JAMES W. GERARD
FACE TO FACE WITH KAISERISM
THE KAISER AND "LÈSE-MAJESTÉ"
THE talents and ability and agreeable personality of the German Emperor must not blind us to the fact that he is the centre of the system which has brought the world to a despair and misery such as it never has known since the dawn of history. We must remember that all his utterances disclose the soul of the conqueror, of a man intensely anxious for earthly fame and a conspicuous place in the gallery of human events; envious, too, of the great names of the past, his ears so tuned for admiration and applause that they fail to hear the great, long drawn wail of agony that echoes around the world. His eyes are so blinded with the sheen of his own glory that they do not see the mutilated corpses, the crime, the pestilence, the hunger, the incalculable sorrow that sweeps the earth from the jungles of Africa to the frozen plains of the North, from Siberia to Saskatchewan, from Texas to Trieste, from Alaska to Afghanistan---everywhere he has brought the dark angel of mourning to millions upon millions of desolate homes.
Do you remember that picture of the Conquerors, Caesar and Alexander, Attila and Napoleon, Charlemagne and Cambyses, astride their horses or in chariots in the centre of the picture, dark, gloomy, menacing? On each side of them, lining a vast plain that fades in the distance, lie the dead---stiff, cold, grey, reproachful;---yet all the victims of those conquerors, as well as all their battalions do not equal the countless number that have already drenched a forgiving earth with their dying blood in this war:---victims all of the vain-glorious ambition of a single mortal---the German Kaiser.
But the despot who sends his subjects to die, as Frederick the Great said, "in order to be talked about" is not indigenous to any one particular country. Like conditions produce like results. The career of Louis XIV, the "Sun King," for instance, whose wars and extravagances sowed the seeds of the French Revolution, is epitomised in two phrases uttered by him: "I am the State" and "I almost had to wait."
After the French Revolution, another despot, the first Napoleon, not only sought the conquest of the world, but made his ex-waiter and ex-groom marshals and his washerwomen duchesses ape the manners and customs of the old régime. Despotism has been characteristic of many generations but the world had thought itself rid of the worst offenders.
Royalty still lives to torture and retard civilisation. Its methods of perpetuation are unchanged from the middle ages. What is lèse-majesté but a survival of feudalism, a kind of slavery to inviolable tradition---the immunity of the monarch and his family from that criticism and freedom of discussion which is the essence of democracy?
Fig. 3. THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY STAFF, BERLIN;
MR. GERARD IN THE CENTER
To commit lèse-majesté, to speak slightingly of royalty in Germany, is a very serious offence.
I have taken the following examples of decisions in lèse-majesté--- cases not from the records of the lower courts, the decisions of which may be reversed, but from the records of the Imperial Supreme Court at Leipzig, the highest court in the land.
For instance: The defendant, a speaker at a meeting consisting chiefly of sympathisers with the socialist cause, made the following statement in reference to a speech of the Kaiser:
"Under the protection of the highest power of the State the gauntlet has been flung before the (Socialist) Party, the gauntlet which means a combat for life and death. Well, then, so far as the insult concerns our Party, we are so far above it, that the mudslinging---no matter from what direction it may come---cannot touch us."
The defence pointed out that the defendant "had considered each word carefully before he had made the speech, and that in doing so, wanted to avoid any possibility of lèse-majesté."
The Supreme Court held that although the defendant carefully selected his words and tried to evade prosecution, he must be adjudged guilty, because his audience could not have misunderstood the insinuation. The sentence was affirmed.
Dangerous as it is to say anything that can be construed as derogatory of the authority of the Kaiser it is equally dangerous to attack the dead members of the Royal House.
The editor of the Volkswacht had published in his paper an article entitled "The German Characteristics of the Hohenzollerns" which the Lower Court interpreted to be a reply to a statement of the Kaiser, which had referred to a group of people considered unworthy by him to be called "Germans." Without doubt the editor was alluding to the Kaiser's speech, made at Koenigsberg to the newly enlisted army recruits, in which he called the socialists "vaterlandslose Gesellen," i.e., scoundrels without any country. The writer, however, discussed "the conduct of the Elector Joachim of Brandenburg and of his brother Albrecht, Elector of Mainz, before and during the election of Emperor Charles V."
The defence claimed that the defendant could not be held guilty of lèse-majesté against the Kaiser since the defendant "criticised the Kaiser's ancestors and not the Kaiser himself." But the Court held that it was the intent of the defendant to discredit the "House of the Hohenzollerns, and that the Kaiser by implication, being the living head of the Hohenzollern family, was thereby insulted." The Court further states that the defendant's article could not be regarded as a scientific or historical contribution since the Volkswacht's subscribers, consisting chiefly of workingmen, had neither any understanding of nor interest in dynastic intrigues of the sixteenth century."
Even those Americans who have expressed themselves freely about the Kaiser will, after the war is over, be compelled to take their "cures" in some country other than Germany, for in one case it was held that an American citizen was rightfully convicted in Baden of lèse-majesté because of statements made by him in Switzerland.
The Court held that the judgment of the Lower Court must be sustained, since the German Imperial Laws have precedence over any treaties engaged in by the Grand Duchy of Baden and the United States and "that the fact that the defendant had become a citizen of the United States does not exempt him from prosecution in the German Imperial Courts."
In another case a newspaper editor criticised a speech delivered by the Kaiser before the Reichstag on December 6th, 1898. The defendant did not refer to the person of the Emperor himself, but simply attacked and ridiculed the propositions and proposals made by His Imperial Majesty. The defence pointed out that the Kaiser's speech was not an act of the Kaiser's own personal will, but only an act of government for which the Imperial Chancellor should be responsible, and that the defendant was not conscious of the fact that the criticism contained in his article could be an insult to the person of the Kaiser.
It was held, however, by the Court that a criticism of the Kaiser's speech at the opening of the Reichstag is always to be regarded as a criticism of the Kaiser's person, and that the plea that the Imperial Chancellor should be responsible for acts of government of this sort is not sustained.
In other words it is, in Germany, a crime to criticise or ridicule any proposition uttered by the sacred lips of the Kaiser.
If the Kaiser announces that two and two make five, jail awaits the subject who dares to ridicule that novel arithmetical proposition.
It is because of these convictions for lèse-majesté that the Berliners, when discussing the Emperor at their favourite table or "Stammtisch" in the beer halls and cafés, always refer to him as "Lehmann."
WHEN THE KAISER THOUGHT WE WERE BLUFFING
An Unpublished Diary
KAISERDOM is an institution with which the American people are really unacquainted---a complex institution the parallel of which does not exist elsewhere. How it sought to play double with the United States is in a general way familiar to Americans, but I think the record of what happened in the eighteen months preceding our break with Germany will illustrate exactly the currents and cross-currents of official opinion which led the United States to be scrupulously cautious in its course before entering the war. As I talked with the Emperor or the Chancellor or the Foreign Minister, I jotted down from time to time notes of their conversation as well as brief summaries of the information available to me from other sources. Naturally I cabled to the Department of State the most significant news, but much of this was not published because our Government was proceeding cautiously and did not wish to be embarrassed by publicity of its negotiations. There is every reason now, however, why the facts should be known. I am reproducing here the diary I kept from June, 1915, to the end of January, 1917, when unrestricted submarine warfare was resumed and our break with Germany came. I did not have the idea then of ever publishing my memoranda, so my comments were written without restraint. They show, I am sure, what the general trend of sentiment was in Germany for and against submarine warfare and disclose, too, that while the Emperor was often in the background and seemingly not the most powerful factor in the situation, it was his system that dominated Germany, his spirit that bred the lust for military gain at whatever cost---even the respect of the whole civilised world. Here are the notes as I penned them at the time:
June, 1915. Lincoln never passed through a crisis greater than that with which the President is contending. He is fighting, first, for humanity and some decency in war, and, second, determining whether a European Emperor shall or shall not dictate the political attitude of certain of our citizens.
It is regrettable to be compelled to think that the German nation knows no treaty or law except the limit of its own desires.
We are still awaiting the second Lusitania note and I fear that Germany will never consent to abandon its present hideous method of submarine war. It is extraordinary to hear Germans of all classes extoll mere brute force as the only rule of international life. It is a warning to us to create and increase our fleet and coast defences.
The Germans not only do not fear war with us, but state frankly they do not believe we dare to declare it, call us cowardly bluffers and say our notes are worse than waste paper. Breaking diplomatic relations means nothing.
Von Wiegand, the newspaper correspondent, is just back from Przemysl and says the Russians were defeated by woeful lack of artillery and ammunition. Their power for offence is broken for many months. From the West I hear the French are rather discouraged.
Germany has ample food and gets all copper, etc., necessary for war purposes through Sweden in exchange for potash and other commodities.
An officer of the war ministry, who comes to see me about prisoners, etc., told me last night that because the French have kept several hundred Germans as prisoners in Dahomey and other places in Africa, fifteen thousand French prisoners will be sent to work in the unhealthy swamps of Holstein. I have cabled the State Department often about this Dahomey business, transmitting the request of Germany that these prisoners be sent to Europe. Germans cannot be beaten on reprisals.
Two or three German-Americans have attacked the President, Secretary Bryan and our Government, some publicly. I have ordered their passports taken away and hope to be sustained. To permit them to continue poisoning the atmosphere would be taken as a sign of weakness here. No one who abuses his own country, its government or its Chief is entitled to protection from that country.
We have the visiting of British prisoners in good shape now, that prohibition put on our visiting and inspecting the camps was abolished in March by the "treaty" I arranged between England and Germany. It was not until March twenty-ninth that we finally got passes to visit camps under the "treaty." The prisoners say they are badly treated when they are first captured, but we know only of their treatment in the camps.
I do not believe all the atrocity stories; but one of our servants in this house came back from the East front recently and said the orders were to kill all Cossacks. Our washerwoman reports that her son was ordered to shoot a woman in Belgium and I myself have heard an officer calmly describe the shooting of a seven-year-old Belgian girl child, the excuse being that she had tried to fire at an officer.
If the Lusitania business settles down , I hope the suggestion made to me by the authorities here and cabled to the State Department, will be carried into effect. This was that each American and Spanish Ambassador. having charge of prisoners in belligerent countries, should meet in Switzerland and discuss the whole prison situation. Each Ambassador would be accompanied by representatives of whatever authorities deal with prisoners (here the War Ministry) in the country to which he is accredited. To prevent unseemly discussions the actual talking would be done by the Ambassadors (coached by those representatives). In addition to doing away with many misunderstandings and helping the prisoners, there are great possibilities in such a meeting. We could all give each other useful "tips" on the caring for prisoners, inspections, camps, package delivery, mail, etc.
There is plenty of food in Germany now and enough raw materials to carry on the war. Raw materials for peaceful industries are needed.
A suggestion---why not start a great government chemical school or give protection for a certain number of years to dyestuffs, medicine, chemical, and cyanide material? All these industries are run here by the trustiest trusts that ever trusted, and by their methods keep American manufacturers from starting the business. A Congressman represents one of the best firms, hence his statements that it is impossible to start such manufactures in America. Our annual tribute to these trusts is enormous. One dyestuff company here employs over five hundred chemists. Only big or protected business can compete. This war has shown that we should not be dependent on other countries for so many manufactures.
Gifts from America within the last week have been refused in Saxony.
I fear that Germany will not give up its present method of submarine war. Each month new and more powerful submarines are added.
Perhaps it is worth a war to have it decided that the United States of America is not to be run from Berlin.
Germans in authority feel that our "New Freedom" is against their ideas and ideals. They hate President Wilson because he embodies peace and learning rather than war.
In regard to prisoners, Mr. Harte reports prisoners in Russia and Siberia better treated than was reported.
I hear for the first time of growing dissatisfaction among the plain people. especially at the great rise in food prices. Germany is getting everything she wants, however, through Sweden, including copper, lard, etc. Von Tirpitz and his Press Bureau were too much for the Chancellor; the latter is not a good fighter. Zimmermann, if left to himself, would, of course, have stopped this submarine murder.
I hope the President never gives in on the embargo on arms; if he ever gives in on that, we might as well hoist the German Eagle on the Capitol.
July, 1915. I think that the firm tone of the President's note (of June 9, 1915) will make the Germans climb down. There seems a general disposition to be pleased with the note and an expectation that matters can be arranged. The great danger is that the Germans may again get the idea that we do not dare to declare war. In such case they will again become difficult to handle.
Zimmermann and von Jagow are both quite pleased with the tone of the note.
They both talk now of keeping Belgium, the excuse being that the Belgians hate the Germans so that if Belgium again became independent it would be only an English outpost. Meyer Gerhard, Bernstorffs special envoy, has arrived and has broken into print over the sentiment in America. I am afraid he makes it too peaceful, and, therefore, the Germans will be encouraged to despise America.
While the authorities here think the idea of freedom of the seas good, they think the idea of freedom of land too vague. They want to know exactly what it means and say the seas should be free because they belong to no one, but that land is the private property of various nations. They compare the situation to a city street, where every one is interested in keeping the streets free but would resent a proposal that private houses also should be made common meeting ground if not common property. Unfortunately for Germany and the world, the German armies are winning and this will be considered a complete vindication of the military and caste system and everything which now exists. As Cleveland said, we are confronted by a condition, not a theory. Germany, unless beaten, will never directly or indirectly agree to any freedom of land or disarmament proposal.
The Emperor probably will see me soon. He has been rabid on the export of arms from the United States to the Allies, but like all Germans, when they see we cannot be scared into a change of policy, he is making a nice recovery.
Was told by a friend at the Foreign Office that the German note would contain a proposition that regular passenger ships should not be torpedoed without notice, but must carry no cargo other than passengers' baggage. Have heard Marine Department rather opposes this, but may favor proposition as to ships inspected and certified to carry no arms or ammunition. No note until after July fourth, they say at Foreign Office, on tip from Washington. (Note---German note was delivered to me July 8, 1915.)
Chancellor and von Jagow have been in Vienna, probably over Balkan question. The situation there hinges on Bulgaria. Germany wants a direct strip of territory for itself or Austria to Constantinople. Thirteen million pounds in gold sent recently by Germany to Turkey to keep the boys in line. Principal Socialist paper, the Vorwaerts, has been suppressed because it spoke of peace; reason given is that this kind of talk would encourage enemies of Germany.
The Germans are becoming more strict, even women now entering Germany must strip to the skin and take down their back hair. The wife of Hearst's correspondent here had to submit to this the other day.
At first, newspaper correspondents had to promise they would not go to enemy territory, next that they would not go to neutral territory (after one correspondent went to Denmark and sent out dispatches about the movement against annexing Belgium). Now the correspondents must promise not to go home. This is to keep secret the internal conditions. The women stormed a butter shop here the other day and our Consul reports, in Chemnitz, quite a serious food riot. The military were called out and the fire department turned hose on the crowd.
In Austria, I hear men up to fifty-five are being called to the colours and even the infirm taken for the army. There are said to be seven German and five Austrian army corps invading Servia. The losses of the invaders are reported to be heavy. To date, the German dead in this war number about seven hundred thousand. People who offered private hospitals at the beginning of the war and who were told these were not needed, have been requested to open them. I was told the remaining civil population of Vouziers, France (in German hands), had been removed to make room for German wounded.
The note of July 21, 1915, in which the President said he would regard the sinking of ships without warning as "deliberately unfriendly," is received with hostility by press and Government. Of course, the party of frightfulness has conquered those of milder views, owing largely to the aggressive newspaper campaign conducted by von Tirpitz, Reventlow and Company. The Germans generally are, at present, in rather a waiting attitude, perhaps anxious to see what our attitude toward England will be---but this will not affect their submarine policy. The Foreign Office now claims, I hear, that I am hostile to Germany, but that claim was to be expected. Of course, I had no more to do with the American note than they did, but it is impossible to convince them of that, so I shall not try.
Germany has the Balkan situation well in hand. Roumania can do nothing in the face of recent Russian defeats and has just consented to allow grain to be exported to Austria and Germany, but has, I think, not yet consented to allow the passage of ammunition to Turkey. The pressure, however, is great. If not successful, perhaps German troops will invade Servia so as to get a passage through to Turkey.
A minister from one of the Balkan States told me the situation of Roumania, Greece and Bulgaria was about the same, each state can last in war only about three months, so all are trying to gauge three months before the end and then come in on the winning side.
The Bulgarian Minister of the Public Debt got in here by mistake the other day, insisting he had an appointment; he had an appointment with the Treasurer, HeIfferich, whose office is nearby. This shows, perhaps, that Bulgaria is getting money here.
Also the Germans are sending back to Russia, Russians of revolutionary tendencies, who were prisoners here, with money and passports in order that they may stir up trouble at home.
The Germans are making a great effort to take Warsaw, even old Landsturm men are in the fighting line; I think they will get it, and then they hope to turn two million men and strike a great blow in France thus they expect to end the war by October.
I notice now a slight reaction from annexation toward giving up all or part of Belgium; but I must say I hear very little of popular dissatisfaction with the war. Everything seems to be going smoothly; but they are scraping the bottom of the box on getting men for the army.
It is not pleasant to be hated by so many millions. The Germans naturally make me the object of their concentrated hate. I received an anonymous letter in which the kindly writer rejoices that so many Americans were drowned in the Chicago disaster. This shows the state of mind.
The Emperor is at the front, "Somewhere in Galicia." They keep him very much in the background, I think, with the idea of disabusing the popular mind of the idea that this is "his war." After all, accidents may happen, and even after a victorious war there may be a day of reckoning. The Chancellor went to the front yesterday, probably to see the Emperor about the American question.
August, 1915. I had a conversation last week of one hour and a half with the Chancellor. He sent for me because I had written him to take no more trouble about my seeing the Emperor. He explained, of course, first that he did not know I wanted to see the Emperor, and second that it was impossible to see the Emperor. They keep the Emperor well surrounded. Now I do not want to see him. He is hot against Americans and the matters I wanted to talk of are all settled---one way. I cabled an interesting report on the Emperor's conversation re America.
The Chancellor is still wrong in his head; says it was necessary to invade Belgium, break all international laws, etc. I think, however, that he was personally against the fierce Dernburg propaganda in America. I judge that von Tirpitz, through his press bureau, has egged on the people so that this submarine war will continue. An official confessed to me that they had tried to get England to interfere, together with them, in Mexico, and Germans "Gott strafe" the Monroe Doctrine in their daily prayers of hate.
Warsaw, as I predicted officially, long ago, will soon fall.
No great news---we are simply waiting for the inevitable submarine "accident."
Unless there is a change of sentiment in the Government I think the submarine commanders will be careful.
The Chancellor talked rather freely but again said it was impossible to leave Belgium to become an outpost of the English, but possibly with Germans in possession of the forts, the railways and with commercial rights in Antwerp it might be arranged.
There is a faction here led by deputy Bassermann, Stresemann, Fahrmann, etc., who are attacking the Chancellor. They represent great industrials who want to annex Belgium, Northern France, Poland and anything else that can be had, for their own ultimate advantage. A man named Hirsch is hired by the Krupp firm to "accelerate" this work. Krupps also pay the expenses of the "Oversea Service" which is feeding news to America.
A paper against annexation of Belgium has been signed, I am told, by Dernburg, Prince Hatzfeld and others, and will be presented to the Chancellor to-day. I believe many are to sign it; but of those who have signed are Hatzfeld, who is one of the three big Dukes of Prussia; Prince Henkel-Donnersmarck, who is the second richest subject in Germany---(85 years old, he was in 1870 first Governor of Lorraine)---von Harrach, who is a man of great ability, highly respected, as is also Professor Delbrück.
The Reichstag meets in a few days. The Socialists are holding daily caucuses, but have not yet decided on any party action. Undoubtedly they will vote for the new ten milliard loan, with Liebknecht and a few others dissenting. Probably a split will also develop in the National Liberal Party; Basserman and others have been attacking the Chancellor, but I think other members will dissent. It is quite probable that there will he a discussion about the object of the war, and permission will be asked for public discussion, the Socialists perhaps claiming that they have consented to a defensive war only, and that now that the war is on enemy territory peace should be at least discussed. There may also be talk about the annexation of Belgium and food prices. The Socialists are greatly incensed at those who are holding food for high prices.
Personally, I think that Germany now wants peace but does not want to say so openly.
A relative of a Field Marshal told me to-day that Germany's killed to date were 600,000 and 200,000 crippled for life.
I must say that the plain people still seem perfectly tame and ready to continue the war. However there may also be a protest in the Reichstag about the treatment by non-commissioned officers of Landsturm. men who have never served but who now, in the process of scraping the box, are called to the colors.
The Germans hope by a great movement to capture a great part of the Russian army; probably they will fail. They also entertain hopes that in such case Sweden will enter Finland and two Balkan States declare for them. Balkan Ministers here tell me the defeat of Russia makes it impossible for Roumania to enter, but they fear an invasion by the Germans. All diplomatic work is now centred in the Balkans.
Successes in Russia have made the people here very cocky. Hence, probably, the torpedoing of the Arabic. Also great hope of Bulgaria coming in with Germany; there is no more dissatisfaction heard over the war. I have as yet received nothing from Washington regarding the Arabic.
I have just spent four half days at Ruhleben, where civilian Britishers are interned, so as to give every prisoner a chance to speak to me personally.
There is much talk of creating an independent Poland. The Reichstag session has developed no opposition.
A fac-simile of that infernal advertisement (#1) of the Cleveland Automatic Tool Company in the American Machinist was laid on the desk of every member of the Reichstag; and the papers are full of accounts of great deliveries of war munitions by America, possibly preparing people for a break. If Bulgaria comes in, Germany will undoubtedly take a strip in Servia and keep a road to Constantinople and the East. The new Turkish Ambassador has just arrived. The old one was not friendly to Enver Bey and so was bounced; he remains here, however, as he fears if he went to Turkey he would get some "special" coffee. The hate for Americans grows daily.
All rumours are that in the recent council at Posen the Chancellor, advocating concessions in submarine war, won out over von Tirpitz. But von Tirpitz will die hard, and there will be trouble yet, as the Navy will be very angry if the present methods are abandoned. Members of the Reichstag have telegraphed backing up the Chancellor; but it is hard for any civilian idea to prevail against Army or Navy.
Probably the Admiralty will say that the submarine which torpedoed the Arabic was lost, in order to avoid disgracing an officer.
If the Arabic question is not complicated with the Lusitania a solution will be easier. The common people have been aroused by von Tirpitz's press bureau and it will be simpler for the Chancellor to "back track," taking as an example a case like the Arabic when the ship was going West and carried no ammunition.
The defeat of the Russians is undoubtedly crushing. Is England waking up too late? There will be a big offensive soon against the West lines.
I have heard nothing up to to-day from the State Department re the Arabic, except one cable asking me to request a report.
A correspondent has just been in and says that the General Staff people threaten to expel him because he went to Copenhagen and sent out news about the petition to the Chancellor not to annex Belgium. The Foreign Office had no objection; this shows how the line is forming between the Chancellor and the Military. All correspondents to-day say the Germans are trying to dragoon them into sending only news which the General Staff wants sent, and the Military have added their censorship to that of the Foreign Office.
An official told me that Bernstorff, while not exactly exceeding his instructions in his "Arabic Note" (of Sept. 1, 1915), had put the matter in a manner they did not approve.
Orders have now, apparently, been given to all German officials to say that the war will last a long time---at least a year and a half.
It is expected that Persia will come in under German leadership and attack India.
Our Military Attaché, Colonel Kuhn, was finally presented to the Kaiser and had a pleasant chat with him. Colonel Kuhn says all fighting on the West is with artillery and hand grenades. Rifles are thrown aside.
Germans have spies "piking off" our Embassies in Paris, London and Petrograd.
Great airship attacks on London may be expected. In one of the recent attacks nine thousand eight hundred bombs (fire and explosive) were dropped. I get this from good authority.
Foreign Office quite elated over their Balkan triumph. Personally, I think it was one of the most effective bits of German "diplomacy" in the history of the Empire.
1. This was an advertisement in an American newspaper about machines for the manufacture of particularly deadly shells and was much used in Germany to show how America was helping the Entente.
THE INSIDE OF GERMAN DIPLOMACY
The Diary Continued
OCTOBER, 1915. There is a tendency here to say Bernstorff went too far. But this is all for the public, von Jagow told a correspondent so today; but, of course, he did not know about the note of Austria to Servia either! The Marine people are positively raging. The paper which Reventlow writes for, the Tages Zeitung, was suppressed yesterday; I hear on account of an article on this Arabic settlement, but I am not yet sure.
There is talk now of marching to Egypt.
More and more men are being called to colours. But Germany seems to be able to take care of all fronts. The Emperor is now in the West. The Foreign Office leads the rejoicing over the Entente's invasion of Greece and the violation of its neutrality and says that talk about Belgium is now shown to be cant.
Weather is rotten and we shall have a melancholy winter. Feel the war more---deaths and prices. Six hundred and eighty thousand killed to October first, and many crippled. Food way up, but they cannot starve Germany out.
Suppression of the Tages Zeitung means that the Chancellor has at last exhibited some backbone and will fight von Tirpitz. The answer of Germany depends on the outcome of this fight. It is possible that von Falkenhayn and the army party may sustain the Chancellor as against von Tirpitz. It is quite likely that a sort of safe conduct will be offered in the note for ships especially engaged in passenger trade. Much stress will be laid on English orders to merchant ships to ram submarines.
The Kaiser is at Pless, a castle of Prince of Pless, in Silesia, near Breslau, where he moved after the attempt of French fliers to bombard him at Charleville on the West Front. The Germans probably will have Lemberg in a few days. This may prevent Roumania coming in. There is talk here of an attempted revolution in Moscow. There is said to be jealousy of Hindenburg and on account of this, Mackensen was put forward to be the hero of the Galician Campaign. Captain Enochs, one of our observers in Austria, was forced out of Austria because of German pressure and our other military observers will follow soon.
Many commercial magnates have arrived in town to argue with the government against war with America; but some are in favor of the continuance of bitter submarine war, notably one who sees his Bagdad railway menaced by possible English success in the Dardanelles.
November, 1915. A man who saw Tisza tells me the Serbs inquired if they could get peace and retain their territories. They were answered, "No."
It is said that Italy has also felt out for peace, but was answered that she must deal with Austria alone---and Austria says that she will not include Italy in any general peace but will wallop her alone after general peace is made.
I am working hard to get British prisoners properly clothed. Winter is already here. Efforts to starve Germany will not succeed. We shall be on meat and butter cards, but that is only a precaution. The people still are well in hand. Constant rumours of peace keep them hopeful. Men over forty-five not yet called. They seem to have plenty of troops. The military are careless of the public opinion of neutrals; they say they are winning and do not need good opinion. I am really afraid of war against us after this war---if Germany wins. We had snow, ice, and cold weather at the end of October.
There have been uneasy movements among the people in Leipzig, a great industrial centre, and the Volkzeitung, a Socialist paper there, has been put under permanent preventive censorship.
All these movements start with the question of the price of food.
The Prussian Junkers, however, are really benefited by the war. They get, even with a high "stop price," three times as much as formerly for their agricultural products and pay only a small sum, sixty pfennig daily, for the prisoners of war who now work their fields. They may, in addition, have to pay the keep of the prisoners, but that is very small. Camp commanders are allowed sixty-six pfennig per head per diem.
There is much talk of peace. The shares of the Hamburg-American Line and the shares of the Hamburg-South American Line have risen enormously in price from fifty-six to one hundred and forty in one case. This may be caused by an advantageous sale of some shares of the Holland-American Line or by promise of a subsidy, or by hopes of peace.
There is no question but that every man under forty-five that can drag a rifle has been drafted for the army, with the possible exception of men working in railways, munitions, etc.
Yesterday I noticed many women working on the roadbed of the railway.
The new Peruvian Minister is named von der Heyde; his father was a German.
The Greek Minister still thinks Greece will stay out of the war. His father is one of the cabinet.
The Germans are very glad to get rid of Brand Whitlock. For some time they have been looking for an excuse to expel him.
The dyestuff and other chemical manufacturers are getting quite scared about possible American competition. I hope the Democrats will give protection to these new industries and will also enact some "anti-dumping" legislation.
The German cities are adding to the general weight of debt by incurring large debts for war purposes, such as relief of soldiers' families, etc.
The former Turkish Ambassador, who is against the Young Turks, is living here. He is afraid to go back and also the Germans are keeping him in stock in case the Young Turks go out of power, and possibly to stir up trouble in Egypt, as his wife is a daughter of one of the Khedives.
There are lots of suspicious looking Spaniards about, possibly cooking up an attack on Gibraltar.
Any German peace talk includes payment of a large subsidy by England, Russia, and France; Italy to be left to Austria to finish.
The export of gold has now been formally forbidden.
There is no doubt whatever that the population in the conquered portion of Poland has been for a long time in need of food.
Our Military Attaché, Colonel Kuhn, just back from Servia, says the Germans have, literally, stacks of ammunition and had begun preparing last spring for the present attack, even little mountain wagons and new harness being all ready. Only about six German corps are there.
The hate against Americans here is deep-seated and bitter. Hans Winterfeldt, a prominent German banker, with American citizenship, just came in to tell me that at the annual meeting to-day of the great Allegemeine Electricitäts Gesellschaft a fight was started against him because of his American citizenship, and he was not, therefore, re-elected a director. He thinks of resigning from all banks, etc., and returning to America.
December, 1915. Red Cross Doctor Schmidt just in from Servia says Belgrade was completely plundered.
Having lots of difficulty getting the Germans to give the English prisoners clothes.
Hate of Americans worse than ever.
Germans are not resentful when I fight to get things for English prisoners; they only say they hope our Ambassadors are doing the same for Germans.
Much disappointment at Dr. Snoddy's mission not yet being permitted to work in Russia.
Last Tuesday night I ran into quite a peace demonstration, called by placards the night of the Peace Interpretation in the Reichstag. Soon disbanded by the police with many arrests. One man told me that they were tired of a silly war and days without meat. There has been nothing in the papers about these demonstrations; of course, each arrest makes an anarchist for life.
It is hard to get butter. The women storm the butter shops and market.
In a new building (where the Consulate is) they are taking off the copper roof.
Of a sudden-peace talk. The Chancellor is waiting to address the Reichstag, waiting to get the sentiment of the members who are all in Berlin, and then swim with it. Many members, who are not Socialists, favour peace, and the Chancellor will be forced to make some sort of a declaration on why they are fighting and for what.
A Reichstag member told me the Reichstag will say and do things it did not dream of doing six months ago. There are many quiet meetings of members going on.
Hindenburg is out with an interview saying it is not yet time for peace. This is a Government measure to stamp out peace talk among the Reichstag members.
Am having a hard fight to get the British prisoners properly clothed for the winter. Of course, the Germans have rather a difficult time with so many prisoners, but that is no excuse if men die of cold. The weather is and has been bitterly cold.
Fig. 4. FACSIMILE OF AN ORDER ISSUED BY COMMANDER OF GERMAN PRISON CAMP OF DOEBERITZ. MANY CAMP COMMANDERS, WITHOUT AUTHORITY, UNDERTOOK TO MAKE PRISONERS SUFFER FOR ALLEGED AND UNPROVED MISDEEDS OF THE BRITISH. I HAD GREAT TROUBLE IN WATCHING FOR ORDERS OF THIS CHARACTER AND SECURING THEIR ANNULMENT
Saw von Jagow lately, but only on business and commercial questions. Zimmermann lunched here to-day. Roeder, of the World, is here making a study of German industrial conditions. I introduced him to Gutmann, of the Dresdner Bank; Rathenau, head of the Allegemeine Electricitäts Gesellschaft; Dr. Solf, Colonial Minister, and others. I think his report will be very sound and worth reading.
There is no question but that there is a deep-seated hatred of America here, which must be reckoned with sooner or later.
I don't expect things to be easy, but I wish to goodness all Americans would stay at home.
Greek Minister still thinks Greece will remain neutral.
Probably greatest need of Germany is lubricating oil for machines, etc. Germans claim to have a copper mine in Servia. I never heard of one there.
Dr. Ohnesorg, U. S. N., and Osborne back from inspecting camps. They report bad conditions; they were not allowed (contrary to our "treaty") to talk out of hearing of camp officers to the prisoners in Lemburg Camp. These prisoners are 2,000 Irish, and the reason, of course, for the refusal of the usual permission is that the Germans, through the notorious Sir Roger Casement, have been trying to seduce the Irish, and do not want the soldier prisoners to tell us about it. I have learned, through other sources, that the Germans seduced about 30 Irish. I told von Jagow what I had learned and asked what the Germans had done with these victims---whether they were in the German army or not. He said, "No, most of them had been sent to Ireland to raise hell there." I suppose they were landed from submarines.
I think the German press has received orders to step softly on the von Papen-Boy-ed recall. The greatest danger now lies in Austria, and over the Ancona note. There is a large body of manufacturers, ship-owners, etc., here who at the last moment declare themselves against war with the U. S. A. and use their influence to that end, but in Austria no such interests exist to help toward peace. However, pressure from Germany may be brought to bear.
I think Germany will not send successors to von Papen and Boy-ed even with safe conduct; whether they will ask the recall of our attachés is another question not yet decided.
An official tells me confidentially that Rintelen was sent to America to buy up the product of the Dupont Powder Company, and that if he did anything else he exceeded his instructions.
Shop people in Berlin with whom I have talked are getting sick of the war.
I hear rumours that Germany is trying, through its Minister in China, to come to an understanding with Japan and Russia.
The banks are sending circulars to all safe-deposit box holders, trying to get them to give up their gold.
An American clergyman has just told me the German church body has refused to receive an American Church deputation and has written a very bitter letter.
An official has told me that no new Military Attaché will be sent to America. The naval people have not yet decided.
I am very glad to hear Colonel House is coming over. There are many things I want to tell the President but which I do not dare to commit to paper.
A newspaperman supposed to be of the New York ------- had an interview with Zimmermann the other day, and Zimmermann sent some messages by him to the President. I do not know what the messages are. We all suffer much from amateur diplomats.(#1)
Anthony Czarnecki, a very intelligent Chicagoan, an American of Polish descent, is here representing Victor Lawson and the Chicago Daily News. He informs me that the Spy Nest is contemplating an attack on the Administration because of the taking away of Archibald's and others' passports.
My impression is that the Austrians, owing to pressure from, here, will eventually give in on the Ancona business. I think the present a good time to force the settlement of the Lusitania question.
I think the German Government will allow Ford or any of his angels to come here, but the Peace Ark seems pretty well wrecked.
Provincial and small newspapers are much more bitter against America than the larger ones.
Von Jagow told me the other day that he thought the feeling here against America was so bitter that, eventually, war would be inevitable.
Received following anonymous letter:
"I am enabled to-day to give your Excellency news of the utmost importance, Germany is at the end of its forces and the Imperial Government is inclined to make peace cost what may! One of the most prominent and influential members of the Reichstag has assured me, that the general conviction of the parliament is dominated by the absolute necessity, to pull back and to strive for peace as soon as possible. The financial aspect given by Dr. HeIfferich is disastrous, the military situation, taken in the whole, unsatisfactory and the confidential information, given by Herr von Jagow in the committee with regard to the Egyptian expedition, discouraging if not hopeless. The Government and particularly Herr von Bethmann wish for peace, but believe themselves restrained by public opinion and by the fear of the Pan-Germanists. It's now the psychological moment for intervention by the United States and there can be no doubt, that it should and will be exercised in favour of humanity, culture and freedom, in favour of the prevalence of the Anglo-Saxon race and the future development of the new world against Prussian barbarity, Imperial despotism and Teutonic slavery!
22. XII. 1915.
1.. I do not suppose that any Ambassador ever suffered as much from amateur "super Ambassadors" as I did.
The German Foreign Office, trying to be modern and up-to-date at times, paid more attention to the tales of pro-German American correspondents than they did to the utterances of President Wilson.
Of course, the Germans succeeded in taking many of those correspondents in their camp. In the Hotel ----- in Berlin an agent of the German Government who possessed American citizenship was always ready to arrange trips to the front or to make an advance of money to an American correspondent who would promise to be "good."
Some received cash, some were paid in interviews with prominent officials, some received both, before all was continually dangled the blue ribbon---the hope of an interview with the Kaiser---and some, thank God, were real Americans and refused all the offered temptations---news or money.
An American gentleman who lived for a time at this hotel has given me a written statement which throws a light on the activities of certain of these gentry and which I may some day use. In this he states how one of these gentlemen claimed that the Imperial Chancellor always sent for him to consult him on his attitude towards America and that he had advised him to make a bold front and bluff. Hence, perhaps the note of January thirty-first which suddenly announced the ruthless submarine war.
1 have proof that one of this traitorous gang went about Berlin personating me. What scheme he was cooking up I do not know.
Zimmermann was particularly weak in being advised by one of these shady individuals.
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