JAMES W. GERARD
FACE TO FACE WITH KAISERISM
AIMS OF THE AUTOCRACY
I HAVE shown how the Kaiser is imbued with a desire of conquest, how, as he himself states, he dreamed a dream of world empire in which his mailed fist should be imposed upon all the countries of the earth.
But the Kaiser alone could not have driven Germany into war. His system could.
The head of one of the great banks of Germany told me in the first few weeks of the war that the Kaiser, when called upon at the last moment to sign the order for mobilisation by the General Staff, hesitated and did so only after the officers of the General Staff had threatened to break their swords over their knees.
If this story is true, what a pity that the Kaiser did not allow the officers to break their swords! What would have happened? Would the military have seized the power and deposed the Kaiser, putting the Crown Prince in his place? I believe it might have happened had he refused to sign the order. The Kaiser, after leaving Kiel, attended a council at Potsdam where war was decided upon, and I really doubt whether at the last moment he did not shrink before the awful responsibility or hesitate to sign the mobilisation order.
The immediate cause of Germany's going to war was the feeling on the part of the autocracy that the people would not much longer bear the yoke of militarism. That this fear had justification was shown by the enormous vote of lack of confidence in the Reichstag after the Zabern affair. At all costs the autocracy must be preserved, and if in addition the world could be conquered, so much the better.
With modern improvements on the outside the heart of the government of Germany is that of the Middle Ages. The nobles as a rule are poor, the returns from their landed estates small, and, in peace times, the army general, the Prussian noble, and the Prussian official is overshadowed in display and expenditure by the rich merchant.
Army officers, nobles and governing class felt this and believed that war would restore what they regarded as the natural equilibrium of the country, the officers, the officials and the nobles at the top and the merchant class back in its place below.
With war, retired generals living on small pensions in dingy towns once more became personages, rushing about the country in automobiles attended by brilliant staffs and holding almost the power of life and death. His lands worked by prisoners at six cents a day, and their products sold at five times the original price with no new taxes on either land or incomes, the Prussian Junker is enjoying the war.
And this autocracy can make no peace which is not a "German peace," which does not mean that the Emperor and the generals can ride through the Brandenburger Thor to celebrate the conclusion of what may be thought a victorious war.
For the plain people of Germany, while they can make no revolution now, on returning to their homes maimed and broken after four years in the trenches, will revolt at last, if a peace has been concluded which does not spell success for Germany. They will say to their government,---to the autocracy, "We had no political power. We left everything in your hands. We had nothing to say either about the declaration of this war or its conduct. In return for our submission you promised efficiency and you promised us more, the conquest of the world. You have failed and we are going to overthrow you. "
It is the knowledge of this that makes the Emperor and the autocracy ready to take any chance, anxious to continue the war in the hope that some lucky stroke, either of arms or of propaganda, will turn the scale in their favour, because they know that any peace that is not a German peace will mean the end of autocracy and probably of the Hohenzollerns.
And all the while the people are told that the war is a defensive war, although the German armies fight far in enemy territory in France, in Russia, in Italy, in Serbia, and in Roumania. They always are told, too, that it is Germany who is desirous of peace and that the Allies refuse.
Last summer (1917) when an interview I had with the Chancellor in which he named the peace terms of the autocracy was published, the interview was repudiated by the Chancellor, who stated that these terms were not his. I am sure that they are not his and were not his, but I am equally sure that they are the terms and were the terms of the autocracy of Prussia as stated by him. Shortly after this the newspapers confirmed part of these terms, telling of the talk in Germany of the guarantees to be exacted in case Belgium was surrendered by the Germans, which guarantees amounted to the absolute control of that unfortunate country and "rectification of the frontiers" demanded by Germany on the Eastern Front.
Outside of Germany the propagandist and the pacifist and other agents of the Central Empires have proclaimed that this war is not a war of conquest or aggression.
But the evidence is to the contrary.
Kaiser and pastors, Reichstag members and generals, orators and journalists, have all at different times during the war declared themselves in favour of conquest.
And it is extraordinary as showing the masterful manner in which the poor German people are led astray that most of the men making these declarations for annexation are able at the same time to cry that Germany is fighting a defensive war and is prevented from making peace only by the wicked Allies.
The King of Bavaria, speaking early in 1915 at a banquet, said, "I rejoice because we can at last have a reckoning with our enemies and because at last we can obtain a direct outlet from the Rhine to the sea. Ten months have gone by. Much blood has been poured out. But it shall not be poured in vain, for the fruit of the war shall be a strengthening of the German Empire and the extension of its boundaries, so far as this is necessary in order that we may be assured against future attacks."
Duke John Albert of Mecklenburg, who is the gentleman who slapped his chest and cried out to me on one occasion that Germany would never forget the export of arms and ammunition to her enemies by America and that some day Germany would have her revenge, declared also in 1915 that the war would give Germany not only a mighty African Colonial Empire but a sufficiency of strongholds on earth for their navy, commerce, coaling and wireless stations.
The Kaiser, himself, speaking in July, 1915, in his call to the German people issued from the Great General Headquarters, said "that Germany would fight until peace came, a peace which offered the necessary military, political and commercial guarantees for the future."
Vice-President Paasche of the Reichstag, in April at Kreuznach, said, "We are not allowed to speak about conditions of peace. But the wish must be given expression that lives in the heart of every German that we will not give up enemy land conquered with so much German blood."
A sentiment also expressed in April, 1915, by the National Liberal Reichstag member, Wachhorst de Wente, was to this effect: "Our fatherland must be larger. We must not allow it to be taken from us. Otherwise we will have obtained nothing except victory. We desire also to have the reward of victory. We will not give back all."
Von Heydebrandt, the Conservative Leader, the uncrowned King of Prussia, as he is called, demanded as a condition of peace "a stronger and larger Germany."
Naturally, the Conservative leaders are for conquest and annexation. Numerous articles in the Centrist Cologne Volkzeitung were published protesting against giving Belgium her independence again. In April, 1916, this newspaper approved the statement of Leader Spahn of the Centrum party that the war must not end without "tangible results," and also the statement of Stresemann, another member of the Reichstag: "We demand and expect a larger Germany." In February, 1916, Germania, the Berlin organ of the Catholic party, demanded also a tangible prize of war as one of the conditions of peace.
Countless examples can be given from speeches in the Reichstag and from leaders and newspapers of virtually all parties in Germany, showing this desire for conquest, showing that Germany will not be content to go back to the situation before the war. Even Maximilian Harden, who is respected all over the world because of his fearlessness and reason, has written since the war in favour of a greater Germany, thus:
"We wage the war from the rock of conviction that Germany after its deeds has a right to demand broader room on the earth and greater possibilities of action and these things we must attain."
Dr. Spahn, to-day the leader of the Centrum party, answering in December, 1915, Scheidemann, who had argued against annexation, and speaking in the name of 254 members of the Reichstag representing the citizens' parties said:
"We wait in complete union, with calm determination, and let me add, with trust in God, the hour which makes possible peace negotiations, in which forever the military, commercial, financial and political interests of Germany must, in all circumstances and by all means, be protected, including the widening of territories necessary to this end."
Ludendorff is now perhaps the man of most weight and influence, barring no one, in all Germany. When only Chief of Staff of the East Army he wrote: "The Power of Middle Europe will be strengthened, that of the Great Russians pushed back towards the East, from whence it came, at a time not very distant."
These quotations simply show that the great majority of Germans---those outside the social democratic party---of the Germans, indeed, who rule the country, conduct its commerce, and officer its army and navy---all have been infected with a dangerous microbe of Pan-Germanism and of world-conquest.
Every one who professes a knowledge of German life and character, every one who writes of the origin of the war, talks of Treitschke, Nietzsche and Bernhardi.
Nothing made the Germans angrier than to find in foreign newspapers that on this triumvirate was placed the burden of the responsibility for the war. And I agree with the complaining Germans. Bernhardi, who, during the war, was given a command behind the fighting front at Posen, was not considered a skilful general by the military or a great or even popular writer by the people.
How many people in our country or in France or in England are influenced by the lectures or writings of one college professor? And yet, according to many out of Germany, Treitschke, the deaf professor of Heidelberg, is the one man who transmuted the soul of Germany and incited the Empire to a cruel war.
In America you can find any brand of professor, from a professor in a Virginia College who recently boasted that he would not subscribe to American Liberty war bonds, but would send the money to the Socialist, pacifist candidate for Mayor of New York, to the Professor in the University of Chicago who based his claim to fame on the fact that he had never been kissed. What professor of history has had any great political influence beyond his own college?
And it is equally absurd to think of a Prussian Junker, sitting by the fire in the evening, deeply absorbed in the philosophy of Nietzsche. All Germans, as a matter of fact, through pride of conquest in 1864, 1866 and 1870 and great industrial success, had come to believe themselves to be supermen delegated by Heaven to win the world. Treitschke and Nietzsche were simply affected in their writings by this universal poison of overweening vanity. They but reflected the fashion of the day in thinking; they did not lead the nation's thought. Nietzsche himself wrote in one of his letters shortly before his death which occurred in 1900, "Although I am in my forty-fifth year and have written fifteen books, I am alone in Germany. There has not been a single moderately respectful review of one of my books."
I never found a German of the ruling class who had read anything written by Treitschke, Nietzsche or Bernhardi.
Tannenberg had more readers and a greater following, although he, of course, expresses only the aspirations of the Pan-Germans. But he presents concrete positions which any one can understand.
For instance, the German merchant looking at Tannenberg's book and seeing the map of South America coloured with almost universal German domination, smiles and approves, for he thinks German trade will swallow that rich continent and clever laws and regulations will exclude the imports of all other nations.
In some aspects Tannenberg foresaw what is happening to-day when he says, "The Finns have been waiting a long time to detach themselves from the Great Russians, their hereditary enemies."
But in the main, in his sketch of the war to which he looked forward, he failed to predict accurately the attitude of the world. His predictions represent many of the dead hopes of the Pan-Germans, those Germans who believe it is the right and duty of Germany to conquer all.
Prophesying war between Germany on one side and France and Russia on the other, Tannenberg believed that more confusion and resistance to war than actually occurred would come in Bohemia and Poland following the order for mobilisation in the Slav parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He mistakenly wrote also that Japan would declare war on Russia, a belief shared by the torchlight paraders of Berlin in August, 1914.
Tannenberg thought Italy would declare war on France. He was wrong in his confidence that France was decadent, wrong in believing that England and the United States would only talk but would not fight, yet right in his belief that revolution would break out in Russia. In fact, I think that for years after the Franco-Russian Alliance, Germany was preparing a Russian revolution to break out on whatever day the Russian troops were ordered to their colours. He says that France will be so thoroughly defeated that the "war ought not to leave her more than eyes to cry with."
I am afraid that while many eyes will cry in France, through the breadth of Germany there will be but few homes where eyes will not weep over the casualties of war, for which cruel, crazy dreamers of world empire, like Tannenberg, are largely responsible.
For Tannenberg's dream, the dream of the autocracy and of the Pan-Germanists, is to give to Germany most of South America, a great part of Africa, of Asia, the great islands north of Australia, including those of the Dutch; with Holland and Belgium part of the German Empire as well as the Baltic provinces, and a share of the French colonies to be divided with England.
The share of the United States for standing by and agreeing to the robbery was to be, according to Tannenberg, a protectorate over Mexico and Central America.
Mexicans who were offered Texas and New Mexico by Zimmermann should read this Pan-Germanistic book in which all of Mexico is generously bestowed on us.
And I wish that Tannenberg's book could be read by every public man in South America---that South America in which the Argentine, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, the southern parts of Brazil and Bolivia are, according to Tannenberg, to come under the protectorate of Germany. Latin-American publicists should inquire from the inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina how long it is before a "protectorate" is transmuted into a conquered country. Tannenberg does speak for a great party in Germany. The children's school books show German "colonies" in Southern Brazil.
As Sainte Beuve said, there is a fashion in intellect. The German to-day is essentially practical, cold, cynical, and calculating. The poetry and the Christmas trees, the sentiment and sentimentality, remain like the architectural monuments of a vanished race, mere reminders of the kindlier Germany that once was, the Germany of our first impressions, the Germany that many once loved. But that Germany has long since disappeared, buried beneath the spiked helmets of Prussianism, and another intellect is in vogue.
That older, kindlier Germany was the nation tempered and softened by the suffering of the Napoleonic wars. After the battle of Jena, where Napoleon rubbed the face of Prussia in the mud of defeat, there came on Germany that period of privation which left its impress so deeply on the German as to make thrift his first characteristic. A spirit of lofty, self-sacrificing patriotism imbued the whole people. Young girls cut off their long golden hair to be sold for the Fatherland. Jewels were given by all who possessed them. "Gold gab ich für Eisen" (I gave gold for iron) became a saying based on the readiness with which the rich made sacrifices to the cause of country. And with this patriotism, and with this penury, came into every home a more intimate family life, a greater earnestness, a deeper religious sentiment, a turning towards the idealistic side of life; but all was changed by the successful wars of Prussia that gave Prussia the leadership, the right to rule Germany. Then, with the end of the Franco-Prussian war, came a period of material prosperity, the rush of the population to the cities, and the building of great manufactories, of enormous shipping interests, of powerful banking institutions, of trusts and combinations which marked the Germany of 1914.
The fashion in intellect had changed, and the grasping, successful Prussian of 1914 was far removed from the ruined, chastened Prussian of 1810.
Nations, like individuals, change in character with the stress of life. From 1810, the period of a sorrowing Germany, to 1914 is one hundred and four years. The same number of years subtracted from the year 1796, when our new Republic was firmly established, and when George Washington made his noble farewell address, brings us to 1692, when nineteen persons were legally hanged, charged with witchcraft in Massachusetts, and when in that State Giles Cory perished under the awful torture, judicially applied, known as the "peine forte et dure."
It is quite true that weak voices against annexations have been heard.
Dernburg and Professor Hans Delbrück (the latter not to be confused with the disgraced, pig-slaughtering, ex-Vice-Chancellor), in their petition against the annexation of Belgium, showed a most reasonable spirit, and signing this petition with them were many of the great men and great minds of Germany. But their movement was a failure in Germany itself. Their campaign of reason could make no headway against the "League of Six"---the six great iron and steel companies of the West, who, with their paid lansquenets of the press and hired accelerators of public opinion, clamour for annexation so that they may rivet the chains of their industrial monopoly on the whole continent of Europe.
The Conservatives and Junkers, on the other hand, favour annexations to the East; especially do they eye greedily the Baltic provinces where great estates are in the hands of landowners of German blood. What a reinforcement to the conservative cause would these Junkers of the Baltic be and, in the Conservative view, if there are to be annexations in the West which would increase the number of industrial subjects and, undoubtedly social democrats, there must be a balancing accession of agricultural interest on the Eastern frontier.
The only cloud in the serene blue sky of Junker hopes is the fact that annexations in Poland would add to the number of Roman Catholics and, therefore, to the power of the Centrum or Roman Catholic party. Hence the desire to make of Poland an independent kingdom, but one controlled by the Central Empires.
The Poles are more at case, having been given more liberty, under Austrian than under Prussian rule, and hence the tendency is to put Poland under Austrian rule. The Prussians do not object to this because it does not matter whether Prussia controls Poland directly or through Prussia's control of Austria, now, alas, only too apparent.
But the principal aim of the nobles and the landed aristocracy of Germany, followed by their host of office-holders and dependents, is to keep the "graft," to hold the offices, civil and military, filled so long by these old Prussian families.
The von Lachnows, to imagine a typical Junker family, hold one thousand acres of land in Brandenburg. The head of the house, Baron von Lachnow, was Minister to Sweden. After having held as a young man a position of Secretary of Legation, he left the diplomatic service to fight with his old regiment, the Gleiwitz Hussars, through the Franco-Prussian War. He then returned to the diplomatic service in which he finally attained the rank of Minister to Sweden. He now lives on his estate of Lachnow, with a pension as ex-minister. On great occasions he appears at the Royal Palace, resplendent in uniform, wearing the Orders of the Red Eagle and Prussian Crown with the Cross of the Johannis Order. His total income from pensions and estate is about ten thousand dollars a year. The oldest son, Baron Karl Friederich, after serving in his father's regiment, resigned and entered the diplomatic service and is now second secretary of the legation in Buenos Aires. He married there the daughter of a rich cattle owner. The second son, Baron Johann, is now Police President of the city of Schelsau, after having been district attorney in an industrial district where he distinguishes himself by his prosecution of the social democrats. He married the daughter of the rich manufacturing proprietor Schulz, who sells, wholesale, little statuettes on the Ritterstrasse in Berlin. Baron August is in the army, detailed to the General Staff and with a great future before him. Baron Max is now out of a job. While on his vacation the colony, in which he was secretary to the Governor, was captured by the British, and so at the outbreak of the war he assumed his old uniform of First Lieutenant in the Gleiwitz Hussars and was given command of the prison camp at Schluttenberg, where he has won distinction for his severity with British prisoners. Baron Ernst is in the navy. This is considered rather a come-down by the family, as the navy, unlike the army, is not aristocratic. He has great hopes of marrying the only daughter of Von Blitz, who owns a splendid estate in Silesia. One of the daughters, Hilda, is married to Count Wenharp, owner of a beautiful estate in Pomerania, and the other to Hochlst, who is judge of the law court in Holstein and who owns the Rittergut (or manor) of Klein Spassberg, near Kiel.
Fig. 8. VIEWS OF A TYPICAL HOLSTEIN COUNTRY HOME OWNED BY A JUNKER COUNTRY NOBLEMAN
The estate of Lachnow is perfectly flat ground. The road to Brandenburg runs through the estate and village, the houses of which front directly on the road. This road in the village is paved with rough cobblestones. The house of the von Lachnows almost touches the road, from which it is separated by an old stone wall. One side is on a square, cobblestoned courtyard, formed by the great barns, stables and sheds which surround the other three sides of the square. The house and all the barns are built of rough stone. The house is built on the plan of a piece of Castile soap, walls and roof and nothing more. Inside there are a dining-room, two parlours and an office-den for the master, upstairs bedrooms, opening on a long hall; no bathrooms, no conveniences, even the water is brought in by the maids from the well in the centre of the court. The furniture is old and plain. The family does not keep an automobile, but two horses draw a dog cart to the station and take the family on visits to the neighbouring aristocracy. The driver is the sexton of the village church on these occasions. On the two sides of the house away from the main road and the square of barns there is a park of about ten acres. Here are a few evergreens and gravel paths and a pond where some enormous carp excite the wonder of the village children.
Baroness Lachnow is renowned for her devotion to the four K's. No one has a better stock of household linen, all made by her, her daughters and her maids, in the whole Mark. She superintends every household detail and holds the keys to closets and wine cellar.
Of course, the family does not associate with the schoolmaster and the Lutheran minister of the village, but they speak very kindly to them and the Baron once interested himself in obtaining a long service decoration for the schoolmaster.
The von Lachnows live on their estate the year round, except for two weeks in February when they go to Berlin to a cheap hotel and attend one of the court balls. The Baroness never spends more than three hundred and fifty dollars a year on her clothes, although when in Sweden, as a Minister's wife she spent more. The Baron and Baroness sometimes condescend to dine with the father-in-law of their son, a manufactory proprietor, at his handsome apartment on the Kurfuerstendamm in Berlin, but Schultz, in spite of his four million marks and growing business, is made to feel the wide gulf that separates him from the nobility. Baron Lachnow farms his own estate. His farm superintendent is von Treslow, once an officer in the Gleiwitz Hussars, who was compelled to resign because of a crippled arm, badly broken in a steeplechase. This taciturn, soured individual, on the outbreak of war, was given a place as commander of a village way station near the West Front, where his cruelties to the French inhabitants will long be remembered.
Food is very simple. The family drink beer except on great occasions, but the Baron drinks Moselle at the midday meal and a red wine in the evening. The recreation is shooting and visits to the neighbours.
Such a visit is a great event, arranged by letter beforehand. The von Lachnows drive to visit the von Seltows eighteen miles away. They arrive in time for lunch, when much wine is drunk. After this the women gossip over their fancy work and the men visit the stable, discuss crop prices and inspect the host's collection of horse flesh. The family photographs are inspected and Count Reventlow's latest article abusing the Americans is discussed and the belief suggested that a democratic people without King or Kaiser or nobility cannot be organised for war. The Social Democrats are condemned and the story gleefully told of how the son of von Seltow cut down a Social Democrat who was slow in getting out of his way.
I can understand the feelings of the von Lachnows, the imaginary, typical Prussian family of the ruling class which I have pictured for you. If Germany should he democratised, what place would be left for them? The offices of the government thrown open to all classes in fair elections, places in the army and navy and diplomacy open to competition in great academies like West Point and Annapolis. Deprived of the aroma of power given now by diplomatic or military place and noble birth in the caste system, the sons and daughters could no longer make rich marriages with the sons and daughters of the rich business men and manufacturers. No more would the civil offices of Prussia be open only to appointments among the noble or Junker class.
I do not blame the von Lachnows because they fight tooth and nail for the retention of their old privileges---because they endeavour to hold the common people in a serfdom almost as complete as that of the Dark Ages. The dawn of constitutional government will be their twilight, the twilight of the Gods of militarism, of privilege, and of caste. Prussian autocracy made the war in a last desperate endeavour to bribe the people into continued submission.
The only excuse for the existence of the Prussian ruling class to-day, as much out of place as chain armour or robber barons, is its supposed honesty and efficiency; but no class which has brought this war on the German people can be described as competent; no sane governing class would have plunged into disastrous war a country that by peaceful penetration, by thrift: and manufacture, and financial and commercial ability was in process of acquiring much of the wealth of the world.
The first aim of German autocracy is to keep its own political position at home.
Second---To obtain as much of the territory of other nations, as great an influence in unconquered lands, as possible.
Third---To make peace now, but only if that peace is a German peace, a peace which can be called and advertised and proclaimed as a German victory.
More particularly, Germany now looks to the East. In the so-called Baltic provinces of Russia the lands to a great extent are owned by Russian subjects of German blood. The peasants are poor, servile, without education or property, an ideal field for the advance of autocracy. It is hoped to either annex these provinces boldly or to establish protectorates, which, sooner or later, at an opportune moment, will fall into German hands---just as Austria gained the consent of Europe to a protectorate over Bosnia and Herzegovina and then suddenly added them to the domains of the Hapsburgs.
The German propagandists have long been working on the people of that part of Russia known as the Ukraine. If the Ukraine can be made a seperate protectorate or a semi-independent state, some day it will be easily absorbed. The autocracy has the same hope about Lithuania, at one time semi-independent. There, too, the propagandists have worked on Lithuania---all these provinces, of course, differing slightly from the races surrounding and all with a semi-independent history, as, for instance, Courland.
But all these races should think twice before they accept a momentary independence, if that autonomy is to lead them under the Prussian yoke. Whether that yoke is easy to bear or not is best answered by the Danes, Alsatians, Poles and Lorrainers who have been forcibly incorporated in the Kingdom of Prussia.
But greatest prize of all is the commercial control of Russia which the autocracy hopes to win for its merchant class. Time and again I was told in Germany that a separate peace with Russia was near and that the exploitation of Russia by the enterprising German merchants, in a short time, would repay Germany for all the losses of the war.
Would it not seem extraordinary if the language of business and commerce of the United States were French? But to-day in Russia and for years back the language of commercial business intercourse has been German. A great beginning, a great foundation it is for the eventual control, not only of the business, but the political structure of Russia. If the Germans at war with Russia have been able to split, revolutionise and divide it and put their representatives in control, what will they not be able to accomplish when peace shall bring them full liberty to circulate freely in that rich but ignorant country.
In the end, all classes in Russia will demand a strong government, and if no military dictator, no Russian Napoleon has taken in his hands the reins of government, then the German Kaiser will stand by ready to whisper to the torn people of Russia, as Napoleon III did to the French, "My Empire is Peace!"
But even if Germany evacuates France and restores the complete independence of Belgium, even if no territories are gained to the East, or protectorates or independent states carved from the body of Russia to be a later prey of Germany, Germany will have won---if from Bremen to Bagdad German influence or actual German rule is predominant in Middle Europe, the Great Central State, where the cotton of Mesopotamia, and the coal and iron of Westphalia, the copper of Servia, the oil and grain of Roumania all will contribute to the manufacturer of Germany, who, in turn, will sell his goods in that vast territory. And best of all in autocratic view, the man power of the Central Empires will be so increased that at a propitious moment, in a characteristic sudden assault, the armies of the Central Empires will invade and conquer Palestine, Egypt and India, and take what they will in Africa and Asia, while British, Japanese, and American and French navies impotently rage in useless control of the high seas.
AUSTRIA-HUNGARY---THE KAISER'S VASSAL STATE
FEW people in America perhaps realise how completely Austria-Hungary is under the domination of Germany and Kaiserism. There are those who think that the hand of the Vienna Government was forced by Berlin when the ultimatum to Serbia was answered so reasonably by the little country to the south, but there can be no doubt that Austria has been ever since under the yoke of the German General Staff.
And because the first break, the first glimpse of reasonable peace will in turn be forced on Germany by sorely tried Austria-Hungary, bent by war and bowed by debt, it is well to study a little the races and assess the influences of that unfortunate land.
My wife's sister married a Hungarian Count, a member of the Hungarian House of Lords, and I have met many of the political leaders and magnates of that country on my trips there.
The Germans of Austria are handsomer, more attractive but far less efficient than their bloody brethren from the cold, wind-swept plains of Prussia. They have acquired a slight touch of the Oriental and something of the mañana (to-morrow) of the Spaniards, a heritage, perhaps, of the days when Spain and Austria were so closely connected by Hapsburg rule.
In the presence of an Austrian one feels his charm instead of the aggressive personality which is Prussian. Undoubtedly the Prussians counted on the good nature of the southern Germans, Hungarians, Poles and Slavs in their insidious campaign to make these peoples, practically, if not in name, subject and tributary to Prussian rule. The Prussian propagandist has brought them face to face with a new Kaiserism.
Shortly after the war a great number of Austrian professors of German blood issued a manifesto demanding closer union with Germany---a prelude to the plots being hatched in Berlin against Hapsburg rule.
The Court of Austria is quite different from that of Berlin; no modern ideas during the reign of Francis Joseph disturbed his medieval outlook.
The beautiful Empress of Austria, who was assassinated by an anarchist in Switzerland, was probably insane. At any rate, for many years she lived apart from the Emperor, devoted to hunting and horses, going often as far as Ireland for her favourite sport and seldom appearing in Vienna. Francis Joseph, however, was consoled by an exactress, Frau Kathie Schratt, whom he visited daily, and who occupied a position in Vienna almost as powerful as that of the mistresses of Louis XIV. Even in this very war when Frau Schratt established a hospital, she was photographed in the centre of a group of women all occupied at this hospital and all holding the highest rank at the Austrian Court. The instant the old Emperor died, however, her power, influence and prestige disappeared and I imagine that her titled and high born helpers were not long in deserting the hospital wards over which she had presided.
That extraordinary Empire known as the Austrian Hungarian Dual Monarchy is less an Empire or a Kingdom or a State than the personal property of the Hapsburgs, whose hereditary talent for the acquisition of land is recorded on the map of Europe to-day.
For centuries this royal family by treaty, by intrigue, by war, purchase and marriage has been adding to its dominions, bringing under its personal rule races who do not understand each other's language and who differ widely in customs, intellectual attainments and religion.
The last acquisition of territory by the house of Hapsburg was in the year 1908, when the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office boldly declared that Bosnia and Herzegovina, placed under the protectorate of Austria-Hungary by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878, had been annexed to the Empire. The German Kaiser, standing by like a watching accomplice while the burglary was in progress, threatened a general European war if any nations protested.
At a time when Prussia was a struggling state, Austria was the dominant power in Central Europe, but the one battle of Sadowa in 1866 settled forever the question of supremacy and the German States like Bavaria, Saxony, Würtemburg, etc., which stood with Austria in that war, after receiving a sound beating, ranged themselves on the side of the victor and, in 1870, joined in acclaiming the King of Prussia as the First German Emperor.
That event settled the question of leadership in Central Europe and the dream of the Emperor Frederick who died about the time of the discovery of America. It was he who wrote the famous anagram on the vowels A, E, I, O. U.
"It is the fate of Austria to rule the world."
In upper and lower Austria, so-called, there are about twelve million German Austrians. This territory is comparatively small and in it lies the city of Vienna. To the north and northeast lie Bohemia and Moravia, the country of the Tchechs or Szechs of Slavic blood. These people together number about six million. Prague is the capital of Bohemia, while in Moravia there is no great city. For centuries these peoples have been oppressed by the Austrians and in the Hussite rebellion the lands of Bohemia and Moravia were parcelled out to the Austrian nobles as well as to the warlike adventurers who had joined the Austrian armies.
With extraordinary obstinacy and patriotism these peoples cling to their old language and customs. They have suffered much during this war and many tales are told of the shooting of all of the officers of Tchech regiments and the execution of every tenth man among the privates.
It is a bit of poetic justice that the town of Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, where my friend Schwab is making so much war material to be used against the Central Powers, was founded by fugitives, who, rebelling against oppression, left Moravia in search of liberty.
North of the Carpathians lies Galicia, a Polish country, with Lemberg and Krakow as its capitals, and in the eastern part the Ruthenians, a race identical with the Russians. These Ruthenians number upwards of four million.
It is a peculiar fact that in the curious Dual Monarchy each race oppresses some other. The Ruthenians complain that they are oppressed by the Poles. The kingdom of Hungary lies to the east of Austria containing in its twenty million inhabitants about ten million Magyars, who are the dominant race and who in turn rule over a population of one and one-half million Ruthenians, two and one-half million Slovacks or Tchecks, three million Roumanians in the southeastern portion and about three million of the race now known as Jugo-Slavs. Of these Jugo-Slavs about two million are in that part of the Dual Monarchy under Austrian rule. These are the principal divisions of peoples. A Slavish race differing somewhat from the others is in the mountains to the east of Hungary where much fighting has taken place in the last war known as Boukovina. In the southeastern part of Hungary there is a German speaking country, known as Siebenburgen, where live the descendants of a German colony planted about two centuries ago.
In Styria, in the mountainous districts of Austria to the west of Hungary, lives a race differing again from all the others, a mountain race supposed to be eaters of arsenic, a drug which they believe gives them a good complexion and stamina for mountain climbing. It is said that the bodies of these arsenic eaters remain undecomposed for a long time. And from this part of the world comes the curious superstition of the existence of human vampires.
Slovenes, and Jews, Carinthians and inhabitants of Carniola, Serbs living like Moslems in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italians in Trieste and the Trient---all make up the strange Austro-Hungarian monarchy.
The union between Austria and Hungary is a personal union. The Emperor of Austria is King of Hungary. Only in four particulars are the Empire and the Kingdom united, namely, a joint administration of the army and navy, of diplomatic affairs and of such finances as are connected with joint expenditures for these purposes.
In 1848 Hungary sought to break away from Austria. Kossuth heroically led the Hungarians against their Austrian masters, only to be beaten in the end because of the advent of the Russians, because one autocrat came to the aid of another.
Since then, by superior political talents and taste for intrigue, the Magyars have not only held the Slovaks, Roumanians, etc., of their own country in political subjection, but have held much of the power in the Dual Monarchy. Their danger lies, however, in the predominance of German influence; and some day the gay, easy-going, pleasant Hungarians may awake to find the Prussian Eitel Fritz seated on their throne and to learn what Prussian efficiency means when applied to those whom Germans consider an inferior people.
The twelve million Austrian Germans differ much in character from the Prussians. They are far more polite, far more agreeable, far more fond of amusement of all kinds. Indeed it is because of their pleasant personal characteristics that so many other nations have been content to remain under their rule. In no city of the world is the mass of the population as fond of pleasure as in Vienna. The best light operas come from that city. Vienna is the original home of the waltz. The "Blue Danube" was composed on the shores of the river which flows through the Austrian capital.
The dominant religion of the German Empire is Protestant, but in the Dual Monarchy it is Roman Catholic among the ruling Germans in Austria and Magyars in Hungary.
In Austria and in Hungary most of the land is held in great estates. The peasants, as in Germany, sometimes own a few strips of land near their miserable villages. Possession of land is necessary to the standing of any noble. In Hungary, for example, no noble sits in the house of Magnates or House of Lords unless he is the owner of a certain amount of land.
Once across the Hungarian border, one sees the people taking a certain delight in refusing to understand German. The names of the railway stations are in Hungarian, and the uniforms of station officials, conductors, etc., differ from those in Austria. Every effort is made by the population to emphasise the fact that Hungary is an independent kingdom, joined to Austria by personal rule alone.
There is no melting pot in this part of the world. In the Lower House of the Hungarian parliament sit forty-three Croatian delegates, Croatia being that part of southwestern Hungary near the Adriatic where the inhabitants are of Slav blood. By the Hungarian constitution those delegates have the right to speak in the Hungarian parliament in their own language and so from time to time a Croatian delegate arises in his place and delivers an ambitious harangue in Croatian, understood by no one except his fellow delegates who already know what he intends to talk about. This is only one example of how these peoples cling tenaciously to their language and national rights.
It is possible to find in Hungary an Hungarian village, a German village, a Slav village and a Roumanian village, all within a short distance of each other. Men from each of these villages after one month in the United States throw aside their national costume and buy their clothes in the same Bowery shop, eat the same food and send their children to the same public school not only without protest, but with eagerness, whereas, in Hungary, not one of the inhabitants of these different villages would think of abandoning his national traits to learn the language of his German neighbours.
Because commands are given in German in the armies of the Dual Monarchy all the male population, at least during the term of their military service, have been compelled to learn some German. But this they forget as soon as possible when they return from their period of military service.
Many members of these races go to America and after working there a short time amass enough money to return to Austria-Hungary and purchase a small piece of land,---the ambition of every one born of the soil.
One of the sons of Prince Lichtenstein told me that a friend who was running for the Hungarian Lower House in a district of Hungary largely inhabited by Slavs, spoke in Hungarian and, finding that his audience did not understand him, tried German. Finally, when matters had come to a standstill, some one in the back of the room called out to him, asking if he spoke English. The candidate answered that he did. Whereupon the crowd told him to speak English which nearly all understood, and so the Hungarian, a candidate for parliament in Hungary, was forced, in order to be understood, to address his Hungarian electors in the language which they had learned in America.
Franz Ferdinand, whose murder at Sarajevo was used by the Central Powers as a pretext for a war determined on long before that time, was the heir to the throne of the late Francis Joseph. He was a romantic character. He visited frequently at the house of Archduchess Isabella, where Countess Chotek, of a Bohemian noble family, was a lady in waiting. Franz Ferdinand fell violently in love with the fair Bohemian, and in his desire to marry, enlisted the aid of Koloman Szell, Premier of Hungary. Szell told friends how Franz Ferdinand loved mystery and how, when he wanted to talk to him about marriage plans, instead of meeting somewhere openly in Vienna, would arrange that Szell's train should stop in the open fields. Szell, on alighting and following directions, would find Franz Ferdinand hiding behind a designated haystack.
In a country where one royal family not only rules but owns the land, this attempt of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, then heir to the throne, and mad with love, to marry Countess Sophie Chotek, lady in waiting to Archduchess Isabella, caused a palace revolution. By the aid of Szell he at last succeeded in carrying out the marriage. But this was only after he and his wife had been required to submit to the most humiliating conditions and subscribe to a marriage contract or promise which was not only enacted thereafter as a statute in Hungary, but was formally put on record by the Austrian parliament.
In this declaration, Franz Ferdinand declared it to be "his firm and resolute resolve to marry Countess Sophie Chotek, that he had sought, in accordance with the laws of the house, to obtain consent of the Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty, the Emperor and King, Francis Joseph I, gloriously reigning, that the most serene, supreme head of the Arch house had deigned graciously to grant this permission and that Franz Ferdinand, however (describing himself as 'We'), recognise the house laws and declare them binding on Us particularly with regard to this marriage declaration, that our Marriage with Countess Chotek is not a marriage of equal birth, but a morganatic one and is to be considered as such for all time , and that in consequence neither our wife nor our issue or descendants is entitled to possess or claim those rights, titles, armorial bearings and privileges that belong to wives of equal birth and to children of archdukes or marriages of equal birth." Franz Ferdinand, further, recognised that his children from this marriage would have no right to succeed to the throne in the kingdoms and lands of Austria nor, consequently, to the lands of the Hungarian Crown and that they were excluded from the order of succession.
He further agreed and promised not only for himself but for his wife and children, that none of them would ever attempt to revoke this declaration.
The old Emperor gave the wife of Franz Ferdinand the title of Princess Hohenberg and later raised her to the rank of duchess which, in the Central Empires, is a higher rank than that of princess. She was also created a Serene Highness after the birth of her third child, Prince Ernest, in 1904. The first child, Princess Sophie, was born in 1901, and the second, Prince Maximilian Charles, in 1902. In spite of the rank thus granted to her, the Duchess of Hohenberg was frequently slighted by Archdukes and Archduchesses of the House of Hapsburg, and when the present Emperor, the Archduke Charles Francis Joseph, married Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma, in 1911, and this marriage was followed by the birth of a son, on November 20, 1912, it was plain to Franz Ferdinand and his wife that the hostility of the old Emperor and the other members of the House of Hapsburg, aided by events, had succeeded in definitely excluding his children by Countess Sophie from the throne.
These slights to his wife, so marked as to cause the publication of articles inspired by himself in a newspaper devoted to his interests, and the birth of the heir to Carl, must have had a profound influence on melancholy Franz Ferdinand.
In all Europe there was one monarch clever enough to take advantage of the situation, to win Franz Ferdinand to him by the honours he paid to the Duchess of Hohenberg,---the German Emperor. Kaiser Wilhelm invited the pair to Potsdam. and there both were made to feel that in one court, at least, the honours due to a wife of equal birth were paid to the ex-Countess Sophie. This Potsdam visit was in 1909, and I believe that, thereafter, the German Emperor and Franz Ferdinand met on other occasions.
In the chapter on Emperor Wilhelm, I have stated the belief prevalent, even in Germany, that he intended as his first step towards his openly expressed ambition for world dominion, to make himself, on the death of Francis Joseph, Emperor of a Great Continental Empire in which the German Princes, his sons, should occupy the thrones of Hungary and Bohemia, the heir of the House of Austria to rule as king or grand duke of Austria with possibly another German ruled kingdom touching the sea on the south.
There are some who believe that when the Kaiser, accompanied by von Tirpitz, visited Franz Ferdinand at Konopisht in June, 1914, before the Kiel week, that a great conspiracy was entered into, in which it was arranged that a great Central Empire should be created with one of the sons of the Duchess of Hohenberg on the throne of Bohemia and the other provided for by some newly carved out kingdom made from Bosnia, or a portion of Serbia. And it may have been part of this plot that Eitel. Fritz and other sons of the Kaiser should be provided with thrones derived from Balkan territory.
It will be remembered that as Franz Ferdinand and his wife fell under the assassin's bullet at Sarajevo he called out: "Sophie, live for our children!" His devotion to his wife and to their children was extraordinary. He was continually sparing from his income so that on his death his sons would have a large sum of money, saved from the income of estates which they could not inherit.
It is hard to believe that such a crime against the House of Hapsburg and against his own country was contemplated from the inside of royalty. But one event seems a confirmation of this theory. The dead Franz Ferdinand and his wife were buried with such lack of honour, almost with such contempt, as to lead to the belief that the head of the House of Hapsburg, Emperor Francis Joseph himself, without whose directions the Chamberlain, Count Montenuovo, would not have dared to act, discovered his heir in some act against the laws or fortunes of the Imperial House.
For the funeral arrangements were such, that the Austrian and Hungarian aristocracy were moved to protest and as a result a belated order was issued directing that the troops of the Vienna Garrison should take part in the funeral ceremonies. About one hundred and fifty members of the leading families of Hungary and Austria, without invitation, entered the funeral procession and followed the bodies to the railway station. The London Times correspondent called attention to this in cables to his newspaper at the time.
Personally, I do not incline to this view, but I do believe that at Konopisht the war of 1914 was finally agreed on. Too many bits of evidence point to this and from something said to me at Kiel by a very high personage, before the assassinations at Sarajevo, I would have guessed that war was coming, had it not been impossible for me to believe that the world was to be plunged into war simply because the German people were restless under the rule of the autocracy.
When the murders occurred at Sarajevo, all plans had been laid for war and the death of Franz Ferdinand and the Duchess of Hohenberg merely gave another excuse to begin hostilities, after Austria, in the Council of Potsdam, had ratified all the arrangements made by the Emperor Wilhelm and Franz Ferdinand for the European war. Undoubtedly the German Emperor used his influence with Franz Ferdinand and his wife in order to secure the former's aid in dragging Austria into the war, ---a war begun to win the dominion of the world.
How many in America have heard the name of Sophie Chotek? Yet the ambitions of this woman have done much to send to war the splendid youths who from all the ends of the earth gather in France to fight the fight of freedom.
The clever German Emperor, playing upon her ambitions, induced the gloomy, hated Franz Ferdinand to consent to the world war, and matters had gone so far that even the death of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand could not change the situation nor turn the war party of Hungary and Austria from their programme of blood. Eighty-four years of age, the old Francis Joseph could only offer a weak defence to the martial insistence of Tisza, Premier of Hungary, and his able, understrapper, Forgotsch, who represented him in the Foreign Office at Vienna and who undoubtedly is the man who drafted the forty-eight hour ultimatum to Servia.
Fig. 9. MAIN STAIRWAY IN THE AMERICAN EMBASSY, BERLIN
Berliners say that although the German Emperor gave the Duchess of Hohenberg all the honours due to the wife of an Austrian Archduke, heir to the throne of the Austrian Empire, he was careful not to bring her claims in direct conflict with any Prussian female Royalty and that on the first visit of Franz Ferdinand and his wife to Potsdam, when the doors of the banquet room were thrown open, it was seen that the Kaiser had skilfully placed all the guests at small tables, sitting at one with the Empress and his two guests. In this way he prevented a conflict of precedence and a possible scene with some Prussian royal princess.
After one of these Potsdam visits, the Austrian government appropriated three hundred millions for new Skoda cannon and a great and unexpected increase of the navy was voted. In Austria itself it was seen that the German influence was dragging Austria-Hungary nearer and nearer to war.
Ferdinand disliked the Hungarians and in turn was hated by them. If he had attained the throne of the Empire, as his children could not inherit, he would have endeavoured first to remove that obstacle, but if he had not succeeded he intended, as I have said, either to restore the kingdom of Bohemia and place his son, child of a Bohemian mother, on the newly created throne, or create, possibly from conquered lands, another kingdom over which his heir could reign.
The Magyars, the real Hungarian ruling race, are most skilful politicians. Their elections often are corrupt and all the tricks of the politician are in use in Hungary.
In many families political talent seems hereditary. Tisza, the Premier of Hungary for the period for some time before the war, was the son of Tisza, who was Premier of Hungary about the year 1875. Kossuth, son of the great Kossuth, has been active in politics. The father of Count Julius Andrassy was Premier about 1866 and favoured Germany, a policy which has been inherited by his son. One of the sons-in-law of Count Andrassy's wife, Marquis Pallavicini, came to America to act as best man when my wife's sister married Count Sigray.
Andrassy came to Berlin during the war where I had several long talks with him. The one desire of Hungarians and Austrians alike is for peace, but surrounded by the armies of their German masters, they have lost their independence of action, a bitter blow to the Magyars, who are not fond of the Germans.
Count Stephen Tisza is an obstinate and able man, so many sided that it is related of him that he fought a duel, rode a steeplechase and made a great speech in Parliament, all in one day.
Duelling is still a custom in Hungary, Austria and Germany. Once when I was in Hungary I took supper with a Count who had been second in a duel that day. One young Magnate was at a restaurant with an actress who wore a wide brimmed hat. Another young Magnate of his acquaintance looked under the hat brim to see who the girl was. Result: a duel with sabres in a riding school. On this occasion, as the insult was not deadly, the use of sharp points was forbidden. The duel was stopped after one young Magnate received a cut on the forehead.
Stephen Tisza, on first taking office, was permitted by the old Emperor to obtain some apparent concessions for Hungary in order to make his premiership popular. It was arranged that Hungarian flags should be carried by Hungarian regiments, and that the officers of those regiments all should be Hungarians, but German was to be used as the military language and language of command even in the Hungarian regiments.
As soon as Tisza became premier for the first time, Count Apponyi left the Liberal party and lately Count Julius Andrassy and his wife's sons-in-law, Count Karoli and Marquis Pallavicini, have been in violent opposition to Tisza, Pallavicini even fighting a duel with the Prime Minister.
In a country where the majority of the inhabitants are Roman Catholics it is rather strange that Tisza and his father, both strong Protestants, should have attained the Premiership. The father of Count Stephen Tisza was even more obstinate than his son and greatly oppressed the Slovaks and Roumanians within the borders of Hungary.
A great responsibility lies at the door of Stephen Tisza. He allowed the Germans to use him in bringing on the world war. Doubtless he believed that Russia and the Powers would not move, that Austria-Hungary could seize or invade Serbia, while Germany terrorised the world as in 1908 when Bosnia and Herzegovina were added to the Imperial dominions. But his failure to read the intentions of Russia and the other Powers is no excuse for the calamity he brought on Hungary and the world, no excuse for the fact that his country is now overwhelmed by Kaiserism, its armies surrounded by the armies of Germany and its very independence threatened by the subtle influence and intrigues of the master intriguer of the world, the German Kaiser.
The franchise in Austria and in Hungary is like that given grudgingly to the Prussian, a mere ghost of suffrage. Autocracy rules. In Hungary, particularly the Magyars, seeking to keep the political power in their hands, oppose a broadening of the franchise. Tisza has always been against any letting down of the bars, but when the young and brilliant Count Esterhazy was made Premier, many looked for a change---a change which has, however, not yet come.
The new Emperor Carl at first seemed to exhibit Liberal tendencies, but only for a moment.
The events in Russia will have a grave effect in Austria-Hungary. More than a million Russians are prisoners in the Dual Monarchy, nearly a million of whose subjects are in Russia---and of these at least fifty thousand Czechs are fighting the Austrians and Germans in the ranks of the Roumanian army. Many more will refuse to leave Russia, but the coming back of one-half, after having witnessed the winning of liberty by the Russians, will influence their countrymen in no small degree. just as the French soldiers under Lafayette and Rochambeau, after helping us gain our independence, returned from the free fields of America to a France where the burdens of the plain people were almost unendurable and brought on the great French Revolution, the soldiers and prisoners who return to Prussia and to Austria-Hungary from the strange scenes of the Russian Revolution may, perhaps, leaven the inert slave masses of the Central Empires with a spirit of revolt for liberty.
We should institute a great propaganda from the Italian front. For instance, I have been told by a man who has been on that front, a man who should know, that if a few American troops were sent there and signs erected stating "Come over and surrender to the Americans, you will be taken to America well fed and paid a dollar per day when you volunteer to work," there would be a great rush of Austro-Hungarian troops eager to be taken prisoner.
The losses of Austria and Hungary have been enormous--men up to fifty-five have been drafted for the army, and the troops have often suffered defeat and the horrors of retreat at the hands of Russians, Serbians, and Italians.
And all the time the iron hand of the German Kaiser grasps more and more of the power. Cheerless prospect it is for the once gay Hungarians, the once happy Austrians, if to financial ruin and the killing of the flower of their youth is to be added the iron horror of Prussian domination.
Our citizens of Austrian and especially of Hungarian descent have been loyal to their new flag. And our great President with enlightened wisdom has eased the enemy alien regulations so as to favour those born in the Dual Monarchy. America will never forget the loyalty, ungrudgingly given by those of her people born under the double eagle of the Hapsburgs.
In my many visits to Hungary I grew to like and admire the Hungarians. Natural in manners, hospitable, polite, there is something in them that wins Americans. How different the open hospitality and friendliness in Budapest from the stern, cold formality of the Prussian capital!
And with all friends of Hungary I hope that that country will soon throw off the trance of Prussianism, which has led the Dual Monarchy into a Dance of Death.
GERMAN INFLUENCE ON THE NORTHERN NEUTRALS
JUST as I had the opportunity to study conditions in Austria, so also I came in contact with the politics and diplomacy of the nations contiguous to Germany on the north.
My grandfather, Benjamin F. Angel, was American Minister to Sweden and Norway and on leaving received from the King the Order of St. Olaf. I have always taken a deep interest in Scandinavian affairs and it behooves the American people to regard closely what is happening nowadays in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
The outbreak of the European War in 1914 served to bring the three northern nations close together. Their Kings met in conference and a peace monument was erected on the boundary of Norway and Sweden as if to proclaim to the world that in spite of their recent separation, Norway and Sweden were sister countries.
The people of these three countries are of the same blood and their languages are somewhat similar. Norwegian and Danish written are practically the same. But there is quite a difference in pronunciation. Swedish is more like German and the pronunciation is not as difficult to learn as that of Norwegian and Danish. In Norway, there are older dialects, differing from Danish, and there has lately been a great movement in favour of a more national language. Many Norwegians regard the official Danish-Norwegian as a reminder of old subjection to Denmark and not at all fitted for the new independent Norwegian kingdom. The new national language is called "Landsmaal."
Sweden and Norway were both under one king from 1814 to 1905. In that year after a peaceful secession, Prince Charles of Denmark, the son of the King of Denmark, was made the King of Norway, with the title of Haakon VII. Although both have kings, Denmark and Norway may be termed democratic countries.
Copenhagen is lively since the war. The population of Denmark is only 2,500,000 and the whole country is only 14,829 square miles, which means an area about the size of Maryland. The country was once larger but in 1864 Prussia went to war with Denmark and, finally, after the war with Austria in 1866, added to the Crown of Prussia the two Danish duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. As the city and port of Kiel were included in this territory annexed, it is easy to see why the Germans engaged in this enterprise against Denmark.
Denmark possesses the Faro Islands which lie far to north of Scotland, the great island of Iceland and Greenland, relics of the times when the Viking ships brought such terror to the other countries of Europe, that the Litany used to read: "From plague, pestilence and famine, from battle and murder, from sudden death and from the fury of the Northmen, good Lord deliver us."
In Christiania we saw on our trip out two graceful Viking ships dug out of the clay shores or the coast in a state of fair preservation---one of them a Princess's ship on which it was easy to imagine some blonde princess of the North, her long braids of golden hair flying in the wind, urging on her Scandinavian oarsmen.
The Danes are a sturdy race, the women more independent than those of other countries. On the Frederick VIII, when we sailed from Denmark, September 28, 1916, for the United States, were two handsome girls, nineteen and twenty-one years of age, the daughters of the proprietor of the largest department store in Copenhagen. They were going to America to find employment in department stores in the different cities of the country, travelling entirely alone, and expected to return to Denmark after a year's experience in America with many new ideas of management and advertising for their father in Copenhagen. These girls were wonderfully educated, speaking in addition to Danish, French, German and English with hardly a trace of accent. They lived a short distance out of Copenhagen and told me that every morning of the year they jumped into the sea at six-thirty in the morning, something that I should not care to do even in August in that cold northern land.
Danish farmers learned early that in order to be prosperous they must practise intensive farming. I believe that Denmark, which even before the war enjoyed a high degree of prosperity, is the only country in the world where there are pig sties steam-heated and electric lighted while the farmer himself does not have these luxuries.
Our farmers have much to learn from the farmers of Denmark both in agricultural methods and in co-operation for the marketing of products. The reclamation of the Danish moors in Jutland has made surprising progress: it is in Jutland that a park has been preserved in its primeval state---the Danish-American Park, bought with money subscribed by Danish emigrants to America who prospered in their adopted land.
Ever since the conquest of Denmark by Germany, there has been a deep hatred of all things German in Denmark on account of the treatment of those Danes, numbering between one hundred and two hundred thousand, who were living in Schleswig and Holstein and were unfortunate enough to be turned over as property to the King of Prussia.
I found the Danes agreeable people. Of the same race as the Germans, living like them in the dark North, this difference in behaviour is perhaps accounted for by the fact that the Danes are free, while the Germans are oppressed by the weight of an ever present autocracy.
While the Danish people hate the Germans, officially Denmark is careful to conceal this hate and even, apparently, to lean towards the German side, through fear of the German troops, which could easily overrun Denmark in thirty hours.
Denmark, during the war, received oil cake from America, which was fed to cattle later sold to Germany. A great tonnage of fish has also been sent from Denmark to Germany while salt and potash have been imported. There is no question but that supplies of all kinds and in great quantities have found their way across the Danish border.
And the Danes have prospered enormously since the war. Many people have become millionaires through the sale of food and other supplies to the Germans. A great deal of this food supply was sent in the form of canned meat, popularly known as goulash, and so to-day whenever an automobile passes on a Danish road, the small boys call out "goulash Baron," in the belief that the occupant is a new-made millionaire, enriched by trade with Germany.
It is hard for us to realise how far north the Scandinavian countries lie. Christiania, the capital of Norway and in its southern part, is in the same latitude as the south point of Greenland; and is it not difficult to imagine a modern city situated in Greenland?
In Christiania it is not fairly daylight in December until ten in the morning and dark early in the afternoon. The ample water power of Norway and Sweden furnishes electric light, a godsend in the short dreary winter days.
Norway, in many respects, is one of the most advanced countries in the world. Having been ruled by Denmark for four hundred years, it was united to Sweden by the Treaty of Kiel, in 1814, with the approval of all the Powers, but against the inclinations of the Norwegians, who knew that they were given to Sweden to compensate that country for the loss of Finland, annexed to Russia.
The ambitious Bernadotte arranged to govern Norway as king of that country, which was theoretically to retain its independence and be united to Sweden only through the personal rule of the one monarch.
At this time, the Norwegian Constitution provided that no more personal privileges should be granted and since then the progress of Norway towards a real democracy has been rapid. It was the conflict over the right demanded by the Norwegians to establish a separate consular service that led to the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905, Norway voting for separation 368,211 to 184.
There are now no nobles in Norway. Shortly after the union it was decided that those who had titles of nobility could hold them for life, but that their descendants could not inherit.
Legislation for the protection of child workers, women, for insurance, etc., is of an advanced character. For instance, no child under fourteen is permitted to work and no woman for six weeks after her confinement---women receiving full sick benefit pay during this period. Many of the railways are state owned.
Norway is a land of little farms, the shipping and fishing industries occupy many men, but with the exception of the water power driven nitrate plants, on the coast, and the wood-pulp factories, there is little manufacturing.
The mass of the people are with the Allies. Last winter, when it was proposed that a German concert troupe should play and sing in Christiania, the people threatened to burn the theatre if the performance was permitted.
But, as in Sweden, the German propagandists are at work in Norway. Here again, unless we present our case, the people may be turned from the Allies.
King Gustavus V, who occupies to-day the throne of Sweden, has a German wife. All the sympathies of the court, which copies the little courts of Germany, of the aristocracy and of the army are strongly with Germany.
In Sweden, although the king has not much more power than the kings of Denmark and Norway, there is an aristocracy which inclines to imitate the manners of the German aristocracy and to seize, if possible, the privileges enjoyed by that body. The officers in the army in Sweden are devoted to German ideals and, since the war, great bodies of them have been invited to Germany, where there has been much ado over them.
The people, however, do not sympathise with Germany, knowing what the triumph of Germany means for them and how the court and the army and the aristocracy would be thereby encouraged to put the Swedish people in what the Germans would call "their place."
The Swedes fear the domination of Germany and the domination of an aristocracy and army imbued with German ideas. They know that if Germany wins, the king business will take on a new lease of life. The ground was ripe for the Allies but the German propaganda, cleverly managed, spending money without stint, is gradually bringing the people to a point where, if the blockade is tightened, they may consent to Sweden's entering the war as an ally of the Central empires.
In spite of the dislike of the people for the German cause, I think that the aristocracy and the court and the army would have forced Sweden into the war but for one thing. After some months of war, an arrangement was made whereby the so-called "heavily wounded" were exchanged with prisoners between Russia and Germany. The German who was a prisoner of the Russians and had lost an arm or a leg, was sent home. These wounded prisoners on their way to their home countries, were compelled to travel the whole length of Sweden and it was the sight of. these poor stumps of humanity, as the trains stopped at the various stations in Sweden, that kept the Swedish people out of war. Many pictures of them printed in the Swedish papers caused profound dismay in Sweden and developed an inexpressible abhorrence of war.
Since hostilities commenced, on the other hand, the Government, army and aristocracy of Sweden not only have been consistently opposed to the Allies, but of the utmost service to Germany.
Swedish iron ore goes into German cannon and makes the best steel for aeroplane engines, and the imports into Sweden from America of foods and fats from America increased one thousand per cent almost immediately. These imports, with great quantities of copper and other supplies, found their way to Germany to the great profit incidentally of Swedish business men. For the plain people of Sweden the cost of living increased without a corresponding increase in salaries and wages, so that the new prosperity was confined to the "goulash barons.
There is no question but that, just as in Argentina, the Swedish diplomatic pouch was in all countries at the service of Germany, and that the orders to the German spies in Russia were sent by this means. In fact, it is believed German prisoners in Russia found their way to Petrograd, there to participate in revolution and counter-revolution under orders sent through the Swedish officials.
Smuggling is winked at and at Lullia on the Swedish coast near the head of the Gulf of Bothnia great quantities of rubber, block tin and oil arrive from Russian Uleaborg across the gulf.
The French wanted to send a consul to Lullia, but their request was refused, doubtless because the Swedish authorities did not care to have any official foreigners see this traffic.
Cleverest of all has been the work of the German financial agents. Warburg, the Hamburg banker, is attached to the German legation in Stockholm. So skilfully has he managed his task, that Swedish firms and Swedish banks have been induced to take German paper money, commercial paper and securities instead of gold, in return for copper, rubber, tin, food, fats, wool and supplies and in this way the Swedish business men, by the touch of self-interest, have been made to favour Germany.
I confess that it is hard to bring about, but as each nation has the right to choose with whom its citizens shall do business, we must mercilessly blacklist those firms which assist Germany by accepting, in lieu of the gold which would thus be drained from Germany, what amounts to the promise of Germany to pay if successful in war.
The Queen of Sweden, herself a German and an admirer of the German Emperor, has great influence over her husband and the Court.
At a time when she was visiting her family in KarIsruhe (for she is a Princess of Baden) a reprisal attack made by Allied aeroplanes narrowly missed the royal palace and, consequently, the Queen. This has added to her prejudice against the Allies. The Crown Princess of Sweden was a Princess of Connaught, the sister of "Princess Pat," but she does not dare take any stand against the anti-ally propaganda.
I am sure that President Wilson appreciates the gravity of the situation and that means are being taken to place our position not only before the Swedish people but those of Swedish birth and descent in the United States whose influence should be brought to bear on their friends and relatives in the old country.
The crew of every Swedish ship that lands here should be given our viewpoint; every Swede who returns to Sweden should go as a missionary---we must not permit Sweden, whose people are bound to us by ties of blood and friendship, by the hospitality which we offered to every Swedish immigrant, to be ranged among our enemies by the German-admiring aristocrats of Sweden who by birth, training and education are opposed to democracy, who hope, if Germany wins, to gain as great an ascendancy in the government as the Prussian Junkers possess in Germany.
The Finns who occupy that part of Russia nearest to Sweden have quite a sympathy for the Swedes, Finland having been at one time a part of Sweden. The races, however, are not the same. The Finns are a Mongolian race and certain similarities of language make it plain that the Finns and the Hungarians came from the same mysterious place of origin somewhere in the great mountains and highlands of Central Asia.
Three languages, three influences, fight for mastery in Finland. The official Russian, the language of the government; Finnish, now receiving a new lease of life; and Swedish, the language of those who once conquered and held Finland, and who so imposed their civilisation on the more ignorant Finns, that to-day Swedish is the language of the more prosperous classes and of most of the business men.
The women of Finland received the suffrage in 1906, all voting who are over twenty- four and who have been for five years citizens of Finland.
Many women thereafter were elected to the Finnish parliament.
In two Scandinavian countries the women vote. Norway was the first sovereign state of Europe to give full citizenship rights to women. In 1913, all Norwegian women of twenty-five and citizens for five years were put on a voting equality with men, and the only positions under the national government for which women are not eligible are in the army and navy, the diplomatic and consular service and the Supreme Court.
The Danish women received the full franchise in 1915, but in aristocratic Sweden only the women paying income taxes have rights in the communal councils.
In 1908, in Norway, a law was passed providing that women doing the work of men shall receive equal pay.
Military service in all three northern nations is universal and compulsory.
Possibly on a "tip" from Berlin to a fellow autocrat, there occurred in February, 1914, an extraordinary political event, arranged and "accelerated" by the Government, when thirty thousand farmers, meeting in Stockholm for the purpose, marched in procession to the Royal Castle to address the King and tell him that they were ready to bear any extra taxes imposed for the purpose of providing for national defence.
Russia was the power particularly feared by Sweden who thought she desired to annex a part of Northern Sweden and Norway in order to get an outlet to the sea on the Norwegian coast.
But recent events in Russia have ended this fear and the only question for the Swedes is the same, one with which the whole world is faced---Kaiserism or Democracy.
Sven Hedin, the explorer, who was the leader in this movement for national defence, has appeared as a German propagandist so violent as to have become popular with the Germans. It is hard to understand why so intelligent a man should range himself on the side of autocracy. Now that the Russian danger, if danger there was, is past it is to be hoped that this celebrated man will be found in the ranks of those opposed to the autocracy which ordered the murders of many Swedish seamen.
Norway, although it has often met the submarine of the Kaiser, which, defying all law, has sent to death so many Norwegian sailors and fishermen, suffers also from German propaganda and a certain self interest because of the forty-five million kronen sale of fish this last year to German buyers.
Germany works, too, in Denmark with the Socialists and deliveries of coal are used to obtain food from that country.
The jolly, free, brave Scandinavians are naturally opposed to all that Pan-Germanism and German rule means. It is necessary for us, especially our citizens of Scandinavian descent, not to lose this initial advantage.
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