By the Earl of Cromer, O.M.
My reasons for commending M. Chéradame’s most instructive work to the earnest attention of my countrymen and countrywomen are three-fold.
In the first place, M. Chéradame stands conspicuous amongst that very small body of politicians who warned Europe betimes of the German danger. The fact that in the past he proved a true prophet gives him a special claim to be heard when he states his views as regards the present and the future.
In the second place, I entertain a strong opinion that M. Chéradame’s diagnosis of the present situation is, in all its main features, correct.
In the third place, in spite of the voluminous war literature which already exists, I greatly doubt whether the special aspect of the case which M. Chéradame wishes to present to the public is fully understood in this country; neither should I be surprised to hear from those who are more qualified than myself to speak on the subject that the same remark applies, though possibly in a less degree, to the public opinion of France.
It is essential that, before the terms of peace are discussed, a clear idea should be formed of the reasons which led the German Government to provoke this war. It is well that, if such a course be at[xiv] all possible, those who are personally responsible for the numerous acts of barbarity committed by the Germans should receive adequate punishment. But attention to points of this sort, however rational and meritorious, should not in any degree be allowed to obscure the vital importance of the permanent political issues which call loudly for settlement. Otherwise, it is quite conceivable that a peace may be patched up, which may have some specious appearance of being favourable to the Allies, but which would at the same time virtually concede to the Germans all they require in order, after time had been allowed for recuperation, to renew, with increased hope of success, their attempts to shatter modern civilization and to secure the domination of the world.
M. Chéradame explains—and I believe with perfect accuracy—the nature of the German objective. It is, in his opinion, to lay secure and stable foundations for the system known as Pan-Germanism. What is Pan-Germanism? It may be doubted whether all that is implied in that term is fully realized in this country. One interpretation may be given to the word, which is not merely innocuous, but which may even reasonably appeal to the sympathies of those who approve of the new map of Europe being constituted with a view to applying that nationalist principle, which finds almost universal favour in all democratic countries. It cannot be too distinctly understood that the political programme now advocated by Germany has no sort of affinity with a plan of this sort. The Germans contend not only that all those who are generally denominated Germans by the rest of the world should be united, but that all who are of what is termed “German origin” should be brought into the German fold. Moreover, they give to this latter phrase an expansion and a signification[xv] which is condemned and derided by all who have paid serious attention to ethnological studies. This, however, is far from stating the whole case. The object of the German Government is to effect the whole or partial Germanization of countries inhabited by races which cannot, by any conceivable ethnological process of reasoning, be held to be of German stock. In fact, M. Chéradame very correctly describes Pan-Germanism when he says that its object is to disregard all questions of racial and linguistic affinity and to absorb huge tracts of country the possession of which is considered useful to advance Hohenzollern interests. In other words, what they wish is to establish, under the name of Pan-Germanism, a world system whose leading and most immediate feature is the creation of an empire stretching from the Persian Gulf to the North Sea.
That this project has for a long while past been in course of preparation by the Kaiser and his megalomaniac advisers cannot for a moment be doubted. When, in November, 1898, William II. pronounced his famous speech at Damascus, in which he stated that all the three hundred millions of Mohammedans in the world could rely upon him as their true friend, the world was inclined to regard the utterance as mere rhodomontade. It was nothing of the sort. It involved the declaration of a definite and far-reaching policy, the execution of which was delayed until a favourable moment occurred and, notably, until the Kiel Canal was completed. The whole conspiracy very nearly succeeded. In spite of their careful attention to detail, their talent for organization, and their elaborate preparations to meet what appears to them every contingency which may occur, the Germans seem to have a constitutional inability to grasp the motives which guide the inhabitants of[xvi] other countries. A very close analogy to the mistake made by the Kaiser is to be found in an incident of recent English history. It is alleged, I know not with what truth, that when, in 1886, Lord Randolph Churchill resigned his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Lord Salisbury’s administration, he “forgot Goschen,” who, as it will be remembered, was speedily nominated to succeed him. The Kaiser forgot England. For various reasons, which are too well-known to require repetition, he and his advisers were firmly convinced that England would not join in the war. The programme was, first, to destroy the power of France and Russia, and then, after that had been done, to fall upon England. In one sense it was fortunate that the Germans committed the gross international crime of invading Belgium. Had they not done so, it is quite possible that the English nation would not have woke up to the realities of the situation. As it was, however, it became clear, even to the most extreme pacificists, that honour and interest alike pointed to the necessity of decisive action. Thus as M. Chéradame indicates, the original German plan was completely upset. The advance on Paris had to be stayed. But the programme, which was the result of long and deliberate contemplation, has by no means been abandoned. On the contrary, with the adhesion of the Bulgarians, who will eventually, unless the Allies secure a decisive victory, become the victims of Pan-Germanism, and also that of the Turks, who were manœuvred into the war by an adroit and absolutely unscrupulous diplomacy, a very considerable portion of the plan has already been put into execution.
M. Chéradame states with great reason that France, Italy, Russia, England, and all the minor Powers are vitally interested in frustrating the[xvii] German project of establishing their dominion from the Persian Gulf to the North Sea. He also warns us against making a separate peace with either Austria-Hungary or Turkey, both of these Powers being merely vassals of Germany. He is very clearly of opinion that the mere cession of Alsace-Lorraine to France and the rehabilitation of Belgium cannot form the foundations of a durable peace. If peace were concluded on this basis, the Germans would have achieved their main object, and, as Herr Harden pointed out last February, even if Germany was obliged, under pressure, to cede Alsace-Lorraine, there would still be seventy millions of Germans firmly determined to regain possession of those provinces at the first suitable opportunity. In fact, the realization of the German project, although accompanied by certain temporary disabilities from the German point of view, would eventually enable Germany to strangle Europe.
I need not dwell upon all the proposals set forth by M. Chéradame with a view to the frustration of this plan, but the corner-stone of his programme is similar to that advocated with great ability in this country by Mr. Wickham Steed and Mr. Seton Watson. It is to create a Southern Slav State, which will afford an effectual barrier to German advance towards the East. It is essential that the immense importance of dealing with the territories of the Hapsburgs as a preliminary to a final settlement of all the larger aspects of the Eastern question should be fully realized. It constitutes the key of the whole situation.
For these reasons, I hope that M. Chéradame’s work, which develops more fully the arguments which I have very briefly stated above, will receive in this country the attention which it certainly merits. I should add that the book is written in a[xviii] popular style, and that M. Chéradame’s arguments can be easily followed by those who have no special acquaintance either with Eastern policy or with the tortuous windings of Austrian and German diplomacy during the last quarter of a century.
September 4, 1916.[xix]
The Pangerman plot is the only cause of the war. It is, in fact, the cause at once of its outbreak and of its prolongation till that victory of the Allies has been won which is indispensable to the liberty of the world. In this book I propose to demonstrate this truth by a series of documents, precise, clear, and intelligible to all. The fate of every man in the allied countries, and even in some of the countries which are still neutral, really depends on the issue of the formidable war now being waged. This cataclysm, unprecedented in history, let loose by Prussianized Germany, will have infinite reverberations in every sphere, reverberations which will affect every one of us individually for good or, alas! too often for ill. Every one, therefore, has a direct interest in knowing clearly why these inevitable reverberations of the immense struggle will be produced, and on what fundamental conditions those of them which bode ill for the Allies, and are yet but imperfectly understood, can and must be avoided. Hence every one of the Allies should acquire an exact notion of the present realities. Once fortified by the evidence, his opinion will become a force for the Allied Governments; it will then contribute to the victory and to the imposition of the conditions necessary for the peace.
In writing this popular book my aim has been to bring home, even to those who are least versed in foreign affairs, the formidable problems raised by the war. In my opinion this work is addressed to women[xx] quite as much as to men. The reading of it may perhaps bring not only instruction but consolation to those whose affections have been so cruelly wounded. When they comprehend better by what an atrocious plan of slavery the world is threatened, they will understand more fully for what a sublime, what a stupendous cause their husbands, their sons, their plighted lovers, are fighting or dying with such heroic self-sacrifice. May that larger understanding of the formidable events now occurring yield to the women of the Allies at least some alleviation of their sufferings.
But if this book is a popular work, I beg my readers to remark that it is not the result of a hasty effort, vamped up by a mere desire to treat of the moving, the tragic subject of the hour. The book is, indeed, the logical conclusion of a labour on which I have been engaged for twenty-one years. As my readers have an interest in knowing how far they may trust me, they will allow me to explain to them how I was led to concentrate my studies on the Pangerman policy of Germany, what has been the result of my efforts, and how they are linked together.
In former days I was the pupil of Albert Sorel at the Free School of Political Science. That great master was good enough to admit me to his intimacy; and he brought to light and maturity the latent and instinctive propensity which I had for foreign politics. My practical studies abroad led me to Germany in 1894, just at the time when the Pangerman movement had begun. As the movement was manifestly the modern development of the Prussianism of the Hohenzollerns, I was then extremely struck by its importance. The movement appeared to me so threatening for the future that I resolved to follow all the developments of[xxi] the Pangerman plot, which was already the consequence of the movement, and which from 1895 onward had taken definite shape. The task which I thus laid on myself was at once arduous, vast, and thrilling, for from that time it was certain that the Germans based their political and military Pangerman plan on a study of all the political, ethnographical, economic, social, military and naval problems not only of Europe but of the whole world. In truth, the intense labour accomplished in the cause of Pangermanism by the Germans in the last twenty-one years has been colossal. They have carried it out everywhere with a formidable tenacity and a methodical thoroughness which will be the astonishment of history. Indisputably, the Pangerman plan, which is the result of this gigantic effort, is the most extraordinary plot which the world has ever witnessed.
I made the study of that plot for twenty-one years the work of my life, convinced as I was, in spite of the scepticism which long greeted my efforts to give warning of the peril, that the study would serve a useful purpose one day.
The study has necessitated very many and very long journeys of inquiry. I was obliged in fact to go and learn, on the spot, at least the essential elements of the complex problems mentioned above, which have been the base of the Pangerman plan, in order that I might be able to grasp the most distant ramifications of the Prussian programme for dominating the world.
This obligation led me to sojourn in very different countries. That the reader may have an idea of at least the material extent of my inquiries, I will indicate the number of the towns in which I have been led to work for the purpose of discovering the constituent elements, direct and indirect, of the Pangerman plan.[xxii]
The United States, 14; Canada, 11; Japan, 11; Corea, 4; China, 11; Indo-China, 19; British India, 24; Spain, 1; Italy, 4; Belgium, 6; Luxemburg, 1; Holland, 5; Switzerland, 4; England, 8; Greece, 2; Bulgaria, 4; Roumania, 3; Serbia, 8; Turkey, 3; Germany, 16; Austro-Hungary, 18.
In these towns, according to the requirement of my studies, I passed days, weeks, or months, often on repeated occasions. I endeavoured, so far as the opportunities and the time admitted of it, to enter into direct relations with the acting ministers, the leaders of the various political parties, the diplomatists and the consuls, both French and foreign, some heads of states, influential journalists, officers of repute, military and naval attachés, well-informed merchants and manufacturers. It was thus that, by means of information of many sorts drawn from the most diverse sources, and checked by comparison with each other, I have attempted to set forth the Pangerman political and military plan.
Since 1898 I have endeavoured to draw the attention of the public to the immense danger which that plan was laying up for the world, as my former works testify, particularly L’Europe et la Question d’Autriche au seuil du XXe Siècle, which appeared in 1901, therefore fifteen years ago, and contained an exposition, as precise as it was then possible to make it, of the Pangerman plan of 1895, summed up in the formula “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf”; also Le Chemin de fer de Bagdad, published in 1903, wherein I set forth the danger of that co-operation between Germany and Turkey, which was then only nascent, but which we see full-fledged to-day.
I attempted also by numerous lectures to diffuse among the public some notion of the Pangerman[xxiii] peril. I did not content myself with warning my countrymen. I am proud to have been one of the first Frenchmen to preach a cordial understanding between France and England at a time when there was perhaps some merit in doing so. I deemed it, therefore, a duty to inform the British public, so far as it lay in my power, that the Pangerman peril concerned Great Britain quite as much as France. In 1909 the Franco-Scottish Society kindly invited me to lecture to its members at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. I seized the opportunity, and took for the subject of my lectures, “The problem of Central Europe and universal politics.”
The Aberdeen Free Press, of May 8th, 1909, summed up very exactly as follows the substance of what I said, seven years ago, to my British hearers:[xxiv]
“ … The lecturer attached enormous importance to the Pan-German movement, which he regarded as the decisive factor in the situation, and he pointed out that the propaganda which had gone on in Germany and in Austria was part of a great policy to extend the boundaries of the German State and dominate middle and south-eastern Europe. The rapport personnel established in recent years between Berlin and Vienna pointed, he said, to the conclusion that Germany and Austria were working hand in hand. In the recent Balkan crisis he described Aehrenthal as playing a partie de poker, in which his bluff had been crowned with success. The off-set to the Pan-German movement was to be found in the Triple Entente between England, France and Russia, and it followed from a consideration of European politics that the questions confronting England with regard to the supremacy of the sea were intimately bound up with the question which concerned the land powers of Europe. In particular, the speaker thought that the Pan-German aspirations would be effectually combatted by the growing social and political development of the various minor Slav peoples in the south-east of Europe. The development of these peoples was a thing which it was with the interests of England, France and Russia to encourage to the utmost.”
My Scottish hearers gave me a very kind reception, of which I have preserved a lively recollection. But truth compels me to declare that I had the impression that the great majority of them did not believe me. I strongly suspect that they then saw in me simply a Frenchman, who, moved by the spirit of revenge, tried above all to stir up the British public against Germany. The impression did not discourage me any more than many similar instances of want of success. In 1911 the Central Asian Society did me the honour of inviting me to express my views in London (22nd March) on the Bagdad railway. I used this fresh opportunity to expound a method of Franco-English co-operation which seemed to me necessary to parry the dangers of the near future.
“Such is,” I then said, “broadly speaking, the affair of Bagdad. The most moderate conclusion which, in my judgment, inevitably follows is that from beginning to end the logical and methodical spirit of Germany has got the better of the French, English, and Russian interests, which have been compromised by our slowness to grasp the importance of the problem confronting us, and by the lamentable want of cohesion between the diplomacies of the three countries.
“The lesson apparently to be drawn from these considerations is, that for the future we ought no longer to be satisfied with a hand-to-mouth policy and with seeking solutions only when the difficulties take an acute form.[xxv]
“If we wish to serve and defend our interests effectually, we must, as Talleyrand said, keep the future in mind, and learn something of that German method of which the good results are incontestable.
“So far as the eye can range to the visible political horizon, the essential interests of England, France, and Russia are in agreement; it is, therefore, to all appearance, absolutely necessary that the men who exercise an influence on public opinion in this country, in France, and in Russia, should enter into personal relations in order to discuss the great national interests which they have in common, and to adopt a useful line of conduct, while there is yet time. Such a course would be effectual, because it would be determined before the decisive events instead of after them, that is to say, when it is too late.
“Were we to adopt this method, which after all is very simple, the future attempts of our adversaries against our interests would encounter effectual obstacles, and we should no longer have to regret miscarriages such as those of which the Bagdad affair is an example.”
Has the method thus recommended been followed? Apparently not; otherwise could France and England have been surprised by the war?
My propaganda having had little practical result, I endeavoured at least to keep myself well informed of the events that were happening.
In December, 1913, and January, February, and March, 1914, I made new and minute inquiries in Central Europe, the Balkans, and Turkey, and these inquiries were of particular value to me. The truth is, that the treaty of Bukarest of August 10th, 1913, by reason of its far-reaching and important consequences, had completely upset the former state of affairs, so much so that without my journey of 1914, I should certainly have been[xxvi] unable to understand the new situation. In the course of my journey I set myself to apply, with great rigour, my method of research, which consists essentially in trying to see the situations as they are, without preconceived ideas, while listening to all opinions in order to compare them afterwards and extract, if possible, the average truth. In Serbia, in Greece, in Turkey, in Roumania, in Bulgaria, where for a long time I had been in personal relations with people of many different sorts, I was able to have long talks with persons in the most diverse walks of life. In particular, I had the good fortune to be graciously received by the sovereigns and princes of the Balkans: King Peter of Serbia (23rd December, 1913), Prince Alexander, heir of Serbia (December, 1913), King Constantine (25th January, 1914), Prince Nicholas of Greece (28th January), King Charles of Roumania (18th February), Tsar Ferdinand (28th February), Prince Boris, heir of Bulgaria (29th February). If I record the audiences which these high personages were so good as to grant me, it is because they were really not commonplace. These sovereigns and princes knew that I had long studied their country impartially, and they consented to speak with me of the great interests which guided their policies. During these various audiences, which lasted from half an hour to two hours, I heard many points of view of real importance set forth. No doubt each of my various interlocutors only said to me what he wished to say; but, thanks to the multiplicity of the opinions expressed and to the variety of my sources of information, I was able at least to construct a general picture of the true Balkan situation, and to connect it afterwards with the problem of Central Europe and the general policy of Germany.[xxvii]
This inquiry, which in returning I completed in Hungary and Austria, convinced me that, contrary to the opinion which has been held down to quite recent times in many Allied circles, the treaty of Bukarest by no means constituted an injustice, as the Allies have supposed—a belief which has been the source of most of their mistakes in the Balkans in 1915. On the contrary, the treaty of Bukarest, particularly because it for the first time drew Roumania out of the German orbit, appeared to me the most astonishingly favourable event which had happened on the Continent since 1870, and which was entirely in accordance with the interests of France, England, and Russia. The consequences of this treaty formed in fact, as we shall see, the most effectual arrangement that could be conceived for arresting the Pangerman danger and maintaining peace in Europe. But this pacific dam to keep back the Pangerman flood was only possible on condition that the Entente powers held themselves ready for war, which would probably have sufficed to prevent it, and that at the same time they resolutely and unanimously supported Greece, Roumania, and Serbia.
On the other hand, the check which the treaty of Bukarest gave to the Pangerman plan in Europe, appeared to me so pregnant with consequences that I considered it highly probable that the Government of Vienna, instigated by that of Berlin, would not shrink from war for the purpose of undoing the treaty of Bukarest, with its far-reaching effects, at the earliest possible moment, unless the other powers put themselves on their guard. On my return to France I tried to explain the imminence of the danger, but no one would believe it.
In truth, German aggression caught the present Allied countries napping for the following fundamental reason. No doubt, before the war, Pangermanism,[xxviii] as a doctrine, was well enough known in some circles, but the political and military Pangerman plan, the application of which has been pursued methodically by the government of Berlin since the opening of hostilities, had not been studied and taken very seriously except by an extremely small number of private persons in France, England, and Russia.
The efforts made by these private persons to convince the men at the helm in the now Allied countries of the awful danger ahead, were vain. The principal reason why their warnings fell unheeded was this. When by the help of documents they explained that William II.’s ultimate aim was the establishment of German supremacy on the ruins of all the great powers, they were taken for crazy dreamers, so chimerical did such formidable projects appear.
That is why among the Allies the political and military Pangerman plot was ignored in its true character and its extent, down to the outbreak of war. This lack of knowledge in France is proved by a statement in Le Temps of 16th December, 1915. Before the war, “we did not believe in the possibility of a war, and we took no pains to prepare for that redoubtable event.” It was absolutely the same in England, as was demonstrated by the complete surprise of Great Britain at the German aggression.
More than that, the Kaiser’s entire plan has continued to be misunderstood in the Allied countries down to a date which seems quite recent. In fact, Sir Edward Carson, when explaining his resignation in the House of Commons, November 2nd, 1915, said: “I hope that the new plan of campaign has been definitely settled, for while I was a member of the Cabinet, the Cabinet had no plan” (quoted by Le Temps, 4th November, 1915).[xxix]
But if the Pangerman plan had been known in London, the English and consequently the French would certainly have long ago adopted the counter-plan which could not have failed to destroy it; for the Pangerman plan consists of such definite and precise elements that the mere recognition of them at once suggests the means of frustrating it; in particular, the advantages and the necessity of the Salonika expedition, which has been so sharply opposed and so tardily undertaken, would have been understood from the beginning of 1915, when M. Briand recommended it in principle. Besides, as anybody may convince himself, if the Pangerman plan had been fully known, it is highly probable that the Allies would never have perpetrated the blunders which they have committed in the Balkans, the Dardanelles, and Serbia. It appears that the magnitude of the Pangerman plan, and particularly the part which is masked behind the pretended “drawn game,” has not even yet been clearly apprehended in many circles which imagine themselves well acquainted with the aims pursued by Germany in the war. In fact, quite recently, in France and in England, certain important organs, though not, it is true, of an official character, have argued that since Germany means to extend her Zollverein to Austria-Hungary, the Allies ought to form a powerful economic league with the view of combatting the Austro-German union after the war. But as we shall see, the question really could not, except by some deplorable inadvertence, be stated in these terms in the Allied countries. No connexion should be voluntarily established by them between the economic union of the Allies, however natural it may be, and the economic union of Central Europe. In truth, to permit the future extension of the GermanZollverein to Austria-Hungary, in other words, to[xxx] acquiesce in that economic alliance, under any form, between the two Central empires, which has formed the base and condition of the whole Pangerman plot for twenty-one years (the plot of 1895), would be to permit implicitly the seizure by Germany of fifty millions of inhabitants, of whom nearly three-fourths are not Germans; the inevitable consequence, as I shall prove, would be to accept the German supremacy over the Balkans and Turkey. Now it is manifest that such results would be in absolute contradiction to the declarations of the Allied governments, which have proclaimed that their object in waging the war has been to destroy Prussian militarism and not, consequently, to allow such a new state of things as the seizure, direct or indirect, of Austria-Hungary by Germany, which would multiply her power ten-fold.
The fact that such “inadvertences” can still be committed, after twenty months of war, in circles which, though not official, are nevertheless important, suffices to prove that the widest possible publicity of the Pangerman plot throughout the great masses of the enlightened public in the Allied countries is really needful, if not indispensable. It is also extremely desirable that neutrals should know exactly what the Pangerman plot is in its nature and in its extent. In particular, those Americans who imagine that they can stand aloof from the present formidable conflict, will then clearly understand that their future liberty really depends on the victory of the Allied soldiers, who are fighting not only for their own independence, but in reality for the independence of the whole civilized world, and particularly for that of the United States.
I earnestly trust that the English edition of this book may contribute to bring about this result. Its object is to inform public opinion exactly, so far[xxxi] as the English tongue is spoken, as to the Berlin plot for the domination of the globe. Moreover, an exact knowledge of the Pangerman political and military plot throws a flood of light on all the essential problems of the war: it brings out the deep-seated cause of the war; it explains the immediate causes, which are still almost unknown; it shows why it is indispensable to the freedom of the world that the Allies should achieve, not a hollow and treacherous peace, but a complete victory resulting in the destruction of Prussian militarism, which alone can put an end to the great armaments in Europe and ensure a really lasting peace.
In order that the demonstration may be as convincing as possible, I shall refrain, as far as I can, from giving my readers my own personal opinions and impressions. I shall do my utmost, above all, to lay before them exact documents and arguments intelligible to all, thus furnishing them with facts which will enable them to form a judgment for themselves.
In any case, this work has no other aim than to speak the truth, and to serve a cause the justice of which will appear more and more manifest to a world long deceived by the energetic and astute propaganda of Germany.
5th August, 1916.
PANGERMANISM AND WILLIAM II.
I. The Pangerman Doctrine.
II. The Kaiser as originator of the Pangerman plan.
The Germans are truly methodical people. In every department of life their plans are based on a theory; it may be a true one or a false one, but once they have conceived it they forge ahead with bull-dog tenacity. It is therefore necessary for us to grasp the exact meaning of the Pangerman doctrine, for the whole universal Pangerman plot, both political and military, springs from that tenet.
THE POLES IN THE EAST OF GERMANY.
It might be supposed that the expression Pangermanism embodies the theory in virtue of which the Germans claim to annex only the regions inhabited by dense masses of Germans, on the borders of the Empire, which, after all, would be in accordance with the principle of nationalities.
But Pangermanism has by no means such a restricted and legitimate aim. Again, it might be thought that its object was to gather within the same political fold the peoples who are more or less Germanic by origin. Such a claim would of itself be quite inadmissible. But Pangermanism is more than that. It is really the doctrine, of purely Prussian origin, which aims at annexing all the various regions, irrespective of race or language, of which the possession is deemed useful to the power of the Hohenzollerns.
THE DANES IN PRUSSIA.
It was in the name of Pangermanism, a theory bred of cupidity and wanton greed, that Prussia charged the Parliament of Frankfort to claim as German lands the Eastern Provinces, where in reality the Slavs predominate to such an extent, that they still contain a population of about four million Poles.
It was in the name of Pangermanism that in 1864 Prussia seized that part of Schleswig which was entirely Danish.
THE GERMANS AND THE NON-GERMANS IN AUSTRIA-HUNGARY.
It is in the name of Pangermanism that Austria-Hungary has been for long the object of German covetousness, although the Germans in that country are in a very small minority. Statistics show 12 millions of Germans against 38 millions of non-Germans, and that must be above the mark, for we have to remember that German statistics systematically exaggerate the number of Germans dwelling in the Hapsburg Monarchy.
Already in 1859 the Augsburg Gazette avowed the object of Germany’s designs on Austria with absolute cynicism:
“We loudly declare that if Austria were not a member of the Confederation; if it were not Austria who happened to be the legitimate owner of these non-German regions, it would be the duty of the German nation to conquer them at all costs, because they are absolutely necessary for her development and for her position as a great power.”
The future Marshal von Moltke, also inspired by Pangermanism, had written, as far back as 1844: “We hope that Austria will uphold the rights and protect the future of the Danube lands, and that Germany will finally succeed in keeping open the mouth of her great rivers” (see V. Moltke Schriften, t. II., p. 313).
The author of a pamphlet published in 1895, i.e. exactly twenty-one years ago, inspired by this doctrine of fraud and protected by the Alldeutscher Verband, the most powerful Pangerman Society, after expounding the main plan of future annexations, concludes with simple effrontery thus:
No doubt the newly-constituted Empires will not be peopled merely by Germans, but: “Germans alone will govern; they alone will exercise political rights; they alone will serve in the Army and in the Navy; they alone will have the right to become landowners; thus they will acquire the conviction that, as in the Middle Ages, the Germans are a people of rulers. However, they will condescend so far as to delegate inferior tasks to foreign subjects subservient to Germany” (see Grossdeutschland und Mitteleuropa um das Jahr 1950, published by Thormann und Goetsch, Berlin, p. 48).
Identity of race and language served for a long time to justify Pangermanism; but the facts we have shown and the explicit declarations we have quoted prove clearly that race and language were merely a pretext for the diffusion of the Pangerman doctrine inspired by Prussia. If we dissect this doctrine we find it is composed of cupidity both political and economic. The truth is that Pangermanism is a scheme of piracy to be carried on for the benefit of the Prussian monarchy. Its object is, by successive and indefinite expansions of territory to include within the same boundaries, at first economic but afterwards political, such lands and such peoples as are likely to prove a profitable possession to the Hohenzollerns themselves and to their main support, the German aristocracy.
To sum up, Pangermanism is a doctrine of international burglary, and therefore it is exactly the reverse of the principle of nationality, that noble idea ushered into the world by the French Revolution.
From the Pangerman doctrine the military and political Pangerman plot was bred and stage-managed by William II. Outside of Germany, the Kaiser was looked upon, for a long time, as a peace-loving monarch. It is difficult to explain how such a very serious error could have arisen. Shortly after his accession in 1888, William II. was secretly hatching that plot which so recently has caused the European conflagration, and subsequently, by his public utterances, he has clearly showed his Pangerman tendencies.
On August 28th, 1898, in reply to the Burgomaster of Mayence’s speech, the Kaiser declared that his wish was to keep inviolate the heritage bequeathed by his “immortal grandfather.” “But,” added William, “I can only reach that goal if our authority firmly keeps sway over our neighbours. For this object the unity and the co-operation of every German tribe is required.” On the 4th October, 1900, William II., on laying the foundation stone of the Roman Museum of Saalburg, again said:
“May our German Fatherland become in the future as strongly united, as powerful, as wonderful as was the Roman universal empire; may this end be attained by the united co-operation of our princes, of our peoples, of our armies and of our citizens, in order that in the times to come it may be said of us as it used to be said of yore: Civis Romanus sum.”
On the 28th October, 1900, speaking at an officers’ mess, William II. affirmed: “My highest aim is to remove whatever separates our great German people.” Now, in September, 1900, at Stettin, the Kaiser had just declared: “I have no fear of the future. I am convinced that my plan will prove successful.” In the Kaiser’s mind the whole matter was summed up in the chief formula of Pangerman domination: From Hamburg to the Persian Gulf. To accomplish this object the Kaiser had decided to forge closer and still closer links between Austria-Hungary and Germany. In order to consolidate his supremacy over the Balkan peoples he reckoned on the co-operation of such of their Kings as were Germanic by origin (Bulgaria and Roumania), or on others who were strongly influenced by Germany—in reality by himself.
Thus he arranged the marriage of his own sister, Sophia, in 1889, with the heir of the Throne of Greece, King Constantine of to-day. Finally, almost immediately after his accession he had begun to think of showering his Imperial favours on the Turks and the Musulmans; this was with the object of seizing the Ottoman Empire, later on, and of making use of the Mahometans of the whole world as a mighty lever against all other powers.
On November 8th, 1898, at Damascus, William II. pronounced the famous words, the full significance of which is only made clear now that we have seen the German action develop in Turkey and Persia, and that we have learnt about William’s endeavours to cause an agitation among the Musulmans of Egypt, India and China:
“May His Majesty the Sultan, as well as the three hundred millions of Musulmans who venerate him as their Khalifa, be assured that the German Emperor is their friend for ever.”
The adulation of the sanguinary Sultan Abdul-Hamid proved of practical use to William II. He obtained on the 27th November, 1899, the first concession of the Bagdad railway; now that railway, although still unfinished, has just been utilized by the German offensive both against Russia and England.
All over his Empire William II. had encouraged the formation of military and naval leagues—which number millions of members who, for the last twenty years have carried on an incessant propaganda in favour of such German armaments by land and sea—as were wanted by the Kaiser.
Again, William II. encouraged the creation of the Alldeutscher Verband. This association or Pangerman Union, counts among its members a large number of important and influential persons, and at the door of this society must be laid the most overwhelming responsibility for the outbreak of the war. Founded in 1894, it has organized thousands of lectures besides scattering broadcast millions of pamphlets to spread Pangerman notions and to get the masses of the people to favour schemes of aggrandizement. It was due to the Alldeutscher Verband that all the Germans living outside the Empire were formed into a systematic organization for the present war; this being specially the case in Austria and in the United States.
Is it possible to believe that such an autocrat as William II. had not desired this end? How could three powerful associations, with ever-growing means of action, have carried on a most costly, as well as a most violent propaganda, in a police-ridden country like Germany, unless they had been approved of by the authorities usually so meddlesome or so vigilant?
As to the hour of the war, who set the clock going, if it were not the Kaiser? As a matter of fact he put the hands of the dial forward (see Chapter II).
From November, 1913, onward, the Kaiser was busy preparing for early hostilities; he was aware that the enlargement of the Kiel Canal would be complete by July, 1914—therefore he arranged to be ready by that date, and as we know war was declared on August 1st, i.e., a few days after the completion of the Kiel Canal. The Arch-Duke Francis-Ferdinand, the heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne, tempted by the Kaiser, is dazzled by the mirage of great profits which were to accrue from a joint action of the Central Powers. In April, 1914, the Kaiser goes on a visit to the Archduke at Miramar, near Trieste. Again he meets him at Konopischt in June, 1914, and is then accompanied by von Tirpitz, that notorious Chief of Pirates, that submarine Corsair. Now comes the right moment for drafting the bold main lines of the combined action of the German and Austrian forces by land and sea. The murder of the Arch-Duke Ferdinand, on June 28th, 1914, made no change in the Kaiser’s plans, it merely precipitated events by furnishing an excellent pretext for intervention against Serbia. Thus the criminal action of the Kaiser stands revealed; for twenty-five years he had been elaborating the Pangerman plan.
According to Baron de Beyens, who before the war was Belgian Minister at Berlin, “it has been maintained that William II. was an unconscious tool in the hands of a caste and of a party who needed war in order to assert their own power. William has, indeed, listened to them, but he has lent them an ear because their designs chimed in with his own. In the judgment of history it is he who is doomed to bear the responsibility for the disasters by which Europe has been overwhelmed” (Baron Beyens, L’Allemagne avant la guerre, p. 41, G. Van Oest, Paris).
For twenty-five years, and by order of the Kaiser, a violent Pangerman propaganda had been carried on throughout the Empire; therefore, let there be no mistake, William II., in declaring war, was supported in his decision, not only by the influential circles of German opinion, but by the large majority of the German people. A very notorious German, Maximilian Harden, has explicitly acknowledged this fact in his review Zukunft of November, 1914:
“This war has not been forced on us by surprise; we have desired it, and it was our bounden duty thus to desire it. Germany wages war because of her immutable conviction that greater world expansion and freer outlets are due to her by right of her own works” (quoted by Le Temps, 20th November, 1914).
Having thus formed and perfected for twenty years the Pangerman plot of a European conflagration, William II. had the prodigious audacity to declare, in his Manifesto to the German people (August 1st, 1915), after drenching Europe with streams of blood for a whole year: “Before God and before History, I swear that my conscience is clear. I did not desire war.”
THE PANGERMAN PLAN.
I. The Pangerman plan of 1911.
II. The stages by which it has been effected.
III. Why it has been ignored.
The Pangerman plot in its broad outlines was laid as early as 1895, but since that date events have happened throughout the world, which encouraged Pangermans to enlarge the structure of their scheme.
In 1898 the Fashoda incident almost caused a breach between France and England. In 1905 Japan compelled Russia to sign peace after a long war which exhausted all the Tsar’s military resources and disturbed the balance of power in Europe for a long time to the advantage of Germany. In 1909 the Vienna Government, under cover of the veiled ultimatum which Berlin sent to the Tsar, carried out the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, countries which are almost entirely peopled by Serbians. This seizure of a huge Slav territory was a great triumph for Germanism. On November 3rd, 1910, at the Potsdam meeting, the Kaiser obtained from the Tsar’s Government the abandonment of all opposition to the completion of the Bagdad railway. England and France took up the same attitude. On July 1st, 1911, the Kaiser ventured on the Agadir episode, which was clearly an attempt to force a quarrel on France. It led to the Franco-German treaty of November 4th, 1911, which ceded to Germany 275,000 square kilometres of the French Congo, while at the same time the commerce of Morocco was heavily mortgaged in favour of Germany.
These various events deeply injured the interests of France, England and Russia; but these powers preferred to submit to the hardest sacrifices rather than undertake the dreadful responsibility of letting loose a fearful war on Europe. The Pangermans misread this attitude as a sign of weakness, and of a desire to keep the peace at all costs; and accordingly they were encouraged to entertain high hopes of huge success in a near future. That is why the original Pangerman plan of 1895, considerably altered, became the perfected plan of 1911.
THE PANGERMAN PLAN OF 1911.
This plan of 1911 (see map) provided in Europe and in Western Asia:
1º. The establishment, under German rule, of a vast Confederation of Central Europe, comprising:
|In the West:|
|The Departments of the North of France to the N.E. of a line drawn from the S. of Belfort to the mouth of the Somme|
|To the East:|
|Baltic Provinces, Esthonia, Livonia, Courland||94,564||2,686,000|
|The three Russian Governments of Kovno, Vilna, Grodno||121,840||5,728,000|
|To the South-East:|
|These three groups form a grand total of 1,182,113 Square Kilometres and 94,323,000 inhabitants.|
|* Minus eventually the French and Italian Cantons which the Pangermans declare that they do not care to annex.|
|† Minus the Italian regions of the Trentino, which Berlin decided to cede (at the expense of Austria) to Italy as the price of her neutrality.|
This confederation was thus to group under German supremacy
|Actual German Empire||540,858||68,000,000|
|New territories of the Confederation||1,182,113||94,000,000|
of whom only 77 millions are Germans and 85 millions non-Germans.
2º. The absolute subordination of the Balkan countries (containing 499,275 square kilometres and 22 millions of non-Germans) to the Great Central European Confederation. The Balkan States to become mere satellites of Berlin.
3º. Germany’s political and military seizure of Turkey, which was afterwards to be enlarged by the annexation of Egypt and Persia. It was provided that Turkey should be dealt with in two successive stages. During the first, the handful of “Young Turks” who have ruled the Ottoman Empire since 1908, and who play the German game, were to remain in power merely as figure-heads. Turkey was to retain a nominal independence during this phase, though in reality she was to have been tied to Germany by a treaty of military alliance. Under pretence of effecting reforms, numerous German officials were to be placed at the head of all the Ottoman administrations, and that would have paved the way for the second stage. The latter had for its aim the putting of Turkey, with her 1,792,000 square kilometres and her 20 millions of non-German inhabitants, under the strict protectorate of Germany, to say nothing of the subject provinces, Egypt and Persia.
The Germanic Confederation of Central Europe was to form a huge Zollverein or Customs Union. Treaties of Commerce of a special character imposed on the Balkan States and on subjected Turkey would have provided for Great Germany an economic outlet and reserved for her exclusively those vast regions.
Finally, we can sum up the Pangerman plan of 1911 in four formulas:
Berlin—Calais; Berlin—Riga; Hamburg—Salonika; Hamburg—Persian Gulf.
The union of the three groupings—Central Europe, Balkan States and Turkey—would have placed under the predominating influence of Berlin 4,015,146 square kilometres and 204 millions of inhabitants, of whom 127 millions were to be ruled directly or indirectly by merely 77 millions of Germans.
This continental Pangerman plan of 1911 was to have been completed by colonial conquests of great magnitude, of which an account is given at the end of Chapter V.
William II. was well aware that such a project could only become an enduring reality if all other great powers disappeared from the face of the earth. The Kaiser had therefore positively resolved, when hatching his Pangerman plot, to accomplish the destruction of five great powers. It is necessary to grasp fully this fundamental truth, if we wish to understand the nature of the present war. It was foreseen that Austria-Hungary would disappear by her absorption under cover of entrance into the German Zollverein. France and Russia were to have been totally ruined by means of a furious preventive war which would entirely destroy their military forces. England was to be put out of action by a subsequent operation, which would have been an easy matter when once France and Russia had been dismembered and reduced to utter impotence. As to Italy—destined to become a vassal state—she was not considered as being capable of hindering in the least the Pangerman ambitions. One of the Kaiser’s agents for propagating this scheme wrote in 1900: “Italy cannot be looked upon as a rival for she is too incompetent in warfare” (Deutschland bei Beginn des 20 Jahrhunderts, p. 53. Military publishers, R. Felix, Berlin, 1900).
It must be added that the Pangerman plot of 1911 did not include war with England. When he declared hostilities in August, 1914, William II. was convinced that England would take no share in them, at least not immediately. The Kaiser had laid every conceivable kind of trap to add fuel to the flames of all internal English disturbances and to deceive the London Cabinet. At one moment he almost succeeded in his endeavours. England’s decision to participate without delay in the struggle only hung by a thread, but that thread was broken. If England had tarried, if she had tarried only for a few days, German landings in Normandy, Brittany, and as far as Bordeaux would have been effected. France being thus rendered quickly powerless on all sides, the English intervention would have proved futile at a later stage, and the Pangerman plan of 1911 would thus have been fully achieved. But in going to war just at the right moment and in controlling the sea, Great Britain has, while saving herself, furnished to civilized humanity the means of avoiding the Prussian yoke. The initial German plan has truly been upset by English intervention following on the respite gained by the splendid resistance of Belgium in arms.
But the Germans are clever, they are stubborn and crafty. Adapting themselves to new conditions thrust on them, they are still endeavouring to make an enormous profit out of the war. We must, therefore, try to understand what operations they have devised for carrying out, even now, the Pangerman plot almost in its entirety.
As it is necessary to open the eyes of neutrals, many of whom have been misled by the German propaganda, we must try to expose very clearly the inner workings of the Pangerman plot as it is revealed to us in the searchlight of facts.
From 1892 down to the outbreak of the War, that is to say, for twenty-two years, the Pangerman movement has developed with ever growing intensity; a multitude of publications, giving full details of the plan, were scattered among the German people, in order to excite in them the greed of conquest and so prepare them for the struggle through the allurement of plunder. Of these publications two are of special importance: first, the pamphlet published under the auspices of the Alldeutscher Verband: namely, Grossdeutschland und Mitteleuropa um das Jahr 1950 (Thormann und Goetsch, Berlin, 1895), which gives the Pangerman plan of 1895: second, the book of Otto Richard Tannenberg: Grossdeutschland, die Arbeit des 20ᵗᵉⁿ Jahrhunderts (Bruno Volger, Leipzig-Gohlis, 1911), which gives all suitable details of the plan of 1911.
Unfortunately, although this Pangerman literature is very considerable, full of documentary evidence and spread broadcast among the masses by most powerful associations, whose patrons are the highest authorities in the land, few people outside of Germany would believe in its extreme importance. But now the facts speak for themselves. The reality, the extent, and the successive stages of the Pangerman plan of 1911 are shown by:
1º. The course which Germany has taken since August 1st, 1914, in her political and military operations which have for their object not, as many have supposed, the obtaining of securities, but the annexation of territories in the manner set forth in Tannenberg’s book, and more or less in accordance with the plan of 1911.
2º. The memorial delivered on May 20th, 1915, to the German Chancellor by the League of Agriculturists, the League of German Peasants, the Provisional Association of Christian German Peasants, now called the Westphalian Peasants’ Association, the Central German Manufacturers’ Union, the League of Manufacturers, and the Middle-Class Union of the Empire (see Le Temps, 12th August, 1915). The importance of this document cannot be overrated, for it is issued by the most powerful associations of the Empire, including all the influential elements of the German nation, specially the agrarians and the iniquitous Prussian squires. Now the purport of that memorial, as will be shown, is to demand all such annexations mentioned in the Pangerman plan of 1911, as the development of military operations has so far rendered feasible. Any one who knows Germany can hardly doubt that this memorial was not handed in to Bethmann-Hollweg without a previous understanding with him. Doubtless it was intended that this document should seem to exercise an overmastering pressure of public opinion on William II.’s government. But if the ideas expressed in this memorial reflect, as they certainly do, the wishes of influential German circles, it is also unquestionable that they correspond very closely to the scheme of aggrandizement, which William II. has been nursing for over twenty years.
3º. The declarations made at the sitting of the Reichstag of the 11th December, 1915, prove the exactitude of this statement. The Imperial Chancellor said:
“If our enemies will not submit now, they will be obliged to do so later on…. When our enemies shall offer us such peace proposals as are compatible with the dignity and security of Germany we shall be ready to discuss them…. But our enemies must understand that the more unrelentingly they wage war, the higher will be the guarantees exacted.”
Bethmann-Hollweg could hardly have spoken more explicitly, but his diplomatic game was naturally to unmask Germany’s enormous pretensions only bit by bit, in order that the eyes of neutrals should not be opened to the Pangerman monster in all its horror until the last moment. But hardly had the Chancellor finished his speech than the Deputy Spahn explained the real drift of it with great precision:
“We await,” said Herr Spahn, “the hour which will allow of peace negotiations which will safeguard in a permanent way and by all means, including the needful territorial annexations, all military economic and political interests of Germany in its total extent.”
The thundering applause which greeted these words proves that they echoed the sentiments of the overwhelming majority of the German deputies, who at that moment still believed that it was possible for Germany to achieve enormous annexations.
The preparation of the Pangerman plan has required for over twenty years a huge propaganda among the German masses as well as a world-wide organization. How is it that this plan has been ignored in its nature and in its extent by the diplomats of France, England and Russia? Such, however, has been the case, for otherwise the war could not have come upon these three powers as a surprise. We deal here with a matter which at first sight seems improbable and which, therefore, needs explanation.
The diplomatic agents of the Allies are certainly not inferior personally to those of William II., but the Kaiser’s foreign service, as a whole, includes novel instruments of observation and influence by which, for the last twenty years, the Government of Berlin has seconded its official diplomacy without allowing the connexion between it and them to transpire. None of the Allied countries have employed similar instruments, the result being that the Entente is considerably inferior in this department of foreign policy.
The Pangerman plan is founded on a very exact knowledge of all political, ethnographical, economic, social, military and naval problems, not only of Europe, but of the whole world; the Germans have acquired that knowledge by means of an intense labour of over twenty-five years. But this task has not been performed by the official German diplomats; it has been carried out either by the members of the Alldeutscher Verband, the Pangerman Union, or by the agents of the German secret service, which has been enormously extended. These agents might be called connecting links between the regular spies and the official diplomats; Baron von Schenk, who worked at Athens from 1915-1916, is a sample of that category of agents who have studied methodically all the root questions of the Pangerman plan, who have prepared means to delude the minds of neutrals, to paralyze the revolt of the Slavs in Austria-Hungary, to corrupt all such neutral individuals or neutral newspapers as were susceptible of corruption, etc. After these numerous agents had made their reports, and when once these had been examined and summarized, they were sent to the Wilhelmstrasse, to the great German General Staff, whose concerted operations are always so combined as to answer both to political and to military needs. At the same time the reports reached William II.’s private study, and his brain was thus able to store up all technical means necessary for the achievement of his plan of domination.
Was the diplomatic corps of the Allies so well served that it could grasp in its universal significance the immense work of preparation accomplished by the secret Pangerman agents? Indeed, they were not properly supplied with the right tools for such a task, and we shall see why it was so.
First of all it is necessary to dispel a false notion which “the man in the street” has of diplomacy. He fondly thinks that diplomats, while preparing clever and mysterious combinations, fashion History. Now the experience of centuries shows that as a general rule diplomats merely chronicle History but do not make it. My teacher, Albert Sorel, neatly expressed that truth by saying: “Diplomats are History’s attorneys.” In fact, the diplomacy of any country helps to prepare and to fashion history only when there happens to be at its head a great man of large and just ideas, who knows how to apply these ideas by all the means available in his time.
It is a strange fact and worthy of notice, that such a great man is rarely, if ever, a professional diplomat. For example, Richelieu, Napoleon, Palmerston, Disraeli, Cavour, Bismarck, who all prepared and fashioned History, were not trained diplomatists. Unfortunately, it does not seem that Fortune has endowed any of our Allied countries, either before or since the war, with a head capable of leading, on grand lines, the diplomatic affairs of the Entente. The latter therefore has been only served by those diplomats who are mere officials, and who as such await instructions from higher quarters, and these instructions are very often found wanting.
Besides, the diplomacy of the Allies, not being seconded, like that of Germany, by novel means of observation, can only obtain the information it needs by methods still so old-fashioned that they are almost identical with those used a century ago. They are totally inadequate to point out the sequence of ideas or the rapid development of events which in Central Europe and the Balkans have been, as will be seen, the immediate causes of the war; nor are the means employed by our diplomats at all sufficient if they wish to recognize what forms the whole chain of the Pangerman organization. Just because this organization is huge, just because it is so complex, its total importance cannot be properly gauged unless the connecting links between the varied elements are clearly perceived.
The typical professional diplomat lives in a world of his own. Either his information comes from the office or it is second-hand; it rarely is reached by direct observation of people or facts. The secretaries at the Embassies divide their time between office work, copying documents in copper plate hand, or social functions, pleasant enough but confined to a particular and narrow set. Few of the secretaries know the language of the country in which they reside, fewer still travel in the interior of the land in order to study it.
The events which have led to the European conflagration spring from two main causes: the stupendous scope of the German ambitions and the progress of the Austro-Hungarian and Balkan nationalities. Now both these factors have been revealed on many occasions, by purely local events which, to a keen observer, would have betrayed most significantly the end in view, but they have occurred for the most part in places far removed from capital cities, and to appreciate fully their importance would have needed direct observation on the spot.
This is quite contrary to the tradition followed by official diplomats. Those of the Entente had not, at their disposal, agents who could go and, for instance, hear the numerous lectures given by the Pangerman propaganda, and who could have procured and translated for them the illuminating pamphlets of the Alldeutscher Verband. Also they had no means of getting into personal touch with the party leaders, either Slav or Latin, of Austria-Hungary; often these leaders were men without a place in parliament, frequently without fortune or social rank; all they had was their national ideal, their strength of conviction, but they were real and novel forces, for they acted on the popular masses with whom they were in complete intellectual sympathy.
As the diplomatic corps of the Entente was not provided with that indispensable aid—an organization of secondary agents of observation—they have been reduced to accept information of a superficial and incomplete nature. Often it was merely provided by press cuttings and even those were frequently from papers written in a tongue which the diplomats could not read; at best these cuttings were without any connecting link and quite insufficient to warn them of the approach of a great peril. We must add that in diplomatic circles of all periods—unless they are led by some eminent man—there are certain formulas current, such as: “No fuss,” “it is necessary to wait and see,” “we must not believe that it has happened,” which have had a baneful influence. The result has been a sceptical attitude which in diplomatical circles passes for essential and in good taste. If we add to this frame of mind the absence of varied, direct and coherent information, we can understand how it was that before the war, when any one tried to persuade a professional diplomatist that William II.’s political aim was nothing short of the establishment of German supremacy over the whole world, he was soon set down as a visionary with a head stuffed full of groundless suspicions.
Finally, we must realize that the system by which a diplomat is sent from pillar to post, often to the antipodes, every four or five years, is not conducive to the acquirement of a general and exact knowledge, founded on documentary evidence, of events still in progress, in a wide zone, so complex and so difficult to study as Central Europe and the Balkans.
These various considerations help us to understand why, during the twenty-five years which preceded the war, no diplomat of the Allies has been able to grasp the total Pangerman plan in its nature and in its extent, though possibly a few of them may have indicated in their reports now and then some local Pangerman act which aroused suspicion. These considerations explain also, at least in part, the failure of the diplomatic corps of the Entente in the Balkans.
To sum up, allied official diplomats are not personally inferior to German official diplomats, but the latter have an enormous advantage over their colleagues of the Entente in knowing the general plan of the Berlin policy, in knowing, each in his own post, in what direction to proceed and what must be done or prevented in order to attain the final end. During the last twenty-five years the Kaiser’s foreign policy has been constructive and framed on a definite plan, while the diplomats of the Allies, reflecting the policy of their Governments without concrete plans, have been hampered, because they believed obstinately in Peace, in a vague and stagnant defensive. On the other hand, the allied diplomacy, regarded as an instrument of observation, confined to old-fashioned methods, is like an ordinary magnifying glass which shows nothing but the largest objects. On the contrary, the German foreign policy, thanks to the new, busy and secret organs, by which the German diplomacy has been seconded, may be compared to a workshop provided with powerful microscopes by which facts can be studied not only in their general aspect, but also in their most minute details, details which often are not without their importance.
Finally, the allied diplomacy, regarded as an instrument of action, still clinging to antiquated traditional methods, may be compared to an army which possesses only field guns, while the foreign diplomacy of Germany, in its totality, is comparable to an army equipped both with heavy and with field artillery.
THE CAUSES OF THE WAR.
I. Why the Treaty of Bukarest suddenly raised a formidable obstacle to the Pangerman plan.
II. How it was that the internal state of Austria-Hungary drove Germany to let loose the dogs of war.
III. General view of the causes of the war.
Although the Pangerman plan is unquestionably the chief ultimate cause of the war, yet when William II. started it in August, 1914, he did so for nearer and for secondary reasons which we must examine carefully if we wish to have a clear view of events.
Up to 1911, when Tannenberg published the programme of annexations, all previous great events had favoured William II.’s aims; but from 1912 onward events suddenly raised very serious and quite unexpected obstacles to the execution of the Pangerman plan.
In 1912, Italy conquered Libya at the cost of Turkey and against the will and pleasure of Berlin. Again in 1912 Greece, Montenegro, Serbia and Bulgaria became united against the Ottoman Empire; this also was contrary to the will and pleasure of Berlin. What was quite unexpected by the Kaiser’s Staff was the victory of the Balkan peoples over the Turks. As Germany had upheld the latter she felt profoundly humiliated. Then, in order to hinder the foundation of an efficient Balkanic Confederation—that is, one constituted on the principle of a fair balance—Vienna, and above all, Berlin, used as their tool the Tsar Ferdinand’s well-known ambition to establish Bulgarian supremacy in the peninsula. Accordingly instigated by the Germanic powers, the Bulgarians in June, 1913, attacked their allies, the Serbians and Greeks. But once more the Kaiser’s calculations were upset. Roumania, escaping for the first time from German leading strings, intervened against Bulgaria, which was struggling with her former allies, and thus Bulgaria was vanquished. Now, the new condition of things which arose from the Bukarest treaty of August 10th, 1913, suddenly formed a formidable obstacle to the Pangerman scheme in the East, and this is the reason:
The treaty of Bukarest created in the peninsula two groups of states sharply opposed to each other. The first was formed of the beaten and sullen participants in the Balkan wars, Bulgaria and Turkey. The second group was composed of those peoples who had benefited by the wars and were satisfied with the result, to wit, Roumania, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece. These four last states, seeing that their vital interests had become closely bound together by the territorial annexations made at the cost of the common enemy, had joined all their forces to insure the maintenance of the Bukarest treaty which they considered inviolable.
On the other hand, this sharp division of the Balkan States into two groups whose interests were diametrically opposed, reacted deeply on general European politics. The force of events led the conquered states of 1912 and 1913, Turkey and Bulgaria, to support Germanism in the Balkans; on the contrary, Roumania, as well as Serbia, Montenegro and Greece, because of their recent acquisitions, were leaning more and more towards the Triple Entente, quite contrary to the views of Berlin and at the cost of Turkey, which even then was bound hand and foot to Germany.
THE ANTIGERMANIC BARRIER IN THE BALKANS AFTER THE TREATY OF BUKAREST (10th August, 1913).
Previous to the Balkan wars the Triple Entente enjoyed an influence in the peninsula, vastly inferior to that of Germany; after the treaty of Bukarest, however, the Entente found support in that group of states which was most powerfully organized and which presented (see map) a very solid barrier to the accomplishment of Pangerman designs in the East.
This new order of things lashed Berlin into a fury which though outwardly restrained was none the less intense because the only group (Turkey and Bulgaria) which was still under German influence, was bound to remain for a very long time to come practically impotent and powerless to make singly any attempt against the other group which favoured the Entente.
Indeed, Turkey, which in her defeats had lost almost the whole of her military stores, could hardly, at the beginning of 1914, put 250,000 men under arms. Her financial difficulties were such that, if left to her own resources, it would have taken her many years to replace her military power on a solid basis.
Bulgaria was in a similar financial predicament. Besides, if she had taken action it would have been at great risk to herself, in as much as those states which profited by the Bukarest Treaty (Roumania, Serbia and Greece), surrounding as they do (see the arrows of the map) Bulgaria on three sides, could then have delivered a concentric attack on Sofia.
Finally, great was the disproportion of men eligible for the army or capable of bearing arms between the two groups.
|Germanophile Group.||Group of the Entente.|
These figures, taken in conjunction with the geographical situation, show clearly that, left to its own resources, the Germanophile group could attempt no attack on the Entente group.
The new balance of military forces in the Balkans which was the outcome of the Bukarest treaty, therefore reduced almost to naught Germany’s power of intrigue in the Peninsula.
Had peace reigned for a few years, the new Balkan situation would have been consolidated and the obstacle to Pangerman ambition in the East would have been still more serious. It was for these varied reasons that Berlin decided to intervene directly. Without doubt Serbia was the pivot on which turned the new Balkanic equilibrium. It was therefore decided to destroy her without delay, kindling at the same time the European conflagration, and thus by one single blow to accomplish the plan of 1911.
The Bukarest treaty was signed on the tenth of August, 1913. On November 6th, 1913, King Albert of Belgium was at Potsdam, and the Kaiser said to him that in his opinion war with France was near and unavoidable (see Baron Beyen’s L’Allemagne avant la Guerre, p. 24).
From this survey it follows that, if the treaty of Bukarest, through its consequences, proved disastrous to the Pangerman aims, it was, on the contrary, extremely advantageous to the powers of the Triple Entente, for it brought to their side the majority of the Balkanic forces.
Unfortunately the diplomacy of the Entente had not even a notion how favourable the situation was to them. This ignorance was due to the old-fashioned methods of observation still used by diplomats which prevented them from believing in the Pangerman scheme, and which also hindered them from entertaining general and correct views of the varied problems which form such a tangle in that large territorial zone. Indeed, though one of the immediate causes of the war was Germany’s wish to upset the Bukarest treaty, because the consequences of that treaty ruined the Pangerman aims in the East, the Triple Entente powers were no sooner at war with Germany than they did all in their power during ten months to cancel in like manner the consequences of the Bukarest treaty; for that was in fact the result of the Entente’s ingenuous wish to satisfy Bulgaria at all costs. Theoretically, the attempt inspired by the noble thought of avoiding the horrors of war in the Balkans, was just, but in practice it was an impossibility owing to the fierce hatred the Bulgarians entertain towards their conquerors of 1913, and above all towards the Serbians.
What is certain is that the diplomacy of the Allies, during the first year of war, followed such a policy in the Balkans that, evidently without knowing it, they played entirely into the hands of Berlin.
Not only were the consequences of the Bukarest treaty disastrous to Pangerman ambitions in the Balkan peninsula, they also, to the boundless fury of William II., considerably accelerated that internal political evolution of Austria-Hungary which of itself had already threatened to upset all his plans.
Unfortunately the notions held about Austria-Hungary in France, and above all, in England, have far too long been of a very vague nature. Public opinion in France and England was totally unable to grasp the situation, when war broke out. It was incapable of seeing the important part played during the war, and to be played after the war, by the populations living in the Hapsburg Monarchy. The vast majority of these peoples devoutly pray for the victory of the Triple Entente, for they only fight against it because they are forcibly constrained to do so. At heart they look to the victory of the Allies for deliverance from a hateful yoke which has weighed on them heavily for centuries. That is why it is of the utmost importance to educate public opinion in the allied countries as to the actual racial facts in Austria-Hungary. Then it will be clearly understood of what abominable treason Francis Joseph was guilty against his peoples; then it will be clearly understood also that as these peoples were more and more inclined, before the war, to lean to the side of France and England, quite as much as to that of Russia, William II. had a strong additional motive for precipitating hostilities.
THE NATIONALITIES IN AUSTRIA-HUNGARY.
The nine different nationalities who live in the Hapsburg Monarchy can be divided into four races:
|Magyars (peculiar race|
of Asiatic origin)
|Czecks and Slovak||8,500,000|
In a political sense the Germans and Magyars, forming a total of 22 millions, have agreed since 1867 to exercise and maintain for their own profit the supremacy over the Slavs and Latins, although these latter form the majority of the subjects of the Monarchy, since they constitute a group of 28 million inhabitants.
Now, it is needful to note and it is important to remember, that the figures which I quote, are incorrect, because they are those furnished by the Government statistics at Vienna and at Budapest by German and Magyar officials. These have their instructions to use various artful tricks for falsifying systematically the true statistics in favour of their own races, in order to contribute by that stratagem to the maintenance, as long as possible, of the supremacy held by the Germans and the Magyars. In truth, there are in Austria-Hungary far less than 22 million Germans and Magyars, and far more than 28 Slavs and Latins. What again is certain, is that for centuries the Slavs and Latins have been oppressed in Austria-Hungary in the most odious fashion by a feudal aristocracy, who engross enormous landed properties, and who exercise in the Hapsburg Monarchy as baneful a social influence as that of the Junkers in Prussia.
With the exception of the Polish aristocracy of Galicia and a small group of Ruthenes, who since 1867 joined hands with the Germans, all these Slavs and Latins have been endeavouring to the very utmost, especially for the last thirty years, to obtain, in accordance with modern justice, such political rights as are proportionate to their numbers. In that way they hope to win for themselves in the Monarchy the legal majority that is their due, by reason of their being human flesh and blood liable to be taxed and to be called on for service at the will of the Government.
These tendencies have long excited extreme alarm in William II. and his Pangermans. This is readily understood, for, if the political power, in the Hapsburg Monarchy, were vested, as justice demands, in the Slavs and Latins, who hate Prussianism, that in itself would have been the ruin of the Kaiser’s plan for the economic absorption of Austria-Hungary. Yet this very absorption is indispensable to William II. if he is to carry out his inadmissible plans of exclusive influence in the Balkans and in the East. His game has therefore been, especially since 1890, to say, in the main, to Francis Joseph and to the Magyars: “Above all, do not concede the claims of your Slav and Latin subjects. Keep up absolutely the Germano-Magyar supremacy. I will uphold you, with all my power, in your struggle with the Slav-Latin elements.” For a long time these tactics of the Kaiser were successful but they were on the point of breaking down a short time before the war.
In spite of the most ingenious and cynical obstacles raised by the Germans and Magyars the culture of the Slavs and Latins kept growing; their national organizations kept progressing; also they were much more prolific than their political rivals. All these conditions together gave Francis Joseph and his henchmen at Budapest increasing trouble in their efforts to resist the enlarged demands of their Latin and Slav subjects. Berlin had already become anxious on that score, when the mental effervescence stirred up among the Slavs and Latins of Austria-Hungary by the result of the Bukarest treaty suddenly changed for the worse the outlook of the Pangerman scheme.
As a matter of fact, almost the whole of the 28 million Slav and Latin subjects of the Hapsburgs had been roused to enthusiasm by the victories of the Slavs in the Balkans in 1912, and by the success of Roumania in 1913; for they saw, above all, in these events, the triumph of the principle of nationality, that is, their very own cause. Hence they became more than ever determined in their endeavours to obtain from Vienna and Budapest those political rights, proportionate to their number, which the Germano-Magyars persisted in refusing, although of late years that refusal had lost much of its energy.
If peace had been maintained, the effect of the Bukarest treaty on Austria-Hungary would have lent irresistible force to the claims of the Slav and Latin subjects of Francis Joseph. On the other hand, Roumania, exulting in her annexation of the Bulgarian Dobrudja, cast longing eyes on Transylvania, and hoped to secure it at the expense of Hungary. The moment appeared opportune when a thorough transformation of the Hapsburg Monarchy might be effected, and that transformation seemed relatively so near that Roumania already looked upon Transylvania as a ripe fruit which merely needed gathering.
If this new order of things resulting from the treaty of Bukarest had been allowed to develop fully, the influence of Germanism would have been infallibly ruined in the Hapsburg Monarchy, just as had happened in the Balkans. Under the growing pressure of her Slav and Latin elements the partition, or at any rate, the evolution towards federation of Austria-Hungary would have become a necessity. This federalism would not have affected the frontiers of the Hapsburg Dominions, but it would necessarily, and without doubt, have given political preponderance to the Slav and Latin elements, which were the most numerous and the most prolific. Now, those elements form an enormous majority, which was and is resolutely hostile to any alliance with Germany. Thus, progressively, the Hapsburg Monarchy in evolution would have become more and more independent of Berlin in regard to her foreign policy, and as it gradually shook itself free from its bondage to Berlin, it would, as a necessary consequence, have drawn closer and closer to Russia, France and England. Thus Germany would have been deprived of the artificial prop which she has found at Vienna and at Budapest ever since the days of Sadowa through the Germano-Magyar predominance. Finally, as a result of peaceful development, William II. would have been confronted by a state of things in Austria-Hungary which would have opposed a far more formidable barrier to his oriental ambitions than that which was created in 1913 in the Balkans, as a consequence of the treaty of Bukarest.
If we bear in mind the powerful and extraordinarily important series of after-effects which must have followed on the new situation produced by the treaty of Bukarest and its inevitable influence on the 28 million Slavs and Latins of Austria-Hungary, we can readily understand that had the European peace been maintained, the chances of executing the Pangerman plan would have been totally and simultaneously ruined in Turkey, in the Balkans, and in Austria-Hungary; that is to say in the three territorial zones which, as will be seen from Chapter III, constituted by far the most important part of the regions mapped out for Pangerman operations in the plan of 1911.
Thus we see how the internal evolution of Austria-Hungary had reached a point at which, as the result of the treaty of Bukarest, it was just about to escape for ever from the influence of Berlin; this would have broken the pivot on which all the Pangerman combinations revolved. It was that consideration which decided William II. to make war at once.
The Allies will, in accordance with the general principles of justice, bring Germany to account for her unheard of crimes, and will exact a full reparation for the enormous moral and material injuries which she has done them. Therefore it is necessary to set forth the causes of the war by a general survey of the facts, to the end that in the eyes of the civilized world, it may be clearly demonstrated that Germany must pay, and legitimately so, the price of a responsibility which, in all justice, should rest on her and on her alone.
To understand the practical necessity of such a survey, if we are to influence the opinion of neutrals, it is needful to bear in mind that all discussions which, so far, have been held on the causes of war, have been merely based on diplomatic documents published by the various belligerents, and that these documents merely refer to facts which preceded the outbreak of war only by a few weeks. But in a discussion which turns on a multitude of texts,belonging to different dates, all more or less near each other, and therefore liable to be confused, nothing is easier than for subtle, interested and dishonest reasoners like the Germans, to interpret the same facts in different ways, and so to arrive at conclusions diametrically opposed to the truth. In fact, this is exactly what has happened.
Thanks to its intense intellectual mobilization, which has been foreseen and carried out as powerfully as its military mobilization, Germany has succeeded, by fallacious interpretations of diplomatic documents, in profoundly misleading neutrals, even honest neutrals, as to the real responsibility for the outbreak of war. Nothing could give a better idea of the effect thus produced by Germany than the following remarks of the Swiss Colonel Gortsch published in the Intelligenzblatt of Berne:
“The events which happened at the end of July have convinced every reasonable man that Germany has been provoked to war, and that the Emperor William II. has waited long before he took up this challenge. History will lay the main guilt of the war and its intellectual responsibility on England; Russia and France will be considered as her accomplices…. It is the British policy, openly and selfishly free from any scruples, which has caused the World-War” (quoted by the Echo de Paris, 3rd January, 1916).
This is exactly the proposition which Bethmann-Hollweg wishes neutrals to believe. It is an absurd proposition to be entertained by any one who knew England intimately in the years before the war. During that period the leaders of the British Government were led by the one guiding thought—pleasant enough in itself, but entirely inaccurate—that war would not occur, since Great Britain did not wish war. The whole foreign policy of Great Britain has been inspired by this conception. It explains the attitude of extreme conciliation taken by the London Cabinet towards Germany at the time of the annexation of Bosnia and of Herzegovina (1909), during the Balkan wars (1912-1913), and also when it came to the question of the Bagdad railway, which most obviously threatened the road to India. The Liberal Cabinet of London reflected the dominant British opinion, which believed implicitly in Lord Haldane’s assurances. He was considered, though quite wrongly so, to have a most perfect knowledge of Germany, and in a speech at Tranent he affirmed to his countrymen: “Germany has not the slightest intention of invading us” (quoted by the Morning Post, 16th December, 1915). Up to the declaration of war, Sir Edward Grey, always inclined to believe in the acumen of his friend Lord Haldane, had resorted to every conceivable combination which might have allowed peace to be maintained if William II. had really wished to maintain it. Finally, does not the total unpreparedness of England for a continental war, which has been evident since the outbreak of hostilities, furnish the best proof of her sincerely pacific intentions before the war?
Other neutrals, and even some Frenchmen, still think that the struggle is a result of the so-called Delcassé policy. They say: “The Emperor William frequently tried to show himself friendly to France. If his advances had been accepted, war would have been avoided.” It is undeniable that at certain moments William II. has tried to draw France into his own orbit, but it was precisely in order the better to insure the accomplishment of the Pangerman plan, which has been his main pre-occupation ever since his accession. The present military events show clearly that if France had been beguiled by the smile of the Berlin tempter, any further efficient coalition of the great powers against Germany would have been a sheer impossibility. As to France, if she had believed in William II. she would not have suffered from war, for war would have been useless for German ends. Indeed, without a struggle, France would have practically been reduced to such a state of absolute slavery as has never yet been achieved in history except as the result of a totally ruinous war. Facts which have come to light enable us to convince ourselves by the most indisputable evidence, that such would have been the outcome of a “reconciliation” between France and Germany. We now know to what extent the Germans had already gained a footing in the greater part of the organic structure of French finance and industry. If the Paris Government had come to terms with Berlin nothing could have stopped the total pacific permeation of France by Germany. Little by little France would have ceased to be her own mistress; at the end of a few years she would have been exactly in the same position as Austria-Hungary, unable to free herself unaided from the Prussian hug.
Finally, can we believe for a moment that, had France carried out such a policy of “conciliation” with Berlin, it would have induced William II. to relinquish his dreams of domination? On the contrary, his easy capture of France in full enjoyment of peace, would merely have whetted the hereditary appetites of the Hohenzollerns. Had France once been disposed of by reason of her pacific permeation by Germany, the bulwark which she now forms against the Prussian domination would have been broken. The execution of the rest of the Pangerman plan, at the expense of Russia and England, could then have been effected without encountering any insuperable obstacle.
It is therefore not the policy called after M. Delcassé which has caused the war. M. Delcassé will have quite enough to answer for in regard to the application of his policy before and during war, without being reproached for a general principle which evidently was theoretically sound.
In upholding the alliance with Russia, in bringing about the slackening of tension with Italy, in achieving the Entente Cordiale, M. Delcassé has followed a policy, the principles of which are just. Actual events prove it convincingly.
Having laid bare the fallacy of the German argument, let us now, for the benefit of honest neutrals, attempt to give a general view of the true causes of the war, and to indicate their sequence. Let us distinguish between the deep-seated and the immediate causes of the struggle.
The war can be traced to a single deep and remote cause, namely, the will of William II. to achieve the Pangerman plan; all secondary causes, that is to say, the economic ones, spring from it. One aim of the Pangerman plan was actually to put an end to the enormous difficulties which Germany had created for herself by the hypertrophy of her industries, and by thus upsetting the proper balance which had formerly existed between her agricultural and her industrial productions.
The truth of this deep-seated and unique cause of the war is demonstrated by:
1º. The intellectual preparation, in all domains, of the Pangerman plan for twenty-five years.
2º. Such explicit and ancient avowals as the following. In 1898 Rear-Admiral von Goetzen, an intimate friend of the Kaiser, being at Manilla, said to the American, Admiral Dewey, who had just destroyed the Spanish fleet before Manilla: “You will not believe me, but in about fifteen years my country will begin war. At the end of two months we shall hold Paris; but that will only form one step towards our real goal—the overthrow of England. Every event will happen exactly at its proper time, for we shall be ready and our enemies will not” (quoted by the Echo de Paris, 24th September, 1915, from the Naval and Military Record).
3º. The material facts of world-wide preparation, obviously for war, made several months previous to its outbreak, but not till the Kaiser had decided to start it, that is, towards November, 1913. (Proofs: declaration of William II. on 6th November, 1913, to King Albert of Belgium; interview of the Kaiser with the Arch-Duke Ferdinand, April, 1914, at Miramar, and in June, 1914, at Konopischt, where Admiral Tirpitz accompanied the Kaiser.)
These material facts are endless, but it will suffice to recall the following as truly significant, because they have required a long and complicated effort: first, the organization for the victualling of the piratical German cruisers on all the seas of the globe, in view of a long war of piracy; and second, the preparation of the revolt against England in South Africa.
The immediate causes which decided William II. to precipitate the war are:
1º. The defeat of Turkey in 1912 by Italy and the Balkan peoples—a defeat which, by threatening Berlin influence in Constantinople, endangered the hold which Germany already had on the Ottoman Empire.
2º. The consequences of the Bukarest treaty, which in 1913 had erected automatically a formidable barrier against the Pangerman pretensions in the Balkans.
3º. The internal evolution of Austria-Hungary, which, because of the steady progress made by the Latin and Slav subjects of Francis Joseph, threatened shortly to free the Hapsburg Monarchy from the tutelage of Berlin.
THE THREE BARRIERS OF ANTIGERMANIC PEOPLES IN THE BALKANS AND IN AUSTRIA-HUNGARY.
The facts of the last two groups would have completed in Central Europe and in the Balkans the three anti-German barriers indicated on the map (see p. 43) by deep black lines. Now, these barriers would have hindered once and for ever the achievement of the Pangerman plan.
To parry these blows only one resource remained to William II., and that was war—“the national industry of Prussia,” as Mirabeau used to say, and his very pithy and apt remark has been too long forgotten.
HOW FAR THE PANGERMAN PLAN WAS CARRIED OUT AT THE BEGINNING OF 1916.
I. German pretensions in the West.
II. German pretensions in the East.
III. German pretensions in the South and South-East.
IV. General view of the execution of the Pangerman plan from 1911 to the beginning of 1916.
In this chapter we shall inquire what relation existed between the actual gains and the pretensions of the Pangermans at the beginning of 1916, and those which were foreseen in the 1911 plan. In order to be quite explicit we shall analyse successively those gains and pretensions in the west, east, south, and south-west. This analysis will enable us finally to present a general view of the execution of the Pangerman plan at the period under consideration.
The map (p. 46) sums up Prussianized Germany’s pretensions which she still expected to carry out west of the Rhine at the beginning of 1916.
The best way to prove this intention is by means of extracts from the memorial sent by the most powerful German associations on May 20th, 1915, to the Imperial Chancellor (quoted by Le Temps, 12th August, 1915). I have mentioned (see page 18) why this document must be looked upon as of extremely exceptional importance.
THE GERMAN CLAIMS IN THE WEST (Beginning of 1916).
As to what concerns Belgium the memorial says:
“Because it is needful to insure our credit on sea and our military and economic situation for the future in face of England, because the Belgian territory, which is of the greatest economic importance, is closely linked to our principal industrial territory, Belgium must be subjected to the legislation of the Empire in monetary, financial and postal matters. Her railways and her water courses must be closely connected with our communications. By constituting a Walloon territory and a Flemish territory with a preponderance of the Flemish, and by putting into German hands the properties and the economic undertakings which are of vital importance for dominating the country, we shall organize the government and the administration in such a manner that the inhabitants will not be able to acquire any influence over the political destiny of the German Empire.”
In a word, it is slavery that is promised to the Belgians. In order to prove clearly that this means exactly the achievement of the plan Berlin had elaborated for twenty-five years, it is important to notice that the fate of the annexed populations, meted out in the above memorial, is exactly the same fate mentioned in the pamphlet published under the auspices of the Alldeutscher Verband, the Pangerman Union, wherein the Pangerman plan of 1895 is set forth (see the text already quoted, p. 4).
The only difference to be noticed in the evolution of the Pangerman ideas between 1895 and 1916 is that after their experience with the Slavs and Latins of Austria-Hungary, the Germans deem it possible and advantageous, by an application of Prussian methods of terrorism, to compel non-Germans to fight for the benefit of Pangermany; true, these people shudder with horror at the notion, but stiffened by a strong infusion of Germans, they are forced to march to the shambles in order to secure slavery and bread for their families under the German yoke.
“As to France,” continues the memorial of the 20th May, 1915, to the Imperial Chancellor, “always in consideration of our position towards England, it is of vital interest for us, in respect of our future on the seas, that we should own the coast which borders on Belgium more or less up to the Somme, which would give us an outlet on the Atlantic Ocean. The Hinterland, which it is necessary to annex at the same time, must be of such an extent that economically and strategically the ports, where the canals terminate, can be utilized to the utmost. Any other territorial conquest in France, beyond the necessary annexation of the mining basins of Briey, should only be made in virtue of considerations of military strategy. In this connection, after the experience of this war, it is only natural that we should not expose our frontiers to fresh enemy invasions by leaving to the adversary fortresses which threaten us, especially Verdun and Belfort and the Western buttresses of the Vosges, which are situated between those two fortresses. By the conquest of the line of the Meuse and of the French coast, with the mouths of the canals, we should acquire, besides the iron districts of Briey already mentioned, the coal districts of the departments of the Nord and of the Pas de Calais. This expansion of territory, quite an obvious matter after the experience obtained in Alsace-Lorraine, presupposes that the populations of the annexed districts shall not be able to obtain a political influence on the destiny of the German Empire, and that all means of economic power which exist on these territories, including landed property, both large and middling, will pass into German hands; France will receive and compensate the landowners.”
In order to justify these formidable annexations the memorial of the 20th May, in harmony with the frank cynicism of the Pangerman doctrine, adduces no argument but the convenience of Prussia and the profitableness of the booty to be got.
“If the fortress of Longwy, with the numerous blast furnaces of the region, were returned to the French, and if a new war broke out, with a few long range guns the German furnaces of Luxemburg (list of which is given) would be paralyzed in a few hours…. Thus about 20% of the production of crude iron and of German steel would be lost….
“Let us say, bye the bye, that the high production of steel derived from the iron-ore gives to German agriculture the only chance of obtaining the phosphoric acid needed when the importation of phosphates is blockaded.
“The security of the German Empire, in a future war, requires therefore imperatively the ownership of all mines of iron-ore including the fortresses of Longwy and of Verdun, which are necessary to defend the region.”
These various declarations, made on high authority enable us to affirm, that on the whole the annexations which the Pangermans intended to make in the West would have extended in France more or less to a line drawn from the South of Belfort to the mouth of the Somme, that is, so far as concerns France, they would comprise a total area of 50,271 square kilometres, which, before the war, held 5,768,000 inhabitants.
Further, as regards France, the intended annexations were, according to Pangerman conceptions, to have had a double effect.
1º. By taking over the richest industrial and mining French regions, Germany would secure an enormous booty.
2º. Deprived of her most productive departments, which bear the main burden of taxes, and which hold mining elements indispensable to economic life, France would have been maimed and reduced to a state from which it would have been a sheer impossibility for her to recover or ever again to become a power capable of thwarting in any shape whatsoever the future determinations of Germany.
A few figures will enable us to verify this forecast. At the beginning of 1916 the Germans were holding 138,000 hectares of the coal basin of the department of the Nord, being 41% of the total superficies worked in France (337,000 hectares), or about three-fourths of the total French production. The Germans also occupied 63,000 hectares of the iron-ore basin of Lorraine which represents 75% of the superficies of all the iron beds worked in France (83,000 hectares), and nine-tenths of the total production. It is clear, that were such a state of things to continue, economic and therefore national life would be made radically impossible in France, shorn of her vital organs. In reality France would be in a position of entire dependence on Germany in accordance with the Pangerman schemes for the future.
It is still necessary to mention that in the territories occupied by Germany in the West, as well as everywhere else, the measures already taken by the Germans in 1916 were not merely measures of military defence, but measures for the organization and permanent possession of the said territories. These measures to ensure permanent possession may be classed in the following categories:
Measures of terrorism applied in Prussian fashion so as to bring into subjection all refractory elements.
Measures of division, such as in Belgium, the Germans take in order to rouse, by all possible means, opposition between the Flemish and the Walloons for the purpose of neutralizing the one by the other.
Measures of strict and regular administration in order, by the bait of some external or economic advantages, to accustom to the German yoke those elements of the population whose moral resistance, in the opinion of Berlin, can be most easily broken.
Measures tending to prepare the German colonization of the new territories. These have mostly consisted in applying the Pangerman theory ofEvacuation, that is, by systematically transporting the unfortunate women or old people whom Germany considers absolutely useless in her future possessions. She found it, for instance, very convenient to rid herself without delay of these poor creatures especially when the question of feeding them cropped up; so these “useless mouths” were promptly transferred to the shoulders of the enemy, whom Germany already looked upon as vanquished. That is the theory of Evacuation, which explains to a large extent why the German authorities have sent back to France that part of the populations of the occupied territories in France and Belgium whom, on exact inquiry, they regarded as human wastage.
No doubt, as is shown on map (p. 46), Germany did not at the beginning of 1916 occupy quite all the territories she coveted. She missed Calais, Belfort, and Verdun, but it is easy to see that she did so only by a hair’s breadth.
The Western territories which were to enter into the Germanic Confederation of the 1911 plan include:
Now Luxemburg and Belgium were entirely occupied (excepting a patch of Belgium). If Germany was to hold Belgium, Holland, which is not occupied, but which is geographically invested, would inevitably be forced to enter into the Germanic Confederation. We must, therefore, consider Holland as being virtually under Germany’s thumb. As, on the other hand, out of 50,271 square kilometres which she wished to annex at the expense of France, Germany, at the beginning of 1916, occupied 20,300, we conclude that the German enterprises in the West, which, according to programme, ought to have comprised 120,449 square kilometres, in point of fact extended directly or indirectly over 90,478 square kilometres.
Germany therefore, early in 1916, had achieved in the West an occupation foreseen by the plan of 1911 and at the expense of non-Germans in the proportion of 76% or three-fourths.
The Pangerman plan of 1911 had provided for the permanent exclusion of Russia as a great power by means of two measures:
1º. To carve out of the Empire of the Tsars and annex to the German Confederation a slice of territory large enough to cut off Russia entirely from the West.
2º. To constitute at the expense of Russia, thus reduced, new States which should bow the knee to Berlin.
Mr. Dietrich Schaefer, the well-known historian, in the Review Panther, affirmed, early in February, 1915: “It is absolutely necessary for us to expand the sphere of our power, especially eastward … the immense Russian force must recede behind the Dnieper” (quoted by L’Information, 5th February, 1915).
A Swedish pamphlet, ascribed to the Germanophile, Adrian Molin, explained, also early in 1915, that Germany, with the help of Sweden, was to have given the finishing stroke in separating Russia from Europe by means of a barrier formed of Buffer-States, to wit, Finland and the Ukraine. Now, for the last twenty-five years in particular, the Pangerman agents have endeavoured to sow the seeds of rebellion among the 20 millions of Small-Russians who live in the Russian Governments grouped around Kieff. Finally, the Moslem regions of Russia (Caucasus, Central Asia, etc.) were to form special States under the sway of Turkish suzerainty, and, through that channel, to bear the yoke of German influence.
THE GERMAN CLAIMS IN THE EAST.
Such were the means elaborated at Berlin to bring about the annihilation of Russia as a great power, when once her armies had been destroyed; and this might have happened perhaps, if the English intervention, by enabling France to make a stand, had not prevented Germany from first smashingFrance and then concentrating all her forces against the Empire of the Tsar, in accordance with the plan of the General Staff of Berlin.
We can form an estimate of the annexations which Germany, as late as the beginning of 1916, still hoped to effect at the cost of Russia by examining the memorial of May 20th, 1915, addressed to the Imperial Chancellor; although the phraseology in which it is drawn up aims at concealing the full extent of the Pangerman demands, it yet tallies, in its tendencies, with the programme published by Tannenberg in 1911:
“With regard to the East,” says that memorial, “the following consideration must guide us: For the great increase of industrial power which we expect in the West we must secure a counterpoise by the annexation of an agricultural territory of equal value in the East. It is necessary to strengthen the agricultural basis of our national economy; to secure room for the expansion of a great German agricultural settlement; to restore to our Empire the German peasants living in a foreign land, particularly in Russia, who are now actually without the protection of the law; finally, we must increase considerably the number of our fellow countrymen able to bear arms; all these matters require an important extension of the frontiers of the Empire and of Prussia towards the East through the annexation of at least some parts of the Baltic provinces and of territories to the South of them, while keeping in view the necessity of a military defence of the Eastern German frontier.
“As to what political rights to give to the inhabitants of the new territories and as to what guarantees are necessary to further German influence and economics, we will merely refer to what we have said about France. The war indemnity to be exacted from Russia should to a large extent consist in the surrender of territory” (see Le Temps, 12th August, 1915).
In his speech of 11th December, 1915, William II.’s Chancellor, in a sentence full of significance, gave his hearers to understand that such were indeed the pretensions of Germany:
“Our troops,” said he, “in conjunction with the Austro-Hungarian, are taking up strongly fortified positions of defence far within the Russian territory. They are ready to resume their forward march.”
Just as in the West, all the measures taken by the Germans in the East have been not only for defence, but for organization in view of keeping the occupied territories. These measures come under the various heads I indicated. (See p. 50.)
With the Poles, the Germans used the same tactics as with the Flemish people of Belgium. After having terrorized the Poles, the Prussian authorities granted them, in the use of their own language for scholastic purposes, certain privileges which compare advantageously with the former state of things resulting from that detestable bureaucratic régime of Russia, which, with a complete lack of foresight, had by its vexatious measures seriously imperilled in Poland the true interests of the empire of the Tsars. Again, in the East the Germans promoted husbandry. They constructed railroads and coach roads. No doubt all these steps were taken mainly in the interest of Germany. It is quite clear that the advantages conceded to the Poles can only be considered as temporary. This is proved sufficiently by the Prussian system so long pursued in Posen. However, the Germans flatter themselves that by these measures they favourably impress some portion of the Poles, who are simple enough to imagine that Germany will reconstitute a Polish State of 20 millions of inhabitants in order to give this State to the Poles at the expense of Russia. It was with such an end in view that Berlin thought of proclaiming the autonomy of Poland. At the same time Germany reckons on establishing in Poland a system of conscription so as to utilize, by force if necessary, the Polish recruits, just as she has done with the Slavs of Austria-Hungary, in the interest of Pangermany.
From the territorial standpoint the Pangerman pretensions of the 1911 plan in the East are summarized in the following table:
|The ten Governments of Russian Poland||127,320||12,467,000|
|Three Baltic Provinces (Esthonia, Livonia, Courland)||94,564||2,686,000|
|The three Russian Governments at the South of the Baltic Provinces (Kovno, Vilna, Grodno)||121,840||5,728,000|
Now at the beginning of 1916, out of these 343,724 square kilometres, as the map will show, the Germans occupied about 260,000. They therefore had carried out in the East the plan of 1911 at the cost of non-German populations to the extent of 75% or three-fourths.
The zones of absolute influence, whether direct or indirect, which Germany, in accordance with the 1911 plan, has tried to secure for herself in the South and South-East of her present frontiers, comprise three totally distinct groups of territory: Austria-Hungary, the Balkans, and Turkey. It is therefore advisable to examine separately how at the beginning of 1916 Germany stood in respect of each of these three groups.
THE GERMAN CLAIMS IN THE SOUTH AND SOUTH-EAST.
Let us make no mistake, Austria-Hungary is actually as much under William II.’s domination as is Belgium. The European conflict has enabled Germany artfully to occupy the Empire of the Hapsburgs under the pretence of defending it, in fact to seize it as provided for by the plan of 1911. Since the beginning of 1915 all the troops of Francis Joseph have been entirely under the orders of the Berlin General Staff. Even if Austria-Hungary wished to make a separate peace, she could not do so, for all her motive power, diplomatic and military, is exclusively controlled by the Kaiser’s agents. TheAustro-German alliance is merely a piece of stage scenery. The much-talked of device of smuggling the Hapsburg Empire into Germany by a back door, that is, by her entrance into the Zollverein or Customs Union, is a broad farce. It can merely deceive those, alas still too numerous, who are insufficiently informed of the true facts in Austria-Hungary. The Austro-German fusion in the shape of a Customs Union is besides no novelty. The process of absorbing Austria-Hungary was foreseen and described in detail in the Pangerman pamphlet of 1895, showing the fundamental lines of the plan of that date. All the fuss made at the beginning of 1916 by the German Press about the so-called wishes of the Austro-Hungarians to enter into the Zollvereinhas been the most “Kolossal” and the most dishonest of bluffs. In truth, nearly three-fourths of the populations at present subject to Francis Joseph do not want to be absorbed into Germany at any price, neither in a political, nor in an economic fashion. All the stir made in the Central Empires about the entrance of the Hapsburg Monarchy into the Zollverein, has been the doing of Pangerman bear leaders at Berlin or Vienna and of the Magyar aristocracy, and not at all of the Magyar people, which is not the same thing. Let us therefore not be duped by the bluff of the German press on the Zollvereinquestion. The microscopic minority who wish it in Austria-Hungary plays the Berlin game. What is undeniable is that at present Austria-Hungary is entirely under the Prussian thumb.
2º. The Balkans.
The whole of Serbia has been overrun by the Germans. The predicament of the Serbian population is extremely cruel. Either they have been massacred, or systematically famished or deported to Germany to work in the factories or on the German land. These appalling measures of coercion have not prevented the Kaiser from addressing a manifesto: “To my noble and heroic Serbian People.” The aim was, by fine words, to disarm morally the remainder of the Serbian population, terrorized by a series of sufferings unsurpassed in history. As to Serbia, the Kaiser offered part of it to Austria, always in accordance with the plan of 1895 which provided for this solution; for to give a fraction of Serbia to Austria as a member of the Zollverein, is practically to put it under the direct domination of Germany.
As to Bulgaria, the ally of Germany, she is entirely absorbed, and the Germans there behave as rulers so far as they possibly can. Heroic Montenegro has suffered exactly the same fate as Serbia, one part of Albania is also occupied. If the Allies had been fatuous enough not to understand, at the eleventh hour, the importance of Salonika, Greece and Roumania, where Germanophile elements are not numerous but very influential, would already have obeyed to the letter the orders of Berlin.
Supposing, for argument’s sake, that there were a German victory, we would immediately see Germany constituting a Balkan Confederation under the headship of Austria, considered as a Balkan power, simply because, under the name of Austria, it would really be Germany who would impose her will on the future confederation.
At the beginning of 1916, before the Russian advance in Armenia, the Ottoman Empire throughout its entire length was subjected to the influence of Germany; that influence had even spread to Persia. We have here an event which would have had an extreme importance for the development of the Panislamic movement directed simultaneously against Russia, France and England, if the Anglo-Russian attitude had not recently put a stopper on German intrigues in the Shah’s Empire.
“The establishment of direct relations with Turkey is of inestimable military value,” said the German Chancellor in his speech of December 11th, 1915, “while on the economic side the possibility of importing goods from the Balkan States and from Turkey will increase our supplies in a most satisfactory way” (see Le Temps, 11th December, 1915). It would be a mistake to see in these words the result of a mere bluff, of which the Germans are so often lavish. If the Allies left Germany time to draw from Turkey all the military and economic resources expected from her at Berlin, future events would evidently prove that the Imperial Chancellor’s words deserve to be taken seriously.
To sum up, the Pangerman plan of 1911 provided in the South and South-East for:
|The absorption of Austria-Hungary||676,616||50,000,000|
|The establishment of immediate and absolute German influence on the Balkan States||490,275||22,000,000|
|The establishment of exclusive German influence on Turkey||1,792,900||20,000,000|
Now, at the beginning of 1916, the plan of 1911 was carried out in the following proportions:
Austria-Hungary had her 676,616 square kilometres occupied (minus the small area in the hands of the Italians), being more or less 100%.
In the Balkans, at the same date, under direct German influence, we have:
equalling 43% of the total of the Balkan States’ territory.
In Turkey the German influence was exerted over almost the entire territory, therefore in the proportion of 100%.
If we now add the figures belonging to the three territorial groups aimed at by the 1911 plan in the South and South-East we shall see that Germany has carried out her programme on
As the total plan aimed at the German direct or indirect seizure of 2,968,791 square kilometres, we see that, considered in that light, the goal of the 1911 plan has been reached in the South and South-East in the proportion of 89%, being roughly nine-tenths.
Now I have shown (pp. 52 and 56) that Germany occupied or controlled early in 1916:
In the West over 90,478 square kilometres.
In the East over 260,000 square kilometres.
We have just seen that in the South and South-East the German plan has been achieved over 2,685,101 square kilometres.
Of course all the territories included in that last figure are far from having the same value, especially those of part of Turkey, but in that figure Austria-Hungary alone claims 676,616 square kilometres, that is, she alone represents a seizure, disguised it may be, yet not less real, which is infinitely more considerable than the German occupations in the West and East.
From these calculations it clearly follows that the part of the Pangerman plan which concerns Austria-Hungary, the Balkans and Turkey, that is, Central Europe and the East, forms by far the main part of the Pangerman scheme. That is an observation of extreme importance for the Allies and for Neutrals, because of the world-wide consequences which flow from the scheme summed up in the formula, “From Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.” These consequences will be stated in Chapter V.
The Pangerman plan of 1911 (see map, p. 12) included:
1º. The formation of a great German Confederation which was to put under the absolute supremacy of the present German Empire (540,858 square kilometres and 68 million inhabitants) foreign territories situated around Germany, which form a superficies of 1,182,113 square kilometres and hold 94 million inhabitants.
The figures given (pp. 52, 56 and 61) suffice to prove that the German seizure of these territories extended at the beginning of 1916:
|To the West||90,478|
|To the East||260,000|
|To the South (Austria-Hungary)||676,616|
Germany has therefore, so far as concerns the territories to be absorbed into the Germanic Confederation, achieved her programme in the proportion of 86%, or about nine-tenths.
2º. The absolute subordination to Germany of all the Balkan States, whose superficies is 499,275 square kilometres, holding 22 million inhabitants. We have seen above (p. 61), that the German seizure actually extends over 215,585 square kilometres. The German programme, therefore, as regards the Balkans, has been achieved in the proportion of 43%.
3º. The more or less veiled seizure by Germany of the Ottoman Empire, being 1,792,900 square kilometres, holding 20 million inhabitants. Now, early in 1916 the exclusive German influence was felt over the whole of Turkey. As regards her the German plan had therefore been achieved in the proportion of 100%.
Let us now group the figures which will enable us to show in what proportion the whole Pangerman plan of 1911 has been actually achieved by Germany:
|Provisions of the 1911 plan.|
|1. Territories to be absorbed in the great Germanic Confederation||1,182,113||1,027,094|
These figures prove to demonstration that early in 1916 Germany had achieved the Pangerman plan of 1911 in the enormous proportion of 87%, or about nine-tenths.
This figure is graphically confirmed by the annexed map; we can see at a glance the geographical as well as superficial relations which exist between the boundaries of the plan of 1911 and the fronts occupied early in 1916 by armies exclusively subordinate to Berlin.
THE PLAN OF 1911 AND THE EXTENT OF ITS EXECUTION AT THE BEGINNING OF 1916.
These geographical and mathematical considerations, the importance of which cannot escape us, explain why and under what conditions Germany wished to make peace. She wished it simply because, as the Frankfurter Zeitung owned, without mincing matters, in December, 1915, the goal of the war had been reached.
Nine-tenths of the whole of the Pangerman plan of 1911 having been practically achieved, in spite of England’s intervention, which, however, had upset the German Staff’s plan, it is absolutely clear that the results obtained by Germany have been considerable in the extreme. Nothing could therefore be more to her advantage now than to succeed in putting an end to the war at a time when German influence extends unchecked over almost the whole of the invaded territories.
These statements again explain why Berlin has for such a long time been occupied with the most subtle and most complex manœuvres for the opening of peace negotiations—attempts at a separate agreement with Russia, efforts to obtain the Pope’s intervention, advances made by the pseudo-socialists of the Kaiser towards their former comrades of belligerent countries, incitements to pacificists of all neutral countries, etc. Germany would have concluded peace at the moment which was most favourable to her, so as to be able to impose on the territories which she has either conquered or controls the special status provided for each of them by the Pangerman plan. But of course Germany would only have made such treaties as were compatible with her retention of all the regions she occupied at the time. As Major Moraht said very clearly in the Berliner Tageblatt: “Our military chiefs are not in the habit of giving back what we have acquired at the price of blood and of sacrifice” (Le Matin, 27th December, 1915).
Lastly, the chief reason why Berlin wanted peace is that the prolongation of the war can only compromise and finally ruin all the results obtained by Germany.
SPECIAL FEATURES GIVEN TO THE WAR BY THE PANGERMAN PLAN.
I. All the great political questions of the old world are raised and must be solved.
II. As the war is made by Germany in order to achieve a gigantic scheme of slavery, it follows that it is waged by her in flagrant violation of international law.
III. A struggle of tenacity and of duplicity on the side of Berlin versus constancy and solidarity on the side of the Allies.
The Diplomatic Corps, having ignored the Pangerman plan for reasons already shown (pp. 19 et seq.), it is quite natural that the General Staffs and the public opinion of Allied countries should have been equally ignorant. From this general absence of knowledge there has resulted a vagueness and inadequacy in the view taken of the ultimate aims of Germany in the war; and in consequence the co-ordination of the Allied efforts has remained for a long while very imperfect. Each of the Allied nations, in fact, was at first so taken up with its own interests that they all lost sight of what ought to have been the common object of their common action.
The Russians entered into the struggle against the Germans especially to prevent Serbia from being crushed, and at the same time to put an end to those veiled but profoundly humiliating ultimatums which Berlin for some years has delivered to Petrograd. The Italians, specially fascinated by Trent and Trieste, have long thought that they could limit their war to a conflict with the house of Hapsburg, when in reality the only and true enemy of the Italian people—as now the latter is more and more clearly aware—is Prussian Pangermanism. As for the English, they entered the lists for two fundamental reasons: the violation of Belgium’s neutrality aroused their indignation, and a just sense of their own interests has convinced them that they could not allow France to be crushed without at the same time acquiescing in the ultimate disappearance of Great Britain. Completely unprepared for Continental war, England has very well understood from the beginning of hostilities that these might be very much prolonged, but she had not the slightest notion that British interests would be as completely threatened as they have been in Central Europe, in Turkey, in Egypt, and in India. As to the French, the German aggression immediately raised in their minds and in their hearts the question of Alsace-Lorraine. This has hypnotized them to such a degree, to their own loss, that they have too long considered the fight merely a Franco-German war, whereas they ought to have viewed the European conflagration in its full dimensions.
This piece-meal way of looking at the facts has been of the greatest disservice to all the Allies. Indeed it has had the effect of preventing them from discerning at the right time the special character which the extraordinary extent of the Pangerman plan must necessarily give to the war.
The very vastness of the Pangerman plan of 1911, demonstrated beyond dispute by the facts that have come to light, suffices to prove that Berlin meant to solve for her own profit, at one single blow, all the great political questions latent in the old world.
THE GREAT POLITICAL QUESTIONS RAISED BY THE WAR.
The claims of Germany on the East, shown on the accompanying map by the thinner black line, raised the question of Poland in its immense extentand in all its complexity. The claims of Germany towards the West, also shown on the map by the thinner black line, involved the independence of Holland, of Belgium, of Luxemburg, of France, threatened with the loss of vital territories. Further, towards the West the German aggression has brought forward the question of Alsace-Lorraine from the French point of view. Moreover, since Germany aims at establishing her absolute supremacy from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf, in order to stretch her political tentacles to the Far East and to the whole world by means which will be shown in Chapter V. the present war compels the powers to face the whole Eastern question (Balkans and Turkey, shown on the map by similar black lines), and also the whole question of Austria. (Used in this sense the expression Austria indicates the whole of the Hapsburg Dominion, that is, the territory enclosed by a thick black line.) In short, the whole of the great foreign questions are raised at one blow before the world by the aggression of the Berlin Government.
The Germans, having studied thoroughly for a very long time all these problems, have also provided for each of them a solution in accordance with their most cynical interests. The result is that all these political problems, raised simultaneously, form a tangled skein, and that the Allies will never be really victorious till they can compel the Germans to accept those solutions of the great problems which by the nature of things must be the direct contrary of those foreshadowed by Berlin. The Eastern question which is now raised in Europe is no longer the old orthodox question but a Prussianized Eastern question coloured in all its aspects by the present and future ambitions of the Hohenzollerns. In the same way the question of modern Austria is no longer the old Austrian question which consisted in the traditional struggle of the Hapsburgs with their various nationalities. What the Allies have now to consider in Central Europe is the question of Austria Prussianized by means of two essential facts: the covert but exclusive influence which Berlin has increasingly exercised over Vienna, especially for the last fifteen years, and the hold which the Hohenzollerns have got by means of the war over the whole of the Hapsburg Monarchy, which includes 28 millions of Slav and Latin populations bowed under the yoke, with no hope of deliverance except through the crushing of Prussian militarism.
The Pangerman plan finally gives to the struggle which it has initiated a character of sanguinary horror without parallel in history.
In short, William II., after having roused by means of Pangerman propaganda amongst his people violent desires of conquest and plunder, has declared war with the fixed idea that it will lead in Europe and in Turkey to the supremacy of 77 millions of Germans, over 127 millions of non-Germans. The small but violent Prussophile Camarilla of Vienna, a group of Magyar aristocrats in league with Count Tisza, a handful of pseudo young Turks bought by Berlin, have been the Kaiser’s accomplices. Finally, it is these few men alone who have drawn into war 50 million Austro-Hungarians and 20 million Ottomans, that is, 70 million belligerents, the vast majority of whom certainly did not wish for a sanguinary conflict. From all this it is clear that these peoples were betrayed into the war by their Kings or their Turco-Magyar governments.
The origin as well as the object of the war make it therefore the most cruelly reactionary enterprise conceivable. It is so to such a degree that those who in France are called reactionaries and who compared to the Prussian Junkers are great Liberals, find themselves in close agreement with the most ardent Socialists in desiring the total ruin of an enterprise which, if successful, would put the modern world back into the Middle Ages in the most odious fashion. But this time it would be a mediæval state of things made immutable through the force of the most modern science, which would stop the clock of progress. The death-dealing electric current which runs in the metallic wires actually forming an impassable barrier between Belgium and Holland forms a perfect symbol of what the Pangerman prison would be for those who do not belong to the German nationality.
On the other hand, the very fact that they pursue a plan of gigantic and unheard of slavery has logically led the Germans, first cynically to violate all the laws of war between belligerents, and then systematically to commit abominable crimes against common law, whether at the expense of neutrals whom they would terrorize, such as the factory hands of the United States, or at the expense of the unhappy civil populations of the “burglared” regions, populations whose sufferings are indescribable. The events resulting from Pangerman terrorism are so numerous and so unutterably atrocious that historians will find the greatest difficulty in painting the Dantesque picture of all these crimes in their colossal horror. Undoubtedly the Germans wage war in a manner which assimilates them to vulgar burglars and assassins, and therefore to common criminals. They have thus placed themselves beyond the pale of humanity, and those who outside of Germany knowingly help them in their task of enslaving Europe are nothing more or less than accomplices and should be dealt with as such.
On January 19th, 1916, in the Reichstag, Deputy Martin stated that “The German nation would be very ill-pleased if Germany were to restore the territories she now occupies” (Le Temps, 21st January, 1916). This sentence summarizes the opinion prevalent beyond the Rhine.
In their endeavours to retain the greater part of the territories occupied by them at the beginning of 1916 the Germans have combined military measures with political manœuvres.
THE GERMAN FORTRESS AT THE BEGINNING OF 1916.
They have entrenched themselves tremendously on all fronts which the Allies could possibly attack. By the accumulation everywhere of defensive works, machine-guns and heavy artillery, the Germans hope to counter-balance the losses of their troops and thus to persevere in their resistance to the allied attacks, till the enemy grow weary of the dreadful struggle. The experience of the war having proved how extremely difficult it is to pierce strongly fortified lines, the German Headquarters Staff appears to have taken this knowledge as the base of the following calculation:
“We have achieved nine-tenths of the annexations on which we counted; only Calais, Verdun, Belfort, Riga and Salonika are wanting. We will try to obtain possession of these places if opportunity offers; if not, in order to avoid excessive risks, we shall remain everywhere in Europe on a keen defensive, but we will pretend, all the time, to wish to take the offensive, so as to mislead our adversaries. If the Franco-English insist on concentrating their efforts, above all against our lines of the Western front, as these lines are manifold and very strong, the enemy losses will be such, that even if they succeed in throwing us back, they will finally be so utterly exhausted as to be unable to cross the Rhine. Therefore, they will be powerless to dictate peace to Germany.”
Surely the Allies, taught by experience, can foil this probable calculation of their antagonists by well managed, simultaneous attacks on the whole accessible circuit of the German fortress. In fact this is what the Allies seem more and more inclined to do.
The indented line on the map (p. 72) shows what a strange shape is assumed by the enormous territories which build up that fortress. For alimentary purposes it is victualled, firstly, by the resources of non-German countries which are occupied and most thoroughly drained, and secondly by importations; which come through the channel of neutral countries—Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Roumania, and Switzerland—which have responded, more or less liberally, whether voluntarily or not, to the pressing applications of Germany.
On the other hand, thanks to the passage through the Balkans, the German fortress, early in 1916, had a wide open door on Persia, the Caucasus, Central-Russian Asia, Afghanistan, India and Egypt. After having armed all the Moslems on whom they could lay hands, and who were able to shoulder a gun, the German Staff reckoned on striking at Great Britain and Russia in all these directions. The successes obtained by the Tsar’s troops in Eastern Turkey have, since then, baffled these projects.
On the other hand, as Germany has nothing whatever to gain by a prolongation of the war, she will continue to aim at a rupture of the Coalition by means of every possible political manœuvre. It is clear that the defection of one of the principal Allies would necessarily place all the others in vastly more difficult positions for continuing the struggle. Assuming that such a thing were to happen, the Germans could, indeed, hope to discuss peace on the base of the territories which they actually occupy. They will therefore repeat and increase their bids for a separate peace with one or other of their adversaries. When once their position becomes very difficult the Germans, so as to shatter at all cost the Coalition, will make propositions of separate peace to one of the Allies, offering that one country almost complete satisfaction in the hope that, swayed perhaps by a section of their people who have grown weary of war, that Allied country will lay down her arms.
The Allied State which, contrary to its plighted faith, should separately treat with Berlin, would soon be punished for its infamy. By allowing Germany to conclude peace more or less on the basis of the territories she at present holds, the traitor State would find itself afterwards confronted by a formidable German Empire, and would inevitably become one of its first victims.
The Germans will perhaps try to play on the Allies the “armistice trick.” Here, again, we should have a cunning calculation founded once more on the weariness of the combatants. It is, indeed, conceivable that a simple armistice might end in allowing Germany to hold finally most of her actual territorial acquisitions; but it could so end only by means of a manœuvre which we must now expose.
No doubt they must make at Berlin the following calculation, which theoretically has something to be said for it: “If an armistice were signed, the Allied soldiers would think: ‘They are talking, therefore it means peace, and demobilization will soon follow.’ Under these conditions the effect will be the moral slackening of our adversaries.” The Germans could not ask for anything better. They would open peace negotiations with the following astute idea. To understand the manœuvre we must remember the proposals of peace which that active agent, Dr. Alfred Hermann Fried, of Vienna, was charged to throw out as a sounding-lead on the 27th December, 1915, in an article of the Nouvelle Gazette de Zurich, which made a great stir. These proposals were mixed up with provisoes, which would allow the discussion to be opened or broken off at any moment desired. For example, Belgium would preserve her independence, but “on condition of treaties, perhaps also of guarantees, which would render impossible a repetition of the events of 1914.” The occupied departments of France would be restored unconditionally to France, but “some small rectifications of frontiers might perhaps be desired in the interests of both parties” (Journal de Genève, 29th December, 1915). Assuming that the Allies committed the enormous mistake of discussing peace on such treacherous terms, Germany still entrenched behind her fronts, which would have been rendered almost impregnable, would say to the Allies, “I don’t agree with you. After all you cannot require of me that I should evacuate territories from which you are powerless to drive me. If you are not satisfied, continue the war.” As, while the negotiations were pending, all needful steps would have been taken by the German agents to aggravate the moral slackening of the soldiers of such Allied countries as might be most weary of the struggle, the huge military machine of the Entente could not again be put in motion as a whole. The real result would be, in fact, the rupture of the Anti-Germanic Coalition, and finally the conclusion of a peace more or less based on actual occupation. Berlin’s goal would thus have been reached.
Finally, when the “armistice trick” shall have also failed, and the situation of Germany shall have grown still worse, we shall see Berlin play her last trump. Petitions against territorial annexations will be multiplied on the other side of the Rhine. In an underhand way they will be favoured by the Government of Berlin, which will end by saying to the Allies: “Let us stop killing each other. I am perfectly reasonable. I give up my claims on such of your territories as are occupied by my armies. Let us negotiate peace on the basis of the ‘drawn game.’”
The day when this proposal will be made, the Allies will have to face the most astute of the Berlin tricks, the most alarming German trap. At that moment the tenacity, the clearsightedness, and the solidarity of the Allies must be put forth to the utmost. To show the extreme necessity of this, in the case supposed, I must baffle the German manœuvre in advance by proving clearly in the following chapter that the dodge of the drawn game, if it succeeded, would mask in reality a formidable success for Germany and an irreparable catastrophe for the Allies and for the freedom of the world.
THE DODGE OF THE “DRAWN GAME” AND THE SCHEME “FROM HAMBURG TO THE PERSIAN GULF.”
I. What would really be the outcome of the dodge called the “Drawn Game.”
II. The financial consequences for the Allies of this so-called “Drawn Game.”
III. The Allies and the scheme “From Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.”
IV. Panislamic and Asiatic consequences of the achievement of the scheme “From Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.”
V. Consequences for the world of the achievement of the scheme “From Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.”
If the Allies really wish, as their Governments have often proclaimed, to put an end to the peril of Prussian militarism, they must resolutely face the facts as they are, even when these are unpalatable to their self-esteem. They must understand fully that the chance of carrying out the Pangerman plan rests in a large measure on the ignorance of the Allies. Berlin knew that before the war the countries now allied were unaware of the totally new face which within recent years has been put on all the political problems of the Balkans and Austria-Hungary by the labours of Pangermanism and the movement of nationalities. Undoubtedly that ignorance of the Allies has been as minutely studied and appraised as were their military deficiencies; the conviction that the Allies did not understand how to grapple with the situation has certainly contributed to Berlin’s decision to unloose the dogs of war. Now, the dodge of the “Drawn Game,” the last trump of the Berlin Government, is a fresh gamble based on the ignorance of the Allies about foreign affairs.
The dodge of the “Drawn Game” will be based on the following train of reasoning, which unquestionably prevails in Berlin:
“The Allied diplomats have grasped neither our plan, nor our Pangerman organization, although that has required a preparation lasting twenty years. The Allied diplomats have understood neither the true position of the Balkans after the treaty of Bukarest (though that position was so favourable to themselves), nor the importance of the Balkan forces for the issue of the war. Still less do the Allied diplomats and the public of their respective countries know about the real state of affairs in Austria-Hungary. In France, and above all in England, a considerable proportion of the public continue to believe that Austria-Hungary is chiefly a German country, and that its more or less formal union with the Empire is a natural and almost inevitable event. Therefore, if we are compelled to give way in the East and in the West we may still, if we are clever, have a chance of achieving the third part of our Pangerman plan. The Allies will not understand the future danger in store for them if we carry out that part which is, indeed, the principal part of our scheme, namely, our designs on the South and South-East, symbolized by the formula: From Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.”
Indeed, the dodge of the “Drawn Game” aims at nothing less than at that result. We must own that the German argument which has just been summarized is not devoid of foundation; for up to now the Press of the Allies has published articles on Austria-Hungary revealing a total misconception of the facts, and they have thus unconsciously encouraged the Pangerman project as regards the Hapsburg Monarchy.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE DODGE CALLED THE “DRAWN GAME.”
In the Allied Press, also, the expression: “Drawn Game” is currently employed to mean that Germany might be considered as vanquished if she evacuates the now occupied territories in the East and in the West; but nobody has yet pointed out with the necessary precision that the so-called “Drawn Game” would not be a draw at all, since it would allow Germany to effect enormous acquisitions, which would make her much more powerful than before the war.
And yet the Allies ought not to be again the dupes of a German stratagem; which, if it succeeded, would involve consequences infinitely more serious than all the former errors of the Allies. To ward off that danger it suffices to look it full in the face and thoroughly to fathom what would be the outcome of a peace negotiated on the so-called principle of a “Drawn Game.”
The term “Drawn Game” evidently denotes that each country would keep the frontiers which existed before the war; also that each country would bear the burden of the outlays it has made during the struggle. But we will argue on a hypothesis infinitely more favourable for the Western Allies than that of the so-called “Drawn Game” in order to demonstrate super-abundantly and as decisively as possible what would be concealed behind this apparent and partial German capitulation.
Let us suppose (see map, p. 79) that, in consequence of victorious offensives of the Allies, Germany should declare herself disposed, not only to evacuate totally Poland, the French Departments, Belgium, and Luxemburg, but also to restore Alsace-Lorraine to France, and even to give, as an indemnity all the rest of the left bank of the Rhine, under the sole and tacit condition that Germany should keep her preponderant influence, direct or indirect, over Austria-Hungary, the Balkans and Turkey.
There are surely in the Allied Western countries many worthy people who, at present, no more see the result of such a peace, than a year ago they understood the enormous influences which the Balkans would exert on the course of the war. These good creatures, weary of the prolonged strife, would at once say: “After all, these are most acceptable terms: Alsace-Lorraine, the left bank of the Rhine!… let us make peace.”
If matters are probed to the bottom it will be easily seen that, should the Allies negotiate peace with Germany on such a basis, the restitution of Alsace-Lorraine could only be temporary; for with such a peace as that, Germany would secure all the elements of power which might enable her, after a very short respite, to retake Alsace-Lorraine, and in the end to overcome all the Allies and to achieve in its entirety the Pangerman plan, not only in Europe, but in Asia, nay in the whole world.
To relinquish the left bank of the Rhine, according to our hypothesis, would mean for Germany that she would lose:
The present German Empire would therefore be reduced to 493,408 square kilometres and 58 million inhabitants. But this loss in the West would be far more than counterbalanced by that close union of Austria-Hungary to the German Empire, which would be none the less real because it would be disguised. On this reckoning Berlin’s influence would be exercised directly and absolutely over:
|German Empire curtailed in the West||493,408||58,000,000|
It is evident that a solid block of States, established in Central Europe under the direction of Berlin, would exercise, simply by contiguity an absolutely preponderant pressure on:
Therefore Berlin’s preponderant influence would be wielded, directly or indirectly, over 3,462,199 square kilometres and over 150 million inhabitants.
We now see clearly that in the end the dodge of the “Drawn Game” would lead in reality to an enormous increase of the German Empire, and to the achievement of the principal part of the Pangerman plan summarized in the formula “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” (p. 109 of original). What then would be the general position of Great Germany thus constituted?
“Having cut Europe in two, mistress of the Adriatic as well as of the North Sea, secure in her fleets and in her armies, Great Germany would be an incubus on the world. Trieste, the Hamburg of the South, would feed her in peace and revictual her in war. Her industry, equipped with plant of incomparable power, would flood with her wares those very countries which she now schemes so artfully to monopolize:—Holland and Belgium, which are already penetrated; Hungary, her client; Roumania, her satellite; Bulgaria, a broken barrier; Bosnia and Herzegovina, the portals of the East. And, beyond the Bosphorus, Germany would reach Asia-Minor, that immense quarry of wealth. The huge German railroad projected to run from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf without a break, would link Berlin to the Far East. Then would the Emperor William’s Brobdingnagian dream be fulfilled. Germany would rule the world by her might and by her commercial wealth. The state of things which then would exist might be described by slightly modifying what Metternich wrote of Napoleonic France: ‘The German system which to-day is triumphant is directed against all the great states in their entirety, against every power able to maintain its own independence.’”
Such are the words which I published fifteen years ago in my book, L’Europe et la Question d’Autriche au seuil du XXᵉ siècle, p. 353 (Plon, Nourrit, editeurs, Paris). A careful study of the Pangerman plan of 1895 had then convinced me that the whole future policy of Berlin would tend to carry out the plan laid down in the formula “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.” In what I then wrote a few minute discrepancies may now be detected, but, unfortunately, the facts of to-day show that still on the whole my words correspond exactly with events. The dodge of the “Drawn Game,” which the Germans keep up their sleeve, hoping still to profit by the ignorance or the weariness of some of the Allies, would indeed have for its indisputable object the achievement of that huge plan.
The terrible danger which this would bring upon the Allies will be better perceived (supposing they fall into the trap laid for them) when we shall have demonstrated with precision, what would be the consequences for them if the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” were to succeed.
If we suppose for the sake of argument that the dodge of the “Drawn Game” were to succeed so far as to allow the Germans, by binding Austria-Hungary to the German Empire, to carry through their plan “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf,” their success would involve certain general financial consequences. These we must unfold, if we would clearly understand the full extent of the craft hidden under the cloak of that manœuvre called the “Drawn Game,” which is still to be played.
The Germans having failed to crush the Allies, begin to think that the expenses of war may possibly fall on themselves. The Berlin Post has already calculated: “If we do not receive a war indemnity we must reckon on a yearly increase of taxes of at least four milliard marks,” being five milliard francs for 68 million inhabitants (Le Temps, 1st February, 1916).
The disappointment is certainly keen for the Germans who counted on exacting from France alone an indemnity of 35 milliard francs; but we must nevertheless fully understand that the dodge of the “Drawn Game” (which, for the sake of argument, we suppose to have succeeded) would place Germany in a financial position vastly more advantageous than that of the Allies.
As a matter of fact, the cost of war has been much less for Germany than for her adversaries. This is a point which must be fully considered, all the more because it helps to explain why the economic resistance of Germany is more prolonged than was generally expected.
From the beginning of hostilities, Austro-German troops have lived at the vast expense of enemy or Allied territories, such as Turkey and Bulgaria, whose accumulated resources they slowly drain. Besides, in enemy countries, particularly in Belgium and in France, which are the richest regions on earth, the Germans have collected a large amount of plunder. On Belgium alone they have levied a war contribution in specie of 480 million francs ayear. Out of Belgium and France the Germans draw large quantities of coal and iron scot free. In both these countries they have purloined raw goods, machines, furniture, valuables, representing the value certainly of several milliard francs. In the French towns of the Nord alone the Germans have stolen about 550 million francs worth of wool. Everywhere they have seized innumerable securities which they have already tried to convert into money, though with small success, in the United States. But if a complete victory did not compel the Germans to restore those bonds to the Allies who own them, some at least of them would suffer a heavy loss of capital, by the mere fact of their warrants being detained; the effect of this would unavoidably react on the general wealth of the Allied countries. To these losses would probably be added those of the numerous milliards of francs, lent by the French or English to Austria, to the Balkan States, and to Turkey, and represented by bonds which at present are, it is true, in Allied lands, but whose value would become exceedingly uncertain and hazardous the day that Germany ruled from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf. Teutonic good faith would then serve as the only guarantee that dividends would be paid. The war, therefore, has put within Germany’s power not only vast territories which have enabled her to carry on the struggle with far less expense than the Allies, but also the Germans have been able to lay their hands on enormous wealth, representing tens of milliards of francs, which, being partly convertible into specie, have reduced by that amount the direct financial war outlay of Germany.
Clearly, the Allies are not in an equal position.
Always supposing, for the sake of argument, that peace were concluded with Berlin on the basis of the “Drawn Game,” each one of the Allies would have to bear, without any reduction, the immense expenses incurred to maintain a war made by Germany. It is easy to perceive that these war costs have been and are considerably higher for each of the Allies and more miscellaneous than has been the case for Germany. The Allies found it necessary to improvise an enormous war plant under most costly conditions, while Germany had been able during peace, that is, under relatively economical conditions, to produce all the material of her fighting equipment.
The Allies are bound to take care of and to maintain millions of refugees from invaded regions, whereas the Germans have only temporarily borne such a burden and merely for a small part of Eastern Prussia. After the war, Belgium, Russia and especially France will have to provide for some tens of milliards of francs worth of extra charges for repairs of the colossal damages done by the Germans in invaded territories, to private persons, State properties, railways, roads, etc. The Germans would not have a similar outlay, at least not anything like in the same proportion. In their conception of the “Drawn Game” the Germans certainly reckon that these financial differences would almost ensure, after peace, the ulterior impotence of the Allied countries as against Great Germany.
What, for instance, would be the position of France if a war indemnity were not paid to her? A few familiar figures, which everyone can check, will enable us to form an opinion on that score. If the struggle lasts, let us say, for two years, we can estimate at 50 milliards of francs the direct outlay for France, and about 20 milliards would be required for her indirect expenditure, that is, what must be paid after peace for repairing the prodigious damage caused to individuals and to the State—remaking of roads, rebuilding of railways, etc., the total of the expenses mounting up to some 70 milliards of francs. As the national debt of France, before the war, was 30 milliards of francs, it would therefore have increased after peace to about 100 milliard francs.
On the other hand the budget of France in 1914 was in round figures five milliard francs. The single item of the rise in price of daily commodities will in itself inevitably be increased after war at least by 10%, therefore the budget after peace will require, let us say, an initial increase of 500 million francs. On the other hand, this same budget would have to bear interest at 5% on the 70 milliard francs of newly incurred war debts; this would make a yearly outlay of 3,500 million francs. Finally, it is clear that pensions to be given to the wounded, to widows of combatants, will burden the budget by a yearly outlay of at least a milliard francs. Probably even that figure will be insufficient. Altogether the French budget of five milliard francs, as it was in 1914, would have to be increased by about five milliard francs; in other words, it will have to be doubled. Already we well know that this figure is much below what would be needed. And yet that enormous increase makes no allowance for sums required to effect important social reforms, nor for the great improvements necessary to bring up the economic national plant of France to a proper standard for resuming business actively.
We remember how hard it was in France before the war to find, by means of taxes, even the 500 million of francs needed for new expenditures. How could we find annually an additional sum of five milliard francs of taxes in a country cruelly devastated by the struggle and where the re-organization of economic life would have to be complete? It is obvious that the most crushing taxes levied on every person would not suffice for such a sum to be regularly raised.
Such a situation must inevitably tend to raise for the State and for every Frenchman individually considerable financial difficulties. The same would apply to economic undertakings. Thousands of these, at present in the hands of shareholders or bond-holders, would be in a most precarious condition, or the securities would be immensely depreciated. Landed property, overburdened by taxes and specially affected by the shortage of labour, would lose a great part of its value. This situation would lead to a general rise in prices for the commodities of daily life, and that again would lay a fresh burden on the back of every Frenchman. The financial position would be analogous for the Russians and for the English, who of all the belligerents have spent most on the war.
The Germans, in trying their “Drawn Game” trick, reckon oil these financial consequences to reduce the Allies to ultimate impotence. The only way to avoid this danger is to win that complete victory which all the Allies desire, since it would enable them to impose on Germany the payment of the war indemnity which she unquestionably owes, as she is responsible for the hostilities. Annuities paid to each of the Allies will be used as the basis of loans, which will help to tide over the serious financial difficulties that infallibly await all the belligerents after the war.
The menace involved in the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” creates between the Allies in Europe, a common bond of interest, which is far superior to their own individual interests, and which ought to keep them firmly united to the end.
France, England, Russia and Italy have an identical and an absolutely vital interest in defeating for ever the scheme of an empire that should reach from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf. This is quite apart from the purely humanitarian consideration that the numerous non-German peoples who live between Bohemia and the Persian Gulf should not be finally subservient to Germany. The achievement of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” scheme threatens all neutral states, for it would guarantee to Germany, as we shall see presently, her domination over the world.
Always on the supposition that this scheme succeeded, it would, regarded from the general economic point of view, place Germany in every respect in an infinitely superior position to that of the Allies. Her direct or indirect seizure of Austria-Hungary, of the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire would secure for Germany an extraordinary economic power, against which all eventual combinations of the Allies would be impotent. The German dogged power of work, spirit of enterprise and organizing skill need no further demonstration. We must therefore not doubt for a moment that they would draw, to their enormous advantage, all possible profits from Austria-Hungary, vast regions of which can still be turned to account. The same would apply to the Balkan countries, many of which are still quite virgin, and contain, to a considerable extent, unexplored sources of wealth, both agricultural and mineral. This would also be true of Asiatic Turkey. As early as 1886 the German Orientalist, Dr. Spenger, stated: “Asia Minor is the only territory of the world which has not yet been monopolized by a Great Power. And yet it is the finest field for colonization. If Germany does not miss the opportunity and seizes it before the Cossacks grab it, she will have secured the best part in the division of the world.”
It is an illusion to imagine that the Turks would seriously raise obstacles to the economic exploitation of their country by Germany. If the Germans were masters of Central Europe and the Balkans, they would be in a position to sweep away all obstacles. The Prussian Pangermans are quite sure of it, thanks to their liege-men of Constantinople. This is proved sufficiently by the way in which the hereditary prince of Turkey, Yussuf-Izzedin, was “suicided” at the end of January, 1916, because he was anti-German. The Germans would perfectly understand the art of showering, as hitherto, the amplest personal advantages on the handful of Young Turks of Enver Pasha’s clique, while at the same time they would grant such nominal concessions as would enable Berlin under the same to exploit thoroughly the Ottoman Empire.
Do not let us be deceived, if the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” succeeded, it would place in Berlin’s hands every element of a formidable economic power unprecedented in history. It would secure, in fact, to Germany the exclusive monopoly of economic influence on about three million square kilometres of European and Asiatic lands (Austria-Hungary, Balkans, Turkey), and it would include, beside, the seizure of numerous strategical places of the highest importance (the coasts of the Adriatic and the Ægean Sea, the Dardanelles, etc.).
Now the permanence of these enormous advantages would be assured to Great Germany through the expansion of Prussian militarism. For it must be clearly understood—the point is essential—that Prussian militarism would become considerably more powerful than it was in 1914, if the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” were achieved. Yet it is the destruction of Prussian militarism which is the true, legitimate, and necessary object of the war, an object infinitely above any mere territorial annexation whatsoever.
The increase of power which would accrue to Prussian militarism through the accomplishment of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” is readily intelligible. The close attachment of Austria-Hungary to Germany, by placing under the immediate authority of the Headquarters Staff of Berlin a population of 108 millions, would enable it to mobilize at least 10 millions of soldiers. Now, in virtue of the central geographical position of the two empires, and of the network of Austro-German railways, which would be brought to the highest degree of technical perfection, this immense army might, even more easily than to-day, be very rapidly concentrated on any point of the periphery of the Germanic confederation. But that is not all. The predominance of Berlin over the Balkans and Turkey, by means of political alliances forced on the satellite states of the South-East, would give in addition to the Berlin Staff control of 42 million inhabitants, that is to say, of about four millions of soldiers.
Supposing then that the mobilization applied to only ten per cent. of the population, the accomplishment of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” would place under the influence, direct or indirect, of the Hohenzollerns, a total of about fifteen millions of soldiers. If the mobilization applied to fourteen per cent. of the population, which is the proportion attained by Serbia and apparently by Austria-Hungary, the figure would be 21 millions of soldiers.
Now the course of the present war proves incontestably that the control of great military masses, placed in a single hand and elaborated as minutely as the Berlin Staff, forms a power infinitely greater than that of far more numerous masses under a control which is not sufficiently co-ordinated.
Hence the accomplishment of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” would place Germany in a military position considerably superior to that of all the Allied countries together.
In any case, those who are fighting for the purpose of putting an end to great armaments would find themselves once more plunged into the vortex of the most rigorous militarism, for they could not contend with Great Germany except at the cost of formidable armaments, which would absorb all their resources and all their attention. Now, would they be in a position to undertake such armaments in the infinitely difficult financial situation in which, according to hypothesis, they would stand? (see p. 86). Would they even have the resolution to undertake them, after the frightful moral disappointment of their peoples, who would learn too late the enormous mistake committed by their governments in negotiating peace on the basis of the so-called “Drawn Game,” which would have enabled Berlin to carry out its scheme of domination “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf”?
Besides, even if the Allies were willing to attempt once more the overthrow of the atrocious Prussian militarism, now much more oppressive than before the war, Great Germany would certainly not give them time to prepare for it.
We may be quite sure that the day peace was concluded on the basis supposed, Berlin would set about organizing economically and militarily, with the utmost speed, the immense territory over which its supremacy would be extended. Supposing that Russia, France, England and Italy were disposed to renew the conflict, they would, in the assumed financial and moral situation, be certainly reduced to impotence before they could make head against the new German colossus.
Finally, it would be ignoring completely the tenacity and ambition of the Hohenzollerns to imagine that Great Germany, once mistress of an empire from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf, would sincerely renounce the ambition of dominating the North Sea and the English Channel. Hence the evacuation of Belgium and the retrocession of Alsace-Lorraine, which on our hypothesis Germany would have yielded to France, would only have been temporary. The apparent capitulation of Berlin would have been, therefore, nothing but a cunning device to allow Germany, driven almost to bay, to recover herself for a renewal of the struggle. Indeed, she is already preparing for it in union with her actual allies. La Nation Tchèque, of 15th March, 1916, an excellent review edited by M. Ernest Denis, professor at the Sorbonne, brought to light the following fact. On the 29th February, 1916, the Chamber of Commerce of Budapest met, all members being present, in order to study what measures to take for a future war intended to complete the insufficient results of a peace, looked upon as “imperfect.” In this discussion it was stated that with the prospect of a fresh conflagration the States allied to Germany in the present war must form an Economic Union.
Thus, already, the Hohenzollern are stirring up even their allies to organize the future conflagration which they will set ablaze if the Allies do not crush Prussian militarism. William II. and his Pangermans want, at all costs, to carry out the scheme known as “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” because they know very well that the completion of that scheme, as we shall see presently, would suffice to provide them with all the means of afterwards accomplishing in its entirety their programme of universal domination.
The Pangerman plan of 1911 provides that the results of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” scheme should be made the most of even in the furthest points of the Far East. Facts to hand and well-known Pangerman programmes enable us to form an idea of what help Germany meant to find in Asia during the war, and what profit would have accrued to her afterwards from the said scheme, if she had succeeded in finally carrying it out.
William II. tried to play the Panislamic card, which is one of the leading trumps of the Pangerman game. In a word, the object was to stir up a Panislamic movement, both political and military, which would help Germany to vanquish the Entente powers, since these hold among their possessions numerous Moslem subjects: France, particularly in Tunis, Algiers and Morocco; Italy in Libya; Russia in the Crimea and in the Caucasus, in the region of Kazan, in Central Asia and in Siberia; England in Egypt, in India, in Burma, in the Straits Settlements and in the greater part of her African Colonies.
As Panislamism is ostensibly founded on the restoration and considerable extension of the influence and powers of the Sultan of Constantinople, Commander of the Faithful, it could not fail to flatter deeply the neo-nationalism of the Turks, which has manifested itself particularly since the failure of the Allies at the Dardanelles. The result is that, thanks to Panislamism, the Kaiser’s interests have been well served by the Sultan’s Moslem subjects; a clever propaganda has dazzled their eyes with a prospect of the restoration of a great empire, even greater than in days of old.
ASIATIC CONSEQUENCES OF THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE SCHEME “FROM HAMBURG TO THE PERSIAN GULF.”
The Panislamic movement, minutely and long prepared during peace by Germany, was started by her as soon as hostilities began. On the advice of Berlin, the Sultan proclaimed, as early as the end of 1914, the Jehad or Holy War. No doubt the Moslem insurrection has not become general, but the Islamic agitation has nevertheless yielded local results, which will be better understood after the war, and which have hampered the Allies in India, in Egypt, in Libya and in the French possessions of North Africa. Particularly in April, 1915, an insurrection of British Indian troops at Singapore very nearly succeeded. About the same time in Siam, numerous German officers, with the assistance of Indian and Burmese revolutionaries, had begun to muster a small army of 16,000 men, who, after being armed, were to attack British Burma. This Islamic agitation was threatening to assume serious proportions, when the success of the Russians in Armenia and in Persia fortunately checked it by striking a heavy blow at the prestige of the Sultan, the Commander of the Faithful.
Nevertheless, what Berlin has already attempted to achieve with the help of Islam, should serve the Allies as a strong warning of what Germany would certainly do in time to come, if the future peace left her the necessary means. As soon as the Turco-German junction had been effected across Serbia in October, 1915, the Panislamic policy of the Kaiser assumed a more decided form. At the behest of the Kaiser, his familiar spirit at Constantinople, Enver Pacha, who then was all-powerful, mobilized the whole of such of his Ottoman subjects as were able to carry the arms provided for them, which only at the beginning of 1916 began to pour in from the Central Empires, after communications had been established across invaded Serbia. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Armenians were systematically massacred, in order to eliminate a non-Moslem population, which thwarted the Turco-German plans for the future. As to the military and Panislamic activity of the Turks, directed by the Germans, it has endeavoured to radiate from Constantinople in many directions towards Egypt, the Caucasus, Persia, Central-Russian Asia, Afghanistan and India.
After the war, if by our hypothesis, peace were made on the basis of a “Drawn Game,” that is to say, if the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” were carried out, all these other plans would be taken up again. How would the Turks free themselves from the German clutches? Their financial position binds them entirely to Germany. Such large personal advantages as the Kaiser’s agents would inevitably offer to all Turks whose help would be considered useful, would suffice to ensure Berlin’s predominance in the Sultan’s Empire, that classical land of backsheesh (see map, p. 95).
Now, there are in Persia, in the Azerbijan, about 400,000 men who would make quite useful soldiers, and who would provide what is necessary for an offensive against Russia; in Afghanistan 500,000 first class combatants would be found. Once armed they could be let loose in Northern India, which contains about 50 million Moslems. These, so far, have collectively remained loyal to Great Britain, but their feelings might be subject to a change if, as a fact, Germany appeared to be victorious by remaining mistress of the route from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf. Hence we conclude that very soon after a peace negotiated on such a basis, the English and the Russians might have to face very grave difficulties.
That is not all; German propaganda has extended to the whole of China by various means. First of all the 20 to 30 million Moslems who dwell in the Celestial Empire, have been worked up by Turco-German agents in the same way as the Moslem population in other Islamic regions. But as the Chinese Moslems are geographically not well grouped to form a sufficiently powerful basis for the German agitation, the latter has fastened on the vital and motor organs of China. The German agents have bought in China, as elsewhere, all the newspapers which could be utilized for their object, particularly the Peking Post, written in English, and the Chinese review, Hsie-Ho-Pao. They have also made use of the Ostasiatische Lloyd, which was published at Tien-Tsin before the war. Since its outbreak they have founded the German China Gazette. All these organs have propagated everywhere in the Celestial Empire the doctrine of German invincibility. Thanks to this, says the Frankfurter Zeitung, “every coolie knows by now that Germany is victorious.”
For the moment the policy which Germany pursues in China consists in stirring up everywhere trouble and unrest. In Northern China it upholds the President Yuan-Shi-Kai. In his set the Germans have gained numerous followers. Thanks to their influence, German officers already occupy very important posts in the Chinese army. But in Southern China, Germany is rousing the populations against the authority of Yuan-Shi-Kai. The aim of Berlin in this apparent contradictory policy, is to create such a position in China that it will engross the attention of Japan, and prevent her from intervening with her troops in Europe; such an intervention has been already contemplated and would be still possible.
The present Berlin policy in the Celestial Empire has also for its object to prepare the German policy of the future in the Far East. When once peace is concluded, on the basis on which she counts, Germany would pursue in China exactly the same policy which she intends to pursue in Turkey. Then Berlin will say to the Chinese, as she now says to the Turks, “See, we are bold financiers, enterprising manufacturers, energetic business men. We will help you to turn your country to account. We shall procure for you the experts whom you need. We will give you the means of defending yourselves against your neighbours. We, who are the finest soldiers in the world, will bring up to a proper standard your endless and magnificent military forces, now in embryo. With your 300 millions of inhabitants you can be the absolute rulers of all Asia. We will, therefore, build up for you a formidable army and a very powerful navy.”
It is easy to perceive what is hidden behind this programme, with its obvious attraction for the Chinese. In reality, it is a preparation for the seizure by Germany of part of China, and her economic exploitation under exactly the same conditions and by the same measures as those already employed in Turkey. Moreover, this policy is a signal vengeance which Germany means to wreak in the future on Japan after the victory of which she thinks herself assured. No doubt, in order to break the union of her adversaries, Berlin has already hinted to Tokio the idea of a separate peace, but that is merely a piece of tactics exacted by the need of the moment.
Never would a Great Germany, mistress of the route from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf, and exercising a predominant influence in China, forgive Japan for having driven her out of Kiao-Chau. Now, if and when an immense Chinese army shall have been created, under the direction of German officers, Japan, in spite of the bravery of her soldiers, would at once be unable to avoid the consequences of the intolerable situation in which she would be placed through the relative smallness of her population (70 millions, with her colonies, against 300 millions of Chinese). Japan is, therefore, directly aimed at by the scheme of domination from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf, which really endangers her future.
Finally, we can see that thanks to a combination of Panislamism and a Chinophile policy, at least one that is outwardly so, the achievement of the scheme of domination from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf, would assure to Germany the means not only of dominating Europe, but also of exercising a preponderant influence over the whole of Asia. After having obtained for herself in Europe the possibility of drawing exclusive profit from strategic positions of inestimable value, such as the shores of the Adriatic, the Ægean, and the Dardanelles, Germany would be mistress, by mere force of circumstances, of the Suez Canal and would command besides numerous vantage points on the Chinese coasts. Thus the defeat of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” project is a vital question not only for France, England, Russia, and Italy, but also for Japan.
In order to demonstrate the really extraordinary importance of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf,” we have still to show how its achievement would not only make Germany mistress in Europe and preponderant in Asia, but would carry with it the accomplishment of the Pangerman plan in its world-wide form. The world-wide elements of this plan, graphically shown on the map herewith, have been set forth in the book of Otto Richard Tannenberg, The Greater Germany, the Work of the 20th Century, which appeared at Leipsic in 1911. As this book, which bearing date 1911, contains the exact programme of the seizures to be effected in Europe and Turkey, nine-tenths of which the German General Staff has already carried out to the letter, the exceptional importance of Tannenberg’s book is indisputable. It is demonstrated, in fact, that the annexations and seizures which he advocated in 1911 correspond as completely as possible with the execrable ambitions of the government of Berlin.
WORLD-WIDE CONSEQUENCES OF THE “HAMBURG TO THE PERSIAN GULF” SCHEME, AS PROVIDED FOR BY THE PLAN OF 1911.
As for the territorial acquisitions which Tannenberg advocates in Asia, in Africa, in Oceania, and in America, they would be the perfectly logical consequences of the accomplishment of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” project. If that project became a reality, it would be because the European Allies, through their blunders in the management of the war, would have had to forego the notion of beating Germany and to leave the German General Staff to command an army of from 15 to 21 millions of men (see p. 91). Therefore, it is obvious that on this hypothesis the Allied peoples, after a treacherous peace, morally and financially exhausted, having to face the formidable armies of Pangermany, would be unable to oppose the accomplishment of those colonial schemes, which the success of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” plan would afford to Great Germany the means of carrying out, since, always on the assumption in question, they would have given way on an issue much more vital for them—that of the independence of Europe.
Once grant this supposition, and we shall be convinced that Tannenberg’s world-wide plan of Pangerman annexations is quite stripped of that chimerical character which at first sight we might be disposed to ascribe to it.
Besides, we must add that the programme, which is fully described below, was drawn up by Tannenberg on the supposition, on which the Berlin Government also reckoned, that England would not take part in the war. In order to purchase her neutrality, Tannenberg advocated dividing the colonies of the other European powers between London and Berlin. But now that England has thrown herself into the struggle, it is clear that, assuming Germany to be victorious, she would take possession also of those colonies which Tannenberg proposed to assign to Great Britain, since Britain would be incapable of resisting. It follows that the world-wide acquisitions of Pangermany, sketched in the plan of 1911 and summarized below, are in fact less than Germany would be able to effect, since having presumably accomplished the scheme of domination “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf,” no organized force on earth would be powerful enough to curb the boundless ambition of Berlin.
We have proved above that if the Allies allowed Germany to secure her hold on Austria-Hungary, the predominant and exclusive influence of Berlin over all the Balkans and Turkey would be inevitable. Tannenberg (op. cit., p. 323) explains that finally Asia Minor, Syria, and Mesopotamia, Palestine, Western Persia, and the larger part of Arabia would pass under the absolute protectorate of the German Empire, making a total of, say, 3,200,000 square kilometres and 16,500,000 inhabitants.
Once masters of the coasts of the Adriatic, the Ægean, the Dardanelles, and Aden, helped by the Panislamic propaganda, the Turco-German seizure of Egypt, and therefore the Suez Canal, would necessarily follow. Germany, if she commanded these essential strategical points, would then obviously be able to retake her colonies in Africa and Oceania.
|Kaiser Wilhelm Land, Bismarck Archipelago, Caroline Islands, Marshall Islands, the Marianes, Samoa||245,000||647,000|
|Making a total of||2,952,000||11,787,000|
Always on the assumption which we have made, the Allies, having given way in Europe, could not prevent Great-Germany from snatching, according to Tannenberg’s programme, the Belgian, Portuguese, and Dutch Colonies, namely:
|Dutch East Indies||2,045,000||38,106,000|
Next would come the turn of those French colonies, the cession of which to Great Germany was foreshadowed by Tannenberg, op. cit., p. 313.
|Mayotta and the Comoros Islands||2,000||97,000|
|Obok and dependencies (East Africa)||120,000||208,000|
|French Islands of Oceania||24,000||88,000|
|Making a total of||3,391,000||33,588,000|
The combination of Panislamism and the so-called Chinophile movement would prepare for the German seizures in Asia. As we have seen (p. 99), the Berlin plan consists first in arming China powerfully enough under the orders of German officers, to expel the Japanese from Kiao-Chau and from the province of Shantung. Germany would thus inflict a first and striking vengeance on the Empire of the Rising Sun. But that would not be all. The policy which Berlin foreshadows with regard to China is identical with the one which it is now pursuing in Turkey. If Germany armed China, it would be under conditions such that the Celestial Empire would have to submit to the strict influence of Pangermany. Tannenberg (op. cit., p. 321) tells us that the outcome of these tactics would be the establishment of a vast zone of special German influence on the whole lower course of the Yangtse-Kiang and the Hoangho, that is to say, over that vast portion of China which forms the hinterland of Kiao-Chau, making a total of about 750,000 square kilometres and 50 millions of inhabitants.
Tannenberg finally gives an exact enumeration of the various German protectorates which would be established in the southern part of South America, where dwell many German colonists, whose aggressive tendencies are already plain enough. “Germany,” says Tannenberg literally, “takes under her protection the republics of Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay, the southern third of Bolivia, so far as it belongs to the basin of the Rio de la Plata, together with that part of southern Brazil, in which German culture is dominant” (op. cit., p. 321).
|Making a total of||6,347,000||18,197,000|
“German South America,” concludes Tannenberg, “will provide for us in the temperate zone a colonial region where our emigrants will be able to settle as farmers. Chili and Argentina will preserve their language and their autonomy. But we shall require that in the schools German shall be taught as a second language. Southern Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay are countries of German culture. German will there be the national tongue” (op. cit., p. 337).
Even during the war, Germany has laid the train for some of these explosions. The Chicago Tribune has learned that the Committee of Foreign Affairs for the Senate of the United States possesses the proofs of German intrigues carried on in the American hemisphere in defiance of the Monroe doctrine (Le Temps, 16th February, 1916). These official Pangerman machinations, proved up to the hilt and entirely in harmony with Tannenberg’s American plan of campaign, demonstrate the identity of his colonial views with those of the government of Berlin.
To sum up, the result of the Pangerman programme for countries outside of Europe would be to assure to Germany, under the form of colonies, protectorates, or zones of special influence:
|Making a total of||22,320,000||187,378,000|
Germany, which occupied or controlled, at the beginning of 1916, in Europe, 3,576,237 square kilometres, including the Empire, and more than 160 millions of inhabitants, would then have a universal domain of influence reaching over 25,896,237 square kilometres and 347 millions of inhabitants. This figure includes at the utmost 90 millions of Germans; therefore, these will exercise their supremacy over 257 millions of non-Germans.
It must be clearly understood also that the enormous possessions of Pangermany in both hemispheres would be thoroughly under the domination of Berlin; indeed, a glance at the map (p. 101) will show that the universal Pangerman plan aims at seizing all the essential strategic points which command the seas of the world, especially, in addition to those already mentioned, the Straits of Gibraltar from the side of Morocco, Cape Horn, Madagascar, and all the naval bases of Oceania.
To sum up, the complete Pangerman plan aims at procuring for Germany all the means of domination by land and sea, which would enable Pangermany to hold the entire world in the dreadful hug of Prussian militarism screwed up to its highest degree of power.
Not for a moment do the Pangermans pause to reflect how criminal is this programme of universal slavery. “War,” says Tannenberg, with his monstrous cynicism, “must leave nothing to the vanquished but their eyes to weep with. Modesty on our part would be purely madness” (op. cit., p. 304). Now, it is a fundamental truth, of which I should like to convince my readers, that the universal Pangerman plan is solely and wholly based on the achievement of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf,” which forms its backbone. If this is broken, the whole of the Pangerman plan falls to the ground, and the projects of Prussian domination are destroyed for ever. The principal problem which the Allies have to solve, if they wish to ensure their liberty and that of the whole world, is to make impossible the achievement of the plan “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.”
THE CRUCIAL POINT OF THE WHOLE PROBLEM.
I. The obligation which the threat of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” imposes on the Allies.
II. The capital importance of the question of Austria-Hungary.
III. All the racial elements necessary for the destruction of the Pangerman plan exist in Central Europe.
Now that they have laid their hands on nine-tenths of the territories which they coveted (see p. 63), the Germans will only give in at the last extremity. Maximilian Harden has peremptorily declared: “Every means will be enthusiastically employed against her enemies by the German people. We will go back to the times of savagery when man was a wolf for his fellow man” (quoted by Le Temps, 9th February, 1916). In face of this firm resolution of the Germans to achieve at all costs the plan of universal domination, a plan of which the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” project is the necessary and sufficient backbone, the real destruction of Prussian militarism becomes more than ever a duty. Only this result can repay the sacrifices of the admirable “Tommies” of the Allied armies. If they are determined to hold on as long as necessary, it is not to cover themselves with military glory; it is to acquire the certainty “that it shall not begin again, that their children shall not know horrors like those of the hellish struggle initiated by Prussianized Germany.”
The Allies will certainly issue as conquerors from this dreadful war, but on condition that in future the struggle should be directed by the lessons of experience. These essential lessons are the outcome of the geographical, ethnographical, economic, and strategical elements which constitute the Pangerman plan of 1911, temporarily accomplished. Now, these lessons of experience show that the Allies could not possibly be content with a half-and-half victory; a complete victory alone can guarantee them against any aggressive revival, after peace, of Prussian militarism.
The following considerations appear strongly to justify this opinion:
“If in France,” declares Harden, “they think that the re-establishment of peace can only be made possible by the restoration of Alsace-Lorraine, and if necessity should oblige us to sign such a peace, the 70 millions of Germans would very soon tear that peace to tatters” (quoted by Le Temps, 9th February, 1916). Is there a single living Frenchman of sense who would be willing to recover Alsace-Lorraine under such conditions that it would be necessary afterwards to make incessant and exhausting military efforts in order to keep the restored provinces? Certainly not. The restoration of Alsace-Lorraine will only become of value for France when the annihilation of Prussian militarism shall guarantee her a legitimate and peaceful possession of the territories in question. Now, as I think I have proved, it would be impossible to reckon on this security if France allowed Berlin to carry out the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf,” which would furnish Germany with superabundant means to retake Alsace-Lorraine after a short respite.
The imperious necessity of avoiding financial ruin further forces the Allies to seek a complete victory. Indeed, such a victory alone will enable them to escape the most frightful impoverishment, which otherwise threatens the Allied States and their citizens. The fabulous expenses which the present war necessitates distinguish it, financially speaking, by a vast gulf from all the wars that have gone before.
After 1870, France was able very quickly to recover her position, and in spite of the misfortunes of the country, individuals were able, on the morrow of the peace, to promote the prosperity of their business. But after the present war, if the Allies did not win a complete victory, our States, like our individuals (see p. 88), would be faced by almost inextricable pecuniary difficulties. The endless economic consequences resulting from crushing taxes, which could not be regularly and permanently collected, would be such that the States and most individuals in the Allied countries would see themselves reduced to impotence and therefore to poverty. This, however, is truly the situation with which the Allies would be confronted if Germany were to achieve her plan of domination “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf,” since that solution would enable her to retain her enormous spoils of war and to lay hands on considerable sources of wealth (see p. 85).
Now, would it not be a monstrous iniquity that the people of France, England, Russia, and Italy should be reduced for tens of years to terrible poverty because it suited the execrable ambition of the Hohenzollerns to reduce Europe to slavery?
Only a complete victory can save the Allied countries from financial ruin, because, no matter what some people say, Germany will be able to pay the cost of the struggle she has initiated. As she is responsible for the war, Germany already owes to the united Allies a colossal sum which can be estimated roundly at between 250 and 300 milliards of francs. But if the credit of the German Empire is doomed to disappear on the day of her defeat, the material riches of Germany, which are very considerable, will continue. They represent much more than 300 milliards of francs. Of course Germany will only be able to pay her fabulous debt very gradually. But when means for collecting the German revenues shall have been systematically and leisurely studied by the conquering Allies, when these collections of revenue shall have become assured, of course not by written German promises, worthless scraps of paper, but by real guarantees in harmony with those precedents of history, which the government of Berlin strongly contributed to establish in 1870, Germany will be perfectly able to hand to each of the great conquering Allies about two milliards of francs a year. This annuity, thanks to modern financial combinations, will be sufficient to allow each Allied state to raise annual loans at relatively low rates and therefore easily procurable; and these will permit each State to spare its citizens the burden of taxes which would be not only crushing but fatal, and which would be inevitable if the country had to relinquish the hope of being recouped for its war expenses by Germany.
Now, a truly complete victory like this, which is indispensable from so many points of view to the Allies, is perfectly possible in spite of the faults committed by the Allies, which alone have delayed it.
A line of argument will set this possibility in a proper light. Harden himself has been constrained, as we have already seen, to face the hypothesis of a cession of Alsace-Lorraine to France. It is obvious that when they have come to that pitch at Berlin, it will mean that Germany at bay, on the brink of absolute disaster, will try to negotiate with the Allies in order to save her plan of domination “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.” This would enable her, after a short respite, to recover Alsace-Lorraine from France, as Harden also indicates. Therefore, the effort needed at the present moment, if the Allies wish to secure a complete instead of a doubtful victory, which in reality would mean for them a catastrophe, would be comparatively slight. That effort would probably only represent the hundredth part of all those already made by the Allies. We should be mad or criminal not to make it, because it is that last effort which will put an end to the horrible nightmare conjured up all over the world by Prussian militarism.
In order to make sure of this complete victory, we need only draw the appropriate lesson from the mistakes that have been made. As M. Briand said in Rome, the solidarity of the Allies should be closer than ever. “They ought to pool all their resources, all their energies, all their vital forces.” But that co-ordination of the efforts of the Allies, which is called for on every side, would be greatly facilitated, if the common objective of the common action of all the Allies were thenceforth clearly defined in its geographical, military, and political aspects.
The German aggression took the Allies by surprise, and their first duty was to resist it. Afterwards, through the mere force of circumstances, the operations of each of them were directed mainly to the particular objects which each had in view. England and France have reasons of honour and of interest for defending the absolute independence of Belgium. France must recover its invaded departments and liberate Alsace-Lorraine. Russia must not only reconquer its frontiers on the West, but free the whole of Poland, to which she has promised autonomy. The empire of the Tsars must also put an end, once for all, to the Turco-German menace on the south of the Caucasus. Italy must recover her lost lands—Italia irredenta—from the clutch of the Hapsburgs. But all these particular objects, however legitimate and necessary, have long prevented the Allies from seeing the war in its European dimensions, and have therefore diverted their attention from what, alike from the geographical, the military, and the political point of view, should be the common objective of all their efforts, an objective of supreme importance, since its attainment would deliver them at once from the menace of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” project, which threatens all the Allies alike; and by striking a decisive blow at Prussian militarism it would assure the accomplishment and the permanence of the practical results aimed at by each of the Allies individually.
THE CRUCIAL POINT OF THE EUROPEAN PROBLEM.
Now this common objective, this geographical, military and political crux of all the problems which the Allies have to solve, is represented by Austria-Hungary. On that subject the diplomacy of the Allies, thanks again to M. Briand and his colleagues, appears to have entered on the right path. The Matin of 4th February, 1916, reported the reception by M. Briand of Professor Masaryk, one of the most highly esteemed leaders of Bohemia. In reference to this meeting the Matin added the following significant words, which deserve to be borne in mind: “M. Briand encouraged M. Masaryk to persevere in his propaganda, and expressed to him his good wishes and his sympathy with the legitimate claims of the Czech-Slovak people.” But Bohemia is the corner-stone of that group of non-German peoples included in Austria-Hungary, whose independence is one of the conditions indispensable to the destruction of Prussian militarism. Therefore public opinion in the Allied countries should henceforth clearly understand the close relation which, as I have shown above, exists between the little understood question of Austria-Hungary and the end of the Pangerman nightmare. It will then have a fresh and extremely powerful reason for the conviction, that the complete victory, which the Pangerman plan renders indispensable for the Allies, cannot fail to be theirs, provided they set their heart on it and avoid further mistakes.
In Austria-Hungary lies the crucial point of the European and even of the world-wide problem raised by the German aggression, because:
1. Austria-Hungary has entered into the struggle in very peculiar circumstances. This State is not an enemy of the Allies, except at the bidding of theHapsburg dynasty, which, by yielding to the injunctions of Berlin, has betrayed its own peoples. In fact, Francis Joseph declared war without even daring to consult his parliament, for he knew very well that nearly three-fourths of his subjects, sympathizing with Russia, France, and England, and being definitely hostile to Germany, would have opposed, by the voice of their representatives, any sanguinary conflict destined to turn to the advantage of Germanism.
2. It is manifest that Germany cannot maintain a war against Europe except with the help of the Austro-Hungarian soldiers, whom she has dexterously contrived to enlist in her cause, and of whom the vast majority only fight because they are forced to do so by the brutal German Staff Officers who command them.
3. It is clear that after the peace, if Germany were to evacuate all the territories she now occupies in the East and the West, to restore Alsace-Lorraine to France, and yet to keep her hold, more or less disguised, on Austria-Hungary, Berlin would possess all the means for retaking, after a short delay, Alsace-Lorraine from France, since, as we saw in the foregoing chapter, the German hold on Austria-Hungary inevitably implies the accomplishment of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.”
4. From this last consideration it follows that if after the peace Germany were to retain her disguised hold on Austria-Hungary, the solemn promise given by France, England, and Russia, to re-establish Serbia in its independence and its integrity, would be practically incapable of fulfilment.
5. On the contrary, if the freedom from German control of at least the majority of the Austro-Hungarian territories were assured after the peace, this would absolutely prevent for the future any aggressive revival of Prussian militarism. For by the very fact of that independence the General Staff of Berlin would be deprived of troops which are indispensable to the forcible execution of the Pangerman projects.
6. A glance at the map (p. 113) will show that in virtue of their geographical situation nothing but the freedom of the majority of the Austro-Hungarian territories from German control could enable the Allies to keep their promises to Serbia, and, by definitely breaking the backbone of the Pangerman plan, to prevent the immense danger of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” plan, the accomplishment of which all the Allies, without any exception (France, England, Russia, Italy, Japan, Belgium, Serbia, Montenegro) have a really vital interest to prevent. But, as we shall see at the end of the volume, their interest in this matter is also the interest of the whole civilized world.
The fact that public opinion in the Allied countries is not yet fully alive to the capital, the essential importance of the Austro-Hungarian question for the issue of the war and the future of Europe, is due to a variety of causes which must be enumerated.
In the first place, the question of Austria-Hungary, an empire composed of very complex racial and social elements, is undoubtedly very difficult to grasp.
In the next place, the lamentable want of interest in foreign affairs, which before the war prevailed in the Allied countries, is responsible for the extreme inaccuracy of those current beliefs on the subject, which the German press agents have successfully palmed off on the newspapers of the present Allies.
As a result, many people in these countries, especially in England, still imagine that Austria-Hungary, with a population of fifty millions, is a country mainly German, which is a radically false idea. This serious mistake is sometimes made, to my knowledge, even by men occupying very important posts.
Evidently a large part of the public is no longer quite so ignorant as that. Nevertheless, even for them the Austro-Hungarian question is still full of obscurities. Need we wonder at it? The official diplomatists themselves in general, whatever their personal intelligence, have been able to acquire but a very superficial insight into the internal affairs of the Hapsburg empire. The reasons for the deficiency have been already set forth (Chapter I., § 3); they include the old-fashioned means of observation and information which the diplomatists have been constrained to employ.
Finally, the learned men who have studied Austria-Hungary only as historians, that is to say, as foreigners and in books, whatever their qualifications, have not been able to acquaint themselves with the exact internal condition of the country, which has been completely transformed, especially within the last ten years. But it is just this present condition which it is important, and alone important, to comprehend.
This want of clear notions on the Hapsburg empire involves a very great danger for the Allies. It has contributed largely to the very grave mistakes which they have made in the general conduct of the war. An end must be put to this ignorance. In regard to Austria-Hungary the Allies must on no account continue to commit such a series of blunders as those which made up their policy towards the Balkans. Their punishment for such repeated mistakes would be even more severe than it has been.
The only way of avoiding these mistakes is to listen to the opinions of the few men, citizens of the Allied states, who in recent years, in virtue of theirthorough-going studies and of their extensive travels in the whole of Austria-Hungary, have been able to acquire a really exact and general knowledge of the facts as they are at present.
Those who possess these qualifications are far from numerous. I will mention first two Russians: M. de Wesselitsky, correspondent of the Novoe Vremya in London, who knows not only Austria-Hungary, but all Europe, and has very profound views; and M. Briantchaninoff, of Petrograd. I know that in official circles the ideas of the latter gentleman are deemed too violent or extreme, but he is one of the few Russians who have travelled much for the purpose of acquainting themselves with foreign affairs. A very intelligent Liberal and a clearsighted man, he has for a very long time advocated the concession by Russia of the largest and the most genuine autonomy to Poland. His opinion with regard to Austria-Hungary, which he has often visited, deserves to be listened to.
Two Englishmen in particular possess an excellent knowledge of the Hapsburg empire: Mr. Wickham Steed, foreign editor of The Times, who was for ten years the remarkable correspondent of that powerful organ at Vienna; Mr. Seton-Watson, who, under the name of Scotus Viator, has published, within the last ten years, the results of his manifold inquiries in works of the highest value dealing with the nationalities subject to the German-Magyar yoke.
In France we find M. Louis Léger, Member of the Institute, who for fifty-one years past, has devoted special study to all the peoples of Austria-Hungary and knows them thoroughly. Further, M. Ernest Denis, professor at the Sorbonne, has written a remarkable history of Bohemia. In studying on the spot for the purpose of writing this book, he has acquired a very full knowledge of the Czech nation, which by its geographical position in Bohemia and Moravia, forms the indispensable basis of every reconstitution of Austria-Hungary in a modern form. Finally, may I be allowed to cite myself, since for twenty-two years, by a series of manifold inquiries on the spot, I have endeavoured to understand in their detail the very complex problems which form the Austro-Hungarian question?
Now, I have reason to believe that these men, who have thoroughly studied Austria-Hungary, and whom therefore we ought to trust, are agreed on the general lines of the policy which the Allies should pursue in regard to the Hapsburg monarchy. I think that I am not mistaken when I say that the opinions which I am about to express are on the whole in harmony with the views of these gentlemen.
Let us first understand that those who still uphold the doctrine of the maintenance of Austria-Hungary as she is, that is, in subjection to the Hapsburg dynasty, are at least twenty years behind their time. To adopt this solution would be to play the German game; for it is practically impossible to separate the Hapsburgs from the Hohenzollerns. It would establish the Germanic yoke on the Slav and Latin subjects of the Hapsburgs, thus facilitating the accomplishment of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.”
Finally, the Hapsburg dynasty has given too many proofs of its incapacity, its duplicity, and its submissiveness to the suggestions of Berlin, to allow us to consider seriously its maintenance at the head of the Austro-Hungarian peoples.
In no way must the Allies be dupes of the comedy which the Pangermans of Berlin, Vienna, and Budapest are getting up now in order to profit by the ignorance of the Allies as to Austro-Hungarian facts.
All the measures tending to force Austria-Hungary into the German Zollverein, which would make its political absorption inevitable, must be looked upon as a farce, a simple act of criminal violence done to the wishes of the immense majority of the populations in the Hapsburg monarchy. So true is this, that certain Magyar noblemen, who up to the present have been decided allies of Berlin, are already uttering protests against the Prussian yoke, understanding at last that it is to be imposed upon them. Count Theodore Batthyany, vice-president of the Independent Left of the Hungarian Chamber, declared at the end of March, 1916: “It is often said among us that the future Customs-Union would create in our country better economical conditions. This is much more true for Germany, who will hold both the reins and the whip in the combination…. Besides the Germans make no secret of it that in the proposed compact there will be other agricultural states which will be our future competitors (in allusion to Turkey and the Balkan States). Certainly, from the time that the union is concluded, all capital will come to us from Germany and never from elsewhere. The Germans will have the monopoly of capital among us, and you know what a monopoly is and what it costs. The money will cost us dear” (Le Temps, 1st February, 1916).
In Austria, M. Nemetz, President of the Chamber of Commerce at Prague, declared: “None of the arguments adduced in favour of a Customs-Union with Germany will for a moment bear the light of criticism. An insuperable obstacle is opposed to an intimate Customs-Union between the two empires: their interests are not identical but on the contrary competitive” (quoted by Le Temps, 9th February, 1916).
These categorical declarations prove what resistance the Pangerman manœuvre has already to encounter. The Allies have much to gain from these statements, for they prove the reality of the deep opposition existing between the interests of Pangerman Germany and those of the majority of the Austro-Hungarian peoples.
But there remains an essential point to prove, for it gives rise to special anxiety in the minds of that part of the public in the Allied countries which still harps on the false idea that Austro-Hungary is a specially German country. This section of the public doubts whether the application of the principle of nationalities, which the Allies demand, would not have the effect of necessarily and considerably increasing Germany by incorporating in it the Germans of the Hapsburg empire.
It is, therefore, necessary to demonstrate by means of figures and accurate geographical and ethnographical arguments that this fear is quite chimerical. Austria-Hungary contains all the elements of a new State which can be constituted on just and lasting foundations, and under such conditions that it would form for the future an insurmountable barrier to Pangermanism. It is there, as we shall see, on the road from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf, in Central Europe, and nowhere else that we shall find the solution of the problem set to the world by the hateful ambition of the Hohenzollerns.
Let us examine in figures what would be the result in Central Europe of the application of the principle of nationalities, which ought to form the moral base of the Allies for the reconstitution of future Europe. The French Socialist Congress at the end of 1915, in my opinion, gave an excellent definition of the principle of nationalities as we see it at work in the present war. The manifesto of the Congress declared: “No durable peace unless the small martyrized nations are restored to their political and economic independence…. No durable peace unless the oppressed populations of Europe have restored to them the liberty of shaping their own destinies” (L’Humanité, 30th December, 1915).
As nothing in this world is absolute, it is clear that the principle of nationalities cannot always receive in practice a complete application. In order to constitute States with a potentiality of life, we must take into account not only the nationalities but also the strategical, defensive, historical, and economical needs of the majority. There are besides countries like Macedonia and like certain regions of Austria-Hungary, where the nationalities are so intermingled that the application of the principle of nationality can only be relative.
On the other hand, sacrifices must sometimes be made at the cost of the principle of nationalities for the sake of the general European interest. Thus, for example, France cannot think of incorporating those who speak French in Belgium and Switzerland. The first of those people wish to remain Belgians and the second wish to remain Swiss. Their wish must be all the more respected since the maintenance of the Belgian state and of the Swiss state is necessary to the balance and the peace of Europe. There are, moreover, other parts of the continent where this consideration outweighs the principle of nationalities.
Having given these explanations and made these reservations, let us see what would be obtained in the main by the application of the principle of nationalities to the German empire. In virtue of this principle the Germans ought to restore liberty to those peoples who are included by force within their boundaries, that is to say about
|Inhabitants of Alsace and Lorraine||1,500,000|
The Germany of to-day, which numbered 68 millions of inhabitants in 1914, including the non-Germans, would be brought down to about 61,300,000, in round figures, 61,000,000 of genuine Germans.
But the logical application of the principle of nationalities would give to that Germany the liberty of absorbing those Germans of the Hapsburg monarchy who on historical, strategical, and geographical grounds can be legitimately added to Germany after its reduction from 68 to 61 millions of inhabitants. What would be the result?
Let us look back to p. 32 and examine the map which sums up the ethnographical situation of Austria-Hungary. On this map the Slav and Latin nationalities subject to the Hapsburgs, named in the margin, are indicated by different shadings. The region inhabited by Germans and that inhabited by the Magyars have been left blank. The two last ethnographic groups are separated by a dotted line. This map only gives a very imperfect idea of the ethnographic facts, because it is drawn from ethnographic documents which are German and Magyar, and which are purposely falsified. In reality the Slav regions are a good deal more extensive than is indicated by the blank zones (Germans and Magyars). This is particularly true in the blank zone to the north and north-west of the purely Czech region.
Vienna, which, however, is in the centre of a perfectly blank zone, is by no means, as is generally believed, a purely German city. Her population is Slav to the amount of about one-third (Poles and especially Czechs). This fact, which is certain, is yet not recognized by any official Austrian statistics, because these are drawn up by German functionaries who have orders to falsify them. Their principal mode of garbling the figures is as follows:
In the whole of Austria every Slav or Latin, who merely knows a few words of German, is styled, much against his own will, a German. Now, all the Slavs who live in Vienna know a few words of German. This allows the German statisticians of the Austrian Government to conclude that there are no Slavs in Vienna, and to set down the number of the Slavs in all the rest of Austria at a figure considerably below the truth.
In Hungary the statistics are garbled with the same effrontery by the functionaries of the Budapest government in favour of the Magyar element.
The following, however, are the results given for the whole of the Hapsburg monarchy by the official Germano-Magyar statistics in the census of 1910:
in tens of
|Bosnia and Herzegovina.|
|Serbo-Croatians (orthodox, or|
Moslems of Serbian origin)
According to these figures there are 12 millions of Germans in the Hapsburg empire, but we shall see that not nearly all these 12 millions of Germans could be united to Germany. In fact:
1. As the table shows, rather more than two millions of Germans are in Hungary, where they are scattered in small groups among the other nationalities. They could not therefore be united to Germany.
2. Out of the 10 millions, roughly speaking, of Germans in Austria, those of Bohemia, to the north and north-west of the purely Czech zone, could not be united to Germany, because in that zone they are mixed up with numerous Czechs, and because the dotted line, which on the map (p. 68) separates Bohemia from the German empire of to-day, represents the historical and strategical boundaries of the kingdom of Bohemia. Now it would be impossible without these boundaries to assure the independence of the Czecho-Slovaks. Clearly we could not think of sacrificing nearly 9 millions of Czecho-Slovaks to 1 million of Germans in Bohemia, especially as these same Germans simply squatted in the country long ago by sheer violence and fraud.
3. By this fact the 10 millions of Germans, who might seem to be eligible for incorporation in Germany, are reduced to about 9 millions. These form on the map the blank group which stretches from Switzerland to the dotted line which marks the Magyar ethnographical boundary. But there are serious reasons for thinking that were a thorough investigation made of the ethnographical facts, that is to say, of the mixture of Slavs and Germans to the east of this group, and consequently between the purely Czech group to the north of Vienna and the purely Slovene group to the south of Vienna, the result of such an investigation would be to show that this German group could not in its entirety be united to Germany. As it would be out of the question here to enter into these very difficult ethnographical details, we shall, under all possible reserve, and purely for the convenience of demonstration, make the supposition that the whole of this German group should be united to Germany. But from these 9 millions of Germans we should certainly still have to subtract the Slavs who are included in this figure through the systematic garbling of the Austrian statistics. The typical example of the city of Vienna, cited above, proves this necessity. As this deception is practised on an enormous scale at the expense of the Slavs, we may allow that the true number of Germans in this part of Austria who could be geographically incorporated in Germany, amounts to not more than 7 or 8 millions. Let us take this last figure. If these 8 millions of Germans were incorporated in Germany, then Germany of to-day, reduced for the reasons indicated on p. 123 to 61 millions, would be enlarged, at the expense of Austria, by 8 millions of inhabitants. She would then have a total of 69 millions of inhabitants.
Therefore, as the present German empire had in 1914 a population of 68 millions of inhabitants, we see that the application of the principle of nationalities would allow Germany to gain on the south-west just about the equivalent of what the same principle would take from her on the circumference of the existing empire.
Would a Germany of 69 or 70 millions of genuine Germans be really dangerous for Europe? I do not think so, for, as we shall see, the application of the principle of nationalities would have the effect of withdrawing totally from the influence of Berlin’s Pangermanism all the rest of the inhabitants of Austria-Hungary.
In fact, if out of the 50 millions of inhabitants in Austria-Hungary of to-day about 8 millions joined Germany, 42 millions of Austro-Hungarian subjects would remain. Of this number:
Five millions of Poles would join Poland;
Four millions of Ruthenians would join Russia;
Three millions of Roumanians would join Roumania;
One million of Italians would join Italy;
Making a total of 13 millions of inhabitants.
There would therefore remain a compact group composed of 29 millions of inhabitants, made up of Czech-Slovaks, Magyars, and Germans, these last diluted in the solid mass of Magyars and Serbo-Croatians. As the Magyars and Serbo-Croatians wish to unite with the 5 million Serbians of Serbia, we thus deduce the presence in Central Europe of a mass of 34 million inhabitants, containing an infinitesimal proportion of Germans and so situated geographically that they could perfectly form United States, in which the rights of each nationality and the form of government of each State would be respected, and which, nevertheless, would constitute an economic territory extensive enough to correspond to modern needs.
The obstacle to the creation of such United States might seem to be the reluctance of the Magyars, who at present play the German game, to come to an understanding with the neighbouring nationalities. This objection disappears when we know what is unfortunately known to none but a small number of experts. Out of the 10 millions of Magyars, there are about 9 millions of poor labourers, almost all agricultural, cynically exploited by the Magyar nobility, who possess nearly all the land. Now it is these nobles, owners of enormous landed estates, who, with the Magyar functionaries whom they nominate, are Prussophile, and not even all of them are that. It must also be known that the 9 millions of Magyar proletariat are not so much as represented in the parliament at Budapest, for elections in Hungary are neither more nor less than barefaced swindles practised for the benefit of the million Magyars who sweat their poor compatriots. Now these 9 millions of unhappy peasants by no means love the Prussians. More than that, they are quite ready to fraternize with the other democratic masses represented by the nationalities which surround them. Therefore, on the day when the true Magyar people shall be delivered from the feudal nobility who oppress them, and shall become in their turn masters of their own destinies, they will certainly not stand out against the creation of the United States here adumbrated. I am quite sure of the popular feeling on this subject, for on my last visits to Budapest I was able to put myself in communication with the leaders of the Magyar democratic organizations. It was thus that I learned that even before the war they had been trying to find a basis for a mutual understanding with the other Slav nationalities of Hungary. So strong indeed was this tendency that it furnished the nefarious Count Tisza with a motive for declaring war in order to elude the democratic movement, which threatened the privileges of the Magyar nobility, of which he is one of the leaders.
In short, we may conclude that there is in Austria-Hungary and in Serbia a mass of 34 millions of inhabitants, who are practically free from Germanic elements and could form in Central Europe a confederacy of United States that might in time develop into the United States of Europe.
Thus there undoubtedly exist all the ethnographical elements which could render possible the erection in Central Europe of a very powerful triple barrier against every aggressive revival of Pangermanism (see p. 43). The erection of this barrier would form the solution of the great problem set us by the Pangerman peril. It would free for ever numerous nationalities from the Prussian yoke. It would coincide not only with the interests of all the Allies, but also with those of the whole world. For as I hope to prove in Chapter IX, the inhabitants of both South and North America would be not less vitally affected than the European Allies and Japan by the achievement of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.”
Therefore, the necessary but sufficient backbone of the Pangerman plan, as represented by the formula “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf,” can be certainly destroyed in Central Europe and there only. The net result is that the question of Austria-Hungary constitutes the crucial point of a problem which is not only European but universal, set to all the civilized States by the war which Prussianized Germany has initiated and by the execrable ambition of the Hohenzollerns.
The question of Austria-Hungary has besides an aspect of social and universal interest, which the Liberals and Socialists of Allied or neutral countries have not yet perhaps sufficiently contemplated. The supremacy of Germany over Austria-Hungary would have, in fact, a social consequence of infinite importance: a new lease of crushing and strengthened power would be ensured to the German-Austrian aristocracy, to the Magyar aristocracy of Hungary, to the German aristocracy of the German empire, and above all to the execrable Prussian Junkers, who are principally responsible for the war. This great and insolent triumph of the Junker spirit, supported by the means of universal domination which would be put at the disposal of the Berlin government as a consequence of the accomplishment of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf,” would have a disastrous after-effect by repressing those democratic and liberal movements, which are at present developing legitimately and necessarily, not only in the Allied countries but in the whole world. Finally, it would entail fresh revolutionary crises, causing disturbances which it is of serious interest to avoid, lest ideas of social justice should lose the vantage ground of liberty which they have so painfully conquered.
These considerations, therefore, lead us to the conclusion that the final liberation of all the Latin and Slav peoples of Austria-Hungary from the German yoke is a matter of universal social interest. In fact, it constitutes an essential condition of the progress of liberal ideas, of the pacific development and organization of democracy in the whole world.
THE BALKANS AND THE PANGERMAN PLAN.
I. The connexion between the Pangerman plan and the plan of Bulgarian supremacy.
II. Greece and the Pangerman ambitions.
III. Roumania and the Pangerman plan.
In virtue of the geographical position which they occupy in the zone “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf,” the Balkan States are of extreme importance for the making or the marring of the whole Pangerman plan. Moreover, events have proved to the satisfaction of the most sceptical the influence which these States exert on the issue of the struggle. Public opinion, therefore, both in Allied and neutral countries, should note very clearly the intimate relation which exists between the Balkan factors and the universal Pangerman plan.
I can here touch only on the fundamental Balkan factors, those that have a durable and permanent character, not on the attitude of certain governments in the Eastern peninsula. That attitude for the last year has been singularly vacillating. It shifts, in fact, under the action of those parasitic German influences which, through the dynastic ties of the reigning families, backed by the threats of Berlin, sway these governments in opposition to the national interests which it is their bounden duty to defend. Moreover, simple justice compels us to acknowledge, that the diplomatic mistakes made by the Allies, especially in 1915, in consequence of their imperfect acquaintance with Balkan facts, has been singularly favourable to the success of the German influences.
Thus, for example, at Athens, the present Cabinet, formed after the arbitrary dissolution of the Greek parliament, and therefore destitute of all constitutional authority, has been instigated by King Constantine, brother-in-law of the Emperor William II., to persevere in a policy which all influential Greeks who are free to speak their minds regard as disastrous to the true interests of Hellenism. Similarly at Bukarest the attitude of the Bratiano cabinet is subjected by eminent Roumanians to searching criticism. Thus La Roumanie, the organ of M. Take Jonescu, speaking of the commercial agreement between Germany and Roumania, has recently said: “This agreement makes Roumania the dupe of Germany” (see Le Journal, 20th April, 1916). The final decision of certain Balkan governments is, therefore, for the moment still in suspense, but whatever it may be, each of the Balkan peoples would infallibly see its future interests thwarted or menaced by the triumph of the Pangerman plan. It is important to clear up these prospects. So far as Montenegro and Serbia are concerned, any discussion would be superfluous, so evident is it that a German victory would mean for these two States their definite and final disappearance.
It is otherwise with Bulgaria. Indeed, the key of the whole Balkan situation lies in the plan of a Bulgarian supremacy, which, as we shall see, is closely bound up, at least in principle, with the Pangerman plan.
It was said long ago that the Bulgarians are the Prussians of the East. Now it is just their fixed idea of achieving at any cost their dream of dominating the Balkans which has led the Bulgarians to throw in their lot with Berlin, without perceiving that, though they might benefit by the first phase of this combination, they would finally fall victims to Pangermanism.
The pretensions of Bulgaria to supremacy, though even less has been known about them than about the Pangerman plan, are nevertheless relatively old, as is conclusively proved by the following facts:
The map printed above is a document of the highest importance, for it enables us to detect the real policy, first of Bulgaria, and next of the other Balkan States. This map is an exact translation and reproduction of the map which is to be found on p. 56 of the historical part of a book published in Bulgarian at Sofia and called: The Soldier’s Companion, Manual for the Soldiers of all arms. This is an official work of propaganda in the army, and therefore in the whole Bulgarian people, since all Bulgarians go through the ranks; and it was published in obedience to order No. 76 of March 14th, 1907, issued by the Bulgarian Ministry of War, approved and authorized by the Chief of the Headquarters Staff of the Bulgarian army. This manual has been recommended by the Bulgarian Ministry of War, in circular No. 28 of March 21st, 1907. Hence we are confronted with an official Bulgarian book dating from 1907, which proves very clearly beyond the possibility of dispute the ideas which have been systematically instilled into the whole Bulgarian people for at least nine years.
In this map, entitled Great Bulgaria, which is coloured in the eighth edition of the Bulgarian original, the part said to be “already set free by the Bulgarians” is coloured pink (represented by large hatchings on our map), and the parts said to be “not set free by the Bulgarians” are coloured red (represented by closer hatchings on our map). This official Bulgarian document helps us to understand, both what happened in the Balkan wars, and the conduct of the government of Sofia during the European war.
In fact, when in 1912 the Bulgarians entered into an alliance with the Greeks and Serbians against Turkey, they were not even then true to their Allies. At that time they had a very low opinion of the Greeks and Serbians as soldiers. But they thought it very expedient to employ the forces of these nations against the principal enemy, Turkey, intending afterwards to settle accounts with their temporary allies by means of the increase of power which they expected to gain at the expense of Turkey. As these intentions were suspected at Belgrade and Athens, it may easily be conceived that from the very beginning of their joint action the Greek and Serbian governments did not repose full confidence in that of Sofia. The distrust of the Greeks and Serbians was, moreover, thoroughly aroused when King Ferdinand, before he allowed his troops to hurl themselves against the lines of Chataldja, disclosed his claim to enter Constantinople, with the evident intention of staying there if he could.
Given the Bulgarian claims in the west, which are set forth in our map, we can further explain why in 1913 the Bulgarians, whose character is hard and unyielding, refused all compromise when the Serbians, excluded by Europe from the Adriatic, demanded from the Bulgarians an equitable compensation to the south of Uskub.
Moreover, always instigated by their desire of supremacy, and stirred up by Vienna and Berlin, the Bulgarians thought that the moment had come to annihilate the Serbians and Greeks. So they made the sudden attack of June 17-30, 1913, on their former allies. But the wary Serbians and Greeks were ready for the encounter. Roumania, as little inclined to tolerate Bulgarian supremacy as Greece or Serbia, marched her troops to within ten kilometres of Sofia. The Bulgarians were crushed by the Serbians at Bregalnitza, and were compelled to sign, on August 10th, 1913, the treaty of Bukarest. But from that moment, animated by a boundless hatred of their conquerors, they had but one desire, and that was to take vengeance on the victors, one after the other, and above all to destroy the treaty of Bukarest at the first favourable opportunity.
1º. The treaties made by Sofia with Berlin and Constantinople, before April, 1914, as M. Radoslavoff has disclosed (see Havas, quoted by Le Petit Parisien, 26th March, 1916, and Le Temps, 10th April, 1916).
2º. Bulgaria’s participation in the European war on the side of Germany, whose plans for the future, like the Bulgarian ambitions, were threatened by the consequence of the treaty of Bukarest (see Chapter II, § 1).
An examination of the Bulgarian map, which serves us as a document, proves that the Bulgarian pretentions to supremacy, like those of Pangermanism, aim at absorbing, regardless of language or race, the regions whose possession is deemed useful to Bulgaria. Thus the rapacious doctrine of the Bulgarians is absolutely identical with that of the Prussians. This identity has facilitated the understanding between the two peoples. In fact, the Great Bulgaria of our official document of 1907 (see the map on p. 133) includes the following: the Roumanian Dobrudja as far as Galatz and Sulina, on which clearly the Bulgarians can lay no justifiable claim; the shores of the Ægean Sea; the territory from Serres to Gumuldjina, where the Greek element is dominant; the region of Nisch, which is Serbian; the region of Prizrend, which had been recognized as Serbian by the Bulgarians themselves in their treaty of alliance with the Serbians in 1912. As to the region of Uskub as far as Lake Ochrida, near Albania, the Bulgarians in their treaty with the Serbians admitted it to be disputable. Its allotment was to be referred to the arbitration of the Emperor of Russia, which the Bulgarians never seriously desired, and to which they opposed a solid obstacle by their attack on the Serbians in June, 1913. Lastly, the region south of Uskub, that is, the portion of Macedonia which forms the south of the present Serbia, requires a detailed exposition by itself. This is essential, for concerning Serbian Macedonia many misconceptions have been propagated by the Allied Press and have been the source of the mistakes committed by the Allies in the Balkans in 1915. It is therefore absolutely necessary to correct these misconceptions, if the Allies would avoid falling into fresh mistakes in the Balkans, for which they would again have to pay a heavy price.
In short, to look the difficulties clearly in the face, we must answer the question, Is the south of Serbia Bulgarian? (see the map, above).
The territory in the south of Serbia on which divergent opinions have been expressed is represented with tolerable exactness:
1º. By a triangle of which the apex lies a little to the north of Veles, and of which the other angles are formed by Guevgheli on the east and Lake Ochrida on the west.
2º. By a strip of territory which lies to the east of this triangle, and which, between the left bank of the Vardar and Bulgaria, contains the regions of Kotchana, Stip, and Stroutmitza-gare. The Bulgarians contend that all the territory formed by this triangle and this lateral strip is incontestably Bulgarian; last year some Allied writers supported this contention. In the first place, it was said, the treaty of San Stefano (1878) assigned to Bulgaria what is now the south of Serbia. They forgot that in 1878 the ethnographic study of the Ottoman empire had not yet begun, and that at that time the Russians and the English were both inclined, for different reasons, to consider almost all the inhabitants of European Turkey as Bulgarians, without inquiry or distinction. The Russians, who then aimed at establishing themselves ultimately in the Balkans, were impelled by this aim to regard the Bulgarians as extremely numerous. As for the English, burning with indignation at the “Bulgarian atrocities” of Gladstone, they very generously thought of nothing but liberating from the Turkish yoke as many Christians as possible, and these in Macedonia were labelled indiscriminately Bulgarians.
Be that as it may, it was only after the treaty of San Stefano that the ethnographical study of Macedonia was taken up in earnest. Moreover, it is proper to add that most of the writers who have discussed the subject have drawn their information, not from inquiries on the spot, but from Belgrade, Athens and Sofia. In these three centres they were supplied with minute statistics, very well printed, and to all appearance perfectly convincing, but which laboured under the serious disadvantage that they flatly contradicted each other. For my own part, I acknowledged that I was not able to arrive at a comparatively clear idea of the complicated ethnography of this part of Macedonia till I had carried out my inquiries of 1914, not as before in the Balkan capitals, but on the spot, at Uskub, at Prizrend, at Prichtina, at Monastir, at Ochrida, and at Strouga.
This inquiry, conducted six months before the war, led me to the following conclusions. Serbian Macedonia contains two quite distinct groups of population.
1º. The one is formed of Turks, Albanians, Kutzo-Wallachians or Roumanians, Greeks, Jews, and Gipsies, who are scattered all over the country.
2º. The second group is composed of the Macedonian Slavs.
In the absence of trustworthy statistics it is impossible to say which of these two groups is numerically the stronger. Thus, at Uskub, the Turks and the Jews alone were reckoned as numerous as the exarchists, that is to say, as those who, attending the churches and schools of the Bulgarian exarchate, were considered to be Bulgarians.
But what is quite certain is that the Serbs and the Bulgarians are found in the second group of the population, that of the Macedonian Slavs. Now this group itself comprises four sections, namely, native Serbs, native Bulgarians, “floating” Serbs, and “floating” Bulgarians. The two “floating” sections seem to be more numerous than the two native sections. This singular expression, “floating,” is justified by the following explanation. In 1870 the Bulgarians of Macedonia, then Ottoman subjects, obtained from the Sultan leave to be considered, from the religious point of view, not as before members of the Greek Orthodox Church, but as members of a separate and autonomous church, the Bulgarian Exarchate, of which the seat was fixed at Constantinople. The Bulgarians of Bulgaria, who also joined the new church, took advantage of the condition of things which resulted from this creation to organize in Macedonia a propaganda nominally religious but really political, being designed to gain over to the Bulgarian nation as many Macedonian Slavs as possible; and this propaganda was directed and actively assisted by the Bulgarian Exarch, Mgr. Joseph, who resided in Constantinople and was an Ottoman subject. In those days the Macedonian Slavs were very poor peasants, who had been oppressed by the Turks for centuries, and the greater number of them did not care a straw whether they belonged to one nationality or to another. The propaganda of the Bulgarian Exarchate in Macedonia came into conflict with the Greek propaganda, and a little later with the Serbian propaganda, which two propagandas, the one directed from Athens and the other from Belgrade, had one and the same object. All three propagandas together employed in Macedonia the most diverse means—money, schools, and terrorism—to win over the Macedonian Slavs, who were still hesitating, to the national Bulgarian cause, to the national Greek cause, and to the national Serbian cause.
These various propagandas very often led to extraordinary results, which proved, the artificial character of the movements. For example, before the European war you might find in many Macedonian villages families of three blood brothers, of whom one would say he was a Greek, the second would solemnly affirm that he was a Serb, and the third would swear he was a Bulgarian. Frequently, under the influence of the forcible arguments applied to them, their national convictions would undergo a sudden and radical change, so that the man who yesterday was a Serb, to-day would give himself out as a Bulgarian, or contrariwise. It is to persons whose nationality is of this unstable and erratic character that the adjective “floating” is appropriately applied. At the same time there is no question that the Serbian propaganda, having started business in Macedonia about fifteen years later than its Bulgarian rival, had gathered into the fold fewer of those “floating” sheep, who were still sitting on the nationalist fence, not yet having made up their minds whether to come down on the Serbian or the Macedonian side. The two elements which compose the Bulgarian group in Macedonia, namely, the genuine Bulgarians and the “floating” Bulgarians, have, besides, a geographical distribution which is comparatively definite. Though mixed up with Turkish elements, the inhabitants of the region of Kotchana and Istip (Stip in Serbian), on the right bank of the Vardar and on the Bulgarian boundary (see the map on p. 137) are for the most part indisputably genuine Bulgarians. If at the time of the treaty of Bukarest the Serbians claimed these mountainous regions, they did so for strategical reasons, in order to ensure the defence of the railway, which, passing through the valley of the Vardar, connects Belgrade, Nisch, and Uskub with Salonika, and is therefore of vital importance for Serbia. The present war has proved that this point of view was not without justification.
On the other hand, on the right bank of the Vardar, and therefore in the greater part of Serbian Macedonia, the Bulgarian elements, whether genuine or “floating,” are more or less scattered among all the other racial elements. Undoubtedly there are to the west of the Vardar some Bulgarians whose descent is very ancient and beyond dispute. A certain number, who have emigrated from these regions, exercise a predominant political influence even in Bulgaria. Thus General Boyadjeff was born at Ochrida, and M. Genadieff was born at Monastir. But these Bulgarians by descent are certainly a minority in the whole population of Macedonia. For example, at Monastir, in 1914, out of 60,000 inhabitants about a third were Bulgarians. It is true that round about Monastir and Uskub you might find villages inhabited almost entirely by Bulgarians, but beside these villages were others formed of different Macedonian nationalities (Serbs, Roumanians, etc.).
As for the “floating” Bulgarians, after a Serbian occupation which had lasted only five months since the treaty of Bukarest, many of them already proclaimed themselves Serbs. For example, the Serbian mayor of the little town of Strouga had been in Turkish times the pillar of the Bulgarian propaganda in the district of Strouga. Similar cases were very numerous. The Bulgarians of Sofia, unable to deny this wholesale transformation into Serbians of quondam Bulgarians who had been raked into the fold by the propaganda of the Exarchate, gave out that this sudden conversion was the effect of that reign of terror which, according to them, the Serbians resorted to for the purpose of establishing their dominion in Macedonia. The allegation seems to me untenable. I traversed most of the roads of Serbian Macedonia in the winter (January, 1914), accompanied only by one or two persons. I very often met Serbian soldiers, who came from the garrisons on the Albanian frontier and were going on furlough to Northern Serbia. Now these soldiers were travelling singly or in groups of two or three. With nothing but a walking-stick in their hand they were making their way over the 60 or 70 kilometres which separated them from the nearest railway. If the country had really been inhabited by convinced Bulgarians who detested the Serbians, is it not evident that there would have been attacks on these isolated and defenceless Serbian soldiers? But there were no such attacks, and from personal observation I can affirm that the most complete tranquillity prevailed in Serbian Macedonia, which in the days of the Turks had been the scene of incessant murders; and these murders were generally brought about by the terrorist means employed by the Bulgarian propaganda.
What is certain is, that at the beginning of 1914 the “floating” Bulgarians, who were in fact the more numerous, acquiesced without resistance in the Serbian rule and called themselves Serbians. The Bulgarian Exarch, Mgr. Joseph, who had organized and directed the Bulgarian propaganda since 1870, was not at all surprised at this result. He acknowledged to me at Sofia, in February, 1914, that the Bulgarian game was up in the south of Macedonia, and that in a short time most of the adherents whom he had enlisted in former days would prove themselves very good Serbians. Indeed, he had made up his mind to it, for he had been opposed to the attack of June, 1913, on the Serbians and the Greeks, and he thought that Bulgaria should accept a situation for which she herself was responsible, and of which she must bear the consequences.
For these manifold reasons it is impossible to say that the south of Macedonia is Bulgarian. But the Bulgarian people of Bulgaria has been completely intoxicated by the intense propaganda which has been organized, especially during the last thirty years, in Bulgaria itself by Bulgarians who are natives of Ottoman Macedonia. These men, most of them very energetic, have in reality engrossed all the important posts, military, political, and administrative, in Bulgaria. So well have they done the business of propaganda that the lowest Bulgarian peasant of Bulgaria believes in his heart and soul that all Serbian Macedonia is Bulgarian. It is easy to understand how German policy at Sofia has been able to turn this state of mind to account for the purpose of hurrying the Bulgarian people into the war on the side of Pangermanism.
To recapitulate, the south of Macedonia is really Macedonia, that is to say, it is a territory inhabited by motley peoples, who are almost everywhere jumbled up together. The Bulgarians who live there cannot therefore rightfully claim that the treaty of Bukarest violated the principle of nationalities to their detriment by assigning South-Western Macedonia to Serbia. In fact, just because it is Macedonia, that is, an extraordinary jumble of heterogeneous peoples, the principle of nationalities cannot possibly be applied to Macedonia. In strict justice, the destiny of this peculiar country should be settled simply and solely with reference to the general strategical and economic needs of the surrounding States. Now if there are Bulgarians in Macedonia there are also Serbians, and neither strategically nor economically is the south of Macedonia necessary to Bulgaria. On the other hand, Serbia has a really vital interest, both economic and defensive, in maintaining a direct geographical contact with Greece, in order to have by means of Salonika that access to the Ægean Sea which is for her indispensable.
What proves, moreover, in ample measure that the exorbitant Bulgarian pretensions are not founded on a racial basis is that at present the ambitions of the government of Sofia considerably exceed even the extreme limits of the map which serves us as a document (see p. 133). Indeed, not only does Bulgaria desire to keep the region of Nisch, but she aims at expanding as far as Hungary, which in her turn also wishes to encroach on Serbia. In February, 1916, Mr. Take Jonescu declared at Bukarest that he had it from a sure source that Germany had just promised to Bulgaria the possession of Salonika and the Roumanian Dobrudja as far as Sulina (see Le Matin, 25th February, 1916), that is, exactly that part of the Roumanian Dobrudja which, according to our documentary map the Bulgarians have coveted ever since 1907 at least. As to King Ferdinand, he wishes to obtain for his son the whole of central Albania, which would allow Bulgaria under colour of an eventual arrangement, more or less forced on a few Albanian tribes, to spread from the Black Sea to the Adriatic—an old plan familiar to all who are versed in the ambitions of the Coburg prince at Sofia. It is, moreover, probable, so far as Albania and the Roumanian Dobrudja are concerned, that the Berlin government will curb the Bulgarian ambitions in order not to hurt the feelings of Vienna, and to prolong the neutrality of Roumania by nursing the illusions of the Bratiano cabinet. There will be plenty of time afterwards to punish Roumania for hesitating to submit to the German yoke, when the hour for freeing herself from it shall have passed for ever.
The secret treaty, the negotiations for which between the Kaiser and the Tsar Ferdinand were revealed by Le Temps of 29th February, 1916, would ensure to Ferdinand the means of ultimately putting the last touches to his plan of Bulgarian supremacy. But this treaty, linking the fate of Bulgaria to that of Germany in a military, economic, and political aspect, would involve the inclusion of Bulgaria in the Germanic Confederation. Therefore, finally, always in pursuance of the plan of 1911, Bulgaria would serve as a broad bridge between the Germanic Confederation of Central Europe and Prussianized Turkey.
This recent revelation completes the demonstration of the mode and form in which the plan of Bulgarian supremacy is closely bound up with the Pangerman plan of world-wide domination.
The evidence of the facts as they now stand appears to be bringing the Greeks to recognize, that if the Allies have committed faults in the Balkans—through excess of candour, misconception of the mental factors, and with the best intentions in the world—the government of Athens has been equally deceived as to the surest means of safeguarding Hellenic interests.
According to the treaty of alliance with Serbia of 16-29th June, 1913, Greece was bound to come to the help of her ally, in case the latter were attacked by any third power. This article was clear. It is needless to harp on the point, for even without a treaty, it was a vital necessity for Greece not to let the Bulgarians upset the balance of power, to her detriment, in the Balkans and intrude themselves between her and Serbia. That necessity imperiously required the government of Athens not to suffer Serbia to be crushed. Now, as we know, the allied armies under General Sarrail at the end of 1915 very nearly effected a junction with the troops of the Voivode Putnik. It is, therefore, manifest that if, on the landing of the Allies at Salonika, Greece had joined her efforts to theirs, Serbia would have been saved. That is a truth which M. Venizelos and a great part of Greek public opinion well understood, but King Constantine would not admit it. History will prove whether in this grave crisis of his country his relationship of brother-in-law to the Kaiser did not greatly prejudice the judgment of the King of Greece. What is certain is, that no rational explanation has yet been given of King Constantine’s conduct, and that his policy has elicited the protests of Greek colonies in foreign countries, which, being free to speak, declared, in an appeal drawn up by their congresses in February, 1916:
“While we nurse a meaningless neutrality which provokes derision, we run the risk, not only of failing to achieve the aspirations bequeathed to us by our fathers, but also of losing our independence” (quoted by Le Temps, 26th February, 1916).
GREECE AFTER THE TREATY OF BUKAREST.
The vehemence of these protests is intelligible, for just in virtue of the policy which for some months the government of Athens has pursued, Greece is now confronted by vital problems which she must absolutely solve without delay, if she would ensure her future.
The annexed map, which represents the state of Greece before and after the war, will render intelligible the essential interests which Greece has to defend.
Greece has always taken deeply to heart the many Greeks living in the East outside her boundaries. She would either incorporate them or at least ensure them a tolerable existence.
These Greeks are to be found in the ethnographical regions indicated by cross hatchings on the map, which I have copied exactly from the map No. 2 in the Pangerman Atlas of Paul Langhans, published at Gotha by Justus Perthes in 1900. Thus the Pangermans themselves recognize the presence of many Greeks in the south of Albania and especially in Bulgaria and Turkey. No doubt, since the Balkan wars the density of the Greeks in the Hellenic regions of Bulgaria and Turkey has undergone serious modifications. Many of these Greeks have been massacred either by the Turks or by the Bulgarians. Under the pressure of these Turko-Bulgarian persecutions about 500,000 Greeks have been obliged, since 1912, to take refuge in Greece. But the Greeks who have sources of exact information estimate that there still remain about 200,000 Greeks on the Ægean coasts of new Bulgaria, and 2,300,000 in the Ottoman empire. It is clear that if Bulgaria and Turkey, by the help of Germany, were finally victorious, these 2,500,000 Greeks would be lost once and for all to Greece. Therefore, if the government of Athens would save the Greeks, it has a primary and fundamental reason for speedily withstanding the progress of the Bulgarians as well as of the Turks. In point of fact the Ottoman Greeks are actually harassed most systematically by the fanatical young Turks. On the other hand the Russian successes in Armenia make a profound impression on public opinion at Athens, if not on the government of King Constantine. The Greeks of Greece are too well acquainted with the decadence of the Ottoman empire not to know that its days are numbered. The majority of Greeks understand that the moment is approaching when, by joining the Allies, the adversaries of Turkey, Greece should secure for herself a voice in their councils, in order that, when peace is concluded, she may be able to shape the destinies of the Greeks of Turkey in conformity with Greek interests. This is all the more necessary because these Greeks of Turkey, as the map shows, are in the peculiar position of being dispersed in small groups over the Ottoman coasts, without anywhere forming an aggregate large enough to confer the right of being treated as a definite part of the Ottoman empire.
With regard to Bulgaria, the interest of Greece is twofold. It consists, in the first place, in preventing, as speedily as possible, a continuation of those systematic persecutions, deportations, outrages and robberies of which the Greeks of Turkey and of the invaded regions of Serbia are at present the victims. But, above all, Greece has a really vital interest in preventing the government of Sofia from carrying out its plan of supremacy in the Balkans (see the map on p. 133). It is well known at Athens that the Bulgarians covet Salonika, and that if, even without including that city, Great Bulgaria extended to Albania, Greece would thereby be cut off from the north of Europe by a rancorous and implacable neighbour, and would thus find herself in an untenable position, alike from the military and the economic point of view. It is this serious danger that is emphasized by the organs of M. Venizelos, who since 1909 has been truly the saviour of Greece. As this conviction is deeply rooted in the heart of almost all Greeks, who view with irreconcilable aversion the Bulgarians as their hereditary enemies, it constitutes a mental factor which, more than any other motive, will at last, in all probability, openthe eyes of Greece to the danger which she incurs through the alliance of the Bulgarians and the Germans.
But though the Pangerman plan in itself threatens the interests of Greece most directly, we must recognize that this truth has not yet been sufficiently apprehended by Greek public opinion. Nevertheless, it is manifest that Great Germany’s ultimate aim is to rule at Salonika, perhaps not at first directly, but at all events through the agency of the Prussianized Bulgarians. But the great railway which, starting from Vienna, goes by Belgrade, Nisch, Uskub, and Salonika, now ends at the Piræus, since, quite lately, the junction has been effected by the continuation of the Greek line of Larissa from Papapouli to Guida, a station on the trunk line from Salonika to Monastir. In consequence of this junction line, 96 kilometres long, a great Continental railway has just been completed, which, after peace has been concluded, will have a considerable economic importance for Greece and even for the whole of Europe. In fact, the distance of Marseilles from Alexandria is 1,404 sea miles, that of Brindisi from Alexandria is 836, and that of the Piræus from Alexandria is only 514. Supposing, then, that the average speed of the mail steamers is 15 miles an hour, we infer that the voyage to Alexandria takes about 93 hours from Marseilles, 55 from Brindisi, and only 34 from the Piræus. The new railway will therefore be greatly preferable, not only for travellers, but for perishable goods and for the post. Hence it is indisputable that, after the peace, part of the sea traffic of Europe will be transferred from Marseilles and the Italian ports to the Piræus. From this transference of economic activity certain and important profits will accrue to Greece, to say nothing of the considerable portion of the wealthy classes of the Continent, who spend some months of every year in Egypt, and who will then stop at Athens before embarking and make tours to the classical ruins, leaving behind them, as tourists do, quite appreciable sums of money, which will be a clear gain to the country. If Serbia is re-established, Greece is certain to draw all the profits from this new situation. On the contrary, were the Pangerman designs in the Balkans to succeed, it would be Great Germany that would secure for herself all the advantages to be got from the great new trunk railway through the Balkans, the control of which she covets as usual. But it is clear that if Germany triumphed, nothing could prevent her from stretching her economic tentacles over Salonika, the Piræus, and the whole of Greece, so that in this form also the independence of Greece would be doomed.
Consequently, the Pangerman plan threatens all the vital interests of Greece, since its success would necessarily entail for that country an economic invasion, the ruin of Hellenism, and Bulgarian supremacy in the Balkans. On the contrary, nothing but a victory of the Entente powers can save Greece from these dangers. Greek public opinion understands this better and better. Moreover, in a letter published by Le Temps of 20th February, 1916, Prince Nicolas of Greece, the able diplomat of the royal family, plainly proposed to clear up loyally the misunderstandings that exist between the government of Athens and the Entente. In this letter the following declarations are particularly memorable, because coming from the brother of the King of Greece, they have a bearing which is sufficiently obvious. “There are only two currents in Greece: the one impels Greece to throw herself into the struggle on the side of the Entente, the other favours neutrality. But nobody has ever uttered the thought that in this war we should have taken part on the side of the Central Powers. Greece has remained neutral. She has never declared that nothing could induce her to abandon her neutrality.”
On March 9th, the Patris of Athens published an article of General Danglis, formerly Minister of War in the Venizelos Cabinet, which concluded thus: “Greece ought without delay to proceed to the revision of all the classes of her army capable of being called up for service; for without any doubt Greece will be obliged to employ her forces during the present war” (see Le Temps, 10th March, 1916).
The serious consequence which Germany’s alliance with Bulgaria would entail on Roumania, must ultimately oblige that country, despite the temporizing attitude of its government, to defend its vital interests. These interests now stand out more and more clearly. In the first place it is certain that the plan of Bulgarian supremacy in the Balkans (see p. 133) is as little acceptable to the Roumanians as to the Greeks. The frontier incidents, which have multiplied lately, between the Bulgarians and the Roumanians are manifest symptoms of the mutual and irreconcilable dislike of the two peoples. Besides, the Roumanians have been specially alarmed by what has happened in the part of the Dobrudja which Bulgaria was compelled to cede to Roumania in 1913 (indicated by crossed hatchings on the subjoined map). The syndicates of Bulgarian peasants in this region have plainly shown their separatist tendencies. Further, it has lately been discovered that in the New Dobrudja, the Bulgarian system of espionage has been worked, under colour of archæological excursions, by Germans, who afterwards transmitted to the Bulgarian military authorities photographs and plans of great importance. Lastly, at the beginning of 1916 Mr. Take Jonescu made known at Bukarest that Germany had promised to Bulgaria, at the expense of Roumania, not only the territory which Bulgaria had lost in 1913, but also the Roumanian Dobrudja as far as Galatz and Sulina. Since then Berlin has been obliged to throw a sop to Roumania by assuring Bukarest that Germany will put a curb on Bulgarian ambition. But this promise, a sort of blackmail extorted by the needs of the moment, forms but a very precarious guarantee for the Roumanians. They feel themselves threatened by Bulgarian ambitions, and there seems little reason to doubt that as soon as circumstances shall appear favourable, Roumania will make an end of the Bulgarian peril, as “she ought to have done in 1913,” if the Roumanian Government does not allow itself to be “hypnotized” by that of Berlin, to use the language of the Universal, the official connection of which with the military authorities at Bukarest is well known (quoted by Le Temps, 19th March, 1916).
On the other hand the national policy of Roumania is influenced in the highest degree by the two questions of Bessarabia and Transylvania. As the map on the opposite page shows, Roumania irredenta is composed of two great racial and territorial elements: about 1,000,000 Roumanians live in Russian Bessarabia, but 3,700,000 Roumanians inhabit Transylvania and Bukovina, that is to say, vast regions of Hungary and Austria. The Roumanian ideal, in its entirety, would evidently be to incorporate at the same time the Roumanian brothers of the East and the West, but as the ideal is not practicable, a choice must be made. The partisans of Germany at Bukarest, led by M. Carp and Marghiloman, maintain that Roumania should elect for Bessarabia and therefore march against Russia. To this the practical politicians of Bukarest reply: “We should certainly be glad to incorporate the Roumanians of Bessarabia also, but that policy would only be possible if Russia were completely destroyed by Germany, which has not been done and cannot be done, for the facts so far prove that Russia could not be decisively beaten. Therefore Roumania cannot be such a fool as to incur the permanent hostility of the enormous empire of the Tzar. Moreover, in order to incorporate the 1,000,000 Roumanians of Bessarabia, we must abandon the 3,700,000 Roumanians of Transylvania, besides accepting into the bargain the supremacy of the Bulgarians in the Balkans, since they are the allies of the Central Empires.”
Such are the essential arguments which incline Roumanian opinion to make a decided choice for the acquisition of Transylvania. In order that the relations between Russia and Roumania should become cordial enough to permit of an alliance between St. Petersburg and Bukarest it remains, perhaps, for Russia to reassure Roumania with regard to the control of the Straits. It is certainly well understood at Bukarest that after the enormous sacrifices which she has made Russia cannot consent to remain bottled up by the Turks in the Black Sea, and that after the peace she must hold a preponderant position at Constantinople. On the other hand, it is the interest of all Europe and of Russia herself that she should ensure for the future a large amount of liberty in the control of the Straits. I cannot see, therefore, why Bukarest and Petrograd should not come to an understanding on this important subject.
In order to prevent, or at least retard, the intervention of Roumania, of which Berlin is much afraid, the Kaiser’s diplomacy is putting pressure on Vienna and on Budapest in order to obtain “large concessions” in favour of the Roumanians of Transylvania and Bukovina. But at Bukarest people know by experience the value to be attached to the promises of Vienna, and especially to those of the Magyar nobility. Besides, as Roumania desires the annexation, pure and simple, of Transylvania and of the Roumanian region of Bukovina, she could not be content with mere concessions. So the offers of the Central Empires at Bukarest have little chance of being seriously considered.
They will have still less, if the Roumanians yield to the force of evidence by recognizing, that even if the Pangerman plan were to provide for thecession of Transylvania to Roumania, at the expense of Hungary, that plan would still threaten their independence in the most direct and indisputable manner. In her attempt to win Roumania to her side, Berlin has promised to give Bessarabia, with Odessa, to Roumania at the expense of Russia. In order to appreciate the character and the sincerity of this offer, the Roumanians need only refer to the pamphlet long ago circulated by the Alldeutscher Verband, which sets forth the fundamental plan of 1894, and which I have often quoted. It bears the title, Great Germany and Central Europe in 1950. On p. 36 that work defines as follows the fate which Pangermanism has in store for Roumania on the East. “In the case of a victorious war against Russia, Roumania might get Upper Bessarabia as far as the Dniester. Austria would annex Lower Bessarabia in the form of a Margraviate of Bessarabia, and by means of the German colonies, which already exist, she would transform it into a purely German region. The boundaries of this Austro-German Margraviate of Bessarabia would include the cities of Odessa, Bender, Borodino, Formosa, Beni, Ismail, and the mouths of the Danube at Sulina. A reciprocal exchange of populations with the neighbouring countries would easily ensure the exclusively German colonization of this Margraviate. German ships of war would mount guard at the mouth of the German Danube.” This fundamental plan, which dates from twenty-one years ago, would now be completed, as we saw (p. 133) by the ultimate establishment in the Roumanian Dobrudja of the Bulgarians, who would thus be in direct contact with the new Margraviate of Prussianized Austria.
Hence, supposing the Germans were victorious, the Roumanians, who have been much alarmed by the idea of seeing the Russians installed atConstantinople, would be confronted by the danger of being soon entirely cut off from both the Black Sea and from the Mediterranean. The Bulgarians would take possession of the Roumanian Dobrudja, the Germans would remain at Constantinople and the Dardanelles, where they are already, and besides they would be dominant at Odessa and the mouths of the Danube, according to the plan drawn up, as far back as 1844, by the future Marshal Moltke (see p. 4). The authority of that name may satisfy the Roumanians that the scheme is no mere fantasy.
Moreover, it is plain enough that were Roumania once encircled, she could no longer dream of creating, as she so ardently desires to do, a national industry, since she would be no more than an economic territory reduced to impotence, a mere dumping-ground for goods made in Pangermany.
To sum up, we see that this is really a question of life or death for Roumania. A Prussian victory, in fact, would imperil her national independence in the most direct and indubitable manner. It appears that the general opinion in Roumania is alive to the danger and to the necessity of Roumanian intervention in the conflict. It remains to be seen whether German influences at Bukarest will be adroit enough and powerful enough to delude the Roumanian authorities into shilly-shallying till the decisive hour shall have come and gone.
GERMAN MANŒUVRES TO PLAY THE ALLIES THE TRICK OF THE “DRAWN GAME,” THAT IS, TO SECURE THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE “HAMBURG TO THE PERSIAN GULF” SCHEME AS THE MINIMUM RESULT OF THE WAR.
I. The exceptional importance of the economic union of the Central Empires, and the danger for the Allies of establishing a connexion between that union and their own economic measures after the war.
II. Reasons for the Turco-German dodge of making a separate peace between the Ottoman empire and the Allies.
III. Why a separate and premature peace with Bulgaria would play the Pangerman game.
At the moment when this book is published, the Germans have certainly not renounced the hope of keeping and establishing a definite claim to the territories which they actually occupy on the West and on the East; but with their usual foresight they nevertheless contemplate the possibility of their having to consent to evacuate on the West, let us say, 90,478 square kilometres, and on the East 260,000 square kilometres, in order to preserve almost entire the principal part of the Pangerman acquisitions, that is to say, the gains made, directly or indirectly, to the South and South-east, namely, Austria-Hungary (676,616 square kilometres), the Balkans (215,585 square kilometres), Turkey (about 1,792,000 square kilometres). Total, 2,684,201 square kilometres.
To maintain its dominion over these territories, the government of Berlin is from now onward directing its energies to three sorts of manœuvres, all very astute, and very well co-ordinated, though they wear different aspects, each corresponding to each of the three territorial stages essential to the achievement of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.” These three stages are Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria, which last forms the bridge between the two other stages.
As regards Austria-Hungary the Berlin programme may be summed up as follows: to take advantage of the occupation of the territories of the Hapsburg Monarchy by the troops of William II. in order to impose, by all possible means, both on Hungary and on Austria, a series of measures called an economic union with Germany, which would leave Austria-Hungary an appearance of independence sufficient to throw dust in the eyes of the Allies, while at the same time it would in fact subject that empire absolutely to the will of Berlin.
So far, these tactics have not succeeded in putting on a semblance of legality. Since the outbreak of war, the Pangermans of Vienna have not even dared to summon the Austrian parliament, knowing very well that the Slav and Latin deputies would protest most vehemently against the subjection of their respective countries to the German empire. At present the Germans of Vienna, while they terrorize the Austrian Slavs and try to persuade them that the Allies have forsaken them, are striving to prepare a meeting of the Reichsrath which might seem to sanction all that has been done. But the reader will understand that it is no easy matter to get up this farce, when he learns that even the Magyars, who have linked themselves closely to Germany, are beginning to resist, now that Berlin is forced to disclose those measures of enslavement, of which Hungary must feel the effects, like the other States destined to pass under the Pangerman yoke. It is said that William II.’s great Magyar accomplice, Count Tisza himself, is protesting. At all events in the Pesti Hirlap of Budapest, of 12th April, 1916, we are assured that his friend, the Senator Eugène Rakosky, has just published the following lines, which are particularly significant:
“All this Central European ferment will have no other result than compelling the Hungarians to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for the Germans. They want us to make high roads for the Germans to the East. All these Central European alliances and unions mean nothing but that we are expected to sell our national soul and pass under the German yoke” (quoted by Le Temps, 19th April, 1916).
But the Allies should have no illusion on this head. The most vehement protests of the Magyars will be of no avail. The Germans are in occupation of Austria-Hungary and they have the power. They may disguise their enslavement of this vast empire under various formulas, such as extension of theZollverein, economic union of the Central Empires, unification of the commercial laws of Austria and Germany, etc.; or they may even, as a subterfuge, to lull the fears of the Allies to sleep, give up the use of any positive formula, the final result will always be the same, the political seizure by Germany of the Hapsburg Monarchy cloaked under the decent pretext of economic measures.
To this object the Germans cling above everything else, because it has been the basis of the whole Pangerman plan since 1895, and the indispensable condition of achieving the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf,” as the reader will find explained, with the reasons in full, in my book published fifteen years ago, L’Europe et la Question d’Autriche au seuil du XXᵉ siècle; they cling to it, too, because Germany has made war for the very purpose of effecting at least this seizure of Austria-Hungary, which is absolutely indispensable to the plans of William II.
Nothing but the complete victory of the Allies can compel Berlin to renounce this plan of domination and liberate the non-German peoples of the Hapsburg Monarchy. Meantime the Germans are taking all possible precautions against such an event. We have seen (p. 93) how already, under their pressure, the Magyars are concerting with them the economic measures to be taken in view of that future war, which is to complete the results of a peace which Berlin already thinks bound to be “imperfect.” Accordingly, the Allies cannot have the faintest doubt as to the new war which as sure as fate will follow, sooner or later, from the economic and necessarily political union of the Central Empires. In Chapter V we saw that the certain consequence of this economic union would be:
1º. To secure to Germany the spoils of war and a trade monopoly over nearly 3 millions of square kilometres containing wealth untold.
2º. On the contrary, to leave the Allies to pay all their expenses in the war, which is equivalent to condemning their peoples to ruin.
3º. To make Prussian militarism more powerful than ever, since, radiating from the block of Central Europe, it could command an army of from 15 to 21 millions of soldiers.
4º. To give Germany the supremacy over the majority of essential strategic points on land and sea, which would provide Berlin with all the means for executing gradually and completely its plan of world-wide domination.
But it seems that these formidable consequences, which flow from the seizure of Austria-Hungary by Germany, have not yet been sufficiently understood in the Allied countries. That is the conclusion indicated by the following opinions which have been published in some French and English newspapers: “The declarations of Mr. Runciman, President of the Board of Trade in the United Kingdom,” says Le Temps of 25th March, 1916, “prove that Great Britain is resolved to work without delay for the formation of an economic alliance against the powers of Central Europe.”
Mr. Hughes, Prime Minister of Australia, in an address at the Carlton Club, gave his hearers to understand that the German Empire must not be allowed to hope to reduce other countries to a state of commercial dependence upon it (see Le Temps, 23rd March, 1916). In consequence of these declarations an idea was formed of an economic understanding between the Allies in order, according to Le Petit Parisien, “to make an effective reply to the project of a Central Europe conceived by our enemies.”
M. Jules Siegfried, in a letter to the Temps, 3rd April, 1916, affirmed, with reference to this: “Germany, aware of the danger, is seeking to form a Customs-union with Austria, Bulgaria, and Turkey. It is therefore necessary for us to guard against this danger.” Mr. Hewins, chairman of the Business Committee of the House of Commons, stated at London on April 6th: “But France and England, after their victory, will possess a preponderance over the Austro-German union which will enable them to dictate their tariffs, etc.” (see L’Echo de Paris, 7th April, 1916). M. Edmond Théry, in Le Matin of 13th April, 1916, discussing the same problem, concluded: “If, therefore, the Allied nations will erect simultaneously and under identical conditions a powerful Customs barrier between their respective home markets and the products of Germany and her accomplices, this of itself will suffice to strike a mortal blow at German industry, commerce, and credit.”
These declarations are amazing. How can the economic problem to be solved by the Allies be placed, even through an obvious “inadvertence,” on a basis so manifestly inaccurate? How, in fact, can we voluntarily admit the least connection between the economic conference of the Allies and the economic union of the Central empires, since that union is clearly in flagrant contradiction with the general object of the war, which nevertheless, the Allies are perfectly at one in pursuing? In fact, to keep repeating that the Allies must form an economic alliance of the Allies to compete after the war against the economic union of Central Europe, and to prevent the German Empire from reducing other countries besides Austria-Hungary to a commercial dependence on itself, this is, in strict logic, to assume that the Allies agree to let Prussianized Germany lay hands on the 50 million inhabitants of Austria-Hungary, which would secure for Berlin the means of carrying out her scheme of domination “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.” But it is clear that this result is radically incompatible with the higher ideal aim of the war which the Allies propose as their goal, the aim which their governments incessantly proclaim, that is, the destruction of Prussian militarism.
There has therefore unquestionably been a mistake on the part of some French and English authorities, who are in other respects well qualified, in the way they have put the question and in the association of their ideas. This mistake is doubtless explained by the fact that in England loose ideas are still prevalent as to the Pangerman plan and Austria-Hungary. Many people on the other side of the Channel still imagine that the majority of the population of that Empire is German, whereas on the principle of nationalities, Germany could at most incorporate 7 or 8 millions of Germans at present subjects of the Hapsburg (see p. 126). These loose ideas prevalent in England are very difficult to eradicate. It is these ideas which are at the root of the mistakes made by our British Allies in regard to the Balkans and Salonika, whereas, on account of Egypt and India, England was more interested than all the other Allies in the rapid execution of that expedition.
Be that as it may, as the Allies cannot indulge in the sanguinary luxury of fresh serious blunders, it is necessary to show why the project of an economic understanding between the Allies should be absolutely independent of the Berlin project of a Central European Union.
In point of fact, if this separation is not clearly effected, it will entail the following baneful consequences, which will delay still further the victory to gain which the Allied peoples are making such gigantic sacrifices.
1º. To allow it to be understood in the newspapers of the Allies, even by inadvertence, that the Allies could possibly admit of the economic union which Germany intends to force on Austria-Hungary, would be to furnish the German newspapers with a cordial for reviving the fainting spirits of the German nation; for in that case the German journalists would point out to their people that they can still count on carrying out the main part of the Pangerman plan, which they regard as the essential object of the war.
2º. The German scheme of capturing Austria-Hungary in an economical net is radically incompatible with the pledges which the Allies have given to Serbia. In his toast to the Prince of Serbia, M. Poincaré declared: “Acting with the Serbian army, the Allies will liberate the Serbian territory, will re-establish the independence and the sovereignty of your noble country on a solid foundation, and will vindicate the rights which have been infringed” (see Le Temps, 23rd March, 1916). Now a mere glance at the map (p. 79) suffices to show that the capture of Austria-Hungary by Germany would render the fulfilment of that solemn promise impossible. Once in contact with the Balkans, Germany would be the mistress of these countries, and for Serbia that would be a sentence of death.
3º. To allow it to be supposed that the project of an economic union between Germany and Austria-Hungary could be even contemplated by the Allies, would be to give over to an agony of despair the 28 million Slav and Latin subjects of the Hapsburg Monarchy, who look to the Allies as their deliverers, and who, just because of their sympathies with the Allied cause, are subjected to the most atrocious persecution. There can be no doubt that the German press would catch at any ambiguous phrases in the utterances of the Allied press about the “economic union” of Central Europe in order to persuade these poor wretches that the Allies have forsaken them for good and all, and that there is nothing left for them, but to bow their neck to the German-Magyar yoke. But it is manifestly the political and military interest of the Allies at the moment to let the Slavs and Latins of Austria-Hungary know at once that they may rely on the Allies, and that the victory of the Allied cause would mean the end of their own serfdom. To attain that result of the war is unquestionably a moral duty for the Allies; but more than that it is in strict conformity with their own future interest, for the independence of 28 million Slavs and Latins of Austria-Hungary is absolutely indispensable to the establishment of a new and lasting Europe, founded on the principle of nationalities, and capable of forming at the same time in Central Europe a barrier, which Pangermanism in arms will for the future be powerless to overleap.
4º. Every mistake, or appearance of a mistake, as to the treatment which the Western Allies intend to mete out to Austria-Hungary would excite the liveliest protests among our Russian Allies. As M. Milioukoff well said in a speech to the Duma: “When we have wound up bankrupt Turkey, as we are now doing, it will be necessary to wind up another bankrupt concern, and that is Austria-Hungary. We are certain that the numerous nationalities which form part of the Dual Monarchy will receive their liberty at the hands of Russia” (quoted by Le Temps, 27th March, 1916). But the point of view set forth by M. Milioukoff, which is that of everybody who really knows Austria-Hungary (see p. 118), must be shared by all the Allies, since they intend to destroy Prussian militarism and clearly do not wage the most frightful of all wars for the purpose of seeing militant Prussia emerge from the struggle infinitely more powerful than she entered into it.
These many and forcible reasons make it clear how necessary it is that there should be no possible ambiguity in the Allied press as to the economic conference of the Allies. It is all very well for the conference to look ahead to the time when peace shall have been concluded, to take “concerted measures to counteract the dirty tricks by which Germany has compassed the destruction of her rivals,” to forestall fresh German depredations, in time of peace, on the financial establishments of the Allies, to prevent the Germans from manipulating the Custom-house tariffs, with all their usual dexterity, and so forth. This is all very well; nothing better; but on no account let there be, even in appearance, the least connexion between these theoretical measures of the Allies and the pretensions of Berlin to establish the economic union of Central Europe. Besides, as Mr. Lloyd George has said, with his robust good sense: “Before discussing the commercial system to be adopted after the war, we must first win the war. Everything depends on that” (quoted by Le Temps, 25th March). But the war will not be really won till every revival of aggressive Pangermanism shall have been rendered impossible; and this implies nothing less than the most energetic opposition to Germany’s attempt to capture the majority of the countries which actually compose the empire of the Hapsburgs.
A cunning manœuvre for saving the future of Pangermanism and of Enver Pasha’s gang in Turkey has already been broached by the Germans. As it will certainly be attempted again, should it be in the interest of Berlin to push it through (and everything points that way), it becomes necessary to unmask it completely beforehand. In February, 1916, numerous Turkish agents, installed in Switzerland and apparently working through spies in the Allied countries, began to set afloat a rumour that Turkey was ready to conclude a separate peace. Enver Pasha had been assassinated (which of course was a lie), and so forth. The aim of this manœuvre was to secure in the Allied countries the assistance of those incorrigible fools, armed with the panoply of crass ignorance on the affairs of the East, who nevertheless are not always without influence on men at the head of affairs. If I am rightly informed, this clever dodge of the Turkish agents did really succeed for a time in enlisting some of the fools I speak of. In the opinion of these gentry the conclusion of a separate peace with Turkey would have been a very good move, since it would have deprived Germany of the help of her Ottoman ally, etc. These are very dangerous illusions, and it is necessary to show how and why this measure would play the game of Berlin and gravely imperil the victory of the Allies.
The Turks, greatly alarmed by the Russian successes in Armenia, see at the same time their dream of a Panislamic movement fading away. They are obliged to acknowledge to themselves that the Germans are cynically using them for their own selfish ends, are driving them along the road to famine by making a clean sweep of all their food supplies, and are sending them to slaughter for the higher interests of Pangermany. But while the mass of the Turks may very well feel their anger beginning to rise against the Germans, they are completely in the hands of the Young-Turk ringleaders, who in their turn are bound over, hand and foot, to the Germans; and more and more the Germans are masters of the organs of administration and government in Turkey. Therefore there is no counting on an effective revolt of the Turkish population, who moreover are entirely destitute of the spirit of organization. On the other hand, the Germans are far-seeing people and perfectly understand that Turkey is hastening towards a catastrophe. But to bring about a separate peace between Turkey and the Allies would be equivalent to inducing the Allies to recognize the permanence of the Ottoman empire; it would thus save that empire from disaster, and leave the door open for Berlin to re-open its old intrigues after the conclusion of a peace on the basis of the “drawn game” (see chap. V).
On the contrary, if the question of the Ottoman East is logically settled once for all, all hope of carrying out at a later time the Pangerman dream “from Constantinople to the Persian Gulf” is finally shattered. Moreover, a separate peace would also serve the turn of the Young-Turk ringleaders, for clearly nothing else could enable them to keep their hold on the reins of power, or could save them from being massacred by their fellow countrymen the day that the Ottoman crash comes. We see therefore why the rumours of a separate peace between Turkey and the Allies, which have been circulated and afterwards denied, only to be started again, at some other time, are really a Turko-German manœuvre. Besides, the Arabian journal Al-Mokattan of Cairo (22nd April, 1916) has remarked that “a separate peace with Turkey would cause Germany no uneasiness, since the retirement of Turkey from the arena would relieve Germany from the need of helping the Turks, as she does at present.” Finally, the Vossische Zeitung has confessed that “a separate peace between Turkey and the enemies of Germany would in no way prejudice Austro-German interests” (quoted by Le Journal de Genève, 25th April, 1916).
However, it is not to be supposed that the leaders of the Entente will allow themselves to be caught in the Turko-German trap. The Eastern question is a regular ulcer, which has envenomed European policy for a hundred years; it is the nightmare of the chanceries. Every attempt to reform the Ottoman empire has always failed. The fact is that this dry-rotten State has only been bolstered up by the mutual rivalries of the great powers. Since the victory of the Allies is bound to secure for the Old World a very long period of peace, that perennial source of troubles and wars, the Turkish empire, must be stopped for good. Moreover, justice in its broader aspect demands the same solution of the problem.
THE NATIONALITIES IN TURKEY.
In Turkey, as elsewhere, if the new settlement is to be endowed with a potentiality of life, the principle of nationalities must be followed as far as is practicable. Now, out of the 20 million inhabitants of the Ottoman empire, four great nationalities (see the accompanying map) account for about 18 millions. In the absence of statistics on which any reliance can be placed, it is estimated that there are in Turkey about:—
Two millions of Levantines, of Europeans, of Jews, and of miscellaneous races.
Two millions of Greeks.
Two millions of Armenians.
Eight millions of Arabs.
Six millions only of Turks.
As for the Greeks, who unfortunately do not form a coherent body (see p. 147), there are several solutions to be considered, with a view to giving them a fraction of the Ottoman empire, if they throw themselves into the struggle in the Balkans on the side of the Allies. With regard to the Arabs, they detest the Turks, who have oppressed them for centuries. The liberation of the Arabs from the Turkish yoke should therefore be carried out so far as it is at all possible. As for the Armenians, of whom several hundreds of thousands have just been massacred by the Turks, it is clearly impossible to contemplate the continuance of the remnant of this unhappy people under the iron heel of Enver Pasha, Talaat, and the rest of that gang. With regard to the six millions, or thereabouts, of Turks, who represent less than the third of the population of the Ottoman empire, they really inhabit only Anatolia, that is to say, the portion of the Ottoman empire included between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Everywhere else the Turks are merely hated officials, who, ever since the conquest by the Osmanli Sultans, have cynically sucked dry the other populations of the Ottoman empire. No doubt the Turkish peasant of Anatolia, when he is not a prey to one of those paroxysms of religious fanaticism which seize him periodically, is generally a good fellow. Very sober and long-suffering he makes an excellent soldier, but the mental apparatus of your Anatolian Turk is several centuries behind the time. He is incapable of self-government in our modern age. It is true that there are some thousands of Turks who make excellent employees in the service of the Ottoman Debt, but only on condition of their being constantly supervised and directed by European heads of departments. Among the Turks of Constantinople there is not a single group offering any serious guarantee for the guidance of the Turkish masses. If the Turkish peasant of Anatolia is undoubtedly endowed by nature with some sterling qualities, it is equally certain that the Turks of Constantinople, with few exceptions, are corrupt to the marrow of their bones. In these circumstances to imagine that a really independent Turkish empire could be set up is to nurse an absurd chimera. As for Constantinople, it is not even a Turkish city; it is essentially cosmopolitan. Its 1,200,000 inhabitants consist of Turks (43 per cent.), Armenians (18 per cent.), Greeks (17 per cent.), Jews (16 per cent.), Europeans, Levantines, and miscellaneous peoples (6 per cent.).
On the other hand, it is plain enough that this amazing war cannot close without allowing Russia to acquire a predominant position at Constantinople. Russia certainly did not want the war, but she has been compelled to wage it and to send millions of men to their death, while she has had to support a formidable financial burden. For these gigantic sacrifices Russia must receive compensation. The toll which Russia will take of Poland in return for the autonomy granted to her—a toll which is both just and conformable to the common interest of the Poles as well as of the Russians—evidently cannot repay Russia for her enormous sacrifices. That necessary compensation, therefore, Russia must look for elsewhere. Now a glance at the map, combined with a knowledge of the cosmopolitan character of Constantinople, will convince anybody that Russia cannot continue to be bottled up in the Black Sea. While it is necessary to the peace of the new Europe that the control of the Straits should be exercised under the direction of Russia on as liberal principles as possible, it is no less necessary for the West to understand that justice demands for Russia a preponderant position at Constantinople, even though the Western powers must make some undoubted sacrifices to secure that object. If the soldiers of the Tsar have given proof of unparalleled self-sacrifice, if, despite some cruel reverses, they display an inflexible tenacity, it is because they are stirred by two motives—a hatred of the Germans who have poisoned the Russian bureaucracy, and the ardent wish for the fulfilment of that hope which animates the poorest peasant in Russia, the hope of securing for Russia a free outlet on the Mediterranean. These are the feelings, the depth and power of which M. Milioukoff put into words when he said to the Duma: “We shall not end the war without securing an outlet to the open sea. The annexation of the Straits will not be a territorial annexation, for vast Russia has no need of new territories, but she cannot prosper without access to the open sea” (see Le Journal de Genève, 28th March, 1916). But in spreading the rumour of a separate peace with Turkey the Germans expect to derive the following advantage from the manœuvre. They reckon that some Allied newspapers in the West will receive the idea favourably. The Germans would immediately take advantage of that to stir up in Russia a violent storm of indignation and doubt against the Western Allies. The example of 1915 ought to serve the Allies as a warning against any imprudence in the press. It is not sufficiently known in France that last year the Germans traded largely on the apparent inactivity of the French troops, at the time when the Russians were obliged to endure their long retreat of five months. That inactivity was certainly not the effect of any ill will of the French towards their Russian allies; it was the consequence of that baneful theory of the Western front considered as the principal and exclusive theatre of war, a theory which prevented the intervention by way of Salonika, at a time when it might still have been easily effected, between May and July, 1915. Nevertheless, that apparent inactivity has been used by the Germans to excite discontent in Russia against the French, and their efforts have not been unsuccessful, for during a long time many Russians were much annoyed with the French for an inactivity which seemed to them inexplicable. This instance may help us to understand what a disastrous effect would be produced in Russia by the news that in the West the newspapers or influential circles contemplate as possible a separate peace with Turkey at the very moment when the Russian arms are more and more successful in Armenia, and when these successes not only console the soldiers of the Tsar for their former reverses, but also render the Allies a substantial service by draining the Balkan peninsula of Turkish troops, and thus facilitating the Allied offensive from Salonika Northward.
Such are the various results aimed at by the astute new dodge of a separate peace with the Ottoman empire. Surely it is only necessary to recognize them to prevent the Allies from being caught in the new Turko-German trap.
Contemporaneously with the rumour of a separate peace with Turkey, in February, 1916, a suggestion was mysteriously made to the Western Allies that the Bulgarians also wished to treat with them. The two manœuvres, as we shall see, are in fact closely connected. If the Bulgarians were to come and say to the Allies: “We have been deceived, deluded by Berlin, we have pursued an odious policy. As a proof of our good faith we will evacuate immediately the Serbian territories which we have invaded, and we will do all in our power to undo the mischief we have done. Grant us peace on these terms”; in that case, clearly enough, there would be some reason for listening to Sofia. But it would be entirely to mistake the character of the Bulgarians and of their government to imagine that they could even dream of such a proposal. What the Bulgarians would like well enough would be a peace with the Allies, which should allow them to retain their territorial acquisitions, the permanent character of which was proclaimed by M. Radoslavoff on March 1st, 1916. Such a settlement, moreover, as we shall see, would square exactly with the interests of Sofia and Berlin.
At heart, the Bulgarians would be very glad of peace, since a continuation of the war can hardly procure for them any accession to what they already hold. On the other hand, the offensive of the Allies from Salonika, if it is well organized, ought to mete out to the Bulgarians the chastisement which they dread, especially since the check to the Germans before Verdun and the Russian successes in Armenia. The Bulgarian people is moreover deeply discontented at the heavy losses which it has already sustained by the sword and by disease in the campaign against Serbia. They see the whole of Bulgaria in the hands of German officers. As for the Bulgarian army, it is in a very unsatisfactory state, which has already led to local mutinies and many desertions. In these circumstances Bulgaria would evidently on all accounts do a good piece of business if she were to make a separate peace with the Allies. It must be clearly understood that this Bulgarian manœuvre is not openly avowed at Sofia; it is only carried on underhand, and probably, for the reasons we shall see, with the connivance of Berlin. Nevertheless, it is very dangerous, for, it must be said in the interest of the common Allied cause and of the truth, it has found supporters in the Allied countries among those who combine an invincible fatuity with ideas on the Balkans which are forty years behind the time.
There are also some Russians who still imagine that in 1915 the Allied diplomacy made a mistake in not undoing the consequences of the treaty ofBukarest; whereas in point of fact that is just what has been done, and what, as we saw in Chapter II., § I., constituted the fundamental error of the Allied policy in the Balkans. According to these Russians the treaty of Bukarest should have been set aside in order to restore Bulgaria to the limits assigned to it by the treaty of San Stefano. This is the point of view maintained as late as March, 1916, by M. Milioukoff from the tribune of the Duma. I have explained (p. 138), why on the west the Bulgaria of the San Stefano treaty by no means corresponded to the racial facts, and for what reasons Macedonia, forming the south of Serbia, is very far from being Bulgarian. A striking proof of it is that the Bulgarians have just massacred there a quantity of Serbians. With regard to the ethnography of the region we may introduce into the discussion a new argument, as original perhaps as it is convincing. To tell the truth the most accurate account of the ethnographic position of Macedonia is that which has been handed down to us for generations by the Cooks—it is a Macédoine. In the great dictionary of Larousse, vol. x, p. 855, edition of 1873, and therefore anterior by five years to the treaty of San Stefano (1878), we read: “Macédoine (Macedonia), a dish composed of a great number of different vegetables or fruits. ‘This word,’ says Ch. Nodier, ‘was probably first applied to a very miscellaneous dish in allusion to the incredible medley of peoples on whom Philip and Alexander imposed the laws of Macedonia.’”
Now these various peoples are the Turks, the Albanians, the Bulgarians, the Jews, the Roumanians, and the Serbians, who inhabit the south of Serbia. Thus the ancient tradition handed down by the cooks, whose impartiality in matters of ethnography will not be disputed, undoubtedly contradicts the theory of the ethnographical unity of Bulgaria mapped out by the treaty of San Stefano; and it must be remembered that in 1878 Russian diplomacy had special reasons, which no longer exist, for treating the whole of that Bulgaria as exclusively Bulgarian. The words of M. Milioukoff prove that the erroneous ideas of 1878 still linger in the minds of some Russians. Happily among the vast majority of our Eastern Allies the logic of facts has dissipated those sentimental leanings to Bulgaria which were once so strong. Indeed, the Bulgarians themselves have powerfully assisted the Russians to arrive at a juster appreciation of the true situation. At the end of 1915, in the first effervescence of their affection for Germany, the newspapers of Sofia announced that the Bulgarians are not Slavs but Tartar-Mongols, and that this racial consideration, added to all the rest, goes to show that along with the Turks and the Magyars they should form the “Turanian block,” which, in association with Germany, will master and hold down the Slavs and Latins in Europe. Hence the Bulgarian dodge of a separate peace with the Allies has very little chance of being seriously considered in Russia. But unfortunately some of those same Englishmen, whose erroneous information greatly contributed to the Balkan mistakes of 1915, are actually supporting it. I shall only refer here to Englishmen who have no official position. Among them must particularly be named the brothers Charles and Noel Buxton, who have long been at the head of a committee which is called the Balkan Committee, but which in fact has always been systematically Bulgarophile. Now by an odd coincidence the brothers Buxton have into the bargain Germanophile leanings. Le Temps of January 10th, 1916, noticed a curious book of theirs which had lately appeared, and which the journal described as “pacificist dreams.” These gentlemen appear to advocate a premature peace with Berlin as well as with Sofia, a policy which is characteristic of them. Still more dangerous is the activity of some underground workers who masquerade as correspondents of English newspapers in the Balkans. Amongst them are some who, holding views that were true enough in the time of Gladstone but are wrong to-day, systematically favour the Bulgarians. Such is their prejudice that they have failed to see the bearing of the treaty of Bukarest, and did not so much as suspect the existence of the treaties which Bulgaria concluded with Germany and Turkey in the spring of 1914, and which have just been disclosed by M. Radoslavoff (see p. 154). These correspondents, in virtue of the undeserved credit given them in London, contributed in large measure to delude the British authorities in 1915 as to the true intentions of Bulgaria down to the moment when it stepped into the arena at the side of Germany. From this grievous error has resulted the crushing of Serbia, with its manifold consequences. In spite of these plain facts staring them in the face, some incorrigible Englishmen are still unconvinced. While they acknowledge the very great difficulties of the actual situation of the Bulgarians, they nevertheless arrive at this paradoxical conclusion that the Allies should make peace with the Bulgarians and suffer them to retain their present conquests.
Be that as it may, this underhand agitation lately carried on in London by a few but very active agents, has naturally been reprobated by well-informed British opinion. The English who in April, 1916, gave so warm a reception to the Prince of Serbia, are apprehensive lest a new blunder should be perpetrated in the Balkans. To prevent that contingency a question was put in the House of Commons on March 28th: “A member asked for an assurance that Bulgaria would not be admitted to a separate peace, and especially that she should not be permitted to acquire territories at the expense of the peoples who have fought on the side of the Allies during the war” (see L’Œuvre, 29th March, 1916). This British resolution is in harmony with the interests, moral and material, recent and future, of the Allies.
In the first place, it is useless to reckon, as some misguided people have done, on a really effective popular Bulgarian rising against the government. Tsar Ferdinand has always done just what he pleased in Bulgaria, and now that he is hand in glove with Berlin, the Germans will furnish him with the force needed to keep him on the throne. As for the Bulgarian people, they are no doubt the victims of the present situation, but so they will remain. Unquestionably they possess some sterling qualities. They are industrious, energetic, and sober. But they resemble the Prussians in many points, as the new German minister to Sofia announced recently (see Le Temps, 18th March, 1916). In fact the Bulgarian people has the keen eye to the main chance, the duplicity, and the domineering spirit of the Brandenburgs. Moreover, the Bulgarian people is the prey of the Bulgarian politicians, who, with the stubbornness of mules and a doggedness of which it is impossible to convey an idea, are perfectly irreconcilable on the question of Macedonia. No doubt the most astute among them might very well, as in 1915, pretend to negotiate with the Allies for the purpose of delaying the attack from the side of Salonika, of which Berlin is extremely afraid; but to believe it possible to come to a sincere and durable understanding with Bulgaria is merely to nurse the most pernicious of chimeras. To conclude a premature peace with Bulgaria would also entail on the Allies other fatal consequences, which it is easy to demonstrate. A treaty with the Bulgarians, who in complicity with the Germans have just massacred systematically an enormous number of Serbians, would be a manifest act of treason to Serbia; it would be to treat the crimes of the Bulgarians as if they actually conferred rights on the criminals. Clearly the public opinion of the Allied nations would never tolerate such an infamy. Besides, from a military point of view the calculation would be wrong. In order to avoid giving battle to 350,000 Bulgarians, whose forces must be divided between the Roumanian front and the Salonika front, the Allies would be obliged, in the first place, to dispense with the assistance of 150,000 Serbian soldiers, who obviously would refuse to march the day that the Allies entered into negotiations with the Bulgarians. Moreover, an understanding with Bulgaria would have the effect, at once political and military, of undermining the favourable disposition of the Greeks and Roumanians towards the Entente. As I have shown in Chapter VII, the hatred of the Roumanians and the Greeks for the Bulgarians is the great psychological factor in the Balkans.
The official plan of Bulgarian supremacy, set forth on the accompanying map, may serve to explain that hatred, for it shows that Bulgarian ambition encroaches considerably on the territories of all her neighbours. It now even extends by way of Albania to the Adriatic. We can therefore readily understand that this plan of Bulgarian supremacy is the nightmare of the Greeks and the Roumanians. But these Bulgarians, like the Prussians, because of the similarity of their characters, will never renounce their programme of dominion until they shall have received at the hands of the Allies, with the help of the Greeks and Roumanians, the sound thrashing which they have earned a hundred times over, and which is essential to the establishment of lasting peace in the Balkans. But it is clear that if negotiations were opened for a separate peace with the Bulgarians, the Greeks (250,000 men) and the Roumanians (600,000 men), seeing their interests once more misunderstood by the Allies, would refuse once and for all to fight on their side.
ENCROACHMENTS PLANNED BY BULGARIA ON NEIGHBOURING STATES.
Finally, a separate peace which left Bulgaria in possession of her conquests, would enable her to build and buttress the bridge which is to join the Central Empires to Turkey. That is just what Berlin wants in order to execute its scheme of domination “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.” In the light of that aim, the secret attempts of Bulgaria to conclude a separate peace are seen to be the Bulgaro-German counterpart of the Turko-German manœuvre which I have exposed above (see p. 167).
Evidently the Allies will not allow themselves to be taken in by these clumsy tricks. The lesson taught by the faults committed in the Balkans in 1915 is so plain that it will prevent the Allied leaders from perpetrating any fresh blunder on a large scale. Moreover, the victory of the Allies cannot be won, and a lasting peace cannot be established in Europe, unless the German dodge of the “drawn game” is frustrated.
THE STILL NEUTRAL STATES WHOSE INDEPENDENCE WOULD BE DIRECTLY THREATENED BY THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THE “HAMBURG TO THE PERSIAN GULF” SCHEME, AND THEREFORE BY GERMANY’S CAPTURE OF AUSTRIA-HUNGARY.
I. The example of Portugal.
IV. The States of South America.
V. The United States.
Almost all the neutral States, though as yet they are hardly aware of it, have a vital interest, not only in compelling Germany to abandon her conquests in the East and in the West, but also in preventing her from establishing her supremacy over Austria-Hungary by means of the war. This latter aim is perfectly logical, since the German supremacy over Central Europe would secure for the government of Berlin formidable means of domination both by land and sea (see p. 106). One of the effects of the colossal upheaval in the mutual relation of the forces of the States involved, in view of the abnormal concentration of the sources of power in German hands, would be that the independence of the neutral States would inevitably be gravely imperilled. In this chapter we shall consider the situation of countries still neutral, which would be particularly affected by the achievement of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.”
The case of Portugal is typical, because here we have a small State which, in the opinion of many, seemed for a long time as if it could keep out of theconflict; whereas on the contrary the necessity of defending itself against the German schemes for swallowing it up, compelled it at last to plunge into the war.
Ever since the opening of hostilities in Europe, Portugal has been the scene of German intrigues carried on with the greatest activity; indeed, even before the outbreak of the European conflagration the train had been laid as carefully in Portugal as elsewhere. Working through reactionary centres, these intrigues ostensibly aimed at the restoration to the throne of Emmanuel of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Bragança, who had been dethroned, on October 5th, 1910, by the revolution which gave birth to the Portuguese Republic. Afterwards, on the 4th of September, 1913, he married the German princess Augustine-Victoria, of Hohenzollern Sigmaringen. The German agents also brought influence to bear on certain Portuguese anarchists in order, by every possible means, to stir up trouble in the country which had been marked out for ruin by the Pangerman plot of 1911. We have seen (p. 103) what Portuguese colonies that plot had specially in view. Now in 1912 the government of Berlin, eagerly and astutely plotting its European war on the assumption that England would stand out of it, and that she might be lulled into acquiescence by the bait of temporary colonial gains, availed itself of the official negotiations with Lord Haldane to propose to the English Cabinet that England and Germany should divide the Portuguese colonies in Africa between them.
These colonies (the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verd, Princes Island, St. Thomas, Guinea, Angola, Mozambique) shown on the accompanying map, are of great importance to Portugal. With their two millions of square kilometres, and their 8,300,000 inhabitants, they are the still important relics of the once magnificent colonial empire of Portugal; they are accordingly an essential base for Portuguese commerce, and especially for a future commercial revival of Portugal, which the government of Lisbon is naturally anxious to promote.
PORTUGAL AND COLONIAL PANGERMANISM.
At the very commencement of hostilities in Europe, the Germans, discounting their victory in Europe, invaded Angola, and it is only lately that the Portuguese soldiers succeeded in driving them out. Thus in point of fact a state of war has long existed between Portugal and Germany, and it is Germany that took the offensive. Hence from the outset the Portuguese government has had many excellent reasons for wishing well to the cause of the Allies; and Portugal has effectively proved her good will by all the means in her power.
By way of reprisals for the incessant German intrigues in Portugal itself, and for the acts of war committed on her colonial territory by the soldiers of William II., Portugal at last seized the numerous German vessels which had been interned in her ports since the outbreak of the European conflagration.
Germany replied in March, 1915, by an official declaration of war, which in fact did nothing but legalize a state of things that had long existed in consequence of the German aggression on Angola.
After this official rupture Portugal perfectly understood that, if she wished to save her very existence, she must range herself completely on the side of the Allies. On March 25th, 1916, the Portuguese Minister of War issued an order to the army, in which he said:
“No one who has followed with patriotic anxiety the acts of Germany ever since the conference of Berlin in 1885, can doubt that her victory would involve the loss of our colonies, perhaps even of our nationality. Therefore we must all impress it clearly on our minds, that the battles now being fought in so many parts of the world touch us very closely; that this war is our war, a war for our liberty, for our independence, for the integrity of the territory of our native land, and that we should wage it wherever our forces can strike the heaviest blow at the power of Germany. The hatred of our barbarous foes, the Germans, should pervade every heart, and that it may strike root and penetrate into the army, it is necessary to explain to the soldiers the reasons of the war, to enumerate the injuries that have been done us by the Germans, and to set forth clearly the intentions and schemes which Germany cherishes in regard to small nations, like Belgium, Serbia, and Portugal.”
This proclamation of the Portuguese Minister of War deserves to be remembered, for it accurately expresses the general sentiments which will be shared more and more by States still neutral, in proportion as they understand more and more clearly that their future independence really hangs on the total defeat of Germany.
The following words give a summary of the views and the tactics adopted by the Germans with regard to the Dutch in the Pangerman plan of 1895.
“When our brothers of the Low German race shall have got over their almost childish fright at ‘annexation by the Prussians,’ they will acknowledge that the admission of Holland into Great Germany is advantageous to both parties. Moreover, in the bosom of Great Germany, the Dutch would be able to preserve, to a reasonable extent, their own particular characteristics.
“The Kingdom of the Low Countries, on entering into not only the German Customs Union but also the Pangerman Confederation, with the retention of all its rights, will cease to maintain an independent fleet, but will organize an independent Army Corps, with privileges like those of Bavaria, and also a colonial army. It will remain in possession of its colonies, and might even undertake the administration of New Guinea and of all the German colonies in the Pacific.
“The official language will remain Low German (Dutch) for the legislation and the administration in State, School, and Church. High German will notbe employed except in matters that concern the Confederation. Besides it is obvious that its use will spread rapidly, but voluntarily, in commerce and the sciences.
THE NEUTRAL STATES OF EUROPE AND PANGERMANISM.
“If the Rhine from its source to its mouth becomes a truly German river, it will then be the Low German (or Dutch) commercial towns and seaports near its mouth, which will chiefly benefit thereby.
“It will thus be seen that a singularly attractive prospect for the economic and political future of the Low Countries, is being opened up, if they will only consent to become members of the Pangerman Confederation. God grant that our Low German cousins may at last abandon that jealous regard for their independence as a separate State, which we, the Germans of the Empire, also felt down to the years 1866 and 1870” (see Grossdeutschland und Mitteleuropa um das Jahr 1950, p. 13, Thormann und Goetsch, S.W. Bessel-Strasse 17, Berlin, 1895).
So it seems that twenty years ago the Germans trusted to moral suasion to open the eyes of the Dutch to the intrinsic beauties of Pangermany. The hope was built on the familiar fact that many Dutchmen, addicted, like their ancestors for ages before them, to the profitable occupation of foreign trade, devote their energies to the pursuit of gain, and have very little time, and even less taste, for situations that call for bellicose resolutions. The same turn of mind explains why ever since the outbreak of war the Germans have easily found in Holland plenty of enterprising firms, which have smuggled ample supplies of all sorts into Germany and snapped their fingers at the blockade.
However, 1895 is a long time ago, and since then Pangerman ideas have marched with the time. As we have seen (p. 103), the plan of 1911 provides for the “conveyance” of the Dutch colonies to Pangermany under conditions which would not allow the Low Countries to cherish the least illusion as to the ultimate preservation of their independence.
But the revelation of the German plans for the perpetration of burglary and the appropriation of other people’s goods, has had its effect, and even the Dutch, in spite of their intense desire not to be drawn into the great war, are now forced to look hard facts in the face.
In truth, the moral situation of the Dutch is hard, for they are pulled in opposite directions by sentiments which logically lead to contradictory decisions. On the one side, historical memories and ancient rivalries in the commerce of the sea still inspire them with a lively dread of England; on the other side, they are constrained to admit that the Pangerman peril has grown imminent for their country. It is plain, in fact (see the map on p. 188) that if Germany were to tighten her grip on Belgium, or if she emerged from the war much strengthened by the establishment of her supremacy over Austria-Hungary, Holland would soon inevitably be forced, even in time of peace, to acquiesce in vassalage to her formidable neighbour, Pangermany.
The Dutch are all the more perplexed and irresolute, before they can screw their courage up to the sticking point, because they are sometimes disconcerted by the action of their government, which, as everybody knows, is open to both direct and powerful German influences. The situation is described as follows in a few paragraphs of the Telegraaf, which earned for their author a series of prosecutions on the pretext that they endangered the neutrality of the country:—
“For our part,” said the Telegraaf, “we shall not cease to oppose a Government and its accomplice Press, who under the cloak of a ‘dignified neutrality’ are pursuing a rash policy of exportation and provisioning Germany with articles of prime necessity, thereby enabling that country to continue the war, and betraying not only the interests of their own country but also the cause of humanity” (quoted by Le Temps, 30th March, 1916).
As for the general and dominant tone of Dutch public opinion, Mr. Holdert, the editor of the Telegraaf, who is particularly well qualified to form an opinion on the subject, sums up as follows:
“Every time an incident occurs that might lead Holland to take a grave decision, before you venture to predict, remember that the people over there do not want war. With us, business, money, gain, and all that sort of thing, is considered extremely, supremely, infinitely important.
“To-day the majority of my fellow countrymen are rolling in money. Why trouble about anything else?
“Yes, eighty per cent. of the population are in favour of the Allies. France especially is loved, and she could ask but little of us which we would not give. But that affection, though real, is so to speak, remote. We quickly turn over the page which contains the news of the war” (see Le Journal, 5th April, 1916).
Thus Dutch opinion seems stagnant, yet it moves, though very, very slowly; for people are beginning to ask themselves whether, despite all their efforts, all their intense desire for peace, this dreadful war can end with the Dutch sword still in the scabbard.
No doubt the military measures taken by the Hague government have been dictated purely with the intention of defending Dutch neutrality. But facts such as the torpedoeing of the Tubantia go far to add to the number of those clearsighted and energetic patriots, who, like the admirable and vigorous artist Raemaekers, acknowledge and proclaim that for the sake of her honour as well as of her interest Holland is bound to do all in her power to favour and hasten the victory of the Allies.
The Pangerman aims with regard to Switzerland, as set forth in the plan of 1895, are summed up as follows:—
“We may then leave Switzerland to choose, whether she shall enter the German Customs Union and the Pangerman Confederation bringing all her cantons or only the German ones with her, or whether she shall form part of the German Empire on equal terms as a Federal State” (see Grossdeutschland um das Jahr 1950, p. 17).
The Pangerman programme is, therefore, definitely directed against Switzerland (see the map on p. 188), but Berlin has always flattered itself with the hope of absorbing this little State, like Holland, without resort to force, simply in the course of nature and as a consequence of the defeat of the great European powers.
What is certain is that before the war the prestige of Germany in German Switzerland was so great, and the organization of the German propaganda in this part of Helvetia was so perfect, that all the excuses published by the Berlin government to explain and justify the violation of Belgium were swallowed without winking by the German Swiss.
But since then a slow change of sentiment has taken place. The enormous annexations contemplated by Germany, the atrocious manner in which she is waging the war, and, above all, the terrible horrors perpetrated in Serbia, have at last convinced an increasing number of Swiss that a victory for Germany would create a formidable danger for the whole civilized world in general, and for the independence of Switzerland in particular.
A gentleman at Zurich, whose position affords him ample opportunity for forming a just appreciation of the state of affairs, gave me recently the following concise statement of the real feeling in German Switzerland: “The majority of the intellectuals, almost all of whom have studied in Germany, and a part of the business men, are the only resolute champions of Prussia. They would be quite willing to see Switzerland absorbed in Pangermany. But the Swiss who hold that view are only a small minority. In German Switzerland most of the manufacturers, almost all of whom have suffered very heavily in recent years through the keenness of German competition, desire a German defeat, which would be in harmony both with their opinions as liberals and with their interests as manufacturers, by relieving the strain of the present fierce competition in business. As for the mass of the German Swiss—and that is the important point—they are by no means in love with the Prussians, as people in France wrongly imagine. They are before all things Swiss.”
The Swiss have resolved to defend their neutrality against the first of their neighbours that shall violate their frontier. The Allies wish for nothing more than that. They only desire that the Swiss should impress this truth more and more clearly on their minds, that in presence of the formidable Pangerman ambition the victory of the Allies is a condition essential to the maintenance of the Helvetic Confederation.
The accompanying map summarizes and recalls the Pangerman claims to such direct German protectorates in South America as were provided for by the plan of 1911 (see p. 105).
It is important to observe that the German designs on South America began just at the time when the European nations, acquiescing in the Monroe doctrine, renounced all intentions of appropriating any part of the New World. This renunciation took place about 1898, the date of the war between Spain and America. That was the very moment when the Pangermanists of Berlin conceived and prepared to execute the plan of extending in the future the power of the Hohenzollerns to Cape Horn. This fact, taken in conjunction with many others, serves to demonstrate the spirit of conquest and aggression, the boundless ambition which animates the Germany of William II.
The preparations for carrying out the Pangerman plans in South America were, as everywhere else, conducted by the organizers of the movement most methodically.
COLONIAL PANGERMANISM AND SOUTH AMERICA.
Having thus settled on their plan of 1895, they proceeded to draw up an actual register of all the Germans existing on the face of the terrestrial globe, in order to pick out from them such as were likely to prove the most serviceable tools in executing the Pangerman scheme. The general results of this register of Germans all over the world are to be found, in a concentrated form, in the Pangerman Atlas of Paul Langhans, published by Justus Perthes at Gotha in 1900.
So far as relates to South America, this document proves that there were
|In Peru||in 1890||2,000||Germans|
|In Paraguay||in 1890||3,000||”|
|In Colombia||in 1890||3,000||”|
|In Uruguay||in 1897||5,000||”|
|In Venezuela||in 1894||5,000||”|
|In Chili||in 1895||15,000||”|
|In Argentina||in 1895||60,000||”|
|In Brazil||in 1890||400,000||”|
These Germans have been strongly inoculated, especially since 1900, by the Pangerman Societies. They have been organized with particular care in the countries which, like Argentina, and, above all, Brazil, were intended to be the principal German protectorates in South America.
The German law, called Delbrück’s law, of July 22nd, 1913, dealing with the nationality of the Empire and the nationality of the State, has greatly favoured the Pangerman organization in America. Hence it is needful to be acquainted with at least the substance of the Delbrück law, since it formed the last stage, and a very significant one, in the Pangerman organization all over the world before the outbreak of war.
The second part of article 25 of that law runs as follows:—“If any person before acquiring nationality in a foreign State, shall have received the written permission of a competent authority of his native State to retain his nationality of that State, he shall not lose his nationality of the said native State. The German consul shall be consulted before granting the said permission.”
These words afford us a measure of the depth of German astuteness. According to this provision, a German may become a naturalized subject of a foreign State, but if he obtains a written permission from the competent authorities of his native German State, he continues, in spite of this naturalization, to enjoy, for himself and his descendants, all the rights of a German citizen and all the protection of the German Empire.
These provisions being contrary to all the general principles of international law on the subject of nationality, a German citizen who benefits by them will take very good care not to acquaint the foreign State whose nationality he has acquired, with the highly peculiar situation in which he stands. By this process Germany has been able to have in every State agents devoted to her aggressive policy, without these States being aware of the danger they run through this secret service. In fact, these States had, to all appearance, to do only with fellow countrymen whom they had no right to suspect. It was only after many months of war, when their criminal action compelled them to take off the mask, that the dangerous power of these Germans disguised as foreigners appeared in all its formidable and insufferable dimensions.
This state of things explains why, during the first months of the war, intoxicated by the powerful German propaganda, and ignorant of the disasters with which Europe and still more themselves were threatened by the Pangerman plot, the States of South America were unable to perceive the peril at their door and to understand that they had a direct interest in the issue of the European war. But now public opinion in these countries is advancing steadily towards a complete apprehension of the truth.
Peru and Chili, one after the other, are slipping through the meshes of the German net.
In Argentina the movement in favour of the Allies is also growing rapidly. But it is above all in Brazil, the southern part of which is most particularly coveted by the Germans, that the progress of enlightenment is especially interesting to watch. For a long time the Germans have concentrated their colonial efforts particularly on three Brazilian States, to wit, Parana (60,000 Germans), Santa Catarina (170,000), and Rio Grande do Sul (220,000). In these rich provinces, the Germans, preserving the language, the traditions, the prejudices of the Fatherland, are almost absolute masters. Only 47,000 of them are openly citizens of the German Empire; the rest, about 400,000, are apparently Brazilian subjects, but in virtue of the Delbrück law a considerable part of them have in reality remained or become once more liege-men of William II. Moreover, the budget of the German Empire included a sum of 500,000 marks to be devoted to the establishment or the support of German schools in Brazil. In 1912 Prince Henry of Prussia, brother of William II., in the course of his cruise, landed at the port of Itajahy to pay a visit to his fellow countrymen in Santa Catarina. Since the outbreak of the European war the game of the Germans in Brazil has been gradually revealed in its true colours, and it has been lately discovered that the numerous Rifle Clubs were in fact societies for military drill and dangerous enough to necessitate their disarmament.
In the rest of Brazil, outside the three provinces mentioned above, the Germans are not numerous, but they fill most of the principal posts in business houses and banks. In the first period of the war these Germans founded Germanophile newspapers published in Portuguese, and thereby prevented Brazil from getting accurate information as to the origin and course of the conflict.
But despite this clever opposition, ever since the battle of the Marne the cause of the Allies has been steadily gaining ground in Brazil. A powerful impulse to the movement has been given by the action of Portugal in taking up arms, for there are 600,000 Portuguese in Brazil.
Thus in South America the tide is clearly running in favour of the Allies. A new stage will be reached when these States come clearly to understand that in view of Pangerman colonial ambitions, which threaten them personally, they have a direct interest in the complete victory of the Allies, which alone can deliver them from the fear of the German peril. They will then reach the same definite and sound conclusion at which, as I shall show further on, the United States is logically bound to arrive.
When that is so, it is possible, if not probable, that these South American States, or at least the principal among them, will no longer be satisfied to remain neutral. They will then acknowledge that a true view of their own interest compels them to strike, with all their might, a blow for the common freedom.
President Wilson, by his note to Berlin of April 20th, 1916, concerning submarine warfare, which had the character of an ultimatum, committed the United States to a first act of intervention in the European war. The fact that a consideration of their interests has compelled the Germans, at least for the moment, to bow to the mandate of the United States, seems to some people to have already closed the American intervention. Those who hold this opinion may support it by reference to the speech which President Wilson delivered to the Press Club at Washington, on May 18th, 1916: “There are two reasons,” said the President, “why the chief desire of the Americans is for peace. One is that they love peace, and have nothing to do with the present quarrel; the other is that they believe that the parties to the quarrel have been forced to go to such lengths that they can no longer keep within the limits of responsibility. Why not let the storm go by, and then, when all is over, make up the account?” (quoted by Le Temps, May 22nd, 1916).
The need for reserve, which his official position lays on President Wilson, has evidently hindered him from disclosing his thoughts fully; for, as we shall see immediately, it would be particularly dangerous for the United States to imagine that they have nothing to do with the present quarrel, and to wait for the end of it in order to make up the account.
In reality, the true question for the United States goes far beyond that of German piracy in submarine warfare. That question really involves two quite distinct American interests; one of a moral, the other of a material or political nature.
From the moral point of view the United States must consider the barbarity with which Germany wages war, not only on the sea, but everywhere. Not only does she constantly violate the laws of war between belligerents, but also and above all the German authorities subject to a frightful reign of terror all the civil anti-Germanic populations in the territories now occupied by Pangermany from the North Sea to Bagdad. The sufferings inflicted by the Germans on the Belgians, the Slavs of Austria-Hungary, the Serbians, and the Armenians (whom they have caused to be massacred wholesale) amount to millions of indescribable pangs, of odious crimes, of atrocious martyrdoms. The Americans have intervened in the submarine warfare in the name of humanity. Can they remain neutral in face of this “ocean of crimes” committed by the Germans, without the smallest excuse, over enormous stretches of territory?
From the point of view of defending their own material interests, it is not certain that enough Americans even yet understand the magnitude of the formidable problem which the European war compels them to face and solve. It is quite natural that it should be so. In many circles of France and England it is only quite lately that people have come clearly to apprehend, as a whole, the real, the gigantic objects pursued by Germany in the war. Hence it is not surprising that the enormity of the German plot has not yet been grasped by the Americans of the United States, whose ideas about Europe at the beginning of the conflict were necessarily just as vague as the ideas of Europeans about the United States.
DISTRIBUTION OF GERMAN-BORN GERMANS IN THE UNITED STATES.
The accompanying map will enable the reader readily to appreciate the basis of the real problem which the war presents to the United States. As I have explained (p. 194), the Germans set themselves after 1895 to make a regular register of all the Germans scattered over the whole world. Our map is drawn up in accordance with the data of map 5 in the Pangerman Atlas of Paul Langhans, which gives the results of the register. The map shows what proportion the Germans, who had been born in Germany and had emigrated to the United States, bore to the American population about the year 1890. We can see that the proportion was considerable, since at some points (see the map) it amounted to 35%. Further, the general view presented by the map enables us to observe that in the United States the Germans have planted themselves by preference in the industrial and commercial regions of the East and of the Great Lakes. We can therefore understand what followed. Ever since 1900 the Alldeutscher Verband or Pangerman Union, in obedience to secret instructions from the official authorities in Berlin, has laid itself out to select from this mass of Germans in the United States all such as might best serve the cause of Prussian militarism at any given moment, in the most diverse domains, as soon as the European conflagrations should have broken out. Hence for the last twenty years most of the ten to fifteen million Americans of German origin have been organized. Little by little, in the midst of the great American Republic, there has grown up a State within a State, a State endowed with the most powerful means of influence. In point of fact, among the German-Americans there are manufacturers, merchants, and bankers of colossal fortunes, who control the lives of hundreds of thousands of workmen or employees living in dependence upon them. The German-Americans also own many newspapers and associations. They have therefore been able to exert a considerable influence on the policy of the United States, and even to secure the election to Congress of members devoted to their interests. The Delbrück law (see p. 195) has completed the German organization in the United States, by enabling an influential party of German-Americans to preserve the appearance of American citizens, while all the time they remain pledged heart and soul to forward the Kaiser’s scheme of universal slavery.
As the total population of the United States is 100 millions, it is easy to see what may be the power of 10 to 15 million German-Americans systematically organized for a definite purpose, when these are opposed to 90 million Americans who, never suspecting the Pangerman peril, have taken no kind of special precaution against their fellow citizens of German origin.
This very peculiar state of affairs explains the strange position occupied by the United States since the outbreak of the European War. From that time the German-Americans, in virtue of the immense means of influence and of action which they had prepared beforehand, have carried on a multifarious campaign, with extraordinary audacity in furtherance of the German game. Thus the German Ambassador, Count Bernstorff, and his military attachés von Papen, Boy-Ed, etc., have aided and abetted in the task of subverting the United States by a multitude of German-American spies and agents.
During the first months of the war the German propaganda, carried on with extraordinary activity, was easily able to deceive a considerable part of American opinion as to the true origin of, and the responsibility for, the carnage going on in Europe. Afterwards, when the war dragged on, and the Allies placed considerable orders in the United States, the understrappers of the professional German spies engaged in an extraordinary series of outrages in order to terrorize the American workmen employed in executing the orders of the Allies. The object of these acts of violence, combined with the frivolous and interminable discussions which Count Bernstorff carried on with the Government of Washington, was first to induce the United States to issue an order prohibiting the Allies from arming their merchant ships for the purpose of self-defence against the German submarines; second, to persuade the Americans that the blockade of Germany by England was maintained in a manner contrary to the rules of international law; third, to slacken or stop the production of munitions of war destined for the Allies; and lastly, supposing that the principal acquisitions contemplated by Pangermany had been effected in Europe, to induce President Wilson to intervene in favour of peace under colour of putting an end to the European butchery—an intervention which, if it took place, would have the practical result of opening the negotiations for peace under conditions eminently favourable to the German plans of annexation.
But at last the crimes of violence committed by the Germans in the United States opened the eyes of the American people and roused them to anger. We must understand that it was only gradually, and in spite of great difficulties, that the real citizens of the United States, hemmed in by the German organization as by a ring fence, were able to acquire true notions as to the European war. This progress of American opinion was further retarded by the circumstance that before the war, for various reasons, the Allied countries unquestionably occupied a much lower place in the esteem of the United States than Germany, which had gained for herself very great prestige by her extraordinary activity in commerce, industry, and science.
As to Russia, the Americans knew scarcely anything about it except the hardships of which the Jews in that country complained. As many of these people have emigrated to the United States, and there exercise a great influence on the press, they have naturally fostered anything but a sympathy for the Empire of the Tsars. The Irish-Americans devoted themselves to the similar task of blackening England, from which the United States had in days gone by to extort her independence. As to France, the Americans, on the faith of superficial observations, considered her to be in a state of hopeless decadence. The flagrant atrocity of the prodigious German crimes committed in the United States; on the high seas against neutral passengers; in Belgium against the Belgians; in Serbia against the Serbians; in Armenia against the Armenians; and, on the other hand, the magnificent resistance of the Allies, these things have at last produced a revulsion of feeling. The prejudices of the Americans against Russia and England have been to a great extent mitigated, and the grand, the noble attitude of the people of France, the tenacity and the heroism of her soldiers, have proved that France is far indeed from decadent. To-day we may say, for it is the truth, that France has won the deep and enthusiastic admiration of all the really independent American citizens of the United States. This progressive change of opinion has ranged the Americans more and more on the side of the Allies.
But American opinion has still one stage to travel. It is this. The American people must understand with the utmost clearness that the victory of Germany would unquestionably mean the end of the independence of the United States. Indeed, some Americans, more clearsighted than the rest, have already travelled this last stage on the road to truth. In March, 1916, Dr. Elliot, formerly President of Harvard University, and an intimate friend, we are told, of President Wilson, declared in the New York Times: “The quickest, the best, the surest means for Americans to defend themselves against a German invasion is to conclude with France and England a permanent alliance, offensive and defensive, having for its aim the maintenance of the freedom of the seas for the Allies, and resistance to any maritime attack. It is time for all Americans to take sides openly with the European peoples who for so many long months have been standing up against the military despotism of Prussia.” (Quoted by Le Temps, 15th March, 1916.)
Dr. Elliot has thus stated in terms as exact as they are complete the real problem which the Americans have to solve. Clearly it reached far beyond the controversies about the submarine warfare. It is not enough, indeed, for the Americans to constitute themselves the champions of right and justice against Teutonic barbarity; they must understand that the maintenance of the independence of the United States absolutely depends on the complete victory of the Allies in Europe. Already many Americans come near to accepting this view. Thus at Carnegie Hall, New York, at the end of May, 1916, Major Putnam, addressing 3000 members of the “Committee of American Rights,” excited great enthusiasm by demanding that America should at once take part in the war on the side of the Allies. His chief argument was: “If Germany wins in this war, her next aggression will be against our Republic.” (Quoted by Le Temps, May 22nd, 1916.)
But these clear ideas, involving immediate and decisive action, are as yet shared only by a minority of Americans, better informed than the rest.
The progress of American opinion in general will be complete when from a general view of the facts of the war, as these have occurred in America as well as in Europe, the people shall logically infer the formidable consequences which a German victory would entail on the United States.
That general view, which the great American Republic will probably take in time, is as follows. It will necessarily be based on an exact knowledge of the German plan for dealing with the United States, a plan, by the way, which is of long standing.
In 1898, before Manilla, the German Rear-Admiral von Goetzen, a friend of the Kaiser, said to the American Admiral Dewey: “In about fifteen years my country will begin a great war…. Some months after we have done our business in Europe we shall take New York and probably Washington, and we shall keep them for a time. We do not intend to take any territory from you, but only to put your country in its proper place with reference to Germany. We shall extract one or two billions of dollars from New York and other towns.” (See Naval and Military Record, quoted by L’Echo de Paris, September 24th, 1915.) These words at the time were regarded as mere gasconade. But now it is indisputable that even before 1898 the Germans of Berlin had, by means of the processes described above (p. 200), been systematically laying the foundations of a State within the United States, a State that has long been silently sapping the ground on which stands the American Republic.
A multitude of recent and striking facts—pressure brought to bear on politicians, monster strikes, plots and outrages against public order executed by order of the official agents of the Kaiser, such as von Papen, Boy-Ed, von Igel, &c—have abundantly demonstrated that the German organization in America threatens the independence of the United States, and is of a definitely criminal and treasonable character. A phrase in a letter of Baron de Meysenburg, German consul at New Orleans, written on December 4th, 1915, to von Papen, German military attaché at Washington, who organized the principal outrages in the United States, proves that in the minds of Germans behind the scenes the turn of the United States was to come in due course. The latter was lately seized by the English: “May the day of the settling of accounts come here also, and when that day comes may our Government have found again that will of iron without which no impression can be made on this country.” (Quoted by Le Temps, January 17th, 1916.)
On the other hand the Americans cannot shut their eyes to the extreme gravity of the recent Pangerman manœuvres in the States of South America, particularly in Argentina and Brazil, which are regarded as destined ultimately to become German protectorates; also in Nicaragua, where the Kaiser’s agents have tried to get a concession of territory for the construction of a canal to compete with the Panama canal. Lastly, there is the undeniable fact, which brings the danger still nearer home, that a few months ago Germany plotted the military invasion of Canada, with the complicity of her subjects disguised as American citizens. Common sense, therefore, tells us that, assuming that the Allies were beaten in Europe, Germany would be the mistress of Canada, and would practically dominate the United States. The extraordinary series of formidable outrages which the German-Americans have already concocted and executed on the soil of the great American Republic, is proof patent that the existence of Pangermany would be incompatible with the independence of the United States.
All that is more or less clearly understood in the United States; but what American opinion still needs to be enlightened on is the immense danger which the United States would incur through the formidable Berlin trap called “the Drawn Game,” the most dangerous trick which the Germans still keep up their sleeve. Seeing that many of the Allies do not yet understand the enormous peril of a Germany yielding temporarily on the East and on the West in order to make herself mistress once and for all of Central Europe, the Balkans, and Turkey, it is natural enough that the Americans should not yet have fully “realized” the vast bearings of the dodge called “the Drawn Game.”
The map on p. 101 enables the reader to see what would be the great danger from the American point of view. As I have explained in Chapter V, the pretended “Drawn Game” would enable Germany to carry out her scheme of domination “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf,” and would thereby secure for Berlin the means of laying hands successively on all the important strategical points which command the seas of the whole world. The consequence for the United States would be that with the keys of all the seas in her hand, Germany would be able to prosecute her intrigues on a much greater scale in South America, Canada, and therefore in the United States.
It is deeply to be regretted that the very distinguished American Admiral Mahan is no more. If I may judge by his powerful book, The Interest of America in Sea Power Present and Future, the tenor of which was admirably expounded by M. Jean Izoulet some time ago, I believe that I am not going too far when I affirm that were Admiral Mahan now alive he would, on a review of the whole situation, sketch as follows the line of conduct which the government of Washington ought to follow with reference to the European war. Admiral Mahan would doubtless tell his countrymen: “At no price, under no pretext, should the United States suffer Germany to execute her project from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf, and that because of the consequences which the achievement of that plan would entail on sea power all over the world. As the only sure guarantee against the accomplishment of that plan is to be found in Central Europe (see p. 129), the United States has a direct and first-hand interest in solving the question of Austria-Hungary on the basis of nationalities, that solution being over and above indispensable if the world is to see the end of the Pangerman peril and of the great armaments.”
Hence, taking everything into account, we conclude that, apart from any question of humanity and justice, the United States have an absolutely vital interest, not only in a partial victory of the Allies in Europe, but in their complete victory. It is desirable that this truth should be admitted as soon as possible, for then the measures, which the Government of Washington could not fail to take, would signally hasten the end of the European carnage.
Plain good sense suffices to forecast what these measures would be.
It is as clear as daylight that the expedition to Mexico is a German trap; hence the United States have every reason for awaiting the end of the European war before committing themselves further in that direction. On the other hand, now that the Allies have gripped Germany by the throat, the Government of Washington should avail itself of this exceptional opportunity for carrying out with the utmost speed the destruction of that criminal and parasitic organization which the Germans have contrived to plant in the soil of the United States. To arrest the ringleaders who have been guilty of inciting to treason and crimes against the common law, whatever their social position or wealth may be; to suppress the associations which are nothing but agencies of the Berlin government—these are tasks which the Americans have every motive for accomplishing without delay.
Obviously, too, when the United States shall have wakened up to the truth, they will acknowledge it to be at once their interest and their duty to give the Allies all material succour, since nothing but their complete victory over Germany can safeguard for the future the independence of the United States.
In the financial sphere the United States can offer the Allies immense facilities for raising loans, which would be particularly opportune.
Mr. Guthrie, Vice-President of the French-American Committee at New York, has explained as follows the method, at once delicate and ingenious, whereby the United States could and should, according to him, give their financial support to France. “The historian Perkins,” says Mr. Guthrie, “states that the expenses incurred by France in liberating America amounted to 772 million dollars. Of this enormous outlay, which ruined the Royal Treasury, not a stiver was ever repaid to France. She never claimed it, and to-day she would proudly refuse to be repaid, reminding us that, in the treaty of alliance of 6th February, 1778, she stipulated that she should receive no indemnity for her help and her sacrifices…. The generosity of that treaty was unprecedented in the history of the world…. Would it not be supremely just if the American people, a hundred and thirty-four years after the battle of Yorktown, recognized that service—I will not call it debt—by offering the French people commercial credit to the amount of the principal, that is to say 772 million dollars, to be repaid at France’s convenience? It would be only the equivalent of a contribution of seven and a half dollars from each citizen of the United States, much less than the tax that was voluntarily and cheerfully paid by the French people to help us in the eighteenth century. Would it not be noble and glorious, honourable alike to head and heart, if the great American bankers could have proclaimed to the world that they had fixed the figure at 772 million dollars in gratitude for the past?” (see Revue du XVIII. siècle, janvier-avril, 1916).
In the matter of munitions of war the United States might evidently increase her production. Lastly, as has been said already, the United States would be in a position to furnish the Allies with men, since this unprecedented war requires such vast numbers of soldiers. But, as we know, the United States have not got a large army, and it is not certain that they either would or could rapidly improvise one. A much simpler solution might enable the United States to furnish a very considerable body of men to the Allies. This could be effected if the Government of Washington were to grant leave to American citizens to enlist as volunteers in the Allied armies, on such terms as might be agreed upon. Not only would English-speaking Americans be glad to come and fight the Teutonic barbarians, but—and this is a fact not generally known—there are among American citizens millions of Slavs who emigrated formerly from Austria-Hungary and the Balkans. These American Slavs are ardent partisans of the Allies, and many a time in the last few months these men, working in the American munition factories, have frustrated the German attempts at outrages. Probably hundreds of thousands of these Slavs would gladly come as volunteers to fight in Europe for the liberation of Austria-Hungary and the Balkans, their native land, which they quitted as exiles long ago to escape the German-Magyar yoke. We see then that by such voluntary enlistments the United States could very soon contribute troops for the conflict in Europe without laying on its own shoulders the enormous burden of creating a great army.
Succours of these various sorts, furnished by America, would evidently hasten the course of events. We may reasonably treat them as possible, since it is certain that a German victory would put the independence of the United States in jeopardy.
WHAT HAS BEEN SET FORTH IN THE PRECEDING NINE CHAPTERS APPEARS TO JUSTIFY THE FOLLOWING CONCLUSIONS.
The temporary achievement of nine-tenths of the Pangerman plan in accordance with the programme of 1911 serves to refute the lies disseminated by the German propaganda as to the cause and authors of the war.
The intellectual mobilization of Germany, as powerfully organized and carried out as her military organization, has enabled her utterly to deceive many neutrals in the world as to the responsibilities for the outbreak and prolongation of the war. The Allies do not yet fully understand how prejudicial to them this German propaganda has been, and what dangers it still involves for the conduct of the struggle and the conclusion of peace.
This German propaganda has been all the more successful because for a very long time it encountered no serious opposition on the side of the Allies. For they, ingenuously confident in the justice of their cause, which seemed to them self-evident, have not attempted any real intellectual mobilization. Only quite lately have the Allies begun to organize the propaganda which must and ought to be carried on in foreign countries; substantial progress may be anticipated in this direction.
Six main arguments have been employed to back the German propaganda.
1º. Germany has been forced to wage the war in order to resist a coalition treacherously contrived by England. Therefore Germany, a country of intellectual, scientific, and economic activity, obliged to right for its existence, deserves the sympathies of the whole world.
2º. If the neutrals are seriously injured by the war and its prolongation the responsibility rests on the Allies, who desire to destroy the German people. The neutrals should therefore take common action and bring pressure to bear on the Allies for the purpose of inducing them to acquiesce in the German victory, thus ensuring the speedy restoration of peace.
3º. To hasten this result the neutrals, and especially the United States, ought to oppose the maritime blockade which England is maintaining, under conditions the legitimacy of which, from the point of view of international law, is open to question. By refusing to supply munitions to the Allies, the United States would put an end to the butchery and thus serve the cause of humanity.
4º. Germany is really conciliatory, she wants nothing but an equitable peace. “We Germans,” declared Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg, December 11th, 1915, “do not wish to set the peoples by the ears; on the contrary each will bear his share in the peaceful labour of all and in the progress of the nations.”
5º. The neutrals ought all the more to help Germany because she is fighting to ensure for all the freedom of the seas, which at present hateful England keeps in her own hands. The Berliner Tageblatt (quoted by Le Matin of February 18th, 1916), did not scruple to assert that the achievement by Germany of her favourite scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” would secure for all nations the freedom of the sea. “If the economic mission of Germany,” said that journal, “is to guard the freedom of the road which leads from the North Sea through Central Europe to Asia Minor, and to render it more and more accessible, in the interest of all who reside along the road in question, then it is a necessary consequence of this our mission that we should have a vital interest in the sea likewise, since the Continental road in Central Europe is merely its continuation. Our interest requires that the sea shall be freed from the supremacy of a single people, that it shall be open to all honest competition.”
6º. The Allies pretended that they made war on Germany because we violated the neutrality of Belgium. This cant only serves as a cloak for their own hypocritical cupidity. It is not for the Allies to reproach Germany, seeing that they have themselves violated the neutrality of Greece.
To the Allies, who can have no doubt as to the premeditated character of the German aggression, these main arguments, on which the German propaganda rests, of course, are nothing more nor less than “colossal” lies, as absurd as they are cynical. Nevertheless we must bear in mind that repeated indefatigably under every form to Germanophile neutrals in Europe or to neutrals in America and Asia, who naturally have but vague ideas on the complex affairs of Europe, they have enabled the Germans gravely to prejudice the cause of the Allies through the moral, economic, and military effects which they have produced. Hence the Allies are deeply concerned in frustrating the world-wide German propaganda with all possible speed. Now that great object, as we shall see later on, the Allied Governments could, if they chose, very quickly accomplish by pointing to the temporary success of the Pangerman plot.
Pangermanism and the dangers which it involves for the future are now well enough known in some neutral countries, but the knowledge is still somewhat vague, it still lacks that clear definition and that sense of imminent peril which arouse strong convictions and prompt actions. But if the Pangerman plan of 1911, in all its definiteness and extent, has been ignored down to a very recent date in the Allied countries, which nevertheless above all others are interested in knowing it, we can easily understand that this nefarious plot for enslaving the whole world has not yet been fully apprehended by neutral nations. But the temporary accomplishment of the Pangerman plan in Europe, to the enormous extent of nine-tenths, furnishes the Allies with demonstrative arguments of the utmost cogency, and thus puts it in their power speedily to counteract the effect of the German lies all over the world, and to prove the danger which Pangermanism creates for all civilized States.
To achieve this object it would be enough if the Allied propaganda, which has begun to be organized, were to be co-ordinated and founded on a small number of positive arguments drawn from the results already attained by Pangermanism; for these results would reveal to everybody Germany’s long premeditation, and therefore her responsibility and the scheme of world-wide domination which she pursues.
This Allied propaganda ought to be firmly established by the practical and indisputable proof afforded by the geographical superposition of the 1911 plan on the territories actually taken possession of by Germany in the course of the war; thus compared, it will be seen that the plan and its execution tally almost exactly.
RELATION BETWEEN THE PANGERMAN PLAN OF 1911 AND THE PANGERMAN GAINS AT THE BEGINNING OF 1916.
The accompanying map exhibits this incontestable truth in a graphic form by showing the outlines of the actual German fortress compared with theoutlines contemplated by the 1911 plan. According to it the German conquests were to have extended to 3,474,288 square kilometres, in addition to Germany itself. But these conquests and seizures at the beginning of 1916 were accomplished over an area of 3,035,572 square kilometres. This geographical proof is confirmed by many manifestoes which have appeared on the other side of the Rhine advocating a policy of annexation. Amongst these may particularly be noted:—
1º. The famous memorial of May 20th, 1915, which the Imperial Chancellor caused to be presented to himself by the most important associations of Germany (see p. 17).
2º. Germany’s manifest desire to get possession successively of Riga, Calais, Verdun, Belfort, and Salonika, in order to complete the plan of 1911 by holding the strategical points necessary for the preservation of the territories over which she has cast her net.
3º. The declarations made in the Reichstag on April 5th, 1916, by the Imperial Chancellor, Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg, which lend the force of demonstration to the geographical proof.
To any plain man these declarations appear to amount to an official avowal of Germany’s intention to execute the Pangerman plan. The phrases of the Imperial Chancellor leave no room for ambiguity.
“After the war Poland will no longer be the Poland out of which the Russian usurers have been cleared…. No. Never again must Russia be able to march her armies to the defenceless frontier of East Prussia, nay, of West Prussia (thunders of applause). Just as little is it to be supposed that in the West we shall give up the lands where our people’s blood has flowed, unless we receive solid guarantees for the future. We mean to create solid guarantees in order that Belgium should not become a vassal State of England and France, that it should not be turned into an outwork against Germany from the military as well as the economic point of view.” (Loud applause.) (Quoted by Le Temps, April 8th, 1916.)
The Imperial Chancellor could not assert more categorically the territorial claims of Germany on the East and on the West. As for the claims towards the South and South-East, consequent upon Germany’s seizure of Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Turkey, Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg made no allusion to them. His silence is intelligible. In the first place, it was too much to expect that the Imperial Chancellor should make a clean breast of the burglaries which Germany has committed on the territories of her own Allies; in the second place, Berlin affects to consider these forcible acquisitions to the South and South-East as permanent and therefore beyond the reach of discussion.
Moreover, Deputy Spahn, leader of the Centre, who on April 5th, 1914, and again on December 11th, 1915, took on himself to reply to the Chancellor and to say outright what the exigencies of office obliged that gentleman only to hint at, left no doubt as to Germany’s intentions with regard to Central Europe. “We must,” said Herr Spahn, “bring about a lasting union with Austria-Hungary. We must have at our command territories larger than the German Empire. This war, which has been forced upon us, must secure for us a position of world-wide power.” (See Le Temps, April 7th, 1916.)
Thus irrefragable proofs, both material and moral, combine to demonstrate, beyond a shadow of doubt, that Germany made and continues to wage the war for the purpose of carrying out the Pangerman plan which she elaborated from 1895 to 1911.
Nine-tenths of the Pangerman plan of 1911 having been for the moment achieved, the Allies can avail themselves of this fact as evidence to counteract speedily and everywhere, the effects of the German propaganda, and to prove to the civilized world the legitimacy and the necessity of their military action against Prussianized Germany.
Starting from the practical proofs and the German declarations, both of them indisputable, which we have just set forth, the propaganda of the Allies should be able speedily to demonstrate to neutrals the absolute falsehood of the German allegations. Hence it should prove that:
1º. Germany made the war, after very long premeditation, solely for the sake of executing the Pangerman plan of 1895-1911, the aim of which is to effect formidable conquests and to subject in Europe and Turkey 127 millions of non-Germans to the yoke of 77 millions of Germans (see p. 15).
2º. If the war is prolonged, it is only because Germany has not renounced her plan of universal domination.
3º. In claiming to carry out her scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf,” Germany by no means aims at securing for the world that freedom of the seas which, according to her, has been usurped by England; on the contrary, the intention of the Berlin government is, by means of the inevitable consequences of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” scheme, to get possession of all the strategical points necessary to ensure the command of the sea all over the world (see p. 106).
4º. In virtue of these consequences, the accomplishment of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” scheme would directly threaten the independence of all the civilized States in the world, especially of Japan, the States of South America, and the United States.
5º. No comparison is possible between the violation of Belgian neutrality by Germany and the Allies’ occupation of Salonika.
The Allies did not go to Greece to take possession of the country, as the Germans did to Belgium. The Allies went to Greece to assist their ally Serbia, which, moreover, was the ally of Greece, and to oppose the spoliation of Austria-Hungary, the Balkans, and Turkey, by Germany. The treaties which give Turkey, France, England, and Russia the right of protecting the Hellenic constitution, greatly endangered by German influences at Athens, are sufficient to justify, on the ground of international law, the presence of the Allies in Greece. But it is necessary, further, to state clearly that they are there in virtue of a still higher right, that of safeguarding the collective liberty of the nations. A comparison will enable us to appreciate this point of view, the statement of which is perhaps novel. According to the civil law, private property is inviolable. But if any man, passing a garden which the right of private property forbids him to enter, sees on the other side of the garden a ruffian in the act of murdering a person for the purpose of robbing him, he not only has a moral right, but is in duty bound to cross the garden to help his fellow who is in danger of his life. There is not a court of justice in the world that would blame the worthy and courageous citizen for having violated the rights of private property in succouring his fellow man. But the Allies went to Salonika with exactly the same intention. They have passed through Greece in order to seize by the throat the Pangerman ruffian who is violently robbing Austria-Hungary, the Balkans, and Turkey; who is destroying by millions in these countries the Antigermanic civil populations; who, shrinking from no crimes, however heinous, claims to lay hands on riches untold, and to secure his illgotten gains by capturing the whole region from Vienna to the Persian Gulf, which would furnish Germany with the means of maintaining her world-wide dominion (see p. 106).
Now, as my readers have been able to see for themselves, there is, by reason of the temporary success of the Pangerman plot, abundance of unimpeachable arguments, numerical, geographical, ethnographical, in support of these conclusions. These irrefragable arguments are therefore calculated to make the greatest impression on neutrals, because they are of a nature to appeal to their higher feelings and at the same time to show how their own interests are jeopardized. If the Allied propaganda is once co-ordinated and fortified by these arguments, set forth methodically, the moral,economic, and military effects, which the German propaganda has undoubtedly produced to the advantage of Germany, would soon be annulled, and the Allies would justly reap similar advantages, which would hasten the victory.
Henceforth the Allies and the neutral states must bear constantly in mind not only Germany’s present gains on the East and on the West, but also her Pangerman gains as a whole.
The accompanying map furnishes the justification of this conclusion. It is obvious that the German gains on the West and the East, important as they are, are relatively small by comparison with the enormous seizures which Germany has effected at the expense of Austria-Hungary, of half the Balkans, and of Turkey. We must fully understand that these countries, especially Austria-Hungary, though they are allies of Germany, are nevertheless as truly under the German heel as Belgium, Poland, or the invaded departments of France. There is therefore good ground for making no distinction between the Pangerman gains achieved by Germany at the cost of her open enemies (France and Russia) and those which the Government of Berlin has treacherously effected at the expense of her own allies, like Austria-Hungary.
What the Allies and the neutral states have to consider is the Pangerman gains taken as a whole, in order to discriminate those which are calculated to upset the balance of power in the world, and consequently to establish German supremacy.
THE PANGERMAN GAINS AT THE BEGINNING OF 1916.
Now it is certain that if Germany were to give up her gains in the East and the West, while maintaining her seizures in the South and South-East, her power would at that moment be formidably increased as compared with what it was before the war. That, therefore, would be an indisputable and enormous victory for Pangermanism. The sketch map, inserted below, represents this truth in a graphic form. From Berlin radiate the lines on which are stretched the threads of that immense spider’s web which covers the whole of the enormous Pangerman gains achieved by Germany in the course of the war. These gains she has been able to effect by means of
1º. The very skilful political turn which she has adroitly given to her military operations.
2º. The ignorance of the Pangerman plan among the Allies. The knowledge of it would in fact have suggested to them from the very beginning of the campaign the need of intervening through Salonika and the south of Hungary, which would have destroyed the chief part of the German plan by rendering impossible the junction of the Central Empires with Bulgaria and Turkey.
The temporary achievement, almost in its entirety, of the Pangerman scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf,” proves that the complete victory of the Allies is necessary for the freedom of the world.
As it is no longer possible to question either the reality or the extent of the plan of universal domination pursued by the Germans, it follows that all civilized States are undoubtedly concerned in the defeat of Prussianized Germany, since a German victory would have a most detrimental effect on their interests. Accordingly, the Neutral States whose independence would be especially threatened by the accomplishment of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” scheme, have a really vital interest in the continuance of the war by the Allies till a complete victory crowns their arms. Such a decisive victory is a necessity not only for Europe, but for the whole world, since the achievement of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” scheme would have world-wide consequences (see p. 107). That victory should have for its main object to deliver the world from the Pangerman peril, and therefore to prevent any future outbreak of the intolerable ambition of the Hohenzollerns. The victory of the Allies involves a pledge to destroy the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” project, which forms the indispensable but sufficient basis of the whole Pangerman plan.
The plan of slavery pursued by Germany is now so manifest that neutrals or Germanophile groups are henceforth morally responsible for their sentiments before the civilized world.
The neutrals who, in the first part of the war, displayed sympathy for Germany, were excusable because they were deceived; but now they are in a different position. The facts are patent. It is no longer possible for anyone to see in Prussianized Germany anything but a ferocious burglar and assassin practising his trade of robbery and murder at the expense of the whole commonwealth of nations. In the fine phrase of M. Paul Hyacinthe Loyson, Can neutrals be neutral in the face of crime? Clearly not. As the Daily Telegraph said very justly: “Those who refuse to occupy a vacant seat at the Round Table of chivalry will have to render an account at the judgment bar of Humanity.” As matters now stand, in face of the crimes committed by the “miscreants of Central Europe”—the phrase is that of the Dutchman M. Schroeder—neutrals cannot support Germany in any way without rendering themselves her accomplices.
This truth is made so manifest by the course of events that already a change is coming over two neutral countries, which had been thought Germanophile. Spanish opinion, a part of which had long been deceived by the German propaganda, is coming round more and more. Sweden, which the pressure and the audacious temptations of Berlin all but plunged into the strife, to the great benefit of Pangermany, is now anxious not to separate her cause from that of civilization; her responsible leaders have just proclaimed that Sweden will maintain a strict neutrality.
The declarations of the Allies, the accomplishment of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” scheme, and the question of Austria-Hungary.
In receiving the French deputies in London, on April 11th, 1916, Mr. Asquith declared: “I have said already in November that we would not sheathe the sword till the military domination of Prussia has been destroyed once and for all. In this struggle we are the champions not only of the rights of treaties but of the independence and the free development of the weaker countries.” (See L’Œuvre, April 12th, 1916.)
Sir Edward Grey, in an interview with a correspondent of the Daily News of Chicago affirmed: “We and our Allies are fighting for a free Europe, an Europe freed not only from the domination of one nation by another, but also from a hectoring diplomacy, from the danger of war, etc. The Allies cannot tolerate any peace which would leave the wrongs done by this war unrighted. We desire a peace that will do justice to all.” (Quoted by Le Temps, May 17th, 1916.)
M. Sazonoff, speaking in the name of Russia, said: “Our victory must be absolute. The Allies will continue to fight till mankind is rid of Prussianism.” (Quoted by Le Temps, February 27th, 1916.)
At Nancy, on May 13th, 1916, M. Poincaré declared: “France will not surrender her sons to the danger of fresh aggressions. We do not wish the Central Empires to offer us peace, we wish that they should ask it of us; we will not submit to their conditions, we will impose ours on them; we do not want a peace that would leave Imperial Germany free to begin the war again and to hang a sword for ever over the head of Europe; we want a peace which shall receive at the hands of Justice, restored to her own, solid guarantees of permanence and stability. So long as that peace is not assured to us, so long as our enemies shall not confess themselves vanquished, we shall not cease to fight.” (Quoted by Le Temps, May 15th, 1916.)
On May 22nd, 1916, in replying to the members of the Russian Duma, M. A. Briand, President of the French Council, similarly declared:—
“I have said, and I repeat, while rivers of blood are flowing, while our soldiers are sacrificing their lives with such forgetfulness of self, the word peace is a sacrilege, if it means that the aggressor will not be punished, and if tomorrow Europe shall run the risk of being handed over once more to the humours and the caprices of a military caste bloated with pride and athirst for power. It would be a dishonour to the Allies. What answer should we have to make if tomorrow, after having concluded such a peace, our countries were again swept into the frenzy of armaments? What would the generations to come say if we were to commit such a folly, and if we let slip the opportunity which now presents itself of establishing a lasting peace on a solid basis? Peace will result from the victory of the Allies, it can result from nothing but our victory.” (See Le Temps, May 24th, 1916.)
From all these declarations of the Allies two fundamental ideas stand clearly out:—
Prussian militarism must be destroyed;
The nationalities of Europe must be liberated from the Prussian yoke.
But, as we have proved, the accomplishment of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” scheme has two essential objects:—
A formidable extension of Prussian militarism, which would have at its disposal an army of 15 to 21 million men (see p. 91);
The enslavement to Germany of all the non-German nationalities lying between the south of Saxony and the Persian Gulf.
The objects of the war pursued by the Allies and those of the government of William II. are therefore fundamentally opposed to each other. This opposition has been by implication excellently stated by M. Marcel Cachin, Socialist deputy, in an article which appeared in L’Humanité, of May 9th, 1916, under the title “Central Europe.”
“The general plan of our enemies can be clearly defined. In case they were victorious, they would establish in the heart of Europe a formidable power under the supremacy of Germany, a power which, with the annexations avowedly aimed at, would comprise more than 130 millions of inhabitants.
“It needs no big words to show the danger which the whole of Europe would run were such a design executed. It would be an eternal menace to our country. No one can for a moment doubt that so long as the existing political systems of Germany and Austria endure, such a monstrous combination would be a permanent danger against which we should constantly be obliged to be on our guard. And as for the Slav populations reduced again to slavery, as for the Czechs, the Poles, the Yougo-Slavs, the Serbians, they would naturally think of nothing but of revenge in order to escape from serfdom and recover their national rights, which had been trampled under foot. Were such a brutal unification as is summed up in Mitteleuropa to be unfortunately accomplished by fire and sword, we might talk of peace after the storm, but it would be talk in vain; it would be war again, fatal war.”
There spoke sound sense. It is clear that to have done once for all with Prussian militarism is the only way open to the Allies to procure a reasonable guarantee that so atrocious a war shall never be waged again, and that millions of men shall not once more be sacrificed to the Moloch of Pangermanism. Hence the official declarations of the Allies, quoted above, are not the product of blind obduracy, as the German propaganda would make some neutrals believe. In view of the formidable plan of universal domination which the Germans still cling to, the seeming obduracy of the Allies is on their part the highest wisdom.
The question of Austria-Hungary, being the crucial point of the whole problem to be solved after the war, may become the common ground on which all common efforts should be concentrated, not only by the present Allies, but also by the still neutral States which are virtually threatened by the accomplishment of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” scheme.
It is probable that Prussian militarism would have been already destroyed, or on the point of being so, if in the first part of the war the leaders of the Allied countries had not committed the three capital mistakes which to-day are generally acknowledged—the Balkan policy of 1915, the Dardanelles, the delay in sending reinforcements to Serbia.
It is evident that these three calamitous mistakes have entailed a considerable prolongation of the struggle and allowed Germany to build up the immense fortress which extends from Dunkirk on the north to Egypt on the south, and from the south of Riga to Bagdad (see the map on p. 72). In order to overthrow the mighty walls of this formidable fortress, the Allies must consent to sacrifices much greater and more prolonged than would have been necessary if the mistakes now generally acknowledged had not been committed. These sacrifices the Allied peoples accept with a devotion and heroism which will win the imperishable admiration of posterity. But just because the faults committed have lengthened the duration of the struggle, the leaders of the Allied countries are in duty bound to do everything they can to accelerate a complete victory. That victory would be considerably hastened by the accession of the forces, whether economic or military, of the still neutral countries which, though they are even yet not fully aware of it, would be directly endangered by the success of the Pangerman plan.
I have shown on p. 219 how a systematic propaganda of the Allies, taking as its text the temporary accomplishment of the Pangerman plot, might speedily demonstrate to neutrals the falsehood of the German sophistries by which they have been cajoled. The same propaganda should have for its second object to convince these neutrals that they have as much to gain as the Allies by the destruction of Prussian militarism and of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” project. If once this were clearly demonstrated it would be both legitimate and possible to request of these neutrals that they should contribute, in the measure of their power, to the common task of saving the civilization of the world.
In order rapidly to secure practical results from a convincing propaganda, it is necessary to define very clearly what in the vast welter of the present struggle is the point of vital interest common to all the States of the World. As I have shown in the course of this book, what would provide Germany with the means of establishing her universal dominion would be the accomplishment, whether direct, or indirect, of her scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.” On the other hand, I believe I have demonstrated that to prevent the accomplishment of that scheme it is enough, but it is necessary, that the Latin and Slav peoples of Austria-Hungary should be freed, once for all, from the yoke which Germany has imposed on them through the opportunity given her by the war. For if the majority of these peoples were to be combined as a State in place of Austria-Hungary, probably in a federal form, there would at once be set up in Central Europe an immovable barrier which would ensure the world against any revival of Pangerman aggression (see the map on p. 43). On the other hand, if the independence of the Slav peoples of Austria-Hungary were not secured against Berlin, the extension of Prussian militarism to the Balkans and Turkey would be inevitable; the Allied peoples would have made all their unheard-of sacrifices in vain, and the struggle against Prussianism would be bound to continue.
EUROPEAN STATES INTERESTED IN THE SOLUTION OF THE AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN QUESTION.
From these considerations it follows that the question of Austria-Hungary, just because its solution implies the downfall of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” castle-in-the-air, constitutes the crucial point not only of the European problem, but of the whole problem which the Pangerman plan of universal domination raises for all civilized States. Consequently the solution of the question of Austria-Hungary, on the basis of the principle of nationalities, forms the bond of common interest not only between the belligerent Allies but also between all the still neutral States of the world who are threatened in any degree by the accomplishment of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.”
The annexed maps show clearly the States of the world for which the solution of the question of Austria-Hungary has an interest greater or less in degree but substantially identical.
It is clear that if Germany could keep her hold permanently on Austria-Hungary, Russia would be constantly threatened. In consequence of the extension of Prussian militarism which would result therefrom, England would be forced to continue to maintain the formidable armaments which she has accepted only as a temporary measure. As for France, no restoration of Alsace-Lorraine could be lasting, if the vassal regiments of Austria-Hungary should give the government of Berlin, after a brief breathing-space, the power to wrench again from France the provinces which had been temporarily ceded. Belgium would be threatened for the same reason. As for Italy, German supremacy over Central Europe would be the end of all Italian hopes on the Adriatic, and of all Italian expansion over the Eastern Mediterranean. As for Serbia and Montenegro, that dominion would be a sentence of death without appeal. For Portugal, it would imply the loss of her territories beyond the sea in virtue of the consequences which would follow the achievement of the plan “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.”
But countries still neutral, such as Greece, Roumania, Holland, and Switzerland, at which the Pangerman musket is levelled point-blank, ought also to be convinced that their most solid interests, in complete harmony with their moral obligations to the cause of civilization, make it their duty to lend the Allies all the support they can, whether it be moral, economic, or military.
THE STATES OF ASIA AND AMERICA, INTERESTED IN THE SOLUTION OF THE AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN QUESTION.
The second map shows the group of States in Asia and America which, menaced by the world-wide consequences of the “Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” scheme, have also a high and direct interest in the solution of the Austro-Hungarian question. Japan is already helping the Allies notably, but her assistance might be still ampler, more effective and more direct. The strictest view of her interest should compel her to enlarge the scope of her succour, since nothing but the total defeat of Germany in Europe can prevent Japan from witnessing a long series of disturbances fomented at her expense in the Chinese Empire (see p. 98). As I have already shown (p. 105) many States in South America are directly aimed at by the Pangerman plan of 1911. But that plan can never be really formidable for these States, unless Germany should one day have at her disposal the powerful resources which would accrue to her from the accomplishment of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.” Chili, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia, Brazil, have all been the object of preparatory Pangerman manœuvres. That warning ought to convince them without delay that they have an undoubted interest in co-operating, to some extent, in the common cause. They could do so, particularly Argentina and Brazil, to good purpose in the economic sphere.
As for the United States, we have seen (p. 208) that the accomplishment of the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf” would really jeopardize their independence in the gravest manner. No doubt that point of view has not yet been generally apprehended in the United States, but a propaganda which could easily be carried on, since the arguments in its favour are abundant, should serve to convince the Americans that in fighting on the battlefields of Europe the Allied soldiers are really safeguarding the future of the great American Republic. On the day when that conviction becomes general, the Americans will not hesitate to lend the European Allies such assistance of various sorts as must hasten the coming of complete victory.
To recapitulate, a series of deductions, all based on acknowledged facts and all easily verifiable, leads to the conclusion that the formidable problem with which German aggression has confronted the civilized world is summed up in the solution of the Austro-Hungarian question, because that solution, which can be worked out without prejudice to the legitimate interests of the German people (see Chapter VI § 111), is the only means of putting an end to the Hohenzollern plan of universal domination, founded on the scheme “from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.”
But when the question of Austria-Hungary shall have been solved, the problems peculiar to each of the Allies will by way of corollary be solved also. And in general, by securing the independence of the non-German peoples of Central Europe—a measure the justice of which is indisputable—we shall effectually protect the world as a whole against any future eruption of the intolerable Pangerman ambition.
At that date the designation Austria was comprehensive of what we now call Austria-Hungary.
This passage was written before Yuan-Shi-Kai’s death. Translator’s Note.
A French translation of this work, by M. Maurice Millioud, of Lausanne, has been published by the firm of Payot.
He has published an excellent pamphlet with the significant title, The Liquidation of Austria-Hungary. Felix Alcan, Paris.
Since this was said, Roumania has joined the Entente Powers in the war. Translator’s Note.
This passage was written before Roumania joined the Allies in the war. Translator’s Note.