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can adapt it to our own case. "A Franco-German _entente_," says the
_Novae Vremya_, "would erect a cross on the Franco-Russian _entente_."
A Russo-German _entente_ would erect a cross on the Franco-Russian
_entente_.

Needless to say, the _Kolnische Zeitung_ informs us that the _Novae
Vremya_ only represents middle-class opinion in Russia. Well, that
isn't so bad, considering that we are sure of the antipathy of the
whole Russian people for the Germans. The _Kleine Zeitung_, already
reckoning on the conclusion of the _rapprochement_ between Germany and
France, adds that it will be received with sympathy throughout the
whole German Empire. I believe you, _O Kleine Zeitung_! And the more
so when, with a mixture of haughtiness and careless indifference, you
add "with the exception of the question of Alsace-Lorraine, _which for
us does not exist_, there is no difference which should separate
Germany from France!"

O most generous _Kleine Zeitung_! it is sweet to differ. On condition
that we do not ask you to give us back the flesh that you have torn
from our side, you are willing to extend to us your mild greetings of
disinterested friendship, and I have no doubt that you are ready to
forgive us the crime you have committed against us!



May 23, 1899. [4]

Amongst the most definite impressions produced by the general
proceedings of the Peace Conference there are two which stand out: one,
that the diplomats invariably assert that it will not lead to any
practical result, either as regards disarmament or the creation of an
arbitration tribunal; the other, that all patriots who are enemies of
Germany are filled with anguish at the sight of Germany endeavouring to
direct its discussions. In its practical results, the Conference will
not go further than the splendidly magnanimous proposal of Nicholas II,
having for its object the humanising of war, the development of
arbitration as a remedial measure, and the possibility of conditional
and partial disarmament. All that will be accomplished might have been
attained by the Tzar alone in case of war, in the event of proposals
for arbitration, or by way of leading the Powers to recognise the
economic dangers to which they expose their peoples by ever-increasing
armaments.



June 27, 1899. [5]

We know what a struggle William II had to face on the subject of the
canal from the Elbe to the Rhine, and what concessions he was compelled
to make to the Prussian Chamber. Moreover he had a stiff fight in the
Parliament of the Empire with regard to the new relations with
[Transcriber's note: which?] he proposes to establish between Germany
and England and her colonies. The agrarians of the Right and the
Socialists found themselves united in violent opposition. Herr von
Bülow required genuine skill to avert the storm.

The Kaiser met with a very decided rebuff in the matter of what is
called in Germany the "convicts' law." It will be remembered that last
autumn, in Westphalia, the Emperor had threatened the socialists that
those who incited to strikes would be condemned to hard labour. Such a
threat is easily uttered, but difficult to enforce by process of law.
Under the conditions existing nowadays it does not do to speak of
forced labour in connection with trades unions and strikes;
nevertheless, in order to make good the word of the German Emperor, his
Ministers tried to snatch a vote for a fight with the workers. Baron
Stumm, a factory king possessed of great influence with the Kaiser, had
inspired him with hatred against industrial workers, just as others had
inspired him with love for them at the beginning of his reign. With
all his swagger and bluster, William II is more a creature of impulse
than of constancy. All parties united to oppose his scheme, except
those who are known in every Parliament as Mamelukes. The former
"Father" of the working classes, suddenly become their enemy, has
experienced a personal defeat in this matter which is all the greater
for the fact that the Socialists, while they rejoice at seeing it
inflicted upon him by the Reichstag, will not forgive him for his
"convicts' law."



July 8, 1899. [6]

The wretched policy, which sent French ships to Kiel to salute the flag
of the King of Prussia, continues to be honoured - no, dishonoured - by
the Government of the Republic of to-day. For this Government, the
least of William's wishes is an order.

So the Emperor William II has set foot upon the soil of France by
paying a visit aboard of the _Iphigénie_ (for every one of our ships is
a bit of the mother-country). The Waldeck-Rousseau Cabinet, the ideal
of M. Urbain Gohier, has allowed this monstrous thing to be done almost
immediately after William II had laid the first stone of his fortresses
on the Moselle, fortresses intended (to use his own aggressive words)
to hold _the enemy_ under Germany's guns. So we are the enemy for
Germany and yet, oh shame! even while she slashes us with this word, we
seek to show her that she is our friend.

* * * * * *

It certainly looks as if the present Prussian Ministry has neither the
prestige nor the strength of will to control successfully the conduct
of the ex-Mamelukes. Its failure at the last session of Parliament was
complete. It is amongst the strongest supporters of the monarchy that
the most determined opposition was offered to the proposed law for the
construction of the canal from the Elbe to the Rhine, an enterprise
dear to the heart of the Emperor, once the father of his working men
and now the father of German manufacturers.

Where the political impediments block his path William II cuts and
hacks away as it may please him. There is proof of this in the
feverish haste with which he is lowering the age of officers in the
army. On the 10th of June, six Prussian generals were allowed to
retire; on the 15th, ten more were placed on the unattached list, and a
further movement in the same direction is expected to take place after
the great Imperial manoeuvres.



July 25, 1899. [7]

THE HAGUE CONFERENCE

I desire to convince my readers by indisputable facts -

(1) That the pacifist agitation in Europe, in all its various forms, is
inspired and sustained by the most uncompromising military Power on
this Continent, that is to say, by Germany;

(2) That if the magnanimous humanitarian idea, so sincerely conceived
by Nicholas II, has not been fulfilled, its failure is entirely due to
the treachery of Germany.

For that matter, Germany has been providentially punished for her
machiavellian ways. Firstly, because she has been unable to conceal
the fact that she is primarily responsible for this failure; and
secondly (the fact is important in other ways and has proved in a most
striking manner), because the Hague Conference has clearly
demonstrated, that which the initiated have long suspected, that
Germany is completely isolated in Europe!

As a matter of fact neither Austria nor Italy were with her, only one
Power voted solidly with Germany - the Power which is not content with
war and supplements it by massacres - the Turkey of Abdul Hamid. This
isolation (an indirect result of the Franco-Russian alliance, which has
compelled Austria to come to a complete understanding with Russia in
regard to affairs in the Balkans, and led Italy to draw closer to
France), this isolation is a great and inestimable victory, whose
benefit must be frankly recognised by every honest mind in the two
allied countries, a victory for those who, like myself, have worked
heart and soul for the Franco-Russian alliance.

And it is now, now that these things are clearly proved, now, when
Germany finds but one servile nation in Europe - Turkey - that the French
Government thinks fit to seek to draw closer to Germany! The thing is
unthinkable, unbelievable!

_For years, acting upon an evil policy which I propose to elucidate
hereafter, the Government of the Republic first set itself to oppose
the alliance with Russia, preferring an alliance with Germany; later,
this Government saw in the Russian alliance nothing but a means to gain
public applause, to acquire popularity. Now that the strength and
worth of this alliance have been revealed in all their truth by the
isolation of Germany, this same Government of the Republic compels our
sailors to suffer the courtesy of William II and prepares us, by
diplomatic communiqués, for an entente with Germany_.

Only super-simpletons can believe in William II's sham bluster against
England on behalf of the Transvaal and of that Africa concerning which
he has just concluded a binding treaty with Albion. One must either be
hopelessly ignorant or wilfully blind not to see through the game of
William II and to be fooled by his ingratiating ways.

His only object is to compel England to throw herself into his arms and
to bring about a great common alliance of the Anglo-Saxon races. Will
not the cynical supporters of the "policy of interest" experience a
revulsion of conscience if they know whither they are leading us, or a
sudden enlightenment, if they do not know? If not, then to those who,
through cowardice or treachery, have lightly ruined the noblest of all
causes, I shall say, "I wash my hands" of this crime of ignorance or
base surrender. Weary, sick at heart and indignant I shall say it, in
my own name and in the name of those who have died, suddenly or
mysteriously, for the Franco-Russian cause.

Any one who followed carefully the successive events of the performance
given under the direction of M. de Staal, any one familiar with the
secret manoeuvres that led to the convening of the Peace Conference,
could have had no difficulty in predicting what its end would be. From
some of these secret manoeuvres in the wings, I propose to lift the
veil; my readers will then be in a position to understand more clearly
why it is that the truly Christian act of the Tzar (apart from certain
unimportant improvements of the Brussels Convention) did not attain the
result which might have been expected from the initiative of a powerful
and generous sovereign.

For the past year we have repeatedly been told, in more or less
sensational revelations, that the influence which chiefly determined
Nicholas II in his action, was his reading of a famous book on war by
M. de Bloch. This is no doubt true and the fact may be admitted. Much
moved by the eloquent description, given by the great financial writer
of Warsaw, of the heavy burdens imposed on the nations by the
extravagant armaments of the Continent, and terrified at the thought of
the calamities which the next war would let loose upon all Europe,
Nicholas II, full of Christian pity for the sufferings of humanity,
directed Count Mouravieff to send the famous circular to the Powers,
which resulted in the convening of the Hague Conference.


But I would ask, how are we to reconcile the hostile attitude of
William II's delegates to the Russian proposals with his solemn
declaration that he was absolutely in agreement with his friend
Nicholas II? Why did the German Emperor first give his approval to De
Bloch's campaign in favour of disarmament and then make Von
Schwartzkopf publicly repudiate the most important arguments of that
writer's book? Was it that William II was in the first instance
seduced by the lamentable picture which De Bloch gives of France and
the organisation of her army, or (and this seems far more likely) did
he simply approve of the intrigue set on foot by the author of this
work on war, an intrigue which aimed at casting a shadow over the
patriotic hopes that France placed on the Russian alliance, by inciting
Nicholas II to call for a general disarmament?

It must be confessed that the Franco-Russian alliance struck a bitter
blow at the hopes of Polish patriots. The contempt and hostility
towards France which inspire M. de Bloch's book are proof sufficient of
the grudge its author bears us. It is perfectly evident that they must
have been delighted in Berlin at the chief object of his work. But
there were other objects in view.

For years William II has unceasingly laboured to persuade England that
she has every interest to join the Triple Alliance. His perseverance
in this direction is quite natural. But if Germany succeeded last year
in concluding an agreement with England on a few special questions, the
Hague Conference has proved that it does not involve an agreement in
matters of general policy.

Nevertheless, William II counted on this Congress to produce closer
relations with Great Britain. He hoped that the Congress would result
in sharp antagonism between England and Russia and he reckoned on this
antagonism to help him to inflict a severe defeat on Russia, which in
its turn would have enabled him to draw one or other of these two
Powers into the orbit of his policy. Great then was the disappointment
of the German Emperor _when, from the very outset of the Conference,
England, performing a most unexpected volte-face, made proposals on the
subject of arbitration, which went a great deal farther than the
Russian proposals laid before, the Congress. This master-stroke of
British diplomacy compelled Germany to come out into the open and to
reveal herself in her true light: that is to say, as the only obstacle
to the fulfilment of the Tzar's humanitarian designs_.

The Stengels, Zorns and Schwartzkopfs completed the success of British
diplomacy by the brutal violence of their opposition and the cynicism
of their proposals. It was not only on the two committees that dealt
with arbitration and disarmament that German opposition (always
supported by Turkey alone) wrecked the magnanimous attempt of Nicholas
II to minimise the horrors of war. The committee presided over by M.
de Martens succeeded in effecting certain improvements in the terms of
the Brussels Convention; if the labours of its President and members
were not successful in doing more to lessen the evils of war upon land,
the fact is again due to the opposition of the German representatives.
Thus, for instance, the humane measures proposed in forbidding the
bombardment of open towns and private dwellings unoccupied by troops,
or the destruction of unfortified villages, were not adopted because
the German delegate insisted on the impossibility of limiting the
powers of a commander-in-chief, who must remain the sole judge of the
utility of such destruction in the general interest of military
operations. It was the same in the case of the article whereby it was
proposed that provinces occupied by enemy forces should be guaranteed
in the maintenance of their autonomous administration and in certain
rights against the demands of invasions, Germany declared her
unwillingness to fetter in any way the decision of her army commanders.

I would ask those amongst us who rejoice at the idea of seeing William
II take part in the Exhibition of 1900, to let their thoughts dwell a
little on the attitude of the Prussian delegates at the Peace
Conference. William I took part in the Exhibition of 1867 and we know
what that visit cost France three years later.

Now that all the perfidious plans inspired by Berlin have come to
nought, now that the defenders of German policy at St. Petersburg,
Warsaw and elsewhere have come to grief, and that the Peace
Congress - even though it may not have fulfilled the generous hopes of
Nicholas II - has nevertheless led to a great advance in the opinion of
the public as in that of governments, on the subjects of arbitration
and disarmament, William II shifts his rifle on to the other shoulder.
In order to clear Germany of the blame for the failure of the
Conference in the eyes of the Tzar, the same individuals who
constituted themselves the protectors and sponsors of M. de Bloch at
the Russian Court and who had assured the Tzar of the absolute support
of William II, have now started a campaign of intrigue against Count
Mouravieff.

That faithful minister and servant of the Tzar, who undertook with
great skill to carry out the initiative of his sovereign, and who has
devoted himself whole-heartedly to the task of winning over to the
Tzar's ideas not only the sympathy of the entire civilised world, but
even the vast majority of the sceptical diplomats, who are leaving the
Conference with the conviction that they have done useful work - well,
it is this same Count Mouravieff that the German Press is now trying to
hold responsible for the misdeeds of the Stengels, the Zorns and the
Schwartzkopfs.

By way of a first attempt at abolishing the horrors of war by means of
international agreements, the Hague Conference has given very
satisfactory results, and the honour for these is due to M. de Staal,
Count Mouravieff and M. de Martens. The Tzar has reason to be equally
satisfied in that he has compelled his very good friend William II to
throw off his mask and to reveal all his hostility towards Russia.

It is now for those who had pledged themselves to guarantee the
unconditional support of Germany for the Tzar, to bear the load of
responsibility which is properly theirs for having unworthily deceived
their Sovereign. Many other hopes, bearing on internal affairs in
Russia, had been created by the authors of the intrigue which I have
endeavoured to expose. We know how deeply rooted is the religious and
pacific character of the Russian masses. No initiative could stir
their hearts so profoundly as that which seeks to lessen the horrors of
war and to relieve the people of the crushing burden of armaments. One
has only to remember the sects which exist in Russia which are opposed
to military service and duties. Such an initiative coming from their
adored Tzar was bound to produce far-reaching results.


After our experiences of 1868 and 1869 - and even 1870 - how can we be
guilty of running the same risks again? Was not William I, King of
Prussia, amiable enough? Did he not do everything to lull the
suspicions of Napoleon whilst he himself was arming to the teeth? We
all allowed ourselves to be sufficiently fooled by Bismarck's agents
and spies in 1870 to be able to recognise the secret agents of William
II to-day.

It is not only a shameful thing, that the _Iphigénie_ should have
hoisted at her mainmasthead the Imperial flag, bearing the insulting
device of 1870, it is also an encouragement to William II in the
treachery which he is plotting against us. One's heart is heavy with
the grief of hopelessness when one thinks of our easy-going short
memories, and the suffering courage of the people of Alsace-Lorraine.
During the past few days, whilst our Parisian newspapers have been
discussing the probability of the obnoxious presence of the Kaiser in
Paris for the Exhibition, the _Strasburger Post_ has been heaping
bitter reproaches on the inhabitants of Alsace-Lorraine for their lack
of enthusiasm and meagre contributions towards the proposed statue in
honour of the late Emperor William. In spite of all the pressure
applied, the subscriptions have hardly produced a few hundred marks.
The German Press describes the Alsatians as ungrateful and
short-sighted.



August 9, 1899. [8]

The mania for autocracy dominates the mind of the German Emperor, King
of Prussia, and leaves no room therein for anything but exactions of a
disturbing kind. We know how numerous are the crimes of
_lèse-majesté_; also that William II wishes the Reichstag to pass a law
punishing with hard labour those who incite strikes. A lecturer at the
University of Berlin, M. Arons, having dared to proclaim himself a
socialist - needless to say, from the theoretical point of view - the
Emperor required his Minister of Public Education to have M. Arons
brought for trial before the Council of the University, consisting of
forty-five professors. These acquitted the accused, who, in their
opinion, had not indulged in any propaganda and was within his strict
rights in expressing his personal opinions. The Emperor had their
judgment heard on appeal before a court consisting of officials of the
Public Education Department. To make such an appeal possible, the
Reichstag was required to pass a new law in June 1898, known as the
Arons Law.

Whenever the occasion offered, I have shown how deep is the hatred
which William II bears towards the old liberalism of the German
Universities. Yet it is for this same William that certain
Germanophils amongst our French Universities entertain such a
disgraceful weakness. Whilst French newspapers are continually
discussing, with evident sympathy, the possibility of the Kaiser's
paying a visit to France during the Exhibition, it brings the tears to
our eyes to read the following in the _Journal de Colmar_: -

"The possibility of a _rapprochement_ between Frenchmen and Germans
should not lead the latter to suppose that the Alsatians are likely to
forget their country in order to be reconciled with the conquerors.
The Alsatian will never give up his own individual character, he will
never lightly consent to be merged in a homogeneous whole. The
Alsatian remains French, and such is the rigour of his nationality that
it has resisted every attempt to destroy it."


In order to make us believe the more easily that a reconciliation with
Germany is possible, and that we may come to forget 1870 and the loss
of Alsace-Lorraine, they are continually telling us that Germany has
never been on better terms with Russia. I showed in my last letter
what were the steps taken by the Germans to minimise the great,
imperishable, humanitarian success of Tzar Nicholas II in bringing
about the Hague Conference. I showed that his efforts resulted in
leading all the diplomats accredited to the Peace Congress to recognise
that the foundation had been laid, not only of the possibility of
eliminating needless horrors from the wars of the future, but also of
action by the Powers in common, to be brought to bear, in the form of
advice and arbitration proposals, on the minds of rivals, adversaries
and enemies preparing to settle their quarrels by the arbitrament of
war.

Germany realises the defeat at the Hague so completely that now she
thinks only of new armaments and of arming Turkey, her only ally, to
the teeth. Herein she finds numerous advantages; such as supplying
rifles and guns, sending out new military instructors, and threatening
Russia with a formidable army commanded by German generals.

Germany knows every inch of Russia, by land and by water, and has
calculated her resources to a nicety. German spies are legion in
Russia as they are in France. She may hope to make easy-going people
like us believe that she is on the best of terms with our ally, but she
will find it far more difficult to make Russia herself believe it. One
has only to study the Russian Press to be convinced of this, and
particularly a long article in the _Novae Vremya_, which proves that,
as a matter of policy and of material facts, it is absolutely
impossible for Russia and France to admit Germany into their Alliance
without risking the destruction of that Alliance, inasmuch as its
fundamental objects are diametrically opposed to those of Germany.



[1] _La Nouvelle Revue_, January 15, 1899, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[2] _La Nouvelle Revue_, April 1, 1899, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[3] _La Nouvelle Revue_, May 1, 1899, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[4] _La Nouvelle Revue_, June 1, 1899, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[5] _Ibid._, July 1, 1899.

[6] _La Nouvelle Revue_, July 16, 1899, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[7] _La Nouvelle Revue_, August 1, 1899, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[8] _La Nouvelle Revue_, Aug. 15, 1899, "Letters on Foreign Policy."



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