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the Monarchy and of old France was sealed, and
sealed for ever. In 1830 the legitimate Monarchy,
scarcely fifteen years after it had been restored, suc-
cumbed to a like coalition between intellect and brute
force. The March Revolution of 1848 was success-
ful because the masses found support and guidance
in the educated classes. Wherever the proletariat
has fought alone, as in the June battle in Paris and
during the Commune, it has always been defeated.
An isolated proletariat, however numerous, is always
a minority in the nation. Against the four million
Social Democratic voters in 1912 may be set the eight
million who did not vote for the Social Democrats.
If left to its own resources the proletariat cannot at-
tain a numerical majority in the nation. It can only
do so if aided by the middle classes. This is what
must primarily be prevented. The Social Demo-
cratic party can only be isolated if Liberalism is kept
away from it and is drawn towards the Government



236 Imperial Germany

and the Right. But that cannot be accomplished by
unctuous warnings to Liberalism sedulously to avoid
its Radical neighbour. The separation of Liberalism
from the Social Democratic movement can only be
accomplished in the course of practical politics by a
suitable grouping of the parties. This task of sep-
arating the Social Democratic party from the intelli-
gent middle class is one reason why ]Ministers whose
inner convictions are quite, or, at any rate, largely,
Conservative must rule in such a way as not to repel
Liberalism.

THE SOCI^UL, DEMOCRATIC MO^^MENT AND THE
W^ORKMEN.

Socialistic dreams are bound to have something
very attractive about them for the workman, so often
in needy circumstances, and struggling hard for the
livelihood of his family and liimself .

My predecessor in office. Prince Hohenlohe, used
to call Socialism the poor man's dream. The un-
schooled judgment of a simple man must easily suc-
cumb to the seductive sophistry of Socialist teach-
ings. The Social Democrats raise great hopes
among, and hold out dazzling promises to, the work*
men, and the glamour is so strong that they cling
tenaciously to the idea. It is an old truth that men



The Social Democratic Movement 237

grasp nothing more closely than their hopes, and that
if given the choice of great hope or small fulfilment
they choose the former.

We must not cease, therefore, to impress upon our
countrymen of the working class the truth of the facts
that Socialist promises are illusory, and that Social-
ism will not accomplish the great miracle of doing
away with poverty, care and the industrial struggle;
that the actual provisions for the poor made by the
existing State and existing society are worth more
than the promises of the Social Democrats which
can never be fulfilled. We must fight steadily for
the souls of our workmen, must seek to win back
the Social Democratic workman to the State and
the monarchy, and to keep the non- Social Demo-
cratic workman away from the danger of imbibing
such views. A large number of workmen have not yet
succumbed to the attractions of the Social Democrats.
As opposed to the 2,530,390 working men in the so-
called free or Social Democratic Trades Unions, there
are 1,314,799 in non-Social Democratic Trades Un-
ions and Associations. These are as follows :

Catholic Working Men's Union . . ,. . ,. . 545,574

Evangelical Working Men's Union .. .. .. 180,000

Christian Trades Unions 360,000



238 Imperial Germany

State Workmen's and State Employees' Association . . 120,000
Hirsch-Duncker Trades Unions . . . . . . 109,225

To these must be added the Cathohc and EvangeHcal
Journeymen's Unions and Lads' Unions, whose total
membership numbers 468,223, and, above all, the
great number of industrial and agricultural labourers
who are not organised in unions. Thanks to the work
of the Lads' Brigade, and of the Jungdeutschland-
hund (Union of Young Germany), a valuable start
has been made towards safeguarding the young
people from the Social Democrats' attempts at recruit-
ing. Even though the Social Democratic organisa-
tion is very strong, yet already there are organisa-
tions in process of formation, or of growing power,
which, with skilful handling, may be used as a basis
for a successful fight against the Social Democrats;
and other organisations can also be formed. The
monarchy which, as I explained in the Reichstag on
January 20, 1903, at the beginning of last century
made the transition from the old form of government
to the new without any violent upheaval, is still strong
enough and has sufficient insight to mitigate and re-
move, as far as is possible in this imperfect world, those
evils which, together with much good, are due to mod-
ern development, evils which are found in all comitries.



The Social Democratic Movement 239

and which are comprehended in the words, "social
problems." We must not waver in this belief in spite
of, or rather because of, the strong attraction that the
Social Democratic movement has for our German
workmen.

Our fight against the Social Democrats is not di-
rected against the workmen; its aim is to rescue them
from the snares of the Social Democrats, and to accus-
tom them to the idea of the State. We must not re-
spond to the Social Democratic hatred of the proper-
tied and educated classes, by hatred of the workmen
who have succumbed to the wiles of the Social Demo-
cratic propaganda. We remember that the workman
is our fellow countryman. In him we also honour
God's image. And what we do to relieve his distress
we do not only for political reasons, but from a sense
of duty and in pursuance of God's command. Since
the beginning of the new century we have continued
and in part completed the magnificent stinicture of
our social legislation, not because we have such a
strong Social Democratic party, but in spite of that
fact. The clearer our conscience towards the work-
ing classes, because with a social policy on such a large
scale we have done all t^at is humanly possible to
alleviate their economic conditions, the better is our



240 Imperial Germany

right to take up the battle necessitated by reasons of
State against the Social Democrats and their political
aims.

Catholics have merited much praise for having, to
a very large extent, restrained Catholic workmen from
joining the Social Democratic movement. But that
the Church possesses no secret cure for revolutionary
movements is proved by the history of France and
Italy, and of Spain and Portugal. In our country
the Conservative elements cannot rely on the Church
party alone for support, if only for the reason that
here, where Protestantism predominates, and where
education is imbued mainly with the Protestant spirit,
a majority consisting of Conservatives and the Cen-
tre alone would be a very narrow one, and, moreover,
one to which there attaches the danger that it might
lead to a coalition of all the elements of the Left.
That would only bring about what must be prevented,
namely, that middle-class intellectuals would be
brought more and more into touch with the Social
Democratic movement.

A VIGOROUS NATIONAL POLICY THE TRUE REMEDY
AGAINST THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT.

The true means of restraining the majority of the
nation from pursuing the revolutionary aims^ of the



Vigorous National Policy the Remedy 241

Social Democrats and from adopting the seductive
belief of the Sociahsts in an infinitely better future,
is to pursue a courageous, wide-minded policy which
can maintain the nation's satisfaction in the present
conditions of life — a policy which brmgs the best
powers of the nation into play; which supports and
strengthens the middle classes, already numerous and
ever increasing in number, the vast majority of whom
steadily uphold the monarchy and the State; w^hich,
without bureaucratic prejudices, opens a State career
to men of talent; and which appeals to the better
f eehngs of the nation. The idea of the nation as such
must again and again be emphasised by dealing with
national problems, so that this idea may continue to
move, to unite and to separate the parties.

Nothing has a more discouraging, paralysing and
depressing effect on a clever, enterprising and highly
developed nation such as the Germans, than a monot-
onous, dull policy which, for fear of an ensuing fight,
avoids rousing passions by strong action. My prede-
cessor in office. Prince Chlodwig Hohenlohe, was for
long a very kind chief to me when he was ambassador
in Paris, and he often conversed w^ith me even when
we were not on duty. Once, when he was praising
a certain Bavarian statesman as being particularly



242 Imperial Germany

capable, diligent and conscientious, I asked him why,
as President of the Bavarian Ministry, he had not
proposed this man for a Ministerial post. "He was
not reckless enough for a Minister," replied the
Prince very gravely. When I expressed my surprise
that such a thoughtful, calm and exceedingly prudent
man as Prince Hohenlohe could say such a thing, the
wise and politic Prince answered: "You must not
understand my remark as an encouragement to reck-
less action in life, to which young people incline
only too readily. What I said was meant politically.
A Minister must have a good amount of resolution
and energy in his character. He must sometimes risk
a big stake and ride at a high hurdle, otherwise he will
never be any good."

Various' similar remarks of Prince Bismarck's
might be adduced in support of this one of Prince
Hohenlohe's. Governments and Ministers must not
avoid struggles. A sound nation has even more need
of friction between itself and the Government than
of friction between the parties. This friction pro-
duces the vivifying warmth, without which the polit-
ical Ufe of a people ultimately grows dull. It is a
surious fact that the German has always felt the
need of occasionally knocking up against the authori-



Vigorous National Policy the Remedy 243

ties. Nothing annoys him more than if the authorities
get out of the way. And it will always be found that
party antagonism is most intensified when the Gov-
ernment is disinchned to do battle now and again.
The old German delight in fighting, of which we hear
in history and legend, still Hves on in our political
life. A German considers that policy the best which
does not leave him in peace, but which keeps him
busy fighting and allows him occasionally to display
his prowess; in a word, a policy which by its own
vigour invigorates him.

True, there is a diif erence between a political fight
and political vexation. The former is vivifying, the
latter venomous. The people are well able to per-
ceive whether the Government proves its power in
great matters, or abuses it in small ones. It is the
same with the master of the State as with the master
of the home. A home tyrant is mostly a weakling;
strong-willed men are usually broad-minded and in-
dulgent in little things at home, because they use their
strength for great things. By a policy of pin-pricks
a Government only makes itself unpopular without
earning respect. Nothing more easily produces dis-
content with existing conditions, nothing tends more
to foster Radicalism among the people than narrow-



244 Imperial Germany

minded bureaucracy, clumsiness on the part of the
police, and, above all, interference in intellectual mat-
ters, in which a civilised nation quite rightly wishes to
remain unmolested.

It is not a specifically German quality, but one
common to aU mankind, that personal experience of
injustice, and of vexation at mistakes on the part of
the administration, lives more vividly and more per-
manently in the memory than the most reasonable
political conviction.

Their name is legion who, for such reasons, oppose
the State and the authorities by means of Social Dem-
ocratic voting papers. Social Democrats suck the
finest honey from the flower of bureaucracy. It is
only by living abroad that one can appreciate thor-
oughly what Germany, and es^Decially Prussia, owes
to her civil service, which has been built up by great
rulers and excellent Ministers out of the precious ma-
terial of German loyalty and conscientiousness, love
of work and power to work, and has achieved great
things in all spheres. If, when a German returns
home, the country from the Alps to the Baltic and
from the Maas to the Memel lies before him like a
well-tended garden, the merit is in no small measure
due to the civil service.



Vigorous National Policy the Remedy 245

The more this service keeps free from our ances-
tral faults of pedantry and caste-feeling, while pre-
serving its traditional advantages, the wider its out-
look ; the more humane its attitude in intercourse with
all classes of the population ; the more enlightened its
views, the greater will be its achievements in the fu-
ture. Indulgence and freedom from prejudice in
small things can well be combined with ruthless en-
ergy in great ones. Just because our Social Demo-
cratic movement is so strong and dangerous, it is
necessary that the people should learn to distinguish
between the sphere of civil freedom that must be ad-
ministered with indulgence and the sphere of public
State dominion that must be ruled with strength and
firmness. However misleading a comparison be-
tween German and foreign conditions is in general,
here is a field in which England may serve as a model
and an example to be imitated. In England every
disturbance of public order is ruthlessly suppressed;
but chicanery, which interferes with the liberty and
comfort of the individual, is avoided with scrupulous
care. Ill-grace on the part of the State, so common
in Germany, is almost unknown in England. But
the Englishman is such a good subject of the State
in no small degree because the State gives him such



246 Imperial Germany

liberty in his private life. The limits of State con-
trol, which in our country are still ill-defined, are per-
fectly definite in England.

'No one can believe to-day that the Social Demo-
cratic movement will cease to exist within a measur-
able time, or to be a power and a great danger in our
public life. But the fight against it is not hopeless.
The Social Democrats are quite vulnerable in their
parliamentary position. The elections of 1907
proved how hard they may be hit. The Social Demo-
cratic movement can be confined to the proletariat,
and, according to all historical experience, robbed of
all prospect of ultimate victory, if we can succeed in
keeping it out of the middle classes. If the State
treats the workman justly and without prejudice; if
it makes it easy for him to feel that he enjoys the full
rights of a citizen, and does his duty in social matters,
then it must and will be possible to solve the labour
problem in accordance with the national idea.
Through the apparently insignificant but really very
efficacious means of skilful and broad-minded govern-
ment it is possible to stem the stream of Social Demo-
cratic recruits. Finally, ruthless energy in suppress-
ing any attempt to disturb public order can make it
obvious to the Social Democrats that any schemes of



Vigorous National Policy the Remedy 247

that kind, even on a big scale, are hopeless. So long
as the Social Democrats do not fulfil the conditions,
which I laid down nearly eleven years ago, as an in-
dispensable preliminary to any adjustment of the
differences between them and us; so long as they do
not act with sense and in accordance with the laws,
do not make their peace with the monarcliical form
of government, do not cease to wound feelings that
are sacred to the great majority of the German na-
tion; so long as they remain as they are now, it will
be the duty of the Government to combat them.

The Government must not leave this battle to the
parties, it must fight it itself. For the Social Demo-
cratic movement does not only threaten the existence
of one party or another; it is a danger to the country
and the monarchy. This danger must be faced and
met with a great and comprehensive national policy,
under the strong guidance of clear-sighted and cour-
ageous Governments which, whether amicably or by
fighting, can make the parties bow to the might of
the national idea.



Ill

ECONOMIC POLICY

Seldom, if ever, has a country experienced such a
tremendous economic development in such a short
time as the German Empire in the period from the
Peace of Frankfurt to the present day. The con-
solidation of Germany's position as a Great Power
of Europe, with the resultant union of the German
States and safeguarding of the German frontiers,
and the entry into the realm of world-policy accom-
panied by the construction of a strong fleet: these
two significant j)olitical events of our modern history
most directly benefited the development of our indus-
trial life.

ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEA^LOPMENT OF INDUSTRY.

During more than forty years of peace the German
spirit of enterprise awoke for the first time since the
end of the Middle Ages, and was able to make use
of the rapid spread of means of communication, the
achievements of technical science and skill, the gi'eat

248



Growth and Development of Industry 249

development of the modern chculation of money, to
work for the increase of German prosperity. The
poor German country has become a rich country.
The nation of thinkers, poets and soldiers has become
a nation of merchants and shopkeepers of the first
rank, and to-day in the world's markets disputes the
prize with England, who was already the first com-
mercial nation of the world at a time when the Ger-
man outlook was still that of peasants and artisans.
Where are the times when Schiller saw only two na-
tions struggling for the possession of the world — the
Frank, who throws his iron sword into the scale of
justice, and the Briton, who sends forth his mercantile
fleet like the arms of a polypus — when he transported
the German, who had lingered in the realm of
dreams while the earth was divided up, together
with the poor poet, into the heaven of idealistic sim-
plicity?

To-day German industry has its customers even
in the remotest corners of the earth. The German
merchant flag is a familiar sight in foreign ports, and
knows that it is protected by the German Navy.
German capital is employed abroad together with that
of the old financial Powers, England and France, and
contributes to the consolidation of the industrial ties



2^0 Imperial Germany

between us and other nations. The consequences of
our national regeneration have Iiitherto been most
apparent in the sphere of the world's industries. In
the statistics of international traffic and commerce the
rise of the German Empire beside the old Powers is
most plastically expressed.

We have reason to be proud of our mighty indus-
trial successes, and the satisfaction of the German pa-
triot is justified, if he points out in what an extraor-
dinarily short space of time we Germans in our
economic development have covered the ground which
half a century ago separated us from nations that we
have now outstripped.

Such success is only possible to the exuberant vi-
tality of a nation thoroughly sound, strong of will
and full of ambition. But we must not conceal from
ourselves the fact that the almost furious speed of
our industrial ascent often hindered calm organic de-
velopment, and created discords which demanded ad-
justment. On account of striking successes, due to
a special talent, men are prone to neglect the har-
monious development of other abilities and powers.
At times they may have to pay for such one-sided-
ness by a painful set-back, if altered circumstances
demand other powers and achievements. In Ger-



Growth and Development of Industry 251

many the rapid economic development produced a
speedy blossoming of industry and commerce under
the sun of happy circumstances. The perfected
means of communication opened for us In a very dif-
ferent manner from what was possible before, the
markets of even the remotest countries. The treas-
ures of our home soil had been left untouched, the In-
comparable progress in mechanical and electrical en-
gineering placed at our disposal new industrial
machinery, and the quick growth of our population
provided the masses of workmen for the foundation
and expansion of great industrial undertakings. In
addition to this, forty years of peace aiForded an
opportunity for working the world's markets In every
direction. The commercial and Industrial talent of
the German nation, which once before, centuries ago,
had made us the first commercial and trading nation
of the world, and which, owing to the atrophy of our
State and a hard national struggle for existence had
been held In abeyance till the last years of the nine-
teenth century, was extraordinarily favoured by cir-
cumstances. When employers and princely mer-
chants like Stumm and Krupp, Ballin and Rathenau,
KIrdorf and Eorsig, Gwinner and Siemens were
found to take advantage of these favourable condi-



252 Imperial Germany

tions, the successes of the immediate future were bound
to fall to industry and commerce. The nation turned
more and more towards the new prospects opening
before it. The lower classes deserted the land and
flowed in a stream into industrial undertakings. The
middle and upper classes of the commonalty provided
a large number of capable industrial officials.

The industrialisation which had given signs of
gi'owth in the middle of the nineteenth century, was
accomplished in Germany after the founding of the
Empire, and especially after the end of the 'eighties,
with a vehemence which has only been equalled in
the United States. In the year 1882, agriculture still
employed almost as many men as commerce and in-
dustry together; in the year 1895 the number of its
employees was less by almost 2,000,000 than those of
industry alone. In thirteen years a complete change
of conditions had eventuated.

INDUSTRY AND AGRICULTURE.

The economic legislation of the Empire had to take
into account two possibilities of this fundamental
change. It might have given all its support to in-
dustry and commerce, anyway, favoured by circum-
stances and developing with strength and ease; it



Industry and Agriculture 253

might have strengthened what seemed strongest, have
led Germany towards a transformation into a purely
commercial and industrial State, and have left Ger-
man agriculture to its fate. Count Caprivi and his
colleagues thought they ought to pursue this course.
On the other hand, compensation for unfavourable
circumstances might be given to agriculture by means
of legislation, and the transformation of Germany
into a one-sided industrial State might be opposed,
and agriculture might be maintained, strong and vig-
orous, side by side with flourishing industry.

I embarked on this latter course with full knowl-
edge of what I was doing, and with absolute convic-
tion, when I introduced the Tariff Laws of 1902; for
I was persuaded that vigorous agriculture is necessary
for us from the economic but, above all, from the
national and social points of view, just because the
industrialisation of Germany continues to progress
steadily.

I have always been of opinion that more can be
learnt from personal intercourse and from life than
from books, however profound. I incline to think that
one learns most in conversation with people holding
different views which they know how to defend. "Du
choc des opinions jaillit la verite." When, years ago.



254 Imperial Germany

I conversed with a Liberal of tliQ Left about eco-
nomic problems, I asked him at last: "And do you
think that at a pinch, if there were a terrible war or a
serious revolution, even with all their gifts and their
capabilities, and, of course, with a full claim to the
same treatment, commerce and industry, our splendid
new classes can, in the hour of danger, completely
take the place of those forces w^hich made Prussia
great?" My political antagonist and jDersonal
friend considered for a short time and then said:
"You are right; preserve our agriculture for us, and
even the Prussian nobility."

We owe much to industry and commerce. They
have made our land wealthy, and enable us, above
all, financially to support our armaments on land and
at sea. A distinguished man in German economic
circles. Prince Guido Henckel, used to say agriculture
must provide our soldiers and industry must pay for
them.

Industry and commerce, these two new lines of
business, feed and employ the great increase in our


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Online LibraryBernhard BülowImperial Germany → online text (page 13 of 18)