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sia. To this end he had assured a more or less ex-
ceptional position for German policy behind the

8o Imperial Germany

defensive position of the Triple Alliance, by means
of the so-called Reinsurance Treaty with Russia.
Later on he spoke frequently and in detail about the
motives that had induced him to conclude the treaty,
and about the value and bearing of the same. He
blamed his successor for not renewing the treaty, and
he pointed out that it was after this failure to renew
that the Franco-Russian Alliance was concluded.
Russia, no longer bound by any convention, and
France in her isolation had joined forces, after the
dividing wall between them had been removed.
Prince Bismarck considered this change on the part
of Russia, from the side of the German Empire to
that of the bitterest enemy of Germany, a great
strengthening of France's position among the Pow-
ers, and one which would materially increase the dif-
ficulties of German policy.


At any rate the Franco-Russian Alliance denotes
a very significant change in the international situa-
tion. In the 'nineties we Germans had to face British
rivalry, roused by the rapid development of German
foreign trade and the construction of the German
fleet, while we were taken in the rear by the Dual

The Franco-Russian Alliance 81

Alliance, by which France desired to profit as much
as possible in order to realise her hopes.

Thus placed, we had to seek and find a means of
transition to an international policy. At first this
was a narrow path along which we had to advance
with great care. Our attitude towards Russia dur-
ing the Russo-Japanese War, was modelled on our
relations with England during the Boer War. With-
out injuring Japan by failing in strictly proper neu-
trality, we adopted a very friendly attitude towards
Russia. Indeed, our neutrality with respect to Russia
was even a shade more kindly than that of France.

After the Russo-Japanese War there was a slight
coolness in Franco-Russian relations, whereas there
was an increase of warmth in those between Russia
and Germany. The Dual Alliance had gradually
lost a great deal of its original keenness of edge, not
so much on account of the weakening of Russia,
which, as was the case after the Crimean War, was
often exaggerated, as on account of the restoration of
confidence between Russia and Germany. The vari-
ous stages of this re-establishment of friendly rela-
tions were marked by the repeated meetings between
monarchs of the two Empires. After the Bosnian
crisis, too, normal relations between Russia and Ger-

82 Imperial Germany

many were quickly restored, as was proved by the
particularly satisfactory meeting between the Em-
peror William and the Tsar, which took place
amongst the islands off the coast of Finland in June,
1909. It did not lie in Germany's power to separate
Russia from France, nor could she harbour any in-
tention of so doing. Since a treaty of alliance has
been concluded between Russia and France, and has
penetrated the national sentiments of the two peo-
ples, it has become impossible, and will for some time
to come continue to be impossible, for us to sever the
ties of this alhance, and bind Russia to our interests
by means of a treaty.

But Germany can blunt the keen edge of the Dual
Alliance by putting her relations with Russia on a
sound basis. It was possible to accomplish this task,
and it has been done. Its accomplishment was ren-
dered considerably easier by the personal relations
subsisting between our Emperor and the Emperor
Nicholas. The hopes built by the French chauvinists
on the Russian Alliance have not been fulfilled. At
times Russian statesmen have even given France to
understand that Russia was not willing to serve the
cause of the French policy of revenge. The high
hopes with which the French acclaimed the conclusion

The Franco-Russian Alliance 83

of the Dual Alliance have gradually faded. The
French authorities were forced to seek some compen-
sation for their disappointed hopes, for the sake of
the sentiments and aspirations which ultimately con-
trol pubHc feeling in France. They found this com-
pensation in the Anglo-French entente, which at
times seemed a greater menace to us than the Dual
Alliance. The resentment of the French against the
rulers of Alsace-Lorraine sought and found an ally
in the widespread disquietude and jealousy of the
English, which increased in proportion as our navy
grew and our oversea interests developed.

The Dual Alliance completely lacks any permanent
interests hostile to the German Empire which are
common to the two Powers. There is probably no
European Power which so rarely stands in the way
of Russia's claims in the spheres of politics and in-
dustry as Germany. Conflicting interests between
England and France are certainly not wanting either.
Up to quite recent times England's greatest and most
important acquisitions in the wider world were made
at the expense of France; this was the case in the
Sudan, and earlier in Further India. Rut for
France oversea politics are not vital, and therefore
she was at liberty to subordinate her international in-

,84 Imperial Germany

terests to England's, thereby circumscribing Franco-
British differences for the sake of an Anglo-French
agreement. France paid this high price for Eng-
land's friendship after she had been disappointed in
her hopes of the Dual Alliance.


The resentment against Germany might well be
called the soul of French policy; the other interna-
tional questions are more of a material nature and
only concern the body. It is a peculiarity of the
French nation that they place spiritual needs above
material ones.

The irreconcilability of France is a factor that we
must reckon with in our political calculations. It
seems to me weakness to entertain the hope of a real
and sincere reconciliation with France, so long as we
have no intention of giving up Alsace-Lorraine.
And there is no such intention in Germany. There
certainly are many individual points in which we can
see eye to eye with France, and in which we can co-
operate, at any rate, from time to time. We must
always endeavour to preserve polite, calm, and peace-
ful relations with France. But beyond that we
should not pursue any will-o'-the-wisp delusions,

Germany and France 85

otherwise we may meet with the fate of the Astrono-
mer in La Fontaine, who, w^hile gazing at the stars,
fell into the pit which lay at his feet, but which he
had not seen. In tliis case the pit is called "Le trou
des Vosges'*

Also, as regards France, we must not hope too
much from attentions and amenities ; the small change
of international intercourse. In saying this we do
homage to the proud patriotism of a great nation.
The resentment against Germany lies too deep in the
hearts of the French for us to be able to overcome it
by cheap expressions of friendship. France was never
so hard hit, not even after the catastrophic defeats
of 1812-15, as by the war of 1870-71. In France
there is no comprehension of the fact that what seems
to them the brutal severity of a conqueror was really
a matter of national necessity to us Germans. Per-
haps in course of time the French nation will grow
reconciled to the decisions of the Peace of Frankfurt,
when it realises that they were and are irrevocable.
But so long as France thinks she perceives a possibil-
ity of winning back Alsace-Lorraine, either by her
own unaided efforts or with the help of others, so
long will she consider the existing arrangement pro-
visional and not final.

86 Imperial Germany

The French have the right to claim understand-
ing for this feeling with which the majority of the
people are deeply imbued. It is a proof of a lively
sense of honour, if a nation suffers so keenly from a
single injury to its pride that the desire for retribu-
tion becomes the ruling passion of the people. It is
quite true that for many centuries France was respon-
sible for the spirit of unrest which troubled the his-
tory of Europe. We had to fortify our position in
the West in an enduring manner, so as to safeguard
our peace from fresh disturbances. The remedy has
not been altogether unavailing, not only so far as
Germany is concerned, but for the whole of Europe.
But the French see things in a different light. The
policy of splendid adventures, which often has cost
Europe its peace, and has repeatedly forced France's
neighbours to strain their powers to the utmost, has
made the past of France a record of glory, by which
the peculiar national ambition of the French has
found expression in the grandest and most spon-
taneous fashion. French history differs from the
German in this point, among many others: that
the greatest and most dramatic moments in which the
fate of nations is decided are found in the story of
her wars of conquest, whereas the most glorious pages

Germany and France 87

of German history tell of deeds of national defence.
We wish to prevent the return of such times as those
of Louis XIV. and of Napoleon I., and for our
greater security have therefore strengthened our
frontiers against France; but it is just such times as
these for which many Frenchmen long, and which
in moments of excitement are the goal of the desires
of the whole nation. Germany, deriving new vigour
as she did from the events of 1866 and 1870, has de-
voted all her strength to the enlargement of her own
national life. Every time the national powers of
France were fortified she proceeded to acts of aggres-
sion abroad, and would do so again if she foresaw
the likelihood of success.

We must take this into account, and consider that
we ourselves should be the opponent against whom
France would first turn if she thought that she could
carry out a victorious campaign against Germany.
The policy of revenge is supported by the unshakable
belief of the French in the indestructibility of the
vital power of France. This belief is based on all the
experiences of French history. No nation has ever
recovered so quickly as the French from the effects of
national disasters; none have ever so easily regained
their elasticity, their self-confidence and their energy,

88 Imperial Germany

after grievous disappointments and apparently crush-
ing defeats. More than once France appeared to be
finally overcome by her enemies abroad, and so shat-
tered by chaotic conditions at home, that Europe be-
lieved she had ceased to be dangerous. But always
within a very short time the French nation confronted
Europe in all its old strength, or even with added
might, and was able again to take up the struggle for
European supremacy, to threaten the balance of
power once more.

The rise and fall of this nation has always aston-
ished the States of Europe anew. The gradual de-
cline from the proud height to which Louis XIV.
had raised France seemed to be leading to the disin-
tegration of the French State by the great Revolu-
tion, which was quickly followed by civil war, the
disbandment of the army, the destruction of the old
industrial prosperity, and the bankruptcy of the
State. Ten years after the outbreak of the Revolu-
tion, the armies of the French Republic were masters
of Italy, the Netherlands, and all the land west of the
Rhine, and had penetrated victoriously into the heart
of Germany; another ten years, and the first Empire
was at the height of its glory and Napoleon seemed
very near the attainment of his goal — dominion over

Germany and France 89

the whole Continent. Then followed the disasters
of Leipzig and Waterloo, the complete defeat of
France, and twice in succession, the taking of her

During more than twenty years of uninterrupted
warfare, the French nation had drained to the dregs
its industrial and physical resources; and yet under
the second Empire France was able once more to rise
to the foremost position. The consequences of the
defeat of 1870 dealt France a more grievous blow than
any previously. But it did not prevent this wonder-
fully elastic nation from rising yet again. What
Alexis de Tocqueville said more than half a century
ago about the French people in his classical work,
"L'Ancien Regime et la Revolution," is in many re-
spects still true to-day:

"Quand je considere cette nation en elle-meme, je la
trouve plus extraordinaire qu'aucun des evenements
de son histoire. En a-t-il jamais paru sur la terre
une seule qui fut si remplie de contrastes et si ex-
treme en chacun de ses actes, plus conduite par des
sensations moins par des principes; faisant ainsi tou-
jours plus mal ou mieux qu'on ne s'y attendait, tantot
au-dessous du niveau commun de I'humanite, tantot
fort au-dessus; un peuple tellement inalterable dans

90 Imperial Germany

ses principaux instincts qu'on le reconnait encore dans
des portraits qui ont ete faits de lui il y a deux ou
trois mille ans, et en meme temps tellement mobile dans
ses pensees journalieres et dans ses gouts qu'il finit
par se devenir un spectacle inattendu a lui-meme,
et demeure souvent aussi surpris que les etrangers
a la vue de ce qu'il vient de f aire ; le plus casanier et
le plus routinier de tous quand on I'abandonne a lui-
meme, et lorsqu'une fois on I'a arrache malgre lui a
son logis et a ses habitudes, pret a tout pousser
jusqu'au bout du monde et a tout oser; indocile par
temperament, et s'accomodant mieux toutefois de
I'empire arbitraire et meme violent d'un prince que
du gouvernement regulier et libre des principaux
citoyens; aujourd'hui I'ennemi declare de toute obeis-
sance, demain mettant a servir une sorte de passion
que les nations les mieux douees pour la servitude ne
peuvent atteindre; conduit par un fil tant que per-
sonne ne resiste, ingouvernable des que I'exemple de
la resistance est donne quelque part; trompant tou-
jours ainsi ses maitres, qui le craignent ou trop ou trop
peu ; j amais si libre qu'il faille desesperer de I'asservir,
ni si asservi qu'il ne puisse encore briser le joug; apte
a tout, mais n'excellant qua dans la guerre ; adorateur
du hasard, de la force, du succes, de I'eclat et du bruit.

Germany and France 91

plus que de la vraie gloire; plus capable d'heroisme
que de vertu, de genie que de bon sens, propre a con-
cevoir d'immenses desseins plutot qu' a parachever de
grandes entreprises ; la plus brillante et la plus dange-
reuse des nations de I'Eui'ope, et la mieux faite pour
y devenir tour a tour un objet d'admiration, de haine,
de pitie, de terreur, mais jamais d'indifFerence?" *

* "When I contemplate this nation itself, it strikes me as more ex-
traordinary than any of the ev^ents in its history. Was there ever in this
world a people so full of contrasts, so extreme in each one of its actions,
more guided by emotions and less by principles? Thus always doing bet-
ter or worse than was expected, at one time below the common level of
humanity, at another far above it; a people so stable in their principal
instincts that they are still recognisable in portraits that were drawn
two or three thotisand years ago, and at the same time so changeable in
their daily thoughts and in their tastes, that they themselves are finally
astonished at the spectacle they present, and are often as surprised as
foreigners at the sight of what they have just done; the most stay-at-
home creatures of habit when left to themselves, but once they have
been forced, against their will, to abandon their accustomed dwellings
and uses, ready to carry all before them to the ends of the earth, and to
dare anything; intractable by nature, and nevertheless submitting with a
better grace to the arbitrary and even brutal rule of a prince, than to the
orderly and free government of the principal citizens; one day the
avowed enemy of all allegiance, the next day serving with such a passion-
ate devotion as even the nations most prone to servitude cannot attain;
people who can be guided by a thread as long as no one resists, but who
become ungovernable as soon as the example to resist is given anywhere;
thus always deceiving their masters who fear them either too little or too
much; never so free that it is hopeless to try and subjugate them, nor
so utterly enslaved that they cannot throw off the yoke; qualified for
anything, but excelling only in war; worshipping chance, force, success,
show and clamour, rather than true glory; more capa"ble of heroism than
of virtue, of genius than of common sense, better able to conceive im-

92 Imperial Germany

It is a fact that very soon after the re-establish-
ment of her political system, which, as after every
military disaster, had been overthrown as a result of
the defeats of Worth and Sedan, France, whose
activity in the field of continental politics had been
paralysed for the time being, exerted her power with
much effect in the sphere of world-politics. In the
course of the last twenty-five years she has founded
a colonial empire that much more than compensates
her for the loss of land and population she suiFered
in Europe, and has thus raised herself to the position
of the second greatest colonial Power in the world.
Her possessions in North Africa, which lie at her very
gates, have been nearly doubled by the acquisition of

This is not the place to discuss whether, as many
think, the complete and unlimited control of Morocco
in political, industrial and military matters will be a
source of weakness, or whether it will not rather lend
added strength to France. In any case, the colonial
activity of France proves how quickly and vigorously
the French spirit of enterprise revived soon after the

mense schemes than to consummate great imdertakings; the most bril-
liant and the most dangerous of the nations of Europe, and the most
apt to become in turn an object of admiration, hatred, pity and terror,
but never one of indifference."

The Morocco Question 93

defeat of 1870, and attempted to win national ascend-
ancy in the path which lay open, and which Germany
had designedly left open in Tunis and in Tonquin.

But France will not look upon her great colonial
empire as a sufficient compensation for the loss of
Alsace-Lorraine. And Bismarck had no illusions on
this point when he recommended us to promote the
success of France's colonial policy in order to distract
the attention of the French, at any rate temporarily,
from the neighbourhood of the Vosges.


When we fell out with France on the Morocco
question, it was not our object to thwart her colonial
policy, but we had weighty interests of our own as
well as our national reputation to defend. Our ac-
tion in the Moroccan affair had its legal justification
in the Treaty of Madrid of 1880, and the German-
Moroccan Commercial Treaty of 1890. We were
driven to take such action by the high-handed policy
of France in Morocco, which threatened to ignore
German industrial and commercial interests as well
as our national credit.

The Moroccan Treaty, concluded in Madrid in
1880, had defined the European Powers' right to ex-

94 Imperial Germany

ercise protection over Morocco. It was concluded on
the basis of the recognition of the sovereign rights of
Morocco. On the strength of this basis Germany
concluded a commercial treaty with Morocco in 1890.
No change in the arrangements made at Madrid was
valid without the assent of the signatory Powers —
namely, the Great Powers of Europe with the excep-
tion of Russia, the United States, the Scandinavian
States, Holland, Belgium and Portugal. France
certainly had a special interest in the development
of affairs in Morocco, which adjoins one of her own
colonial possessions. This fact was always taken into
account by Germany. On the basis of the arrange-
ments made at Madrid, no objection could have been
taken to the special consideration of the particular
interests of France and Spain. But French wishes
went far beyond this. France interfered more and
more unscrupulously in Moroccan affairs. She
hoped, by ignoring the Treaty of Madrid, and disre-
garding the economic interests of other countries,
especially those of Germany, quietly to acquire a
large new colonial possession of great value. In the
pursuit of this policy France relied on England, as-
suming that the support and countenance of that
country was sufficient to enable her to attain her ends.

The Morocco Question 95

On April 8, 1904, a separate treaty was made be-
tween England and France, in which France ac-
knowledged England's undisputed authority in
Egypt, and England expressed her approval of
France's action in INIorocco. This separate treaty
disregarded, with an equal lack of ceremony, both
the International Settlement of 1880 and the Ger-
man-JVIoroccan Commercial Treaty. As one of the
first tangible results of the Anglo-French entente,
which was indirectly antagonistic to Germany, this
treaty obviously aimed at injuring the latter country.

The two Powers disposed arrogantly of a great and
most important field of colonial interests, without
even deigning to take the German Empire into con-
sideration. It was clearly an attempt on the part of
the Western Powers to lay claim to the right of de-
cision in matters of international policy. The French
authorities did not hesitate to act immediately upon
the Anglo-French arrangement, as if the signatory
Powers of the Treaty of Madrid had no existence at
all. France set about the "Tunification" of Mo-
rocco. The French agent in Morocco, St. Rene-
Taillandier, tried to secure a share in the govern-
ment of the country. By altering the police organ-
isation, by founding a National Bank under French

96 Imperial Germany

direction, and by entrusting public works and con-
tracts to French firms, the industrial hfe and gov-
ernment in Morocco were to be brought under
French influence to such an extent that the ulti-
mate annexation of Morocco as a French possession
would have been merely a matter of form. The Min-
ister for Foreign Affairs at that time — Delcasse, a
most gifted and energetic statesman, but too easily
swayed by his feelings where Germany was concerned
— cherished the hope of confronting us with a fait
accompli in Morocco. He knew that in so doing he
would deal our prestige in the world a severe blow.
We had important and promising economic interests
in Morocco which were seriously injured by French
action. In addition to this, our dignity and our
newly-won position in international poHtics were at
stake. The fact that the signatory Powers of the
Treaty of INIadrid had been ignored in the Anglo-
French Moroccan arrangement ^vas equivalent in
specie to an affront to the German Empire. France
had made a friendly treaty with England, secret ne-
gotiations were being carried on with Spain, Russia
was not a signatory Power, Italy went her own way
in the Mediterranean, the affairs of Morocco were of
little interest to the United States, and there was no

The Morocco Question 97

reason to expect serious opposition from the smaller
States of Europe. Thus only Austria and, above
all, Germany were clearly set aside. A weighty
choice lay before us. Should we allow ourselves
to be left out, and treated as a quantite neglige-
able, in an important international decision? Or
should we demand that our interests be considered
and our wishes consulted? The first course would
have been the easier; we were urged to adopt the
second, not only by our sense of honour and our pride,
but also by our interests, rightly interpreted. If
once we suffered ourselves to be trampled on with
impunity, this first attempt to treat us badly would
soon have been followed by a second and a third.

On July 3, 1900, the Emperor William II. had
given utterance to the words: "I am not of opinion
that our German people, under the leadership of
their princes, conquered and suffered thirty years ago
in order to be set aside in important decisions on for-
eign affairs. If this should happen, the German na-
tion's position as a world-Power would be destroyed
for good and all, and I do not wish this to come to
pass." French Moroccan pohcy was an obvious at-
tempt to set Germany aside in an important decision
on foreign affairs, an attempt to adjust the balance

98 Imperial Germany

of power in Europe in favour of France. A prece-
dent would have been established which must of ne-
cessity have tempted to repetition. We could not
risk that. From this point of view the Moroccan
affair became a national question for us. The course
of our policy in Morocco was clearly indicated.

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