Current History, Vol. VIII, No. 3, June 1918 online

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"This fear was, perhaps, not entirely unfounded, for agitation is
unscrupulous. The older ones among us still remember very well 'an
Englishwoman' who was very unpopular in many circles, but this
Englishwoman was the mother of the German Kaiser. No doubt there was no
more convenient method for the Government to guard the dynasty than for
it to take part in, or at least to tolerate, the agitation against the
English. This was the only way of preventing the agitation from turning
ultimately against the wearer of the German imperial crown. But ought
such intimate considerations to have been permitted to play a part when
the fate of the nations was at stake?

"Let us put an end to this! At this moment we are in a battle which may
be decisive and which is going in favor of the empire. But even after
this battle we shall possess neither the possibility nor the moral right
to treat our opponent according to the principle of 'With thumbs in his
eyes and knee on his breast.' Even after the greatest military successes
there exists the necessity for political negotiation. It will be easier
for us to enter into this negotiation after the poisonous fog of the war
lies shall have lifted. Now that Herr von Jagow has cleared up the rôle
played by England at the beginning of the war, there is nothing in the
way of the fulfillment of the promise made by Bethmann to 'make good the
wrong committed against Belgium'!

"If it is perhaps true that everything Wilhelm II., Bethmann, von Jagow,
and Lichnowsky thought was true up to three weeks before the outbreak of
the war was false, then let the mistake be acknowledged and the
conservative Pan-Germans be put openly in the Government, so that they,
both within and without, may complete the work of a peace by force. But
if this is neither desirable nor possible, then there is nothing left to
do but to take a decided step ahead. For the German people cannot be
satisfied with the methods of governing exercised before and during the
war. * * * The German people can only endure after the war as a
peace-loving nation that governs itself."

Lichnowsky's Testimony as to Germany's Long Plotting for Domination

By H. Charles Woods, F. R. G. S.

To a Britisher who has followed the trend of events in the Near East,
and who has witnessed the gradual development of German intrigues in
that area, there has never been published a document so important and so
condemnatory of Germany as the disclosures of Prince Lichnowsky.

On the one hand, the memorandum of the Kaiser's ex-Ambassador in London
proves from an authoritative enemy pen that, practically ever since the
Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78, and particularly from the time of the
accession of the present Emperor to the throne in 1888, the Germans have
carefully prepared the way for the present war, and that during this
period they have consistently turned their attention toward the East and
toward the development of the Mitteleuropa scheme. And on the other side
it indicates, if indeed any indication were still required, that the
so-called rivalry existing between England and Germany prior to the war
arose not from any desire on the part of Great Britain to stand in the
way of the development of legitimate German interests in the Balkans and
in Asia Minor, but from the unwillingness of the Government of Berlin to
agree to any reasonable settlement of the many all-important questions
connected with these regions.

Although for years the Germans had been intriguing against the Triple
Entente, Prince Lichnowsky, a man possessed of personally friendly
feelings for England, was sent to London in order to camouflage the real
designs of the enemy and to secure representation by a diplomatist who
was intended to make good, and who, in fact, did make a high position
for himself in British official and social circles. The appointment
itself raises two interesting questions. In the first place, while this
is not stated in the memorandum, it is clear that, whereas Baron
Marschall von Bieberstein was definitely instructed to endeavor to make
friends with England and to detach her from France and Russia, or, if
this were impossible, to bring about war at a convenient time for
Germany, Prince Lichnowsky's task was somewhat different. Kept at least
more or less in the dark as to German objects, the Ambassador, who
arrived in London when the Morocco crisis of 1911 was considered at an
end, instead of being intrusted with the dual objects of his
predecessor, was clearly told to do, and did in fact do, his utmost to
establish friendly relations with England. The Berlin Government, on the
other hand, this time maintained in its own hands the larger question of
the making of war at what it believed, happily wrongly, to be a
convenient time for the Central Empires. In the second place, although
this, too, is not explained, various references made by Prince
Lichnowsky leave little doubt in the mind of the reader who knows the
situation existing at the German Embassy prior to the outbreak of war
that the Ambassador himself was aware that von Kühlmann - the Councilor
of Embassy - was, in fact, the representative of Pan-Germanism in
England, and that to this very able and expert intriguer was left the
work of trying to develop a situation which, in peace or in war, would
be favorable to the ruler and to the class whose views he voiced.

Phases of German Policy

To come down to the real subject of this article - the proof provided by
Prince Lichnowsky's disclosures of the long existence of the German
Mitteleuropa scheme and of the fact that Germany, and not Austria, made
this war, largely with the object of pushing through her designs in the
East - I propose to divide my remarks in such a way as to show that the
development of this scheme passed through three phases and in each case
to take what may be called a text from the document under discussion.

The first phase lasted from the Congress of Berlin of 1878, when Prince
Lichnowsky says that Germany began the Triple Alliance policy, and more
definitely from the accession of the present Emperor to the throne in
1888 until the Balkan wars. While in using these expressions the
ex-Ambassador does not refer only to this period, he says: "The goal of
our political ambition was to dominate in the Bosporus," and "instead of
encouraging a powerful development in the Balkan States, we placed
ourselves on the side of the Turkish and Magyar oppressors."

These words contain in essence and in tabulated form an explanation
(from the pen of a German whose personal and official positions enabled
him to know the truth) of the events which were in progress during this
period - events the full importance of which has often been refuted and
denied by those who refused to see that from the first the Kaiser was
obsessed by a desire for domination from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf.
Indeed, from the moment of his accession the sentiments and views of the
German ruler became markedly apparent, for one year later his Majesty
paid the first of his carpet-bagging visits to Constantinople - a visit
more or less connected with the then recent grabbing of Haidar
Pasha-Ismid railway - now the first section of the Bagdad line - by the
Germans, and with the prolongation of that line to Angora as a German
concern, concessions secured by Mr. Kaula, acting on behalf of German
interests in 1888.

Preparing for Pan-German Project

Before and particularly after the appointment of Baron Marschall von
Bieberstein, who had then been a personal friend of the Kaiser for many
years, the enemy had been carefully preparing the way for the
realization of his Pan-German dreams in the Near and Middle East.
Although so far as the Balkan States were concerned, up to the outbreak
of the war the Kaiser endeavored to screen his intentions behind a
nominally Austrian program, for years he had really been making ready
his ground for the present occasion by military, political, and economic
penetration and by diplomatic intrigues destined to bring about a
favorable situation for Germany when the propitious moment for action
arrived. The power of von der Goltz Pasha, who introduced the present
military system into Turkey in 1886, and of his pupils was gradually
increased until the Ottoman Army was finally placed completely under
Germanic control.

The Young Turkish revolution of 1908, which at first seemed destined
greatly to minimize German power at Constantinople, really resulted in
an opposite effect. Thus in spite of the effective support of England
for Turkey during the Bosnian and Bulgarian crises of 1908 and 1909, a
gradual reaction subsequently set in. This was due in part to the
cleverness and regardlessness of von Bieberstein, and in part to the
circumstances arising out of the policy adopted by the Young Turks. For
instance, while the Germans ignored the necessity for reforms in the
Ottoman Empire so long as the Turks favored a Teutonic program, it was
impossible for the British Government or the British public to look with
favor upon a régime which worked to maintain the privileged position of
Moslems throughout the empire, which did nothing to punish those who
instigated the massacre of the Armenians of Cilicia in 1909, and which
was intent upon disturbing the status quo in the Persian Gulf, and upon
changing the status of Egypt to the Turkish advantage.

The Turco-German Entente

Such indeed became the position that even the Turco-Italian war, which
might have been expected to shake the confidence of the Ottoman
Government in the bona fides of Italy's then ally, did not seriously
disturb the intimate relations which were gradually developing between
Berlin and Constantinople. Here again enemy intrigues were to the fore,
for in addition to Austria's objecting to the inauguration of any
Italian operations in the Balkans, the German Government, when the
position of its representative in Constantinople had become seriously
compromised as a result of the Italian annexation of Tripoli, which he
could not prevent, suddenly found it convenient to transfer von
Bieberstein to London and to replace him by another, perhaps less able,
but certainly none the less successful in retaining a grasp over
everything which took place in the Ottoman capital.

Before and particularly after the accession of the Kaiser to the throne,
the Germans gradually furthered their program by a system of railway
penetration in the East. In the late '60s Baron Hirsch secured a
concession for the construction of lines from Constantinople to what was
then the north-western frontier of Eastern Rumelia, and from Saloniki to
Mitrovitza, with a branch to Ristovatz on the then Serbian frontier. At
first these lines were under French influence, but they subsequently
became largely an Austrian undertaking, and considerably later the
Deutsche Bank secured a predominating proportion of the capital,
thus turning them practically into a German concern. In Asia Minor the
British, who were originally responsible for the construction of
railways, were gradually ousted, until, with the signature of the Bagdad
Railway agreement in 1903, the Germans dominated not only that line, but
also occupied a position in which, on the one hand, they had secured
control of many of its feeders, and, on the other, they had jeopardized
the future development and even the actual prosperity of those not
already in their possession.

Fruits of the Balkan Wars

This brings us up to the second phase in the development of
Pan-Germanism in the East - the period of the Balkan wars - toward two
aspects of which, as Prince Lichnowsky says, the Central Powers devoted
their attention. "Two possibilities for settling the question remained."
Either Germany left the Near Eastern problem to the peoples themselves
or she supported her allies "and carried out a Triple Alliance policy in
the East, thereby giving up the rôle of mediator." Once more, in the
words of the Prince himself, "The German Foreign Office very much
preferred the latter," and as a result supported Austria on the one hand
in her desire for the establishment of an independent Albania, and on
the other in her successful attempts to draw Bulgaria into the second
war and to prevent that country from providing the concessions which at
that time would have satisfied Rumania.

So far as the first of these questions - that connected with Albania - is
concerned, while the ex-Ambassador admits the policy of Austria was
actuated by the fact that she "would not allow Serbia to reach the
Adriatic," the actual creation of Albania was justified by the existence
of the Albanians as a nationality and by their desire for independent
government. Indeed, that the régime inaugurated by the great powers on
the east of the Adriatic, and particularly the Government of William of
Wied, proved an utter failure, was due not so much to what Prince
Lichnowsky describes as the "incapacity of existence" of Albania as to
the attitude of the Central Powers, and especially to that of Austria,
who, having brought the new State into being, at once worked for unrest
and for discord in the hope of being able to step in to put the house in
order when the propitious moment arrived.

Promoting Balkan Discord

The second direction in which the enemy devoted his energy was an even
larger, more German and more far-reaching one. "The first Balkan war led
to the collapse of Turkey and with it the defeat of our policy, which
has been identified with Turkey for many years," says the memorandum.
This at one time seemed destined to carry with it results entirely
disadvantageous to Germany. Thus, if the four States, Bulgaria, Greece,
Montenegro, and Serbia, who fought in the first war had continued on
good terms with one another, the whole balance of power in Europe would
almost certainly have been changed. Instead of the Ottoman Empire, which
prior to the outbreak of these hostilities was held by competent
authorities to be able to provide a vast army, then calculated to number
approximately 1,225,000 men, there would have sprung up a friendly group
of countries which in the near future could easily have placed in the
field a combined army approximately amounting to at least 1,000,000, all
told. As the interests of such a confederation, which would probably
have been joined by Rumania, would have been on the side of the Triple
Entente, the Central Powers at once realized that its formation or its
continued existence would mean for them not only the loss of the whole
of Turkey, but also the gain for their enemies of four or five allies,
most of whom had already proved their power in war.

German Power in Turkey

Between the Balkan wars and the outbreak of the European conflagration,
but as part of the former period, there occurred two events of
far-reaching significance. The first, which is mentioned by Prince
Lichnowsky, was the appointment of General Liman von Sanders practically
as Commander in Chief of the Turkish Army - an appointment which Mr.
Morgenthau rightly tells us constituted a diplomatic triumph for
Germany. When coupled with the fact that Enver Pasha - an out-and-out
pro-German - became Minister of War about the same time, the military
result of this appointment was an enormous improvement in the efficiency
of the Ottoman Army. Its political significance, on the other hand, was
due to the fact that it carried with it a far-reaching increase of
Pan-German influence at Constantinople.

The second event in progress during the interval of peace was connected
with the Aegean Islands question. Germany, having first utilized her
diplomatic influence in favor of Turkey, later on encouraged the
Government of that country in its continued protests against the
decision upon that question arrived at by the great powers. Not content,
however, with this, the Kaiser, who has now adopted the policy of
deportation in Belgium, in Poland, and in Serbia, definitely encouraged
the Turks in a like measure in regard to the Greeks of Asia Minor in
order to be rid of a hostile and Christian population when the time for
action arrived. That this encouragement was given was always apparent to
those who followed the course of events in 1914, but that it was
admitted by a German Admiral to Mr. Morgenthau constitutes a
condemnation the damning nature of which it is difficult to exaggerate.


[Illustration: [Dutch Cartoon]

Gott Mit Uns

_ - Raemaekers in "Kultur in Cartoons."_]

[Illustration: [French Cartoon]

Signing the Russian Peace

_ - From La Victoire, Paris._]

[Illustration: [Spanish Cartoon]

Peace in Russia

_ - From Esquella, Barcelona._]

[Illustration: [Swiss Cartoon]

The Russian Revolution

_ - From Nebelspalter, Zurich._

Bolshevist statesmanship.]

[Illustration: [English Cartoon]

A Threat from the Orient

_ - From The Passing Show, London._

"Fancy meeting _you_!"]

[Illustration: [Italian Cartoon]

The Yellow Peril

_ - From Il 420, Florence._

GERMANY: "After I have gathered all these eggs into one basket, this
fellow threatens to upset everything."]

[Illustration: [American Cartoon]


_ - From The Indianapolis News._]

[Illustration: [Dutch Cartoon]

The Kaiser's "Alte Gott"

_ - From De Notenkraker, Amsterdam._

"In thee I trust, confound me not."]

[Illustration: [French Cartoon]

_ - From La Victoire, Paris._

"We have done all this: We will try to do better." - _General Foch._]

[Illustration: [American Cartoon]


_ - From The Columbus Dispatch._

How can the world make peace with this thing?]

[Illustration: [American Cartoon]

Enough to Make a Dead Man Laugh

_ - From The New York Herald._

WILHELM: "What have I not done to preserve the world from these

[Illustration: [English Cartoon]

The End of Their Perfect Day

_ - From The Passing Show, London._]

[Illustration: [American Cartoon]

_ - G. M. Amato in Mid-Week Pictorial._]

[Illustration: [English Cartoon]


"Papa, ven _are_ ve going to Calais?"

"Ach! Go and ask your grandpa!"

_ - From Cassell's Saturday Journal, London._]

[Illustration: [American Cartoons]

Rough Going

_ - San Francisco Chronicle._

Now You're Shoutin', Newton!

_ - St. Louis Globe-Democrat._]

[Illustration: [American Cartoons]

Hohenzollern "Victory"

_ - From The New York Times._

GERMANY: "How many will be left to enjoy the fruits of your 'victory'?"]

[Illustration: The Follies of 1918

_ - Buffalo News._

WAR BULLETIN: "The Kaiser's six sons have suffered no casualties."]

[Illustration: So Far and No Further!

_ - Central Press Association._]

[Illustration:[English Cartoon]

The Line Blocked

_ - From News of the World, London._

THE ALL-HIGHEST: "Gott in Himmel! Hindenburg! What shall we do? I
promised to be in Paris on the 1st of April!"]

[Illustration: [Italian Cartoon]

German Peace Methods

_ - From Il 420; Florence._

First disarm the people by false talk of no annexations, then, with a
dagger at their back, force them to sign peace on your own terms.]

[Illustration: [German-Swiss Cartoon]

On the Field of Honor

_ - Nebelspalter, Zurich._

MARIANNE (France): "Wilson, my friend and protector, defend me!"]

[Illustration: [Italian Cartoon]

A French Counterattack

_ - Il 420, Florence._

WAR BULLETIN: "The French violently attacked the weakest point on the
German front."]

[Illustration: [German Cartoon]

The Fate of Holland's Ships

_ - Lustige Blätter, Berlin._

PROUD ALBION: "Here, give me that boat; I need it in my fight for the
'freedom of the seas'!"]

[Illustration: [Spanish Cartoon]

In Paris on Good Friday

_ - Esquella, Barcelona._

JOAN OF ARC: "Father, forgive them; they know not what they do."]

[Illustration: [English Cartoon]

Germany's Lost Colonies

_ - From The Passing Show, London._

PACIFIST: "Here! All that bag of yours must be handed over to a league
of nations for disposal."

JOHN BULL: "Oh, must it? And did your friend behind the hedge send you
to say that?"]

[Illustration: [American Cartoon]

Hitting Him Where He Lives

_ - From The New York World._]

[Illustration: [Italian Cartoon]

The Battle of Picardy

- Il 420, Florence.

A second Verdun, with the same results for Germany.]

[Illustration: [American Cartoon]

On the Western Front

_ - From The San Francisco Call-Post._

"Ach! How he iss gaining!"]

[Illustration: [English Cartoon]

A Test of Endurance

_ - From The Passing Show, London._

How much longer?]

[Illustration: [Dutch Cartoon]

The New Waxworks Group for the German Museum

_ - From De Amsterdammer, Amsterdam._]

[Transcriber's Note:

Italicized text denoted by underscores (_).

Apparent printer's errors corrected.

Spelling changes:

Page 383, "y" was changed to read "by." (a private letter written by
Emperor Charles to a relative...)

Page 383, "Guilford" was changed to read "Guildford." (At the time the
Guildford Castle was...)

Page 385, "langauge" was changed to read "language." ( including parts
of two fine bridges across the great river, a language largely Latin in

Page 402, "altogther" was changed to read "altogether." (they spent the
night clearing out the enemy from the village, where he made a desperate
resistance, and brought back altogether something like 700 or 800

Page 406, "fiften" was changed to read "fifteen." (made a general
counterattack and succeeded in advancing their line to a depth of about
fifteen hundred yards beyond the line of the three hills,...)

Page 427, "Austalians" was changed to read "Australians." (Germans gain
a foothold at several points midway between La Clytte and Voormezeele,
but are repulsed at other points along the line; Australians advance 500
yards near Sailly and 300 yards west of Morlancourt.)

Page 440, "skudskär" was changed to read "skudshär." (the head of the
Russian Bureau of Counterespionage in Finland spoke of the skudshär

Page 455, "miniumum" was changed to read "minimum." (The executive
organs of the Soviets of Workmen's Control have the right to fix the
minimum output of a given firm,..)

Page 468, "cinsiderably" was changed to read "considerably," (After
America's entry into the war material help for the Entente has not only
not increased, but has even decreased considerably.)

Page 468, "rogram" was changed to read "program." (Wilson's gigantic
armament program has brought about such...)

Page 470, "dur-" was changed to read "during." (In regard to the
sinkings in April, French official figures showed that the total losses
of allied and neutral ships, including those from accidents at sea
during the month, aggregated 381,631 tons.)]

Online LibraryVariousCurrent History, Vol. VIII, No. 3, June 1918 → online text (page 30 of 30)