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as a matter of course, be “organised” by Germany, and which would therefore, equally as a matter of course, involve the , final loss of our independence. On the other hand, the Entente Powers have given a foremost place on their programme to the independence of small nations, and we hope and believe that this principle will not be forgotten when the final terms of
peace come to be discussed.
It can only be regarded as a perfectly natural sequence that we, who in 1864 had to fight single-handed, unsupported, should endeavour to maintain a strict political neutrality in the present war. Had we opposed ourselves to Germany, the Entente Powers could not have saved us from the fate of Belgium and of Serbia. Nothing would have been achieved but our own destruction. We are compelled to remain, politically, on friendly terms with that Power which, in 1864, was allowed by Europe to set its foot upon our neck, and which has since become the mightiest Power in the world, so mighty that it could aim at-and all but achieve—the dominion of the world. For such, in reality, is the dream of Germany —to become, both spiritually and politically, the ruling power of the world. There is something magnificent in this: it is a colossal conception, and the German predilection for the colossal is sufficiently well known. The Germans are a great people, of enormous powers. Even their enemies must grant their ability, their industry. Such a nation might have become a blessing to the world, but for two things. These are, first, their blind enthusiasm for all that is German (and, following upon this, their contempt, equally blind, for all that is not, particularly for those who dare to oppose the German will); secondly, their utter inability to conceive the idea of liberty.
The inevitable result of these two grievous defects is that the Germans, despite the many good qualities that they undoubtedly possess, have become a standing menace to the world. Their will is to rule the world, but they can rule only by compulsion. This is the explanation of the fact that they have become the military-ridden people we know them to be; this is the reason why their spiritual leaders have so enthusiastically proclaimed militarism as the fundamental, never-to-be-relinquished basis of German Kultur. They consider themselves, by virtue of their supposed superior intelligence and ability, morally justified in governing every other nation, but they can rule only by issuing orders, while the rest of the world holds its tongue and obeys. And should any poor nation, deprived in the name of German Kultur of
its liberty, express its bitterness at the loss, Germany has always this consolation to offer, that she, being so much wiser and nobler than the rest of the world, knows far better what is best for the welfare of the conquered people than they themselves can do. The German recipe for making others happy is to “cure them by the German system”; and should
; they refuse to accept this voluntarily-very well, then, Germany by exercising a severely paternal discipline will make them happy against their will.
This basic idea and this propaganda form the subject of my book Hurrah and Hallelujah! which is to appear shortly in English. But I am glad to take the additional opportunity afforded to me by the courtesy of the Editor of stating the case more precisely to my English readers. For here, in my opinion, we have the key to the whole situation.
Since war has come, its final result should be that Germany shall be checked in her progress towards the dominion of the world, and shall be taught that no single Power will ever again be allowed to wield such dominion as in the time of Roman supremacy, and that no such “ Germanic peace” will ever be tolerated. But the end in view is not, of course, that “annihilation ” of Germany which she herself constantly pretends to be the desire of her enemies, and I am glad that this has been expressly stated by Mr Asquith, though it naturally goes without saying. For a nation like Germany cannot be “annihilated,” and indeed she is characterised by so much that is able and excellent that such annihilation, if it were possible, would be a loss to the whole world, But it is not possible, for even the smallest nation could be annihilated only with its own consent and by its voluntary submission.
The German creed that everything German is incontestably the best might readily be granted them, but for the conclusion they invariably deduce that they are, in consequence, morally entitled to rule others. Here we find a curious and fatal limitation to their intelligence. The Germans, on the one hand, are the most penetrating, acute, keen-witted nation in the world ; but on the other, when it comes to an estimation of their own worth, they are inconceivably naïve and deluded. This claim that everything that is German must be excellent is the hypothesis, unquestioningly granted, upon which all that they think and say is founded : this they cannot criticise. When Germanism is in question, all their penetration and skill are concentrated on a single end-on proving conclusively its absolute rightness and perfection; no facts can make the
slightest impression upon the certainty of this conviction. Of this the war has afforded us the most striking instances. This fundamental idea was the basis of the manifesto of the ninety- 1. three intellectuals. Its line of argument was as follows : “How can you be so cruel as to doubt that everything which Germany does is—must be-good? You ought to know that she cannot do anything which is not lawful and justifiable; all statements to the contrary must be · English lies?”When
'! Germany violated the neutrality of Belgium, thousands of German pens set busily to work to prove that it was in reality violated by Belgium herself, and this is what every German now believes. When the facts about the atrocities in Belgium were published, the Germans replied with statement of the most terrible atrocities committed by the Belgians upon the poor innocent German Army, which had acted only in legitimate self-defence. And in this way, when
, it could no longer be concealed, the murder of innocent civilians was exalted almost to the level of moral heroism. The Germans were furious at England's alliance with Japan to enter into such relations with a yellow race, with a heathen people, was the height of immorality and wickedness. But when Germany made her alliance with Turkey, the assassin of Armenia, the born enemy of Christianity, the loftiest spirits in the nation immediately occupied themselves in proving the Turks to be in reality good Christians (cf. Professor Hermann of Marburg as quoted in my book). The latest pronouncement on this subject is the following by A. Bonus in the February number of the Neue Rundschau : “ Wenn man den Konfessionsbegriff nicht zu eng fasst, kann man den Islam als eine christliche Konfession betrachten.”1 Before Italy had come to a decision, the most wonderful things were written in her praise. It was proved that the Italians were true Teutons, and that therefore the control of the Mediterranean ought to rest with Italy—and Austria; but when she joined the Entente she was instantly branded as a Judas who had sold Germany for hire. Race-theories invented to prove that the Germans are the noblest race in the world, and the only torchbearer of Kultur, are particularly popular in Germany. The most remarkable production of this kind is to be found in a book entitled Die Vernichtung der englischen Weltmacht ? (Berlin, 1915), circulated as part of the propaganda in the neutral countries. Here two authors combine to prove to
. 1 “If we take a sufficiently broad view of religion, we may regard Mohammedanism as a Christian religion."
2 “ The Destruction of England as a World-Power."
their own satisfaction that Germany is the noblest of all nations and the only exponent of Kultur—the one by showing that the Germans are the least mixed race in the world, the other by proving that they are more mixed than, for instance, the English. Here we surely reach a high-water mark! And what a poor opinion they must have of the neutral countries that they should think that they can be imposed upon by such arguments! But this is merely one striking instance in proof of the fact that where Germanism is concerned the Germans themselves are incapable of criticism. They are sincerely distressed and shocked that other nations cannot grasp the truth that if Germans make use of poisonous gas, bombard unfortified towns, sink Lusitanias, etc., they must have good reasons for doing so—reasons so excellent that these actions are in reality highly moral, for otherwise Germany would never dream of behaving in such a manner. This combination of naïve self-glorification and specious sophistry (enabling them to prove whatever they wish) is of such serious gravity because there is no atrocity that cannot be defended in this way and transformed into a moral duty, and because the final conclusion is that no other nation but Germany can ever possibly be right. For Germany is nothing if not thoroughgoing, and takes herself terribly seriously.
It may perhaps be remembered that some time ago the Standard was unlucky enough to quote, not quite accurately, from certain German sermons. The quotations appeared in Le Temps, and were made the subject of a public protest by the Lutheran community in Paris. This was regarded as a great triumph for the Germans, for they were able to verify the inaccuracy of the quotation, and accordingly adopted an attitude of deeply injured innocence. This was a pity. No triumph has ever been less justified, and quotations quite as electrifying as those appearing in the Standard might easily have been found in other German sermons, as my book abundantly proves.
I have, lying before me, one of these productions, namely, a pamphlet by Pastor E. Loeber (wrongly spelt Loebell) called "Christenthum und Krieg (Leipzig, 1915). Although it is a “revised” version, it contains statements so wild that they cannot but awaken the deepest indignation. Let me take it as a fair example and make a few quotations from the rich—the far too rich-stores at my disposal. Herr Loeber, like many another German, desires to prove that war is an institution both lawful and Christian. Nevertheless, he cannot find the real war-enthusiasm in the
New Testament, and therefore resorts to the Old, which is, after all, part of the Christian's Holy Scripture:
“We breathe freely again, when, as we ponder the problem of Christianity and war, we step into the halls of light bedecked with gleaming armour which are revealed in the Old Testament.” And then, like a good German Christian, he revels delightedly in the Psalms of war and vengeance. But of course they do not justify every war : they advocate neither wars of aggression nor those undertaken from motives of greed or of desire for conquest, but defensive warfare only. Accordingly Germany's participation in the present war is a moral duty, an undertaking well-pleasing to God, whereas on the enemy's side it is the purest devilry. Consequently the Germans have the right to render thanks to God for their victories and righteously exult when thousands of Russians meet with a terrible death in the Masurian marshes. Such thanksgiving, such exultation, can only be acceptable to God. But with the enemy it is far otherwise. Their victories can only be regarded as “ Siege des • bösen Feindes (“* victories of the Devil”), allowed by God for the testing and salvation of the conquered. Rejoicing and thanksgiving for such victories cannot possibly be approved by Him. “Only consider,” says Herr Loeber, “our enemies' disgraceful conduct of the war," and then comes the following description which I should like to submit to the judgment of English readers :
“The mendacity, the maniacal calumny, the perfidy, the brutality of our enemies; the systematic and conscious misleading of foreign countries in their judgment upon Germany, through the medium of the enemy press; the devilish plan of starving our entire nation; the cowardly and despicable misuse of Aags by England; the introduction of coloured tribes and primitive peoples to overthrow the German nation, which had become inconvenient in fulfilling its aspirations; the revolting treatment of German prisoners in Dahomey and in other regions of Africa; the senseless and terrible devastation of East Prussia by the Beasts of the East,' as the Russians have been rightly called; the unscrupulous use made by the host of our enemies of the principle, “The end justifies the means '-all these factors combined have so completely overthrown, not merely Christian morality, but even the bare morality of nature, that any attempt to readjust the methods of conducting the war must miscarry.” With Belgium, the bombardment of unfortified towns, the Zeppelin raids, the poisonous gas, and the Lusitania fresh in one's memory, this attitude is somewhat surprising—or, rather, would be so if one were not acquainted with the German point of view, according to which German atrocities are such only in seeming, but are in reality the expression of the highest moral