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Title: Speaking of Prussians
Author: Cobb, Irvin S. (Irvin Shrewsbury), 1876-1944
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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    "Reverend Herr Doktor Konsistorialat D. Vorwerk" has been changed to
    "Reverend Herr Doktor Konsistorialrat D. Vorwerk"

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"Speaking of Prussians--"










 "_Speaking of Prussians----_"


 _Irvin S. Cobb_

 _Author of
 "Back Home," "Europe Revised,"
 "Speaking of Operations----", Etc._


 _New York
 George H. Doran Company_






"_Speaking of Prussians--_"


I believe it to be my patriotic duty as an American citizen to write
what I am writing, and after it is written to endeavour to give to it as
wide a circulation in the United States as it is possible to find. In
making this statement, though, I am not setting myself up as a teacher
or a preacher; neither am I going upon the assumption that, because I am
a fairly frequent contributor to American magazines, people will be the
readier or should be the readier to read what I have to say.

Aside from a natural desire to do my own little bit, my chief reason is
this: Largely by chance and by accident, I happened to be one of four or
five American newspaper men who witnessed at first hand the German
invasion of Belgium and one of three who, a little later, witnessed
some of the results of the Germanic subjugation of the northern part of
France. I was inside Germany at the time the rush upon Paris was checked
and the retreat from the Marne took place, thereby having opportunity to
take cognisance of the feelings and sentiments and the impulses which
controlled the German populace in a period of victory and in a period of

I am in the advantageous position, therefore, of being able to recount
as an eyewitness--and, as I hope, an honest one--something of what war
means in its effects upon the civilian populace of a country caught
unawares and in a measure unprepared; and, more than that, what war
particularly and especially means when it is waged under the direction
of officers trained in the Prussian school.

Having seen these things, I hate war with all my heart. I am sure that I
hate it with a hatred deeper than the hate of you, reader, who never saw
its actual workings and its garnered fruitage. For, you see, I saw the
physical side of it; and, having seen it, I want to tell you that I
have no words with which halfway adequately to describe it for you, so
that you may have in your mind the pictures I have in mine. It is the
most obscene, the most hideous, the most brutal, the most malignant--and
sometimes the most necessary--spectacle, I veritably believe, that ever
the eye of mortal man has rested on since the world began, and I do hate

But if war had to come--war for the preservation of our national honour
and our national integrity; war for the defence of our flag and our
people and our soil; war for the preservation of the principles of
representative government among the nations of the earth--I would rather
that it came now than that it came later. I have a child. I would rather
that child, in her maturity, might be assured of living in a peace
guaranteed by the sacrifices and the devotion of the men and women of
this generation, than that her father should live on in a precarious
peace, bought and paid for with cowardice and national dishonour.


A few days before war was declared, an antimilitarist mass meeting was
held in New York. It was variously addressed by a number of well-known
gentlemen regarding whose purity of motive there could be no question,
but regarding whose judgment a great majority of us have an opinion that
cannot be printed without the use of asterisks. And it was attended by a
very large representation of peace-loving citizens, including a numerous
contingent of those peculiar patriots who, for the past two years, have
been so very distressed if any suggestion of hostilities with the
Central Powers was offered, but so agreeably reconciled if a break with
the Allies, or any one of them, seemed a contingency.

It may have been only a coincidence, but it struck some of us as a
significant fact that, from the time of the dismissal of Count Von
Bernstorff onward, the average pro-peace meeting was pretty sure to
resolve itself into something rather closely resembling a pro-German
demonstration before the evening was over. Persons who hissed the name
of our President behaved with respectful decorum when mention was made
of a certain Kaiser.

However, I am not now concerned with these weird Americans, some of whom
part their Americanism in the middle with a hyphen. Some of them were in
jail before this little book was printed. I am thinking now of those
national advocates of the policy of the turned cheek; those professional
pacificists; those wavers of the olive branch--who addressed this
particular meeting and similar meetings that preceded it--little
brothers to the worm and the sheep and the guinea pig, all of them--who
preached not defence, but submission; not a firm stand, but a complete
surrender; not action, but words, words, words.


Every right-thinking man, I take it, believes in universal peace and
realises, too, that we shall have universal peace in that fair day when
three human attributes, now reasonably common among individuals and
among nations, have been eliminated out of this world, these three being
greed, jealousy and evil temper. Every sane American hopes for the time
of universal disarmament, and meantime indulges in one mental
reservation: He wants all the nations to put aside their arms; but he
hopes his own nation will be the last to put aside hers. But not every
American--thanks be to God!--has in these months and years of our
campaign for preparedness favoured leaving his country in a state where
she might be likened to a large, fat, rich, flabby oyster, without any
shell, in a sea full of potential or actual enemies, all clawed, all
toothed, all hungry. The oyster may be the more popular, but it is the
hard-shelled crab that makes the best life-insurance risk.

And when I read the utterances of those conscientious gentlemen, who
could not be brought to bear the idea of going to war with any nation
for any reason, I wished with all my soul they might have stood with me
in Belgium on that August day, when I and the rest of the party to which
I belonged saw the German legions come pouring down, a cloud of smoke by
day and a pillar of fire by night, with terror riding before them as
their herald, and death and destruction and devastation in the tracks
their war-shod feet left upon a smiling and a fecund little land.
Because I am firmly of the opinion that their sentiments would then have
undergone the same instantaneous transformation which the feelings of
each member of my group underwent.

Speaking for myself, I confess that, until that summer day of the year
1914, I had thought--such infrequent times as I gave the subject any
thought at all--that for us to spend our money on heavy guns and an
augmented navy, for us to dream of compulsory military training and a
larger standing army, would be the concentrated essence of economic and
national folly.

I remember when Colonel Roosevelt--then, I believe, President
Roosevelt--delivered himself of the doctrine of the Big Stick, I, being
a good Democrat, regarded him as an incendiary who would provoke the
ill will of great Powers, which had for us only kindly feeling, by the
shaking in their faces of an armed fist. I remember I had said to
myself, as, no doubt, most Americans had said to themselves:

"We are a peaceful nation; not concerned with dreams of conquest. We
have the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans for our protection. We are not
going to make war on anybody else. Nobody else is going to make war on
us. War is going out of fashion all over the planet. A passion for peace
is coming to be the fashion of the world. The lion and the lamb lie down

Well, the lion and the lamb did lie down together--over there in Europe;
and when the lion rose, a raging lion, he had the mangled carcass of the
lamb beneath his bloodied paws. And it was on the day when I first saw
the lion, with his jaws adrip, coming down the highroads, typified in
half a million fighting men--men whose sole business in life was to
fight, and who knew their business as no other people ever have known
it--that in one flash of time I decided I wanted my country to quit
being lamb-like, not because the lion was a pleasing figure before mine
eyes, but because for the first time I realised that, so long as there
are lions, sooner or later must come oppression and annihilation for the
nation which persists in being one of the lambs.

As though it happened yesterday, instead of thirty months ago, I can
recreate in my mind the physical and the mental stage settings of that
moment. I can shut my eyes and see the German firing squad shooting two
Belgian civilians against a brick wall. I can smell the odours of the
burning houses. Yes, and the smell of the burning flesh of the dead men
who were in those houses. I can hear the sound of the footsteps of the
fleeing villagers and the rumble of the tread of the invaders going by
so countlessly, so confidently, so triumphantly, so magnificently
disciplined and so faultlessly equipped.

Most of all, I can see the eyes and the faces of sundry German officers
with whom I spoke. And when I do this I see their eyes shining with joy
and their faces transfigured as though by a splendid vision; and I can
hear them--not proclaiming the justice of their cause; not seeking
excuse for the reprisals they had ordered; not, save for a few
exceptions among them, deploring the unutterable misery and suffering
their invasion of Belgium had wrought; not concerned with the ethical
rights of helpless and innocent noncombatants--but proud and swollen
with the thought that, at every onward step, ruthlessness and
determination and being ready had brought to them victory, conquest,
spoils of war. Why, these men were like beings from another world--a
world of whose existence we, on this side of the water, had never

And it was then I promised myself, if I had the luck to get back home
again with a whole skin and a tongue in my head and a pen in my hand, I
would in my humble way preach preparedness for America; not preparedness
with a view necessarily of making war upon any one else, but
preparedness with a view essentially of keeping any one else from making
war upon us without counting the risks beforehand.

In my own humble and personal way I have been preaching it. In my own
humble and personal way I am preaching it right this minute. And if my
present narrative is so very personal it is because I know that the
personal illustration is the best possible illustration, and that one
may drive home his point by telling the things he himself has seen and
felt better than by dealing with the impressions and the facts which
have come to him at secondhand.

Also, it seems to me, since the break came, that now I am free to use
weapons which I did not feel I had the right to use before that break
did come. Before, I was a newspaper reporter, engaged in describing what
I saw and what I heard--not what I suspected and what I feared. Before,
I was a neutral citizen of a neutral country.

I am not a neutral any more. I am an American! My country has clashed
with a foreign Power, and the enemy of my country is my enemy and
deserving of no more consideration at my hands than he deserves at the
hands of my country. Moreover, I aim to try to show, as we go along,
that any consideration of mercy or charity or magnanimity which we might
show him would be misinterpreted. Being what he is he would not
understand it. He would consider it as an evidence of weakness upon our
part. It is what he would not show us, and if opportunity comes will not
show us, any more than he showed it to Belgium or to France, or to Edith
Cavell, or to those women and those babies on the _Lusitania_.

He did not make war cruel--it already was that; but he has kept it
cruel. War with him is not an emotional pastime; not a time for
hysterical lip service to his flag; not a time for fuss and feathers.
And, most of all, it is to him not a time for any display of mawkish,
maudlin forbearance to his foe; but, instead, it is a deadly serious,
deadly terrible business, to the successful prosecution of which he and
his rulers, and his government, and his whole system of life have been
earnestly and sincerely dedicated through a generation of preparation,
mental as well as physical.


When I think back on those first stages--and in some respects the most
tragic stages--of the great war, I do not see it as a thing of pomp and
glory, of splendid panorama, pitched on a more impressive scale than any
movement ever was in all the history of mankind. I do not, in
retrospect, see the sunlight glinting on the long, unending, weaving
lanes of bayonets; or the troops pouring in grey streams, like molten
quicksilver, along all those dusty highroads of Northern Europe; or the
big guns belching; or the artillery horses going galloping into
action; or the trenches; or the camps; or the hospitals; or the
battlefields. I see it as it is reflected in certain little, detached
pictures--small-focused, and incidental to the great horror of which
they were an unconsidered part--but which, to me, typify, most fitly of
all, what war means when waged by the rote and rule of Prussian
militarism upon the civilian populace of an invaded country.

I see again the little red-bearded priest of Louvain who met us on the
day we first entered that town; who took us out of the panic of the
street where the inhabitants fluttered about in aimless terror, like
frightened fowl in a barnyard; and who led the way for us through a
little wooden gateway, set in the face of a high brick wall. It was as
though we were in another world then, instead of the little world of
panic and distress we had just quit. About a neglected tennis court grew
a row of pear trees, and under a laden grape arbour at the back sat four
more priests, all in rusty black gowns. They got up from where they sat
and came and spoke to us, and took us into a little cellar room, where
they gave us a bottle of their homemade wine to drink and handfuls of
their ripened pears to eat, and tried to point out to us, on a map,
where they thought the oncoming Germans might be, none of us knowing
that already uhlan scouts were entering the next street but one. As we
were leaving, the eldest priest took me by the coat lapels and, with his
kind, faded old eyes brimming and his gentle old face quivering, he
said to me in broken English:

"My son, it is not right that war should come to Belgium. We had no part
in the quarrel of these, our great neighbours. My son, we are not a bad
people here--do not believe them should they tell you so. For I tell you
we are a good people. We are a very good people. All the week my people
work very hard, and on Sunday they go to church; and then perhaps they
go for a walk in the fields. And that, to them, is all they know of

"My son," he said, "you come from a great country--you come from the
greatest of all the countries. Surely your country, which is so great
and so strong, will not let my little country perish from off the face
of the earth?"

Because we had no answer for him we went away. And when, six weeks
later, I returned to ruined and devastated Louvain, I picked my way
through the hideous wreckage of the streets to the little monastery
again. Behold! the brick wall was a broken heap of wrecked, charred
masonwork; and the pear trees were naked stumps, which stood up out of
a clay waste; and the little cellar room, where we ate our pears and
drank our wine, was a hole in the ground now, full of ill-smelling
rubbish and fouled water, with the rotted and bloated corpse of a dead
horse floating in the water, poisoning the air with the promise of
pestilence. And the priests who once had lived there were gone; and none
in all that town knew where they had gone.

Always, too, when thinking of the war, I think of the refugees I saw,
but mostly of those I saw after Antwerp had fallen in the early days of
October and I was skirting Holland on my way back out of Germany to the
English Channel. I had seen enough refugees before then, God knows!--men
and women and children, old men and old women and little children and
babies in arms, fleeing by the lights of their own burning houses over
rainy, wind-swept, muddy roads; vast caravans of homeless misery, whose
members marched on and on until they dropped from exhaustion. And when
they had rested a while at the miry roadside, with no beds beneath them
but the earth and no shelters above them but the black umbrellas to
which they clung, they got up and went on again, with no destination in
view and no goal ahead; but only knowing, I suppose, that what might lie
in front of them could not be worse than what they left behind them. But
never--until after Antwerp--did there seem to be so many of them, and
never did their plight seem so pitiable. Over every road that ran up out
of Belgium into Holland--and that in this populous corner of Europe
meant a road every little while--they poured all day in thick, jostling,
unending, unbroken streams. I marked how the sides of every wayside
building along the Dutch frontier was scrawled over with the names of
hundreds of refugees, who already had passed that way; and, along with
their names, the names of their own people, from whom they were
separated in the haste and terror of flight, and who--by one chance in a
thousand--might come that way and read what was there written, and
follow on.

This was the larger picture. Now for a small corner of the canvas: I
remember a squalid little cowshed in a little Dutch town on the border,
just before dusk of a wet, raw autumnal night. Under the dripping eaves
of that cowshed stood an old man--a very old man. He must have been all
of eighty. His garments were sopping wet, and all that he owned now of
this world's goods rested at his feet, tied up in the rags of an old red
tablecloth. In one withered, trembling old hand he held a box of
matches, and in the other a piece of chalk. With one hand he scratched
match after match; and with the other, on the wall of that little
cowshed, he wrote, over and over and over again, his name; and beneath
it the name of the old wife from whom he was separated--doubtlessly

Possibly these things might have come to pass in any war, whether or not
Germans were concerned in making that war; probably they should be
included among the inevitable by-products of the institution called
warfare. That, however, did not make them the less sorrowful.


The point I am trying to make is this: That, seeing such sights, and a
thousand more like them, I could picture the same things--and a thousand
worse things--happening in my own country. With better reason, I to-day
can picture them as happening in my own country; and in all fairness I
go further than that and say that I can conceive them as being all the
more likely to happen should the invading forces come at us under that
design of a black vulture which is known as the Imperial Prussian Eagle.
Given similar conditions and similar opportunities, and I can see
Holyoke, Massachusetts, or Charleston, South Carolina, razed in smoking
ruins, as Louvain or as Dinant was. I can see the mayor of Baltimore
being put to death by drum-head court-martial because some inflamed
civilian of his town fired from a cottage window at a Pomeranian
grenadier. I can see in Pennsylvania congressmen and judges and
clergymen and G. A. R. veterans held as hostages and as potential
victims of the firing squad, in case some son or some grandson of old
John Burns, of Gettysburg, not regularly enrolled, takes up his shotgun
in defence of his homestead. I can see a price put on the head of some
modern Molly Pitcher, and a military prison waiting for some latter-day
Barbara Frietchie. For we must remember that what we Americans call
patriots the anointed War Lord calls _franc-tireurs_, meaning

I do not believe I personally can be charged with an evinced bias
against the German Army, as based on what I saw of its operations in the
opening months of the war. Because I had an admiration for the courage
and the fortitude of the German common soldier, and because I expressed
that admiration, I was charged with being pro-German by persons who
seemingly did not understand or want to understand that a spectator may
admire the individual without in the least sympathising with the causes
which sent him into the field. And at a time when this country was
filled with stories of barbarities committed upon Belgian civilians by
German soldiers--stories of the mutilating of babies, of the raping of
women, of the torturing of old men--I was one of five experienced
newspapermen who, all of our own free will and not under duress or
coercion, signed a statement in which we severally and jointly stated
that, in our experiences when travelling with or immediately behind the
German columns through upward of a hundred miles of Belgian territory,
we had been unable to discover good evidence of a single one of these
alleged atrocities. Nor did we.

What I tried to point out at the time--in the fall of 1914--and what I
would point out again in justice to those who now are our enemies, is
that identically the same accounts of atrocities which were told in
England and in America as having been perpetrated by Germans upon
Belgians and Frenchmen, were simultaneously repeated in Germany as
having been perpetrated by Belgians and Frenchmen upon German nuns and
German wounded; and were just as firmly believed in Germany as in
America and Britain, and had, as I veritably believe, just as little
foundation of fact in one quarter as in the other quarters.

Indeed, I am willing to go still further and say, because of the
rigorous discipline by which the German common soldier is bound, that in
the German occupation of hostile territory opportunities for the
individual brute or the individual degenerate to commit excesses against
the individual victim were greatly reduced. Of course there must have
been sporadic instances of hideous acts--there always have been where
men went to war; but I have never been able to bring myself to believe
that such acts could have been a part of a systematic or organised
campaign of frightfulness. There was plenty of the frightfulness without
these added horrors.

But I was an eyewitness to crimes which, measured by the standards of
humanity and civilisation, impressed me as worse than any individual
excess, any individual outrage, could ever have been or can ever be;
because these crimes indubitably were instigated on a wholesale basis by
order of officers of rank, and must have been carried out under their
personal supervision, direction and approval. Briefly, what I saw was
this: I saw wide areas of Belgium and France in which not a penny's
worth of wanton destruction had been permitted to occur, in which the
ripe pears hung untouched upon the garden walls; and I saw other wide
areas where scarcely one stone had been left to stand upon another;
where the fields were ravaged; where the male villagers had been shot in
squads; where the miserable survivors had been left to den in holes,
like wild beasts.

Taking the physical evidence offered before our own eyes, and
buttressing it with the statements made to us, not only by natives but
by German soldiers and German officers, we could reach but one
conclusion, which was that here, in such-and-such a place, those in
command had said to the troops: "Spare this town and these people!" And
there they had said: "Waste this town and shoot these people!" And
here the troops had discriminately spared, and there they had
indiscriminately wasted, in exact accordance with the word of their


Doubtlessly you read the published extracts from diaries taken off the
bodies of killed or captured German soldiers in the first year of the
war. Didn't you often read where this soldier or that, setting down his
own private thoughts, had lamented at having been required to put his
hand to the task of killing and destroying? But, from this same source,
did you ever get evidence that any soldier had actually revolted against
this campaign of cruelty, and had refused to burn the homes of helpless
civilians or to slay unresisting noncombatants? You did not, and for a
very good reason: Because that rebellious soldier would never have lived
long enough to write down the record of his humanity--he would have been
shot dead by the revolver of his own captain or his own lieutenant.

I saw German soldiers marching through a wrecked and ravished
countryside, singing their German songs about the home place, and the
Christmas tree, and the Rhine maiden--creatures so full of sentiment
that they had no room in their souls for sympathy. And, by the same
token, I saw German soldiers dividing their rations with hungry
Belgians. They divided their rations with these famished ones because it
was not _verboten_--because there was no order to the contrary. Had
there been an order to the contrary, those poor women and those scrawny
children might have starved, and no German soldier, whatever his private
feelings, would have dared offer to them a crust of bread or a bone of
beef. Of that I am very sure.

And it seemed to me then, and it seems to me now, a most dangerous thing
for all the peoples of the earth, and a most evil thing, that into the
world should come a scheme of military government so hellishly contrived
and so exactly directed that, by the flirt of a colonel's thumb, a
thousand men may, at will, be transformed from kindly, courageous, manly
soldiers into relentless, ruthless executioners and incendiaries; and,
by another flirt of that supreme and arrogant thumb, be converted back
again into decent men.


In peace the mental docility of the German, his willingness to accept an
order unquestioningly and mechanically to obey it, may be a virtue, as
we reckon racial traits of a people among their virtues; in war this
same trait becomes a vice. In peace it makes him yet more peaceful; in
war it gives to his manner of waging war an added sinister menace.

It is that very menace which must confront the American troopers who may
be sent abroad for service. It is that very menace which must confront
our people at home in the event that the enemy shall get near enough to
our coasts to bombard our shore cities, or should he succeed in landing
an expeditionary force upon American soil.

When I first came back from the war front I marvelled that sensible
persons so often asked me what sort of people the Germans were, as
though Germans were a stranger race, like Patagonians or the South Sea
Islanders, living in some remote and untravelled corner of the globe. I
felt like telling them that Germans in Germany were like the Germans
they knew in America--in the main, God-fearing, orderly, hard-working,
self-respecting citizens. But through these intervening months I have
changed my mind; to-day I should make a different answer. I would say,
to him who asked that question now, that the same tractability of
temperament which, under the easy-going, flexible workings of our
American plan of living makes the German-born American so readily
conform to his physical and metaphysical surroundings here, and makes
his progeny so soon to amalgamate with our fused and conglomerated
stock, has the effect, in his Fatherland, of all the more easily and all
the more firmly filling his mind and shaping his deeds in conformity
with the exact and rigorous demands of the Prussianism that has been
shackled upon him since his empire ceased to be a group of petty

We have got to remember, then, that the Germany with which we have
broken is not the Germany of Heine and Goethe and Haeckel and Beethoven;
not the Germany which gave us Steuben in the Revolutionary War, and
Sigel and Schurz in the Civil War; not the Germany of the chivalrous,
lovable Saxon, or yet of the music-loving, home-loving Bavarian; not the
Germany which was the birthplace of the kindly, honourable, industrious,
patriotic German-speaking neighbour round the corner from you--but the
fanatical, tyrannical, power-mad, blood-and-iron Prussianised Germany of
Bismarck and Von Bernhardi, of the Crown Prince and the Junkers--that
passionate Prussianised Germany which for forty years through the
instrumentality of its ruling classes--not necessarily its Kaiser, but
its real ruling classes--has been jealously striving to pervert every
native ounce of its scientific and its inventive and its creative genius
out of the paths of progress and civilisation and to jam it into the
grooves of the greatest autocratic machine, the greatest organism for
killing off human beings, the greatest engine of misbegotten and
misdirected efficiency that was ever created in the world. Because we
have an admiration for one of these two Germanys is no more a reason why
we should abate our indignation and our detestation for the other
Germany than that because a man loves a cheery blaze upon his
hearthstone he should refuse to fight a forest fire.

We have got to remember another thing. If our oversea observations of
this war abroad have taught us anything, they should have taught us that
the German Army--and when I say army I mean in this case, not its men
but its officers, since in the German Army the officers are essentially
the brain and the power and the motive force directing the unthinking,
blindly obedient mass beneath them--that the German Army is not an army
of good sportsmen. And that, I take it, is an even more important
consideration upon the field of battle than it is upon the athletic
field. As the saying goes, the Germans don't play the game. It is as
inconceivable to imagine German officers going in for baseball or
football or cricket as it is to imagine American volunteers marching the
goose step or to imagine Englishmen relishing the cut-and-dried
calisthenics of a _Turnverein._

The Germans are not an outdoor race; they are not given to playing
outdoor sports and abiding by the rules of those sports, as Englishmen
and as Americans are. And in war--that biggest of all outdoor games--it
stands proved against them that they do not play according to the rules,
except they be rules of their own making. It may be argued that the
French are not an outdoor race or a sport-loving race, as we conceive
sports. But, on the other hand, the Frenchman is essentially romantic
and essentially dramatic, and, whether in war or in victory afterward,
he is likely to exhibit the magnanimous and the generous virtues rather
than the cruel and the unkindly ones, because, as we all know, it is
easier to dramatise one's good impulses than one's evil ones.

Now the German, as has recently been shown, is neither dramatic nor
sportsmanlike. He is a greedy winner and he is a bad loser--a most
remarkably bad loser. Good sportsmen would not have broken Belgium into
bloody bits because Belgium stood between them and their goal; good
sportsmen would not have sung the Hymn of Hate, or made "_Gott Strafe
England!_" their battle cry; good sportsmen would not have shot Edith
Cavell or sunk the _Lusitania_. Good sportsmen would not have packed the
helpless men and boys of a conquered and a prostrate land off as
captives into an enforced servitude worse than African slavery; would
not wantonly have wasted La Fère and Chauny and Ham, and a hundred other
French towns, as they did in March and April of this year, for no
conceivable reason than that they must surrender these towns back into
the hand of the enemy; would not have cut down the little orchard trees
nor shovelled dung into the drinking wells; would not, while ostensibly
at peace with us, have plotted to destroy our industrial plants and to
plant the seeds of sedition among our foreign-born citizens, and to
dismember our country, parceling it out between a brown race in Mexico
and a yellow race in Japan. Good sports do not do these things, and
Germany did all of them. That means something.


Having spread the gospel of force for so long, Prussianised Germany can
understand but one counter-argument--force. We must give her back blow
for blow--a harder blow in return for each blow she gives us. "Thrice is
he armed that hath his quarrel just"; and our quarrel is just. All the
same, to make war successfully we must make it with a whole heart. We
must hold it to be a holy war; we must preach a jihad, remembering
always, now that the Chinese Empire is a republic, now that Russia by
revolution has thrown off the chains of autocracy, that we are fighting
not only to punish the enemy for wrongs inflicted and insults
overpatiently endured; not only to make the seas free to honest
commerce; not only for the protection of our flag and our ships and the
lives of our people at home and abroad--but along with England,
France--yes, and Russia--are fighting for the preservation of the
principles of constitutional and representative government against those
few remaining crowned heads who hold by the divine right of kings, and
who believe that man was created not a self-governing creature but a

Merely because we are willing to give of our wealth and our granaries
and our steel mills, we cannot expect to have an honourable share in
this war, and to share as an equal in its final settlement. We must risk
something more precious than money; something more needful than
munitions; we must risk our manhood. We cannot expect England's navy to
stand between us and harm for our coasts, and France's worn battalions
to bear the brunt of the trench work.

Knowing nothing of military expediency, I yet believe that, for the
moral effect upon the world and for our own position, when the time for
making peace comes it would be better for us, rather than the securing
of our own soil against attack or invasion, that an American flag should
wave over American troops in Flanders; that a Texas cow-puncher should
lead a forlorn hope in France; that a Connecticut clockmaker should
invent a device which will blunt the fangs of that stinging adder of the
sea, the U-boat, and--who knows?--perhaps scotch the poison snake

Maybe it is true that, in our mistaken forbearance, we have failed and
come short. Maybe we have endured too long and too patiently; we can
atone for all that. But----

Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.


I am coming now to what seems to me to be the most important
consideration of all. In this war upon which we have entered our chief
enemy is a nation firmly committed to the belief that whatever it may do
is most agreeable in the sight of God. It is firmly committed to the
belief that the acts of its Kaiser, its Crown Prince, its government,
its statesmen, its generals and its armies are done in accordance with
the will and the purposes of God. And, by the same token, it is
committed, with equal firmness, to the conviction that the designs and
the deeds of all the nations and all the peoples opposed to their nation
must perforce be obnoxious to God. By the processes of their own
peculiar theology--a theology which blossomed and began to bear its
fruit after the war started, but for which the seed had been sown long
before--God is not Our God but Their God. He is not the common creator
of mankind, but a special Creator of Teutons. He is a German God. For
you to say this would sound in American ears like sacrilege. For me to
write it down here smacks of blasphemy and impiety. But to the
German--in Germany--it is sound religion, founded upon the Gospels and
the Creed, proven in the Scriptures, abundantly justified in the
performances and the intentions of an anointed and a sanctified few
millions among all the unnumbered millions who breed upon the earth.

Now here, by way of a beginning, is the proof of it. This proof is to be
found in a collection of original poems published by a German pastor,
the Reverend Herr Doktor Konsistorialrat D. Vorwerk. In the first
edition of his book there occurred a paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer, of
which the following are the last three petitions and the close:

     "Though the warrior's bread be scanty, do Thou work daily death and
     tenfold woe unto the enemy. Forgive in merciful long-suffering each
     bullet and each blow which misses its mark! Lead us not into the
     temptation of letting our wrath be too tame in carrying out Thy
     divine judgment! Deliver us and our Ally from the infernal Enemy
     and his servants on earth. Thine is the kingdom, The German Land;
     may we, by aid of Thy steel-clad hand, achieve the power and the

From subsequent editions of the work of Pastor Vorwerk this prayer was
omitted. It is said to have been denounced as blasphemous by a
religious journal, published in Germany--but not in Berlin. But
evidently no one within the German Empire, either in authority or out of
it, found any fault with the worthy pastor's sentiment that the
Germans, above all other races--except possibly the Turks, who
appear to have been taken into the Heavenly fold by a special
dispensation--are particularly favoured and endowed of God, and
enjoy His extraordinary--one might almost be tempted to say His
private--guardianship, love and care. For in varying forms this
fetishism is expressed in scores of places. Consider this example, which
cannot have lost much of its original force in translation:

     "How can it be that Germany is surrounded by nothing but enemies
     and has not a single friend? Is not this Germany's own fault? No!
     Do you not know that Prince of Hades, whose name is Envy, and who
     unites scoundrels and sunders heroes? Let us, therefore, rejoice
     that Envy has thus risen up against us; it only shows that God has
     exalted and richly blessed us. Think of Him who was hanged on the
     Cross and seemed forsaken of God, and had to tread in such
     loneliness His path to victory! My German people, even if thy road
     be strewn with thorns and beset by enemies, press onward, filled
     with defiance and confidence. The heavenly ladder is still
     standing. Thou and thy God, ye are the majority!"

I have quoted these extracts from the printed and circulated book of an
ordained and reputable German clergyman, and presumably also a popular
and respected German clergyman, because I honestly believe them to be
not the individual mouthings of an isolated fanatic, but the voice of an
enormous number of his fellow countrymen, expressing a conviction that
has come to be common among them since August, 1914.

I believe, further, that they should be quoted because knowledge of them
will the better help our own people here in the United States to
understand the temper of a vast group of our enemies; will help us to
understand the motives behind some of the forms of hostility and
reprisal that undoubtedly they are going to attempt to inflict upon the
United States; help us, I hope, to understand that, upon our part, in
waging this war an over-measure of forbearance, a mistaken charity, or a
faith in the virtue of his fair promises is only wasted when it is
visited upon an adversary who, for his part, is upborne by the perverted
spiritualism and the degenerated self-idolatry of a Mad Mullah. It is
all very well to pour oil on troubled waters; it is foolishness to pour
it on wildfire.


In this same connection it may not be amiss for us to consider the
predominant and predominating viewpoints of another and an equally
formidable group of the foemen. In October, 1913, nearly a year before
Germany started the World War, one of the recognised leaders of the
association who called themselves "Young Germany" wrote in the official
organ, the accepted mouthpiece of the Junker set and the Crown Prince's
favoured adherents, a remarkable statement--that is, it would have been
a remarkable statement coming from any other source than the source from
whence it did come. It read as follows:

     "War is the noblest and holiest expression of human activity. For
     us, too, the great glad hour of battle will strike. Still and deep
     in the German heart must live the joy of battle and the longing for
     it. Let us ridicule to the uttermost the old women in breeches who
     fear war and deplore it as cruel or revolting. War is beautiful....
     When here on earth a battle is won by German arms and the faithful
     dead ascend to heaven, a Potsdam lance corporal will call the guard
     to the door and 'Old Fritz,' springing from his golden throne, will
     give the command to present arms. That is the heaven of Young

The likening of Heaven to a place of eternal beatitude, populated by
German soldiers, with a Potsdam lance corporal succeeding Saint Peter at
the gate, and "Old Fritz"--Frederick the Great--in sole and triumphant
occupancy of the Golden Throne, where, according to the conceptions of
the most Christian races, The Almighty sits, is a picture requiring no

It speaks for itself. Also it speaks for the paranoia of militant

I think I am in position to tell something of the growth of these
sentiments among the Germans. As I stated on almost the first page of
this little book, it fell to my lot to be on German soil in September
and October of that first year of the Great War, before there was any
prospect of our entering it as a belligerent Power, and when the
civilian populace, having been exalted by the series of unbroken
victories that had marked the first stage of hostilities for the German
forces, east and west, was suffering from the depressions occasioned by
the defeat before Paris, the retreat from the Marne back to the Aisne,
and finally by the growing fear that Italy, instead of coming into the
conflict as an ally of the two Teutonic Empires, might, if she became
an active combatant at all, cast in her lot with France and with

It was from civilians that I got a sense of the intellectual motive
powers behind the mass of civilians in Rhenish Prussia. It was from them
that I learned something of the real German meaning of the German word
_Kultur_. In view of recent and present developments on our side of the
ocean, culminating in our entry into the war, I am constrained to
believe I may perhaps, in my own small way, contribute to American
readers some slight measure of appreciation of what that _Kultur_ means
and may mean as applied to other and lesser nations by its creators,
protagonists and proud proprietors.

I heard nothing of _Kultur_ from the German military men with whom I had
theretofore come into contact in Belgium and in Northern France, and
whom I still was meeting daily both in their social and in their
official capacities. So far as one might judge by their language and
their behaviour they, almost without an exception, were heartily at war
for a hearty love of war--the officers, I mean. To them the war--the
successful prosecution of it, regardless of the cost; the immediate
glory, and the final ascendancy over all Europe and Asia of the German
arms--was everything. With them nothing else counted but that--except,
of course, the ultimate humbling of Great Britain in the dust. Seemingly
the woful side of the situation, the losses and the sufferings and the
horrors, concerned them not a whit. War for war's sake; that was their
religion; never mind what had gone before; never mind what might come
after. To make war terribly and successfully, to make it with
frightfulness and with a frightful speed, was their sole aim.

Never did I hear them, or any one of them, openly invoking the aid of
the Creator. They were content with the tools forged for their hands by
their military overlords. As for the men in the ranks, if they did any
thinking on their own account it was not visible upon the surface. Their
business was to use their bodies, not their heads; their trade to obey
orders. They knew that business and they followed that trade. And
already poor little wasted Belgium stood a smoking, bloody monument to
their thorough, painstaking and most efficient craftsmanship.

Nor, except among the green troops which had not yet been under fire,
was there any expressed hatred, either with officers or men, for the
opposing soldiers. During our experiences in the battle lines, and
directly behind the battle lines, in the weeks immediately preceding
the time of which I purpose to write, we had aimed at a plan of
ascertaining, with perfect accuracy, whether the German forces we
encountered had seen any service except theoretical service. If we ran
across a command whose members spoke contemptuously of the French or the
English or the Belgian soldiers, we might make sure in our own minds
that here were men who had yet to come to grips at close range with
their enemy.

On the other hand, troops who actually had seen hard fighting rarely
failed to evince a sincere respect, and in some instances a sort of
reluctant admiration, for the courage and the steadfastness of their
adversaries. They were convinced--and that I suppose was only
natural--of the superiority of the German soldiers, man for man, over
the soldiers of any other nation; but they had been cured of the earlier
delusion that most of the stalwart heroes were to be found on the one
side and most of the weaklings and cravens on the other.

Likewise the hot furnaces of battle had smelted much of the hate out of
their hearts. The slag was gone; what remained was the right metal of
soldierliness. I imagine this has been true in a greater or less degree
of all so-called civilised wars where brave and resolute men have fought
against brave and resolute men. Certainly I know it to have been true of
the first periods of this present war.


But fifty or a hundred miles away on German soil, among the home-biding
populace, was a different story. It was there I found out about
_Kultur_. It was there I first began to realise that, not content with
assuming a direct and intimate partnership with Providence, civilian
Germany was taking Providence under its patronage, was remodelling its
conceptions of Deity to be purely and solely a German Deity.

That more or less ribald jingle called "Me und Gott!" aimed at the
Kaiser and frequently repeated in this country a few years before, had,
in the face of what we now beheld, altogether lost the force of its
one-time humorous application. As we appraised the prevalent sentiment,
it had, in the sober, serious consciousness of otherwise sane men and
women, become the truth and less than the truth.

Any Christian race, going to war in what it esteems to be a righteous
cause, prays to God to bless its campaigns with victory and to sustain
its arms with fortitude. It had remained for this Christian race to
assume that the God to whom they addressed their petitions was their own
peculiar God, and that His Kingdom on Earth was Germany and Germany
only; and that His chosen people now and forevermore would be Germans
and Germans only.

This is not a wild statement. Trustworthy evidence in support of it
will presently be offered.

We met some weirdly interesting persons during our enforced sojourn
there in Aix la Chapelle in September and October of that year. There
was, for example, the invalided officer who never spoke of England or
the English that he did not grind his teeth together audibly. I have
never yet been able to decide whether this was a bit of theatricalism
designed to make more forcible than the words he uttered his detestation
for the country which, most of all, had balked Germany in her designs
upon France and upon the mastery of the seas--a sort of dental
punctuation for his spoken anathemas, as it were--or whether it was an
involuntary expression of his feelings. In either event he grated his
teeth very loudly, very frequently and very effectively.

There was the young German petty officer, also on sick leave, who told
me with great earnestness and professed to believe the truth of it that
two captured English surgeons had been summarily executed because in
their surgical kits had been found instruments especially designed for
the purpose of gouging out the eyes of wounded and helpless Germans.

And there was the spectacled scientist-author-spy, who dropped in on two
of us one morning at the hotel where we were quartered, and who
thereafter favoured us at close intervals with many hours of his
company. It was from this person more than from any other that I
acquired what I believed to be a fairly adequate conception of the views
held then and thereafter and now by an overwhelming majority of educated
Prussians, trained in the Prussian school of thought and propaganda.

I cannot now recall this person's name, though I knew it well at the
time; but I do recall his appearance. He was tall and slender, with red
hair; a lean, keen intellectual face; and a pair of weak, pale-blue
eyes, looking out through heavy convex glasses. He spoke English, French
and Danish with fluency. He had been a world traveller and had written
books on the subject of travel, which he showed us. He had been an
inventor of electrical devices and had written at least one book on the
subject of electric-lighting development. He had been an amateur
photographer of some note evidently, and had written rather extensively
on that subject.

His present employment was not so easily discerned, though it was quite
plain that, like nearly every intelligent civilian in that part of
Germany, he was engaged upon some service more or less closely related
to the military and governmental activities of the empire. He wore the
brassard of the Red Cross on his arm, it is true, but apparently had
nothing really to do with hospital or ambulance work. And he had at his
disposal a military automobile, in which he made frequent and more or
less extended excursions into the occupied territory of France and

After one or two visits from him we decided that, by some higher
authority, he had been assigned to the dual task of ascertaining our own
views regarding Germany's part in the conflict and of influencing our
minds if possible to accept the views he and his class held. He may
have had an even more important mission; we thought sometimes that he
perhaps was doing a little espionage work, either on his own account or
under orders, because he began to seek our company about the time we
noted a cessation of clumsy activities on the part of those two
preposterously mysterious sleuths of the German Secret Service who,
until then, had been watching us pretty closely.

Be this as it may, he manifested a gentlemanly but persistent curiosity
regarding our observations and regarding the articles which he knew we
were writing for American consumption. And meantime he lost no
opportunity of preaching into our ears the theories and the dogmas of
his Prussianized _Kultur_.

I remember that, on almost his first call upon us, either my companion
or myself remarked upon the united and the whole-hearted devotion the
civilian populace of the province, from the youngest to the oldest,
exhibited for the German cause. Instantly his posture changed. From the
polite interviewer he turned into the zealot who preaches a holy cause.
His lensed eyes became pallid blue sparks; and he said:

"Surely--and why not? For forty-odd years we have been educating our
people to believe that only through war and through conquest could our
nation achieve its place in the sun--elbowroom for its industrial and
its spiritual development. Germany is a giant--the giant of the universe
and she must have breathing space; and only by the swallowing up of
smaller states can she get that breathing space. Almost at the mother's
breast we teach our babies that. Do you know, my friends, what the first
question is, in the first primer of geography, which German children
hear when they enter school?

"No? Then I will tell you. The first question is 'What is Germany?' And
the answer is 'My Fatherland--a country entirely surrounded by Enemies!'

"So you see, gentlemen, we start at the cradle and at the kindergarten
to teach our young people what it means to live with Russia on one side
of them and with France and Belgium and Britain on the other. They
cannot forget for one instant the task that lies before them. Their
educators--parents, teachers, pastors, military instructors, officials
of every rank and every grade--never let them forget it."


Even more illuminating were his views with regard to the position of
Germany in Europe before the war began. He admitted that for years, by
the neighbour-peoples, Germany had been feared and distrusted. This, he
insisted, was not Germany's fault, but a fear and a distrust born of
envy and malice among deteriorated and decaying nations for a land
which, so far as Europe, at least, was concerned, was the mother of all
the virtues and all the great benevolent impulses of the century. He
denied that Germany had ever been overbearing or threatening; denied
that anything except jealousy could lie at the back of the general
suspicion directed against Prussia, not only by aliens but--before the
war began--by Bavaria and by Saxony as well.

"Germany," he said to me one day, "has earned the right to rule this
Hemisphere; and Germany is going to rule it! When we have conquered our
enemies, as conquer them we shall--when we have implanted among them our
own German culture, our own German institutions and our own German form
of government, which surely we also shall do--they will, in succeeding
generations, be the better and the happier for it. They will come to
know, then, that the guns of our fleets and the rifles of our soldiers
brought them blessings in disguise. Out of their present sufferings and
their future humiliations will spring up the benefits of German

"At first they may not want to accept our German civilisation. They will
have to accept it--at the point of the bayonet if necessary. If it is
required that these petty lesser states should be exterminated
altogether, we shall not hesitate before that task either. They are
decadents, dying now of dry rot and degeneracy; better that they should
be dead altogether than that the spread of German _Kultur_ through the
world should be checked or diverted from its course. We shall teach the
world that the individual exists for the good of the state, rather than
that the state exists for the individual."

To the miseries that had been inflicted upon Belgium, and which he
himself had had opportunity to view at first hand, he gave no heed--this
scholarly pundit-preacher of the tenets of Prussianism. With a wave of
his hand he dismissed the question of the rights and wrongs of the
German invasion of Belgium. He wasted no sympathy upon Louvain, sacked
and pillaged and burned, or upon Dinant, razed to the ground for the
most part, and with seven hundred of its male inhabitants put to death
on one slaughter-day in punitive punishment for acts of guerrilla
warfare alleged to have been committed by civilians against Germans
coming upon them in uniform.

Yet I do not think that, in most of the relations of life, he was a
cruel or even an unkind man. He merely saw Belgium through glasses made
in Germany. He explained his attitude substantially after this fashion,
as I now recall the sense and the phrasing of his words:

"What difference does it make to posterity that we have had to destroy a
few hotbeds of ignorance and shoot a few thousand undisciplined,
uneducated, turbulent persons? What difference though we may have to
continue to destroy yet more Belgian towns and shoot yet more Belgian
civilians? Ultimately the results of our operations are bound to redound
to the greater glory of the Greater German Empire, which means European

"My friend, do you know that nearly a quarter of the inhabitants of
Belgium are illiterates, as you would put it in English--_Unalphabets_,
as we Germans say? Well, that is true--a quarter of them can neither
read nor write. In Germany only a fractional part of one per cent of our
people are illiterate to that extent. We have taken Belgium by force of
arms and we are never going to give it up. Already it is a province of
the German Empire.

"When our lawgivers have followed our soldiers across the expanded
frontiers of our Empire; when we have made the German language the
language of annexed Belgium; when we have introduced our incomparably
superior methods into all departments of Belgian life; when we have
taught all the Belgians to speak the German tongue, and have required of
them that they do speak it--then these Belgians, as Germans, will be
better off than ever they could have been as Belgians. Never fear; we
shall know how to handle them.

"With Alsace and Lorraine we were too mild for their own good. With
Belgium we shall be stern; but we shall be just. It is the predestined
fate of Belgium that she should become a German possession and a German
territory. Geography and destiny both point the way for us, and we
Germans never turn from the duties intrusted to us by our God and our
Kaiser! We mean to teach these lesser peoples before we are through that
the individual exists for the good of the State, not, as some of them
profess to believe, that the State exists for the good of the


It never seemed to occur to him that Belgians or Frenchmen or Dutchmen
might personally prefer to keep on being Belgians or Frenchmen or
Dutchmen, and might have some rights in the matter; indeed might prefer
to die rather than live under a system intolerable to human beings
reared outside the scope of Prussian influence. So far as I might judge,
this never occurred to any of the less eloquent but equally ardent
defenders of this peculiar brand of _Kultur_ with whom I talked during
that fall in the Rhineland country.

We must have been blind then, my companion and I--yes, and deaf too; for
we diagnosed this bigotry as evidences of an egomania, probably confined
to a few hundreds or a few thousands among the German-speaking peoples.
In the light of what has happened since we all know that the disease
affected a whole nation, and was a disease of which, as yet, the
frequent upsettings of their original programme and the absolute
certainty that the programme itself can never be carried out until
Europe and America both are graveyards have not to any very noticeable
extent served to operate as a cure.

In those early, optimistic days these paranoiacs conceived of a world
that should sometime be altogether Prussianised. Their vision was not
bounded by the seas about their own Continent; it extended to other
Continents, our own included. That dream is over and done with. What
they have yet to learn--and they will only be taught it at the muzzle of
guns--is that a civilisation cannot endure when it is half Prussian and
half free. It is my understanding that this country, along with ten or
twelve others, is now committed to the task of enforcing this lesson
upon the consciousness of the only confederation of enemies to a
representative form of government now left upon either hemisphere.


A prophet is nearly always a bore. He is apt to be tiresome when
expounding his predictions, and likely to become a common nuisance
should his predictions come true. Indeed, the I-told-you-so person is
oftentimes a worse pest than the I-am-now-telling-you-so individual. I
have no desire to assume either rôle; but here lately I have not been
able to restrain my satisfaction at finding, as I believed, that two of
my own private convictions are about to be justified by the accomplished
fact. As a result of all that I saw and heard in the war zone, more than
two years and a half ago, I made up my mind to the probable consummation
of these contingencies--namely:

FIRST: That, despite her earlier successes, despite all her preparedness
and all her efficiency and all her valour, Germany eventually would be
defeated as the Southern Confederacy was defeated--by being bled white
and starved thin.

SECOND: That when to Germany's rulers this prospect became certain they
would with deliberate intent embroil the United States in the conflict
as an avowed and declared enemy, in order that the men who drove Germany
to the slaughter might save their faces before their own people, at the
front and at home, by saying to them in effect: "We were strong enough
to beat all Europe and all Asia; we were not strong enough to beat the
supreme Power of the New World too; we, with our allies, could not
withstand the combined forces of the whole earth."

Though Germany is still very far, one imagines, from the point of
complete exhaustion, it is not to be denied that she is bleeding white
and starving thin. And, as all fair-minded patriotic men on this side of
the ocean agree, she did, by a persistent campaign of aggressions
against our flag, and by murdering our people on the high seas, and by
plotting against our industries and our national integrity, finally
force us into the war.

Having been forced into the war, as we are, it is well that our people
should know to the fullest possible degree not only what they are
fighting for--the preservation of democracy in the world, for one
thing--but that likewise they should know and in that knowledge
recognise the danger to us, of the mental forces operating behind the
military arm of our national enemy.

I think they should know that in the minds of these self-idolaters, who
have laid claim to Creator and to creation as their own ordained
possessions, we shall stand in no different light than the Belgians
stand, or the Serbians, or the Poles, or the people of Northern France.
Upon us, if the chance is vouchsafed them, they would visit a heaping
measure of the same wrath they poured on those invaded and broken
nations of Europe, showing to Americans no more mercy than they showed
to them.

I deem it my duty, therefore, to write what already I have written in
this little book, and, before closing it, to append certain quotations,
as particularly illuminating evidences of the besetting mania that has
been fastened upon the brains of an otherwise rational race of our
fellow beings through two generations of crafty implanting and fostering
by greater maniacs, wearing crowns and shoulder straps, and--yes, the
livery of Our Lord and Master.

For the quotations from the poetic utterances of the Reverend Doctor
Vorwerk, which appeared in preceding paragraphs of this article, the
writer is indebted to a documentation compiled from authentic German
sources by a Dane, the Reverend J. P. Bang, D. D., professor of theology
at the University of Copenhagen, a famous Lutheran institution, under
the title of _Hurrah and Hallelujah_--which, incidentally, was a title
borrowed from the published poetic works of this same Doctor Vorwerk.
Doctor Bang's symposium has lately been published in English by the
American publisher, Doran, with an introduction by "Ralph Connor," the
Canadian novelist, otherwise Major Charles W. Gordon, of the Canadian
Overseas Forces.


Had Doctor Bang set forth as his own views, as a neutral, the amazing
utterances which make up the bulk of his compilation, no one here or
abroad would have believed that he described a true condition. But he
was smarter than that. He was mainly content to repeat literal
translations of indubitable prayers, poems, sermons, addresses--written
and spoken statements of contemporary German clergymen, German
professors and German statesmen.

In further support of the point which I have been striving to make I
mean to take the liberty here of adding a few more extracts from the
first American edition of _Hurrah and Hallelujah_, in each instance
giving credit to the original German author of the same.

For instance, the Reverend Doctor Vorwerk, who appears to specialise in
prayers, begins one invocation with this sentence, which is especially
interesting in that the good pastor couples the Cherubim, the Seraphim,
and--guess what?--the Zeppelins in the same breath:

     "Thou Who dwellest high above Cherubim, Seraphim and Zeppelins;
     Thou Who art enthroned as a God of Thunder in the midst of
     lightning from the clouds, and lightning from sword and cannon,
     send thunder, lightning, hail and tempest hurtling upon our enemy;
     bestow upon us his banners; hurl him down into the dark burial

Another poet, Franz Philippi by name, in a widely circulated work called
_World-Germany_, delivers himself in part as follows:

     "Formerly German thought was shut up in her corner; but now the
     world shall have its coat cut according to German measure and, as
     far as our swords flash and German blood flows, the circle of the
     earth shall come under the tutelage of German activity."

Herr J. Suze, a prose writer, says with the emphasis of profound

     "The Germans are first before the Throne of God--Thou couldst not
     place the golden crown of victory in purer hands."

On November 13, 1914, according to Doctor Bang, a German theological
professor preached an address which the _Berliner Lokal Anzeiger_
reproduced, with favourable editorial comment. Here is a typical
paragraph from this sermon:

     "The deepest and most thought-inspiring result of the war is 'the
     German God.' Not the national God such as the lower nations
     worship, but 'Our God,' Who is not ashamed of belonging to us, the
     peculiar acquirement of our heart."

The Reverend H. Francke is a pastor in the city of Liegnitz. From his
pulpit he delivered a series of so-called war sermons, which afterward,
at the request of the members of his flock, were printed in a book, the
cover of which was ornamented with the Iron Cross. And we find the
Reverend Francke adding his voice to the chorus thus:

     "Germany is precisely--who would venture to deny it?--the
     representative of the highest morality, of the purest humanity, of
     the most chastened Christianity."

The Reverend Walter Lehmann, pastor at the town of Hamberge, in
Holstein, went a trifle further. When he got out his book of war sermons
he published it under the title _About the German God_; and therein,
among other things, he said:

     "This means that we go forth to war as Christians, precisely as
     Christians, as we Germans understand Christianity; it means that we
     have God on our side.... Can the Russians, the French, the
     Serbians, the English, say this? No; not one of them. Only we
     Germans can say it.... If God is for us who can be against us? It
     is enough for us to be a part of God.... A
     nation"--Germany--"which is God's seed corn for the future....
     Germany is the centre of God's plans for the world.... That
     glorious feat of arms forty-four years ago"--the Battle of
     Sedan--"gives us courage to believe that the German soul is the
     world's soul; that God and Germany belong to one another."

These are the concluding words of the Reverend Lehmann's book _About the
German God_:

     "Oh, that the German God may permeate the world! Oh, that the
     eternal victory may blossom before the God of the German soul!"

It will not do to slight the Herr Pastor Job Rump, lic., Doctor, of
Berlin. Hearken a moment to a word or two from one of Doctor Rump's
published pamphlets:

     "A corrupt world, fettered in monstrous sin, shall, by the will of
     God, be healed by the German nature.... Ye"--the Germans--"are the
     chosen generation, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the
     peculiar people."

A learned and no doubt a pious professor, Herr G. Roethe, is credited
with this modest claim:

     "While other nations are born, ripen and grow old, the Germans
     alone possess the gift of rejuvenescence."

And so on and so forth, for two hundred and thirty-four pages of _Hurrah
and Hallelujah_. The run of the contents is quite up to sample. None of
us can object to these reverend gentlemen seeking to walk with God; what
we do object to is their undertaking to lead Him.


So far as I can tell, Doctor Bang has not overlooked a single bet. He
makes out a complete case; and, what is more, in so doing he relies
not upon his own conclusions, but upon the avowed utterances of
distinguished German savants, clergymen and versifiers.

These, then, are the spoken thoughts of civilian leaders of our enemy.
If the leaders believe these things their followers must also believe
them; must believe, with the Reverend Lehmann and the Reverend Vorwerk,
that God is a German God, and should properly be so addressed by a
worshipper upon his knees, since one prayer begins "O German God!"; must
believe, with Von Bernhardi--who spoke of "the miserable life of all
small states"--that "to allow to the weak the same right of existence as
to the strong, vigorous nation means presumptuous encroachment upon the
natural laws of development"; and with Treitschke, that "the small
nations have no right to existence and ought to be swallowed up"; and
with Lasson, that "It is moral, inasmuch as it is reasonable, that the
small states, in spite of treaties, should become the prey of the
strongest"; and must believe that to Prussia was appointed the task of
curing the whole world, America included, of what--according to the
Prussian ideal--ails it.

It is the nation which believes these things, and which has striven in
this war to practice what its teachers preached, that we now are called
upon to fight. If we remember this as we go along it will help us to
understand some of the things the enemy will seek to do unto us; and
should help him to understand some of the things we mean to do unto him.

Indeed, there is hope of his being able some day to understand that we
entered this war not against a people or a nation so much as we entered
it against an idea, a disease, a form of paranoia, a form of rabies, a
form of mania which has turned men into blasphemous and murderous mad
dogs, running amuck and slavering in the highways of the world.

What would any intelligent American do if a mad dog entered the street
where he lived, even though that dog, before it went mad, had been a
kind and docile creature? And what is he going to do in the existing

The same answer does for both questions. Because there is only one

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