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Imperial Germany; a critical study of fact and character online

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If this has to be done on any large scale, it will soon
mark the limits of their transoceanic enterprise.'

1 The last ten years have revealed an unexpected fund of energy and in-
dividual enterprise on the part of Germany. It is in every case, even to-
day, much too soon to mark the limits of the "likely" or the "possible"
as far as the future of German trade is concerned. Thus it is only fair to state
that the above expression of opinion can only be accepted with reserve.


Summary and Conclusion. 291

The present preponderant position of Germany is
owing to her great men, to the organization they have debt"to'her
effected, and to the excellent qualities of the race which great men.
have made that organization possible. Whether these
qualities are likely to distance the Anglo-Saxon in the
long run only time can tell.


We have found a nation on a high level of education,
and of healthy material prosperity, and whose best sons
are imbued with a rare ideality of aim and purpose.
The people are animated by a sense of duty and an
earnest devotion to work which are hardly to be sur-

, . , 1 1 T 1 • • • Superior

passed m the world. In this sentiment every difference qualities,
of creed and party is submerged, until it forms a para-
mount law of ethics of universal practical application.
W-e see this particularl\- in the honesty of the adminis-
tration of the country as well as in the high standard of
rectitude and honor observable in all the educated —
notaljly in the professional classes. It is the moral
force underlying all this that is more instructive than
any outward success, wliicli is merely its result. We
have found an absence of pauperism, of drunkenness,
and other forms of degradation, as striking as thcv are
pleasant to note.

Tiie physical appearance of the male p()|)ulali(jn when
comiiarcd with that of Austria and I'rancc shows, par-
ticularly in the North, a healthy, sturdy manliness of
bearing that is partly due to the bciulicial Ingieiiic
effects of universal military service. Also the observer
is met almost everywhere 1)\' outward evidences of prog-
ress and j)rosperity.

Berlin, which numbere<l only 100,000 inlial)itants at „^,,.,|
the beginning of the century, and hai'dly half a million


Imperial Gcnnany

in 1S70, possesses now a population of 1,500,000. TIic
Berlin University, only founded at the bci^inning of the
century, to-day boasts the tliteoi intellectual Germany in
its staf? of professors, and attracts the greatest number of
students of any German university — over four thousand.

Whole suburbs have sprung into existence — to the
west, consisting of beautiful jjrivate houses ; elsewhere,
factories and works have arisen, reechoing the sound of
the hammer and anvil and steam. The town that only
yesterday was noted for its monotonous, lifeless streets,
has now outstripped every town in Europe, except Lon-
don, in tlie plenitude of its bustle and life.

Public buildings, such as the head post-ofifice, the
new town-hall, the different barracks, strike the eye by
their vast dimensions, and the new Reichstag building
when finished bids fair to become the grandest building
of its kind in the world.

Nor does Berlin stand alone in the outward signs of
increased prosperity. Towns such as Frankfort-on-the-
Main, Munich, Magdeburg, Breslau, Stuttgart, Carls-
ruhe, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Dresden, Leipzig, and manj-
others, have wonderfully improved in appearance, as
also gained in material riches. Everywhere new streets
of palatial buildings have risen, and there are now
dozens of towns in Germany the shop windows of which
could \'ie with any in England outside London.

Hamburg, the Venice of the North, has become one
of the finest towns of Europe. Over $40,000,000 have
been expended upon her harbor and warehouses ; and
her commercial activity can be gauged by the one fact
that within the last few years she has outstripped Lon-
don as a coffee mart. Hamburg has become one of the
largest seaports in the world. The tonnage of her ship-
ping already exceeds that of Liverpool.

Sitvimary and Conclusion.


As for Strassburg, the German rule in ten years has g , ^
done more than the French did in two hundred. The
new university building alone well repays a visit.

Modern public buildings of every kind in Germany
show a grandeur and solidity of monumental architecture
rarely met with elsewhere. That the soldiers' barracks
to be found in almost every large town are gigantic barracks.
structures will surprise no one. In towns such as Ber-
lin, Dresden, and Munich, they form almost separate
quarters of their own. But it is the cleanliness and
order that particularly strike the eye. The town-halls,
the post-offices particularly, and even the police-stations,
and the prisons of even second-rate towns, are generally
imposing edifices and models of order and cleanliness.
Even the day-schools are large buildings, uniting excel-
lent practical accommodation with chaste architectural

The theaters of towns such as Dresden, Frankfort,
Leipzig, Berlin, and many others, hardly need a word


Tm-; CoLK I Thkatkr, Drksdii-n.

of enromium on the score of their elegance and solidity.
Whether large or small, their construction and adminis- Tinattrs.
tration are such, that, whereas hundreds of lives have
been lost by theater fires in England, France, Ilaly,

294 Imperial Gcnnany.

Austria, and even in America, during- llie last twenty
years, no such misfortune has happenetl in (lermany.
Those who look closer for indirect evidences of

Munkipai healthy national life cannot fail to be impressed with the

excellent municipal organization that regulates town life.
Everywhere unexceptional order and cleanliness have
replaced the old sleepy conditions of the past. Part of
this is undoubtedly due to the very superior class of
men from whom are chosen the mayors and town coun-
cillors of the larger German cities. Men of the stamp of
Von F'orckenbeck, late mayor of Berlin, Dr. Miguel,
some years ago mayor of Frankfort-on-the-Main. to-day
Prussian Minister of Finance, have undoubtedly done
much to raise the character of municipal administration
in Germany. '

The splendid bridges over the Rhine and other rivers

Bridges and are notable instances of excellence of design combined

stations. . , ,. ,■ r i ■~t^-\ -i • c

With solidity of work. Ihe railway stations, even ot
towns such as Hanover, Magdeburg, and Strassburg,
are beyond anything we have to show outside London ;
while Berlin, Munich, and Frankfort-on-the-Main and,
latterly, Cologne, each possess a station on a larger scale
than our largest — the Midland, at St. Pancras. The
Frankfort station — the largest in the world — covers an
area of 33,852 square yards, and is, we believe, a third
larger than St. Pancras. It cost over $7,500,000, half
of which was contributed by the state and the other half
by the town. The new railway stations at Dresden on
both sides of the river Elbe will, when completed, be
unique. With their approaches and other work con-
nected with their construction they are expected to cost

1 As an instance of the healthiness of municipal government in Germany, it
may be mentioned, that the Berlin municipality closed the financial year of
1887 with a surplus of 5955,000.

Summary and Conclusion. 295


the enormous sum of $16,500,000. This is poor miH-
tary tax-ridden groaning Germany.

Everywhere, over hill and dale, are to be found fresh
evidences of the vital energy pulsating through every
arterv of the country. Even country roads are uni-
formly kept in such order as contrasts strongly with the
fate of some of our splendid old highways since the
introduction of steam. In fact, to the naked eye as far
as the observer is able to judge of a nation's material
condition by the outward evidence of her prosperity,
Germany is materially far and away the most prosper-
ous country in Europe.


Turning from these outward tangible evidences of
national life, we find, on closer examination, that the
[)opulation itself is far better off than we were accus-
tomed to believe. If the happiness of a people be
judged by its savings, the German masses seem to
stand almost as well as the English of their own class.
According to statistics, there are 525 million dollars
in German savings banks, whereas, in English savings
banks there are only 400 millions. And this does not
include the numerous small investors in German govern-
ment stock, a class (until lately, through the Post-Ofihce
Savings Bank) practically nun -existent in England.

According to another series of statistics, the wealth of wealth
England is calculated as representing $1,245 to each in- '"" "''"''■
habitant, whereas every German is only credited with
$700. Now if it be borne in mind that the enormous for-
tunes of England are practically imknown in (iermany,
that, in fact, incomes even of $5,000 a year are compara-
tively rare there, the above-quoted average must show a
high standard of income for the masses of the population.

296 Imperial Gerviany.

With regard to the indebtedness of the state the
following- authentic tabulation of figures is also very
suggestive :

State indebi- Up to the year 1S75 the new German Empire found itself in

the most enviable position of being entirely free from debt.
In that same year, however, the empire borrowed the modest
sum of $2,425,000, but it did not really spend this amount
until three years later. From 1875 down to the present year
the empire has contracted loans every year without exception,
so that on April i, 1895, twenty years after the first loan was
effected, the imperial debt had attained the respectable total of
$507,128,125. The sum received amounted to $31,339, 135 less
than the nominal figure. Of the present debt $109,125,000
are at four per cent, $189,271,250 at three and one half per
cent, and $206,246,250 at three per cent. In the current finan-
cial year 1896-97 the German government has borrowed rather
less than $10,790,000, being the smallest loan it has contracted
since 1875. In the financial year 1888-89 h borrowed $95,-
726,875; in 1890-91, $74,265,625; in 1887-88, $53>835,ooo ; in
1893-94, $48,500,000; in 1892-93, $35,708,125; and in 1894-95,
$29,172,750. Of the total amount received by way of loans
$304,216,250 have been spent on the army, $67,596,875 on the
navy, $63,535,000 on railways and military defenses connected
therewith, and $15,216,875 on postal and telegraphic service.
The Baltic Canal has cost the empire $25,523,125, while

Baltic Canal. $i2,6io,ooo have been expended on bringing the free ports of
Bremen and Hamburg into the Imperial Customs Union. It is
pointed out that though the German Empire has thus within
twenty years run up a national debt of nearly $525,000,000,
nevertheless, it possesses valuable assets as the result of this
expenditure. The lands and buildings which it has acquired
through the loans for the army are estimated to be worth
$218,250,000. The railways (and property relating thereto)
which it has secured are valued at $169,750,000, and the
postal and telegraphic offices at $72,750,000. Apart from this,
however, the imperial government possesses a war treasure in
hard cash amounting to $29,100,000, besides various other
items, including unspent balances and credits amounting to
more than double the value of the war treasure.

Summary and Conclusion. 2^^

Aristotle said, long ago, that the salvation of a
country in a crisis must lie in its middle classes : in j^^PS'ie*" "^
their increase lies its hope of permanence and pros- classes.
perity. The tendency in England is to increase prop-
erty in the hands of a few individuals, leaving an
impoverished middle class, and cutting off the hope of
the poorer classes ever rising into the middle class.
The problem of the moment is to prevent this accumu-
lation of immense fortunes in few hands and to spread
the wealth throughout the covmtry. This problem the
Germans seem to be in the way of solving more satisfac-
torily than the English.

How comes it then, will be asked, if so many things g^^^^^^^,^ ^^
are satisfactory in Germany, that a party such as the ^^l^^^^lf^^
Social Democrats, bent on the subversion of everything
existing, has so many followers that it has been able to
send over forty of its representatives to the Reichstag ?
How comes it that Germany has had to use such repress-
ive measures against the socialists that towns such as
Berlin, Leipzig, Hamburg, Stettin, Frankfort, Of?enbach,
etc. , have been proclaimed in a continued modified state
of siege in order to enable the authorities to cope with
them ?'

The main reason why it has become so seems to us to
be in the main: First, because of the high and yet Three causes,
politically m<jst defective education of the masses ;
second, because the introduction (if universal suffrage
has enabled them t<» make their ojMnions felt. (This
measure has been c(jnsidered a grave precipitancy on
the ])art of Hismarck ; but neither he nor anybody else
could ha\e foreseen llial within ten years of ;ittaining
national unitv, a million of voters would \nn llieir laith

I This is IK) loMKcr Iho lase simc llic- rcliroiiK-iil of I'riiuc Hisinank- luit
the suicgeslivcricss of siicli a recctil stale of things leinaiiis.

29S Imperial Geninvij

to a party to which the idea of national existence even
seems a secondary consideration.) Third, because of
the very character of the masses themselves, who are
less influenced by military splendor, in some senses more
sober and less enthusiastically patriotic than elsewhere.
Hence their care for the supremacy of their class inter-
ests is less interfered with by other considerations. This
is distincdy proved by the great strides the movement
has made amidst victory and commercial success. Part
of the spread of socialism must also be put down more

The gospel to the gospel of hate than to that of hope ; for, although

some of the socialist leaders are men of undoubted high
principle and purity of motive, yet much of the envy and
Schadenfreude — malicious joy peculiar to Philistinism
have gone to swell the number of their adherents. Eng-
lishmen talk of class hatred ; but it is in Germany that
true class hatred exists.

In England the trades unions, which had their origin
in the unspeakable social misery of the working classes,
have acted as valves, carrying off superfluous steam.
Such have been to a great extent prevented in Germany,
and as life is of a less depressing character to the work-
ingman, secret combinations of this kind have been less
resorted to. Socialism has more of an abstract or philo-
sophic basis than the narrower aims of English trades
unions. As a high Prussian legal authority expressed
it, we educate the masses to look upon the will of the
majority as law. What can we say, when the time
comes for them to turn round, and, using our own argu-

probfem. ments, to aver that being in a majority their will is law?

This is the problem the statesmen of the future will have
to face. Not the dearth or plenty of wages will influ-
ence its course. We find the Knights of Labor in
America, where wages are high and employment plenti-

Summary and Conclusion.


ful. It is part and parcel of the increased fierceness of
the struggle for existence of our time.

Whereas in Austria active brains ha\e still an easy
\ictory over laziness and stupidity, in Germany — partic- ^xlsu^fi«'°'^
ularly in the North — -intelligence is already grappling



r^ ii'' ':

Bridge ovkk 1 iiii Elbe, Hamburg.

with intelligence in the fierce struggle for existence, and
breeds socialism in all the great centers of commerce and

As it fell to the I-'rcnrli in tlic last century to deal with
feudal aristocracy, so it will ])rol)al)ly fall to the lot of
fiermany to grapple with the problem of this century
first. Not because the conditions of its laboring classes
are the most onerous — far from it ; but for the reasons
given above, which place them in the froTit rank in
clamoring for recognition.

The late emperor William, in his message of F"ebruary,

300 Imperial Germany.

1881. to the workiiiv; classes, rrcognized their right to he
considei"Ltl l)y the state, and the suhsequent hius in fax'o.r
of insurance in case of sickness, in case of accident, anch
histly, for provision for old age, have since emphasized
his words. How far these measures will answer, the
future alone can show. Those who j)rophesy a black
future for the country from socialism may be right, but
they would be strangely short-sighted if they surmised
that these social problems will have to be solved only in
Germany. They will come to the fore in all other coun-
iiiternationai trics, ' and it is vcrv questionable whether they will find

problems. . . '

Other countries in the long run more prepared to meet
the shock. For in Germany there exists a counter-
weight in the fact that the land is largely in posses-
sion of the people, which will tell its tale in favor of
compromise ; whereas those countries will feel the inev-
itable upheaval of the masses most in which the people
are most dissatisfied with the social and economical
conditions of their existence.


The short reign of Frederick III. and its sequels have
thrown a lurid light on the bitter party divisions of the
country. Of the socialists we have spoken, though they
are little understood in England. You must have lived
in Germany to understand. The ultra-Liberals are only
in a degree less opposed to every measure on which
German parties, authority rests in Prussia. The Roman Catholics have
proved that they recognize an allegiance beyond the
Alps, above the loyalty to the sovereign — yes, even
perhaps above national interests. The Conservatives,
although possessing many lofty characters in their
ranks, are as a party too selfish, narrow-minded, and

1 The events of the last ten years have tended to confirm this \ iew.

Swnniary and Conclusion. 301

slow ever to be able to wield decisive parliamentary
influence. The intellectual backbone of the country is
perhaps to be found in what until recently was the
National-Liberal party, though, in its turn, it is any- The National-
thing but a homogeneous body to-day and sadly dimin- ' "^ ''^"^ ^'
ished in members. Doctrinarism is the plague-spot of
the National-Liberal and Liberal parties. The con-
scientious politician-professor is the bugbear of German
politics, and his enthusiastic admiration of English insti-
tutions not the least suspicious element of his creed.
It is invariably derived from book-knowledge, or from
a very short stay in England. Nor must we omit the
old "Particularistic" element — the term which signifies The'Tanicu-
the feeling of loyalty the German possesses for his elemeni.
j)articular petty sovereign. This sentiment has grown
in intensity — more particularly in Bavaria — since the
retirement of Prince Bismarck, and with it a certain
ill-concealed antagonism toward the spirit of northern

These irreconcilable parties and currents of feeling
and the very character of the German people, of which
they are typical, do not hold out a guarantee that par-
liamentarianism, particularly that of a single, all-powerful
chamber, is suited to the character or requirements of
the nation.' On the contrary, it is the seed-ground of
jjcril f(;r tlic future In its bosom arc the future allies
of the socialists — the Catholics." The danger that lies
in a j)ossibIe social propaganda of the Catholics can be
surmised wiicn we look at Ireland. It is a democratic,
almost socialistic, movement.

I Since Prince I'.ismarck's iclireiiK-iil iIk- atu-ndance of the members of llie
Reichstag has ilroppcd olflo sucli an extent tlial the caterer in the IniildinK
finds his occupation jfo"*;— he cannot make it pay.

« This statement, JiazartlcH nearly ten years a^o, lias conic \ery near ti>
being an ai lomplisheii fact to-day.


Imperial Germany.

Power of the
Catholic party.

Division of its

The Catholic Congress at F"reiburg in September,
1888, distinctly pointed in the direction of Catholic i)ar-
ticipation in projects of social reform — the care for the
masses. It is only necessary to bear in mind the power
of the Catholic party in the country and in the Reichs-
tag to feel that, once it joins hands with the democratic
faction, it will be a hot time for the moderate Liberals
representing the resisting bulk of the middle classes.
On these hnes there is undoubtedly a powerful opening
for the Catholic party. '

For, if it is strong in itself, it is even stronger by the
hopeless divisions of its political opponents. A party
that presents a united parliamentary phalanx literally, in
the words of Lord Tennyson, stands

Four square to every wind that blows —

even when the object of its policy is almost anti-national;
it may well bid its enemies beware, if once its j^olicy
should be such as to attract the sympathies of large
classes of the population.

The many endeavors to lessen the services of Prince
Bismarck by seeking to increase the credit of others
has, like previous attempts, signally failed. Surely his
reputation has no need of borrowed plumes. But public
opinion has always wanted to know exactly whence
everything originated. It can never be believed that
the late emperor Frederick wished the world should
know, bv his diary, that he had been far more in
the work of unity than had hitherto been acknowl-
edged. This would be in too striking contrast with the
conduct of his great father.

People already ask themselves what will bcconie of

1 This was written first in 1887; to-day the Catholic party is the most
powerful in the Reichstag.

Suifiiiiaiy and Conclusion.


the country and these elements of discord in times
to come when Bismarck has long passed away. Why i^°B!sm!uxk"
has he trained no successors ? But surely neither Pitt,
Canning', nor Wellington left any successors either.
The state is like a ship that has been guided through
shoals, Bismarck at least has left it with a model work-
ing system. If he somewhat lavishly used up the ad-
ministrative capacity of the country, in one particular,
the working material of the nation stands untarnished,


supreme — the army. Amidst all the bitterness of politi-
cal discussion, its chief, Field-Marshal von IMoltkc,
recently passed like a classic shadow of .iiuiquity from
the scene, after himself apfiointing his successor. Thus
all those who are intent on retaining the means of dc-
veIoj)ing everytiiing that is to be valued in a nation must
group themselves around the army. The time may
come when all this may be sufficiently safeguarded by

TIk' lutiiy Oil-
CflllLT (iriiitlu-

304 Imperial Germany.

the free expression of public opinion, hut it is not yet.
In the meantime the temper of the nation makes it
very unlikely that it will embark in Quixotic adventures,
such as the French, by their constitutional, periodical
bloody outbreaks, have indulged in and suffered from.
Perhaps the most useful lesson the study of Ger-
many teaches us to-day is, that laissez-faire as a system
An important of social and political advancement — -between an aristoc-

lesson. '■

racy of the past and a democracy of the future playing
at cross purposes — is no longer the only shibboleth
to swear by. A few additional watchwords can hardly
fail to be suggested by an impartial study of Germany
of to-day.




The history of Germany .since 1815 has been one of
continual growth from monarchical toward constitu-
tional government, and of the unity of the many Central
European states under one head.

At the outbreak of the French Revolution Germany
was a composite of nearly three hundred petty states,
principalities, and cities loosely bound by ties of race
but without political unity.

After Napoleon had fallen, the Congress of Vienna Histoi\ from
was called together to settle all European disputes and ' '5 101 70.
define bounda-
ries. Then came
a federation
of the German
states under the
gu id an re of a
Diet of sixty- fuc
mcml)ers and a
c om m i tt ee of
scveutei-n which
filled the ])laces
of an I l>p<r and
Low (■ r i louse.

Austria presided at all sittings, and the powers of these
two bodies were cnii;ill( d as hmk li as possible in order

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