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berlains bearing the crown and insignia. It was a



The Kaiser



43



most impressive display, and when the professor came
away he said to a friend :

" I am a republican to the backbone, but I believe
that if monarchs are necessary they should be monarchs
to the last bit of gold lace, just as William is Kaiser."

The next day this friend had an audience with the
Kaiser, and in the course of the conversation told
him what the American professor had said. The
Kaiser laughed heartily.

" That is exactly what I believe," he said. "Dom
Pedro of Brazil illustrated the folly of trying to be a
republican on a throne."

The pictures of the Kaiser and his family form an
admirable indication of the degree of his popularity
in various parts of the empire. It is said that the
different photographs of the Kaiser now number far
into the thousands. At a single shop which I visited
in Berlin, there were no fewer than two hundred and
sixty-seven different pictures of the Kaiser and this
did not include the scores upon scores of groups
and family pictures in which the Kaiser appears. It
is said that the Kaiser averages a picture a day, year
in and year out. Of course weeks will pass when no
photograph is taken, at least no official photograph,
and then there comes a time when a dozen of them
are made in an afternoon. In Berlin, one cannot
possibly escape the Kaiser's face : it is everywhere, in
the hotel room where you sleep, in the restaurant




T^he Kaiser arid Kaiserin



The Kaiser 45

where you eat, in almost every shop window, in the
picture galleries, in the churches, in the public build-
ings, and in every illustrated paper. No American
presidential candidate ever had his likeness so widely
displayed even at his home town in campaign time.
And not only photographs, but paintings, busts in
marble, bronze, and bisque, cheap colored prints,
medals, bas-reliefs, and every other known form of
representation of the human face.

This is in Berlin, the centre of Prussian loyalty.
In the northern provinces of Germany, especially in
Pomerania, the pictures of the Kaiser are not so
plentiful, and yet they are very numerous. One may
see thousands of them in Stettin, where there are tens
in Dresden. Indeed, as one goes south from Berlin
the Kaiser's pictures grow fewer in number, until at
Munich one rarely sees any of them displayed, —
certainly the best evidence of the aloofness of the
Bavarians. Judged by the number of his pictures on
view, the Kaiser is more popular to-day in Cologne
and Aix-la-Chapelle, in the half-French Rhine coun-
try, than he is in Bavaria. Indeed, one who hears
everything in the Kaiser's praise in north Germany
will get a glimpse of the reverse opinion in south
Germany. In many places, like such crowded manu-
facturing cities as Chemnitz, one hears much said
against the Kaiser, although it is not so much against
William as it is against the form of government which



46 Seen in Germany

he represents. And if William fears anything in the
world it is the spirit of socialism which grows rank in
these factory towns : in more than one of his speeches
he has mentioned socialism as one of the things which
Germans must concjuer with a strong hand.

The greatest criticism of the Kaiser made by his
people is that he talks too much. One hears that
everywhere. 1 think the Germans rather admire
William for thinking as he does but they blame
him for saying aloud all he thinks. That is charac-
teristic of the German ; he is born a free thinker, but
his institutions and the watchful eye of the omniscient
police forever keep the lid shut down upon his genu-
ine sentiments ; he is slow of anger and unrivaled in
his reverence for authority. It so happens, therefore,
that while the Kaiser may often be expressing the real
sentiment of his people he is expressing it too loudly
to suit the cautious German type of diplomacy. An-
other criticism, which is not now heard as frequently,
perhaps, as it was a few years ago, condemns what the
Germans imagine to be a pro-English attitude on the
part of the Kaiser. They cannot forget that their sov-
ereign is by birth half an Englishman ; and many there
are who look with only half-concealed suspicion on
the cordial relations that existed for so many years
between the Kaiser and his grandmother, the late
Queen, and suspect his present friendship with his
uncle, King F-dward VII. It was once said that the




"The German CroTvn Prince



48 Seen in Germany

Kaiser was more sensitive to this criticism than to al-
most any other, and the story of his famous reply when
injured at a regatta some years ago is still told in Ger-
many. As he saw the blood flowing he said grimly :
"Well, there goes the last drop of my English blood."

In the light of this sentiment one wonders how the
average German regards the recent display of friend-
liness between the Kaiser and the King, during the
funeral ceremonies of the Queen, as well as the ap-
parent agreement regarding the Chinese question.

The Kaiser is an excellent English student, speak-
ing and reading the language perfectly and following
English models in many of his most important de-
partures. One does not forget that the Kaiser as a
boy was especially fond of Captain Marryat's tales of
the sea, and that in more recent years he was one of
the most enthusiastic admirers of our own Captain
Mahan's great book, " The Influence of Sea Power,"
— a book which he has used as one of his strongest
arguments for a more powerful German navy.

The Kaiser is much too great a man and the claims
of his country are too insistent, to permit him to
specialize in any great degree in his interests, and yet
he is but a man and certain lines of activity engross
his attention more than others. Upon his accession
to the throne his enthusiasms were chiefly military ;
he loved his army and he longed passionately to use
it. This interest still continues to a degree, and yet



The Kaiser 49

it may be said that at present the Kaiser's greatest
hobby is his new navy. He has enough English
blood in him to make him passionately fond of the
sea and of sea Hfe, and his leanings toward all that is
martial make him the natural sponsor of a great navy.
And it has required all the determination, tact, and
enthusiasm of William the man, as well as all the
immense power of William the Kaiser, to convince
the Germans that a great navy is a necessity to the
nation and then to persuade them to pay for it. If
William were an American he would be classed in
politics as a republican with strong sentiments of im-
perialism and expansion, a supporter of the doctrine
of high protective tariffs and sound money, and a
steady champion of a larger army and navy. His en-
emies might even accuse him of a fondness for trusts.
He has been compared in character and aims to
Theodore Roosevelt, and the similarity of the two men
in restless energy, honesty, wide general culture, and
information and admiration of things martial, is cer-
tainly most striking. Years ago the Kaiser began
studying the naval question in every one of its phases,
and thus he continued until he was intimately familiar
with the navies of the world as well as with the naval
attitude of each nation. Indeed, he is said to know
by name the chief war vessels of every country with
the tonnage, armament, and equipment of each.
With this knowledge in hand he began a mighty

4




•§



t>



The Kaiser 51

campaign of education among his people. He invited
members of the Reichstag repeatedly to the palace,
showed them lantern pictures of the great vessels of
the world, and gave them lectures on naval affairs, and
the moral that he invariably preached was : " Germany
must have a great navy." He argued from the point
of view of commerce, of industry, of expansion, of
sentiment and patriotism, and he finally succeeded in
getting nearly all he wanted, only to find that he wanted
more; and so the work is still going forward.

War anywhere in the world mounts like strong
wine to William's head. He hears afar the sounds
of strife, anci he longs to be there to see. And some-
times he grows so excited that, like a small boy at a
fire, he can't help shouting, and then the world won-
ders over his curious cablegrams of sympathy or en-
couragement. There was no more fascinated observer
of our war with Spain than William of Germany ; he
watched every phase, he studied every maneuver, and
later he used this information well in persuading his
obdurate legislators that Germany must at least have
a navy equal to that of the United States.

More recently he has been interested in submarine
boats, and when the English pounded the old
" Belle Isle " to pieces he was one of the most eager
of inquirers as to the exact effect of the shells on the
sides of the old hulk and in her hold. Indeed, as
soon as the bare report of the tests had been tele-



52 Seen in Germany

graphed to Berlin, William was discussing them
eagerly with the foreign military attaches. He is, by
the way, a great favorite with the foreign attaches.
He treats them with bluff bonhomie, entertains them
frequently, pumps them dry, and sends them away in
all their lean emptiness, feeling that William is the
greatest man on earth. At his palace at Potsdam, he
has many conspicuous naval ornaments, among them
models of battle ships, Krupp guns, and so on. He
has painted a picture of merit, " Fight between Battle
Ships," and it has seemed sometimes as if he lived and
moved and had his being in ships. And not only
ships of war enlist his enthusiasm, and ships of
pleasure, for he is a great yachtsman, but there is no
stronger supporter of the new and wonderfully pro-
gressive merchant navy of Germany than the Kaiser.
He knows to the last sheer-legs the equipment of
every German ship yard. In the winter of 1900 he
was present at the launching of the splendid new fast
liner the " Deutschland," at Stettin, and when she ran
on a bar he hurried to send war ships to drag her off.
We find the emperor visiting the Berlin decorator
who was making the interior furnishings of the new
vessel, and giving his suggestions for changes.
He telegraphs his sympathy to the North German
Lloyd Company when its New York docks are
burned, he encourages subsidies for German ships,
and he plans for their instant conversion in case of



The Kaiser



53



war to powerful cruisers — for in the end everything
stands upon its serviceability to Germany in arms.
No detail escapes him or fails to interest him. 1
shall not soon forget a little anecdote told me by
Captain Albers. When the great liner the " Furst
Bismarck " was finished, the Kaiser came on board
with Prince Henry to inspect her. He approved
everything until he saw the tables in the dining room.
Then he said to Captain Albers : " I should think a
man who had been at sea as long as you would
not allow a cabinet maker to give you square-cornered
tables on shipboard." After the Kaiser left, the
table corners were quickly rounded off. Two years
later the Kaiser again came aboard the vessel ; and
when he saw the tables he said : " I see you have
rounded off the corners. That is good." He had
not forgotten even a thing as small as this.

The German navy and the advance of German
shipping are without doubt the Kaiser's strongest
interests at present. Connected with this hobby, and
growing out of it, is his deep enthusiasm for what is
now the most striking feature of German develop-
ment — commercial and industrial expansion. No
monarch in Europe takes such a keen interest in the
industrial affairs and in the extension of the export
business of his domain as William. This interest
has arisen largely from the Kaiser's notable talent for
taking a broad view of affairs, a talent developed by



54 Seen in Germany

travel in other countries and by persistently endeav-
oring to look upon Germany through foreign eyes.
He and other great Germans have not been slow to
see that the future prosperity of the country, with
its ever growing population and its ever insufficient
agricultural production, must needs depend largely
on its success as manufacturer and trader. Hence
the Kaiser has taken the greatest interest in spread-
ing industrial and technical education. Not long
ago he shocked the conservative educational elements
of the German universities by paying special respect
and attention to the technical schools. For years
without number all academic honors and degrees
have fallen to the men who have come from the
universities. Now degrees are given to certain tech-
nical school graduates, and they are placed on the same
level in many respects with the aristocrats of the uni-
versities. The Kaiser himself attended the recent cele-
bration of this departure at the famous technical High
School at Charlottenburg. Those who know how
conservative Germany is in educational affairs appre-
ciate the almost revolutionary effect of this departure.
Besides encouraging more skilled workmen, the
Kaiser is not less interested in finding places where
the goods which they manufacture may find profit-
able sale. Hence the strenuous efforts to encourage
the building of merchant ships to carry German
goods, and the all but feverish desire on the part of



The Kaiser



55



the Kaiser for foreign possessions and foreign spheres
of influence. The Kaiser is a shrewd and far-
sighted man, and he sees clearly that the great coming
struggle among the nations is a struggle for com-
merce. Virgin continents and islands have now all
been occupied ; the United States has at last supplied
her own vast necessities, and is preparing to enter the
foreign market with huge surpluses of manufactured
goods; and that nation will prosper most which
secures and holds the best markets. Hence the
scramble for China; hence the Kaiser's eagerness for
more territory, no matter where located.

One of the most significant and impressive recent
movements in .Germany is the colonial exhibition.
Nearly every town of any prominence has had one
of these exhibitions or is about to have one. They
are given under the auspices of the best families of
the place with the ladies of society in charge of the
booths. I attended one of the exhibitions at Jena.
It occupied a large hall and it consisted of sample
products from German colonies, of maps showing
the location of foreign German possessions, and of
innumerable photographs of scenery, colonial life,
and so on. Special attention was given to the men
who were governing the colonies, large portraits of
each occupying a prominent place in the exhibit.
Circulars describing the colonies, inviting immigra-
tion, and giving all manner of statistical information



56 Seen in Germany

were distributed free. As a side department there
was a naval and shipping exhibit which made the
usual strong plea for more ships, giving in colored
diagrams all manner of statistical information as to
German exports and imports, and as to German
ships, with comparisons with the activities of other
countries. It is probable that no other country ever
made such a campaign of education in commerce
and industrial expansion. And behind it all looms
the irrepressibly active Kaiser with his vast schemes
for the advancement of his country. He will have
a great navy, and great shipping interests, and great
colonial possessions, if he has to bring every peasant
in the empire to his palace and convince him with
lantern pictures and chalk talks. For the common
citizen of Germany who pays the taxes must first be
convinced — at least that is the theory !

These two things — his navy, and his desire for
commercial expansion — must be set down as the
Kaiser's greatest interests. William has been accused
of having a universal interest, of being a sort of
kingly dabbler in everything. An emperor must of
necessity possess wide interests, and yet one who
watches the Kaiser's activities will soon perceive that,
after all, he is like other men ; he has his great pas-
sions and his lesser ones. He cares little, for in-
stance, for science or for horse-racing. He loves
travel ; he entertains high respect for religion, a



The Kaiser 57

religion of his own stern Mosaic kind ; he dabbles
in art and music ; he cares nothing for social affairs
unless they have some specific purpose or unless
they reach the stage of pageantry in which he is the
central figure. But among all his lesser likings
nothing occupies such a place as statuary. He is
preeminently a monument-lover. Not long ago he
said to a friend : " There are thirty-four sculptors
in Berlin." He knew every one of them personally
and he knew all about their work. Nothing pleases
him better than to visit them and to be photo-
graphed among the litter of the studio. Every one
knows of his astonishing adornment of the great
central drive through the Thiergarten with a mag-
nificent row of statuary, each group representing one
of his ancestors and two of that ancestor's foremost
counsellors. This statuary is all in white marble,
magnificently done, and erected at the Kaiser's per-
sonal expense. Indeed, the Kaiser has watched and
criticised each statue as it grew under the sculp-
tor's hand, and has presided at the unveiling of each.
It is characteristic, also, of the Kaiser that he has
selected a place for a statue of himself which shall
match those of his ancestors.

This work has been done not only because the
Kaiser is a lover of statuary, but because he loves
his capital city and wishes to see it beautified, and,
more than that, he believes that such representations



58



Seen in German^



of the great men of the nation have a profound
educational influence on the people. They are
visible symbols of what patriotic men can do. The
Kaiser is ever a profound educator. I shall not
soon forget my visit to one of these new statues on
a Friday afternoon. From afar I saw a great crowd
of children gathered around it, and as I approached
I saw that it was a school class, and the master was
standing there in front, telling the story of the king
and his two counsellors, while the mute statues gave
his words a reality that must have impressed them
indelibly upon their minds. 1 learned that this
method of teaching German history was pursued to
a great extent in Berlin ; and whatever may be said
of the Kaiser's vanity in thus setting up a row of his
ancestors for worship, one cannot but feel that he had
another and a profoundly useful purpose in the work.






i 'I'M''




Ill

THE GERMAN PRIVATE SOLDIER



Ill



THE GERMAN PRIVATE SOLDIER

Who he is and How he is Made

|HREE words, the facets of the
same idea, will express the national
atmosphere of Germany : order,
system, discipline. From the mo-
ment one sets foot on the soil of
the Fatherland, particularly if he
enters by way of the French
border, he feels this atmosphere.
It radiates from the soldierly rail-
road guard who stands sharply at
," attention " at the crossing as the
train rushes past; he feels it in
'the forests all planted properly
in rows, and in the neatly kept
railroad grounds and rights of
way; he feels it in the policeman
who demands his address, his
nationality, his business, and how long he is going to
stay, so that he may be properly tagged and pigeon-
holed; and, above all, he feels it in the endless system




62 Seen in Germany

— and it is nothing short of a system — of military
and civil uniforms, which helps to relieve him of the
responsibility of being a judge of character, for almost
every other German wears his character on his back.
rAnd this national atmosphere of Germany is, in
reality, the atmosphere of the military camp, as the
spirit of the government is the military spirit. In-
deed, every German is a soldierTj I do not mean, of
course, that every German actually drills and studies
the tactics of war every year; but until he is beyond
the years of militarv service he is always on call, and
he looks upon himself as a soldier of the empire.
Indeed, after the German has finished his regular
compulsory service, he is called back from time to
time for a few weeks to keep him in training, to drill
him in the new formations, or to give him a clear un-
derstanding of new arms and ammunition. His life
is divided into exact periods — the actual service
period, the reserve period, the landwehr period, and
the landsturm period ; and the military authorities
always know just where to find him and at what call
he must shoulder arms. As he grows older, there is
less likelihood that the government will put its finger
on him ; but in cases of great danger even the old
landsturm must march forth. Every boy is born a
soldier, his birth is registered with the authorities, and
twenty years later, with automatic precision, he is
called upon to do duty. As a consequence, when



The German Private Soldier 63

one speaks of the making of a German soldier, he
deals to a large extent, at least, with the greater sub-
ject of the making ot a German citizen, and indeed
with the making ot the German nation.

Germany has no regular army in the sense in which
that term is used in America and in England. There
are no regular private soldiers who enlist for long
periods of time and make soldiery a business. Ger-
many is wholly without a counterpart of that pictur-
esque character, Tommy Atkins, who has served
everywhere in the world, and who knows no life
outside of the army ; nor has she any type corre-
sponding to our own hard-riding, dare-devil regulars.
Although a country of soldiers, it is a curious fact
that Germany has produced little or no soldier-boy
literature — literature in which the English language
is so rich. There is little glamour in soldier life to
the German, no heroes adorn the service ; soldiery is
simply one of the plain duties of life — if pleasant, to
be enjoyed; if disagreeable, to be endured. And so,
although Germany is a nation of soldiers, the soldier
does not exist. Even the noncommissioned officers,
although they serve for longer terms than the privates,
and learn more of the business of soldiery, do it not
so much for the love of the service or because it
has irresistible attraction for them, as in the case of
the English or the American " noncom," but with
the definite purpose of making it a step to better



64 Seen in Germany

things in civil life. For after all is said, the German
has no Irish blood in him ; he is not a natural-born
fighter. And yet he does his duty in his German
way with absolute faithfulness, serves his time and is
proud of it afterward. But because he does not be-
come intoxicated with the military life like the French-
man, there is no reason why he should not be a good
fighter.

It is curious that a nation thus deficient in mili-
tary enthusiasm should become, by common consent,
the greatest of military powers, with the most per-
fectly organized fighting system and the most per-
fectly trained individual soldier.

The German army, like the German nation, has
been squeezed into existence. Germany, open on
every side to attack, has been the great battle-
ground of Europe through all the centuries ; and by
constant pressure within and without, the army has
had its growth. It was the result of stern necessity
for defense. It was defense or death ; and that, in
spite of the commonly reported military aspirations
of the German Kaiser^ is the keynote of the system.
The army must be made powerful enough to defend
the country from the attacks of any one power or all
of them together. If it is necessary to march into
France in the course of such a war, well and good;
but that is not the fundamental purpose of the army.

And this idea of defending the Fatherland is, sig-



The German Private Soldier 65

nificantly enough, the idea which animates every citi-
zen German. In France, the popular attitude is just
the reverse. There an army is for attack, it is a
weapon for offense, and whenever the army becomes
about so strong, or when an ambitious officer arises,
immediately there is talk of war with England or
Germany or some other nation. There have been
signs recently that the attitude of Germany, in high
official circles at least, was changing, that a new spirit
of conquest and extension had been born (witness the
Chinese expedition) ; but if that is so, it has not yet
affected the German citizen-soldier.

To the old " inevitables," death and taxes, the
German adds a third, military service. From the
time he is old enough to go to school, he looks for-
ward and plans for it. It is said that the first great


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Online LibraryRay Stannard BakerSeen in Germany → online text (page 3 of 15)