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his king and nation had received from their powerful
neighbor. Perhaps his reflections turned to prominent
instances in Prussian history where a similarly contemptu-
ous disregard of justice seemed to have been exhibited, the
invasion of Silesia by Frederick the Great "without any
demand for reparation, in the very act of pouring forth
compliments and assurances of good-will," "the entirely un-
expected invasion of Saxony by the same monarch which
inaugurated the Seven Years' War and inflicted upon the
unhappy electorate the misery which Belgium has suffered.
It is true that in this second event genuine evidence of the
complicity of Saxony in a coalition of powers against Fred-
erick was discovered among the state papers at Dresden.

Later in the evening, when Baron Beyens issued from
the hotel, the newsvendors were already hawking an extra

Moral Forces in the Teutonic Empires 63

edition of the Tagehlatt announcing: Great Britain's declara-
tion of war against Germany, The prediction of Baron
Beyens had been realized with startling rapidity. A crowd
of well-dressed people, — not riffraff, — roused to a fury of
indignation by the news just published had gathered in
front of the British Embassy in Wilhelmstrasse, and were
singing the national hymn, " Deutschhnui, Deutschland, iiba-
alles," in tones of defiance. The attitude of these people
could not have been more concisely expressed than by the
Chancellor's words when he said of Great Britain's action,
that it "was like striking a man from behind while he was
fighting for his life against two assailants." Deceived until
the last moment as to the probable conduct of Great
Britain, the populace naturally ascribed their delusion to the
studied duplicity of their new opponent rather than to the
lack of perspicuity on the part of their own government.

Their fury increased in intensity. The two policemen
stationed before the door of the embassy were either over-
powered or remained indifferent to the whole proceeding,
and presently a volley of brickbats crashed through the
windows of the drawing-room. Sir Edward Goschen im-
mediately communicated with the Foreign Office and Herr
von Jagow not only informed the Chief of Police, so that
an adequate force of mounted police was dispatched for
preventing any repetition of this unpleasant occurrence, but
very courteously went himself to the embassy to express
his regrets for the rude behavior of his countrymen. The
British ambassador had nothing but words of praise for the
thoughtful conduct of Herr von Jagow throughout these
trying days. On the morning of the 6th the ambassador
and his household were smuggled away in taxicabs by side
streets to the Lehrter Station, whence they departed in
a special train, without any molestation, for the Dutch


The Moral Factors in Belgium, France, and Italy

Condition of Belgium before the war. King Albert I. Relations with
Germany. German plan of traversing Belgium not an improvisation.
Belgian precautions. The Belgian government and the crisis ; Luxem-
burg ; German ultimatum ; Belgian deliberations and reply. German
declaration of war. Vagaries of German apologists. Count Andrassy's
opinion. France : the Alsace-Lorraine Question. Recent French politics.
M. Jaures. Socialism in France and Germany. Military law for three
years' service. Doumergue Cabinet. Caillaux Case. The elections of
1914, and ministerial crisis. Vivian! Cabinet Senator Humbert's dis-
closure. Assassination of M. Jaures. The French people and the war-
crisis. The declaration of war. The historic session of the Chamber.
The coalition ministry. The moral forces in Italy.

In turning now to Belgium, if we ask ourselves, in Glad-
stone's words, "What is that country?" and search the
answer, we shall discover that her distinction among the
nations had even increased since the Great Commoner de-
picted it with such generous enthusiasm before the House
of Commons in 1870.

The official enumeration of 1910 found 7,423,784 souls
in Belgium, as many, in other words, as dwelt in all the
vast expanse of Canada, living and prospering in 11,372
square miles of territory; and what is more astonishing,
increasing by immigration as well as by the natural excess
of births over deaths. Belgium is the most densely peopled
country in Europe. With the same degree of density the
British Isles would have had a population of 79,414,187,
instead of 45,370,530, in 1911, and France, 135,185,556,
instead of 39,601,509. Let the French cease to deplore
their stationary population and imitate their neighbors!



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During the past three hundred years the provinces which constitute Belgium have been ruled
over, in turn, by Spain, Austria, and France; after the downfall of Napoleon they were united with
Holland to torin the kingdom of the Netherlands. In 1830 the people revolted and an independent
kingdom was formed.

Moral Factors in Belgium, France, Italy 65

The rate of increase durins; ten years in Belgium had been
slightly higher than in Maryland, and a little lower than in
Virginia. Although Belgium has the population of Penn-
sylvania crowded into an area only twice the size of Con-
necticut and Rhode Island, her national wealth before the
war was equivalent to the aggregate valuation of all real and
personal property in Illinois, and every fourth person had
an account in the savings banks.

Doubt has been expressed as to the existence of a Belgian
nation. For the country never formed an independent
political unit until 1830; its very name was resurrected
from antiquity. It contains to-day peoples of very distinct
stock, the Flemish in the west, of Teutonic origin, and the
Walloons in the east, of Latin-Celtic descent, the former
somewhat more numerous than the latter. But no more
effective agency than Belgium's present experience could
be imagined for fusing and amalgamating the two peoples.
The Belgians will come forth from the fiery furnace a
spiritually welded and unified nation.

Nature and man had worked together to make Belgium
at the same time a hive of industry, the home of art, and a
very agreeable abiding-place. The combination within so
small an area of a remarkable diversity of landscape and
physical features makes Belgium a sort of miniature of
Europe. It offers nearly all the varieties of rural exploita-
tion, from vineyards and orchards to grazing and the pro-
duction of the hardier grains. Agriculture and the breeding
of domestic animals have been developed by patient, intelli-
gent labor to a very high state of excellence. The accurate
attention devoted by the public bureaus to the collection
of agricultural statistics, especially those relating to the
economic aspects of the distribution of land and to intensive
cultivation, makes Belgium serve the purpose of an experi-
mental laboratory for her neighbors in western Europe.

66 The Great War

Abundant deposits of coal, accessibility to the sea, and
convenient inland waterways favored the development of
Belgian industry. The collieries produced 23,053,540 tons
of coal in 1911, about as much as those of Ohio. The
production of pig-iron amounted to 2,466.700 metric tons
in 1913, having doubled in eleven years, while that of steel
ingots rose to 2,515,040 tons in 1912. Belgium had the
largest per capita production of iron and steel of any
country. The aggregate horse-power of Belgian indus-
trial plants doubled in the interval 1900-1911. Liege and
Charleroi, in the midst of the coal deposits, are the centres
of the metallurgical industry. There are ordnance foun-
dries at Liege and Mechlin, and celebrated manufactures
of small-arms at Liege.

The foreign commerce of Belgium was comparable with
the entire external trade of South America. Antwerp vied
with the world's leading ports in its tonnage of exports and
imports. A network of canals connects the Scheldt and
the Meuse with all the important industrial centres of the
country, as well as with the Rhine and the navigable rivers
of northern France. Belgium possesses the greatest rail-
way mileage of any country in proportion to her area.

Every prospect was gladdened by the bounty of nature
carefully nurtured, the evidences of useful industry, or
suggestions of the amenities of life in a land of centur3'-old
civilization and refinement. Belgium was stored with the
monuments and masterpieces of art and the ingenious
products of human handicraft and skill. In no country
would the operations of a hostile army create greater dis-
turbance to the intricate web of human occupations or
more cruel, relentless havoc.

By a heartless irony of destiny Belgium was the first
victim in a conflict regarding Serbia — Belgium, whose
unique concern had been to avoid entanglements and to

Moral Factors in Belgium, France, Italy 67

live at peace with all her neighbors. The tempest of war
broke with terrifying suddenness and irresistible fury over
the devoted country. Before the majority of the Belgians
had fairly realized that there was an international crisis a
veritable human inundation was submerging their fair
provinces. Their gardens were trampled down by a ruth-
less soldiery; their highways were filled with homeless
fugitives fleeing destruction; towns and villages were re-
duced to blackened, shapeless masses of ruins. The Bel-
gians were made to expiate alleged violations of the rules
of war by fire and sword. Their perversity in defending
their homes incited savage acts of retaliation, the slaughter
of civilians without discrimination by those whose very
presence on Belgian soil was a transgression of international
law, by those whom the rules adopted at The Hague in
1907, and subscribed to by Germany, if strictly interpreted,
would deprive of the quality and rights of belligerents.

A situation is hardly apt to occur to which the assize of
the nations would be more inclined to apply the following
rules of The Hague Neutrality Conference of 1907:

Article I. Neutral territory is inviolable.

Article II. BeUigerents are forbidden to send troops or
convoys either of munitions of war or of provisions through
the territory of a neutral state.

Article X. The act of a neutral state of resisting any vio-
lation of its neutrality, even by force of arms, cannot be regarded
as an act of hostility.

An assertion that Germany by an unprovoked declaration
of war, without any reasonable grievance or demand for
reparation, could appropriate the legitimate dignitj' of a
belligerent in her action in Belgium might appear to be
mere useless quibbling.

A systematic policy of intimidation and terrorism ap-
pears to have been deliberately employed by the arrogant

68 The Great War

invaders of Belgium, who were indignant that a people
whom they had been accustomed to regard with contempt
should presume to embarrass for a moment the mighty
progress of their plan of campaign. In a short space of
time a land smiling with peace and prosperity was con-
verted into one of sorrow and desolation.

An effort was made in the first volume of this history to
demonstrate that the international guarantee for the invio-
lability of Belgium was binding upon the German Empire as
well as the North German Federation, chiefly because doubt
as to its continuous validity has been raised by some promi-
nent authorities on political science in this country. The
German Empire itself had acknowledged quite unmistak-
ably that it considered itself bound by these treaty obligations
respecting Belgium. This statement will be substantiated
in the course of the following considerations relative to the
political background of Belgium's situation in the war.

There have been three kings of the Belgians. Leo-
pold I, fourth son of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld,
was succeeded, upon his death in 1865, by his more famous
son, Leopold II, who died in his turn on December 17,
1909, leaving the crown to his nephew, Albert Leopold
Clement Marie Meinrod, who rules as Albert I.

King Albert was born in Brussels, April 8, 1875, and
was married to the Duchess Elizabeth of Bavaria, October
2, 1900. He has won the unlimited affection of his sub-
jects and the glowing admiration of the world by his
integrity and chivalrous qualities, his unsparing industry,
unflinching devotion to duty, and invincible courage in
the midst of the most disheartening and appalling disasters.
The figure of Albert I will stand aloft on its pedestal in
the Pantheon of human reverence when the niches of
most of the world's warriors will have been usurped by
more genuine benefactors of the race.

Moral Factors in Belgium, France, Italy 69

The present King of the Belj>;ians gave proof of his
zeal, as heir-apparent, by performing a tedious journey of
inspection in the Congo, where the administration had
fallen into disrepute. He left London, April 3, 1909, for
Capetown, whence he proceeded to Katanga. From there
he traversed the country on foot, through forests and jun-
gles, a wearisome route of 1,500 miles to Boma on the
lower Congo, and returned to Antwerp, August 16th.

The relations between the royal Belgian and imperial
German families were apparently very amicable. The
royal Belgian pair were entertained quite intimately at
Potsdam in May, 1911, although, in consequence of the
Kaiser's indisposition, the Crown Prince delivered the ad-
dress of welcome at the state dinner, in which allusion was
made to the felicity conveyed to the Belgian court by a
German princess. The Kaiser, Kaiserin, and Princess
Victoria Louisa returned this visit at the end of October
of the same year, while the international exposition was in
progress in Brussels. Never did the Kaiser abandon him-
self more completely to his naturally impulsive inclination
to amiability. Among other recipients of his special cordi-
ality was M. Max, Mayor of Brussels, whose name we shall
encounter later. The Kaiser expressed himself with the
utmost enthusiasm with regard to the beauty of the city
and the marvellous progress of the country which he had
not visited for thirty-two years; and it may be freely ad-
mitted that a return to Brussels after a much shorter
absence and with a far humbler reception is likely to pro-
duce a very lively feeling of satisfaction.

The Kaiser was charmed with all he saw — too captivated,
the Belgians have since then been led to suggest.

The Kaiser made still another occurrence an oppor-
tunity for a manifestation of cordiality towards Belgium.
According to an ancient custom, the first entry into Liege

70 The Great War

of a new sovereign after his coronation is attended with a
public celebration. The Kaiser availed himself of this
"Joyeuse Entree" of the King and Queen of Belgium and
the royal children into Liege, which took place in August,
1913, to send General von Emmich as a special envoy to
bear to the royal family the solemn assvirance of the friend-
ship of the German ruler. At the festal banquet General
von Emmich expressed in the warmest terms his admiration
for the virtues of the Belgian people and the merits of their
sovereign. But only a year later this messenger of peace
and good-will forced his way into Liege at the head of an
invading army bringing death and destruction.

The German minister at Brussels declared in 1905 that
Belgian neutrality was a political dogma for his government.

The German Chancellor, Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg,
took refuge as early as 1911 behind the same pretext for
avoiding a formal, public promise which Herr von Jagow
emplo3^ed on July 31, 1914, namely, that a public statement
of Germany's intentions regarding the observance of Bel-
gian neutrality would be equivalent to a partial disclosvire
of the German plan of campaign against France, as elabo-
rated for an eventual conflict, by reducing the range of
uncertainty regarding the direction of Germany's opera-
tions. Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg assured the Belgian
government privately that Germany had no intention of
violating Belgian neutrality, but that a public statement in
this sense would permit France to concentrate all her
forces on her eastern frontier. One might suppose that a
nation proud of its honor would shrink from exploiting
the suspicion of a felonious intention for realizing a mili-
tary advantage in time of peace.

Early in 1912, Herr von Kiderlen-Wachter, then Ger-
man Foreign Secretary, while engaged in conversation
with Baron Beyens, but lately arrived in Berlin as Belgian

Moral Factors in Belgium, France, Italy 71

minister, alluded in a tone of ingenuous surprise to the
signs of apprehension in Belgium at the time of the inter-
national crisis in 1911. "There is no ground for the fear
that Germany would violate your territory or that of your
neighbors in the Netherlands," he declared.

At the time when the proposed enlargement of the Ger-
man military establishment and the corresponding financial
measures were vmdergoing discussion in the committee
stage, on April 29, 1913, two Social Democrat members of
the Reichstag raised the question of Germany's eventual
attitude towards Belgian neutrality by alluding to the ap-
prehension felt in Belgium that Germany would not respect
her treaty obligations, Herr von Jagow replied to their
inquiry concerning the German government's intentions:
"Belgian neutrality is determined by international agree-
ments and Germany is determined to respect these
agreements." At the renewed insistence of the Socialist
members, Herr von Heeringen, the Minister of War, de-
clared: "Belgium plays no part in the causes which justify
the proposed reorganization of the German miliary system.
That proposal is based on the situation in the East. Ger-
many will not lose sight of the fact that the neutrality of Bel-
gium is guaranteed by international treaty." (See Appendix.)

An important commentary upon the German assertion,
based upon one of the documents discovered in the War
Office in Brussels, that Great Britain intended to disembark
troops in Belgium and forestall Germany in violating Bel-
gian neutrality, is a letter addressed by Sir Edward Grey to
the British minister in Brussels, dated April 7, 1913. A
rumor in a sense similar to the present German conviction
regarding Great Britain's intentions had arisen in Belgium
and the British Foreign Minister repeated in this com-
munication his assurances to the Belgian minister in con-
sequence of it, as follows :

72 The Great War

"I said that I was sure that this government would not
be the first to violate the neutrality of Belgium, and I did
not believe that any British government would be the first
to do so, nor would public opinion here ever approve of it.
What we had to consider, and it was a somewhat embar-
rassing question, was what it would be desirable and neces-
sary for us, as one of the guarantors of Belgian neutrality,
to do, if Belgian neutrality was violated by any power.
For us to be the first to violate it and to send troops into
Belgium would be to give Germany, for instance, justifica-
tion for sending troops into Belgium also. What we
desired in the case of Belgium, as in that of other neutral
countries, was that their neutrality should be respected, and,
as long as it was not violated by any other power, we would
certainly not send troops ourselves into their territory."

A convincing array of evidence forces us to the conclu-
sion that the German plan of campaign on the west, with
the movement across Belgium as the characteristic feature
in consequence of the invulnerable line of barrier fortresses
in eastern France, had been prepared in every detail long
before the war. And if this is true, we can scarcely escape
the conviction that the frequent reiteration of Germany's
correct and cordial attitude towards Belgium was really
part of a deliberate plan of deception. It may extenuate
the complicity of German officials and diplomatic repre-
sentatives to suppose that they had not been fully initiated
into the designs of the German General Staff, or that they
believed that the scheme of crossing Belgium was merely
an optional plan, held in reserve for the event of an actual
violation of the Belgian frontier on the part of France.

Leopold II had not been blind to the danger which
threatened Belgian independence from the east, and never
allowed an occasion to escape for urging the necessity of
strengthening Belgium's military capacity for resistance.

Moral Factors in Belgium, France, Italy 73

To the fortress of Antwerp, commonly regarded by Bel-
gians as their national redoubt, Liege and Namur were
added to hold the keys of the valley of the Meuse, the
natural highway for armies traversing Belgium in either
direction. The steel cupolas of the two latter, designed
by the celebrated Belgian military engineer, M. Brialmont,
were regarded for a time as the zenith of development in
the art of fortification. In 1906 the sum of 63,000,000
francs ($12,159,000) was voted for remodelling and expand-
ing the defenses of Antwerp, and fifteen new forts were
constructed forming an outer ring about the city. Until
1909 the Belgian army, numbering about 100,000 men, was
recruited by volunteer enlistments supplemented by con-
scription, with substitution permitted for the benefit of
those who were drafted. This antiquated system was
inadequate as well as undemocratic; but it required a
strenuous effort to induce the Belgians to submit to the
unaccustomed inconveniences of universal compulsory
military service. The middle classes in manufacturing
communities, where the division of the population into
industrial classes is accentuated, might naturally regard
with aversion the promiscuous life and associations of the
barracks. The proposal for a radical reform in the basis
for military service involved a long parliamentary struggle.
The last document signed by Leopold II on his deathbed
was an act requiring the performance of military service
by one son in each family; and finally, in 1913, a bill was
passed establishing the principle of universal compulsory
service, although in practice only about one-half of the
annual contingent was to be called up for active service.
The period of service with the colors was fixed at fifteen
months for the infantry, and the aggregate effective forces
available in time of peace were estimated at 56,080 for
1914-1915. At the close of 1913 the army comprised six

74 The Great War

divisions posted at Antwerp, Liege, Namur, Ghent, Mons,
and Brussels. The effective forces on a peace-footing at
that time amounted to 6,500 each for four divisions, and
somewhat more than 8,000 for the other two. These num-
bers would be raised to 25,000 and 32,000 respectively in
time of war.

When the development of the reserve force should have
attained its normal limit through the gradual diffusion of
military training, the available forces on a war-footing
would have numbered about 340,000. At the outbreak of
the war in 1914 they actually amounted to about 226,000
soldiers and 4,500 officers.

In view of the strikingly suspicious indications, it is diffi-
cult to understand how the foreign offices of the western
powers could have entertained any illusions as to the designs
of Germany. The strategic railways in Germany directed
towards the Belgian frontier, the reluctance of the Chan-
cellor to make a public statement of the German attitude
in 1911, his non-committal expression on the same subject
in the midnight interview with the British ambassador in
Berlin on July 29, 1914, the evasive remarks of Herr von
Jagow relative to the British inquiry on July 31st, and his
reiteration of the pretext that a statement by the German
government would disclose a certain part of the Ger-
man plan of operations, and, above all, the very obtrusive
fact that Germany did not accept the formal invitation of
Great Britain- to agree specifically to abstain from molesting
Belgium — these and many lesser signs would seem to have
left small room for doubt that the German military author-
ities had absolutely resolved to stake their chances of
winning a brilliant campaign on an immediate flanking
movement across Belgian territory.

Herr von Jagow, solicitous, as it would seem, about an
available pretext for war, intimated in his conversation

Moral Factors in Belgium, France, Italy 75

with the British ambassador on July 31st that hostile acts

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