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reply by a quotation from the official organ of the "great German."

"The course of historic events," says the _Hamburger Nachrichten_, "is
opposed to any realisation of the idea of disarmament, and justifies the
opinion expressed by Von Moltke, who declared war to be in reality a
necessary element in the order of things, of itself natural and divine,
which humanity can never give up without becoming stagnant and submitting
to moral and physical ruin."

There you have the genuine style of Bismarck, of the man who invented the
formula - "the Right of Might."

One thing - and one thing only - might possibly lead William II to
entertain seriously this idea of disarmament, and that would be for
Bismarck to oppose it. Truly, there is something extremely pleasant in
this duel between the two ex-accomplices! Bismarck terrorising
socialism, William coaxing and wheedling it, for no other tangible
purpose than to act in opposition to him whose power he has overthrown.

What an eccentric freak is this German Emperor! One day he sends the
Sultan a sword of honour, a bitter jest for one who has never known
anything but defeat! The next, he proposes to take back the command of
the fleet from his brother Henry, and in order to get rid of him
conceives the plan of making Alsace-Lorraine and Luxembourg into a new
kingdom.

At the same time he proposes to provide the Grand Duke of Luxembourg with
a guard of honour, a guard _à la Prudhomme_, whose business it would be
to defend and to fight him. The State Council of the patriotic Grand
Duchy is aroused, and denies the right of Prussia on any pretext to
interfere in its affairs. Boldly it reminds the Powers signatory to the
Convention of 1867 of their pledges.

And with all his mania for governing the world at large, William II would
seem to be possessed of the evil eye, and to bring misfortune to all whom
he honours with his friendship for any length of time.



February 10, 1891.

It looks as if poor Bismarck were about to be treated just as he treated
Count von Arnim. Can it be that everything must be paid for in this
world, and that a splendid retributive justice rules the destiny even of
super-men and punishes them for committing base actions? It is rumoured
that the Duke of Lauenbourg (Bismarck) is threatened with prosecution on
a charge of _lèse majesté_, which the lawyers of the Crown will not have
very much trouble in proving against him. That any one should dare to
criticise the Emperor's policy, even though it be Bismarck, or that any
one, even be it Count Waldersee, should express a personal opinion in his
presence, is more than William II will tolerate.

The "sympathetic Emperor" has a cruel way of doing things. Before
striking his victims it is his wont to give them some public mark of his
esteem and good-will. Small and great, they pass before him, sacrificed
each in his turn, so soon as they have come to believe themselves for a
moment in the enjoyment of his favour. Thus Colonel Kaissel,
aide-de-camp to the Emperor, is about to be shelved. Lieutenant von
Chelin has been removed from the Court, General von Wittich has already
lost his fleeting favour, and the moderating influence of Major de Huene,
erected on the ruins of that of Von Falkenstein, proves to be equally
short-lived. Three generals in command of army corps are now
threatened - that is, of course, unless a fortnight hence they should
prove to have reached the highest pinnacle of favour.

Three months ago Von Moltke declared that he and Bismarck would live long
enough to be able to say "Farewell to the Empire."

On the other hand, Von Puttkamer seems to be regaining something of
favour, and Prince Battenberg has been welcomed to the old Castle;
strange plans concerning him are being hatched in the brain of William II.

Prince Henry has been brought back, ostensibly to take part in the
Councils of the Government, but in reality that he may be watched the
more closely. He also has received a letter in which he is publicly
thanked for the services he has rendered. If I were in his place I
should be very uneasy, seeing the kind of brother that he was, the most
changeable the most jealous, and the most suspicious of men. There is a
false ring about this letter to Prince Henry, just as there was in those
which the Emperor addressed to Count Waldersee and to Bismarck.
Gratitude is a word that William often thinks fit to use, but it is a
sentiment that he is careful never to indulge in.

It is impossible to discover any sign of a heart in the actions of the
German Sovereign. One may therefore predict that he will continue to
show an ever increasing preference for distinguished personalities, whom
it may please him to destroy, or creatures who would be the butts of his
malicious sport, rather than to encourage the kind of public servants who
strive continually to increase their efficiency, so as to serve him
better. Instead of being simply good and ruling benevolently, he aspires
to be first a sort of pope, imposing upon his people a social state
composed of servility and compulsory comfort, and again a leader of
crusades, drawing his people after him to the conquest of the world.

Spiritual and material interests, military organisation, he mixes and
confuses them like everything else which occurs to his mind, and every
day he does something to destroy the results of that marvellous
continuity, which did more to establish the power of William I than the
victories of Sadowa and Sedan. Ever more and more infatuated with the
idea of military supremacy, he now pretends to be greatly concerned with
the idea of disarmament. And he, the avowed protector of socialists,
looks as if he were about to accept from Mr. Dryander, the protestant
presidency of that association of workmen, which is being organised for
the purpose of fighting socialism.

Wherever we look, it is always the same, false pretences, trickery,
lying, love of mischief-making and of persecution, innumerable and
unceasing proofs given by William that his sovereign soul, irretrievably
committed to restless agitation, will never know the higher and divine
joys of peace.



March 1, 1891. [3]

For some months past, my dear readers, I have predicted that William II
will not be satisfied without paying a visit to France. The visit of the
Empress Frederick should have prepared us for this amiable surprise. But
because the august mother of the German Emperor was received by us with
nothing more than cold politeness, the _Cologne Gazette_ gives us a sound
drubbing, as witness the following -


"The French have no right to be offensive towards the august head of the
German Empire and his noble mother, by insulting them after the manner of
blackguards (polissons). Every German who has the very least regard for
the dignity of the nation must feel mortally insulted in the person of
the Emperor."

"The German people have the right to expect that the French Government
and the French nation will give them ample satisfaction, and will wipe
out this stain on the honour of France, by sternly calling to order the
wretches in question, creatures whom we Germans consider to be the refuse
of human society."

And we who belong to this "refuse," who flatter ourselves that we have
made extraordinary efforts of self-control when we refrained from saying
to the Empress Frederick: "Madame, spare us; let it not be said that you
went one day to Saint-Cloud, and on the next to Versailles, lest our
resolution to be calm should forsake us" - we, I say, now perceive, that
all our prudence has been wasted, and that we are still "refuse," the
refuse of human society.


The character of William II continues to develop its series of
eccentricities. With him, one may be sure of incurring displeasure, but
his favours are shortlived. His mania for change is manifested to a
degree unexampled since the days of the decay of the Roman Empire. His
freakishness, the suddenness of his impulses, are becoming enough to
create dismay amongst all those who approach him. One day he will
suddenly start off to take by surprise the garrisons of Potsdam and of
Rinfueld; he gives the order for boots and saddles, which naturally leads
to innumerable accidents. Next day you will find him issuing a decree
that, a play written by one of his _protégés_, entitled _The New
Saviour_, is a masterpiece, which he would compel the public to applaud.
The best he can do with it is to prevent its being hissed off the stage.
Another day he has a room prepared for himself at the Headquarters of the
General Staff, where he interferes in the preparation of strategic plans,
without paying the least attention to the new chief who has replaced
Count Waldersee. Then, again, he connects his private office with the
entire Press organisation, so as to be able to manipulate the reptile
fund himself, and to dictate in person the notices he requires,
concerning all his proceedings, in the newspapers which he pays in
Germany and in those which he buys abroad.

All of a sudden it occurs to him that six more war-ships would round off
the German Fleet; and so he demands that they be built on the spot. His
Minister resists, pointing out that the approval of the Reichstag is
required, William II flies into a passion, and the wretched Minister
obeys. Suddenly it occurs to him also to remember the existence of a
certain Count Vedel, greatly favoured by the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar.
He summons him by telegraph, and makes him his favourite of an hour.
When it pleases him to remove a superior officer, or to put one on the
shelf, nothing stops him, neither the worth of the man, nor the value of
the services he may have rendered. One can readily conceive that German
generals live in a state of perpetual fright. Add to all this that
William is becoming impecunious. He has taken to borrowing, and is
reduced to making money out of everything. What will the Sultan Abdul
Hamid say when he learns that the Grand Marshal of the German Court has
put up for sale the presents which he offered to the Emperor, his guest,
and which are valued at four millions!

These things bring to mind the threat which William II uttered a few days
before the fall of Bismarck: "Those who resist me I will break into a
thousand pieces."



March 12, 1891. [4]

The many and varied causes which led to the journey of the Empress
Frederick to Paris, and the equally numerous results that the Emperor,
her son, expected from that visit, are beginning to stand out in such a
manner that we can appreciate their significance more and more clearly.
This proceeding on the part of William II, like all his actions, was
invested with a certain quality of suddenness, but at the same time, it
reveals itself as the result of a complicated series of deliberate plans.
The object of these last was, as usual, the young monarch's unhealthy
craving for making dupes. To this I shall return later on. Let us first
examine the causes of William's sudden impulses.

He has acquired, and is teaching his people to acquire, the taste and
habit of sudden and unexpected happenings. It having been the habit of
Bismarck to speculate on things foreseen, it was inevitable that his
jealous adversary should speculate on things unforeseen. Moreover, the
King-Emperor is dominated by that law of compensation, from which neither
men nor things can escape, and from which it follows logically that
Germany, after having profited by methods of continuity, is now condemned
to suffer, in the same proportion, her trials of instability.

In determining upon the journey of his august mother to Paris, the
Emperor took no risks other than those which pleased him, and which
served the purposes of his grudges and his policy. In the first place,
this journey would serve for a moment to divert attention in Germany from
a policy which the great industrials and the workmen, the party of
progress and the conservatives, all unite in condemning. In the next
place, Berlin, having for a long time made ready to be amiable to Paris,
was bound to resent all the more acutely any failure to reciprocate her
kind advances. These results could not fail to be favourable to the vote
of credits for military purposes, which are always the last credits asked
for by the Government (whether under Bismarck or under Caprivi) and which
are always voted under stress of an appeal to the eternal but utterly
non-existent dangers, that are supposed to threaten Germany from France.

If our capital, then, should extend a cold welcome to the august mother
of the German Sovereign, the result could not fail to be of immediate
advantage to the vote of military credits. I ask my readers to notice,
by the way, the deliberate coincidence of the journey of the Empress with
the demand for these credits, and also with the anniversary of the Treaty
of Versailles. Finally, it was to be expected that if she were badly
received, the mistake thus committed by the Empress Frederick would make
"the Englishwoman" more unpopular in Germany; and, so far as one knows,
her Imperial son has never been passionately devoted to her. Moreover,
she afforded Bismarck an opportunity of getting rid of a little of his
venom, as witness the following words of his -


"Only an Englishwoman," the ex-Chancellor declared during a visit to Mr.
Burckardt, "could possibly have inspired the Emperor with the idea of
sending her to Paris as a challenge to the French. A German woman would
have had too much respect for her own dignity to go and visit Versailles
and Saint-Cloud. The nobility of her feelings would have forbidden her
to make a triumphal appearance amidst the ruins of the houses and castles
destroyed by our troops, and her pride would have prevented her from
seeking the homage and the favours of the vanquished. The Empress is
English, and English she will remain."


But if France were to welcome with enthusiasm - or even with favour - the
Empress Frederick, William II might justifiably conclude (without making
allowance for the sympathy which the widow of the Emperor-Martyr inspires
in Frenchwomen) that France had accepted the accomplished fact, abandoned
her claims to Alsace-Lorraine, and the defence of her future interests in
common with Russia. In that case, he would have treated France as he
treats those who show him the greatest devotion. In order to get a clear
idea of the object pursued by William II, it is sufficient to read two
short extracts from the _Étoile Belge_, a blind admirer of the Emperor of
Germany, and to read them separately from the enthusiastic articles which
this paper published at the commencement of the journey of the Empress
Frederick.

The correspondent of the _Étoile Belge_ wrote as follows -


"In confiding his mother and his sister to the hospitality of Paris,
William II committed an act as clever as it was courageous. Let him
continue in this policy of pacific advances, and the idea of a
reconciliation with Germany will soon become more popular than the
Russian Alliance."


The Berlin correspondent of the same _Étoile_ wrote -


"Germany has at least as much as England to gain in bringing it about
that Russia should not feel too sure of French support."


Is not this clear enough? There you have it: the real object which
underlay the visit incognito of the Empress Frederick for the furtherance
of the interests of Germany, It meant a reconciliation with Germany,
which would have separated us from Russia, from which England had
everything to gain, which would once more have surrendered our credit to
Italy unconditionally, and would have compelled us to renounce
Alsace-Lorraine for good and all.

What then would have been the results had she paid us an official visit?
We have already seen that none of the alternative schemes for this
journey could work to Germany's detriment; we need, therefore, not be
astonished at the publicity given by the Count von Münster to all the
comings and goings of the Empress, and at the determination shown by Her
Majesty to investigate the quality of our patriotism in all its various
aspects. The memories which the Empress went to recall at Saint-Cloud
and at Versailles were the same as those which she compelled us to call
from the past: memories glorious for her but unforgettably sad for us,
memories which, in reminding her of victory, were meant to remind us of a
defeat to which our conquerors have added cruelty.

I watch with fervour the expression of our patriotism. A race which
forgets the brutal insults of superior force deserves slavery. Italy
would never have reconquered Milan and Venice had she resigned herself to
see them pass under the yoke of the stranger. Forty years and more had
passed since the 2nd of May, [5] when Prince Napoleon thought fit to send
Prince Jérome as Ambassador to Madrid. He was forced to leave it.
Princess Murat was in no way responsible for what the French Generals had
done. She came in the suite of the Empress Eugenie, but Spain found a
way to make her displeasure manifest without any lack of courtesy. To
the Empress Frederick, France has shown a melancholy kind of astonishment
rather than dislike, and has displayed an infinite courtesy. Not a
single demonstration, not a gesture, not a word from the population of
Paris has done anything to detract from the city's world-wide reputation
for hospitality.

The Emperor William I and Bismarck, who pretended to make war only
against the Empire, would have shown themselves to be great and
far-seeing political minds had they left Republican France in possession
of the whole of her territory. Although beaten at Sedan, she would have
remembered Jena, and Germany's revenge would have quickly been forgotten.

Let us remember the words of the Emperor of Germany -


"I would rather that all my people should fall upon the field of battle
than give back to France a single clover-field of Alsace-Lorraine."


The _Post_ of Strasburg, recalling this declaration, adds -


"The French _bourgeoisie_ is too cowardly to begin a war. It is willing
to smile at the words of Déroulède, but does not move. The people of
Alsace-Lorraine have done quite rightly in turning away from these
talkers. We have _permitted_ them to become Germans, why then, should
they refuse the privilege?"


But William II continues to evoke the red vision of France militant, in
order to obtain the vote for his military credits. It would seem that
his liberalism has gone to join his socialism. At the dinner of the
Brandenburgers he said "God inspires me; the people and the nation owe me
their obedience." No matter whether he bungles or blunders, God alone is
responsible, and it is not for the people or the nation to argue. And
what is more, has not the new President of the Evangelical Church just
proclaimed William II as _summus episcopus_? Just as William claims to
decide infallibly every political question he will now decide all
theological questions, without asking any help from the supreme council
of the Evangelical Church.

Pope, Emperor and King - but does anybody suppose that this will satisfy
him?



March 27, 1891. [6]

The reception of the delegates from Alsace-Lorraine at Berlin is
characteristic. William II, eternally pre-occupied with stage-effects,
has on this occasion accentuated the disproportion between the framework
and the results obtained. He insisted upon it that the proceedings
should be as imposing as the refusal of the delegates' request was to be
humiliating. All the pomp and circumstance of State was displayed for
the occasion, with the result of producing a scene, carefully prepared in
advance, worthy of a Nero. The Emperor of Germany surrounded by his
military household, in the hall of his Knights of the Guard, receives the
complaints of the representatives of Alsace-Lorraine, who have come to
ask for a relaxation of the laws imposed on them by conquest. To them,
William II made answer: "The sooner the population of Alsace-Lorraine
becomes convinced that the ties which bind her to the German Empire will
never be broken, the sooner she proves more definitely that she is
resolved henceforward to display unswerving fidelity towards _me_ and
towards the Empire, the sooner will this hope of hers be realised."

Above the Imperial Palace, during this scene, the yellow flag of the
Emperors of Germany floated side by side with the purple banner of
Prussia.

Another picture -

The Emperor gives a banquet to the delegates of Alsace-Lorraine, after
having refused to hear their complaints. At the same table with them he
invites Herr Krupp to sit, in order to remind the people of the annexed
provinces of the cannons which defeated France and will defeat her again.
Here we have a reproduction of the Roman Empire in decay. The power of
the conqueror, imposed in all its pomp upon the vanquished, with the
cruelty of a bygone age.


The all-absorbing personality of William grows more and more jealous. He
would like to fill the whole stage of the theatre of the empire and of
the world itself. More than that, he even demands that the past should
date from himself, and he turns history inside out, having it written to
begin with his reign, and reascending the course of time. First himself,
then the house of Hohenzollern, then Prussia, and let that suffice. The
other dynasties, other kingdoms of Germany, count for so little that it
is sufficient merely to mention their existence. The history of which I
speak, written for the German Army, will be prescribed later on for use
of the high schools.

From each department of the public service William lifts an important
part of its business. From the Department of Education he takes the
direction of public worship, which, in his capacity as _summus
episcopus_, he proposes to control in person. From the War Department he
takes the section having control of maps and fortresses, which, he
proposes to place under the general staff and his own direction. He is
planning to make a province of Berlin, so that he himself may govern it
in military fashion, etc., etc. Is it possible that the mind of such a
man, thus inflated with pride, should not succumb to every temptation of
ambition? Is there any one of those about him, or amongst his subjects,
who can say where these ambitions will end? When one thinks of the mass
of ambitions and emotions that William II has exhausted since he came to
the throne, when one thinks of the difficult questions he has raised, the
obstacles he has created and the enterprises he has undertaken, how is it
possible not to _fear_ the future?

Germany is beginning to be oppressed by a feeling of uneasiness. She is
beginning to realise that her Emperor, by designing the orbit of his
activity on too large a scale, is producing the contrary effect, with the
result that sooner or later, the narrowing circumference of that orbit
will close in upon him, and he will only be able to break its barriers by
violent repression from within _and by a sudden outbreak of war without_.
Militarism and militarism only, the passion for which is ever recurrent
with William II, can satisfy his morbid craving for movement and action.
Thus we see him celebrating the Anniversary of William I by a review of
his troops and by a speech, so seriously threatening a breach of the
peace, that even the newspapers of the opposition hesitate to reproduce
it. All France should realise that _the German Emperor will make war
upon her without warning and without formal declaration, just as he
surprises his own garrisons_. By his orders, the statement is made on
all sides that the rifle of the German army is villainously bad. Let us
not believe a word of it. On the contrary, we should know that the
greater part of the Prussian artillery is superior to ours; let us be on
our guard against every surprise and ready.



April 28, 1891. [7]

On the occasion of the presentation of new standards to his troops, the
Emperor observed that the number 18 is one of deep significance for his
race, that it corresponds with six important dates in the history of
Prussia. "For this reason," he added, "I have chosen the 18th of April
as the day on which to present the new standards." As William II himself
puts it, this day, like all the "eighteenths" that went before it, has
its special significance.

The strange words uttered by the monarch on this occasion - always
intoxicated with the sense of his power, and sometimes by
_Kaiserbier_ - are denied to-day, or perhaps it would be more correct to


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