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[10] _La Nouvelle Revue_, August 1, 1891, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[11] _Ibid._, August 15, 1891.

[12] _La Nouvelle Revue_, September 1, 1891, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[13] _Ibid._, September 15,1891.

[14] _La Nouvelle Revue_, October 1, 1891, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[15] _La Nouvelle Revue_, November 15, 1891, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[16] An allusion to the Commander's statue in "Don Juan."

[17] _La Nouvelle Revue_, December 15, 1891, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[18] _La Nouvelle Revue_, January 1, 1892, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[19] _La Nouvelle Revue_, February 15, 1892, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[20] _La Nouvelle Revue_, March 1, 1892, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[21] _La Nouvelle Revue_, March 15, 1892, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[22] _La Nouvelle Revue_, April 15, 1892, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[23] _La Nouvelle Revue_, May 1, 1892, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[24] _La Nouvelle Revue_, June 1, 1892, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[25] _La Nouvelle Revue_, July 15, 1892, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[26] _La Nouvelle Revue_, September 1, 1892, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[27] _La Nouvelle Revue_, September 15, 1892, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[28] _La Nouvelle Revue_, October 1, 1892, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[29] _La Nouvelle Revue_, November 16, 1892, "Letters on Foreign Policy."




CHAPTER III

1893


William II receives the Tzarewitch - Germany would rather shed the last
drop of her blood than give up Alsace-Lorraine - William's journey to
Italy - The German manoeuvres in Alsace-Lorraine.


January 13, 1893. [1]

Being too weak a man to accept such responsibility as that involved in
the scheme of military reforms, Von Caprivi has, so to speak, by his
suppliant attitude towards the parties in the Reichstag, forced William
II to assert himself. In spite of his leanings towards prudent reform,
the Emperor-King, whose pride we know, has found himself all of a
sudden in a sorry plight on the question of the increase of the
standing army. The rising tide of public censure, mounting to the foot
of the throne itself, found no one to hold it back but a bewildered
lock-keeper. And so the Emperor, with his helmet on his head, appeared
upon the scene, to take charge of the damming operations. On January 1
he addressed his generals, his enthusiastic officers (who, like all
soldiers, have a holy horror of politicians), and said to them, "I
shall smash the obstacles that they raise against me."

Thus it happens that it is no longer Von Caprivi who confronts the
Reichstag, no longer the hesitating successor of Bismarck, whom the
country accuses of leading it on the path to ruin: the Emperor-King
takes charge in person. Instead of being a question of policy and
bargaining between the political parties, the question becomes one of
loyalty. In Parliament, the resistance of the country, instead of
being a legitimate opposition intended to enlighten the sovereign,
becomes revolutionary. So now the Reichstag is compelled either to
vote the scheme of military reform, or to be dissolved; Germany must
either confirm her representatives in their obedience, or take the
consequences of her hostility towards the Emperor and his army. The
Reichstag will submit, and Germany will humbly offer to her Sovereign
an additional million of troops in the next five or six years. William
II will hasten their general submission by threats of war and
revolution, as unlimited as is the field of his falsehood.



February 12, 1893. [2]

William II has left no stone unturned, and has displayed the utmost
skill, in endeavouring to enfold in his influence the heir to the
throne of Russia. He has devoted to this end all the splendour that an
Imperial Sovereign can display in the entertainment of his guest, all
the resources of enthusiasm which he can lead his people to display in
welcoming him, all his tricks of apparent good-will, all the
fascination of a mind which is apt to dazzle those who meet it for the
first time (although later on it is apt to inspire them with weariness
by its very excesses), every manifestation of a wistful friendship
which proclaims itself misunderstood.

The whole Germany of tradition displayed itself before the eyes of the
Tzarewitch, all its treacherous appearance of good nature, all its
dishonest methods, composed of a mixture of vanity and apparent
simplicity, whose object it is to make people believe in a sort of
unconsciousness of great strength. The German Emperor made an appeal
for a union of princes to resist the restless democracy of our times,
and repeated it with urgency, and in the usual stock phrases. In a
word, William II laid under contribution, to charm the son of the Tzar,
all his arts and spells of fascination. Why wonder that he succeeded,
when we remember that M. Jules Simon, a French Republican, member of
the Government of National Defence in 1870, came back from Berlin
singing the praises of the King of Prussia? Also, that the entire
Press of our country, with the sole exception of the _Nouvelle Revue_,
was wont, at the commencement of William's reign, to speak with
sympathy of the genial character of the "young Emperor," to praise his
schemes of social reform, and to express its belief in the superiority
of a mind which, as a matter of fact, is remarkable only for its
excesses and disorder? But all Germany, like M. Jules Simon and the
French Press, will find out the truth. The country may have gone into
ecstasies over the first acts and first speeches of its young
sovereign, but it will soon learn to know how little connection there
is between the words and assurances of William of Hohenzollern and his
deeds.

At the outset, during the sojourn of the Tzarewitch at Berlin, whilst
he was being carefully coddled by the Emperor, the chancellor, Von
Caprivi (who boasts of having no initiative of his own and of acting
only under the orders of his master), was inspiring accusations, and
making them himself before the military commission, charging the war
party in Russia with secretly plotting against Germany. One would like
to know where the war party in Russia can possibly be at the present
moment?

At the same time that William II was endeavouring to recover and
restore amicable relations with the Tzar, he had every intention of
carrying through his schemes of military re-organisation and the
increase of the army, which, as Von Caprivi was wont to say after His
Majesty, constitute essential safeguards against a Russian invasion.
Now, the good Germans welcomed the son of Alexander III; they meant to
prove to William II how useless they considered the increase of the
army, inasmuch as the Tzar, with whom lies the final arbitrament of
war, had shown his desire for peace by sending his son to Berlin. The
Tzar, whose statecraft is great and profound, had clearly foreseen what
the German people would think of the presence of his son in their
midst; he showed them by this means that the increase of the army is
useless, and that all the agitation and complications which William
provokes, the oppositions and the struggles which he himself creates
amongst the forces that he lets loose, give rise to dangers, far
greater than any with which Russia could ever threaten Germany.

William II wears blinkers; he can sometimes see in front of him, but
never around him nor behind. He believed that the Tzar and the Russian
Press were going to be affected by the same sort of enthusiasm which he
had inspired in the Tzarewitch, but the Tzar, Russia, and the Russian
Press considered matters dispassionately and saw them in their right
light; they were even of opinion that William II had displayed far too
much vanity in his reception of the Tzarewitch and too little dignity.
Consequently, after the departure of the Tzarewitch, the Emperor-King
of Prussia, had a fit of rage, furious with disappointment at not
having been able to follow up the success which he had obtained with
the Tzarewitch himself. In one of those fits of ungovernable temper
which lead him to commit so many irreparable mistakes, and which are
the despair of his Government and his Court, he caused Von Caprivi's
Press to publish the news of an attempt upon the life of the Tzar. But
the methods of reptile journalism are now thoroughly understood and the
Emperor Alexander, guessing the source of this lie, demanded an
immediate apology, which Admiral Prince Henry hastened to convey, in
the name of his brother, to the Russian Embassy. At the same time that
he invented this story of the attempt on the life of the Tzar, the King
of Prussia, German Emperor, proposed a toast in honour of the Duke of
Edinburgh, Commander-in-Chief of the British Fleet, in which he looked
forward to "the glorious day when the British fleet should fight the
common enemy." The common and double enemy of England and Germany, as
every one is aware, is France and Russia.



March 11, 1893. [3]

Until quite recently, the proposed military law was heatedly discussed
in Germany. Realising that the Military Commission was on the point of
rejecting it, William II finished his speech in the following words -


"The supporters of the proposed Sedlitz Law accused the Government of
weakness, when it withdrew the Bill in the face of the clearly declared
opposition of a majority of the nation. Well, then, the proposed
military law provides us with an opportunity of showing that my
Government is not a weak one, and that the firm will of my grandfather,
the Emperor William, lives again in me."


A few days before the vote in the Reichstag, Herr Bebel had raised the
question of International Arbitration wherein, he said, lay Germany's
best means of proving her love for peace, even should it involve the
risk of having the question of Alsace-Lorraine brought before an
International Tribunal. Hereupon, Von Caprivi, Chancellor of the
Prusso-German Empire, replied to the applause which had come from
almost the entire Reichstag, as follows -


"The deputy Bebel advises us to adopt a tribunal of International
Arbitration. He admits the possibility that such a tribunal might
raise some day the question of Alsace-Lorraine; he insinuates that we
were to blame for the outbreak of war in 1870, and that there are those
who maintain this idea with even greater strength and assurance than
himself. Well, then, if such a tribunal should come together, and
should express, no matter in what connection, its opinion on the
question of Alsace-Lorraine, and if that opinion should be to the
effect that Germany should hand back Alsace-Lorraine, I am convinced
that Germany would never submit to such a decision, and that she would
rather shed her blood to the last drop than to hand back these
provinces."


To which Herr Bebel naturally replied -


"When one holds ideas of this kind, it is perfectly evident that one
cannot admit of International tribunals."


Before his little speech, His Majesty the German Emperor had made a big
one, from which we learned yet once again that William I had been
entrusted with a mission, and had handed it down to William II; and
then we heard once more the phrase with which Bismarck had deafened our
ears, on one of his blustering days, and which the King of Prussia has
re-issued in a new form and on his own account: "We Germans fear God
and nothing else in this world."

Well, Sire, I for my part believe that your Majesty fears something
else besides God, and that is the disintegration of the Triple Alliance.



March 29, 1893. [4]

William II is ever at pains to invest those occasions in which his
personality plays a part, with all the glamour of Imperial pomp. Once
again, accompanied this time by an enormous retinue of Germans glad of
the occasion of a free trip to a sunny land, William II is about to
remind the Romans at Rome of the majesty of the Caesars. May their
King not be reminded at the same time, by certain aspects of this
triumphal procession, of Rome's captive kings. In binding herself to
Germany, has not Italy given herself over into bondage to the Teuton
and especially to Austria, her hereditary foe? I could readily answer
this question in the affirmative by looking back into the past, I who
have so often shared in the patriotic emotions of Italy in bygone days;
but every people is entitled to be the sole judge of its own destinies,
and its best friends abroad have no right to endeavour to enlighten it
by any rays which do not fall from its own heaven above. One can
easily lead a nation astray, even by means of truths that have been
clearly demonstrated beyond its frontiers. One is compelled to admit
that the most extraordinary events may occur amongst one's neighbours.

William II, after having sent General Loë to congratulate Leo XIII on
his Episcopal Jubilee, has just made a speech on the occasion of the
silver wedding of King Humbert I and Queen Margaret. It will please
the Italians, but this ambiguous policy seems to me anything but
flattering, either for the Italian Kingdom or for the Papacy. As in
1888 and with the same ceremonies, Leo XIII will receive the
Emperor-King of Prussia at the Vatican, and William II, as on that
previous occasion will be able to split his sides with laughter on
returning to the Quirinal, mimicking the Holy Father and boasting that
he has befooled him once more.



April 27, 1893. [5]

The wisdom of the nations is now enriched with a new proverb, "A
rolling Emperor gathers moss, and gathers nothing more." Before long
the tumult and the shouting of the fêtes at Rome will die down, and
with them the popular excitement of enthusiasm for the all-powerful
German Emperor. The Italian people will then find itself confronted by
the exhaustion imposed upon it by the compulsory militarism of the
so-called pacific Triple Alliance. Even if cavalcades, reviews and
tournays, should awaken again in the heart of the Roman people that
love of the circus, which this people has inspired in all the latinised
races, the economic question still remains, the question of money and
of bread, implacable. I know not why it is, but the brilliancy of
William II's visit to Italy gives me the impression of a fire of straw.
What object had he in going there, and what has he attained? I can see
none. All his fervent protestations appear to me in bad taste, when
compared with the correct dignity of the Court of Austria, third of the
Allied Powers.



May 12, 1893. [6]

How can our German Caesar, who has just made a journey to Rome after
the manner of Barbarossa, continue to suffer an assembly of talkers, of
political commercial travellers, of people who allow their minds to be
dominated by the vulgar thing called economics? It is not possible,
and therefore Caesar calls to witness the first Military Staff that he
comes across at the Tempelhof and makes it judge of the matter. "I
have had to order the dissolution of the Reichstag," says William to
his officers and generals, "and I trust that the new Parliament will
sanction the re-organisation of the Army. But if this hope should not
be realised, I fully intend to leave no stone unturned to attain the
end which I desire. No stone unturned, gentlemen, and you understand,
I hope, that it is to you that I am speaking, and you who are
concerned. You are the defenders of the past, and of the prerogatives
of the Imperial and Royal Power."

If the new Reichstag meets in the same spirit of resistance to the
excesses of Prussian militarism, William II will be condemned to
constitutional government and then, little by little, to the surrender
of everything that he believes to be his proper attributes, and of all
his tastes. No further possibility then of an offensive war, to escape
from domestic difficulties; no more parades with the past riding behind
him; no more finding a way out by some sudden headlong move, for he
would drag behind him only a people convinced against its will and too
late. The only thing then left to the King of Prussia, face to face
with a new majority opposed to militarism, would be the dangerous
resource of a _coup d'état_.

Dr. Lieber, an influential deputy, has defined the actual situation
with a clearness which leaves nothing to be desired -

"We perceive," he said, "that the Prussian principle of government is
developing more and more, and tending to become the idea of the German
Empire. The policy to be pursued in the German Parliament should be
purely German."

The dilemma is clear. Will Germany continue to become Prussianised or
will she remain German? If she is Prussian, that is to say,
militarist, socialism will grow and increase; if she is German, the
development and expansion of her political and social organism, having
free play, will come about normally and surely. Therefore, the
solidity of German unity should consist in resistance to Prussianism or
militarism, to William II, and to the past. On the other hand,
submission of the old Confederation to Prussia must inevitably lead to
disintegration.



May 29, 1893. [7]

William II has told us, on the occasion of the unveiling of the statue
of William I at Gorlitz, that the question which brought about the
dissolution of the Reichstag, that like which confronts the impending
election, is that of the Military Bill, and that this question
dominates all others.

"That which the Emperor, William I, has won, I will uphold," says the
present Emperor; "we must assure the future of the Fatherland. In
order to attain this object, the military strength of the country must
be increased and fortified, and I have asked the nation to supply the
necessary means. Confronted by this grave question, on which the very
existence of the country depends, all others are relegated to the
background."

Should we conclude, with the _Frankfurter Zeitung_, that "that which
oppresses our minds in this struggle is the reflection, that no
possible benefit is to be attained through victory, nor any remedy for
defeat"?

Will Germany yield, or will she resist the will of the Emperor thus
clearly expressed? Herein lies a question which, in one way or
another, must have the gravest consequences.



July 1, 1893. [8]

One day, on the occasion of a first performance of a play called
"Cadio," by George Sand, I was with a woman, my best friend, in the
wings of the theatre, Porte-Saint-Martin. I saw Mélingue stamping on
the floor with his feet and jumping and twisting about, and upon my
asking him what was the meaning of these extraordinary antics, he
replied; "It is because, when I come upon the scene, I am supposed to
have galloped several miles on horseback and it would not do for me,
therefore, to present the appearance of a gentleman who has just come
out of a room or from the garden." I do not quite know why I should
have remembered this far-off incident on learning that the German
Emperor, King of Prussia, had come on horseback from Potsdam to open
the new Reichstag. As a comedian, William II does not follow the
methods of Mélingue. He rides, in order to present a calmer appearance
at his entry upon the scene. Clad in the uniform of a Hussar, he read
the speech from the throne with an evangelical mildness. He was
playing the part of a soldier-clergyman. The soldier said -


"My august allies agree with my conviction that the Empire, in view of
the development of military institutions by other Powers, can no longer
delay to give to its armed forces such increase as shall guarantee the
security of its future."


The clergyman had upon his lips the honey of promises of concessions,
and he concluded with these words, added to the speech from the throne -


"And now, gentlemen, may the Lord grant His blessing to every one of
us, for the successful issue of a meritorious work in the interests of
our country. Amen!"


In the course of the latest discussion of the military law in the
Reichstag, we have been able to gather certain unforgettable
information. In the first place, Von Caprivi has told us that the
increase of the army is directed really and more especially against
France. Herr Richter declares that Germany, single-handed, can carry
through victoriously any struggle against us. Liebknecht says that
Turkey can hold Russia in check together with Poland, and finally,
that: "Germany counts upon England as surely as upon Austria and upon
Italy."



September 13, 1893. [9]

The Emperor, King of Prussia, has addressed to our brothers that are
cut off from us, the following words -


"You are Germans, and Germans you will remain; may God and our good
German sword help us to bring it to pass."


To which words, every Frenchman has replied -


"They are French and French they shall remain, God and our good French
sword helping us."


Calmly we await the final provocation. The German manoeuvres have only
served to teach us one thing more, viz. that William II wishes us to
know that the moment is at hand for a last challenge. All the German
Sovereigns who were present at the manoeuvres in Alsace-Lorraine,
appeared to be weary of the supremacy which William, the hot-headed,
asserts throughout all the territory of the Empire. Certain of their
number stated in the presence of several people whose sympathies are
with the French, that the Emperor of Germany was no more master of the
proceedings than they themselves, and that they had no intention of
figuring either as members of his suite or of his general staff, in
accordance with the wish which he had expressed to Von Caprivi.

(Before the Emperor of Germany, Talma had played a part in the presence
of an audience of kings.)

The gift offered by the German subjects of the city of Metz, by way of
thanksgiving for the extraordinary performance given by William II,
proves by its very nature that not a single Frenchman had anything to
do with its selection. In its form and substance, and in the taste
which it displayed, it is a typically German present, this casket of
green plush full of candied fruits. No doubt, the Empress will be
delighted and all the little princes too.



[1] _La Nouvelle Revue_, January 15, 1893, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[2] _La Nouvelle Revue_, February 15, 1893, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[3] _La Nouvelle Revue_, March 15, 1893, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[4] _La Nouvelle Revue_, April 1, 1893, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[5] _La Nouvelle Revue_, May 1, 1893, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[6] _Ibid._, May 15, 1893.

[7] _La Nouvelle Revue_, June 1, 1893, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[8] _La Nouvelle Revue_, July 1, 1893, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[9] _La Nouvelle Revue_, September 16, 1893, "Letters on Foreign
Policy."




CHAPTER IV

1894-1895


Treaty of Commerce between Germany and Russia - Opening of the Kiel
Canal; why France should not have sent her ships there - Germany
proclaims her readiness to give us again the lesson which she gave us
in 1870.


March 29, 1894. [1]

William II is triumphant in Germany, and his officious newspapers vie
with each other in proclaiming the grandeur of his ideas. Meanwhile,
the people of Berlin hiss him and sing rebel songs about him on the
review ground at Tempelhof.

Beyond all doubt the King of Prussia got the better of much opposition
when he secured the vote for his commercial treaty with Russia. Our
friends of the north cannot doubt that they have our best wishes, that
their commercial and agrarian position may be improved thereby, but the
more favourable the treaty proves for them, the more we would beg them
to profit by its advantages, but not to allow themselves to be
entangled in its dangerous consequences. If they act thus, if
Germany's sacrifices should prove of benefit only to her neighbours, if
the advantages of influence and penetration aimed at by William II
under cover of this treaty, should be revealed to Russian patriotism,
Germany may prove to be the party deceived.

If William II is clever it is only because of our lack of cleverness
and foresight. It is because we leave the door open that he is able to
make his way in. Prussian policy is completely lacking in honesty. It
forces an entry by all possible means, keeps listening ears at every
door, and weakens its rivals by the dissensions which it creates,
maintains and fosters.

Neither French influence in Russia, nor Russian influence in France,
has ever made use of such methods of procedure as Germany employs in
both our countries. The unwholesome and dangerous penetration of


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