Copyright
Juliette Adam.

The Schemes of the Kaiser online

. (page 8 of 14)
Online LibraryJuliette AdamThe Schemes of the Kaiser → online text (page 8 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


reptile influences and of espionage, in all its multitudinous forms,
produce effects on our two allied nations, whose consequences are
impossible to over-estimate. Only an unceasing vigilance against every
one of the foreign intruders, salaried and enlisted in our midst, can
protect Russia and France against their insidious influences. Our
enemies labour to weaken us with the desperation inspired in them by
the dangers which they must face, if only we remain staunch, united and
strong.

Is it generally known that the German subjects of the poorer class who
inhabit Paris, receive an annual subsidy of 100 marks? This amounts to
putting a premium on a form of emigration useful to Germany and
constitutes for us a grave danger. Proof of this is to be found in the
report of a recent meeting of the municipal council at Metz. Instead
of sending back distressed German subjects in France to their own
country, Germany sends them money. The Alsatian newspaper which
affords us this information adds with perfect accuracy: "What would
Germany say if French municipalities were to subsidise officially
Frenchmen living in Berlin?"



April 12, 1894. [2]

I am one of those French people who have hoped, up to the very last
moment, for a continuation of good commercial relations (which means
good political relations) with Italy; I am one of those who first
believed in the possibility of re-establishing a good understanding
under both these headings; but for this very reason I retain a certain
susceptibility and pride which others, less sincere in the pursuit of a
definite reconciliation, certainly do not possess. Sadly I have
followed the cavalcade of the Prince of Naples to Metz. I can find no
joy in the words of King Humbert, which M. Gaston Calmette has
reproduced so wittily and with such good nature, in the _Figaro_. From
my point of view, both these actions of the King of Italy were inspired
by William II; and both had the same object in view, viz. to prove at
Metz that he could wound us cruelly through his ally, and to prove at
Venice that the good-will of Humbert I was subject to his control,
dictated in his own good time, and sanctioned at his pleasure. The
Emperor of Germany has inaugurated in Europe the policy of
right-about-face, a policy which bewilders diplomacy, astonishes the
_bourgeoisie_ and fills the nations with fear.



April 27, 1894. [3]

The revelations published by Mr. Valentin, Comptroller of Stores in the
Cameroons, deserve to be quoted in their entirety. In the _Neue
Deutsche Rundschau_ he has described the atrocities committed by
governors of German colonies, or by their representatives. Wholesale
butcheries, slow and horrible tortures, a new and ingenious method of
scalping, the imprisonment of wives snatched from their husbands and of
young girls taken from their mothers (to minister to the debaucheries
of these governors and their officers) and then brought back to tell
the terrible story to other unfortunate creatures destined to the same
fate; the horrible brutality of sentences, by virtue of which the flesh
of the victims was reduced to pulp under the eyes of the judges - the
revelation of all these things leaves one's mind possessed with
feelings of terror and horror, sufficient in themselves to justify any
reprisals that negro races might inflict upon white people.



July 23, 1894. [4]

One of these days I shall tell how the house of Krupp (in which William
II has so large a personal interest over and above his public interest)
is about to create for itself a formidable position in China, which is
likely to overthrow many calculations and may end in turning Asia
upside down. The great commercial houses of Hamburg, encouraged and
supported by the government at Berlin, are in telegraphic communication
with every market in China. Germany's economic life is developing with
frightful rapidity in Asia.



September 11, 1894. [5]

Amongst the list of surprises with which the Emperor of Germany is
pleased to supply the makers of small-talk in Europe, one often finds,
since the journey of the Empress Frederick to Paris (although that was
hardly to be called a success) that he is by way of making advances to
France. From time to time William II, in a carefully premeditated pose
(as, for that matter, all his poses are), extends towards us, across
the frontiers of Alsace-Lorraine, the hand of generous friendship.
Sometimes, for an entire day he will be good enough to forget that he
is heir to the victories won from us in 1870. Next day, it is true, we
shall find him celebrating in splendour our defeat at Sedan; but none
the less he will have satisfied his great soul by thus inviting us to
forget the past. Why is it that William II wearies not in thus
renewing his attempts at reconciliation with France? The reason is,
that he has nothing to lose by continual failures, whilst he has
everything to gain if he succeeds, even for a moment, in deceiving our
vigilance, and in diverting us from those feelings which alone can
honour and raise the vanquished, that is to say, fidelity to the
brothers we have lost, and the proud belief that, sooner or later, we
shall re-enter into possession of the conquered territory.

Last on the list of the intermittent advances which William II has made
to France, there appeared lately the following in the _Allegemeine
Norddeutsche Zeitung_, official organ of the German government: -


"There is no reason for misunderstanding, or for failure to appreciate,
the increasing signs which go to show that public opinion in France is
favourable to reconciliation with us, and that this opinion is growing,
not only amongst the higher classes in France, but amongst the people.
It is beginning to be recognised that it is to the interest of both
nations to shake hands, as is fitting between neighbours, no matter
what may have been their _former differences_. On the part of Germans
the tendency towards an _entente_ has gained in strength since we have
noticed the tendency of the French to judge impartially a personality
like that of our Emperor, as befits a nation so cultured and richly
endowed as the French."


What say you, veteran soldiers, who fought in the Terrible Year? What
say you, Parisians of the Siege, Frenchmen who have seen the Prussian
conqueror dragging his guns and booty along the roads of our France?
What say you, men of Alsace-Lorraine, heroes all? (No matter whether,
like some, you have sacrificed situation, home and your little
fatherland, so as not to forsake the greater, or, like others, you have
consented to become Prussians in order that the land you worship may
remain in hands that are still French.) What say you, when our
dreadful defeat, our piled-up ruin, and the spoliation of a portion of
France, become for a German official organ our _former differences_?
What words are these in which to speak of 1870-71, of that
unforgettable and tragic invasion, of the terrible anguish of our
ravished provinces, and what a proof they afford of the great gulf
which separates the mind of Germany from that of France!



September 26, 1894.

The German Emperor does not forget that he is before all things a
Prussian. Having administered a reprimand to the nobility, he proceeds
to give to the five new fortresses at Königsberg, the five greatest
family names of the Prussian nobility.

At Thorn he declared -

"Only they can count upon my royal favour who shall regard themselves
as absolutely and entirely Prussian subjects." The Germans have not
yet realised that the German Empire will be Prussian, before ever
Prussia consents to lose herself in a united Germany.



October 28, 1894.

The German Emperor, King of Prussia, with that love of peace for which
even Frenchmen are pleased to praise him, is now chiefly occupied in
displaying his passion for militarism. In the case of William II, it
will be necessary to modify a hallowed phrase, and to say to him:
"Seeing you in uniform, I guessed that you were no soldier."

The Emperor, King of Prussia, insists on continually reminding the
German peoples that he is the commander-in-chief of the armies of the
Empire, and he never misses an opportunity of emphasising the fact. At
the presentation of flags to the 132 new battalions created by the new
military law, (and doubtless with a view to peace, as usual) the
Emperor with his own hand hammered 132 nails, fixing the standards to
their flag-staffs. This sort of thing fills me with admiration, and if
it were not for my stupid obstinacy, it might convert me to share the
opinion of M. Jules Simon, who holds that we should entertain the King
of Prussia at the Exhibition in 1900, and welcome him as the great
_clou_[6] on that occasion. But I should not jest about those feelings
which transcend all others in the heart of the French people. Germany
owes us Alsace-Lorraine; she has every interest in trying to make us
forget the debt. What would one think of a creditor who allowed the
debtor to persuade him that the debt no longer existed? A nation which
reserves its rights against the victor, and maintains its claims to
conquered territory, may be despoiled but is not vanquished. Would
Italy have recovered Lombardy and Venice had she not unceasingly
protested against the Austrian occupation? Excessive politeness
towards those who have inflicted upon us the unforgettable outrage of
defeat is not a sign of good manners, but of culpable weakness, for it
inflicts suffering upon those who have to put up with the material
consequences of Germany's conquest, and might end in separating them
from their old and unforgotten mother country.

When William II conducted the Prince of Naples to Metz he was only
acting in accordance with his usual ideas as an insolent conqueror.
But if we were to receive the German Emperor at the Exhibition of
1900 - if at that time he is still master of Alsace-Lorraine - we should
be committing the base act of a people defeated beyond all hope of
recovery.



December 12, 1894. [7]

As day by day one follows the proceedings of William II, one gradually
experiences a feeling of weariness and of numbness, such as one gets
from watching the spectacle of waves in motion.

Before his speech from the throne, and in order to prepare his public
for a surprise, William II had directed the King of Saxony, on the
occasion of a presentation of standards, to tell France to her face
that she had better behave, that the Saxon heroes of 1870 had sons
worthy of them, and that the glorious, triumphant march from Metz to
Paris might very easily begin all over again. Whereupon, general alarm
and feverish expectation of the speech of William II, which of course,
turned out to be pacific. The following sentence should suffice to
prove it:

"Our confidence in the maintenance of peace has again been
strengthened. Faithful to the spirit of our alliances, we maintain
good and friendly relations with all the powers."

One can discern, however, a little trumpet note (of which he would not
lose the habit), in the speech which he made at the opening of the new
Reichstag building, whose construction was begun at the time of the
Prussian victories: "May this building remind them (the deputies) that
it is their duty to watch over that which their fathers have
conquered." But this is a pure and simple melody compared to the
war-march of the Saxons.



January 12, 1885. [8]

William II, in search of a social position, has become lecturer. At
his first lecture, he announced to the whole world that our commercial
marine no longer holds the second place, that this second place belongs
to Germany, and it is now necessary that Germany's Navy should also
take our place. And in his usual chameleon way, the German Emperor,
who until quite recently refused to admit that there lay any merit
whatsoever in the Bismarckian policy, now adds: "And Prince Bismarck
may rejoice, for the policy which he introduced has triumphed."



March 12, 1895. [9]

On a certain day, in 1871, the defenders of Paris and its patriotic
inhabitants learned from the silence of our guns, that the Prussian
enemy's victory over them was complete. And now it seems we are going
to Kiel, to take part in the triumphant procession of H.M. William II,
King of Prussia, and to add the glory of our flag to the brilliant
inauguration of his strategic waterway. Why should we go to Kiel? Who
wanted our government to go there? Nobody, either in France or Russia.
The great Tzars are too jealous of the integrity of their own splendid
territory, to refuse to allow that a nation should remember its lost
provinces. We were indignant when the Prince Royal of Italy, the ally
of Germany, went to take part in the German military cavalcades, and
now we ourselves, whom Prussia defeated, are going, in the train of the
despoiler of Schleswig-Holstein, to assist at the opening of a canal,
which penetrates and bleeds Danish provinces, annexed by the same
conqueror who took from us Alsace-Lorraine. Will Denmark, whom William
II has had the audacity to invite, go to Kiel? No, a thousand times
no! and neither should we go there ourselves, to applaud this taking
possession of Danish waters. Denmark, though invited, will not go to
Kiel; yet we know what are the ties which bind her Sovereigns to
Russia. It has been said, in order to reassure consciences that are
easily quieted, that our war-ships will go to Kiel sheltered by those
of Russia, and, so to speak, hidden beneath their shadow. Our dignity
is at stake, as much in the truth as in the falsehood of this news.
The French Government is not a monarchy. By declining this invitation
of our conquerors, it would have placed the whole question on its
proper footing, which should be that of the situation created by the
Treaty of Frankfort. We should have said to Germany, France desires
peace. Our Chauvinists will remain quiet, so long as the German
Government gives us no provocation. If we refrain from going to Kiel,
it is in order to maintain the peaceful condition of our relations.
Germany's chief interest is to lead Europe to believe that we have come
to accept the loss of Alsace-Lorraine, and to make the people of those
provinces believe that we have forgotten them.

The King of Prussia, German Emperor, just to keep his hand in,
stimulates the military virtues of his recruits, and for the hundredth
time presides over the taking of the oath of fidelity. He teaches the
recruits that the eagle is a noble bird, which soars aloft into the
skies and fears no danger; also, that it is the business of the said
recruits to imitate the eagle. He adds that the German navy is the
only real one, that all others are spurious imitations, and he
concludes by saying that "the German Navy will achieve prosperity and
greatness along paths of peace, for the good of the Fatherland, as it
will in war, so as to be able, if God will, to crush the enemy."
William II never speaks of conquering the enemy or being superior to
him; it is always "crush." It is this crushing German navy that our
sailors are to go and salute at Kiel.

It looks as if our artists were lending a hand to William, and
gratifying this passion of his for crushing people. An Alsatian friend
of mine, who knows his Germany well, said to me the other day that, in
sending their pictures for exhibition at Berlin, our painters are
likely to ruin their own market. For a long time the King of Prussia
has wanted to have a _salon_ at Berlin, and he looks to French painters
to give it brilliancy and to attract those foreign artists who are
accustomed to French exhibitions. Once it has become the fashion to go
to Berlin, French artists will find that they have helped to ruin their
own business. How can anybody suppose that William II really wishes to
do honour to French art? Do not let us forget that Frederick III said
"France must have her industrial Sedan, as she has had her military
Sedan."



March 28, 1895. [10]

It seems then, that Germany's proudest ambitions are about to be
realised at the fêtes at Kiel. That patriotic hymn of theirs, which up
to the present has been a dead letter for those peoples who have not
yet been incorporated in the Prussianised Empire, will now become a
living thing. Henceforward all Europe must hear and accept the
offensive utterance which the Germans shout: "Deutschland über Alles!"
Yes, Germany over all things.

That her Emperor should have willed it, is enough to bring together in
his triumphant procession all the following -


Russia, despoiled of her triumph at Constantinople by the Congress of
Berlin, and exposed on her flank by the Baltic Canal.

England, tricked at Heligoland and at Zanzibar, and whose power is
threatened by the very fleet which she is going to salute.

Spain, threatened in the Carolines, who has only been protected from
Prussian presumption by her own indomitable pride.

Denmark, cynically robbed of Schleswig-Holstein.

Italy, from whom the German navy, when it has become the equal of the
German army and fulfilled the dream of William II, will take Trieste.
It is true that, to make up for Trieste, diplomacy at Berlin is putting
Salonika in pickle with a good deal of English pepper, intending to
offer it as a _hors d'oeuvre_ to Austria, Germany's advanced and
submissive sentinel in the East.

France, the most deeply injured and despoiled, whom the German conquest
has plundered to the utmost, she also will take part in the procession,
and in order that our humiliation be the more complete, so that the
French army may be unable to forgive the French navy for it, our Flag,
our beloved colours, will doubtless salute one of those Prussian
vessels which carry the name of one of our defeats, for instance, the
_Wörth_!


After that, William II, King of Prussia, will be unable to descry a
single cloud on the German horizon. And Germany, Germany will be above
and over all! The glory and the splendour of the Hohenzollerns will
shine upon the entire universe, and the German Emperor, Emperor of
Emperors, like the King of Kings, will have nothing to fear until the
Heavens fall.

And we, who have forgotten nothing of the Terrible Year and what it
took from us, we, who can see under the left breast of our beloved
France, her bleeding heart, ravished Alsace-Lorraine, we shall lift our
eyes unto Heaven, our last hope, beseeching it to strike down the
presumptuous one, since men are afraid of him.



April 10, 1895. [11]

It has always been a dream of mine to see a newspaper founded under the
title _Foreign Opinion_, a sheet confined to information, in which
would be presented, clearly, simply, and held together by an
intelligent sequence of ideas, quotations from the principal organs of
those countries in which we have interests, either identical or
opposed. Statesmen and Members of Parliament would be compelled to
read such a paper. A knowledge of foreign opinion would render the
greatest services to public opinion in this country, for it would
compel our somewhat self-centred mind to take into consideration the
judgment of others, to determine the justice or the harshness of the
criticism directed against us, and to draw, from the study of these
things, warnings and rules of conduct.

To take an immediate instance, let me give my readers an extract from
the _Münchner Nachtrichten_, a newspaper, which as a rule does not
share the brutal harshness of the Berlin Press with regard to our
feelings and their expression in French newspapers -


"These foolishly vain Frenchmen, sitting in their meagre little thicket
of laurels, contemplate with evident displeasure the stirring of the
winds in the great forest of German oaks, and their discontent finds
expression in ways that are frequently comical. The _Figaro_ for
example, has expressed it in an article which is particularly silly
(with a kind of foolishness not often found even in a French newspaper,
which is saying a good deal). It denies to Germans the right to
remember the glorious years of 1870 and '71, for the reason that French
people might thereby be hurt. Does it mean to say that the French
would threaten us with war if we continue to celebrate our victories
over them? Well, if these gentlemen are of that opinion, we will
answer them that Germany is peacefully inclined, but that, if the
French are not satisfied with the severe lesson that we gave them in
1870-71, we are quite prepared to begin it all over again."


And these are the people, mind you, who would have said that we were
trying to provoke them if, faithful to the memory of our defeat, as
they are to the memory of their victory, we had abstained from going to
Kiel to sing the glories of the conqueror. Like William II, their
Sovereign and Lord, Germany will never admit that our actions should be
a counterpart to their own, even though such actions should include
recognition of their former victories. They wish to impose upon us,
not only the acceptance of defeat, but a definite recognition of their
conquest, a final sacrifice of our ancient rights, together with
unlimited scope for their new ambitions. The German Emperor, King of
Prussia, has never made two consecutive speeches in which one did not
contain some threat for us, long or short-dated. If one were to add
together all the words of peace which William has spoken and all his
war-like utterances, the mass of the latter would irretrievably swamp
all the rest.



October 28, 1895. [12]

His Majesty the German Emperor, King of Prussia, seems to be quite
incapable of understanding that, in love as in hate, it is wisest not
to be overfond of repeating either the word "always" or the word
"never." It is the intention of William II, that Germany should for
ever and ever remain the gate of Hell for France, and he has continued
to din into our ears his _lasciate speranza_ every year for the last
twenty-five. He never misses an opportunity of showing us France
humiliated and Germany magnified and glorified. The monument at Wörth
has been unveiled with such a noisy demonstration, that it has for ever
banished from our minds the figure, softened by suffering, of that
Emperor Frederick, who had made us forget "Unser Fritz" of
blood-stained memory. William II noisily recalls to our mind the
conqueror, when we wished to see in him only the martyr. This is what
the German Emperor now tells the world at large: "Before the statue of
this great Conqueror, let us swear to keep what he conquered, to defend
this territory against all comers and to keep it German, by the aid of
God and our good German sword."

To do him justice, William II has rendered to us patriots a most
conspicuous service. At a word he has set us back in the position from
which the luke-warm, the dreamers, and the cowards were trying to drive
us. By saying that Alsace-Lorraine is to remain Prussian for ever and
for ever, he has compelled France either to accept her defeat for
centuries to come, or to protest against it every hour of her national
existence.



November 2, 1895.

William II suffers from a curious kind of obsession, which makes him
want to astonish the world by his threats, every time that his recruits
take the oath. On the present occasion he said, that the army must not
only remember the Watch on the Rhine but also the Watch on the Vistula.



[1] _La Nouvelle Revue_, April 1, 1894, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[2] _La Nouvelle Revue_, April 16, 1894, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[3] _Ibid._, May 1, 1894.

[4] _La Nouvelle Revue_, August 1, 1894, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[5] _La Nouvelle Revue_, September 15, 1894, "Letters on Foreign
Policy."

[6] A pun on the word _clou_, a nail.

[7] _La Nouvelle Revue_, December 15, 1894, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[8] _La Nouvelle Revue_, January 15, 1895, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[9] _Ibid._, March 16, 1895.

[10] _La Nouvelle Revue_, April 1, 1895, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[11] _La Nouvelle Revue_, April 15, 1895, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[12] _La Nouvelle Revue_, November 1, 1895, "Letters on Foreign Policy."




CHAPTER V

1896-1897


Telegram from William II to President Krüger - The Emperor Nicholas II
visits France - William II and Turkish affairs; he becomes Protector of
the Sultan - Why the condolences of William II preceded those of the
Tzar on the occasion of the fire at the Charity Bazaar - "Germany, the
Enemy": Skobeleff's word remains true - We have been, and we still are,
gulls - Peace signed between Turkey and Greece.


1 2 3 4 5 6 8 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryJuliette AdamThe Schemes of the Kaiser → online text (page 8 of 14)