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   Chapter 4 THE POLITICAL CAUSES OF THE WAR

The Audacious War By Clarence W. Barron Characters: 9535

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05


A State with no Morals-A Peace Treaty sundered-Where Germany fails-A

Thunderbolt.

Sending his little expedition to China the Kaiser said:-

"When you encounter the enemy you will defeat him; no quarter shall be given, no prisoners shall be taken. Let all who fall into your hands be at your mercy. Just as the Huns one thousand years ago, under the leadership of Attila, gained a reputation in virtue of which they still live in historical tradition, so may the name of Germany become known in such a manner in China that no Chinaman will ever again dare to look askance at a German."

Belgium was made an example of. According to the German idea she should have accepted money and not stood in the way of German progress.

German military progress is allied with German commercial progress. It is a mistake in the conception of Germany to imagine that she wars for the purpose of war or for the development and training of her men.

The first principle of German "Kultur" as respects the state is that the sole business of the government is to advance the interests of the state. No laws having been formulated in respect to the business of a state, the government is without moral responsibility, and the laws applicable to individual action do not apply to the state. Individuals may do wrong, but the state cannot do wrong. Individuals may steal and be punished therefor, but the state cannot steal. It is its business to expand and to appropriate. Individuals may murder and be punished for the crime, but it is the business of the state to kill for state development or progress.

The English-speaking conception of morality is that what applies to an individual in a community applies to the aggregate of the individuals, that the state is only the aggregate of the individuals exercising the natural human functions of government for law and order.

This is entirely outside the German conception. In the German conception a government comes down from above and not up from the people. It is not the people who rule or govern, but the government from above rules the people, and the people must implicitly follow and obey; thus is national progress and human progress. The whole of Germany believes in the government of the Kaiser: that law and war flow down through him and that neither can be questioned by the individual. Obedience, union, efficiency, progress, and progress through war, if necessary, are cardinal virtues.

Germany does not desire war with Russia, but German progress requires the continuance of present tariff relations, and if war is a means to that desirable end, war is divine.

The murder of the Crown Prince of Austria was an incident furnishing Germany and Austria opportunity to carry out their long-conceived programme for the extension of their influence through the growing state of Servia.

A treaty had been arranged between Greece and Turkey, and was to have been signed in July, which would have settled many things in respect to Turkey and the Balkan states. Roumania and Servia were in agreement concerning this great measure for peace in southeastern Europe.

When all was ready for the final conference and the signatures, Austria intervened and announced her opposition. Then suddenly followed the bombshell of the ultimatum to Servia, timed at the precise moment to stop the signing of this Turkish treaty.

Austrian officials admitted privately as follows, and I have it directly from parties to the negotiations:-

"We are satisfied that Servia would punish the murderers of Prince Ferdinand if we so requested. We are satisfied she would apologize to Austria if we requested it. But our aims go beyond. We demand that instead of the proposed Turkish treaty the Balkan states shall come into union with Turkey under the influence of Austria. To accomplish this we must accept no apology, but must punish Servia. We are satisfied that Russia is in no financial or military position to interfere."

Germany with its enormous spy system had secured copies of the confidential state papers of the Czar and transmitted them to Vienna. In these were warnings, statistics, and compilations showing all the financial and military weaknesses of Russia: that her great gold reserve had been largely loaned out and was not available cash on hand, as the world had been led to believe; that it would take eighteen months more of preparation to place her military forces in position to defend the country; that her arms and the factories to build them were not ready.

The plans of Austria and Germany were to line up the Balkan states, under German political and trade influences, and then within two years to have it out with Russia and again impose the German tariffs upon her. If France dare

d to come in, it would certainly be an attack, and Italy would, under the Triple Alliance, assist to defend Austria and Germany. Defeating Russia, Germany could, at that time or later, crush France in the manner in which Bismarck had said she might eventually be crushed by Germany for Germany's progress.

Then, having made more onerous tariff treaties with France than were exacted from her in 1870 and having extended German trade and military influence over Russia, Germany would be in a position with her navy to try out the long desired issue with Great Britain for the control of the seas.

Admiral Von Tirpitz told the emperor that it must be at least two years more before the German navy would be able to try conclusions with England.

The German plan was to take the European countries one at a time. The German information was that every country except Germany was unprepared, and that information was true. She was fully prepared except in her navy.

One of the leaders among those great business Lords of England, who sit with the Commoners in business, but in the House of Lords as respects legislation, said to me when I spoke of the wonderful intelligence of Germany in research and data, scientific and political: "But, don't you think that the Germans had too much information and too little judgment?"

In other words, they had a stomach full of facts but no capacity to digest them. They knew as much about Ulster and perhaps more than London as respects facts and detailed information, but they were in no position to pass judgment upon Ulster or the unity of the British Empire the moment there was an attack from the outside. The Germans have dealt in materialistic facts. But with the spirit that moulds and makes history they are all awry. With the Germans, individuals are units and are counted from the outside, never from the inside. That is why her diplomacy is not only a failure, but offensive: it never differentiates among nations and peoples according to that which is within the mind and the heart of the people.

The German Emperor directed the Austrian ultimatum to Servia, insisting upon stronger demands than were at first proposed. Then, turning his back upon the scene, he was able to protest that he was not responsible. Yet the published correspondence from every capital in Europe now shows that the German Emperor fenced off every attempt to get Austria to modify or postpone or discuss her demands. Germany was ready for everything except the interference of Great Britain.

A private telephone rang at five o'clock one morning in Berlin and an American lady was informed from a social quarter that "Something dreadful has happened." "Something awful-something undreamed of." The American lady quickly asked, "Has the Kaiser been assassinated?" as the tone over the telephone indicated nothing less.

The response was, "England has declared war!"

That was the most unlooked-for step in all the German calculations.

Every spy report, every diplomatic agency, military and civil, had reported that England was out of the running: Ireland in revolution, India in sedition, Canada, Australia, and South Africa just ready to break away from the British yoke.

The conception of the British empire as a federation of free peoples governing themselves, under a constitutional monarchy, is something incomprehensible in the German idea of government. The German idea is of colonies attached to and paying tribute to the crown, something to be ruled over, governed, taxed, and made to serve.

Russia might go to war exposing in the field her weakness already spread out on paper by Russian authorities, with copies in Vienna and Berlin; but that England or Great Britain could or would fight at this time was an impossibility; although later England was to become "The vassal of Germany."

And the wonderment of Germany has become the wonderment of the world. "Roll up," said Kitchener, and 2,000,000 men sprang to arms. More than 800,000 of them are on the Continent; 1,700,000 of them are in training.

"Roll up," said Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the British Exchequer; and $1,700,000,000 of war loan is rolling into the British Treasury, a sum one half the national debt of England and nearly twice the national debt of the United States.

If necessary, the number of men in arms will be doubled to 4,000,000 and the enormous subscription just made to England's war loan will be doubled and quadrupled.

The life of the empire as respects money and men is at stake, and no sacrifice is too great. If treaties are "scraps of paper" and neutral states are to have no rights or protection, there is no safety in the world, no sacredness of contracts; the world is at an end and chaos reigns.

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