Germany and the Next War
Friedrich von Bernhardi

Part 2 out of 6

opposed to the law of a sufficient cause; infinity and eternity are
incomprehensible to our conceptions, which are confined to space and

The essential nature of force and volition remains inexplicable. We
recognize only a subjectively qualified phenomenon in the world; the
impelling forces and the real nature of things are withdrawn from our
understanding. A systematic explanation of the universe is quite
impossible from the human standpoint. So much seems clear--although no
demonstrable certainty attaches to this theory--that spiritual laws
beyond the comprehension of us men govern the world according to a
conscious plan of development in the revolving cycles of a perpetual
change. Even the gradual evolution of mankind seems ruled by a hidden
moral law. At any rate we recognize in the growing spread of
civilization and common moral ideas a gradual progress towards purer and
higher forms of life.

It is indeed impossible for us to prove design and purpose in every
individual case, because our attitude to the universal whole is too
limited and anomalous. But within the limitations of our knowledge of
things and of the inner necessity of events we can at least try to
understand in broad outlines the ways of Providence, which we may also
term the principles of development. We shall thus obtain useful guidance
for our further investigation and procedure.

The agency and will of Providence are most clearly seen in the history
of the growth of species and races, of peoples and States. "What is
true," Goethe once said in a letter to Zelter, "can but be raised and
supported by its history; what is false only lowered and dissipated by
its history."

The formation of peoples and races, the rise and fall of States, the
laws which govern the common life, teach us to recognize which forces
have a creative, sustaining, and beneficent influence, and which work
towards disintegration, and thus produce inevitable downfall. We are
here following the working of universal laws, but we must not forget
that States are personalities endowed with very different human
attributes, with a peculiar and often very marked character, and that
these subjective qualities are distinct factors in the development of
States as a whole. Impulses and influences exercise a very different
effect on the separate national individualities. We must endeavour to
grasp history in the spirit of the psychologist rather than of the
naturalist. Each nation must be judged from its own standpoint if we
wish to learn the general trend of its development. We must study the
history of the German people in its connection with that of the other
European States, and ask first what paths its development has hitherto
followed, and what guidance the past gives for Our future policy. From
the time of their first appearance in history the Germans showed
themselves a first-class civilized people.

When the Roman Empire broke up before the onslaught of the barbarians
there were two main elements which shaped the future of the West,
Christianity and the Germans. The Christian teaching preached equal
rights for all men and community of goods in an empire of masters and
slaves, but formulated the highest moral code, and directed the
attention of a race, which only aimed at luxury, to the world beyond the
grave as the true goal of existence. It made the value of man as man,
and the moral development of personality according to the laws of the
individual conscience, the starting-point of all development. It thus
gradually transformed the philosophy of the ancient world, whose
morality rested solely on the relations with the state. Simultaneously
with this, hordes of Germans from the thickly-populated North poured
victoriously in broad streams over the Roman Empire and the decaying
nations of the Ancient World. These masses could not keep their
nationality pure and maintain their position as political powers. The
States which they founded were short-lived. Even then men recognized hoe
difficult it is for a lower civilization to hold its own against a
higher. The Germans were gradually merged in the subject nations. The
German element, however, instilled new life into these nations, and
offered new opportunities for growth. The stronger the admixture of
German blood, the more vigorous and the more capable of civilization did
the growing nations appear.

In the meantime powerful opponents sprung up in this newly-formed world.
The Latin race grew up by degrees out of the admixture of the Germans
with the Roman world and the nations subdued by them, and separated
itself from the Germans, who kept themselves pure on the north of the
Alps and in the districts of Scandinavia. At the same time the idea of
the Universal Empire, which the Ancient World had embraced, continued to

In the East the Byzantine Empire lasted until A.D. 1453. In the West,
however, the last Roman Emperor had been deposed by Odoacer in 476.
Italy had fallen into the hands of the East Goths and Lombards
successively. The Visigoths had established their dominion in Spain, and
the Franks and Burgundians in Gaul.

A new empire rose from the latter quarter. Charles the Great, with his
powerful hand, extended the Frankish Empire far beyond the boundaries of
Gaul. By the subjugation of the Saxons he became lord of the country
between the Rhine and the Elbe; he obtained the sovereignty in Italy by
the conquest of the Lombards, and finally sought to restore the Western
Roman Empire. He was crowned Emperor in Rome in the year 800. His
successors clung to this claim; but the Frankish Empire soon fell to
pieces. In its partition the western half formed what afterwards became
France, and the East Frankish part of the Empire became the later
Germany. While the Germans in the West Frankish Empire, in Italy and
Spain, had abandoned their speech and customs, and had gradually
amalgamated with the Romans, the inhabitants of the East Frankish
Empire, especially the Saxons and their neighbouring tribes, maintained
their Germanic characteristics, language, and customs. A powerful
German [A] kingdom arose which renewed the claims of Charles the Great to
the Western Roman Empire. Otto the Great was the first _German_ King who
took this momentous step. It involved him and his successors in a
quarrel with the Bishops of Rome, who wished to be not only Heads of the
Church, but lords of Italy, and did not hesitate to falsify archives in
order to prove their pretended title to that country.

[Footnote A: German (Deutsch=diutisk) signifies originally "popular,"
opposed to "foreign"--_e.g._, the Latin Church dialect. It was first
used as the name of a people, in the tenth century A.D.]

The Popes made good this right, but they did not stop there. Living in
Rome, the sacred seat of the world-empire, and standing at the head of a
Church which claimed universality, they, too, laid hold in their own way
of the idea of universal imperium. The notion was one of the boldest
creations of the human intellect--to found and maintain a
world-sovereignty almost wholly by the employment of spiritual powers.

Naturally these Papal pretensions led to feuds with the Empire. The
freedom of secular aspirations clashed with the claims of spiritual
dominion. In the portentous struggle of the two Powers for the
supremacy, a struggle which inflicted heavy losses on the German Empire,
the Imperial cause was worsted. It was unable to mould the widely
different and too independent subdivisions of the empire into a
homogeneous whole, and to crush the selfish particularism of the
estates. The last Staufer died on the scaffold at Naples under the axe
of Charles of Anjou, who was a vassal of the Church.

The great days of the German-Roman Empire were over. The German power
lay on the ground in fragments. A period of almost complete anarchy
followed. Dogmatism and lack of patriotic sentiment, those bad
characteristics of the German people, contributed to extend this
destruction to the economic sphere. The intellectual life of the German
people deteriorated equally. At the time when the Imperial power was
budding and under the rule of the highly-gifted Staufers, German poetry
was passing through a first classical period. Every German country was
ringing with song; the depth of German sentiment found universal
expression in ballads and poems, grave or gay, and German idealism
inspired the minnesingers. But with the disappearance of the Empire
every string was silent, and even the plastic arts could not rise above
the coarseness and confusion of the political conditions. The material
prosperity of the people indeed improved, as affairs at home were better
regulated, and developed to an amazing extent; the Hanseatic League bore
its flag far and wide over the northern seas, and the great
trade-routes, which linked the West and Orient, led from Venice and
Genoa through Germany. But the earlier political power was never again

Nevertheless dislike of spiritual despotism still smouldered in the
breasts of that German people, which had submitted to the Papacy, and
was destined, once more to blaze up into bright flames, and this time in
the spiritual domain. As she grew more and more worldly, the Church had
lost much of her influence on men's minds. On the other hand, a refining
movement had grown up in humanism, which, supported by the spirit of
antiquity, could not fail from its very nature to become antagonistic to
the Church. It found enthusiastic response in Germany, and was joined by
everyone whose thoughts and hopes were centred in freedom. Ulrich von
Hutten's battle-cry, "I have dared the deed," rang loud through the
districts of Germany.

Humanism was thus in a sense the precursor of the Reformation, which
conceived in the innermost heart of the German people, shook Europe to
her foundations. Once more it was the German people which, as formerly
in the struggle between the Arian Goths and the Orthodox Church, shed
it's heart's blood in a religious war for spiritual liberty, and now for
national independence also. No struggle more pregnant with consequences
for the development of humanity had been fought out since the Persian
wars. In this cause the German people nearly disappeared, and lost all
political importance. Large sections of the Empire were abandoned to
foreign States. Germany became a desert. But this time the Church did
not remain victorious as she did against the Arian Goths and the
Staufers. It is true she was not laid prostrate; she still remained a
mighty force, and drew new strength from the struggle itself.
Politically the Catholic States, under Spanish leadership, won an
undisputed supremacy. But, on the other hand, the right to spiritual
freedom was established. This most important element of civilization was
retained for humanity in the reformed Churches, and has become ever
since the palladium of all progress, though even after the Peace of
Westphalia protracted struggles were required to assert religious

The States of the Latin race on their side now put forward strong claims
to the universal imperium in order to suppress the German ideas of
freedom. Spain first, then France: the two soon quarrelled among
themselves about the predominance. At the same time, in Germanized
England a firs-class Protestant power was being developed, and the age
of discoveries, which coincided roughly with the end of the Reformation
and the Thirty Years' War, opened new and unsuspected paths to human
intellect and human energy. Political life also acquired a fresh
stimulus. Gradually a broad stream of immigrants poured into the
newly-discovered districts of America, the northern part of which fell
to the lot of the Germanic and the southern part to that of the Latin
race. Thus was laid the foundation of the great colonial empires, and
consequently, of world politics. Germany remained excluded from this
great movement, since she wasted her forces in ecclesiastical disputes
and religious wars. On the other hand, in combination with England, the
Low Countries and Austria, which latter had at the same time to repel
the inroad of Turks from the East, she successfully curbed the French
ambition for sovereignty in a long succession of wars. England by these
wars grew to be the first colonial and maritime power in the world.
Germany forfeited large tracts of territory, and lost still more in
political power. She broke up into numerous feeble separate States,
which were entirely void of any common sympathy with the German cause.
But this very disintegration lent her fresh strength. A centre of
Protestant power was established in the North--i.e., Prussia.

After centuries of struggle the Germans had succeeded in driving back the
Slavs, who poured in from the East, in wrestling large tracts from them,
and in completely Germanizing them. This struggle, like that with the
niggard soil, produced a sturdy race, conscious of its strength, which
extended its power to the coasts of the Baltic, and successfully planted
Germanic culture in the far North. The German nation was finally
victorious also against Swedes, who disputed the command of the Baltic.
In that war the Great Elector had laid the foundations of a strong
political power, which, under his successors, gradually grew into an
influential force in Germany. The headship of Protestant Germany
devolved more and more on this state, and a counterpoise to Catholic
Austria grew up. This latter State had developed out of Germany into an
independent great Power, resting its supremacy not only on a German
population, but also on Hungarians and Slavs. In the Seven Years' War
Prussia broke away from Catholic Austria and the Empire, and confronted
France and Russia as an independent Protestant State.

But yet another dark hour was in store for Germany, as she once more
slowly struggled upwards. In France the Monarchy has exhausted the
resources of the nation for its own selfish ends. The motto of the
monarchy, _L'etat c'est moi,_ carried to an extreme, provoked a
tremendous revulsion of ideas, which culminated in the stupendous
revolution of 1789, and everywhere in Europe, and more specially in
Germany, shattered and swept away the obsolete remnants of medievalism.
The German Empire as such disappeared; only fragmentary States survived,
among which Prussia alone showed any real power. France once again under
Napoleon was fired with the conception of the universal imperium, and
bore her victorious eagles to Italy, Egypt, Syria, Germany, and Spain,
and even to the inhospitable plains of Russia, which by a gradual
political absorption of the Slavonic East, and a slow expansion of power
in wars with Poland, Sweden, Turkey, and Prussia, had risen to an
important place among the European nations. Austria, which had become
more and more a congeries of different nationalities, fell before the
mighty Corsican. Prussia, which seemed to have lost all vigour in her
dream of peace, collapsed before his onslaught.

But the German spirit emerged with fresh strength from the deepest
humiliation. The purest and mightiest storm of fury against the yoke of
the oppressor that ever honoured an enslaved nation burst out in the
Protestant North. The wars of liberation, with their glowing enthusiasm,
won back the possibilities of political existence for Prussia and for
Germany, and paved the way for further world-wide historical

While the French people in savage revolt against spiritual and secular
despotism had broken their chains and proclaimed their _rights,_ another
quite different revolution was working in Prussia--the revolution of
_duty_. The assertion of the rights of the individual leads ultimately
to individual irresponsibility and to a repudiation of the State.
Immanuel Kant, the founder of critical philosophy, taught, in opposition
to this view, the gospel of moral duty, and Scharnhorst grasped the idea
of universal military service. By calling upon each individual to
sacrifice property and life for the good of the community, he gave the
clearest expression to the idea of the State, and created a sound basis
on which the claim to individual rights might rest at the same time
Stein laid the foundations of self-employed-government in Prussia.

While measures of the most far-reaching historical importance were thus
being adopted in the State on which the future fate of Germany was to
depend, and while revolution was being superseded by healthy progress, a
German Empire of the first rank, the Empire of intellect, grew up in the
domain of art and science, where German character and endeavour found
the deepest and fullest expression. A great change had been effected in
this land of political narrowness and social sterility since the year
1750. A literature and a science, born in the hearts of the nation, and
deeply rooted in the moral teaching of Protestantism, had raised their
minds far beyond the boundaries of practical life into the sunlit
heights of intellectual liberty, and manifested the power and
superiority of the German spirit. "Thus the new poetry and science
became for many decades the most effectual bond of union for this
dismembered people, and decided the victory of Protestantism in German
life." [B]

[Footnote B: Treitschke, "Deutsche Geschichte", i., p. 88.]

Germany was raised to be once more "the home of heresy, since she
developed the root-idea of the Reformation into the right of
unrestricted and unprejudiced inquiry". [C] Moral obligations, such as no
nation had ever yet made the standard of conduct, were laid down in the
philosophy of Kant and Fichte, and a lofty idealism inspired the songs
of her poets. The intense effect of these spiritual agencies was
realized in the outburst of heroic fury in 1813. "Thus our classical
literature, starting from a different point, reached the same goal as
the political work of the Prussian monarchy", [D] and of those men of
action who pushed this work forward in the hour of direst ruin.

[Footnote C: _Ibid.,_ i., p. 90.]

[Footnote D: _Ibid._]

The meeting of Napoleon and Goethe, two mighty conquerors, was an event
in the world's history. On one side the scourge of God, the great
annihilator of all survivals from the past, the gloomy despot, the last
abortion of the revolution--a

"Part of the power that still
Produces Good, while still devising Ill";

on the other, the serenely grave Olympian who uttered the words, "Let
man be noble, resourceful, and good"; who gave a new content to the
religious sentiment, since he conceived all existence as a perpetual
change to higher conditions, and pointed out new paths in science; who
gave the clearest expression to all aspirations of the human intellect,
and all movements of the German mind, and thus roused his people to
consciousness; who finally by his writings on every subject showed that
the whole realm of human knowledge was concentrated in the German brain;
a prophet of truth, an architect of imperishable monuments which testify
to the divinity in man.

The great conqueror of the century was met by the hero of intellect, to
whom was to fall the victory of the future. The mightiest potentate of
the Latin race faced the great Germanic who stood in the forefront of

Truly a nation which in the hour of its deepest political degradation
could give birth to men like Fichte, Scharnhorst, Stein, Schiller, and
Goethe, to say nothing about the great soldier-figures of the wars of
Liberation, must be called to a mighty destiny.

We must admit that in the period immediately succeeding the great
struggle of those glorious days, the short-sightedness, selfishness, and
weakness of its Sovereigns, and the jealousy of its neighbours, robbed
the German people of the full fruits of its heroism, devotion, and pure
enthusiasm. The deep disappointment of that generation found expression
in the revolutionary movement of 1848, and in the emigration of
thousands to the free country of North America, where the Germans took a
prominent part in the formation of a new nationality, but were lost to
their mother-country. The Prussian monarchy grovelled before Austria and
Russia, and seemed to have forgotten its national duties.

Nevertheless in the centre of the Prussian State there was springing up
from the blood of the champions of freedom a new generation that no
longer wished to be the anvil, but to wield the hammer. Two men came to
the front, King William I. and the hero of the Saxon forest. Resolutely
they united the forces of the nation, which at first opposed them from
ignorance, and broke down the selfishness and dogmatic positivism of the
popular representatives. A victorious campaign settled matters with
Austria, who did not willingly cede the supremacy in Germany, and left
the German Imperial confederation without forfeiting her place as a
Great Power. France was brought to the ground with a mighty blow; the
vast majority of the German peoples united under the Imperial crown
which the King of Prussia wore; the old idea of the German Empire was
revived in a federal shape by the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria,
and Italy. The German idea, as Bismarck fancied it, ruled from the North
Sea to the Adriatic and the Mediterranean. Like a phoenix from the
ashes, the German giant rose from the sluggard-bed of the old German
Confederation, and stretched his mighty limbs.

It was an obvious and inevitable result that this awakening of Germany
vitally affected the other nations which had hitherto divided the
economic and political power. Hostile combinations threatened us on all
sides in order to check the further expansion of our power. Hemmed in
between France and Russia, who allied themselves against us, we failed
to gather the full fruits of our victories. The short-sightedness and
party feuds of the newly-formed Reichstag--the old hereditary failings
of our nation--prevented any colonial policy on broad lines. The intense
love of peace, which the nation and Government felt, made us fall behind
in the race with other countries.

In the most recent partition of the earth, that of Africa, victorious
Germany came off badly. France, her defeated opponent, was able to found
the second largest colonial Empire in the world; England appropriated
the most important portions; even small and neutral Belgium claimed a
comparatively large and valuable share; Germany was forced to be content
with some modest strips of territory. In addition to, and in connection
with, the political changes, new views and new forces have come forward.

Under the influence of the constitutional ideas of Frederick the Great,
and the crop of new ideas borne by the French Revolution, the conception
of the State has completely changed since the turn of the century. The
patrimonial state of the Middle Ages was the hereditary possession of
the Sovereign. Hence sprung the modern State, which represents the
reverse of this relation, in which the Sovereign is the first servant of
the State, and the interest of the State, and not of the ruler, is the
key to the policy of the Government. With this altered conception of the
State the principle of nationality has gradually developed, of which the
tendency is as follows: Historical boundaries are to be disregarded, and
the nations combined into a political whole; the State will thus acquire
a uniform national character and common national interests.

This new order of things entirely altered the basis of international
relations, and set new and unknown duties before the statesman. Commerce
and trade also developed on wholly new lines.

After 1815 the barriers to every activity--guilds and trade
restrictions--were gradually removed. Landed property ceased to be a
monopoly. Commerce and industries flourished conspicuously. "England
introduced the universal employment of coal and iron and of machinery
into industries, thus founding immense industrial establishments; by
steamers and railways she brought machinery into commerce, at the same
time effecting an industrial revolution by physical science and
chemistry, and won the control of the markets of the world by cotton.
There came, besides, the enormous extension of the command of credit in
the widest sense, the exploitation of India, the extension of
colonization over Polynesia, etc." England at the same time girdled the
earth with her cables and fleets. She thus attained to a sort of
world-sovereignty. She has tried to found a new universal Empire; not,
indeed, by spiritual or secular weapons, like Pope and Emperor in bygone
days, but by the power of money, by making all material interests
dependent on herself.

Facing her, between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, linking the West
and the East, the United States of North America have risen to be an
industrial and commercial power of the first rank. Supported by
exceptionally abundant natural resources, and the unscrupulously pushing
character of her inhabitants, this mighty Empire aims at a suitable
recognition of her power in the council of the nations, and is on the
point of securing this by the building of a powerful navy.

Russia has not only strengthened her position in Europe, but has
extended her power over the entire North of Asia, and is pressing
farther into the centre of that continent. She has already crossed
swords with the States of the Mongolian race. This vast population,
which fills the east of the Asiatic continent, has, after thousands of
years of dormant civilization, at last awakened to political life, and
categorically claims its share in international life. The entrance of
Japan into the circle of the great World Powers means a call to arms.
"Asia for the Asiatics," is the phrase which she whispers beneath her
breath, trusting in the strength of her demand. The new Great Power has
emerged victoriously from its first encounter with a European foe.
China, too, is preparing to expand her forces outwardly. A mighty
movement is thrilling Asia--the awakening of a new epoch.

Dangers, then, which have already assumed a profound importance for the
civilized countries of Europe, are threatening from Asia, the old cradle
of the nations. But even in the heart of the European nations, forces
which have slumbered hitherto are now awake. The persisting ideas of the
French Revolution and the great industrial progress which characterized
the last century, have roused the working classes of every country to a
consciousness of their importance and their social power. The workers,
originally concerned only in the amelioration of their material
position, have, in theory, abandoned the basis of the modern State, and
seek their salvation in the revolution which they preach. They do not
wish to obtain what they can within the limitations of the historically
recognized State, but they wish to substitute for it a new State, in
which they themselves are the rulers. By this aspiration they not only
perpetually menace State and society, but endanger in the separate
countries the industries from which they live, since they threaten to
destroy the possibility of competing in the international markets by
continuous increase of wages and decrease of work. Even in Germany this
movement has affected large sections of the population.

Until approximately the middle of the last century, agriculture and
cattle-breeding formed the chief and most important part of German
industries. Since then, under the protection of wise tariffs, and in
connection with the rapid growth of the German merchant navy, trade has
marvellously increased. Germany has become an industrial and trading
nation; almost the whole of the growing increase of the population finds
work and employment in this sphere. Agriculture has more and more lost its
leading position in the economic life of the people. The artisan
class has thus become a power in our State. It is organized in trade
unions, and has politically fallen under the influence of the
international social democracy. It is hostile to the national class
distinctions, and strains every nerve to undermine the existing power of
the State.

It is evident that the State cannot tolerate quietly this dangerous
agitation, and that it must hinder, by every means, the efforts of the
anti-constitutionalist party to effect their purpose. The law of
self-preservation demands this; but it is clear that, to a certain
point, the pretensions of the working classes are justified. The citizen
may fairly claim to protect himself from poverty by work, and to have an
opportunity of raising himself in the social scale, if he willingly
devotes his powers. He is entitled to demand that the State should grant
this claim, and should be bound to protect him against the tyranny of

Two means of attaining such an object are open to the State: first, it
may create opportunities of work, which secure remunerative employment
to all willing hands; secondly, it may insure the workman by legislation
against every diminution in his capacity to work owing to sickness, age,
or accident; may give him material assistance when temporarily out of
work, and protect him against compulsion which may hinder him from

The economical prosperity of Germany as the visible result of three
victorious campaigns created a labour market sufficiently large for
present purposes, although without the conscious intention of the State.
German labour, under the protection of the political power, gained a
market for itself. On the other hand, the German State has intervened
with legislation, with full consciousness of the end and the means. As
Scharnhorst once contrasted the duty of the citizen with the rights of
man, so the Emperor William I. recognized the duty of the State towards
those who were badly equipped with the necessaries of life. The position
of the worker was assured, so far as circumstances allowed, by social
legislation. No excuse, therefore, for revolutionary agitation now

A vigorous opposition to all the encroachments of the social democrats
indicated the only right way in which the justifiable efforts of the
working class could be reconciled with the continuance of the existing
State and of existing society, the two pillars of all civilization and
progress. This task is by no means completed. The question still is, How
to win back the working class to the ideals of State and country? Willing
workers must be still further protected against social democratic tyranny.

Germany, nevertheless, is in social-political respects at the head of
all progress in culture. German science has held its place in the world.
Germany certainly took the lead in political sciences during the last
century, and in all other domains of intellectual inquiry has won a
prominent position through the universality of her philosophy and her
thorough and unprejudiced research into the nature of things.

The achievements of Germany in the sphere of science and literature are
attested by the fact that the annual export of German books to foreign
countries is, according to trustworthy estimates, twice as large as that
of France, England, and America combined. It is only in the domain of
the exact sciences that Germany has often been compelled to give
precedence to foreign countries. German art also has failed to win a
leading position. It shows, indeed, sound promise in many directions,
and has produced much that is really great; but the chaos of our
political conditions is, unfortunately, reflected in it. The German
Empire has politically been split up into numerous parties. Not only are
the social democrats and the middle class opposed, but they, again, are
divided among themselves; not only are industries and agriculture bitter
enemies, but the national sentiment has not yet been able to vanquish
denominational antagonisms, and the historical hostility between North
and South has prevented the population from growing into a completely
united body.

So stands Germany to-day, torn by internal dissensions, yet full of
sustained strength; threatened on all sides by dangers, compressed into
narrow, unnatural limits, she still is filled with high aspirations, in
her nationality, her intellectual development, in her science,
industries, and trade.

And now, what paths does this history indicate to us for the future?
What duties are enforced on us by the past?

It is a question of far-reaching importance; for on the way in which the
German State answers this question, depend not only our own further
development, but to some extent the subsequent shaping of the history of
the world.



Let us pass before our mind's eye the whole course of our historical
development, and let us picture to ourselves the life-giving streams of
human beings, that in every age have poured forth from the Empire of
Central Europe to all parts of the globe; let us reflect what rich seeds
of intellectual and moral development were sown by the German
intellectual life: the proud conviction forces itself upon us with
irresistible power that a high, if not the highest, importance for the
entire development of the human race is ascribable to this German

This conviction is based on the intellectual merits of our nation, on
the freedom and the universality of the German spirit, which have ever
and again been shown in the course of its history. There is no nation
whose thinking is at once so free from prejudice and so historical as
the German, which knows how to unite so harmoniously the freedom of the
intellectual and the restraint of the practical life on the path of free
and natural development. The Germans have thus always been the
standard-bearers of free thought, but at the same time a strong bulwark
against revolutionary anarchical outbreaks. They have often been worsted
in the struggle for intellectual freedom, and poured out their best
heart's blood in the cause. Intellectual compulsion has sometimes ruled
the Germans; revolutionary tremors have shaken the life of this
people--the great peasant war in the sixteenth century, and the
political attempts at revolution in the middle of the nineteenth
century. But the revolutionary movement has been checked and directed
into the paths of a healthy natural advancement. The inevitable need of
a free intellectual self-determination has again and again disengaged
itself from the inner life of the soul of the people, and broadened into
world-historical importance.

Thus two great movements were born from the German intellectual life, on
which, henceforth, all the intellectual and moral progress of man must
rest: the Reformation and the critical philosophy. The Reformation,
which broke the intellectual yoke, imposed by the Church, which checked
all free progress; and the Critique of Pure Reason, which put a stop to
the caprice of philosophic speculation by defining for the human mind
the limitations of its capacity for knowledge, and at the same time
pointed out in what way knowledge is really possible. On this
substructure was developed the intellectual life of our time, whose
deepest significance consists in the attempt to reconcile the result of
free inquiry with the religious needs of the heart, and to lay a
foundation for the harmonious organization of mankind. Torn this way and
that, between hostile forces, in a continuous feud between faith and
knowledge, mankind seems to have lost the straight road of progress.
Reconciliation only appears possible when the thought of religious
reformation leads to a permanent explanation of the idea of religion,
and science remains conscious of the limits of its power, and does not
attempt to explain the domain of the supersensual world from the results
of natural philosophy.

The German nation not only laid the foundations of this great struggle
for an harmonious development of humanity, but took the lead in it. We
are thus incurring an obligation for the future, from which we cannot
shrink. We must be prepared to be the leaders in this campaign, which is
being fought for the highest stake that has been offered to human
efforts. Our nation is not only bound by its past history to take part
in this struggle, but is peculiarly adapted to do so by its special

No nation on the face of the globe is so able to grasp and appropriate
all the elements of culture, to add to them from the stores of its own
spiritual endowment, and to give back to mankind richer gifts than it
received. It has "enriched the store of traditional European culture
with new and independent ideas and ideals, and won a position in the great
community of civilized nations which none else could fill." "Depth of
conviction, idealism, universality, the power to look beyond all the
limits of a finite existence, to sympathize with all that is human, to
traverse the realm of ideas in companionship with the noblest of all
nations and ages--this has at all times been the German characteristic;
this has been extolled as the prerogative of German culture." [A] To no
nation, except the German, has it been given to enjoy in its inner self
"that which is given to mankind as a whole." We often see in other
nations a greater intensity of specialized ability, but never the same
capacity for generalization and absorption. It is this quality which
specially fits us for the leadership in the intellectual world, and
imposes on us the obligation to maintain that position.

[Footnote A: Treitschke, "Deutsche Geschichte," i., p. 95.]

There are numerous other tasks to be fulfilled if we are to discharge
our highest duty. They form the necessary platform from which we can
mount to the highest goal. These duties lie in the domains of science
and politics, and also in that borderland where science and politics
touch, and where the latter is often directly conditioned by the results
of scientific inquiry.

First and foremost it is German science which must regain its
superiority in unwearying and brilliant research in order to vindicate
our birthright. On the one hand, we must extend the theory of the
perceptive faculty; on the other, we must increase man's dominion over
Nature by exploring her hidden secrets, and thus make human work more
useful and remunerative. We must endeavour to find scientific solutions
of the great problems which deeply concern mankind. We need not restrict
ourselves to the sphere of pure theory, but must try to benefit
civilization by the practical results of research, and thus create
conditions of life in which a purer conception of the ideal life can
find its expression.

It is, broadly speaking, religious and social controversies which
exercise the most permanent influence on human existence, and condition
not only our future development, but the higher life generally. These
problems have occupied the minds of no people more deeply and
permanently than our own. Yet the revolutionary spirit, in spite of the
empty ravings of social democratic agitators, finds no place in Germany.
The German nature tends towards a systematic healthy development, which
works slowly in opposition to the different movements. The Germans thus
seem thoroughly qualified to settle in their own country the great
controversies which are rending other nations, and to direct them into
the paths of a natural progress in conformity with the laws of

We have already started on the task in the social sphere, and shall no
doubt continue it, so far as it is compatible with the advantages of the
community and the working class itself. We must not spare any efforts to
find other means than those already adopted to inspire the working class
with healthy and patriotic ambitions.

It is to be hoped, in any case, that if ever a great and common duty,
requiring the concentration of the whole national strength, is imposed
upon us, that the labour classes will not withhold their co-operation,
and that, in face of a common danger, our nation will recover that unity
which is lamentably deficient to-day.

No attempt at settlement has been made in the religious domain. The old
antagonists are still bitterly hostile to each other, especially in
Germany. It will be the duty of the future to mitigate the religious and
political antagonism of the denominations, under guarantees of absolute
liberty of thought and all personal convictions, and to combine the
conflicting views into a harmonious and higher system. At present there
appears small probability of attaining this end. The dogmatism of
Protestant orthodoxy and the Jesuitic tendencies and ultramontanism of
the Catholics, must be surmounted, before any common religious movement
can be contemplated. But no German statesman can disregard this aspect
of affairs, nor must he ever forget that the greatness of our nation is
rooted exclusively on Protestantism. Legally and socially all
denominations enjoy equal rights, but the German State must never
renounce the leadership in the domain of free spiritual development. To
do so would mean loss of prestige.

Duties of the greatest importance for the whole advance of human
civilization have thus been transmitted to the German nation, as heir of
a great and glorious past. It is faced with problems of no less
significance in the sphere of its international relations. These
problems are of special importance, since they affect most deeply the
intellectual development, and on their solution depends the position of
Germany in the world.

The German Empire has suffered great losses of territory in the storms
and struggles of the past. The Germany of to-day, considered
geographically, is a mutilated torso of the old dominions of the
Emperors; it comprises only a fraction of the German peoples. A large
number of German fellow-countrymen have been incorporated into other
States, or live in political independence, like the Dutch, who have
developed into a separate nationality, but in language and national
customs cannot deny their German ancestry. Germany has been robbed of
her natural boundaries; even the source and mouth of the most
characteristically German stream, the much lauded German Rhine, lie
outside the German territory. On the eastern frontier, too, where the
strength of the modern German Empire grew up in centuries of war against
the Slavs, the possessions of Germany are menaced. The Slavonic waves
are ever dashing more furiously against the coast of that Germanism,
which seems to have lost its old victorious strength.

Signs of political weakness are visible here, while for centuries the
overflow of the strength of the German nation has poured into foreign
countries, and been lost to our fatherland and to our nationality; it is
absorbed by foreign nations and steeped with foreign sentiments. Even
to-day the German Empire possesses no colonial territories where its
increasing population may find remunerative work and a German way of

This is obviously not a condition which can satisfy a powerful nation,
or corresponds to the greatness of the German nation and its
intellectual importance.

At an earlier epoch, to be sure, when Germans had in the course of
centuries grown accustomed to the degradation of being robbed of all
political significance, a large section of our people did not feel this
insufficiency. Even during the age of our classical literature the
patriotic pride of that idealistic generation "was contented with the
thought that no other people could follow the bold flights of German
genius or soar aloft to the freedom of our world citizenship." [B]

[Footnote B: Treitschke, "Deutsche Geschichte," i., p. 195.]

Schiller, in 1797, could write the lines:

"German majesty and honour
Fall not with the princes' crown;
When amid the flames of war
German Empire crashes down,
German greatness stands unscathed." [C]

[Footnote C: Fragment of a poem on "German Greatness," published in 1905
by Bernhard Suphan.]

The nobler and better section of our nation, at any rate, holds
different sentiments to-day. We attach a higher value to the influence
of the German spirit on universal culture than was then possible, since
we must now take into consideration the immense development of Germany
in the nineteenth century, and can thus better estimate the old
importance of our classical literature. Again, we have learnt from the
vicissitudes of our historical growth to recognize that the full and due
measure of intellectual development can only be achieved by the political
federation of our nation. The dominion of German thought can
only be extended under the aegis of political power, and unless we act
in conformity to this idea, we shall be untrue to our great duties
towards the human race.

Our first and positive duty consists, therefore, in zealously guarding
the territories of Germany, as they now are, and in not surrendering a
foot's breadth of German soil to foreign nationalities. On the west the
ambitious schemes of the Latin race have been checked, and it is hard to
imagine that we shall ever allow this prize of victory to be snatched
again from our hands. On the south-east the Turks, who formerly
threatened the civilized countries of Europe, have been completely
repulsed. They now take a very different position in European politics
from that which they filled at the time of their victorious advance
westwards. Their power on the Mediterranean is entirely destroyed. On
the other hand, the Slavs have become a formidable power. Vast regions
which were once under German influence are now once more subject to
Slavonic rule, and seem permanently lost to us. The present Russian
Baltic provinces were formerly flourishing seats of German culture. The
German element in Austria, our ally, is gravely menaced by the Slavs;
Germany herself is exposed to a perpetual peaceful invasion of Slavonic
workmen. Many Poles are firmly established in the heart of Westphalia.
Only faint-hearted measures are taken to-day to stem this Slavonic
flood. And yet to check this onrush of Slavism is not merely an
obligation inherited from our fathers, but a duty in the interests of
self-preservation and European civilization. It cannot yet be determined
whether we can keep off this vast flood by pacific precautions. It is
not improbable that the question of Germanic or Slavonic supremacy will
be once more decided by the sword. The probability of such a conflict
grows stronger as we become more lax in pacific measures of defence, and
show less determination to protect the German soil at all costs.

The further duty of supporting the Germans in foreign countries in their
struggle for existence and of thus keeping them loyal to their
nationality, is one from which, in our direct interests, we cannot
withdraw. The isolated groups of Germans abroad greatly benefit our
trade, since by preference they obtain their goods from Germany; but
they may also be useful to us politically, as we discover in America.
The American-Germans have formed a political alliance with the Irish,
and thus united, constitute a power in the State, with which the
Government must reckon.

Finally, from the point of view of civilization, it is imperative to
preserve the German spirit, and by so doing to establish _foci_ of
universal culture.

Even if we succeed in guarding our possessions in the East and West, and
in preserving the German nationality in its present form throughout the
world, we shall not be able to maintain our present position, powerful
as it is, in the great competition with the other Powers, if we are
contented to restrict ourselves to our present sphere of power, while
the surrounding countries are busily extending their dominions. If we
wish to compete further with them, a policy which our population and our
civilization both entitle and compel us to adopt, we must not hold back
in the hard struggle for the sovereignty of the world.

Lord Rosebery, speaking at the Royal Colonial Institute on March 1,
1893, expressed himself as follows: "It is said that our Empire is
already large enough and does not need expansion.... We shall have to
consider not what we want now, but what we want in the future.... We
have to remember that it is part of our responsibility and heritage to
take care that the world, so far as it can be moulded by us, should
receive the Anglo-Saxon and not another character." [D]

[Footnote D: This passage is quoted in the book of the French ex-Minister
Hanotaux, "Fashoda et le partage de l'Afrique."]

That is a great and proud thought which the Englishman then expressed.

If we count the nations who speak English at the present day, and if we
survey the countries which acknowledge the rule of England, we must
admit that he is justified from the English point of view. He does not
here contemplate an actual world-sovereignty, but the predominance of
the English spirit is proclaimed in plain language.

England has certainly done a great work of civilization, especially from
the material aspect; but her work is one-sided. All the colonies which
are directly subject to English rule are primarily exploited in the
interest of English industries and English capital. The work of
civilization, which England undeniably has carried out among them, has
always been subordinated to this idea; she has never justified her
sovereignty by training up a free and independent population, and by
transmitting to the subject peoples the blessings of an independent
culture of their own. With regard to those colonies which enjoy
self-government, and are therefore more or less free republics, as
Canada, Australia, South Africa, it is very questionable whether they
will permanently retain any trace of the English spirit. They are not
only growing States, but growing nations, and it seems uncertain at the
present time whether England will be able to include them permanently in
the Empire, to make them serviceable to English industries, or even to
secure that the national character is English. Nevertheless, it is a
great and proud ambition that is expressed in Lord Rosebery's words, and
it testifies to a supreme national self-confidence.

The French regard with no less justifiable satisfaction the work done by
them in the last forty years. In 1909 the former French Minister,
Hanotaux, gave expression to this pride in the following words: "Ten
years ago the work of founding our colonial Empire was finished. France
has claimed her rank among the four great Powers. She is at home in
every quarter of the globe. French is spoken, and will continue to be
spoken, in Africa, Asia, America, Oceania. Seeds of sovereignty are sown
in all parts of the world. They will prosper under the protection of
Heaven." [E]

[Footnote E: Hanotaux, "Fashoda et le partage de l'Afrique."]

The same statesman criticized, with ill-concealed hatred, the German
policy: "It will be for history to decide what has been the leading
thought of Germany and her Government during the complicated disputes
under which the partition of Africa and the last phase of French
colonial policy were ended. We may assume that at first the adherents to
Bismarck's policy saw with satisfaction how France embarked on distant
and difficult undertakings, which would fully occupy the attention of
the country and its Government for long years to come. Nevertheless, it
is not certain that this calculation has proved right in the long-run,
since Germany ultimately trod the same road, and, somewhat late, indeed,
tried to make up for lost time. If that country deliberately abandoned
colonial enterprise to others, it cannot be surprised if these have
obtained the best shares."

This French criticism is not altogether unfair. It must be admitted with
mortification and envy that the nation vanquished in 1870, whose vital
powers seemed exhausted, which possessed no qualification for
colonization from want of men to colonize, as is best seen in Algeria,
has yet created the second largest colonial Empire in the world, and
prides herself on being a World Power, while the conqueror of Gravelotte
and Sedan in this respect lags far behind her, and only recently, in the
Morocco controversy, yielded to the unjustifiable pretensions of France
in a way which, according to universal popular sentiment, was unworthy
alike of the dignity and the interests of Germany.

The openly declared claims of England and France are the more worthy of
attention since an _entente_ prevails between the two countries. In the
face of these claims the German nation, from the standpoint of its
importance to civilization, is fully entitled not only to demand a place
in the sun, as Prince Buelow used modestly to express it, but to aspire
to an adequate share in the sovereignty of the world far beyond the
limits of its present sphere of influence. But we can only reach this
goal, by so amply securing our position in Europe, that it can never
again be questioned. Then only we need no longer fear that we shall be
opposed by stronger opponents whenever we take part in international
politics. We shall then be able to exercise our forces freely in fair
rivalry with the other World Powers, and secure to German nationality
and German spirit throughout the globe that high esteem which is due to

Such an expansion of power, befitting our importance, is not merely a
fanciful scheme--it will soon appear as a political necessity.

The fact has already been mentioned that, owing to political union and
improved economic conditions during the last forty years, an era of
great prosperity has set in, and that German industries have been widely
extended and German trade has kept pace with them. The extraordinary
capacity of the German nation for trade and navigation has once more
brilliantly asserted itself. The days of the Hanseatic League have
returned. The labour resources of our nation increase continuously. The
increase of the population in the German Empire alone amounts yearly to
a million souls, and these have, to a large extent, found remunerative
industrial occupation.

There is, however, a reverse side to this picture of splendid
development. We are absolutely dependent on foreign countries for the
import of raw materials, and to a considerable extent also for the sale
of our own manufactures. We even obtain a part of our necessaries of
life from abroad. Then, again, we have not the assured markets which
England possesses in her colonies. Our own colonies are unable to take
much of our products, and the great foreign economic spheres try to
close their doors to outsiders, especially Germans, in order to
encourage their own industries, and to make themselves independent of
other countries. The livelihood of our working classes directly depends
on the maintenance and expansion of our export trade. It is a question
of life and death for us to keep open our oversea commerce. We shall
very soon see ourselves compelled to find for our growing population
means of life other than industrial employment. It is out of the
question that this latter can keep pace permanently with the increase of
population. Agriculture will employ a small part of this increase, and
home settlements may afford some relief. But no remunerative occupation
will ever be found within the borders of the existing German Empire for
the whole population, however favourable our international relations. We
shall soon, therefore, be faced by the question, whether we wish to
surrender the coming generations to foreign countries, as formerly in
the hour of our decline, or whether we wish to take steps to find them a
home in our own German colonies, and so retain them for the fatherland.
There is no possible doubt how this question must be answered. If the
unfortunate course of our history has hitherto prevented us from
building a colonial Empire, it is our duty to make up for lost time, and
at once to construct a fleet which, in defiance of all hostile Powers,
may keep our sea communications open.

We have long underestimated the importance of colonies. Colonial
possessions which merely serve the purpose of acquiring wealth, and are
only used for economic ends, while the owner-State does not think of
colonizing in any form or raising the position of the aboriginal
population in the economic or social scale, are unjustifiable and
immoral, and can never be held permanently. "But that colonization which
retains a uniform nationality has become a factor of immense importance
for the future of the world. It will determine the degree in which each
nation shares in the government of the world by the white race. It is
quite imaginable that a count owns no colonies will no longer count
among the European Great Powers, however powerful it may otherwise be."

[Footnote F: Treitschke, "Politik," i., Section 8.]

We are already suffering severely from the want of colonies to meet our
requirements. They would not merely guarantee a livelihood to our
growing working population, but would supply raw materials and
foodstuffs, would buy goods, and open a field of activity to that
immense capital of intellectual labour forces which is to-day lying
unproductive in Germany, or is in the service of foreign interests. We
find throughout the countries of the world German merchants, engineers,
and men of every profession, employed actively in the service of foreign
masters, because German colonies, when they might be profitably engaged,
do not exist. In the future, however, the importance of Germany will
depend on two points: firstly, how many millions of men in the world
speak German? secondly, how many of them are politically members of the
German Empire?

These are heavy and complicated duties, which have devolved on us from
the entire past development of our nation, and are determined by its
present condition as regards the future. We must be quite clear on this
point, that no nation has had to reckon with the same difficulties and
hostility as ours. This is due to the many restrictions of our political
relations, to our unfavourable geographical position, and to the course
of our history. It was chiefly our own fault that we were condemned to
political paralysis at the time when the great European States built
themselves up, and sometimes expanded into World Powers. We did not
enter the circle of the Powers, whose decision carried weight in
politics, until late, when the partition of the globe was long
concluded. All which other nations attained in centuries of natural
development--political union, colonial possessions, naval power,
international trade--was denied to our nation until quite recently. What
we now wish to attain must be _fought for_, and won, against a superior
force of hostile interests and Powers.

It is all the more emphatically our duty plainly to perceive what paths
we wish to take, and what our goals are, so as not to split up our
forces in false directions, and involuntarily to diverge from the
straight road of our intended development.

The difficulty of our political position is in a certain sense an
advantage. By keeping us in a continually increasing state of tension,
it has at least protected us so far from the lethargy which so often
follows a long period of peace and growing wealth. It has forced us to
stake all our spiritual and material forces in order to rise to every
occasion, and has thus discovered and strengthened resources which will
be of great value whenever we shall be called upon to draw the sword.



In discussing the duties which fall to the German nation from its
history and its general as well as particular endowments, we attempted
to prove that a consolidation and expansion of our position among the
Great Powers of Europe, and an extension of our colonial possessions,
must be the basis of our future development.

The political questions thus raised intimately concern all international
relations, and should be thoroughly weighed. We must not aim at the
impossible. A reckless policy would be foreign to our national character
and our high aims and duties. But we must aspire to the possible, even
at the risk of war. This policy we have seen to be both our right and
our duty. The longer we look at things with folded hands, the harder it
will be to make up the start which the other Powers have gained on us.

"The man of sense will by the forelock clutch
Whatever lies within his power,
Stick fast to it, and neither shirk,
Nor from his enterprise be thrust,
But, having once begun to work,
Go working on because he must."
(translated by Sir Theodore Martin).

The sphere in which we can realize our ambition is circumscribed by the
hostile intentions of the other World Powers, by the existing
territorial conditions, and by the armed force which is at the back of
both. Our policy must necessarily be determined by the consideration of
these conditions. We must accurately, and without bias or timidity,
examine the circumstances which turn the scale when the forces which
concern us are weighed one against the other.

These considerations fall partly within the military, but belong mainly
to the political sphere, in so far as the political grouping of the
States allows a survey of the military resources of the parties. We must
try to realize this grouping. The shifting aims of the politics of the
day need not be our standard; they are often coloured by considerations
of present expediency, and offer no firm basis for forming an opinion.
We must rather endeavour to recognize the political views and intentions
of the individual States, which are based on the nature of things, and
therefore will continually make their importance felt. The broad lines
of policy are ultimately laid down by the permanent interests of a
country, although they may often be mistaken from short-sightedness or
timidity, and although policy sometimes takes a course which does not
seem warranted from the standpoint of lasting national benefits. Policy
is not an exact science, following necessary laws, but is made by men
who impress on it the stamp of their strength or their weakness, and
often divert it from the path of true national interests. Such
digressions must not be ignored. The statesman who seizes his
opportunity will often profit by these political fluctuations. But the
student who considers matters from the standpoint of history must keep
his eyes mainly fixed on those interests which seem permanent. We must
therefore try to make the international situation in this latter sense
clear, so far as it concerns Germany's power and ambitions.

We see the European Great Powers divided into two great camps.

On the one side Germany, Austria, and Italy have concluded a defensive
alliance, whose sole object is to guard against hostile aggression. In
this alliance the two first-named States form the solid, probably
unbreakable, core, since by the nature of things they are intimately
connected. The geographical conditions force this result. The two States
combined form a compact series of territories from the Adriatic to the
North Sea and the Baltic. Their close union is due also to historical
national and political conditions. Austrians have fought shoulder to
shoulder with Prussians and Germans of the Empire on a hundred
battlefields; Germans are the backbone of the Austrian dominions, the
bond of union that holds together the different nationalities of the
Empire. Austria, more than Germany, must guard against the inroads of
Slavism, since numerous Slavonic races are comprised in her territories.
There has been no conflict of interests between the two States since the
struggle for the supremacy in Germany was decided. The maritime and
commercial interests of the one point to the south and south-east, those
of the other to the north. Any feebleness in the one must react
detrimentally on the political relations of the other. A quarrel between
Germany and Austria would leave both States at the mercy of
overwhelmingly powerful enemies. The possibility of each maintaining its
political position depends on their standing by each other. It may be
assumed that the relations uniting the two States will be permanent so
long as Germans and Magyars are the leading nationalities in the
Danubian monarchy. It was one of the master-strokes of Bismarck's policy
to have recognized the community of Austro-German interests even during
the war of 1866, and boldly to have concluded a peace which rendered
such an alliance possible.

The weakness of the Austrian Empire lies in the strong admixture of
Slavonic elements, which are hostile to the German population, and show
many signs of Pan-Slavism. It is not at present, however, strong enough
to influence the political position of the Empire.

Italy, also, is bound to the Triple Alliance by her true interests. The
antagonism to Austria, which has run through Italian history, will
diminish when the needs of expansion in other spheres, and of creating a
natural channel for the increasing population, are fully recognized by
Italy. Neither condition is impossible. Irredentism will then lose its
political significance, for the position, which belongs to Italy from
her geographical situation and her past history, and will promote her
true interests if attained, cannot be won in a war with Austria. It is
the position of a leading political and commercial Mediterranean Power.
That is the natural heritage which she can claim. Neither Germany nor
Austria is a rival in this claim, but France, since she has taken up a
permanent position on the coast of North Africa, and especially in
Tunis, has appropriated a country which would have been the most natural
colony for Italy, and has, in point of fact, been largely colonized by
Italians. It would, in my opinion, have been politically right for us,
even at the risk of a war with France, to protest against this
annexation, and to preserve the territory of Carthage for Italy. We
should have considerably strengthened Italy's position on the
Mediterranean, and created a cause of contention between Italy and
France that would have added to the security of the Triple Alliance.

The weakness of this alliance consists in its purely defensive
character. It offers a certain security against hostile aggression, but
does not consider the necessary development of events, and does not
guarantee to any of its members help in the prosecution of its essential
interests. It is based on a _status quo_, which was fully justified in
its day, but has been left far behind by the march of political events.
Prince Bismarck, in his "Thoughts and Reminiscences," pointed out that
this alliance would not always correspond to the requirements of the
future. Since Italy found the Triple Alliance did not aid her
Mediterranean policy, she tried to effect a pacific agreement with
England and France, and accordingly retired from the Triple Alliance.
The results of this policy are manifest to-day. Italy, under an
undisguised arrangement with England and France, but in direct
opposition to the interests of the Triple Alliance, attacked Turkey, in
order to conquer, in Tripoli, the required colonial territory. This
undertaking brought her to the brink of a war with Austria, which, as
the supreme Power in the Balkan Peninsula, can never tolerate the
encroachment of Italy into those regions.

The Triple Alliance, which in itself represents a natural league, has
suffered a rude shock. The ultimate reason for this result is found in
the fact that the parties concerned with a narrow, short-sighted policy
look only to their immediate private interests, and pay no regard to
the vital needs of the members of the league. The alliance will not
regain its original strength until, under the protection of the allied
armies, each of the three States can satisfy its political needs. We
must therefore be solicitous to promote Austria's position in the
Balkans, and Italy's interests on the Mediterranean. Only then can we
calculate on finding in our allies assistance towards realizing our own
political endeavours. Since, however, it is against all our interests to
strengthen Italy at the cost of Turkey, which is, as we shall see, an
essential member of the Triple Alliance, we must repair the errors of
the past, and in the next great war win back Tunis for Italy. Only then
will Bismarck's great conception of the Triple Alliance reveal its real
meaning. But the Triple Alliance, so long as it only aims at negative
results, and leaves it to the individual allies to pursue their vital
interests exclusively by their own resources, will be smitten with
sterility. On the surface, Italy's Mediterranean interests do not
concern us closely. But their real importance for us is shown by the
consideration that the withdrawal of Italy from the Triple Alliance, or,
indeed, its secession to an Anglo-Franco-Russian _entente,_ would
probably be the signal for a great European war against us and Austria.
Such a development would gravely prejudice the lasting interests of
Italy, for she would forfeit her political independence by so doing, and
incur the risk of sinking to a sort of vassal state of France. Such a
contingency is not unthinkable, for, in judging the policy of Italy, we
must not disregard her relations with England as well as with France.

England is clearly a hindrance in the way of Italy's justifiable efforts
to win a prominent position in the Mediterranean. She possesses in
Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus, Egypt, and Aden a chain of strong bases, which
secure the sea-route to India, and she has an unqualified interest in
commanding this great road through the Mediterranean. England's
Mediterranean fleet is correspondingly strong and would--especially in
combination with the French Mediterranean squadron--seriously menace the
coasts of Italy, should that country be entangled in a war against
England _and_ France. Italy is therefore obviously concerned in avoiding
such a war, as long as the balance of maritime power is unchanged. She
is thus in an extremely difficult double position; herself a member of
the Triple Alliance, she is in a situation which compels her to make
overtures to the opponents of that alliance, so long as her own allies
can afford no trustworthy assistance to her policy of development. It is
our interest to reconcile Italy and Turkey so far as we can.

France and Russia have united in opposition to the Central European
Triple Alliance. France's European policy is overshadowed by the idea of
_revanche_. For that she makes the most painful sacrifices; for that she
has forgotten the hundred years' enmity against England and the
humiliation of Fashoda. She wishes first to take vengeance for the
defeats of 1870-71, which wounded her national pride to the quick; she
wishes to raise her political prestige by a victory over Germany, and,
if possible, to regain that former supremacy on the continent of Europe
which she so long and brilliantly maintained; she wishes, if fortune
smiles on her arms, to reconquer Alsace and Lorraine. But she feels too
weak for an attack on Germany. Her whole foreign policy, in spite of all
protestations of peace, follows the single aim of gaining allies for
this attack. Her alliance with Russia, her _entente_ with England, are
inspired with this spirit; her present intimate relations with this
latter nation are traceable to the fact that the French policy hoped,
and with good reason, for more active help from England's hostility to
Germany than from Russia.

The colonial policy of France pursues primarily the object of acquiring
a material, and, if possible, military superiority over Germany. The
establishment of a native African army, the contemplated introduction of
a modified system of conscription in Algeria, and the political
annexation of Morocco, which offers excellent raw material for soldiers,
so clearly exhibit this intention, that there can be no possible
illusion as to its extent and meaning.

Since France has succeeded in bringing her military strength to
approximately the same level as Germany, since she has acquired in her
North African Empire the possibility of considerably increasing that
strength, since she has completely outstripped Germany in the sphere of
colonial policy, and has not only kept up, but also revived, the French
sympathies of Alsace and Lorraine, the conclusion is obvious: France
will not abandon the paths of an anti-German policy, but will do her
best to excite hostility against us, and to thwart German interests in
every quarter of the globe. When she came to an understanding with the
Italians, that she should be given a free hand in Morocco if she allowed
them to occupy Tripoli, a wedge was driven into the Triple Alliance
which threatens to split it. It may be regarded as highly improbable
that she will maintain honourably and with no _arriere-pensee_ the
obligations undertaken in the interests of German commerce in Morocco.
The suppression of these interests was, in fact, a marked feature of the
French Morocco policy, which was conspicuously anti-German. The French
policy was so successful that we shall have to reckon more than ever on
the hostility of France in the future. It must be regarded as a quite
unthinkable proposition that an agreement between France and Germany can
be negotiated before the question between them has been once more
decided by arms. Such an agreement is the less likely now that France
sides with England, to whose interest it is to repress Germany but
strengthen France. Another picture meets our eyes if we turn to the
East, where the giant Russian Empire towers above all others.

The Empire of the Czar, in consequence of its defeat in Manchuria, and
of the revolution which was precipitated by the disastrous war, is
following apparently a policy of recuperation. It has tried to come to
an understanding with Japan in the Far East, and with England in Central
Asia; in the Balkans its policy aims at the maintenance of the _status
quo_. So far it does not seem to have entertained any idea of war with
Germany. The Potsdam agreement, whose importance cannot be
overestimated, shows that we need not anticipate at present any
aggressive policy on Russia's part. The ministry of Kokowzew seems
likely to wish to continue this policy of recuperation, and has the more
reason for doing so, as the murder of Stolypin with its accompanying
events showed, as it were by a flash of lightning, a dreadful picture of
internal disorder and revolutionary intrigue. It is improbable,
therefore, that Russia would now be inclined to make armed intervention
in favour of France. The Russo-French alliance is not, indeed, swept
away, and there is no doubt that Russia would, if the necessity arose,
meet her obligations; but the tension has been temporarily relaxed, and
an improvement in the Russo-German relations has been effected, although
this state of things was sufficiently well paid for by the concessions
of Germany in North Persia.

It is quite obvious that this policy of marking time, which Russia is
adopting for the moment, can only be transitory. The requirements of the
mighty Empire irresistibly compel an expansion towards the sea, whether
in the Far East, where it hopes to gain ice-free harbours, or in the
direction of the Mediterranean, where the Crescent still glitters on the
dome of St. Sophia. After a successful war, Russia would hardly hesitate
to seize the mouth of the Vistula, at the possession of which she has
long aimed, and thus to strengthen appreciably her position in the

Supremacy in the Balkan Peninsula, free entrance into the Mediterranean,
and a strong position on the Baltic, are the goals to which the European
policy of Russia has naturally long been directed. She feels herself,
also, the leading power of the Slavonic races, and has for many years
been busy in encouraging and extending the spread of this element into
Central Europe.

Pan-Slavism is still hard at work.

It is hard to foresee how soon Russia will come out from her retirement
and again tread the natural paths of her international policy. Her
present political attitude depends considerably on the person of the
present Emperor, who believes in the need of leaning upon a strong
monarchical State, such as Germany is, and also on the character of the
internal development of the mighty Empire. The whole body of the nation
is so tainted with revolutionary and moral infection, and the peasantry
is plunged in such economic disorder, that it is difficult to see from
what elements a vivifying force may spring up capable of restoring a
healthy condition. Even the agrarian policy of the present Government
has not produced any favourable results, and has so far disappointed
expectations. The possibility thus has always existed that, under the
stress of internal affairs, the foreign policy may be reversed and an
attempt made to surmount the difficulties at home by successes abroad.
Time and events will decide whether these successes will be sought in
the Far East or in the West. On the one side Japan, and possibly China,
must be encountered; on the other, Germany, Austria, and, possibly,

Doubtless these conditions must exercise a decisive influence on the
Franco-Russian Alliance. The interests of the two allies are not
identical. While France aims solely at crushing Germany by an aggressive
war, Russia from the first has more defensive schemes in view. She
wished to secure herself against any interference by the Powers of
Central Europe in the execution of her political plans in the South and
East, and at the same time, at the price of an alliance, to raise, on
advantageous terms in France, the loans which were so much needed.
Russia at present has no inducement to seek an aggressive war with
Germany or to take part in one. Of course, every further increase of the
German power militates against the Russian interests. We shall therefore
always find her on the side of those who try to cross our political paths.

England has recently associated herself with the Franco-Russian
Alliance. She has made an arrangement in Asia with Russia by which the
spheres of influence of the two parties are delimited, while with France
she has come to terms in the clear intention of suppressing Germany
under all circumstances, if necessary by force of arms.

The actually existing conflict of Russian and English interests in the
heart of Asia can obviously not be terminated by such agreements. So,
also, no natural community of interests exists between England and
France. A strong French fleet may be as great a menace to England as to
any other Power. For the present, however, we may reckon on an
Anglo--French _entente_. This union is cemented by the common hostility
to Germany. No other reason for the political combination of the two
States is forthcoming. There is not even a credible pretext, which might
mask the real objects.

This policy of England is, on superficial examination, not very
comprehensible. Of course, German industries and trade have lately made
astounding progress, and the German navy is growing to a strength which
commands respect. We are certainly a hindrance to the plans which
England is prosecuting in Asiatic Turkey and Central Africa. This may
well be distasteful to the English from economic as well as political
and military aspects. But, on the other hand, the American competition
in the domain of commercial politics is far keener than the German. The
American navy is at the present moment stronger than the German, and
will henceforth maintain this precedence. Even the French are on the
point of building a formidable fleet, and their colonial Empire, so far
as territory is concerned, is immensely superior to ours. Yet, in spite
of all these considerations, the hostility of the English is primarily
directed against us. It is necessary to adopt the English standpoint in
order to understand the line of thought which guides the English
politicians. I believe that the solution of the problem is to be found
in the wide ramifications of English interests in every part of the

Since England committed the unpardonable blunder, from her point of
view, of not supporting the Southern States in the American War of
Secession, a rival to England's world-wide Empire has appeared on the
other side of the Atlantic in the form of the United States of North
America, which are a grave menace to England's fortunes. The keenest
competition conceivable now exists between the two countries. The
annexation of the Philippines by America, and England's treaty with
Japan, have accentuated the conflict of interests between the two
nations. The trade and industries of America can no longer be checked,
and the absolutely inexhaustible and ever-growing resources of the Union
are so prodigious that a naval war with America, in view of the vast
distances and wide extent of the enemies' coasts, would prove a very
bold, and certainly very difficult, undertaking. England accordingly has
always diplomatically conceded the claims of America, as quite recently
in the negotiations about fortifying the Panama Canal; the object
clearly is to avoid any collision with the United States, from fearing
the consequences of such collision. The American competition in trade
and industries, and the growth of the American navy, are tolerated as
inevitable, and the community of race is borne in mind. In this sense,
according to the English point of view, must be understood the treaty by
which a Court of Arbitration between the two countries was established.

England wishes, in any case, to avert the danger of a war with America.
The natural opposition of the two rival States may, however, in the
further development of things, be so accentuated that England will be
forced to assert her position by arms, or at least to maintain an
undisputed naval supremacy, in order to emphasize her diplomatic action.
The relations of the two countries to Canada may easily become strained
to a dangerous point, and the temporary failure of the Arbitration
Treaty casts a strong light on the fact that the American people does not
consider that the present political relations of the two nations are

There is another danger which concerns England more closely and directly
threatens her vitality. This is due to the nationalist movement in India
and Egypt, to the growing power of Islam, to the agitation for
independence in the great colonies, as well as to the supremacy of the
Low-German element in South Africa.

Turkey is the only State which might seriously threaten the English
position in Egypt by land. This contingency gives to the national
movement in Egypt an importance which it would not otherwise possess; it
clearly shows that England intensely fears every Pan-Islamitic movement.
She is trying with all the resources of political intrigue to undermine
the growing power of Turkey, which she officially pretends to support,
and is endeavouring to create in Arabia a new religious centre in
opposition to the Caliphate.

The same views are partially responsible for the policy in India, where
some seventy millions of Moslems live under the English rule. England,
so far, in accordance with the principle of _divide et impera_, has
attempted to play off the Mohammedan against the Hindu population. But
now that a pronounced revolutionary and nationalist tendency shows
itself among these latter, the danger is imminent that Pan-Islamism,
thoroughly roused, should unite with the revolutionary elements of
Bengal. The co-operation of these elements might create a very grave
danger, capable of shaking the foundations of England's high position in
the world.

While so many dangers, in the future at least, threaten both at home and
abroad, English imperialism has failed to link the vast Empire together,
either for purposes of commerce or defence, more closely than hitherto.
Mr. Chamberlain's dream of the British Imperial Customs Union has
definitely been abandoned. No attempt was made at the Imperial
Conference in 1911 to go back to it. "A centrifugal policy predominated.
.... When the question of imperial defence came up, the policy was
rejected which wished to assure to Great Britain the help of the oversea
dominions in every imaginable eventuality." The great self-ruled
colonies represent allies, who will stand by England in the hour of
need, but "allies with the reservation that they are not to be employed
wrongfully for objects which they cannot ascertain or do not
approve." [A] There are clear indications that the policy of the
dominions, though not yet planning a separation from England, is
contemplating the future prospect of doing so. Canada, South Africa, and
Australia are developing, as mentioned in Chapter IV., into independent
nations and States, and will, when their time comes, claim formal

[Footnote A: Th. Schiemann in the _Kreuzzeitung_ of July 5, 1911.]

All these circumstances constitute a grave menace to the stability of
England's Empire, and these dangers largely influence England's attitude
towards Germany.

England may have to tolerate the rivalry of North America in her
imperial and commercial ambitions, but the competition of Germany must
be stopped. If England is forced to fight America, the German fleet must
not be in a position to help the Americans. Therefore it must be

A similar line of thought is suggested by the eventuality of a great
English colonial war, which would engage England's fleets in far distant
parts of the world. England knows the German needs and capabilities of
expansion, and may well fear that a German Empire with a strong fleet
might use such an opportunity for obtaining that increase of territory
which England grudges. We may thus explain the apparent indifference of
England to the French schemes of aggrandizement. France's capability of
expansion is exhausted from insufficient increase of population. She can
no longer be dangerous to England as a nation, and would soon fall
victim to English lust of Empire, if only Germany were conquered.

The wish to get rid of the dangers presumably threatening from the
German quarter is all the more real since geographical conditions offer
a prospect of crippling the German overseas commerce without any
excessive efforts. The comparative weakness of the German fleet,
contrasted with the vast superiority of the English navy, allows a
correspondingly easy victory to be anticipated, especially if the French
fleet co-operates. The possibility, therefore, of quickly and completely
getting rid of one rival, in order to have a free hand for all other
contingencies, looms very near and undoubtedly presents a practicable
means of placing the naval power of England on a firm footing for years
to come, of annihilating German commerce and of checking the importance
of German interests in Africa and Northern Asia.

The hostility to Germany is also sufficiently evident in other matters.
It has always been England's object to maintain a certain balance of
power between the continental nations of Europe, and to prevent any one
of them attaining a pronounced supremacy. While these States crippled
and hindered each other from playing any active part on the world's
stage, England acquired an opportunity of following out her own purposes
undisturbed, and of founding that world Empire which she now holds. This
policy she still continues, for so long as the Powers of Europe tie each
other's hands, her own supremacy is uncontested. It follows directly
from this that England's aim must be to repress Germany, but strengthen
France; for Germany at the present moment is the only European State
which threatens to win a commanding position; but France is her born
rival, and cannot keep on level terms with her stronger neighbour on the
East, unless she adds to her forces and is helped by her allies. Thus
the hostility to Germany, from this aspect also, is based on England's
most important interests, and we must treat it as axiomatic and

The argument is often adduced that England by a war with Germany would
chiefly injure herself, since she would lose the German market, which is
the best purchaser of her industrial products, and would be deprived of
the very considerable German import trade. I fear that from the English
point of view these conditions would be an additional incentive to war.
England would hope to acquire, in place of the lost German market, a
large part of those markets which had been supplied by Germany before
the war, and the want of German imports would be a great stimulus, and
to some extent a great benefit, to English industries.

After all, it is from the English aspect of the question quite
comprehensible that the English Government strains every nerve to check
the growing power of Germany, and that a passionate desire prevails in
large circles of the English nation to destroy the German fleet which is
building, and attack the objectionable neighbour.

English policy might, however, strike out a different line, and attempt
to come to terms with Germany instead of fighting. This would be the
most desirable course for us. A Triple Alliance--Germany, England, and
America--has been suggested.[B] But for such a union with Germany to be
possible, England must have resolved to give a free course to German
development side by side with her own, to allow the enlargement of our
colonial power, and to offer no political hindrances to our commercial
and industrial competition. She must, therefore, have renounced her
traditional policy, and contemplate an entirely new grouping of the
Great Powers in the world.

[Footnote B: "The United States and the War Cloud in Europe," by Th.
Schiemann, _McClure's Magazine_, June, 1910.]

It cannot be assumed that English pride and self-interest will consent
to that. The continuous agitation against Germany, under the tacit
approval of the Government, which is kept up not only by the majority of
the Press, but by a strong party in the country, the latest statements
of English politicians, the military preparations in the North Sea, and
the feverish acceleration of naval construction, are unmistakable
indications that England intends to persist in her anti-German policy.
The uncompromising hostility of England and her efforts to hinder every
expansion of Germany's power were openly shown in the very recent
Morocco question. Those who think themselves capable of impressing on
the world the stamp of their spirit, do not resign the headship without
a struggle, when they think victory is in their grasp.

A pacific agreement with England is, after all, a will-o'-the-wisp which
no serious German statesman would trouble to follow. We must always keep
the possibility of war with England before our eyes, and arrange our
political and military plans accordingly. We need not concern ourselves
with any pacific protestations of English politicians, publicists, and
Utopians, which, prompted by the exigencies of the moment, cannot alter
the real basis of affairs. When the Unionists, with their greater fixity
of purpose, replace the Liberals at the helm, we must be prepared for a
vigorous assertion of power by the island Empire.

On the other hand, America, which indisputably plays a decisive part in
English policy, is a land of limitless possibilities. While, on the one
side, she insists on the Monroe doctrine, on the other she stretches out
her own arms towards Asia and Africa, in order to find bases for her
fleets. The United States aim at the economic and, where possible, the
political command of the American continent, and at the naval supremacy
in the Pacific. Their interests, both economic and political,
notwithstanding all commercial and other treaties, clash emphatically
with those of Japan and England. No arbitration treaties could alter this.

No similar opposition to Germany, based on the nature of things, has at
present arisen from the ambitions of the two nations; certainly not in
the sphere of politics. So far as can be seen, an understanding with
Germany ought to further the interests of America. It is unlikely that
the Americans would welcome any considerable addition to the power of
England. But such would be the case if Great Britain succeeded in
inflicting a political and military defeat on Germany.

For a time it seemed as if the Anglo-American negotiations about
Arbitration Courts would definitely end in an alliance against Germany.
There has, at any rate, been a great and widespread agitation against us
in the United States. The Americans of German and Irish stock resolutely
opposed it, and it is reasonable to assume that the anti-German movement
in the United States was a passing phase, with no real foundation in the
nature of things. In the field of commerce there is, no doubt, keen
competition between the two countries, especially in South America;
there is, however, no reason to assume that this will lead to political

Japan has, for the time being, a direct political interest for us only
in her influence on the affairs of Russia, America, England, and China.
In the Far East, since Japan has formed an alliance with England, and
seems recently to have effected an arrangement with Russia, we have to
count more on Japanese hostility than Japanese friendship. Her attitude
to China may prove exceptionally important to our colonial possessions
in East Asia. If the two nations joined hands--a hardly probable
eventuality at present--it would become difficult for us to maintain an
independent position between them. The political rivalry between
the two nations of yellow race must therefore be kept alive. If they are
antagonistic, they will both probably look for help against each other
in their relations with Europe, and thus enable the European Powers to
retain their possessions in Asia.

While the aspiring Great Powers of the Far East cannot at present
directly influence our policy, Turkey--the predominant Power of the Near
East--is of paramount importance to us. She is our natural ally; it is
emphatically our interest to keep in close touch with her. The wisest
course would have been to have made her earlier a member of the Triple
Alliance, and so to have prevented the Turco-Italian War, which
threatens to change the whole political situation, to our disadvantage.
Turkey would gain in two ways: she assures her position both against
Russia and against England--the two States, that is, with whose
hostility we have to reckon. Turkey, also, is the only Power which can
threaten England's position in Egypt, and thus menace the short
sea-route and the land communications to India. We ought to spare no
sacrifices to secure this country as an ally for the eventuality of a
war with England or Russia. Turkey's interests are ours. It is also to
the obvious advantage of Italy that Turkey maintain her commanding
position on the Bosphorus and at the Dardanelles, that this important
key should not be transferred to the keeping of foreigners, and belong
to Russia or England.

If Russia gained the access to the Mediterranean, to which she has so
long aspired, she would soon become a prominent Power in its eastern
basin, and thus greatly damage the Italian projects in those waters.
Since the English interests, also, would be prejudiced by such a
development, the English fleet in the Mediterranean would certainly be
strengthened. Between England, France, and Russia it would be quite
impossible for Italy to attain an independent or commanding position,
while the opposition of Russia and Turkey leaves the field open to her.
From this view of the question, therefore, it is advisable to end the
Turco-Italian conflict, and to try and satisfy the justifiable wishes of
Italy at the cost of France, after the next war, it may be.

Spain alone of the remaining European Powers has any independent
importance. She has developed a certain antagonism to France by her
Morocco policy, and may, therefore, become eventually a factor in German
policy. The petty States, on the contrary, form no independent centres
of gravity, but may, in event of war, prove to possess a by no means
negligible importance: the small Balkan States for Austria and Turkey;
Denmark, Holland, Belgium, and Switzerland, and eventually Sweden, for

Switzerland and Belgium count as neutral. The former was declared
neutral at the Congress of Vienna on November 20, 1815, under the
collective guarantee [C] of the signatory Powers; Belgium, in the
Treaties of London of November 15,1831, and of April 19,1839, on the
part of the five Great Powers, the Netherlands, and Belgium itself.

[Footnote C: By a collective guarantee is understood the _duty_ of the
contracting Powers to take steps to protect this neutrality when all
agree that it is menaced. Each individual Power has the _right_ to
interfere if it considers the neutrality menaced.]

If we look at these conditions as a whole, it appears that on the
continent of Europe the power of the Central European Triple Alliance
and that of the States united against it by alliance and agreement
balance each other, provided that Italy belongs to the league. If we
take into calculation the imponderabilia, whose weight can only be
guessed at, the scale is inclined slightly in favour of the Triple
Alliance. On the other hand, England indisputably rules the sea. In
consequence of her crushing naval superiority when allied with France,
and of the geographical conditions, she may cause the greatest damage to
Germany by cutting off her maritime trade. There is also a not
inconsiderable army available for a continental war. When all
considerations are taken into account, our opponents have a political
superiority not to be underestimated. If France succeeds in
strengthening her army by large colonial levies and a strong English
landing-force, this superiority would be asserted on land also. If Italy
really withdraws from the Triple Alliance, very distinctly superior
forces will be united against Germany and Austria.

Under these conditions the position of Germany is extraordinarily
difficult. We not only require for the full material development of our
nation, on a scale corresponding to its intellectual importance, an
extended political basis, but, as explained in the previous chapter, we
are compelled to obtain space for our increasing population and markets
for our growing industries. But at every step which we take in this
direction England will resolutely oppose us. English policy may not yet
have made the definite decision to attack us; but it doubtless wishes,
by all and every means, even the most extreme, to hinder every further
expansion of German international influence and of German maritime
power. The recognized political aims of England and the attitude of the
English Government leave no doubt on this point. But if we were involved
in a struggle with England, we can be quite sure that France would not
neglect the opportunity of attacking our flank. Italy, with her
extensive coast-line, even if still a member of the Triple Alliance,
will have to devote large forces to the defence of the coast to keep off
the attacks of the Anglo-French Mediterranean Fleet, and would thus be
only able to employ weaker forces against France. Austria would be
paralyzed by Russia; against the latter we should have to leave forces
in the East. We should thus have to fight out the struggle against
France and England practically alone with a part of our army, perhaps
with some support from Italy. It is in this double menace by sea and on
the mainland of Europe that the grave danger to our political position
lies, since all freedom of action is taken from us and all expansion

Since the struggle is, as appears on a thorough investigation of the
international question, necessary and inevitable, we must fight it out,
cost what it may. Indeed, we are carrying it on at the present moment,
though not with drawn swords, and only by peaceful means so far. On the
one hand it is being waged by the competition in trade, industries and
warlike preparations; on the other hand, by diplomatic methods with
which the rival States are fighting each other in every region where
their interests clash.

With these methods it has been possible to maintain peace hitherto, but
not without considerable loss of power and prestige. This apparently
peaceful state of things must not deceive us; we are facing a hidden,
but none the less formidable, crisis--perhaps the most momentous crisis
in the history of the German nation.

We have fought in the last great wars for our national union and our
position among the Powers of _Europe_; we now must decide whether we
wish to develop into and maintain a _World Empire_, and procure for
German spirit and German ideas that fit recognition which has been
hitherto withheld from them.

Have we the energy to aspire to that great goal? Are we prepared to make
the sacrifices which such an effort will doubtless cost us? or are we
willing to recoil before the hostile forces, and sink step by step lower
in our economic, political, and national importance? That is what is
involved in our decision.

"To be, or not to be," is the question which is put to us to-day,
disguised, indeed, by the apparent equilibrium of the opposing interests
and forces, by the deceitful shifts of diplomacy, and the official
peace-aspirations of all the States; but by the logic of history
inexorably demanding an answer, if we look with clear gaze beyond the
narrow horizon of the day and the mere surface of things into the region
of realities.

There is no standing still in the world's history. All is growth and
development. It is obviously impossible to keep things in the _status
quo_, as diplomacy has so often attempted. No true statesman will ever
seriously count on such a possibility; he will only make the outward and
temporary maintenance of existing conditions a duty when he wishes to
gain time and deceive an opponent, or when he cannot see what is the
trend of events. He will use such diplomatic means only as inferior
tools; in reality he will only reckon with actual forces and with the
powers of a continuous development.

We must make it quite clear to ourselves that there can be no standing
still, no being satisfied for us, but only progress or retrogression,
and that it is tantamount to retrogression when we are contented with
our present place among the nations of Europe, while all our rivals are
straining with desperate energy, even at the cost of our rights, to
extend their power. The process of our decay would set in gradually and
advance slowly so long as the struggle against us was waged with
peaceful weapons; the living generation would, perhaps, be able to
continue to exist in peace and comfort. But should a war be forced upon
us by stronger enemies under conditions unfavourable to us, then, if our
arms met with disaster, our political downfall would not be delayed, and
we should rapidly sink down. The future of German nationality would be
sacrificed, an independent German civilization would not long exist, and
the blessings for which German blood has flowed in streams--spiritual
and moral liberty, and the profound and lofty aspirations of German
thought--would for long ages be lost to mankind.

If, as is right, we do not wish to assume the responsibility for such a
catastrophe, we must have the courage to strive with every means to
attain that increase of power which we are entitled to claim, even at
the risk of a war with numerically superior foes.

Under present conditions it is out of the question to attempt this by
acquiring territory in Europe. The region in the East, where German
colonists once settled, is lost to us, and could only be recovered from
Russia by a long and victorious war, and would then be a perpetual
incitement to renewed wars. So, again, the reannexation of the former
South Prussia, which was united to Prussia on the second partition of
Poland, would be a serious undertaking, on account of the Polish

Under these circumstances we must clearly try to strengthen our
political power in other ways.

In the first place, our political position would be considerably
consolidated if we could finally get rid of the standing danger that
France will attack us on a favourable occasion, so soon as we find
ourselves involved in complications elsewhere. In one way or another _we
must square our account with France_ if we wish for a free hand in our
international policy. This is the first and foremost condition of a
sound German policy, and since the hostility of France once for all
cannot be removed by peaceful overtures, the matter must be settled by
force of arms. France must be so completely crushed that she can never
again come across our path.

Further, we must contrive every means of strengthening the political
power of our allies. We have already followed such a policy in the case
of Austria when we declared our readiness to protect, if necessary with
armed intervention, the final annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by
our ally on the Danube. Our policy towards Italy must follow the same
lines, especially if in any Franco-German war an opportunity should be
presented of doing her a really valuable service. It is equally good
policy in every way to support Turkey, whose importance for Germany and
the Triple Alliance has already been discussed.

Our political duties, therefore, are complicated, and during the
Turco-Italian War all that we can do at first is to use our influence as
mediators, and to prevent a transference of hostilities to the Balkan
Peninsula. It cannot be decided at this moment whether further
intervention will be necessary. Finally, as regards our own position in
Europe, we can only effect an extension of our own political influence,
in my opinion, by awakening in our weaker neighbours, through the
integrity and firmness of our policy, the conviction that their
independence and their interests are bound up with Germany, and are best
secured under the protection of the German arms. This conviction might
eventually lead to an enlargement of the Triple Alliance into a Central
European Federation. Our military strength in Central Europe would by
this means be considerably increased, and the extraordinarily
unfavourable geographical configuration of our dominions would be
essentially improved in case of war. Such a federation would be the
expression of a natural community of interests, which is founded on the
geographical and natural conditions, and would insure the durability of
the political community based on it.

We must employ other means also for the widening of our colonial
territory, so that it may be able to receive the overflow of our
population. Very recent events have shown that, under certain
circumstances, it is possible to obtain districts in Equatorial Africa
by pacific negotiations. A financial or political crash in Portugal
might give us the opportunity to take possession of a portion of the
Portuguese colonies. We may assume that some understanding exists
between England and Germany which contemplates a division of the
Portuguese colonial possessions, but has never become _publici juris_.
It cannot, indeed, be certain that England, if the contingency arrives,
would be prepared honestly to carry out such a treaty, if it actually
exists. She might find ways and means to invalidate it. It has even been
often said, although disputed in other quarters, that Great Britain,
after coming to an agreement with Germany about the partition of the
Portuguese colonies, had, by a special convention, guaranteed Portugal
the possession of _all_ her colonies.

Other possible schemes may be imagined, by which some extension of our
African territory would be possible. These need not be discussed here
more particularly. If necessary, they must be obtained as the result of
a successful European war. In all these possible acquisitions of
territory the point must be strictly borne in mind that we require
countries which are climatically suited to German settlers. Now, there
are even in Central Africa large regions which are adapted to the
settlement of German farmers and stock-breeders, and part of our
overflow population might be diverted to those parts. But, generally
speaking, we can only obtain in tropical colonies markets for our
industrial products and wide stretches of cultivated ground for the
growth of the raw materials which our industries require. This
represents in itself a considerable advantage, but does not release us
from the obligation to acquire land for actual colonization.

A part of our surplus population, indeed--so far as present conditions
point--will always be driven to seek a livelihood outside the borders of
the German Empire. Measures must be taken to the extent at least of
providing that the German element is not split up in the world, but
remains united in compact blocks, and thus forms, even in foreign
countries, political centres of gravity in our favour, markets for our
exports, and centres for the diffusion of German culture.

An intensive colonial policy is for us especially an absolute necessity.
It has often been asserted that a "policy of the open door" can replace
the want of colonies of our own, and must constitute our programme for
the future, just because we do not possess sufficient colonies. This
notion is only justified in a certain sense. In the first place, such a
policy does not offer the possibility of finding homes for the overflow
population in a territory of our own; next, it does not guarantee the
certainty of an open and unrestricted trade competition. It secures to
all trading nations equal tariffs, but this does not imply by any means
competition under equal conditions. On the contrary, the political power
which is exercised in such a country is the determining factor in the
economic relations. The principle of the open door prevails
everywhere--in Egypt, Manchuria, in the Congo State, in Morocco--and
everywhere the politically dominant Power controls the commerce: in
Manchuria Japan, in Egypt England, in the Congo State Belgium, and in
Morocco France. The reason is plain. All State concessions fall
naturally to that State which is practically dominant; its products are
bought by all the consumers who are any way dependent on the power of
the State, quite apart from the fact that by reduced tariffs and similar
advantages for the favoured wares the concession of the open door can be
evaded in various ways. A "policy of the open door" must at best be
regarded as a makeshift, and as a complement of a vigorous colonial
policy. The essential point is for a country to have colonies or its own
and a predominant political influence in the spheres where its markets
lie. Our German world policy must be guided by these considerations.

The execution of such political schemes would certainly clash with many
old-fashioned notions and vested rights of the traditional European
policy. In the first place, the principle of the balance of power in
Europe, which has, since the Congress of Vienna, led an almost
sacrosanct but entirely unjustifiable existence, must be entirely

The idea of a balance of power was gradually developed from the feeling
that States do not exist to thwart each other, but to work together for
the advancement of culture. Christianity, which leads man beyond the
limits of the State to a world citizenship of the noblest kind, and lays
the foundation of all international law, has exercised a wide influence
in this respect. Practical interests, too, have strengthened the theory
of balance of power. When it was understood that the State was a power,
and that, by its nature, it must strive to extend that power, a certain
guarantee of peace was supposed to exist in the balance of forces. The
conviction was thus gradually established that every State had a close
community of interests with the other States, with which it entered into
political and economic relations, and was bound to establish some sort
of understanding with them. Thus the idea grew up in Europe of a
State-system, which was formed after the fall of Napoleon by the five
Great Powers--England, France, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, which
latter had gained a place in the first rank by force of arms; in 1866
Italy joined it as the sixth Great Power.

"Such a system cannot be supported with an approximate equilibrium among
the nations." "All theory must rest on the basis of practice, and a
real equilibrium--an actual equality of power--is postulated,"[D] This
condition does not exist between the European nations. England by
herself rules the sea, and the 65,000,000 of Germans cannot allow
themselves to sink to the same level of power as the 40,000,000 of
French. An attempt has been made to produce a real equilibrium by
special alliances. One result only has been obtained--the hindrance of
the free development of the nations in general, and of Germany in
particular. This is an unsound condition. A European balance of power
can no longer be termed a condition which corresponds to the existing
state of things; it can only have the disastrous consequences of
rendering the forces of the continental European States mutually
ineffective, and of thus favouring the plans of the political powers
which stand outside that charmed circle. It has always been England's
policy to stir up enmity between the respective continental States, and
to keep them at approximately the same standard of power, in order
herself undisturbed to conquer at once the sovereignty of the seas and
the sovereignty of the world.

[Footnote D: Treitschke.]

We must put aside all such notions of equilibrium. In its present
distorted form it is opposed to our weightiest interests. The idea of a
State system which has common interests in civilization must not, of
course, be abandoned; but it must be expanded on a new and more just
basis. It is now not a question of a European State system, but of one
embracing all the States in the world, in which the equilibrium is
established on real factors of power. We must endeavour to obtain in
this system our merited position at the head of a federation of Central
European States, and thus reduce the imaginary European equilibrium, in
one way or the other, to its true value, and correspondingly to increase
our own power.

A further question, suggested by the present political position, is
whether all the political treaties which were concluded at the beginning
of the last century under quite other conditions--in fact, under a
different conception of what constitutes a State--can, or ought to be,
permanently observed. When Belgium was proclaimed neutral, no one
contemplated that she would lay claim to a large and valuable region of
Africa. It may well be asked whether the acquisition of such territory
is not _ipso facto_ a breach of neutrality, for a State from
which--theoretically at least--all danger of war has been removed, has
no right to enter into political competition with the other States. This
argument is the more justifiable because it may safely be assumed that,
in event of a war of Germany against France and England, the two last
mentioned States would try to unite their forces in Belgium. Lastly, the
neutrality of the Congo State [E] must be termed more than problematic,
since Belgium claims the right to cede or sell it to a non-neutral
country. The conception of permanent neutrality is entirely contrary to
the essential nature of the State, which can only attain its highest
moral aims in competition with other States. Its complete development
presupposes such competition.

[Footnote E: The Congo State was proclaimed neutral, but without
guarantees, by Acts of February 26, 1885.]

Again, the principle that no State can ever interfere in the internal
affairs of another State is repugnant to the highest rights of the
State. This principle is, of course, very variously interpreted, and
powerful States have never refrained from a higher-handed interference
in the internal affairs of smaller ones. We daily witness instances of
such conduct. Indeed, England quite lately attempted to interfere in the
private affairs of Germany, not formally or by diplomatic methods, but
none the less in point of fact, on the subject of out naval
preparations. It is, however, accepted as a principle of international
intercourse that between the States of one and the same political system
a strict non-interference in home affairs should be observed. The
unqualified recognition of this principle and its application to
political intercourse under all conditions involves serious
difficulties. It is the doctrine of the Liberals, which was first
preached in France in 1830, and of which the English Ministry of Lord
Palmerston availed themselves for their own purpose. Equally false is
the doctrine of unrestricted intervention, as promulgated by the States
of the Holy Alliance at Troppau in 1820. No fixed principles for
international politics can be laid down.

After all, the relation of States to each other is that of individuals;
and as the individual can decline the interference of others in his
affairs, so naturally, the same right belongs to the State. Above the
individual, however, stands the authority of the State, which regulates
the relations of the citizens to each other. But no one stands above the
State, which regulates the relations of the citizens to each other. But
no one stands above the State; it is sovereign and must itself decide
whether the internal conditions or measures of another state menace its
own existence or interests. In no case, therefore, may a sovereign State
renounce the right of interfering in the affairs of other States, should
circumstances demand. Cases may occur at any time, when the party
disputes or the preparations of the neighboring country becomes a threat
to the existence of a State. "It can only be asserted that every State
acts at its own risk when it interferes in the internal affairs of
another State, and that experience shows how very dangerous such an
interference may become." On the other hand, it must be remembered that
the dangers which may arise from non-intervention are occasionally still
graver, and that the whole discussion turns, not on an international
right, but simply and solely on power and expediency.

I have gone closely into these questions of international policy
because, under conditions which are not remote, they may greatly
influence the realization of our necessary political aspirations, and
may give rise to hostile complications. Then it becomes essential that
we do not allow ourselves to be cramped in our freedom of action by
considerations, devoid of any inherent political necessity, which only
depend on political expediency, and are not binding on us. We must
remain conscious in all such eventualities that we cannot, under any
circumstances, avoid fighting for our position in the world, and that
the all-important point is, not to postpone that war as long as
possible, but to bring it on under the most favourable conditions
possible. "No man," so wrote Frederick the Great to Pitt on July 3,
1761, "if he has a grain of sense, will leave his enemies leisure to
make all preparations in order to destroy him; he will rather take
advantage of his start to put himself in a favourable position."

If we wish to act in this spirit of prompt and effective policy which
guided the great heroes of our past, we must learn to concentrate our
forces, and not to dissipate them in centrifugal efforts.

The political and national development of the German people has always,
so far back as German history extends, been hampered and hindered by the
hereditary defects of its character--that is, by the particularism of
the individual races and States, the theoretic dogmatism of the parties,
the incapacity to sacrifice personal interests for great national


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