severely. It is not for a foreigner to express an opinion on the
internal ordering of a country not his own, but unbiassed French
experts found that the strictures were called for and the verdict, in
which the public acquiesced, was well grounded. Subsequently, when the
struggle began and the railway system was tested, people had reason to
remember the previous complaints, for they saw how little had been
done in the meanwhile to remove the causes of dissatisfaction. The
first drawback was the want of rolling stock. "Give us waggons and we
will execute all orders and supply the War Ministry," cried the
munitions firms. "There are no waggons in the ports, and we cannot get
the coal delivered," exclaimed the importers. "The country is
threatened with general paralysis," wrote the _Journal_;[133] "we can
neither forward nor sell anything." The railway administration asked
for a fortnight's notice, then for three weeks and finally an
indefinite period, before it could provide a single truck. "I have
fertilizing stuff to forward before the season is past," pleads the
representative of one firm. "We have no waggons," is the reply. "I
must have my produce delivered at once to the Government," argues
another, "for it is wanted for the fabrication of powder." But the
answer came promptly: "There are no waggons." "But you have waggons. I
see them over there" (the station was Cognac). "Yes, but we may not
touch them. They belong to the military engineering department."
"Well, but what are they doing there?" "Ah, that is none of our
business."[134]

    [133] _Le Journal_, November 26, 1915.

    [134] _Le Journal_, November 26, 1915.

And in the ports, at the termini, at intermediate stations, the
merchandise lay heaped up, immobilized, while the merchants, the
middlemen, the manufacturers, the Government, the army were waiting,
time was lapsing, and the fate of the Republic and the nation hanging
in the balance. At Havre great machines, destined for a Paris firm
which was to have delivered them to factories making shells, lay
untouched for two months. The number of shells lost in this way has
never been calculated. Yet it was well known that during all that time
there were numbers of waggons available. What had become of them? The
answer was: They are to be found everywhere, immobilized. It is a case
of general immobilization of the rolling stock. People slept in them,
turned them into cottages, used them as warehouses, each individual
reasoning that one waggon more or less would not be missed. And as
this argument was used by large numbers of easy-going, well-meaning
people the result was appalling.

The most terrific war known to history was raging in three Continents,
and one group of belligerents, unaware or heedless of the magnitude of
the issues, kept wasting its enormous resources and throwing away its
advantages. At the little station of Cognac waggons laden with all
kinds of war materials, barbed wire, galvanized wire, etc., were
detained from September 1914 until November 1915, 400 days in all,
doing nothing. Forty-two waggons ready to move were found on two
grass-covered rails. Fourteen waggons were there since September 1914.
Eight since December of the same year, twenty since June. Altogether
at the modest little station of Cognac the total recorded by Senator
Humbert's _Journal_ was 228,500 tons-days. "All this during the most
tremendous war the world has ever witnessed, in which hundreds of
thousands of men have been slain, where we have continually been short
of war material, while industry and commerce are agonizing for lack of
means of transport. It may well seem a dream."[135]

    [135] _Le Journal_, November 26, 1915.

Seven hundred French railway stations were devoid of rolling stock. On
the other hand, from the beginning of the war down to November 1915,
729 waggons were lying immobilized at the station of Blanc-Mesnil.
Seven hundred and twenty-nine![136] Merchants, manufacturers,
importers, all were being literally beggared for lack of transports
while hundreds of waggons lay rotting at obscure little stations for
over a year. "The whole region of the West is encumbered," we read,
"with 30,000,000 hectolitres of apples, valued at 300,000,000 francs,
which cannot be conveyed anywhither, and which people are beginning to
bury in the earth as manure. Sugar is scarce and is rising in price,
whereas ever since last August[137] a single firm has unloaded 10,000
tons of sugar at Havre which it cannot have transported to Paris.
Innumerable army purveyors are unable to send the machines for the
shells...." An official order to the army prescribed a substitute for
barbed wire, which was not to be had at any price, yet at a single
station at least 135 tons of barbed wire were lying for a twelvemonth
unused, untouched.[138] On November 27, 1915, the military hospital
N16 at Poitiers needed coal. A request was made by telephone. The
reply received was: "We have coal at La Rochelle, but there are no
waggons to carry it." Yet there were forty-two waggons immobilized at
Cognac, 729 at Blanc-Mesnil and 121 standing laden with barbed wire
and other materials for over a year!

    [136] _Le Journal_, December 2, 1915. They were photographed
    and the photograph reproduced in that paper.

    [137] That was published in December 1915.

    [138] _Le Journal_, December 2, 1915.

Organization and intelligence!

With engines the experience was the same. The French Government,
anxious to make up for the deficiency, purchased 140 engines of
British make to be delivered some time in 1916. Yet at that time there
were at the station of Mezidon (Calvados) over 500 engines
immobilized, nobody knew why or by whom. This cemetery of locomotives
was photographed by the _Journal_. Such was the harvest reaped by the
enterprising Senator Humbert's commission at that one station. There
were others. At Marles six Belgian engines, at Serquigny twenty, etc.

The attention of the French authorities having been called to this
unqualifiable neglect, a senatorial railway commission was appointed
to inquire into the matter, and it reported that: "The engines in
question, numbering about 2000, of which 1000 on the State railway
system are now going to be repaired." "There are therefore 2000
engines scandalously abandoned," comments the _Journal_, ...
"forgotten during sixteen months, and having passed from the state of
being inutilized to that of being inutilizable. For if these machines,
which were in service before the war and came from Belgium, are
to-day, like the waggons of Blanc-Mesnil, incapable of being utilized
in their present state, as the official note puts it, the reason is
that they were left to decay in the rain and the wind without cover or
case for five hundred days."[139]

    [139] _Le Journal_, December 4, 1915.

Interesting in a smaller way is the reply given by the French War
Minister to a question by a deputy, the Marquis de Ludre, who asked
for information about a consignment of knives which had been provided
for the army, but were found to be quite useless. The Minister
explained that the Generalissimus having requested the immediate
dispatch of 165,000 knives, the department charged with the execution
of the order had no time to examine the goods, and the circumstance
was overlooked that all kinds of knives were supplied, without any
reference to the purpose for which they were destined.[140] The
Minister added that no one should be blamed for this, inasmuch as it
was "the result of exaggerated but praiseworthy zeal." This
construction is charitable and may be true in fact. But the soldiers
who, in lieu of a serviceable blade, found themselves in possession of
a dessert knife may have taken a different view of the transaction.

    [140] Journal Official, answer to question No. 5730.

This is hardly what is understood by organization.

Beside those scenes from chaos set this picture of order: "In a small
French town in which the supreme _etape commando_ of Kluck's army was
situated, we inspected a field postal station. On the ground floor the
letters were being received and delivered. The stream of soldiers was
endless. They were sending field postcards, which are forwarded
gratuitously. The difficult work of sorting the correspondence was
being transacted on the first storey. Every day from 1800 to 2000 post
sacks arrive, mostly with small packets and postcards, and day after
day the same difficult problem presents itself--how to find the
addressee. Many regiments, it is true, have permanent quarters, but
there are mobile columns as well. Quick transfers are possible, and
individuals may be shifted to another place or incorporated in a
different regiment. The arranging of the correspondence went forward
in a spacious room; the letters which it was difficult to deliver were
handed over to a number of specialists, who sat in an adjoining
apartment and studied all the changes caused by the transfer of
troops. They found help in an address-book containing a list of all
the field formations. About once every four days, or even oftener, a
new edition of this work was issued. By the middle of December 1914
the eighty-fourth edition was in print."[141]

    [141] Karl Hildebrand, _Ein starkes Volk_, p. 108.

This talent for organization, this capacity of thought concentration
in circumstances which tend to strengthen emotion at the cost of
reason, have been constantly displayed by our enemies throughout the
entire struggle of the past thirty years, and never more conspicuously
than during the present war. Every emergency found them ready. The
most unlikely eventualities had been foreseen and provided for.
Private initiative, which "grandmotherly legislation" was supposed to
have killed, was more alert and resourceful than among any of the
Entente nations. Every German is in some respects an agent of his
Government. Each one thinks he foresees some eventuality with the
genesis of which he is especially conversant, and he forthwith
communicates his forecast and at the same time his plan for coping
with the danger to some official. And all suggestions are thankfully
received and dealt with on their intrinsic merits. For such matters
the rulers of the Empire, however engrossed by urgent problems, have
always time and money.

It is instructive and may possibly be helpful to compare this spirit
of detachment from the personal and party elements of the situation,
this accessibility to every call of patriotic duty, this
self-possession under conditions calculated to hinder calm
deliberation, with the hesitations, the bewilderment, the conflicting
decisions of the Entente leaders and their impatience of unauthorized
initiative and offers of private assistance. Outsiders are not wanted.
Their money is not rejected, but nothing else that they tender is
readily received.

In other more momentous matters the Allies also lagged behind their
adversaries. Despite their vast resources and the generous offers of
private help, the care taken of the wounded left a good deal to be
desired. The articles on this subject which were published in the
London Press provided ample food for bitter reflection. In France, at
the beginning of the war, wounded soldiers, after receiving first
aid, were conveyed for days in carts over uneven roads to the
hospitals in which they were to be treated. An American gentleman,
witnessing the sufferings of these victims of circumstance, collected
a number of motors in which to have them transported rapidly and with
relative comfort. But his offer of these conveyances was rejected by
all the departments to which he applied. And it was only after he had
spent weeks in visiting influential friends in London that he finally
obtained an introduction to the Secretary for War, who, overriding the
decisions of his subordinates, closed with the proposal and sent the
benefactor with his motors to the front.

It has been affirmed by unbiassed neutral witnesses who evinced
special interest in the subject that tens of thousands of the allied
wounded who died of their injuries might have been saved had they had
proper care. But defective organization and other avoidable causes
deprived them of efficient medical help.

By Great Britain more comprehensive measures were fitfully taken, of
which our wounded have reaped the benefit. A French journal[142]
enumerated, with a high tribute of praise, the results of the
observations made by a commission of British physicians in the Grand
Palais Hospital in Paris: "More than half, to be exact 54 per cent.,
of the wounded entrusted to the care of the doctors of the Grand
Palais since last May have been sent back to the front, completely
cured. What an achievement!" Undoubtedly it is a feat to be proud of,
if we compare it with the percentage of cured in certain other
countries and in the Dardanelles. But if we set it side by side with
what is claimed for and by the Germans, it may appear less remarkable.
It cannot be gainsaid that the British authorities have spared neither
money nor pains to alleviate the sufferings and heal the injuries of
the wounded. And if the measure of their success is still capable of
being extended, the reason certainly does not lie in any lack of good
will.

    [142] _The Figaro_, February 22, 1916.

On the incapacitated German soldier every possible care is bestowed.
His every need is foreseen and when possible provided for with an eye
to thoroughness and economy. Waste and niggardliness are sedulously
eschewed. Every man is provided with a square of canvas with eyelets,
which serves as a carpet on which he lies at night, as a stretcher on
which, when wounded, he is carried to the place where he can have his
injuries attended to, and which, when he is killed, is used as a
winding-sheet. The medical organization of the army is as thorough as
the military. And the results attained justify the solicitude
displayed. From month to month the percentage of wounded who are able
to return to the front has been augmenting steadily, and the
death-rate has decreased correspondingly. During the first month of
the war, out of every hundred wounded there were 84·8 capable of
further service, 3·0 dead, and 12·2 incapacitated or sent home. In
September of the same year the number of those able to return to the
front rose to 88·1, or about 4 per cent. more. And at the same time
the death-rate sank from 3 to 2·7 per cent. In the third month the
proportion of soldiers able to resume their places in the ranks of
fighters was 88·9, while the deaths had been reduced to 2·4. During
the period beginning with November and ending in March the number of
the wounded who went back to the front oscillated between 87·3 and
88·9. In November the percentage of deaths was only 2·1 per cent., and
in December only 1·7 per cent. January 1916 showed a further
improvement, the death-rate having fallen to 1·4 and in February 1·3
per cent. During the two following months the percentage rose again to
1·4, but declined slowly until in June and July it had descended to
1·2 per cent. The number of wounded men who were sent back to their
places at the front had meanwhile increased by April to 91·2, and by
June 1915 to 91·7, and in May and July to 91·8. Seven per cent. were
wholly incapacitated or dismissed to their homes. Among the latter a
considerable percentage returned subsequently to the ranks.
Altogether, then, about 91·8 per cent. of the wounded German soldiers
who fall in battle are so well taken care of that they are able to
fight again, and no more than 1·2 per cent. of the total number
succumb to their wounds.[143]

    [143] _Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift._

This strict conformity to the material and psychological conditions of
success marks the method by which the Germans proceed to realize a
grandiose plan which is understood and furthered by one and all. Their
talent for organization, their insight, their inventiveness, and their
highly developed social sense are all pressed into the service of this
patriotic cause. And it is to these permanent qualities, more even
than to their thirty years' military and economic preparation, that
they owe their many successes. The cynicism and ruthlessness of our
arch-enemy should not be allowed to blind us to his enterprise, his
stoicism, his meticulous applications of the law of cause and effect.
These are among his most valuable assets, and unless we have solid
advantages of our own to set against and outweigh them, our appeals to
the justice of our cause and our denunciations of his wicked designs
will avail us nothing. It is to our interest to seek out and note
whatever strength is inherent in himself or his methods and to
appropriate that. The struggle will ultimately be decided by the
superiority of equipment, material and moral, which one side possesses
over the other. As for the conceptions of public law and international
right which the antagonists severally stand for, they must be gauged
by quite other standards than heavy guns and asphyxiating gases. It is
not impossible that in the course of time, and by dint of reciprocal
action and reaction, the German views may be sufficiently modified and
moralized to render possible the usual process of assimilation with
which the history of speculative ideas and social movements has
rendered us familiar. Meanwhile, truth compels us to admit that part
at least of the western system is being overtaken by decay, and stands
in need of speedy and thorough renovation.



CHAPTER XXI

THE FINAL ISSUE


To come victorious out of the present ordeal--if, indeed, that be
possible with the leaders, principles, methods and strivings that
still characterize us--will not suffice to effect the triumph of our
cause. The present, momentous though it be, cannot with safety be
separated in thought or action from the future. The struggle will go
on relentlessly after this campaign until one side has worsted the
other definitively. And it is for that struggle that it behoves us to
prepare while the war is still at its height.

The Germans, true to their practice, have set us the example. Their
curious combinations for dividing the Allies while negotiating their
own schemes for reorganizing political Europe have been worked out in
almost every detail. Their projects for creating a vast and powerful
economic organization, to be known as Central Europe,[144] with its
first appendix in the Balkan Peninsula, have been carefully woven, and
will be duly embellished when the hour for unfolding them has struck.
In a word, when opportunity suddenly appears like the bridegroom of
the Gospel, the German will be found waiting, with girded loins and
trimmed lamp. He has distributed the parts of each nation in the
international drama, and if the rôles cannot be taken over to-morrow,
he will wait until the day after.

    [144] Cf. Friedrich Naumann, _Mitteleuropa_.

The world is henceforth no longer a field of labour for the
individual. Co-operation is the open sesame to the economic life of
the future. And co-operation means organization. Organization, then,
is the Alpha and Omega of the new era. That is the mysterious radium
which has enabled a single race to assail and hold its own against a
group of powers whose territory and population are many times greater
than its own. That race has demonstrated the quasi-omnipotence of
organized labour, and has thereby itself become almost omnipotent. On
the success or failure of its adversaries to create a like force and
rise to the same height depends the future of Europe and the British
Empire. One of the first corollaries of the new principle is the
enlargement of all great units, including political communities.
Germany and Austria, therefore, are bound, if not precisely to
coalesce in one whole, at least to co-operate and combine for their
common ends against common competitors, and thus to form the nucleus
of that federal state which is, our enemies hope, one day to be
commensurate with the continent of Europe.

At present, however satisfactory the military situation may be said to
be, the general outlook is far from bright. Our aims are impoverished,
our creative energies are clogged by prejudice, our political vision
is narrowed by party goals, and the forces inherent in the nation
which should be employed in readjusting its life to the new conditions
are being frittered away in abortive efforts to neutralize dissolvent
ideas that are sapping only those organs of our social and political
system which are already vicious or decayed. The waste of the empire's
resources has no parallel in history. Supreme confusion marks our
internal condition. Our leaders have done nothing to familiarize the
nation with the dangers that threaten it, the means by which they
should be met, or with the social and political ideas which are
destined to shape and sway the new order of things which is already
close at hand.

In the absence of constructive leaders it is for the nation itself to
make due preparation for the momentous changes in the social and
political system of Europe to which the present crisis is but the
prelude.

And although much has been spoken and written on the subject since the
war began, little permanent work has as yet been done. And there are
few signs of a radical change for the better. The confusion and
incongruousness that mark the ideas of the reformers, and the
hesitancy and conflicting interests of politicians make one dubious of
the outcome of the present contest. Almost everything essential would
appear to be still lacking to the Allies, and the nature of the coming
"peace period" is not realized, because the war is looked upon as an
isolated phenomenon which began in July 1914, and will end when
hostilities have ceased. Another belief equally misleading and
mischievous is that the Teuton race can be paralysed if not crushed,
and that for fifty or sixty years to come no revival of its energies,
no recrudescence of its morbid aggressiveness need be apprehended. If
we continue to shape our conduct on that assumption we may find
ourselves one day in a Serbonian bog from which there is no rescue.
However stringent the conditions which the Allies may be able to
impose on their enemies, there will still remain a keen, strenuous,
irrepressible race of at least a hundred and twenty millions, endowed
with rare capacities for organization, cohesion, self-sacrifice and
perseverance, whom no treaties can bind, no scruples can restrain, no
dangers intimidate. At any moment a new invention, a favourable
diplomatic combination, would suffice to move them to burst all bounds
and resume the military, naval and aerial contest anew.

Even now, while the war is still raging, they are busy with
comprehensive plans for the economic struggle which will succeed it.
Nor are they content to weave schemes. They have already begun to
carry them out. To mention but a few of the less important
enterprises, as symptoms of the German solicitude for detail, there
was a numerous gathering of railway representatives, Austrian,
Hungarian and German, in August 1915, to consider the means of
readjusting the railway service to the conditions which the peace
would usher in. Among the projects laid before the meeting and
insisted on by various financial institutions was the reconstruction
on a new basis of the Sleeping Car Company, from which Belgian capital
is to be excluded.[145]

    [145] _Giornale del lavori pubblici._ Cf. also _Giornale
    d'Italia_, August 22, 1915.

In Italy many of the German commercial houses are, so to say,
hibernating during the war. They merely altered their names and
substituted well-paid, friendly Italians for Germans, and the feat was
achieved. In this way the Kaiser's mercury mines of Abbadia, San
Salvatore and Corte Vecchia in Tuscany are being protected, and nobody
in Italy is under any misapprehension as to what is going on there.
They are nominally in the hands of Swiss.

One of the most successful manoeuvres by which the Germans have
already parried the strokes of their rivals in the economic struggle
is by crossing the frontiers and carrying on the contest in the
enemy's country. It was thus that, when Russia, by way of protecting
her own nascent textile industries, levied heavy duties on imports
from abroad, the Germans transported their plant and their workmen
across the border, built extensive works in Lodz which gradually grew
into a prosperous German city and rendered sterling services to the
Teuton invader during the present war. They intend to have recourse to
the same device as soon as hostilities have ceased. German trade
papers announced this to their readers and urged them to communicate
with the staff with a view to receiving information respecting ways
and means.

One Berlin trade journal--the most widely circulated in the German
capital--had recently a great headline entitled: "How to keep up
German Exportation after the War!" After a preamble enumerating the
difficulties that would be thrown in the way of exporters by the
Allies, the article went on thus: "For some years to come the means of
extricating ourselves from this cruel predicament will consist in
transporting the work of manufacturing or refining our merchandise to
a neutral country. We are now in a position to offer information and
advice on this head to those German manufacturers who are working for
exportation, and we shall endeavour to extend our action in the
future. We advise all those manufacturers who are desirous of
developing their business in this way to enter into relations with us
without delay."[146]

    [146] _Zeitschrift des Handelsvertragsvereins_, March 30,
    1915. Cf. also _La Gazette de Lausanne_ and _L'Idea
    Nazionale_, December 5, 1915.

The device is simple, and has hitherto been efficacious. In
Switzerland the number of German firms is large and continues to
augment. They are branches of German houses, and their aim is to
further the interests of these. They mask their intentions by assuming
Swiss names and also by obtaining for their employees naturalization
papers in the little republic. How, it may be asked, do the Allies
propose to thwart these manoeuvres? They probably have not given the
matter a moment's serious consideration. A Swiss journal of
repute[147] published some time ago a characteristic letter received
by a Swiss business man from a German textile manufacturer. One
passage is worth reproducing: "The actual situation renders it
impossible for us to maintain relations with our former customers.
Hence, it is of the utmost importance for us to be informed respecting
the commercial and financial situation with a view to the resumption
of our intercourse in a lucrative form after this long interruption.
It is our intention, therefore, to have our products sold through a
Swiss branch by Swiss agents."[148]

    [147] _Neue Zurcher Zeitung._

    [148] _Neue Zurcher Zeitung_, also _L'Idea Nazionale_,
    December 5, 1915.

With their incorrigible disposition to judge others by themselves, the
British people fancy that after the war a wave of liberalism will
sweep over Germany, demolish the strongholds of militarism there, and
reveal a pacific, level-headed nation with whom it may be possible to
hold friendly intercourse. This, to my thinking, is also a delusion.
Even if the Kaiser and his environment were dislodged from their
places, Germany's ideals, aims and strivings would remain unchanged.
But the Kaiser and his Government are minded to leave nothing to
chance. They, too, have their plans, which are simple and
comprehensive, and would appear to have escaped the notice of British
optimists. And yet they are well worth consideration. The Germans
themselves put the matter thus--

The enormous expenditure necessitated by the war will call for special
financial legislation of which the keynote will be found in
monopolies. Now, the present German Finance Minister, who is a banker
by training, intends that the monopolies to be created shall be
effected, not by the unaided resources of the State, but by its
co-operation with the interested business men and banks. On this basis
he is working at monopolies of cigarettes, life insurance and electric
power. This complex arrangement is facilitated by the machinery of the
banks and their peculiar activity. And here we touch upon one of the
main sources whence German organization after the war will draw its
vitality. It is on the operations of these financial institutions that
it behoves us to lay stress. They are so many magnetic centres which
attract nearly all the free capital of the country and then employ it
as they think fit. And one momentous consequence of this command of
money is the possession of almost unrestricted power over industrial
enterprises, present and future. For it depends on the banks to extend
these and to restrict the output of those in consonance with the
economic policy pursued by the State.

Nor should it be forgotten that the power and influence of the banks
is not limited by the amount of capital they actually possess. Over
and above this they wield all the financial force conferred by the
vast amounts deposited with them by customers. This was evidenced in
the case of the Banca Commerciale in Italy, which had a working
capital of £6,240,000 in the year 1914. Now, of that sum only 2·5 per
cent. was owned by Germans, yet the bank itself and all the industries
dependent on it were exploited by the German Board of Directors.[149]
In the Fatherland we observe the same phenomenon. All the German banks
together, excepting the hypothecary institutions, owned £195,000,000
sterling, about 44 per cent. of which belonged to the eight principal
banks of the empire.[150] Possessing only £86,050,000 of their own,
they disposed of £259,600,000 belonging to other people.

    [149] Giovanni Preziosi, _La Germania alla Conquista
    d'Italia_, 2d edizione, p. 150.

    [150] Deutsche Bank, 248 million marks; Diskonto
    Gesellschaft, 149 millions; Dresdner Bank, 261 millions;
    Darmstädter Bank, 192 millions; Berliner Handelsg. 145
    millions; Commerz- u. Diskonto Bank, 100 millions;
    Nationalbank, 98 millions; Mitteldeutsche Kreditbank, 69
    million marks.

One effect of the establishment of groups of monopolies will be to
increase the number of persons dependent for their livelihood on the
State. It is calculated that the total, including heads of families,
will amount to tens of millions. The corn monopoly will bring in five
million farmers, heads of families, who will have to look to the State
for the amount of their yearly income. For it is evident that the
Government will be "co-operating" not with the peasants, but with the
great landed proprietors. Now, these are the men whose backing is
indispensable, and has never been wanting, to the military and court
parties who are primarily responsible for the war. Once the wages of
the workmen and the interest on capital become dependent on the State,
the entire nation is but a vast machine worked by the men in power. To
suppose that these will lend a willing ear to the demands for
political liberty which are certain to be made after the conclusion of
peace is to expect the impossible. What will probably happen is a keen
struggle between the classes and the masses for the mastery, but until
it is decided in favour of the latter, the Germany of the future will
continue to be the Germany of to-day.

In the meanwhile, the Teutons, despite their striking inferiority in
numbers and resources, have kept the Great Powers of the world at bay,
have defeated their armies, sunk their mercantile marine, occupied
their territory, drained their wealth, paralysed their trade and
deprived them of all the odds which they owed to circumstance.
Organization has thus more than made up for the seemingly overpowering
advantages possessed by the Allies at the outset. That it will
suddenly lose its worth during the remainder of the campaign is hardly
to be expected. The contingency which we may have to face, if we
continue to move at our present pace, is manifest to the observant
student of politics.

By the average man and our "leaders of men" it is hardly even
suspected. Our easy-going optimism is largely the result of
temperament and partly, too, of presumptuous confidence born of past
luck, and in especial of the relief we feel at our escape from most of
the obvious dangers that menaced us at the outset of the war. There
has been no trouble over Ireland, no rising in India, no serious
defection in South Africa, no invasion of Egypt. And we irrationally
feel that these dark clouds, having drifted harmlessly past, the
others will follow them. It was said of the Swiss in mediæval times,
that they were kept together by the bewilderment of men and the
providence of God, confusione hominum et providentia Dei. The same
might be truly predicated of the British people of to-day.

But there is no reason for assuming that they will be thus
providentially cared for in the future. The Allies have not yet driven
the Germans out of Belgium, France, Serbia, Montenegro, Poland or
Kurland. Neither have they contrived to starve them into sueing for
peace. They talk glibly of exhausting them as though their own
resources were inexhaustible. They do well perhaps to make light of
the Zeppelins, but they pay far too little attention to the
submarines, and seem not to realize the magnitude of the losses which
these weapons have inflicted on our merchant shipping, nor to have
calculated how long it can hold out at the present rate of
destruction. Freights have increased enormously, and they have not yet
reached the highest point they are likely to attain. Imports have been
restricted, prices have gone up and taxation has increased. Time may
not be on the side of our enemies, but is it on ours? It is a fickle
ally at best, and to rely on its support is to lean on a split reed.

Optimism of the unreasoning kind prevalent in Great Britain is
unwarranted, whether we confine our view to the actual campaign or
extend it to the greater struggle of which that forms but an episode.
Taking the former case first, one is struck with certain
considerations which, without inspiring dismay, ought surely to
preserve us from that excessive self-confidence which is too often a
hindrance to fruitful exertion. The financial burden and its relation
to the limits of the allied nations' capacity to bear it is a fit
subject for meditation when we feel uplifted in self-complacency.
Doubtless it is encouraging to watch the symptoms of slow exhaustion
displaying themselves in the central empires and to speculate on the
consequences of the further fall of the German mark. But these
consequences we are too apt to exaggerate. For we misjudge the
character, the staying powers, the ideals, the psychology of the
German people. We fancy that because they have been reduced from
comfort to hardship therefore they are on the verge of collapse. We
imagine that because their commercial and industrial classes are keen
on making money and ardently desire peace, they are also ready to
purchase it by acquiescing in conditions which would dispel their
dreams of world power. We feel certain that if Prussia and all the
German States received genuine parliamentary government, the costly
ambitions of the military party would forthwith be dispelled for all
time.

It is by delusions such as these that the British people were
hoodwinked in the past, and it is by the same vain imaginings that
they may be victimized in the future. For they seem incapable of
gauging the German psyche. The two races meet each other in masks. The
apparent ingenuousness of the English-speaking Teuton is calculated to
throw the most vigilant Anglo-Saxon intelligence off its guard. We
have no psychological X-rays by which to pierce the peculiar racial
vesture in which the German soul is shrouded, nor are we endowed with
the gift of patient observation which might enable us to extract those
rays from facts. And so we stumble along, dealing with an imaginary
people whom we ourselves have created after our own image and
likeness, falling into fatal blunders and recommencing anew.

It is true that the mark has fallen, and that the German financial
fabric is in a parlous condition. But that fabric is kept from
crumbling away by the war, just as the Egyptian papyrus is preserved
so long as it does not come into contact with the air. Moreover,
common prudence should impel us to find out at what a cost to
ourselves we have reduced the value of the mark. If financial
exhaustion be among the ways in which one group of belligerents may be
made to succumb, it is wise to ask whether it is the States which have
to pay gold for their huge requirements or those which can get almost
everything they need for paper that are likely to succumb first.

The question is relevant, yet, because it has not been moved into the
foreground of discussion, there are few people who ponder on it.

Personally, I am convinced that impecuniosity and loss of credit will
never bring the Germans to their knees.

Great Britain has achieved wonders in the financial sphere during this
war, as the Allies and certain neutrals can testify. Our budgets are
monuments of the nation's spirit of self-sacrifice. But we have not
come scathless out of the ordeal. And besides our inevitable losses we
are suffering from criminal waste. No other country is so thriftless
as ours. In this respect we are a byword among the peoples of the
world. But we give no thought to the consequences. Yet the yearly
outlay on the one hand and the means of meeting it on the other hand
are calculable, and it would be well if those who rely upon Germany's
financial prostration would carefully reckon up and compare the two,
were it only for the sake of the sobering effect. On this aspect of
the problem it is needless to dwell further. It will compel close and
painful attention before the end of the campaign.

Another point to which inadequate heed has been paid, is the lack of
working men. This dearth of labour is not felt in Germany or Austria,
because they have two million prisoners and two million Poles on whom
they can draw not only for agricultural work but also for skilled
labour. And the authorities of both those empires are employing their
war prisoners very freely. Here, as everywhere else, the Teuton is
enterprising. I have seen photographs of Russians in Germany harnessed
and employed as beasts of burden. At any rate, it is no secret that
from the latter half of the year 1915 Germany and Austria were far
ahead of Great Britain, France, Russia, the United States and Japan
_combined_ in the amount of munitions they turned out every week. And
they are still ahead of them to-day. This fact, which can be verified,
has an ominous ring. What it connotes is that our enemies have no
strikes, no conscientious objectors, no fiddling with obligatory
service, industrial or military. Each man is at his country's beck and
call. Germany is free from strikers, slackers and such-like
anti-social types.

In Russia the want of working men is felt keenly. It is one of the
main elements of the sharp rise of prices there. In France, too, the
number of hands needed is very great, and the loss inflicted by their
withdrawal from the labour market is more sensible than the average
reader has any notion of. And far from being filled, these gaps are
becoming wider day by day. This shortage is a source of solicitude to
the Government of the Republic.

What it portends may readily be imagined. It certainly compels us to
qualify the cheering assertion that time is on our side. What else it
implies may be left to the imagination of the reader.

More serious still than the financial burden, or the dearth of
workmen, is the inadequacy of the mercantile marine to the needs of
the Allies in general, and of Great Britain in especial. To this
privation submarine warfare has contributed materially. And there is
not the slenderest ground for hope that the Germans will desist from
it during this campaign. On the contrary, they will intensify it. Of
the neutrals, some are too weak and others too timid to enter an
energetic protest against this violation of international law. The
freight-carrying capacity of the transports still available is less
than the British optimist realizes. How much less, it would be
unfruitful to inquire. It is enough to know that in this matter, too,
we had better seek a more helpful ally than time. Those who are most
conversant with these elements of the problem are haunted by a restive
consciousness of disappointment and apprehension.

For the power, the independence, the destinies of the Empire are
interwoven with our command of the sea. On our merchant tonnage depend
our economic life, our army and navy, everything we have and are and
hope to be. That destroyed or paralysed, nothing remains but a memory.
And the Germans are working hard and not unsuccessfully to cripple it.
During the week ending April 13, 85,000 tons of British and neutral
shipping were destroyed. Since the beginning of the submarine blockade
over 3,000,000 tons have been sent to the bottom of the sea. On an
average 50,000 tons a week are being torpedoed or mined, and our
losses tend to augment rather than diminish. Nor is that all. Not only
is our merchant tonnage being whittled down below the minimum needed
for our strict requirements, but we are also being hindered from
utilizing the transports available. And herein lies a danger the full
significance of which has not yet received proper attention. Shortage
of labour is pleaded as the reason why effective measures have not
been adopted to fill the gaps made by the enemy submarines. And labour
is inadequate because the Government eschewes industrial as well as
military compulsion. It possesses the power, but shrinks from wielding
it. To my thinking, this is one of the symptoms of that madness with
which the gods strike a nation before destroying it.

And the longer this process of--shall we call it mutual?--exhaustion
goes on, the more important grow the neutral States and the louder
sound their voices. They are like Jeshurun, who waxed fat and kicked.
Without special aptitudes for arithmetic one may calculate, with a
rough approach to accuracy, the time when the process of mutual
exhaustion will enable the neutrals to exert an absurdly
disproportionate and possibly dangerous influence over the
belligerents. That is a calculation which those optimists would do
well to make who tell us that all is well because "time is on our
side."

It is still open to us to utilize our superior resources, realize our
latent strength, and ward off the dangers that beset us. But the first
advance towards the goal must be to face the facts, behold things and
persons as they are, and apply our new-found knowledge to the work of
self-rescue. Our conception of the nature of the contest in which we
are engaged must be recast. Our demands on our national leaders--not
those now in power who only mislead--must be greatly enlarged. Truth,
however bitter, must take the place of fancy. Ideas and institutions
incongruous with the new social and political conditions must be
displaced. The nation's aims and policy should be stated boldly and
clearly, and adequate machinery set up to achieve them. In a word,
system will have to be substituted for confusion, method for
haphazard. Destitute of a great or strong man, it behoves us to
imitate our enemy and create a vast organization with branches all
over the empire. But the influence of the government ever since the
outbreak of the war has militated against all those reforms.

If these changes had been effected at the outset the story of the
present campaign would have been different from what it is. A group of
belligerents representing only 5,921,000 square kilometres of
territory and 150,199,000 inhabitants, or, say, 4 per cent. of dry
land and 9·1 per cent. of human beings, would not have held its own
for twenty-one months against a group disposing of 68,031,000 square
kilometres of territory and a population of 770,060,000, or 46 per
cent. of the land on the globe and 47 per cent. of the human race.
Providence has bestowed upon the Allies the wherewithal to attain
their legitimate ends. The Allies' leaders are frittering them away.

For the thirty years of preparation do not afford us an adequate
explanation of the Teuton superiority. The clue is to be found in the
psychological factor. Germany is wholly alive, physically,
intellectually and psychically. And she lives in the present and
future. We either drowse or vegetate in and for the past. She has the
decisive advantage of possessing organization and organizers. Therein
lies the secret of her sustained success. The Allies lack both, and
are hardly conscious of the necessity of making good the deficiency.
Therein lies their weakness. It has made itself felt throughout the
campaign and will determine the upshot of the war. And in the
politico-economic struggle that will follow the war, it is the same
psychological factor which the Allies rate so low that will decide the
final issue.

Unless we wake up to the reality and readjust our ideas and methods to
that--and of such awakening there is as yet no sure token--the outcome
of the present war will be a draw, and the final upshot of the larger
contest will be our utter defeat. No journalistic optimism, no
ministerial magniloquence can alter that. These contingencies are
already fullfronting us, as we shall soon learn to our cost, and the
people who are veiling them from the public view, however praiseworthy
their intentions may be, are leading the nation to ruin. And if we
continue to uphold our present chiefs and methods national disaster is
as inevitable as destiny. But it is well to remember that it is not
Fate that is pursuing us; it is we who are overtaking Fate.





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