JAMES W. GERARD
FACE TO FACE WITH KAISERISM
GERMANY'S PLAN TO ATTACK AMERICA
The Diary Continued
JANUARY, 1916. Many of the intelligent rich are expressing the fear that after this war the Socialist high price system, governmental seizure of food, control of raw materials, etc., will be continued and also that the owners of large landed estates will be compelled to subdivide them.
We are getting vague and conflicting reports in the newspapers here about the sinking of the Persia. There seems to be no end to this business. Perhaps it is best to have the inevitable come now. The hate of America has grown to such an extent under careful Government stimulus that I am quite sure we will be the first attacked after the war. Therefore, if it is to come, it had better come now when we would start with a certain fleet in command of the seas, making it impossible for agitators, dynamiters, and spies to be sent to Mexico and South America and into the U. S. A. through Canada and Mexico. From the highest to the lowest I get intimations that at the first chance America will be attacked.
There is still a spirit of confidence in ultimate success, amply justified, it would seem, by the military situation.
A lot of dyestuffs mysteriously left Germany recently in spite of the embargo, and got to Holland, billed to America, where it remains, awaiting a permit from the British. Perhaps the Germans are getting worried about the possible building-up of the industry at home. The profits of the German dyestuff "trust" are certainly great enough to tempt the trust to do anything to keep the monopoly. Hardly a company pays less than 24 per cent. dividends.
The Kaiser is still laid up with a boil on his neck.
I am waiting the arrival of Colonel House, who, I suppose, will be here in ten days or so.
S. S. McClure of the good ship Nutty (Proprietor Ford), Hermann Bernstein and Inez Milholland Boissevain, likewise of the crew, have been here. Their stories are most amusing. Apparently, now, the nuttiest have voted to remain a permanent committee at The Hague; salary (five thousand suggested) to each to be paid by Ford---with washing and expenses.
The Reichstag, sitting in "Budget Commission," is getting quite worked up over the censorship and the Socialists are demanding the freedom of the press.
Yesterday one member said he thought it would do the U. S. A. good if they knew what the Germans really thought of Americans.
The spy system here is very complete and even the President and Cabinet at home in America are surrounded. Heydebrand, leader of the Conservative Party, called the uncrowned King of Prussia, said yesterday in the Prussian Chamber that "America was among the worst enemies of Germany." I am convinced that Germany, as now advised, either will attack America or land in South America, if successful in this war. Falkenhayn, Chief of the General Staff, said, referring to America, "It is hard to stop a victorious army."
I have just returned from three days in Munich. I visited two prison camps and the American Red Cross Hospital in Munich and conferred with Archdeacon Nies (of the American Episcopal Church), who is permitted to visit Bavarian prison camps, talk to prisoners, and hold services in English. These Bavarian camps are under Bavarian, not Prussian, rule.
Munich seems lively and contented. I saw great quantities of soldiers there and at Ingolstadt.
I expect Colonel House about the 26th, and shall be very glad to see him.
Morgenthau was here for a day. I took him to see von Jagow, where we talked for an hour. Later, through some Germans, he met Zimmermann, who asked him if he did not think the German-Americans in America would rise in rebellion if trouble came between Germany and America.
Von Jagow was very explicit in saying that Germany had made no agreement with us about submarine commanders. He said distinctly that Germany reserved the right to change these orders at any time. On the general question, he again said that the submarine was a new weapon and that the rules of international law must be changed, apparently claiming the right for Germany to change these rules at will and without the consent of any other power involved.
Morgenthau sailed Sunday, the sixth, from Copenhagen. The newspapers to-day and last night print articles to the effect that the negotiations are taking a more favourable course.
February, 1916. I dined last night at von Jagow's. He said I would get a note to-day which would accept all Bernstorff's propositions except, as he put it, one word, viz.: Germany will acknowledge liability for the loss of American lives by the sinking of the Lusitania, but will not acknowledge that the act of sinking was illegal. He said that international law had to be changed, that the submarine was a new weapon, and that, anyway, if a break came with America, that they had a lot of new submarines here and would make an effective submarine blockade of England. To-day a cipher from the German Foreign Office came in to be forwarded to the State Department for Bernstorff, so I suppose this is what he referred to. Probably the Germans are in earnest on this proposition. It is now squarely up to the American people to decide. Of course, I am very much disturbed at the turn of affairs, but I am doing nothing except repeating to Lansing what is said to me, and trying to convince the Germans that we are in earnest.
I was very glad to see Colonel House in Berlin, For many reasons, and, especially, that the President may get his view of the situation here. He had long talks with the Chancellor, von Jagow, and Zimmermann, and also met Dr. Solf, the Colonial Minister; von Gwinner, head of the Deutsche Bank; Gutmann, of the Dresdner Bank; and Dr. Rathenau, head of the Allegemeine Electricitäts Gesellschaft and many corporations, who is now engaged with the General Staff in providing raw materials for Germany.
I think the Germans are getting short of copper and nickel, especially the latter. Copper lightning rods of churches have been taken and an effort was made to take the brass reading desk in the American Church and the fittings in the Japanese Embassy.
I think from underground rumours that the Germans and the propagandists will endeavour to embroil us with Japan.
Baroness von Schroeder, a von Tirpitz spy, stated the other day that Japan would send a note to the United States of America making demands on the U. S. in regard to the Japanese immigration question.
There was a well-defined report that Germany would issue a manifesto stating that enemy merchant ships would be fired on without notice and this because of orders alleged to have been found on British ships ordering merchant ships to fire on submarines at sight.
The Chancellor told me he was ready for peace but that all his emissaries had met with a cold reception in the Allied countries of France, England and Russia.
A fight against the Chancellor has been started in the home of the Junkers---the Prussian Chamber. The powerful liberal papers are jumping hard on the disturbers and the Chancellor hit back quite hard. These Junkers are demanding unlimited submarine war and are stirred up by von Tirpitz. It is one of their last kicks as soon a real suffrage will have to be introduced in Prussia. The Chancellor foreshadowed this in opening this Prussian Chamber; hence the tears!
The visit of Colonel House here was undoubtedly, from this end, a success; and I am glad that he can give the President a fresh and impartial view.
March first we go on a milk and butter card regime. I have put the Polish question (food) up to Zimmermann, and asked informally whether proper guarantees against the direct or indirect taking of food and money from Poland will be stopped, if relief is sent; no answer yet.
In spite of what I was told by certain exalted personages last autumn, I think that if the war continues much longer the President will be welcomed as a mediator. In fact, there are a number of cartoons and articles appearing in the newspapers which, in tone, are against the President because he does not insist on peace.
I think that we may soon look for a very strong German attack on the West Front, an endeavour to break through before the time when the French and English are contemplating their offensive, which is probably some time in March.
At or about the same time there will probably be great Zeppelin attacks on London and on other English centres. It is reported that in their next offensive the Germans will use a more deadly form of poison gas.
I had the grippe, went to Partenkirchen for a few days, but the first night in country air since July, 1914, was too much for me and filled me with such energy that I tried skiing, fell down and broke my collar-bone, came to Berlin and can sit at my desk, but am very uncomfortable.
I think Germany was about to offer to sink no merchant ships without notice and putting crews, etc., in safety, if England would disarm merchant ships, but now, since the President's letter to Stone, both the Chancellor and von Jagow say they are convinced that America has a secret understanding with England and that nothing can be arranged.
Captain Persius points out in to-day's Tageblatt that it is not submarines alone that are now, without notice, going to sink armed merchant ships, but cruisers, etc., will take a hand.
It is reported that the Kaiser went to Wilhelmshafen to warn submarine commanders to be careful and that submarines will hunt in pairs, one standing ready to torpedo while the other warns. The German losses at Verdun are small as artillery fire annihilated enemy first. I think an attack will be made now in another part of the front.
Germany has forbidden the import of many articles of luxury; this is to keep exchange more normal and keep gold in the country. This probably will continue after the war.
Some newspaper men just in from the Germans saying men-losses small---going at it with artillery, probably over 1,000 guns, and making a slow and almost irresistible push. Some military attachés think there may be a strong attack somewhere else on the front.
This Verdun attack was undoubtedly made to keep Roumania out.
I think the food question here is getting very serious, but before they are starved out they will starve six million Belgians, eleven million Russians and Poles and two million prisoners; so that, after all, this starvation business is not practical.
There was a Grand Council of War last week at Charleville to determine whether von Tirpitz's proposition, to start an unlimited submarine blockade of England, should be started or not---i. e., sink all ships, enemy and neutral, at sight. Falkenhayn was for this, the Chancellor against, and von Tirpitz lost. The decision, of course, was made by the Emperor.
Great advertising efforts are being made on the question of the Fourth War Loan. It will, of course, be announced as successful.
There are undoubtedly two submarine parties in Germany and there may be an unlimited blockade of England.
I think Germany, as at present advised, is willing, if merchant ships are disarmed, to agree to sink no boats whatever without warning and without putting passengers and crew in safety. The Admiralty approves of this.
One of the American correspondents publishes an article in the Lokal Anzeiger on America, in which he makes some statements no loyal American should make just now.
The "illness" of von Tirpitz is announced. I think it means his resignation, and have just cabled, although it is possible that his resignation may never be publicly announced. For one thing, the Kaiser and army people began to think it was a bad innovation to have any officer or official appealing to cheap newspapers and the "man in the street" in a conflict with superior authority.
I heard that at Charleville conference both the Chancellor and von Jagow said they would resign if von Tirpitz's policy of unlimited submarine war on England was adopted.
The food question is becoming really acute---the village people are about starving in some sections and are not as well off as the people in the big towns; it is the policy to keep the people in the cities as content as possible in order to prevent riots, demonstrations, etc.
Some Germans have asked me if the sending of a German "Colonel House" to America would be agreeable to the President. Probably the Envoy would be Solf, and he could talk informally to the President and prominent people. If sent he would require a safe conduct from England and France.
I hear the submarines now are mostly engaged in mine laying, at the mouth of the Thames.
Events are beginning to march. At first von Tirpitz's "illness" was announced, then came his resignation. Yesterday was his birthday and a demonstration was expected; there were many police out, but I could see no demonstrators. The row may come in the Reichstag.
There are two sources of danger; first, a failure at Verdun and the new food regulations may make people ready to accept Tirpitz's guarantee that if he is allowed his way the war can be won and ended. He has a large following already who favour this plan; second, there are some Reichstag members and others who think the Tirpitz people can never be reconciled unless there is a new Chancellor.
The Chancellor sent for me Friday. I think the Chancellor wants to keep peace with America and also wishes to make a general peace. He talked, or rather I talked, a little about terms. He still wants to hang on to Belgium, but I think will give most of it up; but is fixed for an indemnity from France. The loss of life here is affecting every one, the Chancellor is a very good man, and I think honestly desires an honourable peace.
Potatoes are restricted from to-day, 10 pounds per head in 12 days, not much, bacon and lard practically not to be had, butter only in small quantities and meat out of reach of the poor.
I told the Chancellor I thought a great source of danger to the good relations of Germany and U. S. A. was in Mexico, that if we had trouble there, had to raise a large army and rouse the military spirit at home, the President might find it hard to hold the people. This struck him as a new view, as most Germans think that Mexican troubles are to their advantage, and I am sure Villa's attacks are "made in Germany."
I shall not come home; both the Chancellor and von Jagow have begged me not to go.
I sent a cable about the possible stirring up of our coloured people by propagandists. I notice that there are great fires in many cities of the South.
It is reported that Prussian State Railways were given the banks as additional security for the last loan, but I do not see how this could be, as the railways are Prussian and the Loan Imperial.
Several South American diplomats here think that in case of war between U. S. and Germany public opinion in their countries will demand the seizure of the German ships and possible war.
April, 1916. I am just off to the Reichstag where the Chancellor is to speak. I have no news here and none from America, but it seems to me five boats sunk almost at once will rather strain things at home. Here they do not want war with America. Perhaps von Tirpitz before leaving, gave these submarine commanders these orders to sink at sight.
I think the Germans will eventually encircle and take Verdun, mostly now for moral effect.
Von Jagow will shortly give Conger (Associated Press) an interview disclaiming any intention on Germany's part of attacking America after the war. "A guilty conscience, etc.," and "Qui s'excuse, s'accuse."
Every night fifty million Germans cry themselves. to sleep because all Mexico has not risen against us.
Part of Germany goes soon on meat ration. The food question is becoming acute, but they will last through here.
I think that the Germans would now, in spite of previous statements by a high authority, welcome the intervention of the President looking toward peace. Colonel House is so relied on here that he would be doubly welcome as the bird with the olive branch.
It looks more and more as if the issue of the campaign would be peace or war! On this issue the Germans at the last moment will have to side with the President.
The recent sessions of the Reichstag have been lively. Liebknecht caused a row on several occasions. Once by interrupting the Chancellor to imply that the Germans were not free, next to deny that the Germans had not wished the war, and another time by calling attention to the attempts of the Germans to induce Mohammedan and Irish prisoners of war to desert to the German arms, the Irish being attacked through Sir Roger Casement. Liebknecht finally enraged the Government by calling out that the loan subscription was a swindle.
The German-American spies and traitors are hard at work at 48 Potsdammer Strasse and also at the Oversea News Service, a concern paid for by Krupps. Mr. -----, in addition, gains money by getting permits for goods to go out of Germany, capitalising his "pull" as it were. Some of the money for their dirty work is given them by Roselius of Bremen, proprietor of the "Caffee Hag."
------, a traitor. who also writes against the President, also works with the gang.
This cry in America that German babies have not sufficient milk is all rot. One of our doctors has reported on the subject. The cry is only raised to get a hole in the British blockade.
The Germans are going at Verdun carefully, and an imitation of each French position or trench they wish to take---planned from airmen's and spies' reports---is constructed behind the German lines and the German soldiers practise taking it until they are judged letter perfect and are put to work to capture the original.
It is said the Germans have developed a submarine periscope so small as to be almost invisible, which works up and down so that only at intervals, for a second or so, does it appear above the water. Also, it is said the wireless vibrations by means of copper plates at each end are transmitted through the boat, and every member of the crew learns the wireless code, and no matter where working can catch the vibrations.
Note about the Sussex and other four ships just in. I think Germany is now determined to keep peace with America as the plain people are convinced that otherwise the war will be lengthened---a contingency abhorrent to all.
May, 1916. I delivered the last American note to von Jagow to-day. He said they probably would not answer, and then engaged me in gossipy conversation.
These people want peace and will gladly accept the President as mediator.
The Pope, they think, will want brokerage---a "Makler Lohn"---as they call it-concessions for the church, such as the return of the Jesuits, etc.
If they get good and sick of war here, perhaps they may not feel like revenge after all---but there is an ever-present danger we must prepare for.
The fact that I was given detailed instructions as to leaving, etc.---which they undoubtedly learned, with their wonderful spy system---helped the Sussex settlement.
The Chancellor and I became great friends as a result of my stay at the Hauptquartier. The League of Truth gang attacked me lately. The Government published a certificate in the Official Gazette to the effect that I was their fair-haired boy, etc.---very nice of them. I really think they recognise that the propaganda was an awful failure and want to inaugurate the era of good feeling.
I did not go to the front at the Hauptquartier as reported. I had enough to do in Charleville, but did witness the splendid relief work being done by the Americans who are feeding 2,200,000 of the population of Northern France. Twenty thousand of the inhabitants of Lille, Roubaix-Tourcoing, are being sent under circumstances of great barbarity to work in the fields in small villages. I spoke to the Chancellor and he promised to remedy this.
Germans say they will take Verdun. A military treaty with Sweden is reported; a large Swedish Military Commission is now here, receiving much attention.
While at Charleville, in connection with American work, I asked, at one village, to see the German Army stores so as to convince myself that the German Army was not using the stores from America.
I saw that one-half the stores came from Holland.
I think the psychological moment is approaching when Colonel House should appear as the President's White Emissary of Peace.
While the food question here is pressing, the harvest will be good, if present indications continue. Rye is the principal crop and this is harvested about July 12th. I think, however, Germany can last, and in very desperation may try a great offensive which may break the French lines and change the whole position. The people here, although tired of war, are well disciplined and will see this thing through without revolution.
We are rather in calm after the last crisis. The Chancellor sent for me and said he hoped we would do something to England or propose a general peace, otherwise his position here will become, he thinks, rather hard. Delbrück, vice-chancellor, very hostile to America, is out---failure as Minister of Interior to organise food supply is the real reason.
Yesterday I had a talk with the Chancellor. The occasion was the Polish Relief question which I shall now take up direct with HeIfferich, who, as I predicted, is the new Minister of the Interior and Vice-Chancellor. He is a very business-like man and did much for the favourable settlement of our last crisis.
The Chancellor seemed rather downcast yesterday, without apparent cause. He says that Germany from now on will have two months of hardship on the food question, but that after that things will he all right. The crops, as I have seen on my shooting place, are magnificent and the rye harvest will probably begin even before July 15th.
Mrs. Gerard has just returned from a week in Budapest with her sister. The Hungarians are once more---gay and confident. The Italians, their hereditary foes, are being driven back, and on the Russian front there seems to be a sort of tacit truce ---no fighting and visiting in trenches, etc.---terms of great friendliness.
(This was the beginning of the fraternisation which led, a year later, to the collapse of Russia.)
At the races here last Sunday there was an absolutely record crowd and more money bet than on any previous day in German racing history. The cheaper field and stands were so full of soldiers that the crowd seemed grey, which goes to show that the last man is not at the front.
State Socialism makes advances over here. A proposition is now discussed to compel the young men who are earning large wages to save a part thereof.
On the Sussex question, I got a colleague to ask about the punishment of the Commander and to say at the Foreign Office, after he had once been refused any information, that I had heard that the people at large in America believed the Commander has received "Pour le Mérite." Von Jagow said that he was sure that this was not so, but that he did not know the name of the Commander, and that it was not "usual" to tell what punishment had been given. So that I suppose the matter will rest, unless I get orders to ask formally about the punishment.
The German military people and ruling Junker class are furious at the settlement with America, and abuse America, the President and me indiscriminately.
Anything the President says about peace is prominently placed in the newspapers.
Yesterday in a debate in the Reichstag over the censorship, member Stresemann, National Liberal (the party which now holds the balance of power), violently abused President Wilson and said he was not wanted as a peace-maker. All applauded except the Socialists---so I think the President had better say nothing more about peace for the present. What he has said has done much good and has pleased the Government here, if not the Reichstag. Although von Jagow is a Junker of Junkers, the Junkers are against him and claim he is too weak. He may be bounced.
The crops are very fine.
Undoubtedly we shall have another crisis when the extremists here demand a "reckless" U-boat war because we are doing nothing to England.
Germany will last through on the food question.
I have heard reports that the Turks are tired of German rule and almost ready to flop.
I am to meet Prince Buelow, ex-Chancellor, tomorrow and may fish up something interesting.
The Kaiser has gone to the front, probably Russian. Next war loan will be 12 milliards.
HeIfferich lunched here last Sunday. He speaks English fairly well. Zimmermann is laid up with the gout.
In the Reichstag debate yesterday, Streseman, applauded by all except Socialists, said that Germany threw away Wilson as a peace-maker. However, the Government is pleased with President's peace talk, as it keeps the people from thinking of food and U-boat crises.
U-boat question will come up again, when Pan-Germanists and Conservatives demand a reckless U-boat war because we have done nothing against England.
Harden's paper has been confiscated again.
June, 1916. I am sorry to lose Ruddock, who is sent to Belgium, but it is a good appointment, as his knowledge of German and relations here will help matters.
The debates in the Reichstag have been quite interesting yesterday and the day before. The Chancellor, irritated by the anonymous attacks on him in pamphlets, etc., made a fine defence. In the course of the debate allusions were made to President Wilson and the U-boat question. The U-boat question may break loose again any day.
I do not think that either Austria or Germany wishes President Wilson to lay down any peace conditions. There may possibly be a Congress after the Peace Congress, but meanwhile all parties here feel that America has nothing to do with peace conditions. America can bring the parties together, but that is all. The speech about the rights of small peoples has, I hear, made the Austrians furious, as Austria is made up of many nationalities and the Germans say that if the rights of small peoples and peoples choosing their own sovereignty is to be discussed, the Irish question, the Indian question and the Boer question, the Egyptian question and many others involving the Entente Allies must be discussed. I think that generally there is a big change in public opinion and the Germans are beginning to realise that the President is for peace with Germany.
The Germans expect that by September preparations will be finished and that the Suez Canal will be cannonaded, bombed and mined so that it will dry up, and then the Indian-Afghan troubles will begin.
June, 1916. The President's peace talks carried over the dangerous moment after the submarine submission. Von Jagow told me that because of debates in Reichstag the President must not think he is not welcome as mediator.
Crops look well.
The break on Austro-Russian front is reported to have been caused by wholesale desertions of Ruthenian troops to Russians.
The editor of the National Zeitung, responsible for the fake interview with me, has been "fired" from that paper which has published a notice to that effect.
Grand Admiral von Koester made a speech implying that reckless submarine war should be taken up and England thus defeated. He is retired, but is head of the Navy League, a concern backed by the Government, possessing a million members and much political influence.
Apropos of hyphenated Americans, a friend tells me that when he was secretary here some years ago, a certain Congressman tried for six years to get presented at Court, insisting that he be presented as a "German-American." The Kaiser turned him down, saying he knew no such thing as a "German-American," and the Congressman finally consented to be presented as an American.
The U-boat question will come up again, say in three months, unless we get in serious trouble in Mexico, when it will come up sooner.
Edwin Emerson has been sent out of the country, I think to serve in the Turkish Army in some capacity, perhaps paymaster or some such job.
The Foreign Office continues to protect these American mud-slingers---such as the "League of Truth" which is run by a German named Marten, posing as an American and a dentist (American citizen) named Mueller---these circulate a pamphlet entitled, "What Shall We Do With Wilson," etc., and are the gang who insulted the American flag by putting it wrapped in mourning on a wreath on the statue of Frederick the Great with a placard, "Wilson and his Press do not represent America."
Fig. 5. COVER OF THE PAMPHLET FEROCIOUSLY ABUSIVE OF PRESIDENT WILSON. ISSUED BY THE EX-TRAVEL LECTURER, JOHN L. STODDARD
Letters, codes, etc., for Bernstorff and individuals are sent to America as follows: the letters are photographed on a reduced scale so that a letter a foot square appears as an inch and a half square.
These little prints are put in the layers of a shoe heel of a travelling American or elsewhere, book cover, hat band, etc., and then rephotographed and enlarged in America. Also messengers travel steerage and put things in the mattress of a fellow passenger and go back to the ship after landing in New York and collect the stuff.
A German friend, just returned from Austria, says 'the feeling there against America is very strong on account of the Dumba incident.
Yesterday I was told by a German that the German army had aeroplanes which develop 300 H. P., and would soon have some of 1000 H. P.
July, 1916. Every one in this Embassy is getting to the breaking point. Nerves do not last forever, and the strain of living in a hostile country is great. The Germans, too, are on edge. They are going to take away our privilege of speaking to prisoners alone; this because they think I learned of the shooting of the second Irishman at Limburg from prisoners. As a matter of fact I did not, but cannot, of course, say how I did learn.
The Russian prisoners are being slowly starved, the French and English get packages from home.
There are rumors that a Bavarian regiment which was ordered a second time to take a position, which the Prussians lost at Verdun, refused and was ordered to be decimated, and that then the Crown Prince of Bavaria threatened to march all the Bavarian troops home unless the order to decimate was rescinded. I do not believe the rumour, but its circulation and other events such as the refusal of the Bavarians lately to adopt a common postage stamp, shows there is a little irritation growing between Prussia and Bavaria. For years before the war the Bavarian Comic papers cartooned the Prussians, common and royal, but like every other movement nothing will result.
There is much underground work for the resumption of reckless submarine war going on, all part of a campaign to upset the Chancellor. Von Bülow, Ex-Chancellor, is working hard. He, however, since his row with the Emperor over the "Telegraph" interview, which he passed as correct will never be accepted by His Majesty. Nevertheless, he is becoming a focal point for opposition.
The Chancellor and his party are very timid about attacks. For instance, they will do nothing against Emerson, Mueller and that crew, which insults indiscriminately our flag, our President, the Chancellor, Zimmermann and me, because, as Zimmermann frankly told me, they are afraid of attacks. Mueller on the 4th of July hung out the American flag in mourning and circulated copies of the Declaration of 1ndependence charged with a bloody hand and a black cross. I have filed in vain affidavits with the Foreign Office, by people who say he has threatened to shoot me at sight.
The Germans seem to fear the Russian attacks more than the English and French. They claim to have the measure of the English, and not to fear their offensive.
Dr. John R. Mott has been here. He made a great impression. I had him at lunch with the Chancellor, Zimmermann, and officials of the prisoner department and War Ministry.
Mass feeding of the people has begun. They pay a few pfennigs per meal.
I have heard rumours lately of actual dissatisfaction among soldiers at front and of many being transferred, but this unrest also will have no definite result.
Constant rain lately will damage the harvest and rot the potatoes to some extent. Nevertheless, as I have often said, the Germans will last. Holland has allowed more food in lately.
The long confinement will make many prisoners insane. Many old men at Ruhleben, living six in a horse's stall or in dim hay lofts, simply turn their faces to the wall and refuse even to complain.
The statement in the American papers that our National Guard could not mobilise for Mexico because of lack of sleeping cars caused much ridicule here, where they go to the front in cattle cars.
July, 1916. A committee called the National 'Committee for an Honourable Peace has been formed. Prince Wedel is at the head. Most of the people are friends of the Chancellor. One is an editor of the Frankfurter Zeitung which is the Chancellor's organ. On August 1st, fifty speakers of this Committee will begin to speak, probably the opposition will come into their meetings and try to speak or break up the meetings.
The Lokal Anzeiger, also a government organ, prints an editorial to the effect that Germany may take up ruthless submarine war again. Great numbers of U-boats are being built and in September operations will be on a big scale, though the Chancellor will try to keep them to cruiser warfare.
The prisoner question on all sides is growing acute. The Germans sent me a note to-day threatening stern reprisals if the alleged bad treatment of their prisoners in Russia does not stop.
We can no longer talk to prisoners alone. Von Jagow told me that after the visit of Madam Sasenoff, or Samsenoff, to a Russian prisoners' camp, there was a riot, but the real reason is that the Germans have much to conceal. The prison food now is a starvation ration.
The Alliance of the Six, really an organization fostered by big iron business in Westphalia, is very active for annexation.. This wants to get the French iron mines and coal, and so control the iron business of the Continent and perhaps Europe.
A man from Syria passed through here recently and gave me most interesting accounts of the state of affairs there. The Turks are oppressing the Arabians and the revolt of the Grand Sheriff of Mecca may have great effects in this war. This man says that the English are building two railroads from Suez into the desert and the Germo-Turks are building toward the canal from the North. For the Canal attack there are, at present, principally Austrian troops assembled. The Turks are beginning to take Greeks from the Coast cities into the interior of Asia Minor and are oppressing the Syrian Arabian cities, such as Beirut, where thousands are dying of starvation. At the Islahje-Aleppo R. R., 30 Turkish soldiers a day die from cholera. The Germans, by their precautions, escape. He passed 147 German auto trucks in the Cilician mountains bound for Bagdad. Also saw the British prisoners from Kut el Amara, who are dying of dysentery, being compelled to walk in the hot sun from Kut. He thinks the English and the Grand Sheriff will transfer the title of head of the religion from the Sultan at Constantinople to either the Sultan of Egypt or some new Sultan to be established as an Arabian Sultan, perhaps at Bagdad if the Russians and English take it, or at Mecca, and he considers this movement of Arabians against Turks may assume great proportions.
There is still talk here of a resumption of reckless submarine war which question is complicated and involved in the eternal efforts of the Conservatives to get the Chancellor out.
The recognition of the "merchant submarine" has made a very good impression here.
The plain people are eager for peace but those interested in carrying on the war have the upper hand.
The harvest is good, and is now being gathered.
A number of navy and (which is significant) army officers visited von Tirpitz, lately in his Black Forest Retreat and gave him a testimonial.
There is prospect that what is called here a "Burg Frieden" (Peace of the City) will be declared between the Chancellor and the principal Conservative newspapers.
One of the American correspondents back from Verdun says that a corps commander said his corps took no prisoners.
I think many of the Hungarians are for peace. I get this from Andrassy's son-in-law who is also a member of the lower house. Tisza, however, is still in full control.
Prince Leopold's (he is a brother-in-law of the Kaiser) stags have destroyed vegetables of the plain people (as in the days of William Rufus) and people dare write letters, and Liberal papers dare publish them complaining of these depredations.
GERMANY'S EARLY PLOTS IN MEXICO
The Diary Concluded
AUGUST, 1916. Count Andrassy, leader of the opposition to Tisza in Hungary, has been here for some time. He lunched with us one day and I had a talk with him in German. Andrassy is rather old and tired. Andrassy's father, the Prime Minister, was originally a great friend of Germany.
It is possible that Andrassy through German influence may be made Minister of Foreign Affairs instead of Burian. This is to be the first step in a German coup d'état to take place on the death of Francis Joseph---the throne successor to be given Austria alone, and Prince Eitel Fritz, the Kaiser's favourite son, to be King of Hungary with possibly a Czech kingdom in Bohemia.
Andrassy had an audience with the Kaiser here. Andrassy is apparently friendly with America and is also for peace.
Von Tirpitz is out with a statement practically demanding war with America. I am surprised that the newspapers are allowed to publish it. Very likely it will not be permitted to go out but it ought to be known in America.
Germany probably will come out with a strong note about Poland, refusing help and saying harvest is sufficient. This is not true as to food for babies who cannot live on rye and wheat, but need condensed milk.
The treatment of prisoners is going from bad to worse. The Chancellor and Foreign Office can do nothing against the military party.
Hoover, Professor Kellog, and I are all very much discouraged about Polish and other relief questions. The Germans are getting more and more disagreeable about these matters, even though they are for the benefit of Germany. Warwick Greene, of the Rockefeller Foundation, being a new arrival is more hopeful, but that will soon wear off.
The Germans are getting a blacklist of their own. One Barthmann, an American, who sells American shoes in Germany, wanted to get his pass stamped to go to America, and permission to come back, and was told that would only he done if the Chamber of Commerce (Handels-Kammer) consents; you see the connection---no American goods for Germany.
The Jews here are almost on the edge of being "pogrommed." There is a great prejudice against them, especially in naval and military circles, because they have been industrious and have made money. Officers openly talk of 'repudiating the War Loan which they say would only mean a loss for the Jews.
The Germans say they have new and horrible inventions which will end the war soon.
I supposed that because I had some acquaintance with German watering places and German-Americans I knew a little about Germany. I was wrong. No casual traveller ever gets to know the military caste nor do the members of that caste travel except on "business."
The members of the military caste live like Spartans and are consoled by the fact that they rule the country and look down on the merchant class. They feel that they have created modern industrial Germany. The military caste (of which the naval and all government bureaus are branches) has organised the nation for war with the efficiency of the managers of a great American corporation. The government is an absolutism. No Jew can become an officer. Officers of crack regiments do not go to the homes of persons in any kind of business. A business man is called a "Kaufmann," as we speak of a house painter. Some tame professors are paid by the State to give an impression of "Kultur."
This war is now a war for conquest or money. All people tell me that we must have "pay for so much blood." "If we don't keep Belgium there will be a revolution. Who is to pay for the War?" A Socialist who referred yesterday in the Reichstag to the Kaiser's speech of the beginning of the war which stated this was not a war to get territory, was well sat upon. Even the Socialists are all for war against Italy.
None of the German colonies is fit for Europeans. Germany last year proposed joint intervention in Mexico to England. If successful Germany will try to get a foothold in the Western Hemisphere. The Monroe Doctrine is like a red rag to a bull to every German.
Relations with members of the Government here are quite agreeable but there is not an effective government at present. The Chancellor will take no decisive action and leaves matters to department heads who fight with other department heads. The Emperor saw fit to follow the traditions of 1870 and go to the field taking the Chancellor and heads of many departments with him, hence great governmental confusion, but this does not affect military organisation. He is bored by the Chancellor, a good man, but of no action or decision. Von Falkenhayn is the Emperor's favourite. He is the chief of the General Staff. Von Tirpitz and von Mueller (also naval) have great weight. The Kaiser is thus surrounded by military influences.
Saw summaries of the news published by the General Staff and given to the Emperor to read. He gets only German-American news from America and no bad news from anywhere. On the Lusitania case there is a disposition to think, because we were not warlike over Mexico, we will stand anything. The Kaiser will not see me because of the delivery of arms by Americans to the Allies and has so stated.
There is no shortage of food supply. I was told yesterday they did not need our Polish Relief Committee for German Poland as Germany can take care of this alone. The hate of Americans is intense. But this hate can be turned off and on by the Government. The people believe everything they see in the papers. The monetary situation is not bad. All the money for war supplies has been spent in Germany, except perhaps for a few horses, etc., from Scandinavia.
The Chancellor and von Jagow have been in Vienna. Von Jagow told me only on current business, but this was a diplomatic statement. I believe they went to settle the fate of Poland. I hear Prussia wants an independent Poland and Austria wants to make it part of the Austrian Empire. In any event I think Prussia will secure the organising of the army which will soon be raised. A prominent Pole told me two days ago that the peasants were coddled by Russia, whose motto in Poland was "divide et impera," and that they will violently resent being drafted into the Prussian army.
The bitter attacks on the Chancellor continue. At a recent meeting in Bavaria resolutions were passed that the first objective of the war was to get rid of the Chancellor and the second to "clean out the Anglophile Foreign Office," which prevented Germany from resorting to "reckless" methods for the swift winning of the war.
As a son-in-law of a high official told me to-day, the break between the military and navy on one side and the Civil Government on the other has widened almost into civil war. The same man told me that the Kaiser has lately become quite apathetic and lets events take their course.
One of my attachés has broken down completely, cries when spoken to; living in a fiercely hostile atmosphere is not agreeable and I wonder how long the rest of us can hold out.
The harvest is very good, but does not provide fat, and as yet, meat. But the starving out business I have always said was an "iridescent" dream.
New men, 80,000 in this vicinity alone, are being. called to the colours.
Every one here is getting more on razor edge, prisoners are treated more roughly and get worse food. Bavaria is getting restless and dissatisfied, this will not amount to anything definite but is a sign of the times.
I went to Herringsdorff for a few days of swimming. At a concert in the evening a man recited a poem he said he had written about "having bled enough. He was vehemently applauded. Quite a contrast to the days when the best actors in Germany were not ashamed to spout the "HYMN OF HATE"!
The military people use the censorship even against papers friendly to the Chancellor and Germans certainly can hate each other as thoroughly and scientifically as they do most other nations. Dr. Alonzo Taylor thinks that in peace times some one fed this nation too much meat.
The newspapers are preparing the people for the entry of Roumania.
Professor ------, a school friend of Tisza's and Burian's who was recently in Austria, saw Burian and says Burian is ready and even anxious to make an arbitration treaty with America and also send an Ambassador in Dumba's place to Washington. This is out of my jurisdiction. He says that tomorrow or next day there will be an interpellation in the Hungarian Chamber about sending an Ambassador to America.
The National Liberals probably will unite with the Conservatives and demand a strong hold on Belgium, if not actual possession of that country, as one of the objects of the war.
This Union of National Liberals and Conservatives is dangerous and may mean a resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare.
The entry of Roumania took every one by surprise. Beldiman, the Roumanian Minister here, was visiting the reigning Prince of Hohenzollern Sigmaringen, brother of the Roumanian King, and apparently knew nothing of the danger of a break.
To-day Hindenburg is named Chief of the General Staff, and his Chief of Staff, Ludendorff, is made Quartermaster General, Falkenhayn, former Chief of Staff is bounced without even the excuse of a diplomatic illness. This is all a great concession to popular opinion. I do not know where Hindenburg stands with reference to America, but have heard that he is a reasonable man. Of course, here the Army has as much to say in foreign affairs as the Foreign Office, if not more. When I was at the Great General Headquarters, Falkenhayn, although I knew him, did not call on me, and dodged me. He did not even appear at the Kaiser's table when I lunched there. From all this I judge he was against America on the submarine question. I also have heard that when Helfferich was talking before the Kaiser, in favour of peace with America, Falkenhayn interrupted him, but was told by the Kaiser to "stick to his last" or words to that effect.
These people here are now nervous and unstrung and actually believe that America will now enter the war against them. It is impossible to conceive of the general breakdown of nerves among this people.
I have heard lately of men as old as 47 being taken for the Army.
Zimmermann has now gone on a vacation, his place being temporarily filled by von Treutler, Prussian Minister to Bavaria, who since the commencement of the war has been with the Kaiser. I judge this means the Kaiser is looking personally into matters at the Foreign Office. Von Treutler is, I think, against the resumption of reckless submarine war. He is lunching with me to-day. He is rather the type of intelligent-man-of-the-world and sportsman, and has little of the Prussian desire to "imponieren" by putting his voice two octaves lower and glaring at one like an enraged bullfrog.
Dr. William Bayard Hale, of Mexican fame, who is in Berlin representing the Hearst papers, has become very thick with officials here. Von Jagow and Zimmermann are much impressed by him.
The Germans may hate the President, but there are in America hundreds of thousands of Czechs from Bohemia, Poles from Poland, Slovaks, Ruthenians, Croatians and Slavs from Hungary, Roumanians, Italians, Greeks, Russians, Scotch, Belgians, and French who HATE the Germans.
I believe the Germans want an excuse to resume reckless submarine war and an American correspondent has taken the job of making bad feeling to justify such a course.
September, 1916. As these people get desperate the submarine question gets deeper and deeper under their skin. I really think that it is only a question of time.
Of course, from what I learn here Greece is sure to come in and this is expected here.
As the Consul General at Hamburg has reported, serious riots have occurred there, two by the poor classes, mostly women, and one by students. The crowd shouted "Down with the Kaiser," called for an end of the war, calling for unlimited submarine war against England.
The hate of Americans grows daily, if indeed it is possible to be greater.
Ira Nelson Morris, American Minister to Sweden, was here. He and his wife are charming people. He is very popular in Sweden. Elkus is also here on his way to Constantinople. If any one can "get away" with that difficult post he can. I took Elkus to see von Jagow and had him at lunch with von Treutler, the man in Zimmermann's place. I talked with Elkus to von Jagow about Syrian Relief. A Syrian, whose name I cannot give away, says the Turkish Government reported to our Embassy in Turkey that the harvest in Syria was the best in years, whereas, in truth this year's harvest, on account of drought and last year's on account of locusts, are the worst in 35 years. Missionaries have told me that Syrians are starving.
A fact for the Russian born---Germany does not recognise the American citizenship or naturalisation of a person born in Russia.
Yesterday there was a conference of all party leaders at the Chancellor's. I understand nothing was said about America or submarine question. I doubt this. The Press here and certain other agencies are trying to convince America that all is peaceful, but Baron Mumm two days ago told Elkus, in this house, that the ruthless submarine war undoubtedly would be resumed.
In general conversation with von Jagow, recently, he. said that the offensive on the Somme could not continue without the great supply of shells from America. He also said that recently a German submarine submerged in the Channel had to allow 41 ships to pass, and that he was sure that each ship was full of ammunition and soldiers but probably had some protecting American angels on board, and, therefore, the submarine did not torpedo without warning. He seemed quite bitter.
The wife of an American newspaper correspondent was recently attacked in the street. Of course, the husband will not cable this to America. Two stenographers from this Embassy were recently slapped on coming out of a theatre because they were speaking English.
Reventlow's paper was recently suppressed and Reventlow forbidden to write without special permission. This is a good sign from the Chancellor.
Dr. Hale was recently given a special trip to the West front, and allowed to talk to the Crown Prince, etc.
December, 1916. The Germans are simply delighted with the President's peace note. Only a few cranks or conservative papers are against it.
I saw Zimmermann the day after my arrival. He was most friendly and said he hoped he and I would be able, as usual, to settle everything in a friendly manner.
Yesterday he lunched here and gave me the German reply after lunch. He told me at the first talk that he, the Chancellor, Hindenburg and Ludendorff were all working together. Most people here say that Hindenburg and Ludendorff are at present the real rulers of Germany. Zimmermann remarked that there was no danger from "reckless" submarine war.
Zimmermann said he regretted the sending of the Belgians to Germany but it was hard now to go back on what they had done. I have some hope that a retreat may be arranged---possibly by sending the Belgians back gradually and saying nothing about it.
The American Chamber of Commerce are to give a big dinner January sixth to welcome me back. Zimmermann and von Gwinner, head of Deutsche Bank, have agreed to speak and many prominent Germans have accepted.
The Press department of the Foreign Office has been reorganised by Zimmermann, and Hammann, the former head, fired. The new head is Major Deutelmoser, formerly of the General Staff, a personal friend of mine.
The Emperor is at Potsdam and consulted with Zimmermann, General von Kessel, etc., as to the reply to the President's peace note.
Berlin is much more melancholy than when I left. General von Kessel came to our American Colony Christmas tree for poor Berlin children. It was very pathetic. One little kid got up and prayed for peace and every one wept. I hope to get to see Ludendorff and Hindenburg soon and see how they feel toward America.
I went to Ruhleben, the British civilian camp, yesterday to tell the prisoners that all over 45 go home. It was quite a Christmas gift as 700 there are over that age. (Note: don't think this agreement of Germany and England ever went into effect!)
January, 1917. Germany wants a peace conference in order to make a separate peace on good terms to them with France and Russia, then hopes to finish England by submarines, then later take the scalp of Japan, Russia and France separately. The Allies ought to remember what Ben Franklin said about hanging together or separately. I get the above scheme from very good authority.
The weather is most depressing; dark, and rain every day. All hands seem cross. Zimmermann, I think, finds it much more difficult to be the responsible first than the criticising second. It is not as easy as it looked to him.
The Kaiser stated the other day that he did not expect peace now, that the English would try a great offensive in the spring and would fail.
Herbert Hoover writes me that the Germans are violating all their pledges in Belgium. He expects a year of great difficulties. I hear this confirmed on best authority and that even the German official who is supposed to see that food is not sent from Belgium to Germany in violation of Germany's pledges sends out butter to his family; that there is an absolute reign of terror in Belgium, sudden and arbitrary arrests, etc. I think the Germans want to see all foreign diplomats out of Bucharest and Brussels and the charges against Voypicka should be considered in that light.
The greatest danger from submarine war is that unthinking persons in the U. S. may start a crusade against the President's policy, encourage the Germans in the belief that we are divided and lead them to resume reckless acts in that belief. The continuance of a strong front is the very best way to keep the peace.
Both Zimmermann and the Chancellor asked me about Bernstorff, and returning good for evil, I said that he was 0. K., on very good terms with the Government, well liked (sic) and that no one could do better!
A friend just returned from a week's visit in Hungary reports a great desire for peace. Persons who, a year ago, said that the President could have nothing to do with peace or negotiations, now say he is the only possible mediator. This comes from high government circles there.
The historic crown of St. Stephen was much too large for the King, but the little crown prince made a great hit with the populace.
An Armenian woman came through here the other day. Her husband had been captured or killed and her tale of the treatment of the Armenians by the Turks was heartrending.
Everything points to a coming crisis in the matter of food, how serious it will be even the officials themselves do not know, as there is much concealed food and much smuggling over the various frontiers.
In some parts of Germany, the country police or gendarmes are searching the farm houses thrice, weekly.
I have secured permission to visit and inspect the enslaved Belgians, have named as inspectors all, members of our staff speaking French, but as yet have not received passes.
Here is a copy of a letter I have just received from a German:
"The hypocrisy of the German Government is really disgusting! It is a well-known matter of fact, that by hints and approbation, nay even by express orders of the German military authorities the troops in France and Belgium have been stimulated, to give no quarter at all in the case of British adversaries, and that in Russia even whole regiments and brigades have been annihilated by grapeshot, although the poor wretches delivered themselves on mercy and raised their hands, to prove their submission. Both the Prussian and the Bavarian crown-prince have expressly ordered to make no prisoners, to spare ammunition and to despatch the surviving by steel and bayonet. Has the order been forgotten, issued by the Kaiser in the beginning of the German China-Expedition, to deal with the Chinese like the Huns, to destroy and annihilate every human creature both men and women and even innocent children!
Quis Aulerit Gracchos de seditione quaerentes?
Unus pro multis.
P. S. The war would be decided and peace restored as soon as the U. S. A. Government would intervene in favour of humanity, liberty and civilisation. Down with the Prussian Tyranny!"
The Germans will do nothing about Belgium. The deportations were a military measure, demanded by Ludendorff, who constantly fears a British landing on the Belgian coast.
A man who called on von Tirpitz recently was told by von Tirpitz that he, von Tirpitz, was watched like a spy and all his letters opened. Von Tirpitz said that Hindenburg was the real ruler of Germany, that anything Bethmann said was censored by Hindenburg and that Hindenburg was now against reckless submarine war but that any substantial defeats in the field would make him change his mind. Von Tirpitz said that the Kaiser was losing his mind and spent all his time praying, and learning Hebrew.
| Fig 7. PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN IN COURTYARD OF EMBASSY, AUGUST,
Left to right---Lanier Winslow; Albert B. Ruddock; Percival Dodge; Grafton Minot; von Gwinner, head of the great Deutsche Bank; Surgeon Ohnesorg, U. S. N.; Ernest Bicknell of Red Cross; Secretary of War Breckenridge; Ambassador Gerard; Mr. Wilmeth of Treas. Dept.; Assistant Secretary Roland Harvey; Charles Russell; Huge Ballin, head of Hamburg-American Line; Major Ryan and First Secretary Grew.
The food situation grows worse. Potato cards must now be presented in restaurants and hotels. I doubt if potatoes can last beyond April. There is food in Roumania but much will go to the troops; Austrians and Turks: the railways are so used by troops, etc., that it is doubtful if any food from there can reach Germany for months.
All apartment houses in Berlin are closed at nine, and lights in halls extinguished. Theatres close at ten and movies also. There is want of coal due to lack of transportation.
The President's address to the Senate yesterday (Jan. 22, 1917) is splendid. I don't know yet how it will be taken here. If it is published it will give the German people something to consider.
Postcards showing Zeppelins in the act of murdering the sleeping babies of an enemy city are distributed here with pride.
All Germans of my acquaintance have impressed on me lately the renewed danger of submarine warfare. The American correspondents are not allowed to send out the hate of America speeches and articles. Cyril Brown of the World says that last week fifty per cent of the matter he sent was cut out by censor here.
The new U-boat campaign will go along the armed merchantman lines and an endeavour will be made to force or get us in some way to recognise that an armed merchantman is the same as a warship and, therefore, may be fired on without notice. It is the old story, but more subtly presented.
Food situation more and more serious, riots lately in two markets in Berlin.
Have not yet received passes to see the Belgians.
Undoubtedly Ludendorff is the real dictator of Germany to-day. What he thinks about America may be judged from the circumstances before Colonel Kuhn's recall.
The nearer I get to the situation the more I consider the President's peace note an exceedingly wise move. It has made it very difficult for the terrorists here to start anything which will bring Germany into conflict with the U. S.
The Chancellor, Zimmermann, Stumm, have all ridiculed the idea that Germany will go back on her "Sussex" pledges; but if she does, then the peace note makes it easier for America to enter the war on the Allies' side with a clear conscience and the knowledge on the Part of the people at home that the President did everything possible to keep, us out of the mess.
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