Obrazy na stronie

ity and the most devoted sense of duty, while warfare against Germany, both in its purpose and conduct, must be inspired solely by the Devil. A little further on he proves that our Lord's saying about the leaven cannot be applied to the enemy, for in them Christianity has not acted as a leaven at all—a parable of veneer would have been more appropriate.

"English Christianity, so famous all the world over, has been unmasked: it is the Christianity of treachery and hypocrisy. Such Christianity is valueless. The principles by which England allows herself to be guided in this war, and which throw such a melancholy light upon the English nation, are absolutely incompatible with the Christian religion. The campaign of lies which England has set in motion against us is entirely anti-Christian in character. Here we find 'the gates of Hell' wide open. Everything that official England has done for the spread of Christianity in the world is nullified by the request of the English Government in India to the heathen Hindus to pray to their gods for England's victory in arms. This is tantamount to express recognition of the heathen gods, against which the foreign missions are striving, as workers in England's cause.


He then proceeds to berate Russia, France, and Italy, and the natural conclusion is that "die Retter der Moral und die Träger der christlichen Religion in diesem Kriege sind schliesslich die deutschen Barbaren."" 1

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This is the tone in which reference is commonly made, both in sermons and pamphlets, to the enemies of Germany, and the effect is often truly comic. Witness Herr Theodor

Birt in Was heisst "Liebet eure Feinde"? (Marburg, 1915) who, after descanting upon the German passion for peace, and showing how their beautiful dreams have been destroyed by "Diabolus," goes on to say:

"Diabolus in German means Slanderer. Popular language calls him 'the Devil.' And this spirit it is that has desolated the souls of our opponents with narrowness of view, jealousy, lust for revenge, covetousness, breach of faith, and perfidy.”

I shall not dwell here upon the accusation of breach of faith brought by the Germans against their enemies (one would suppose that they have enough to do in sweeping their own doorstep clean), but I will devote some space to the consideration of their accusation of lust for revenge, in which they assume that they themselves in their moral grandeur are far removed from such ignoble impulses.

Let us return to Herr Loeber and see what he has to say. He gloats over the Old Testament Psalms of vengeance, and

1 "The champions of morality and the pillars of Christianity in this war are, after all, the German 'barbarians.'

2 "What do we mean by 'Love your enemies'?"

adds that the most fervent and passionately German patriots have been animated by this same sentiment. He further quotes Ernst Moritz Arndt, who states in his popular and widely known song:

and later:

"Then forth! Arminius' battlefield

Shall yield us our revenge "; 1

"Ho, sound the drums and sound the pipes,
To all the world appeal!

To-day we'll fight them man to man,

And red shall be the steel.

The Frenchman's cursed blood shall flow,
To-day shall every German know
The sweets of vengeance, and the glow
Of vengeance in him feel."2

And Theodor Körner exclaims:

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This author not only admits but actually glories in the German "Rachgier." Is there any other nation which habitually allows its sons to sing songs of revenge? Is there any other nation which consistently nurses the conviction that it has some grievance or other to be avenged? Is it not of assistance in understanding Germany to know that when she goes to war every one of her sons will fight in the conviction that he is the injured party and that it is he who has cause to seek revenge? It is just as Professor Boutroux wittily remarks in his excellent little book L'Allemagne et la guerre :

"Non seulement l'Allemagne est l'élue de la Providence, mais elle est seule élue, et les autres nations sont réprouvées. Le signe de son élection est l'anéantissement des trois légions de Quinctilius Varus, et sa tâche est de se venger éternellement de l'insolence du général romain. 'Nous partons pour livrer la bataille de Hermann, et nous voulons nous venger,' und wollen Rache haben; ainsi s'exprime le célèbre chant national: Der Gott, der Eisen wachsen liess."




"So ziehen Wir aus zur Herrmannsschlacht

Und wollen Rache haben."

"Lasst klingen, was nur klingen kann,
Die Trommeln und die Flöten.
Wir wollen heute Mann fur Mann
Mit Blut das Eisen röten,

Mit Henkerblut, Franzosenblut—
O süsser Tag der Rache!
Das klinget allen Deutschen gut,
Das ist die grosse Sache.

"Die Martyrer der heil'gen deutschen Sache,
O ruft sie an als Genien der Rache."

In his book Sechs Kriegs-Religionsstunden (Göttingen, 1915) Dr Bruno Wehnert develops the signification of the expiatory death of Jesus, who being perfect had to die for the sins of others. And the doctor proceeds to consider the Germans in the same light. Why is it, he asks, that the finest sons of our race, the ablest and best, should be forced to die in their youthful ardour and strength?

"We are so proud of maintaining that for each individual as well as for our whole people there is no better life, no higher morality, no purer striving after the greatest human blessings than among us Germans. And yet it is those Germans who suffer most fearfully."

It is a little prejudicial to the validity of the author's arguments that he cannot deny that the enemies of Germany also suffer, and that their-after all-quite severe suffering is caused by the Germans themselves, for we are not told anywhere that Christ allowed His enemies to suffer. But this consideration has not the slightest effect; the author adheres serenely to his own line of argument. It is impossible that Germany should suffer for sin. "Are the godless Frenchmen, the profit-blinded English, the insatiable Russians to be our judges before God's face?" No, that is out of the question. The Germans are innocent, and in proof (since he cannot very well represent them as the only sufferers) he maintains that they have suffered most. And how does he support this surprising statement? Just listen: "Since our opponents prefer venturing their lands and wealth rather than their persons, their riches rather than their nation's best sons.'

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Yes, it is amazing reading! German intelligence is here absolutely given over to the service of German self-love and naïveté, which both aim at the one goal, at proving incontestably that the German nation is on the side of Christ. And then follows:

"As the best nation we suffer, that we may help, by propitiation of the eternal laws of morality, and by deliverance from existing evils, to lead up to a better condition of the world than has existed heretofore. Like Jesus, we lift up our eyes and pray, with our gaze fixed upon Heaven: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. . . . ... We—that is, the German people-take our firm stand at His side. . . "Though poor, we are blessed. Though persecuted, ours is the Kingdom of Heaven."

And-the point of the whole argument

“Weil wir sanftmütig sind, werden wir das Erdreich besitzen.”1

1 "Because we are meek, we shall possess the Kingdom of Earth."


It is very significant that nowhere was the war welcomed with such jubilation as in Germany. Of course, it went without saying that Germany was absolutely innocent and the object of the most infamous assault, but nevertheless when war was proclaimed the people were enchanted. Thousands pens at once set to work to extol the blessed effects of war, till one at last began to wonder why peace was ever permitted, since she was the mother of all the vices, as war of all the virtues. Thousands of pens were busy in insisting upon a Christian authority for war, till at last one began to wonder why Christ Himself did not go about preaching it. And last, but not least, they looked forward to "ein frischer, fröhlicher Krieg," because it would extend greatly the power and splendour of the German realm, and probably lead to German domination of the world. For that Germany would be victorious there could be no reasonable doubt, as both God and man must admit. It was inconceivable that God, so often called "the German God," should be on any side but that of Germany. Had not the German prophet Geibel foretold that when Germany was attacked both from West and East her fulfilment was at hand. A speedy victory, like that of 1870, was anticipated. And since Germany was the pacific party, and had been attacked by inhuman foes, veritable "hyænas," through no fault of her own, she must be allowed to inflame her own people to hatred. Thousands of articles and pamphlets have been written to prove that it is the right of a German Christian to hate his enemies. For example, Herr Birt, in the book mentioned above, proves that when Christ said, "Love your enemies," He was not thinking of the political enemies of a country, and therefore,

"Deutscher Patriot, richt dich auf! Deinem gerechten Zorn gegen England steht Christus nicht entgegen!"1

I have given numerous proofs in my book of the way in which this hatred expresses itself, every scruple having been first carefully overcome. The few influential persons in Germany who have attempted to dam up this stream of hate have proved ineffectual. For pronouncements such as those of Herr Birt, for instance, are naturally much more acceptable. He turns our Lord's dictum, "No man can serve two masters,' into "Wer den deutschen Staat und seine Herrschgewalt liebt, der wird den Engländer hassen, der uns bedroht."

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1 "German patriot, arise! Christ does not forbid thy righteous hate of England."

2 "He who loves the German constitution, and its dominion, will hate England who is our menace."

In this connection I will quote once more, from a work by Herr Wilhelm Meyer, Vomehrlichen Krieg: Ein Büchlein von Gott und uns Deutschen (Marburg, 1915). It is absolutely typical. It is full of exultation in war.

"Blest be the earnest hour that makes us one at last with bonds of steel. . . . Now comes the war, the honest war," 1

he cries with one of their new war poets. The war has burned out in a moment all the dross from the German character, it has set the soul of Germany free to display its full splendour. The educative force of the war shows it to be of Divine origin. The fiery breath of war is the breath of God, who is invoked by another poet as "der Gott der Deutschen." A third poet sings:

"God is seen in the gleaming iron-God is seen in the tempest; bow thy leaves, oak, to the wind; offer to him, Germany, such sacrifice as he would have. He is thy avenger, thy rescuer, who fires thee to new splendour; let him do his will."

Victory is certain.

"Germany's victory is coming, Germany's future 'is made fast as the stars of God, which pass unchangeably upon their appointed way."3

But in this book too there is a chapter, "Vom Zürnen und Hassen" ("Of Anger and Hate"), where sacrifice is made to the Furies of Hate:


"Then kindle, Hate, and blaze,

Like poison burn within;

If sin it be to hate,

Our duty 'tis to sin.”

"Sei gesegnet, ernste Stunde,
Die uns endlich stählern eint
Jetzt kommt der Krieg,

Der ehrliche Krieg.'


"Gott ersteht im Eisenglanze,
Gott ersteht in schweren Wetter,
Eiche, lass dem Sturm die Blätter,
Opfre, Deutschland, wie er will.
Deinem Rächer, deinem Retter,
Der dich glüht zu neuem Glanze,
Halt ihm still."

"Deutschlands Sieg kommt, Deutschlands Zukunft steht
Fest wie Gottes Sterne, die unwandelbar ihre
Vorgeschriebene Bahn ziehen.”

"Drum flamme, Hass, und zünde,

Und brenne bis in den Tod,

Und wäre Hassen Sünde,

Uns würde Sünde Gebot."

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