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ow to Improve Anglo-
German Relations

By Professor Hans Delbriick

'rofessor of History in the University of Berlin,
Editor of " Die Preiissische Jahrbiicher "



31 West Twenty-Third Street

How to Improve Anglo-
German Relations

By Professor Hans Delbriick

Professor of History in the University of Berlin,
Editor of " Die Preiissische Jahrbucher "


31 West Twenty-Third Street



"Cbc -RnlcbcrbocftCT prew l^cw Kock



Professor of History in the University of Berlin,
Editor of "Die Preussische Jahrbucher."

The majority of Germans believe that the strained re-
lations with Britain are due to British jealousy of the
enormous increase of German industry and German
trade. This increase is, in point of fact, so consider-
able that in certain branches British production has
already been surpassed by German. If Britain were
actually planning to attack and defeat Germany on this
account, with the idea of gaining for herself the present
German export trade with all its advantages, then all
hope of bettering the present state of affairs would be
destroyed. For it is certain that the progress of German
economic life will not be arrested, but that it will, on
the contrary, develop more and more. Britain's jeal-
ousy would therefore have to go on increasing, until
finally the catastrophe was brought about.

But the entire supposition is a false one. In Germany
the circle is ever widening of those who recognise that
British competitive jealousy, if it exists at all, is far
outweighed by the friendship which every merchant has
for his customer. Germany is one of the largest con-
sumers of British goods, and the richer Germany grows,



the better customer does she become to Britain. It is
certain that a war between the two nations will never arise
from purely economic reasons.

Exactly the same may be said with regard to the fear
of many British people that Germany is preparing an
attack on Britain, to make a great raid for the sake of
plunder, to impose a huge war indemnity, or to force
Britain to cede certain of her colonies. Even assuming
that such a plan were in keeping with the German na-
tional character, that it were practicable, and that it
were to succeed, there is nothing more certain than that
Germany would have no benefit from her gains, but
would have to pay dearly for them. For a victory over
Britain would give Germany the supremacy in Europe.
Europe, however, has never yet submitted to such
supremacy, and would unite to punish and suppress
Germany, just as she did with Louis XIV. and
Napoleon I.

Neither Britain nor Germany intends war against the
other. The real reason of the strain is that, to protect
her growing trade in the first instance, and later to safe-
guard her interests in world-politics, Germany has built
a powerful fleet, and Britain feels that this fleet is a
check and a menace to her. The German fleet is not
large enough to be able ever to weaken Britain's naval
power, but it is large enough to cause her serious trouble
if her intention were taken up with fighting in any other
part of the world. I do not, indeed, wonder that the
British nation should dislike this, but the British nation
in its turn should understand that Germany cannot help
herself. The German Empire has practically no col-
onies. It is true that, in spite of its sixty-five million
inhabitants, it has no surplus population, scarcely any
emigration (about 25,000 yearly), and, on the other

hand, a very large immigration. Yet it requires col-
onies, because it has a very large surplus among its
upper classes. The excellent educational institutions
of Germany are well known: primary and secondary
schools, technical colleges and universities. Thousands
of foreigners Russians, Americans, Asiatics come to
study in Germany ( this year there are as many as 5,400) ,
and the more intelligent among the lower classes of the
nation are continually rising to swell the ranks of the
university-educated. Almost thirty per cent, of the
students of Berlin University are drawn from the lower
classes. In the last three years the population of Ger-
many has increased four per cent., while the number
of students increases four per cent, every year, and it has
been calculated that even at the present day Germany
has already 10,000 students too many. With these
splendidly trained young men Germany would be in
a position to govern and to civilise many millions of
people of inferior race or of less advanced civilisation, as
the British are doing in India, Egypt, South Africa, and
the Soudan. But ever since Germany has begun to
make active efforts to obtain possessions of this kind it
has been our experience that England again and again
comes in our way, and is endeavouring, as far as she
can, to make the whole world British. Even at this
moment England would appear to be working to bring
part of Persia and Tibet under her dominion, and further
divisions or redistributions are always in prospect. In
order that they may not fare badly on such occasions in
the future, the Germans have been obliged to build their
great fleet. This step cannot be retraced. The question
now is, what can be done, in spite of the existence of the
German fleet, to better the relations between Britain and
Germany? Mr. Asquith said recently that the territory


and dominion of England were sufficiently great, and
she could not desire to go on increasing her responsibili-
ties. The truth of this statement is obvious. Already
400 millions, i.e., one-quarter of the whole human
race, are under British rule. But the course of events
is often stronger than human wishes; and it may be
that, not because she desires it, but because she cannot
help herself, England will bring still further territories
under the protection of her flag. But in that case
she should remember that the Germans too are a great
nation, who have their own claims, and are entitled
to have them. The relations between the two countries
would at once become less strained if we in Germany
could feel assured that Britain was no longer oppos-
ing our expansion, but, on the contrary, was further-
ing it in a spirit of friendship, free of competitive jeal-
ousy; in other words, that in any future extension
of dominion on the part of England or any other great
Power, Germany should not be denied her share. As
soon as the Germans see that this principle is recognised
in England, the insistence of public opinion that the
fleet continue to be further strengthened will relax an
insistence which has been assuming most passionate
form since the interference of England in the Franco-
German Morocco compromise. And when Germany
begins to experience not only the glory which a large
colonial empire brings with it, but also the burdens
which it entails, she will of her own accord in so far set
bounds to her ambition that England will have no fur-
ther cause for anxiety.




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Online LibraryHans DelbrückHow to improve Anglo-German relations → online text (page 1 of 1)