Copyright
Juliette Adam.

The Schemes of the Kaiser online

. (page 1 of 14)
Online LibraryJuliette AdamThe Schemes of the Kaiser → online text (page 1 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


E-text prepared by Al Haines



THE SCHEMES OF THE KAISER

From the French of Juliette Adam

by J. O. P. Bland







New York
E. P. Dutton & Company
1918
Printed in Great Britain





TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION

More fortunate than the majority of the prophets who cannot speak
smooth things, Madame Adam has lived to find honour in her own country:
_La grande Française_ has come into her own. God willing, she should
live to see that _revanche_ for which, through good and evil report,
she has laboured unceasingly these forty-five years, to see the
arrogant Prussian humbled to the dust and Alsace-Lorraine restored to
France. 1917, she firmly believes will revenge and reverse the tragedy
of 1871. More fortunate than the great British soldier who spent his
veteran days in warning his countrymen of the ordeal to come, Madame
Adam, now in her eighty-first year, may yet hope to see the banners of
the Allies crowned with victory, the black wreaths on the statue of
Strasburg in the Place de la Concorde changed to garlands of rejoicing.

There have been dark days in these forty-five years, times when, even
to herself, the struggle for _la patrie_ seemed almost a forlorn hope.
It was so at the time of the Berlin Congress in 1878, when, after his
visit to Germany, Gambetta abandoned the idea of _la revanche_. It was
so in 1891, when she realised that the influence of Paul Déroulède's
Ligue des Patriotes had ceased to be a living force in public opinion,
when France had become impregnated with false doctrines of
international pacifism and homeless cosmopolitanism, when (as she wrote
at the time) there were left of the faithful to wear the forget-me-not
of Alsace-Lorraine only "a few mothers, a few widows, a few old
soldiers, and your humble servant." But never, even in the darkest of
dark days, was the flame of her ardent patriotism dimmed. After her
breach with Gambetta, determined not to be defeated by the Government's
abandonment of a vigorous anti-German policy of preparation, she
founded the _Nouvelle Revue_, to wage war with her brain and pen
against Bismarck and the ruler of Germany. The objects with which she
created that brilliant magazine, as explained by herself to Mr.
Gladstone in 1879, were threefold - "to oppose Bismarck, to demand the
restoration of Alsace-Lorraine, and to lift from the minds of young
French writers the shadow of depression cast on them by national
defeat." The fortnightly "Letters on Foreign Politics" which she
contributed regularly to the _Nouvelle Revue_, for twenty years were
not only persistently and violently anti-Teuton: they became a powerful
force in educating public opinion in France to the necessity for an
effective alliance with Russia, and to the cause of nationalism, in the
Balkans, in Egypt, and wherever the liberties of the smaller nations
were endangered by the earth-hunger of the great. She disliked and
feared the policy of colonial expansion inaugurated by Gambetta and
pursued by Jules Ferry, because she felt that it must weaken France in
preparing for the great and final struggle with Teutonism which she
knew to be inevitable. Thus, when Ferry requested her to cease from
attacking Germany, she defied him, assuring him that nothing less than
imprisonment would stop her, and that no honour could be greater than
to be imprisoned for attacking Bismarck.

Juliette Adam has always been intensely sure of herself and her
opinions. She has the virile fighting spirit of a super-suffragette.
"Always out of rank," as Gambetta described her, "Madame Intégrale" has
displayed throughout her political and literary work a contempt for
compromise of every kind, which occasionally leads her into untenable
positions and exaggerations. Like her friend George Sand, she has ever
been an inveterate optimist and in the clouds, and this defect of her
very qualities has tended to make her proficient in the gentle art of
making enemies. Thus she broke with Anatole France for espousing the
cause of Dreyfus, because, in spite of her keen sense of justice, she
identified the Army with France and was instinctively opposed to Jews,
because she regarded their "cosmopolitan" influence as incompatible
with patriotism. For her, all things and all men have been subordinate
to the sacred cause, to her watch-word and battle-cry of _Vive la
France_! Nobly has she laboured for France, confident ever in the
_renaissance_ of _la Grande Nation_, and of her country's final
triumph. And to-day her unswerving faith is justified, and her life
work has been recognised and crowned with honour in her own land.

With one exception, all the articles collected in this book have been
taken from Madame Adam's "Letters on Foreign Politics" in _La Nouvelle
Revue_. Together they constitute a remarkable testimony to the
political foresight and courage of _la grande Française_, and an
equally remarkable analysis of the policy and character of Germany's
ruler.





AUTHOR'S PREFACE

Modesty is out of fashion nowadays: what is wanted is the glorification
of every kind of courage. That being so, I hold myself entitled to
claim a Military Cross, for my forty-five years of hand-to-hand
fighting with Bismarck and with William the Second, and to be mentioned
in despatches for the past.

JULIETTE ADAM.




CHAPTER I

1890


William II, the "Social Monarch" - What lies beneath his declared
pacifism - His journey to Russia - The German Press invites us to forget
our defeat and become reconciled while Germany is adding to her army
every day.


April 12, 1890. [1]

What an all-pervading nuisance is William!

To think of the burden that this one man has imposed upon the
intelligence of humanity and the world's Press! The machiavelism of
Bismarck was bad enough, with its constant demands on our vigilance,
but this new omniscient German Emperor is worse; he reminds one of some
infant prodigy, the pride of the family. Yet his ways are anything but
kingly; they resemble rather those of a shopkeeper. He literally fills
the earth with his circulars on the art of government, spreads before
us the wealth of his intentions, and puffs his own magnanimity. He
struggles to get the widest possible market for his ideas: 'tis a petty
dealer in imperial sovereignty.

There is nothing fresh about his wares, but he does his best to
persuade us that they are new; one feels instinctively that some day he
will throw the whole lot at our heads. I am quite prepared to admit
that, if he had any rare or really superior goods to offer, his
advertising methods might be profitable, but William's stock-in-trade
has for many years been imported, and exported under two labels, namely
the principles of '89 and Christian Socialism.

The German Emperor has mixed the two, after the manner of a
prentice-hand. His organ, the _Cologne Gazette_, with all the honeyed
adulation of a suddenly converted opponent, [2] has called this mixture
"Social Monarchism." Therefore, it seems, the German Emperor is
neither a constitutional sovereign nor a monarch by divine right. He
has restored Caesarism of the Roman type, clinging at the same time to
the principle of divine right - and the result is our "Social Monarch"!

Rushing headlong on the path of reform - full steam ahead, as he puts
it - he is prepared to change the past, present and future in order to
give happiness to his own subjects. But France is likely to pay for
all this; sooner or later some new rescript will tell us that the
valley of tribulation is our portion and inheritance.

It is one of his ambitions to put an end to class warfare in Germany.
To this end he begins, with his usual tact, by denouncing the
capitalists (that is to say; the wealth of the middle class) to the
workers, and then holds up the scandalous luxury of the aristocracy in
the army to the contempt of the bourgeois.

One of his most brilliant and at the same time most futile efforts, is
his rescript on the subject of the shortage of officers for the army.
As the army itself is steadily increasing every day, it should have
been easy in each regiment for him, gradually and quite quietly, to
increase the number of officers drawn from the middle-class; indeed,
the change would have practically effected itself, for the Minister of
War had a hundred-and-one means of bringing it about. But this
rescript has put a check on what might otherwise have been a natural
process of change, and unless William now settles matters with a high
hand, it will cease. In every regiment the aristocracy provides the
great majority of officers; bourgeois candidates for admission to the
service are liable to be black-balled, just as they might be at any
club; it is now safe to predict that they will henceforward be regarded
with less favour than ever, and that generals, colonels, majors and the
rest will form up into a solid phalanx, to prevent the Emperor's
platonic _protégés_ from getting in.

William II appeals to the higher ranks of officers, who are tradition
personified, to put an end to tradition. It is really wonderful what a
genius he has for exciting cupidity in one class and resistance in the
other. And he has done the same thing with the working class as with
the army.

What a strange riddle his character presents - this quietist, this
worshipper of an angry and a jealous God, with a mania for achieving
the happiness of his people in the twinkling of an eye! A strange
figure, this Emperor of country squires, who despises the bourgeois and
who threatens to despoil the aristocracy of the very privileges which
have been the safeguard of the Hohenzollerns' throne for centuries.

These peculiarities are due to an occult influence which weighs on the
mind of William II, an influence which, while it points the way to
action, blinds him to its consequences. The dead hand is upon him!

Frederick III, that liberal, bourgeois monarch, compels his
reactionary, Old-Prussian-school son, to do those things which he would
have done himself, had he not been victimised by Bismarck and his pupil.

I wonder whether the ever-mystical William II sometimes reflects on the
ways by which God leads men into His appointed ways? Such thoughts
might do more to enlighten him than his way of gazing at the heavens in
the belief that all the stars are his.

There is one piece of advice that William's friends should give
him - not to restore the sixty millions of Guelph money to the Duke of
Cumberland. This ultra-modern young Emperor will very soon have
greater need of the services of the reptile Press than even Bismarck
himself; for every one of his latest rescripts adds new public
difficulties to the number of those secret ones which the
ex-Chancellor, with his infinite capacity for intrigue, will hatch for
him.

Bismarck, of the biting wit, who accepts the title of Duke of
Lauenburg, because, as he says, "it will enable him to travel
incognito," sends forth from Friedrichsruhe winged words which sink
deep into the mind of the people. This phrase, for example, which sums
up the whole of William's policy: "The Emperor has selected his best
general to be Chancellor and made of his Chancellor a field marshal."
And Bismarck begs his readers to insert the adjectives, good and bad,
where they rightly belong.



April 28, 1890. [3]

Emperor William continues to increase the list of his excursions into
every field of mental activity. Intellectually divided between the
Middle Ages and the late nineteenth century, it would seem as if he
were trying to forget the infirmity of his one useless arm by assuming
a prominent rôle modelled on men of action. He tries to combine in his
person the effects of extreme modernism with those of the days of
Charlemagne. Because of his very impotence, his desire to grasp and
clasp all history is the fiercer, and this emphasises and aggravates
the cruelty he showed in relegating Bismarck to compulsory inaction.
Just imagine if some power stronger than himself were to compel this
ever restless monarch to quiescence! What would be the cumulative
effect of want of exercise at the end of a year?


And just because the German Emperor is pleased, amongst the innumerable
costumes of his wardrobe, to don that of a socialist sovereign, the
same people who before 1870 believed in the liberalism of Bismarck, now
believe in the socialism of William II. They go on saying the same old
things. In different words they ask: "Isn't the young Emperor
amusing?" (tis' a great word with us French people), and before long,
they will be appealing to the gullible weaklings among us by suggesting
"After all, why shouldn't he give us back Alsace-Lorraine?" And thus
are being sown the seeds of our national enervation.

The dangers that threaten us from the hatred that the Prussian bears us
are all the greater now that Germany is ruled by this man-chameleon.
Let William do what he will, let him change colour as he likes, our
hatred for Prussia remains unshaken and immutable. But acquiescence in
his performances will draw us into his orbit and expose us to those
same dangers which he incurs, dangers which, were we wise, we should
know how to turn to our own profit.



May 12, 1890. [4]

Amidst the ruins of his fallen fortunes, Bismarck can still erect a
magnificent monument to his pride. If the results pursued by his
once-beloved pupil stultify the old man's immediate intentions, they
constitute nevertheless a testimonial to the Bismarckian doctrine in
its purest form, to those immortal principles based on lies and the
exploitation of "human stupidity," which the ex-Chancellor raised to
such heights in German policy, from the commencement of his career to
the date of his fall.

Let us, in the first place, inquire how it has come to pass that
William II has been able to convince a certain number of people, either
through their "human stupidity" or their cowardice, that he is striving
for and towards peace, when every single act of his proves the
opposite. Is it enough that, because he declares himself a pacifist,
men should go about saying "Thank God that he, who seemed most eager
for war, now sings the praises of peace"? And there are others who
earnestly implore us to think no more or war "now that William of
Germany no longer dreams of it."

Now I ask, is there a single reason to be found, either in the
tradition of his race, or in his own character, or in the logic of
Prussian militarism, which can justify any clear-thinking mind in
believing that William is a pacifist?

During the past fortnight a pamphlet has been published in Germany
under the title _Videant Consules_ (a pamphlet having all the
appearance of a Berlin semi-official, or officious, document) which
gives us the key (my readers will agree that I have already placed it
in the lock) of William II's sudden affection for paths of peace.

The illuminating pages of this work are written with the object of
preparing the honorable members of the Reichstag to vote an annual
credit of twenty millions (it is said that the Minister of War and the
Chief of the General Staff originally asked for fifty). This money
will be asked for to provide 474 new batteries, to bring up to 700 the
number of the German battalions on the Vosges frontier and to increase
the peace footing strength of the army. According to a statement made
by William II, in his speech at the opening of the Reichstag, the
special object of those twenty millions is to strengthen the defences
of the eastern and western frontiers.

_Videant Consules_ tells us that Bismarck created the Empire by war,
but that his later policy threatened to destroy it by peace; for this
reason the young Emperor deprived him of power. According to this
pamphlet, the ex-chancellor allowed France to recover and Russia to
prepare her defences, whereas he should have crushed us a second time
in order to have only one enemy - Russia - to deal with later on.

Therefore, Germany's present task is to prepare in haste for the
struggle against Russia and France united, and for this reason it
behoves her (says _Videant Consules_) to increase her forces by a
superhuman effort. As matters stand, in spite of the Triple Alliance,
in spite of the sympathy and support of Austria and Italy (ruinous for
them) William II is by no means confident in the future success of his
arms.

Now this hero is not taking any chances. In order that might may
overcome right, he wants to be quite sure of superior numbers. And
this explains why the Emperor of Germany is a "pacifist" to-day!

But things are likely to be different by October 1. I would have the
dupes of pacifism read carefully the following extract from his speech;
if they remain deaf to its meaning, it can only be because, like the
man in the fable, they do not wish to hear.

"It is true," says the German Emperor, "that we have neglected none of
the measures by which our military strength may be increased within the
limits prescribed by the law, but what we have been able to effect in
this direction has not been sufficient to prevent the changes which
have taken place in the general situation from being unfavourable to
us. We can no longer postpone making additions to the peace footing of
the army and to effective units, more especially the field artillery.
A Bill will be brought before you which will provide for the necessary
increase of the army to take place on the first of October of this
year."

According to _Videant Consules_, the last _favourable_ date for
attacking France would have been in 1887. Bismarck sinned beyond
forgiveness in not provoking a war at that time. More than that, his
manoeuvres to undermine the credit of Russia and his policy of
intimidation towards France, by exciting the hatred of both countries
against Germany, only served to unite them.

In the position in which he finds himself, William II has therefore no
alternative; he must vastly increase his forces, while assuming the
pacifist rôle. He must pretend to be severe with the aristocracy of
his army - the apple of his eye - and to be full of sympathetic concern
for the welfare of the working classes and peasantry, whom he fears or
despises, and who are nothing but cannon fodder to him. And he does
these things in order to sow seeds of mutual distrust between France
and Russia.

He will use every possible expedient of trickery and guile, and, even
more confident than his teacher Bismarck in the eternal gullibility of
human nature, he will exploit it for all it is worth.

Take this example of our gullibility, as displayed in the question of
passports for Alsace-Lorraine. A section of the European Press, well
primed for the purpose (the Guelph funds not having been restored, so
far as we know, to their proper owner), continues unceasingly to
implore William II to consent to a relaxation of the regulations in
regard to these passports. The idea is, that when our credulous fools
come to learn that this relaxation has been granted, there will be
absolutely no limit to their enthusiasm for him. Already they speak of
him good-naturedly as "this young Emperor."

(Is it not so, that, every day, old friends whose rugged patriotism we
thought unshakable, meet us with the inquiry, "Well, and what have you
got to say now of this young Emperor?")

This young Emperor piles falsehood upon falsehood. If he permits any
relaxation of the passport regulations, you may be perfectly certain
that he will give orders that the _permis de séjour_ are to be more
severely restricted than before. Once a passport is issued, it is of
some value; but the _permis de séjour_ is a weapon in the hands of the
lower ranks of German officialdom, which they use with Pomeranian
cruelty. Every German bureaucrat in Alsace-Lorraine aims at preventing
Frenchmen from residing there, at getting them out of the country; and
nothing earns them greater favour in the eyes of their chiefs.
Therefore, if this "young Emperor" is to be asked to grant anything,
let it be a relaxation of the _permis de séjour_.

To be allowed to _travel_ amongst the brothers from whom we are
separated, can only serve to aggravate the grief we feel at not being
allowed to _live_ amongst them.

William's socialism is all of the same brand. His first display of
affection for the tyrant lower down was due to the fact that he used
him to overthrow a tyrant higher up: it was the socialist voter who
broke the power of Bismarck. When we see William embarking upon so
many schemes of social reform all at once, we may be sure that he has
no serious intention of carrying out any one of them. After having
made all sorts of lavish promises to the industrial workers, he is now
busy giving undertakings to make the welfare of the peasantry his
special care!

In his speech to the Reichstag there is no mention even of the one
definite benefit that the workers had a right to expect - namely, a
reduction of the hours of labour; but the threat of shooting "them in
the back" reappears in a new guise. William II warns the working
classes of "the dangers which they will incur in the event of their
doing anything to disturb the order of government."

"My august confederates and I," adds the Emperor, "are determined to
defend this order with unshakable energy."

Delicious to my way of thinking, this expression "my august
confederates." Is there not something astounding about the use of the
possessive pronoun in connection with the word "august," implying
sovereignty? One wonders what part can they have to play, these
confederates, led and dominated by a personality as jealous and
self-centred as this "young Emperor."

There is only one thing about which William II really concerns himself,
over and above his blind passion for increasing the forces of Germany,
and that is, other people's morals - the morals of working men or
officers. The devil has always had his days for playing the monk.



May 20, 1890. [5]

Do my readers remember my last article but one, written at a moment
when the whole Press was singing the praises of William the Pacifist,
on the eve of the day when _The Times_ published its despatch,
proclaiming the complete agreement between Tzar and Kaiser, the
_entente_ that assures the world of the peace that shall come down from
William's starry heavens? It was then that I wrote -

"Is there a single reason to be found, either in the traditions of his
race, or in his own character, or in the logic of Prussian militarism,
which can justify, any clear-thinking mind in believing that William is
a Pacifist?"

Hardly had that number of May 1 appeared when the German Emperor made
his speech at Königsberg! In his cups, the King of Prussia reveals his
true nature, just as a champagne cork flies from a badly wired bottle.
After giving expression once again to his animosity towards France, he
borrows from us one of the famous dicta of Monsieur Prudhomme -

"The duty of an Emperor," he declared, "is to keep the peace, and I am
determined to do it; but should I be compelled to draw the sword to
preserve peace, Germany's blows will fall like hail upon those who have
dared to disturb it."

Next, in the neighbourhood of the Russian frontier, he used the
following provocative language: "I will not permit that any one should
touch my eastern provinces and he who tries to do so, will find that my
power and my might are as rocks of bronze."

Sire, beware! The God of the Hohenzollern will prove to you before
long that your power and your might, those rocks of bronze, are no more
in His hands than a feather tossed in the wind; He will show you that a
tricky horse can unseat you, regardless of your dignity, when you take
your favourite ride, the road to Peacock island, with your august
brother-in-law.

Say what you will, the Prussians have not yet acquired either wit or
good taste! There is proof of this not only in the speeches of William
II at Konigsberg, but even more convincing, in that which was delivered
before the Reichstag by that famous strategist, our conqueror de
Moltke, on the subject of the proposed increase in the peace-footing
effectives.

One must read the whole speech to get an idea of the sort of nonsense
that "honorable" Germans are prepared to listen to. In urging the vote
of credit, "the Victor" said: "Confronted with the fundamental problem
of the army, the question of money is of secondary importance; for what
becomes of your prosperous finances in war-time?"

Having proved that conquerors are the greatest benefactors of the human
race, M. de Moltke goes on to declare that it is not the rulers, but


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryJuliette AdamThe Schemes of the Kaiser → online text (page 1 of 14)