Copyright
Arthur Newton Davis.

The Kaiser I knew; my fourteen years with the Kaiser online

. (page 1 of 18)
Online LibraryArthur Newton DavisThe Kaiser I knew; my fourteen years with the Kaiser → online text (page 1 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


The Kaiser I Knew



Ambassador Gerard, in his new work, lifts

the ceil again, revealing many facts that

could not be disclosed before.

FACE TO FACE WITH KAISERISM.

By JAMES W. GERARD, former United States
Ambassador to the German Imperial Court.
Illustrated. 71. 6ct. net.

Ambassador Gerard's Epoch-making Book.

MY FOUR YEARS IN GERMANY. By

JAMES W. GERARD, former United States
Ambassador to the German Imperial Court.
7s. 6d. net.

HODDER & STOUGHTON, PUBLISHERS,
WARWICK SQUARE, LONDON, E.C. 4.



Copyright, 1918, by Harper 6 Brothers.
Copyright, 1918, by H odder & S taught on.




DOCTOR DAVIS'S OFFICE IN BERLIN.




DOCTOR DAVIS'S RESIDENCE.
The office was on the first floor. The windows face the Tiergarten.



The Kaiser I Knew

My Fourteen Years with the Kaiser



BY

ARTHUR N. DAVIS

*

DENTIST TO THE KAISER AND FOR FIFTEEN YEARS
A RESIDENT OF BERLIN



WITH FRONTISPIECE



HODDER AND STOUGHTON

PUBLISHERS : LONDON

MCMXVIII









TO
MY LITTLE DAUGHTER

FRANCES



PREFACE



FOR fourteen years the Kaiser was my
patient. All I know of him and all that he
told me came to me while the relation of
patient and dentist existed between us.

For that reason I felt at first that no matter
how vital to the Allied cause might be the
information I could give as to the Kaiser's
viewpoint, ambitions, and plans, the require-
ments of professional ethics must seal my lips
and compel me to withhold it from the world
at large.

When, however, I considered the grave
crisis that confronts the world and in which
my own country is playing so important a
part, and realised that what I knew of the
Kaiser might prove of some value to my country,
I concluded that my patriotic duty was para-
mount and rose superior to any of the ordinary
demands of professional ethics.

In this conclusion I was strengthened by
the urgent solicitation of the leaders of my
profession, who were most emphatic in their



PREFACE



contention that my ethical qualms were en-
tirely unwarranted in view of all the circum-
stances.

In presenting this book to the public I wish
to acknowledge my indebtedness to Mr. Godfrey
M. Lebhar for his assistance in preparing my
manuscript for publication.

ARTHUR N. DAVIS.



CONTENTS



CHAP. . PAGE

I. " AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED " 1

II. THE KAISER AT POTSDAM . . . 15

III. HOW I BECAME THE KAISER'S DENTIST 33

IV. THE KAISER'S DUAL PERSONALITY . 45

V. AMERICA DISAPPOINTS THE KAISER . 67

VI. THE KAISER DEFENDS GERMAN WAR-
METHODS 83

VII. DEMOCRACY'S WORST ENEMY . . 95

VIII. THE "YELLOW PERIL" ... 107

IX. THE KAISER'S CONFIDENCE OF

VICTORY 119

X. THE KAISER'S PLAN FOR WORLD

DOMINION 135

XI. PRINCE VON PLESS . . . .145

XII. THE KAISER'S APPRAISAL OF PUBLIC

MEN .157

XIII. THE KAISERIN 171



CONTENTS



XIV. THE CROWN PRINCE AND OTHERS . 185

XV. THE KAISER HIMSELF .... 205-

XVI. THE KAISER AT ARMY HEAD-
QUARTERS ' 215

XVII. THE KAISER AND THINGS AMERICAN 227

XVIII. THE KAISER AND THE GERMAN

PEOPLE . . 243

XIX. GERMANY IN WAR-TIME . . . 261-

XX. THE ECONOMIC SITUATION IN

GERMANY 271

XXI. WILL THERE BE A GERMAN REVOLU-
TION ? . 280



"AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED



CHAPTER I

" AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED ! "

WHEN war broke out between the United
States and Germany, on Apiil 6, 1917, I was
in Berlin. I had lived and practised my
profession as a dentist there for fourteen years,
and the Kaiser had been one of my patients
during all that time.

I do not know exactly how many visits the
Kaiser paid to me professionally, but I know
I am safe in saying they were not less than
one hundred, and the probabilities are they
were closer to one hundred and fifty. Almost
invariably, after my work was done, the
Kaiser remained anywhere from ten minutes
to an hour and a half to discuss the topics of
the hour with me, and in that way we developed
a more intimate acquaintanceship than might
otherwise Lave been possible.

When we declared war against Germany,
therefore, while I was still an American citizen
as patriotic an American, I believe, as might

[1] B



"AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED!"

be found anywhere I had lived in Germany
so long, had developed so many professional
friendships in Germany's most favoured circles,
and was so generally regarded as a particular
favourite of the Kaiser himself, that I found it
hard to realise that, nevertheless, I personally
had become an alien enemy.

Even when I was notified by the police
authorities that it would be necessary for me
to report every day at Police Headquarters
and to remain in my home every night from
8 p.m. until 6 a.m. I had no fear for my per-
sonal safety or for that of my wife and child,
nor did I imagine that I would experience any
real difficulty in leaving the country when the
time arrived for me to do so.

Indeed, when, some two months before,
our country had broken off diplomatic relations
with Germany, and Americans were appealing
frantically to our Embassy to get them out of
the country, it never occurred to me that
there was the slightest occasion for me to
hasten my departure from Germany, although
I had long before made up my mind to return
home as soon as I could satisfactorily settle
my affairs in Europe.

The same day the breaking off of diplo-
matic relations was announced, the German
newspapers had published the provisions of
an old treaty between Germany and the United
States which gave Americans in Germany and
Germans in America nine months after a
declaration of war between the two nations

[2]



-AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED!"

within which to settle their affairs and get
out of the country.

" This treaty," the newspapers pointed out,
i4 was made in the time of Frederick the
Great. It has never been repealed. Germany
will respect it." As there were so many more
Germans in America than there were Americans
in Germany, this prompt announcement of
Germany's intentions regarding this treaty
was quite understandable, and it seemed most
improbable that Germany would adopt any
harsh measures toward Americans and there-
by invite reprisals.

Had the situation been reversed, of course,
the Germans would undoubtedly have thought
it expedient to intern Americans, no matter
what happened to their own countrymen in
America, and in that event this ancient treaty
would have shared the fate of that which
guaranteed Belgium's neutrality. One " scrap
of paper " more or less would never have been
allowed to interfere with Germany's " destiny."

Influential Germans who called to see me
professionally during that period almost in-
variably expressed the hope that I was not
planning to leave Berlin.

" No matter what happens, Doctor," they
declared, " even if the worst comes to the worst
and war is declared between America and
Germany, you may feel quite sure the Kaiser
will never let anyone harm you ! '

I had not let the matter rest there, however.
I had called at the American Embassy, where

[8] B2



"AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED!"

it was pointed out to me that, while diplomatic
relations had been severed, it was not at all
certain that war would result immediately,
and there was therefore no reason for me to
leave Berlin precipitately.

Had the Kaiser been in Berlin at the time,
I might, of course, have had an opportunity
to put the question to him squarely as to what
my fate might be if war were declared, but he
was away. The Court Chamberlain had been
appointed but a short time before and I did
not know him personally, but his predecessor,
Count August von Eulenburg, one of the wisest
and most respected men in Germany, was one
of my oldest patients. I decided to discuss
the situation with him. Unfortunately, how-
ever, I found him too ill to receive me. He
was eighty years old and, although unusually
well preserved, was in no condition on this
occasion to receive visitors.

Another influential patient of mine whom
I sought out at this time was ex-Ambas-
sador von Stumm. Although he was not
retired from official life, he had formerly been
a powerful figure in German State circles
and still kept more or less in touch with the
new Court Chamberlain and others in high
office. His nephew was Under- Secretary of
Foreign Affairs.

I found the ex-Ambassador at his private
apartment in the Adlon Hotel.

" What will happen to Americans," I asked,
" if my country declares war against Germany ? "

[4]



"AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED!"

6 That, Doctor, will depend entirely upon
how America treats our subjects," he replied,
somewhat more coldly than 1 had expected of
him. " If America interns Germans, of course
we shall undoubtedly treat Americans the
same way, and you could hardly expect any
special consideration, although, if you will
write a letter to the Court Chamberlain, who
is a personal friend of mine, I will see that he
gets it."

" But, Excellenz," I replied, " there is a
treaty between Germany and America, I under-
stand, which gives the subjects or citizens of
one country who happen to be sojourning in
the other when war is declared nine months
within which to close up their affairs and leave.
Would not that protect me ? ''

" Of course, Doctor," he answered, " Ger-
many will respect the treaty if America does,
and then there will be no trouble. It seems
to me you must await developments, and in
the meantime you have no cause for worry."

" Suppose some of your subjects in America
should start blowing up bridges or munition
factories and should be lynched, which they
probably would be," I suggested, " what would
Germany's course be then ? "

" What Germany would do then, Doctor,"
he replied, slowly and thoughtfully, as though
such a contingency had never occurred to him
before. " Really, Doctor, I don't know what
we would do ! "

This somewhat unsatisfactory interview with

[5]



"AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED!"

von Stumm might have worried me more,
perhaps, had it not been for a visit I received
only a day or two later from Prince von Pless,
one of the Kaiser's friends and advisers,
who called on me professionally. For a year
and a half the Kaiser had had his Great Army
Headquarters at the Prince's Palace at Pless
in south-east Germany, and I knew that he
enjoyed his monarch's confidence.

When I asked him regarding the possible
internment of Americans, he assured me that,
come what might, I and my family had not
the slightest reason for alarm.

" No matter what may befall other Ameri-
cans, Doctor," he asserted, in a confidential
manner, " the Kaiser has gone on record to
the effect that you and your family are not to
be molested."

Another incident which made me feel that
I could proceed with my preparations for
leaving Berlin without undue haste was the
receipt early in the year of a most extra-
ordinary post-card from the Kaiser, which,
it occurred to me, was quite significant as to
his intentions regarding my welfare. On one
side was his picture, and on the other, written
and signed in English in his own handwriting,
was the message :

DEAR DOCTOR DAVIS :

Wishing you a very good year for 1917.

WILLIAM I.E.



"AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED!"

This was the first message of its kind that
I had ever received from the Kaiser. Even
in peace times the picture post-cards which he
had sent to me from time to time, and which
were autographed by him, were always signed
in German. When, on February 1st, the
Germans resumed their ruthless submarine
warfare a move which was immediately fol-
lowed by the breaking off of diplomatic re-
lations I felt that the Kaiser must have fore-
seen this consequence and had sent me the
post-card as an intimation that he wanted me
to remain in Berlin, nevertheless.

When war was declared, therefore, I was
thoroughly satisfied that, while I had become
an alien enemy, I was nevertheless a sort of
privileged character and could remain in
Berlin with more or less impunity until I was
quite ready to leave.

Leaving Berlin was going to entail great
personal sacrifice on my part. In my fourteen
years' residence in that city I had built up a
substantial and lucrative practice of a char-
acter that I would never be able to duplicate.
Notwithstanding the strained relations which
had existed between my country and Germany
long before the diplomatic break actually
came, few of my patients had deserted me, and
even when war was declared this situation was
not altered a particle. Perhaps the fact that
the Kaiser himself continued to come to me
for treatment restrained others who might
otherwise have been disposed to give me up



"AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED!



from doing so, although some of my patients
did not hesitate to express the opinion that
while it was quite all right for them to visit
me, it was most unpatriotic for the Kaiser to
do so, in view of the fact that I was an alien
enemy.

While, however, the fact that my personal
safety was guaranteed, I had been led to
believe, by no less a power than that of the
Kaiser himself, gave me little cause to hasten
my departure from Berlin, and, on the other
hand, my flourishing practice gave me most
persuasive reasons for remaining, there were
three reasons which impelled me to settle up
my affairs and return home just as soon as I
could possibly arrange to do so.

When the Germans sank the Lusitania, living
and practising in Germany lost much of their
attractions for me. I made up my mind then
that I would rather return home and commence
my professional career all over again, if neces-
sary, than remain in a country which could
sanction such a hideous form of warfare the
wanton destruction of women and children.
To that end, I came to New York in the summer
of 1915 to investigate the requirements for the
practise of my profession in that State. I had
an Illinois licence, but I wanted to be in a
position to practise in New York, and the
following year I came to New York again and
took the State dental examination. I returned
to Germany late in the autumn of 1916, and
Jater I learned that my certificate had been

[8]



"AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED!"

granted. Then I commenced active prepara-
tions to dispose of my practice in Germany and
return home.

My second reason for wanting to get out of
Germany as soon as possible was the fact
that food conditions there were becoming
more precarious every day. My wife and I
feared that our child, who was two years old,
might suffer from lack of proper nourishment
if we remained, and I determined that, no
matter how long it might be necessary for me
to remain in Berlin, my wife and child, at any
rate, should leave at the earliest possible
moment.

My third reason, however, was by far the
most insistent of all.

I had become convinced that what I knew
of the Kaiser and his plans, now that we were
at war, ought to be communicated to America
without delay, and that the only way to do
that adequately would be to get home as soon
as I possibly could, no matter what personal
sacrifice might be involved in abandoning my
European practice and interests.

It is true that in the early years of my
relationship with the Kaiser our conversations
naturally embraced only the most general of
subjects, but in later years, when he came to
know me better, he cast aside all reserve and
talked to me on whatever was uppermost in
his mind at the time. After the war started,
that, of course, formed the principal subject of
our discussions, and the part that America was



"AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED!"



playing in the conflict was frequently brought
up because of the fact that I was an American.

Besides the Kaiser, my patients included
most of the members of the Royal Family and
the German aristocracy, and through them,
too, I came into possession of considerable
information which, it seemed to me, might be
valuable in helping America to gauge the Ger-
man point of view.

I was not a spy. I had never made the
slightest effort to pry into German affairs.
Whatever I learned of the Kaiser's views,
motives, plans, and ambitions was volunteered
by the Kaiser himself, nor did he ever exact a
pledge of confidence from me.

It is true that, as a matter of professional
discretion, I made it a rule never to relate to
anyone anything that I had heard from the
Kaiser, because I realised that if it ever got
back to him that I was repeating what he had
told me, our friendship would not last very
long. Undoubtedly, my policy in that respect
was responsible for the wide range of subjects
which the Kaiser from time to time felt free
to discuss with me.

But now my country was at war with 'Ger-
many, I had become an alien enemy in Ger-
many and the Kaiser had become an enemy to
America ! I could not help feeling that what
I knew of this monarch who had arrayed him-
self against the whole world ought, without
question, to be conveyed to those who were
guiding the destinies of my country in the

[10]



"AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED!"

great conflict which will decide whether auto-
cracy or democracy shall control the world.

I felt that I knew the Kaiser better, perhaps,
than any other living American. Certainly I
had come in contact with him more often and
more intimately than any other American since
the war had started, and I doubted whether
lie had ever unburdened himself as freely to any
other foreigner as he had to me.

One memorable interview I had had with
him influenced me perhaps more than any other
single factor to hasten the settlement of my
European affairs and return home.

It was in the autumn of 1916. The Kaiser
had come to me for professional attention, and
after my work was completed he remained to
discuss some of the aspects of the war. Perhaps
the fact that I had just returned from a visit
to America made him more than usually eager
for a chat with me.

We had discussed various phases of the war,
when the Kaiser changed the subject abruptly
with the question :

" Davis, what's the matter with your
country ? '

" In what respect, your Majesty ? " I asked.

" Why is it that your country is so unfair to
Germany ? Why do you persist in supplying
munitions and money to the Allies ? Why
doesn't your President treat the European
warring nations the same as he treated Mexico,
by putting an embargo on munitions and letting
us fight this thing out ourselves ? You do not

[11]



"AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED!"



ship munitions to us. Why do you ship them
to the other side ? ?:

I was on such terms with the Kaiser that I
did not hesitate to answer his question with
another.

" I have always -understood, your Majesty,
that during the Russo-Japanese war Germany
continually supplied munitions to Russia. Why
was that any more justifiable than America
supplying munitions to the Allies ? Then again,
in the Spanish -American

" Davis, you surprise me ! ' : the Kaiser
interrupted, rising from the operating chair, in
which he had remained, walking toward me,
throwing back his shoulders, and rising to his
full height. " The cases are entirely different.
When we helped Russia against Japan, we were
helping a white race against the yellow race.
Don't ever forget that don't ever forget that !
But with America that is certainly not the
case. Your country is acting from purely
mercenary motives. It is a case of dollars,
dollars, dollars ! "and each time he repeated
the word he struck his partially helpless left
hand violently with his powerful right.
" America values dollars more than she values
German lives ! She thinks it right to shoot
down my people ! ' :

He had worked himself up to a degree of
indignation which I had seen him display only
on two or three previous occasions, and I must
confess I was reluctant to start a fresh outburst
by answering his arguments. His eyes, usually

[12]



AMERICA MUST BE PUNISHED!"



soft and kindly, flashed fire as he advanced
toward me and slowly and incisively declared,
" Davis, America must be punished f oi-
lier actions ! ?;

In that expression, which he repeated on
subsequent occasions in precisely the same
words and with the same measured emphasis,
I knew that he revealed most clearly what his
attitude was and will ever be towards this
country.



THE KAISER AT POTSDAM



CHAPTER II

THE KAISER AT POTSDAM

GETTING out of Germany proved to be a far
more difficult proposition than I had imagined.

Because I was an American I thought I
would be able to go whenever I was ready, as
long as I did not overstay the nine months'

Eeriod provided for in the treaty to which I
ave already referred ; although I knew, of
course, that I would first have to obtain certain
credentials from the police and military authori-
ties. I did not anticipate any trouble in that
direction, however, particularly as it was gene-
rally known that I had long enjoyed the
friendship of the Kaiser and other influential
Germans.

In this, however, I was very much mistaken.

I had been in touch with Dr. Charles P.
Haselden, of Hamburg, an American dentist,
regarding his taking over my practice, twelve-
year lease, and other responsibilities. To
complete the negotiations it was desirable for
us to get together in person, but several
applications which Dr. Haselden made for
leave to visit me in Berlin were flatly refused.

The restrictions placed on travel from one
[15]



THE KAISER AT POTSDAM



city to another, especially where alien enemies
were involved, were very severe, and if one of
the cities happened to be a seaport it was
increasingly difficult. Indeed, before an alien
resident of a seaport was allowed to leave the
country he was required first to spend at least
two months in some interior town designated
by the officials. The idea, of course, was to
prevent his carrying away too much informa-
tion as to conditions prevailing in the port of
departure.

I took this matter up with the Kommandantur
of Berlin the military department controlling
alien enemies but they said they would not
allow Haselden to come to Berlin because there
were too many American dentists there already.
The fact that Americans and other aliens were
profiting by the absence of Germans at the
front was naturally a thorn in the side of the
Germans. As a matter of fact, however, out of
some twenty-five American dentists practising
in Berlin before the war, there were now less
than a dozen left, the others having either
returned to America or established themselves
elsewhere in Europe.

Realising, therefore, that it would probably
be several months before I could finally settle
up my affairs, and that my child, who was
anaemic, ought to be taken out of Germany
with as little delay as possible because food
conditions were fast going from bad to worse,
I applied to the Kommandantur for leave to
have my wife and child go to Montreux, on

[16]



THE KAISER AT POTSDAM



Lake Geneva, in Switzerland, where I hoped to
join them at the earliest possible moment and
accompany them home. I did not relish the
idea of their going across the ocean without me.

That was in May, 1917. Weeks passed while
our application was going from one official to
another, lying, perhaps for days at a time, under
a pile of other applications of similar character,
or awaiting the investigation of our personal
histories, and it was not until the end of June
that we received any word regarding it. Then
we learned that it had been refused !

This was my first intimation that we might
have difficulty in getting out of Germany.

A. day or two later the Kaiser called on me
professionally and I told him of our plight,
hoping that he would intercede for us. It was
the only favour of a personal character I had
ever asked of him.

" My child is ailing, your Majesty," I said,
" and I feel that she needs a change of climate.
I applied to the Kommandantur for leave for
my wife and child to go to Montreux, but I
have just heard that it has been refused ! 5!

" Davis, I will see what I can do in the
matter," he replied, reassuringly ; and as he
was leaving my office he returned to me and
said, in the presence of his two adjutants,
" Regarding that matter you spoke of, leave it
to me and I will see what I can do ! 5:

The Kaiser's influence, I thought, would
readily solve our problem, and I was very much
relieved. Two days later, however, I received

[17] c



THE KAISER AT POTSDAM

a letter from Count von Moltke, one of the
Kaiser's adjutants, stating that the Kaiser had
spoken to him regarding the Switzerland
project, but that, under the circumstances, it
was out of the question. If, however, my child's
condition were such as to make a change of
climate really necessary, he added, the Kaiser


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Online LibraryArthur Newton DavisThe Kaiser I knew; my fourteen years with the Kaiser → online text (page 1 of 18)