Cloudesley Shovell Henry Brereton.

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From the Library of






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Copyright, 1914



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This little book attempts to trace out how
Prussian tradition, starting with Frederick
the Great, has succeeded in corrupting the
Germany of to-day. At the same time, due
credit is given to the collateral policy of in-
creasing the nation's efficiency, even if the
final product has been a type of organization
that approximates to the orderly servitude
of the beehive.

The author has attempted an analysis of
the character of the Kaiser. William's love
of the spectacular is emphasized, and he is
described as the Nero in vanity, if not in
cruelty, of the twentieth century.

The workings of the Mailed Fist are next
discussed, and the final results of his twenty-
five years of forcible-feeble diplomacy are
summed up as having left Germany without
a friend in the world and as having reconciled
with one another many nations who hitherto

had not been on friendly terms. A sketch is




also given of that "hotch-potch" of nations,
Austria-Hungary, and its racial problems.

The succeeding chapter deals with the
colossal strength and efficiency of Germany
and its corresponding weaknesses. It shows
how the vast mass of the nation lies tied
and bound in the toils of the most scientific
bureaucracy in the world. Free speech and
free criticism are well-nigh impossible, espe-
cially with a Kaiser who acts as an imperial
gramophone on every conceivable topic, with
a reptile Press more or less in the pay of the
State, and with the intellectual elite of the
country little better than an academic gar-
rison at the beck and call of the Govern-
ment. Even the schools are schools of
Chauvinism. The masses are infected with
the same virus. Spiritual Germany lies
buried under the weight of Prussian material-
ism. Germany is a science-ridden State.
As a logical result, we have the monstrous
doctrine that German civilization is not only
the best, but that it is Germany's duty to
impose it everywhere. The Germans are
the chosen people of the twentieth century.
Hence one law for the Germans and another
for the other nations — or, in other words, a
total disregard for international law, as

Preface v

instanced by the destruction of Louvain
and the other atrocities in Belgium.

Another chapter deals with our allies, the
Russians and the French, and emphasizes
our duty in the present struggle to strive for
a righteous and lasting peace, taking for our
battle-cries " A fight to a finish' 1 and " Never
again. 91 An indication is also given of what
life in England would be like under German

The last chapter forecasts what form the
final settlement should take. It should be
based on the principle of nationality. No
more Alsace- Lorraines should be permitted
in Europe; Germany and Austria should be
reduced to their natural limits. Peace may
possibly be made separately with the other
States and Prussia thus isolated, but all must
pay their share of the cost of the war. Op-
pressed nationalities should be freed or
revived, armaments must be drastically re-
duced. We have had enough of the terrors
of armed peace. Hitherto the relations of
nations to one another have been far too
much those of brute beasts. We must
develop an international conscience between
the peoples of Europe.

Peace societies have, unfortunately, neg-

vi Preface

lected too much Internationalism, or the
brotherhood of nations, and concentrated
unduly on Cosmopolitanism, or the brother-
hood of man. Yet Internationalism is, or
ought to be, the logical outcome of the Lib-
eral principle of nationality. All this in-
volves the creation of a far stronger Hague
Tribunal, a veritable Holy Alliance, but this
time on democratic not autocratic lines.
One hopes that in time such a tribunal will
become the Delphic oracle of Europe. Such
a tribunal is our only means of escape from
the vicious circle of the balance of power,
whereby the top dog of Europe has to be
pulled down periodically by the rest of the

It is to the women that we look in the future
as one of the great forces making for peace.
Germany is a standing warning of the dangers
of a too exclusively man-made civilization.
At the outset, we are righting to protect the
French coasts and to uphold the neutrality
of Belgium. But the real issues at stake
are national existence, liberty, democracy,
international law, and the creation of an
International Court of Appeal for the united
or allied States of Europe.

In its deepest aspect the struggle is really



one between the science and art of things and
the science and art of life, between science
in a narrow sense and religion in a broad one.
German civilization is the last word of the
mechanistic ideal. We are righting to de-
termine whether one civilization shall prevail
over the rest or whether the next step forward
shall not be a federation of civilizations,
possibly a reunion of Western and Eastern
thought; and in this respect the participa-
tion of Indian troops is of the greatest

This is probably one of the great turning-
points in the world's history — and the issue
may be a great spiritual Renaissance or the
return of the Huns.




I. The Beginning of Real-


II. The Personality of Wil-

helm . . . .11

III. The Policy of Wilhelm . 19



I. Strength .... 36
II. Weaknesses ... 50







We are engaged in a Titanic struggle, greater
even than the war our ancestors waged
against Napoleon, great as that war undoubt-
edly was. We are probably in for a time that
will try our national fortitude and national
temper to the uttermost. We are faced with
the possible expenditure of tens of thousands
of lives and hundreds of millions of money.
There may be in store for us, as Mr. Churchill
has hinted, many reverses in the field, great
destitution at home, possibly even famine.

And yet in our darkest hour one is certain


2 Who Is Responsible ?

that our resolution to fight on will only
deepen in its intensity. In the great world-
drama in which we are called to-day to play
our part the role for which we have been cast
is none of our seeking. Even those of us
who felt that the summer lightning in the
Balkans was but the prelude of a European
tempest have on the broad grounds of human-
ity and civilization hoped against hope that
the chapter of accidents might somehow in-
tervene and prevent the inevitable denoue-

If ever a quarrel were thrust upon a nation,
such is the quarrel in which we are engaged
to-day. If ever a war were not only just
but inevitable, such is the present war. The
Areopagus of neutral nations who are the
trustees of the world's conscience are already
pronouncing with no uncertain voice in our
favour. They see with increasing clearness
that the real cause is not whether or no
certain Serbians assassinated one who was
the embodied enemy of their race. They
realize that the war has not suddenly dropped
from the clouds because of an inconvenient
desire of the Belgians to remain a free State.
This war is the logical and inscrutable out-
come and conclusion of a policy which to-day

The Mailed Fist 3

bears the title of Realpolitik, and which
first Prussia and then Germany has been
carrying on with intervals for over two hund-
red years. It is based on the principles
that as far as foreign nations are concerned
might is right, the end justifies the means
and all is fair in war and diplomacy. Its
success up to a certain point has ended by
convincing those who practise it that they
are, indeed, nothing less than a chosen people
and their sovereign is the Lord's Anointed.

But the policy of "force and fraud" abroad
— which has also been practised by other
nations, though scarcely so strenuously as
by Prussia and Prussianized Germany —
would not have achieved the success it has
if it had not been backed up at home with an
equally consistent policy of strengthening
the nation, first Prussia and then Germany,
by wise domestic administration and social
reform. If we go back no further in Prussian
history than the reign of Frederick the
Great (1 740-1 786), we find this dual policy
of land-grabbing abroad and land improve-
ment at home in full operation. -.

Thus, to the existing dominions of Bran-
denburg and Pomerania, which formed the
original possessions of the Hohenzollern

4 Who Is Responsible?

dynasty, together with East Prussia and
other inconsiderable trifles, he added Silesia
and East Friesland in 1744-45, wresting the
former from Austria and taking over the
latter on the death of the last reigning prince.
It is interesting to note that Emden, the
German naval port nearest to our shores,
is situated in Frisian territory. Again, in
1772, he participated with Austria and Russia
in the first partition of the independent king-
dom of Poland, his share being what is now
known as West Prussia. Since this was in-
habited by a population mainly Teutonic,
there was more justification for his act than
for that of his fellow-robbers. Still there is
no doubt whatever about the policy Frederick
persistently followed. He himself, with his
usual brutal frankness, said: "I begin by
taking. I can always find pedants to justify
my rights afterwards." As regards the
internal administration of his country, he
reformed the coinage and the legal code,
patronized letters, effected vast land reclama-
tions, and encouraged colonists from every
quarter. This strong admixture of foreign
blood may account to some extent for the
fact that the Prussians are in some ways the
least typical of the Germans. As his own

The Mailed Fist

Chancellor, he had a finger in every pie —
an example which his present successor ap-
parently does his best to copy. Prussia
under Frederick both externally and inter-
nally may be regarded as the triumph of a
machine-made State.

The same dual policy was continued at
home and abroad by the majority of his
successors. Prussia shared with her former
partners in the receipt of stolen goods in the
second and third partition of Poland in 1793
and 1795. Certain changes and rearrange-
ments took place in 1807, but the net result
was to incorporate in Prussia the province of
Posen, so that to-day the population of Ger-
many comprises no less than 10 per cent, of
Poles — whom, by the way, she has so far
failed to assimilate.

Then, in 181 5, Prussia acquired the country
known as Prussian Saxony, the Rhine pro-
vinces, and Westphalia. In 1834, sne started
the famous Zollverein, the effects of which
in securing the unification of Germany can-
not be exaggerated. Germany was at the
time a sort of jig-saw puzzle of States, and
even Prussia consisted of various detached
portions; the result was that the whole coun-
try was covered with a network of toll-bars.

6 Who Is Responsible?

By establishing first comparative and finally
complete free trade within the Verein, which
was gradually joined by the various States,
Prussia succeeded in drawing the great ma-
jority of them into her orbit and sphere of
influence, though some, like Hamburg and
Bremen, only came in after 1880. Not only
was the unification of Germany in 1870
immensely facilitated by the Zoll verein, but
a tradition of active co-operation between
the business world and the Government has
been built up which has been of immense
value to German commerce (vide State sub-
sidies to shipping and the help afforded by
German consuls abroad, who have acted in
many cases as veritable official commercial
travellers) .

At the beginning of the sixties it would
seem that another policy than Realpolitik
might have prevailed. The Liberals were
in power in Prussia ; but the King of the day,
William, afterwards the German Emperor,
was a firm believer in the mission of Prussia
to secure the unification of Germany, as well
as in the divine right of kings, and, aided by
such men of genius as Von Roon (Minister
of War), Bismarck, and Moltke, the policy
of Frederick the Great won the day. Prus-

The Mailed Fist 7

sia again enlarged her boundaries. In 1866,
she definitely annexed the duchies of Schles-
wig-Holstein, which, in spite of their long
union with Denmark, extending over two
hundred years, had been wrested from that
country by Prussia and Austria some years
before. It should be noted that Holstein,
through which runs the celebrated Kiel
Canal, is in the main German. North
Schleswig, however, is Danish and still re-
turns a Danish member to the Reichstag.
Meanwhile Austria had been given notice
to clear out of Germany after the battle of
Sadowa in the same year. Her statesmen
were told to take as their motto Der Drang
nach Osten (The Push Eastward). Buda-
pest was to be her centre of gravity, as Bis-
marck had formerly said, and she was to
seek compensation for being excluded from
Germany by conquering what Slav countries
she could. Prussia annexed a certain num-
ber of North German States that had taken
the Austrian side, notably the kingdom of
Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Nassau, and
the free city of Frankfort. The greater part
of the fortune of the King of Hanover was
confiscated, and the yearly income (Welfen-
fonds) was until 1890 used for the purpose

8 Who Is Responsible?

of " controlling" the Press in the Government

In 1870, a quarrel was picked with France.
It is possible, of course, that France might
ultimately have picked a quarrel with Ger-
many, but the fact remains that the imme-
diate cause of the war was a perfectly innocent
telegram from the King of Prussia, describing
an interview with the French Ambassador,
edited in such a way as to make it appear
that Germany had been insulted. The re-
sults of the war are well known. Germany
annexed Alsace and a good part of Lorraine
— the latter for strategic reasons on the advice
of Moltke, although the inhabitants were
French. German was still the native tongue
of Alsace, though French was widely spoken
and understood.

The Franco-German War chiefly led to the
definite consolidation of Germany under the
King of Prussia, who took the title of Kaiser
Wilhelm L, and the dream of Bismarck to
weld together the country by blood and iron
was accomplished. Within Germany itself
there followed a great increase in wealth, com-
merce, and industry. There was a splendid
development of the coal and iron basin in
Westphalia, partially fostered by the pro-

The Mailed Fist 9

ceeds of the French indemnity. The Gov-
ernment also promoted numerous useful social
reforms — legal, commercial, financial, etc. —
including the well-known State insurance
against sickness and unemployment.

After 1870, Germany became a world-
Power, and the same policy of Realpolitik
which had formerly played such a part on
the domestic stage was now applied to the
solution of world problems. Its total lack of
morality was shown in 1876, when Bismarck
proposed to attack France, her only fault
being that she had rapidly recovered from a
state of prostration he had fondly imagined
would last for years. France was saved by
the intervention of Queen Victoria, with the
aid of the Emperor of Russia, who gave the
Germans to understand that if France was
attacked he would be obliged to come to her
defence ; and finally the Emperor William told
Moltke that he felt too old to have another
war on his conscience.

To take the attention of the French off
Europe, and especially off Alsace-Lorraine,
Bismarck strongly encouraged their states-
men to embark on a vigorous colonial policy.
He no doubt also hoped it might embroil
them with other European Powers, and this

io Who Is Responsible?

actually happened in 1881, when France
proclaimed a protectorate over Tunis — a
country which, as it is only a hundred and
twenty miles from Italian territory, the Ital-
ians had always coveted as their own. The
result was to throw Italy into the arms of
Germany and Austria, which led to the crea-
tion of the Triple Alliance. Bismarck was
at first opposed to a German colonial policy
through fear of weakening Germany in
Europe; so that when Germany finally em-
barked on such a policy, she came very late
into the field and found herself everywhere
anticipated or hampered. Thus, after years
of carefully sending colonists to the Brazilian
province of Rio Grande do Sul, where the
colonists formed veritable German com-
munities, the Brazilians naturally took fright
and informed the United States. The latter
were no less alarmed at the idea of Germany
acquiring possessions on the American con-
tinent, which seemed to infringe the Monroe
Doctrine, and this was one of the most potent
reasons for the great increase in the American
navy which took place from 1890 to 1895.

The Mailed Fist n



The accession of the present Emperor
marks a new step in the history of Realpolitik
applied to foreign affairs. With Bismarck
its principal stage was Europe; with the
present Emperor its activities have become
world-wide. This is possibly due in part to
the fact that one of the earliest acts of his
reign was to drop the old State-pilot Bismarck,
who no doubt would have exercised a moder-
ating effect on his many-sided activities.
But before discussing the policy of the present
reign it seems desirable to say a few words
about the Emperor, who is in every sense of
the word the "stage" villain of the piece.

The writer was in Germany very shortly
after his accession. There was a curious
nervousness about the people as to what the
new sovereign was likely to do. They
looked on him as a sort of unknown quantity,
who was capable of springing any number
of uncomfortable surprises on ^the German
people. His restlessness was already pro-
verbial. While they had nicknamed his
grandfather Der Greise Kaiser (The Grey-

12 Who Is Responsible?

beard Kaiser) and his father Der Weise
Kaiser (The Wise Kaiser), he was known
as Der Reise Kaiser (The Roving Kaiser).
His occasional fits of irritability were also
feared; these are due, as we know now, to
the most intense ear trouble. He has cer-
tainly not belied his early reputation of
being everything by turns.

He is in Germany to-day the supreme
authority on politics and on naval and mili-
tary matters, be it Dreadnoughts or regi-
mental buttons. He, again, is the supreme
arbiter elegantiarum in art, literature, and
religion. Many of the Madame Tussaud-
like groups of statuary with which he has
filled the Sieges- Allee at Berlin are the laugh-
ing-stock of the outside artistic world. The
humourists describe the spot as the Sea of
Marmora (Marble). The story of the Bode
Statue is also well known. Dr. Bode, the
Keeper of the Berlin Museum, purchased
here in England a wax bust, really the work
of an English artist named Lucas, which the
German expert declared to be a genuine
Leonardo da Vinci. In spite of a pair of
nineteenth-century trousers being subse-
quently extracted from the statue, where
they had served for stuffing, the Kaiser and

The Mailed Fist 13

the official art critics of Germany have
definitely declared that the work belongs to
the Italian Renaissance. Again, it is within
the memory of all that in the short space of
an evening's conversation with one of the
greatest Assyrian scholars he successfully,
to the satisfaction of that great authority,
reconciled the hitherto irreconcilable versions
of Hammurabi and Moses.

In fact, owing to his prodigious versatility,
there is nothing on which he does not lay
down the law. Thanks to his multiple per-
sonality, he is ready at a moment's notice
to act as his own special preacher or his own
bandmaster. He is, indeed, the greatest
virtuoso and dilettante of the twentieth
century. Some years ago the writer defined
him as a Nero in vanity but not in cruelty;
perhaps the latter caveat may now be modi-
fied. It is curious to note that the great
French statesman Clemenceau has recently
applied to him the same title. One story
comes to the mind of the writer which was
current during the early nineties in Berlin.
On a cold winter's day shortly after his
accession, the Emperor ordered the banks of
the Havel to be lined with miles upon miles
of soldiers while he made a sort of triumphal

14 Who Is Responsible?

progress along the river to his palace at
Potsdam. The result was that a not incon-
siderable number of the soldiers who had to
wait for hours on the banks died of exposure.
We all know, again, his intolerance of inde-
pendent criticism. It is fresh in the memo-
ries of many how he cashiered one of the
most brilliant soldiers in Germany for a too
frank criticism of the since somewhat dis-
credited shock-tactics at the annual man-

Again, he has a mania for doing things off
his own bat. At the opening of the Kiel
Canal he called a council of war, at which,
without consulting any one, he proposed
that the whole German fleet should sail
through the canal, attended by the vessels
of the other nations which had been sent to
take part in the celebrations. Every one
applauded and said it was a magnificent
idea. Directly after the meeting, however,
the Senior Admiral of the German navy
came to the Emperor and explained to him
that if he did not wish to strand the whole
of the German fleet in the middle of Holstein,
as well as the ships of the visiting Powers, he
must give up the project, as at most only
two or three ships could follow one another

The Mailed Fist 15

through at a time, the banks being unable
to withstand a greater strain. This diffi-
culty has since been remedied by the en-
largement of the canal, which now, as we
know, allows of the passage of the whole of
the fleet.

As regards William's extraordinary impul-
siveness, only those who are in his immediate
entourage have any idea of the times, cer-
tainly frequently, he has projected some reck-
less coup or other which, happily for the
peace of mind of the world, has never seen
the light. The writer remembers very well
one instance which came under his own per-
sonal observation. He was in 1896-97 in
France, and on one occasion a friend in close
touch with the French Foreign Office said
to him: "Take care! William is going to
play you a pretty trick." On inquiring
what it might be, the Frenchman replied:
"You must find it out for yourself." The
writer shortly afterwards came to England
and asked a friend what William had been
up to. "Oh," said his friend, "I can tell
you. I was in the House of Commons the
other night and I met the correspondent of
the Standard, who is just back from Berlin
with the information that the German Em-

16 Who Is Responsible?

peror is proposing to send twenty thousand
men to the Transvaal to help Kruger, and
the Government does not exactly know what
to do. To make it public would cause a
tremendous hubbub in the country." The
Government, however, made up its mind
later, and subsequently a notice appeared in
the English Press that the British squadron
at the Cape had sailed under sealed orders.
It turned up ultimately at Delagoa Bay,
and nothing more apparently was heard of
William's project, as might be expected,
since, if we remember aright, the only Ger-
man ship on the coast was an antiquated
vessel called the See-Adler. When the writer
returned to France he mentioned the story
to his friend, who acknowledged that the
writer's version was true.

One could also instance the celebrated
telegram to Kruger, which, curiously enough,
was followed up a few years later by the
Emperor conferring on Lord Roberts the
Black Eagle. This act brought amazement
to the German people, who could not under-

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