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   Chapter 16 THE GERMAN POSITION

The Audacious War By Clarence W. Barron Characters: 13822

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05


An Aggressive Germany-The Logic of It-The War Party Supreme-A War for

Business-What Confronts Germany-Her Finish.

A mighty nation surrounded and besieged, yet still fighting on foreign soil, is the position of Germany to-day. Her triumph would mean, not alone a European conquest, but a world-conquest. Her defeat within a reasonable time does not mean her destruction or dismemberment. It means only the destruction of Prussian militarism and that theory of national existence into which the German people have been led under the present emperor, that theory which teaches:-

"War and courage have done more great things than Charity."

"What is good? All that increases the feeling of power; the will to power."

"The weak and debauched must perish, and should be helped to perish."

This is the philosophy, the teaching and the language of Nietzsche and on it Treitschke and Bernhardi founded their war propaganda.

When Emperor William II ascended the throne and became the "All Highest War Lord," he found himself at the head of two great Germanys: a military Germany arising from the Prussian conquest of France in 1870, by which more than thirty states had been welded into a compact unity of military order, commercial tariffs, railroad transportation, and national finance; and an industrial Germany forging ahead in the commercialism of the earth at a pace exceeded by no other nation.

Bismarck and Von Moltke had made a Germany for defense. The railways did not flow to the ocean for the interchange of commerce. They ran primarily east and west to the Russian and French frontiers for military reasons; but never for attack, always for defense. It was expected that France would revive and again seek to try issues with Germany. In this she might possibly be assisted by Russia. Hence the German plans were for defense against these two countries.

As Germany developed in industry, the military caste receded relatively. Bankers, merchants, shippers, and traders came to the front. Railways bent the traffic of the country to the sea, and harbors and ports of commerce grew with rapid strides.

"What a wonderful business man is the German Emperor!" said the world. "He advertises Germany all over the earth by the spiked helmet and the rattle of his sword, but never war seeks he." The world must now revise this opinion.

German unity gave rise to German efficiency and German thoroughness, and to a demand for a larger German unity. The whole German-speaking race must be put together and bound together. Germany must expand over the seas, in colonial empire, and by tariffs of her own making. This meant that the Germans must have dominion on sea as well as land. Alliances must first be cemented with Austria and her neighboring states. Italy must be dragged into a triple alliance; and the small Balkan States must be tied up with Austria, that through an alliance with Turkey, Germany might reach not only the Mediterranean but the waters of the Pacific. This must happen before the great try-out for the mastery of the seas.

Now, the central point in the study of Germany under the present Kaiser is the naval programme for over-seas conquest, which was originated entirely by the present Kaiser. It was he and no other who aimed to turn defensive Germany into aggressive Germany. He has been the author from the beginning of the entire naval programme.

Such a plan must take cunning and strategy covering years. It must proclaim peace to the world but rouse all the fighting blood of the German-speaking race. The spirit for world-conquest must be stimulated in all literature and art, in education, and commerce; with the individual and the family. The danger of Germany must be pointed out. The greatness and rightfulness of her ambitions in the world must be brought forward and educated into the blood of every growing German.

While to the outside world steadily proclaiming peace, the Kaiser was as steadily inculcating war and the principles of war into every avenue of German thought and philosophy.

The Germans are nothing if not logical and scientific. They must therefore find a reason in philosophy and in the facts of history for their national programme. Those who found these reasons and logically set them forth were hailed as the great philosophers and educators of Germany. The logic was simple. It was that all history and all progress had been made by war; that peace-loving races decayed, and finally perished, and their places were rightfully taken by the younger, braver, sturdier, and hardier fighting races.

"Let your superiority be an acceptance of hardship." "Die at the right time." "Be hard." "What is happiness? The feeling that power increases, that resistance is being overcome." Nietzsche thus talked the principles of this philosophy; a something entirely apart from the principles of the Christian religion, but an absolutely philosophical, modern paganism; a worship of power, the assertions of one's individual and national self-"The Will to Power."

Treitschke taught it to the youth of Germany as applied to war,-not the necessity for defense but the justice and the righteousness of aggressive warfare. The Emperor and his court hailed these teachings with great acclaim. Chamberlain, an Englishman, printed a book to show that all good things were German; that the great Italian art-workers were German; that Christ himself was of German origin.

The teachings of Christ were repudiated by Germany, but His greatness in world leadership must be claimed for Germany. Had not all the poets given Him the German countenance and complexion, even light hair and blue eyes? The German Emperor bought presentation copies of this book by the thousand.

If you think the picture is over-drawn, get a copy of Chamberlain's

"Foundations of the Nineteenth-Century Civilization."

There are those who acclaim that all these teachings were never meant for war; that the Germans, outside of Prussia, being a phlegmatic, home-loving, non-military people, needed to have their patriotism stimulated with "war talk" and national ambitions.

Now there are those who see that it was all part of a cunning propaganda for a world-conquest; that Germany was cultivated industrially and financially to give base for military operations.

But most carefully have the business men of Germany been excluded from the war councils. I asked one of the best-informed men in the diplomatic cycles of Europe, whose business all his life has been to travel from country to country studying the languages, thought, and customs of all people, west of Asia and north of Africa: "Are the German bankers and business men to have no say in Berlin as to peace and war or the military policy of the empire?" His response was emphatic: "Not one word; they would no more be allowed expression of opinion in the inner councils of military

Germany than would a rank foreigner from the farthest part of the earth. Still in Germany is the business of trade apart from the business of government."

The world may now see that the business of Germany was war from the beginning under Kaiser Wilhelm II, and that Germany was to be made great on land and sea by the sword of war hacking the way for German commerce, German tariffs, and German commercialism. The old feudal idea of trade expanded and supported by a war lord has been the idea of Germany since the pilot, Bismarck, was dropped by the young Emperor from the ship of state. War for aggression, war for business, war for German expansion, has been the scheme. That these plans were interrupted and the war precipitated sooner than expected was most fortunate for American civilization and all civilization, west of Germany.

It was the Kaiser who changed the terms of Austria's ultimatum to Servia, making them impossible of fulfillment, and then cunningly slipped away on a water-trip with the fastest German cruiser behind him, that he might come rushing back and cry, "Peace, peace!" while he fenced off every peace proposal from effectively reaching Austria. Servia was willing to agree to every demand of Austria except that which involved a change in her constitutional government, with which she could not comply in the allotted time; but even this she was willing to discuss. The Kaiser gave Russia twelve hours to demobilize, and then declared war on her five days before Russia even withdrew her minister from Vienna.

While the Germans have gone to war to possess the land and dominate the business of their neighbors, they have not gone to war as savage tribes, seeking blood and human sacrifice as an end in itself.

I have not dealt with German atrocities in Belgium or France. War is atrocious, and you cannot move millions of men to the slaughter of their fellow men without revealing a certain percentage of crimes kindred to murder.

In due time, all the atrocities of this war may be shown up in photographs which have been taken. The Carnegie Peace Foundation is circulating photographs showing the atrocities in the Bulgarian wars. It might be much more timely for them to circulate photographs showing the horrors and atrocities of human sacrifice in this most audacious war.

Previous chapters have shown how German diplomacy slipped, how the German secret service had gathered the facts of the military, financial, and political weaknesses of Russia, Great Britain, and France, yet with no ability to value properly the spirit of the peoples behind this military unpreparedness. Germany has been described as "System without Soul." It remains only to show the relative weaknesses of Germany, and why she cannot win this war.

The Allies can reach round the world for men, war-supplies, and financial assistance. Germany can get no more men, no more gold, no more outside war-supplies. She must manufacture and be self-sustaining.

In the first six months of the war Germany has raised a loan of 4,400,000,000 marks, or about 1,100,000,000 dollars, promptly and patriotically taken by her people.

But international bankers inform me that every dollar of this and fifty percent more was gone before January 1, 1915. This is also indicated by the expansion of her paper money and her efforts to maintain the gold basis under that paper.

As this is regarded as a life-and-death struggle for Germany, the jewelry in the Empire must go into the melting-pot.

I can well credit the reports of copper household utensils and building materials going into the melting-pot for the copper of war.

And of rubber, for which there is no substitute, I hear that above three dollars a pound is being bid in Germany, or about four times the price in the United States.

Still, the scarcity of gold, copper, gasolene, or rubber, or all combined, might not force Germany to sue for peace.

What I give a final verdict on is the tremendous human sacrifice that is exhausting both Austria and Germany. I do say from good sources that in the first twenty weeks of the war the German casualties-wounded, prisoners, missing, and killed-were above 1,700,000, while Austrian casualties are now approaching a million and a half.

In the first six months of the year Germany and Austria will have suffered not less than three million casualties. Of course, more than half these people are wounded, who may go back to the firing line. But the three hundred thousand and more dead will never go back; and many vitally wounded and many cripples will be hereafter useless in peace or war; and the prisoners that are exchanged with France through Geneva are under pledge and mutual government agreement not to take up arms again.

I have also more confidence in the Russian position, numbers, supplies, and strategy than is generally possessed in America.

We hear in the press reports of generals at the head of the armies in Russia and France. We do not hear of the wonderful younger generals that war is developing, and who are coming forward more rapidly there than from any similar developments under the bureaucracy of Germany.

The two greatest military strategists the war has developed are not in Germany or England. They are in Russia and France, and their names have not yet crossed the Atlantic in the press reports.

However long Germany may fight on, offensively or defensively, her retreat must begin this year. Then the world will be increasingly interested in the terms of peace.

Balfour, the English statesman, says privately, "I know the people look for the dismemberment of Germany, and some look for her destruction, but this is not the intelligent opinion or intelligent desire. Germany is an indispensable part of the world's industrial, commercial, financial, and political organization. To destroy Germany would be a world loss." The opinion of eminent political and financial people in England is that Germany can never repair the total damage she may inflict. So far as England is concerned, next after the destruction of Germany's war-power, giving insurance of a European peace, comes first the indemnification of every financial loss that Belgium suffers. This is now estimated at from $1,500,000,000 to $2,500,000,000.

What there will be left over in the way of Germany's ability to pay, aside from the Kiel Canal, Alsace and Lorraine, and German Poland, is problematical.

To have Germany able to pay even a part of the damage she is inflicting upon the world, she must be put back upon her industrial feet. Therefore, I have declared, when asked about this matter, that in the end England would be found the best friend of Germany. But conquered and destroyed must be the Prussian war-machine of aggression, or crumbles the art and industry of republican France and the democracy of English speech, thought, and government.

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