The Project Gutenberg eBook of New York Times Current History: The European War from the Beginning to March 1915, Vol 1, No. 2

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Title: New York Times Current History: The European War from the Beginning to March 1915, Vol 1, No. 2

Author: Various

Release date: July 19, 2005 [eBook #16331]
Most recently updated: December 12, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Juliet Sutherland, David Gundry and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


Transcriber's Note:

Table of Contents and List of Illustrations have been compiled by the transcriber.

Current History: The European War.

From the Beginning to March 1915.

"Who Began the War, and Why?"

Published by the New York Times.




Speeches by Kaiser Wilhelm II.209














The Mighty Fate of Europe 219






Austria-Hungary's Version of the War 225







A German Review of the Evidence 228





"Truth About Germany" 244










Speculations About Peace, September, 1914
Report to President Wilson.


Speeches by British Ministers.









Sir Edward Grey's Speech in the House of Commons
Aug. 3.






Great Britain's Mobilization 294






438,000 MEN RECRUITED. 299



Summons of the Nation to Arms 308











Teachings of Gen. von Bernhardi 343

Entrance of France Into War 350





Russia to Her Enemy
Slav Emperor Announces New Policies.














"The Facts About Belgium" 365

Belgo-British Plot Alleged by Germany 369





Atrocities of the War









Belgian Royal Commission Report presented to President Wilson at Washington, Sept. 16.

I. Acts at Linsmeau and Orsmael. 378

II. Report on Aerschot. 379

III. Destruction of Louvain. 381






Bombardment of Rheims Cathedral 392






The Socialists' Part



































[Pg 209]


From the Balcony of the Palace, Berlin, July 31, 1914.

A fateful hour has fallen for Germany.

Envious peoples everywhere are compelling us to our just defense.

The sword is being forced into our hand. I hope that if my efforts at the last hour do not succeed in bringing our opponents to see eye to eye with us and in maintaining peace we shall with God's help so wield the sword that we shall restore it to its sheath again with honor.

War would demand enormous sacrifices of blood and property from the German people, but we should show our enemies what it means to provoke Germany.

And now I commend you to God. Go to church. Kneel down before God and pray for His help for our gallant Army.


Kaiser Wilhelm's Speech from the Balcony of the Palace, Berlin, Aug. 2.[Pg 210]

I thank you for the love and loyalty shown me. When I enter upon a fight let all party strife cease. We are German brothers and nothing else. All parties have attacked me in times of peace. I forgive them with all my heart. I hope and wish that the good German sword will emerge victorious in the right.


Kaiser Wilhelm II., Opening Special Session of the Reichstag in White Room of the Royal Palace, Berlin, Aug. 4.

Kaiser_Bill (22K)

WILHELM II., German Emperor.
(Photo from Charles E. Ritzmann.)

Honored Sirs: It is in an hour fraught with fate that I have assembled about me all the representatives of the German people. For almost half a century we have been able to keep to the path of peace. The attempts to attribute a warlike temperament to Germany and to circumscribe its position in the world have often put to severe tests the patience of our people. With unswerving honesty, my Government, even in provoking circumstances, has pursued as its highest aim the development of all moral, spiritual, and economic powers. The world has been witness how tirelessly we strove in the first rank during the pressure and confusion of the last few years to spare the nations of Europe a war between the great powers.

The very grave dangers which had arisen owing to the events in the Balkans appeared to have been overcome, but then the murder of my friend, the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, opened up a great abyss. My high ally, the Emperor and King Francis Joseph, was compelled to take up arms to defend the security of his empire against dangerous intrigues from a neighboring State. In the pursuit of her proper interests the Dual Monarchy has found her path obstructed by the Russian Empire. Not only our duty as an ally calls us to the side of Austria-Hungary, but on us falls also the mighty task of defending the ancient community of culture of the two kingdoms and our own position in the world against the attack of hostile powers. With a heavy heart I have been compelled to mobilize my army against a neighbor with whom it has fought side by side on so many fields of battle. With sincere sorrow I saw a friendship broken of which Germany had given faithful proofs. The Imperial Russian Government, yielding to the pressure of an insatiable nationalism, has taken sides with a State which by encouraging criminal attacks has brought on the evil of this war. That France, also, placed herself on the side of our enemies could not surprise us. Too often have our efforts to arrive at friendlier relations with the French Republic come in collision with old hopes and ancient malice.

Honored Sirs: What human insight and power could do to arm a people against the last extremities has been done with your patriotic help. The hostility which has been smouldering for a long time in the East and in the West has now burst into bright flames. The present situation did not proceed from transient conflicts of interest or diplomatic entanglements, it is the result of an ill will which has for many years been active against the strength and the prosperity of the German Empire. We are not incited by lust for conquest, we are inspired by the unyielding determination to keep for ourselves and all future generations the place which God has given us.

From the proofs which have been given you, you will see how my Government, and especially my Chancellor, strove up to the last moment to avert the worst. We grasp the sword in compulsory self-defense, with clean hands and a clean conscience.

To the peoples and races of the German Empire my call goes forth to defend with all their strength and in brotherly co-operation with our ally that which we have created by peaceful labor. After the example of our fathers, firmly and [Pg 211]faithfully, sincerely and with chivalry, humbly before God and battling joyfully before the enemy, let us place our trust in the eternal Omnipotence, and may He strengthen our defense and bring it to a good end!

To you, honored sirs, the whole German people, assembled about its Princes and its leaders, look this day. Make your decision unanimously and quickly. That is my heartfelt wish.

Gentlemen (addressing the Deputies directly): You have read what I said to my people the other day from the balcony of my castle. I repeat now that I no longer know any parties. I know only Germans. And in order to testify that you are firmly resolved without distinction of party to stand by my side through danger and death, I call upon the leaders of the different parties in this House to come forward and lay their hands in mine as a pledge.


Proclamation by Kaiser Wilhelm II.

After three and forty years of peace I call the men of Germany to arms.

It has become necessary to protect our most sacred possessions, the Fatherland, our very hearths against ruthless destruction.

Enemies on every hand! That is the situation. A mighty struggle, a great sacrifice confronts us.

I trust that the old spirit of battle still lives on in the German people, that powerful spirit of battle which grapples with the foe wherever it meets it, be the cost what it may, which has ever been the terror and fear of our enemies.

Soldiers of Germany, in you I place my trust! In each one of you lives the passionate will to conquer, which nothing can subdue. Each one of you knows, if need be, how to die a hero's death.

Remember our great and glorious past!

Remember that you are Germans!

God help us!


Berlin, Schloss, Aug. 6, 1914.


An Appeal from the Kaiserin.

Kaiserin (21K)

(Photo from M.E. Berner.)

On the summons of the Emperor our people are preparing for an unprecedented struggle, which it did not invoke and which it is only carrying on in its defense. Whoever can bear arms will joyfully hasten to the colors to defend the Fatherland with his blood. The struggle will be gigantic and the wounds to be healed innumerable, therefore I call upon you women and girls of Germany, and all to whom it is not given to fight for our beloved home, for help. Let every one now do what lies in her power to lighten the struggle for our husbands, sons, and brothers. I know that in all ranks of our people, without exception, the will exists to fulfill this high ideal, but may the Lord God strengthen us in our holy work of love, which summons us women to devote all our strength to the Fatherland in its decisive struggle.

The organizations primarily concerned who should be supported first have already sent out notices regarding the mustering of volunteers and the collection of gifts of all kinds.


Berlin, Aug. 6.


Proclamation by Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Since the foundation of the empire it has been for forty-three years the object of the efforts of myself and my ancestors to preserve the peace of the world and to advance by peaceful means our vigorous development. But our adversaries were jealous of the successes of our work. There has been latent hostility on the east and on the west and beyond the sea. It was borne by us till now, as we were aware of our responsibility and power. Now, however, these adversaries wish to humiliate us, asking that we should look on with crossed arms and watch our enemies preparing themselves for a coming attack. [pg 212]They will not suffer that we maintain resolute fidelity to our ally who is fighting for its position as a great power and with whose humiliation our power and honor would equally be lost. So the sword must decide.

In the midst of perfect peace the enemy surprises us. Therefore to arms! Any dallying, any temporizing would be which our fathers founded; to be or not to be, is the question for the empire which our fathers founded. To be or not to be German power and German existence. We shall resist to the last breath of man and horse, and shall fight out the struggle even against a world of enemies. Never has Germany been subdued when it was united. Forward with God, who will be with us as He was with our ancestors!

Berlin, Aug. 6. WILHELM.


Speech of Kaiser at a Parade During Swift German Advance Toward Paris.

Comrades: I have gathered you around me here in order to take joy with you in the glorious victory which our comrades have in several days of hot battle won with their swords. Troops out of every nook and cranny of the empire helped one another in invincible bravery and unshakable loyalty to win great results. There stood together under the leadership of the son of the Bavarian King and fought, with equal blades, troops of all ages, active, reservists, and landwehr.

For our victory we are thankful, in the first place, to our God, (unserem alten Gott.) He will not desert us, since we stand for a holy cause. Many of our comrades have already fallen in battle. They died as heroes for the Fatherland. We will think of them with honor here, and shout to the honor of those still in the field. Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

We still have many a bloody battle before us. Let us hope for further successes like this. We shall not relent, and we shall get to the enemy's hide. We shall not lose our faith and trust in our good old God up there, (unserem guten alten Gott dort oben.) We are determined to win, and we must win.


Telegram from Kaiser Wilhelm II. to Chief of Troops in Upper Alsace, Aug. 15.

Grateful to God, Who was with us. I thank you and your troops for the first victory. Please convey to all the troops which took part in the fight my imperial thanks in the name of the Fatherland.



By the Kaiser's Order to Supreme Council of the Evangelical Church—To Be Included in the Liturgy Throughout the War.

Almighty and merciful God! God of the armies! We beseech Thee in humility for Thy almighty aid for our German Fatherland. Bless the entire German war force, lead us to victory, and give us grace that we may show ourselves to be Christians toward our enemies as well. Let us soon arrive at the peace which will everlastingly safeguard our free and independent Germany.


Kaiser's Farewell Speech to First Regiment of Foot Guards at Potsdam.

I draw the sword that with God's help I have kept all these years in the scabbard. I have drawn the sword, which without victory and without honor I cannot sheath again. All of you will see to it that only in honor is it returned to the scabbard. You are my guarantee that I can dictate peace to my enemies. Up and at the foes, and down with the enemies of Brandenburg!


From Cabinet Order of Kaiser Wilhelm II., Published in Berlin Aug. 23.[Pg 213]

The mobilization and concentration of the army is now complete, the German railways having carried out the enormous transport movements with unparalleled certainty and punctuality. With a heart filled with gratitude my first thoughts turn to those who since 1870-71 have worked quietly upon the development of an organization which has emerged from its first serious test with such glorious success. To all who have co-operated with them I wish to express my imperial thanks for their loyal devotion to duty in making possible in obedience to my call the transportation of armed masses of German troops against my enemies. The present achievement [near Metz] convinces me that the railways of the country will be equal to the heaviest demands that might be made upon them during the course of the gigantic struggle in which we are engaged for the future of the German Nation.


Kaiser's Telegram from Dresden to the King of Saxony, Oct. 2.

I am very glad to be able to send you the best reports of the Nineteenth Army Corps and the Twelfth Reserve Corps. I visited yesterday the Third Army and greeted especially the brave 181st Regiment, to which I expressed my recognition. I found your third son and your brother Max as well as Laffert and Kirchbach in the best of health. The spirit among the men is splendid. With such an army we shall be able to complete victoriously the rest of our difficult task. To this end may the Almighty stand by us.



Interview With Kaiser Wilhelm II., Oct. 28, 1908, and Its Consequences.

An interview between the German Emperor and "a representative Englishman, who long since passed from public to private life," appeared in The London Telegraph on Oct. 28, 1908, and was the next day authenticated by the German Foreign Office in Berlin with the comment that it was "intended as a message to the English people." This last expression of the Kaiser toward Great Britain—until his declarations on the eve of the present war—deeply stirred the German people in protest and resulted in the Kaiser's pledge to Chancellor von Buelow that henceforth the imperial views would be subject to the bridle of the Ministry and the Council of the Empire. The interview as recorded by the "representative Englishman" was as follows:

Moments sometimes occur in the history of nations when a calculated indiscretion proves of the highest public service. It is for this reason that I have decided to make known the substance of a lengthy conversation which it was my recent privilege to have with the Emperor.

I do so in the hope that it will help to remove that obstinate misconception of the character of the Emperor's feelings toward England, which I fear is deeply rooted in the ordinary Englishman's breast. It is the Emperor's sincere wish that it should be eradicated. He has given repeated proofs of his desire by word and deed. But, to speak frankly, his patience is sorely tried now; he finds himself so continually misrepresented and has so often experienced the mortification of finding that any momentary improvement in relations is followed by renewed outbursts of prejudice and a prompt return to the old attitude of suspicion.

His Majesty spoke with impulsive and unusual frankness, saying: "You English are as mad, mad, mad as March hares. What has come over you that you are completely given over to suspicions that are quite unworthy of a great nation? What more can I do than I have done? I declared with all the emphasis at my command in my speech at the Guildhall that my heart was set upon peace and that it was one of my dearest wishes to live on the best terms with England. Have I ever been false to my word? Falsehood and prevarication are alien to my nature. My actions ought to speak for themselves, but you will not listen to them, but to those who misinterpret and distort them."[Pg 214]

Resents a Personal Insult.

"This is a personal insult which I resent; to be forever misjudged, to have my repeated offers of friendship weighed and scrutinized with jealous, mistrustful eyes taxes my patience severely. I have said time after time that I am a friend of England, and your press, or at least a considerable section of it, bids the people of England to refuse my proffered hand and insinuates that the other hand holds a dagger. How can I convince a nation against its will?"

Complaining again of the difficulty imposed on him by English distrust, his Majesty said: "The prevailing sentiment of large sections of the middle and lower classes of my own people is not friendly to England. I am, therefore, so to speak, in the minority in my own land, but it is a minority of the best element, just as it is in England respecting Germany."

The Englishman reminded the Kaiser that not only England but the whole of Europe viewed with disapproval the recent sending of the German Consul at Algiers to Fez and forestalling France and Spain by suggesting the recognition of Sultan Mulai Hafid. The Kaiser made an impatient gesture and exclaimed: "Yes? that is an excellent example of the way German actions are misrepresented," and with vivid directness he defended the aforesaid incident, as the German Government has already done.

The interviewer reminded the Kaiser that an important and influential section of the German newspapers interpreted these acts very differently, and effusively approved of them because they indicated that Germany was bent upon shaping events in Morocco.

"There are mischief makers," replied the Emperor, "in both countries. I will not attempt to weigh their relative capacity for misrepresentation, but the facts are as I have stated. There has been nothing in Germany's recent action in regard to Morocco contrary to the explicit declaration of my love of peace made both at the Guildhall and in my latest speech at Strassburg."

Kaiser and the Boer War.

Reverting to his efforts to show his friendship for England, the Kaiser said they had not been confined to words. It was commonly believed that Germany was hostile to England throughout the Boer war. Undoubtedly the newspapers were hostile and public opinion was hostile. "But what," he asked, "of official Germany? What brought to a sudden stop, indeed, to an absolute collapse, the European tour of the Boer delegates, who were striving to obtain European intervention?"

"They were fêted in Holland. France gave them a rapturous welcome. They wished to come to Berlin, where the German people would have crowned them with flowers, but when they asked me to receive them I refused. The agitation immediately died away and the delegates returned empty handed. Was that the action of a secret enemy?

"Again, when the struggle was at its height, the German Government was invited by France and Russia to join them in calling upon England to end the war. The moment had come, they said, not only to save the Boer republics, but also to humiliate England to the dust. What was my reply? I said so far from Germany joining in any concerted European action to bring pressure against England and bring about her downfall Germany would always keep aloof from politics that could bring her into complications with a sea power like England.

"Posterity will one day read the exact terms of a telegram, now in the archives of Windsor Castle, in which I informed the sovereign of England of the answer I returned to the powers which then sought to compass her fall. Englishmen who now insult me by doubting my word should know what my actions were in the hour of their adversity.

"Nor was that all. During your black week in December, 1899, when disasters followed one another in rapid succession, I received a letter from Queen Victoria, my revered grandmother, written in sorrow and affliction and bearing manifest traces of the anxieties which were preying [Pg 215]upon her mind and health. I at once returned a sympathetic reply. I did more. I bade one of my officers to procure as exact an account as he could obtain of the number of combatants on both sides and the actual positions of the opposing forces.

"With the figures before me I worked out what I considered the best plan of campaign in the circumstances and submitted it to my General Staff for criticism. Then I dispatched it to England. That document likewise is among the State papers at Windsor awaiting the serenely impartial verdict of history.

"Let me add as a curious coincidence that the plan which I formulated ran very much on the same lines as that actually adopted by Gen. Roberts and carried by him into successful operation. Was that the act of one who wished England ill? Let Englishmen be just and say."

The German Navy.

Touching then upon the English conviction that Germany is increasing her navy for the purpose of attacking Great Britain, the Kaiser reiterated the explanation that Chancellor von Bülow and other Ministers have made familiar, dwelling upon Germany's worldwide commerce, her manifold interests in distant seas, and the necessity for being prepared to protect them. He said:

"Patriotic Germans refuse to assign any bounds to their legitimate commercial ambitions. They expect their interests to go on growing. They must be able to champion them manfully in any quarter of the globe. Germany looks ahead. Her horizons stretch far away. She must be prepared for any eventualities in the Far East. Who can foresee what may take place in the Pacific in the days to come, days not so distant as some believe, but days, at any rate, for which all European powers with Far Eastern interests ought to steadily prepare?

"Look at the accomplished rise of Japan. Think of a possible national awakening in China, and then judge of the vast problems of the Pacific. Only those powers which have great navies will be listened to with respect when the future of the Pacific comes to be solved, and if for that reason only Germany must have a powerful fleet. It may even be that England herself will be glad that Germany has a fleet when they speak together in the great debates of the future."

The interviewer concludes:

"The Emperor spoke with all that earnestness which marks his manner when speaking on deeply pondered subjects. I ask my fellow-countrymen who value the cause of peace to weigh what I have written and revise, if necessary, their estimate of the Kaiser and his friendship for England by his Majesty's own words. If they had enjoyed the privilege of hearing them spoken they would no longer doubt either his Majesty's firm desire to live on the best of terms with England or his growing impatience at the persistent mistrust with which his offer of friendship is too often received."

The Consequences.

On Nov. 17 following Prince von Bülow met the Kaiser at Kiel, taking with him evidence of the feeling in Germany regarding the Emperor's published interview and setting forth:

First, that the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundesrat, or Federal Council, is firm in the opinion formulated at the meeting held yesterday that it would be wiser for the Emperor not to express views affecting the relations of the empire with other countries except through his responsible Ministers. This expression, derives weight from the fact that the Governments of Bavaria, Württemberg, and Saxony were represented on the committee.

Second, that the entire Reichstag assented to the declarations made by the speakers on Tuesday that the Emperor had exceeded his constitutional prerogatives in private discussion with foreigners concerning Germany's attitude on controverted questions.

Third, that the feeling of the people at large on this matter was accurately indicated by the press of the country.

The Kaiser's reply was published on the same date in the Reichsanzeiger, in the form of a communication, which read:

[Pg 216]During today's audience granted to the Imperial Chancellor, his Majesty, the Emperor and King, listened for several hours to a report by Prince von Bülow. The Imperial Chancellor described the feeling and its causes among the German people in connection with the article published in The Daily Telegraph. He also explained the position he had taken during the course of the debates and interpellations on this subject in the Reichstag. His Majesty the Emperor received the statements and explanations with great earnestness, and then expressed his will as follows:

"Heedless of the exaggerations of public criticism, which are regarded by him as incorrect, his Majesty perceives that his principal imperial task is to insure the stability of the policies of the empire, under the guardianship of constitutional responsibilities. In conformity therewith, his Majesty the Emperor approves the Chancellor's utterances in the Reichstag, and assures Prince von Bülow of his continued confidence."


Published by The Morning Post of London, Oct. 30, 1914.

The subjoined letter written to the late Lord Tweedmouth by the German Emperor is made public for the first time. It is a literal transcript of the original document in which occur a few slight errors in spelling. The existence of the document was first made known to the public by the military correspondent of The Times, who published a letter on the subject on March 6, 1908, but its contents were not divulged.

The significance of the letter can be understood only in the light of the naval and political situation six years ago. During the preceding year, 1907, The Hague Conference, ostensibly convened in the interests of international peace, had resolved itself into a committee to determine how to diminish the severities of war. There was a section of opinion in this country which was persuaded that the only method of seeking peace was to reduce the navy and army. At the same time the Imperial German Navy was making swift and steady progress, and its menace to British supremacy aroused considerable alarm in this country. Although the British Navy held superiority over the German Navy in ships not of the dreadnought type, the balance in dreadnoughts was virtually even.

Dreadnought Supremacy.

It was stated in Parliament that in the year 1916 Germany, according to her naval law, would have thirty-six dreadnoughts, a number which would involve the building by this country of forty-four such vessels in the same period, toward which the Government was only providing two in the current year. It was also stated that in the year 1911 Germany would possess thirteen dreadnoughts and Great Britain only twelve, which statement was founded upon reasonable assumptions. Could Germany reckon upon the continuance of such a relative position, the advantage to her would be very great.

It was at this critical moment that the German Emperor indited his letter to the First Lord of the Admiralty, which is printed below. When the fact became known there was a good deal of public feeling aroused both in this country and abroad. Lord Tweedmouth stated that the letter was a private letter and purely personal. Prince von Bülow informed the Reichstag that the letter was of both a private and political character, adding some remarks concerning the "purely defensive character of our naval programme which," said the Chancellor, "cannot be emphasized too frequently."

The German Foreign Office officially announced that "in his letter the Emperor merely corrected certain erroneous views prevalent in England regarding the development of the German fleet."

Readers are now in a position to judge for themselves the accuracy of these statements. It should be remembered that the reduced navy estimates of 1908-9 were followed by national alarm and the publication of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford's shipbuilding programme and large increase in estimates of the following year. Here is the letter:

The Kaiser's Letter.

Berlin, 14th-2, 1908.

[Pg 217]

My Dear Lord Tweedmouth—May I intrude on your precious time and ask for a few moments' attention to these lines I venture to submit to you? I see by the daily papers and reviews that a battle royal is being fought about the needs of the navy. I therefore venture to furnish you with some information anent the German naval programme, which it seems is being quoted by all parties to further their ends by trying to frighten peaceable British taxpayers with it as a bogy.

During my last pleasant visit to your hospitable shores I tried to make your authorities understand what the drift of German naval policy is, but I am afraid that my explanations have been either misunderstood or not believed, because I see "German danger" and "German challenge to British naval supremacy" constantly quoted in different articles. This phrase, if not repudiated or corrected, sown broadcast over the country and daily dinned into British ears, might in the end create the most deplorable results.

I therefore deem it advisable, as Admiral of the Fleet, to lay some facts before you to enable you to see clearly that it is absolutely nonsensical and untrue that the German naval bill is to provide a navy meant as a challenge to British naval supremacy. The German fleet is built against nobody at all; it is solely built for Germany's needs in relation with that country's rapidly growing trade. The German naval bill was sanctioned by the Imperial Parliament and published ten years ago, and may be had at any large bookseller's. There is nothing surprising, secret, or underhand in it, and every reader may study the whole course mapped out for the development of the German Navy with the greatest ease.

Thirty to Forty Battleships in 1920.

The law is being adhered to, and provides for about thirty to forty ships of the line in 1920. The number of ships fixed by the bill included the fleet then actually in commission, notwithstanding its material being already old and far surpassed by contemporary types. In other foreign navies the extraordinary rapidity with which improvements were introduced in types of battleships, armaments, and armor made the fleet in commission obsolete before the building programme providing additions to it was half finished.

The obsolete fleet had to be struck off the list, thus leaving a gap, lowering the number of ships below the standard prescribed by the bill. This gap was stopped by using the finished ships to replace the obsolete ones instead of being added to them as originally intended. Therefore, instead of steadily increasing the standing fleet by regular additions it came to a wholesale rebuilding of the entire German Navy. Our actual programme in course of execution is practically only the exchange of old material for new, but not an addition to the number of units originally laid down by the bill of ten years ago, which is being adhered to.

It seems to me that the main fault in the discussions going on in the papers is the permanent ventilating of so-called two to three or more power standard and then only exemplifying on one power, which is invariably Germany. It is fair to suppose that each nation builds and commissions its navy according to its needs and not only with regard to the programme of other countries. Therefore, it would be the simplest thing for England to say: "I have a world-wide empire and the greatest trade of the world, and to protect them I must have so and so many battleships, cruisers, &c., as are necessary to guarantee the supremacy of the sea to me, and they shall, accordingly, be built and manned."

That is the absolute right of your country, and nobody anywhere would lose a word about it, and whether it be 60 or 90 or 100 battleships, that would make no difference and certainly no change in the German naval bill. May the numbers be as you think fit, everybody here would understand it, but the people would be very thankful over here if at last Germany was left out of the discussion, for it is very galling to the Germans to see their country continually held up as the sole danger and menace to Great Britain by the whole press of the different contending parties, considering that other countries are building, too, and there are even larger fleets than the German.

Fears German Retaliation.

Doubtless, when party faction runs high there is often a lamentable lack of discrimination in the choice of weapons, but I really must protest that the German naval programme should be only one for her exclusive use, or that such a poisoned view should be forged as a German challenge to British supremacy of the sea. If permanently used mischief may be created at home, and the injured feeling engendering the wish for retaliation in the circle of the German Naval League as a representative of the nation which would influence public opinion and place the Government in a very disagreeable position by trying to force it to change its programme through undue pressure, difficult to ignore.

In a letter which Lord Esher caused to be published a short time ago he wrote [Pg 218]that every German, from the Emperor down to the last man, wished for the downfall of Sir John Fisher. Now I am at a loss to tell whether the supervision of the foundations and drains of royal palaces is apt to qualify somebody for the judgment of naval affairs in general. As far as regards German affairs, the phrase is a piece of unmitigated balderdash, and has created immense merriment in the circles of those here who know. But I venture to think that such things ought not to be written by people who are high placed, as they are liable to hurt public feelings over here.

Of course I need not assure you that nobody here dreams of wishing to influence Great Britain in the choice of those to whom she means to give the direction of her navy or to disturb them in the fulfillment of their noble task. It is expected that the choice will always fall on the best and ablest, and their deeds will be followed with interest and admiration by their brother officers in the German Navy.

It is, therefore, preposterous to infer that the German authorities work for or against persons in official positions in foreign countries. It is as ridiculous as it is untrue, and I hereby repudiate such calumny. Besides, to my humble notion, this perpetual quoting of the German danger is utterly unworthy of the great British Nation, with its world-wide empire and mighty navy. There is something nearly ludicrous about it. The foreigners in other countries might easily conclude that Germans must be an exceptionally strong lot, as they seem to be able to strike terror into the hearts of the British, who are five times their superiors.

I hope your Lordship will read these lines with kind consideration. They are written by one who is an ardent admirer of your splendid navy, who wishes it all success, and who hopes that its ensign may ever wave on the same side as the German Navy's, and by one who is proud to wear a British naval uniform of Admiral of the Fleet, which was conferred on him by the late great Queen of blessed memory.

Once more the German naval bill is not aimed at England and is not a challenge to British supremacy of the sea, which will remain unchallenged for generations to come. Let us all remember the warning Admiral Sir John Fisher gave to his hearers in November, when so cleverly he cautioned them not to get scared by using the admirable phrase "if Eve had not always kept her eye on the apple she would not have eaten it, and we should not now be bothered with clothes."

I remain yours truly,


Admiral of the Fleet.


Attacks Kaiser's Veracity.

The Morning Post, commenting on the letter of the Kaiser, says:

It is not usual for an Emperor to address a Minister of a foreign country with reference to the affairs of his department. It is a fact that it is not done. Lord Tweedmouth said the letter was a private letter. The German Chancellor, Prince von Bülow, said the letter partook of both a private and a political character. The fact remains that it involved an extraordinary breach of etiquette. There is no reflection cast upon the late Lord Tweedmouth. No one can help receiving a letter from an Emperor if that monarch condescends to dispatch it. Few persons, perhaps, could help being influenced, albeit unconsciously influenced, by the perusal of such an epistle.

Perhaps the German Emperor reflected upon that psychological contingency; for to what conclusion is the whole tenor of the letter directed? That the German Navy existed solely for purposes of defense in case of aggression and for the protection of German commerce, and that it was no part of German policy, and never had been, to menace the sea power of Britain.

Now turn to the notorious preamble of the German navy law of 1900, which in his letter the Emperor cites as a guarantee of good faith. It is there stated that the German Navy must be made so powerful that it would be dangerous for any nation, even the strongest maritime nation, to attack it.

If that is not a challenge, what is? Had it not been in terms a challenge the preamble would surely have run that it was not the intention to make the German Navy so strong that the strongest naval power could not attack it without danger to that power.

The Mighty Fate of Europe

As Interpreted by Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, German Imperial Chancellor.[pg 219]


Speech from Balcony of Chancellor's Official Residence, Berlin, Aug. 1.

At this serious hour in order to give expression to your feelings for your Fatherland you have come to the house of Bismarck, who with Emperor William the Great and Field Marshal von Moltke welded the German Empire for us.

We wished to go on living in peace in the empire which we have developed in forty-four years of peaceful labor.

The whole work of Emperor William has been devoted to the maintenance of peace. To the last hour he has worked for peace in Europe, and he is still working for it. Should all his efforts prove vain and should the sword be forced into our hands we will take the field with a clear conscience in the knowledge that we did not seek war. We shall then wage war for our existence and for the national honor to the last drop of our blood.

In the gravity of this hour I remind you of the words of Prince Frederick Charles to the men of Brandenburg:

"Let your hearts beat for God and your fists on the enemy."


Speech from Balcony of Royal Palace, Berlin, Aug. 2.

All stand as one man for our Kaiser, whatever our opinions or our creeds. I am sure that all the young German men are ready to shed their blood for the fame and greatness of Germany. We can only trust in God, Who hitherto has always given us victory.


Speech Delivered in the Reichstag, Berlin, Afternoon of Aug. 4.

Hollweg (23K)

German Imperial Chancellor.
(Photo from Brown Brothers.)

A mighty fate has descended upon Europe. Because we were struggling for the esteem of the German Empire in the world, we have for forty-four years lived in peace and safeguarded the peace of Europe. In peaceful industry we have become strong and mighty and in consequence envied. With patience we have borne that, under the pretext that Germany was desirous of war, hostility toward us was being nursed and chains forged for us both in the East and in the West.

We wished to continue to live in peaceful industry, and, like an unexpressed vow, there was passed on from Kaiser to the youngest soldier: "Only in defense of a righteous cause shall our sword be drawn." (Hearty applause.) The day when we must draw it has appeared, contrary to our desire, contrary to our honest efforts to avoid it. Russia has applied the firebrand to the house. We find ourselves in a forced war with Russia and France.

Gentlemen, a series of documents, composed in the rush of events, is in your hands. Allow me to place before you the facts which characterize our attitude.

From the very beginning of the Austrian conflict we strove and worked toward the end that this trouble remain confined to Austria-Hungary and Servia. All Cabinets, especially that of England, take the same stand; only Russia declares [pg 220] that she must have a word in the decision of this conflict. Therewith the danger of European entanglements arises. As soon as the first authentic reports of the military preparations in Russia reached us we declared in a friendly but emphatic manner in St. Petersburg that war measures and military preparations would force us also to prepare, and that mobilization is closely akin to war.

Russia asserts in what is an apparently friendly manner that she is not mobilizing against us. In the meantime England tries to mediate between Vienna and St. Petersburg, in which she is warmly supported by us. On July 28 the Kaiser telegraphed the Czar, asking him to consider that Austria-Hungary has the right and that it is her duty to defend herself against Servian intrigues, which threaten to undermine her existence. The Kaiser called the attention of the Czar to their common monarchical interests with regard to the Serajevo outrage, and asked him personally to support him in order to establish harmony between Vienna and St. Petersburg.

At about the same hour in which this telegram was sent the Czar asked the Kaiser for his support and requested him to advise Vienna to be moderate in its demands. The Kaiser assumed the role of mediator. Hardly had he begun his activity when Russia mobilized its entire fighting force against Austria-Hungary. Austria-Hungary, however, had mobilized only those army corps which were directed against Servia; in the north there were only two army corps and these far from the Russian border.

The Kaiser immediately called the attention of the Czar to the fact that this mobilization of his forces against Austria-Hungary made his position as mediator difficult or absolutely impossible. In spite of this we continued our mediatorial activities in Vienna, going to the utmost limits of consistency with the terms of our federal treaty. ["Very true! Hear, hear!"] During this time Russia again spontaneously assured us that her military preparations were not directed against us. ["Hear, hear, fie!"]

The 31st of July arrived. In Vienna the decision was to be made. In the meantime we had succeeded with our negotiations to reaching a point where Vienna resumed intercourse with St. Petersburg, which for some time had been discontinued, but before the final [pg 221] decision was reached in Vienna the news arrived that Russia had mobilized its entire fighting force, which meant also against us. ["Hear, hear!"]

Russia's Mobilization.

The Russian Government, which from repeated admonitions knew what mobilizing on our borders meant, did not notify us of this mobilization and gave us absolutely no explanation. ["Hear! hear!"] Not until the afternoon of July 31 did the Kaiser receive a message from the Czar in which he assured him that the attitude of his army was not hostile toward us. ["Hear! hear!" and laughter.]

However, the mobilization against us on the Russian border was on the night of July 31 already in full progress. While we, at the request of Russia, were mediating in Vienna, the Russian Army appeared on our long, almost entirely open border. France, although not yet mobilizing, was making preparations for war. And we, up to this point, had intentionally not then called a single soldier of the reserve, for the sake of European peace. ["Bravo!"]

Should we continue to wait with patience until the powers by which we are surrounded choose the moment for attack? ["No!"] To expose Germany to this danger would have been criminal! [Stormy, concerted, prolonged "Very true and bravo!"—also from the Social Democrats.] Therefore, on July 31 we demanded that Russia demobilize, this being the only measure which could save the peace of Europe. [Hearty approval.] The Imperial Ambassador received, furthermore, the order to declare to the Russian Government that in case they did not comply with our demands they should consider that a state of war exists.

The Imperial Ambassador performed this mission. Up till the present we have not learned Russia's answer to this demand. ["Hear, hear!"] Telegraphic reports concerning it have not yet reached us, although the wire still transmits less important messages. ["Hear, hear!"] Therefore, on Aug. 1, at 5 o'clock, when the appointed period of grace was long past, the Kaiser considered it necessary to mobilize.

At the same time we had to make sure of the position France would take. To our direct question whether in case of a German-Russian war she would remain neutral, France answered that she would do what she had to do in her own interests. [Laughter.] That was an evasive if not a negative answer to our question.

Declares France Began War.

In spite of this the Kaiser gave the order that the French border should be respected. The command was strictly enforced, with a single exception. France, which mobilized simultaneously with us, declared that she would respect a zone of ten kilometers from the border. ["Hear, hear!"] And what happened in reality? There were bomb-throwing flyers, cavalry patrols, invading companies in the Reichsland, Alsace-Lorraine. ["Unheard of!"] Thereby France, although the condition of war had not yet been declared, had attacked our territory.

Concerning the French complaints in regard to violations of the border, I have received from the Chief of the General Staff the following report: Only one offense has been committed. Contrary to an emphatic order a patrol of the Fourteenth Army Corps, led by an officer, crossed the border on Aug. 2. They apparently were killed. Only one man returned. However, long before the crossing of the border French flyers were dropping bombs in Southern Germany, and at Schluchtpass the French troops had attacked our border troops.

Until the present our troops have confined their activity to the protection of our borders. They are now on the defense, and necessity recognizes no law. ["Very true!"]

Our troops have occupied Luxemburg, and perhaps have also found it necessary to enter Belgian territory. [Hearty applause.] This is contrary to international law. The French Government has declared in Brussels they will respect the neutrality of Belgium as long as she respects the opponent. We knew, however, that France was ready to invade [pg 222] Belgium. ["Hear, hear!"] France could wait; we, however, could not, because a French invasion in our lower Rhein flank would have proved fatal.

So we were forced to disregard the protests of the Luxemburg and Belgian Governments. We shall try to make good the injustice we have committed as soon as our military goal has been reached. [Applause.] Who like we are fighting for the highest, must only consider how victory can be gained. [Enthusiastic applause in entire house.]

Gentlemen, we are standing shoulder to shoulder with Austria-Hungary. With reference to England, the declaration which Sir Edward Grey made in the House of Commons yesterday plainly shows our attitude. We have assured England that as long as she remains neutral our fleet will not attack the northern coast of France and that the territorial integrity and independence of Belgium will not be violated. This declaration I repeat before the whole world, and I can add that so long as England remains neutral we are prepared in case of reciprocity to refrain from all hostile operations against French merchant vessels. [Applause.]

Gentlemen, so much for the events. I repeat the words of the Kaiser: "With a clear conscience Germany goes to the battlefield." [Enthusiastic approval.] We are fighting for the fruits of our peaceful industry, for the inheritance of a great past, and for our future.

The fifty years of which Moltke spoke, and in which we should stand armed and ready to protect our inheritance and the acquisitions of 1870, have not yet passed. The hour of trial for the German nation has struck, but we are facing it with confidence. [Stormy approval.]

Our army is in the field, our fleet is ready for battle, and behind it stands the entire German Nation. [Enthusiastic applause from the entire house.] The entire nation! [with a gesture particularly directed toward the Social Democrats. Renewed applause, in which the Social Democrats also joined.] You, gentlemen, realize your duty in its entirety. The question needs no further consideration, and I request speedy action. [Enthusiastic applause.]

[01] The Times of London contained on Aug. 12, 1914, the following:

"The statement made by the German Imperial Chancellor to the Reichstag on Aug. 4, which we published yesterday and reproduce below, lends piquancy to a communication that reached us from an influential quarter in Germany on Aug. 2. The communication, which we give in its original form, bore the name of a personage holding a prominent position in Germany, and standing in a close personal relationship to the German Emperor. It was evidently timed for publication on the morning of Aug. 3, the day of Sir Edward Grey's historic speech in the House of Commons:

'Aug. 2, 1914.

I hear with astonishment that in France and elsewhere in the world it is imagined that Germany wants to carry on an aggressive war, and that she had with this aim brought about the present situation. It is said that the Emperor was of the opinion that the moment had come to have a final reckoning with his enemies; but what a terrible error that is! Whoever knows the Emperor as I do, whoever knows how very seriously he takes the responsibility of the crown, how his moral ideas are rooted in true religious feeling, must be astonished that any one could attribute such motives to him.

He has not wanted the war; it has been forced upon him by the might of the circumstances. He has worked unswervingly to keep the peace, and has together with England thrown his whole influence into the scales to find a peaceful solution, in order to save his people from the horrors of war. But everything has been wrecked upon the attitude of Russia, which in the middle of negotiations which offered good outlook of success mobilized her forces, wherewith she proved that she did not mean in earnest what her assurances of peaceful intentions indicated.

Now Germany's frontiers are menaced by Russia which drags her allies into the war, now Germany's honor is at stake. Is it possible under these circumstances that the most peace-loving monarch can do otherwise than take to the sword in order to defend the most sacred interests of the nation?

And, finally, the German people! In them is firmly rooted the word of Prince Bismarck against aggressive wars: "One must not try to look into the cards of Fate."

It must be stated again: Russia alone forces the war upon Europe. Russia alone must carry the full weight of responsibility.'"


Issued to The Associated Press from General Headquarters, Sept. 2.

I do not know what is thought of this war in America. I assume there have been published in America the telegrams exchanged between the German Emperor, the Emperor of Russia, and the King of England, containing the history of the events that preceded the outbreak of the war, and which bears irrefutable testimony of how the Emperor, until the last moment, strove hard to preserve the peace.

These efforts had to be futile, as Russia, under all circumstances, had resolved upon war, and as England, which for decades had encouraged the anti-German nationalism in Russia and France, did not avail herself of the splendid opportunity offered her to prove her often-emphasized love of peace, otherwise the war between Germany and France and England could have been averted.

When once the archives are opened the world will learn how often Germany extended to England her friendly hand, but England did not desire the friendship of Germany. Jealous of the development of Germany, and feeling that by German efficiency and German industry she has been surpassed in some fields, she had the desire to crush Germany by brute force, as she in former times subdued Spain, Holland, and France. She believed the moment had arrived, and therefore the entry of German troops into Belgium gave her a welcome pretext to take part in the war.

Germany, however, was forced to enter Belgium because she had to forestall the planned French advance, and Belgium only awaited this advance to join France. That only a pretext was involved as far as England is concerned is proved by the fact that already on the afternoon of Aug. 2, that is, prior to the violation of Belgium neutrality by Germany, Sir Edward Grey assured the French Ambassador [pg 223] unconditionally of the help of England in case the German fleet attacked the French coast.

Moral scruple, however, the English policy does not know. And thus the English people, who always posed as the protagonist of freedom and right, has allied itself with Russia, the representative of the most terrible barbarism, a country that knows no spiritual or no religious freedom, that tramples upon the freedom of peoples as well as of individuals. Already England is beginning to recognize that she has made a mistake in her calculations, and that Germany will master her enemies. She is therefore trying by the pettiest means to injure Germany as much as possible in her commerce and colonies, by instigating Japan, regardless of the consequences to the cultural community of the white race, to a pillaging expedition against Kiao-Chau, and leading the negroes in Africa to fight against the Germans in the colonies.

Having strangled the news service of Germany to the whole world, and having opened the campaign against us with a falsehood, England will tell your countrymen that the German troops burned down Belgian villages and cities, but will pass over in silence the fact that Belgian girls gouged out the eyes of defenseless wounded. Officials of Belgian cities have invited our officers to dinner and shot and killed them across the table. Contrary to all international law, the whole civilian population of Belgium was called out, and after having at first shown friendliness, carried on in the rear of our troops a terrible warfare with concealed weapons.

Belgian women cut the throats of soldiers whom they had quartered in their homes while they were sleeping. England also will say nothing of the dumdum bullets which are being used by the English and French despite all conventions and their hypocritical proclamations of humanity, which can be seen here in their original packing as they were found on French and English prisoners of war.

The Emperor has authorized me to say all this and to state that he has full confidence in the sense of justice of the American people, which will not allow itself to be deceived through the war of falsehood which our enemies are conducting against us.

The statement of the Chancellor concludes as follows:

Every one who has lived in Germany since the outbreak of the war has been able to witness the great moral uprising of all Germans who, pressed hard on all sides, cheerfully take the field for the defense of their rights and their existence; every one knows that this people is not capable of any unnecessary cruelty or of any brutality. We will win, thanks to the great moral strength which our just cause gives to our troops, and in the end the greatest falsehoods will be able to obscure our victories as little as they do our rights.


Speech Delivered in the Reichstag, March 30, 1911.

I have asked to speak in order to make a few brief remarks on the question of disarmament and arbitration. The Social Democratic motion proposes that I should take steps to bring about a general limitation of armaments. As a matter of fact, the idea of disarmament is being constantly discussed by pacifists in Parliaments and in Congresses far and wide. Even the first peace conference at The Hague had to confine itself to expressing the wish that the Governments should devote themselves to the continued study of the question.

Germany has responded to this desire, but has been able to find no suitable formula, and I am not aware that other Governments have been more successful. The time when wars were made by Cabinets is past. The feelings which here in Europe may lead to war lie elsewhere.

They have their roots in antagonisms which must be found in popular sentiment. Everybody knows how easily this [pg 224] sentiment is influenced and how, unfortunately, in many cases, it abandons itself helplessly to irresponsible press agitations. A counterpoise to all such and similar influences can but be desired. I shall be the first to welcome it whenever international efforts succeed in creating such a counterpoise.

But if I am to take practical steps and am to propose mutual disarmament to the other powers, then general pacific assurances and adjurations are not enough. With Germany there is no need for such assurances or adjurations, in view of her constant policy throughout forty years, which shows that we seek no quarrels in the world. I should have to submit a fixed, definite programme. Then I should have to consider in all sobriety whether such a programme could be drawn up and carried out. Any one who makes uncertain and vague proposals can easily become a disturber of the peace rather than a peacemaker.

I shall have to decline to draw up such a formula and submit it to an international congress.

England's Naval Police.

England is convinced, and has repeatedly declared, in spite of her desires for the limitation of expenditure on armaments and for the adjustment of any disputes that may arise by arbitral procedure, that her fleet must in all circumstances be superior, or at any rate equal, to any possible combination in the world. England has a perfect right to strive for such a state of things, and, precisely because of the position that I take up toward the disarmament question, I am the last to cast doubts upon it. It is quite another thing, however, to make such a claim the basis of a convention which must be recognized by all the other powers in peaceful agreement. What if counterclaims are raised and the other powers are not satisfied with the rôles assigned to them?

One only requires to propound these questions in order to see things would not go well for European dignity at any world congress which had to decide upon such claims.

And then armies. If, for example, Germany should be required to reduce her army by 100,000 men, by how many men must the other powers diminish their armies? Notwithstanding all the pacific assurances which, thank God, are being given everywhere, every nation would reply to me at any preliminary inquiry that it claims that position in the world which corresponds with the sum of its national power, that the strength of its defensive forces must be adapted to this claim. At any rate, I would give no other reply for Germany. I should be touching the honor and national sentiment of any other people if I expected any other statement from it.

Question of Control.

Every attempt at international disarmament must break down on the question of control, which is absolutely impracticable. A classic example of that is afforded by Prussia when overthrown by Napoleon. Her army was to be limited to 45,000 men, but her patriotism, notwithstanding the most ruthless application of every means of control, managed to raise an army four times as large. The question of disarmament is insoluble so long as men are men and States are States.

In the course of the debate reference has been made to the recent utterances of the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the House of Commons on the disarmament question. The English Minister gave expression to the idea that a reciprocal exchange of information concerning the naval construction of both countries would insure them against surprises, and that thereby both countries would be convinced that they were not trying mutually to outstrip each other, while other powers would thereby be kept informed regarding the relations of Germany and England, and so the exchange of announcements would, on the whole, serve to promote peace.

We were all the more able to adhere to this idea as our naval building programme has always lain open. We have already declared our readiness to come to an understanding on this point with [pg 225] England, in the hope that it may bring about a desired appeasement.

World-embracing international arbitration treaties dictated by an international areopagus I consider just as impossible as general international disarmament. Germany takes up no hostile position toward arbitration. In all the new German treaties of commerce there are arbitration clauses. In the main it was due to Germany's initiative that an agreement was arrived at at the second Hague conference for the establishment of an International Prize Court.

Arbitration treaties can certainly contribute in a great measure to maintain and fortify peaceful relations. But strength must depend on readiness for war. The dictum still holds good that the weak becomes the prey of the strong. If a nation can not or will not spend enough on her defensive forces for her to be able to make her way in the world, then she falls back into the second rank.

Austria-Hungary's Version of the War

By Kaiser Franz Josef and Count Berchtold.

The Imperial Rescript and Manifesto.

Ischl, July 28.

Dear Count Stürgkh:

I have resolved to instruct the Ministers of my Household and Foreign Affairs to notify the Royal Servian Government of the beginning of a state of war between the Monarchy and Servia. In this fateful hour I feel the need of turning to my beloved peoples. I command you, therefore, to publish the inclosed manifesto.


To my peoples! It was my fervent wish to consecrate the years which, by the grace of God, still remain to me, to the works of peace and to protect my peoples from the heavy sacrifices and burdens of war. Providence, in its wisdom, has otherwise decreed. The intrigues of a malevolent opponent compel me, in the defense of the honor of my Monarchy, for the protection of its dignity and its position as a power, for the security of its possessions, to grasp the sword after long years of peace.

With a quickly forgetful ingratitude, the Kingdom of Servia, which, from the first beginnings of its independence as a State until quite recently, had been supported and assisted by my ancestors, has for years trodden the path of open hostility to Austria-Hungary. When, after three decades of fruitful work for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I extended my Sovereign rights to those lands, my decree called forth in the Kingdom of Servia, whose rights were in nowise injured, outbreaks of unrestrained passion and the bitterest hate. My Government at that time employed the handsome privileges of the stronger, and with extreme consideration and leniency only requested Servia to reduce her army to a peace footing and to promise that, for the future, she would tread the path of peace and friendship. Guided by the same spirit of moderation, my Government, when Servia, two years ago, was embroiled in a struggle with the Turkish Empire, restricted its action to the defense of the most serious and vital interests of the Monarchy. It was to this attitude that Servia primarily owed the attainment of the objects of that war.

The hope that the Servian Kingdom would appreciate the patience and love of peace of my Government and would keep its word has not been fulfilled. The flame of its hatred for myself and my house has blazed always higher; the design to tear from us by force inseparable portions of Austria-Hungary has been made manifest with less and less disguise. A criminal propaganda has extended over the frontier with the object of destroying the foundations of [pg 226] State order in the southeastern part of the monarchy; of making the people, to whom I, in my paternal affection, extended my full confidence, waver in its loyalty to the ruling house and to the Fatherland; of leading astray its growing youth and inciting it to mischievous deeds of madness and high treason. A series of murderous attacks, an organized, carefully prepared, and well carried out conspiracy, whose fruitful success wounded me and my loyal peoples to the heart, forms a visible bloody track of those secret machinations which were operated and directed in Servia.

A halt must be called to these intolerable proceedings and an end must be put to the incessant provocations of Servia. The honor and dignity of my monarchy must be preserved unimpaired, and its political, economic, and military development must be guarded from these continual shocks. In vain did my Government make a last attempt to accomplish this object by peaceful means and to induce Servia, by means of a serious warning, to desist. Servia has rejected the just and moderate demands of my Government and refused to conform to those obligations the fulfillment of which forms the natural and necessary foundation of peace in the life of peoples and States. I must therefore proceed by force of arms to secure those indispensable pledges which alone can insure tranquillity to my States within and lasting peace without.

In this solemn hour I am fully conscious of the whole significance of my resolve and my responsibility before the Almighty. I have examined and weighed everything, and with a serene conscience I set out on the path to which my duty points. I trust in my peoples, who, throughout every storm, have always rallied in unity and loyalty around my throne, and have always been prepared for the severest sacrifices for the honor, the greatness, and the might of the Fatherland. I trust in Austria-Hungary's brave and devoted forces, and I trust in the Almighty to give the victory to my arms.



Published in Special Edition of Official Gazette, Vienna, July 28.

The Royal Government of Servia not having given a satisfactory reply to the note presented to it by the Austro-Hungarian Minister in Belgrade on July 23, 1914, the Imperial and Royal Government of Austria-Hungary finds it necessary itself to safeguard its rights and interests and to have recourse for this purpose to force of arms. Austria-Hungary, therefore, considers itself from this moment in a state of war with Servia.


Congratulatory Telegram to Kaiser Wilhelm II., Aug. 27.

Victory after victory. God is with you. He will be with us also. I most sincerely congratulate you, dear friend, also the young hero, your dear son, the Crown Prince, and the Crown Prince Rupprecht, as well as the incomparably brave German Army. Words fail to express what moves me and, with me, my army, in these days of world's history.



Kaiser Franz Josef's Address in Bestowing the Great Cross on the German Kaiser, September, 1914.

The glorious victories, so crushing to the foe, which the German Army has won in battle under your chief command owe their begetting and their success to your iron will, which sharpened and swung the heavy sword.

To the laurel that crowns you as victor I wish to add, if I may, the highest military honor which we possess, in begging you to take in true brotherhood of arms and as a token of my appreciation the Great Cross of my military Order of Marie Theresa. The decoration itself, dear friend, shall be handed to you by a special envoy as soon as it is convenient for you.


[pg 227]By Count Berchtold, Foreign Minister for Austria-Hungary.

(Copyright, Evening News Publishing Company of Newark, N.J., 1914.)

berchtold (20K)

Austro-Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
(Photo from Underwood & Underwood.)

Austria-Hungary looks upon this war as a purely defensive one, which has been forced on her by the agitation directed by Russia against her very existence. Austria-Hungary has given many proofs in late years of her peaceful intention. She refrained from any interference with arms in the Balkan war, though her interests were at stake. Subsequent events have proved what a serious danger the increase in territory and prestige which it brought Servia were for Austria-Hungary. Servia's ambitions have since grown and have been solely directed against the Dual Monarchy. Russia has tacitly approved of Servia's action because Russian statesmen wish to form an iron ring of enemies around Austria-Hungary and Germany in order that Russia's grasp on Constantinople and on Asia should never again be meddled with. Austro-Hungarian soldiers are fighting for their homes and for the maintenance of their country, the Russians are fighting to help the Russian Czar to gain the rule of the world, to destroy all his neighbors who may be dangerous to Russian ambitions. England is helping the Russians to oust her German rival. She feared for some time that German culture and German scientific methods would prove the stronger in a peaceful competition, and she now hopes to crush Germany with the help of Russia and France. And France is fighting to win back Alsace-Lorraine, to take her revenge on Germany, which the French nation has been aiming at for the last forty-four years.

That is how Austria-Hungary looks upon the war. She never wished for territorial increase, she wished for peace and that her people should develop in safety.

Germany equally had nothing to gain by a war, but Germany knows that Austria-Hungary's enemies are her enemies and that the dismemberment of the Hapsburg monarchy would mean the isolation of the German Empire.

And so, after all efforts to keep Russia and England from breaking the peace of Europe had failed, she drew her sword to defend her and her allies' (ally's) interests.

Truth and honor are on the side of the two empires in this war, the unspeakable inventions and prevarications published by the French, Russian, and English press in the last weeks alone must prove to the American people who can afford to tell the truth and nothing but the truth in this war.

The Austro-Hungarian and German people have a clear conscience and need fear no misrepresentation of their action.


By Count Michael Karolyi, Leader of Hungarian Independent Party, New York, July 27.

If Austria had pursued a policy of directly helping the Balkan countries, if Austria had in the past made it a point to be actively their friend, this war would not confront us. Since it has come, of course all Hungarians will support the empire and internal differences will be dismissed while the empire is imperiled.

As for the loyalty of the many Serbs within Austria-Hungary it is hard to say. There again we must hope that they will take the Austrian side. But the Austrian policy toward the Balkan countries has been wrong, all wrong.

A German Review of the Evidence

Certified by Dr. Bernhard Dernburg, German Ex-Colonial Secretary.[pg 228]

The following is presented as a complete defense of the German position in the present war and is based upon examination of the German and English "White Papers." It was prepared in Germany and forwarded to Dr. Bernhard Dernburg, who had it translated for THE NEW YORK TIMES of Nov. 1, 1914.

Dr. Dernburg gives this statement his full approval and accepts complete responsibility for it.


Two of the five great European powers that are at present engaged in war, Austria-Hungary and Russia, whose differences for years have been constantly increasing in sharpness, and after the tragedy in Serajevo became impossible to be bridged by diplomacy, conjured up the frightful struggle.

With these two, two other powers are so closely united by alliances that their participation in the war also was unavoidable; they are Germany and France.

There are two other great European powers whose relations to the two aforesaid groups before the war were very much alike in the essential points. Just as Italy was politically tied by alliance to the central powers, so England was with the Franco-Russian Alliance. Hence it was uncertain how these countries, each geographically removed from the main body of the Continent, would act in a war, and it seemed quite possible that both would decide to remain neutral.

As a matter of fact, the Italian Government came to the view that such a stand would be for the best interests of its country.

This decision might have made it considerably more easy for England to also maintain her neutrality, which, from political, economical, and ethical reasons, would have been advantageous and natural for the Island Empire. To the surprise and indignation of all those Germans who for years had been working toward an adjustment of the conflicting interests of both countries—among these ought to be mentioned, above all, the Kaiser and the Imperial Chancellor—the Liberal British Ministry immediately declared war on Germany, and did not confine itself to a naval war, but, in keeping with agreements reached years ago between the English and the French General Staffs, as is now admitted, equipped an expeditionary army, thus considerably strengthening the French forces.

The question arises, "What reasons led British politics to this monstrous step?"

Much has been written during the last weeks from the German side, criticising most sharply and with great justification the motive of the London Cabinet. In the following discussion we will confine ourselves to an impartial review of the documents published by the English Government itself in its own defense.

The essential part of this justification is contained in the "Correspondence Concerning the European Crisis," placed before the British Parliament shortly after the start of the war, which is known as the British "White Paper." In amplification are to be considered the "White Book" placed by the German Government before the Reichstag and the "Orange Book" published by Russia.


In a public speech, delivered Sept. 19, the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Lloyd George, according to the report of The Westminster Gazette, which may be considered as his organ, characterized the quarrel between Germany and Russia in the picturesque manner which this statesman prefers, as follows:

GERMANY—I insist that you stand aside with crossed arms while Austria strangles your little brother, (Servia.)

RUSSIA—Just you touch this little fellow [pg 229] and I will tear your ramshackle empire limb from limb.

We will not waste words in considering the flippant form here used in a discussion of an unspeakably bloody and world-historic conflict. But this expression in very pregnant form makes Russia appear in the light in which the London powers-that-be desire to show the empire of the Czar to the British people, viz., in the role of the noble-hearted protector of persecuted innocence, while Germany, supporting and egging on Austria-Hungary, is shown as morally responsible for the war.

Cites English Documents.

This, also, is the chain of thought in the speech of the British Prime Minister in the House of Commons on Aug. 4. Translations of this speech have been spread by the British Government in neutral countries in hundreds of thousands of copies under the title: "The Power Responsible for War Is Germany."

Now, we claim that the British "White Paper" itself furnishes irrefutable proof that not Germany, which up to the last moment offered the hand of mediation, but Russia is responsible for the war, and that the Foreign Office at London was fully cognizant of this fact.

Furthermore, the "White Paper" shows that England's claim that she entered this war solely as a protector of the small nations is a fable.


Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
(Photo (C) by American Press Assn.)

The documents reproduced in the "White Paper" do not begin until July 20, and only a few introductory dispatches before the 24th are given. The first of the very important reports of the British Ambassador at St. Petersburg, Sir George Buchanan, to the Secretary of State, Grey, is dated on that day; on the same day the note addressed by Austria-Hungary to the Servian Government had been brought to the knowledge of the European Cabinets, and the British Ambassador conferred with the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, M. Sazonof, over this matter. The French Minister also took part in this conference. When the latter and M. Sazonof, in the most insistent way, tried to prove to Buchanan that England, together with Russia and France, must assume a threatening attitude toward Austria-Hungary and Germany, the British Ambassador replied:

I said that I would telegraph a full report to you of what their Excellencies had just said to me. I could not, of course, speak in the name of his Majesty's Government, but personally I saw no reason to expect any declaration of solidarity from his Majesty's Government that would entail an unconditional engagement on their part to support Russia and France by force of arms. Direct British interests in Servia were nil, and a war on behalf of that country would never be sanctioned by British public opinion.—(British "White Paper" No. 6.)

The British Ambassador thereupon asked the question whether Russia was thinking of eventually declaring war on Austria. The following was the answer:

M. Sazonof said that he himself thought that Russian mobilization would at any rate have to be carried out; but a council of Ministers was being held this afternoon to consider the whole question....

The dispatch continues:

French Ambassador and M. Sazonof both continue to press me for a declaration of complete solidarity of his Majesty's Government with French and Russian Governments.... (British "White Paper" No. 6.)

This shows plainly that the Russian mobilization must have been planned even before July 24, for otherwise M. Sazonof could not have spoken of the necessity of carrying it through.

It is furthermore very remarkable that the Russian Minister on this early day spoke of the mobilization in general and not of the partial mobilization against Austria-Hungary.

Finally we find that the British Government was fully informed at the very latest on July 24—it may have had before it previous documents, but they are not contained in the "White Paper"—concerning Russian mobilization and thereby the development of Russian and French politics that had to be anticipated.

Russian Aggression.

Had there been any doubts concerning these matters on the part of the British Government, the continual urging of Russian and French diplomatists must have [pg 230]made things plain. Russia's aggressive policy, and not the Austrian declaration of war on Servia, which did not come until five days later, led to the European war. Servia meant so little to England, although England traditionally poses as a protector of small nations, that the British Ambassador in St. Petersburg was able to describe England's interest in the kingdom on the Save as "nil." Only later, after the beginning of the war, England warmed up to Servia, and in the aforementioned speech Mr. Lloyd George found the most hearty tones in speaking of the heroic fight of this "little nation," although he was obliged to admit simultaneously that its' history is not untainted.

On the day following that conversation, on July 25, the British Ambassador had another talk with M. Sasonof, during the course of which he felt obliged to express to the Russian Government a serious warning concerning its mobilization.

On my expressing the earnest hope that Russia would not precipitate war by mobilizing until you had had time to use your influence in favor of peace his Excellency assured me that Russia had no aggressive intentions and she would take no action until it was forced on her. Austria's action was in reality directed against Russia. She aimed at overthrowing the present status quo in the Balkans and establishing her own hegemony there. He did not believe that Germany really wanted war, but her attitude was decided by ours. If we took our stand firmly with France and Russia there would be no war. If we failed them now rivers of blood would flow and we would in the end be dragged into war....

I said all I could to impress prudence on the Minister for Foreign Affairs and warned him that if Russia mobilized Germany would not be content with mere mobilization or give Russia time to carry out hers, but would probably declare war at once! His Excellency replied that Russia could not allow Austria to crush Servia and become the predominant power in the Balkans, and, if she feels secure of the support of France, she will face all the risks of war. He assured me once more that he did not wish to precipitate a conflict, but that unless Germany could restrain Austria I could regard the situation as desperate.—(British "White Paper" No. 17.)

A more convincing contradiction of the claim that Germany fell upon unexpectant Russia can hardly be imagined. Sazonof's conversation with the British Ambassador shows that Russia had decided from the beginning to bring about the war, unless Austria would subject itself to Russia's dictation.

Now, Russia was not alone concerned about Servia, but from its viewpoint Austria-Hungary must not maintain the preponderant position in the Balkans.

Sure of French help, Russia was determined to work against this. The reports of the British representative do not suggest with a word that Germany was responsible for the war; on the contrary, Sir Buchanan again, on his own account, warned the Russian Government to keep aloof from military measures, in his conversation with M. Sazonof on July 27, although the "White Paper" does not show that he had received any instructions by Sir Edward Grey.

His Excellency must not, if our efforts were to be successful, do anything to precipitate a conflict. In these circumstances I trusted that the Russian Government would defer the mobilization ukase for as long as possible, and that troops would not be allowed to cross the frontier even when it was issued.—(British "White Paper," No, 44.)

Just as its own Ambassador in Petersburg pointed out to the British Government the dangers of Russian mobilization, England did not lack German warnings. On July 28 the British Ambassador in Berlin, Sir E. Goschen, reported as follows by wire concerning a conversation with the Imperial Chancellor:

... but if the news were true which he had just read in the papers, that Russia had mobilized fourteen army corps in the South, he thought the situation was very serious, and he himself would be in a very difficult position, as in these circumstances it would be out of his power to continue to preach moderation at Vienna. He added that Austria, who as yet was only partially mobilizing, would have to take similar measures, and if war were to result Russia would be entirely responsible.—(British "White Paper" No. 71.)

In a telegram of Mr. Goschen's of July 30, reporting a conversation with the Secretary of State, von Jagow, it is stated:

[pg 231]He begged me to impress on you difficulty of Germany's position in view of Russian mobilization and military measures which he hears are being taken in France.—(British "White Paper" No. 98.)

The British Government has added a few further publications to its "White Paper." Among these is a report of the hitherto British Ambassador in Vienna, Sir Maurice de Bunsen. The document is dated Sept. 1; that is, a full month after the outbreak of the war. The tendency of this publication is not only to unburden Russia and England from all blame and to put it upon German and Austro-Hungarian politics, but it attempts to make Germany responsible for the war to greater extent than Austria-Hungary in trying to sow dissension between the two allies.

Ambassador de Bunsen represents matters as if Germany, through its ultimatum to Russia on July 31, had roughly interrupted negotiations promising success then going on between Vienna and Petersburg. In this report it is stated:

(Retranslated.) M. Schebeko [the Russian Ambassador at Vienna] on July 28th attempted to induce the Austrian Government to authorize Count Scapary to continue negotiations which he had been carrying on with M. Sazonof and which appeared very promising. Count Berchtold on this day declined, but two days later, July 30th, although Russia then had already started partial mobilization against Austria, he received M. Schebeko again in the most courteous manner and gave his consent to continuation of the pour parleurs.... On Aug. 1st M. Schebeko informed me that Austria was ready to submit to mediation those parts of its note to Servia which appeared to be irreconcilable to the independence of Servia.... Unfortunately these pour parleurs in St. Petersburg and Vienna were suddenly broken off by the quarrel being removed to the more dangerous territory of a direct conflict between Germany and Russia. Germany on July 31 stepped between the two with its double ultimatum addressed to St. Petersburg and Paris.... A delay of a few days in all probability would have spared Europe one of the greatest wars in history.

On the other hand, be it remembered that the fact that any negotiations between Austria and Russia were carried on up to the last hour was solely the result of the uninterrupted German efforts to maintain peace, which fact Sir Maurice de Bunsen very wisely buries in silence. These negotiations, by the way, hardly were as promising of success as is made to appear. The Austrian version of it is found in the Vienna Fremdenblatt of Sept. 25, 1914. There the most important spots of Bunsen's report, that Austria-Hungary had been ready to moderate several points of its note to Servia, are mentioned, as follows:

As we are told by a well-informed source, these assertions do not at all correspond to the facts; furthermore, from the very nature of the steps undertaken by the dual monarchy in Belgrade, this would have been entirely inconceivable.

A glance at the date shows that the Bunsen report is misleading, for he himself tells that Count Berchtold, on July 30, had expressed his consent to a continuation of the exchange of thought in Petersburg; the latter, therefore, could not begin before the 31st, while in the night from July 30 to 31 the mobilization of the entire Russian Army against Germany was ordered in Petersburg, finally making impossible the continuation of the last German attempt at mediation in Vienna.

The truth is, in spite of Russian and English twistings, that without the interval caused by Germany's efforts in Vienna, which interval England allowed to pass unused in Petersburg, the war would have broken out a few days sooner.

Let us consider how the fact of the Russian mobilization, the dimensions and tendency of which was brought to the knowledge of the London Cabinet at the very latest on July 24, must affect Germany.

On July 24 the Russian Government declared, in an official communiqué, it would be impossible for it to remain indifferent in an Austro-Servian conflict.

Germany's Hand Forced.

This declaration was followed immediately by military measures which represented the beginning of Russian mobilization long planned. But even on July 27 the Russian Minister of War, Suchomlinof, [pg 232]assured the German Military Attaché upon word of honor (Annex 11 of the German "White Paper") that no order for mobilization had been given and no reservists had been drawn and no horse had been commandeered.

Although in this conversation there had been left no doubt to the Russian Minister of War concerning the fact that measures of mobilization against Austria must be considered by Germany also as very threatening toward itself, during the next days news of the Russian mobilization arrived in quick succession.

On the 29th mobilization of Southern and Southwestern Russia was ordered, which was extended on the 30th to twenty-three provinces.

On the night of the 30th to the 31st, while the efforts of the Kaiser to maintain peace were continuing and were receiving friendly attention in Vienna, in St. Petersburg the mobilization of the entire Russian Army was ordered. Even as late as 2 P.M. on the 31st, however, (German "White Paper," Page 18, of NEW YORK TIMES reprint,) the Czar telegraphed the Kaiser that the military measures now being taken were meant for defensive purposes against Austria's preparations, and he gave his pledge as far away from desiring war.

In the face of such evident duplicity of Russian politics, a further delay such as was desired by Sir Maurice de Bunsen would have been for every German statesman a crime against the security of his own country.

On the other hand, upon what German measures did the Russian Government base its order for mobilization? The British "White Paper" proves how frivolously steps leading to the most serious results were ordered in St. Petersburg. On July 30 Sir George Buchanan telegraphed:

M. Sazonof told us that absolute proof was in possession of the Russian Government that Germany was making military and naval preparations against Russia, more particularly in the direction of the Gulf of Finland,—(British "White Paper" No. 97.)

Proofs Lacking.

On the other hand, Buchanan's telegram of July 31 (British "White Paper" No. 113) states:

Russia has also reason to believe that Germany is making active military preparations, and she cannot afford to let her get a start.—(British "White Paper" No. 113.)

So, from one day to the next the "absolute proof" changed to a reason for the assumption. In reality, both were assertions that lack all proof.

The finishing part of a telegram sent by the British Ambassador in Berlin to Sir Edward Grey on July 31 deserves special mention:

He [the German Secretary of State] again assured me that both the Emperor William, at the request of the Emperor of Russia and the German Foreign Office, had even up till last night been urging Austria to show willingness to continue discussion—and telephonic communications from Vienna had been of a promising nature—but Russia's mobilization had spoiled everything.—(British "White Paper" No. 121.)

Therefore, the German Chancellor, in his memorandum placed before the Reichstag, stated with full justification:

The Russian Government has smashed the laborious attempts at mediation on the part of the European State Chancelleries, on the eve of success, by the mobilization, endangering the safety of the empire. The measures for a mobilization, about whose seriousness the Russian Government was fully acquainted from the beginning, in connection with their constant denial, show clearly that Russia wanted war.

To this is to be added that the English Government also was made fully cognizant of the intentions of the Russian mobilization, by a witness that could not be suspected, namely, its own representative in St. Petersburg, and therefore must bear full responsibility.


We have seen from the "Blue Book" that the Secretary of State in London was informed at the very latest on July 24 by his Ambassador in St. Petersburg of the plan of the Russian mobilization and consequently of the tremendous seriousness of the European situation. Yet eight to nine days had to elapse before the beginning of the war. Let us see whether Sir Edward Grey used this time [pg 233]to preserve peace, according to his own documents.

From this testimony it appears that even at the beginning of the last and decisive part of the European crisis, which began on June 28, 1914, with the assassination of the Austrian heir to the throne, Sir Edward Grey refrained from considering a direct participation of his country in the possible world war. At least, this must be the impression gained from his remarks to the representatives of the two powers with whom England is today at war. Thus, he said to the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador, Count Mensdorff, on July 23:

The possible consequences of the present situation were terrible. If as many as four great powers of Europe—let us say Austria, France, Russia, and Germany—were engaged in war, it seemed to me that it must involve the expenditure of so vast a sum of money and such an interference with trade that a war would be accompanied or followed by a complete collapse of European credit and industry.—(British "White Paper" No. 3.)

Here Grey speaks only of four of the big powers at most that may go to war, without even hinting at the fifth, namely, England. On July 24 he had another conversation with the Austrian Ambassador, the theme of which was the note—meanwhile presented to Servia. It caused apprehensions on his part, but he declared again:

The merits of the dispute between Austria and Servia were not the concern of his Majesty's Government....

I [Grey] ended by saying that doubtless we should enter into an exchange of views with other powers, and that I must await their views as to what could be done to mitigate the difficulties of the situation.—(British "White Paper" No. 5.)

We are already striking the fateful peculiarity of Grey's policy to hesitate where prompt action, or at least a clear and open conduct, would have been his duty. This weakness of his nature has been used with great art by French and Russian diplomacy. This is illustrated by the conversation of July 24 between him and the French Ambassador, Cambon, in London:

M. Cambon said that, if there was a chance of mediation by the four powers he had no doubt that his Government would be glad to join in it; but he pointed out that we could not say anything in St. Petersburg till Russia had expressed some opinion or taken some action. But, when two days were over, Austria would march into Servia, for the Servians could not possibly accept the Austrian demand. Russia would be compelled by her public opinion to take action as soon as Austria attacked Servia, and, therefore, once the Austrians had attacked Servia it would be too late for any mediation.—(British "White Paper" No. 10.)

Thus, England must not give any advice to Russia before it knows Russia's intent and even its measures. But inasmuch as Austria will have proceeded against Servia by that time Russia must make war, and the conclusion is that even on July 24 the catastrophe is considered unavoidable. Grey shows himself more and more hypnotized by the fatalistic view that it is too late. Hence he reports also on July 24 a conversation of the German Ambassador, Prince Lichnowsky:

I reminded the German Ambassador that some days ago he had expressed a personal hope that if need arose I would endeavor to exercise moderating influence at St. Petersburg, but now I said that, in view of the extraordinarily stiff character of the Austrian note, the shortness of time allowed, and the wide scope of the demands upon Servia, I felt quite helpless as far as Russia was concerned, and I did not believe any power could exercise influence alone.—(British "White Paper" No. 11.)

From a conversation of Grey with the Prince Lichnowsky, the German Ambassador, on July 25:

Alone we could do nothing. The French Government were traveling [this refers to the visit at St. Petersburg by Messrs. Poincaré and Viviani] at the moment, and I had had no time to consult them, and could not, therefore, be sure of their views.—(British "White Paper" No. 25.)

If Sir Edward Grey sincerely desired the maintenance of peace, he must have had to use his entire influence at St. Petersburg to bring about the stopping of the threatening military measures taken by Russia, whereas he was waiting for the opinion of the French Government. He was bound to do this, so much the more in view of the fact that he demanded from Germany that it should exert its influence with Austria.

That this request of Grey's was complied with by Germany in so far as it [pg 234]was in any way in accord with the alliance with Austria-Hungary, and that in Vienna every effort was made to conciliate matters, is shown by the assurance of the Chancellor; he declares:

In spite of this [the Austro-Hungarian Government having remarked with full appreciation of our action that it had come too late] we continued our mediatory efforts to the utmost and advised Vienna to make any possible compromise consistent with the dignity of the monarchy.—(German "White Paper," Page 17, of NEW YORK TIMES reprint.)

Grey well knew that Germany was doing all it could to mediate in Vienna. He expressed his recognition and his joy over it on July 28 ("Blue Book," Page 67):

It is very satisfactory to hear from the German Ambassador here that the German Government have taken action at Vienna in the sense of the conversation recorded in my telegram of yesterday to you.—(British "White Paper" No. 67.)[02]

Neither has Grey been left in the dark by the German side concerning the difficulties, which by the Russian mobilization made every attempt to mediate in Vienna abortive. Even on July 31 the British Ambassador in Berlin telegraphed:

The Chancellor informs me that his efforts to preach peace and moderation at Vienna have been seriously handicapped by the Russian mobilization against Austria. He has done everything possible to obtain his object at Vienna, perhaps even rather more than was altogether palatable at the Ballplatz.—(British "White Paper" No. 108.)

England and Russia.

How, on the other hand, about Grey's action with Russia? From the very beginning one should have had a right to expect that, as Germany acted in Vienna, thus France, if it was active in Grey's spirit, would be working in St. Petersburg for peace. Of this no trace whatsoever can be found. The French Government thus far has not published any series of documents concerning its activity during the crisis, and neither in the Russian "Orange Book" nor in the English "Blue Book" is anything mentioned of the mediating activity on the part of France.

On the contrary, the latter power, wherever she puts in an appearance—as for instance in the conversation of the English Ambassador in St. Petersburg with his French colleague and M. Sazonof, as mentioned above—appears as fully identical with Russia.

It is also stated on July 24:

The French Ambassador gave me to understand that France would fulfill all the obligations entailed by her alliance with Russia if necessity arose, besides supporting Russia strongly in all diplomatic negotiations.... It seems to me from the language held, by French Ambassador that even if we decline to join them, France and Russia are determined to make a strong stand.—(British "White Paper" No. 6.)

One should think that Grey, who in view of this could not possibly expect an influence for peace being brought to bear by France, but only a strengthening of the Russian desire for aggression, now would have acted in the most energetic manner in St. Petersburg for the maintenance of peace.

In reality, however, during the days that still remained, aside from a weak and in St. Petersburg absolutely ineffective advice to postpone mobilization, he did nothing whatsoever, and later placed himself in a manner constantly more recognizable on the side of Russia.

The claim that the time limit given by the Austrian note to Servia was the cause of the war, that Grey's mediation had only miscarried owing to the haste of Germany, is disproved by the British [pg 235]documents themselves. De Bunsen on July 26 telegraphed to Grey from Vienna:

Russian Ambassador just returned from leave, thinks that Austro-Hungarian Government are determined on war and that it is impossible for Russia to remain indifferent. He does not propose to press for more time in the sense of your telegram of the 25th inst.—(British "White Paper" No. 40.)

Therefore Russia has paid little attention to the very shy and timid efforts to maintain peace by the London Secretary of State, even where these were concerned in the attempt to change the position taken by Austria.

Another proof: Sazonof on July 27 sent a telegram to the Russian Ambassador in London which the latter transmitted to Grey, and which concerns itself with the much mentioned proposition of the latter to have the conflict investigated by a conference of the four great powers not immediately concerned.

Russian Sincerity Questioned.

The conference plan was declined without much hesitation and openly by Germany, because it was compelled to see therein an attempt to place Austria before a European court of arbitration, and because it knew the serious determination of its ally in this matter. But did Russia really want the conference? Minister Sazonof declares:

I replied to the [British] Ambassador that I have begun conversations with the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador, under conditions which I hope may be favorable. I have not, however, received as yet any reply to the proposal made by me for revising the note between the two Cabinets.—(British "White Paper" No. 53.)

Here it is shown plainly how little the conference plan was after the heart of the Russians. Had they accepted it it would have had to be done immediately. As soon as the situation had grown very much more serious by the failure of the negotiations with Austria-Hungary there would have been no more time for this.[03]

A telegram of the English Ambassador in St. Petersburg, dated July 27, (British "White Paper" No. 55,) shows how this conference was expected to be conducted in St. Petersburg:

His Excellency [Sazonof] said he was perfectly ready to stand aside if the powers accepted the proposal for a conference, but he trusted that you would keep in touch with the Russian Ambassador in the event of its taking place.—(British "White Paper" No. 55.)

Russian shrewdness evidently expected to control the conference by keeping in touch with Grey, who of course would have been the Chairman. The dispatches of his own Ambassadors lying before him should have enabled the Secretary of State to see the perfidy of the Russian policy. Buchanan wrote on the 28th from St. Petersburg:

... and asked him whether he would be satisfied with the assurance which the Austrian Ambassador had, I understood, been instructed to give in respect to Servia's integrity and independence.... In reply his Excellency stated that if Servia were attacked Russia would not be satisfied with any engagement which Austria might take on these two points....—(British "White Paper" No. 72.)

Entirely in contrast herewith is one [pg 236]report of the British representative in Vienna, dated Aug. 1, and speaking of a conversation with the Russian Ambassador there:

Russia would, according to the Russian Ambassador, be satisfied even now with assurance respecting Servian integrity and independence. He said that Russia had no intention to attack Austria.—(British "White Paper" No. 141.)

What, then, may one ask, was the opinion which Sir Edward Grey had formed concerning Russia's real intentions? He learns from Russian sources and notes faithfully that Russia will accept Austrian guarantees for independence of Servia, and also that it will not accept such guarantees. It is the same duplicity which Russia, when its own mobilization was concerned, showed toward Germany. Did Sir Edward not notice this duplicity, or did he not wish to notice it? If the documents of the English Government have not been selected with the purpose to confuse, then in London the decision to take part in the war does not seem to have been a certainty at the beginning. We have seen that Ambassador Buchanan in St. Petersburg on July 24 gave the Russian Minister to understand that England was not of a mind to go to war on account of Servia. This position, taken by the Ambassador, was approved by Sir Edward Grey on the following day in the following words:

I entirely approve what you said ... and I cannot promise more on behalf of the Government.—(British "White Paper" No. 24.)

Based upon these instructions, Sir George Buchanan, even on July 27, stated to M. Sazonof, who continued to urge England to unconditionally join Russia and France:

I added that you [Grey] could not promise to do anything more, and that his Excellency was mistaken if he believed that the cause of peace could be promoted by our telling the German Government that they would have to deal with us as well as with Russia and France if she supported Austria by force of arms. Their [the German] attitude would merely be stiffened by such a menace.—(British "White Paper" No. 44.)

But on this same 27th day of July, Grey, submitting to the intrigues of Russian and French diplomacy, had committed one very fateful step (Telegram to Buchanan, July 27):

I have been told by the Russian Ambassador that in German and Austrian circles impression prevails that in any event we would stand aside. His Excellency deplored the effect that such an impression must produce. This impression ought, as I have pointed out, to be dispelled by the orders we have given to the first fleet which is concentrated, as it happens, at Portland not to disperse for manoeuvre leave. But I explained to the Russian Ambassador that my reference to it must not be taken to mean that anything more than diplomatic action was promised.—(British "White Paper" No. 47.)

For Russia this order to the fleet meant very much more than a diplomatic action. Sazonof saw that the wind in London was turning in his favor and he made use of it. Among themselves the Russian diplomatists seem to have for a long time been clear and open in their discussion of their real object. You find among the documents of the Russian "Orange Book" the following telegram of Sazonof of July 25 to the Russian Ambassador in London:

In case of a new aggravation of the situation, possibly provoking on the part of the great powers' united action, [des actions conformes,] we count that England will not delay placing herself clearly on the side of Russia and France, with the view to maintaining the equilibrium of Europe, in favor of which she has constantly intervened in the past, and which would without doubt be compromised in the case of the triumph of Austria.—(Russian "Orange Paper" No. 17.)

There is no mention of Servia here, but Austria should not triumph. Russia's real intention, of course, was not placed so nakedly before the British Secretary of State, hence to him the appearance was maintained that the little State of the Sawe was the only consideration, although the Russian Army was already being mobilized with all energy.

On the 28th he wires to the Russian Ambassador, Count Benckendorff, to London to inform the British Government:

It seems to me that England is in a better position than any other power to make another attempt at Berlin to induce the German Government to take the necessary [pg 237]action. There is no doubt that the key of the situation is to be found at Berlin.—(British "White Paper" No. 54.)

The opinion subtly suggested upon him by Paris and Petersburg diplomacy, namely, that he should not use any pressure upon Russia, but upon Germany, now takes hold of Grey more and more. On July 29 he writes to the German Ambassador as follows:

In fact, mediation was ready to come into operation by any method that Germany thought possible if only Germany would "press the button in the interests of peace."—(British "White Paper" No. 84.)

Petersburg, now assured of the support of Grey, becomes more and more outspoken for war. On the 28th Grey again expressed one of his softhearted propositions for peace. Mr. Sazonof hardly made the effort to hide his contempt. Buchanan telegraphs on the 29th as follows:

The Minister for Foreign Affairs said that proposal referred to in your telegram of the 28th inst. was one of secondary importance. Under altered circumstances of situation he did not attach weight to it.... Minister for Foreign Affairs had given me to understand that Russia would not precipitate war by crossing frontier immediately, and a week or more would in any case elapse before mobilization was completed. In order to find an issue out of a dangerous situation it was necessary that we should in the meanwhile all work together.—(British "White Paper" No. 78.)

Naivete or Cynicism?

Here it really becomes impossible to judge where the naïveté of the British Secretary of State ends and cynicism begins, for Sazonof could not have told to him more plainly than in these lines that all Russia's ostensible readiness for peace served no other purpose than to win time to complete the strategical location of the Russian troops.

This point is emphasized by one document coming from a writer presumably unbiased, but presumably distrustful of Germany, wherein the confirmation is found that England and Russia had come to a full agreement during these days.

On July 30 the Belgian Chargé d'Affaires de l'Escaille in Petersburg reported to the Belgian Government upon the European crisis. Owing to the fast developing events of a warlike nature, this letter did not reach its address by mail, and it was published later on. The Belgian diplomatist writes:

It is undeniable that Germany tried hard here [that is, in Petersburg] and in Vienna to find any means whatsoever in order to forestall a general conflict....

And after M. de l'Escaille has told that Russia—what the Czar and his War Minister with their highest assurances toward Germany had denied—was mobilizing its own army, he continues:

Today at Petersburg one is absolutely convinced, yes, they have even received assurances in that direction, that England and France will stay by them. This assistance is of decisive importance and has contributed much to the victory of the [Russian] war party.

This settles Grey's pretended "attempts at mediation." The truth is that British politics decided to prevent a diplomatic success of Germany and Austria, now worked openly toward the Russian aim. "The exertion of pressure upon Berlin" included already a certain threat, mingled with good advice.

On July 23 Grey had only spoken of four possible powers in war; hence when on the German side some hope of England maintaining neutrality was indulged in, this impression rested upon Grey's own explanations. On July 29, however, after a political conversation with Prince Lichnowsky, German Ambassador in London, he adds an important personal bit of information. He wires concerning it to Berlin, to Goschen:

After speaking to the German Ambassador this afternoon about the European situation, I said that I wished to say to him, in a quite private and friendly way, something that was on my mind. The situation was very grave.... But if we failed in our efforts to keep the peace, and if the issue spread so that it involved every European interest, I did not wish to be open to any reproach from him, that the friendly tone of all our conversations had misled him or his Government into supposing that we should not take action.... But we knew very well that if the issue did become such that we thought that British interests required us to intervene, we must intervene at once and the decision would have to be very rapid.—(British "White Paper" No. 89.)

[pg 238]But what is especially wrong is that Grey brought this warning, which only could have any effect if it remained an absolute, confidential secret between the English and German Governments, also to the French Ambassador, so that the entire Entente could mischievously look on and see whether Germany really would give in to British pressure. Of course, in his manner of swaying to and fro, he did not wish either that Cambon should not accept this information to the German Ambassador as a decided taking of a position on the part of England:

I thought it necessary [speaking to M. Cambon] to say that because as he knew we were taking all precautions with regard to our fleet and I was about to warn Prince Lichnowsky not to count on our standing aside, but it would not be fair that I should let M. Cambon be misled into supposing that we had decided what to do in a contingency that I still hoped might not arise....—(British "White Paper" No. 87.)

Stirring Up Trouble.

On the German side Grey's open threat, which was presented, however, with smooth and friendly sounding words, was received with quiet politeness. Goschen telegraphed on the 30th concerning a talk with State Secretary von Jagow:

His Excellency added that telegram received from Prince Lichnowsky last night contains matter which he had heard with regret, but not exactly with surprise, and, at all events, he thoroughly appreciated the frankness and loyalty with which you had spoken.—(British "White Paper" No. 98.)

Now the work of stirring up trouble is continued unceasingly. On July 30 the British Ambassador in Paris, Sir F. Bertie, concerning a conversation with the President of the Republic, reports:

He [Poincaré] is convinced that peace between the powers is in the hands of Great Britain. If his Majesty's Government announced that England would come to the aid of France in the event of a conflict between France and Germany ... there would be no war, for Germany would at once modify her attitude.—(British "White Paper" No. 99.)

Did Grey really think for one moment that the German Empire would change its position immediately, in other words, would suddenly leave its ally in need, or is all this only a mass of diplomatic blandishments?

On the same day Grey steps from the personal warning which he had given to the German Ambassador to the sharpest official threat. In a telegram to the Ambassador in Berlin upon the question placed before him by the Chancellor of the empire on the day prior, (British "White Paper" No. 85,) whether England would remain neutral if Germany would bind itself, after possible war, to claim no French territory in Europe whatever, while in lieu of the French colonies a like guarantee could not be accepted, Grey answers with thundering words:

His Majesty's Government cannot for a moment entertain the Chancellor's proposal that they should bind themselves to neutrality on such terms. What he asks us in effect is to engage to stand by while French colonies are taken and France is beaten, so long as Germany does not take French territory as distinct from the colonies. From a material point of view such a proposal is unacceptable, for France without further territory in Europe being taken from her could be so crushed as to lose her position as a great power and become subordinate to German policy. Altogether apart from that, it would be a disgrace for us to make this bargain with Germany at the expense of France, a disgrace from which the good name of this country could never recover.—(British "White Paper" No. 101.)

With this telegram the war on Germany was practically declared, for as a price of British neutrality an open humiliation of Germany was demanded. If France—the question of French colonies is of very minor importance in this connection—must not be defeated by Germany, then England forbade the German Government to make war. It was furthermore stated that Germany was absolutely compelled to accept Russian-French dictates, and would have to leave Austria to its own resources. This would have meant Germany's retirement from the position of a great power, even if she had backed down before such a challenge.[pg 239]


Only in the light of the developments concerning England's relation to France, given at the beginning of the war, Grey's policy, swaying between indecision and precipitate action, becomes apparent.

In all the explanations which the British Government in the course of eight years had presented to the British Parliament concerning the relations to other large powers, the assurance had been repeated that no binding agreements with the two partners of the Franco-Russian alliance had been made, above all, that no agreement with France existed. Only in his speech in the House of Commons on Aug, 3, 1914, which meant the war with Germany, Grey gave to the representatives of the people news of certain agreements which made it a duty for Great Britain to work together with France in any European crisis.

The fateful document, which in the form of an apparently private letter to the French Ambassador, dealt with one of the most important compacts of modern history, was written toward the end of the year 1912, and is published in the British "White Paper" No. 105, Annex 1:

London Foreign Office, Nov. 22, 1912.

My Dear Ambassador:

From time to time in recent years the French and British naval and military experts have consulted together. It has always been understood that such consultation does not restrict the freedom of either Government to decide at any future time whether or not to assist the other by armed force. We have agreed that consultation between experts is not, and ought not to be, regarded as an engagement that commits either Government to action in a contingency that has not arisen and may never arise. The disposition, for instance, of the French and British fleets respectively at the present moment is not based upon an engagement to co-operate in war.

You have, however, pointed out that, if either Government had grave reason to expect an unprovoked attack by a third power, it might become essential to know whether it could in that event depend upon the armed assistance of the other.

I agree that, if either Government had grave reason to expect an unprovoked attack by a third power, or something that threatened the general peace, it should immediately discuss with the other whether both Governments should act together to prevent aggression and to preserve peace, and, if so, what measures they would be prepared to take in common. If these measures involved action, the plans of the General Staffs would at once be taken into consideration, and the Governments would then decide what effect should be given to them.

Yours, &c.,


Was Parliament Deceived?

A few members of the English Parliament who on Aug. 3 dared to gingerly protest against the war may have had reason to complain about the hiding of facts from the House of Commons. When such understandings can be made without any one having an idea of their existence, then—so far as England is concerned—the supervision of the Government, theoretically being exercised by a Parliament, becomes a fiction.

Veiled Defensive Alliance.

As a matter of fact, Grey does not desire to have accepted as political obligations the conversations of the French and English Army and Navy General Staffs concerning the future plans of campaign which took place from time to time in times of peace. However, the true tendency of this agreement, for such it is, gives itself away in the promise to immediately enter with France into a political and military exchange of opinions in every critical situation; it means in realty nothing less than a veiled defensive alliance which by clever diplomatic manipulations can be changed without any difficulty to an offensive one, for inasmuch as the English Government promises to consult and work together with France, and consequently also with its ally, Russia, in every crisis, before a serious investigation of the moments of danger, it waives all right of taking an independent position.

How would England ever have been able to enter a war against France without throwing upon itself the accusation of faithlessness against one with whose plans for war it had become acquainted through negotiations lasting through years?

Here a deviation may be permissible, which leaves for a moment the basis of documentary proof.

[pg 240]If one considers how this agreement of such immeasurable consequences was not only hidden from the British Parliament by the Cabinet, but how to the very edge of conscious deceit its existence was denied—in the year 1913 Premier Asquith answered a query of a member of the House of Commons that there were no unpublished agreements in existence which in a case of war between European powers would interfere with or limit free decision on the part of the British Government or Parliament as to whether or not Britain should take part at a war—then certain reports making their appearance with great persistency in June, 1914, concerning an Anglo-Russian naval agreement are seen in a different light.

Persons who were acquainted with the happenings in diplomacy then stated that the Russian Ambassador in Paris, M. Iswolski, during the visit which the King of England and Sir Edward Grey were paying to Paris, had succeeded in winning the English statesmen for the plan of such an agreement. A formal alliance, it was said, was not being demanded by Russia immediately, for good reasons. M. Iswolski was attempting to go nearer to his goal, carefully, step by step.

It had been preliminarily agreed that negotiations should be started between the British Admiralty and the Russian Naval Attaché in London, Capt. Wolkow. As a matter of fact Wolkow during June went to St. Petersburg for a few days to, as was assumed, obtain instructions and then return to London.

Grey's "Twisty" Answer.

These happenings aroused so much attention in England that questions were raised in Parliament concerning them. It was noted how twisty Grey's answer was. He referred to the answer of the Premier, already mentioned, stated that the situation is unchanged, and said then that no negotiations were under way concerning a naval agreement with any foreign nation. "As far as he was able to judge the matter," no such negotiations would be entered into later on.

The big Liberal newspaper, The Manchester Guardian, was not at all satisfied with this explanation; it assumed that certain conditional preliminary agreements might not be excluded.

This Russian plan, which was later worked out in St. Petersburg, went into oblivion on account of the rapidly following European war. In the light of the following revelation of Grey's agreement with France, the news of the naval agreement desired by Iswolski assumed another aspect.

Let us return to the Anglo-French agreement. The following remarks by the French Ambassador in London, reported by Grey, prove that, on the ground of this agreement, France, with very little trouble, would be able to make out of a diplomatic entanglement a case for Allies' interest as far as England is concerned.

A German "Attack."

He [Cambon] anticipated that the [German] aggression would take the form of either a demand to cease her preparations or a demand that she should engage to remain neutral if there was war between Germany and Russia. Neither of these things would France admit.—(British "White Paper" No. 105.)

Therefore, even the demand addressed to France not to, jointly with Russia, attack Germany became a German "attack," which obliged England to come to the aid!

In spite of this, even on July 27 in a conversation with Cambon, Grey gave himself the appearance as if his hands were free. He told the Frenchman:

If Germany became involved and France became involved we had not made up our minds what we should do; it was a case that we should have to consider.... We were free from engagements and we should have to decide what British interests required us to do.—(British "White Paper" No. 87.)

M. Cambon remarked in reply that the Secretary of State had clearly pictured the situation, but on the very following day the French Ambassador took the liberty to remind Grey of the letter written in 1912. (British "White Paper" No. 105.)

Grey did not deny the claim implied in this reminder, but even as late as July 31 he reports as follows concerning the conversation with Cambon:

[pg 241]Up to the present moment we did not feel and public opinion did not feel that any treaties or obligations of this country were involved.... M. Cambon repeated his question whether we would help France if Germany made an attack on her. I said I could only adhere to the answer that, as far as things had gone at present, we could not take any engagement.... I said that the Cabinet would certainly be summoned as soon as there was some new development; that at the present moment the only answer I could give was that we could not undertake any definite engagement.—(British "White Paper" No. 119.)

Now, if we remember that even on the day before Grey had informed the German Imperial Chancellor that it would be a shame for England to remain neutral and allow France to be crushed, we here find a new proof of the unreliability of his conduct. If he has been gullible, the declaration of 1912, the dangerous character of which is increased by its apparently undefined tenor, has enmeshed him more and more. Also the military and naval circles, whose consultations with the representatives of the French Army and Navy certainly have been continued diligently since the beginning of the Servian crisis, were forcing toward a decision.

At all events, it became more impossible with every hour for Germany to keep England out of the way by any offers whatsoever. This is proved by Grey's conversation of Aug. 1 with the German Ambassador:

He asked me whether if Germany gave a promise not to violate Belgian neutrality we would engage to remain neutral. I replied that I could not say that; our hands were still free, and we were considering what our attitude should be.... The Ambassador pressed me as to whether I could not formulate conditions on which we would remain neutral. I said that I felt obliged to refuse definitely any promise.... (British "White Paper" No. 123.)

Belgium Not the Cause.

Hence, only if Germany would permit herself to be humiliated war with England could be avoided. The violation of Belgium's neutrality was in no way the cause of England joining Germany's enemies, for while German troops did not enter Belgium until the night from Aug. 3 to 4, Grey gave on Aug. 2 the following memorandum to the French Ambassador after a session of the Cabinet in London:

I am authorized to give an assurance that if the Geman fleet comes into the Channel or through the North Sea to undertake hostile operations against French coasts or shipping, the British fleet will give all the protection in its power.—(British "White Paper" No. 148.)

As the aim of this decision, of which M. Cambon was informed verbally, was to give France an assurance that it would be placed in a position "to settle the disposition of its own Mediterranean fleet," Grey would not accept the version of Cambon that England would take part in a war with Germany. This is a case of splitting hairs in order to put the blame of starting the war on Germany, for while England promised to protect the French coast and to make it possible for the French fleet to stay in the Mediterranean, she almost immediately proceeded to a warlike action against Germany, especially as the English Minister simultaneously refused to bind himself to maintain even this peculiar neutrality.


The highest representatives of the German Empire with emphatic seriousness declared that it was with a heavy heart and only following the law of self-preservation that they decided to violate the neutrality of the Kingdom of Belgium, guaranteed by the great powers in the treaties of 1831 and 1839.

The German Secretary of State on Aug. 4 informed the English Government through the embassy in London that Germany intended to retain no Belgian territory, and added:

Please impress upon Sir E. Grey that German Army could not be exposed to French attack across Belgium, which was planned, according to absolutely unimpeachable information. Germany had consequently to disregard Belgian neutrality, it being with her a question of life or death to prevent French advance.—(British "White Paper" No. 157.)

In answer Grey caused the English Ambassador in Berlin to demand his [pg 242]passports and to tell the German Government that England would take all steps for defense of Belgian neutrality. This, therefore, represents, in the view which very cleverly has been spread broadcast by British publicity, the real reason for the war. But in spite of the moral indignation that is apparent against Germany, the consideration for Belgium, up until very late, does not seem in any way to have been in the foreground. We find on July 31 Grey stated to Cambon:

The preservation of the neutrality of Belgium might be, I would not say a decisive, but an important, factor in determining our attitude.—(British "White Paper" No. 119.)

Here, therefore, there was no talk about England grasping the sword on account of Belgium. Now no one will claim that the assumption that the German troops could march through Belgium would be new or unheard of. For years this possibility had been discussed in military literature.[04]

This expression on the part of the historical Faculty is very interesting. It shows that a plan of campaign between the English and French had long been considered, and that the Belgian entry into the alliance against Germany was a matter agreed upon.

A Sudden Decision.

It must also be assumed that the Belgian Government knew toward the end of July at the latest that the war between Germany and France was probable and the march of Germans through Belgium very possible.

If England had not taken part in the war against Germany, it may be assumed that it would have given Belgium the advice to permit the marching through of the German Army, somewhat in the same manner as the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg did, with a protest. In doing so the Belgian people would have been spared a great deal of misery and loss of blood. On Aug. 3 the Belgian Government replied to an offer of military help by France as follows:

We are sincerely grateful to the French Government for offering eventual support. In the actual circumstances, however, we do not propose to appeal to the guarantee of the powers. Belgian Government will decide later on the action which they may think necessary to take.—(British "White Paper" No. 151.)

One day later London decided to make Belgian neutrality the cause of the war against Germany before the eyes of the world. The Ambassador in Brussels received the following orders:

You should inform Belgian Government that if pressure is applied to them by Germany to induce them to depart from neutrality, his Majesty's Government expects that they will resist by any means in their power and that his Majesty's Government will support them in offering such resistance, and that his Majesty's Government in this event are prepared to join Russia and France.—(British "White Paper" No. 155.)

Not until England thus stirred Belgium up, holding out the deceptive hope of effective French and English help, did Belgian fanaticism break loose against Germany. Without the intervention of England in Brussels the events in Belgium, one may safely assert, would have taken an entirely different course, which would have been far more favorable to Belgium.

But, of course, England had thus found a very useful reason for war against Germany. Even on the 31st of July Grey had spoken of the violation of Belgian neutrality as not a decisive factor. On Aug. 1 he declined to promise Prince Lichnowsky England's neutrality, even if Germany would not violate Belgium's neutrality. On Aug. 4, however, the Belgian question was the cause that suddenly drove England to maintain the moral fabric of the world and to draw the sword.

[pg 243]This suddenly became the new development, which was still lacking for Grey in order to justify this war before public opinion in England.

Another English Advantage.

And something else was secured by the drawing of Belgium into the war by the British Government, which had decided to make war on Germany for entirely different reasons: the thankful part of the protector of the weak and the oppressed.

As an English diplomat, when Russia was mobilizing, openly stated, the interests of his country in Servia were nil, so for Grey even Belgium, immediately before the break with Germany, was not decisive. However, when England had irrevocably decided to enter the war it stepped out before the limelight of the world as the champion of—the small nations.

[02] Recently a book entitled "Why We Make War," in defense of Great Britain, appeared at Oxford, as the authors of which "Members of the Faculty for Modern History in Oxford" are mentioned. This work undertakes, on the ground of the official publications, to whitewash Grey's policy, and of course incidentally the Russian policy. All together this publication, parading in the gown of science, is contradicted by our own presentation of the facts; it may be mentioned also that this work contains in part positive untruths. Thus it states on Page 70 (retranslation):

No diplomatic pressure whatever was exerted [by Germany] on Vienna, which, under the protection of Berlin, was permitted to do with Servia as she liked.

Grey's own words contradict this assertion.

[03] In the aforementioned book of the Oxford historians there is stated on Page 69 (retranslation):

This mediation [namely, Grey's mediation proposition] had already been accepted, by Russia on July 25th.

We have shown in the foregoing that the Russian Government did in no manner subscribe to the conference plan in binding terms. As an additional proof, a part of Buchanan's dispatch of the 25th may be mentioned:

He [Sazonof] would like to see the question placed on international footing.... If Servia should appeal to the powers, Russia would be quite ready to stand aside and leave the question in the hands of England, France, Germany, and Italy. It would be possible in his opinion that Servia might propose to submit the question to arbitration.—(British "White Paper" No. 17.)

Hence, not if England, but only if Servia would propose arbitration by the powers, Mr. Sazonof was willing! The most amusing part of this is that the Russian Minister himself considers such a proposition on the part of Servia merely as "possible"; evidently it would have appeared as a great condescension on the part of the Government at Belgrade if it, standing on the same basis as Austria-Hungary, would appear before a European tribunal! For us there is no additional proof necessary that a mediation conference, which for Austria was not acceptable even when proposed by England, would be unthinkable if the move for such came from Servia. In expressing such an idea. Mr. Sazonof proved that it was his intention to bring war about.

[04] The book, which appeared at Oxford, "Why We Are at War," mentioned previously states on Page 27 (retranslation):

That such a plan [the marching through Luxemburg and Belgium] had been taken into consideration by the Germans has been known in England generally for several years; and it has also been generally accepted that the attempt to carry out this plan would bring about the active resistance of the British armed forces: one assumed that these would be given the task of assisting the left wing of the French, which would have to resist German advance from Belgian territory.

"Truth About Germany"

Attested by Thirty-four German Dignitaries.[05]


Board of Editors.[pg 244]

Paul Dehn, Schriftsteller, Berlin.

Dr. Drechsler, Direktor des Amerika-Instituts, Berlin.

Matthias Erzberger, Mitglied des Reichstags, Berlin.

Prof. Dr. Francke, Berlin.

B. Huldermann, Direktor der Hamburg-Amerika Linie, Hamburg.

Dr. Ernst Jaeckh, Berlin.

D. Naumann, Mitglied des Reichstags, Berlin.

Graf von Oppersdorff, Mitglied des preussischen Herrenhauses, Mitglied des Reichstags, Berlin.

Graf zu Reventlow, Schriftsteller, Charlottenburg.

Dr. Paul Rohrbach, Dozent an der Handelshochschule, Berlin.

Dr. Schacht, Direktor der Dresdner Bank, Berlin.

Honorary Committee.


Ballin, Vorsitzender des Direktoriums der Hamburg-Amerika Linie, Hamburg.

Fürst von Bülow, Hamburg.

Dr. R.W. Drechsler, Direktor des Amerika-Instituts, Berlin.

D. Dryander, Ober-Hof-und Domprediger, Berlin.

Dr. Freiherr von der Goltz, Generalfeldmarschall, Berlin.

Von Gwinner, Direktor der Deutschen Bank, Berlin.

Prof. Dr. von Harnack, Berlin.

Fürst von Hatzfeldt, Herzog zu Trachenberg.

Dr. Heineken, Direktor des Norddeutschen Lloyds, Bremen.

Fürst Henckel von Donnersmarck.

Dr. Kaempf, Praesident des Reichstags, Berlin.

Prof. Dr. Eugen Kühnemann, Breslau.

Prof. Dr. Lamprecht, Leipsic.

Dr. Theodor Lewald, Direktor im Reichsamt des Innern, Berlin.

Franz von Mendelssohn, Praesident der Handelskammer, Berlin.

Fürst Münster-Derneburg, Mitglied des Herrenhauses.

Graf von Oppersdorff, Mitglied des Herrenhauses und des Reichstags, Berlin.

Graf von Posadowsky-Wehner.

Dr. Walther Rathenau, Berlin.

Viktor Herzog von Ratibor.

Dr. Schmidt, Ministerialdirektor, Berlin.

Prof. Dr. von Schmoller, Berlin.

Graf von Schwerin-Löwitz, Praesident des Hauses der Abgeordneten.

Wilhelm von Siemens, Berlin.

Friedrich Fürst zu Solms-Baruth.

Max Warburg, Hamburg.

Siegfried Wagner, Baireuth.

[pg 245]Try to realize, every one of you, what we are going through! Only a few weeks ago all of us were peacefully following our several vocations. The peasant was gathering in this Summer's plentiful crop, the factory hand was working with accustomed vigor. Not one human being among us dreamed of war. We are a nation that wishes to lead a quiet and industrious life. This need hardly be stated to you Americans. You, of all others, know the temper of the German who lives within your gates. Our love of peace is so strong that it is not regarded by us in the light of a virtue, we simply know it to be an inborn and integral portion of ourselves. Since the foundation of the German Empire in the year 1871, we, living in the centre of Europe, have given an example of tranquillity and peace, never once seeking to profit by any momentary difficulties of our neighbors. Our commercial extension, our financial rise in the world, is far removed from any love of adventure, it is the fruit of painstaking and plodding labor.

We are not credited with this temper, because we are insufficiently known. Our situation and our way of thinking are not easily grasped.

Every one is aware that we have produced great philosophers and poets, we have preached the gospel of humanity with impassioned zeal. America fully appreciates Goethe and Kant, looks upon them as cornerstones of elevated culture. Do you really believe that we have changed our natures, that our souls can be satisfied with military drill and servile obedience? We are soldiers because we have to be soldiers, because otherwise Germany and German civilization would be swept away from the face of the earth. It has cost us long and weary struggles to attain our independence, and we know full well that, in order to preserve it, we must not content ourselves with building schools and factories, we must look to our garrisons and forts. We and all our soldiers have remained, however, the same lovers of music and lovers of exalted thought. We have retained our old devotion to all peaceable sciences and arts; as all the world knows, we work in the foremost rank of all those who strive to advance the exchange of commodities, who further useful technical knowledge. But we have been forced to become a nation of soldiers in order to be free. And we are bound to follow our Kaiser, because he [pg 246]symbolizes and represents the unity of our nation. Today, knowing no distinction of party, no difference of opinion, we rally around him, willing to shed the last drop of our blood. For though it takes a great deal to rouse us Germans, when once aroused our feelings run deep and strong. Every one is filled with this passion, with the soldier's ardor. But when the waters of the deluge shall have subsided, gladly will we return to the plow and to the anvil.

It deeply distresses us to see two highly civilized nations, England and France, joining the onslaught of autocratic Russia. That this could happen will remain one of the anomalies of history. It is not our fault; we firmly believed in the desirability of the great nations working together, we peaceably came to terms with France and England in sundry difficult African questions. There was no cause for war between Western Europe and us, no reason why Western Europe should feel itself constrained to further the power of the Czar.

The Czar, as an individual, is most certainly not the instigator of the unspeakable horrors that are now inundating Europe. But he bears before God and posterity the responsibility of having allowed himself to be terrorized by an unscrupulous military clique.

Ever since the weight of the crown has pressed upon him, he has been the tool of others. He did not desire the brutalities in Finland, he did not approve of the iniquities of the Jewish pogroms, but his hand was too weak to stop the fury of the reactionary party. Why would he not permit Austria to pacify her southern frontier? It was inconceivable that Austria should calmly see her heir apparent murdered. How could she? All the nationalities under her rule realized the impossibility of tamely allowing Servia's only too evident and successful intrigues to be carried on under her very eyes. The Austrians could not allow their venerable and sorely stricken monarch to be wounded and insulted any longer. This reasonable and honorable sentiment on the part of Austria has caused Russia to put itself forward as the patron of Servia, as the enemy of European thought and civilization.

Russia has an important mission to fulfill in its own country and in Asia. It would do better in its own interest to leave the rest of the world in peace. But the die is cast, and all nations must decide whether they wish to further us by sentiments and by deeds, or the government of the Czar. This is the real significance of this appalling struggle, all the rest is immaterial. Russia's attitude alone has forced us to go to war with France and with their great ally.

The German Nation is serious and conscientious. Never would a German Government dare to contemplate a war for the sake of dynastic interest, or for the sake of glory. This would be against the entire bent of our character. Firmly believing in the justice of our cause, all parties, the Conservatives and the Clericals, the Liberals and the Socialists, have joined hands. All disputes are forgotten, one duty exists for all, the duty of defending our country and vanquishing the enemy.

Will not this calm, self-reliant and unanimous readiness to sacrifice all, to die or to win, appeal to other nations and force them to understand our real character and the situation in which we are placed?

The war has severed us from the rest of the world, all our cable communications are destroyed. But the winds will carry the mighty voice of justice even across the ocean. We trust in God, we have confidence in the judgment of right-minded men. And through the roar of battle, we call to you all. Do not believe the mischievous lies that our enemies are spreading about! We do not know if victory will be ours, the Lord alone knows. We have not chosen our path, we must continue doing our duty, even to the very end. We bear the misery of war, the death of our sons, believing in Germany, believing in duty.

And we know that Germany cannot be wiped from the face of the earth.


"Athenwood," Newport, R.I.,

Sept. 17, 1914.

Today I have received from Germany a pamphlet entitled "Truth About Germany, Facts About the War." The correctness and completeness of its statements are vouched for by thirty-four persons, whose names are recorded therein as members of an Honorary Committee. I know personally seventeen of these thirty-four persons, and have known them for years, some of them intimately. With six of them I have labored as a colleague in university work. I have been introduced into their homes, have broken bread at their tables and have conversed with them long and often upon the problems of life and culture. They are among the greatest thinkers, moralists and philanthropists of the age. They are the salt of the earth! The great theologian Harnack, the sound and accomplished political scientist and economist von Schmoller, the distinguished philologian von Wilamowitz, the well-known historian Lamprecht, the profound statesman von Posadowsky, the brilliant diplomatist von Bülow, the great financier von Gwinner, the great promoter of trade and commerce Ballin, the great inventor Siemens, the brilliant preacher of the Gospel Dryander, the indispensable Director in the Ministry of Education Schmidt. Two of them are, in a sense, our own countrywomen, the Baroness Speck von Sternburg and Frau Staats-minister von Trott zu Solz. The latter is the granddaughter of our own John Jay. I have known her, her mother and her grandfather. No statement was ever issued which was vouched for by more solid, intelligent, and conscientious people. Its correctness, completeness and veracity cannot be doubted. As I read it the emotions which it arouses make both speech and sight difficult. I wish it might come into the hands of every man, woman, and child in the United States.


Ex-Dean Faculties of Political Science, Philosophy, Pure Science and Fine Arts, Columbia University; Roosevelt Professor of American History and Institutions at Friedrich Wilhelms University, Berlin, 1906; Visiting American Professor at Austrian Universities, 1914-15.

Under the head of "An Anti-British Pamphlet," The London Times of Aug. 23, 1914, noted as follows:

The Vossischezeitung gives extracts from a brochure issued under the auspices of a committee of such prominent Germans as Prince Bülow, Herr Ballin, Dr. von Gwinner, and Field Marshal von der Goltz, for the purpose of "opening the eyes" of the United States regarding the causes of the present war. Copies of this pamphlet are being given to all Americans returning home from Germany. One chapter, headed "Neutrality by Grace of England," scoffs at the idea of England today being the defender of neutral States and declares that it was England who in 1911 was ready to land 160,000 men at Antwerp to help the French against the Germans.

As to who will ultimately win in the war, the pamphlet asks whether it will be the striving nation, the young strength, or the old peoples, France and England, with their flagging civilization in alliance with Muscovite retrogression.


[pg 247]Who is responsible for the war?—Not Germany! England's policy! Her shifting of responsibility and promoting the struggle while alone possessing power to avert it.

It is an old and common experience that after the outbreak of a war the very parties and persons that wanted the war, either at once or later, assert that the enemy wanted and began it. The German Empire especially always had to suffer from such untruthful assertions, and the very first days of the present terrible European war confirm again this old experience. Again Russian, French, and British accounts represent the German Empire as having wanted the war.

Only a few months ago influential men and newspapers of Great Britain as well as of Paris could be heard to express the opinion that nobody in Europe wanted war and that especially the German Emperor and his Government had sincerely and effectively been working for peace. Especially the English Government, in the course of the last two years, asserted frequently and publicly, and was supported by The Westminster Gazette and a number of influential English newspapers in the assertion, that Great Britain and the German Empire during the Balkan crisis of the last few years had always met on the same platform for the preservation of peace. The late Secretary of State, von Kiderlen-Waechter, his successor, Mr. von Jagow, and the Imperial Chancellor, von Bethmann-Hollweg, likewise declared repeatedly in the Reichstag, how great their satisfaction was that a close and confidential diplomatic co-operation with Great Britain, especially in questions concerning the Near East, had become a fact. And it has to be acknowledged today that at that time the German and British interests in the Near East were identical or at any rate ran in parallel lines.

The collapse of European Turkey in the war against the Balkan Alliance created an entirely new situation. At first Bulgaria was victorious and great, then it was beaten and humiliated by the others with the intellectual help of Russia. There could be no doubt about Russia's intentions: she was preparing for the total subjection of weakened Turkey and for taking possession of the Dardanelles and Constantinople in order to rule from this powerful position Turkey and the other Balkan States. Great Britain and the German Empire, which only had economic interests in Turkey, were bound to wish to strengthen Turkey besides trying to prevent the Muscovite rule on the whole Balkan peninsula.

Servia had come out of the second Balkan war greatly strengthened and with her territory very much increased. Russia had done everything to strengthen this bitter enemy of our ally, Austria-Hungary. For a great number of years Servian politicians and conspirators had planned to undermine the southeastern provinces of Austria-Hungary and to separate them from the Dual Monarchy. In Servia as well as in Russia prevailed the opinion that, at the first attack, Austria-Hungary would fall to pieces. In this case Servia was to receive South Austria and Russia was to dictate the peace in Vienna. The Balkan war had ruined Turkey almost entirely, had paralyzed Bulgaria, that was friendly, and had strengthened the Balkan States that were hostile to Austria. At the same time there began in Rumania a Russian and French propaganda, that promised this country, if it should join the dual alliance, the Hungarian Province of Siebenbuergen.

Thus it became evident in Germany and in Austria that at St. Petersburg, first by diplomatic and political, then also by military, action a comprehensive attack of Slavism under Russian guidance was being prepared. The party of the Grand Dukes in St. Petersburg, the party of the Russian officers, always ready for war, and the Pan-Slavists, the brutal and unscrupulous representatives of the idea that the Russian Czarism was destined to rule Europe—all these declared openly that their aim was the destruction of Austria-Hungary. In Russia the army, already of an immense [pg 248]size, was increased secretly but comprehensively and as quick as possible; in Servia the same was done, and the Russian Ambassador in Belgrade, Mr. von Hartwig, was, after the second Balkan war, the principal promoter of the plan to form against Austria a new Balkan alliance. In Bosnia, during all this time, the Servian propaganda was at work with high treason, and in the end with revolver and the bomb.

In Vienna and in Berlin the greatness and the purpose of the new danger could not remain doubtful, especially as it was openly said in St. Petersburg, in Belgrade, and elsewhere that the destruction of Austria-Hungary was imminent. As soon as the Balkan troubles began Austria-Hungary had been obliged to put a large part of her army in readiness for war, because the Russians and Servians had mobilized on their frontiers. The Germans felt that what was a danger for their ally was also a danger for them and that they must do all in the power to maintain Austria-Hungary in the position of a great power. They felt that this could only be done by keeping perfect faith with their ally and by great military strength, so that Russia might possibly be deterred from war and peace be preserved, or else that, in case war was forced upon them, they could wage it with honor and success. Now it was clear in Berlin that in view of the Russian and Servian preparations, Austria-Hungary, in case of a war, would be obliged to use a great part of her forces against Servia and therefore would have to send against Russia fewer troops than would have been possible under the conditions formerly prevailing in Europe. Formerly even European Turkey could have been counted upon for assistance, that after her recent defeat seemed very doubtful. These reasons and considerations, which were solely of a defensive nature, led to the great German military bills of the last two years. Also Austria-Hungary was obliged to increase its defensive strength.

Whoever considers carefully the course of events that has been briefly sketched here will pronounce the assertion of our enemies, that Germany wanted the war, ridiculous and absurd. On the contrary, it can be said that Germany never before endeavored more eagerly to preserve peace than during the last few years. Germany had plenty of opportunities to attack and good opportunities to boot, for we knew for years that the army of France was no more ready than that of Russia. But the Germans are not a warlike nation and the German Emperor, with his Government, has always shown how earnestly he meant his reiterated assertions that the preservation of peace was his principal aim. He was actuated in this by general considerations of humanity, justice, and culture, as well as by the consideration of the German trade and commerce. This, especially the transoceanic commerce of Germany, has increased from year to year. War, however, means the ruin of commerce. Why expose Germany needlessly to this terrible risk, especially as everything in Germany prospered and her wealth increased? No, the German Army bills were merely meant to protect us against, and prepare us for, the attacks of Muscovite barbarism. But nobody in Germany has ever doubted for a moment that France would attack us at the first Russian signal. Since the first days of the Franco-Russian alliance things have become entirely reversed. Then France wanted to win Russia for a war of revenge against Germany; now, on the contrary, France thought herself obliged to place her power and her existence at the disposal of the Russian lust of conquest.

In the Spring of 1914 the German press reported from St. Petersburg detailed accounts of Russia's comprehensive preparations for war. They were not denied in Russia, and Paris declared that Russia would be ready in two or three years and then pursue a policy corresponding to her power; France, too, would then be at the height of her power. If the German Government had desired war, on the strength of these accounts, which were true, it could have waged a preventive war at once and easily. It did not do so, considering that a war is just only when it is forced upon one by the enemy. Thus Spring went by with [pg 249]the atmosphere at high tension. From St. Petersburg and Paris overbearing threats came in increasing numbers to the effect that the power of the Dual Alliance was now gigantic and that Germany and Austria soon would begin to feel it. We remained quiet and watchful, endeavoring with perseverance and with all our might to win over Great Britain to the policy of preserving peace. Colonial and economic questions were being discussed by the German and English Governments, and the cordiality between the two great powers seemed only to be equaled by their mutual confidence.

Then on the 28th of June occurred that frightful assassination by Servians of the successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Francis Ferdinand. The Greater Servia propaganda of action had put aside the man who was especially hated in Servia as the powerful exponent of Austro-Hungarian unity and strength. This murder is the real cause of the present European war. Austria-Hungary was able to prove to a shuddering world, a few days after the murder, that it had been prepared and planned systematically, yea, that the Servian Government had been cognizant of the plan. The immense extent of the Servian revolutionary organization in the provinces of Southern Austria, the warlike spirit of the Servians and its instigation by Russia and France, imposed upon the Vienna Government the duty to insist upon quiet and peace within and without its borders. It addressed to the Servian Government a number of demands which aimed at nothing but the suppression of the anti-Austrian propaganda. Servia was on the point of accepting the demand, when there arrived a dispatch from St. Petersburg, and Servia mobilized. Then Austria, too, had to act. Thus arose the Austro-Servian war. But a few days later the Russian Army was being mobilized, and the mobilization was begun also in France. At the same time, as the German "White Book" clearly proves, the diplomacy of Russia and France asserted its great love of peace and tried to prolong the negotiations in order to gain time, for, as is well known, the Russian mobilization proceeds slowly. Germany was waiting, and again and again the German Emperor tried to win the Czar over to the preservation of peace, for he considered him sincere and thought him his personal friend. Emperor William was to be cruelly disappointed. He finally saw himself obliged to proclaim a state of war for Germany. But at that time the Russian and French armies were already in a state of complete mobilization. At that time The London Daily Graphic wrote the following article, which shows how an English paper that was only slightly friendly to Germany judged of the situation at that time:

The Mobilization Mystery.

A general mobilization has been ordered in Russia, and Germany has responded by proclaiming martial law throughout the empire. We are now enabled to measure exactly the narrow and slippery ledge which still stands between Europe and the abyss of Armageddon. Will the Russian order be acted upon in the provinces adjoining the German frontier? If it is, then the work of the peacemakers is at an end, for Germany is bound to reply with a mobilization of her own armed forces, and a rush to the frontiers on all sides must ensue. We confess that we are unable to understand the action of Russia in view of the resumption of the negotiations with Austria. It is not likely that these negotiations have been resumed unless both sides think that there is yet a chance of agreement, but if this is the case, why the mobilization which goes far beyond the limits of necessary precaution, and is, indeed, calculated to defeat the efforts of the diplomatists, however promising they may be? There may, of course, be a satisfactory explanation, but as the matter stands it is inexplicable, and is all the more regrettable because it is calculated—we feel sure unjustly—to cast doubts on the loyalty and straightforwardness of the Russian Government.

When Russia had let pass the time limit set by Germany, when France had answered that she would act according to her own interests, then the German Empire had to mobilize its army and go ahead. Before one German soldier had crossed the German frontier a large number of French aeroplanes came flying into our country across the neutral territory of Belgium and Luxemburg [pg 250]without a word of warning on the part of the Belgian Government. At the same time the German Government learned that the French were about to enter Belgium. Then our Government, with great reluctance, had to decide upon requesting the Belgian Government to allow our troops to march through its territory. Belgium was to be indemnified after the war, was to retain its sovereignty and integrity. Belgium protested, at the same time allowing, by an agreement with France, that the French troops might enter Belgium. After all this, and not till France and Belgium itself had broken the neutrality, our troops entered the neutral territory. Germany wanted nothing from Belgium, but had to prevent that Belgian soil be used as a gate of entrance into German territory.

Little has as yet been said of Great Britain. It was Germany's conviction that the sincerity of Britain's love for peace could be trusted. At any rate, Sir Edward Grey and Mr. Asquith asserted again and again in the course of the last few years that England wished friendly relations with Germany and never would lend its support to a Franco-Russian attack on Germany. Now this attack had been made; Germany was on the defensive against two powerful enemies. What would Great Britain do about it? That was the question. Great Britain asked in return for its neutrality that the German forces should not enter Belgium. In other words, it asked that Germany should allow the French and Belgian troops to form on Belgian territory for a march against our frontier! This we could not allow. It would have been suicidal. The German Government made Great Britain, in return for its neutrality, the following offers: we would not attack the northern coast of France, we would leave unmolested the maritime commerce of France and would indemnify Belgium after the war and safeguard its sovereignty and integrity. In spite of this Great Britain declared war on Germany and sides today with those Continental powers that have united for our destruction, in order that Muscovite barbarism may rule Europe. We know that Germany did not deserve such treatment on the part of Great Britain, and do not believe that Great Britain by this action did a service to humanity and civilization.

Today we are facing hard facts. Germany has to fight for her existence. She will fight knowing that the great powers beyond the ocean will do her justice as soon as they know the truth.


[pg 251]England, France, and Russia, unthreatened by Germany, go to war for political reasons—Germany defends her independence and fights for her very existence, for her future as a great power—How a peaceful people were imbued with the spirit of war.

The last days of the month of July were days of anxiety and distress for the German people. They hoped that they would be permitted to preserve an honorable peace. A few months earlier, in 1913, when the centennial of the war for independence from French oppression and the twenty-fifth anniversary of Emperor William's ascent of the throne had been celebrated, they had willingly taken upon their shoulders the great sacrifice of the so-called "Wehrvorlage," which increased the peace strength of the standing army enormously and cost 1,000,000,000 marks. They considered it simply as an increase of their peace insurance premium. Our diplomats worked hard for the maintenance of peace, for the localization of the Austro-Servian war. So sure were the leading men of the empire of the preservation of general peace that at the beginning of the week which was to bring general mobilization they said to each other joyfully: Next week our vacation time begins. But they were fearfully disappointed. Russia's unexpected, treacherous mobilization compelled Germany to draw the sword also. On the evening of the first day of August the one word, Mobilization! was flashed by the electric spark all over the country. There was no more anxiety and uncertainty. Cool, firm resolution at once permeated the entire German folk. The Reichstag was called together for an extra session.

Three days later, on the anniversary of the battles of Weissenburg and Spichern, the representatives of the German people met. This session, which lasted only a few hours, proved worthy of the great historical moment marking the beginning of such a conflagration as the world had never seen before. The railroad lines were under military control and used almost exclusively for purposes of mobilization. In spite of all such difficulties, more than 300 of the 397 Deputies managed to get to Berlin in time. The rest sent word that they were unable to come. On the evening of Aug. 3 the Imperial Chancellor called the leaders of all parties, including the Socialists, to his house and explained to them in a concise and impressive statement how frivolously Germany had been driven to war. At the time of this meeting the unanimous acceptance of all war measures by the Reichstag was already assured. In numerous conferences the heads of the several departments explained the content and meaning of the bills to be submitted to the Reichstag. The participants of the conferences showed already what spirit would characterize the next day. The session of the Reichstag filled the entire German nation with pride and enthusiasm; the Reichstag maintained the dignity of the German Empire and the German people.

In greater numbers than ever before the Deputies, high officers of the army and navy and the Civil Government assembled on Aug. 4, first in houses of worship to pray to God, and then in the Royal Castle of Berlin. The military character of the ceremony at the opening of the session showed under what auspices this memorable act took place. The Kaiser entered the hall in the simple gray field uniform, without the usual pomp, unaccompanied by chamberlains and court officials and pages in glittering court dresses. Only State Ministers, Generals, and Admirals followed him to the throne, from where he read his speech, after covering his head with his helmet. His voice betrayed the strain under which he was laboring. Repeatedly he was interrupted by enthusiastic applause, and when he closed, a rousing cheer thundered through the famous White Hall, something that had never before occurred there since the erection of the old castle. Then came a surprise. The Emperor laid down the manuscript of his speech and continued speaking. From now on he knew only Germans, he said, no differences of party, creed, religion or social position, and he requested the party leaders to give him their hands as a pledge that they all would stand by him "in Not und Tod"—in death and distress. This scene was entirely impromptu, and thus so much more impressive and touching. And it was hardly over when the Reichstag—an unheard of proceeding in such surroundings—began to sing the German national hymn, "Heil Dir im Siegerkranz." The magnificent hall, until then only the scene of pompous court festivities, witnessed an outburst of patriotism such as was never seen there before. To the accompaniment of loud cheers the Kaiser walked out, after shaking the hands of the Imperial Chancellor and the Chief of the General Staff, von Moltke.

One hour later the Reichstag met in its own house. The Emperor had begged for quick and thorough work. He was not to be disappointed. Without any formalities the presiding officers of the last session were re-elected—in times of peace and party strife this would have been impossible. This short curtain raiser being over, the first act of the drama began. Before an overcrowded house the Chancellor described simply and clearly the efforts of the Government for the preservation of peace. He stated cold facts, showing unmistakably Russia's double dealing and justifying Germany's beginning of a war which she did not want. The Chancellor had begun in a quiet, subdued tone. Then he raised his voice and when, in words that rang through the hall, he declared that the entire nation was united, the Deputies and the spectators in the galleries could sit still no longer. They rose, with them at first some Socialists, then all of them, carried away by the impulse of the moment; [pg 252]the members of the Federal Council, of the press, diplomats and the crowds in the galleries joined them. The whole multitude cheered and clapped its hands frantically. It reflected truly the spirit of the whole nation. The Speaker, who under ordinary circumstances would have suppressed the clapping of hands as unparliamentary and the demonstrations of the galleries as undignified, let the patriotic outburst go on to its end.

After a short intermission the business meeting began. Sixteen war measures had been introduced, the most important of which was the one asking for 5,000,000,000 marks to carry on the war. The leader of the Social Democrats read a statement explaining why his party, despite its opposition on principle to all army and navy appropriations, would vote for the proposed bills. Without further debates all the bills were passed, and shortly after 5 P.M. the Reichstag adjourned. At 7 P.M. the Emperor received the presiding officers of the Reichstag to thank them for their prompt and useful work. He signed the bills, which were immediately published and thus became laws.

The resolute attitude and quick work of the Reichstag reflected the unity and resolution of the entire nation. Sixty-seven millions of Germans feel, think, and act with their elected representatives. No party, no class, no creed is standing back; all are imbued with one single thought: United Germany is unconquerable.

The entire German people are united as never before in their history. Even 101 years ago, in 1813, the entire population cannot have been so uniformly seized by the spirit of war as at the outbreak of this struggle, which is the people's war in the truest sense of the word, and which was predicted by Bismarck. All reigning Princes are going out to fight with the army and have appointed their wives as regents. Instances include the Kaiser's son-in-law, the Duke of Brunswick, who appointed his consort, the only daughter of the Emperor, as regent. The Princes call their people to arms, and they themselves all stand ready to sacrifice all they have. This example from above carries the nation with them. The Reichstag knew parties and factions no more, and neither does the nation. The Emperor sounded the word which has become common property from Königsberg to Constance, from Upper Silesia to the Belgian frontier: "I know only Germans!" And yet how terribly is our nation otherwise disrupted by party strife. Ill-advised persons across our frontiers hoped that creed differences would make for disunion, Frenchmen and Russians expected to weaken our empire with the aid of Alsatians and Poles. This hope has been destroyed—we are a united people, as united as was the Reichstag, the Socialists included. The latter have for years voted against all army and navy appropriations, have advocated international peace, and last year voted against the bills increasing the army strength. In many foreign quarters strong hopes were nourished that this party would help them. But those men did not know our German people. Our civilization, our independence as a nation was threatened, and in that moment party interest or creed existed no more. The true German heart is beating only for the Fatherland, east and west, north and south, Protestants, Catholics, and Jews are "a united people of brethren in the hour of danger." When Germany was so threatened by Russia, when the German "Peace Emperor" was shamefully betrayed by the Czar of all the Russians, then there was but one sacred party in existence: The party of Germans.


The clockworks of mobilization; perfect order and quiet everywhere—General acceptance by all classes and factions of the necessities of a war not sought by Germany.

The German mobilization was the greatest movement of people that the world has ever seen. Nearly four million men had to be transported from every part of the empire to her borders. The manner in which the population is distributed [pg 253]made this task extremely difficult. Berlin, Rhenish Westphalia, Upper Silesia and Saxony especially had to send their contingents in every direction, since the eastern provinces are more thinly settled and had to have a stronger guard for the borders immediately. The result was a hurrying to and fro of thousands and hundreds of thousands of soldiers, besides a flood of civilians who had to reach their homes as soon as possible. Countries where the population is more regularly distributed have an easier task than Germany, with its predominating urban population. The difficulties of the gigantic undertaking were also increased by the necessity for transporting war materials of every sort. In the west are chiefly industrial undertakings, in the east mainly agricultural. Horse raising is mostly confined to the provinces on the North Sea and the Baltic, but chiefly to East Prussia, and this province, the furthest away from France, had to send its best horses to the western border, as did also Schleswig-Holstein and Hanover. Coal for our warships had to go in the other direction. From the Rhenish mines it went to the North Sea, from Upper Silesia to the Baltic. Ammunition and heavy projectiles were transported from the central part of the empire to the borders. And everywhere these operations had to be carried on with haste. One can thus say that the German mobilization was the greatest movement of men and materials that the world has ever seen.

And how was it carried on? No one could have wondered if there had been hundreds of unforeseen incidents, if military trains had arrived at their stations with great delays, if there had resulted in many places a wild hugger-mugger from the tremendous problems on hand. But there was not a trace of this. On the Monday evening of the first week of mobilization a high officer of the General Staff said: "It had to go well today, but how about tomorrow, the main day?" Tuesday evening saw no reason for complaint, no delay, no requests for instructions. All had moved with the regularity of clockwork. Regiments that had been ordered to mobilize in the forenoon left in the evening for the field, fully equipped. Not a man was lacking. There were no deserters, no shirkers, no cowards. Instead, there were volunteers whose numbers far exceeded the number that could be used. Every German wanted to do his duty.

The most noteworthy thing was the earnest quietness with which the gigantic gathering proceeded. Not a city, not a village reported unrest or even an untoward incident. The separation was hard for many a soldier. Many a volunteer tore himself away from his dear ones with bleeding heart, but with face beaming with the light of one who looks forward to victory. Following the Kaiser's wish, those who remained behind filled the churches and, kneeling, prayed to God for victory for the just German cause. The folk-war, brought on by the wantonness of the opponents, in itself brought peace and order, safety and discipline. Never, probably, have the police had fewer excesses to deal with than in the days of the mobilization, although great crowds gathered constantly in every city.

The best criterion of the enthusiasm of the people is without doubt the number of volunteers. More than 1,000,000 of these, a number greater than that of the standing army, presented themselves within a few days. They came from all classes. There were sons of the nobility, university students, farmers, merchants, common laborers. No calling hung back. Every young man sorrowed when he was rejected. No section of the Fatherland was unrepresented, not even the Reichsland Alsace-Lorraine, where, indeed, the number of volunteers was conspicuously great. When the lists in various cities had to be closed, the young men who had not been accepted turned away with tears in their eyes, and telegraphed from regiment to regiment, hoping to find one where there were still vacancies. Where the sons of the wealthy renounced the pleasures of youth and the comforts of their homes to accept the hardships of war in serving the Fatherland, the poor and the poorest appeared in like degree. In families having four or five sons subject [pg 254]to military duty a youngest son, not yet liable for service, volunteered. The year 1870, truly a proud year in our history, saw nothing like this.

A thing that raised the national enthusiasm still higher was the appearance of the troops in brand-new uniforms, complete from head to foot. The first sight of these new uniforms of modest field gray, faultlessly made, evoked everywhere the question: Where did they come from? On the first day of mobilization dozens of cloth manufacturers appeared at the War Ministry with offers of the new material. "We don't need any," was the astonishing reply. Equal amazement was caused by the faultless new boots and shoes of the troops, especially in view of the recent famous "boot speech" of the French Senator Humbert.

Small arms, cannons, and ammunition are so plentiful that they have merely to be unpacked. In view of all this, it is no wonder that the regiments marching in were everywhere greeted with jubilation, and that those marching out took leave of their garrisons with joyful songs. No one thinks of death and destruction, every one of victory and a happy reunion. German discipline, once so slandered, now celebrates its triumph.

There was still another matter in which the troops gave their countrymen cause for rejoicing. Not one drunken man was seen during these earnest days in the city streets. The General Staff had, moreover, wisely ordered that during the mobilization, when every one had money in his pockets, alcoholic drinks were not to be sold at the railroad stations. Despite this, the soldiers did not lack for refreshments on their journey. Women and girls offered their services to the Red Cross, and there was no station where coffee, tea, milk, and substantial food were not at the disposal of the soldiers. They were not required to suffer hunger or any other discomfort. The German anti-alcoholists are rejoicing at this earnest tribute to their principles, which were at first laughed at and then pitied, but triumphed in the days of the mobilization.

The army is increased to many times its ordinary strength by the mobilization. It draws from everywhere millions of soldiers, workmen, horses, wagons, and other material. The entire railway service is at its disposal. The mobilization of the fleet goes on more quietly and less conspicuously, but not less orderly and smoothly. Indeed, it is, even in peace times, practically mobilized as to its greatest and strongest units. For this reason its transports are smaller than those of the army; they are concentrated in a few harbors, and, therefore, do not attract so much public attention. The naval transports, working according to plans in connection with those of the army, have moved their quotas of men and materials with the most punctual exactitude. The naval reserve of fully trained officers and men is practically inexhaustible. The faithful work of our shipbuilding concerns, carried on uninterruptedly day and night under plans carefully prepared in time of peace, has wrought for our navy a strong increase in powerful warships.

As is known, the German fleet is built on the so-called "assumption-of-risk" plan. That is, it is intended that it shall be so strong that even the strongest sea power, in a conflict with the Germans, risks forfeiting its former rôle as a world factor. This "risk" idea has been hammered into the heart of every German seaman, and they are all eager to win for the fleet such glory that it can be favorably contrasted with the deeds of the old and the new armies.

Contrary to general expectation, the German fleet has taken the offensive, and the first loss of the war was on the English side and in English waters, the English cruiser Amphion running on to German mines in the mouth of the Thames. In the Baltic and the Mediterranean also German ships have taken the offensive against the enemies' coast, as is shown by the bombardment by the Germans of the war harbor of Libau and of fortified landing places on the Algerian coast.

Thus the fleet, confiding in the "risk" idea now proved to be true, and in its earnest and courageous spirit, may look [pg 255]forward with confidence to coming events.

But will not civilians have to hunger and thirst in these days? That is an earnest question. The answer is, No. Even in Berlin, city of millions, the milk supply did not fail for a day. Infants will not have to bear the privations of war. All provisions are to be had at reasonable prices. Empire, municipalities and merchants are working successfully together to insure that there shall be a sufficient food supply at not too great a cost. Not only is our great army mobilized, but the whole folk is mobilized, and the distribution of labor, the food question and the care of the sick and wounded are all being provided for. The whole German folk has become a gigantic war camp, all are mobilized to protect Kaiser, Folk and Fatherland, as the closing report of the Reichstag put it. And all Germany pays the tribute of a salute to the chiefs of the army and navy, who work with deeds, not words.


The German Army and Navy on the watch—Four million German men in the field—Thousands of volunteers join the colors to fight for Germany's existence, among them the flower of her scientific and artistic life.

There can be no greater contrast than that between the United States and Germany in one of the most important questions of existence with which a State is confronted. In its whole history the United States has never had a foreign hostile force of invaders upon its territory, foreign armies have never laid waste its fields. Until late in the last century, however, Germany was the battlefield for the then most powerful nations of Europe. The numerous German States and provinces, too, fought among themselves, often on behalf of foreign powers. The European great powers of that day were able, unhindered and unpunished, to take for themselves piece after piece of German territory. In the United States, on the other hand, it was years before the steadily increasing population attained to the boundaries set for it by nature.

Our Bismarck was finally able, in the years from 1864 to 1871, to create a great empire from the many small German States. As he himself often remarked, however, this was possible only because his policies and diplomacy rested upon and were supported by a well trained and powerful army. How the German Empire came into being at that time is well known. A war was necessary because of the fact that the then so powerful France did not desire that North and South Germany should unite. She was not able to prevent this union, was defeated and had to give back to us two old German provinces which she had stolen from the Germans. The old Field Marshal von Moltke said not long after the war of 1870-71 that the Germans would still have to defend Alsace-Lorraine for fifty years more. Perhaps he little realized how prophetic his words were, but he and those who followed him, the German Emperors and the German War Ministers, prepared themselves for this coming defensive struggle and unremittingly devoted their attention to the German Army.

From 1887 on there had been no doubt that in the event of war with France we should have to reckon also with Russia. This meant that the army must be strong enough to be equal to the coming fight on two borders—a tremendous demand upon the resources of a land when one considers that a peaceful folk, devoted to agriculture, industry, and trade, must live for decades in the constant expectation of being obliged, be it tomorrow, be it in ten years, to fight for its life against its two great military neighbors simultaneously. There are, moreover, the great money expenditures, and also the burden of universal military service, which, as is well known, requires every able-bodied male German to serve a number of years with the colors, and later to hold himself ready, first as a reservist, then as member of the Landwehr, and finally as member of the Landsturm, to spring to arms at the call of [pg 256]his supreme war lord, the German Emperor. A warlike, militant nation would not long have endured such conditions, but would have compelled a war and carried it through swiftly. As Bismarck said, however, the German Army, since it is an army of the folk itself, is not a weapon for frivolous aggression. Since the German Army, when it is summoned to war, represents the whole German people, and since the whole German people is peaceably disposed, it follows that the army can only be a defensive organization. If war comes, millions of Germans must go to the front, must leave their parents, their families, their children. They must. And this "must" means not only the command of their Emperor, but also the necessity to defend their own land. Did not this necessity exist, these sons, husbands, and fathers would assuredly not go gladly to the battlefield, and it is likewise certain that those who stayed at home would not rejoice so enthusiastically to see them go as we Germans have seen them rejoicing in these days. Again, then, let us repeat that the German Army is a weapon which can be and is used only for defense against foreign aggressions. When these aggressions come, the whole German folk stands with its army, as it does now.

The German Army is divided into 25 corps in times of peace. In war times reservists, members of the Landwehr, and occasionally also of the Landsturm, are called to the colors. The result is that the German Army on a war footing is a tremendously powerful organ.

Our opponents in foreign countries have for years consistently endeavored to awaken the belief that the German soldier does his obligatory service very unwillingly, that he does not get enough to eat and is badly treated. These assertions are false, and anybody who has seen in these weeks of mobilization how our soldiers, reservists, and Landwehr men departed for the field or reported at the garrisons, anybody who has seen their happy, enthusiastic and fresh faces knows that mishandled men, men who have been drilled as machines, cannot present such an appearance.

On the day the German mobilization was ordered we traveled with some Americans from the western border to Berlin. These Americans said: "We do not know much about your army, but judging by what we have seen in these days there prevails in it and all its arrangements such system that it must win. System must win every time." In this saying there is, indeed, much of truth—order and system are the basis upon which the mighty organization of our army is built.

Now a word concerning the German officer. He, too, has been much maligned, he is often misunderstood by foreigners, and yet we believe that the people of the United States in particular must be able to understand the German officer. One of the greatest sons of free America, George Washington, gave his countrymen the advice to select only gentlemen as officers, and it is according to this principle that the officers of the German Army and Navy are chosen. Their selection is made, moreover, upon a democratic basis, in that the officers' corps of the various regiments decide for themselves whether they will or will not accept as a comrade the person whose name is proposed to them.

One sees that the German Army is not, as many say, a tremendous machine, but rather a great, living organism, which draws its strength and lifeblood from all classes of the whole German folk. The German Army can develop its entire strength only in a war which the folk approve, that is, when a defensive war has been forced upon them. That this is true will have been realized by our friends in the United States before this comes into their hands.

The German fleet is in like manner a weapon of defense. It was very small up to the end of the last century, but has since then been consistently built up according to the ground principles which Mr. Roosevelt has so often in his powerful manner laid down for the American fleet. The question has often been asked, what is there for the German fleet to defend, [pg 257]since the German coastline is so short? The answer is that the strength of a fleet must not be made to depend upon the length of coastlines, but upon how many ships and how much merchandise go out from and enter the harbors, how great oversea interests there are, how large the colonies are and how they are situated, and, finally, how strong the sea powers are with which Germany may have to carry on a war and how they are situated. To meet all these requirements there is but one remedy, namely, either that our fleet shall be strong enough to prevent the strongest sea power from conducting war against us, or that, if war does come, it shall be able so to battle against the mightiest opponent that the latter shall be seriously weakened.

Germany, as especially the Americans know, has become a great merchant marine nation, whose colonies are flourishing. Furthermore, since the land's growing population has greatly increased its strength in the course of the last years, the mistrust and jealousy of Great Britain have in particular been directed steadily against the development of our ocean commerce, and later of our navy. To the upbuilding of the German Navy were ascribed all manner of plans—to attack Great Britain, to make war on Japan, &c. It was even declared by the English press that Germany intended to attack the United States as soon as its fleet was strong enough. Today, when Great Britain has needlessly declared war upon us, the Americans will perhaps believe that our fleet was never planned or built for an attack on any one. Germany desired simply to protect its coasts and its marine interests in the same manner in which it protects its land boundaries. It is realized in the United States as well as here that a fleet can be powerful only when it has a sufficient number of vessels of all classes, and when it is thoroughly and unremittingly schooled in times of peace. We have tried to attain this ideal in Germany, and it may be remarked that the training of the personnel requires greater efforts here, since the principle of universal service is also applied to the fleet, with a resulting short term of service, whereas all foreign fleets have a long term of enlistment.

The nominal strength of the German fleet is regulated by statute, as is also the term—twenty years—at the expiration of which old vessels must automatically be replaced by new ones. This fleet strength is set at forty-one line-of-battle ships, twenty armored cruisers and forty small cruisers, besides 144 torpedo boats and seventy-two submarine vessels. These figures, however, have not been reached. To offset this fact, however, almost the whole German fleet has been kept together in home waters. Great Britain's fleet is much stronger than ours, but despite this the German fleet faces its great opponent with coolness and assurance and with that courage and readiness to undertake great deeds that mark those who know that their land has been unjustifiably attacked. It is utterly incorrect to say, as has been said, that the German naval officers are filled with hatred for other navies, especially for the British. On the contrary, the relations between German and English officers and men have always been good, almost as good as those of the Germans with the American officers. It is not personal hatred that inspires our officers and men with the lust for battle, but their indignation over the unprovoked attack and the realization that, if every one will do his best for the Fatherland in this great hour, it will not be in vain even against the greatest naval power. We, too, are confident of this, for strenuous and faithful effort always has its reward, and this is especially true of our fleet organization. The United States realizes this as well as we, for it, too, has built up a strong and admirably trained fleet by prodigious labor. As is the case with the German fleet, the American Navy also is not built for aggression, but for defense.

Neutrality by the Grace of England.

Janus, a mighty god of the ancient Romans, was represented as having two faces. He could smile and frown simultaneously.

[pg 258]This god Janus is the personification of neutrality according to English ideas. Neutrality smiles when violated by England and frowns when violated by other powers.

The United States got a taste of England's neutrality when, a century ago, the English impressed thousands of American sailors, taking them from American ships on the high seas, when they searched neutral ships and confiscated the enemy's property on board of them, until Congress in Washington voted for the declaration of war against England.

In the great civil war, 1861 to 1864, England had counted on the victory of the Southern States; she recognized them as belligerents and supplied them with warships. This was not considered by England a breach of neutrality until the Minister of the United States declared, on Sept. 5, 1863, that unless England desisted war would result. England yielded.

But, according to the old German proverb, "A cat cannot resist catching mice," she secretly permitted the fitting out of privateers (the Alabama) for the Southern States and was finally forced to pay an indemnity of $15,000,000. England gained, however, more than she lost by this interpretation of neutrality, for by the aid of her privateers American maritime trade passed into English hands and was lost to the Americans.

May God's vengeance fall on Germany! She has violated Belgium's neutrality! the English piously ejaculate. They call themselves God's chosen people, the instrument of Providence for the benefit of the whole universe. They look down upon all other peoples with open or silent contempt, and claim for themselves various prerogatives, in particular the supremacy of the sea, even in American waters, from Jamaica to Halifax.

England's policy has always been to take all, to give back nothing, to constantly demand more, to begrudge others everything. Only where the New World is concerned has England, conscious of her own weakness, become less grasping, since Benjamin Franklin "wrested the sceptre from the tyrants," since the small colonies that fought so valiantly for their liberty rose to form the greatest dominion of the white race.

In the Summer of 1911, during the Franco-German Morocco dispute, the English were determined to assist their old enemies, the French, against Germany, and stationed 160,000 troops along their coast ready for embarkation. For the French coast? No, indeed! For transportation to Antwerp, where the English were to unite with the French Army and combine in the destruction of the German forces. But things did not reach that stage. England was not ready. England and France were resolved not to respect the neutrality of Belgium—the same England that solemnly assures the world that she has never at any time or place committed a breach of neutrality. England has observed neutrality only when compatible with her own interests, which has not often been the case. Her whole dissimulating policy is much more questionable than our one breach of neutrality, committed in self-defense and accompanied by the most solemn promises of indemnity and restitution.

England and France did not give up their plan of attacking Germany through Belgium, and by this means won the approval of the Muscovites. Three against one! It would have been a crime against the German people if the German General Staff had not anticipated this intention. The inalienable right of self-defense gives the individual, whose very existence is at stake, the moral liberty to resort to weapons which would be forbidden except in times of peril. As Belgium would, nevertheless, not acquiesce in a friendly neutrality which would permit the unobstructed passage of German troops through small portions of her territory, although her integrity was guaranteed, the German General Staff was obliged to force this passage in order to avoid the necessity of meeting the enemy on the most unfavorable ground.

The Germans have not forgotten the tone in which the French and Belgian [pg 259]press reported the frequent excursions of French Staff officers and Generals for the purpose of making an exhaustive study of the territory through which the armies are now moving, and who were received with open arms in Belgium and treated like brothers. Belgium has become the vassal of France.

In our place the Government of the United States would not have acted differently. "Inter arma silent leges"—in the midst of arms the laws are silent. Besides, England had interfered beforehand in Germany's plan of campaign by declaring that she would not tolerate an attack upon the northern coast of France.

The German troops, with their iron discipline, will respect the personal liberty and property of the individual in Belgium, just as they did in France in 1870.

The Belgians would have been wise if they had permitted the passage of the German troops. They would have preserved their integrity, and, besides that, would have fared well from the business point of view, for the army would have proved a good customer and paid cash.

Germany has always been a good and just neighbor, to Belgium as well as to the other small powers such as Holland, Denmark and Switzerland, which England in her place would have swallowed up one and all long ago.

The development of industry on the lower Rhine has added to the prosperity of Belgium and has made Antwerp one of the first ports on the Continent, as well as one of the most important centres of exchange for German-American trade.

Without Germany Belgium could never have acquired the Congo.

When England meditated taking possession of the Congo, claiming that great rivers are nothing but arms of the sea and consequently belong to the supreme maritime power, King Leopold turned to Germany for protection and received it from Bismarck, who called the Congo Conference of 1884-5 and obtained the recognition by the powers of the independence of the Congo State.

The struggle of the German States in Europe has some points in common with the struggle of the Independent States of North America (from 1778 to 1783), for it is directed chiefly against England's scheming guardianship, and her practice of weakening the Continental powers by sowing or fostering dissension among them.

While continually protesting her love of peace, England has carried on no fewer than forty wars during the latter half of the nineteenth century, including the great Boer war. She has long imperiled, and in the end has succeeded in disturbing, the peace of Europe by her invidious policy of isolating Germany. Germany, on the other hand, has proved herself since 1871 to be the strongest and most reliable security for the peace of Europe.

The policy of sowing dissension, practiced by England more industriously than ever in recent years, cannot possibly meet with the approval of the peace-loving citizens of the United States, and should be condemned on merely humanitarian as well as commercial grounds.

England aims at being mistress of the Old World in order to occupy either an equal, or a menacing, position toward the New World, as circumstances may dictate. For this purpose she has encouraged this war. The German Federated States of Europe are defending themselves with might and main, and are counting in this struggle for existence on the good-will of the United States of America, for whose citizens they cherish the friendliest feelings, as they have proved at all times. All Americans who have visited Germany will surely bear witness to that effect.


Germany overrun by spies for years past.

It goes without saying that in time of war the respective participants seek to gain for themselves every possible advantage, including as not the least of these advantages that of having public opinion on their side. It is equally understandable that Governments, for political or military reasons, often endeavor [pg 260]to conceal their real intentions until the decisive moment. In this matter, however, as in the conduct of war itself, there exists the basic principle, acknowledged throughout the civilized world, that no methods may be employed which could not be employed by men of honor even when they are opponents. One cannot, unfortunately, acquit Russia of the charge of employing improper policies against Germany. It must, unfortunately, be said that even the Czar himself did not, at the breaking out of hostilities against Germany, show himself the gentleman upon a throne which he had formerly been believed by every one to be.

The Russian Emperor addressed himself to Kaiser William in moving and friendly expressions, in which, pledging his solemn word and appealing to the grace of God, he besought the Kaiser, shortly before the outbreak of the war, to intervene at Vienna. There exists between Austria-Hungary and Germany an ancient and firm alliance, which makes it the duty of both Governments to afford unconditional support to each other in the moment that either one's vital interests come into question. There can be no doubt that the existence of Austria-Hungary is threatened by the Servian agitation. Despite this, the German Emperor, in offering his final counsels respecting the treatment of Servia and the concessions to be made to Russia, went, in his desire for peace, almost to the point where Austria could have had doubts of Germany's fidelity to the obligations of the alliance. Nevertheless, Russia at this very time not only continued its mobilization against Austria, but also simultaneously brought its troops into a state of preparedness for war against Germany. It is impossible that this could have been done without the order of the Czar. The conduct of the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, of the Chief of the General Staff and of the War Minister was of a piece with this attitude of the ruler. They assured the German Ambassador and the German Military Attaché upon their word of honor that troops were not being mobilized against Germany and that no attack upon Germany was planned. The facts, however, have proved that the decision to make war upon Germany had already been reached at that time.

The reason which impelled the Czar and his chief advisers to employ such base tactics with the help of their word of honor and appeals to the Supreme Being is plain. Russia requires a longer time for mobilization than Germany. In order to offset this disadvantage, to deceive Germany and to win a few days' start, the Russian Government stooped to a course of conduct as to which there can be but one judgment among brave and upright opponents. No one knew better than the Czar the German Emperor's love of peace. This love of peace was reckoned upon in the whole despicable game. Fortunately the plan was perceived on the German side at the right time. Advices received by Germany's representative in St. Petersburg concerning the actual Russian mobilization against Germany moved him to add to the report given him upon the Russian word of honor a statement of his own conviction that an attempt was obviously being made to deceive him. We find also that the character of the Russian operations had been rightly comprehended by so unimpeachable an organ as the English Daily Graphic of Aug. 1, which said: "If the mobilization order is also carried through in the provinces bordering on Germany, the work of the preservers of peace is ended, for Germany will be compelled to answer with the mobilization of her armed forces. We confess that we are unable to understand this attitude of Russia in connection with the renewal of the negotiations with Austria."

It is customary among civilized nations that a formal declaration of war shall precede the beginning of hostilities, and all powers, with the exception of some unimportant, scattered States, have obligated themselves under international law to observe this custom. Neither Russia nor France has observed this obligation. Without a declaration of war Russian troops crossed the German border, [pg 261]opened fire on German troops, and attempted to dynamite bridges and buildings. In like manner, without a declaration of war, French aviators appeared above unfortified cities in South Germany and sought, by throwing bombs, to destroy the railways. French detachments crossed the German border and occupied German villages. French aviators flew across neutral Holland and the then neutral Belgium to carry out warlike plans against the lower Rhine district of Germany. A considerable number of French officers, disguised in German uniforms, tried to cross the Dutch-German frontier in an automobile in order to destroy institutions in German territory. It is plain that both France and Russia desired to compel Germany to make the first step in declaring war, so that the appearance of having broken the peace might, in the eyes of the world, rest upon Germany. The Russian Government even attempted to disseminate through a foreign news agency the report that Germany had declared war on Russia, and it refused, contrary to the usage among civilized nations, to permit to be telegraphed the report of the German Ambassador that Russia had rejected the final German note concerning war and peace.

Germany for its part, in the hope that peace might yet be maintained, subjected itself to the great disadvantage of delaying its mobilization in the first decisive days in the face of the measures of its probable enemy. When, however, the German Emperor realized that peace was no longer possible, he declared war against France and Russia honorably, before the beginning of hostilities, thus bringing into contrast the moral courage to assume the responsibility for the beginning of the conflict as against the moral cowardice of both opponents, whose fear of public opinion was such that they did not dare openly to admit their intentions to attack Germany.

Germany, moreover, cared in a humane and proper manner at the outbreak of the war for those non-combatant subjects of hostile States—traveling salesmen, travelers for pleasure, patients in health resorts, &c.—who happened to be in the country at the time. In isolated cases, where the excitement of the public grew disquieting, the authorities immediately intervened to protect persons menaced. In Russia, however, in France and especially in Belgium the opposite of decency and humanity prevailed. Instead of referring feelings of national antipathy and of national conflicting interests to the decision of the battlefield, the French mishandled in the most brutal manner the German population and German travelers in Paris and other cities, who neither could nor wished to defend themselves, and who desired solely to leave the hostile country at once. The mob threatened and mishandled Germans in the streets, in the railway stations and in the trains, and the authorities permitted it.

The occurrences in Belgium are infamous beyond all description. Germany would have exposed itself to the danger of a military defeat if it had still respected the neutrality of Belgium after it had been announced that strong French detachments stood ready to march through that country against the advancing German Army. The Belgium Government was assured that its interests would be conscientiously guarded if it would permit the German Army to march through its territory. Its answer to this assurance was a declaration of war. In making this declaration it acted perhaps not wisely but unquestionably within its formal rights. It was, however, not right, but, on the contrary, a disgraceful breach of right, that the eyes of wounded German soldiers in Belgium were gouged out, and their ears and noses cut off; that surgeons and persons carrying the wounded were shot at from houses.

Private dwellings of Germans in Antwerp were plundered, German women were dragged naked through the streets by the mob and shot to death before the eyes of the police and the militia. Captains of captured German ships in Antwerp were told that the authorities could not guarantee their lives, German [pg 262]tourists were robbed of their baggage, insulted and mishandled, sick persons were driven from the German hospital, children were thrown from the windows of German homes into the streets and their limbs were broken. Trustworthy reports of all these occurrences, from respectable and responsible men, are at hand. We perceive with the deepest indignation that the cruelties of the Congo have been outdone by the motherland. When it comes to pass that in time of war among nations the laws of humanity respecting the helpless and the unarmed, the women and children, are no longer observed, the world is reverting to barbarism. Even in wartimes humanity and honor should still remain the distinguishing marks of civilization. That French and Russians, in their endeavors to spy upon Germany and destroy her institutions, should disguise themselves in German uniforms is a sorry testimony to the sense of honor possessed by our opponents. He who ventures to conduct espionage in a hostile land, or secretly to plant bombs, realizes that he risks the penalty of death, whether he be a civilian or a member of the army. Up to the present, however, it has not been customary to use a uniform, which should be respected even by the enemy, to lessen the personal risk of the spy and to facilitate his undertaking.

For a number of years there have been increasing indications that France, Russia and England were systematically spying upon the military institutions of Germany. In the eight years from 1906 to 1913; 113 persons were found guilty of attempted or accomplished espionage of a grave nature. The methods employed by these spies included theft, attacks upon military posts and the employment of German officers' uniforms as disguises. The court proceedings threw a clear light upon the organization and operations of espionage in Germany. This espionage was directed from central points in foreign countries, often in the small neighboring neutral States. Repeatedly it appeared that the foreign embassies and consulates in Germany assisted in this work; it was also discovered that Russia, France and England were exchanging reports which they had received concerning Germany's means of defense.

This espionage system was supported with large funds. It endeavored whenever possible to seduce military persons and officials to betray their country, and, when this was not possible, it devoted its attention to doubtful characters of every sort. It began its work with petty requests of a harmless appearance, followed these with inducements to violations of duty, and then proceeded with threats of exposure to compel its victims to betray their country further. Exact instructions, complete in the minutest detail, were given to the spies for the carrying on of their work; they were equipped with photographic apparatus, with skeleton keys, forged passes, &c.; they received fixed monthly salaries, special bonuses for valuable information, and high rewards for especially secret matters, such as army orders, descriptions of weapons and plans of fortifications. Principal attention was paid to our boundaries, railroads, bridges and important buildings on lines of traffic, which were spied upon by specially trained men. With the reports of these spies as their basis, our opponents have carefully planned the destruction of the important German lines of communication. The extraordinary watchfulness of the German military officials immediately before the declaration of war and since then has been able to render futile the whole system of foreign attempts against our means of communication in every single instance, but a great number of such attempts have been made. All these things prove beyond doubt that a war against Germany has long been planned by our opponents.


The machinations of England and France to put Germany in the wrong—Lies on all sides.

Germany has now not only to battle against a world in arms, but it must also defend itself against lies and slanders [pg 263]which have been piled up around it like a hostile rampart. There is no cable at our disposal. England has either cut the cables, or is in possession of them. No German description of what has actually occurred can be sent by telegraph; the wires are carrying into the world only the distortions of our enemies. Germany is shut off as with a hedge from the outside world, and the world is supplied solely with news given out by our enemies. This language is strictly true; for the boldest, nay, the most impudent imagination would be unable to invent anything to exceed the false and absurd reports already printed by foreign newspapers.

In view of what we have experienced during this first week of the war we can already calmly assert that when the editors of foreign newspapers come later to compare their daily news of this week with the actual occurrences as testified to by authentic history, they will all open their eyes in astonishment and anger over all the lies which the countries hostile to Germany have sent over the cables to bamboozle the whole world. Much of all this has already become ridiculous; we must laugh over it despite the solemnity of the crisis in which we are living—for example, the bestowal of the cross of the Legion of Honor upon the city of Liége by the French President because it victoriously repulsed the attack of the Germans. Witness, too, the telegrams of congratulation sent by the King of England and the Czar of Russia to the Belgian King upon the victory of Liége! The joy over such "German defeats" will prove just as brief as the jubilation over such "Belgian victories." Such lies have short legs, and the truth will in any case soon overtake them.

But there are other lies of a more serious character and of more dangerous import—all such as misrepresent Germany's attitude and defame German character. Such defamation is designed to disturb old friendships and transform them into bitter estrangement; such defamation can also attain its hostile purpose wherever people do not say daily to themselves, "It is an enemy that reports such things about Germany; let us be wise and suspend our judgment till we know actual results, till we know what is surely the truth."

Let us select several facts as examples and as evidence—facts connected with the preparation for this war, as well as with the conduct of it thus far.

All the cables controlled by the English-French-Russian coalition disseminate the lie about the ostensibly "preventive war" that Germany wished and prepared for. The German "White Book" prints documents proving the white purity of the German conscience as represented by Kaiser, Chancellor, and people. It reveals also the profound grief of the German Kaiser over the sly and insidious perfidy of the Czar, toward whom he steadily maintained German fidelity even in hours of grave danger. What Russia did was more than a mere attack, it was a treacherous assault. The following facts prove this:

The German mobilization was ordered on Aug. 1, whereas Russia began to mobilize fully four weeks earlier, or about the beginning of July. Papers found on several Russian harvest laborers arrested in the district of Konitz show that the Russian military authorities had already by the first of July—i.e., immediately after the tragedy at Serajevo—sent to the leaders of these men mustering-in orders, which were to be distributed immediately after a further word should be given. These confiscated papers prove that Russia hoped to be able to mobilize against Austria before Germany could get official information of Russia's measures. The Russian authorities purposely avoided the usual course of sending these orders through the Russian Consuls, and they assigned "military exercises" as the object of this call to the colors.

July 25—Military exercises at Krasnoye-Selo were suddenly broken off and the troops returned at once to their garrisons. The manoeuvres had been called off. The military cadets were advanced at once to officers, instead of waiting, as usual, till Autumn.

July 26—All ships and boats are forbidden to sail in the waters between Helsingfors and Yorkkele; and navigation between Sweden and Finland is closed.

July 28—Partial mobilization; sixteen army corps to be increased to the strength of thirty-two corps. On the same day the Czar begs for friendly mediation; and on the same day the Russian Minister of Foreign [pg 264]Affairs and the Russian Minister of War give the German Military Attaché, upon their own initiative, their solemn word of honor that no mobilization has taken place.

July 30—The Second and Third Russian Cavalry Divisions appear on the German frontier between Wirballen and Augustov. The Czar issues a ukase calling to the colors the reserves in twenty-three entire Governments and in eighty districts of other Governments; also the naval reserves in sixty-four districts, or twelve Russian and one Finnish Government; also the Cossacks on furlough in a number of districts; also the necessary reserve officers, physicians, horses and wagons.

July 31—General mobilization of the whole Russian Army and Navy. The German steamer Eitel Friedrich, which keeps up a regular service between Stettin and St. Petersburg, is stopped by a Russian torpedo boat and brought into Revel, where the crew were made prisoners. The Russians blow up the railway bridge on Austrian territory between Szozakowa and Granica.

Night of Aug. 1—Russian patrols attack the German railway bridge near Eichenried and try to surprise the German railway station at Miloslaw. A Russian column crosses the German frontier at Schwidden, and two squadrons of Cossacks ride against Johannisburg.

Aug. 1—(At last) Germany's mobilization.

And France?

July 27—The Fourteenth Army Corps breaks off its manoeuvres.

July 31—General mobilization.

Aug. 2—French troops attack German frontier posts, cross the frontier, and occupy German towns. Bomb-throwing aviators come into Baden and Bavaria; also, after violating Belgium's neutrality by crossing Belgian territory, they enter the Rhine Province and try to destroy bridges.

Only after all this is the German Ambassador at Paris instructed to demand his passports.

And England?

In London war must already have been decided upon by July 31; the English Admiralty had even before that date advised Lloyd's against insuring German ships. On the same day the German Government gave emphatic support in Vienna to the English mediatory proposal of Sir Edward Grey. But the entire English fleet had already been assembled.

Of course, English public opinion was and still is divided. As late as Aug. 1 The Daily Graphic wrote in reference to the Russian mobilization order: "Will the Russian order also be carried out in the provinces on the German frontier? If so, then the labor of the peace-preservers is at an end, for Germany is compelled to answer with the mobilization of its armed forces. We confess that we are not able to understand this attitude of Russia, in view of the resumption of negotiations at Vienna."

And a leaflet distributed in the streets of London said that "a war for Russia is a war against civilization."

So much as to the preparations for the war—and now we take up the conduct of the war itself.

By glancing at the foreign press during this one week we have been able to collect the following specimen pieces of news:

London—The British Admiralty reports that the English fleet had driven back the German fleet to the Dutch coast.

There is not one word of truth in this. The Admiralty itself appears later to have recovered its senses; at least, it denied a Reuter story about a "great English naval victory near the Dogger Bank." But the English manufactories of lies are already so actively at work that members of Parliament have protested in the House itself against the "lying reports of the English press."

Paris—From Paris the assertion was made and disseminated throughout the world that "the landing of English troops in Belgium has begun; they were enthusiastically received by the population. The landing proceeded rapidly and in the best order, as the agreement between the two General Staffs guaranteed the perfect carrying out of the disembarkment plans."

Not a single word of this is true. At present not one English soldier has been landed.

In a similar way the Baltic Sea has become the scene of invented "battles"—of "German defeats," of course; the Russian Baltic Fleet sank a German war vessel in a battle that never occurred.

And, "The Russian vanguard has crossed the German frontier without meeting with opposition." As a matter of fact there is not a single Russian [pg 265]soldier on German soil. All inroads have been repulsed, and the German offensive has everywhere been successful.

A Dutch newspaper prints the following report from France:

Belfort—Many hundreds of Alsatians are joining the French Army with great enthusiasm, also many Italian Swiss. A large number of Alsace-Lorrainers are waiting near the frontier with a view of crossing it at a favorable opportunity to fight on the French side.

Such absurdity in the face of the unbroken unanimity of the entire German people and despite the manifest enthusiasm of the Alsace-Lorrainers for the German cause!

Equally stupid and made up for incurably credulous readers is an official report of the French War Ministry—not a private rumor, be it noted, but an official communication. It says:

A young Frenchman reports under oath that he was arrested, along with several other Frenchmen, at the railway station in Lörrach while on the homeward journey from Baden; and they were led through the whole city under a military escort. One of the Frenchmen shouted, "Hurrah for France," and was at once shot down. Three others who protested against this suffered the same fate; and so did a fifth man who thereupon had called the Germans murderers. The rest of the Frenchmen, proceeding to Switzerland by rail, heard shots fired in the adjoining compartment; they discovered that two Italians had been shot by Germans because one had protested against the opening of the window, and another had jostled a German.

Does such stuff call for any refutation at all?

A typical example of how it is sought to work upon public opinion by means of systematic lying is afforded by the capture of Liége.

The fact is that this Belgian stronghold, along with its forts, which contained a garrison of 20,000 men, was taken by storm on Aug. 7 by the German troops, who fought with unparalleled bravery, and that 3,000 to 4,000 Belgian prisoners of war are already on their way to Germany.

Yet on Aug. 9—two days after the fall of Liége—a dispatch was still sent to the Dutch press, saying: "The Liége forts are still in Belgian hands."

And on Aug. 8, thirty-six hours after the fall of Liége—a dispatch was sent from Paris to the newspapers of Rome, saying:

The Germans lost 20,000 men at Liége and asked for an armistice of twenty-four hours. Liége has not yet fallen. The English landed 100,000 men at Antwerp, who were received with jubilation by the population. President Poincaré, upon the proposal of Doumergue, the Minister of War, conferred on the City of Liége the cross of the Legion of Honor.

Another newspaper reported as follows: "The King of England sent a congratulatory dispatch to the King of Belgium upon his victory at Liége; seven German regiments were slain."

At Paris itself a note of the French War Ministry—published on the evening of Aug. 7, Liége having fallen in the early morning of that day—mentions the resistance of Liége and says that the forts are still holding out; that the Germans who had entered the city on Thursday by passing between the forts had evacuated it on Friday; and that the Belgian division that went to the assistance of the city had therefore not even made an attack. The official note concludes from all this that the resistance of the Belgians was seriously disturbing the plan of the Germans, who were building hopes upon a rapid success.

And four full days after the capture of Liége the French Minister at Berne reported officially: "Liége has not yet been taken; the German troops were repulsed."

At Copenhagen the following dispatches were published: "The English and French troops had effected a junction with the Belgian Army and had entered Liége and made many German prisoners, among them a nephew of the German Kaiser."

Similarly at Stockholm: "The Germans had suffered a severe repulse."

Again a dispatch from Paris to Rome: "The Germans had been driven back behind the Moselle and were begging for an armistice; the French had passed Namur and were pressing forward in forced marches, while 500,000 English were falling upon the German flank."

[pg 266]Still another official report from Paris: "Liége is becoming the grave of the 150,000 Germans who are breaking their heads against its walls; the Belgians had taken 3,000 prisoners, who were in a terrible condition; but for their good fortune of falling into captivity they would have starved to death."

In contrast to all this let us take the unvarnished truth as in the reported simple words of the German Quartermaster General:

We are now able to report upon Liége Without doing any harm.... We had only a weak force at Liége four days ago, for it is not possible to prepare for such a bold undertaking by collecting large masses of men. That we attained the desired end in spite of this is due to the excellent preparation, the valor of our troops, their energetic leadership, and the help of God. The courage of the enemy was broken, and his troops fought badly. The difficulties against us lay in the exceedingly unfavorable topography of the surroundings, which consisted of hills and woods, and in the treacherous participation of the entire population in the fighting, not even excluding women. The people fired upon our troops from ambush, from villages and forests—fired upon our physicians who were treating the wounded, and upon the wounded themselves. Hard and bitter fighting occurred; whole villages had to be destroyed in order to break the resistance, before our brave troops penetrated the girdle of forts and took possession of the city. It is true that a part of the forts still held out, but they no longer fired. The Kaiser did not want to waste a drop of blood in storming the forts, which no longer hindered the carrying out of our plans. We were able to await the arrival of heavy artillery to level the forts one after the other at our leisure, and without the sacrifice of a single life—in case their garrisons should not surrender sooner.... So far as can be judged at present the Belgians had more men for the defense of the city than we had for storming it. Every expert can measure from this fact the greatness of our achievement; it is without a parallel....

(Signed) VON STEIN,

Quartermaster General.

It is not the German people alone that will have cause to remember Liége; the whole world will do well to learn from the case of Liége that an organized manufactory of lies is trying to deceive the public opinion of all the nations. Glorious victories are converted into "defeats with heavy losses," and the strong moral discipline of the German troops is slanderously described in the reports of the imaginative, phrase-loving French as cruelty—just as in 1870 the Prussian Uhlans were described as thrusting through with their lances all the French babies and pinning them fast to the walls.

How far the "grande nation" has already degenerated, and how far the Belgian population, akin to the French both in blood and in sentiments, imitate the French in their Balkan brutality, is illustrated by two examples. One of these, in the form of a German official warning, says: "The reports at hand about the fighting around Liége show that the population of the country took part in the battle. Our troops were fired upon from ambush. Physicians were shot at while following their profession. Cruelties were practiced by the population on wounded soldiers. There is also news at hand showing that German patrols in the vicinity of Metz were fired at from ambush from the French side. It may be that these occurrences are due to the composition of the population in those industrial regions, but it may also be that France and Belgium are preparing for a guerrilla warfare upon our troops. If the latter alternative should prove true, and this proof be strengthened through repetitions of these occurrences, then our opponents will have themselves to thank if this war be carried on with unrelenting severity even against the guilty population. The German troops, who are accustomed to preserve discipline and to wage war only against the armed forces of the hostile State, cannot be blamed if, in just self-defense, they give no quarter. The hope of influencing the result of the war by turning loose the passions of the populace will be frustrated by the unshaken energy of our leaders and our troops. Before neutral foreign countries, however, it must be demonstrated, even at the beginning of this war, that it was not the German troops who caused the war to take on such forms."

The details of the cruelties, here only [pg 267]hinted at, on the Belgian and French side, are supplied and proved by an eye-witness, a German physician, who reports:

We have experienced from the Belgian population, from men, women, and half-grown boys, such things as we had hitherto seen only in wars with negroes. The Belgian civilian population shoots in blind hatred from every house, from every thick bush, at everything that is German. We had on the very first day many dead and wounded, caused by the civilian population. Women take part as well as men. One German had his throat cut at night while in bed. Five wounded Germans were put into a house bearing the flag of the Red Cross; by the next morning they had all been stabbed to death. In a village near Verviers we found the body of one of our soldiers with his hands bound behind his back and his eyes punched out. An automobile column which set out from Liége halted in a village; a young woman came up, suddenly drew a revolver, and shot a chauffeur dead. At Emmenich, an hour by foot from Aachen, a sanitary automobile column was attacked by the populace on a large scale and fired at from the houses. The red cross on our sleeves and on our automobiles gives us physicians no protection at all.


Respect for the foreigner—Russians willing to remain in Germany—Ill-treatment of Germans in Belgium and France.

Enemies on all sides! With dishonorable weapons against us, and with documentary lies for the rest of the world! Let us calmly allow them to continue lying and slandering as they have begun—it will result finally in injuring themselves. The world will very soon see through this impudent, unabashed game; and it will finally side with the people which keeps to the truth, Only the weakling lies and swindles; the strong man loves and honors truth. Let us act like the strong man in this struggle!

Respect for the foreigner, protection for his person and property have at all times been considered sacred among civilized people. Germany can without exaggeration claim to have upheld this respect and this protection in these fateful days. Except for a few insignificant incidents which took place in several large cities, where the natural excitement of the people and the legitimate defense against an insolent system of spying led to the molesting and arrest of foreigners—mostly Russians—the measures taken against the citizens of hostile nations did not exceed what was absolutely necessary to the safety of the country. The Imperial Government and likewise the Federated States have refrained from expelling "en masse" Frenchmen, Russians, Belgians and Englishmen. It was, of course, unavoidable to take measures for the detention of such persons as seemed suspicious and for the internation of strangers liable to be called to take arms against Germany. This took place in cities, e.g., Berlin, where these men were taken away as "prisoners of war," as soon as the "state of war" had been proclaimed, and placed in special rooms or camps. Lodgings and food are such as seem requisite and the treatment of these prisoners is according to their own opinion very kind. The Russian agricultural laborers constitute a special group of foreigners in Germany: There are about 40,000 to 50,000 of them, men and women.

From various parts of the country it is unanimously announced that these people are very glad not to be obliged to return to Russia. They are glad to remain in Germany, and willingly continue their work of gathering the rich German grain, potato and hay crops. Should there be any difficulties, these workmen would also have to be internated. No measures at all have been taken against women and children belonging to hostile States. They are left free to move about as they wish. Should they remain in Germany they can be sure that they will be subject to no other inconvenience except such as the general state of war inflicts upon Germans. The authorities will protect their persons, and their private property is respected. Nobody will touch it—as nobody has touched it so far.

If the German people and the German Government consider the respect they owe the foreigner as a sacred law, even though the foreigner belongs to the enemy, this respect is enhanced by affection and gratitude in the case of foreigners [pg 268]whose countries are friendly or neutral. Thousands and thousands of Americans, Swiss, Dutch, Italians and Scandinavians are still living in German countries. They may be sure that they can live as freely here as any German citizen. Should it be possible for them to return home, the best wishes will accompany them. The property they leave here will be protected. This is guaranteed by the authorities and by influential private persons. Should they stay in Germany, however, the German people will express their sense of gratitude for any friendly help they may lend, by increased respect and protection.

A strong contrast is noticeable between Germany's attitude toward foreigners and the facts revealed just now as to the treatment meted out in inimical countries not only to Germans but to other foreigners. Truly, in England there has been some effort to act according to the usages of civilized nations when engaged in warfare. Germans and Austrians have been insulted and molested; there has been some occasional destruction of property in stores; but as far as can be judged these were excesses of an uncontrollable mob. A general expulsion has not been ordered, and it is to be hoped that the Germans living in the United Kingdom and in its colonies will not suffer too heavy damages, in person or in property. Russia, France and Belgium, on the other hand, have by the ill-treatment and plundering of foreigners living in their countries struck themselves out of the list of civilized nations. Innumerable reports from expelled or fugitive people prove this, and official reports confirm them. Also the press of neutral, neighboring countries, such as Switzerland, Holland, and Italy, is full of similar complaints. Owing to the scarcity of news from Russia, the facts known so far only concern Petersburg, where German and Austrian men and women, residents or transients, were beaten and stoned in the streets. Here were also some cruel mutilations and murders. The beautiful building of the German Embassy in Petersburg was attacked by the mob. And the police watched all these misdeeds with crossed arms or even assisted. Probably what took place in Petersburg also occurred in other Russian cities; we shall soon know.

There are a great many complaints against the French and the Belgians. On the evening of Aug. 1 the mobilization was announced, and the next morning the official order was posted on the walls, that within twenty-four hours from the beginning of that day all Germans and Austrians, irrespective of sex, age or profession, would have to leave France. Those who remained and could not reach the boundary would be taken to the southwestern part of the country and imprisoned. There were few trains for Belgium or Switzerland. Thousands and thousands who had to abandon their property rushed to the stations with wife and children, fought for room in the overcrowded trains, surrounded by a howling mob, and even then were punched and slapped by policemen. During the trip there was nothing but misery. Men and women fell ill, children died. The refugees had to cross the Belgian boundary, walking a distance of six or seven kilometers in the middle of the night, dead tired, their luggage stolen—sometimes, it is said, by officials. In Belgium the same tragedy occurred as in France. And then came the salvation. The cordial, hospitable reception by the Germans in Holland and Switzerland is unanimously praised and appreciated.

The reports of brutal acts from Paris, Antwerp, Brussels, would be incredible were they not confirmed hundredfold. The most brutal and insulting threats of death were flung by processions of people going through the streets to all those who looked like foreigners. They were severely ill-treated. Houses and stores were upset, furniture and the like were thrown into the streets, employers and working people were dragged out, women were stripped and pushed through the streets, children were thrown out of windows. Knives, swords, sticks and revolvers were used. One could fill books with the details, but they are all equally [pg 269]cruel. Not only Germans and Austrians were expelled and ill-treated, but citizens of neutral States shared this awful lot. Thousands of Italians were expelled, as well as numerous Rumanians. The press in both countries complains bitterly and asks what has become of those who remained in France and were imprisoned in the south—but nobody knows.

History will place this ill-treatment and oppression of foreigners on record. The responsibility rests, not with an uncontrollable mob, but with the Government and the authorities of the two countries who have always boasted of their culture.


Germany's financial rise since 1870—Export and import with the United States of America—The present firm condition of German finance.

Politicians and commercial men must base their plans upon facts, as they are and not as they wish they were, otherwise they fail. France has closed its eyes not only to the great intellectual and moral assists of Germany but also to its commercial resources.

France has repeatedly declared that Germany could not effect a serious political opposition, because a war would result in the ruin of its commercial and financial strength. This we heard in the Morocco crisis, also in the Balkan wars. Germany's love of peace which was tested in the above-mentioned cases strengthened the French in their error. He, however, who has taken the trouble to visit Germany and the Germans in their places of employment—and especially Americans in recent years have done this, however, also many Englishmen, who in vain have protested against the war with Germany—he can testify to the astonishing commercial advancement which Germany has made since its political union by Bismarck.

A few facts and statistics may recall this to memory. The population of Germany has since 1870, immigrants excluded, increased from 40,000,000 to 67,000,000, round numbers. Incomes and wages in particular have approximately doubled during the last generation; savings deposits have increased sixfold. Although, only a generation ago, commerce and trade employed only about two-fifths of the population, now more than three-fifths are engaged in this field of work, and Germany, as a result of its agricultural economy and increased intense farming, is today the third largest agricultural country of the world. In the coal and iron industries Germany is second only to America. In one generation its coal production increased two and a half fold, its raw iron production almost fourfold. During the same period of time the capital of the German banks increased fourfold and their reserve fund eightfold. Characteristic of Germany is the fact that hand in hand with this active private initiative is a strong feeling for the great universal interests and for organic co-operation of private and State resources. This feeling explains the perfect working of our State activities, in particular our railways, 95 per cent. of which are owned by the Government and which yield an essentially higher revenue than those in England or France; it explains further the willing assumption of the great financial burdens which general insurance imposes upon those engaged in private enterprises and which today is proving a blessing to almost the entire laboring force of Germany, to an extent which has not yet been realized by any other country.

What economic value to the world has a nation which for more than forty years has concentrated all its energy in peaceful industry? Does any one deny that Germany's great technical and commercial advancement has been a blessing in respect to the development of the world? Has not the commercial advancement in Germany had the effect of awakening new productive powers in all parts of the world and of adding new territories which engage in the exchange of goods with the civilized nations of the world? Since the founding of the new German [pg 270]Empire, German foreign trade has increased from 5½ to approximately 20 billion marks. Germany has become the best customer of a great number of countries. Not only has the German consumption of provisions and luxuries increased in an unusual degree, also that of meat, tropical fruits, sugar, tobacco and colonial products, but above all else that of raw materials, such as coal, iron, copper and other metals, cotton, petroleum, wood, skins, &c. Germany furnishes a market for articles of manufacture also, for American machinery, English wool, French luxury articles, &c. One is absolutely wrong in the belief that the competition of German industry in the world market has been detrimental to other commercial nations. Legitimate competition increases the business of all concerned.

The United States of America has reaped especial profit from Germany's flourishing commercial condition. Germany purchases more from the United States of America than from any other country of the world. Germany buys annually from the United States of America approximately $170,000,000 worth of cotton, $75,000,000 worth of copper, $60,000,000 worth of wheat, $40,000,000 animal fat, $20,000,000 mineral oil and the same amount of vegetable oil. In 1890 the import and export trade between Germany and the United States amounted to only $100,000,000, in 1913 to about $610,000,000. Germany today imports from the United States goods to the value of $430,000,000, while she exports to the United States nearly $180,000,000 worth. No nation therefore can judge as well as the United States what German commerce means to the world.

In what condition are the finances of Germany? In this field our opponents will be obliged to change their views. In 1912 Germany's national debt was about 14 marks per capita lower than England's. The public debt of France per capita was far more than double that of Germany. Germany, however, has large national assets which offset its liabilities. For example, the stocks of the Prussian railways alone exceed by far the aggregate amount of the Prussian debt, the income of the railways alone is essentially greater than the amount which the interest and amortization of the entire State debt demand. The war, which, according to the French conception, was destined to bring about the financial and commercial ruin of Germany, has brought forth the astonishing result that the famous French money market was the first to fail in this crisis. As early as July 25, before the rejection of the Austrian ultimatum by Servia had been made known, the offer of 3 per cent. redeemable French notes to the French Exchange was so great that the Chambre Syndicale des Agents de Change in the interest of the public prohibited the quotation of a lower rate than 78 per cent., while bids of 74 per cent. had already been submitted. Sale in blank was absolutely forbidden, and in the coulisse business was at a standstill. A few days later the July liquidation, in the official market as well as in the coulisse, was postponed until the end of August, which action proved the necessity of a period of grace. On July 31 the French savings banks, at the command of the Government, suspended daily payments and paid out sums to the amount of 50 francs, fourteen days' notice being necessary. The London money market, too, has hardly stood the war test. On July 30 the Bank of England was obliged to raise its rate of discount from 3 to 4 per cent., several days later to 8 per cent., and again after a few days to the incredible rate of 10 per cent. In contrast to this the President of the German Reichsbank was able, on the 1st of August, to declare that the directorate, because of the strength of the Reichsbank and the solid constitution of the German money market, did not consider it necessary to follow England's example. The German Reichsbank has therefore not exceeded the rate of 6 per cent. Worse yet was the fact that England, on Aug. 2, was obliged to require grace on exchange, and France, on Aug. 3, grace on its accounts-current and Lombard loans. Although along with England and France, also Russia, Austria, Italy, Belgium, and other nations required temporary credit, [pg 271]Germany to date has not deemed it necessary to ask for time in meeting its obligations. Savings banks, other banks and financial institutions are meeting all demands without restriction. The fact that the English money market, which up to the present time has been considered the financial centre of international trade, has failed, will bring many a serious thought to all commercial men interested in the world market.

German commerce has doubtless been temporarily injured by the war, but the esprit de corps and organization which animate the German Nation are not only a firm foundation for German commerce, but also a strong support for the further development of the commerce and trade of the entire civilized world, if, as we hope, peace soon be re-established.


An appeal to American friends

The American citizen who is now leaving Europe, which has been turned into an enormous military camp, may consider himself fortunate that he will soon be able to set foot in the New World, where he will be enabled again to take up his business pursuits. In the meantime old Europe is being torn asunder by a terrible war among its various peoples. It will make him happy again to greet mountain and valley, field and garden which are not threatened nor trampled down by armies or covered with blood; again to see cities in which business and traffic are not brought to a standstill by calling in all men capable of military service; and he may thank fortune that his people have been given room enough in which to expand and to permit them freely to unfold their power; that they are spared the great necessity of resisting the tightening ring of enemies in the east and west, on land and water, in a struggle for national existence.

But the American will feel the effects of the fate of the Old World. Even though he knows his own country is not directly involved, he will certainly realize that the great net of international traffic and the progress of his country are connected by many strong ties to the life and prosperity of European peoples. He will be affected by every victory and defeat, just as by the sun and rain in his own country. He will doubtless remember that of all European countries Germany is the best customer of the United States, from which she purchases yearly over 1,000,000,000 marks in cotton, food, metal, and technical products. If Germany is economically ruined, which is the wish of Russia, France, and England and all allied friends of wretched Servia, it would mean the loss of a heavy buyer to America, and thereby cause a serious loss to America which could not easily be made good. It would be a great blow to American export trade, of which Germany handles not less than 14 per cent. yearly.

The material loss is not the only feature. In the economic struggle in the world markets American and German commercial men have learned mutually to appreciate one another, to appreciate one another more highly than do any other two rivals. The time is long past when the American pictured the German as one of thousands, shut up in a room, surrounded by documents and parchments, speculating about the unknown outside world, and the same is true of the German's idea of the American—a money-hungry barbarian. Two nations in which so much kindred blood flows and which are connected by so many historical events understand each other better today than formerly. Above all, they have a mutual understanding regarding the ideal in commercial life: A man engaged in work not for the sake of the profit, but for the sake of the work he is doing; one who gives all his strength to his task, and who works for the general welfare of the people as a whole, considering his position as an office and his wealth as an obligation, not as the final aim, but as a basis for the realization of higher attainments. He places the value of character and the development of the creative powers of man higher than all economic success. Two nations united by such common inclinations [pg 272]and ideals, boldness of enterprise, far-sightedness, quickness of decision, and admiration for intellectual achievements, cannot help being exceedingly congenial to each other. What concerns one today concerns the other.

Does it sound like a paradox when I say Germany's struggle concerns not only her own destiny, but to a considerable extent that of America? Does the United States consider itself entirely immune from the warlike complications brought about by the Servian murder of Princes and Russia's breach of faith? In any event, it will be difficult for it to say: "What's Hecuba to me?" One thing should be clearly understood on the shores of the five oceans, that the cause of this most terrible war does not emanate from the dark Balkans, or from a Russian military group, but from envy and hate which healthy, young and striving Germany has aroused in her older rivals; not because this or that demand was made by one Cabinet and refused by another, but because it was believed there was finally an opportunity to destroy the hated opponent who threatened to put the older Western European powers in the shade, and for this reason England and France put their strength into the service of criminal and brutal Servia. The following statistics will, perhaps, throw some light on the development of the foreign trade of the principal countries from 1870 to 1913 (in billions of marks):

Great Britain 9,180 23,280
France 4,540 12,300
Russia 2,000 5,580
Germany 4,240 20,440

In these forty-three years, which have been decisive in the development of international economy, England, France and Russia have not been able even to increase their foreign trade three times, while Germany and the United States have increased theirs five times. The trade of Germany and the United States has increased from 7.6 to 38 billion marks. If these figures show nothing else, they show on which side the American sympathy will be. This war, provoked by Russia because of an outrageous desire for revenge, supported by England and France, has no other motive than envy of Germany's position in economic life, and of her people, who are fighting for a place in the sun. "Right or wrong, Germany must not grow." That is the turning point of a policy which the French Republic drilled into the Muscovites. Let us consider the adversaries of Germany. Russia, the classic land of power and terrible exploitation of the people for the benefit of a degenerated aristocracy. France, a type of a nation in which there is not even enough enterprise to increase the productiveness of the country. England, which has so long felt its glory vanishing and in the meantime has remained far behind its younger rival in financial and economic equipment. One can easily imagine the feelings of these peoples when they observe the rapid and successful growth of Germany, and wonders if these same feelings will not one day be directed against the youthful North American giant. In this war it shall be decided which is the stronger—the organized inertia of the tired and envious, or the unfolding of power in the service of a strong and sacrificing life. To know that we have American friendship in this struggle will mean a great moral support for us in the coming trying days, for we know that the country of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln places itself only on the side of a just cause and one worthy of humanity's blessing.

Speculations About Peace, September, 1914

[pg 273]Report by James W. Gerard, American Ambassador at Berlin, to President Wilson.

By The Associated Press.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17.—Germany has suggested informally that the United States should undertake to elicit from Great Britain, France, and Russia a statement of the terms under which the Allies would make peace.


President of the United States of America.
(Photo (C) by Bradley Studio.)

The suggestion was made by the Imperial Chancellor, von Bethmann-Hollweg, to Ambassador Gerard at Berlin as a result of an inquiry sent by the American Government to learn whether Emperor William was desirous of discussing peace, as recently had been reported.

No reply was made by Emperor William himself, nor did the Imperial Chancellor indicate whether or not he spoke on behalf of the Emperor. Ambassador Gerard, in a cable dispatch to President Wilson, repeated the Chancellor's remarks from recollection, substantially as follows:

Germany was appreciative of the American Government's interest and offer of services in trying to make peace. Germany did not want war, but had it forced on her. Even if she defeats France, she must likewise vanquish both Great Britain and Russia, as all three have made an agreement not to make peace except by common consent. Similarly, England has announced through Premier Asquith and her diplomatists and the newspapers that she intends to fight to the limit of her endurance. In view of that determination on the part of Great Britain, the United States ought to get proposals of peace from the Allies. Germany could accept only a lasting peace, one that would make her people secure against future attacks. To accept mediation now would be interpreted by the Allies as a sign of weakness on the part of Germany and would be misunderstood by the German people, who, having made great sacrifices, had the right to demand guarantees of security.

The above is all that Ambassador Gerard communicated as to his conversation. He added only the brief comment that he, himself, thought the way might possibly be opened to mediation. President Wilson did not regard the message, however, as bringing anything tangible. He referred to the Chancellor's conversation as non-committal and incidental to the acknowledgment of the American Government's inquiry. The President indicated that he rather expected a reply to the inquiry to be sent eventually from the Emperor himself, although he realizes that the Imperial Chancellor may have consulted the Kaiser by telegraph before talking informally with the American Ambassador.

President Wilson took no action as a result of the message, waiting to hear from Ambassador Gerard whether anything of a more formal character could be obtained by him which the United States might communicate to Great Britain, France, and Russia. It was understood tonight that the British and French Ambassadors who are in Washington were not informed officially or unofficially by Secretary Bryan of the conversation between the Imperial German Chancellor and Ambassador Gerard.

Germany's position is that she will give her opinion on terms of peace when she has received a definite statement from the Allies of their proposals. The statement that Germany did not want war, but had it forced upon her, as well as the declaration that she wanted a lasting peace, is almost identical with the remarks which Sir Edward Grey made to Ambassador Page in London last week. The British Foreign Secretary said England wanted no temporary truce, but a permanent peace, and one that would safeguard her against sudden attacks such as Germany had made.

President's Future Course.

The general belief in well-informed circles tonight was that the President, [pg 274]after waiting a few days for more information from Berlin, probably would instruct the American Ambassadors at London, Paris, and Petrograd to communicate what the Imperial German Chancellor had said to Ambassador Gerard. It was believed the Ambassadors would be asked to reiterate the wish of the American Government to be of service in bringing about peace and to point out the readiness of the United States to communicate to Germany and Austria any statement of terms which the Allies might care to make.

Diplomatists are disposed to believe that through such informal conversations something definite in the way of peace terms may yet be obtained as a working basis. If a concord of opinion for the discussion of peace terms were reached President Wilson then would endeavor to obtain an acceptance by all the belligerents of the original tender of good offices. This would not mean a cessation of hostilities, unless the mediating power specifically made it a condition of mediation and all the belligerents agreed to it. An armistice would not hinder military movements or preparations, serving merely as a truce while peace was discussed.

President Wilson already has indicated that he believes that the final reckoning of the war should be made in a conference of the European powers, and it would be the function of the United States to preside at such a conference if its services as a mediator were accepted.

Various reports were current today that Germany had named several conditions under which she would make peace, that she had refused proposals to alter the territorial status of her empire and possessions, and would cede no territory or dismantle her fleet, but it was said authoritatively that nothing of this character was contained in any of the messages from Berlin to the American Government.

A statement made at the White House today was the first authoritative acknowledgment that any inquiry on the subject of Germany's attitude concerning peace had been made by the United States. Officials heretofore have maintained silence in regard to the effort made by the Government to get at the bottom of the expression in favor of peace reported to have been made by the German Emperor to the Imperial Chancellor and mentioned in a private conversation in New York by Count von Bernstorff, the German Ambassador to the United States.

What was said by Count von Bernstorff in that conversation brought Oscar S. Straus post-haste to Washington, and as a result of what he told Secretary Bryan instructions were sent to Ambassador Gerard to ascertain whether the remarks attributed to the Emperor were to be taken as an indication that the German Government would not be averse to the exercise of the good offices of the United States in an effort to end the hostilities in Europe.

The conversation at which the German Ambassador made the statement occurred at the house of James Speyer, the banker, in New York. Oscar S. Straus, a member of the Permanent Tribunal of Arbitration at The Hague, was present. In the course of a discussion of the war in Europe and the prospects of peace Count von Bernstorff, it is understood, said that, while he had no advices from the Imperial Government since he had left Berlin, he recalled that the Imperial Chancellor had told him that he believed Emperor William would be willing to discuss a proposal of peace through mediation.

With the permission of Count von Bernstorff, Mr. Straus came to Washington and told Secretary Bryan of what the German Ambassador had said. On the following day Count von Bernstorff made a trip from New York to Washington and had an interview with Secretary Bryan.

It has been understood that Mr. Bryan, in an excess of caution, desired to ask Count von Bernstorff personally if he would consent to having Ambassador [pg 275]Gerard instructed to make inquiry of the German Government as to whether the conversation between the Emperor and the Imperial Chancellor might be regarded as indicating that an offer of mediation of the United States would not be unwelcome to Germany. Count von Bernstorff is understood to have assented to Mr. Bryan's suggestion, and the instructions to Mr. Gerard followed.



Speeches by British Ministers.

[pg 276]Sir John Simon, British Attorney General, in Speech Before Altrincham Liberals, at Manchester, July 25.

We have been so filled with our own political development that some of us may not have noticed how serious a situation is threatening on the Continent of Europe. All I will say about it this afternoon is this—if times of anxiety are coming into relationships between different European powers, we in this country, and I think not only Liberals among us, have reason to be glad that our foreign administration is in the calm, cool hands of Sir Edward Grey.[06] [Cheers.] And let us all resolve that, whatever may be the difficulties and dangers which threaten the peaceful relations in Europe, the part which this country plays shall from beginning to end be the part of a mediator simply desirous of promoting better and more peaceful relations.

[06] On the next day, July 26, Earl Grey addressed to The London Times the following appeal for national unity:

To the Editor of The Times:

Sir: The Lord Chancellor, in his speech on Friday, called on every Liberal to work for the peace of Europe, but to go forward unflinchingly to civil war at home.

It is obvious that the only hope of England's effective mediation lies in the unity and solidarity of the United Kingdom.

Is it not time that the common sense of the nation asserted itself and called upon our rulers to take steps which will enable a united nation to confront with confidence the perils which encompass us?

In moments of national peril every loyal citizen should not hesitate, however painful the process may be, to burst the fetters of party allegiance in order that he may devote his whole energies to an endeavor to safeguard the higher interests of the State.

What is the cause which is dividing a so-called United Kingdom into two hostile camps? It is the endeavor of a tyrannical House of Commons to force upon the acceptance of the people a bill which in the common belief they not only do not want but are strongly opposed to. I approach the consideration of the national crisis from no party standpoint, but from that of one who believes that the peace of Ireland, the honor of England, and the strength of the empire are all concerned in a speedy and satisfactory settlement of the Irish question.

I believe that such a settlement is to be found in a measure which will give to the peoples of Ireland powers of local self-government similar to those enjoyed by the Provinces of Canada and South Africa.

It is because the Ministerial policy of home rule is based on a principle which would not be tolerated in any one of the Legislatures of Washington, Ottawa, or Melbourne that I am so strongly opposed to it. No party, no political group, however small, could be found in Canada, Australia, or the United States which would venture to propose that the Province of Quebec, or the State of Queensland or California, should be endowed by means of a measure like the Home Rule bill with separatist constitutional rights which could not be given to the other provinces and States.

I challenge his Majesty's Ministers to deny this plain, unanswerable statement.

I further challenge his Majesty's Ministers to deny that their home rule policy, if carried into effect, will make slaves of one part of Ireland or another.

If their bill for the better government of Ireland reaches the statute book without the amending bill it will make slaves of the Ulstermen. It will deprive them of half of the representation to which their population entitles them in the House of Commons, thus reducing them to a political inferiority, as compared with the peoples of Great Britain, which can hardly be distinguished from political slavery, and it will further compel them to accept the administration of a Dublin Parliament which they fear and detest in all matters relating to their local government. I have often wondered how any one rejoicing in the inheritance of old Liberal traditions could for a moment suppose that any group of free men would ever accept such dishonoring conditions.

Again, if the Home Rule bill is passed with the amending bill tacked on to it, the chains of slavery from which Ulster will be relieved will be riveted on the rest of Ireland. Ulster will have thirty-three representatives in the Imperial House of Commons, and the rest of Ireland twenty-seven! What germ of a settlement of the Irish question can any one discover in a policy which proposes that one-fourth of the people of Ireland should be able to outvote the other three-fourths in matters affecting their liberties and taxation?

No! The Ministerial bills of home rule are fundamentally bad and should be withdrawn, in order that a new attempt may be made to reach a settlement by general consent in accordance, as I believe, with the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the people.

Is it not better to wait a little for a settlement by consent on lines which will conduce to permanent peace and prosperity than to try to force on the pages of the statute book a measure which must lead to bloodshed and civil war? If party considerations veto the withdrawal of the Ministerial measure of home rule without the aid of a general election, then let us have a general election without one moment's unnecessary delay.

The times are too perilous to allow us even to contemplate with any other feeling than that of horror and dismay the Lord Chancellor's appeal to go forward unflinchingly to civil war.

I have the honor to remain, Sir,

Yours respectfully,


22 South Street, Park Lane, July 26.


[pg 277]London Times Report, July 27, of Speech by Under Secretary Acland.

F.D. Acland, Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, speaking at an open-air Liberal demonstration at Steyning, Sussex, on Saturday [July 25], said there was a cloud over Europe, the position there being far graver and more serious than the position in Ireland. No one could imagine the disasters which a war in which a great European power was involved might bring to the whole world. He hoped the power of accommodating the difficulties in the same way as in the Balkan trouble last year would be found effective. The whole of the influence of this country would be used in the interests of peace.


Statement in House of Commons, July 27, by Sir Edward Grey, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

The House will, of course, be aware from the public press of what the nature of the situation in Europe is at the present moment. I think it is due to the House that I should give in short narrative form the position which his Majesty's Government have so far taken up. ["Hear, hear."] Last Friday morning I received from the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador the text of the communication made by the Austro-Hungarian Government to the powers, which has appeared in the press, and which included textually the demand made by the Austro-Hungarian Government upon Servia.


British Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs.
(Photo from Underwood & Underwood.)

In the afternoon I saw other Ambassadors, and expressed the view that as long as the dispute was one between Austria-Hungary and Servia alone I felt that we had no title to interfere, but that if the relations between Austria-Hungary and Russia became threatening, the question would then be one of the peace of Europe—a matter that concerned us all.

[pg 278]I did not then know what view the Russian Government had taken of the situation, and without knowing how things were likely to develop I could not make any immediate proposition; but I said that if relations between Austria-Hungary and Russia did become threatening, the only chance of peace appeared to me to be that the four powers—Germany, France, Italy, and Great Britain—who were not directly interested in the Servian question, should work together both in St. Petersburg and Vienna simultaneously to get both Austria-Hungary and Russia to suspend military operations while the four powers endeavored to arrange a settlement.

After I had heard that Austria-Hungary had broken off diplomatic relations with Servia I made, by telegraph yesterday afternoon, the following proposal, as a practical method of applying the views that I had already expressed:

I instructed his Majesty's Ambassadors in Paris, Berlin, and Rome to ask the Governments to which they were accredited whether they would be willing to arrange that the French, German, and Italian Ambassadors in London should meet me in a conference to be held in London immediately to endeavor to find a means of arranging the present difficulties. At the same time I instructed his Majesty's Ambassadors to ask those Governments to authorize their representatives in Vienna, St. Petersburg, and Belgrade to inform the Governments there of the proposed conference and to ask them to suspend all active military operations pending the result of the conference.

To that I have not yet received complete replies, and it is of course a proposal in which the co-operation of all four powers is essential. In a crisis so grave as this the efforts of one power alone to preserve the peace must be quite ineffective.

The time allowed in this matter has been so short that I have had to take the risk of making a proposal without the usual preliminary steps of trying to ascertain whether it would be well received. But, where matters are so grave and the time so short, the risk of proposing something that is unwelcome or ineffective cannot be avoided. I cannot but feel, however, assuming that the text of the Servian reply as published this morning in the press is accurate, as I believe it to be, that it should at least provide a basis on which a friendly and impartial group of powers, including powers who are equally in the confidence of Austria-Hungary and of Russia, should be able to arrange a settlement that would be generally acceptable.

It must be obvious to any person who reflects upon the situation that the moment the dispute ceases to be one between Austria-Hungary and Servia and becomes one in which another great power is involved, it can but end in the greatest catastrophe that has ever befallen the Continent of Europe at one blow; no one can say what would be the limit of the issues that might be raised by such a conflict; the consequences of it, direct and indirect, would be incalculable.


Statement in House of Commons, July 29, by H.H. Asquith, British Prime Minister.

Mr. Bonar Law (Lancs, Bootle)—May I ask the Prime Minister whether he has any information to give the House with regard to the European situation?

Mr. Asquith—As the House is aware, a formal declaration of war was issued yesterday by Austria against Servia. The situation at this moment is one of extreme gravity and I can only say—usefully say—that his Majesty's Government are not relaxing their efforts to do everything in their power to circumscribe the area of possible conflict. ["Hear! hear!"]


Declaration in House of Commons, July 30, by Prime Minister Asquith.

We meet today under conditions of gravity which are almost unparalleled in the experience of every one of us. The [pg 279]issues of peace and war are hanging in the balance, and with them the risk of a catastrophe of which it is impossible to measure either the dimensions or the effects. In these circumstances it is of vital importance in the interests of the whole world that this country, which has no interests of its own directly at stake, should present a united front and be able to speak and act with the authority of an undivided nation. If we were to proceed today with the first order on the paper we should inevitably, unless the debate was conducted with an artificial tone, be involved in acute controversy in regard to domestic differences whose importance to ourselves no one here in any quarter of the House is disposed to disparage or to belittle. I need not say more than that such a use of our time at such a moment might have injurious, and lastingly injurious, effects on the international situation. I have had the advantage of consultation with the leader of the Opposition, who, I know, shares to the full the view which I have expressed. We shall therefore propose to put off for the present the consideration of the second reading of the amending bill—of course, without prejudice to its future—in the hope that by a postponement of the discussion the patriotism of all parties will contribute what lies in our power, if not to avert at least to circumscribe the calamities which threaten the world. In the meantime the business which we shall take will be confined to necessary matters which will not be of a controversial character.


Assent of Bonar Law, Leader of the British Opposition, and of Sir Edward Carson, July 30.

As the Prime Minister has informed the House, it is with our concurrence that he has made the suggestion which we have just heard. At a moment like the present, when even those of us who do not share diplomatic secrets feel that the statement of the Prime Minister is true, that peace and war may be trembling in the balance, I think it is of the utmost importance that it should be made plain to every one that, whatever our domestic differences may be, they do not prevent us from presenting a united front in the councils of the world. I am obliged to the Prime Minister for saying that in the meantime party controversial business will not be taken. I am sure that it is his intention, as it would be the wish of the whole House, that this postponement will not in any way prejudice the interests of any of the parties to the controversy. I should like to add—and I do so, not to give information to the House, the members of which quite understand the position, but in order that it may be plain outside that in what I have now said I speak not only, so far as I am entitled to speak, for the Unionist Party, but for Ulster—that in what I have just said I have the concurrence of my right honorable friend the member for Trinity College [Sir Edward Carson].


Statement by Sir Edward Grey in House of Commons, July 30.

I regret that I cannot say the situation is less grave than it was yesterday. The outstanding facts are much the same. Austria has begun war against Servia. Russia has ordered a partial mobilization. This has not hitherto led to any corresponding steps by other powers, so far as our information goes. We continue to pursue the one great object of preserving European peace, and for this purpose we are keeping in close touch with other powers. In thus keeping in touch we have, I am glad to say, had no difficulty so far; though it has not been possible for the powers to unite in diplomatic action as was proposed on Monday.


Statement in House of Commons by Prime Minister Asquith, Aug. 1.

We have just heard, not from St. Petersburg but from Germany, that [pg 280]Russia has proclaimed a general mobilization of her army and fleet, and in consequence of this martial law is to be proclaimed in Germany.

We understand this to mean that mobilization will follow in Germany if the Russian mobilization is general and is proceeded with.

In these circumstances I should prefer not to answer any further question until Monday.


Editorial Article of The London Times, Aug. 3.

The die is cast. The great European struggle which the nations have so long struggled to avert has begun. Germany declared war upon Russia on Saturday evening, and yesterday her troops entered Luxemburg and crossed the French frontier in Lorraine without any declaration at all. It is idle to dwell upon events such as these. They speak for themselves in a fashion which all can understand. They mean that Europe is to be the scene of the most terrible war that she has witnessed since the fall of the Roman Empire. The losses in human life and in the accumulated wealth of generations which such a contest must involve are frightful to think on. That it should have come about despite the zealous efforts of diplomacy, and against the wishes of almost all the nations whom it is destined to afflict, is a grim satire upon the professions of peace yet fresh upon the lips of those who have plunged the Continent into its miseries and its calamities. The blame must fall mainly upon Germany. She could have stayed the plague had she chosen to speak in Vienna as she speaks when she is in earnest. She has not chosen to do so. She has preferred to make demands in St. Petersburg and in Paris which no Government could entertain, and to defeat by irrevocable acts the last efforts of this country and of others for mediation. She has lived up to the worst principles of the Frederician tradition—the tradition which disregards all obligations of right and wrong at the bidding of immediate self-interest. She believes that her admirable military organization has enabled her to steal a march upon her rivals. She has been mobilizing in all but name, while their mobilization has been retarded by the "conversations" she continued until her moment had come. Then she flung the mask aside. While her Ambassador was still in Paris, while by the customs traditional with all civilized peoples she was still at peace with France, she has sent her soldiers into Luxemburg, and invaded the territory of the republic. It is hard to say which of these acts is the grosser infringement of public right. With Luxemburg she makes no pretense of quarrel. She is herself a party to the guarantee of its neutrality contained in the Treaty of 1867. The other guarantors are Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, and the Netherlands. She solemnly pledged herself with some of them, including France and ourselves, to respect this neutrality. The world sees how Germany keeps her word. She has been weak enough, or cynical enough, to issue an explanation of her breach of faith. Let Englishmen, who have been disposed to trust her, judge it for themselves. She has not, she says, committed a hostile act by crossing the frontiers, by forcibly seizing the Government offices, and by forcibly interrupting the telephonic communication. These are merely measures to protect the railways from a possible attack by the French. For the sudden invasion of France no excuse has yet been published. When it comes it will doubtless be of about equal worth.

The whole situation has been revolutionized by the events of yesterday. The doubts which many of us tried hard to cherish as to Germany's real intentions have been dispelled by her high-handed contempt for public law. The Government and the nation now realize that she has been bent on a European war—a European war to be waged in the first instance against France, and through at least one of those neutral States whose safety we have bound ourselves to defend because it is indispensable to our [pg 281]own. The Cabinet, which has been sitting almost uninterruptedly since Saturday morning, reached a decision at an early hour yesterday, which shows that they know what is before us. They have called up the Naval Reserves. They would not have taken this step had they not felt that in this quarrel our interests are now directly at stake. After the example of what Germany has done in Luxemburg and on the French border we can no longer rely upon the presence of her Ambassador as a security against some sudden surprise. We have no controversy with her, it is true. We have been willing and anxious to develop those better relations with her which had of late sprung up. We were eager to work with her for mediation and for peace. Now she has shown her hand. She is resolved to crush France, and to trample upon the rights of those who happen to stand in her way. Yesterday it was Luxemburg. Today it may be Belgium or Holland, or she may treat us as she has treated our French friends, and assail us without a declaration of war. She will find the empire ready. Here at home and in the far-off dominions the sure instinct of our peoples teaches them that the ruin of France or of the Low Countries would be the prelude to our own. We can no more tolerate a German hegemony in Europe than we can tolerate the hegemony of any other power. As our fathers fought Spain and France in the days of their greatest strength to defeat their pretense to Continental supremacy, and their menace to the narrow seas, which are the bulwark of our independence, so shall we be ready, with the same unanimity and the same stubborn tenacity of purpose, to fight any other nation which shows by her acts that she is advancing a like claim and confronting us with a like threat. If any individual member of the Cabinet dissents from this view, the sooner he quits the Government the better. Mr. Asquith may find it no disadvantage to take fresh blood into his Administration, as M. Viviani has undoubtedly strengthened the French Government by the admission of M. Delcassé and M. Clemenceau. The controversy between Austria-Hungary and Servia, and that between Austria-Hungary and Russia, have passed away from the eyes of the nation. These are fixed on the German attack upon the French Republic and upon Luxemburg. In that conflict the nation know their duty. With the blessing of Heaven they will do it to the uttermost.


Sir Edward Grey's Speech in House of Commons, Aug. 3.

Last week I stated that we were working for peace not only for this country, but to preserve the peace of Europe. Today events move so rapidly that it is exceedingly difficult to state with technical accuracy the actual state of affairs, but it is clear that the peace of Europe cannot be preserved. Russia and Germany, at any rate, have declared war upon each other.

Before I proceed to state the position of his Majesty's Government I would like to clear the ground so that, before I come to state to the House what our attitude is with regard to the present crisis, the House may know exactly under what obligations the Government is, or the House can be said to be, in coming to a decision on the matter. First of all, let me say, very shortly, that we have consistently worked with a single mind, with all the earnestness in our power, to preserve peace. The House may be satisfied on that point. We have always done it. During these last years, as far as his Majesty's Government are concerned, we would have no difficulty in proving that we have done so. Throughout the Balkan crisis, by general admission, we worked for peace. The co-operation of the great powers of Europe was successful in working for peace in the Balkan crisis. It is true that some of the powers had great difficulty in adjusting their points of view. It took much time and labor and discussion before they could settle their differences, but peace was secured, because peace was their [pg 282]main object, and they were willing to give time and trouble rather than accentuate differences rapidly.

In the present crisis it has not been possible to secure the peace of Europe; because there has been little time, and there has been a disposition—at any rate in some quarters on which I will not dwell—to force things rapidly to an issue, at any rate to the great risk of peace, and, as we now know, the result of that is that the policy of peace as far as the great powers generally are concerned is in danger. I do not want to dwell on that, and to comment on it, and to say where the blame seems to us to lie, which powers were most in favor of peace, which were most disposed to risk war or endanger peace, because I would like the House to approach this crisis in which we are now from the point of view of British interests, British honor, and British obligations, free from all passion as to why peace has not been preserved.

We shall publish papers as soon as we can regarding what took place last week when we were working for peace, and when those papers are published I have no doubt that to every human being they will make it clear how strenuous and genuine and whole-hearted our efforts for peace were, and that they will enable people to form their own judgment as to what forces were at work which operated against peace.

I come first, now, to the question of British obligations. I have assured the House—and the Prime Minister has assured the House more than once—that if any crisis such as this arose we should come before the House of Commons and be able to say to the House that it was free to decide what the British attitude should be, that we would have no secret engagement which we should spring upon the House, and tell the House that because we had entered into that engagement there was an obligation of honor upon the country. I will deal with that point to clear the ground first.

There have been in Europe two diplomatic groups, the Triple Alliance and what came to be called the Triple Entente, for some years past. The Triple Entente was not an alliance—it was a diplomatic group. The House will remember that in 1908 there was a crisis—also a Balkan crisis—originating in the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Russian Minister, M. Isvolsky, came to London, or happened to come to London, because his visit was planned before the crisis broke out. I told him definitely then, this being a Balkan crisis, a Balkan affair, I did not consider that public opinion in this country would justify us in promising to give anything more than diplomatic support. More was never asked from us, more was never given, and more was never promised.

In this present crisis, up till yesterday, we have also given no promise of anything more than diplomatic support—up till yesterday no promise of more than diplomatic support. Now I must make this question of obligation clear to the House. I must go back to the first Moroccan crisis of 1906. That was the time of the Algeciras Conference, and it came at a time of very great difficulty to his Majesty's Government when a general election was in progress, and Ministers were scattered over the country, and I—spending three days a week in my constituency and three days at the Foreign Office—was asked the question whether, if that crisis developed into war between France and Germany, we would give armed support. I said then that I could promise nothing to any foreign power unless it was subsequently to receive the whole-hearted support of public opinion here if the occasion arose. I said, in my opinion, if war was forced upon France then on the question of Morocco—a question which had just been the subject of agreement between this country and France, an agreement exceedingly popular on both sides—that if out of that agreement war was forced on France at that time, in my view public opinion in this country would have rallied to the material support of France.

I gave no promise, but I expressed that opinion during the crisis, as far as I remember [pg 283]almost in the same words, to the French Ambassador and the German Ambassador at the time. I made no promise and I used no threats; but I expressed that opinion. That position was accepted by the French Government, but they said to me at the time, and I think very reasonably, "If you think it possible that the public opinion of Great Britain might, should a sudden crisis arise, justify you in giving to France the armed support which you cannot promise in advance, you will not be able to give that support, even if you wish it, when the time comes, unless some conversations have already taken place between naval and military experts." There was force in that. I agreed to it, and authorized those conversations to take place, but on the distinct understanding that nothing which passed between military or naval experts should bind either Government or restrict in any way their freedom to make a decision as to whether or not they would give that support when the time arose.

As I have told the House, upon that occasion a general election was in prospect; I had to take the responsibility of doing that without the Cabinet. It could not be summoned. An answer had to be given. I consulted Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the Prime Minister; I consulted, I remember, Lord Haldane, who was then Secretary of State for War, and the present Prime Minister, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer. That was the most I could do, and they authorized that, on the distinct understanding that it left the hands of the Government free whenever the crisis arose. The fact that conversations between military and naval experts took place was later on—I think much later on, because that crisis passed, and the thing ceased to be of importance—but later on it was brought to the knowledge of the Cabinet.

The Agadir crisis came—another Morocco crisis—and throughout that I took precisely the same line that had been taken in 1906. But subsequently, in 1912, after discussion and consideration in the Cabinet, it was decided that we ought to have a definite understanding in writing, which was to be only in the form of an unofficial letter, that these conversations which took place were not binding upon the freedom of either Government; and on the 22d November, 1912, I wrote to the French Ambassador the letter which I will now read to the House, and I received from him a letter in similar terms in reply. The letter which I have to read to the House is this, and it will be known to the public now as the record that, whatever took place between military and naval experts, they were not binding engagements upon the Government:

My dear Ambassador:

From time to time in recent years the French and British naval and military experts have consulted together. It has always been understood that such consultation does not restrict the freedom of either Government to decide at any future time whether or not to assist the other by armed force. We have agreed that consultation between experts is not, and ought not, to be regarded as an engagement that commits either Government to action in a contingency that has not yet arisen and may never arise. The disposition, for instance, of the French and British fleets respectively at the present moment is not based upon an engagement to co-operate in war.

You have, however, pointed out that, if either Government had grave reason to expect an unprovoked attack by a third power, it might become essential to know whether it could in that event depend upon the armed assistance of the other.

I agree that, if either Government had grave reason to expect an unprovoked attack by a third power, or something that threatened the general peace, it should immediately discuss with the other whether both Governments should act together to prevent aggression and to preserve peace, and, if so, what measures they would be prepared to take in common.

Lord Charles Beresford—What is the date of that?

Sir E. Grey—The 22nd November, 1912. That is the starting point for the Government with regard to the present crisis. I think it makes it clear that what the Prime Minister and I said to the House of Commons was perfectly justified, and that, as regards our freedom to decide in a crisis what our line should be, whether we should intervene or whether we should abstain, the Government [pg 284]remained perfectly free, and, a fortiori, the House of Commons remains perfectly free. That I say to clear the ground from the point of view of obligation. I think it was due to prove our good faith to the House of Commons that I should give that full information to the House now, and say what I think is obvious from the letter I have just read, that we do not construe anything which has previously taken place in our diplomatic relations with other powers in this matter as restricting the freedom of the Government to decide what attitude they should take now, or restrict the freedom of the House of Commons to decide what their attitude should be.

Well, Sir, I will go further, and I will say this: The situation in the present crisis is not precisely the same as it was in the Morocco question. In the Morocco question it was primarily a dispute which concerned France—a dispute which concerned France and France primarily—a dispute, as it seemed to us, affecting France out of an agreement subsisting between us and France, and published to the whole world, in which we engaged to give France diplomatic support. No doubt we were pledged to give nothing but diplomatic support; we were, at any rate, pledged by a definite public agreement to stand with France diplomatically in that question.

The present crisis has originated differently. It has not originated with regard to Morocco. It has not originated as regards anything with which we had a special agreement with France; it has not originated with anything which primarily concerned France. It has originated in a dispute between Austria and Servia. I can say this with the most absolute confidence—no Government and no country has less desire to be involved in war over a dispute with Austria and Servia than the Government and the Country of France. They are involved in it because of their obligation of honor under a definite alliance with Russia. Well, it is only fair to say to the House that that obligation of honor cannot apply in the same way to us. We are not parties to the Franco-Russian alliance. We do not even know the terms of that alliance. So far I have, I think, faithfully and completely cleared the ground with regard to the question of obligation.

I now come to what we think the situation requires of us. For many years we have had a long-standing friendship with France. I remember well the feeling in the House—and my own feeling—for I spoke on the subject, I think, when the late Government made their agreement with France—the warm and cordial feeling resulting from the fact that these two nations, who had had perpetual differences in the past, had cleared these differences away; I remember saying, I think, that it seemed to me that some benign influence had been at work to produce the cordial atmosphere that had made that possible. But how far that friendship entails obligation—it has been a friendship between the nations and ratified by the nations—how far that entails an obligation, let every man look into his own heart, and his own feelings, and construe the extent of the obligation for himself. I construe it myself as I feel it, but I do not wish to urge upon any one else more than their feelings dictate as to what they should feel about the obligation. The House, individually and collectively, may judge for itself. I speak my personal view, and I have given the House my own feeling in the matter.

The French fleet is now in the Mediterranean, and the northern and western coasts of France are absolutely undefended. The French fleet being concentrated in the Mediterranean, the situation is very different from what it used to be, because the friendship which has grown up between the two countries has given them a sense of security that there was nothing to be feared from us.

The French coasts are absolutely undefended. The French fleet is in the Mediterranean, and has for some years been concentrated there because of the feeling of confidence and friendship which has existed between the two countries. My own feeling is that if a foreign fleet, engaged in a war which France had not sought, and in which she had not been the aggressor, came down the English [pg 285]Channel and bombarded and battered the undefended coasts of France, we could not stand aside, and see this going on practically within sight of our eyes, with our arms folded, looking on dispassionately, doing nothing. I believe that would be the feeling of this country. There are times when one feels that if these circumstances actually did arise, it would be a feeling which would spread with irresistible force throughout the land.

But I also want to look at the matter without sentiment, and from the point of view of British interests, and it is on that that I am going to base and justify what I am presently going to say to the House. If we say nothing at this moment, what is France to do with her fleet in the Mediterranean? If she leaves it there, with no statement from us as to what we will do, she leaves her northern and western coasts absolutely undefended, at the mercy of a German fleet coming down the Channel to do as it pleases in a war which is a war of life and death between them. If we say nothing, it may be that the French fleet is withdrawn from the Mediterranean. We are in the presence of a European conflagration; can anybody set limits to the consequences that may arise out of it? Let us assume that today we stand aside in an attitude of neutrality, saying, "No, we cannot undertake and engage to help either party in this conflict." Let us suppose the French fleet is withdrawn from the Mediterranean; and let us assume that the consequences—which are already tremendous in what has happened in Europe even to countries which are at peace—in fact, equally whether countries are at peace or at war—let us assume that out of that come consequences unforeseen, which make it necessary at a sudden moment that, in defense of vital British interests, we shall go to war; and let us assume—which is quite possible—that Italy, who is now neutral—because, as I understand, she considers that this war is an aggressive war, and the Triple Alliance being a defensive alliance her obligation did not arise—let us assume that consequences which are not yet foreseen and which, perfectly legitimately consulting her own interests, make Italy depart from her attitude of neutrality at a time when we are forced in defense of vital British interests ourselves to fight—what then will be the position in the Mediterranean? It might be that at some critical moment those consequences would be forced upon us because our trade routes in the Mediterranean might be vital to this country.

Nobody can say that in the course of the next few weeks there is any particular trade route, the keeping open of which may not be vital to this country. What will be our position then? We have not kept a fleet in the Mediterranean which is equal to dealing alone with a combination of other fleets in the Mediterranean. It would be the very moment when we could not detach more ships to the Mediterranean, and we might have exposed this country from our negative attitude at the present moment to the most appalling risk. I say that from the point of view of British interests. We feel strongly that France was entitled to know—and to know at once—whether or not in the event of attack upon her unprotected northern and western coasts she could depend upon British support. In that emergency, and in these compelling circumstances, yesterday afternoon I gave to the French Ambassador the following statement:

I am authorized to give an assurance that if the German fleet comes into the Channel or through the North Sea to undertake hostile operations against the French coasts or shipping, the British fleet will give all the protection in its power. This assurance is, of course, subject to the policy of his Majesty's Government receiving the support of Parliament, and must not be taken as binding his Majesty's Government to take any action until the above contingency of action by the German fleet takes place.

I read that to the House, not as a declaration of war on our part, not as entailing immediate aggressive action on our part, but as binding us to take aggressive action should that contingency arise. Things move very hurriedly from hour to hour. Fresh news comes in, and I cannot give this in any very formal [pg 286]way; but I understand that the German Government would be prepared, if we would pledge ourselves to neutrality, to agree that its fleet would not attack the northern coast of France. I have only heard that shortly before I came to the House, but it is far too narrow an engagement for us. And, Sir, there is the more serious consideration—becoming more serious every hour—there is the question of the neutrality of Belgium.

I shall have to put before the House at some length what is our position in regard to Belgium. The governing factor is the Treaty of 1839, but this is a treaty with a history—a history accumulated since. In 1870, when there was war between France and Germany, the question of the neutrality of Belgium arose, and various things were said. Among other things, Prince Bismarck gave an assurance to Belgium that—confirming his verbal assurance, he gave in writing a declaration which he said was superfluous in reference to the treaty in existence—that the German Confederation and its allies would respect the neutrality of Belgium, it being always understood that that neutrality would be respected by the other belligerent powers. That is valuable as a recognition in 1870 on the part of Germany of the sacredness of these treaty rights.

What was our own attitude? The people who laid down the attitude of the British Government were Lord Granville in the House of Lords and Mr. Gladstone in the House of Commons. Lord Granville on the 8th August, 1870, used these words. He said:

We might have explained to the country and to foreign nations that we could not think this country was bound either morally or internationally, or that its interests were concerned in the maintenance of the neutrality of Belgium; though this course might have had some conveniences, though it might have been easy to adhere to it, though it might have saved us from some immediate danger, it is a course which her Majesty's Government thought it impossible to adopt in the name of the country with any due regard to the country's honor or to the country's interests.

Mr. Gladstone, spoke as follows two days later:

There is, I admit, the obligation of the treaty. It is not necessary, nor would time permit me, to enter into the complicated question of the nature of the obligations of that treaty; but I am not able to subscribe to the doctrine of those who have held in this House what plainly amounts to an assertion, that the simple fact of the existence of a guarantee is binding on every party to it, irrespectively altogether of the particular position in which it may find itself at the time when the occasion for acting on the guarantee arises. The great authorities upon foreign policy to whom I have been accustomed to listen, such as Lord Aberdeen and Lord Palmerston, never to my knowledge took that rigid and, if I may venture to say so, that impracticable view of the guarantee. The circumstance, that there is already an existing guarantee in force, is, of necessity, an important fact, and a weighty element in the case, to which we are bound to give full and ample consideration. There is also this further consideration, the force of which we must all feel most deeply, and that is, the common interests against the unmeasured aggrandizement of any power whatever.

The treaty is an old treaty—1839—and that was the view taken of it in 1870. It is one of those treaties which are founded, not only on consideration for Belgium, which benefits under the treaty, but in the interests of those who guarantee the neutrality of Belgium. The honor and interests are, at least, as strong today as in 1870, and we cannot take a more narrow view or a less serious view of our obligations, and of the importance of those obligations, than was taken by Mr. Gladstone's Government in 1870.

I will read to the House what took place last week on this subject. When mobilization was beginning, I knew that this question must be a most important element in our policy—a most important subject for the House of Commons. I telegraphed at the same time in similar terms to both Paris and Berlin to say that it was essential for us to know whether the French and German Governments respectively were prepared to undertake an engagement to respect the neutrality of Belgium. These are the replies. I got from the French Government this reply:

The French Government are resolved to respect the neutrality of Belgium, and it would only be in the event of some other [pg 287]power violating that neutrality that France might find herself under the necessity, in order to assure the defense of her security, to act otherwise. This assurance has been given several times. The President of the Republic spoke of it to the King of the Belgians, and the French Minister at Brussels has spontaneously renewed the assurance to the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs today.

From the German Government the reply was:

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs could not possibly give an answer before consulting the Emperor and the Imperial Chancellor.

Sir Edward Goschen, to whom I had said it was important to have an answer soon, said he hoped the answer would not be too long delayed. The German Minister for Foreign Affairs then gave Sir Edward Goschen to understand that he rather doubted whether they could answer at all, as any reply they might give could not fail, in the event of war, to have the undesirable effect of disclosing, to a certain extent, part of their plan of campaign. I telegraphed at the same time to Brussels to the Belgian Government, and I got the following reply from Sir Francis Villiers:

Belgium expects and desires that other powers will observe and uphold her neutrality, which she intends to maintain to the utmost of her power. In so informing me, Minister for Foreign Affairs said, that, in the event of the violation of the neutrality of their territory, they believed that they were in a position to defend themselves against intrusion. The relations between Belgium and her neighbors were excellent, and there was no reason to suspect their intentions; but he thought it well, nevertheless, to be prepared against emergencies.

It now appears from the news I have received today—which has come quite recently, and I am not yet quite sure how far it has reached me in an accurate form—that an ultimatum has been given to Belgium by Germany, the object of which was to offer Belgium friendly relations with Germany on condition that she would facilitate the passage of German troops through Belgium. Well, Sir, until one has these things absolutely definitely, up to the last moment, I do not wish to say all that one would say if one were in a position to give the House full, complete, and absolute information upon the point. We were sounded in the course of last week as to whether, if a guarantee were given that, after the war, Belgian integrity would be preserved, that would content us. We replied that we could not bargain away whatever interests or obligations we had in Belgian neutrality.

Shortly before I reached the House I was informed that the following telegram had been received from the King of the Belgians by our King—King George:

Remembering the numerous proofs of your Majesty's friendship and that of your predecessors, and the friendly attitude of England in 1870, and the poof of friendship she has just given us again, I make a supreme appeal to the diplomatic intervention of your Majesty's Government to safeguard the integrity of Belgium.

Diplomatic intervention took place last week on our part. What can diplomatic intervention do now? We have great and vital interests in the independence—and integrity is the least part—of Belgium. If Belgium is compelled to submit to allow her neutrality to be violated, of course the situation is clear. Even if by agreement she admitted the violation of her neutrality, it is clear she could only do so under duress. The smaller States in that region of Europe ask but one thing. Their one desire is that they should be left alone and independent. The one thing they fear is, I think, not so much that their integrity but that their independence should be interfered with. If in this war which is before Europe the neutrality of one of those countries is violated, if the troops of one of the combatants violate its neutrality and no action be taken to resent it, at the end of the war, whatever the integrity may be, the independence will be gone.

I have one further quotation from Mr. Gladstone as to what he thought about the independence of Belgium. It will be found in "Hansard," Vol. 203, Page 1,787. I have not had time to read the whole speech and verify the context, but the thing seems to me so clear that no context could make any difference to the meaning of it. Mr. Gladstone said:

We have an interest in the independence of Belgium which is wider than that [pg 288]which we may have in the literal operation of the guarantee. It is found in the answer to the question whether, under the circumstances of the case, this country, endowed as it is with influence and power, would quietly stand by and witness the perpetration of the direst crime that ever stained the pages of history, and thus become participators in the sin.

No, Sir, if it be the case that there has been anything in the nature of an ultimatum to Belgium, asking her to compromise or violate her neutrality, whatever may have been offered to her in return, her independence is gone if that holds. If her independence goes, the independence of Holland will follow. I ask the House from the point of view of British interests to consider what may be at stake. If France is beaten in a struggle of life and death, beaten to her knees, loses her position as a great power, becomes subordinate to the will and power of one greater than herself—consequences which I do not anticipate, because I am sure that France has the power to defend herself with all the energy and ability and patriotism which she has shown so often—still, if that were to happen, and if Belgium fell under the same dominating influence, and then Holland, and then Denmark, then would not Mr. Gladstone's words come true, that just opposite to us there would be a common interest against the unmeasured aggrandizement of any power?

It may be said, I suppose, that we might stand aside, husband our strength, and that, whatever happened in the course of this war, at the end of it intervene with effect to put things right, and to adjust them to our own point of view. If, in a crisis like this, we run away from those obligations of honor and interest as regards the Belgian treaty, I doubt whether, whatever material force we might have at the end, it would be of very much value in face of the respect that we should have lost. And do not believe, whether a great power stands outside this war or not, it is going to be in a position at the end of it to exert its superior strength. For us, with a powerful fleet, which we believe able to protect our commerce, to protect our shores, and to protect our interests, if we are engaged in war, we shall suffer but little more than we shall suffer even if we stand aside.

We are going to suffer, I am afraid, terribly in this war, whether we are in it or whether we stand aside. Foreign trade is going to stop, not because the trade routes are closed, but because there is no trade at the other end. Continental nations engaged in war—all their populations, all their energies, all their wealth, engaged in a desperate struggle—they cannot carry on the trade with us that they are carrying on in times of peace, whether we are parties to the war or whether we are not. I do not believe for a moment that at the end of this war, even if we stood aside and remained aside, we should be in a position, a material position, to use our force decisively to undo what had happened in the course of the war, to prevent the whole of the west of Europe opposite to us—if that had been the result of the war—falling under the domination of a single power, and I am quite sure that our moral position would be such as to have lost us all respect. I can only say that I have put the question of Belgium somewhat hypothetically, because I am not yet sure of all the facts, but, if the facts turn out to be as they have reached us at present, it is quite clear that there is an obligation on this country to do its utmost to prevent the consequences to which those facts will lead if they are undisputed.

I have read to the House the only engagements that we have yet taken definitely with regard to the use of force. I think it is due to the House to say that we have taken no engagement yet with regard to sending an expeditionary armed force out of the country. Mobilization of the fleet has taken place; mobilization of the army is taking place; but we have as yet taken no engagement, because I feel that—in the case of a European conflagration such as this, unprecedented, with our enormous responsibilities in India and other parts of the empire, or in countries in British occupation, with all the unknown factors—we must take very carefully into consideration the use [pg 289]which we make of sending an expeditionary force out of the country until we know how we stand. One thing I would say.

The one bright spot in the whole of this, terrible situation is Ireland. The general feeling throughout Ireland—and I would like this to be clearly understood abroad—does not make the Irish question a consideration which we feel we have now to take into account. I have told the House how far we have at present gone in commitments and the conditions which influence our policy, and I have put to the House and dwelt at length upon how vital is the condition of the neutrality of Belgium.

What other policy Is there before the House? There is but one way in which the Government could make certain at the present moment of keeping outside this war, and that would be that it should immediately issue a proclamation of unconditional neutrality. We cannot do that. We have made the commitment to France that I have read to the House which prevents us doing that. We have got the consideration of Belgium which prevents us also from any unconditional neutrality, and, without these conditions absolutely satisfied and satisfactory, we are bound not to shrink from proceeding to the use of all the forces in our power. If we did take that line by saying, "We will have nothing whatever to do with this matter" under no conditions—the Belgian treaty obligations, the possible position in the Mediterranean, with damage to British interests, and what may happen to France from our failure to support France—if we were to say that all those things mattered nothing, were as nothing, and to say we would stand aside, we should, I believe, sacrifice our respect and good name and reputation before the world, and should not escape the most serious and grave economic consequences.

My object has been to explain the view of the Government, and to place before the House the issue and the choice. I do not for a moment conceal, after what I have said, and after the information, incomplete as it is, that I have given to the House with regard to Belgium, that we must be prepared, and we are prepared, for the consequences of having to use all the strength we have at any moment—we know not how soon—to defend ourselves and to take our part. We know, if the facts all be as I have stated them, though I have announced no intending aggressive action on our part, no final decision to resort to force at a moment's notice, until we know the whole of the case, that the use of it may be forced upon us. As far as the forces of the Crown are concerned, we are ready. I believe the Prime Minister and my right honorable friend the First Lord of the Admiralty have no doubt whatever that the readiness and the efficiency of those forces were never at a higher mark than they are today, and never was there a time when confidence was more justified in the power of the navy to protect our commerce and to protect our shores. The thought is with us always of the suffering and misery entailed, from which no country in Europe will escape by abstention, and from which no neutrality will save us. The amount of harm that can be done by an enemy ship to our trade is infinitesimal, compared with the amount of harm that must be done by the economic condition that is caused on the Continent.

The most awful responsibility is resting upon the Government in deciding what to advise the House of Commons to do. We have disclosed our minds to the House of Commons. We have disclosed the issue, the information which we have, and made clear to the House, I trust, that we are prepared to face that situation, and that should it develop, as probably it may develop, we will face it. We worked for peace up to the last moment, and beyond the last moment. How hard, how persistently, and how earnestly we strove for peace last week the House will see from the papers that will be before it.

But that is over, as far as the peace of Europe is concerned. We are now face to face with a situation and all the consequences which it may yet have to unfold. We believe we shall have the support [pg 290]of the House at large in proceeding to whatever the consequences may be and whatever measures may be forced upon us by the development of facts or action taken by others. I believe the country, so quickly has the situation been forced upon it, has not had time to realize the issue. It perhaps is still thinking of the quarrel between Austria and Servia, and not the complications of this matter which have grown out of the quarrel between Austria and Servia. Russia and Germany we know are at war. We do not yet know officially that Austria, the ally whom Germany is to support, is yet at war with Russia. We know that a good deal has been happening on the French frontier. We do not know that the German Ambassador has left Paris.

The situation has developed so rapidly that technically, as regards the condition of the war, it is most difficult to describe what has actually happened. I wanted to bring out the underlying issues which would affect our own conduct, and our own policy, and to put them clearly. I have now put the vital facts before the House, and if, as seems not improbable, we are forced, and rapidly forced, to take our stand upon those issues, then I believe, when the country realizes what is at stake, what the real issues are, the magnitude of the impending dangers in the west of Europe, which I have endeavored to describe to the House, we shall be supported throughout, not only by the House of Commons, but by the determination, the resolution, the courage, and the endurance of the whole country.


Further Statement by Sir Edward Grey in House of Commons, Aug. 3, 1914.

I want to give the House some information which I have received, and which was not in my possession when I made my statement this afternoon. It is information I have received from the Belgian Legation in London, and is to the following effect:

Germany sent yesterday evening at 7 o'clock a note proposing to Belgium friendly neutrality, covering free passage on Belgian territory, and promising maintenance of independence of the kingdom and possession at the conclusion of peace, and threatening, in case of refusal, to treat Belgium as an enemy. A time limit of twelve hours was fixed for the reply. The Belgians have answered that an attack on their neutrality would be a flagrant violation of the rights of nations, and that to accept the German proposal would be to sacrifice the honor of a nation. Conscious of its duty, Belgium is firmly resolved to repel aggression by all possible means.

Of course, I can only say that the Government are prepared to take into grave consideration the information which they have received. I make no further comment upon it.


Statement by Bonar Law, Opposition Leader, in House of Commons, Aug. 3.

The right honorable gentleman has made an appeal for support and it is necessary that I should say a word or two, but they shall be very few. I wish to say in the first place that I do not believe there is a single member in this House who doubts that not only the right honorable gentleman himself, but the Government which he represents, have done everything in their power up to the last moment to preserve peace. [Cheers.] And I think we may be sure that if any other course is taken it is because it is forced upon them and that they have absolutely no alternative. [Cheers.] One thing only further I should like to say. The right honorable gentleman spoke of the bright spot in the picture which only a day or two ago was a black spot in the political horizon. Everything that he has said I am sure is true and I should like to say this further—that if the contingencies which he has not put into words, but which are in all our minds as possible, arise, then we have already had indications that there is another bright spot—that every one of his Majesty's dominions beyond the seas will be behind us in whatever act it is necessary to take. [Cheers.] This only I should add. The Government already know, but I give them now the assurance on behalf of the party of which I am [pg 291]leader in this House, that in whatever steps they think it necessary to take for the honor and security of this country they can rely upon the unhesitating support of the Opposition. [Loud Ministerial and Opposition cheers.]


Statement in House of Commons, Aug. 3, by John E. Redmond, M.P.

I hope the House will not consider it improper on my part in the grave circumstances in which we are assembled if I intervene for a very few moments. I was moved a great deal by that sentence in the speech of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in which he said that the one bright spot in the situation was the changed feeling in Ireland. In past times, when this empire has been engaged in these terrible enterprises it is true—it would be the utmost affectation and folly on my part to deny it—the sympathy of the Nationalists of Ireland, for reasons to be found deep down in centuries of history, has been estranged from this country. But allow me to say that what has occurred in recent years has altered the situation completely. [Ministerial cheers.] I must not touch, and I may be trusted not to touch, on any controversial topics, but this I may be allowed to say—that a wider knowledge of the real facts of Irish history have, I think, altered the view of the democracy of this country toward the Irish question, and today I honestly believe that the democracy of Ireland will turn with the utmost anxiety and sympathy to this country in every trial and every danger that may overtake it. [General cheers.] There is a possibility at any rate of history repeating itself. The House will remember that in 1778, at the end of the disastrous American war, when it might, I think, truly be said that the military power of this country was almost at its lowest ebb, and when the shores of Ireland were threatened with foreign invasion, a body of 100,000 Irish volunteers sprang into existence for the purpose of defending her shores. At first no Catholic—ah! how sad the reading of the history of those days is—was allowed to be enrolled in that body of volunteers, and yet from the very first day the Catholics of the South and West subscribed money and sent it toward the arming of their Protestant fellow-countrymen. Ideas widened as time went on, and finally the Catholics in the South were armed and enrolled brothers in arms with their fellow-countrymen of a different creed in the North. May history repeat itself! [Cheers.] Today there are in Ireland two large bodies of volunteers. One of them sprang into existence in the North. Another has sprung into existence in the South. I say to the Government that they may tomorrow withdraw every one of their troops from Ireland. [General cheers.] I say that the coasts of Ireland will be defended from foreign invasion by her armed sons, and for this purpose armed Nationalist Catholics in the South will be only too glad to join arms with the armed Protestant Ulstermen in the North. [Cheers.] Is it too much to hope that out of this situation there may spring a result which will be good not merely for the empire, but good for the future welfare and integrity of the Irish Nation. [Cheers.] I ought to apologize for having intervened [cries of "No"], but while Irishmen generally are in favor of peace, and would desire to save the democracy of this country from all the horrors of war, while we would make any possible sacrifice for that purpose, still if the dire necessity is forced upon this country we offer to the Government of the day that they may take their troops away, and that if it is allowed to us in comradeship with our brethren in the North we will ourselves defend the coasts of our country. [Loud cheers.]


Prime Minister Asquith Explains Its Nature in House of Commons, Aug. 4, 1914.

Mr. Bonar Law—I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether he has any [pg 292]statement that he can now make to the House?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Asquith)—In conformity with the statement of policy made here by my right honorable friend the Foreign Secretary yesterday, a telegram was early this morning sent by him to our Ambassador in Berlin. It was to this effect:

The King of the Belgians has made an appeal to his Majesty the King for diplomatic intervention on behalf of Belgium. His Majesty's Government are also informed that the German Government have delivered to the Belgian Government a note proposing friendly neutrality entailing free passage through Belgian territory, and promising to maintain the independence and integrity of the kingdom and its possessions at the conclusion of peace, threatening in case of refusal to treat Belgium as an enemy. An answer was requested within twelve hours. We also understand that Belgium has categorically refused this as a flagrant violation of the law of nations. His Majesty's Government are bound to protest against this violation of a treaty to which Germany is a party in common with themselves, and must request an assurance that the demand made upon Belgium may not be proceeded with, and that her neutrality will be respected by Germany. You should ask for an immediate reply.

We received this morning from our Minister at Brussels the following telegram:

German Minister has this morning addressed note to the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs stating that, as Belgian Government have declined the well-intended proposals submitted to them by the Imperial Government, the latter will, deeply to their regret, be compelled to carry out, if necessary by force of arms, the measures considered indispensable in view of the French menaces.

Simultaneously—almost immediately afterward—we received from the Belgian Legation here in London the following telegram:

General Staff announces that territory has been violated at Gemmenich (near Aix-la-Chapelle).

Subsequent information tended to show that the German force has penetrated still further into Belgian territory. We also received this morning from the German Ambassador here the telegram sent to him by the German Foreign Secretary, and communicated by the Ambassador to us. It is in these terms:

Please dispel any mistrust that may subsist on the part of the British Government with regard to our intentions by repeating most positively formal assurance that, even in the case of armed conflict with Belgium, Germany will, under no pretense whatever, annex Belgian territory. Sincerity of this declaration is borne out by fact that we solemnly pledged our word to Holland strictly to respect her neutrality. It is obvious that we could not profitably annex Belgic territory without making at the same time territorial acquisitions at expense of Holland. Please impress upon Sir E. Grey that German Army could not be exposed to French attack across Belgium, which was planned according to absolutely unimpeachable information. Germany had consequently to disregard Belgian neutrality, it being for her a question of life or death to prevent French advance.

I have to add this on behalf of his Majesty's Government: We cannot regard this as in any sense a satisfactory communication. We have, in reply to it, repeated the request we made last week to the German Government, that they should give us the same assurance in regard to Belgian neutrality as was given to us and to Belgium by France last week. We have asked that a reply to that request and a satisfactory answer to the telegram of this morning—which I have read to the House—should be given before midnight.


Statement by Prime Minister Asquith in House of Commons, Aug. 5.

Mr. Bonar Law—May I ask the Prime Minister if he has any information he can give us today?

The Prime Minister—Our Ambassador at Berlin received his passports at 7 o'clock last evening and since 11 o'clock last night a state of war has existed between Germany and ourselves.

We have received from our Minister at Brussels the following telegram:

I have just received from Minister for Foreign Affairs [that is the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs] a note of which the following is a literal translation:[pg 293]

"Belgian Government regret to have to inform his Majesty's Government that this morning armed forces of Germany penetrated into Belgian territory in violation of engagements assumed by treaty.

Belgian Government are further resolved to resist by all means in their power.

Belgium appeals to Great Britain and France and Russia to co-operate, as guarantors in defense of her territory.

There would be concerted and common action with the object of resisting the forcible measures employed by Germany against Belgium, and at the same time of guarding the maintenance for future of the independence and integrity of Belgium.

Belgium is happy to be able to declare that she will assume defense of her fortified places."

We have also received today from the French Ambassador here the following telegram received by the French Government from the French Minister at Brussels:

The Chef du Cabinet of the Belgian Ministry of War has asked the French Military Attaché to prepare at once for the co-operation and contact of French troops with the Belgian Army pending the results of the appeal to the guaranteeing powers now being made. Orders have, therefore, been given to Belgian Provincial Governors not to regard movements of French troops as a violation of the frontier.

This is all the information I am at the moment able to give to the House, but I take the opportunity of giving notice that tomorrow, in Committee of Supply, I shall move a vote of credit of £100,000,000.

Great Britain's Mobilization

Measures Taken Throughout the Empire Upon the Outbreak of War.

[pg 294]Message from King George V. to the House of Commons, Aug. 5.

Mr. Asquith then proceeded to the bar amid cheers and, on being called upon by the Speaker, announced: A message from his Majesty signed by his own hand. The announcement was received with loud cheers, which were continued as Mr. Asquith advanced up the floor and handed the document to the Speaker. All the members uncovered.

The Speaker read the message as follows:

The present state of public affairs in Europe constituting in the opinion of his Majesty a case of great emergency within the meaning of the acts of Parliament in that behalf, his Majesty deems it proper to provide additional means for the military service and, therefore, in pursuance of these acts his Majesty has thought it right to communicate to the House of Commons that his Majesty is by proclamation about to order that the army reserve shall be called out on permanent service, that soldiers who would otherwise be entitled in pursuance of the terms of their enlistment to be transferred to the reserve shall continue in army service for such period not exceeding the period for which they might be required to serve if they were transferred to the reserve and called out for permanent service as to his Majesty may seem expedient; and that such directions as may seem necessary may be given for embodying the territorial force and for making such special arrangements as may be proper with regard to units or individuals whose services may be required in other than a military capacity.—Signed by his Majesty in his own hand.


Message from George V. to Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, Aug. 5.

At this grave moment in our national history I send to you, and through you to the officers and men of the fleets of which you have assumed command, the assurance of my confidence that under your direction they will revive and renew the old glories of the royal navy, and prove once again the sure shield of Britain and of her empire in the hour of trial.



Speech by Bonar Law, Opposition Leader, in House of Commons, Aug. 6.

No Minister has ever fulfilled a duty more responsible or in regard to which the responsibility was more acutely felt than that which has just been fulfilled by the right honorable gentleman. This is not a time for speech-making, and I should have been quite ready to leave the statement which he has given to the committee as the expression of the view, not of a party, but of a nation. [Cheers.] But as this, I think, will be the only opportunity which will be given for expressing the views of a large section of this House, I feel that I am bound to make it clear to the committee and to the country what is the attitude of his Majesty's Opposition on this question. There are two things which I desire to impress upon the committee. The first is that we have dreaded war and have longed for peace as strongly as any section of this committee; and the second is that in our belief we are in a state of war against our will, and that we, as a nation, have done everything in our power to prevent such a condition of things arising. [Cheers.] When this crisis first arose I confess that I was one of those who had the impulse to hope that even though a European conflagration took place we might be able to stay out. I had that hope strongly. But in a short time I became convinced that into this war we should inevitably be drawn [pg 295]and that it really was a question only whether we should enter it honorably or be dragged into it with dishonor. [Cheers.]

Folly and Wickedness.

I remember that on the first occasion after the retirement of my right honorable friend (Mr. Balfour) when I had to speak on foreign affairs I made this statement. It perhaps is wrong, though I do not think so even yet. I said that if ever war arose between Great Britain and Germany it would not be due to inevitable causes, for I did not believe in an inevitable war, but it would be due to human folly. [Cheers.] It is due to human folly and to human wickedness [cheers], but neither the folly nor the wickedness is here. [Cheers.] What other course was open to us? It is quite true, as the Foreign Secretary explained to the House the other day, that we were under no formal obligations to take part in such a struggle. But every member in this House knows that the entente meant this in the minds of this Government and of every other Government, that if any of the three powers were attacked aggressively the others would be expected to step in and to give their aid. ["Hear, hear!"] The question, therefore, to my mind was this: Was this war in any way provoked by those who will now be our allies? No one who has read the "White Paper" can hesitate to answer that question. I am not going to go into it even as fully as the Prime Minister has done; but I would remind the House of this, that in this "White Paper" is contained a statement made by the German Ambassador, I think at Vienna, that Russia was not in a condition and could not go to war. And in the same letter are found these words: "As for Germany, she knew very well what she was about in backing up Austria-Hungary in this matter." Now, every one for years has known that the key to peace or war lay in Berlin, and at this crisis no one doubts that Berlin, if it had chosen, could have prevented this terrible conflict. [Cheers.] I am afraid that the miscalculation which was made about Russia was made also about us. The dispatch which the right honorable gentleman referred to is a dispatch of a nature which I believe would not have been addressed to Great Britain if it had been believed that our hands were free and that we held the position which we had always held before the entente. That, at least, is my belief.

Napoleonism Without a Napoleon.

We are fighting, as the Prime Minister said, for the honor and, what with the honor is bound up always, the interest of our nation. But we are fighting also for the whole basis of the civilization for which we stand and for which Europe stands. [Cheers.] I do not wish, any more than the Prime Minister, to inflame passion. I only ask the House to consider one aspect. Look at the way Belgium is being treated today. There is a report—if it is not true now it may be true tomorrow—that the City of Liége is invaded by German troops and that civilians, as in the days of the Middle Ages, are fighting for their hearths and homes against trained troops. How has that been brought about? In a state of war, war must be waged. But remember that this plan is not of today or of yesterday; that it has been long matured; that the Germans knew that they would have this to face; and that they were ready to take the course which they took the other day of saying to Belgium, "Destroy your independence. Allow our troops to go through, or we will come down upon you with a might which it is impossible for you to resist." If we had allowed that to be done, our position as one of the great nations of the world and our honor as one of the nations of the world would in my opinion have been gone forever. [Cheers.] This is no small struggle. It is the greatest, perhaps, that this country has ever engaged in. It is Napoleonism once again. ["Hear, hear!"] Thank Heaven, so far as we know, there is no Napoleon.

I am not going to say anything more about the causes of the war, for I do not desire to encourage controversy on this subject. But if I may be allowed to say so, I should like to say that I read yesterday [pg 296]with real pleasure an article in a paper which does not generally commend itself to me—The Manchester Guardian. ["Hear, hear!"] In that article it still held that the war ought not to have been entered upon; but it took this view, that that was a question for history, and that now we are in it there is only one question for us, and that is to bring it to a successful issue. [Cheers.]

Sir, I have full sympathy far more than at any other time for the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary. I can imagine nothing more terrible than that the Foreign Secretary should have a feeling that perhaps he has brought his country into an unnecessary war. No feeling could be worse. I can say this, and, whether we are right or wrong, the whole House agrees with it, I am sure, that that is a burden which the right honorable gentleman can carry with a good conscience, [cheers,] and that every one of us can put up unhesitatingly this prayer: "May God defend the right."

Trade and Food Supplies.

I should like, if I may, to pass to another topic, for this is the only opportunity I can have. Consider the conditions under which this war is going to be carried on. I was pleased to hear the Prime Minister say the other day in answer to a speech of the honorable member for Merthyr Tydvil—he has developed it in describing the terms of this vote of credit—that he realized, as we all must realize, that in a country situated like ours the development of industry and the supply of food at home is just as much an operation of war as the conduct of our armed forces. [Cheers.] I do not wish to minimize our difficulties, but I am quite sure—as sure as I can be of anything—that there is no danger of a scarcity of food. ["Hear, hear!"] The only danger is the fear of a scarcity of food. ["Hear, hear!"] Every one who has been in business knows that what causes panic prices is not an actual scarcity at the time, but a fear of scarcity coming. This is a case where every one of us must do all he can to impress upon the people of this country that there is, as I believe, no danger. [Cheers.] Here I should like to give one warning note. Remember—at least I believe it—that this war, unexpected by us, is not unexpected by our enemies; and I shall be greatly surprised if we do not find that at first on our trade routes there is a destruction of our property which might create a panic. That is inevitable, I think, at the outset. Let us be prepared for it, and let us realize that it has no bearing whatever on the ultimate course of the war. [Cheers.]

There is something else which I think it is important to say. We had a discussion yesterday about credit. That is the basis of a successful war, as it is of every branch of industry at this moment. I think the Government have taken the right course. I have followed it closely, and I know that they have been supported by those who best understand the situation. I think the danger is minimized as much as it can be. But, after all, the question of credit really depends on what we believe is going to be the effect of this war upon our trade and our industry.

The Command of the Sea.

I hope the House will not think that I am too optimistic, but I do think there is a danger of our taking too gloomy a view of what the effects will be, ["Hear, hear!"] and, by taking that gloomy view, helping to bring about the very state of things which we all desire to avert. Again I wish to guard myself against seeming to be too hopeful; but let us look at the effect as if we were examining a chess problem. If we keep the command of the sea, what is going to happen? It all depends on that. I admit that if that goes the position is gloomy indeed; but of that I have no fear. [Cheers.] If we keep the command of the sea what is going to happen? Five-sixths of our production is employed in the home trade. What goes abroad is very important, and, of course, if the population which supplies this one-sixth were thrown out of work that would react on the whole. But, after all, the total amount of our exports to all the [pg 297]European countries which are now at war is only a small part of our total exports. There is here no question of fiscal policy. We are far beyond that. It is a question of fact. Our total exports to all the countries which are now at war do not, in my belief—I have not looked into the figures—exceed our exports to India and Australia taken alone. Now, consider this, we shall have freedom of trade, if the command of the sea is maintained, with the colonies and with the whole of the American Continent, while, unfortunately for them, both our allies and our enemies will not be competing with us in these markets. Look at it as a problem. I think we have a right to believe, not that trade will be good, but that it will be much more nearly normal than is generally supposed. [Cheers.] I hope the House will not think that that is a useless thing to say at such a time. [Cheers.]

There is one thing more only I wish to say. This is the affair of the nation. Every one would desire to help. There will be a great deal of work to be done which cannot be done by the Government. I was glad the Prime Minister has already asked the co-operation of my right honorable friends the members for West Birmingham and the Strand. They gladly came. But I am sure I speak not for this bench but for the whole of our party when I say that the Government has only got to requisition any one of us and we will serve them and our country to the best of our ability. [Loud cheers.]


Statement Issued by British Foreign Office, Sept. 5.


The undersigned duly authorized thereto by the respective Governments hereby declare as follows:

The British, French, and Russian Governments mutually engage not to conclude peace separately during the present war. The three Governments agree that when terms of peace come to be discussed no one of the Allies will demand terms of peace without the previous agreement of each of the other Allies. In faith whereof the undersigned have signed this declaration and have affixed thereto their seals.

Done at London in triplicate the 5th day of September, 1914.

his Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of his Majesty the Emperor of Russia.


Semi-Official Statement in The London Times, Sept. 6.

The declaration of the Allied Governments that they will not conclude peace separately during the war or demand terms of peace without previous agreement with each other is an opportune counterstroke to the campaign initiated by Germany for the purpose of detaching France from Russia and especially from Britain. Overtures in this sense have doubtless been made to France.

The German Government has not yet realized the strength of the moral forces it has ranged against itself by its wanton attack upon European civilization. It appears to imagine that, after having been sufficiently "punished" for her temerity in opposing the Kaiser's hosts, France would be open to a bargain, under which she would be "let off" lightly on condition that she should agree to become the ally of Germany.

This idea has been clearly expressed of late in the German press. It is based on the belief that the war was prepared by skillful British intrigues inspired by jealousy of Germany. German statesmen cannot conceive that nations should fight for any cause loftier than material "interests." Hence the constant mistakes of their diplomacy and its failure to foresee that little Belgium would resist German pretensions or that England would go to war for "a scrap of paper." Now they imagine that the determination [pg 298]of France to fight to the last in defense of her honor and her superior civilization can be undermined by an offer to mitigate the material losses she may suffer from the war.

The German view was most clearly expressed in the remarkable dispatch to the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant from its Berlin correspondent, which was reproduced in The Times of yesterday. Politicians in Berlin, he wrote,

see in England the land which has brought about the outbreak of the war by finely played intrigue, in order to let dangerous Russia bleed herself to death, to the end that against Germany, even a victorious Germany, she may herself acquire great advantages, both in trade and on the sea, and in order to make France entirely dependent upon her. The consequence of this opinion is in the highest degree remarkable. Whether you speak with a politician or with a porter or shoemaker, the same wish will always be expressed. We must, when we have beaten France, offer her peace on very acceptable terms in order to make her our ally to fight—against England.

The German error, which the declaration of the Allies should go far to correct, is all the more remarkable in view of the stipulations of the Austro-German Treaty of Alliance. Concluded in 1879 by Bismarck and Andrássy, this treaty still governs the relationship between Germany and Austria-Hungary. Its first clause runs:

Should, contrary to the hope and against the sincere wish of the two high contracting parties, one of the two empires be attacked by Russia, the high contracting parties are bound to stand by each other with the whole of the armed forces of their empires, and, in consequence thereof, only to conclude peace jointly and in agreement.

However low the German estimate of the moral cohesion of France, Russia, and England, German statesmen must be singularly lacking in shrewdness if they suppose the Allies to be less alive than were Bismarck and Andrássy to the need for complete co-operation between allies, not only in war, but also in the negotiation of peace.

The futile German campaign for the detachment of France from her allies is, indeed, the most striking indication yet forthcoming of the misgivings with which the resolute action of the Allies is beginning to inspire the Kaiser and his Government.


King George V. to the Self-Governing Peoples and the Empire of India, Sept. 9, 1914.

To the Governments and Peoples of my Self-Governing Dominions: During the past few weeks the peoples of my whole empire at home and overseas have moved with one mind and purpose to confront and overthrow an unparalleled assault upon the continuity of civilization and the peace of mankind.

The calamitous conflict is not of my seeking, my voice has been cast throughout on the side of peace. My Ministers earnestly strove to allay the causes of strife and to appease differences with which my empire was not concerned. Had I stood aside when, in defiance of pledges to which my kingdom was a party, the soil of Belgium was violated and her cities laid desolate, when the very life of the French Nation was threatened with extinction, I should have sacrificed my honor and given to destruction the liberties of my empire and of mankind. I rejoice that every part of the empire is with me in this decision.

Paramount regard for treaty faith and the pledged word of rulers and peoples is the common heritage of Great Britain and of the empire.

My peoples in the self-governing dominions have shown beyond all doubt that they wholeheartedly indorse the grave decision which it was necessary to take.

My personal knowledge of the loyalty and devotion of my oversea dominions had led me to expect that they would cheerfully make the great efforts and bear the great sacrifices which the present conflict entails. The full measure in which they have placed their services and resources at my disposal fills me with gratitude and I am proud to be able to show to the world that my peoples oversea [pg 299]are as determined as the people of the United Kingdom to prosecute a just cause to a successful end.

The Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Dominion of New Zealand have placed at my disposal their naval forces, which have already rendered good service for the empire. Strong expeditionary forces are being prepared in Canada, in Australia, and in New Zealand for service at the front, and the Union of South Africa has released all British troops and has undertaken important military responsibilities the discharge of which will be of the utmost value to the empire. Newfoundland has doubled the numbers of its branch of the royal naval reserve and is sending a body of men to take part in the operations at the front. From the Dominion and Provincial Governments of Canada large and welcome gifts of supplies are on their way for the use both of my naval and military forces and for the relief of the distress in the United Kingdom which must inevitably follow in the wake of war. All parts of my oversea dominions have thus demonstrated in the most unmistakable manner the fundamental unity of the empire amid all its diversity of situation and circumstance.

Message to India.

To the Princes and peoples of my Indian Empire: Among the many incidents that have marked the unanimous uprising of the populations of my empire in defense of its unity and integrity, nothing has moved me more than the passionate devotion to my throne expressed both by my Indian subjects and by the Feudatory Princes and the ruling chiefs of India, and their prodigal offers of their lives and their resources in the cause of the realm. Their one-voiced demand to be foremost in the conflict has touched my heart, and has inspired to the highest issues the love and devotion which, as I well know, have ever linked my Indian subjects and myself. I recall to mind India's gracious message to the British Nation of good-will and fellowship which greeted my return in February, 1912, after the solemn ceremony of my Coronation Durbar at Delhi, and I find in this hour of trial a full harvest and a noble fulfillment of the assurance given by you that the destinies of Great Britain and India are indissolubly linked.


Statements in House of Commons, Sept. 10, by Prime Minister Asquith and Bonar Law.

The House went into Committee of Supply, Mr. Whitley in the chair.

On the question that an additional number of land forces not exceeding 500,000 of all ranks be maintained for the service of the United Kingdom, in consequence of the war in Europe, for the year ending March 31, 1915.

Mr. Asquith (Fife E.) said: The House of Commons voted earlier in the session, before any outbreak of war was anticipated, under normal conditions, under Vote A, 186,000-odd men for the regular army. It is perhaps not necessary to point out, but it may be convenient to put it on record, that the total number of men under Vote A does not include either the army reserve, the special reserve, or the territorial forces. When we come to vote the financial provision under Vote 1 of the army estimates, which is consequential upon the passing of Vote A, we make provision not only for the 186,000 men already sanctioned for the regular army, but also for the army reserve. In the subsequent Votes 3 and 4 provision is made for the special reserve and territorial force. The army reserve and the special reserve are not called upon to serve until, under regular constitutional machinery, consequent upon the outbreak or imminence of war, they are summoned to do so. It may be convenient to the committee to know that at the time when war broke out and when the reserves were called to the colors the state of things was this: Parliament had voted 186,000-odd men—call it roughly 200,000. The army reserve and the special reserve then became available as part of the regular forces of the country, amounting also roughly to another 200,000 men. That [pg 300]was altogether 400,000 men. On Aug. 6, after war had been declared, I made a motion in committee which was assented to in committee and by the House on report, for the addition of 500,000 men to the regular forces. These 500,000 men, assuming them all to have been raised, would, in addition to the 400,000 I have just mentioned, amount to a total of 900,000 men. I think it will be interesting to the committee before I state the reasons for which I am going to ask them to make this further vote to know what has actually happened in consequence of the vote of Aug. 6.

Enlistments Since the War.

The number of recruits who have enlisted in the army since the declaration of war—that is, exclusive of those who have joined the territorial force—is 438,000, [cheers,] practically 439,000. That is up to the evening of Sept. 9. The committee will therefore see that, having sanctioned, as it did, very little more than a month ago, the addition to the regular forces of the Crown of half a million of men, we are now within some 60,000 of having attained that total. The numbers enlisted in London since Sunday, Aug. 30, have exceeded 30,000 men, and the stamp and character of the recruits has been in every way satisfactory and gratifying. [Cheers.] The high-water mark was reached on Sept. 3, when the total recruits enlisted in the United Kingdom on one day was 33,204. [Cheers.] I may mention—I am sure it will be gratifying to honorable members on both sides who represent Lancashire constituencies—that on that day 2,151 men were enlisted in Manchester alone. That is a very satisfactory result, but it by no means exhausts the requirements of the case. The response to the call for recruits has been in every way gratifying. But I am aware, not only from a discussion that took place in the House yesterday, but from communications which reached us from various parts of the country, that there are complaints of grievances, causing legitimate or otherwise deeply felt dissatisfaction at the manner in which some parts—I say advisedly only some parts—of this operation of recruiting have been conducted. I should like the committee to realize what were the conditions of the case. ["Hear, hear!"]

A Year's Recruits in a Day.

We have been recruiting during the last ten days every day substantially the same number of recruits that in past years we have recruited in every year. [Cheers.] I suppose our annual recruiting amounts to about 35,000 men for the regular army. As I pointed out a moment ago, on Sept. 3 we recruited 33,200 men. No machinery in the world which man has ever contrived or conceived could suddenly meet in an emergency and under great pressure the difficulty of bringing in to the colors and making adequate provision in a day for that in which past experience we only had to provide for in the course of a year, and that, be it observed, by a department which during the whole of this time has been engaged in superintending and executing an operation I believe unexampled in the history of war—the dispatch to a foreign country of an expeditionary force—I will not give the exact number, but roughly 150,000 men, which has had to be, as the committee I am sure is well aware, in consequence of the necessary and regrettable losses caused by the operations of war, constantly repaired by reinforcements of men, guns, supplies, transport, and every other form of warlike material. [Cheers.]

War Office's Double Task.

If our critics—I do not complain of legitimate criticism even at times like this—but if they will try to imagine themselves equipped with the machinery which was possessed by the War Office at the time the war broke out, and then consider that side by side with the smooth, frictionless, and most successful dispatch of the expeditionary force [cheers] which left these shores and arrived at its destination—I am speaking the literal truth—without the loss of a horse or a man, [cheers,] the wastage day by day and week by week has had to be repaired in men and in material, repaired often at a moment's notice, and it has been necessary to keep constantly [pg 301]in reserve, and not only in reserve, but ready for immediate use, the material to replace further wastage as days and weeks rolled on—if you remember that that was the primary call on the War Office, and that side by side with that they had to provide for recruits in these few weeks of no less than 430,000 men, he will be a very censorious, and, I venture to say, a very unpatriotic, critic who would make much of small difficulties and friction and who would not recognize that in a great emergency this department has played a worthy part. [Cheers.] My tenure at the War Office was a brief one, but no one who has ever had the honor to preside over that department can possibly exaggerate the degree of efficiency to which it has been brought under the administration of recent years. Everything, as the experience of this war has shown, was foreseen and provided for in advance with the single exception of the necessity of this enormous increase in our regular forces.

Steps for Dealing with Recruits.

What provision has been made for dealing with this influx of recruits? In the first place, and I think very wisely, my noble friend the Secretary of State for War appealed for the assistance of the county associations, which rendered such great and patriotic services in connection with the territorial forces. The great bulk of these county associations have responded to the call and enormously facilitated the work of providing for this large body of new recruits. Next, he, in conjunction with his advisers, has largely multiplied, and is continuing to multiply, the various training centres. There has been—unfortunately, no one can deny that there has been—a congestion of men ready and willing to recruit and actually enlisting at particular places which has produced, for the moment at any rate, a certain amount of discomfort and a certain amount of difficulty in the provision of food and all the other requirements of such a body. But in that connection I should like, although I think the difficulty is now being almost got over, to make an appeal strongly to local authorities—county councils, town councils, urban and rural district councils—that when a situation of this kind arises in consequence of a national necessity they should show themselves—and I am sure they are most willing to do so—not only zealous, but able to provide accommodation for the moment in the public buildings which are under their charge. I think a great deal of the congestion which has taken place could have been avoided if more liberal use had been made, and could be made—I am not reproaching any one: the circumstances were exceptional and the pressure very great on our public buildings, our town halls, schools, and the other edifices which are under the control of municipal and county authorities for the purpose, at any rate at the moment, of relieving the great pressure of recruiting, and I am quite sure that appeal will not go unheeded. But we recognize fully, and no one more fully than my noble friend Lord Kitchener, the necessity of facilitating this process and rendering it more easy. We do not think the time has come in which we ought in any way to relax our recruiting efforts, [cheers,] and when people tell me, as they do every day, "These recruits are coming in in their tens of thousands; you are being blocked by them and you cannot provide adequately either for their equipment or for their training," my answer is, "We shall want more rather than less, and let us get the men," [Cheers.] That is the first necessity of the State—let us get the men. Knowing as we all do the patriotic spirit which now, as always—now, of course, with increased emphasis and enthusiasm—animates every class of the community, I am perfectly certain they will be ready to endure hardship and discomforts for the moment if they are satisfied that their services are really required by the State, and that in due course of time they will be supplied with adequate provision for training and equipment and for rendering themselves fit for taking their places in the field.

Two Important Steps.

With that object a few days ago—and [pg 302]the process is now in complete operation—a very important step was taken which I am sure will be generally welcomed by the committee and by the country—whenever it is necessary to allow men who are recruited and have gone through the process of attestation, medical examination, and actual enrollment, so that they are not only potential but actual members of the regular army—to allow these men to go back to their own homes until the occasion arises for them to be called upon for actual training. In that way we hope to relieve—indeed relief has already been given and will be given more amply in the near future—the undoubted block and congestion which have taken place in certain districts to the natural disappointment of the men who have come forward under an impulse of public duty to serve their country and, finding themselves sent back home and put for the time being in the reserve, have felt perhaps that their services were not duly appreciated by the country. That, I think, the committee will agree is a very important step in advance. I have to announce another step which I believe will give universal satisfaction and will go a long way to solve the practical difficulty, such as it is. We propose from today that there shall be given to those recruits for whom we are unable to find accommodation for the time being 3s. per day. [Cheers.] This is not an extravagant proposal, or anything in the nature of a bribe. A shilling a day is their pay. [An Honorable Member—1s. 3d.] I am speaking in round figures; we will call it a shilling. Then if we take the value of what we may roughly call the board and lodging of a soldier receiving 1s. a day when accommodated in barracks and price that at 2s., I do not think you are putting it extravagantly high. We think that these men who have come forward to join the colors and have been actually enrolled, and are, in fact, members of the regular army, for whom we cannot make immediate provision by way of accommodation, should be no worse off than they would be if they were actually in barracks. I believe the provision of that 3s. a day for these men will put them in a position in which they are entitled to say that they have not been prejudiced or penalized by their patriotic desires.

Mr. Lawson (Mile End, Opp.)—And their return railway fares?

An Honorable Member—And their separation allowances?

Mr. Asquith—The separation allowance does not begin, but as the honorable member has interjected that phrase I will add—because honorable members generally have been very good in not pressing us in regard to the separation allowances to soldiers who are actually serving—that that matter is receiving our daily and constant consideration, and I hope before the session comes to an end to be able to make a further announcement. But it does not arise with regard to this vote. Having made that defense, if defense were needed—I do not think it was—having made that statement of what has actually been done by the War Office in these very anxious days, and also having indicated that in those two important respects we are endeavoring to facilitate the process of recruitment and to remove any possibility of hardship, either to the individual recruit or to recruits collectively, I hope the committee will agree to pass a vote for another 500,000 men. I am perfectly certain if they do so the response will be no less keen—keen in spirit—and no less ample in scale than it has been in the days which have just gone by.

An Army of 1,200,000.

We shall then be in a position, as is apparent from the figures I have already read, to put something like—I am not giving exact figures—something like 1,200,000 men in the field.

Mr. Long (Strand)—Does that include the Indians?

Mr. Asquith—No, it is entirely exclusive of them. This is the provision made by the mother country. And of course it is exclusive of the territorials.

Mr. F. Hall—And of the national reserve?

Mr. Asquith—Exclusive of the territorials, exclusive of the national reserve, [pg 303]and exclusive of the magnificent contributions promised from India and from our dominions, we here in these islands, this mother country, will be in a position to put into the field, enrolled as our regular army, something like 1,200,000 men. That is an effort which it is worth while making great sacrifices to attain. As regards money, I am perfectly certain that this House will be ready, willing, and even eager to grant it, if and when the occasion arises. What we want now is to make it clear, to those who are showing all over the kingdom this patriotic desire to assist their country in one of the most supreme and momentous crises in the whole of its long history, that they are not going to be treated either in a niggardly or unaccommodating spirit; but that they are going to be welcomed and that every possible provision is going to be made for their comfort and well-being, so that under the best possible conditions they will take their place and play their part in that magnificent army of ours which, as every one who has read the moving dispatch Sir John French [cheers] published this morning, will realize has never done its work better, never shown itself more worthy of long centuries of splendid tradition than in the last fortnight. [Cheers.] I ask the House to pass this vote for 500,000 men.

Bonar Law's Support.

Mr. Bonar Law—The right honorable gentleman in the statement he has just made has left me nothing to say except to express our hearty support of all the measures which the Government are taking in this crisis. From the point of view of the Government and of this House we welcome the putting down of this vote as showing that both the Government and the House of Commons are determined, whatever the cost, whatever the sacrifice, to see this thing through. [Cheers.] I agree entirely with the words which I heard the Prime Minister use in another place the other day, that in what has taken place so far we have every ground for encouragement and every reason for pride in what is being done by our troops. I agree entirely with what the Prime Minister has said about the action of our soldiers on the field of battle. It does not surprise us. We knew that the old spirit was there still. But I think it has to some extent at least surprised our enemies. But while we have reason to be gratified by the action which the Government has taken and which this House has supported them in taking, I think as a nation we have quite as much reason to be proud of the spirit which is shown by our countrymen in rushing to the standard as we have even in what has been done by our soldiers on the field of battle. I never sympathized with—I always resented—the view expressed at one time that our citizens were holding back. There was no justification for it. [Cheers.] At the outset they did not realize what it meant, but the moment they did realize it they have shown that they are prepared to do their share to fight the battles of their country. I am not going to say anything about the difficulties in connection with recruiting this great force to which the Prime Minister has referred. No one could have doubted that difficulties of that kind would arise and that hardships would occur. Criticism, I am sure, is not deprecated by the right honorable gentleman, and ought not to be, if it is framed entirely with this view—to make sure that everything that can be done is being done to minimize the hardships and difficulties with which the authorities were confronted. As the Prime Minister said, the machine was not framed to deal with an emergency like this. No one could expect it to deal with it smoothly. But we have a right to expect that the difficulties are understood at the War Office, and we have the right also to ask that since they cannot be met by the central machine, every effort should be made in the direction of devolution, and that the difficulties shall be met where they locally arise. I am sure it is a satisfaction to the House, as it was to me, to find that before the discussion arose yesterday not only had Lord Kitchener realized the difficulties, but that he had taken every step possible to meet them, and that the [pg 304]step which he did take was in the direction, which we all feel is a wise one, of putting the responsibility on those at a distance from the War Office and expecting them to bear it. Many of us have been asked to take part in helping the recruiting. When I was asked to join in this I had in my mind the feeling to which I gave expression the other day, that I was not satisfied that too much sacrifice was not being required from those who are going to fight our battles and that a full share of sacrifice was being borne by those who remain behind. Nothing could be more unfair than that this country should expect all the sacrifice to come from the men who are actually going to risk their lives in our behalf. [Cheers.] We know with what splendid spirit they are coming forward. I suppose every member of the House could give instances that would surprise us all. Perhaps it would interest the House if I give one. The son of a friend of mine, who is well off, had been writing to the War Office, taking every step to try to be accepted in order to fight. He was a partner in a big business in Glasgow and with splendid prospects; he threw them all up. He came and hung about the doors of the War Office as if he was seeking some fat job, when all he wanted was to be placed, not as an officer, but as a private, in one of the most dangerous branches of the service. [Cheers.] That is a spirit which is universal. I do not say in what way further provision should be made, but I am sure the House welcomes the statement of the Prime Minister that the Government are going to reconsider the whole question of separation allowances for the families of the men and for the pensions. I am sure I am expressing the view not of our own party, but of the whole House, when I say that the country realizes that when these men risk their lives for us they are making a big enough sacrifice, and that the country will be glad that in every way every possible generosity at the expense of those who remain behind should be extended to those who go out to fight. [Cheers.]


Delivered in the House of Lords, Sept. 17.

Your lordships will expect that some statement should be made by me on the general military situation before the session ends, and I will, therefore, endeavor as briefly as possible to supplement the remarks which I had the honor to address to your lordships' House three weeks ago.

I need not retell the story of the British expeditionary force in France, which has been read and appreciated by us all in Sir John French's dispatch. The quiet restraint of his account of their achievements only brings into relief the qualities which enabled our troops successfully to carry out the most difficult of all military operations. There is, however, one aspect of this feat of arms upon which the dispatch is naturally silent. I refer to the consummate skill and calm courage of the Commander in Chief himself, [cheers,] in the conduct of this strategic withdrawal in the face of vastly superior forces. His Majesty's Government appreciate to the full the value of the service which Sir John French has rendered to this country and to the cause of the Allies, and I may perhaps be permitted here and now, on their behalf, to pay a tribute to his leadership, as well as to the marked ability of the Generals under his command, and the bravery and endurance of the officers and men of the expeditionary force.

The German Retirement.

As your lordships are aware the tide has now turned, and for some days past we have received the gratifying intelligence of the forced retirement of the German armies. The latest news from Sir John French does not materially change the published statement describing the military situation. In his telegram Sir John reports that the troops are all in good heart and are ready to move forward when the moment arrives. The gallant French armies, with whom we are so proud to be co-operating, will receive every support from our troops in [pg 305]their desire effectually to clear their country of the invading foe, and the undaunted and vigilant activity of the Belgian Army in the north materially conduces to this end. I would also like to take this opportunity of offering our respectful congratulations to Russia upon the conspicuous successes which have added fresh lustre to her arms. Although, therefore, we have good grounds for quiet confidence, it is only right that we should remind ourselves that the struggle is bound to be a long one, and that it behooves us strenuously to prosecute our labors in developing our armed forces to carry on and bring to a successful issue the mighty conflict in which we are engaged.

Troops in the Field.

There are now in the field rather more than six divisions of British troops and two cavalry divisions. These are being, and will be, maintained at full strength by a steady flow of reinforcements. To meet the wastage of war in this field force our reserve units are available. To augment the expeditionary force further regular divisions and additional cavalry are now being organized from units withdrawn from oversea garrisons, whose places, where necessary, will be taken by territorial troops, who, with fine patriotism, have volunteered to exchange a home for an imperial service obligation. On their way from India are certain divisions from the Indian Army, composed of highly trained and very efficient troops, and a body of cavalry, including regiments of historic fame. The dominions beyond the seas are sending us freely of their best. Several divisions will be available, formed of men who have been locally trained in the light of the experience of the South African war, and, in the case of Australia and New Zealand, under the system of general national training introduced a few years ago.

The Call to Arms.

In the response to the call for recruits for the new armies which it is considered necessary to raise we have had a most remarkable demonstration of the energy and patriotism of the young men of this country. We propose to organize this splendid material into four new armies, and, although it takes time to train an army, the zeal and good-will displayed will greatly simplify our task. If some of those who have so readily come forward have suffered inconvenience, they will not, I am sure, allow their ardor to be damped. They will reflect that the War Office has had in a day to deal with as many recruits as were usually forthcoming in twelve months. No effort is being spared to meet the influx of soldiers, and the War Office will do its utmost to look after them and give them the efficient training necessary to enable them to join their comrades in the field. The divisions of the first two armies are now collected at our training centres; the third army is being formed on new camping grounds; the fourth army is being created by adding to the establishment of the reserve battalions, from which the units will be detached and organized similarly to the other three armies. The whole of the special reserve and extra special reserve units will be maintained at their full establishments as feeders to the expeditionary force. In addition to the four new armies a considerable number of what may be designated local battalions have been specially raised by the public-spirited initiative of cities, towns, or individuals. Several more are in course of formation, and I have received many offers of this character. The territorial force is making great strides in efficiency and will before many months be ready to take a share in the campaign. This force is proving its military value to the empire by the willing subordination of personal feelings to the public good in the acceptance of whatever duty may be assigned to it in any portion of the empire. A division has already left for Egypt, a brigade for Malta, and a garrison for Gibraltar. The soldierlike qualities evinced by the force are an assurance to the Government that they may count to the full upon its readiness to play its part wherever the exigencies of the military situation may demand. Nor must I omit to refer to the assistance which we shall receive from the [pg 306]division of the gallant royal marines and bluejackets now being organized by my right honorable friend the First Lord of the Admiralty; their presence in the field will be very welcome, for their fighting qualities are well known.

The Supply of Officers.

The creation of the new armies referred to is fraught with considerable difficulties, one of which is the provision of regimental officers. I hope the problem of supplying officers may be solved by the large numbers coming forward to fill vacancies, and by promotions from the non-commissioned officer ranks of the regular forces. In a country which prides itself on its skill in and love of outdoor sports, we ought to be able to find sufficient young men who will train and qualify as officers under the guidance of the nucleus of trained officers which we are able to provide from India and elsewhere. If any retired officer competent to train troops has not yet applied or has not received an answer to a previous application, I hope he will communicate with me at the War Office in writing. But our chief difficulty is one of material rather than personnel. It would not be in the public interest that I should refer in greater detail to this question, beyond saying that strenuous endeavors are being made to cope with the unprecedented situation, and that, thanks to the public spirit of all grades in the various industries affected to whom we have appealed to co-operate with us, and who are devoting all their energy to the task, our requirements will, I feel sure, be met with all possible speed.

I am confident that by the Spring we shall have ready to take the field armies which will be well trained and will prove themselves formidable opponents to the enemy. The Government fully recognize the fine spirit which animates those who have come forward to fight for their country, and will spare no effort to secure that everything is done that can be done to enable them worthily to contribute to the ultimate success of our arms. [Cheers.]

The Secretary of State for War concluded his speech by giving details of the increase in the separation allowances made to wives of soldiers, both regular and territorial, which Mr. Asquith had announced in the House of Commons.

Tribute of the Opposition.

The Marquess of Lansdowne—I feel that it would be almost impertinent on my part to say a word after the extraordinarily interesting statement to which we have just listened. But I should be sorry if complete silence on our part lent itself to the interpretation that we are indifferent to the great topics which the Secretary of State for War has dealt with in his speech. May we be permitted to say that we regard with the profoundest admiration and gratitude what the noble Field Marshal described as the great feat of arms which has been accomplished by the British force since its arrival at the seat of war, and to add also that we share the feelings which the noble and gallant lord has expressed with regard to the immense services rendered by Sir John French to this country, services which he, of course, could not bear witness to in the dispatch he sent home? [Cheers.] There are only two other remarks which, with great deference, I would venture to make. One has reference to the noble and gallant lord's statement in regard to the response made to his appeal to the country for recruits. That response has been memorable and admirable and, considering the immense influx of recruits which have come in, we can scarcely be surprised that in the early days the strain should have been rather greater than either the War Office or the local authorities were able to cope with. But we have every reason to believe that that has been corrected, and I have no doubt that all will now go smoothly and well. We have all heard with the greatest satisfaction the announcement that the separation allowances to the wives of regulars and territorials are to be considerably increased. ["Hear, hear!"] Considering what our soldiers are doing for us at the seat of war, the least we can do is to provide liberally for the relatives whom they have left behind in this country. [Cheers.]


[pg 307]Speech by King George V. Read Before Both Houses, Sept. 18.

The Lord Chancellor read the King's speech, which was in the following terms:

My Lords and Gentlemen: I address you in circumstances that call for action rather than for speech.

After every endeavor had been made by my Government to preserve the peace of the world, I was compelled, in the assertion of treaty obligations deliberately set at nought, and for the protection of the public law of Europe and the vital interests of my empire, to go to war.

My navy and army have, with unceasing vigilance, courage, and skill, sustained, in association with gallant and faithful allies, a just and righteous cause.

From every part of my empire there has been a spontaneous and enthusiastic rally to our common flag.

Gentlemen of the House of Commons: I thank you for the liberality with which you have met a great emergency.

My Lords and Gentlemen: We are fighting for a worthy purpose, and we shall not lay down our arms until that purpose has been fully achieved.

I rely with confidence upon the loyal and united efforts of all my subjects, and I pray that Almighty God may give us His blessing.

Then a commission for proroguing the Parliament was read, after which the Lord Chancellor said:

My Lords and Gentlemen: By virtue of his Majesty's commission, under the great seal, to us and other lords directed, and now read, we do, in his Majesty's name and in obedience to his commands, prorogue this Parliament to Tuesday the twenty-seventh day of October, one thousand nine hundred and fourteen, to be then here holden; and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Tuesday the twenty-seventh day of October, one thousand nine hundred and fourteen.

Summons of the Nation to Arms

British People Roused by Their Leaders.

[pg 308]Earl Curzon of Kedleston Suggests Holding of Public Meetings.

Hackwood, Basingstoke, Aug. 27.

To the Editor of The Times:

Sir: Many of us are wondering what we can do to serve our country in this crisis. We sit on local or on larger committees. We attempt, within the narrow range of our influence, to gain recruits, we organize relief, we help to provide or furnish hospitals, we subscribe both to the national and to private funds; and, apart from this, we go about our ordinary duties with as much composure as we can, wondering where, when, and how it will be open to us who are no longer young and cannot bear arms, but have perhaps had some experience of affairs, to render more effective aid.

Does not a path lie open to the class of so-called "public men," and does not the very name which is given to them indicate the nature of this duty? Surely it is to place themselves at the disposal of the public. The two great needs of the moment are more men—hundreds of thousands more men—for the army, and a clearer understanding by the masses of the population, not merely of the justice of our cause, but of the supreme issues, both for our own country and for the whole empire, that are involved.

No one would propose that jingo speeches should be shouted from public platforms, or that an attempt should be made to inflame crude or unworthy passions. But the man who, when his country is engaged in a righteous war and is fighting for her existence, preaches the cause of that war is not a jingo; and the passions to which he appeals are not unworthy, but are the noblest of which human nature is capable.

I wish, therefore, to say that if the Government, with whom the initiative must primarily lie—since no one would wish to do anything that is contrary to their conception of sound policy—desire that public meetings should be held in our great centres of population, to explain the cause and circumstances of the war, and the duty that lies upon the manhood of the nation, I and, I am convinced, many others are ready to throw ourselves into the task.

I have told the Prime Minister that I would be proud to appear on a public platform with any member of the Government to state or defend a case in which party is dead and where we are all united. I doubt not that if they are required many others will be willing to do the same. We have no desire to deluge the country with a flood of noisy rhetoric, or to start a miniature electioneering campaign. But if in any great city where recruiting is slow or the issues are not apprehended, or the public conscience is not quick to respond to the national summons, I, or any of those who share my views, can be of any service on the platform I am sure that we are willing to respond and that we shall welcome any organization that may be set on foot for the purpose. I am, yours obediently,



Addressed to the Lord Mayor of London, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, and the Lord Mayor of Cardiff.

My Lords: The time has come for combined effort to stimulate and organize public opinion and public effort in the greatest conflict in which our people has ever been engaged.

No one who can contribute anything to the accomplishment of this supremely [pg 309]urgent task is justified in standing aside.

I propose, as a first step, that meetings should be held without delay, not only in our great centres of population and industry, but in every district, urban and rural, throughout the United Kingdom, at which the justice of our cause should be made plain, and the duty of every man to do his part should be enforced.

I venture to suggest to your lordships that the four principal cities over which you respectively preside should lead the way.

I am ready myself, so far as the exigencies of public duty permit, to render such help as I can, and I should be glad, with that object, to address my fellow-subjects in your cities.

I have reason to know that I can count upon the co-operation of the leaders of every section of organized political opinion. Your faithful servant,


28th August, 1914.


Speech at the Guildhall, Sept. 5.

My Lord Mayor and Citizens of London: It is three and a half years since I last had the honor of addressing in this hall a gathering of the citizens. We were then met under the Presidency of one of your predecessors, men of all creeds and parties, to celebrate and approve the joint declaration of the two great English-speaking States that for the future any differences between them should be settled, if not by agreement, at least by judicial inquiry and arbitration, and never in any circumstances by war. [Cheers.] Those of us who hailed that great Eirenicon between the United States and ourselves as a landmark on the road of progress were not sanguine enough to think, or even to hope, that the era of war was drawing to a close. But still less were we prepared to anticipate the terrible spectacle which now confronts us of a contest which for the number and importance of the powers engaged, the scale of their armaments and armies, the width of the theatre of conflict, the outpouring of blood and the loss of life, the incalculable toll of suffering levied upon non-combatants, the material and moral loss accumulating day by day to the higher interests of civilized mankind—a contest which in every one of these aspects is without precedent in the annals of the world. ["Hear, hear!"] We were very confident three years ago in the rightness of our position, when we welcomed the new securities for peace. We are equally confident in it today, when reluctantly, and against our will, but with a clear judgment and a clean conscience, [cheers,] we find ourselves involved with the whole strength of this empire in a bloody arbitration between might and right [Cheers.] The issue has passed out of the domain of argument into another field, but let me ask you, and through you the world outside, what would have been our condition as a nation today if we had been base enough through timidity or through perverted calculation of self-interest, or through a paralysis of the sense of honor and duty, [cheers,] if we had been base enough to be false to our word and faithless to our friends?

Blind Barbarian Vengeance.

Our eyes would have been turned at this moment with those of the whole civilized world to Belgium, a small State, which has lived for more than seventy years under the several and collective guarantee to which we in common with Prussia and Austria were parties, and we should have seen at the instance and by the action of two of these guaranteeing powers her neutrality violated, her independence strangled, her territory made use of as affording the easiest and the most convenient road to a war of unprovoked aggression against France. We, the British people, would at this moment have been standing by with folded arms and with such countenance as we could command while this small and unprotected State, in defense of her vital liberties, made a heroic stand against overweening and overwhelming force; we should have been admiring as detached spectators the siege of Liége, the steady and manful resistance of a [pg 310]small army to the occupation of their capital, with its splendid traditions and memories, the gradual forcing back of the patriotic defenders of their native land to the ramparts of Antwerp, countless outrages inflicted by buccaneering levies exacted from the unoffending civil population, and, finally, the greatest crime committed against civilization and culture since the Thirty Years' War, the sack of Louvain, [cries of "Shame!"] with its buildings, its pictures, its unique library, its unrivaled associations—a shameless holocaust of irreparable treasures lit up by blind barbarian vengeance. [Prolonged cheers.] What account should we, the Government and the people of this country, have been able to render to the tribunal of our national conscience and sense of honor if, in defiance of our plighted and solemn obligations, we had endured, nay, if we had not done our best to prevent, yes, and to avenge, [renewed cheers,] these intolerable outrages? For my part I say that sooner than be a silent witness—which means in effect a willing accomplice—of this tragic triumph of force over law and of brutality over freedom, I would see this country of ours blotted out of the pages of history. [Prolonged cheers.]

Germany's Aim—to Crush Freedom.

That is only a phase—a lurid and illuminating phase in the contest in which we have been called by the mandate of duty and of honor to bear our part. The cynical violation of the neutrality of Belgium was, after all, but a step—the first step—in a deliberate policy of which, if not the immediate, the ultimate, and the not far distant aim, was to crush the independence and autonomy of the free States of Europe. First Belgium, then Holland, then Switzerland, countries, like our own, imbued and sustained with the spirit of liberty, were one after another to be bent to the yoke, and these ambitions were fed and fostered by a body of new doctrines and new philosophies preached by professors and learned men. The free and full self-development which to these small States, to ourselves, to our great and growing dominions over the seas, to our kinsmen across the Atlantic, is the well-spring and life-breath of national existence—that free self-development is the one capital offense in the code of those who have made force their supreme divinity, and who upon its altars are prepared to sacrifice both the gathered fruits and the potential germs of the unfettered human spirit. [Cheers.] I use this language advisedly. This is not merely a material; it is also a spiritual conflict. [Cheers.] Upon its issues everything that contains promise and hope, that leads to emancipation and a fuller liberty for the millions who make up the mass of mankind will be found sooner or later to depend.

Our Efforts for Peace.

Let me now just for a moment turn to the actual situation in Europe. How do we stand? For the last ten years, by what I believe to be happy and well-considered diplomatic arrangements, we have established friendly and increasingly intimate relations with the two powers, France and Russia, with whom, in days gone by, we have had in various parts of the world occasions for constant friction, and now and again for possible conflict. Those new and better relations, based in the first instance upon business principles of give and take, matured into a settled temper of confidence and good-will. They were never in any sense or at any time, as I have frequently said in this hall, directed against other powers. No man in the history of the world has ever labored more strenuously or more successfully than my right honorable friend Sir Edward Grey [cheers] for that which is the supreme interest of the modern world, a general and abiding peace. It is, I venture to think, a very superficial criticism which suggests that under his guidance the policy of this country has ignored, still less that it has counteracted and hampered, the concert of Europe. It is little more than a year ago that under his Presidency, in the stress and strain of the Balkan crisis, the Ambassadors of all the great powers met here day after day curtailing the area of possible differences, reconciling warring ambitions and aims, and preserving [pg 311]against almost incalculable odds the general harmony. And it was in the same spirit and with the same purpose, when a few weeks ago Austria delivered her ultimatum to Servia, that our Foreign Secretary put forward the proposal for a mediating conference between the four powers who were not directly concerned—Germany, France, Italy, and ourselves. If that proposal had been accepted actual controversy would have been settled with honor to everybody, and the whole of this terrible welter would have been avoided. ["Hear, hear!"]

Germany's Responsibility.

And with whom does the responsibility rest [cries of "The Kaiser!"] for this refusal and for all the illimitable suffering which now confronts the world? One power and one power only, and that power—Germany. [Loud hisses.] That is the fount and origin of this worldwide catastrophe. We are persevering to the end. No one who has not been confronted as we were with the responsibility of determining the issues of peace and war can realize the strength and energy and persistency with which we labored for peace. We persevered by every expedient that diplomacy could suggest, straining almost to the breaking point our most cherished friendships and obligations, even to the last making effort upon effort, and hoping against hope. Then, and only then, when we were at last compelled to realize that the choice lay between honor and dishonor, between treachery and good faith, when at last we reached the dividing line which makes or mars a nation worthy of the name, it was then, and then only, that we declared for war. [Cheers.] Is there any one in this hall or in this United Kingdom or in the vast empire of which we here stand in the capital and centre who blames or repents our decision? [Cries of "No!"] For these reasons, as I believe, we must steel ourselves to the task, and in the spirit which animated our forefathers in their struggle against the domination of Napoleon we must and we shall persevere to the end. [Cheers.]

Memorable and Glorious Example of Belgium.

It would be a criminal mistake to underestimate either the magnitude, the fighting quality, or the staying power of the forces which are arrayed against us. But it would be equally foolish and equally indefensible to belittle our own resources, whether for resistance or attack. [Cheers.] Belgium has shown us by a memorable and a glorious example what can be done by a relatively small State when its citizens are animated and fired by the spirit of patriotism. In France and Russia we have as allies two of the greatest powers of the world engaged with us in a common cause, who do not mean to separate themselves from us any more than we mean to separate ourselves from them. [Cheers.] We have upon the seas the strongest and most magnificent fleet that has ever been seen. The expeditionary force which left our shores less than a month ago has never been surpassed, as its glorious achievements in the field have already made clear, not only in material and equipment but in the physical and the moral quality of its constituents. [Cheers.]

Work of the Navy.

As regards the navy, I am sure my right honorable friend (Mr. Winston Churchill) will tell you there is happily little more to be done. I do not flatter it when I say that its superiority is equally marked in every department and sphere of its activity. [Cheers.] We rely on it with the most absolute confidence, not only to guard our shores against the possibility of invasion, not only to seal up the gigantic battleships of the enemy in the inglorious seclusion of his own ports [laughter] whence, from time to time, he furtively steals forth to sow the seeds of murderous snares, which are more full of menace to neutral ships than to the British fleet. Our navy does all this, and while it is thirsting, I do not doubt, for that trial of strength in a fair and open fight, which is so far prudently denied it, it does a great deal more. It has hunted the German mercantile marine from the high seas. It has kept [pg 312]open our own sources of food supply and has largely curtailed those of the enemy, and when the few German cruisers which still infest the more distant ocean routes have been disposed of, as they will be disposed of very soon, [cheers,] it will achieve for British and neutral commerce passing backward and forward, from and to every part of our empire, a security as complete as it has ever enjoyed in the days of unbroken peace. Let us honor the memory of the gallant seamen who, in the pursuit of one or another of these varied and responsible duties, have already laid down their lives for their country.

Call for United Effort.

In regard to the army there is call for a new, a continuous, a determined, and a united effort. For, as the war goes on, we shall have not merely to replace the wastage caused by casualties, not merely to maintain our military power at its original level, but we must, if we are to play a worthy part, enlarge its scale, increase its numbers, and multiply many times its effectiveness as a fighting instrument. [Cheers.] The object of the appeal which I have made to you, my Lord Mayor, and to the other chief Magistrates of our capital cities, is to impress upon the people of the United Kingdom the imperious urgency of this supreme duty. Our self-governing dominions throughout the empire, without any solicitation on our part, have demonstrated with a spontaneousness and a unanimity unparalleled in history their determination to affirm their brotherhood with us and to make our cause their own. [Cheers.] From Canada, from Australia, from New Zealand, from South Africa, and from Newfoundland the children of the empire assert, not as an obligation, but as a privilege, their right and their willingness to contribute money and material, and, what is better than all, the strength and sinews, the fortunes, and the lives of their best manhood. [Cheers.] India, too, with no less alacrity, has claimed her share in the common task. [Cheers.] Every class, and creed, British and natives, Princes and people, Hindus and Mohammedans, vie with one another in noble and emulous rivalry. Two divisions of our magnificent Indian Army are already on their way. [Cheers.] We welcome with appreciation and affection their proffered aid. In an empire which knows no distinction of race or cause we all alike as subjects of the King-Emperor are joint and equal custodians of our common interests and fortunes. We are here to hail with profound and heartfelt gratitude their association, side by side and shoulder to shoulder, with our home and dominion troops, under the flag which is the symbol to all of a unity that a world in arms cannot dissever or dissolve. With these inspiring appeals and examples from our fellow-subjects all over the world, what are we doing and what ought we to do here at home?

Over a Quarter of a Million Men Enrolled.

Mobilization was ordered on the 4th of August; immediately afterward Lord Kitchener issued his call for 100,000 recruits for the regular army, which has been followed by a second call for another 100,000. The response up to today gives us between 250,000 and 300,000. [Cheers.] I am glad to say that London has done its share. The total number of Londoners accepted is not less than 42,000. [Cheers.] I need hardly say that that appeal involves no disparagement or discouragement of the territorial force. The number of units in that force who have volunteered for foreign service is most satisfactory and grows every day. We look to them with confidence to increase their numbers, to perfect their organization and training, and to play efficiently the part which has always been assigned to them, both offensive and defensive, in the military system of the empire. But to go back to the expansion of the regular army. We want more men—men of the best fighting quality, and if for a moment the number who offer themselves and are accepted should prove to be in excess of those who can at once be adequately trained and equipped, do not let them doubt that prompt provision will be made for the incorporation of all willing and able men [pg 313]in the fighting forces of the kingdom. We want, first of all, men, and we shall endeavor to secure them. Men desiring to serve together shall, wherever possible, be allotted to the same regiment or corps. The raising of battalions by counties or municipalities with this object will be in every way encouraged. But we want not less urgently a larger supply of ex-non-commissioned officers, and the pick of the men with whom in past days they served, men, therefore, whom in most cases we shall be asking to give up regular employment and to return to the work of the State, which they alone are competent to do. The appeal we make is addressed quite as much to their employers as to the men themselves. The men ought to be absolutely assured of reinstatement in their business at the end of the war. [Cheers.] Finally, there are numbers of commissioned officers now in retirement who are much experienced in the handling of troops and have served their country in the past. Let them come forward, too, and show their willingness, if need be, to train bodies of men for whom at the moment no cadre or unit can be found.

Abundant Ground for Pride and Confidence.

I have little more to say. Of the actual progress of the war I will not say anything, except that in my judgment in whatever direction we look there is abundant ground for pride and for confidence. [Cheers.] I say nothing more, because I think we should all bear in mind that we are at present watching the fluctuations of fortune only in the early stages of what is going to be a protracted struggle. We must learn to take long views, and to cultivate, above all, other faculties—those of patience, endurance, and steadfastness. Meanwhile, let us go, each of us, to his or her appropriate place in the great common task. Never had a people more or richer sources of encouragement and inspiration. Let us realize, first of all, that we are fighting as a united empire, in a cause worthy of the highest traditions of our race. Let us keep in mind the patient and indomitable seamen, who never relax for a moment, night or day, their stern vigil of the lonely sea. Let us keep in mind our gallant troops, who today, after a fortnight's continuous fighting under conditions which would try the metal of the best army that ever took the field, maintain not only an undefeated but an unbroken front. [Cheers.] Finally, let us recall the memories of the great men and the great deeds of the past, commemorated, some of them, in the monuments which we see around us on these walls, not forgetting the dying message of the younger Pitt, his last public utterance, made at the table of one of your predecessors, my Lord Mayor, in this very hall: "England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example." The England of those days gave a noble answer to his appeal, and did not sheath the sword until, after nearly twenty years of fighting, the freedom of Europe was secured. Let us go and do likewise. [Prolonged cheers.]


T. von Bethmann-Hollweg, German Imperial Chancellor, in Statement to Ritzau's Danish Press Bureau, Sept. 13, 1914.

The English Prime Minister, in his Guildhall speech, reserved to England the role of protector of the smaller and weaker States, and spoke about the neutrality of Holland, Belgium and Switzerland as being exposed to danger from the side of Germany. It is true that we have broken Belgium's neutrality because bitter necessity compelled us to do so, but we promised Belgium full indemnity and integrity if she would take account of this state of necessity. If so, she would not have suffered any damage, as, for example, Luxemburg. If England, as protector of the weaker States, had wished to spare Belgium infinite suffering she should have advised Belgium to accept our offer. England has not "protected" Belgium, so far as we know; I wonder, therefore, whether it can really be said that England is such a disinterested protector.

[pg 314]We knew perfectly well that the French plan of campaign involved a march through Belgium to attack the unprotected Rhineland. Does any one believe England would have interfered to protect Belgian freedom against France?

We have firmly respected the neutrality of Holland and Switzerland; we have also avoided the slightest violation of the frontier of the Dutch Province of Limburg.

It is strange that Mr. Asquith only mentioned the neutrality of Belgium, Holland and Switzerland, but not that of the Scandinavian countries. He might have mentioned Switzerland with reference to France, but Holland and Belgium are situated close to England on the opposite side of the Channel, and that is why England is so concerned for the neutrality of these countries.

Why is Mr. Asquith silent about the Scandinavian countries? Perhaps because he knows that it does not enter our head to touch these countries' neutrality; or would England possibly not consider Denmark's neutrality as a noli me tangere for an advance in the Baltic or for Russia's warlike operations.

Mr. Asquith wishes people to believe that England's fight against us is a fight of freedom against might. The world is accustomed to this manner of expression. In the name of freedom, England, with might and with the most recklessly egotistic policy, has founded her mighty colonial empire, in the name of freedom she has destroyed for a century the independence of the Boer republics, in the name of freedom she now treats Egypt as an English colony and thereby violates international treaties and solemn promises, in the name of freedom one after another of the Malay States is losing its independence for England's benefit, in the name of freedom she tries, by cutting German cables, to prevent the truth being spread in the world.

The English Prime Minister is mistaken. When England joined with Russia and Japan against Germany she, with a blindness unique in the history of the world, betrayed civilization and handed over to the German sword the care of freedom for European peoples and States.


Sir Edward Grey, Answering Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg, London, Sept. 15.

"Does any one believe," asks the German Chancellor, "that England would have interfered to protect Belgian freedom against France?" The answer is that she would unquestionably have done so. Sir Edward Grey, as recorded in the "White Paper," asked the French Government "whether it was prepared to engage to respect the neutrality of Belgium so long as no other power violates it." The French Government replied that they were resolved to respect it. The assurance, it was added, had been given several times, and had formed the subject of conversation between President Poincaré and the King of the Belgians.

The German Chancellor entirely ignores the fact that England took the same line about Belgian neutrality in 1870 that she has taken now. In 1870 Prince Bismarck, when approached by England on the subject, admitted and respected the treaty obligations in relation to Belgium. The British Government stands in 1914 as it stood in 1870; it is Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg who refused to meet us in 1914 as Prince Bismarck met us in 1870.

Scandinavian Neutrality.

The Imperial Chancellor finds it strange that Mr. Asquith, in his Guildhall speech, did not mention the neutrality of the Scandinavian countries, and suggests that the reason for the omission was some sinister design on England's part. It is impossible for any public speaker to cover the whole ground in each speech. The German Chancellor's reference to Denmark and other Scandinavian countries can hardly be considered very tactful. With regard to Denmark, the Danes are not likely to have forgotten the parts played by Prussia and England respectively in 1863-4, [pg 315]when the Kingdom of Denmark was dismembered. And the integrity of Norway and Sweden was guaranteed by England and France in the Treaty of Stockholm in 1855.

The Imperial Chancellor refers to the dealings of Great Britain with the Boer republics, and suggests that she has been false therein to the cause of freedom. Without going into controversies now happily past, we may recall what Gen. Botha said in the South African Parliament a few days ago when expressing his conviction of the righteousness of Britain's cause and explaining the firm resolve of the South African Union to aid her in every possible way. "Great Britain had given them a Constitution under which they could create a great nationality, and had ever since regarded them as a free people and as a sister State. Although there might be many who in the past had been hostile toward the British flag, he could vouch for it that they would ten times rather be under the British than under the German flag."

Loyalty of the Empire.

The German Chancellor is equally unfortunate in his references to the "Colonial Empire." So far from British policy having been "recklessly egotistic," it has resulted in a great rally of affection and common interest by all the British dominions and dependencies, among which there is not one which is not aiding Britain by soldiers or other contributions or both in this war.

With regard to the matter of treaty obligations generally, the German Chancellor excuses the breach of Belgian neutrality by military necessity—at the same time making a virtue of having respected the neutrality of Holland and Switzerland, and saying that it does not enter his head to touch the neutrality of the Scandinavian countries. A virtue which admittedly is only practiced in the absence of temptation from self-interest and military advantage does not seem greatly worth vaunting. To the Chancellor's concluding statement that "to the German sword" is intrusted "the care of freedom for European peoples and States," the treatment of Belgium is a sufficient answer.


Speech in Usher Hall, Sept. 18.

A fortnight ago today, in the Guildhall of the City of London, I endeavored to present to the nation and to the world the reasons which have compelled us, the people of all others which have the greatest interest in the maintenance of peace, to engage in the hazards and horrors of war. I do not wish to repeat tonight in any detail what I then said.

The war has arisen immediately and ostensibly, as every one knows, out of a dispute between Austria and Servia, in which we in this country had no direct concern. The diplomatic history of those critical weeks—the last fortnight in July and the first few days of August—is now accessible to all the world. It has been supplemented during the last few days by the admirable and exhaustive dispatch of our late Ambassador at Vienna, Sir Maurice de Bunsen, a dispatch which I trust everybody will read, and no one who reads it can doubt that, largely through the efforts of my right honorable friend and colleague Sir Edward Grey [loud cheers] the conditions of a peaceful settlement of the actual controversy were already within sight when, on July 31, Germany [hisses] by her own deliberate act made war a certainty.

The facts are incontrovertible. They are not sought to be controverted, except, indeed, by the invention and circulation of such wanton falsehoods as that France was contemplating, and even commencing, the violation of Belgian territory as a first step on her road to Germany. The result is that we are at war, and, as I have already shown elsewhere, and as I repeat here tonight, we are at war for three reasons—in the first place, to vindicate the sanctity of treaty obligations ["Hear, hear!"] and of what is properly called the public law of Europe, ["Hear, hear!";] in the second place, to assert and to enforce the independence [pg 316]of free States, relatively small and weak, against the encroachments and the violence of the strong, [cheers,] and, in the third place, to withstand, as we believe in the best interests not only of our own empire but of civilization at large, the arrogant claim of a single power to dominate the development of the destinies of Europe. [Cheers.]

Meeting a Challenge.

Since I last spoke some faint attempts have been made in Germany to dispute the accuracy and the sincerity of this statement of our attitude and aim. It has been suggested, for instance, that our professed zeal for treaty rights and for the interests of small States is a newborn and simulated passion. What, we are asked, has Great Britain cared in the past for treaties or for the smaller nationalities except when she had some ulterior and selfish purpose of her own to serve? I am quite ready to meet that challenge, and to meet it in the only way in which it could be met, by reference to history. And out of many illustrations which I might take I will content myself here tonight with two, widely removed in point of time, but both, as it happens, very apposite to the present case.

I will go back first to the war carried on first against the revolutionary Government of France and then against Napoleon, which broke out in 1793, and which lasted for more than twenty years. We had then at the head of the Government in this country one of the most peace-loving Ministers who have ever presided over our fortunes—Mr. Pitt. For three years, from 1789 to 1792, he resolutely refused to interfere in any way with the revolutionary proceedings in France or in the wars that sprang out of them, and as lately, I think, as February in 1792, in a memorable speech in the House of Commons, which shows among other things the shortness of human foresight, he declared that there never was a time when we in this country could more reasonably expect fifteen years of peace.

And what was it, gentlemen, that, within a few months of that declaration, led this pacific Minister to war? It was the invasion of the treaty rights guaranteed by ourselves of a small European State, the then States General of Holland. [Cheers.] For nearly 200 years the great powers of Europe had guaranteed to Holland the exclusive navigation of the River Scheldt. The French revolutionary Government invaded what is now Belgium, and as a first act of hostility to Holland declared the navigation of the Scheldt to be open. Our interest in that matter then, as now, was relatively small and insignificant, but what was Mr. Pitt's reply?

Defense of Small States.

I quote you the exact words he used in the House of Commons, they are so applicable to the circumstances of the present moment. This is in 1793:

England will never consent that another country should arrogate the power of annulling, at her pleasure, the political system of Europe, established by solemn treaties and guaranteed by the consent of the powers. [Cheers.]

He went on to say:

This House [the House of Commons] means substantial good faith to its engagements. If it retains a just sense of the solemn faith of treaties, it must show a determination to support them.

And it was in consequence of that stubborn and unyielding determination to maintain treaties to defend small States, to resist the aggressive domination of a single power, that we were involved in a war which we had done everything to avoid, and which was carried on upon a scale, both as to area and as to duration, up to then unexampled in the history of mankind. That is one precedent. Let me give you one more.

I come down to 1870, when this very treaty to which we are parties, no less than Germany, and which guarantees the integrity and independence of Belgium, was threatened. Mr. Gladstone was then Prime Minister of this country, [cheers,] and he was, if possible, a stronger and more ardent advocate of peace even than Mr. Pitt himself. ["Hear, hear!"]

[pg 317]Mr. Gladstone's Dictum.

Mr. Gladstone, pacific as he was, felt so strongly the sanctity of our obligations that—though here again we had no direct interest of any kind at stake—he made agreements with France and Prussia to co-operate with either of the belligerents if the other violated Belgian territory, and I should like to read a passage from a speech ten years later, delivered in 1880, by Mr. Gladstone himself in this city, in which he reviewed that transaction and explained his reasons for it. He said: "If we had gone to war"—which he was prepared to do—"we should have gone to war for freedom; we should have gone to war for public right; we should have gone to war to save human happiness from being invaded by tyrannous and lawless power." That is what I call a good cause, though I detest war, and there are no epithets too strong if you will supply me with them that I will not endeavor to heap upon its head.

So much for our own action in the past in regard to treaties and small States. But faint as is this denial of this part of our case, it becomes fainter still, it dissolves into the thinnest of thin air, when it has to deal with our contention that we and our allies are withstanding a power whose aim is nothing less than the domination of Europe. ["Hear, hear!"]

It is, indeed, the avowed belief of the leaders of German thought—I will not say of the German people—of those who for many years past have controlled German policy, that such a domination, carrying with it the supremacy of what they call German culture [laughter] and the German spirit is the best thing that could happen to the world.

German "Culture."

Let me then ask for a moment what is this German culture, what is this German spirit of which the Emperor's armies are at present the missionaries in Belgium and in France? [Laughter.] Mankind owes much to Germany, a very great debt for the contributions she has made to philosophy, to science and to the arts; but that which is specifically German in the movement of the world in the last thirty years has been, on the intellectual side, the development of the doctrine of the supreme and ultimate prerogative in human affairs of material forces, and, on the practical side, taking of the foremost place in the fabrication and the multiplication of the machinery of destruction.

To the men who have adopted this gospel, who believe that power is the be all and end all of the State, naturally a treaty is nothing more than a piece of parchment, and all the Old World talk about the rights of the weak and the obligations of the strong is only so much threadbare and nauseating cant, for one very remarkable feature of this new school of doctrine is, whatever be its intellectual or its ethical merits, that it has turned out as an actual code for life to be a very purblind philosophy.

The German culture, the German spirit, did not save the Emperor and his people from delusions and miscalculations as dangerous as they were absurd in regard to the British Empire.

A Fantastic Dream.

We were believed by these cultivated observers [laughter] to be the decadent descendants of a people who, by a combination of luck and of fraud, [laughter,] had managed to obtain dominion over a vast quantity of the surface and the populations of the globe.

This fortuitous aggregation [laughter and cheers] which goes by the name of the British Empire was supposed to be so insecurely founded, and so loosely knit together, that at the first touch of serious menace from without it would fall to pieces and tumble to the ground. [Cheers.]

Our great dominions were getting heartily tired of the imperial connection. India, [loud cheers,] it was notorious to every German traveler, [laughter,] was on the verge of open revolt, and here at home we, the people of this United Kingdom, were riven by dissension so deep and so fierce that our energies, whether for resistance or for attack, would be completely paralyzed.

What a fantastic dream, ["Hear, hear!"] and what a rude awakening! [pg 318][Laughter and cheers.] And in this vast and grotesque and yet tragic miscalculation is to be found one of the roots, perhaps the main root, of the present war.

But let us go one step more. It has been said, "By their fruits ye shall know them," and history will record that when the die was cast and the struggle began, it was the disciples of that same creed who revived methods of warfare which have for centuries past been condemned by the common sense as well as by the humanity of the great mass of the civilized world. [Cheers.]

Branded on the Brow.

Louvain, Malines, Termonde—these are names which will henceforward be branded on the brow of German culture. The ruthless sacking of the ancient and famous towns of Belgium is fitly supplemented by the story that reaches us only today from our own headquarters in France of the proclamation issued less than a week ago by the German authorities, who were for a moment, and happily for little more than a moment, in occupation of the venerable city of Rheims.

Mr. Asquith then read the concluding paragraph of the proclamation which appeared in these columns yesterday.

Do not let it be forgotten that it is from a power whose intellectual leaders are imbued with the idea that I have described, and whose Generals in the field sanction and even direct those practices—it is from that power the claim proceeds to impose its culture, its spirit, which means its domination, upon the rest of Europe. That is a claim, I say to you, to all my fellow-countrymen, to every citizen and subject of the British Empire whose ears and eyes my words can reach—that is a claim that everything that is great in our past and everything that promises hope or progress in our future summons us to resist to the end. [Loud cheers.]

The task—do not let us deceive ourselves—will not be a light one. Its full accomplishment—and nothing short of full accomplishment [cheers]—is worthy of our traditions or will satisfy our resolve—will certainly take months. It may even take years.

I have come here tonight not to ask you to count the cost, for no price can be too high to pay when honor and freedom are at stake, but to put before you, as I have tried to do, the magnitude of the issue and the supreme necessity that lies upon us as a nation, nay as a brotherhood and family of nations, to rise to its height and acquit ourselves of our duty.

Our Favorable Position.

The war has now lasted more than six weeks. Our supremacy at sea [great cheers] has not been seriously questioned. [Laughter.] Full supplies of food and of raw materials are making their way to our shores from every quarter of the globe. [Cheers.] Our industries, with one or two exceptions, maintain their activities.

Unemployment is so far not seriously in excess of the average. The monetary situation has improved, and every effort that the zeal and the skill of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, [cheers,] with the co-operation and expert advice of the bankers and business men of the country, can devise—every effort is being made to achieve what is most essential, the complete re-establishment of the foreign exchanges.

Meanwhile, the merchant shipping of the enemy has been hunted from the seas [cheers] and our seaman are still patiently, or impatiently, [laughter,] waiting for a chance to try conclusions with the opposing fleet. Great and incalculable is the debt which we have owed during these weeks, and which in increasing measure we shall continue to owe, to our navy. [Cheers.] The navy needs no help, and as the months roll on—thanks to a far-sighted policy in the past—its proportionate strength will grow. [Cheers.]

Army's Glorious Record.

If we turn to our army [cheers] we can say with equal justice and pride that during these weeks it has rivaled the most glorious records of its past. [Cheers.] Sir John French [cheers] and his gallant officers and men live in [pg 319]our hearts, as they will live in the memories of those who come afterward. [Cheers,]

But splendid achievements such as these—equally splendid in retirement and in advance ["Hear, hear!"]—cannot be won without a heavy expenditure of life and limb, of equipment and supplies. Even now, at this very early stage, I suppose there is hardly a person here who is not suffering from anxiety and suspense. Some of us are plunged in sorrow for the loss of those we love; cut off, some of them, in the springtime of their young lives. We will not mourn for them overmuch. One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name. [Cheers.]

These gaps have to be filled. The wastage of modern war is relentless and almost inconceivable. We have—I mean his Majesty's Government have—since the war began dispatched to the front already considerably over 200,000 men [cheers] and the amplest provision has been made for keeping them supplied with all that was necessary in food, in stores, and in equipment. They will very soon be reinforced by regular troops from India, from Egypt, and the Mediterranean, and in due time by the contingents which our dominions are furnishing with such magnificent patriotism and liberality. [Cheers.]

Eager Territorials.

We have with us here our own gallant territorials, becoming every day a fitter and a finer force, eager and anxious to respond to any call either at home or abroad that may be made upon them. [Cheers.] But that is not enough. We must do still more. Already, in little more than a month, we have 500,000 recruits for the four new armies which, as Lord Kitchener told the country yesterday, he means to have ready to bring into the field. In a single day we have had as many men enlist as we have been accustomed to enlist in the course of a whole year. It is not, I think, surprising that the machinery has been overstrained, and there have been many cases of temporary inconvenience and hardship and discomfort. With time and patience and good organization these things will be set right, and the new scale of allowances which was announced in Parliament yesterday [cheers] will do much to mitigate the lot of wives and children and dependents who are left behind. [Cheers.]

We want more men, and, perhaps most of all, the help for training them. Every one in the whole of this kingdom who has in days gone by, as officer or as non-commissioned officer, served his country never had a greater or more fruitful opportunity for service than is presented to him today. [Cheers.] We appeal to the manhood of the three kingdoms. To such an appeal I know well, coming from your senior representative in the House of Commons, that Scotland will not turn a deaf ear. [Cheers.]

Scotland is doing well, and, indeed, more than well, and no part of Scotland I believe, in proportion, better than Edinburgh. I cannot say with what pleasure I heard the figures given out by the Lord Provost and those which have been supplied to me by the gallant gentleman who has the Scottish command [cheers,] which show, indeed, as we expected, that Scotland is more than holding her own. In that connection let me repeat what I said two weeks ago in London. We think it of the highest importance that so far as possible, and subject to the accidents of war, people belonging to the same place, breathing the same atmosphere, having the same associations, should be kept together.

Our recruits come to us spontaneously, under no kind of compulsion, [cheers,] of their own free will to meet a national and an imperial need. We present to them no material inducement in the shape either of bounty or bribe, and they have to face the prospect of a spell of hard training from which most of the comforts and all the luxuries that any of them have been accustomed to are rigorously banished. But then, when they are fully equipped for their patriotic task, they will have the opportunity of striking a blow, it may be even of laying down their lives, not to serve the cause of [pg 320]ambition or aggression, but to maintain the honor and the good faith of our country, to shield the independence of free States, to protect against brute force the principles of civilization and the liberties of Europe. [Loud cheers.]


Speech in the Round Room of the Mansion House, Sept. 25.

My Lord Mayor: Some weeks ago I took it upon myself to suggest to the four principal Magistrates of the United Kingdom that they should afford me an opportunity of making a personal appeal to their citizens at a great moment in our national history. I have already delivered my message in London and in Edinburgh. To the first of those great communities I was able to speak as an Englishman by birth and as a Londoner by early association and long residence. To the second, the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Scotland, I had special credentials as having been for the best part of thirty years one of their representatives in the House of Commons, ["Hear, hear!"] and now, indeed, by one of the melancholy privileges of time the senior among the Scottish members. [Laughter.] But, my Lord Mayor, tonight when I come to Dublin I can put forward neither the one claim nor the other. [A Voice—Home Rule.] I base my title, such as it is, to your hospitality and your hearing upon such service as during the whole of my political life I have tried with a whole heart and to the best of my faculties and opportunities to render to Ireland. [Cheers.] I come here, not as a partisan, not even as a politician, but I come here as for the time being the head of the King's Government, [cheers,] to summon Ireland, a loyal and patriotic Ireland, to take her place in the defense of our common cause. [Cheers.] My Lord Mayor, it is no part of my mission tonight, it is indeed at this time of day wholly unnecessary, to justify, still less to excuse, the part which the Government of the United Kingdom has taken in this supreme crisis in our national affairs. There have been wars in the past in regard to which there has been among us diversity of opinion, uneasiness as to the wisdom of our diplomacy, anxiety as to the expediency of our policy, doubts as to the essential righteousness of our cause.

Unity of the Empire.

That, my Lord Mayor, as you said, is not the case today. [Cheers.] Even in the memorable struggle which we waged a hundred years ago against the domination of Napoleon there was always a minority, respectable not merely in number, but in the sincerity and in the eminence of its adherents, which broke the front of our national unity. Again I say that is not the case today. We feel as a nation—or rather I ought to say, speaking here and looking round upon our vast empire in every quarter of the globe—as a family of nations, [prolonged cheers,] without distinction of creed or party, of race or climate, class or section, that we are united in defending principles and in maintaining interests which are vital, not only to the British Empire, but to all that is worth having in our common civilization, [cheers,] and all that is worth hoping for in the future progress of mankind. [Loud cheers.] What better or higher cause, my Lord Mayor, whether we succeed or fail? [Cries of "No failure."] We are going not to fail, but to succeed. [Enthusiastic cheers.] What higher cause than to arouse and enlist the best qualities of a free people, than to be engaged at one and the same time in the vindication of international good faith, in the protection of the weak against the violence of the strong, [cheers,] and in the assertion of the best ideals of all the free communities in all the ages of time and in every part of the world against the encroachments of those who believe and who preach and who practice the religion of force? It is not—I am sure you will agree with me—it is not necessary to demonstrate once more that of this war Germany is the real and the responsible author. [Cheers.] The proofs are patent, manifold and overwhelming. [Cheers.] Indeed, on the part of Germany [pg 321]herself we get upon this point, if denial at all, a denial only of the faintest and the most formal kind. For a generation past she has been preparing the ground, equipping herself, both by land and sea, fortifying herself with alliances, and, what is perhaps even more important, teaching her youth to seek and to pursue as the first and the most important of all human things the supremacy of the German power and the German spirit, and all that time biding her opportunity. Gentlemen, many of the great wars of history have been almost accidentally brought about by the blindness of blundering statesmen, or by some wave of popular passion. That is not so today. ["Hear, hear!"] There was nothing in a quarrel such as this between Austria and Servia that could not have been and that would not have been settled by pacific means. [Cheers.]

Germany's Profound Mistakes.

But in the judgment of those who guide and control German policy the hour had come to strike the blow that had been long and deliberately prepared. In their hands lay the choice between peace and war, and their election was for war. In so deciding, as everybody now knows, Germany made two profound miscalculations. [Cheers.] Both of them natural enough in a man who had come to believe that in international matters everything can be explained and measured in terms of material force. What, gentlemen, were those mistakes? The first was that Belgium, [cheers,] a small and prosperous country entirely disinterested in European quarrels, guaranteed by the joint and several compacts of the great powers, that Belgium would not resent, and certainly would not resist, the use of her territory as a highroad for an invading German force into France. How could they imagine that this little country, rather than allow her neutrality to be violated and her independence insulted and menaced, was prepared that her fields should be drenched with the blood of her soldiers, her towns and villages devastated by marauders, her splendid heritage of monuments and of treasures, built up for her by the piety, art, and learning of the past, ruthlessly laid in ruins? The passionate attachment of a numerically small population to the bit of territory, which looks so little upon the map, the pride and the unconquerable devotion of a free people to their own free State, these were things which apparently had never been dreamed of in the philosophy of Potsdam. [Laughter and "Hear, hear!"] Rarely in history has there been a greater material disparity between the invaders and the invaded, but the moral disparity was at least equally great. [Cheers.] For, gentlemen, the indomitable resistance of the Belgians did more than change the whole face of the campaign. [Cheers.] It proved to the world that ideas which cannot be weighed or measured by any material calculus can still inspire and dominate mankind. [Cheers.] And that is the reason why the whole sympathy of the civilized world at this moment is going out to these small States—Belgium, Servia, and Montenegro—that have played so worthy a part in this historic struggle. [Cheers.]

The Moral Bond of Civilization.

But, my Lord Mayor, Germany was guilty of another and a still more capital blunder in relation to ourselves. ["Hear, hear!"] I am not referring for the moment to the grotesque understanding upon which I dwelt a week ago at Edinburgh, their carefully fostered belief that we here were so rent with civil distraction, [laughter,] so paralyzed by luke-warmness or disaffection in our dominions and dependencies, that if it came to fighting we might be brushed aside as an impotent and even a negligible factor. [Cheers and cries of "Never!"] The German misconception went even deeper than that. They asked themselves what interest, direct or material, had the United Kingdom in this conflict? Could any nation, least of all the cold, calculating, phlegmatic, egotistic British nation, [laughter,] embark upon a costly and bloody contest from which it had nothing in the hope of profit to expect? ["Hear, hear!"] They forgot—they forgot that we, like the Belgians, had something at stake which [pg 322]cannot be translated into what one of our poets has called "The law of nicely calculated less or more." What was it we had at stake? First and foremost, the fulfillment to the small and relatively weak country of our plighted word [cheers] and behind and beyond that the maintenance of the whole system of international good-will which is the moral bond of the civilized world. [Cheers.] Here again they were wrong in thinking that the reign of ideas, Old World ideas like those of duty and good faith, had been superseded by the ascendency of force. My Lord Mayor, war is at all times a hideous thing; at the best an evil to be chosen in preference to worse evils, and at the worst little better than the letting loose of hell upon earth. The prophet of old spoke of the "confused noise of battle and the garments rolled in blood," but in these modern days, with the gigantic scale of the opposing armies and the scientific developments of the instruments of destruction, war has become an infinitely more devastating thing than it ever was before. The hope that the general recognition of a humaner code would soften or abate some of its worst brutalities has been rudely dispelled by the events of the last few weeks. ["Shame!"]

Shameful and Cynical Desecration.

The German invasion of Belgium and France contributes, indeed, some of the blackest pages to its sombre annals. Rarely has a non-combatant population suffered more severely, and rarely, if ever, have the monuments of piety and of learning and those sentiments of religion and national association, of which they are the permanent embodiment, even in the worst times of the most ruthless warriors, been so shamefully and cynically desecrated; and behind the actual theatre of conflict with its smoke and its carnage there are the sufferings of those who are left behind, the waste of wealth, the economic dislocation, the heritage, the long heritage of enmities and misunderstanding which war brings in its train. Why do I dwell upon these things? It is to say this, that great indeed is the responsibility of those who allow their country—as we have done—to be drawn into such a welter; but there is one thing much worse than to take such a responsibility, and that is, upon a fitting occasion, to shirk it. [Cheers.] Our record in the matter is clear. We strove up to the last moment for peace [cheers] and only when we were satisfied that the price of peace was the betrayal of other countries and the dishonor and degradation of our own we took up the sword. [Prolonged cheers.] I should like, if I might for a moment, beyond this inquiry into causes and motives, to ask your attention and that of my fellow-countrymen to the end which in this war we ought to keep in view. Forty-four years ago, at the time of the war of 1870, Mr. Gladstone used these words. He said: "The greatest triumph of our time will be the enthronement of the idea of public right as the governing idea of European politics." Nearly fifty years have passed. Little progress, it seems, has yet been made toward that good and beneficent change, but it seems to me to be now at this moment as good a definition as we can have of our European policy. The idea of public right; what does it mean when translated into concrete terms? It means, first and foremost, the clearing of the ground by the definite repudiation of militarism as the governing factor in the relation of States, and of the future molding of the European world. It means, next, that room must be found and kept for the independent existence and the free development of the smaller nationalities, [cheers,] each with a corporate consciousness of its own.

The Recognition of Nationality.

Belgium, Holland, and Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries, Greece, and the Balkan States, they must be recognized as having exactly as good a title as their more powerful neighbors—more powerful in strength and in wealth—exactly as good a title to a place in the sun. [Prolonged cheers and some laughter.] And it means, finally, or it ought to mean, perhaps by a slow and gradual process, the substitution for force, for the clash of competing ambition, for [pg 323]grouping and alliances and a precarious equipoise, the substitution for all these things of a real European partnership, based on the recognition of equal right and established and enforced by a common will. [Cheers.] A year ago that would have sounded like a Utopian idea. It is probably one that may not or will not be realized either today or tomorrow. If and when this war is decided in favor of the Allies, it will at once come within the range, and, before long, within the grasp of European statesmanship. [Cheers.] I go back for a moment, if I am not keeping you too long, ["Go on,"] to the peculiar aspects of the actual case upon which I have dwelt, because it seems to me that they ought to make a special appeal to the people of Ireland. Ireland is a loyal country, [cheers,] and she would, I know, respond with alacrity to any summons which called upon her to take her share in the assertion and the defense of our common interests. But, gentlemen, the issues raised by this war are of such a kind that, unless I mistake her people and misrepresent her history, they touch a vibrating chord both in her imagination and in her conscience. How can you Irishmen be deaf to the cry of the smaller nationalities to help them in their struggle for freedom [cheers] whether, as in the case of Belgium, in maintaining what she has won, or as in the case of Poland or the Balkan States in regaining what they have lost or in acquiring and putting upon a stable foundation what has never been fully theirs?

The Appeal to Ireland.

How again can you Irishmen—if I understand you—sit by in cool detachment and with folded arms while we, in company of our gallant allies of France and Russia, are opposing a worldwide resistance to pretensions which threaten to paralyze and sterilize all progress and the best destinies of mankind? [Cheers.] During the last few weeks Sir John French and his heroic forces have worthily sustained our cause. The casualties have been heavy. Ireland has had her share, although they have been increased during the last week from the ranks of our gallant navy by one of the hazards of warfare at sea. But of those who have fallen in both services we may ask how could men die better? [Cheers.]

The Indian Contingent.

They have left behind them an example and an appeal. From all quarters of the empire its best manhood is flowing in. The first Indian contingent is, I believe, landing today at Marseilles, [loud cheers,] and in all parts of our great dominions the convoys are already mustering. Over half a million recruits have joined the colors here at home, [cheers,] and I come to ask you in Ireland, though you don't need my asking, to take your part. [Cheers and shouts of "We must."] There was a time when, through the operations of laws which every one now acknowledges to have been both unjust and impolitic, ["Hear, hear!"] the martial spirit of and the capacity for which Irishmen have always been conspicuous, found its chief outlet in the alien armies of the Continent. I have seen it computed—I do not know whether with precise accuracy—but I have seen it computed upon good authority that in the first fifty years of the eighteenth century, when the penal laws were here in full swing, nearly half a million Irishmen enlisted under the banners of the empire of France and Spain, and we at home in the United Kingdom suffered a double loss; for, gentlemen, not only were we drained year by year of some of our best fighting material, ["Hear, hear!"] but over and over again we found ourselves engaged in battle array suffering and inflicting deadly loss upon those who might have been, and under happier conditions would have been, fellow-soldiers of our own. [Cheers.] The British Empire has always been proud, and with reason, of those Irish regiments [cheers] and their Irish leaders, [more cheers,] and was never prouder of them that it is today. [Great cheering.] We ask you here in Ireland to give us more, [cheers, and a Voice, "You'll get them,"] to give them without stinting. We ask Ireland to give of her sons, the most in number, the best in quality that a proud and loyal daughter [pg 324]of the empire ought to devote to the common cause. [Cheers.]

The Volunteers of Ireland.

The conditions seem to me to be exceptionally favorable for the purpose. We have of late been witnessing here in Ireland a spontaneous enrollment and organization in all parts of the country of bodies of volunteers. I say nothing—for I wish tonight to avoid trespassing upon even a square inch of controversial ground—I say nothing of the causes or motives which brought them originally into existence, [laughter,] and have fostered their growth and strength. I will only say—and this is my nearest approach to politics tonight—that there are two things which to my mind have become unthinkable. The first is that one section of Irishmen are going to fight. [Loud cheers.] The second is that Great Britain is going to fight either. [Renewed cheers.] Speaking here in Dublin, I may perhaps address myself for a moment particularly to the National Volunteers, and I am going to ask them all over Ireland—not only them, but I make the appeal to them particularly—to contribute with promptitude and enthusiasm a large and worthy contingent of recruits to the second new army of half a million, which is growing up as it were out of the ground. [Cheers.] I should like to see, and we all want to see, an Irish brigade, [cheers,] or, better still, an Irish army corps. [Loud cheers.] Do not let them be afraid that by joining the colors they will lose their identity and become absorbed in some invertebrate mass, or, what is perhaps equally repugnant, be artificially redistributed in units which have no national cohesion or character. We wish to the utmost limit that military exigencies will allow that men who have been already associated in this or that district in training and in common exercises should be kept together and continue to recognize the corporate bond which now unites them. ["Hear, hear!"] And of one thing further I am sure. We are in urgent need of competent officers, and we think that if the officers now engaged in training these men are proved equal to the test, there is no fear that their services will not be gladly and gratefully retained. I repeat that the empire needs recruits, and needs them at once, that they may be fully trained and equipped in time to take their part in what may well be the decisive fields of the greatest struggle in the history of the world. That is our immediate necessity, and no Irishman in responding to it need be afraid that he is prejudicing the future of the volunteers. [Cheers.] I do not say, and I can not say, under what precise form or organization, but I trust and believe, and indeed I am certain, that the volunteers will become a permanent part, an integral and a characteristic part, of the defensive forces of the Crown. [Cheers.] I have only one more thing to say to you. [Cries of "Go on."] If our need is great your opportunity is also great. [Cheers.] The call which I am making is, as you know well, backed by the sympathy of your fellow-Irishmen in all parts of the empire and the world. Old animosities between us are dead. [Loud and prolonged cheers.] Scattered like the Autumn leaves to the four winds of heaven, we are a united nation, [renewed cheers,] owing and paying to our sovereign the heartfelt allegiance of men who at home not only love but enjoy for themselves the liberty which our soldiers and our sailors are fighting by land and by sea to maintain and to extend for others. There is no question of compulsion or bribery. What we want we believe you are ready and eager to give as the free-will offering of a free people. [Great cheering.]

The Earl of Meath, Lord Lieutenant of County Dublin, who was next called on, declared that their gathering would be historic because for the first time in her history Irishmen of all classes, creeds, and politics had met on the same platform. The modern Attila might be known, as his predecessor was known, as the scourge of God. But for the constant vigilance of our army and our fleet Ireland might have met the fate of Belgium. He suggested that Earl Kitchener should, as far as possible, see that the Irish corps at the front should act together.


[pg 325]Speech in the Skating Rink, Oct. 2.

In the course of the last month I have addressed meetings in London, Edinburgh, and Dublin, and now in the completion of the task which I set myself and which the kindness of our great municipalities has allowed me to perform I have come to Cardiff. [Cheers.] England, Scotland, and Ireland have each of them a definite and a well-established capital city, but I have always understood that there was some doubt where the capital of the Principality of Wales was to be found on the map. [Laughter.] Wales is a single and indivisible entity with a life of its own, drawing its vitality from an ancient past, and both, I believe, in the volume and in the reality of its activity, never more virile than it is today. [Cheers.] But I do not know that there is any general agreement among Welshmen as to where their capital is to be found, [laughter, and a voice, "Here,"] and without attempting as an outsider to differentiate or to reconcile competing claims I stand here tonight on what I believe to be a safe coign of vantage under the hospitality and the authority of the Lord Mayor of Cardiff.

Though I am not altogether a stranger to Wales, you may nevertheless ask why I have requested your permission to address this great audience here tonight. I am not altogether an idle man, and during the last few months I can honestly say that there has hardly been a day, indeed there have been very few hours, which have not been preoccupied with grave cares and responsibility. But throughout them all I have been, and I am, sustained by a profound and unshakable belief in the righteousness of our cause [cheers] and by overwhelming evidence that in the pursuit and the maintenance of that cause the Government have behind them, without distinction of race, of party, or of class, the whole moral and material support of the British Empire. [Cheers.] Let me take the opportunity to acknowledge and to welcome the calm, reasoned, and dignified statement of our cause which the Christian Churches of the United Kingdom, through some of their most distinguished leaders and ministers, have this week presented to the world. [Cheers.]

The United Voice of the Empire.

I will not repeat, and I certainly cannot improve upon it, and indeed I am not here tonight to argue out propositions which British citizens in every part of the world today regard as beyond the reach of controversy. I do not suppose that in the history of mankind there has ever been in such a vast and diverse community agreement so unanimous in purpose and so concentrated, a corporate conscience so clear and so convinced, co-operation so spontaneous, so ardent, and so resolute. [Cheers.] Just consider what it means, here in this United Kingdom—England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales—to hear one plain, harmonious, great united voice over the seas from our great dominions. [Cheers.] Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, our crown colonies, swell the chorus.

In India [cheers]—where whatever we won by the sword we hold and we retain by the more splendid title of just and disinterested rule by the authority, not of a despot, but of a trustee [cheers]—the response to our common appeal has moved all our feelings to their profoundest depths, and has been such as to shiver and to shatter the vain and ignorant imaginings of our enemies. [Cheers,] That is a remarkable and indeed a unique spectacle.

What is it that stirred the imagination, aroused the conscience, enlisted the manhood, welded into one compact and irresistible force the energies and the greatest imperial structure that the world has ever known? [Cheers.] That is a question which, for a moment at any rate, it is well worth asking and answering. Let me say, then, first negatively, that we are not impelled, any of us, by some of the motives which have occasioned the bloody struggles of the past. In this case, so far as we are concerned, ambition and aggression play no part. What [pg 326]do we want? What do we aim at? What have we to gain?

We are a great, worldwide, peace-loving partnership. By the wisdom and the courage of our forefathers, by great deeds of heroism and adventure by land and sea, by the insight and corporate sagacity, the tried and tested experience of many generations, we have built up a dominion which is buttressed by the two pillars of liberty and law. [Cheers.] We are not vain enough or foolish enough to think that in the course of a long process there have not been blunders, or worse than blunders, and that today our dominion does not fall short of what in our ideals it might and it ought and, we believe, it is destined to be. But such as we have received it and such as we hope to have it, with it we are content. [Cheers.]

Why We Are at War.

We do not covet any people's territory. We have no desire to impose our rule upon alien populations. The British Empire is enough for us. [Laughter and cheers.] All that we wished for, all that we wish for now, is to be allowed peaceably to consolidate our own resources, to raise within the empire the level of common opportunity, to draw closer the bond of affection and confidence between its parts, and to make it everywhere the worthy home of the best traditions of British liberty. [Cheers.] Does it not follow from that that nowhere in the world is there a people who have stronger motives to avoid war and to seek and ensue peace? Why, then, are the British people throughout the length and breadth of our empire everywhere turning their plowshares into swords? Why are the best of our ablebodied men leaving the fields and the factory and the counting house for the recruiting office and the training camp?

If, as I have said, we have no desire to add to our imperial burdens, either in area or in responsibility, it is equally true that in entering this war we had no ill-will to gratify nor wrongs of our own to avenge. ["Hear, hear!"] In regard to Germany in particular [groans] our policy—repeatedly stated in Parliament, resolutely pursued year after year both in London and in Berlin—our policy has been to remove one by one the outstanding causes of possible friction and so to establish a firm basis for cordial relations in the days to come.

We have said from the first—I have said it over and over again, and so has Sir Edward Grey—we have said from the first that our friendships with certain powers, with France, [cheers,] with Russia, and with Japan, were not to be construed as implying cold feelings and still less hostile purposes against any other power. But at the same time we have always made it clear, to quote words used by Sir Edward Grey as far back as November, 1911—I quote his exact words—"One does not make new friendships worth having by deserting old ones." New friendships by all means let us have, but not at the expense of the ones we have. That has been, and I trust will always be, the attitude of those whom the Kaiser in his now notorious proclamation describes as the treacherous English. [Laughter and "Oh, oh!"]

Germany's Demand in 1912.

We laid down, and I wish to call not only your attention but the attention of the whole world to this, when so many false legends are now being invented and circulated, in the following year—in the year 1912—we laid down in terms carefully approved by the Cabinet, and which I will textually quote, what our relations with Germany ought in our view to be. We said, and we communicated this to the German Government, "Britain declares that she will neither make nor join in any unprovoked attack upon Germany. Aggression upon Germany is not the subject and forms no part of any treaty, understanding, or combination to which Britain is now a party, nor will she become a party to anything that has such an object." There is nothing ambiguous or equivocal about that. ["Hear, hear!"]

But that was not enough for German statesmanship. They wanted us to go further. They asked us to pledge ourselves absolutely to neutrality in the event of Germany being engaged in war, [pg 327]and this, mind you, at a time when Germany was enormously increasing both her aggressive and defensive resources, and especially upon the sea. They asked us, to put it quite plainly, for a free hand, so far as we were concerned, when they selected the opportunity to overbear, to dominate the European world.

To such a demand but one answer was possible, and that was the answer we gave. [Cheers.] None the less we have continued during the whole of the last two years, and never more energetically and more successfully than during the Balkan crisis of last year, to work not only for the peace of Europe but for the creation of a better international atmosphere and a more cordial co-operation between all the powers. [Cheers.] From both points of view, that of our domestic interests as a kingdom and an empire, and that of our settled attitude and policy in the counsels of Europe, a war such as this, which injures the one and frustrates the other, was and could only be regarded as among the worst of catastrophes—among the worst of catastrophes, but not the worst. [Cheers.]

"The Blackest Annals of Barbarism."

Four weeks ago, speaking at the Guildhall, in the City of London, when the war was still in its early days, I asked my fellow-countrymen with what countenance, with what conscience, had we basely chose to stand aloof, we could have watched from day to day the terrible unrolling of events—public faith shamelessly broken, the freedom of a small people trodden in the dust, the wanton invasion of Belgium and then of France by hordes who leave behind them at every stage of their progress a dismal trail of savagery, of devastation, and of desecration worthy of the blackest annals in the history of barbarism. [Cheers.] That was four weeks ago. The war has now lasted for sixty days, and every one of those days has added to the picture its share of sombre and repulsive traits. We now see clearly written down in letters of carnage and spoliation the real aims and methods of this long-prepared and well-organized scheme Against the liberties of Europe. [Cheers.]

I say nothing of other countries. I pass no judgment upon them. But if we here in Great Britain had abstained and remained neutral, forsworn our word, deserted our friends, faltered and compromised with the plain dictates of our duty—nay, if we had not shown ourselves ready to strike with all our forces at the common enemy of civilization and freedom, there would have been nothing left for our country but to veil her face in shame and to be ready in her turn—for her time would have come—to share the doom which she would have richly deserved, and after centuries of glorious life to go down to her grave, unwept, unhonored, and unsung. [Loud cheers.]

Let us gladly acknowledge what becomes clearer and clearer every day, that the world is just as ready as it ever was, and no part of it readier than the British Empire, to understand and to respond to moral issues. [Cheers.] The new school of German thought has been teaching for a generation past that in the affairs of nations there is no code of ethics. According to their doctrine force and nothing but force is the test and the measure of right. As the events which are going on before our eyes have made it plain, they have succeeded only too well in indoctrinating with their creed—I will not say the people of Germany; like Burke, I will not attempt to draw up an indictment against a nation—I will not say the people of Germany, but those who control and execute German policy. [Cheers.]

But it is one of those products of German genius which, whether or not it was intended exclusively for home consumption, [laughter,] has not, I am happy to say, found a market abroad, and certainly not within the boundaries of the British Empire. [Cheers.] We still believe here, old-fashioned people as we are, in the sanctity of treaties, [cheers,] that the weak have rights and that the strong have duties, that small nationalities have every bit as good a title as large ones to life and independence, and that freedom for its own sake is as well worth fighting [pg 328]for today as it ever was in the past. [Cheers.] And we look forward at the end of this war to a Europe in which these great and simple and venerable truths will be recognized and safeguarded forever against the recrudescence of the era of blood and iron. [Cheers.] Stated in a few words that is the reason for our united front, the reason that has brought our gallant Indian warriors to Marseilles, that is extracting from our most distant dominions the best of their manhood, and which in the course of two months has transformed the United Kingdom into a vast recruiting ground. [Cheers.]

Greatest Emergency in Our History.

Now I have come here tonight not to talk but to do business. [Laughter and cheers.] Before I sit down I want to say to you a few practical words. We are confronted, as you all know and recognize, by the greatest emergency in our history. Every part of the United Kingdom and every man and every woman in every part of it is called upon to make his or her contribution and to do his or her share, [cheers,] and our primary business is to fill the ranks. There is, I find, in some quarters an apprehension that the recruiting for the new army and the functions to be assigned to that army when it is formed and trained may interfere with or may in some way belittle or disparage the territorial force. Believe me, no delusion could be more mischievous or more complete.

No praise could be too high for the patriotic and sustained efforts of the county associations or for the quality and efficiency of the territorial troops. It is a comparatively easy thing to make great efforts and sacrifices under the stress and strain, which we are now experiencing, of a supreme crisis. The territorials, without any such stimulus in the piping times of peace, when war and the sufferings and the struggles and glories of war were contingent and remote, these men gave their time, sacrificed their leisure—not only in their annual training, but in thousands of cases both officers and men devoted their spare hours to preparing themselves in the study and the practice of the art of war. They have now been embodied for two months, and I am expressing the considered opinion of one of the most eminent Generals when I say that the divisions now in camp in various parts of the country, and improving every day in efficiency, have completely justified their title to play any part that may be assigned to them, either in home defense, in the manning of our garrisons, or in the battle lines at the front. [Loud cheers.]

It is, then, no want of appreciation of the patriotism and of the efficiency of the territorial forces that leads me to ask you tonight for recruits for the regular army. We wish, so far as military exigencies permit, that the new battalions and squadrons and batteries should retain their local associations and their corporate and distinctive national character. [Cheers.] Why, the freedom and the autonomy of the smaller nationalities is one of the great issues of this gigantic contest.

A Welsh Army Corps.

I went a week ago to Dublin to make an appeal to Ireland. I asked Irishmen then, as I do now, on behalf of the Government and of the War Office, to enlist in and to make up the complement of an Irish army corps. I repeat that appeal tonight to the men of Wales. [Cheers.] We want that. We want you to fill up the ranks of the Welsh army corps. [Cheers.] We believe that the preservation of local and national ties, of the genius of a people which has a history of its own, is not only not hostile to or inconsistent with, but, on the contrary, fosters and strengthens and stimulates the spirit of a common purpose, of, a corporate brotherhood, of an underlying and binding imperial unity throughout every section and among all ranks of the forces of the Crown. [Cheers.]

Men of Wales, of whom I see so many thousands in this splendid gathering, let me say one last word to you. Remember your past. [Cheers.] Think of the villages and the mountains which in old days were the shelter of the recruiting [pg 329]ground of your fathers in the struggles which adorn and glorify your annals. Never has a stronger or a more compelling appeal been made to you of all that you as a nation honor and hold true. Be worthy of those who went before you, and leave to your children the richest of all inheritances—the memory of fathers who in a great cause put self-sacrifice before ease and honor above life itself. [Loud cheers.]

Lord Plymouth moved a resolution pledging support to the Prime Minister's appeal to the nation and to measures necessary for the prosecution of the war to a victorious conclusion, whereby alone the lasting peace of Europe could be assured.

Thomas Richards, M.P., seconded the resolution, which was carried with enthusiasm. The meeting concluded with the singing of "Men of Harlech" and the national anthem.


Union of All Parties Noted in Letter to The London Times.

To the Editor of The Times:

Sir: Perhaps, after an experience of ten days in which I have had the opportunity of speaking nightly about the war to great audiences of my fellow-countrymen in places so wide apart but so populous and important as Hull, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dundee, Reading, and other towns, I may be permitted to send you a few observations on the subject of the campaign for which I pleaded in your columns a fortnight ago, and which has been prosecuted energetically by a multitude of speakers ever since.

In the first place, the meetings have shown the absolute fusion of all parties and the disappearance of all minor issues in the face of a national crisis. In each case the chair has been taken by the Lord Mayor or Lord Provost or civic head of the town. On the platform have been seated members of all parties and denominations; and Lords Lieutenant, M.P.'s of all sides, including labor members, and representative clergy, have addressed the meetings. The interest taken by the people has been shown by the fact that the largest halls, though sometimes holding audiences of 3,000 to 4,000 men and more, have been unable to accommodate the crowds, and in every case overflow meetings have had to be held.

I have not found anywhere the slightest misapprehension as to the causes of the war. The fears that were entertained that we should be thought to be fighting on account of Servia or some remote international quarrel, in which we were only indirectly engaged, are groundless. The people realize clearly that we are fighting, not merely for our own honor and good faith, but for ourselves and our own national existence.

Further, I think that the policies and ideals which are represented by our opponents are becoming much more widely understood. The circulation of books such as von Bernhardi's and the clear exposition on many platforms and in the press of the objects preached with such amazing frankness by German writers for at least thirty years and treated with such characteristic indifference by ourselves are bearing fruit, and our people realize that German victory is inconsistent not merely with the continued existence of such an empire as ours, but with the conception of self-respect, humanity and freedom upon which modern civilization and democratic government in particular take their stand.

No doubt the German proceedings in Belgium have done much to accelerate this conviction; and the mercilessness and savagery of the methods by which the war has been fought by them (and for which no vestige of an apology has been forthcoming) have taught men that here is not only an enemy to be beaten but an evil spirit to be driven out.

The response to the appeal for recruits has, on the whole, been wonderful and inspiriting. Employers of labor, whether on a large or a small scale, have, as a rule, behaved with generosity both as regards releasing their employees and in making provision for them and their families. A good example has been set by families and persons in leading positions. Domestic servants have come forward in [pg 330]great numbers. The working class population have awakened more slowly—as was inevitable until the nature of the war and the urgency of the call were brought clearly home to them—but are now responding with alacrity. The brave deeds of their countrymen in France have proved the surest stimulus, and disaster, as, for instance, that reported to the Gordon Highlanders, at once raised the tide of recruits. This is a very typical and encouraging feature, showing that all that is wanted to convert interest into enthusiasm and to blow the embers into flame is that the case should be brought home by the sense of patriotic achievement or national loss.

Unquestionably the two incidents that have appealed most to the public sentiment have been the heroic resistance and tragic sufferings of Belgium—to be compensated by all that our national generosity can provide and atoned for by whatever reparation the Allies think it ultimately right to exact—and the splendid contribution from India. These events excite the loudest cheers and touch the deepest chords of emotion.

In some cases, where recruiting has been slow, men have been affected by a too exclusive but quite pardonable regard for the interests of themselves and their families. The provision made from various sources for the bread winner who has joined the colors or is at the front might easily be made more generous. But the outlook for those who are wounded or disabled, or for the families of those who lose their lives, and perhaps most of all for those who on their return may find it difficult to secure re-employment, is thought by many to be insufficiently assured. Private employers and business firms have, on the whole, met the situation with liberality; and a similar attitude on the part of the Government would meet with its immediate reward. It is perhaps a selfish utterance if a man is heard to say, "How am I going to come out of it?" or still more, "What good is it going to do to me?"; but if he put the same question on behalf of those who depend upon him for subsistence he is entitled to a definite and a not ungenerous reply.

Two dangers may have to be faced as the war proceeds. One is that the nation, exhilarated by smaller successes, may think that the war will soon be over, and that no excessive effort is therefore required. Traces of this feeling are sometimes visible in the published letters (how admirable, as a rule, they are!) of soldiers at the front, telling their families to expect them back in a month or two's time. The other danger is that, harassed by the continuance of the struggle, or attracted by delusive offers of peace or affected by economic or industrial conditions which have fortunately not so far developed, a section of the nation may cry out for peace before the victory has been consummated and before the peril we are fighting to avert is forever destroyed.

It may be that renewed platform activity may be required as time goes on to sustain the spirit and fortify the constancy of the nation. In the meanwhile, speakers, from my experience, cannot do better than dilate upon the immense magnitude of the stakes involved, and probable long duration of the struggle, and the supreme importance that our country should, by the strength and effectiveness of its material contribution to the common cause, exercise a powerful influence both upon the issue of the struggle and in the resettlement of territories and forces which will follow upon its conclusion. I am, Sir, yours obediently,


1 Carlton House Terrace, Sept. 14.


Speech by Winston Spencer Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, at the London Opera House, Sept. 11.

These are serious times, and though we meet here in an abode of diversion and of pleasure in times of peace, and although we wish and mean to rouse and encourage each other in every way, yet we are not here for purposes of merriment or jollification. I am quite sure I associate my two friends who are here tonight and who are to speak after me, [pg 331]and my noble friend, your Chairman, with me when I say that we regard the cheers with which you have received us as being offered to us only because they are meant for our soldiers in the field and our sailors upon the sea, [cheers,] and it is in that sense that we accept them and thank you for them.


British First Lord of the Admiralty.
(Photo from Underwood & Underwood.)

We meet here together in serious times, but I come to you tonight in good heart, [cheers,] and with good confidence for the future and for the task upon which we are engaged. It is too soon to speculate upon the results of the great battle which is waging in France. Everything that we have heard, during four long days of anxiety seems to point to a marked and substantial turning of the tide.

German Plans Miscarried.

We have seen the forces of the French and British Armies strong enough not only to contain and check the devastating avalanche which had swept across the French frontier, but now at last, not for an hour or for a day, but for four long days in succession, it has been rolled steadily back. [Cheers.] With battles taking place over a front of 100 or 150 miles one must be very careful not to build high hopes on results which are achieved even in a great area of the field of war. We are not children looking for light and vain encouragement, but men engaged upon a task which has got to be put through. Still, when every allowance has been made for the uncertainty with which these great operations are always enshrouded, I think it only fair and right to say that the situation tonight is better, far better, than a cold calculation of the forces available on both sides before the war should have led us to expect at this early stage. [Cheers.]

It is quite clear that what is happening now is not what the Germans planned, [laughter,] and they have yet to show that they can adapt themselves to the force of circumstances created by the military power of their enemies with the same efficiency that they have undoubtedly shown in regard to plans long prepared, methodically worked out, and executed with the precision of deliberation.

The battle, I say, gives us every reason to meet together tonight in good heart. But let me tell you frankly that if this battle had been as disastrous as, thank God, it appears to be triumphant, I should come before you with unabated confidence and with the certainty that we have only to continue in our efforts to bring this war to the conclusion which we wish and intend. [Cheers.]

We did not enter upon this war with the hope of easy victory; we did not enter upon it in any desire to extend our territory, or to advance and increase our position in the world; or in any romantic desire to shed our blood and spend our money in Continental quarrels. We entered upon this war reluctantly after we had made every effort compatible with honor to avoid being drawn in, and we entered upon it with a full realization of the sufferings, losses, disappointments, vexations, and anxieties, and of the appalling and sustained exertions which would be entailed upon us by our action. The war will be long and sombre. It will have many reverses of fortune and many hopes falsified by subsequent events, and we must derive from our cause and from the strength that is in us, and from the traditions and history of our race, and from the support and aid of our empire all over the world the means to make this country overcome obstacles of all kinds and continue to the end of the furrow, whatever the toil and suffering may be.

Making Sure of Victory.

But though we entered this war with no illusions as to the incidents which will mark its progress, as to the ebb and flow of fortune in this and that part of the gigantic field over which it is waged, we entered it, and entered it rightly, with the sure and strong hope and expectation of bringing it to a victorious conclusion. [Cheers.] I am quite certain that if we, the people of the British Empire, choose, whatever may happen in the interval, we can in the end make this war finish in accordance with our interests and the interests [pg 332]of civilization. [Cheers.] Let us build on a sure foundation. Let us not be the sport of fortune, looking for victories here and happy chances there; let us take measures, which are well within our power, which are practical measures, measures which we can begin upon at once and carry through from day to day with surety and effect. Let us enter upon measures which in the long run, whatever the accidents and incidents of the intervening period may be, will secure us that victory upon which our life and existence as a nation not less than the fortune of our allies and of Europe absolutely depends. [Cheers.]

The Deeds of the Navy.

I think we are building on a sure foundation. [Cheers.] Let us look first at the navy. [Cheers.] The war has now been in progress between five and six weeks. In that time we have swept German commerce from the seas. [Cheers.] We have either blocked in neutral harbors or blockaded in their own harbors [laughter] or hunted down the commerce destroyers of which we used to hear so much and from which we anticipated such serious loss and damage. All our ships, with inconsiderable exceptions, are arriving safely and punctually at their destinations, carrying on the commerce upon which the wealth and industry and the power of making war for this country depends. We are transporting easily, not without an element of danger, but hitherto safely and successfully, great numbers of soldiers across the seas from all quarters of the world to be directed upon the decisive theatre of the land struggle. [A voice, "Russians," and laughter.] And we have searched the so-called German Ocean without discovering the German flag. [Cheers.] Our enemies, in their carefully worked out calculations, which they have been toiling over during a great many years, when the people of this country, as a whole, credited them with quite different motives, ["Hear, hear!"] have always counted upon a process of attrition and the waste of shipping by mines and torpedoes and other methods of warfare of the weaker power, by which the numbers and strength of our fleet would be reduced to such a point that they would be able to steel their hearts and come out and fight. [Cheers.] We have been at war for five or six weeks, and so far—though I would certainly not underrate the risks and hazards attending upon warlike operations and the vanity of all overconfidence—but so far the attrition has been on their side and not on ours, [cheers,] while the losses which they have suffered greatly exceed any that we have at present sustained.

I have made careful inquiries as to the condition of our sailors in the fleet under the strain put upon them, and this continued watching and constant attention to their duty under war conditions, and I am glad to say that it is reported to me that the health of the fleet has been much better since the declaration of war than it was in time of peace, [loud cheers and laughter,] both as to the percentage of sickness and the character of the sickness, [laughter,] and that there is no reason why we should not keep up the same process of naval control and have the same exercises of sea power, on which we have lived and are living, for what is almost an indefinite period.

The Nose of the Bulldog.

By one of those dispensations of Providence, which appeals so strongly to the German Emperor, [laughter,] the nose of the bulldog has been slanted backward so that he can breathe with comfort without letting go. [Laughter and cheers.] We have been successful in maintaining naval control thus far in the struggle, and there are also sound reasons for believing that as it progresses the chances in our favor will not diminish but increase. In the next 12 months the number of great ships that will be completed for this country is more than double the number which will be completed for Germany, [cheers,] and the number of cruisers three or four times as great. [Cheers.] Therefore I think I am on solid ground when I come here tonight and say that you may count upon the naval supremacy of this country being [pg 333]effectively maintained as against the German power for as long as you wish. [Cheers.]

The Army's Share.

Now we must look at the army....

[Transcriber's Note:
Interlinear typesetter's error indicated by ellipses.]

... Government and during all periods of modern history the darling of the British Nation. On it have been lavished whatever public funds were necessary, and to its efficiency has been devoted the unceasing care and thought of successive Administrations. The result is that when the need came the navy was absolutely ready, [cheers,] and, as far as we can see from what has happened, thoroughly adequate to the task which was required from it. But we have not been in times of peace a military nation. The army has not had the facilities of obtaining the lavish supplies of men and money for its needs which have in times of peace and in the past, to our good fortune at the moment, been so freely given to the navy. And what you have to do now is to make a great army. [Cheers.] You have to make an army under the cover and shield of the navy strong enough to enable our country to play its full part in the decision of this terrible struggle. [Cheers.]

A Million Men Needed.

The sure way—the only sure way—to bring this war to an end is for the British Empire to put on the Continent and keep on the Continent an army of at least 1,000,000 men. [Cheers.] I take that figure because it is one well within the compass of the arrangements which are now on foot and because it is one which is well within the scope of the measures which Lord Kitchener—[Loud cheers drowned the rest of the sentence.]

I was reading in the newspapers the other day that the German Emperor made a speech to some of his regiments in which he urged them to concentrate their attention upon what he was pleased to call "French's contemptible little army." [Laughter.] Well, they are concentrating their attention upon it [laughter and cheers] and that army, which has been fighting with such extraordinary prowess, which has revived in a fortnight of adverse actions the ancient fame and glory of our arms upon the Continent, [cheers,] and which tonight, after a long, protracted, harassed, unbroken, and undaunted rearguard action—the hardest trial to which troops can be exposed—is advancing in spite of the loss of one-fifth of its numbers, and driving its enemies before it—that army must be reinforced and backed and supported and increased and enlarged in numbers, in power by every means and every method that every one of us can employ.

There is no reason why, if you set yourselves to it—I have not come here to make a speech of words, but to point out to you necessary and obvious things which you can do—there is no doubt that, if you set yourselves to it, the army which is now fighting so valiantly on your behalf and our allies can be raised from its present position to 250,000 of the finest professional soldiers in the world, and that in the new year something like 500,000 men, and from that again when the early Summer begins in 1915 to the full figure of twenty-five army corps fighting in line together. The vast population of these islands and all the empire is pressing forward to serve, its wealth is placed at your disposal, the navy opens the way for the passage of men and everything necessary for the equipment of our forces. Why should we hesitate when here is the sure and certain path to ending this war in the way we mean it to end? [Cheers.]

A Decisive Weight.

There is little doubt that an army so formed will in quality and character, in native energy, in the comprehension which each individual has of the cause for which he is fighting, exceed in merit any army in the world. We have only to have a chance of even numbers or anything approaching even numbers to demonstrate the superiority of free-thinking, active citizens over the docile sheep who serve the ferocious ambitions of drastic Kings. [Cheers.] Our enemies are now at the point which we have reached fully extended. On every front [pg 334]of the enormous field of conflict the pressure upon them is such that all their resources are deployed. With every addition to the growing weight of the Russian Army, [cheers,] with every addition to the forces at the disposal of Sir John French, [cheers,] the balance must sag down increasingly against them.

Fixing a Term to the War.

You have only to create steadily week by week and month by month the great military instrument of which I have been speaking to throw into the scales a weight which must be decisive. There will be no corresponding reserve of manhood upon which Germany can draw. There will be no corresponding force of soldiers and of equipment and of war material which can be brought into the line to face the forces which we in this island and in this empire can undoubtedly create. That will turn the scale. That will certainly decide the issue. Of course, if victory comes sooner so much the better. [Cheers.] But let us not count on fortune and good luck. [Cheers.] Let us assume at every point that things will go much less well than we hope and wish. Let us make arrangements which will override that. [Cheers.] We have it in our power to make such arrangements, and it is only common prudence, aye, and common humanity, to take steps which at any rate will fix some certain term to this devastating struggle throughout the whole of the European Continent.

Let me also say this. Let us concentrate all our warlike feeling upon fighting the enemy in the field and creating a great military weapon to carry out the purposes of the war. There is a certain class of person who likes to work his warlike feelings off upon the unfortunate alien enemy within our gates.

Fight Like Gentlemen.

Of course all necessary measures must be taken for the security of the country and for the proper carrying out of military needs; but let us always have this feeling in our heart that after the war is over people shall not only admire our victory but they shall say they fought like gentlemen. [Cheers.] The Romans had a motto—

Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos.

Let that be the spirit in which we conduct this war. Let all those who feel under the horrible provocations of the struggle their hearts suffused with anger and with wrath—let them turn it into a practical channel—going to the front or if circumstances prevent them, helping others to go, keeping them maintained in the highest state of efficiency, giving them the supplies and weapons which they require, and looking after those they have left behind.

The Eloquence of Brutal Facts.

I have not spoken to you much about the justice of our cause, because it has been most eloquently set out by the Prime Minister, [cheers,] and Sir Edward Grey, [cheers,] and by Mr. Bonar Law, [cheers,] and other leaders of the Opposition; and much more eloquently than by any speakers in this or any other country the justice of our cause has been set out by the brutal facts which have occurred and which have marched upon us from day to day. [Cheers.] Some thought there would be a German war, some did not; but no one supposed that a great military nation would exhibit all the vices of military organization without those redeeming virtues which, God knows, are needed to redeem warlike operations from the taint of shame. We have been confronted with an exhibition of ruthlessness and outrage enforced upon the weak, enforced upon women and children. We have been confronted with repeated breaches of the law of enlightened warfare, practices analogous to those which in private life are regarded as cheating, and which deprive persons or country adopting them, or condoning them, of the credit and respect due to honorable soldiers.

We have been confronted with all this. Let us not imitate it. [Cheers.] Let us not try to make small retaliations and reprisals here and there. Let us concentrate upon the simple, obvious task of creating a military force so powerful that the war, even in default of any good fortune, can certainly be ended and [pg 335]brought to a satisfactory conclusion. However the war began, now that it is started it is a war of self-preservation for us. Our civilization, our way of doing things, our political and Parliamentary life, with its voting and its thinking, our party system, our party warfare, the free and easy tolerance of British life, our method of doing things and of keeping ourselves alive and self-respecting in the world—all these are brought into contrast, into collision, with the organized force of bureaucratic Prussian militarism.

That is the struggle which is opened now and which must go forward without pause or abatement until it is settled decisively and finally one way or the other. On that there can be no compromise or truce. It is our life or it is theirs. We are bound, having gone so far, to go forward without flinching to the very end. [Cheers.]

"The Terror of Europe."

This is the same great European war that would have fought in the year 1909 if Russia had not humbled herself and given way to German threats. It is the same war that Sir Edward Grey stopped last year. [Loud cheers.] Now it has come upon us. If you look back across the long periods of European history to the original cause, you will, I am sure, find it in the cruel terms enforced upon France in the year 1870, ["Hear, hear!"] and in the repeated bullyings and attempts to terrorize France which have been the characteristic of German policy ever since. [Cheers.] The more you study this question the more you will see that the use the Germans made of their three aggressive and victorious wars against Denmark, against Austria, and against France has been such as to make them the terror and the bully of Europe, the enemy and the menace of every small State upon their borders, and a perpetual source of unrest and disquietude to their powerful neighbors. [Cheers.]

Claims of Nationality.

Now the war has come, and when it is over let us be careful not to make the same mistake or the same sort of mistake as Germany made when she had France prostrate at her feet in 1870. [Cheers.] Let us, whatever we do, fight for and work toward great and sound principles for the European system. And the first of those principles which we should keep before us is the principle of nationality [cheers]—that is to say, not the conquest or subjugation of any great community or of any strong race of men, but the setting free of those races which have been subjugated and conquered [cheers]; and if doubt arises about disputed areas of country we should try to settle their ultimate destination in the reconstruction of Europe which must follow from this war with a fair regard to the wishes and feelings of the people who live in them.

That is the aim which, if it is achieved, will justify the exertions of the war and will make some amends to the world for the loss and suffering, the agony of suffering, which it has wrought and entailed, and which will give to those who come after us not only the pride which we hope they will feel in remembering the martial achievements of the present age of Britain, but which will give them also a better and fairer world to live in and a Europe free from the causes of hatred and unrest which have poisoned the comity of nations and ruptured the peace of Christendom.

The Unity of the Empire.

I use these words because this is a war in which we are all together, [cheers,] all classes, all races, all States, principalities, dominions, and powers throughout the British Empire—we are all together. [Cheers.] Years ago the elder Pitt urged upon his countrymen the compulsive invocation, "Be one people." It has taken us till now to obey his appeal, but now we are together, and while we remain one people there are no forces in the world strong enough to beat us down or break us up. [Cheers.]

I hope, even in this dark hour of strife and struggle, that the unity which has been established in our country under the pressure of war will not cease when the great military effort upon which we [pg 336]are engaged and the great moral causes which we are pursuing have been achieved. I hope, and I do not think my hope is a vain one, that the forces which have come together in our islands and throughout our empire may continue to work together, not only in a military struggle, but to try to make our country more quickly a more happy and more prosperous land, where social justice and free institutions are more firmly established than they have been in the past. [Cheers.] If that is so we shall not have fought in vain at home as well as abroad.

With these hopes and in this belief I would urge you, laying aside all hindrance, thrusting away all private aims, to devote yourselves unswervingly and unflinchingly to the vigorous and successful prosecution of the war. [Loud cheers.]


Speech by David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, at Queen's Hall, London, Sept. 19.

My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen: I have come here this afternoon to talk to my fellow-countrymen about this great war and the part that we ought to take in it. I feel my task is easier after we have been listening to the greatest war song in the world ("The March of the Men of Harlech"). [Applause.]

Why Our National Honor Is Involved.

There is no man in this room who has always regarded the prospect of engaging in a great war with greater reluctance and with greater repugnance than I have done throughout the whole of my political life. ["Hear, hear!"] There is no man either inside or outside of this room more convinced that we could not have avoided it without national dishonor. [Great applause.] I am fully alive to the fact that every nation who has ever engaged in any war has always invoked the sacred name of honor. Many a crime has been committed in its name; there are some being committed now. All the same, national honor is a reality, and any nation that disregards it is doomed. ["Hear, hear!"] Why is our honor as a country involved in this war? Because, in the first instance, we are bound by honorable obligations to defend the independence, the liberty, the integrity, of a small neighbor that has always lived peaceably. [Applause.] She could not have compelled us; she was weak; but the man who declines to discharge his duty because his creditor is too poor to enforce it is a blackguard. [Loud applause.] We entered into a treaty—a solemn treaty—two treaties—to defend Belgium and her integrity. Our signatures are attached to the documents. Our signatures do not stand alone there; this country was not the only country that undertook to defend the integrity of Belgium. Russia, France, Austria, Prussia—they are all there. Why are Austria and Prussia not performing the obligations of their bond? It is suggested that when we quote this treaty it is purely an excuse on our part—it is our low craft and cunning to cloak our jealousy of a superior civilization—[Laughter]—that we are attempting to destroy. Our answer is the action we took in 1870. ["Hear, hear!"] What was that? Mr. Gladstone was then Prime Minister. [Applause.] Lord Granville, I think, was then Foreign Secretary. I have never heard it laid to their charge that they were ever Jingoes.

France and Belgium in 1870.

What did they do in 1870? That treaty bound us then. We called upon the belligerent powers to respect it. We called upon France, and we called upon Germany. At that time, bear in mind, the greatest danger to Belgium came from France, and not from Germany. We intervened to protect Belgium against France, exactly as we are doing now to protect her against Germany. [Applause.] We proceeded in exactly the same way. We invited both the belligerent powers to state that they had no intention of violating Belgian territory. What was the answer given by Bismarck? He said it was superfluous to ask Prussia such a question in view of the treaties in force. France gave a [pg 337]similar answer. We received at that time the thanks of the Belgian people for our intervention in a very remarkable document. It is a document addressed by the Municipality of Brussels to Queen Victoria after that intervention, and it reads:

The great and noble people over whose destinies you preside have just given a further proof of its benevolent sentiment toward our country.... The voice of the English nation has been heard above the din of arms, and it has asserted the principles of justice and right. Next to the unalterable attachment of the Belgian people to their independence, the strongest sentiment which fills their hearts is that of an imperishable gratitude. [Great applause.]

That was in 1870. Mark what followed. Three or four days after that document of thanks a French army was wedged up against the Belgian frontier, every means of escape shut out by a ring of flame from Prussian cannon. There was one way of escape. What was that? Violating the neutrality of Belgium. What did they do? The French on that occasion preferred ruin and humiliation to the breaking of their bond. [Loud applause.] The French Emperor, the French Marshals, 100,000 gallant Frenchmen in arms, preferred to be carried captive to the strange land of their enemies rather than dishonor the name of their country. [Applause.] It was the last French army in the field. Had they violated Belgian neutrality the whole history of that war would have been changed, and yet, when it was the interest of France to break the treaty then, she did not do it.

"A Scrap of Paper."

It is the interest of Prussia today to break the treaty, and she has done it. [Hisses.] She avows it with cynical contempt for every principle of justice. She says: "Treaties only bind you when it is your interest to keep them." [Laughter.] "What is a treaty?" says the German Chancellor, "A scrap of paper." Have you any five-pound notes about you? [Laughter and applause.] I am not calling for them. [Laughter.] Have you any of those neat little Treasury one-pound notes? [Laughter.] If you have, burn them; they are only scraps of paper. [Laughter and applause.] What are they made of? Rags. [Laughter.] What are they worth? The whole credit of the British Empire. [Loud applause.] Scraps of paper! I have been dealing with scraps of paper within the last month. One suddenly found the commerce of the world coming to a standstill. The machine had stopped. Why? I will tell you. We discovered—many of us for the first time, for I do not pretend that I do not know much more about the machinery of commerce today than I did six weeks ago, and there are many others like me—we discovered that the machinery of commerce was moved by bills of exchange. I have seen some of them, [laughter,] wretched, crinkled, scrawled over, blotched, frowsy, and yet those wretched little scraps of paper move great ships laden with thousands of tons of precious cargo from one end of the world to the other. [Applause.] What is the motive power behind them? The honor of commercial men. [Applause.] Treaties are the currency of international statesmanship. [Applause.] Let us be fair—German merchants, German traders, have the reputation of being as upright and straightforward as any traders in the world, ["Hear, hear"] but if the currency of German commerce is to be debased to the level of that of her statesmanship, no trader from Shanghai to Valparaiso will ever look at a German signature again. [Loud applause.] This doctrine of the scrap of paper, this doctrine which is proclaimed by Bernhardi, that treaties only bind a nation as long as it is to its interest, goes under the root of all public law. It is the straight road to barbarism. ["Hear, hear!"] It is as if you were to remove the magnetic pole because it was in the way of a German cruiser. [Laughter.] The whole navigation of the seas would become dangerous, difficult, and impossible; and the whole machinery of civilization will break down if this doctrine wins in this war. ["Hear, hear!"] We are fighting against barbarism, [applause,] and there is only one way of putting it right. If [pg 338]there are nations that say they will only respect treaties when it is to their interest to do so, we must make it to their interest to do so for the future. [Applause.]

Germany's Perjury.

What is their defense? Consider the interview which took place between our Ambassador and the great German officials. When their attention was called to this treaty to which they were parties, they said: "We cannot help that. Rapidity of action is the great German asset." There is a greater asset for a nation than rapidity of action, and that is honest dealing. [Loud applause.] What are Germany's excuses? She says Belgium was plotting against her; Belgium was engaged in a great conspiracy with Britain and France to attack her. Not merely is it not true, but Germany knows it is not true. ["Hear, hear!"] What is her other excuse. That France meant to invade Germany through Belgium. That is absolutely untrue. ["Hear, hear!"] France offered Belgium five army corps to defend her if she were attacked. Belgium said: "I do not require them; I have the word of the Kaiser. Shall Caesar send a lie?" [Laughter and applause.] All these tales about conspiracy have been vamped up since. A great nation ought to be ashamed to behave like a fraudulent bankrupt, perjuring its way through its obligations. ["Hear, hear!"] What she says is not true. She has deliberately broken this treaty, and we were in honor bound to stand by it. [Applause.]

Belgium's "Crime."

Belgium has been treated brutally. ["Hear, hear!"] How brutally we shall not yet know. We already know too much. But what had she done? Had she sent an ultimatum to Germany? Had she challenged Germany? Was she preparing to make war on Germany? Had she inflicted any wrong upon Germany which the Kaiser was bound to redress? She was one of the most unoffending little countries in Europe. ["Hear, hear!"] There she was—peaceable, industrious, thrifty, hard working, giving offense to no one. And her cornfields have been trampled, her villages have been burned, her art treasures have been destroyed, her men have been slaughtered—yea, and her women and children too. [Cries of "Shame!"] Hundreds and thousands of her people, their neat, comfortable little homes burned to the dust, are wandering homeless in their own land. What was their crime? Their crime was that they trusted to the word of a Prussian King. [Applause.] I do not know what the Kaiser hopes to achieve by this war. [Derisive laughter.] I have a shrewd idea what he will get; but one thing he has made certain, and that is that no nation will ever commit that crime again.

"The Right to Defend Its Homes."

I am not going to enter into details of outrages. Many of them are untrue, and always are in a war. War is a grim, ghastly business at best or at worst, ["Hear, hear!"] and I am not going to say that all that has been said in the way of outrages must necessarily be true. I will go beyond that, and I will say that if you turn two millions of men—forced, conscript, compelled, driven—into the field, you will always get among them a certain number who will do things that the nation to which they belong would be ashamed of. I am not depending on these tales. It is enough for me to have the story which Germans themselves avow, admit, defend and proclaim—the burning and massacring, the shooting down of harmless people. Why? Because, according to the Germans, these people fired on German soldiers. What business had German soldiers there at all? ["Hear, hear!" and applause.] Belgium was acting in pursuance of the most sacred right, the right to defend its homes. But they were not in uniform when they fired! If a burglar broke into the Kaiser's Palace at Potsdam, destroyed his furniture, killed his servants, ruined his art treasures—especially those he had made himself, [laughter and applause], and burned the precious manuscripts of his speeches, do you think he would wait until he got into uniform before he shot him down? [pg 339][Laughter.] They were dealing with those who had broken into their household. ["Hear, hear!"] But the perfidy of the Germans has already failed. They entered Belgium to save time. The time has gone. [Loud and continued applause.] They have not gained time, but they have lost their good name. ["Hear, hear!"]

The Case of Servia.

But Belgium is not the only little nation that has been attacked in this war, and I make no excuse for referring to the case of the other little nation, the case of Servia. ["Hear, hear!"] The history of Servia is not unblotted. Whose history, in the category of nations, is unblotted? ["Hear, hear!"] The first nation that is without sin, let her cast a stone at Servia. She was a nation trained in a horrible school, but she won her freedom with a tenacious valor, and she has maintained it by the same courage. [Applause.] If any Servians were mixed up in the assassination of the Grand Duke, they ought to be punished. ["Hear, hear!"] Servia admits that. The Servian Government had nothing to do with it. Not even Austria claims that. The Servian Prime Minister is one of the most capable and honored men in Europe. ["Hear, hear!"] Servia was willing to punish any one of her subjects who had been proved to have any complicity in that assassination. What more could you expect? What were the Austrian demands? Servia sympathized with her fellow-countrymen in Bosnia—that was one of her crimes. She must do so no more. Her newspapers were saying nasty things about Austria; they must do so no longer. That is the German spirit; you had it in Zabern. ["Hear, hear!" and applause.] How dare you criticise a Prussian official? [laughter,] and if you laugh, it is a capital offense—the Colonel in Zabern threatened to shoot if it was repeated. In the same way the Servian newspapers must not criticise Austria. I wonder what would have happened if we had taken the same line about German newspapers. ["Hear, hear!"] Servia said: "Very well, we will give orders to the newspapers that they must in future criticise neither Austria, nor Hungary, nor anything that is theirs." [Laughter.] Who can doubt the valor of Servia, when she undertook to tackle her newspaper editors? [Laughter and applause.] She promised not to sympathize with Bosnia, she promised to write no critical articles about Austria; she would have no public meetings in which anything unkind was said about Austria.

"Servia Faced the Situation with Dignity."

But that was not enough. She must dismiss from her army the officers whom Austria should subsequently name. Those officers had just emerged from a war where they had added lustre to the Servian arms; they were gallant, brave, and efficient. ["Hear, hear!"] I wonder whether it was their guilt or their efficiency that prompted Austria's action! But, mark you, the officers were not named; Servia was to undertake in advance to dismiss them from the army, the names to be sent in subsequently. Can you name a country in the world that would have stood that? [Cries of "No."] Supposing Austria or Germany had issued an ultimatum of that kind to this country, saying, "You must dismiss from your army, and from your navy, [laughter,] all those officers whom we shall subsequently name." Well, I think I could name them now. [Laughter.] Lord Kitchener [loud applause] would go. Sir John French [applause] would be sent away; Gen. Smith-Dorrien [applause] would go, and I am sure that Sir John Jellicoe [applause] would have to go. And there is another gallant old warrior who would go, Lord Roberts. [Applause.] It was a difficult situation for a small country. Here was a demand made upon her by a great military power that could have put half a dozen men in the field for every one of Servia's men, and that power was supported by the greatest military power in the world. How did Servia behave? It is not what happens to you in life that matters; it is the way in which you face it, ["Hear, hear!"] and Servia faced the situation with dignity. She said to Austria: [pg 340]"If any officers of mine have been guilty, and are proved to be guilty, I will dismiss them." Austria said: "That is not good enough for me." It was not guilt she was after, but capacity. ["Hear, hear!"]

Russia's Turn.

Then came Russia's turn. Russia has a special regard for Servia; she has a special interest in Servia. Russians have shed their blood for Servian independence many a time, for Servia is a member of Russia's family, and she cannot see Servia maltreated. Austria knew that. Germany knew it, and she turned round to Russia and said: "I insist that you shall stand by with your arms folded while Austria is strangling your little brother to death." What answer did the Russian Slav give? He gave the only answer that becomes a man. ["Hear, hear!"] He turned to Austria, and said: "You lay hands on that little fellow, and I will tear your ramshackle empire [loud applause and laughter] limb from limb." And he is doing it! [Loud applause.]

The Little Nations.

That is the story of two little nations. The world owes much to little nations—and to little men! [Laughter and applause.] This theory of bigness, this theory that you must have a big empire, and a big nation, and a big man—well, long legs have their advantage in a retreat. [Laughter and applause.] The Kaiser's ancestor chose his warriors for their height, and that tradition has become a policy in Germany. Germany applies that ideal to nations, and will only allow six-foot-two nations to stand in the ranks. [Laughter.] But ah! the world owes much to the little five-foot-five nations. The greatest art in the world was the work of little nations; the most enduring literature of the world came from little nations; the greatest literature of England came when she was a nation of the size of Belgium fighting a great empire. The heroic deeds that thrill humanity through generations were the deeds of little nations fighting for their freedom. Yes, and the salvation of mankind came through a little nation. God has chosen little nations as the vessels by which He carries His choicest wines to the lips of humanity, to rejoice their hearts, to exalt their vision, to stimulate and strengthen their faith; and if we had stood by when two little nations were being crushed and broken by the brutal hands of barbarism, our shame would have rung down the everlasting ages. [Loud applause.]

"The Test of Our Faith."

But Germany insists that this is an attack by a lower civilization upon a higher one. [Derisive cries.] As a matter of fact, the attack was begun by the civilization which calls itself the higher one. I am no apologist for Russia; she has perpetrated deeds of which I have no doubt her best sons are ashamed. What empire has not? But Germany is the last empire to point the finger of reproach at Russia. ["Hear, hear!"] Russia has made sacrifices for freedom—great sacrifices. Do you remember the cry of Bulgaria when she was torn by the most insensate tyranny that Europe has ever seen? Who listened to that cry? The only answer of the higher civilization was that the liberty of the Bulgarian peasants was not worth the life of a single Pomeranian grenadier. But the "rude barbarians of the North" sent their sons by the thousand to die for Bulgarian freedom. What about England? Go to Greece, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, France—in all those lands I could point out places where the sons of Britain have died for the freedom of those peoples. [Loud applause.] France has made sacrifices for the freedom of other lands than her own. Can you name a single country in the world for the freedom of which modern Prussia has ever sacrificed a single life? ["No!"] By the test of our faith, the highest standard of civilization is the readiness to sacrifice for others. [Applause.]

German "Civilization."

I will not say a single word in disparagement of the German people. They are a great people, and have great qualities [pg 341]of head and hand and heart. I believe, in spite of recent events, that there is as great a store of kindliness in the German peasant as in any peasant in the world; but he has been drilled into a false idea of civilization. It is efficient, it is capable; but it is a hard civilization; it is a selfish civilization; it is a material civilization. They cannot comprehend the action of Britain at the present moment; they say so. They say, "France we can understand; she is out for vengeance; she is out for territory—Alsace and Lorraine." [Applause.] They say they can understand Russia; she is fighting for mastery—she wants Galicia. They can understand you fighting for vengeance—they can understand you fighting for mastery—they can understand you fighting for greed of territory; but they cannot understand a great empire pledging its resources, pledging its might, pledging the lives of its children, pledging its very existence, to protect a little nation that seeks to defend herself. [Applause.] God made man in His own image, high of purpose, in the region of the spirit; German civilization would recreate him in the image of a Diesel machine—precise, accurate, powerful, but with no room for soul to operate. ["Hear, hear!"]

A Philosophy of Blood and Iron.

Have you read the Kaiser's speeches? If you have not a copy I advise you to buy one; they will soon be out of print, and you will not have many more of the same sort. [Laughter and applause.] They are full of the glitter and bluster of German militarism—"mailed fist," and "shining armor." Poor old mailed fist! Its knuckles are getting a little bruised. Poor shining armor! The shine is being knocked out of it. [Applause.] There is the same swagger and boastfulness running through the whole of the speeches. The extract which was given in The British Weekly this week is a very remarkable product as an illustration of the spirit we have to fight. It is the Kaiser's speech to his soldiers on the way to the front:—

Remember that the German people are the chosen of God. On me, the German Emperor, the spirit of God has descended. I am His sword, His weapon, and His viceregent. Woe to the disobedient, and death to cowards and unbelievers.

Lunacy is always distressing, but sometimes it is dangerous; and when you get it manifested in the head of the State, and it has become the policy of a great empire, it is about time that it should be ruthlessly put away. [Loud applause.] I do not believe he meant all these speeches; it was simply the martial straddle he had acquired. But there were men around him who meant every word of them. This was their religion. Treaties? They tangle the feet of Germany in her advance. Cut them with the sword! Little nations? They hinder the advance of Germany. Trample them in the mire under the German heel! The Russian Slav? He challenges the supremacy of Germany and Europe. Hurl your legions at him and massacre him! Britain? She is a constant menace to the predominancy of Germany in the world. Wrest the trident out of her hand! Christianity? Sickly sentimentalism about sacrifice for others! Poor pap for German digestion! We will have a new diet. We will force it upon the world. It will be made in Germany—[Laughter and applause]—a diet of blood and iron. What remains? Treaties have gone. The honor of nations has gone. Liberty has gone. What is left? Germany! Germany is left!—"Deutschland über Alles!"

That is what we are fighting—["Hear, hear!"]—that claim to predominancy of a material, hard civilization, a civilization which if it once rules and sways the world, liberty goes, democracy vanishes. And unless Britain and her sons come to the rescue it will be a dark day for humanity. [Applause.]

Have you followed the Prussian Junker and his doings? We are not fighting the German people. The German people are under the heel of this military caste, and it will be a day of rejoicing for the German peasant, artisan and trader when the military caste is broken. You know its pretensions. They give themselves the airs of demi-gods. They walk the pavements, and civilians and their wives [pg 342]are swept into the gutter; they have no right to stand in the way of a great Prussian soldier. Men, women, nations—they all have to go. He thinks all he has to say is "We are in a hurry." That is the answer he gave to Belgium—"Rapidity of action is Germany's greatest asset," which means "I am in a hurry; clear out of the way." You know the type of motorist, the terror of the roads, with a sixty horse-power car, who thinks the roads are made for him, and knocks down anybody who impedes the action of his car by a single mile an hour. The Prussian Junker is the road-hog of Europe. [Applause.] Small nationalities in his way are hurled to the roadside, bleeding and broken. Women and children are crushed under the wheels of his cruel car, and Britain is ordered out of his road. All I can say is this: If the old British spirit is alive in British hearts, that bully will be torn from his seat. [Loud applause.] Were he to win, it would be the greatest catastrophe that has befallen democracy since the day of the Holy Alliance and its ascendency.

"Through Terror to Triumph."

They think we cannot beat them. It will not be easy. It will be a long job; it will be a terrible war; but in the end we shall march through terror to triumph. [Applause.] We shall need all our qualities—every quality that Britain and its people possess—prudence in counsel, daring in action, tenacity in purpose, courage in defeat, moderation in victory; in all things faith! [Loud applause.]

It has pleased them to believe and to preach the belief that we are a decadent and degenerate people. They proclaim to the world through their professors that we are a non-heroic nation skulking behind our mahogany counters, while we egg on more gallant races to their destruction. This is a description given of us in Germany—"a timorous, craven nation, trusting to its fleet." I think they are beginning to find their mistake out already, [applause,] and there are half a million young men of Britain who have already registered a vow to their King that they will cross the seas and hurl that insult to British courage against its perpetrators on the battlefields of France and Germany. We want half a million more; and we shall get them. [Loud applause.]

Wales must continue doing her duty. That was a great telegram that you, my Lord, read from Glamorgan. ["Hear, hear!"] I should like to see a Welsh Army in the field. [Loud applause.] I should like to see the race that faced the Norman for hundreds of years in a struggle for freedom, the race that helped to win Crécy, the race that fought for a generation under Glendower against the greatest captain in Europe—I should like to see that race give a good taste of its quality in this struggle in Europe; and they are going to do it.

The Sacrifice.

I envy you young people your opportunity. They have put up the age limit for the army, but I am sorry to say I have marched a good many years even beyond that. It is a great opportunity, an opportunity that only comes once in many centuries to the children of men. For most generations sacrifice comes in drab and weariness of spirit. It comes to you today, and it comes today to us all, in the form of the glow and thrill of a great movement for liberty, that impels millions throughout Europe to the same noble end. [Applause.] It is a great war for the emancipation of Europe from the thralldom of a military caste which has thrown its shadows upon two generations of men, and is now plunging the world into a welter of bloodshed and death. Some have already given their lives. There are some who have given more than their own lives; they have given the lives of those who are dear to them. I honor their courage, and may God be their comfort and their strength. But their reward is at hand; those who have fallen have died consecrated deaths. They have taken their part in the making of a new Europe—a new world. I can see signs of its coming in the glare of the battlefield.

The people will gain more by this struggle in all lands than they comprehend at the present moment. ["Hear, hear!"] It is true they will be free of [pg 343]the greatest menace to their freedom. That is not all. There is something infinitely greater and more enduring which is emerging already out of this great conflict—a new patriotism, richer, nobler, and more exalted than the old. [Applause.] I see among all classes, high and low, shedding themselves of selfishness, a new recognition that the honor of the country does not depend merely on the maintenance of its glory in the stricken field, but also in protecting its homes from distress. ["Hear, hear!"] It is bringing a new outlook for all classes. The great flood of luxury and sloth which had submerged the land is receding, and a new Britain is appearing. We can see for the first time the fundamental things that matter in life, and that have been obscured from our vision by the tropical growth of prosperity. ["Hear, hear!"]

"The Vision."

May I tell you in a simple parable what I think this war is doing for us? I know a valley in North Wales, between the mountains and the sea. It is a beautiful valley, snug, comfortable, sheltered by the mountains from all the bitter blasts. But it is very enervating, and I remember how the boys were in the habit of climbing the hill above the village to have a glimpse of the great mountains in the distance, and to be stimulated and freshened by the breezes which came from the hilltops, and by the great spectacle of their grandeur. We have been living in a sheltered valley for generations. We have been too comfortable and too indulgent, many, perhaps, too selfish, and the stern hand of fate has scourged us to an elevation where we can see the great everlasting things that matter for a nation—the great peaks we had forgotten, of honor, duty, patriotism, and, clad in glittering white, the great pinnacle of sacrifice pointing like a rugged finger to Heaven. We shall descend into the valleys again; but as long as the men and women of this generation last, they will carry in their hearts the image of those great mountain peaks whose foundations are not shaken, though Europe rock and sway in the convulsions of a great war. [Enthusiastic and continued applause.]

Teachings of Gen. von Bernhardi

By Viscount (James) Bryce.

London, Oct. 3.

The present war has had some unexpected consequences. It has called the attention of the world outside of Germany to some amazing doctrines proclaimed there, which strike at the root of all international morality as well as of all international law, and which threaten a return to primitive savagery, when every tribe was wont to plunder and massacre its neighbors.

These doctrines may be found set forth in the widely circulated book of Gen. von Bernhardi, entitled "Germany and the Next War," published in 1911, and professing to be mainly based on the teachings of the famous professor of history, Heinrich von Treitschke. To readers in other countries, and I trust to most readers in Germany also, they will appear to be an outburst of militarism run mad, a product of a brain intoxicated by love of war and by superheated national self-consciousness.

They would have deserved little notice, much less refutation, but for one deplorable fact, viz., that action has recently been taken by the Government of a great nation (though, as we hope and trust, without the approval of that nation) which is consonant with them and seems to imply belief in their soundness.

Acting on Bernhardi's Doctrines.

This fact is the conduct of the German Imperial Government in the violation of [pg 344]the neutrality of Belgium, which Prussia, as well as Great Britain and France, had solemnly guaranteed by treaty (made in 1839 and renewed in 1870); in invading Belgium when she refused to allow her armies to pass, although France, the other belligerent, had explicitly promised not to enter Belgium; and in treating Belgian cities and people against whom she had no cause of quarrel with a harshness unprecedented in the history of modern European warfare.

What are these doctrines? I do not for a moment attribute them to the learned class in Germany, for whom I have profound respect, recognizing their immense services to science and learning; nor to the bulk of the civil administration, a body whose capacity and uprightness are known to all the world, and least of all to the German people generally. That the latter hold no such views appears from Bernhardi's own words, for he repeatedly complains of and deplores the pacific tendencies of his fellow countrymen.

[Note—See Pp. 10-14 of the English translation and note the phrase: "Aspirations for peace seem to poison the soul of the German people."]

Nevertheless, the fact that the action referred to, which these doctrines seem to have prompted, and which cannot be defended except by them, has been actually taken and has thus brought into this war Great Britain, whose interests and feelings made her desire peace, renders it proper to call attention to them and to all that they involve.

I have certainly no prejudice in the matter, for I have been one of those who for many years labored to promote good relations between the German and English peoples, that ought to be friendly, and that never before had been enemies; and I had hoped and believed till the beginning of August last that between them at least there would be no war, because Belgian neutrality would be respected.

Nor was it only for the sake of Great Britain and Germany that English friends of peace sought to maintain good feeling. We had hoped, as some leading German statesmen had hoped, that a friendliness with Germany might enable Great Britain, with the co-operation of the United States, our closest friends, to mitigate the long antagonism of Germany and of the French, with whom we were already on good terms, and to so improve their relations as to secure the general peace of Europe.

Into the causes which frustrated these efforts and so suddenly brought on this war I will not enter. Many others have dealt with them; moreover, the facts, at least as we in England see and believe them, and as the documents seem to prove them to be, appear not to be known to the German people, and the motives of the chief actors are not yet fully ascertained.

One thing, however, I can confidently declare: It was neither commercial rivalry nor jealousy of German power that brought Great Britain into the field, nor was there any hatred in the British people for the German people, nor any wish to break their power. The leading political thinkers and historians of England had given hearty sympathy to the efforts made by the German people, from 1815 to 1866 and 1870, to attain political unity, and they had sympathized with the parallel efforts of the Italians. The two nations, German and British, were of kindred race and linked by many ties. To the German people even now we feel no sort of enmity. In both countries there were doubtless some persons who desired war and whose writings, apparently designed to provoke it, did much to misrepresent general national sentiment; but these persons were, as I believe, a small minority in both countries.

So far as Great Britain was concerned, it was the invasion of Belgium that arrested all efforts to avert war and made the friends of peace themselves join in holding that the duty of fulfilling their treaty obligations to a weak State was paramount to every other consideration.

Bernhardi's Praise of War.

I return to the doctrines set forth by von Bernhardi and apparently accepted by the military caste to which he belongs. Briefly summed up, they are as [pg 345]follows—his own words are used except when it becomes necessary to abridge a lengthened argument:

A Doctrine 2,200 Years Old.

These are startling propositions, though propounded as practically axiomatic. They are not new, for twenty-two centuries ago the sophist Thrasymachus in Plato's "Republic" argued—Socrates refuting him—that justice is nothing more than the advantage of the stronger; might is right.

[Note.—Plato laid down that the end for which the State exists is justice.]

The most startling among them are (1) denial that there are any duties owed by the State to humanity, except that of imposing its own superior civilization upon as large a part of humanity as possible, and (2) denial of the duty of observing treaties which are only so much paper to modern German writers.

The State is a much more tremendous entity than it is to Englishmen or Americans; it is the supreme power, with a sort of mystic sanctity—a power conceived of, as it were, self-created; a force altogether distinct from and superior to the persons who compose it. But a State is, after all, only so many individuals organized under a Government. It is no wiser, no more righteous than the human beings of whom at consists, and whom it sets up to govern it. If it is right for persons united as citizens into a State to rob and murder for their collective advantage by their collective power, why should it be wicked for citizens, as individuals, to do so? Does their moral responsibility cease when and because they act together? Most legal systems hold that there are acts which one man may lawfully do which become unlawful if done by a number of men conspiring together; but now it would seem that what would be a crime in persons as individuals, is high policy for those persons united in a [pg 346]State. Has the State, then, no morality, no responsibility? Is there no such thing as a common humanity? Are there no duties owed to it? Is there none of that "decent respect to the opinions of mankind," which the framers of the Declaration of Independence recognized? No sense that even the greatest States are amenable to the sentiment of the civilized world?

How Weaker States Are Affected.

Let us see how these doctrines affect smaller and weaker States which have hitherto lived in comparative security beside great powers. They will be absolutely at the mercy of the stronger, even if protected by treaties guaranteeing their neutrality and independence. They will not be safe, for treaty obligations are worthless "when they do not correspond to facts," i.e., when the strong power finds that they stand in its way its interests are paramount.

If a State hold valuable minerals, as Sweden has iron, and Belgium coal, and Rumania oil, or if it has abundance of water power, like Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland; or if it holds the mouth of a navigable river, the upper course of which belongs to another nation, a great State may conquer and annex that small State as soon as it finds that it needs minerals or water power or river mouth. It has the power, and power gives right. The interests, sentiments of patriotism, and love of independence of the small people go for nothing. Civilization has turned back upon itself; culture is to expand itself by barbaric force; Governments derive their authority, not from the consent of the governed, but from the weapons of the conqueror; law and morality between nations have vanished. Herodotus tells us that the Scythians worshipped as their god a naked sword; that is the deity to be installed in the place once held by the God of Christianity, the God of righteousness and mercy.

States—mostly despotic States—have sometimes applied parts of this system of doctrine; but none have proclaimed it. The Roman conquerors of the world were not a scrupulous people, but even they stopped short of these principles; certainly they never set them up as an ideal; neither did those magnificent Teutonic Emperors of the Middle Ages, whose fame Gen. von Bernhardi is fond of recalling. They did not enter Italy as conquerors, claiming her by right of the strongest; they came on the faith of a legal title which, however fantastic it may seem to us today, the Italians themselves, and, indeed, the whole of Latin Christendom, admitted. Dante, the greatest and most patriotic of Italians, welcomed the Emperor Henry VII. into Italy, and wrote a famous book to prove his claims, vindicating them on the ground that he, as heir of Rome, stood for law and right and peace. The noblest title which these Emperors chose to bear was that of Imperator Pacificus.

In the Middle Ages, when men were always fighting, they appreciated the blessings of war much less than does Gen. von Bernhardi, and they valued peace, not war, as a means to civilization and culture. They had not learned in the school of Treitschke that peace means decadence and war is the true civilizing influence.

Great Achievements of Small States.

The doctrines above stated are, as I have tried to point out, well calculated to alarm small States which prize their liberty and their individuality, and have been thriving under the safeguard of treaties; but there are other considerations affecting those States which ought to appeal to men in all countries, to strong nations as well as to weak nations.

The small States whose absorption is now threatened have been a potent and useful—perhaps the most potent and useful—factor in the advance of civilization. It is in them and by them that most of what is most precious in religion, in philosophy, in literature, in science, and in art has been produced.

The first great thoughts that brought man into true relation with God came from a tiny people inhabiting a country smaller than Denmark. The religions of mighty Babylon and populous Egypt [pg 347]have vanished; the religion of Israel remains in its earlier as well as in that later form which has overspread the world.

The Greeks were a small people, not united in one great State, but scattered over coasts and among hills in petty city communities, each with its own life. Slender in numbers, but eager, versatile, and intense, they gave us the richest, most varied, and most stimulating of all literatures.

When poetry and art reappeared after the long night of the Dark Ages, their most splendid blossoms flowered in the small republics of Italy.

In modern Europe what do we not owe to little Switzerland, lighting the torch of freedom 600 years ago and keeping it alight through all the centuries when despotic monarchies held the rest of the European Continent? And what to free Holland, with her great men of learning and her painters surpassing those of all other countries save Italy?

So the small Scandinavian nations have given to the world famous men of science, from Linnaeus downward; poets like Tegnor and Björnson; scholars like Madvig; dauntless explorers like Fridtjof Nansen.

England had in the age of Shakespeare, Bacon, and Milton a population little larger than that of Bulgaria today. The United States in the days of Washington and Franklin and Jefferson and Hamilton and Marshall counted fewer inhabitants than Denmark or Greece. In the most brilliant generations of German literature and thought, the age of Kant and Lessing and Goethe, of Hegel and Schiller and Fichte, there was no real German State at all, but a congeries of principalities and free cities—independent centres of intellectual life in which letters and science produced a richer crop than the two succeeding generations have raised, just as Great Britain also, with eight times the population of the year 1600, has had no more Shakespeares or Miltons.

Culture Decayed in Imperial Rome.

No fiction is more palpably contradicted by history than that relied on by the school to which von Bernhardi belongs—that culture, literary, scientific, and artistic, flourishes best in great military States. The decay of art and literature in the Roman world began just when Rome's military power had made that world one great and ordered State. The opposite view would be much nearer the truth, though one must admit that no general theory regarding the relations of art and letters to Governments and political conditions has ever yet been proved to be sound.

[Note—Gen. von Bernhardi's knowledge of current history may be estimated by the fact that he assumes (1) that trade rivalry makes war probable between Great Britain and the United States; (2) that he believes that the Indian princes and peoples are likely to revolt against Great Britain should she be involved in war, and(3) that he expects her self-governing colonies to take such an opportunity of severing their connection with her.]

The world is already too uniform and is becoming more uniform every day. A few leading languages, a few forms of civilization, a few types of character, are spreading out from the seven or eight greatest States and extinguishing weaker languages, forms, and types. Although great States are stronger and more populous, their peoples are not necessarily more gifted, and the extinction of the minor languages and types would be a misfortune for the world's future development.

We may not be able to arrest the forces which seem to be making for that extinction, but we certainly ought not strengthen them. Rather we ought to maintain and defend the smaller States and to favor the rise and growth of new peoples. Not merely because they were delivered from the tyranny of Sultans like Abdul Hamid did the intellect of Europe welcome the successively won liberations of Greece, Servia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro; it was also in the hope that those countries would in time develop out of their present crude conditions new types of culture, new centres of productive intellectual life.

[pg 348]Gen. von Bernhardi invokes history as the ultimate court of appeal. He appeals to Caesar; to Caesar let him go. "Die Weltgeschichte ist das Weltgericht", ("World history is world tribunal.") History declares that no nation, however great, is entitled to try to impose its type of civilization on others. No race, not even the Teutonic or Anglo-Saxon, is entitled to claim the leadership of humanity. Each people has in its time contributed something that was distinctively its own, and the world is far richer thereby than if any one race, however gifted, had established its permanent ascendency.

We of the Anglo-Saxon race do not claim for ourselves, any more than we admit in others, any right to dominate by force or to impose our own type of civilization on less powerful races. Perhaps we have not that assured conviction of its superiority which the school of von Bernhardi expressed for the Teutons of North Germany. We know how much we owe, even within our own islands, to the Celtic race; and, though we must admit that peoples of Anglo-Saxon stock have, like others, made some mistakes and sometimes abused their strength, let it be remembered what have been the latest acts they have done abroad.

Praises American Altruism.

The United States have twice withdrawn their troops from Cuba, which they could easily have retained; they have resisted all temptations to annex any part of the territories of Mexico, in which the lives and property of their citizens were for three years in constant danger. So Great Britain also six years ago restored the amplest self-government to two South African republics, having already agreed to the maintenance on equal terms of the Dutch language; and the citizens of those republics, which were in arms against her thirteen years ago, have now spontaneously come forward to support her by arms under the gallant leader who then commanded the Boers; and I may add that one reason why the Princes of India have rallied so promptly and heartily to Great Britain in this war is because for many years past we have avoided annexing the territories of those Princes, allowing them to adopt heirs when the successors of their own families failed, and leaving to them as much as possible of the ordinary functions of government.

Service the Test of Greatness.

It is only vulgar minds that mistake bigness for greatness; for greatness is of the soul, not of the body. In the judgment which history will hereafter pass upon the forty centuries of recorded progress toward civilization that now lie behind us, what are the tests it will apply to determine the true greatness of a people? Not population, not territory, not wealth, not military power; rather will history ask what examples of lofty character and unselfish devotion to honor and duty has a people given? What has it done to increase the volume of knowledge? What thoughts and what ideals of permanent value and unexhausted fertility has it bequeathed to mankind? What works has it produced in poetry, music, and other arts to be an unfailing source of enjoyment to posterity? The small peoples need not fear the application of such tests.

The world advances, not, as the Bernhardi school supposes, only or even mainly by fighting; it advances mainly by thinking and by the process of reciprocal teaching and learning; by the continuous and unconscious co-operation of all its strongest and finest minds. Each race—Hellenic, Italic, Celtic, Teutonic, Iberian, Slavonic—has something to give, each something to learn; and when their blood is blended the mixed stock may combine gifts of both. Most progressive races have been those who combined willingness to learn with strength, which enabled them to receive without loss to their own quality, retaining their primal vigor, but entering into the labors of others, as the Teutons who settled within the dominions of Rome profited by the lessons of the old civilization.

Let me disclaim once more before I close, any intention to attribute to the German people the principles set forth by the school of Treitschke and [pg 349]Bernhardi—the school which teaches hatred of peace and arbitration, disregard of treaty obligations, scorn for weaker peoples. We in England would feel even deeper sadness than weighs upon us now if we could suppose that such principles had been embraced by the nation whose thinkers have done so much for human progress and who have produced so many shining examples of Christian saintliness; but when those principles have been ostentatiously proclaimed, when a peaceful neutral country which the other belligerent had solemnly and repeatedly undertaken to respect has been invaded and treated as Belgium has been treated, and when attempts are made to justify these deeds as incidental to a campaign for civilization and culture, it becomes necessary to point out how untrue and how pernicious such principles are.

Most Wars Needless and Unjust.

What are the teachings of history to which Gen. Bernhardi is fond of appealing? That war has been the constant handmaid of tyranny and the source of more than half the miseries of man; that, although some wars have been necessary and have given occasion for a display of splendid heroism—wars of defense against aggression or to succor the oppressed—most wars have been needless or unjust; that the mark of an advancing civilization has been the substitution of friendship for hatred and of peaceful for warlike ideals; that small peoples have done and can do as much for the common good of humanity as large peoples; that treaties must be observed, (for what are they but records of national faith, solemnly pledged, and what could bring mankind more surely and swiftly back to that reign of violence and terror from which it has been slowly rising for the last ten centuries than the destruction of trust in the plighted faith of nations?)

No event has brought out that essential unity which now exists in the world so forcibly as this war has done, for no event has ever so affected every part of the world. Four continents are involved, the whole of the Old World, and the New World suffers grievously in its trade, industry, and finances. Thus the whole world is interested in preventing the recurrence of such a calamity and there is a general feeling throughout the world that the causes which have brought it upon us must be removed.

We are told that armaments must be reduced; that the baleful spirit of militarism must be quenched; that peoples must everywhere be admitted to a fuller share in the control of foreign policy; that efforts must be made to establish a sort of league of concord—some system of international relations and reciprocal peace alliances by which weaker nations may be protected and under which differences between nations may be adjusted by courts of arbitration and conciliation of wider scope than those that now exist.

All these things are desirable, but no scheme for preventing future wars will have any chance of success unless it rests upon the assurance that the States which enter into it will loyally and steadfastly abide by it, and that each and all of them will join in coercing by their overwhelming united strength any State which may disregard obligations it has undertaken. The faith of treaties is the only solid foundation on which the temple of peace can be built up.


Entrance of France Into War

[pg 350]By President Poincare and Premier Viviani.

Proclamation Issued to the People of France by President Poincare, Paris, Aug. 1.

For some days the condition of Europe has become considerably more serious in spite of the efforts of diplomacy. The horizon has become darkened.

At this hour most of the nations have mobilized their forces.

Some countries, even though protected by neutrality, have thought it right to take this step as a precaution.

Some powers, whose constitutional and military laws do not resemble our own, have without issuing a decree of mobilization begun and continued preparations which are in reality equivalent to mobilization and which are nothing more or less than an anticipation of it (qui n'en sont que l'exécution anticipée).

France, who has always declared her pacific intentions, and who has at the darkest hours (dans des heures tragiques) given to Europe counsels of moderation and a living example of prudence (sagesse), who has multiplied her efforts for the maintenance of the world's peace, has herself prepared for all eventualties and has taken from this moment the first indispensable measures for the safety of her territory.

But our legislation does not allow us to complete these preparations without a decree of mobilization.

Careful of its responsibility and realizing that it would be failing in a sacred task to leave things as they were, the Government has issued the decree which the situation demands.

Mobilization is not war. In the present circumstances it appears, on the contrary, to be the best means of assuring peace with honor.

Strong in its ardent desire to arrive at a peaceful solution of the crisis the Government, protected by such precautions as are necessary, will continue its diplomatic efforts, and it still hopes to succeed.

It relies upon the calm of this noble nation not to give rein to emotions which are not justified. It relies upon the patriotism of all Frenchmen, and it knows that there is not one who is not ready to do his duty.

At this moment parties no longer exist; there remains only France, the eternal, the pacific, the resolute. There remains only the fatherland of right and of justice, entirely united in calm vigilance and dignity.


Telegram from M. Viviani, French Premier and Minister for Foreign Affairs, to the Ministry in Luxembourg, Published Aug. 3.


French Premier.
(Photograph from Bain News Service.)

Please declare to the President of the Council that, in accordance with the Treaty of London of 1867, the Government of the Republic intended to respect the neutrality of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, as it has shown by its attitude. The violation of this neutrality by Germany is, however, of a nature which compels France to take henceforth the measures in this respect required by her defense and interests.

The Prime Minister of Luxembourg has protested to the German Government, and has brought this protest to the notice of the German Embassy in Paris, stating the following facts:

On Sunday, Aug. 2, early in the morning, the Germans entered Luxembourg territory by the bridges of Wasserbourg(?) and Remleh, proceeding toward the south of the country and Luxembourg, its capital. They have also brought toward this point armored trains, with troops and munitions of war. Further, [pg 351]the special French Commissioner at Petitcroix has announced to the Sûreté Générale that the Germans have just opened fire on the frontier station of Delle-Petitcroix. Two German cavalry officers have just been killed at Roncray and Boxson, ten kilometers on our side of the frontier.


Address to the French Parliament by President Poincare, Aug. 4.

Our nation is in arms and trembling with eagerness to defend the land of our fathers.

France is faithfully supported by her ally, Russia. She is upheld by the loyal friendship of England, and, already, from all points of the civilized world, go out to her expressions of sympathy and good-will, for she represents today, once again before the universe, liberty, justice, and reason.

Lift up your hearts! Long live France!


Address of Premier Viviani to the French Senate and House of Deputies, Aug. 4.

This speech has been called by M. Jusserand, French Ambassador to the United States, "the chief document printed up to now [Nov. 1] in which the French situation, with reference to the present war, has been expounded."

Gentlemen, the German Ambassador left Paris yesterday, after having notified us of the existence of a state of war.

The Government is in duty bound to give Parliament a truthful recital of the events which, within less than ten days, have brought about war in Europe and obliged France, peaceful and strong, to defend her frontier against an attack the premeditated suddenness of which emphasizes its odious injustice.

This attack, entirely inexcusable and begun before any declaration of war notified us of it, is the last act in a plan whose origin and aim I intend to lay bare before our republic and before civilized public opinion.

After the abominable crime which cost the lives of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne and of the Duchess of Hohenberg, trouble arose between the Governments of Vienna and Belgrade.

Most of the great powers were not informed of this except semi-officially up to Friday, the 24th day of July, on which day the Ambassadors of Austria-Hungary sent them a circular note, which has been published in the newspapers.

The object of this note was to explain and justify an ultimatum sent the evening before to Servia, through the Austrian Minister at Belgrade.

This ultimatum asserted that a number of Servian subjects and associations were implicated in the crime of Serajevo, and implied that members of the Servian Government themselves were not without complicity in it. It demanded a reply from Servia, giving Saturday, July 25, at 6 in the evening, as the time limit.

Austria Amazes Allies.

The reparations demanded, or, at least, some among them, unquestionably were derogatory to the rights of a sovereign nation. But in spite of their extreme character Servia, on July 25, declared that she submitted to them almost without a reservation of any sort.

The advice transmitted by France, Russia, and Great Britain from the very first to Belgrade was not without its effect in bringing about this submission, which was a success for Austria-Hungary and likewise a guarantee toward the maintenance of European peace.

This advice was all the more valuable in view of the fact that Austria-Hungary's demands had been inadequately foreshadowed to the Governments of the Triple Entente, to whom, during the three preceding weeks, the Austro-Hungarian Government had repeatedly given assurances that its demands would be extremely moderate.

[pg 352]It was, therefore, with justified astonishment that the Cabinets of Paris, St. Petersburg, and London heard, on July 26, that the Austrian Minister at Belgrade, after an examination lasting only a few minutes, had declared the Servian reply unacceptable and broken off diplomatic relations.

Germany the Stumbling Block.

This astonishment was rendered greater by the fact that, on Friday, the 21st, the German Ambassador had visited the French Minister of Foreign Affairs for the purpose of reading to him a note to the effect that the Austro-Servian dispute should be localized and not made the subject of intervention by the great powers, and that, unless such were the case, "incalculable consequences" were to be feared. Like action was taken on Saturday, the 25th, at London and St. Petersburg.

Is it necessary, gentlemen, to point out to you the difference between the menacing methods employed by the German Ambassador at Paris and the conciliatory sentiments of which the powers of the Triple Entente had just given proof by their advice to Servia to submit?

Nevertheless, passing over the abnormal character of the German action, we, in conjunction with our allies and friends, immediately instituted measures of conciliation and invited Germany to take part in them.

From the very first we were chagrined to find that our acts and efforts found no echo at Berlin.

Not only did Germany seem unwilling to give Austria-Hungary the amicable advice which her situation authorized her to give, but, from that very time and even more in the ensuing days, she seemed to place herself between the Vienna Cabinet and the propositions of a compromise emanating from the other powers.

On Tuesday, July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Servia. This declaration of war, complicating forty-eight hours after the situation brought about by the rupture of diplomatic relations, lent color to the assumption that there had been a premeditated plan to make war, a systematic programme for the subjugation of Servia.

Thus not only the independence of a brave nation became involved, but also the balance of power in the Balkans, set forth in the Treaty of Bucharest of 1913, and sanctioned by the moral adhesion of all the great powers.

Notwithstanding, at the suggestion of the British Government, always interested in the most steadfast manner in the maintenance of European peace, the negotiations continued, or, to be more exact, the powers constituting the Triple Entente tried to continue them.

To their common desire was due the proposition for quadruple action, viz., by England, France, Germany, and Italy, with the object of assuring to Austria all legitimate reparation and bringing about an equitable arrangement of the difficulty. On Wednesday, the 29th, the Russian Government, noting the persistent blocking of these attempts, Austria's mobilization and her declaration of war, and fearing that Servia would be crushed by military force, decided, as a preventive measure, to mobilize her troops in four military zones, namely, only those stationed along the Austro-Hungarian frontier.

In doing this it took care to notify the German Government that this step, limited in character and not constituting an offensive move against Austria, was not in any way directed against Germany.

In a conversation with the Russian Ambassador at Berlin the German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs showed no objection to recognizing this.

Germany Becomes Warlike.

On the other hand, all the attempts of Great Britain, backed by Russia and with the support of France, for establishing contact between Austria and Servia under the moral auspices of Europe, was met in Berlin by a premeditated negative attitude, the existence of which is absolutely proved by the diplomatic communications.

[pg 353]This made a troublous state of affairs which pointed to the existence at Berlin of certain mental reservations. A few hours later these suppositions and fears were destined to be changed into certainties.

For the negative attitude of Germany was transformed thirty-six hours later into truly alarming initiative. On July 31, Germany, by declaring a state of war, cut off the communication between herself and the rest of Europe, and gave herself perfect freedom to make military preparations against France, in complete secrecy, which nothing, as you have seen, could justify.

During several days and under conditions difficult to explain Germany had been preparing to change her army from a peace to a war footing.

From July 25 in the morning, that is even before the expiration of the time limit set Servia by Austria, she had brought to their full strength the garrisons in Alsace-Lorraine. On the same day she had placed the works close to the frontier in a state of effective armament. On the 26th she had prescribed for the railroads the preparatory measures for concentration. On the 27th she had made requisitions and placed her covering troops in position. On the 28th the summoning of individual reservists began, including those distant from the frontier.

Could we be left in doubt as to Germany's intentions after her taking all these measures with relentless thoroughness?

France Forced to Act.

This, then, was the situation when, on July 31, in the evening, the German Government, which had not taken any positive part since the 24th in the conciliatory efforts of the Triple Entente, sent to the Russian Government an ultimatum alleging that Russia had ordered the general mobilization of her armies, and demanding the cessation of this mobilization within twelve hours.

This demand, all the more offensive as to form when it is borne in mind that a few hours earlier Emperor Nicholas, actuated by a spontaneous feeling of confidence, had asked the German Emperor to mediate, was made at the moment when, at the request of England and with the knowledge of Germany, the Russian Government was accepting a proposition of a kind calculated to bring about an amicable arrangement of the Austro-Servian conflict and of the Austro-Russian difficulties by means of the simultaneous cessation of military operations and preparations.

On the same day there were added to this unfriendly step toward Russia acts of distinct hostility toward France; rupture of communications by roads, railways, telegraph, and telephone, seizure of French locomotives upon arrival at the frontier, placing of rapid-fire guns in the middle of railway lines which had been torn up, and concentration of troops on our frontier.

From that moment it was impossible for us to believe any longer in the sincerity of the pacific protestations which the representative of Germany continued to lavish upon us.

We were aware that, under the shelter of the declaration of a state of war which Germany had made, she was mobilizing.

We learned that six classes of reservists had been summoned and that concentration of army corps was under way, even of those corps stationed a long distance from the frontier.

In proportion as these events developed, the Government, alert and vigilant, took day by day, even hour by hour, the precautionary measures made necessary by the situation; general mobilization of our land and sea forces was ordered.

The same evening, at 7:30, Germany, ignoring the acceptance by the St. Petersburg Cabinet of the English proposition to which I have already referred, declared war upon Russia.

Denies Hostile Acts by French.

The next day, Sunday, Aug. 2, despite the extreme moderation of France and the pacific statements of the German Ambassador in Paris, and scorning the rules of international law, German troops crossed our frontier at three different points.

[pg 354]At the same time, in violation of the Treaty of 1867 guaranteeing the neutrality of Luxemburg, of which Prussia was a signatory, they invaded the territory of the Grand Duchy, thus evoking a protest from the Luxemburg Government.

Finally, even the neutrality of Belgium was menaced. On the evening of Aug. 2 the German Minister handed to the Belgian Government an ultimatum demanding that military operations against France be facilitated by Belgium under the lying pretext that Belgian neutrality was threatened by us.

The Belgian Government refused, announcing that it had resolved to defend energetically its neutrality respected by France and guaranteed by treaties, especially by the King of Prussia.

Since then, gentlemen, acts of aggression have been repeated, multiplied, and accentuated. Our frontier has been crossed at more than fifteen places. Rifle shots have been fired at our soldiers and customs officials. There have been killed and wounded. Yesterday a German military aviator dropped three bombs on Lunéville.

The German Ambassador, to whom, as well as to the other great powers, we communicated these acts did not deny them, nor even express regret. On the contrary, he came to me yesterday evening to ask for his passport and notify us of the existence of a state of war, alleging without justification hostile acts committed by French aviators on German territory in the Eiffel region, and even on the railway from Karlsruhe to Nuremberg. Here is the letter on this subject which he handed to me:

Mr. President: German civil and military authorities have taken note of a certain number of acts of a hostile character committed on German territory by French military aviators. Several of the latter have clearly violated the neutrality of Belgium by flying over the territory of that nation. One tried to destroy buildings near Wesel, others were seen over the Eiffel region, another threw bombs on the railway line between Karlsruhe and Nuremberg.

I have been charged with informing your Excellency, and now have the honor of doing so, that in view of these acts of aggression the German Empire now considers itself in a state of war with France as a result of the acts of the latter power.

I have at the same time the honor of bringing to your Excellency's knowledge that the German authorities will detain French merchant vessels in German ports, but will release them if within forty-eight hours complete reciprocity is assured.

My diplomatic mission having terminated, all that remains for me to do is to request your Excellency to provide me with my passports and take whatever measures your Excellency may deem necessary to effect my return to Germany with the personnel of the embassy and of the Bavarian Legation and the Consulate General of Germany at Paris.

With sentiments of my highest consideration.


Is it necessary, gentlemen, that I should call attention to the absurdity of the pretexts brought forward as grievances? Never at any time has any French aviator gone into Belgium; no French aviator has committed an act of hostility either in Bavaria or any other part of Germany. European public opinion has already done justice to these miserable inventions.

We immediately took all needed steps against this attack, which violates all laws of equity and rules of public law. The carrying out of these is progressing with thorough system and absolute calm.

The mobilization of the Russian Army is also being continued with remarkable energy and boundless enthusiasm.

The Belgian Army, mobilized up to 250,000 men, is preparing with magnificent spirit to defend the neutrality and independence of its country.

The English fleet is entirely mobilized, and the order has been given for the mobilization of the land forces.

Since 1912 there have been consultations between the English and French General Staffs. These had resulted in an exchange of letters between Sir Edward Grey and M. Paul Cambon. The Secretary of State made these known yesterday in the House of Commons, and, in accordance with the wishes of the British Government, I shall have the honor of reading these two documents to this Parliament:

[pg 355]London, Foreign Office, Nov. 22, 1912.

My Dear Ambassador:

From time to time in recent years the French and British naval and military experts have consulted together. It has always been understood that such consultation does not restrict the freedom of either Government to decide at any future time whether or not to assist the other by armed force. We have agreed that consultation between experts is not and ought not to be regarded as an engagement that commits either Government to action in a contingency that has not arisen and may never arise. The disposition, for instance, of the French and British fleets respectively at the present moment is not based upon an engagement to co-operate in war.

You have, however, pointed out that, if either Government had grave reason to expect an unprovoked attack by a third power, it might become essential to know whether it could in that event depend upon the armed assistance of the other.

I agree that, if either Government had grave reason to expect an unprovoked attack by a third power, or something that threatened the general peace, it should immediately discuss with the other whether both Governments should act together to prevent aggression and to preserve peace, and, if so, what measures they would be prepared to take in common. If these measures involved action, the plans of the General Staffs would at once be taken into consideration, and the Governments would then decide what effect should be given to them. Yours, &c.,



London, Nov. 23, 1912.

Dear Sir Edward: You reminded me in your letter of yesterday, 22d November, that during the last few years the military and naval authorities of France and Great Britain had consulted with each other from time to time; that it had always been understood that these consultations should not restrict the liberty of either Government to decide in the future whether they should lend each other the support of their armed forces; that, on either side, these consultations between experts were not and should not be considered as engagements binding our Governments to take action in certain eventualities; that, however, I had remarked to you that, if one or other of the two Governments had grave reasons to fear an unprovoked attack on the part of a third power, it would become essential to know whether it could count on the armed support of the other.

Your letter answers that point, and I am authorized to state that, in the event of one of our two Governments having grave reasons to fear either an attack from a third power, or some event threatening the general peace, that Government would immediately examine with the other the question whether both Governments should act together in order to prevent aggression or preserve peace. If so, the two Governments would deliberate as to the measures which they would be prepared to take in common. If those measures involved action the two Governments would take into immediate consideration the plans of their General Staffs and would then decide as to the effect to be given to those plans.

Yours, &c.,


Government's Acts Beyond Reproach.

In the House of Commons the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs spoke of France, amid the applause of the members, in lofty and impassioned words, which have already elicited genuine response from all French hearts.

In the name of the Government of the Republic I wish, from this rostrum, to thank the British Government for the cordiality of its words, and the French Parliament will join me in this.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs made this declaration particularly:

That in case the German fleet entered the Channel or steamed northward in the North Sea to go around the British Isles with the purpose of attacking the French Coast or the French Navy, and to harass the French merchant marine, the English fleet would interfere by giving the French fleet its entire protection, in such manner that from that moment England and Germany would be in a state of war.

Thus, from the present moment, the English fleet is guarding our northern and western coast against German aggression.

Gentlemen, those are the facts. I think that, taken as a close-knit whole, they are sufficient to justify the acts of the Government of the Republic. Nevertheless, I wish to conclude by giving the true meaning of this unprecedented aggression of which France is the victim.

The victors of 1870, as you know, have felt at various times the desire of renewing the blows which they had dealt us. In 1875 the war for finishing vanquished France was prevented only by the intervention of the two powers destined to be [pg 356]united to us later by the ties of alliance and friendship—by the intervention of Russia and Great Britain.

Since then the French Republic, by the restoration of its strength and the making of diplomatic agreements, invariably lived up to, has succeeded in freeing itself from the yoke which Bismarck had been able to impose upon Europe even in days of peace.

It re-established the European balance of power, that guarantee of the liberty and dignity of each nation.

Gentlemen, I do not know whether I am deceiving myself, but it seems to me that it is this work of pacific reparation, liberation, and dignity, definitely sealed in 1904 and 1907 with the support of King Edward VII. of England and of the royal Government, which the German Empire desires to destroy today by an audacious piece of violence.

Germany can reproach us with nothing.

We have made an unprecedented sacrifice to peace by bearing in silence for half a century the wound inflicted by Germany.

We have acquiesced in other sacrifices in all the disputes which, since 1904, imperial diplomacy has systematically provoked either in Morocco or elsewhere, in 1905 as well as in 1906, in 1908 as well as in 1911.

Italy's Attitude.

Russia also has given proof of great moderation, both in the events of 1908 and the present crisis. She acted with the same moderation—and the Triple Entente with her—when, in the Eastern crisis of 1912, Austria and Germany formulated against Servia and Greece demands amenable to discussion, as the result proved.

Useless sacrifices, sterile compromises, futile efforts—today, while actually engaged in efforts at conciliation, we and our allies are suddenly attacked.

Nobody can believe in good faith that we are the aggressors; in vain the sacred principles of law and liberty, which rule nations as well as individuals, are assailed. Italy, with the clear conscience of Latin genius, has informed us that she will remain neutral.

This decision has aroused the sincerest joy throughout France. I made myself the spokesman of this to the Italian Chargé d'Affaires, telling him how delighted I was that the two Latin sisters, who have the same origin and ideals, and a glorious past in common, are not opposed to each other.

What is being attacked, I repeat, gentlemen, is that independence, dignity, and security which the Triple Entente has restored to the balance of power in the service of peace.

What is being attacked are the liberties of Europe, whose defenders France, her allies, and her friends are proud to be.

We shall defend these liberties, for it is they which are in jeopardy; all else is merely a pretext.

France, unjustly provoked, did not desire war. She has done everything to prevent it. But since it is forced upon her, she will defend herself against Germany, and against every power which has not as yet announced its position but which should later on take sides with Germany in the war between the two.

A free and strong nation, strengthened by venerable ideals, firmly united in defense of its existence, a democracy which has known how to discipline its military acts, and which did not fear last year to impose upon itself additional military burdens to offset those of neighboring countries, an armed nation fighting for its own life and for the independence of Europe—that is the spectacle which we are proud to show the witnesses of this formidable struggle, which has been in preparation for some days amid methodical quiet.

We are without reproach. We shall be without fear.

France has often proved, under less favorable conditions, that she is the most formidable adversary when she fights, as she now does, for liberty and right.

In placing our acts before you, gentlemen, who are our judges, we have the [pg 357]comfort of a clear conscience and the certainty of having done our duty to help us bear the weight of our heavy responsibility.


Proclamation by the Government Announcing Transfer of Capital to Bordeaux, Sept. 3.

People of France: For several weeks relentless battles have engaged our heroic troops and the army of the enemy. The valor of our soldiers has won for them, at several points, marked advantages; but in the north the pressure of the German forces has compelled us to fall back.

This situation has compelled the President of the Republic and the Government to take a painful decision.

In order to watch over the national welfare it is the duty of the public powers to remove themselves temporarily from the City of Paris.

Under the command of an eminent chief, a French Army, full of courage and zeal, will defend the capital and its patriotic population against the invader.

But the war must be carried on at the same time on the rest of its territory.

Without peace or truce, without cessation or faltering, the struggle for the honor of the nation and the reparation of violated right must continue.

None of our armies is impaired. If some of them have sustained very considerable losses, the gaps have immediately been filled up from the reserves, and the appeal for recruits assures us of new reserves in men and energy tomorrow.

Endure and fight! Such must be the motto of the allied British, Russian, Belgian, and French Armies.

Endure and fight, while at sea the British aid us, cutting the communication of our enemy with the world.

Endure and fight, while the Russians continue to advance to strike the decisive blow at the heart of the German Empire.

It is the duty of the Government of the republic to direct this stubborn resistance.

Everywhere Frenchmen will rise for their independence; but to insure the utmost spirit and efficacy in the formidable fight it is indispensable that the Government shall remain free to act. At the request of the military authorities, the Government is therefore temporarily transferring its headquarters to a place where it can remain in constant touch with the whole of the country.

It requests members of Parliament not to remain away from it, in order that they may form, with their colleagues, a bond of national unity.

The Government only leaves Paris after having assured the defense of the city and of the intrenched camp by every means in its power.

It knows that it does not need to recommend to the admirable population of Paris that calm, resolution and coolness which it is showing every day, and which is on a level with its highest traditions.

People of France, let us all be worthy of these tragic circumstances. We shall gain the final victory; we shall gain it by unflagging will, endurance, and tenacity.

A nation which refuses to perish, and which, in order to live, does not flinch either from suffering or sacrifice, is sure of victory.

The manifesto is signed by President Poincaré and all the Ministers.

Russia to Her Enemy
Slav Emperor Announces New Policies.

[pg 358]Pledge of Czar Nicholas II. to Russia's Statesmen and Soldiers, in Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, Aug. 2.

War has been forced upon us. I hereby take a solemn pledge not to conclude peace so long as a single enemy remains on Russian soil.

I wish godspeed to my soldiers represented here by the St. Petersburg military district, and I am sure that they will fully justify my confidence in them.


Czar Outlines Events Leading to War, St. Petersburg, Aug. 3.

By the grace of God, we, Nicholas II., Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias, King of Poland, and Grand Duke of Finland, &c., to all our faithful subjects make known that Russia, related by faith and blood to the Slav peoples and faithful to her historical traditions, has never regarded their fates with indifference.

But the fraternal sentiments of the Russian people for the Slavs have been awakened with perfect unanimity and extraordinary force in these last few days, when Austria-Hungary knowingly addressed to Servia claims inacceptable for an independent State.

Having paid no attention to the pacific and conciliatory reply of the Servian Government and having rejected the benevolent intervention of Russia, Austria-Hungary made haste to proceed to an armed attack, and began to bombard Belgrade, an open place.

Forced by the situation thus created to take necessary measures of precaution, we ordered the army and the navy put on a war footing, at the same time using every endeavor to obtain a peaceful solution. Pourparlers were begun amid friendly relations with Germany and her ally, Austria, for the blood and the property of our subjects were dear to us.

Contrary to our hopes in our good neighborly relations of long date, and disregarding our assurances that the mobilization measures taken were in pursuance of no object hostile to her, Germany demanded their immediate cessation. Being rebuffed in this demand, Germany suddenly declared war on Russia.

Today it is not only the protection of a country related to us and unjustly attacked that must be accorded, but we must safeguard the honor, the dignity, and the integrity of Russia and her position among the great powers.

We believe unshakably that all our faithful subjects will rise with unanimity and devotion for the defense of Russian soil; that internal discord will be forgotten in this threatening hour; that the unity of the Emperor with his people will become still more close, and that Russia, rising like one man, will repulse the insolent attack of the enemy.

With a profound faith in the justice of our work, and with a humble hope in omnipotent Providence in prayer, we call God's blessing on holy Russia and her valiant troops.



Response to Deputies of Moscow, Aug. 18.

At this stormy, warlike hour, which, suddenly and against my wishes, has fallen upon my peaceful people, I seek, according to the custom of my ancestors, to strengthen the forces of my soul in the sanctuaries of Moscow.

Within the walls of the old Kremlin I greet in you, inhabitants of Moscow, my beloved ancient capital, all my people, who everywhere, in the villages of their [pg 359]birth, in the Duma, and in the Council of the Empire, unanimously replied to my appeal and rose with vigor throughout the country, forgetting all private differences, to defend the land of their birth and the Slav race.

In a powerful common impulse all nationalities, all tribes of our vast empire, have united. Russia, like myself, will never forget these historic days.

This union of thought and sentiment in all my people affords me deep consolation and a calm assurance for the future. From here, from the heart of the Russian land, I send a warm greeting to my gallant troops and to our brave Allies who are making common cause with us to safeguard the down-trodden principles of peace and truth. May God be with us.


By Grand Duke Nicholas, Generalissimo of the Russian Forces, St. Petersburg, Aug. 15.

Poles: The hour has sounded when the sacred dream of your fathers and your grandfathers may be realized. A century and a half has passed since the living body of Poland was torn in pieces, but the soul of the country is not dead. It continues to live, inspired by the hope that there will come for the Polish people an hour of resurrection, and of fraternal reconciliation with Great Russia. The Russian Army brings you the solemn news of this reconciliation which obliterates the frontiers dividing the Polish peoples, which it unites conjointly under the sceptre of the Russian Czar. Under this sceptre Poland will be born again, free in her religion and her language. Russian autonomy only expects from you the same respect for the rights of those nationalities to which history has bound you. With open heart and brotherly hand Great Russia advances to meet you. She believes that the sword, with which she struck down her enemies at Grünwald, is not yet rusted. From the shores of the Pacific to the North Sea the Russian armies are marching. The dawn of a new life is beginning for you, and in this glorious dawn is seen the sign of the cross, the symbol of suffering and of the resurrection of peoples.


Statement Issued by Four Political Parties, Aug. 16.

The representatives of the undersigned political parties, assembled in Warsaw on the 16th August, 1914, welcome the Proclamation issued to the Poles by his Imperial Highness the Commander in Chief of the Russian forces as an act of the foremost historical importance, and implicitly believe that upon the termination of the war the promises uttered in that proclamation will be formally fulfilled, that the dreams of their fathers and forefathers will be realized, that Poland's body, torn asunder a century and a half ago, will once again be made whole, that the frontiers severing the Polish nation will vanish.

The blood of Poland's sons, shed in united combat against the Germans, will serve equally as a sacrifice, offered upon the altar of her resurrection.






Editorial Appeal in the Gazeta Warszawska, Aug. 15.

Fellow-countrymen! A danger threatens us, greatest, perhaps, among the many calamities which war brings to a country; the misdirection of the nation's mind and understanding.

Various instigations are pressing the Poles to go against their own instinct and the dictates of political reason in their attitude toward the armies now invading our Polish lands, armies ringing with German words of command, [pg 360]which even resound through Galician detachments lured into belief that Poland may be saved through alliance with the Germans. Various agitators on both the German and Austrian sides, having their own interests at stake, are seeking to make our people take active part in the terrific conflicts now to be fought out upon our soil.

To attain this end by throwing dust into our eyes, various manifestos signed by the leaders of the armies beyond the frontier have promised the Poles extensive liberties and privileges at the close of the war. Certain Polish organizations, having lost, in the general excitement, their healthy sense of judgment, are doing likewise. Do not let yourselves be hoodwinked by these promises. They are lies. Neither of the invading armies has any intention of fighting for Poland's sake. Each is fighting in the interests of its own empire, and to those empires we are of no account. They only want, in a moment of necessity, to make the Poles passive instruments serving their own ends. Whoever tells you that Austria in alliance with Prussia intends to build up Poland once again is a blinded dreamer. The result of a victory for the Germans and Austrians would mean a new partitioning of Poland, a yet greater wreckage of our nation. Grasp this, listen to no seducers. Remain passive, watchful, insensible to temptation.

During the coming struggle the Kingdom of Poland will be the marching ground of various armies, we shall see temporary victors assuming lordship for a while; but change of authority will follow, and inevitable retaliation; this several times, perhaps, in the course of the campaign. Therefore every improvident step will meet with terrible revenge. By holding firm through the present conflict you best can serve the Polish cause. In the name of the love you bear your country, of your solicitude for the nation's future, we entreat you, fellow-countrymen, to remain deaf to evil inspirations, unshakable in your determination not to expose our land to yet greater calamities, and Poland's whole future to incalculable perils.


Kazinirz Jaworowski, Manager Polish National Alliance, New York, Aug. 16.

The Poles are treated better in Russia now than they are in Germany. Although Russia has done its best to Russianize Poland by crushing the Polish national feeling, imprisoning Polish patriots, and attempting even to suppress the Polish language, Germany has gone still further in its efforts to Germanize its Polish territory.

Bismarck's idea was to force German civilization upon the world and the most extreme measures have been taken to enforce this policy in German Poland. Taking advantage of every possible pretext, the Germans have dispossessed the Poles of their land and handed it over to Germans. The Russians have not gone so far as this. They, as a general rule, have allowed the Poles to keep their land.

For my own part, I would do anything to defeat Germany, and I think the Poles of Germany and Austria for the most part wish to see France and Russia successful The Poles are Slavs. The fight is between the Germans and the Slavs.

I hope that if the Czar is successful, he carries out his promises to reunite Poland and grant it autonomy. That would not mean Poland would be free, but it would enjoy more freedom than now. The Czar would be the King of Poland and the Government of Poland undoubtedly would be carried on largely by men appointed by the Czar. However, if Poland got the right to have a share in its Government, even if the Czar remained supreme, the country would be greatly benefited.

Autonomy would mean that efforts to suppress the Polish language, the Polish national spirit, and the Polish traditions would be at an end. Under a despotic government in Russia and under more despotic governments still in Germany and Austria, the Polish race has existed under the most crushing of burdens. Reunited and granted partial liberty and the right to live under fair conditions, it would flourish and again take its place as a great race.


[pg 361]By Prince Eugene Troubetskoi, Ex-Member of the Imperial Cabinet, St. Petersburg, Aug. 15.

Russia against Germany is an instance of real patriotism against the curse of nationalism. Our people are athrill now, not from hate but from an ardent desire to serve and protect. Our war cry does not result from the ancient pagan conception of the self-sufficiency of the State, but from the desire for the well-being of all men.

Our people are not filled by that fierce and implacable lust for power which leads a nation into the gulf whose depths reach down to hell. With us God is not conceived as merely a tribal deity, but the father of all. Upon these things, upon this supernational impulse which has now set our people on fire, we rely for victory, and in our victory we expect to see a great step taken in the coming freedom of the world.


President Rodzianko of the Imperial Duma's Telegram to the House of Commons, Aug. 26.

The Duma of the empire, assembled in extraordinary session in view of the exceptional events passing in the civilized world, begs the House of Commons of Great Britain to accept their warm and sincere greeting and sentiments of profound friendship which unite our two great nations. The whole of Russia has welcomed with enthusiasm the resolution of the British people to give their support to the friendly nations in the historic struggle which is developing at this moment. May God bless the armies of the friendly nations of the Triple Entente! Long live his Majesty King George and his valiant people! Long live the British Parliament, and long live Great Britain!


Special Cable to The New York Times, London, Aug. 18.

Ever since the Czar's promise of autonomy to Poland reports have been current that the next step likely to be taken by the Russian Government along the same lines of initiative will be a proclamation assuring the Jews of equal civil and political rights. A Paris dispatch today goes the length of stating that such a proclamation is shortly to be issued.

From inquiries made in authoritative quarters THE NEW YORK TIMES is able to state that, while there is no official authority for such a prediction, there is good reason to believe that some measure of reform along the lines indicated is likely. Both in France and England, Russia's reactionary policy is the only element which has aroused any misgivings regarding what it is hoped in the two first-named countries will be the results of the war.

The enthusiasm aroused in France by the decree affecting Poland gives the measure of relief caused by the removal of these misgivings, so far as one section of the non-orthodox subjects of the Czar are concerned. Equal relief would be felt among a large and representative body of the British public were definite action taken by the Russian Government to remove the disabilities under which the Jews in Russia labor. I have authority for stating that steps have been taken to bring this point of view to the attention of the Russian Government.

Officially, the British Government can take no action which could be regarded as an interference with the domestic affairs of a friendly power, and certain overzealous representations which have been made to Sir Edward Grey overshoot the mark. Sir Edward Grey's liberal principles are sufficiently well recognized to make it certain that what he is able to do he is doing to remove all causes for the misgivings with which a good number of his fellow-citizens regard the Russian alliance in its moral aspect [pg 362]and its possible ultimate developments.

Great hopes are felt that these very delicate representations will meet with success. Predictions are made that the final outcome of the combined grant of autonomy to Poland and the removal of at least some of the civil and religious disqualifications now weighing upon the Jews in Russia will be the growth of a new State, in which the Jew and the Pole will find an equal place in the sun and flourish exceedingly.


M. Sazonof, Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, to Correspondent of The London Times, Petrograd, Sept. 15.

The eyes of the world just now are fixed on the fortunes of the armies in the field. It is, perhaps, not spectacular from the point of view of the average newspaper reader to speak at this time of mere business and trade relations. I quite well realize that it is accounts of victories and routs, acts of heroism and magnificent assaults by troops that sell the newspapers, but beyond and above all this there now exists a situation and an opportunity in trade and commerce with Russia which to England and America may mean more in decades to come than it is easy to realize.

For years past Germany has been steadily and vigorously pushing her trade into all quarters of the Russian Empire, and now sells us above £60,000,000 worth of products yearly. The ground has been broken by Germany, and these enormous markets for machinery, chemicals, and all sorts of manufactured products are now suddenly cut off from the avenues through which they have been supplied. Herein lies the greatest commercial opportunity for England and America that has ever been offered.

It has been said in the Maxims of Pascal that to govern is to foresee. This is not only true of politics and affairs of government, but applies as well to trade relations. It is that country which foresees the situation commercially in Russia that will reap the enormous benefits that these markets now offer.

It is not merely sufficient that merchants and manufacturers should offer their goods here. They that would profit permanently by the new trade conditions of this empire must take up the task seriously. Experts should be sent here now, even while the war is still in progress, to study and examine the wants of our country. Our duties, our manner of doing business, our present and future wants and growing demands, should be studied scientifically and fundamentally, so that when peace comes those channels which have for decades flowed deeply with German products may continue to flow with products from America and England.

For America especially does Russia open an opportunity for an industrial outlet such as can hardly be overestimated. We have an empire of 170,000,000 souls, and the £60,000,000 yearly that we have been paying Germany is but the beginning of a demand that will soon make Russia among the most desirable and valuable markets in the world. Railroad building and new developments everywhere are a prelude to an era of prosperity in this country such as has never been seen here before.

I cannot too emphatically express the hope that merchants abroad will realize this wonderful opportunity and act promptly, for when the war is over will come realization of this situation everywhere, and he who would profit should take the first steps with the least possible delay.


Statement to Americans by Prince Imeretinsky, Sept. 10.

We are a peace-loving people as you in America are, but, of course, the people of Russia are not so well educated as you are.

Russia did not want this war, but she has known for years that it was coming and consequently was preparing for it. [pg 363]It is her determination, now that it has been brought on by Germany, to see it through, no matter how long it takes or how much it costs.

Russia is waging war against militarism. If continued, this militarism would economically cripple all Europe. The burden is too heavy for people to bear, and Russia means to put an end to militarism as expounded by Germany.


Statement by Baron Korff, Imperial Russian Vice Consul, New York, Sept. 6.

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria at Serajevo, in the light of present conditions, appears to be the pretext which led to the present great European war, involving the Empires of Germany and Russia, the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Belgium, and the Republic of France. It is rather difficult for the average American to find the real causes that have led to this struggle of nations, as they lie solely in the conditions and latest developments of the political life of Middle Europe generally, and Germany and Austria particularly.

In order to ascertain the real cause it will be necessary for me to explain the policy of the above-named two Governments on one side and the evolution of the character of the German Nation on the other side. In glancing at the map of Germany, and particularly her frontiers and geographical position, she being wedged in between two powerful neighbors, Russia in the east and France backed up by England in the west, it is apparent that her situation is very delicate, owing to the lack of marked natural boundaries.

Tremendous military power and highly developed diplomatic ability are the two necessary elements to create friendly relations with her neighbors. After the creation of the great German Empire in 1870, Prince Bismarck succeeded in establishing and maintaining for Germany friendly relations with the other great powers. It was his policy to acquire colonies for Germany outside of Europe, and to carefully avoid any territorial encroachments on the neighboring States. He sounded his warning to his countrymen not to try to increase German territory at the expense of Russian territory.

Germany's colonial acquisitions created a new era in her policy, and, if I may be permitted to so express myself, changed completely the face of the German Empire. The protection and development of her colonial possessions and her commerce required a strong navy. England's competition of the commerce controlled by Germany started the tremendous growth of England's naval power, and gave Germany second place. Her rivalry with England compelled Germany to increase her army, too, and we observed how from a quiet, inoffensive, modest State Germany gradually became very strong and endeavored to play the first violin in the concert not only of all Europe, but also of the whole world. Such seems to be the fate of all nations that acquire sudden power—they get conceited and aggressive.

The political events of the last ten years prove sufficiently the aggressiveness of the German policy—the events at Agadir, the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria, the ultimatum sent by the latter to Servia are only passing instances in the growing conceit of the German policy. It should be remembered that in March, 1909, Chancellor von Bülow announced to the German Reichstag that Germany would support Austria in her annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by force, even if the whole of Europe were to oppose it.

Europe at that time did not oppose the Germans, but it seems to me that just then Europe began to realize how dangerous and unsafe it was to have in the heart of that Continent a power with such bellicose and driving intentions. Her political acts were too uncanny and alarmed the whole of Europe, which began to seek ways and means to get rid of this German hegemony, coupled with its rough militarism and unscrupulous ways of acting.

[pg 364]The military and economical developments of Germany induced her to go further in her tendency to enlarge her territory. Emperor William feels that his empire is not big enough to suit his ambition and for the part which he intends to play in Europe. He therefore endeavors to enter into an agreement with the heir of the Austrian throne, Franz Ferdinand, a man of great energy and wide political views, to the effect to mold out of Austria an exclusive Slavish power and to surrender to Germany the Archduchy of Austria with Vienna and Tyrol, and annex Servia to Austria.

Franz Ferdinand could afford to agree to this plan most readily, because he knew that Austria in her present state could not continue her existence, as she was on the brink of an insurrection of 25,000,000 Austrian Slavs against the continuance of a Government over them of 9,000,000 Austrian Germans. There is no doubt that this question was fully discussed at the conference at Konopish, where the German Emperor, accompanied by Admiral von Tirpitz, went to pay a visit to Franz Ferdinand one month before the latter was assassinated.

The tragedy of Serajevo found Germany after a course of action already had been agreed upon, and the sending of the ultimatum by Austria to Servia can be explained only by the desire of the two nations to fully complete their preparations.

Now, why do we find at this important moment of the world's history such opposition not only against Germany but also an upheaval of other nations?

The German press of the United States endeavors to prove that the underlying reason for the struggle is the eventual triumph in Europe either of Teutonic or Slavish civilization, and denounces Russian barbarism and extols German culture.

I will not discuss the respective merits of Teutonic and Slavic culture and civilization, as in my opinion these are questions absolutely foreign to the events leading up to the war. The Russian, French, English, and Servian nations are not fighting against German culture, as represented by intellectual giants, such as Goethe, Wagner, and many others, but against German militarism, accompanied by systematic oppression of the individual residing in German territory.

This internal German policy created a national spirit against which the Allies now are fighting—the national spirit of Germany, which the whole world knows, and which is rough, conceited, arrogant, and intolerant toward foreigners beyond all measures, and admits nothing good unless it is German or made in Germany. This kind of German national spirit is in the majority in the empire of Germany and particularly in Prussia; the real cultured, good-hearted, sentimental German is about to die out completely, and the few remaining representatives of this type have no voice in Germany.

The pronounced antipathy to the above-described present majority type of Germans united all European nations against Germany, and supports their respective Governments in their efforts to put a stop to the furor teutonicus of the twentieth century.

For this reason the task of the allied Governments will find unlimited support of the nations and this war against Germany in Europe will prove to be most popular.


Statement by George Bakhmeteff, Russian Ambassador to the United States, New York, Oct. 11.

It will be a long time, I suppose, before the American will be able fully to understand Russia's reasons for entering the present war and the great racial thought that lies back of it. The whole situation in a nutshell is that Germany entered the war from racial hate and motives of commercial greed, while Russia drew her sword out of motives of humane and kindly sympathy for a small and oppressed nation of her own kindred. Germany had been grabbing and wished to grab more; Russia rose in arms to stand by and protect her "little brother."

Indeed you are quite right when you say that there are spiritual forces back [pg 365]of Russia's deeds in battle far more than there can be in the case of any other of the warring nations. The reasons lie deep within our national life, and I doubt if any American will be able fully to comprehend them without coming to see us in our own country and seeing us as we are. The great and really wonderful achievements of the German are visible and material, while ours are things of the spirit—invisible, modest, resigned. The representative spirit of Germany's materialism and heartless aggressiveness is that of the megalomaniac Nietzsche and his followers, Treitschke and von Bernhardi. The spokesmen of what is more truly Russian today are Tolstoy and Dostoievski, who have recorded forever the spirit of self-sacrifice, humility and piety in the Russian soul.

Yes, it is true that those who have learned to know us in Russia are aware that the epithets of "Hun" and "barbarian" used against us are stark lies promulgated by bitter enemies who take ignoble advantage of the tradition in America fostered by the melodramatic exploitation of the Jewish problem and the occasional brutalities by our drunken soldier to make you believe that a Russian is a sort of treacherous bandit with a knife in his teeth ready to betray and slay. We regret exceedingly that that tradition has taken root in the United States. We admire and emulate Americans because they have mellowed and complemented their industrial and political achievements with national charity and religious ideals.

In Russia the Jewish question, as such, has not arisen since the opening of the war. Political promises have been made to Poland and these promises will be kept. It is a mistaken idea here that any overtures have been made to the Jews as a class. You think we are as anxious as all that to have them enlist as soldiers? No. We do not wish to make them any special inducements to enlist. You are well aware that nobody hates the Jews more cordially than the Pole himself. Our offer was to the Poles, who have a national entity and a country and home of their own. The Jews have none of these things.

"The Facts About Belgium"

Statement Issued by the Belgian Legation at Washington.

The Belgian Legation at Washington has compiled the following statement of the Belgian case, in the present European War, in answer to the many inquiries that have been received on the subject.

By the treaty of April 19th, 1839, Prussia, France, England, Austria, and Russia declared themselves guarantors of the treaty concluded on the same day between the King of the Belgians and the King of the Netherlands. This treaty provides:

Belgium forms an independent State of perpetual neutrality.

That is to say, Belgium was forbidden, in case of war, to take the part of any of the belligerents.

Since then Belgium has fulfilled all her neutrality obligations; she has acted in a spirit of absolute impartiality. She has left nothing undone to maintain and make respected her neutrality. Germany's obligation to respect Belgian neutrality was even more emphatically affirmed by one of Germany's greatest men, by the creator of the empire. Prince, then Count, Bismarck, wrote to Baron Nothomb, Belgian Minister in Berlin, on the 22nd of July, 1870, as follows:

In confirmation of my verbal assurances, I have the honor to give in writing a declaration which, in view of the treaties in force, is quite superfluous, that the Confederation of the North and its allies will respect the neutrality of Belgium on the understanding, of course, that it is respected by the other belligerents.

[pg 366]On July 31 of the present year the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Secretary General of the Foreign Office had a long conversation with the German Minister in Brussels. It was pointed out to him that in the course of the controversy raised in 1911 by the introduction of the Dutch project for the fortification of the Scheldt, that his predecessor, Herr von Flotow, had assured the Belgian Government that in the event of a Franco-German war Germany would not violate Belgian neutrality; that Mr. Bethmann-Hollweg, the Imperial Chancellor, had given similar assurance; that in 1913 Herr von Jagow, the German Foreign Secretary, had made similar statements of a reassuring character in the budget committee of the Reichstag concerning the neutrality of Belgium; to which the German Minister replied that he was aware of the conversation with his predecessor, and that "he was certain that the sentiments expressed at that epoch had not changed."

On August 2nd, in the course of the day, the German Minister in Brussels, M. De Below Saleske, gave an interview to the newspaper Le Soir, and declared that Belgium had nothing to fear from Germany. He went so far as to employ this expression:

You will see, perhaps, your neighbor's house on fire, but your house will remain intact.

The same day, at 7 o'clock in the evening, he communicated the following note to the Belgian Government:

The German Note.

The German Government has received unimpeachable news to the effect that the French forces have the intention of marching on the Meuse by Givet and Namur. This news leaves no doubt as to the intention of France to march upon Germany from Belgian territory. The Imperial Government of Germany cannot help fearing that Belgium, in spite of the best intentions, will not be in a position to repulse without help an incursion by the French of such great magnitude. In this case it is sufficiently certain that Germany is seriously threatened. It is the urgent business of Germany to forestall this attack on the part of the enemy. The German Government would be filled with lively regret if Belgium were to regard as an act of hostility against her the fact that her precautionary measures oblige her to violate on her side Belgian territory.

In order to avoid the possibility of misunderstanding, the German Government makes the following comment:

1st. Germany contemplates no act of hostility against Belgium. If Belgium consents to assume in the war which is about to commence the attitude of friendly neutrality toward Germany, the German Government on its side engages, when peace is restored, to guarantee the integrity of the kingdom and its possessions.

2nd. Germany engages herself, on the aforesaid conditions, to evacuate Belgian territory as soon as peace is concluded.

3rd. If Belgium observes a friendly attitude, Germany is ready, in co-operation with the authorities of the Government of Belgium, to buy for cash everything that is necessary for her troops, and to pay indemnities for damage done in Belgium; but if Belgium behaves in a hostile manner against the troops, and in particular places difficulties in the way of their advance by opposition by the fortifications of the Meuse, or by the destruction of roads, railways, tunnels, or other works, Germany will be obliged to consider Belgium as an enemy.

In that case Germany will enter into no agreement with the kingdom, but will allow the further relationship of the two States to be left to the decision of arms. The German Government feels that it is justified in hoping that this eventuality will not materialize and that the Belgian Government will know how to take appropriate measures to prevent its materialization. In that case the friendly relations which unite the two neighboring States will become closer and more lasting.

Such is the German note. It will be noticed that there is no question of the alleged entry of French aviators and officers into Belgium, as has been stated in several papers here. The document, in fact, knocks that fable on the head. The only reason given for the violation of Belgian territory is the alleged intention of the French Army to march upon Givet and Namur. This assertion is supported by no proof, and is denied by the French Government, which officially declared to Belgium and England its intention of not violating Belgian territory. On the contrary, the premeditated intention of Germany to violate Belgian neutrality is proved in the most irrefutable way, namely, by the affirmation of the German Secretary of State himself, and by that of the German Chancellor.

[pg 367]To the request of Sir William Goschen, the English Ambassador in Berlin, to be allowed to know if Germany would pledge herself to respect the neutrality of Belgium, the German Secretary of State replied that "this neutrality had already been violated by Germany." Herr von Jagow went again into the

reasons why the Imperial Government had been obliged to take this step, namely, that they had to advance into France by the quickest and easiest way so as to be able to get well ahead with their operations and endeavor to strike some decisive blow as early as possible. It was a matter of life and death to them, for, if they had gone by the more southern route, they could not have hoped, in view of the paucity of the roads and the strength of the fortresses, to have got through without formidable opposition entailing great loss of time. This loss of time would mean time gained by the Russians for the bringing up of their troops to the German frontier. Rapidity of action was the great German asset, while that of Russia was the inexhaustible supply of troops. [Official Report of the British Ambassador in Berlin to the British Government.]

"A Scrap of Paper."

This conversation preceded by a few minutes that in which the German Chancellor, giddy at the sight of the abyss into which Germany was falling, uttered these celebrated words:

Just for a word, NEUTRALITY, a word which in war times has been so often disregarded; just for A SCRAP OF PAPER, Great Britain is going to make war on a kindred nation. At what price would that compact [neutrality] have been kept? Has the British Government thought of that?

Sir William Goschen replied, that fear of consequences would hardly be regarded as an excuse for breaking a solemn engagement. [Official report of the British Ambassador in Berlin to his Government.]

It is very clear from these documents that Germany had for a long time premeditated the violation of the neutrality of Belgium and that she has even reconciled herself to the terrible danger of war with Great Britain, rather than renounce the advantages she thought she would gain by not respecting the treaty. In the face of these confessions the allegations that France wished to violate the neutrality of Belgium, an allegation supported by no proof, falls to the ground.

To continue the analysis of the German note:

If Belgium consents to assume in the war which is about to commence the attitude of friendly neutrality toward Germany, the German Government, on its side, engages, when peace is restored, to guarantee the integrity of the kingdom and its possessions.

Could Belgium, without being false to her duties of neutrality, take up the position which the German Government calls "friendly neutrality"? That is to say, could she allow the German armies to pass without opposition through her territory? Can the German Government itself answer that question?

It is enough to reread the conversation given above between the British Ambassador and the German Secretary of State to come to a clear conclusion in that respect. If the violation of Belgian territory was to procure so signal an advantage to Germany that she had no fear of bringing on war with England to attain it, then for Belgium to lend herself to the passage of German troops must have meant the certainty of fatal consequences for France. Thus for Belgium to have yielded to the German ultimatum would ipso facto have conferred a considerable advantage to Germany, to the detriment of the other belligerent, and would have constituted a breach of neutrality.

Germany concludes her note by threats. She engages, on the condition already defined, to evacuate Belgian territory at the conclusion of peace. If Belgium behaves in a hostile manner [that is to say, if she does her duty] Germany will be obliged to consider Belgium as an enemy. She would then leave the ultimate arrangements of the relations of the two States to the decision of arms. In other words, if Belgium does not agree to violate the treaty, Germany will treat her as an enemy, and she adds a veiled threat of annexing a part or the whole of her territory.

[pg 368]The moral fibre of nations is not always measured by their size or power. Belgium is small and weak, but her answer bears witness to her love of justice and to her respect of the right. She would rather die with honor than live dishonored.

That was made clear by the answer of her Government. The answer was as follows:

Reply to German Note.

The German note has been a painful surprise to the Belgian Government. The intentions which the note attributes to France are in contradiction to the formal declarations which were made to us on the 1st of August in the name of the republic. Besides, if contrary to our expectations, France is about to violate the neutrality of Belgium, Belgium would be prepared to fulfil its neutrality obligations, and her army would offer to the invader the most vigorous resistance. The treaties of 1839, confirmed by the treaties of 1870, commit to the guarantee of the powers and notably to the Government of his Majesty the King of Prussia the independence and neutrality of the Kingdom of Belgium.

The Chancellor of the German Empire said in a sitting of the Reichstag on the 4th of August:

We are in a state of legitimate defense Necessity knows no law. Our troops have occupied Luxemburg and have perhaps already penetrated into Belgium. This is against the law of nations. France, it is true, has declared to Brussels that she is determined to respect the neutrality of Belgium as long as her adversary respects it, but we know that France was ready to invade Belgium. France can afford to wait; we cannot. A French attack on our flank in the region of the lower Rhine might have been fatal. It is for that reason we have been compelled to ignore the just protests of the Governments of Luxemburg and Belgium. The injustice which we thus commit we will repair as soon as our military object has been attained.

It has been shown how much value can be attached to the assertion of the alleged intention of France to invade Belgium. That intention, and the realization of that intention belongs exclusively to Germany and they must be left in her possession. This is especially the case in view of the fact that the military dispositions undertaken by France absolutely refute the allegations of the German Chancellor. So true is this that when the violation of Belgian territory became an accomplished fact, and when the King of Belgium appealed under the terms of the treaty of 1839 for support, in maintaining the neutrality of Belgium which these powers had guaranteed, France was so little prepared to invade Belgium that it took her more than ten days to get her troops into the country.

The world is familiar with the way Germany has repaired in Belgium the injustice of which she was guilty, to use the words of the German Chancellor.

Atrocities in Belgium.

Under the pretext that her troops were attacked by civilians, and even under no pretext at all, whole villages have been razed to the ground. Important towns whose boast it was to represent part of the common inheritance of civilization were not spared. Their monuments, which have been respected during the centuries in all of the constant wars of which Belgium has been the theatre, were deliberately destroyed. Open cities were bombarded. Exorbitant taxation was imposed upon conquered towns, and when the inhabitants were unable to pay the taxes, a large number of their houses were set on fire. That is what happened to Wavre, among other cities, whose 8,500 inhabitants were unable to pay a tax of $600,000. Termonde, with 10,000 inhabitants, was utterly destroyed. On the 15th of September, there only remained in that town 282 houses out of 1,400. The town of Aerschot, with 8,000 inhabitants, is now nothing but a mass of ruins and more than 150 of its inhabitants have been shot. Dirigible balloons have thrown bombs at night upon Antwerp. It cannot be maintained by those who were in the balloons that they were trying to hit the forts, as the forts are outside the boundaries of the town, and a good distance outside them as well. Nor could the bombs thrown have had any effect upon the forts, which are even stronger than those of Liége. There was no warning of this bombardment, a fact which constitutes a violation of Article 26 of the Fourth Convention of The Hague, and more than a dozen people [pg 369]were killed, all of them non-combatants and several of them women and children.

The town of Louvain, with its 42,000 inhabitants, was one of the centres of Belgian culture. It had no mercy shown to it and has been nearly obliterated. Several quarters of the town were set on fire, the Church of St. Pierre, a marvelous example of Gothic art; the buildings of the University, including the Library with more than 70,000 volumes, of which a large number were ancient manuscripts, the collections belonging to the University; nearly all the scientific institutions, and nearly all the houses of the town were deliberately burned. They are now nothing more than heaps of ashes. Their destruction has been a loss to the whole civilized world.

Numbers of absolutely innocent women and children lost their lives in the fire which was started by order of the German military officials. Of those who were saved, several thousand, including women enfeebled by age, and children in arms, are today wandering homeless over the roads, without food or clothing. They are not to blame for anything, unless it is because they belong to a nation which has refused to purchase peace at the price of dishonor. That can be the only crime accounted to them and it is for that they have lost all their possessions upon the earth.

From the declaration made by the Imperial German Chancellor it may be seen that the German Government is conscious of its wrongdoing. As one of the guarantors of Belgium's neutrality, it wanted to force Belgium to relinquish its neutrality for Germany's benefit. Because Belgium would not consent to this injustice and because Germany could not reproach her with anything else, Germany invaded and covered with blood and ruin a small peaceful country of hard-working and honest people, a country which it had promised to protect.

This attack upon her neutrality is the first violation for which Belgium asks judgment from the universal conscience.

The entire Belgo-German question today is dominated by the fact of this violation of the neutrality of Belgium. Therefore, there is not a single shot fired by a German soldier in Belgium, which is not manifestly and avowedly belying most sacred things: the keeping of a solemn pledge, and the right for an honest nation that never wanted war, nor showed aggressive dispositions, to be allowed to live its peaceful and neutral life.

Such is the Belgian case. Humanity will judge it.

Belgo-British Plot Alleged by Germany

Statement Issued by German Embassy at Washington, Oct. 13.

The German Ambassador drew special attention today to the telegram which came from German headquarters. This telegram proves the German contention that the Allies did not intend to respect Belgian neutrality. It even proves more, namely, that Belgian neutrality practically did not exist and that the Belgian Government was conspiring with the Allies against Germany. Notwithstanding the denials coming from French sources it is a fact that French prisoners were taken at Liége and Namur, who acknowledged that they had been in those fortresses before the German troops entered Belgium.

On the French side it has been asserted that the German Chancellor in Parliament had acknowledged that Germany was doing wrong in violating Belgian neutrality. It must, however, not be overlooked that the Chancellor further said:

We know that the Allies do not intend to respect Belgian neutrality, and Germany, in the position she is in, attacked [pg 370]from three sides, cannot wait, while the Allies can wait.

At that time the Belgian archives were not at the disposal of the German Government. If the Chancellor had known at the time he made his speech that Belgium was not neutral he would certainly have spoken of the alleged Belgian neutrality in a different way.

Germany has violated the frontiers of no really neutral country, while the Allies are on record for disregarding all obligations toward China.

Text of Wireless Message.

Headquarters report German military authorities searching archives of Belgian General Staff at Brussels, found portfolio inscribed "Intervention Anglaise-Belgique," containing important documents:

1. Report to Belgian War Minister, dated April 10, 1906, containing result detailed negotiations between Chief of Belgian General Staff and British Military Attaché at Brussels, Lieut. Col. Barnardiston. Plan of English origin sanctioned by Major Gen. Grierson, Chief English General Staff, contains strength, formation, landing places, expeditionary-force 100,000 men; continuing, settles plan Belgian General Staff transport accommodations, feeding in Belgium, Belgian interpreters, gendarmerie, landing places at Dunkirk, Calais, Boulogne. Details Barnardiston remarks for present Holland cannot be relied upon. Further confidential communication that English Government after destruction of German Navy will direct supply provision via Antwerp. Finally suggestion from England military attaché that Belgian espionage service should be organized in Prussian Rheinland.

2. Map showing strategical drawing up of French Army demonstrating existence of French-Belgian agreement.

3. Report of Baron Greindl, Belgian Minister to Berlin, to Belgian Foreign Office, dated Dec. 23, 1911. Greindl, commenting on plan of Belgian General Staff for defense of Belgo-German frontier in Franco-German war, points to threatening violation of neutrality by France, saying: "Danger French attack threatening us, not only near Luxemburg, but on whole length of common frontier, This assertion no guess work, but founded upon positive facts."

Minister further thoroughly discusses Entente's plans for passage through Belgium, Calais, and England. France doubtful protectors, Barnardiston's insinuations relative Flushing question, both perfidious and naïve postulates dressing plan of battle against threatening Franco-British invasion into Belgium in Franco-German war.


Statement Issued by British Foreign Office, London, Oct. 14.

The story of an alleged Anglo-Belgian agreement of 1906, published in the German press and based on documents said to have been found at Brussels is only a press edition of a story which has been reproduced in various forms and denied on several occasions. No such agreement has ever existed as Germans well know. Gen. Grierson is dead and Col., now Gen., Barnardiston is commanding the British forces before Tsing-tau.

In 1906 Gen. Grierson was on the General Staff at the War Office and Col. Barnardiston was military attaché at Brussels. In view of the solemn guarantee given by Great Britain to protect the neutrality of Belgium against violation from any side some academic discussions may, through the instrumentality of Col. Barnardiston, have taken place between Gen. Grierson and the Belgian military authorities as to what assistance the British Army might be able to afford to Belgium should one of her neighbors violate that neutrality. Some notes with reference to the subject may exist in the archives at Brussels.

It should be noted that the date mentioned, namely 1906, was the year following that in which Germany had, as in 1911, adopted a threatening attitude toward France with regard to Morocco and in view of the apprehensions existing of an attack on France through Belgium it was natural that possible eventualities should be discussed.

The impossibility of Belgium having been a party to any agreement of the nature indicated or to any design for violation of Belgian neutrality is clearly shown by reiterated declarations that she has made for many years past that she would resist to the utmost any violation of her neutrality from whatever [pg 371]quarter and in whatever form such violation might come. It is worthy of attention that these charges of aggressive designs on the part of other powers are made by Germany who, since 1906, has established an elaborate network of strategical railways leading from the Rhine to the Belgian frontier through a barren, thinly populated tract, deliberately constructed to permit of the sudden attack upon Belgium which was carried out two months ago.


Statement by Count von Bernstorff, German Ambassador, Washington, Oct. 15.

Concerning the Anglo-Belgian military agreement existing since 1906, a formal denial has been issued by England, which proves nothing. The documents are in the hands of the German authorities, and will be published in full. The facts remain that a so-called "neutral" country concluded a military agreement with England, which provided for landing of British troops in this "neutral" country. The document proves that by its own free will "neutral Belgium" accepted the British offer and decided to fight on the side of the Allies.

England instigated Belgium to go to war, and when the time came to protect the unfortunate little country it was left to its own resources. Germany, on the other hand, which had heard of Belgium's agreement with England at the beginning of this war, offered to protect Belgium and to pay full indemnity for all her losses. Germany would have religiously kept her promise.

The documents found in Brussels further prove that as far back as 1906 England was systematically trying to bring about the coalition which has now forced war on Germany.


Statement by E. Havenith, Belgian Minister to the United States, Washington, Oct. 22.

The Belgian Legation has just received the copies of the "Gray Book." It is evident from these documents that there has never existed any military agreement between Belgium and England, either offensive or defensive, such as the German Government asserts to have been in existence since 1906. The following extracts speak for themselves:

No. 28—Offer of intervention by England. Note handed to Sir Francis H. Villiers, British Minister to Belgium, to M. Davignon, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Brussels, Aug. 4, 1914.

I am instructed to inform the Belgium Government that, if Germany exercises pressure for the purpose of compelling Belgium to abandon her position of a neutral country, the Government of his Britannic Majesty expects Belgium to resist by every possible means.

The Government of his Britannic Majesty is ready in that event to join with Russia and France, if desired by Belgium, to offer to the Belgian Government at once common action for the purpose of resisting the use of force by Germany against Belgium and at the same time to offer a guarantee to maintain the independence and integrity of Belgium in the future.

No. 37—Offer of England for an alliance for the object of assuring the neutrality of Belgium against the pressure of Germany.

London, Aug. 4, 1914.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has informed the British Ministers in Norway, Holland, and Belgium that Great Britain expects that these three kingdoms will resist the pressure of Germany and maintain neutrality. They will be supported in their resistance by England, who in such a case is ready to co-operate with France and Russia, if such is the desire of these three Governments, in offering an alliance to the said Governments to repel the employment of force against them by Germany and a guarantee for the future maintenance of the independence and the integrity of the three kingdoms.

I pointed out that Belgium is neutral in perpetuity. The Minister for Foreign Affairs replied: "It is for the event of neutrality being violated."

(Signed) LALAING,

Belgium Minister in London.

No. 40—Belgium appeals to the powers after the invasion of Belgium.

Brussels, Aug. 4, 1914.

Monsieur le Ministre—The Belgium Government regrets to have to announce to your Excellency that this morning the armed forces of Germany penetrated into Belgian territory, violating the engagements which they have undertaken by treaty.

[pg 372]The Belgian Government are firmly decided to resist by all means in their power.

Belgium appeals to England, to France, and to Russia to co-operate as guarantors in the defense of her territory.

There should be a concerted and common action, having as its object to resist the measures of force employed by Germany against Belgium and at the same time to guarantee the maintenance of the independence and integrity of Belgium for the future.

Belgium is happy to be able to declare that she will undertake the defense of the fortified places. I am, &c.,

(Signed) DAVIGNON,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium.

Where is to be found the alleged military convention said to have been concluded in 1906 with England? Where is the agreement said to have existed since 1906 between the Allies to force war on Germany? These documents clearly prove that such compact never existed.

The Belgian nation preferred ruin and death to the shameful perjury proposed to her by Germany. For this reason Germany has devastated and immersed in blood a peaceful little country. Today she seeks to rob her of honor, her only remaining treasure.

The official documents, the confessions of the German statesmen, the ruins of Louvain, Malines, Aerschot, Termonde, and of so many villages burned and razed to the ground, the blood of her children unjustly massacred are the testimonies which the Belgian people cites before the tribunal of public conscience. To this tribunal, without fear, the Belgian Nation confides the cause of her honor.


Transmitted to The London Times and Published Oct. 23.

The Times of Oct. 14 reproduces a long article from The North-German Gazette commenting on the discovery in the archives at Brussels of a map entitled "English Intervention in Belgium" and of a memorandum to the Belgian Minister of War which goes to prove that in the month of April, 1906, the Chief of the General Staff, on the suggestion of the British Military Attaché and with the approval of Gen. Grierson, had worked out a plan of co-operation between British expeditionary forces and the Belgian Army against Germany in the event of a Franco-German war. This agreement is assumed to have been preceded in all probability by a similar arrangement with the French General Staff.

The North-German Gazette also publishes certain passages of a report of the Belgian Minister at Berlin in December, 1911, relating to another plan of the Belgian General Staff, in which the measures to be taken in case of the violation of Belgian neutrality by Germany are discussed. Baron Greindl pointed out that this plan dealt only with the precautions to be taken in the event of an aggression on the part of Germany, while, owing to its geographical situation, Belgium might just as well be exposed to an attack by France and England. The North-German Gazette draws from this discovery the strange conclusion that England intended to drag Belgium into the war, and at one time contemplated the violation of Dutch neutrality.

We have only one regret to express on the subject of the disclosure of these documents, and that is that the publication of our military documents should be mangled and arranged in such a way as to give the reader the impression of duplicity on the part of England and adhesion by Belgium, in violation of her duties as a neutral State, to the policy of the Triple Entente. We ask the North-German Gazette to publish in full the result of its search among our secret documents. Therein will be found fresh and striking proof of the loyalty, correctness, and impartiality with which Belgium for 81 years has discharged her international obligations.

It was stated that Col. Barnardiston, the military representative at Brussels of a power guaranteeing the neutrality of Belgium, at the time of the Algeciras crisis, questioned the Chief of the Belgian General Staff as to the measures which he had taken to prevent any violation of that neutrality. The Chief of the General Staff, at that time Lieut. Gen. Ducarne, replied that Belgium [pg 373]was ready to repel any invader. Did the conversation extend beyond these limits, and did Col. Barnardiston, in an interview of a private and confidential nature, disclose to Gen. Ducarne the plan of campaign which the British General Staff would have desired to follow if that neutrality were violated? We doubt it, but in any case we can solemnly assert, and it will be impossible to prove the contrary, that never has the King or his Government been invited, either directly or indirectly, to join the Triple Entente in the event of a Franco-German war. By their words and by their acts they have always shown such a firm attitude that any supposition that they could have departed from the strictest neutrality is eliminated a priori.

As for Baron Greindl's dispatch of Dec. 23, 1911, it dealt with a plan for the defense of Luxembourg, due to the personal initiative of the Chief of the First Section of the War Ministry. This plan was of an absolutely private character and had not been approved by the Minister of War. If this plan contemplated above all an attack by Germany, there is no cause for surprise, since the great German military writers, in particular T. Bernhardi, V. Schlivfeboch, and von der Goltz, spoke openly in their treatises on the coming war of the violation of Belgian territory by the German armies.

At the outbreak of hostilities the Imperial Government, through the mouth of the Chancellor and of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, did not search for vain pretexts for the aggression of which Belgium has been the victim. They justified it on the plea of military interests. Since then, in face of the universal reprobation which this odious action has excited, they have attempted to deceive public opinion by representing Belgium as bound already before the war to the Triple Entente. These intrigues will deceive nobody. They will recoil on the head of Germany. History will record that this power, after binding itself by treaty to defend the neutrality of Belgium, took the initiative in violating it, without even finding a pretext with which to justify itself.


[pg 374]By Pope Pius X., Kaiser Wilhelm II., President Poincare, and King Albert of Belgium.

Official Message from Pope Pius X. at the Vatican, Aug. 2.

At this moment, when nearly the whole of Europe is being dragged into the vortex of a most terrible war, with its present dangers and miseries and the consequences to follow, the very thought of which must strike every one with grief and horror, we whose care is the life and welfare of so many citizens and peoples cannot but be deeply moved and our heart wrung with the bitterest sorrow.


(From a Painting by A. Muller-Ury.)

And in the midst of this universal confusion and peril we feel and know that both Fatherly love and the Apostolic ministry demand of us that we should with all earnestness turn the thoughts of Christendom thither "whence cometh help"—to Christ, the Prince of Peace, and the most powerful mediator between God and man.

We charge, therefore, the Catholics of the whole world to approach the throne of Grace and Mercy, each and all of them, and more especially the clergy, whose duty furthermore it will be to make in every parish, as their Bishops shall direct, public supplication so that the merciful God may, as it were, be wearied with the prayers of His children and speedily remove the evil causes of war, giving to them who rule to think the thoughts of peace and not of affliction.

From the palace of the Vatican, the second day of August, 1914.

PIUS X. Pontifex Maximus.


Pronounced by Pius X. at the Vatican, Aug. 20.

In ancient times the Pope, with a word, might have stayed the slaughter. Now I am impotent and forced to see the spectacle of my own children, even those who yesterday worked here with me, leaving for the war and abandoning their cassocks and cowls for soldiers' uniforms. Yesterday, although belonging to different nationalities, we were here studying in sympathetic companionship. Now we are in different fields, armed against each other and ready to take each other's lives.


Addressed to Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, Aug. 7.

I consider it my duty, Sir, to inform you, as the most notable representative of the principles of humanity, that after the capture of the French fort of Longwy my troops found in that place thousands of dumdum bullets, which had been manufactured in special works by the French Government. Such bullets were found not only on French killed and wounded soldiers and on French prisoners, but also on English troops. You know what terrible wounds and awful suffering are caused by these bullets, and that their use is strictly [pg 375]forbidden by the generally recognized rules of international warfare.

I solemnly protest to you against the way in which this war is being waged by our opponents, whose methods are making it one of the most barbarous in history. Besides the use of these awful weapons, the Belgian Government openly incited the civil population to participate in the fighting, and has for a long time carefully organized their resistance. The cruelties practiced in this guerrilla warfare, even by women and priests, toward wounded soldiers, and doctors and hospital nurses—physicians were killed and lazarets fired on—were such that eventually my Generals were compelled to adopt the strongest measures to punish the guilty and frighten the bloodthirsty population from continuing their shameful deeds.

Some villages and even the old town of Louvain, with the exception of its beautiful town hall, (Hotel de Ville,) had to be destroyed for the protection of my troops.

My heart bleeds when I see such measures inevitable and when I think of the many innocent people who have lost their houses and property as a result of the misdeeds of the guilty.



Made by President Wilson at Washington, Sept. 16.

I received your Imperial Majesty's important communication of the 7th and have read it with the gravest interest and concern. I am honored that you should have turned to me for an impartial judgment as the representative of a people truly disinterested as respects the present war and truly desirous of knowing and accepting the truth.

You will, I am sure, not expect me to say more. Presently, I pray God very soon, this war will be over. The day of accounting will then come, when I take it for granted the nations of Europe will assemble to determine a settlement. Where wrongs have been committed, their consequences and the relative responsibility involved will be assessed.

The nations of the world have fortunately by agreement made a plan for such a reckoning and settlement. What such a plan cannot compass the opinion of mankind, the final arbiter in all such matters, will supply. It would be unwise, it would be premature, for a single Government, however fortunately separated from the present struggle, it would even be inconsistent with the neutral position of any nation which, like this, has no part in the contest, to form or express a final judgment.

I speak thus frankly because I know that you will expect and wish me to do so as one friend speaks to another, and because I feel sure that such a reservation of judgment until the end of the war, when all its events and circumstances can be seen in their entirety and in their true relations, will commend itself to you as a true expression of sincere neutrality.



President Poincare of the French Republic to President Wilson, Sept. 11.

Mr. President: I am informed that the German Government is attempting to abuse your Excellency's good faith by alleging that dumdum bullets are manufactured in French State workshops, and are used by our soldiers. The calumny is nothing but an audacious attempt to reverse the rôles. Germany has since the beginning of the war employed dumdum bullets, and has daily committed violations of the laws of nations.

On Aug. 18 and on several occasions since then we have had to report crimes to your Excellency as well as to the powers signatory to the Convention of The Hague. Germany, which was aware of our protests, is now trying to deceive and to make use of pretexts and lies in order to indulge in further acts of barbarity in the name of right. Outraged civilization sends your Excellency an indignant protest.



[pg 376]French Cabinet Minister Addresses the Danish Government, Sept. 10.

The French Government protested on Aug. 18 to the Permanent Bureau of The Hague Court of Arbitration against the use of dumdum bullets by the Germans, producing proof obtained by surgeons that French soldiers had been killed or wounded by these bullets. The German General Staff has countered this by alleging that it was the French and English who used the bullets, and the Imperial Chancellor has announced in fiery tones that in the presence of the example given by the English and French the German soldiers would henceforth use dumdum bullets; the responsibility for this procedure, which he himself describes as an act of cruelty and a violation of an international convention signed by Germany, will rest, he says, upon the powers of the Triple Entente.

By my Government's orders I have the honor to protest in the most formal manner to the Danish Government against the lying German allegations. French soldiers have never used dumdum bullets. The French Government has never authorized, nor will authorize, its troops to use such barbarous means of warfare, whatever be the infringements of law and the cruelties committed by its adversaries. The "Instructions for French Officers in Wartime" also lay down, and will continue to lay down, that they are to forbid their men to use bullets at variance with the stipulations of the Geneva and Hague conventions.


Officially Explained to President Wilson at the White House, Washington, Sept. 16.



His Majesty the King of the Belgians has appointed a special envoy for the purpose of acquainting the President of the United States of America with the deplorable state of affairs prevailing in Belgium, whose neutrality has been unjustly violated, and who since the beginning of hostilities has been the theatre of the worst outrages on the part of the invading German Army, in defiance of rules solemnized by international treaty and customs consecrated by public right and law of nations.

Mr. Henry Carton de Wiart, Minister of Justice, has been chosen for this mission. He is accompanied by Messrs. de Sadeleer, Hymans, and Vandervelde, Ministers of State. Count Louis Lichtervelde is attached to the mission as Secretary.


Made to the President at the White House, Washington, Sept. 16.

Excellency: His Majesty the King of the Belgians has charged us with a special mission to the President of the United States.

Let me say to you how much we feel ourselves honored to have been called upon to express the sentiments of our King and of our whole nation to the illustrious statesman whom the American people have called to the highest dignity of the Commonwealth.


Minister of Justice,
Spokesman of the Royal Belgian
Commission to the United States.

As far as I am concerned, I have already been able, during a previous trip, to fully appreciate the noble virtues of the American Nation, and I am happy to take this opportunity to express all the admiration with which they inspire me.

Ever since her independence was first established, Belgium has been declared neutral in perpetuity. This neutrality, guaranteed by the powers, has recently been violated by one of them. Had we consented to abandon our neutrality for the benefit of one of the belligerents, we would have betrayed our obligations toward the others. And it was the sense of our international obligations as well as that of our dignity and honor that has driven us to resistance.

The consequences suffered by the Belgian Nation were not confined purely to the harm occasioned by the forced march of an invading army. This army not only seized a great portion of our territory, but it committed incredible acts of [pg 377]violence, the nature of which is contrary to the law of nations.

Peaceful inhabitants were massacred, defenseless women and children were outraged, open and undefended towns were destroyed, historical and religious monuments were reduced to dust, and the famous library of the University of Louvain was given to the flames.

Our Government has appointed a judicial commission to make an official investigation, so as to thoroughly and impartially examine the facts and to determine the responsibility thereof, and I will have the honor, Excellency, to hand over to you the proceedings of the inquiry.

In this frightful holocaust which is sweeping all over Europe, the United States has adopted a neutral attitude.

And it is for this reason that your country, standing apart from either one of the belligerents, is in the best position to judge, without bias or partiality, the conditions under which the war is being waged.

It is at the request, even at the initiative, of the United States that all civilized nations have formulated and adopted at The Hague a law regulating the laws and usage of war.

We refuse to believe that war has abolished the family of civilized powers, or the regulations to which they have freely consented.

The American people has always displayed its respect for justice, its search for progress, and an instinctive attachment for the laws of humanity. Therefore, it has won a moral influence which is recognized by the entire world. It is for this reason that Belgium, bound as she is to you by ties of commerce and increasing friendship, turns to the American people at this time to let it know the real truth of the present situation. Resolved to continue unflinching defense of its sovereignty and independence, it deems it a duty to bring to the attention of the civilized world the innumerable grave breaches of rights of mankind of which she has been a victim. At the very moment we were leaving Belgium, the King recalled to us his trip to the United States and the vivid and strong impression your powerful and virile civilization left upon his mind.

Our faith in your fairness, our confidence in your justice, in your spirit of generosity and sympathy—all these have dictated our present mission.


Addressed to the Royal Belgian Commission in the White House, Washington, Sept. 16.

Permit me to say with what sincere pleasure I receive you as representatives of the King of the Belgians, a people for whom the people of the United States feel so strong a friendship and admiration, a King for whom they entertain so sincere a respect, and express my hope that we may have many opportunities of earning and deserving their regard.

You are not mistaken in believing that the people of this country love justice, seek the true paths of progress, and have a passionate regard for the rights of humanity.

It is a matter of profound pride to me that I am permitted for a time to represent such a people and to be their spokesman, and I am proud that your King should have turned to me in time of distress as to one who would wish on behalf of the people he represents to consider the claims to the impartial sympathy of mankind of a nation which deems itself wronged.

I thank you for the document you have put in my hands containing the result of an investigation made by a judicial committee appointed by the Belgian Government to look into the matter of which you have come to speak. It shall have my utmost attentive perusal and my most thoughtful consideration.

You will, I am sure, not expect me to say more. Presently, I pray God very soon, this war will be over. The day of accounting will then come, when, I take it for granted, the nations of Europe will assemble to determine a settlement. [pg 378]Where wrongs have been committed their consequences and the relative responsibility involved will be assessed.

The nations of the world have, fortunately, by agreement made a plan for such a reckoning and settlement. What such a plan cannot compass, the opinion of mankind, the final arbiter in such matters, will supply. It would be unwise, it would be premature for a single Government, however fortunately separated from the present struggle, it would be inconsistent with the neutral position of any nation, which, like this, has no part in the contest, to form or express a final judgment.

I need not assure you that this conclusion, in which I instinctively feel that you will yourselves concur, is spoken frankly because in warm friendship, and as the best means of perfect understanding between us, an understanding based upon mutual respect, admiration, and cordiality.

You are most welcome and we are greatly honored that you should have chosen us as the friends before whom you could lay any matter of vital consequence to yourselves, in the confidence that your cause would be understood and met in the same spirit in which it was conceived and intended.


Findings Presented by the Belgian Royal Commission to President Wilson at Washington, Sept. 16.

Acts at Linsmeau and Orsmael.

Belgium, which wanted peace, has been obliged by Germany to resort to arms and to oppose a legitimate defense to an aggression which nothing can justify, and which is contrary to the solemn pledges of treaties.

Belgium is bound in honor to fight loyally and to observe all the rules, laws, and customs of war.

From the beginning of the invasion of its territory by German troops, the Belgian Government had posted each and every day, in all the towns, and the papers have each day repeatedly printed, instructions warning the non-combatant civilians not to offer any resistance to the troops and soldiers invading the country.

The information on which the German Government believes today that it can base its contention that the Belgian population contravenes the law of nations and is not worthy of respect is absolutely unfounded.

The Government protests most vigorously against these allegations and against the odious threats of retaliation. If any deed contrary to the rules of warfare should ultimately be proved, to understand such fact it is only necessary to realize the well-founded excitement which the cruelties of the German soldiers are provoking among the Belgian population—a population which is thoroughly honest but energetic in the defense of its rights and in its respect for humanity.

If we were to publish a list of these atrocities, of which the first ones are here recorded, this would indeed be a long list.

Whole regions have been ravaged and abominable deeds perpetrated in the towns.

A committee attached to the Department of Justice is drawing up a list of these horrors with scrupulous impartiality.

As an example, a few facts are here published, facts which will depict the state of mind and the procedure of certain German troops:

1. German cavalry, occupying the village of Linsmeau, were attacked by some Belgian infantry and two gendarmes. A German officer was killed by our troops during the fight, and subsequently buried at the request of the Belgian officer in command. None of the civilian population took part in the fighting at Linsmeau. Nevertheless the village was invaded at dusk Aug. 10 by a strong force of German cavalry, artillery and machine guns. In spite of formal assurances given by the Burgomaster that none of the peasants had taken part in the previous fighting, two farms and six outlying houses were destroyed by gun fire and burned. All the male population were [pg 379]then compelled to come forward and hand over whatever arms they possessed. No recently discharged firearms were found. Nevertheless the invaders divided these peasants into three groups. Those in one group were bound and eleven of them placed in a ditch, where they were afterward found dead, their skulls fractured by the butts of German rifles.

2. During the night of Aug. 10 German cavalry entered Velm in great numbers; the inhabitants were asleep. The Germans without provocation fired on Mr. Deglimme-Gever's house, broke into it, destroyed furniture, looted money, burned barns, hay, corn stacks, farm implements, six oxen, and the contents of the farm-yard. They carried off Mme. Deglimme half-naked to a place two miles away. She was then let go and fired upon as she fled; without being hit. Her husband was carried away in another direction and fired upon; he is dying. The same troops sacked and burned the house of a railway watchman.

3. Farmer Jef Dierchx of Neerhespen bears witness to the following acts of cruelty committed by German cavalry at Orsmael and Neerhespen on Aug. 10, 11, and 12. An old man of the latter village had his arm sliced in three longitudinal cuts; he was then hanged head downward and burned alive. Young girls have been raped and little children outraged at Orsmael, where several inhabitants suffered mutilations too horrible to describe. A Belgian soldier belonging to a battalion of cyclist carbineers, who had been wounded and made prisoner, was bound to a telegraph pole on the St. Trond road and shot.

4. On Wednesday, Aug. 12, after an engagement at Haelen, Commandant Van Damme, so severely wounded that he was lying on his back, was finally murdered by German infantrymen firing their revolvers into his mouth.

5. On Monday, Aug. 9, at Orsmael the Germans picked up Commandant Knappen very seriously wounded, propped him against a tree and shot him. Finally they hacked his corpse with swords.

6. Numerous soldiers, disarmed and unable to defend themselves, have been ill-treated or killed by certain German soldiers. The inquiry brings forth new facts of this kind every day.

7. In different places, notably at Hellonge-sur-Geer, at Barchon, at Pontisse, at Haelen, at Zelk, German troops have fired on doctors, nurses, ambulances, and ambulance wagons.

8. At Boncelles a body of German troops went into a battle carrying a Belgian flag.

9. On Thursday, Aug. 6, before a fort at Liége, German soldiers continued to fire on a party of Belgian soldiers, who were unarmed and had been surrounded while digging a trench, after these had hoisted the white flag.

10. On Thursday, Aug. 10, at Vootem, near the Fort of Loncin, a group of German infantry hoisted the white flag. When Belgian soldiers approached to take them prisoners the Germans suddenly opened fire on them at close range.

Report on Aerschot.

Antwerp, Aug. 28, 1914.

The commission of inquiry on violation of the laws of nations and the laws and customs of warfare, after an impartial and careful investigation, can make the following report of its findings:

It appears from precise and concurring testimony that in the entire region of Aerschot the Germans have committed veritable atrocities. The majority of the population fled in terror. On their passage the German troops set fire to farms and houses and furniture, shooting inoffensive citizens whom they found along the road or who were working in the field.

At Hersselt, north of Aerschot, thirty-two houses of the village were set on fire; the miller and his son, who fled, and about twenty-one other persons were killed; and all this while no Belgian troops were visible.

The German troops penetrated into Aerschot, a town of 8,000 inhabitants, on Wednesday, Aug. 19, in the morning. No Belgian forces remained behind. No sooner did the Germans enter the town than they shot five or six inhabitants whom they caused to leave their houses. In the evening, pretending that a superior German officer had been killed on the Grand Place by the son of the Burgomaster, or, according to another version of the story, that a conspiracy had been hatched against the superior commandant by the Burgomaster and his family, the Germans took every man who was inside of Aerschot; they led them, fifty at a time, some distance from the town, grouped them in lines of four men, and, making them run ahead of them, shot them and killed them afterward [pg 380]with their bayonets. More than forty men were found thus massacred.

They gave up the town to be pillaged, taking from private residences all they could take, breaking furniture, and forcing safes. The following day they lined up, three by three, the villagers whom they had arrested the day before, taking one man out of each line. These they led to a distance of about 100 meters from the town, taking with them the Burgomaster of the town, Mr. Tielmans, and his son, aged 15½ years, and his brother, and shot them.

Later on they forced the remaining villagers to dig holes to bury their victims.

For three whole days they continued to pillage and set fire to everything in sight.

About 150 inhabitants of Aerschot are supposed to have been thus massacred.

The largest part of the city is totally destroyed. Five times the Germans tried to set fire to the large church, the interior of which has been sacked. The records of the town have been carried away.

The ambulance attendants, although wearing the Red Cross badge, were not respected. One of them reports that German troops fired upon him while he was collecting his wounded, and that they continued to fire even though he displayed his Red Cross armband. Moreover, during the entire day of the 19th, while he was engaged in hospital service, he was threatened and ill-used. A German officer, among others, took him by the head, thrusting against his forehead the butt of a revolver. A collector, wearing the insignia of the Red Cross, was killed in the Rue de l'Hospital on the evening of Aug. 19 by Germans.

Deny Any Civilian Attack.

From all the testimony taken it appears that the civil population of Aerschot has in no wise participated in the hostilities, that no shot was fired by them; that all the witnesses agree in pointing out the improbability of the German version, according to which the Burgomaster's son, a youth of 15½ years, and of extremely gentle disposition, is said to have fired upon a superior German officer during the night of Aug. 19. Still more improbable is the version of the conspiracy organized by the Burgomaster. It is to be remarked that if—a thing which is not known—a German officer has been hit on the Grand Place, it might have happened by a stray bullet, German soldiers being engaged in shooting in the neighboring streets in order to frighten the populace.

Moreover, the Burgomaster, a very quiet man, had repeatedly warned his fellow-citizens, by means of posters and circulars addressed to every inhabitant of the town, that in case of invasion they were to abstain from any hostility. These posters were still in evidence when the Germans entered the city, and they were shown to them.

The German troops which were traversing localities situated on this side of Aerschot indulged in the same horrors. They shot fleeing citizens and set fire to and sacked private houses, all this without provocation.

At Rotselaer, for instance, they set fire to about fifteen houses. A German officer, addressing an inhabitant whose house was afire, wanted to make him declare, at the point of a pistol, that the fire had been started by the Belgians. When this inhabitant protested, claiming that the Belgians had left the town the previous evening, this officer declared that if the Germans had set fire to the town it was due probably to the fact that the civilians had fired at them, a fact which is also denied by all the witnesses.

There, too, the German troops pillaged everything they could lay their hands on during their passage.

Up to this writing the Commission of Inquiry has been unable to obtain the testimony of inhabitants of Diest and Tirlemont, which towns were occupied by the Germans on the 18th and 19th of August, 1914, and which are cut off from communication.

However, the inhabitants of Schaffen, a town near Diest, have stated that the same abominations were committed in [pg 381]their locality and in the adjoining communities, Lummen and Molenstede. The whole region has been laid waste. German troops, at an hour's distance from Diest, had begun their work of destruction all along the highway from Diest to Beeringen. Turning upon Diest they set fire to everything they could lay hands on—farms, houses, furniture. Arriving at the village of Schaffen, the Germans set fire to the town, massacring the few inhabitants who remained behind, and whom they found in their houses or in the streets.

The witness gives the names and addresses of eighteen persons whom he knows to have been massacred.

Among them are:

The wife of Francois Luyck, 45 years old, and her 12-year-old daughter, who were discovered in a sewer and shot.

The daughter of Jean Ouyen, 9 years old, who was shot.

Andre Willem, 23 years old, sexton, who was tied to a tree and burned alive.

Joseph Reynders, forty years old, who was killed together with his nephew, a lad of ten years.

Gustave Lodt, forty years old, and Jean Marken, also aged forty, probably buried alive.

The witness testifies that he personally proceeded to exhume these two bodies, and that he afterward buried them in the town cemetery.

The village of Rethy, near Turnhout, was the object of devastation and shooting during the day of Aug. 22 by seventeen cavalrymen who had penetrated into the village. A young woman of fifteen years was killed by a bullet.

Still more horrible crimes, if that were possible, have been committed by the German troops on account of their defeat at the hands of the Belgian Army before Malines. The City of Louvain, with its artistic and scientific riches, has not been spared.

New reports will be submitted very shortly.


Secretary of the Commission.

Destruction of Louvain.

Antwerp, Aug. 31, 1914

To the Minister of Justice:

Sir: The Commission of Inquiry begs to make the following report on the deeds of which the City of Louvain and the surrounding localities and the vicinity of Malines have been the theatre.

The German Army penetrated into Louvain on Wednesday, Aug. 19, after having set fire to the towns through which it had passed.

From the moment of their entrance into the City of Louvain the Germans requisitioned lodgings and victuals for their troops. They entered every private bank of the city and took over the bank balances. German soldiers broke the doors of houses abandoned by their inhabitants, pillaged them and indulged in orgies.

The German authorities took hostages—the Mayor of the city, Senator Vander Kelm, the Vice Rector of the Catholic University, the Dean of the city; magistrates and Aldermen were also detained. All arms, down to fencing foils, had been handed over to the town administration and deposited by the said authorities in the Church of St. Peter.

In a neighboring village, Corbeek-Loo, a young matron, 22 years old, whose husband was in the army, was surprised on Wednesday, Aug. 19, with several of her relatives, by a band of German soldiers. The persons who accompanied her were locked in an abandoned house, while she was taken into another house, where she was successively attacked by five soldiers.

In the same village, on Thursday, Aug. 20, German soldiers were searching a house where a young girl of 16 years lived with her parents. They carried her into an abandoned house, and while some of them kept the father and mother off, others went into the house, the cellar of which was open, and forced the young woman to drink. Afterward they carried her out on the lawn in front of the house and attacked her successively. She continued to resist, and they pierced [pg 382]her breast with their bayonets. Having been abandoned by the soldiers after these abominable attacks, the girl was carried off by her parents, and the following day, owing to the gravity of her condition, she was administered the last rites of the Church by the priest of the parish and carried to the hospital at Louvain. At that time her life was in danger.

On Aug. 24 and 25 Belgian troops, leaving the intrenched camp in Antwerp, attacked the German Army which was outside of Malines.

The German troops were driven back as far as Louvain and Vilvorde.

Penetrating the towns which had been occupied by the enemy, the Belgian Army found the whole country devastated. The Germans, while retiring, had ravaged and set fire to the villages, taking with them all the male inhabitants, driving them before them.

Old Woman Killed by Bayonets.

Upon entering Hofstade, on Aug. 25, the Belgian soldiers found there the corpse of an old woman who had been killed by bayonet thrusts; she still held in her hands the needle with which she was sewing when she was attacked; one mother and her son, aged about 15 or 16 years, lay there, pierced with bayonet wounds; one man was found hanging.

In Sempst, a neighboring village, were found the corpses of two men partially burned. One of them was found with his legs cut off at the knees, the other was minus his arms and legs. A workman (whose charred body several witnesses have seen) had been pierced with bayonets, and afterward, while still living, the Germans soaked him with petroleum and locked him in a house, which they set on fire. An old man and his son had been killed by bullets; a woman coming out of her house had been stricken down in the same manner.

A witness whose declaration has been received by Edward Hertslet, son of Sir Cecil Hertslet, Consul General of Great Britain in Antwerp, testifies to have seen not far from Malines on Aug. 26 (that is, during the last attack of the Belgian troops) an old man attached by the arms to a beam of a barn. The body was completely burned; the head, the arms, and the feet were intact. Further on was a body all over stabbed with bayonet thrusts. Numerous corpses of peasants were found in positions of supplication, arms lifted and hands folded in prayer. The Belgian Consul to Unganda, who had entered the Belgian Army as a volunteer, reports that everywhere the Germans had passed through the country was devastated. The few inhabitants who remained in the villages told of horrors committed by the enemy. Thus in Wacherzeel seven Germans are said to have consecutively attacked a woman, afterward killing her. In the same village they had stripped a young boy, threatening him with death by pointing a revolver at his breast, piercing him with their lances, and chasing him into the open fields and shooting after him, without, however, hitting him.

Everywhere there was ruin and devastation. At Bulcken numerous inhabitants, including the priest, a man more than 80 years old, were killed.

Between Impde and Wolverthem two wounded Belgian soldiers were lying near a house which was burning. The Germans threw these two unfortunate men into the raging fire.

The German troops repulsed by our soldiers entered Louvain in full panic. Various witnesses assure us that at that moment the German garrison occupying Louvain was advised erroneously that the enemy was entering the town. Immediately the German garrison withdrew toward the station, where it met with the German troops that had been repulsed and pursued by the Belgian troops. Everything seems to indicate that a collision took place between the two German regiments. From that moment, under pretext that the Louvain civilians had fired upon them, a fact which is contradicted by all witnesses, and which would hardly have been possible inasmuch as all the inhabitants of Louvain, for several days past, had been obliged to hand their arms over to the local [pg 383]authorities, the German soldiers began to bombard the city. Moreover, not one of the witnesses has seen the body of a single civilian at the place where the affray happened. The bombarding lasted until 10 o'clock at night. Afterward the Germans set fire to the city.

Burning of the Town.

The houses which had not taken fire were entered by German soldiers, who threw fire grenades, which seem to have been provided for the occasion. The largest part of the City of Louvain, especially the quarters of the Ville Haute, comprising the modern houses, the Cathedral of St. Peter, the University Halls, with the whole library of the university, its manuscripts, its collections, the largest part of the scientific institutions, and the town theatres, were at the moment being consumed by flames.

The commission deems it necessary, in the midst of these horrors, to insist on the crime of lèse humanity which the deliberate annihilation of an academic library—a library which was one of the treasures of our time—constitutes.

Numerous corpses of civilians covered the street and squares. On the route from Louvain to Tirlemont alone one witness testifies having seen more than fifty of them. On the threshholds of houses were found burned corpses of people who, surprised in their cellars by the fire, had tried to escape and fell into the heap of live embers. The suburbs of Louvain have been completely annihilated.

A group of seventy-five persons, among whom were several notables of the city, such as Father Coloboet and a Spanish priest, and also an American priest, were conducted during the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 26, to the square in front of the station. The men were brutally separated from their wives and children, and after having received the most abominable treatment, and after repeated threats of being shot, they were driven in front of the German troops as far as the village of Campenhout. They were locked in the church during the night. The following day at 4 o'clock a German officer came to inform them that they might all confess themselves, and that they would be shot half an hour later. But at 4:30 o'clock they were allowed to go, and shortly afterward they were again arrested by a German brigade, which forced them to march in front of them to Malines. Answering a question on the part of one of the prisoners, a German officer told them that they were going to taste some of the Belgian grapeshot before Antwerp. At last they were liberated on Thursday afternoon at the entrance of Malines.

Further testimony shows that several thousand male inhabitants of Louvain who had escaped the shooting and burning were sent toward Germany. We do not at this writing know for what purpose.

The fire continued for several days. An eye-witness, who on Aug. 30 left Louvain, describes the state of the city as follows:

"From Weert St. Georges," he says, "I have seen nothing except burned towns and crazed villagers lifting to each comer their arms as a mark of submission. From each house was hanging a white flag, even from those that had been set on fire, and rags of them were found hanging from the ruins.

At Weert St. Georges I inquired from the inhabitants the cause of the German reprisals. They all assured me that absolutely none of the inhabitants had fired; that all arms had been previously given up, and that the Germans had taken vengeance on the population because a Belgian soldier of the Gendarme Corps had killed a Uhlan.

The population which remained in Louvain took refuge in the suburb of Heverle, where they are all piled up, the population having been driven from the town by the troops and by the fire.

The fire in Louvain began a little above the American College, and the city is entirely destroyed, with the exception of the Town Hall (Hôtel de Ville) and the depot. Today the fire continued, and the Germans—far from trying to stop it—seem rather to maintain it by throwing straw into the fire, as I have myself seen in the streets behind the Hôtel de Ville. The cathedral and the [pg 384]theatres have been destroyed and have fallen in, also the library. The town resembles an old city in ruins, in the midst of which drunken soldiers are circulating, carrying bottles of wine and liquor; the officers themselves being installed in armchairs, sitting around tables and drinking like their own men.

In the streets dead horses are decaying, horses which are already inflated, and the smell of the fire and of the decaying animals is such that it has followed me for a long time."

The commission up to this writing has been unable to obtain any information regarding the fate of the Burgomaster of Louvain, nor regarding the prominent persons taken for hostages.

Conclusions of the Commission.

By facts which have thus far been brought to its attention, the commission reaches the following conclusions:

In this war, German occupation of territory is systematically followed by (and is at times preceded by and accompanied by) acts of violence against the civil population, which acts of violence are contrary to the conventional laws of war and to the most elementary principles of humanity.

The procedure of the Germans is everywhere the same. They advance along the roads, shooting inoffensive passersby, particularly cyclists and even peasants occupied in the fields which the Germans traverse.

In the towns and villages where they stop, the Germans first of all requisition victuals and drinks which they consume to the point of drunkenness; then they begin to shoot wildly, sometimes from the interior of empty houses, declaring that the inhabitants have fired the shots. It is then that the firing scenes begin, and murder and especially pillage accompanied by acts of cold cruelty set in, acts which respect neither sex nor age. Even where they claim to know the perpetrator of the deeds which they allege, they do not content themselves with executing the culprits summarily, but take advantage of the occasions to decimate the population, to pillage all the inhabitants, and to set fire to them.

After a first massacre, somewhat at random, they shut the men into the church of the town and order all women to go back to the houses and leave the doors open during the night.

In several localities the civil population has been sent to Germany, to be compelled there, it appears, to labor in the fields, as was done in the slave days of olden times. Numerous cases are known where the inhabitants were forced to serve as guides and to make trenches for the Germans. Numerous depositions reveal that in their march, and even in their attacks, the Germans put before them civilians, men and women, in order to prevent our soldiers from firing. Other testimony proves that German detachments do not hesitate to fly either a white flag or a Red Cross flag, so as to approach our troops without being suspected. On the other hand they fire on our ambulances and ill-treat our ambulance nurses. They ill-treat and even kill our wounded. Clergymen seem to be particularly the object of their attacks. Last, but not least, we have in our possession explosive bullets left behind them by the enemy at Wechter, and we are also in receipt of medical certificates testifying that the wounds must have been inflicted by bullets of the variety mentioned above.

Documents and testimonials in support of these facts will be published.


GOOREMAN, President.

ORTS, Secretaries.


Cabled to Royal Commission at Washington from Belgian Foreign Office. Cablegram Received Sept. 8.

You have received the reports of the commission of Aug. 25 and 31. Since [pg 385]then a great many localities, situated in the Vilvorde-Malines-Louvain triangle, an extremely fertile and densely populated district, have been partially pillaged and totally destroyed by fire. Their inhabitants have fled, while a number of them, among others women and children, were arrested and shot without trial, and without apparent reason, except to inspire the population with terror. This was done in Sempst, Weerde, Elewyt, Hofstade, Wespelaer, Wilsele, Bucken, Eppeghem, Houthem, Tremeloo, Tistelt, Gelrode, Herent. At Wavre, where the population was unable to pay a levy of 3,000,000 francs, fifty-six houses were set on fire. The largest part of Cortenberg is burned. To excuse these attacks the Germans allege that an army of civilians resisted them. According to trustworthy testimony, no provocation can be proved at Vise, Aerschot, Louvain, Wavre, and in other localities situated in the Malines-Louvain-Vilvorde district, where fire was set and massacres committed several days after the German occupation.

Cablegram Received Sept. 15.

Inform the Belgian Commission that the Belgian Committee on Inquiry continues to report ruins and devastations and pillage, systematically organized by German troops in the towns invested by them. The City of Termonde was destroyed without any hostile participation on the part of the civilian population. Out of 1,400 houses, only 295 remain standing, others were destroyed by fire and razed from the ground, after the Germans entered the city. Several civilians were imprisoned and executed with bayonets in the presence of their relatives and fellow-citizens. In Melle nine civilians were killed and forty-five properties destroyed, without any reason.

The re-occupation of Aerschot by the Belgian Army reveals disastrous deeds. Dwellings, which were not destroyed by fire were completely sacked and pillaged on Sept. 6 before the return of the Belgian troops. Four hundred civilians, among them thirty clergymen, were locked since Aug. 30 in the church without food, carried off, and sent to destinations unknown. Localities in the neighborhood are completely destroyed, and everywhere along the road are corpses. Women and young girls were outraged. Systematic pillage.


Published by Belgian Commission of Inquiry on Sept. 10 to Complete Its Report of Aug. 31.

Of the two reports, dated August 28 and 31, which the Commission has had the honor of addressing to you, the former recounted more particularly the events which occurred at Aerschot and in the neighboring district, while the latter dealt with the destruction of the town of Louvain by the German troops. In order to complete its report of Aug. 31, the Commission thinks it its duty to record that after the burning of Louvain the houses which remained standing, the inhabitants of which had been forced to flee, were pillaged under the eyes of German officers. On Sept. 2 the Germans were seen setting fire to four houses.

The "Chastisement" of Louvain.

Another fact which emphasizes the ruthless character of the treatment to which the peaceable population of Louvain was subjected has also been established. On Aug. 28 a crowd of 6,000 to 8,000 persons, men, women and children, of every age and condition, was conducted under the escort of a detachment of the 162nd Regiment of German infantry to the riding school of the town, where they spent the whole night. The place of confinement was so small in proportion to the number of the occupants that all had to remain standing, and so great were their sufferings that in the course of this tragic night several women lost their reason and children of tender years died in their mothers' arms.

A communiqué from the German Great General Staff, the text of which is published in the Cologne Gazette of Aug. 29, declares that the "chastisement" inflicted [pg 386]upon Louvain was justified by the fact that a battalion of Landwehr, which had been left unsupported in the town in order to guard the communications, had been attacked by the civil population, which was under the impression that the main German Army had definitely retired. The same journal has published a narrative purporting to come from a person who was a witness of the occurrence.

The inquiry has established that this statement must be considered false. It is, in fact, ascertained that the people of Louvain, who, moreover, had been disarmed by the Communal Authority, did not provoke the Germans by any act of hostility.

The commission has resumed the inquiry begun at Brussels on the subject of the occurrences at Visé.

This place was the first Belgian town destroyed in pursuance of the system applied subsequently by the invader to so many other of our cities and villages. It is for this reason that we have been careful to determine what truth there is in the German version according to which the civilian population of Visé took part in the defense of the town or rose against the Germans after the town had been occupied.

Several witnesses now at Antwerp have been heard, notably soldiers belonging to the detachment which disputed with the Germans the passage of the Meuse, north of Liége, and a lady of German nationality, who belongs to the religious community of the Sisters of Notre Dame at Visé.

Innocent Vise.

The result is to prove that the inhabitants took no part whatever in the fighting which took place on Aug. 4 at the ford of Lixhe and at Visé itself.

Moreover, it was only in the night of Aug. 15-16 that the destruction of the town began, the signal being given by several shots fired on the evening of the 15th. The Germans asserted that the inhabitants had fired upon them, particularly from a house the owner of which gave evidence before the commission.

The Germans discovered no arms in this house, any more than they did in neighboring buildings, which, nevertheless, were burned after being pillaged, and the male occupants of which were carried off to Germany.

The evidence has brought to light the improbability of any rising among a disarmed population against a numerous German garrison at a time when the last Belgian troops had for eleven days evacuated the district, and the witnesses have declared that the first shots were fired by intoxicated German infantry soldiers at their own officers. This fact appears not to be exceptional. It is, indeed, notorious that at Maestricht, either by mistake or in consequence of a mutiny, Germans about this same time killed one another during the night at a cavalry camp which they had established at Mesch, close to the Dutch frontier in Limbourg.

It is confirmed that the town of Visé was entirely burned, with the exception, it appears, of a religious establishment which seems to have been respected, and that several citizens, both of the town and of the village of Canne, were shot.

A Deliberate System.

A large number of places situated in the triangle between Vilvorde, Malines, and Louvain—that is to say, in one of the most populous and, a few days ago, one of the most prosperous regions in Belgium—have been given over to plunder, partially or entirely destroyed by fire, their population dispersed, while the inhabitants were indiscriminately arrested and shot without trial and without apparent reason, the sole object being, it seems, to inspire terror and to compel the migration of the population.

This was notably the case in the communes or hamlets of Sempst, Weerde, Elewyt, Holstade, Wespelaer, Wilsele, Bueken, Eppeghem, Wackerzeele, Rotselaer, Werchter, Thildonck, Boortmeerbeek, Houthem, Tremeloo. In this last village only the church and the presbytery remained standing. On the few houses which have been spared may be seen the following inscriptions: "Nicht [pg 387]abbrennen," (do not burn,) "Bitte schonen," (please spare,) "Gute leute, nicht plundren," (good people, do not plunder.) These houses, however, were sacked afterward.

In all these villages the women who have been unable to escape are exposed to the brutal instincts of the German soldiers.

The district immediately adjoins that of Aerschot, the devastation of which was described in an earlier report. It extends at present to the northwest of Brussels, where the important towns of Grimberghen and Wolverthem have been sacked, while southeast of the capital, more than twenty-five kilometers from the scene of military operations, the town of Wavre, which was unable to furnish the exorbitant war levy of 3,000,000 francs (£120,000) imposed by the General Staff of the enemy, has seen fifty-six of its houses destroyed by fire.

We must also record that on Sept. 4 and 5 bombs were hurled from an aeroplane upon Ghent and Escloo, which are open and undefended towns.

Finally, you are aware, M. le Ministre, that the town of Malines, after it had been completely evacuated by Belgian troops on Aug. 27, was subjected for several days to a bombardment which has seriously damaged the cathedral church of St. Rombaut, the pride of this ancient city. The town of Heyst-opden-Berg was also bombarded without mercy, though there was no strategic interest to warrant such an act.

The Plea of Armed Resistance.

The Germans, in order to excuse their violence, declare that, wherever they have shot civilians or burned and pillaged towns and villages, armed resistance has been offered by the inhabitants. While there may possibly have been isolated instances of this kind, that is nothing more than occurs in all wars, and if they had confined themselves to executing the guilty persons we could only have bowed before the rigor of military law. But in no case could individual and absolutely exceptional acts of aggression justify the wholesale measures of repression which have been adopted against the persons and the property of the inhabitants of our towns and villages—the shooting, the burning, the pillaging which has proceeded pretty well everywhere in our country, not only by way of reprisals but with a refinement of cruelty. Moreover, no provocation has been proved at Visé, Marsage, Louvain, Wavre, Termonde, and other places which have been entirely and deliberately destroyed several days after being occupied, not to mention the systematic burning of isolated buildings situated in the line of march of the troops, and the shooting of the unfortunate inhabitants who fled.

The Germans have asserted in their newspapers that the Belgian Government distributed to the civil population arms which were to be used against the invaders. They add that the Catholic clergy preached a sort of holy war and incited their flock everywhere to massacre the Germans. Finally, they have declared, in order to justify the massacres of women, that women showed themselves as ferocious as the men, and went so far as to pour boiling oil from their windows upon the troops on the march.

A Tissue of Falsehoods.

All these allegations are so many falsehoods. Far from having distributed arms, the authorities everywhere on the approach of the enemy disarmed the inhabitants. The Burgomasters everywhere warned the townspeople against acts of violence, which would involve reprisals. The clergy have unceasingly preached calm to their flock. As for the women, if we except a story in a foreign newspaper, the source of which is suspected, everything shows that their only anxiety was to escape the horrors of a ruthless war.

The true motives for the atrocities the moving evidence of which we have gathered can only be, on the one hand, the desire to terrorize and demoralize the people in accordance with the inhuman theories of German military writers, and, [pg 388]on the other hand, the desire for plunder. A shot fired, no one knows where, or by whom, or against whom, by a drunken soldier, or an excited sentry, is enough to furnish a pretext for the sack of a whole city. Individual plunder is succeeded by war levies of a magnitude which it is impossible to satisfy and by the taking of hostages who will be shot or kept in confinement until payment of the ransom in full, according to the well-known procedure of classic brigandage. It must also be stated that in order to establish the German case all resistance offered by detachments of the regular army is laid to the account of the civilian population, and that the invader invariably avenges himself upon the civilians for the checks or even the disappointments which he suffers in the course of the campaign.

In the course of this inquiry we use only facts supported by trustworthy evidence. It should be noted that up to the present we have been able to record only a small part of the crimes committed against law, humanity, and civilization, which will constitute one of the most sinister and most revolting pages in contemporary history. If an international inquiry, like that which was conducted in the Balkans by the Carnegie Commission, could be conducted in our country, we are convinced that it would establish the truth of our assertions.

[Signed by M. Gooreman, Minister of State, President.]


Denial of Belgian Charges by Count von Bernstorff, German Ambassador at Washington, Sept. 17.

All that I care to say about the Belgian charges is that I have officially informed the State Department in Washington that there is not one word of truth in the statements made to the President yesterday by the Belgian Commission.


Official Dispatch from Berlin to German Embassy at Washington, Aug. 29.

In consequence of a sudden attack of Belgian troops from Antwerp the German garrison at Louvain meets the enemy, leaving only one battalion of the last reserve and army service corps in Louvain. Thinking that this meant the retreat of the German troops, priests at Louvain gave arms and ammunition to the civilians, who began, at different places, suddenly to shoot out of windows at unsuspecting German troops, of whom many were wounded. A fight of twenty-five hours between German soldiers and the civil population of Louvain took place. Parts of Louvain were burning. Civilians met with arms are killed. The manifesto of the Chief General speaks of bestial cruelties committed on wounded and makes the magistrates responsible for the provocation and for providing people with arms.

The German Army protests against the news spread out by enemies about the cruelty of German warfare. The German troops had to take severe measures sometimes when provoked, the population making treacherous attacks upon them and bestial atrocities against the wounded. The responsibility for the recourse of warfare falls entirely upon the authorities of the occupied territories who gave arms to the civil population and stirred them up to take part in the war wherever the population was not hostile. The German troops never did harm people or property. The German soldier is not an incendiary nor pillager. He only fights against a hostile army. The news published in foreign papers about the Germans chasing the population means the characterizing immorality of the authors.

Official Communication of the German General Staff.

BERLIN, Aug. 30, 1914.

The City of Loewen (Louvain) had surrendered and was given over to us by the Belgian authorities. On Monday, [pg 389]Aug. 24, some of our troops were shipped there and intercourse with the inhabitants was developing in a quite friendly manner.

On Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 25, our troops, hearing about an imminent Belgian sortie from Antwerp, left in that direction, the Commanding General ahead in a motor car, leaving behind only a Colonel with soldiers to protect railroad, (landsturm battalion "neuss.")

As the rest of the Commanding General's staff, with the horses, was going to follow, and collected on the market place, suddenly rifle fire opened from all the surrounding houses, all the horses being killed and five officers wounded, one of them seriously.

Simultaneously fire opened at about ten different places in town, also on some of our troops, just arrived and waiting on the square in front of the station, and on incoming military trains. A designed co-operation with the Belgian sortie from Antwerp established beyond doubt. Two priests caught in handing out ammunition to the people were shot at once in front of the station.

Street fights lasted till Wednesday, the 26th, in the afternoon, (twenty-four hours,) when stronger forces, arrived in the meantime, succeeded in getting the upper hand. Town and northern suburbs were burning at different places and by this time have probably burned down altogether.

On the part of the Belgian Government a general rising of the population against the enemy had been organized for a long time; depots of arms were found where to each gun was attached the name of the citizen to be armed.

A spontaneous rising of the people has been recognized, at the request of the smaller States at The Hague Conference, as being within the law of nations as far as weapons are carried openly and the laws of civilized warfare are being observed; but such rising was only admitted in order to fight the attacking.

In the case of Loewen the town had already surrendered and the population renounced, without any resistance, the town being occupied by our troops. Nevertheless the population attacked on all sides and with a murderous fire the occupying forces and newly arriving troops, which came in trains and automobiles, considering the hitherto peaceful attitude of the population.

Therefore there can be no question of means of defense allowed by the law of nations, neither of a warlike guet-apens, (ambush,) but only of a treacherous attempt of the civil population all along the line, and all the more to be condemned as it was apparently planned long beforehand with simultaneous attack from Antwerp, as arms were not carried openly, as women and young girls took part in the fight and blinded our wounded, sticking their eyes out.

The barbarous attitude of the Belgian population in all parts occupied by our troops has not only justified our severest measures, but forced them on us for the sake of self-preservation. The intensity of the resistance of the population is shown by the fact that in Loewen twenty-four hours were needed to break down their attack.

We ourselves regret deeply that during these fights the town of Loewen has been destroyed to a great extent. Needless to say that these consequences are not intentional on our part, but cannot be avoided in this infamous franc-tireur war being led against us.

Whoever knows the good-natured character of our troops cannot seriously pretend that they are inclined to needless or frivolous destruction.

The entire responsibility for these events rests with the Belgian Government, who with criminal frivolity have given to the Belgian people instructions contrary to law of nations and incited the resistance, and who, in spite of our repeated warnings, even after the fall of Luettich, (Liége,) have done nothing to induce them to a peaceful attitude.

Official German Statement Published in Berlin, Sept. 7.

Belgium is officially spreading false representations about the occurrences [pg 390]through which the City of Louvain was made to suffer. It is claimed that German troops, having been repulsed by Belgians making a sortie from Antwerp, were fired upon by mistake by the German garrison of Louvain and that in this way fighting occurred there. But events prove incontestably that the Germans repulsed the Belgian sortie.

During this battle before Antwerp an undoubtedly organized attack was made upon the German troops at many places in Louvain, after apparently friendly relations between the Germans and the citizens of the town had seemed for twenty-four hours to be beginning. The attack was at first against a Landwehr battalion composed of older men of quiet disposition and themselves mostly fathers of families; also against sections of the General Staff that had remained in the city, and upon moving columns of troops. The Germans had many wounded and killed. They won the upper hand, however, owing to the arrival of fresh troops by rail, who were fired upon at the station. The truth of the foregoing statements is established beyond all cavil. The City Hall was saved, but further attempts to extinguish the fire were unsuccessful.


Official Report by Superior Confidential Councilor von Falke After Inspection of Louvain, Sept. 17.

The ancient Tuchhalle, which was used for university and library purposes, was completely destroyed by fire, with the exception of the front and rear facades in Gothic and Renaissance style. The library, with its very valuable treasures of manuscripts and books, was therefore a total loss. Officials of the library who might have called attention to the saving of the imperiled treasures were not present when the adjoining houses on both sides of the hall caught fire, and no hope exists that any of the books or manuscripts, or even parts thereof, might be found in the ruins.

Apart from this—by far the worst damage—and the partial destruction by fire of the Cathedral of St. Peter no other losses of extraordinary importance took place at Louvain.

The Rathaus, or City Hall, in late Gothic style, under reconstruction for several years and on which work has not been finished yet, was saved, thanks to the orders of the commander, Major von Manteuffel, who ordered that the burning houses on the right side of the City Hall be leveled to the ground. The military removed from a cellar of the City Hall a quantity of ammunition which threatened to explode through extreme heat of the fire. Four soldiers were severely injured thereby. The Rathaus, thanks to the precautions taken by the German military, and in spite of its nearness to the conflagration, was not damaged in the interior, nor did its rich outer architecture suffer any at all.

The roof of the Cathedral of St. Peter, which was set afire by sparks from adjoining buildings, was very considerably damaged, however only to such an extent as to allow its restoration to the original condition. The roof frame is burned to the beginning of the curve of the dome. The inner ceiling has prevented the fire from spreading to the inner part of the church, containing rich art treasures. Above the choir, however, the inner ceiling gave way, thereby partially damaging the upper part of the rococo altar of stone which was without any particular artistic value.

The small sacrament house standing next to the altar—a very fine and rich stonework of late Gothic style by the builder of the City Hall, M. de Layens—has been slightly damaged by the collapse of the ceiling, which chipped off the upper phiales. These broken pieces have been collected without any substantial loss and can easily be replaced. The damage to the sacrament house can therefore be replaced. Close to the main portal of the cathedral, following the fire in the bell tower, the falling bells pierced the roof. Near the entrance in the southerly part of the church at the [pg 391]right side the fire did some damage to the walls and the stone balustrades in the side chapel. Notable art treasures have, however, not been damaged. Only the ventilator in the main portal, a beautiful Renaissance carving, (of wood,) was burned. An ancient glass painting of the seventeenth century remained undamaged.

The left side chapel to the north of the entrance, with its Gothic bronze baptismal and the iron arm in Gothic style, (the cover being missing for many years,) with its rococo carved altars and heavy sideboards, are untouched, as well as the organ of the year 1556 in a beautiful carved oak inclosure of the Renaissance period in the northerly centre chapel.

The paintings in the choir chapels, to which belong the most precious art treasures of Louvain, such as the works of Dierik Bouts and the Master of Flemalle, together with all movable art treasures of St. Peter's Church, were saved by Lieut. Col. of Reserves Thelemann and transferred to a hall in the Rathaus, where they are now under the supervision of the Mayor. Here can be found "The Holy Communion" by Dierik Bouts, and his "Martyrdom of the Holy Erasmus," the "Kreuzabnahme" ("Removal from the Cross") by the Master of Flemalle, and two side paintings representing the donors (apparently by another artist.) Three paintings by J.v. Rillaerz and several later paintings of lesser value are stored there.

The oaken church treasure chest containing eight silver Holy Virgins, some of them from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a Gothic incense bowl, Gothic Renaissance monstrances of silver, highly artistic and valuable ciboriums of the eighteenth century, also chandeliers, candlesticks, swinging lamps, and other church regalia have been stored in the City Hall. The report continues that an architect of Louvain has been ordered to temporarily repair the damage of the roof regardless of cost.

Thus of the old art works of the Church of St. Peter only the ventilator is destroyed; the stone structure of the building itself remains intact. Until the framework of the roof is rebuilt a temporary roof should be constructed to shelter the interior of the church. A Louvain architect has been authorized by the Mayor to do this work.

The semi-official Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, after publishing this report, says:

"The disastrous accidental fire, called forth by the revolt of the populace and then spread further through the storm wind, devastated especially the rows of houses near the railroad station, in the Bahnhofstrasse and in the centre of the city. The remaining churches lie outside of the zone touched by the fire, which comprised about one-sixth the area of the city; they were therefore not touched by the fire. Thus there remained undamaged the Church of St. Michael, the Church of St. Jacob, the Church of St. Gertrude, with all their notable art works; likewise the College du Saint Esprit, with its library."

Bombardment of Rheims Cathedral

[pg 392]Protest Issued to Neutral Powers from French Foreign Office, Bordeaux, Sept. 21.

Without being able to invoke even the appearance of military necessity, and for the mere pleasure of destruction, German troops have subjected the Cathedral of Rheims to a systematic and furious bombardment. At this hour the famous basilica is but a heap of ruins.

It is the duty of the Government of the republic to denounce to universal indignation this revolting act of vandalism, which, in giving over to the flames this sanctuary of history, deprives humanity of an incomparable portion of its historic patrimony.


Authorized Dispatch to The London Daily News, Sept. 27.

Although the Pope is greatly shocked and deeply grieved at the destruction of the Rheims Cathedral, which he is convinced was entirely unnecessary, and could easily have been averted, he still declines to make a public statement. I am merely authorized to state that the Pope's sorrow at the destruction of the magnificent cathedral is so great that it is impossible for him to express it.

The Pope is convinced that his sorrow is shared not only by Catholics, but by all Christians, since all believers in God mourn the destruction of His temples, which even war does not justify.

A member of the Pope's entourage explained the reasons why a public statement was not issued. He said:

The Pope's sorrow is understood, if not publicly announced. It is inconceivable that even if the destruction of the cathedral was necessary for strategical reasons the intensity of the Pope's sorrow would be lessened, but a public statement implies blame, which the Pope thinks now is inopportune and inexpedient, hence he refrains from any comment. God's mercy is undoubted; His justice inevitable. Time will show whether the criminal destruction of one of the most famous of the world's cathedrals will remain unpunished. Vengeance is God's


Statement by Count von Bernstorff, German Ambassador at Washington, Sept. 23.

It would seem from certain published reports that the destruction of this grand old edifice was the result of malice or envy. This is ridiculous. All that I have to say on this matter is that I am positive that the attack on the cathedral at Rheims was not willful.

For my part, I feel much more for the thousands of men who have sacrificed their lives, although I regret as much as any man the destruction of such a beautiful work of art.


German Government Disclaimer Issued by Count von Bernstorff, Washington, Sept. 23.

The German Government states officially in contradiction of the report made by the Havas Agency that German artillery purposely destroyed important buildings at Rheims, that, on the contrary, orders were given to spare the cathedral by all means.


Official German Dispatch from Berlin, Received in Amsterdam, Sept. 23.

The Cathedral of Rheims was not used as a mark for a systematic bombardment. During the last few days the French had [pg 393]strengthened the fortress to defend their present position, and consequently the German bombardment became necessary. Orders had been given to spare the cathedral.

If it should prove true that during the fire the cathedral suffered, which cannot be yet ascertained, nobody would deplore it more than ourselves, but the French who made Rheims a fortress in support of their defense line are alone to blame.


Official Report Made by Whitney Warren to the French Government, Sept. 28.

On Friday, Sept. 25, I received word from the embassy that the French Government had made arrangements to take me to Rheims in order that I might make a report on general conditions and especially upon the cathedral. So at 8 o'clock the next morning I started off with two automobiles under the escort of Capt. Henri Charbonnel, accompanied by two soldiers; one automobile, conducted by Mr. Hall of New York, containing Major Morton Henry, Major Cosby, and Lieut. Boyd of the embassy.

We followed the route direct to Meaux, then to La Ferte-sur-Jouarre, from there to Château-Thierry, where we picked up a third automobile containing Capt. Perrin, with authority from Gen. Joffre to conduct us anywhere we chose to go, providing it was safe.

From there to Epernay, where we had luncheon, and then to Chalons-sur-Marne, where was stationed the chef d'etat-major. There they told us it was possible to go to Rheims, although the bombardment had been rather severe the day before. So we turned northwest and proceeded to Rheims, passing by Conde-sur-Marne and Verzy. Here we passed many troops, who, although fagged, seemed to be in very good condition, and we arrived at Rheims at 4:30, proceeding directly to the cathedral, where I remained until dark, talking and visiting the monument with the Curé Landrieux and the Abbé Thinot, who had been in charge of the cathedral from the commencement.

The next day I was again at the cathedral, from 7:30 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon, visiting it in every particular, endeavoring to realize the damage done, whether intentionally inflicted or not. The following is as near as I am able to ascertain the different phases of the bombardment:

Four Bombs on First Day.

On Sept. 4, when the Germans first entered Rheims, there was a first bombardment by their guns, interpreted by the Germans themselves as either a mistake or caused by the jealousy of some corps not allowed that privilege. Four bombs fell upon the cathedral—one on the north transept—doing but little damage, however.

On Sept. 14 and 15, after the Germans had evacuated the city and the French had entered, the bombardment recommenced, but without touching the cathedral. On Sept. 17 two bombs struck, one on the apse and the other on the north transept.

On the 18th the cathedral was again hit on the southern flying buttresses and on the roof, killing a gendarme and several German wounded.

On Sept. 19 the cathedral was fairly riddled by bombs during the entire day, and at about 3:45 the scaffolding surrounding the north tower caught fire. This fire lasted about one hour, and during that time two further bombs struck the roof, setting it also on fire. The curé claims that one of these bombs must have been incendiary, otherwise it would be impossible to explain the extraordinary quickness with which the fire spread throughout the roof timbers.

The fire from the scaffolding descended until it reached the north door of the main façade, which caught rapidly, burned through and communicated to the straw with which the floor of the cathedral was covered. This straw had been ordered on Sept. 12 by the German Commander in order to prepare the cathedral to receive 3,000 German wounded but the evacuation of the city by the Germans [pg 394]had prevented the cathedral being used for that purpose.

When the French came back the straw was gathered together with the intention of removing it, but on the 17th the French General ordered it to be re-spread, the flag of the Red Cross hoisted on the north tower and the German wounded placed there, in the hopes that this might save the cathedral.

As I have said, on Sept. 19 the straw caught from the fire originating in the scaffold, burning through the doors and destroying what was known as the very fine wooden tambours, or vestibules, surrounding these doors on the inside, and also calcinating the extraordinary stone sculptures decorating the entire interior of this western wall. These sculptures were peculiar to Rheims, being in high, full relief and cut out of the mass of the stone itself instead of being applied. This is one of the irreparable destructions occasioned.

All the wonderful glass of the nave is absolutely gone; that of the apse still exists, though greatly damaged.

Decorative Motifs Lost.

The fire on the outside calcinated the greater part of the façade, the north tower and the entire clerestory, with the flying buttresses and the turret crowning each of them. This stone, as far as its surface is concerned, is irreparably damaged and when touched detaches itself; consequently all decorative motifs wherever the flames reached are lost.

The tresor was saved at the commencement of the fire by the priests and the tapestries for which Rheims is so greatly renowned had been fortunately removed before. Half the stalls have been destroyed. The organ is intact and several crucifixes and pictures in the apse are untouched.

That anything remains of the monument is owing to the strong construction of what might be called the carcass of the cathedral and, I am firmly convinced, through no desire on the part of the bombarding forces to spare this monument. The walls and vaults are of a robustness which can resist even modern implements of destruction, for even on Sept. 24, when the bombardment was again taken up, three bombs landed on the cathedral, but the vaults resisted absolutely, not even being perforated.

Had the Cathedral of Amiens received the same punishment, because of the lightness of its construction the vaults would undoubtedly have given way, the flying buttresses would have crushed in the walls and nothing would have remained but a mass of crumbled stone, with the exception of perhaps the ruins of the towers. If anything therefore remains of Rheims Cathedral it is due, as I have already said, to the robustness of its construction and not to any desire on the part of those bombarding it to spare it from utter destruction.

The monument, about which no troops were massed, towers above the rest of the town; to avoid it, in view of the uselessness of destroying it and because it was serving as a hospital, would have been an easy matter. The entire quarter of the city situated between it and the enemy is destroyed, including the Episcopal Palace, which contained the Archaeological Museum, the Episcopal Chapel, and what was known as the "Apartment of the Kings." This quarter also contained the principal commercial houses.

"Blind Rage" Causes Attack.

It would seem that the only explanation which can be offered was blind rage upon the part of the besieging army.

There are two monuments of almost equal importance to the world which are in jeopardy of the same fate as the Cathedral of Rheims, viz., the Cathedrals of Noyon and Laon. That these will be respected is to be hoped, in spite of the ruthless and miserable attempt to reduce the glorious monuments of Rheims to ruins.

On Friday, Sept. 25, the Germans further shelled the Abbey of Rémy at Rheims, one shell exploding in the interior and destroying an immense quantity of glass. The civil hospital, which occupies the cloisters of St. Rémy, received [pg 395]as its quota nine bombs, one of which killed four of the patients in the beds, and another one of the attendants. Needless to say that over this building also were flying flags of the Red Cross.

On Sunday, Sept. 27, I spent about two hours on top of the north tower of the cathedral, behind the parapets, where I could not be seen, watching the bombardment of the French forces, which was going on in the suburbs of the town, situated at about two kilometers from my point of vantage. It was most interesting, the precision with which the German shells arrived in groups of six at intervals of, I should say, three to five minutes. The French troops were all wonderfully covered so that they could not be seen, their guns being concealed under straw or beet leaves, according to the character of the ground upon which the battery was established.

No smoke came from their guns, their powder being absolutely smokeless, and yet the Germans seemed to have located them very thoroughly and kept up a continual bombardment, their shells landing repeatedly over the same place, seemingly, without any deviation whatever.

Shot Proclaims "Lights Out."

We all slept the Saturday and Sunday nights in Rheims, which was in a state of siege, all lights being out at 8 o'clock. One of our party foolishly left his window open while he had his light on; a pistol shot from the police drew attention to the fact, and the entire electric light of the hotel was immediately cut off.

In the day time great numbers of the population would leave the city and go out in the suburbs on the safe side to watch the combat, returning at night to their homes to see what destruction had been occasioned and, if possible, to get a night's rest. I had a large quantity of tobacco with me, which was received by the troops and by the civilians with great joy, for they had seen none for a month, the Germans having taken everything.

While the commercial part of the city had been absolutely destroyed, in other parts one would find places where stray shells had fallen, doing great damage. It all seemed absolutely ruthless and useless. The curé of the cathedral told me that the Germans during their occupation had established an observation post in the north tower with an electric searchlight. This they took away with them, and some of the French officers, during the first days of reoccupation, occasionally went up there to have a look, but the curé had strongly objected and they had given it up.

I know that the two days that I was there nobody but myself went into the tower and I did so unbeknown to the authorities, being very careful not to show myself, as I was assured it would draw fire if the Germans saw anybody moving about on it. I think, myself, that this is an exaggeration, as their line of observation must be at least seven or eight miles removed and at that distance, even with a very strong glass, it would be almost impossible to distinguish a human silhouette.

We left Rheims at 7 o'clock on Monday morning, proceeding to Villers-Cotterets and stopping at Lafere-en-Tardenois, which was the headquarters of the English. Here there were great quantities of automobiles and considerable commotion that it was his honest opinion that this was not the case. The village had been bombarded before the arrival of the Germans, and the Mayor had taken refuge in the cellar of the Mairie. When the Germans arrived at about 3 o'clock they dragged him out and took him to a little place about three kilometers from Senlis, where he is supposed to have been questioned, together with other hostages. At 10 o'clock that night he was shot and buried where he fell.

The next day seven other hostages were shot in view of the fact that some civilians were accused of having fired upon the military. Three days after this the Acting Mayor and a party of citizens recovered the body of the Mayor, who had been buried under a very thin covering [pg 396]of earth in a very shallow grave—so much so that his hands and feet were uncovered. He had one bullet hole in his forehead, which would seem to indicate that the execution was not a military one, but that some officer had, for some reason, shot him—perhaps in a moment of impatience.

From Senlis we went to Clermont, which is the headquarters of the left wing. There I had the great good fortune to be introduced to Gen. Castelnau, who showed me his maps and the way a battle was fought on paper. This is one of the greatest privileges I think I have ever enjoyed, and the curious part of it was that their way of working in the military art is very similar to the way we plot and scheme as architects. The General interested me as a very fine, simple citizen. Among other things he said to me:

"My dear Sir, how is it possible to fight with these people? They seem to have no mercy, no decency. It really seems impossible to know how to meet them."

He had with him several of his staff officers and one of them was charged with making a report upon the atrocities committed. He allowed me to read several of these reports and showed me photographs of one incident that impressed me greatly. These photographs this officer had taken himself and in order to prove that he had seen the incident and was on the ground he was himself in the photograph. This special happening was as follows:

In some little town to the east the Germans had taken out sixteen peasants and field laborers. They bound their hands either in front or at the back, tied them in bunches of five, cut their suspenders and unbuttoned their trousers so that escape was impossible and shot them in an open field. The report contained the names and ages of these poor chaps. The oldest, I remember, was 67, and several were over 50. The French had been able to get no explanation whatever of what had occurred, as the village was absolutely deserted. The persecution of women seems to be quite prevalent.

From here we returned to Paris, passing by Creil and Chantilly without any incident, arriving in Paris at about 8 o'clock at night.




[pg 397]Concluding Remarks of Emil Vandervelde, Belgian Minister of State, Chairman International Socialist Bureau, in Harlem Casino, New York, Sept. 21.

You in the United States represent the International within a nation. You have undertaken to do what no nation of Europe has ever accomplished. You have taken the men and women and children of all nationalities and molded of them one uniform nation of peace.


Belgian Minister of State and Chairman
International Socialist Bureau.
(Photo from Wiener Agency.)

This meeting here tonight is a demonstration of this. The International, unfortunately divided by war, has not been seen in Europe in weeks. I find it again in the United States. These United States, which are to be, not merely the United States of America, or the United States of capitalism, but the United States of the Socialism of the world.

At the last meeting of the International Socialist Bureau in Paris I can see gathered at the same table, Hugo Haase, the Chairman of the Parliamentary group of the German Social Democracy, drafting resolutions of peace on behalf of the entire International. And at the same table sat our unforgettable Jean Léon Jaurès, who fell at the first mad rush of the war tide. What a frightful succession of events have taken place since that time!

Jaurès dead; Guesde, the uncompromising, the Marxist, the Socialist, a member of the French Cabinet; Dr. Ludwig Frank, one of the most promising of the young German Socialists, shot dead in battle! Socialists become national! French, Russian, Belgian, German, Austrian Socialists fighting one another, destroying one another!

Who was right, who wrong? Did the majority of the German Socialists, under the leadership of David, do right in voting the war credits asked by the Kaiser? Or did the minority do right, under the direction of Dr. Liebknecht, in refusing these credits? Who can pass judgment? But this we do know and can truthfully say—not a single capitalistic Government of all Europe but shares in the guilt.


Statement by Jules Guesde, Minister in France's War Cabinet and Exponent of French Socialism, at Paris, Aug. 29.

I go into the Cabinet as an envoy of my party, not to govern, but to fight. If I were younger, I would have shouldered a gun. But as my age does not permit this I will, nevertheless, face the enemy and defend the cause of humanity.

I am confident of final victory, and without hesitation as to its subsequent role in France, the party will never deviate from the line of conduct laid out. As the solidarity of workmen does not shut out the right to defend themselves against traitor workmen, so international [pg 398]solidarity does not exclude the right of one nation to defend itself against a Government traitor to the peace of Europe.

France has been attacked, and she will have no more ardent defenders than the workmen's party.


Editorial Article in the New Yorker Volkszeitung, Aug. 28.


French Cabinet Minister
and Exponent of French Socialism,
(Photo from Trans Atlantic Co.)

Who would have suspected in 1904 that Jules Guesde would come to be once more a member of a Ministry, popular in its majority? Who would have thought then—it was in the time of the memorable debates over socialistic "ministerialism" in the Amsterdam Congress of the International—that there ever could come a time when this clear-headed and unswerving exponent of academic socialism would be forced by the need of the hour to take a step which in ordinary circumstances would be absolutely inconceivable for him?

And now this has actually happened. Jules Guesde, who has been called—in contrast to the easily moved emotional Jaurès—the stiff-necked dogmatist, is not only become Minister, but with him another proved Socialist champion, Marcel Sembat, who for his part too would rather have split the party than to have approved the entrance of Millerand into the Cabinet of Waldeck Rousseau.

But now these two are sitting on the same Ministerial bench, not only with this self-same Millerand, but with the much more deeply despised renegade Briand, with the anti-Socialist abettor Ribot, and the disgusting reactionary and favorite of the Czar, Pelcassi. The world seems to be unhinged.

Yet the incomprehensible is under the existing circumstances only too easily understood, Guesde and Sembat have taken this difficult step, because there was no other choice for them, they had to take it. They, as representatives of a party which had sent 102 members to the Chamber of Deputies, could not refuse, when this was the question, to create a Ministry for Defense.

That was the question! It was demanded of all the larger parties that they put up their best—that is, their intellectually strongest—men for a Cabinet whose sole task was the defense of France. When this task is accomplished, when the war is ended in one way or the other, then the Ministry will undoubtedly dissolve, and the Ministerial magnificance of Comrades Guesde and Sembat will be at an end until the opportunity offers of creating a Socialist Ministry.

France, according to all news emanating from the scene of hostilities, is in an extraordinarily difficult situation. Should the German Army succeed, as seems already to have been the case in two places, in breaking through the French-Belgian-English chain of defense, then the way to Paris is as good as open. If nothing more, at least the reported preparations of the Parisians indicate that a siege is expected there in the very near future; and since Paris is still the heart of France, the taking of that city would be one with the fall of the French Republic.

If in such an hour of danger a nation calls upon its sons, there is for them no choice; they must answer the call.

Jules Guesde and Marcel Sembat did no more than their duty!


Cry Raised by Jean Jaurès at Session of International Socialist Bureau, Brussels, July 29.

The diplomats negotiate. It seems that they will be satisfied to take from Servia a little of its blood. We have, therefore, a little rest to insure peace. But to what lesson is Europe submitted? When after twenty centuries of Christianity, when after 100 years of the triumph of the principles of the rights of men, how is it possible that millions of persons, without knowing why, can kill each other?

And Germany? If she knew of the Austrian note, it is inexcusable to have permitted such a step. And if she did not know of this Austrian note, what is [pg 399]her Governmental wisdom? You have an agreement which drags you into war and you do not know what you have been dragged for? I ask, What people have shown so much anarchy?

Nevertheless the authorities hesitate. Let us profit by it and organize. For us, French Socialists, our duty is simple. We do not need to impose on our Government a policy of peace. They are practicing it. I, who have never hesitated to bring upon my head the hatred of our patriots by my desire to bring about a Franco-German understanding, have the right to say that at this time the French Government desires peace.

The French Government is the best ally for peace of the English Government, which has taken the initiative in conciliation and gives to Russia advice of prudence and patience.

As for us, it is our duty to insist that it shall speak with force that Russia may abstain. If unfortunately Russia does not abstain, it is our duty to say, "We do not know of any other treaty except the one which binds us to the human race."

This is our duty, and in expressing it we find ourselves in accord with our German comrades who demand of their Government to see to it that Austria moderates its acts. It is possible that the telegram of which I spoke is due partly to that desire of the German workers. One cannot go against the wish of four millions of enlightened consciences.

Do you know what the proletariat is? They are the men who have collectively an affection for peace and a horror for war. The chauvinists, the nationalists, &c., are men who have collectively an affection for war and carnage. When they feel, however, over their heads the menace of conflicts, or wars which may put an end to their capitalist existence, then they remind themselves that they have friends who seek to reduce the storm. But for the supreme masters the ground is mined. In the drunkenness of the first battles they succeed in pulling along the masses. In proportion as typhus completes the work of death and misery these men will turn to the masters of Germany, France, Russia, Austria, Italy, and so on, and will demand what reason they can give for all those corpses. And then the revolution will tell them: Go and demand grace from God and men.


Editorial Article for l'Humanite, Written by Jean Jaurès on the Night He Was Assassinated, July 31.

If we put things at their worst, if we take, in view of the most formidable hypothesis, the necessary precautions, let us keep the lucidity of our spirit, the firmness of our reason. To judge from all the common elements, it does not seem that the international situation is desperate. To be sure, it is grave, but all chances of an amicable adjustment have not disappeared. On one side it is evident that if Germany had a design to attack us she would have proceeded according to the famous sudden attack. On the contrary, she has allowed days to pass, and France, like Russia, could have put to profit this delay, the one, Russia, in order to proceed to a partial mobilization, the other, France, to take precautions compatible with the maintenance of peace.

On the other hand, Austria and Russia have entered into direct negotiations. Russia demands of Austria what treatment she reserves for Servia. Austria answers that she will respect her "territorial integrity." Russia figures that it is not enough and that it must also include that "the sovereign rights of Servia are guaranteed."

Even if discord comes between the views of Austria and those of Russia, one could measure the distance of the ideas and work on a solution of a problem whose points are determined. It is then, it seems, that the English idea of mediation which seeks a form, its means of expression, but which in the end will prevail, for it embodies the profound sentiments of the people, and without [pg 400]doubt the desire of the rulers who feel rising toward them, like punishment, this peril of war, with which for a moment they thought of playing like a diplomatic toy.

If we judge what war itself will be and the effects it will produce by panic, sinister rumors, economic difficulties, monetary difficulties, and the financial disasters which the mere possibility of a conflict creates; when we think that even now we must postpone payments, and prepare to decree a forced circulation for the paper certificates, one asks if the most crazy or the sanest of men are capable to open such a crisis.

The greatest danger at this time is not, if I can say it, in the events themselves. It is not even in the real dispositions of the chancelleries, however guilty they may be; it is not in the real will of the people; it is in the nervousness which is gaining, in the worry which is spread, in the sudden impulse which grows from fear, of the growing uncertainty, prolonged anxiety. To these crazy panics the crowd may give in, and it is not sure that the Governments, too, may give in. They spend their time (delicious occupation) to frighten and to reassure each other. And this, do not mistake, can last for weeks. Those who imagine that a diplomatic crisis must be or can be settled in a few days are mistaken. Just as the battles of modern war develop on an immense front, last seven or eight days, the same way the diplomatic battles, placing now in the game entire Europe and involving a number of powerful nations, will spread necessarily over several weeks. To resist this test one must have nerves of steel, or, better still, they need a firm reasoning, clear and calm. It is to the intelligence of the people, it is to their reasoning, that we must now make an appeal if we wish them to remain masters of themselves, escape the panics, dominate the excitement, and supervise the march of men and things, to spare the human race from the horror of war.

The danger is great, but it is not unavoidable if we preserve clearness of mind and a strong will, if we have both heroism of patience and heroism of action. The clear view of our duty will give us the power to accomplish it.

All the militant Socialist members of the Federation of the Seine are called, for next Sunday morning, to Wagram Hall, to a meeting where the situation will be explained, where the action which the International expects of you will be defined.

A number of meetings will keep in action the thought and will of the proletariat and will prepare the magnificent demonstration which will be a prelude to the labors of the International Congress.

What counts now is the continuity of action, the constant awakening of the reason and conscience of the workers. There lies true salvation. There lies the guarantee of the future.


Resolutions of International Socialist Bureau at Brussels, July 29.

In assembly of July 29 the International Socialist Bureau has heard declarations from representatives of all nations threatened by a world war, describing the political situation in their respective countries.

With unanimous vote, the bureau considers it an obligation for the workers of all nations concerned not only to continue but even to strengthen their demonstrations against war in favor of peace and of a settlement of the Austro-Servian conflict by arbitration.

The German and French workers will bring to bear on their Governments the most vigorous pressure in order that Germany may secure in Austria a moderating action, and in order that France may obtain from Russia an undertaking that she will not engage in the conflict. On their side the workers of Great Britain and Italy shall sustain these efforts with all the power at their command.

The congress urgently convoked in Paris [it was never held] will be the [pg 401]vigorous expression of the absolutely peaceful will of the workers of the whole world.

It is further resolved that the International Socialist Bureau congratulates the Russian workers on their revolutionary attitude, and invites them to continue their heroic efforts against Czardom as being one of the most effective guarantees against the threatened world war.


Speech of German Social Democratic Leader on July 30, Five Days Before His Declaration in the Reichstag.

For twenty-five years Austria-Hungary has been attempting to strangle Servia economically. Therefore, the ultimatum sent to Servia must be regarded as a provocation to long desired war. As you know, Servia's answer was so conciliatory in tone that if Austria had had the honest desire peace could have been brought about. Austria wanted war.

The most fearful thing about it all is that this criminal sport may deluge all Europe with blood. A telegram says that Austria does not wish to carry on a long war with Servia, but only intends taking the capital city, Belgrade, by way of teaching Servia a lesson. This rôle of the teacher punishing the pupils is both reprehensible and dastardly.

Austria seems to count upon Germany's help. Nevertheless, the German Socialists declare that secret negotiations have very little weight with the proletariat. The German proletariat says that Germany is not to involve herself, even if Russia enters in. The German capitalists, on the other hand, demand that Germany step in because Austria makes war with Servia. And on the same illogical, reprehensible grounds the French capitalists are demanding war with Germany. The French proletariat is one with the German proletariat.

The people, sunk deep in want and despair, will at last awake and establish socialism. Yesterday thousands and tens of thousands of them in Berlin protested against the war. Their slogan was: "Long live peace, and down with war!"


Speech of Aug. 4—"We Do Not Desert Our Fatherland."

We are face to face with a great crisis. The consequences of the imperialistic policy by means of which an era of competitive preparation for war has been inaugurated, and which has served to intensify hostile feeling between nations, have swept down over Europe like a torrent. The responsibility lies with those who have upheld this policy; we refuse it. [Applause from the Socialists.] Social Democracy has fought this disastrous development with all its strength, and even up to the very last hour, by means of prodigious public demonstrations, particularly in close co-operation with its brothers in France, [applause from the Socialists,] it has labored for the maintenance of peace. Its endeavors have been in vain. We now stand before the brazen facts of actual war; the horrors of hostile invasion threaten us. It is not for us today to decide for or against war, but to deliberate on the problem of the available means of national defense. We have now to think of the millions of our fellow-countrymen who, through no fault of theirs, have been drawn into this disaster. [Applause.] They will be the ones to suffer most heavily from the devastation of this war.

Our warmest sympathy, accorded without reference to party, accompanies all our brothers who have been called to the front. [Vigorous applause from all sides of the House.] We are thinking also of the mothers who must give up their sons, of the women and children robbed of their mainstay and support, of those whom, to the anxiety of their loved ones, the pangs of hunger threaten. To these will very soon be added tens of thousands of wounded and crippled soldiers. To stand by them all, to ease their misfortune, to alleviate their immeasurable [pg 402]need—this we consider our compelling duty. [Vigorous applause.]

With a victory of the Russian despotism, which is stained with the blood of the best of its own people, much, if not all, which concerns our people and their future in freedom will be at stake. [Storm of applause.]

It is necessary to ward off the danger in order to render secure the culture and the independence of our own country. [Vigorous applause.]

Thus do we actualize what we have always claimed—in the hour of danger we do not desert our Fatherland! [Vigorous demonstrations of approval.]

In this regard we feel ourselves in perfect accord with the International, which has at all times recognized the right of every people to natural independence and self-defense, just as we agree with it in denouncing every war of conquest.

We demand that as soon as this purpose of securing national safety is achieved, and the combatants shall be disposed toward peace, that an end be made to the war through a peace which shall facilitate friendship between neighboring peoples. We demand this not only in the interests of that international solidarity for which we have continually fought, but also in the interests of the German people. We hope that the grisly lessons learned from suffering in this conflict will waken in new millions of hearts the horror of war, and will win them over to the ideal of Socialism and peace between nations.

Guided by these principles, we approve the proposed appropriations. [Vigorous applause.]


Letter from Dr. Carl Liebknecht, Social-Democratic Member of the Reichstag, in the Burger Zeitung, Bremen, Sept. 18.

I understand that several members of the Socialist Party have written all sorts of things to the press with regard to the deliberations of the Socialist Party in the Reichstag on Aug. 3 and 4.

According to these reports there were no serious differences of opinion in our party in regard to the political situation, and our own position and decision to assent to war credits are alleged to have been arrived at unanimously.

In order to prevent the dissemination of an inadmissible legend I feel it to be my duty to put on record the fact that the issues involved gave rise to diametrically opposite views within our parliamentary party, and these opposing views found expression with a violence hitherto unknown in our deliberations.

It is also entirely untrue to say that assent to the war credits was given unanimously.


Letter from Philipp Scheidemann, Ex-Vice President of the Reichstag, in the New Yorker Volkszeitung, Sept. 10.

BERLIN, Aug. 21.

——, I send you a few facts.

No one in Germany wanted this war. The fact that Germany declared war on Russia and finally on France does not contradict this statement. If Germany, who was exactly informed as to the preparations being made by her neighbors, had delayed for ever so short a time, Russia would have completed her mobilization which she had secretly been carrying on for some time, and with her Cossacks would have swept down on our eastern country which was only moderately well protected. And then woe to us!


Chairman German Socialist Party and
ex-Vice President of the Reichstag.

That the Government, after the failure of all its efforts to maintain peace, promptly took the initiative, disturbed not a little the Czar of Russia. This was perhaps indicated most dramatically by his manifesto to the Jews. This same Czar, whose hands are stained with the blood of many thousands of the Jews whom his servants of slaughter have murdered during the pogroms, this same Czar who has degraded and abused the [pg 403]Jews in the most inhuman fashion, has now, in order to create an agreeable impression, issued a manifesto "to my beloved Jews!" Now when he has to fear that the Poles and those Jews living in Russian Poland may rise up against his army of shame, now does he begin to make bright promises for the future!

Russia to Blame.

Upon Russia rests the entire responsibility for the present war. While the Czar was still negotiating with the German Kaiser for the declared purpose of bringing about peace, he was arming his troops not only against Austria but against Germany.

That France, republican France, has allied herself with Russian absolutism for the purpose of murder and destruction, is an almost inconceivable fact. And that England, parliamentarian England, democratic England, is fighting side by side with the Russians for "freedom and culture," that is a truly gigantic and shameless piece of hypocrisy.

I do not need to place before those of our readers who are schooled in socialism any comments on the causes of this war—the fact itself as it stands is of a stupendous, terrifying magnitude. And it is with this fact that we have now to reckon. Russia, France, Belgium, England, Servia, Montenegro and Japan are now involved in this battle for "freedom and culture," which means fighting against Germany, against the world which has given birth to Goethe, to Kant and to Karl Marx! It would be laughable were the situation not so desperately grave.

Socialism in each of the West European powers has done all it could to prevent the war. Its strength could not sufficiently prevail—it was not enough. On Aug. 1, 1914, socialism in each country found itself confronted with the hideous certainty of war. What was to be done?

On the 1st of August there was no longer any possibility whatsoever of sending a letter or telegram across the German frontier. The telegram of condolence which we sent to Paris on the assassination of Jean Jaurès never arrived. Socialism in each country was forced back entirely upon itself.

At the time when I am writing this letter, Aug. 21, we in Germany know absolutely nothing concerning the details of the action taken in the Belgian and French Parliament. Only this much has penetrated to us, that our comrades in all of the countries under consideration have come to the same conclusion as we in Germany. The French have approved the war credits, the Belgians have admitted Vandervelde to the Ministry for Defense. That our comrades in England have come out for the strictest neutrality is easily understood. Any other attitude on their part would be a crime against socialism. No one would be so ignorant as to find analogies between the situation of the German and the English Socialists. We in Germany had to perform the duty of protecting ourselves against Czarism, we had to accomplish the task of saving the country in which Social Democracy has reached its highest point of development, from impending subjection to Russia. In England the decision had to be made only as to whether sides should be taken in the conflict between Russia and Germany, or whether neutrality should be preserved.

A Germany under the yoke of the Czar would have set back a century the Socialist movement not only of Germany itself but of the whole world.

Moreover, we Social Democrats have never ceased to be Germans, because we belong to the Socialist International. And if we in the Reichstag have unanimously approved the war credit, we have done no more after all than to carry out what has often been repeated by our greatest Socialists from the Reichstag platform.

Quotes Bebel and Elder Liebknecht.

The words of Bebel and of the elder Liebknecht have always been heard with favor in America. And what, for example, has Bebel said in this connection?

In the preservation of Germany's independence all the laboring classes, to the very least among them, are just as much concerned as those who consider themselves the chosen leaders and rulers [pg 404]of the people, and the working class in nowise desires to bend its back under any sort of foreign rule.

Still more fully did Bebel declare himself during the session of the Reichstag of March 7, 1904. At that time he said:

Gentlemen: You cannot in the future carry on any successful wars without our aid. ["Very true!" "Right!" from the Socialists.] If you conquer you will conquer with us and not against us; without our help you can no longer subsist. ["True!" "Right!" from the Socialists.] I will go still further, we would have the greatest possible interest were we to be involved in a war—a war in which the existence of Germany was threatened, for—and I give you my word for it—we are ready to the last and the oldest man among us to shoulder arms and protect German soil not in service to you but to ourselves—as far as I am concerned, in fact in defiance of you. ["True indeed!" "Right!" from the Socialists.]

We live and fight on this soil, the land of our fathers, as much if not more our fatherland than yours, to the end that it will be a joy even for the last and least among us to live therein. ["Very good!" from the Socialists.]

That is our endeavor and that it is which we are laboring to achieve, and it is for this reason that we shall repulse with all the power at our command and to our very last breath every attempt to snatch from this Fatherland one inch of land. ["Very good!" from the Socialists.]

There are numerous declarations of similar nature which have been uttered by our great friend, Wilhelm Liebknecht has also spoken in similar fashion. On the 28th of November, 1888, he addressed the Reichstag as follows:

What the opponents of German consolidation over there in France and Russia fear is a German people united for the defense of their land. And in this regard—that I can assure you—I have personally removed for our part every doubt, if any existed, among influential French politicians; if France attacks, straightway there is no party in Germany on which she can rely, and straightway every Socialist in Germany is pledged and prepared to march against the invader.

For years we have been slandered by our enemies in Germany as traitors and worse. The imperial anti-Socialist association has had an excellent example of this alleged treachery of ours. Our vote has stretched the anti-Socialists in the dust, together with all the other political vultures who have lived by slandering us.

As Socialists of firm conviction we have voted for the war credit and moved this vote through a declaration from the party representative, Haase. In our programme we have demanded that a volunteer army replace the standing army. Why do we demand the volunteer army? Because we consider it the best protection against every attack on the Fatherland. This is it, then! We, too, wish to defend the Fatherland. Suppose that instead we had said in the hour of need: Yes, we want to protect our Fatherland against the knout regiments of the Czar all right enough, but we demand that protection from the militia! Since we do not as yet have the militia, we shall make no use of the standing army, for we would rather let the Cossacks into the country!

From whatever side we consider the situation, we German Socialists could not have acted otherwise than we have. A party like that of Social Democracy, the strongest in the country, cannot avoid the facts by hiding its head in the sand; it must act! It is no exaggeration to state that in the present crisis the entire German people is united. That whole nation is determined, cost what it may, to end the war as speedily as possible, but at the same time victoriously. There is no one here who feels any resentment toward France, and every one wishes that a worthy peace will be established between Germany and France as soon as possible.

England's Shameful Role.

England is playing a perfectly shameful rôle in this war. Even though France were allied to Russia by an unfortunate treaty, England was not so allied! But England, who has ever been jealous of the industrial development of our country, used the violation of our treaty of neutrality with Belgium, which was incurred only in dire need and which was yielded openly and honestly in the Reichstag by the Chancellor, as a pretext to declare war against us. And England crowned this abhorrent action by mobilizing [pg 405]against us an east-Asiatic nation. Japan, whose sons have enjoyed the most genuine and far-reaching hospitality at our hands, whose culture has been enriched through us, who has won from us our industrial secrets, shows herself suddenly as the most despicable, the most treacherous nation of this whole world. I do not need to go into details over the demands which Japan has presented to Germany, for I assume that your readers are already in full possession of the facts.

Germany will perhaps lose a part of her colonial possessions in this war. Germany is in no position to protect these against many enemies during the war. Germany has steadily counted upon some colonial losses in the struggle. We Socialists especially have in our opposition to capitalistic colonial policy continually pointed to the fact that in the event of war colonies cannot be retained.

For the rest, however, Germany is of good courage. No one has the slightest doubt that our country will claim victory against the hostile oppression from without. In the meantime you in America have long since learned that all announcements of defeats which Germany is said to have suffered in the east, in the west, and on the sea, are lies. It is true that at Schirmek in Alsace a few cannon were lost by our troops. But, on the other hand, the fact is established that in the very first days after mobilization all the enemies' troops were completely driven from Germany, and further, that during the mobilization of our troops victorious battles occurred at Mülhausen and Lagarde in Alsace; that in the east they have made sharp inroads on the Russians; that they overcame Lüttich with all its forts and captured Brussels on the 20th of August.

Here in Germany we are expecting every moment news of the taking of Namur. The quicker decisive battles take place, by so much sooner will there be some possibility of establishing peace with France.



Karl Kautsky, in the Neue Zeit, Berlin, Aug. 8.

Kautsky has for over a quarter of a century been one of the foremost Socialist leaders in Germany; the founder and present editor of the Neue Zeit. The present article on the war appeared before the periodical was suppressed by the Government.

War, with all its attendant horrors, has broken loose, the "Critique of Weapons" has been set up, and the weapons of criticism are consequently broken. This is not merely the inevitable result of the automatic limitations which would be imposed by any state of war, but rather—though this is but a transitory phase—because of an absolute lack of interest in any sort of critical estimate of the whole situation. In breathless suspense, every man is concentrating the whole of his mental energy on the news of the next moment, news concerning which none can make even fairly clear surmise, and about which one fact only is known in advance, that whatever it is, it is sure to be horrible. For relief from this wretched suspense men are looking to dispatches and decisions of battles, not to critical speculation.

Yet by the time these lines come before the reader this stage may already be giving way, and in all probability there will be beginning to be felt the need of regaining our usual attitude, of taking account of this monstrous event which has broken in on us so suddenly—so unexpectedly that for the moment it has stunned us—of making ourselves clear concerning the end toward which we are moving.

Of course, to discuss the chances of each or any of the combatants involved is out of the question; indeed, it would be a difficult task for the shrewdest military expert to establish a sound estimate, for there are probably few, perhaps none, to whom the armies under consideration are sufficiently well known for that. Besides all this, moreover, the present conflict is taking place under conditions absolutely different from any [pg 406]we have before known, totally new to our experience.

Formerly, when the situation was more simple than at present, there were always at the outbreak of war a few experienced experts who could correctly estimate the prospects for each side in the struggle, for it was usually fairly clear from the very beginning what each side wanted to gain and what in the case of victory each would gain. But in the present situation there is not a word of prophecy which can be uttered in face of the fact that the most terrible war known to history has broken out without any of the powers involved in the least wishing it. It was in Russia first that at the last moment the war party seemed to have gained the upper hand and to have set in motion the whole bloody sport. We may rely on it that the statesmen of Austria were of the honest belief that they could localize the conflict with Servia.

But it is impossible any longer to consider this world war as a continuation of that conflict. Servia has vanished completely from the horizon, and in the moment when that end disappeared from view, each nation found itself suddenly fighting for nothing else save its own national integrity. The real purposes in this war will not come to the surface until the balance of the power becomes a little more sharply defined. Then in the victors' camp all manner of purposes and desires will suddenly spring up wide awake.

When Everything Is Over.

Meanwhile, little as may be affirmed today concerning the prospects for the parties in this struggle and the manner of the war's conclusion, this assertion may safely be put forth; this world will wear a vastly different appearance when everything is over.

We hope, and may reasonably expect, that the war will be relatively short. The Franco-Prussian war lasted from the middle of July to the end of February; military operations began early in August and closed with the truce of Jan. 28. That the present war will be dragged out to so great a length, involving so incredible a number of men, demanding so severe a straining of energies—especially the financial—on the part of all the nations, is hardly conceivable. But however short a time it may last, we shall emerge a world very different from before.

The time is long since past when a great war brings in its train no changes other than the ceding of a few square miles of conquered territory. Under the capitalistic method of production, continual changes, irreconcilable situations, constantly new problems pile up so rapidly that no great war is any longer possible which does not bring with it a prolonged breaking down as well as a building up of industrial organisms.

Especially is it clear that the non-European world will undergo a powerful change. The non-European nations are already in the ascendency; more and more they are becoming a strong opposition force to Europe. Their advance must win tremendous impetus from a war which in every case will weaken seriously the European nations, no matter how it may swing the balance of power among them.

The United States particularly will derive the greatest profit from the struggle. Without any exertion whatsoever she is already able to control the entire American market, and in the Far East it is possible for her to exercise considerable restraint on her European competitors. In time she will be in a position to constitute herself the only great money power of that section of the world which employs the use of free capital. Already there is a colossal stream of European securities flowing to the United States, who is acquiring them at the very lowest prices. The remedy for the economic wrongs of Europe which will be created by this war as well as the fixing of indemnities will not be possible without the aid of America. At the very least, the conquered nations will be wholly dependent on American capital.

Next to the United States in this amazingly swift advance stand the nations of Asia and of Islam—Japan, China, India, Persia, Turkey with her [pg 407]tributary possessions. The progress of these nations has been considerably hampered by the control—both financial and military—exerted over them by the European powers. In the free States this control has been suddenly lifted; in the dependencies, such as India, Persia, and Egypt, it has been materially weakened, and it will be long before it can again operate with the same force. We must reckon with the possibility of revolt among these nations and of their entrance into the world war. Russia, England, France—these could be considerably weakened by such a turn of affairs. Colonial policy would then show the obverse side of the medal. It might well prove a decided source of military and economic strength for Germany that her colonial possessions are relatively unimportant.

World Imperialism Doomed.

The stronger the non-European nations become, the fewer grow the possibilities for a continuation of the policy of empire. This world war, born in the very midst of imperialism, can readily end in circumstances which knock the supports from under the imperialistic policy.

It may be said similarly of our worldwide preparation for war, that it too has been a direct consequence of imperialism; and our own party has steadily maintained that it would create an atmosphere in which powder would finally go off of itself—a spontaneous combustion.

The burdens imposed by this war will be so terrible that from the financial point of view it may be extremely difficult if not absolutely impossible when peace shall at length have been concluded to add thereto the burden of renewed preparation for war, especially in the face of competition with America, strong and industrially intact.

These changes must inevitably give an entirely new aspect to our external as well as to our internal political state. To what extent will follow changes in the political relations of the different classes it is too early yet to surmise. But here also there is every assurance for the assertion that political life will recommence stronger than ever before.

As soon as the "Critique of Weapons" ceases, immediately the weapons of criticism are bound to take on a sharper edge. What forms critical effort will assume, against what it will direct its force, what circumstances will bring it to maturity, all of this lies in the lap of Time. In any case, Social Democracy, like any other party, will in that time need the full measure of its strength to assert itself and to protect the interests of the class of which it is made up. To preserve this strength through the vicissitudes which the future has in store is presently to be the most important problem of our internal politics.

We must hold intact the organizations and the party organs together with the trade unions; we must guard their members from imprudences as well as from defection. This goes without saying and there is no true comrade who will not act in this spirit.

No less necessary, however, is unity within the party, the absolute relinquishing of all petty individual grievances. We are a party committed to self-criticism, but in time of a great crisis criticism must become mute. Never has it been more difficult, never, in fact, less possible, to adopt and to maintain a position which would satisfy every Socialist without exception. Every war brings Social Democracy into the fatal dilemma between the necessity for defending our individual homes on the one hand and, on the other, for preserving international solidarity. The present war confronts us as well as the army staff with particular difficulties, for it is a war possessing many faces. It is not only a war against the Czar of Russia, but also against the democracies of France and England, whose Governments felt themselves forced out of fear of isolation and later subjection to stand by the Russian Czar.

We can very easily understand how to many this or that decision by our party may seem a false step, but it would be still more false, still more disastrous, were we, through any difference of opinion, to allow an internal disagreement to arise. In time of war discipline is not [pg 408]for the army alone; for a party it, too, is the first requirement. Under its rule we must all stand together, more courageous, more firmly united than ever before. Not criticism but faith is now the essential condition of our success.



[pg 408]Manifesto Resenting German Mission of Herr Sudekum Issued by Socialist Party at Rome, Sept. 3.

We are Socialists, and we do not hesitate to proclaim that the sending of a Socialist mission from Germany to Italy at this moment cannot be free from insidious suspicion; and as such it offends the dignity and the independence of Italian socialism, and offends it so much more because international socialism knows that on German Socialists depended the lesser or greater efficacy in the action of international socialism to arrest the provocative struggle of armaments promoted by Germany, and thus to prevent war.

It offends it so much more because the German Socialist Party, assuming for the justification of the aggressive policy of Germany and Austria the same arguments as the Kaiser's diplomacy, has lost the right to attach itself to the ties of international socialism.

We have thus far kept silent, not to disturb the neutrality proclaimed since the outbreak of the war by the Italian people, irrevocably decided not to dishonor themselves before the world and before history in giving aid to Austria and Germany, and requiring peace after two years of war in Lybia.

Today, however, we are no longer able to be silent in the presence of German Socialist activity encouraging the obscure play of diplomatic intrigues on the part of the Governments of the ex-Triple Alliance, which tends to move Italian neutrality toward the tortuous and perilous paths of indirect co-operation. We want to affirm that our wishes are for the immediate cessation of the war without conquerors or conquered.

But if now this hope is vain, we express our desire that this infamous war may be concluded by the defeat of those who have provoked it; the Austrian and German Empires, since the empires of Austria and Germany form the rampart of European reaction, even more than Russia, which is shaken by democratic and Socialist forces, which have shown that they know how to attempt a heroic effort of liberation; since if the German and Austrian Empires emerge victorious from the war it will mean the triumph of military absolutism in its most brutal expression, of a barbarian horde massacring, devastating, destroying, and conquering in violation of every treaty and right and law.

Nor do the German Socialists give us any confidence of knowing how to restrain this; in the past they have only been able to realize advantageous contrasts of labor and to attain gigantic election results without exercising any influence in the policy of their own country.

The defeat of the German Empire may instead offer German socialism the opportunity of emerging from its voluntary impotence and redeem itself by breaking down the feudal political régime of the empire, taking away from Russian absolutism the assistance it has hitherto enjoyed, and contributing to alter decisively the aims of all European policy.

Since, finally, the victory of the French Republic, now imbued with genuine socialism, and that of England, where the truest democracy flourishes, signifies the victory of a European political régime open to all social conquests and desiring peace, it signifies the agreement between States at last free and nationally reinforced by the limitation of armaments and the substitution of a system of national militia for defense in the place of hordes professionally organized for aggression, which would imply the liberation as well of the German people.

Therefore, under actual conditions, [pg 409]while nearly the whole of Europe is at war, we may well raise our cry of horror and of protest; but our protest strikes only those who desired the war, not those who submit to it to defend themselves against oppression.

In this war is outlined on one side the defense of European reaction, on the other the defense of all revolutions, past and future, brought about by historical necessity stronger than the intentions of Governments. And because of this we must confirm that there remains for us only one way of being internationalists—namely, to declare ourselves loyally in favor of whoever fights the empires of reaction, just as the Italian Socialists residing in Paris have understood that one way only remains to be anti-militarist—to arm and fight against the empires of militarism.

This is our answer as Italian Socialists to the German Socialists.


Issued by Keir Hardie and Arthur Henderson, July 31.

The long-threatened European war is now upon us. For more than 100 years no such danger has confronted civilization. It is for you to take full account of the desperate situation and to act promptly and vigorously in the interest of peace. You have never been consulted about the war.


British Representative
International Socialist Bureau.

Whatever may be the rights and wrongs of the sudden, crushing attack made by the militarist Empire of Austria upon Servia, it is certain that the workers of all countries likely to be drawn into the conflict must strain every nerve to prevent their Governments from committing them to war.

Everywhere Socialists and the organized forces of labor are taking this course. Everywhere vehement protests are made against the greed and intrigues of militarists and armament mongers.

We call upon you to do the same here in Great Britain upon an even more impressive scale. Hold vast demonstrations against war in every industrial centre. Compel those of the governing class and their press who are eager to commit you to co-operate with Russian despotism to keep silence and respect the decision of the overwhelming majority of the people, who will have neither part nor lot in such infamy. The success of Russia at the present day would be a curse to the world.

There is no time to lose. Already, by secret agreements and understandings, of which the democracies of the civilized world know only by rumor, steps are being taken which may fling us all into the fray.

Workers, stand together therefore for peace! Combine and conquer the militarist enemy and the self-seeking imperialists today, once and for all.

Men and women of Britain, you have now an unexampled opportunity of rendering a magnificent service to humanity and to the world!

Proclaim that for you the days of plunder and butchery have gone by; send messages of peace and fraternity to your fellows who have less liberty than you. Down with class rule! Down with the rule of brute force! Down with war! Up with the peaceful rule of the people! (Signed on behalf of the British Section of the International Socialist Bureau,)




Directed at Sir Edward Grey, British Minister for Foreign Affairs, in House of Commons, Aug. 27.

Mr. Keir Hardie (Merthyr Tydvil, Lab.) asked the Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether the suggestions for a peace settlement made by the German Ambassador, ["White Paper," Page 66, Item No. 123,] together with his invitation to the Foreign Secretary to put forward proposals of his own which would be acceptable as a basis for neutrality, were submitted to and considered by the Cabinet; and, if not, why proposals involving [pg 410]such far-reaching possibilities were thus rejected.

Sir E. Grey (Northumberland, Berwick)—These were personal suggestions made by the Ambassador on Aug. 1, and without authority to alter the conditions of neutrality proposed to us by the German Chancellor in No. 85 in the "White Paper"—Miscellaneous, No. 6, [1914.]

The Cabinet did, however, consider most carefully the next morning—that is, Sunday, Aug. 2—the conditions on which we could remain neutral, and came to the conclusion that respect for the neutrality of Belgium must be one of these conditions. ["Hear, hear!"] The German Chancellor had already been told on July 30 that we could not bargain that way.

On Monday, Aug. 3, I made a statement in the House accordingly. I had seen the German Ambassador again at his own request on Monday, and he urged me most strongly, though he said that he did not know the plans of the German military authorities, not to make the neutrality of Belgium one of our conditions when I spoke in the House. It was a day of great pressure, for we had another Cabinet in the morning, and I had no time to record the conversation, and therefore it does not appear in the "White Paper"; but it was impossible to withdraw that condition [loud cheers] without becoming a consenting party to the violation of the treaty, and subsequently to a German attack on Belgium.

After I spoke in the House we made to the German Government the communication described in No. 153 in the "White Paper" about the neutrality of Belgium. Sir Edward Goschen's report of the reply to that communication had not been received when the "White Paper" was printed and laid. It will be laid before Parliament to complete the "White Paper."

I have been asked why I did not refer to No. 123 in the "White Paper" when I spoke in the House on Aug. 3. If I had referred to suggestions to us as to conditions of neutrality I must have referred to No. 85, the proposals made, not personally by the Ambassador, but officially by the German Chancellor, which were so condemned by the Prime Minister subsequently, and this would have made the case against the German Government much stronger than I did make it in my speech. ["Hear, hear!"] I deliberately refrained from doing that then.

Let me add this about personal suggestions made by the German Ambassador, as distinct from communications made on behalf of his Government. He worked for peace; but real authority at Berlin did not rest with him and others like him, and that is one reason why our efforts for peace failed. [Loud cheers.]

Mr. Keir Hardie—May I ask whether any attempt was made to open up negotiations with Germany on the basis of suggestions here set forth by the German Ambassador?

Sir E. Grey—The German Ambassador did not make any basis of suggestions. It was the German Chancellor who made the basis of suggestions. The German Ambassador, speaking on his own personal initiative and without authority, asked whether we would formulate conditions on which we would be neutral. We did go into that question, and those conditions were stated to the House and made known to the German Ambassador.

Mr. Keir Hardie [who was received with cries of "Oh!" from all parts of the House]—May I ask whether the German authorities at Berlin repudiated the suggestions of their Ambassador in London, and whether any effort at all [renewed cries of "Oh!" and "Order!"] was made to find out how far the German Government would have agreed to the suggestions put before them by their own Ambassador?


Made by J. Ramsay Macdonald, Member of Socialist Labor Party, in House of Commons, Aug. 4.

I would have preferred to remain silent this afternoon, but circumstances do not permit of it. I shall model what I have [pg 411]to say upon the two speeches to which we have just listened. The right honorable gentleman has delivered a speech the echoes of which will go down in history. However much we may resist the conclusions to which we have come, we have not been able to resist the moving character of his appeal ["Hear, hear!"]

I think, however, he is wrong, and I think the Government for which he speaks is wrong. I think the verdict of history will be that they are wrong.

The effect of the right honorable gentleman's speech in this House will not be its final effect. There may or may not be opportunities for us to go into details, but I want to say to the House, and without provocation, that if the right honorable gentleman had come here today and told us that our country was in danger, then I do not care what party he appealed to or to what class, we would be behind him. We would vote him what money he wants, and we would go further, for we would offer him ourselves—if the country was in danger. [Cries of "But it is!"] He has not persuaded me that it is, and he has not persuaded honorable friends with me that it is.

I am perfectly certain that when the light honorable gentleman's speech gets into cold print tomorrow he will not persuade a large section of the country. If the nation's honor were in danger we would be with them. There has been no crime committed by statesmen of this character without those statesmen appealing to the nation's honor.

We went into the Crimean war because of our honor; we rushed into the South African war because of our honor, and the right honorable gentleman is appealing to us today because of our honor.

If the right honorable gentleman would come to us and say that a small European nationality like Belgium is in danger [cries of "It is invaded!"] and would assure us that he is going to confine the conflict to that quarter, then we will support him. But what is the use of talking about going to the aid of Belgium when you are really going into a European war which will not leave the map of Europe as it was before.

The right honorable gentleman said nothing about Russia. We want to know about that and try and find out what is going to happen after this is all over. We are not going to go blindly into this conflict without having at least some rough idea of what is going to happen afterward.

At all events, so far as France is concerned, we can say solemnly and definitely that no such friendship as is described by the right honorable gentleman between one nation and another can ever justify one of those nations going into war on behalf of the other.

If France is really in danger, if as the result of all this we are going to have the power, civilization and genius of France removed in European history, let the right honorable gentleman say so. It is an absolutely impossible conception.

So far as we are concerned, whatever attacks may be made upon us, whatever may be said about us, we will take the action that he will take by saying that this country ought to have remained neutral [Labor cheers] because in the deepest parts of our hearts we believe that that was right and that that alone was consistent with the honor of the country and the traditions of the party that are now in office.


But Does Not Recant—Accusation of The London Times.

It is to be noted that while Mr. Macdonald has never withdrawn his accusations of bad faith against the Government—while he allows them still to be circulated as a broadsheet—he ventures to pose as having abandoned them. Belgian neutrality was, he said in The Labour Leader, and in effect in the House of Commons also, being used as an excuse—it was "a pretty game of hypocrisy." But writing in The Leicester Daily Post on Sept. 24 in vindication of his attitude he said:

[pg 412]On one point I wish to be quite clear.... We could not afford, either from the point of view of honor or of interest, to see Germany occupy Belgium. The war that comes nearest having a Divine justification is the war in which a great and mighty State engages to protect a small nation. From that position I have never receded. In the controversies that have been raised I have doubted whether, when our diplomacy is judged with the whole of the facts before the judges, it will come well out of its trial on this point, but that when the popular sentiment of the country is judged it will come out clean and fine, so far as Belgium is concerned, I am quite convinced.

This is the man who charges the Government with dragging the country into war because it would not acquiesce in the German armies marching through Belgium on the condition that the integrity and independence of Belgium were respected!

And will it be believed that Mr. Macdonald, whose indictment of the Government for deliberately dragging us into an unnecessary war is still in circulation, has actually ventured to associate himself with the recruiting movement?

In the House of Commons on Aug. 3 Mr. Macdonald predicted that Sir Edward Grey's statement "would not persuade a large section of the country." That prediction having been falsified, it has been necessary for the prophet to hedge. So when a recruiting meeting was held in Leicester on Sept. 11, Mr. Ramsay Macdonald wrote a letter to the Mayor expressing his regret that he could not be present, and saying:

Victory must be ours. England is not played out. Her mission is not accomplished. She can, if she would, take the place of esteemed honor among the democracies of the world, and if peace is to come with healing on her wings the democracies of Europe must be her guardians. There should be no doubt about that.... History will in due time apportion the praise and the blame, but the young men of the country must, for the moment, settle the immediate issue of victory. Let them do it in the spirit of the brave men who have crowned our country with honor in the times that are gone.... Should, an opportunity arise to enable me to appeal to the pure love of country ... I shall gladly take that opportunity. If need be, I shall make it for myself. I want the serious men of the trade union, the brotherhood, and similar movements to face their duty. To such men it is enough to say "England has need of you."

Thus the man who is doing his best to enfeeble sympathy abroad for his country's cause, by representing that cause as one based on hypocrisy, is at the same time exhorting his fellow-countrymen to make the hypocrisy victorious!

Clearly, when the officials of the Berlin news department described Mr. Ramsay Macdonald as "Ramsay and Macdonald" they were not so ill-informed as at first appeared.

Though Mr. Macdonald is not two persons, he has at least two voices.